Judy had imagined this day for years. In her fantasies she was laughing, and crying tears of joy, rushing to the phone to tell her family the good news. "It finally happened!" she'd gush to her mother and father and any other ears that were nearby. "I'm pregnant!"
But fantasy, as usual, was so different and so much better than reality. Reality had Judy sitting on the cold floor of the pharmacy's bathroom, staring through her tears at the plastic stick between her fingers, at the red plus sign that told her the sudden tiredness and nausea were for a reason. She didn't reach for the phone inside her pocket to call her parents and tell them the good news. This wasn't good news.
It wasn't…because she wasn't married, wasn't even dating. She was sitting on a bathroom floor crying her eyes out because she had made a mistake, had made it more than once. But she had no idea it would happen, had no idea it could happen.
She had never heard of a fox impregnating a rabbit.
That first night was where it all went down hill, she realized. She and Nick had been celebrating, the ZPD having finally caught an escaped convict that had eluded them for months. Nick had invited her to his place, a moderately nice apartment that was bigger than her own; he had some cheap bottles of champagne he had nabbed from Finnick a couple months back.
They had made themselves comfortable on his couch and enjoyed glasses of the champagne that didn't even bother to bubble when they opened the bottle. Nick had flicked on his TV and they watched a romantic comedy. And for a while they sat in silence, occasionally laughing at the film, taking sips of their low priced alcohol, simply enjoying each other's company.
They did that a lot, enjoy each other's company. They were best friends. Partners. They understood each other more than any other animal and maybe that was one of the reasons Judy had let herself become more tipsy than usual, which had led to their first mistake. She had absolutely adored Nick, still did, he was funny and charming, one of a kind, he made her feel special and she knew he always had her back, which was why she didn't hesitate to answer him honestly when he spoke next.
They were watching the couple on the movie, a wolf and oddly enough a hare, share their first kiss which eventually led them to the bedroom which was far more explicit than Judy had expected from a romantic comedy and hoped Nick didn't see how her ears had turned red. It was weird watching such things with her male friend. She closed her eyes as she took a larger sip from her glass.
Nick had moved his green eyes from the TV to her, his face expressionless as he spoke, "Have you ever done that?"
She looked up at him, her brow knit, "Done what?"
He indicated to the TV that had mercifully ended the bedroom scene and now the hare was telling her friends that she was in love with the wolf, "Date a different species."
Judy shook her head, "Nope. Strictly rabbits." To be honest she had never dated that much, most of her family called her a prude. But she had just been so busy with work and the fact she wasn't going to date just any guy, it had to be the right guy.
"What about you?" she asked the fox.
He snorted bitterly, "Please, I can't even convince vixens to go out with me."
That made Judy frown, she wasn't a good judge when it came to the beauty of foxes, she had only known two in her whole life, but she didn't think Nick was ugly. Of course if he acted like he did when they first met then that was more understandable.
"What do you think about it?" Nick asked a few minutes later. The wolf and the hare had had a misunderstanding and now were in the middle of an argument.
If Judy hadn't already had a full glass of champagne she probably would've been more weirded out by the sudden interest. She shrugged, "I think its fine. Why do you ask?"
It was Nick's turn to shrug but he didn't meet Judy's eyes, "Just curious." He looked at the almost empty bottle of champagne, "Maybe I had too much of this." He poured himself another glass.
"Would you date another species?" Judy asked him as the movie started to come to an end.
"Why?" Nick smirked over at her, "Interested?"
She let out a small laugh, her ears dusting pink, "You wish." But her laughter died down when she saw the way Nick was looking at her.
"Yeah," Nick breathed, his eyes not breaking from her own. "I would."
She wanted to glance away but she felt trapped beneath his gaze, "…Wh-what kind of mammal would you be with…?"
Nick had looked her over then and Judy felt like her entire body was on fire, the hunger in his green eyes had set her heart pounding. She had never felt desired like this.
"At the moment…." Nick finally spoke, his voice unnaturally husky, "A rabbit."
Then he was leaning toward her and Judy let her eyes slip shut, a silent dare for Nick to kiss her. A second later she felt warm lips against her own and she couldn't hold back the moan that rose from her throat, couldn't resist immediately opening her mouth to taste him, his tongue carried the flavor of the same champagne that was coursing through her body, making her forget that he was a fox, making her forget that this wasn't a good idea, making her forget that he didn't love her, not like he should as he pushed her down onto the couch, his paws rubbing across her arms and stomach and thighs.
Judy's paws reached toward his neck, her fingers running across his coarse red fur, trailing down to his shoulders, digging her blunt nails in. Nick didn't spend long tasting her, his mouth pulled away to nuzzle against her neck and shoulders, his teeth gently nipping her flesh and the action caused butterflies to flutter in her stomach.
When Nick almost fell off the couch he suggested the bed and Judy agreed, following him to his bedroom where they sprawled across his bed, continuing their feverous kissing. They hadn't planned for what happened next, they hadn't planned to slip their now wrinkled clothes off, to go farther than they should, to know what it felt like to be one, to cry out each other's names as powerful waves of ecstasy sent them over the edge. They hadn't planned on waking up the next morning in each other's arms.
The pleasure of last night almost hadn't been worth the following mortification. But as they hastily put on the clothes they had strewn on the floor they had both assured each other they'd still be friends, they had been drunk and it was a one time thing. They would move on with their lives, they wouldn't mention it, it wouldn't happen again.
They kept that promise for exactly two weeks.
The second time was at Judy's apartment, she had had a rough week. Bogo had swamped her with paperwork and to top it off she had missed her aunt's birthday. Nick had come to her place to offer a friendly shoulder for her to lean on, the poor bunny exhausted and heartsick. She had just wanted a distraction, wanted to feel good, and Nick was right next to her, holding her paw and offering comforting words. She had pulled him into a kiss and the fox hadn't needed persuasion to go any farther and when they had finished her loud neighbors had no qualms with offering a commentary.
Once again they vowed that was it, they didn't need their neighbors to talk. But of course they didn't listen to themselves.
The third time was after Nick had flirted with a pretty vixen and he wanted to assure a moody Judy that she was still his favorite girl.
The fourth and latest time happened for no good reason, they just wanted to. That had been a month ago, and Judy had started to feel sick. Recognizing the symptoms from living with her mother and older sisters, she had gone to the pharmacy, her worst fear proven. But after spending those nights together, despite the comfort and the assurance, it was really nothing but a fling. Nick cared for her, she knew that, but he didn't want to be with her. He would've brought it up by now surely, and Judy was too scared to ask him. Especially now, if he rejected her she wasn't sure she could handle it.
She was scared, that was all there was to it. She was too scared to tell Nick, she wouldn't tell him she was carrying his baby.
"Which is fine," she assured herself, a lump in her throat making it hard to breathe. "It's Nick Wilde we're talking about. He doesn't want kids; besides…he wouldn't want to be my boyfriend let alone a father. I'm Judy Hopps, the first rabbit cop of ZPD…If I can do that I can be a raise a kit all on my own."
Her phone buzzed, signaling it was five in the morning. Time to get to work; she was glad she had already dressed up in her uniform before she had headed to the pharmacy. She had figured she would need time to waste on tears.
Judy stood up, threw the stick into a trash bin and wiped the tears away, time wasted; now she had to get to work. She could afford to work a few more days before she would have no choice but to take maternity leave and then…she'd figure that out when she got there.
"There you are, Carrots!" Nick's voice sent a wave of dread through her as she walked into the precinct, already feeling exhausted from the walk from the pharmacy store.
He was chatting with Clawhauser, both munching on a donut. Judy usually really liked donuts but the smell of them nearly made bile rise in her throat.
"Not like you to be late," Nick pointed out, dusting the sprinkles off his paws and walking over to stand by her side. He gave her the welcoming smile he always gave her at the beginning of work.
Judy forced her lips up into a smile, hoping he didn't notice how forced it was, "Sorry, just got a little tired." She wondered if her face showed her panic that a kit was growing inside her at that very moment.
They waved to Clawhauser before heading to the bullpen. Stepping inside she remembered that she and Nick sat together, they always sat together. And if she tried to sit somewhere else he would know something was wrong, but she wasn't sure if she could stand sitting next to him.
Judy forced herself to climb onto the seat next to the fox, being careful not to touch his shoulder like she usually did. All she could think about was those nights together, that her partner was going to be a father. She had to figure out what to do when she started showing, even if she took a break from the force Nick spent everyday with her. He would find out she was expecting and he would figure out whose it was. And then what? Would she lose him for good? The thought sent a new spike of fear through her heart.
Bogo finally walked in, reciting some mundane announcements. But as he spoke Judy felt sudden nausea boil in her stomach and she started to panic. She would not throw up in front of the entire first precinct. She made to raise her hand to be excused when Nick wrapped his tail around her torso.
It was something he had started doing months before they first spent a night together, it was a simple act; affectionate, done so many times Nick probably hadn't even realized it had happened.
But feeling his tail drape across her thigh made Judy yelp and move back, sending her falling out of her chair and landing on her tail. Nick looked at her with open shock and concern as did the other officers, Bogo having stopped mid-announcement. The buffalo and a few other officers sent Nick accusatory glares which made the fox indignant.
"What? I didn't do anything!" he insisted vehemently.
"Sorry," Judy mumbled to the room as she stood up. She felt the bile rising in her throat. "I just need to go to the bathroom." She dashed off before another word could be uttered.
The next few days were like that. Judy would wake up with awful morning sickness, having to rush down to her apartments' communal bathroom. She would get strange or concerned looks from other residents as she dashed into a stall to vomit up her dinner. None of them asked her what was wrong, they probably already knew.
Judy would then force herself into her uniform and start her walk to the ZPD, resisting riding a bus or taxi because she had to save money because babies were expensive. But God, were her legs tired, in fact her entire body felt like lead and she was so thankful Bogo kept her on desk duty, allowing her to sit in her chair and just type out her paperwork. But even that wasn't as easy as it used to be. All the while her stomach gurgled painfully and her head pounded in agony and she wanted to know what she did to deserve all this.
Then there was the odd cravings, she knew she was giving birth to something with fox in its genes when she purchased five bags of cicada chips and ate them all before she made it home. She had also started making a habit of stopping at BugBurga whenever she could spare the change.
But the worst had to be the mood swings. Judy would be feeling mildly okay, her nausea at bay, her legs not aching as badly as usual and she would be sipping from a coffee cup that was actually a cricket shake in disguise.
And then a wave of malice would just wash over her and she'd have to bite her tongue from letting out a growl. She would end up snapping at some of the other officers for just asking her a question or her shoulders would start shaking and tears would well up and she'd have to find a place to hide until the tears subsided.
And of course Nick took notice of her strange behavior; he'd ask her why she was so late again. He'd want to know why she didn't want one of Clawhauser's donuts or why she snarled at some of their fellow officers. He kept demanding why she spent so much of her time in the bathroom. But Judy would only give him a half-hearted excuse or ignore him completely. The fox would let out a frustrated growl when she did the latter but wouldn't push her, turning back to whatever he was doing. It didn't help improve Judy's mood that she was already pushing her best friend away and she was barely even showing yet.
One night Judy lay wide awake on her bed, tired but unable to get to sleep. Thinking of how sick she would be tomorrow, how tired, how irritated, and how she was going to be all alone raising this hybrid kit. She hadn't told any of her friends, Clawhauser and Fru Fru couldn't keep a secret to save their lives, and her parents would expect Nick to take Judy down the aisle if she told them he had gotten her pregnant. The only mammal she could really talk to was Mrs. Otterton but she and her family were on vacation.
Judy then realized all thoughts on her pregnancy had been nothing but negative and she felt guilty. She rubbed a paw over her stomach; she could just make out the beginning of a baby bump. "I'm sorry," she breathed to her unborn child. "I'm just so scared and tired right now, but I'll be okay. We'll both be okay…I promise." She curled onto her side, hugging her stomach with both paws and closed her eyes, trying to picture what her baby would look like.
But despite her promise to her kit tomorrow would be one of her worst days.
She and Nick had been assigned to parking duty, apparently doing nothing but paperwork was too much to hope for. Her legs ached as she followed the fox from one parking meter to the next.
Nick personally didn't find parking duty all that tedious like Judy. Even getting a few snickers out of the furious looks animals gave him. Judy could only follow him, leaning against a meter or a bench or a pole whenever he stopped, it had felt like she only got a few seconds of sleep before her alarm was blaring through her ears.
"Couldn't sleep again, Carrots," Nick asked her as he made it to ticket sixty eight.
She shrugged helplessly, "I don't know what's wrong."
"Maybe you need a better mattress," Nick said. He looked at her and offered a smile, "It is pretty lumpy; I know that from experience."
Judy cringed, the only time he had slept in her bed was when he had slept with her, Judy had sprawled on top of Nick, finding his torso much more comfortable than her mattress. But nights with Nick only reminded her of why she was so tired right now.
She looked away from him, not noticing how the fox's smile quickly fell and he turned back to his job. A second later they heard the sirens.
Judy's ears pricked up as she and Nick swiveled around to see a tiger racing across the street, holding a cash register between his orange paws. Nick immediately tossed his ticket maker into the nicknamed 'Joke-mobile' and raced across the street to tail the tiger. Judy forced herself to sprint after.
But she didn't get far, she tried her best to run, cars and buildings blurring past her for a few seconds but then the aching in her legs increased ten-fold. She couldn't get enough oxygen into her lungs, her stomach felt cramped and her vision was going blurry. Judy finally fell, just managing to catch herself on her paws and knees. She stared down at the gray cement beneath her and forced air back into her lungs. Her panting raspy to her own ears and she was sure she was going to be sick again.
"Carrots?" Nick's questioning voice came a few feet ahead; he must've turned to see she had fallen. "Carrots!"
A few seconds later the fox was kneeling beside her, having abandoned the chase. His face was twisted in fear as he extended his paws toward her to help her up, the same paws that had touched her and led to where she was now.
Before she even knew what she was doing Judy pushed him away, nearly knocking the fox onto his back. "Don't touch me!" she shrieked at him, making some passersby turn around and walk the other way.
Nick, affronted, scowled at her, "I was just trying to help!"
"I'm not a helpless child," she snapped at him. "I don't need your help! I don't need you!"
Nick flinched as if she had struck him. "What is wrong with you?" he demanded.
She was sick of it that's what was wrong. She was sick and tired and scared and so sad because she was in love with this stupid fox… She was. She had been in love with him since their first night together and she had been in denial ever since. And now she let it stare her in the face, let her accept the fact she was in love with the father of her child and there was nothing she could do about it because for Nick it had just been a fling. Nick had just wanted to have some fun, he didn't want to be tethered to a rabbit he wasn't even dating or to a kit he didn't even know existed, and Judy didn't want them both to face their mistake when there was no need.
So she just glared at him as she forced herself to her feet, and made her way back to the Joke-mobile, the fox's burning glower on her back.
When they got back to the precinct Judy immediately made her way to Bogo's office, ignoring the wave Clawhauser sent her. She was too scared she would burst into tears at any minute. Nick made his own way to his desk, his tail bushed out in anger as he sat down in his chair. He hadn't said a word since Judy said, quite plainly, that she didn't need him.
She walked into the chief's office, not bothering to knock which obviously surprised the buffalo who had been busy looking through paper work, his reading glances perched on the bridge of his nose.
"Hopps, what makes you think you can barge-" his voice broke off when he saw the expression on the rabbit's face and he placed his file down. "What's wrong?"
Judy took in a shuddering breath, she was losing her grip, she was going to break down in tears right there in front of her boss. But she couldn't keep working, "I need to go on leave."
His brow furrowed in confusion, "What kind of leave?"
"…Maternity leave," she winced at the words.
It looked like Bogo's eyes would pop out of his head, "Come again?"
Judy stepped closer to the buffalo, her legs ached but she knew she wouldn't be able to climb onto a chair. She continued, "I-I'm expecting a baby, sir. That's why I haven't been at my best these past few days…I think it's time I take a break so I can focus on that."
"I see…" he replied, looking her up and down. "Very well, I'll let you go on maternity leave. Who's the father, if I may ask?"
Judy glanced toward the closed door, where beyond it Nick was sitting at his desk, typing furiously at his computer. "It's not important," she answered.
Bogo narrowed his eyes, "I wouldn't say that. Does Wilde know?"
Judy looked up at him in horror. How did he find out? "W-What?!"
"He's your friend isn't he?" the buffalo asked, a bit thrown off by the rabbit's sudden panic. "I figured he's one of the first mammals you would tell."
"O-oh, no," she shook her head, relief making her shoulders sink. "He doesn't know. And if it's all the same to you, sir, could you please not tell him? Or any of the ZPD?"
It was obvious Bogo wanted to demand why she wanted to keep it a secret but since she wasn't a criminal he wouldn't interrogate her. "I don't think you'll be able to keep this a secret for long, Hopps, especially not from that fox."
"I know, just… I'll tell him and everyone else eventually. Just not right now…"
Bogo looked at her for a second before letting out a soft sigh, "Do what you think is best, now go on home."
Judy nodded and headed for the door. "Hopps," Bogo called just as she opened it. Judy looked over her shoulder at the buffalo. "Congratulations."
Her phone vibrated again. Judy lay sprawled across her bed; empty cicada chips littered her room. She knew that it was a message from Nick; he had been trying to get in contact with her since the day she left. Judy couldn't exactly blame him; days ago she had left the precinct immediately after telling Bogo she was pregnant and hadn't told Nick she was leaving. It was awful of her, she knew that. But she couldn't bear to be around him anymore.
She picked up her phone and looked at the new message, Talk to me. Judy trailed through the other messages he had already sent her: Where are you?
Bogo just told me ur on vacation WTF?
Is it becuz I wanted to help u I'm sorry Carrots!
Stop ignoring me!
And then his latest text, Talk to me… Judy triedto hold back a wave of guilt. Her fingers hovered over her phone's keypad. For a moment she imagined texting him the truth but her fear won over and she texted what was best for the both of them: Please leave me alone. She hit send just as her phone rang. Mrs. Otterton was calling her.
Judy felt a sense of relief as she answered the call, "Hello?"
"Hi, Judy. I'm on my way," Mrs. Otterton's soft voice calmed Judy. The otter had returned home a few days after Judy started her maternity leave and the rabbit had went for a visit. But when her friend opened the door Judy couldn't help but fall into her arms, sobbing her heart out as she told her what had happened. When she had finally managed to get the story out Mrs. Otterton led her inside the house, set her on the couch and got her some tea, calmly assuring Judy that she had a friend who would help her through it all. And now Mrs. Otterton was taking her to her first doctor appointment to check on the baby.
Judy forced herself off her bed and got dressed, slipping her now quiet phone into her pocket and heading outside to wait for the otter.
"There's it's heartbeat," Dr. Monroe, a moose, stated. He had a stethoscope pressed against the small bump of Judy's belly. "It's a strong one, healthy."
He smiled up at her, "Nothing to worry about."
"What do you think it will look like?" Judy asked from where she sat. Mrs. Otterton was holding her paw and stroking it reassuringly.
"Hard to say," the moose replied. "I've delivered for a few interspecies couples but never a bunny and fox. We'll have to see when the baby's big enough for an ultrasound." A few minutes later he sent the two ladies on their way, Judy's stomach growling loudly and making Mrs. Otterton and a few passing mammals chuckle.
"What are you in the mood for?" the otter asked as they drove out of the hospital's parking lot, "My treat."
"I can pay," Judy assured, leaning against the passenger seat. "But I would love some BugBurga, lots and lots of BugBurga."
Mrs. Otterton laughed again, "Whatever you want, sweetie. I know I couldn't get enough greasy food when I was pregnant with my boys."
"My mom always craved sweets every time she was expecting," Judy replied. "I was so upset one time she ate all of the cookies in the house. But now I get it."
Mrs. Otterton parked before BugBurga, helping Judy out of the car even though she insisted she was fine. She still let the otter take her arm and lead her inside, at the moment she was just happy she had someone to be with her who would keep her secret.
Inside the fast food restaurant a blast of cold air had Judy wrapping her arms around herself and shivering, Mrs. Otterton urged her to go find a place to sit while she waited in line to order their food. Judy obeyed, sitting at a two chaired table by the window. She laid her arms across the table, burying her face into her arms and thinking she could fall asleep right then if she wasn't so hungry.
"Judy?" a partly familiar voice spoke up. "Judy Hopps?"
She lifted her head to see a tan rabbit standing a few feet away from her, smiling in surprised recognition. Judy hadn't seen that face in years.
"Monty!" she smiled and stood up, walking over to hug her old friend that she hadn't seen since she was thirteen. "It's so good to see you."
"Good to see you too," Monty wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. He pulled her back at arms length to look her over. "You look good, bun in the oven I see."
"Heh…yeah," Judy said awkwardly then changed the subject, "Sit down, sit down, how have you been?"
Monty sat across from her, "I've been great, I'm on the road with some buddies of mine, traveling the world, seeing the sights. That's why I'm in a BugBurga, I got a hyena and badger waiting for me."
"Oh, well I don't want to keep you," Judy replied.
"I got time while the food's cooking," he assured her. "So what are you doing in BugBurga?"
"It's uh, it's a long story," Judy rubbed her arm and didn't meet Monty's eye.
The rabbit smirked, his blue eyes trailing to her stomach. "Is the daddy a predator?"
Judy's ears flared red and Monty laughed, "No need to get so embarrassed, Jude. Everyone always figured you'd settle down with something that wasn't a rabbit. You were different like that."
"Did they," Judy said, still feeling flustered.
Monty must have sensed her discomfort because he reached out and placed his paw over her own, "It's nothing to be ashamed of, Judy. I actually really admired how you weren't scared to be unique, not a lot of rabbits are like that."
Judy smiled gratefully at her old friend, seeing him reminded her of how much she missed her family as she hadn't called them in over a week. It was almost time to tell them and face the consequences and smiling into Monty's sapphire eyes, she felt confident she could do it.
Knocking on the glass they sat by had Judy turning and her smile instantly dropped. Nick and Finnick stood on the other side of the window; the red fox's eyes were staring at Judy's stomach and the obvious baby bump.
Panic had Judy's heart pumping as Nick met her eyes and indicated to her stomach, "What the hell," he mouthed through the glass.
Monty looked to him then to Judy, "Is that the father?"
Nick was heading toward the restaurant's entrance, Finnick scurrying after him. "Monty," Judy turned to her friend. "You should probably go." She hadn't liked the way Nick's eyes had blazed as he had made his way for the door.
The rabbit's brow furrowed in confusion, "Why?"
"You just need to," she insisted, standing up as she heard the door chime, signaling Nick was inside. "I'm so sorry; it was so good to see you again."
Monty still looked confused but nodded and headed off, "I'll friend you on Fangbook," he called before heading off to get his food.
Judy turned around but Nick was already standing before her, watching Monty walk off. Finnick stood behind his friend and waved lamely at Judy who felt too sick to return it.
Nick finally turned his eyes to her, then to her baby bump, then back to her. "Wha…" his voice trailed off as he wildly indicated to her stomach. "How…wha…what's that!?"
"I'm uh…I'm pregnant," she replied weakly.
"I can see that!" Nick snarled, making a few nearby customers stare at them. "When did that happen? Who was that rabbit!?"
"I found out about a month ago," she answered, her voice quiet. "And that was my old childhood friend, Monty."
"Monty," Nick said the words as if they left a bad taste in his mouth. He looked for the rabbit but Judy's old friend was already heading out the door. Nick turned his glare back at her, "So what you met up with some rabbit from your high school and decided to have a litter with him?"
Judy's jaw dropped. Nick didn't realize this was his baby. "I…uh…"
"You told me your family only have litters after they got married," Nick reminded her. "Are you married to that guy, Carrots? Thanks for inviting me to the wedding."
"Please don't do this…" Judy begged softly.
"No, I'm going to do this," Nick snapped. "You've been avoiding me, you left work without telling me, you wouldn't answer any of my texts, you yelled at me for no good reason, told me to leave you alone, and now I find out you're pregnant!?"
Judy huddled into herself as Nick continued, "I thought I was your friend, Judy! Why would you hide this from me!?"
"Sir," Mrs. Otterton walked up to stand between Nick and Judy. "Please stop yelling at her, it isn't healthy for the baby and its mother to be stressed."
"Baby…" Nick echoed like he didn't know what the word meant. "Mother…" He glanced back at Judy and she cringed at the heartbroken expression on the fox's face. But then he was turning around and walking out of BugBurga, Finnick looked from his friend to Judy, having watching his friend blow up in uncomfortable silence.
"Congratulations?" he offered clumsily before hurrying after his friend.
Mrs. Otterton looked at Judy, taking in the tears that were welling up in the rabbit's eyes. She held up a to-go bag, "How about we get you home?"
Judy nodded, unable to speak thanks to the lump jammed in her throat.
Now it was Judy sending Nick the endless texts.
I'm so sorry, Nick.
I can explain.
Please talk to me.
But there was no reply, and after a few minutes she stopped trying, letting the paw slip from her paw as she buried her face into her pillow, curled into a tight circle. Her tears dampened the pillow while her shoulders shook. She knew this would happen, Nick had found out and he basically ran out on her. And he hadn't even known it was his baby.
"Don't blame him," Judy muttered to her baby bump. "He's good I swear. He just…he doesn't understand."
And that's your fault, a nasty voice hissed in her head, You should tell him. It couldn't go any worse than him yelling at you in a public restaurant.
Judy almost dared to do just that. She should do just that. But having a baby had apparently sucked all the courage she had, but as she came to that conclusion her phone buzzed with a text message.
Judy bolted upright, snatching the device in her paw and letting out a shaky breath of relief when she saw the message was from Nick:
Meet me Savannah Park in 20.
Judy was already heading out the door.
Savannah Park was in the heart of Savannah Central and quite huge, she passed by families enjoying afternoon picnics, joggers going on runs, and vendors selling ice cream. She looked around desperately, trying to figure out where she was supposed to wait for him. She was just about to text him when she spotted red fur sitting on a bench a yard away.
Judy dashed over, too eager to talk to him, to get a chance to explain. Nick nearly jumped when he saw her running toward him but quickly calmed himself, running a paw across his throat. Judy had to resist the urge to hug him once she reached his side, instead taking a moment to catch her breath. She was no longer extremely tired all the time but she still couldn't run like she used to.
"You okay?" he asked quietly, he was making a painstaking effort not to look at her stomach.
"I'm fine," she assured. She sat next to him. Nick scooted away. She tried not to let that upset her.
"Nick, I can explain," she began.
"And I expect you to," the fox said, his voice only letting a pinch of his bitterness shine through. "But first…I owe you an apology. It was wrong for me to blow up on you like that in front of a bunch of strangers."
"It's fine," she assured.
"I already knew that when I was walking out but Finnick was quick to remind me," Nick added.
"It's fine," she repeated.
"I think a lot of it had to do with the shock…and jealousy."
Those words made her pause, "Jealousy?"
"I…I liked what we had going," he loosely indicated to the two of them. "I was having fun and I just figured you were too."
"Oh, Nick," she breathed.
"Yeah, yeah, I know," he waved off her words, "That's my own fault. We didn't set up ground rules, kept saying it was a one time thing, never said we weren't allowed to go on dates." He looked at her, "But I'm starting to think you were already dating that Monty guy while you were seeing me. I mean, the last time we slept together wasn't that long ago, not long enough to fall in love with someone and get married at least. I mean, I know rabbits are all about the love but I never pegged you as someone who would get married right away."
"Monty and I aren't married, Nick," Judy informed him. "We aren't even dating."
The fox looked at her, then down at her stomach, "So what, I wasn't your only affair?"
Judy couldn't help an aggravated sigh; he really was such a dumb fox. "Monty isn't the father."
He stared at her in surprise, "Then who?"
"Are you kidding me, Nick?" Judy snapped in sheer frustration, "You are!"
The words hung silent between them for a mass of seconds that felt like hours. As Judy looked at Nick's shell-shocked face her annoyance quickly dispersed, leaving her with only fear and heartache because now the truth was out and it was going just as well as she expected.
"Aren't you going to say something?" she finally broke the silence, her voice cracking on the last word.
"I'm a fox," he mumbled dazedly. "How could I…how could we…?"
"Interspecies couples have gotten pregnant before, Nick," she told him, laughing humorously. "And we're on that list."
His eyes slowly trailed down to her belly, "…That's my kit in there?"
She nodded. Feeling her throat closing up she quickly said her next words, "Yes, but don't you worry. I know you Nick, you're not going to want to raise a kid; you're basically a kid yourself. That's why I didn't tell you. This was because we made a stupid mistake but it was just as much my fault as yours so I can take care of it. You-you don't have to worry about a thing I can do this on my own, I am Officer Judy Hopps after all, I can do anything I set my mind to."
"Carrots," Nick breathed but Judy was already up and walking away.
"I'll see you later," she called back to him, wanting to say more but her throat had officially closed up and she could feel the tears rising.
"Carrots, wait!" he called but she didn't turn around, and he didn't come after her. Judy wondered when she had started running away from all her conflicts.
I'm going to be a father, the words played over and over in Nick's head as he sat on the park bench, watching as Judy became a gray dot in the distance. I'm going to be a father.
He had barely gotten over the brain numbing shock of seeing her with a belly bump and some rabbit he didn't know, Nick had seen red that day. But it turned out that bump was because of him, he was the only one to have kept her bed warm.
Nick needed to go after her, Judy was alone and scared and he needed to go after her. But fear kept him glued to the seat, making him analyze all the words she had told him. The one that kept coming back to smack him in the face was 'mistake'.
Was that really how Judy saw their nights together? Mistakes, something that should never have happened; something she wanted to take back? Nick had agreed they shouldn't have done it…but he had never regretted it.
His eyes fell to the grass below as he leaned forward on his seat, elbows resting on his knees. He noticed a single violet waving in the grass between his feet. He thought of plucking it but decided against it as simple truth poured into his brain and froze there, unmoving.
He wanted that baby…just as much as he wanted Judy.
Nick remembered the morning of their first night together. Despite pretending otherwise he had actually woken up before the rabbit. He had taken that short amount of time to study Judy, sleeping against him, devoid of clothes. He took in her messy fur, the way her arms curled into her chest, her peaceful sleeping features. A wave of fierce affection nearly floored the fox and he had trailed his paw down her side and across her hip, wanting to hold her close to him, wanting to have the right to hold her and never let go. The nights he had spent with Judy had easily been some of the best nights of his life. But he had been too much of a coward to tell her that, tell her he wanted more than a fling, wanted to wake up every morning with her curled against his side.
When she had snapped at him, had told him she didn't need him it had felt like an ice pick had been driven through his heart and that's when Nick knew he was an official goner.
Laughter broke him from his thoughts and he looked up to see a family of three wolves. The mother holding the pup while the father finished packing up their picnic basket, when he was done he walked over to his family, kissing his pup on the head before giving his wife a loving kiss on the lips.
That could be us, Nick thought to himself. That could be me, and Judy…and our baby.
But not if you keep sitting around doing nothing, another voice snapped at him.
Nick stood up, taking one last look at the violet that stood tall in the thin sandy soil; it had made it despite difficulties. He could do the same.
Judy was back in her apartment, sitting on the floor, pressed against the locked door with her arms wrapped around her knees and tears streaming down her cheeks.
"It's going to be okay," she sobbed. "It's going to be okay."
She had no idea who she was talking to, herself, her unborn baby, the universe that seemed determined to prove her wrong.
She buried her face in her arms, feeling the hot tears dampen her fur. All the while she kept repeating that she was fine, that the look on Nick's face hadn't broken her heart. That she could believe all the lies she kept telling herself since the day she had walked out of that pharmacy bathroom.
Fierce knocking nearly made Judy jump into the air, the door literally shaking under the force of the knocks.
"Carrots!" Nick's voice yelled out from the hallway. "Carrots, I know you're in there! Open the door!"
Judy pressed her palms against the base of her ears. She didn't need a mirror to know she looked awful right now; she couldn't let Nick see her like this.
"Carrots, Carrots, Carrots, Carrots, Carrots, Carrots, Carrots!" Nick chanted the word over and over, emphasizing each word with a loud knock.
"Meter Maid!" Bucky's voice spoke up through the thin walls. "Let the stupid fox in so he'll shut up!"
"She doesn't have to let him in if she doesn't want to!" Prong interjected.
"I don't want to hear his yelling!"
"Shut up, you yell all the time!"
"You shut up!"
"No, you shut up!"
"Carrots," Nick continued to call out, his voice a beg. "Hopps... Judy!"
With a headache starting to throb through her brain Judy forced herself to her feet and opened the door, Nick's paw raised to knock once again.
He took in her blood-shot eyes, wrinkled clothes and exhausted posture. "You look awful," he said in a half-hearted joking manner.
"What is it, Nick?"
"Okay," he forced himself into the room and shut the door behind him. "First off, you do get how messed up that was, right? Telling me you're going to have my kid then walking off before I could get a word in edgewise."
"I'm aware," she replied in a cautious tone.
"Good," Nick said then pointed to her bed, "Now sit down."
"Because it looks like you're about to pass out," he informed. Judy obeyed him, glad to be off her aching feet.
"Now, be honest with me," Nick continued. "Do you really think what we did was a mistake?"
She furrowed her brow, "Pardon?"
Nick kneeled before her to be at eye level, he placed his paws on her knees and Judy felt a couple of butterflies flutter in her abdomen. It had been so long since he had touched her. "Did you not want to be with me?" he demanded softly, "That first night when we got drunk, the nights after that. Do you wish they hadn't happened?"
Judy wasn't sure how to respond. Did Nick regret it? A few moments of silence with Nick waiting patiently for her answer and Judy decided she was done with lying.
"No," she said firmly. "I don't regret it."
Nick let his shoulders droop in relief and he let out a soft sigh, "Then why did you call it a mistake?"
"I figured that's how you would see it," she admitted.
"No, Carrots," Nick tightened his grip on her kneecaps and made her look him in the eye. "I don't. I never did."
Judy's eyes widened, "You don't…?"
"No," the fox replied, and then his eyes trailed from her face to her stomach. "…You really want to raise a baby on your own?"
"Of course not," Judy said, wrapping her arms around the bump. "But I can, and I have to."
"Why do you have to?" Nick demanded, frustration furrowed his brow and his voice was like a growl.
"What choice do I have?" she shot back. "You want to raise it with me?"
The words nearly made Judy fall off the bed. She stared at the fox with large eyes, perked ears, and a pounding heart. She was too scared to dare believe she had heard what Nick had just said. That she had heard the one thing she wanted.
"Wh-what?" her voice came out as a croak, her throat feeling as dry as sandpaper. "You…you do?"
Nick let out a breath that was part a frustrated sigh, part breathy laughter. He ran his paw over his face, "You really are a dumb, dumb bunny."
Before Judy could deny his statement Nick leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into an embrace. Judy stayed stock still, her muzzle buried into his shoulder as he continued: "You're right, I am practically a kid. And knowing that you are going to have my kit, that's the scariest thing I've ever heard. But the last thing I want is for you to have to face this alone; to raise a baby that's just as much mine as it's yours. I want to help you, Carrots. I want to be there for you. So stop running away from me."
Judy felt her arms rising and her fingers gripping the back of his shirt as she held him as tightly as she could, her eyes filling with tears. But for once she wasn't crying because she was sad.
"But-but you know if mammals see you with me and the baby they'll think we're a couple," she reminded him, her voice thick. "You won't be able to find a mate."
Nick pulled away to meet her eyes, his paws on her cheeks as his thumbs wiped away her tears. He smiled at her, it was warm and reassuring and the fear that had shadowed her for more that a month finally drifted away. He pressed his nose against her own, "I think I can learn to live with that."
When Nick said he wanted to be there he wasn't kidding. He had made Judy temporarily move into his own apartment, stating it was larger and better and didn't have loud neighbors to wake her up in the odd hours of the night.
Judy had been so relieved and grateful that she had her best friend to help her she didn't resist, making herself comfortable in the fox's apartment. He offered her his bed and she had gratefully taken it. But the first night sleeping there she asked Nick to share the bed with her, he had obliged, wrapping himself around her to keep her warm all the while giving her stomach space as if he would hurt the baby by touching it.
The next morning he would gently wake Judy and tell her he was going to work and would be back to check on her at lunch. She had fallen back to sleep a second before he finished talking.
Her first trimester blissfully ended and was replaced by the second. And along with it came all the new aches, Nick would come home to see Judy sprawled out on the couch, numerous parts of her body in pain. She was just glad she no longer had to worry about rushing to the bathroom to heave up her breakfast.
Nick had offered massages every time she ached, and she complied gratefully, letting him run his paws across her back. He even massaged her thighs which flustered the rabbit greatly; she wasn't completely sure why, Nick was already familiar with every inch of her. But this entire thing was becoming so domestic and while Judy knew Nick cared deeply he had never outright stated he loved her like she loved him. But to be fair she hadn't said it either.
Nick, of course, couldn't keep such a big secret and one day while Judy was enjoying a cricket shake for breakfast she received a phone call from Clawhauser. She had been so sure her ears would bleed from the cheetah's high-pitched squealing as he congratulated and told her he was so excited.
Now knowing the entirety of the ZPD was informed she was on maternity leave Judy sucked it up and called Fru Fru to tell her the news. The shrew's reaction was similar to Clawhauser though she couldn't help scolding Judy for not telling her sooner and that the shrew would make sure to come and check on her and help her through it.
Then Judy sucked in a breath and called her parents.
They were disappointed in her when she simply stated she was pregnant with no husband. They said they had raised their kids better than that. But when she told him who the father was their disappointment quickly turned into downright shock and they told Judy they would need time to wrap their heads around this but that they would be checking in and made her promise to keep them up to date on the baby.
Nick found Judy curled into bed, having parents that still loved her but she certainly wasn't their favorite daughter at the moment. The fox had slipped into the bed with her, offering her silent comfort. Judy had grabbed his paw and placed it over her growing stomach.
The fox had tensed, the fur of his neck and tail bristling, he quickly removed his paw and Judy decided not to press it.
"Who do you think it will look like?" he asked to distract her, "Me or you?"
Judy's eyes watched the fox as he gazed at her belly, "I want it to look like you."
Nick's eyes focused on her, "Why?"
She smiled at him, "Because you're my favorite fox."
He chuckled at her, reciting words he had spoken months ago, but then his expression turned serious and he reached out to hold her paw, his fingers tightening around her own. "I hadn't been lying, you know."
"I know," she said.
But the fox shook his head, "You say that you do but I can tell by the look on your face, you don't."
He leaned closer, his face mere inches away from Judy; his breath blowing across her whiskers. "You are my favorite girl, Carrots…but you're also more than that."
Judy's breath was caught in her throat and she couldn't speak. Nick leaned closer, his nose brushing her muzzle, and his eyes were both affectionate and terrified. "I'm in love with you, Carrots."
The words were soft, hesitate, but certain. Judy wasn't controlling her paws as they reached toward the fox, grabbing his jaw and pulling him in the rest of the way, their lips touching and any lingering worries evaporated like dew in the sun. Nick loved her, and nothing bad would happen now.
After a few minutes she pulled her swollen lips away to whisper into his ear: "I love you too."
They were watching a documentary about the rabbit that had had more litters than any other lapin in known history when Judy felt the very first kick.
She had gasped so loudly Nick ended up dropping his bowl of popcorn onto the floor, "What?! What's wrong?!"
"It kicked!" she beamed down on her stomach, her paws resting across the stretched flesh. "I just felt a kick!"
"Seriously?" Nick leaned forward and pressed his paw against her belly, he nearly jumped out of fur when he felt another kick. "Woah that is definitely a rabbit." He shook his paw as if the kick had hurt, making Judy laugh.
He took a break from work so he could take Judy to her ultrasound, Fru Fru shadowing them. Mrs. Otterton had wanted to come but her son had swimming lessons she needed to attend.
Fru Fru was sitting in the front seat with Nick, letting Judy have the back seat all to herself. The shrew was telling Nick all about her own story of pregnancy and labor, and some unnatural pregnancy stories she had read about. She might as well have been telling Nick a horror story for the frightful looks he shot the shrew.
About thirty minutes later they sat in the same room she had been with Mrs. Otterton. Watching as Dr. Monroe slowly ran the ultrasonic device over Judy's belly, Nick standing in a corner as if he was scared he'd get in the way, and Fru Fru sitting atop one of Judy's paws, watching the computer screen with interest.
"Ah, there's our little miracle," the doctor stated, indicating to the computer. On the screen it showed the blurry image of a small mammal curled into itself, a severe wave of protectiveness shot through Judy as she looked at her child for the very first time.
"It looks like a bunny," Nick said softly, having walked over to stand behind Judy.
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Fru Fru asked the moose.
Dr. Monroe studied the screen, "Ah…" He looked toward Nick and Judy with a warm smile, "Congratulations. You're having a little girl."
That night Judy laid on the bed, affectionately rubbing her baby bump. Seeing the ultrasound, knowing it was a little girl, it made this entire thing so much more real.
The door opened as Nick stepped in, he had dropped her and Fru Fru off after the appointment so he could make it back to work.
"Hey," he walked into the room with a tender smile.
"Hi," she smiled back.
He looked around the room, "What happened to Fru Fru?"
"She just got picked up a few minutes ago, her husband and daughter missed her." Judy couldn't help but gleefully add, "We have a daughter too."
Nick chuckled softly, loosening his tie and sitting on the edge of the bed, "Yeah, we do."
Judy looked skeptically at the fox, "You know…besides that first kick you act like the baby will break if you touch my stomach."
"Yeah…" Nick began awkwardly shrugging, "It's just…I'm so much bigger than you and you rabbits can be so fragile and I just…" he trailed off.
Judy rolled his eyes, "Come here, Nick." When he hesitated she went on, "She's our baby. She's going to be anything but fragile."
The fox crawled onto the bed to crouch beside Judy; Nick gently took his head between her paws and urged it down to press his ear against her belly. The fox had tensed, but after a few seconds he gradually relaxed against her, finally convinced her stomach wouldn't give.
Nick closed his eyes and let out a content sigh, "I can feel her moving."
"Isn't it neat?" Judy grinned down at him.
"It's amazing," he breathed in wonder. "…Have you picked a name, yet?"
"Me and Fru Fru were making a list," Judy admitted. "Do you have any suggestions?"
"I like Violet," Nick replied softly, his eyes still closed and his ear still pressed against the baby bump. He smiled, "She'll make it despite the difficulties."
Judy had no idea what he was talking about but she nodded all the same, "Violet, I like that. Violet Hopps… Or should it be Violet Wilde?"
Nick opened his eyes to look up at her, "It can be whatever you want."
"You should have a say in it," she stated, "She's your daughter too."
"Maybe Violet Hopps-Wilde," he offered.
Judy pursed her lips in thought, "I think Violet Wilde-Hopps."
Nick looked down at the baby bump, "Violet Wilde-Hopps… I like it." He kissed Judy's belly. "She's going to be the best little rabbit-fox in the world."
"Possibly the only one," Judy pointed out.
"Which will make her even more special," Nick said softly. "She's going to be so smart and sweet and brave. Just like her mother." Nick leaned up to nuzzle lovingly against Judy's neck.
"I'm sure she'll be a bit like her dad, too," Judy giggled, finding Nick's nuzzle ticklish.
"Oh, God I hope not," the fox laughed. "I don't think I'd be able to handle myself."
Judy's giggling turned into laughter and she wrapped her arms around his neck, easing him down onto the bed beside her, "Ask my parents, I wasn't an obedient kid in the slightest."
Mention of her parents had Nick's smile faltering. "Have you talked to them lately?"
"Yeah, a few hours ago, actually," she told him. "They said they're happy for me. And they are, Nick. They're happy for us. They just need time to get used to the whole thing."
The fox nodded, "I guess I can't really blame them, it took me a long time to get used to it and she's my kid."
Judy smiled at him and snuggled into his chest, "That makes two of us."
The third trimester came with little action; Judy of course suffered through the symptoms. Her breath became short, she got heartburn, and she had trouble sleeping. But she handled it all calmly, mostly because Nick was right there by her side, even if he wasn't always calm when he was. The point was that he was there, and he loved her, and he loved Violet and Judy could hardly believe that some short months ago she had been so heartbroken over the whole thing.
And then it happened.
She was out shopping with Fru Fru and Mrs. Otterton, the cart being pulled by the otter was full of predator based treats along with numerous sweets, Judy predicted that Violet was going to be a serious sweet tooth.
Fru Fru had been riding the kiddy seat of the cart, looking through a mouse-sized catalogue of baby clothes, toys, and cribs, recommending so and so. And Judy had been reaching toward a shelf where the last box of Lucky Chomps stood, her swollen belly feeling so heavy, when a weird feeling overcame her. And then she heard something like raindrops splattering the floor.
Mrs. Otterton and Fru Fru gasped loudly as Judy looked down at her feet to see a puddle of liquid on the tile floor. She pointed toward it, "That wasn't suppose to happen for another week."
And then Mrs. Otterton was by her side to take her arm, good thing to because Judy was sure she was about to pass out.
"I need to get to the hospital," Judy told her, refusing to let her shaking knees buckle. "I am not having my baby in the cereal aisle of a supermarket!"
"Fru Fru's calling for an ambulance now," the otter assured her. Sure enough the well dressed shrew was practically shrieking into her phone. Judy suspected they wouldn't have to wait long.
"I need to call, Nick," she fumbled for her phone that sat in her pocket.
"We'll call him when we get you to the hospital," Mrs. Otterton started to lead Judy out of the aisle, Fru Fru following after them. "He's the father he needs to be there," Judy said in a panic.
"And he will, stay calm."
"Should we leave that cart there?"
"Yes, we'll come back and finish shopping some other time."
"What about that puddle?"
"Someone will clean it up."
They made it out of the supermarket in time to see the ambulance pulling into the parking lot, two antelopes leapt out and helped Judy into the back of the ambulance, Fru Fru climbing in with her while Mrs. Otterton would take the car and call Nick while she did so. Judy laid across the bed as the ambulance drove off, the two antelopes checking her vitals. She looked to Fru Fru who stood by her head, "This isn't bad right? A baby being born a week before the due date?"
The shrew shrugged helplessly, her baby had been born on the exact date at the exact time she was expected. But thankfully the female antelope spoke up, "Happens all the time, hun. You're baby is just eager to get out and grab life by the horns is all."
Judy hoped she was right.
They arrived at the hospital, Judy being placed in a wheelchair, Fru Fru sitting on her lap, as the male antelope pushed her into the check in. That's when the pain started.
"I'm giving birth to a knife!" she gasped out in a panic, clutching her large stomach, "I'm giving birth to a knife!"
Fru Fru signed Judy in, telling the lynx behind the desk that a fox by the name of Nick Wilde was to be expected and to be taken to Judy's room, before the two were taken down the hallway.
"Remember your breathing exercises," Fru Fru told her friend and proceeded to do said exercises with the rabbit. Judy tried to remain calm through the pain and the fact Nick wasn't there beside her.
The antelope pulled her into a room where a nurse pig was already there waiting for her, she helped Judy onto the bed while Fru Fru claimed one of the seats in the room.
"Dr. Monroe lied this can't be a baby," Judy snapped as another wave of pain rolled over her, "There's no way giving birth to a baby can hurt this much!"
"It's just the contradictions, dear," the pig soothed, prepping Judy for the doctor. "It's the same for every mother."
"I nearly bit my doctor when I was in labor," Fru Fru told her friend, even though she had told Judy that fact dozens of times before now.
"And plenty of mothers have cursed very colorful words at me," Dr. Monroe's voice spoke up as the moose walked into the room, gloves on and ready to deliver a baby.
"I can't have the baby now!" Judy panicked as the doctor checked her over. "Nick's not here yet!"
"Well we still have a few contractions to go through before we can start," Dr. Monroe informed her. "Maybe he'll be here by then."
Pain swamped her again and Judy let out a moan of pain, tears pricking her eyes. She was scared. She wanted Nick.
"It'll be okay, Judy," Fru Fru promised her friend. "Nicky will be here soon and then you'll both have a new baby to take home."
Judy nodded, holding in her breath. Dr. Monroe reminded her to breath and she let air slip through her lips, her brow scrunching up as the pain made her fur damp with sweat. And the baby wasn't even out yet.
"We need to start," the moose informed her a few minutes later, "It's time."
Judy swallowed her throat dry. "But-but Nick he-"
The fox burst into the room, apparently having run through the hospital hallways, his fur bristling and his eyes wide with panic. He spotted Judy on the bed and was immediately at her side, taking her paw in both of his. "Mrs. O called me. I got here as fast as I could."
Just then Mrs. Otterton, Finnick, and Clawhauser (who looked just as frazzled as Nick) appeared at the doorway; Dr. Monroe gave them a frown. "I can't have all of you in here. I need room to work."
"That's-that's my baby's godmother," Judy pointed to Fru Fru. Another contraction hit her and she grimaced at Nick, "And this is the jerk that got me pregnant."
Mrs. Otterton quickly ushered Clawhauser and Finnick out, saying they'd be in the waiting room and then the nurse closed the door.
Judy swallowed, "Nick, I'm scared."
"Of what, Carrots?" he asked, his own voice hysterical. "You're a bunny you've seen the miracle of life all the time."
"Yeah but it was never me performing the miracle," she moaned.
"Everything's going to be just fine, Officer Hopps," Dr. Monroe promised her. He crouched before her spread legs, "When I say now I want you to push, understand?"
She nodded, remembering to take quick breaths of air as the pain stabbed through her abdomen. She hoped her daughter appreciated what Judy was going through for her.
Judy pushed, pain lacerating her and she couldn't help a cry of pain, Nick looking close to a heart attack as he looked at her with terror.
"It's going to be fine, Carrots," he tried to assure her as the doctor told her to relax for a moment. "It'll be fine, you and the baby. It'll just-" He then made the mistake of looking over Dr. Monroe's shoulder. The fox fell to the floor, out cold.
"Oh, Nick," Judy groaned in exasperation while the doctor and nurse gave the fox looks of concern/annoyance.
"Drag him back to the waiting room, will you?" Dr. Monroe asked of the nurse who complied. Grabbing Nick's arms and dragging him out of the room. So much for him being there when she gave birth. Judy looked to Fru Fru who had remained quiet, "You're not going to faint are you?"
The shrew smiled fondly and shook her head, "I'm right here for you, Juju."
The bunny nodded gratefully as the doctor informed her to push again, she obeyed, her teeth gritted in pain. Through the pain Judy was sure she counted two more pushes, though she wasn't completely sure she hadn't blacked out for a second or two. And then she gave one more push, putting all her remaining strength in it.
And then she heard a wail.
Judy fell back against the pillows as Dr. Monroe held up a red ball of fur that was slick and wet. It was her baby. Her baby.
She watched, panting, while the nurse took the baby and dried her off before swaddling her in fleecy pink cloth and offered her to Judy, the rabbit took her baby in her arms and just like that-all the pain, the sadness, the fear, all of it was gone like a bad dream.
In its place was her baby girl, Violet. She did look like a rabbit, long ears plastered against her head, her pink nose wiggling and Judy had caught sight of a cottontail. But her color scheme was like her father's, beautiful red fur, black ears, paws and tail. Judy noticed how the baby's muzzle was shaped differently from a rabbit's, narrower, and her fur was thicker than a new born rabbit's as well.
Proof she was Nick's baby.
"Hi, little girl," Judy breathed to the sniffling baby as the nurse cleaned her up. "So you're the one whose been kicking me all this time. You can call me Mommy."
"And you can call me Auntie Fru," the shrew stated as she climbed up onto the bed to gaze adoringly at the baby. "You're so pretty, just like your mama."
"Spoiler alert," Judy whispered to the newborn. "Your godmother's the daughter of a mafia boss."
Fru Fru chuckled before moving off the bed, "Let me go see if the baby's father is conscious yet."
Dr. Monroe who had been checking Judy's vitals while she talked to her daughter, smiled down at the rabbit. "Everything looks good. Congratulations, Mommy."
Judy smiled up at the moose, "Thank you for everything, Dr. Monroe."
"No problem," he smiled down at the yawning baby. "Now I can say I delivered a funny…or is she a box?"
The doctor left the room contemplating that, the nurse following after him to fetch a few things and for a moment Judy was left alone with the baby.
"Do you like the name Violet?" she asked the baby, running her paw over her fluffy cheek. "Your daddy picked it out. He's pretty great, a fox, he's a bit dumb you'll have to be patient with him, but he's also really sweet and charming. Of course, I'm not half bad myself. I'm the first rabbit officer of the ZPD. You have some big paw prints to feel, but don't worry. I'll be there every step of the way to help."
She had been so busy talking to her daughter she hadn't noticed Nick, now fully awake, had slipped into the room and kneeled before the end of the bed, peeking over it to stare at Judy and the pink bundle. When she noticed him her ears stood up and she smiled, "Hey, fainter."
He chuckled dryly, his eyes flashing with embarrassment. "Sorry about that, I told you I would be there for you and I got dragged out into the waiting room…"
"It's okay," she reassured him. "Do you want to meet your daughter?"
He nodded earnestly and Judy urged him forward. Nick crept over to stand by her side, finally getting a good look at the baby. His eyes widened, brimming with emotion as he reached a shaky paw towards her, for a moment he seemed too afraid to touch her, but then he traced a finger over a tiny paw, the baby grabbed his claw and just like that Judy's fox was a goner. He knelt down, staring at the kit like he couldn't believe his eyes, Judy noticed a few stray tears on the corner of his eyes, his jaw slack as he looked at his baby, his baby.
Violet opened her eyes to reveal that her left eye was amethyst just like her mother, the right an appealing shade of green.
"She's so pretty," he breathed, his voice tight.
"She's beautiful," Judy corrected, eyes shimmering. "Our Violet… Do you want to hold her?"
He broke his eyes away from Violet to Judy, "Are you sure?"
"To be perfectly honest I could really use a nap," Judy punctuated her words with a yawn.
"Carrots, I can't promise I won't show off our perfect little daughter to the entire hospital if you let me hold her."
The rabbit chuckled, "As long as you bring her back in one piece I don't care."
"Then you get some rest," Nick reached his arms out and delicately held the baby to his chest, she looked even smaller in the fox's larger paws. "I'll guard her with my life."
"I know you will," Judy breathed, relaxing against the pillows and letting her eyes start to drift shut.
"Hey," Nick breathed and Judy forced her eyes back open. "You know you're still my favorite girl, right?'
She smiled at him, "I know, and you're still my favorite fox."
Nick pressed his muzzle against her cheek; Judy took in his musk, comforted by the scent as her chest expanded with heavenly warmth. "I love you, Carrots. Please don't be a dumb bunny and forget that."
"I won't," she promised softly. "As long as you don't act like a dumb fox and scare off any boys when Violet's a teenager."
"Oh, do I make no promises," Nick grinned and gave Judy a quick kiss before stepping back and letting her rest.
The last thing Judy saw before her eyes finally drifted shut was her fox, her fox, holding their baby. She fell asleep with a smile across her face.
Nick walked out into the hallway, holding Violet secure against his chest. "Oh you're going to love it," Nick told her daughter who stared up at the fox with big eyes. "I have such a nice apartment and such a cool job and Uncle Finnick and Clawhauser are going to eat you up, figuratively of course. Speaking of I wonder if you're a predator or a prey, you're technically both I guess. Wonder whether I should buy some cicada chips or carrot fries. Oh, who am I kidding you'll probably eat both just have to wait to see what kind of teeth grow in."
He stopped just before the door that led to the waiting room. Violet wiggled her tiny pink nose, not knowing why he had stopped and too young to care.
"Listen, Violet. I'm new at this whole dad business, just like you're new to this whole daughter business. I can't promise I won't mess some things up; after all I didn't really have a dad when I was growing up. But I do promise you will, I promise I'll be there and I'll love you even if we're screaming at each other, even if you refuse to study and want to date the school's poster bad boy. I'm going to love you, and I'm going to love your mom with all my heart. I swear." He leaned down and nuzzled his nose against the baby's belly. Violet laughed, her very first laugh, and Nick had to hold back his tears.
"Come on, squirt," he straightened up, "Let's go meet the crazy mammals that will be surrounding you for the rest of your life."
He stepped into the waiting room and was surprised to see Chief Bogo and a few other members of the ZPD there and Mr. Otterton and his two young sons.
Nick loudly cleared his throat, getting the room's attention, "I present to you the one and only Violet Wilde-Hopps."
There were collective 'awes as they crowded around Nick and the newborn, all of them grinning at the adorable sight.
Finnick sniffed loudly, "Nope," he said thickly after he had gotten a good look at the baby. "I promised myself I wouldn't cry."
"I didn't!" Clawhauser wailed then broke into loud sobs, making Bogo rub a hoof across his face in exasperation.
Violet looked at all the smiling, colorful faces around her, then she looked up at the fox that was smiling down at her, his emerald eyes warm and caring just like the bunny's that had first spoken to her.