One Hundred Percent Two: Remembering…
How well she knows
Lying on the couch this late at night wasn't exactly productive, but he wasn't feeling particularly productive today. Not that he had been particularly productive for the past two months. Even knowing that it was more than understandable and had been advised by his doctor that he not try to force himself to work as anything other than a police officer did not remove that feeling of being useless. From the age of twelve, he had worked his first hustle and hadn't stopped moving from that point forward. Some might not have called it work but some people didn't understand the planning involved, or the legwork needed. The struggle to keep things legal even if not entirely unethical while jumping from one part of Zootopia to the other on a very tight schedule, requiring that the freshly frozen merchandise be waiting and on display at exactly
And that was just for the pawpsicle hustle.
The thought of moving back into hustling had occurred to him more than once. Not flighty moments that came and went in the blink of an eye. Serious consideration. Thoughts of how much easier it would be to just slip back into making two hundred bucks a day, at least so he wouldn't feel like such a burden, were not easy to dismiss. He remembered certain parts of being an officer at the ZPD, but not all of it. Not enough to make him feel it. His damaged mind kept trying to tell him that nothing had changed, that he was still just a sly fox and he should be doing what sly foxes did because no one would see him differently anyway. It was where he belonged, right?
These thoughts – which had returned despite the best efforts of the rambunctious zebra trying too hard to tell old jokes as new ones – were cut off by the sound of the front door opening, the steps of light paws moving across the tile floor, and then the warm and welcome scent of bunny. Without sitting up, he turned his head to see Officer Hopps looking down at him with a slight smile on her muzzle. Dressed in the same custom made blue uniform, which he decided someone must have designed with his libido in mind, she leaned over the arm of the couch towards him without a word. Rolling fully onto his back, he greeting the motion by tilting his muzzle towards hers until their lips met in an upside-down kiss that sent warmth rolling all through him.
Had he been thinking about going back to hustling? Because that idea was stupid, and never going to happen. Not only because he knew it would disappoint this bunny who believed in him so much, but because he would just be proving that he wasn't good enough for her. Little doubts and fears about what he had been before he met her flittered away when the light kiss broke and she looked down at him with sparkling amethyst eyes.
"Welcome home," he murmured, sliding his fingers up either side of her cheeks until he could scratch at the base of her ears with gentle claws. He grinned at the little hum of approval that escaped her, her head lowering again to give him easier access as those ears dropped back. This allowed him to raise his head just an inch or two before he caught her lips with his again.
It was so easy to sink into it. The sweet, earthy fragrance of her own personal scent; a scent that was permanently mingled with his own now, burned into his memory all over again. Every breath he drew was laced with it as she tipped her muzzle so that their lips melded to one another seamlessly for a moment before parting to deepen the kiss. The taste of her was just as delightful and so unlike anything he had known. That it still surprised him when her small tongue darted out to tease his lips apart was mostly because his memories were still broken and spotted. He still had no clear memory of how they had progressed to this point; how they had gone from a fox and a bunny that could hardly stand each other to partners to lovers and then to husband and life. It made it intense in a way, the surprise that always managed to seep in with each deep kiss. A surprise that enhanced the flavor of her and made some part of him just had to wonder if she tasted so damned good because he was a fox and she was a bunny.
More surprising might have been the fact that the predator and prey aspect of their relationship wasn't something that she shied away from. Quite the contrary he often found. Like now, when the parting of his lips so that he could lightly touch just the tip of his tongue to hers was met with a little moan from her. Not just because of his tongue, but because during the duel between the two her own pink muscle slid over the tips of his canines – one after the other in deliberate little licks – with a lusty little flare that made his blood run hot. He knew she could feel the quickening of his heart when she placed her paw on his chest to crawl over the arm of the couch. She didn't even bother to turn to face the same direction as his, instead opting to curl herself around his head without breaking the upside-down kiss.
And that was where they both became very careful, as she settled into the kiss and he was surrounded by the warmth of her body and the scent of his mate. He slipped one paw gently under her arm, the one that was still in a sling more-often-than-not, lifting it until she could carefully slide her arm free and curve it under his muzzle to rest against his shoulder. She seemed determined not to separate their mouths, however, so the sling was left to hang from her shoulder even as she parted her mouth a bit further and pressed herself into him. It was his turn to release a little moan when she demanded more of the kiss; her tongue eager, searching, firmly sliding over his as her fingers digging into the front of his shirt. Her need and urgency grew as she let herself get lost in the kiss.
It was the opposite for him. He was so much larger than her. His muzzle was broader and his tongue longer and his teeth sharper. As his paws felt to her hips, he felt how easily his fingers could swallow her body and he gentled his touch more than he needed to. He kept his claws from touching her, kept his teeth from grazing her lips. As she became ravenous, he tried to control every aspect of himself. He couldn't let himself hurt her, and he didn't know how to do this anymore. How had they ever? How did a fox make love to a bunny without causing her pain or frightening her? How did he control himself enough to keep from hurting her when the passion already had him wanting to roll her under him and claim her without restraint?
Even knowing it was happening, he couldn't stop it. The tension that filled him as he tried to overcompensate for his passion, tried to keep his claws away from a body that arched into them longingly, tried to soften the kiss when she only seemed interested in deepening it. A touch of panic came when he realized that she was still hurt, which only made the panic rise more quickly until he was dragging his muzzle away from hers.
He heard the little groan from her, a groan that he knew was a result of the arousal that had thickened her scent around him being denied. Again. This wasn't the first time, and like the other times, he regretted it. Regretted it, didn't fully understand it, but couldn't stop the rise of fear every time. And like the other times, even though her own desire for him was being as clearly denied as his own, Judy soothed him with soft caresses over his shoulder with her good paw and soft kisses tracing down the length of his muzzle.
"I'm sorry, Carrots," he said, his tone showing his frustration that was felt as much in the aching length trapped in his pants as the fact that he knew he was disappointing her again. "I don't know why I…"
"Shhh," she breathed into the fur of his cheek, a short shiver escaping him when he felt her paw slide between the buttons of his shirt until she felt her fingers sliding into his fur. The touch was soothing somehow, not intended to arouse. Maybe it was the way she focused on the area over his heart beat and kept the kisses that trailed to the tip of his muzzle feather light, but everything she did calmed the panic. "It's all right. We'll get there."
It was impossible not to relax under her gentle paws. Paws that knew exactly how to calm him, how to ease his quick beat of his heart and gently insist that he surrender himself to her. She knew him so well that it made his heart ache that he couldn't say the same, that he couldn't be the one to tell her that it would be alright in the end. And even that ache was eased away when she touched the tip of his nose and easily used it to turn his gaze to her. That smile. Soft pink lips blending into white fur, curving upwards with just a quirk of humor before she touched that smile to the tip of his nose lightly.
"It's only been a few weeks," she reminded him and when he cupped her cheek with one paw, she turned her face to kiss the pad softly. "What matters now is that you're here, you're My Fox, and we have time. Right now, I really should get out of this uniform."
"I'd have liked to be the one taking you out of it," he joked lamely, his ears twitching unhappily when she carefully disengaged herself from him and stood beside the couch.
"I'll make you a deal," she said, her good paw resting on her hip. A hip that she cocked to the side as she looked down at him. He was pretty sure she held the pose because of the way his gaze moved over her. A gaze that was as curious as it was enthralled by the body before him. Lingering memories of her being just an annoying bunny, a bunny that wasn't at all attractive so much as she was just cute in a bunny way, were getting harder to recall. But they still reminded him, as did moments like this, that she was a creature of beauty.
"And what deal is that?" he asked, his brow quirked when he managed to raise his eyes from her hips to meet her eyes.
"We'll try again, as often as we want to," she said, the smile spreading into a slow grin that he could easily have called devious.
"And..?" he said, one brow raising as he waited for the rest.
"And what?" she said, her expression so innocent that he was left blinking after her when she turned on one paw and made her way towards the bedroom.
He dropped his head back onto the couch as a bubble of laughter worked its way out of his throat, a silly grin plastered on his muzzle.
"I love that bunny."
That She Hurts
"I don't know, mom," the voice said softly, drifting through the otherwise completely silent house.
It was the first thing he clearly understood when he was drawn out of sleep, struggling to shake the blur of sleep from his mind and his eyes. Realizing that she wasn't beside him explained why her voice sounded distant and muffled. Scrubbing his paws over his face to wipe away the sleep, he turned his head and raised his ears in the direction the voice had come from. The door between her bedroom – their bedroom. He was a married fox, damn it – and the living room was closed, but he could make out the words clearly enough when she spoke again.
"No, of course not," she was saying, obviously trying to keep her voice low in an attempt not to wake him. "Of course he really remembers that we're married. He just… Doesn't remember much else about us. Look, I called because I don't know who else to talk to, not for you to tell me that I need to be patient. I am being patient. I'll wait until I'm old and my fur turns white if I have to, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt sometimes."
The curiosity turned into an ache in his chest when he heard those words. Of course, he knew it. Without the vast majority of his memories, he felt the frustration every day, doubted himself and his relationship with her. Not that he loved her because there was no question in any part of him about that. But was he being the Nick that she had fallen in love with? The random, scattered memories that he did have made him doubt that. That Nick, the one she loved and the one she clearly needed, wasn't back yet. He couldn't even make love to her because of his own fears; fears that he had obviously conquered in a past that he no longer remembered.
"He said he thought about being a hustler again. Going back onto the streets," she continued, the sorrow in her tone as she said it dropping her voice. He frowned into the dark. "I don't think it was serious, and I'm glad he told me. He's just restless. I'm going to stay focused on him. No, mom. No! That isn't how it works. I can't leave him to 'take a break.' You don't know what it's like, or how lucky I am that he even accepted staying here at first. The doctor warned me not to expect that everything is normal. Because it's not. He remembers that we're married, he says he loves me, but there is so much missing between. He could still reject the memories, or fall out of love with me."
Her voice lowered and his ears dropped back when he heard the tremble of her voice followed by the soft sniffle and hitch in her breathing even through the closed door. He was already out of the bed, ignoring the chill of being dressed only in boxers and fur when he heard her gather herself enough to continue.
"I try not to let it get to me but every day when I get home, I'm afraid for just a second that I'll open the door and he won't be there. I don't even know what it would do to me if…"
Her voice trailed off when he opened the bedroom door, stepping into the main room that was lit only by the glow of the phone against her ear. A glow that stung eyes that were fully adjusted and made for the dark, though he didn't take them from her when her ears shot upright and radared in his direction. He saw her cradle it close to her ear and whisper that she had to go to her mother before she slid her paw over the screen. It was silly, the way she lowered her head to hide the way she wiped at her cheeks after setting the phone on the couch beside her. He could already smell the musty salt of them as he crossed the room to her when she turned her smiling face to look over the back of the couch.
"Hey, Slick," she said with a forced cheer, a cheer that made him wonder how often he had missed the truth of her own fear and doubts. "I was just talking to my…"
The touch of his mouth to hers silenced her. Even as a small muffled sound of surprise escaped her, he leaned over the back of the couch to slide his paws under the plush fur of her rear and lift her from the couch. The fact that she wore nothing under the light blue nighty and that his paws were gripping bare flesh and fur seemed to please them both as he dragged her against him. The sound of surprise melted into a throaty little whimper as he deepened the kiss, being far rougher than he thought he might be normally as his muzzle parted and his tongue slid out to search for hers. Even when she met him with equal passion, wrapping her legs around his back as he held her against his chest, he realized that he had to control himself. His muzzle was larger, his teeth dangerous to such soft lips, and his tongue could easily overwhelm hers if he wasn't gentle. It was almost a tease and a torment, how he wanted to go deeper and kiss harder only to hold himself back enough to ensure that he wasn't going to hurt her. At the same time, the slide of her tongue over his bottom lip and over the tips of his teeth with lavish delight showed no such restraint, and it only made him ache for her all the more.
It wasn't until he found himself carrying her back to the bedroom and lying on top of her on the now cool sheets that she broke the kiss and looked up at him. He could see everything in a faded spectrum: the quick rise and fall of her chest, the slide of that soft tongue over her lips and the way her lips glistened when it withdrew. Lit only by the faint white glow of the alarm clock, the dim room didn't allow her to see as much. But she seemed used to the dark and completely unafraid of it and him as she reached up to caress either side of his muzzle. Then her fingers wandered up over his cheeks, her shorter claws dragging over his ears in a way that made him shiver before he felt them slide into the fur at the back of his neck.
"I'm sorry, Nick," she whispered because the silent room demanded nothing less than softly spoken words between them. "I don't mean to doubt. I don't want to. It's just…"
"That you really are just a dumb bunny," he inserted lightly, causing her to blink once in the dark. Feeling her body nestled under his own and the ease in which she fit against him, adjusted herself not only to accept his weight but welcome it, made him silently curse the fact that he couldn't remember how to touch her. How to be gentle enough with her to please her without fear. But that something else and not as important now. "Very dumb, for thinking that I would ever leave you."
"I don't," she breathed, tilting her head back when he lowered his nose to the spot where her nighty met the fur of her chest. His breath ruffled her fur as he drew in her, quick little huffs that had her fingers tightening in his fur. "I try not to. When I think about it, I don't believe it. But I'm afraid sometimes."
"Don't be. Not of that," he said, his voice a gentle hum against her collarbone that made a little shiver race through her. "The idea of leaving you hasn't even crossed my mind. Will never cross my mind. Even before I realized I love you, I didn't want to leave. Even before I remembered our marriage, I wasn't sure what I would do without you. Do you realize the insane plans I came up with to make you fall in love with me when I thought that it was just me?"
"Plans?" she said, a grin twitching at the corner of her muzzle. Even though her eyes were still a bit wet from tears that hadn't made it to falling, he could see the curious surprised and even a little delight on her face.
"Oh, the stupid, romantic things I would have done," he said, his voice a playfully wistful sigh that he pressed against her lips in a soft, short kiss. "Also charming and sly, I promise. I was going to hustle you into loving me. Romantic meals where I pretended not to realize I was seducing you, comments in total admiration of how beautiful you are, maybe some scent marking to make sure you were so used to my presence that you wouldn't want me to leave.
"All intended to confuse you," he said, punctuating the words with light kisses as she stared up at him. "Flatter you and baffle your bunny mind until I found a perfect time to take you and woo you into my paws for the rest of our lives."
"Is that what you were planning to do," she said, a titter of happy laughter escaping her before she dragging him down with both arms wrapped around her neck. He was glad to see that her arm didn't seem to be hurting her, showing a good deal of strength when she all but strangled him with it as she rubbed her cheek against his neck. "I think I said before, I am still open to all sorts of romance. And flattery."
"Then I'll be sure to start tomorrow." Walking her up the bed on all fours was easy – considering that she hadn't relaxed the grip of her thighs around him at all and so was still attached to his belly – and once he had dragged them back to the pillows and settled down side by side with her, he nestled his muzzle into the crook of her neck. A small chuckle escaped him when she nestled in close to him, yawning even as she rooted her face around to find a comfortable spot against his bare chest. "I'll make sure you're the most loved bunny who ever lived."
"I feel like an idiot."
The bland, unimpressed look from the gray wolf sitting across the table from him didn't surprise him. Memories of Wolford were like memories of everything else from his past life: scattered at best and mostly missing normally. His first memory of his friendship with the larger predator caught him a little off-guard, to say the least. As things came back in frustrating stops and starts, he was getting used to the fact that he had been a police officer, had been Judy's partner, had been decorated. It only made sense that he had friends in the ZPD, until the reality of that fact had slapped him in the face. Huster Nick, who dodged the police with a skill that often left their heads spinning, had an actual police officer friend. The strangeness of that had almost made him hesitate during their first meeting, but five minutes and half a beer later, the conversation had started to flow so easily that the oddity had vanished completely.
Now it was almost funny. A few conversations later, after learning that his fellow officers didn't only approve of his relationship with Judy but acted like some impromptu cheerleader for it, it was like they had been friends for years.
Because… Well, they had been.
"You look like an idiot," Wolford deadpanned, without a touch of sympathy in his voice as he leaned back in the comfortable wooden chair. They waited for their meals in the poultry restaurant, which Wolford had insisted on being their normal meeting place. "That shirt is still terrible. I hope the memory of your fashion evolution comes back to you soon, because, damn."
"It's comfortable," he shrugged, glancing down at the yellow Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants he wore. "And it doesn't look that bad. Do you have any idea how many pawpsicle I sold wearing this?"
Knowing that the wolf understood that "comfortable" went further than just the way the pants fit or the breezy hang of the shirt meant that he didn't need to explain further. There were still wide gaps in memory that prevented him from real feeling some part of his life beyond being a street fox and con artist. The fact that Wolford knew the stories of his life before Judy, knew the hustler as well as he knew the cop, only further cemented their friendship in Nick's mind. He was sort of like a law abiding Finnick, something that he would never tell either of them if he wanted to keep his tail where it was.
"I know, I know. Two hundred bucks worth a day, not including what you paid your 'son' for his assistance," the other chuckled, shaking his head slightly. "You've always been way too proud of that, Nick."
"It was a good business model," he huffed, crossing his arms over his chest as his ears dropped back to express annoyance he didn't really feel. "And I made a lot more in a day than you. And before you say anything, I know, I know. It's not about the money. It's about being a part of something better, making a difference and all that."
"And the way that her uniform highlights her insane bunny butt," Wolford inserted innocently, making him nearly choke on a sip of beer. "Those were your words, mind you."
"Yeah," Nick sighed, both paws wrapped around the dark bottle as he stared at it wistfully. "Hard to deny that aspect of it."
"So, are you going to tell me why you're an idiot?" his friend asked after a long moment, "Or will you continue to stare at the bottle as some woefully inadequate stand in for your wife?"
Rolling green eyes skyward, Nick set the bottle down without another drink and leaned forward to meet the patient dark eyes of the wolf.
"I didn't see how afraid she is. I mean, I know this has been affecting her. I'm not completely oblivious," he grunted, waving his paw absently when the wolf narrowed his eyes a bit. "But last night I woke up to find her pouring her heart out to her mom about how she's afraid I'm going to leave her. That she's going to come home one day, and find an empty house."
"It's not unheard of, you know," Wolford said, though his tone was sympathetic. For which one of them, Nick couldn't tell. "Not that I expect you to leave but sometimes it happens. I didn't expect it to be a concern of hers once you remembered your marriage. Did it ever cross your mind?"
"Before I remembered anything, yeah. Of course, it did," he said, admitting what he hadn't to Judy. It caused a little turn in his stomach, realize what he could have lost if he had followed the impulse to just leave the first day she had gone to work. Thankfully that day, he had decided to call his mom and she had gently pleaded with him to give it time. "But even before I spent the day rolling around in her scent – and you can stop grinning at me like that. I already regret telling you that story – I was already the one worried that she was going to leave me. And I still am."
"So," Wolford began, an exasperated sigh escaping through his broad nose as he leaned over the table, "before I start my list of the reasons that you are both being idiots, you're going to have to explain that to me. I think it's obvious by now that she loves you, so why would she be the one to leave when she was the one worried that you would leave?"
He could admit that it was male pride that had him picking up the beer again and muffling his reply behind the sip he took. The bitter flavor of the now only slightly cold beer was made more so by the perked ears and raised brow of his friend. Damned wolf ears were almost as sensitive as bunny ears.
"I'm sorry, did you say that you haven't had marital relations since you got that part of your memory back?"
He wasn't sure if it was the open shock in the other male's tone or the fact that he used the term used that made him place a paw over his muzzle to smother the unavoidable humor. "Did you really just call it 'marital relations?' What, are we super conservative in our conversations? Because if we are I am going to have to question the validity of this friendship, buddy."
There it was again. That odd perkiness that seemed to come over the wolf every time he was called 'buddy.' Ears perked, the little upturn of the corners of his muzzle, bright eyes. Nick could only assume that it had some meaning that he couldn't remember, but decided it would be best not to overuse it until he remembered exactly what it meant.
"Well, no," the now perky wolf admitted, turning his attention to the cougar that stepped up to their side of the table with their meals. Once settled and alone again, Wolford waved his fork and continued around the first bite of the fragrant poultry. "So, you haven't had sex. Trying to wait for your memories to come back or somethin'?"
"I'm afraid I'll hurt her," Nick said, deciding to be blunt and not avoid the subject. If Wolford knew them as well as it seemed he did, maybe he could get some insight into why he was afraid of it. "I mean, do you know if I ever hurt her before?"
"Oh, no! No, never," came the denial, a heartfelt one despite being said around a mouthful of food. The rest waited for a hasty swallow helped by a sip of beer, during which Nick was relieved by the answer. "When you two first got together, I couldn't tell which one of you had less control. You were all over each other."
All over each other. That he could believe, at least for certain from his perspective. It was getting hard for him to look at her without wanting her and that softly sweet scent of hers, a scent that deepened when she was aroused, made his mouth water and his tongue lick at the roof of his mouth. Wanting her wasn't the issue, though.
"I freeze," he murmured, poking his rice with the fork without much interest in eating. "I panic. We'll be close – and I mean tongues tangled and paws all over each other close – but suddenly I'll realize how small she is. I'll see my claws in her fur and I'll start to wonder if I'm being too rough. I don't know if I'm hurting her when I kiss her so I hold back just to make sure my teeth don't touch her. I don't remember how to touch her. I don't remember how to control myself, and every time I feel that control start to slip I lock up. I can't hurt her, Wolford. It's like an instinct and I know it would kill me if I let myself go too far only to realize that…"
"Listen, Nick," Wolford cut him off, setting his own fork down to set both arms on the table, leaning forward so he could lower his voice. Most mammals with good hearing were polite enough to tune out such conversations, but some things were hard to ignore. "I see where the problem lies. You don't remember being her partner. You don't remember what she's like. I've been her partner for over a month now and I can tell you that that bunny is not the fragile little thing that she seems to be. I've seen her take down perps as big as Bogo without so much as ruffling her fur. I've seen her win staring contests with polar bears. I don't know how it is with other bunnies but from what I've seen, it's obvious that she's not like them. She married a fox. She married you, and everything that goes with that."
"I get that," Nick said, sorting back through what memories he did have of her as his partner. Not many, as most of them centered around personal moments rather than doing the job. "I understand it, even. But just because she married me doesn't mean that everything was compatible."
"Compatible," Wolford drawled, his tongue dangling from the tip of his muzzle in a mocking gesture. "Like I said, you two were all over each other. Prey or not, there is a certain way a female looks and acts when she's happy with her mate. She didn't walk around looking smug and dreamy eyed, smelling like a fox because she tolerated sex out of love. And she certainly doesn't get so turned on during patrol that I can smell it because we're reminiscing about Clawhauser. Speaking of which, when are you going to come back to the force? I know Bogo has already opened a position for you to start on light duty. Complete memory or not, you've been welcome back to start with light duty to get you back on your feet. Why did you even take the tests if you weren't going to come back? Judy misses you; misses her partner. Which is what leads to her reminiscing."
"It's in there but I don't remember much more than my first few days on the job," he replied, giving up on finishing what was on his plate as he leaned back to cradle the beer bottle with both paws. "In my mind, I am still the street hustler. A lot of what made me a good cop is still missing and I don't want to screw it up."
"That's bullshit," the wolf snorted in reply, making him frown a bit without raising his eyes. "Everything that made you a good cop is sitting right in front of me. You are everything that made Judy want you as a partner right now and that had nothing to do with the experience you gained being an officer. It isn't the training or years of experience that she trusts, Nick. It's you."
"Take the case," she whispered urgently, holding the shielded gray case out to him. "Get it to Bogo."
"I'm not going to leave you behind," he said, pressing his paws into the top of the case to push it back towards her. Adrenaline, fear, and disbelief colored his tone when he met her eyes. "That's not happening!"
"I can't walk!" she pressed as if that somehow made it okay for him to just leave her behind at the mercy of the sheep.
"Just… We'll think of something!" he said, ready to ignore any further insistence on her part as his mind raced and his gaze swept the ground around them. Their eyes turned towards the sound of the sheep's voice again – and really, that sheep was behind all of this? She was so fluffy! – and he fought back the panic that started to rise as he reached out to snatch the case away from the injured bunny.
"Still not leaving, Fluff," he stated with a roll of his eyes when he saw the grateful acceptance on her face. Popping the latch and taking the dart gun from the case, he repeated the motions he had seen the ram perform to open the back of the gun. Fumbling a bit as the pellet almost fell to the ground, he slipped it into his shirt pocket after managing to catch it without breaking it. "We're going to make a break for it."
"Then what are you doing?" she questioned, and he saw realization dawn on her face when he plucked a pair of blueberries off the ground and popped them into the chamber. A perfect fit.
"Insurance, in case making a break for it doesn't work," he said, snapping the receiver back into place as he moved his eyes to hers. The uncertainty and fear on his face was reflected in hers, and he shrugged while quickly shoving the gun back into the case. Was that damn sheep still talking? Would she ever shut up? "I know, I know. Stupid idea, but..."
He stopped when she placed her small over his when he lifted the case. The little lift at the corner of her muzzle and the earnest but warm look she gave him stopped him for just a moment as he felt the warmth in her eyes.
"I trust you."
Realizing that he was being watched didn't bother him, nor did the fact that his friend continued to eat without comment as he relived the memory. It wasn't the first time that Wolford had seen him try to sort through something remembered, and like before the patient wolf simply waited for him to refocus on the present. He was grateful for it as he ran the memory through his mind over again. The so-called Night Howler Incident was one of those huge gaps in his memory, and easily the most important.
Between the moment where he stood in front of the naturalist club, asking her to hand over the carrot pen, and his decision to become a police officer and her partner, things had changed between them. Dislike and suspicion had become trust and friendship. The fact that he had fallen in love with her seemed inevitable beyond that. That love had come again, filled him so that the very idea of being without her made him miserable. It had all seemed so natural, so easy, that he couldn't imagine existing any other way. That made it amazing and precious and…
And why does it matter what I remember, if I know?
What is Important
The house was quiet and darker than it should have been. The combination of the two had alarms going off in her head, fear tightening her gut, and her heart and mind at war with each other as the silent emptiness tried to creep in. Tried to warn her, foolishly, that this was it. He was gone. Every promise made, every assurance that he would never leave didn't stop the moment. It was irrational and unwanted, but that also made it unavoidable. The seed of the fear, when she had those moments when she was honest with herself, was frustration and a little voice in the back of her mind that kept trying to tell her that he just wasn't attracted to her. It was an easy, lazy excuse and she knew it. But that didn't make it less real. He didn't remember how or when things had started to change between them, after all. Didn't that mean it was possible that the moment when he realized that he saw her as more than a 'cute little bunny' had never come again?
"Nick?" she called, running her hand slowly over her belly in an attempt to calm it. Then hand moved to slide over her ears when his muffled voice called from the bedroom, smoothing them back as she let relief and her own frustration with her doubt settle in. Dropping her keys on the table beside the door, she reached up to unstrap the blue knife-vest as heavy paws carried her into the bedroom.
She paused in the doorway with a frown when she saw that the lights were off in the bedroom, too. Easing the vest from her aching shoulders, her gaze fell on the dim light coming from the open bathroom door. She reached for the light switch but was stopped by the sound of his voice again.
"Don't turn on the lights," it said, making her paw stop right before doing just that. "Come in here for a minute, will you, Carrots?"
A long day at work and her own inner turmoil had her rolling her eyes, letting the vest hang limp in one paw as she trudged into the bathroom. Whatever her annoyance and self-flagellation had tried to tell her about the annoyingly playful tone in the fox's voice died when she saw what waited for her in the bathroom.
If she had been paying attention to anything more than her bad mood and aching paws, she would have noticed the scent of burning candles. The light scent apple blossoms – faint enough to remind her of the orchards back in Bunnyburrow – teased her nose, enhanced by the humidity of the room itself. What few candles there were on the sink shed enough light for her to see that the bath was filled with clear steaming water; water that looked so tempting to her aching body. But none of that was what allowed the vest to slip from numb fingers and plop into the tiled floor. No. It was the fact that the candlelight played over cream and orange fur, not an inch of it covered; and the fact that the scent of apples mingled with the familiar scent of fox; and that said naked fox was facing her, his muzzle propped up on paws that were placed on the rim of the bath. And the grin on that muzzle was all relaxed charm and smug pleasure, a pleasure that was no doubt because of her reaction.
That ridiculously smooth and teasing way he said her name, which had been largely missing from her life after his memory loss, caused her to swallow unexpected nervousness. When combined with the appealing view of her very naked fox, with his ears perked high and luminescent green eyes focused on her in the dim room, it was hard to stop the little wobble in her knees. She knew her nose was twitching, too, but couldn't find the calm needed to stop it when surprise, nervous energy and frank attraction to the image before her prevented her brain from engaging fully.
The fact that his muzzle split into a wider, toothy grin had a blush racing up the length of her ears as the skin under fur warmed in embracement and arousal. This simply had not been anywhere near the list of things she had expected to find when she came home, particularly him being naked and looking far more confident than he had in over a month. The way emerald green eyes focused on her with affection and desire did all sort of wonderful things to her insides, at the foremost of which was a rise of hope when he patted the edge of the bath.
"Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to join me, Fluff? This bath won't get any warmer until your tail is in it with me."
"That was terrible," she said with a snort of trembling laughter. She didn't hesitate to take him up on the offer, though, just like she didn't hesitate to simply yank her uniform shirt off over her head and toss it into the bedroom.
"This water is terrible," he said, turning to lean back in the wide tub with one paw sliding over his ears dramatically as he thrust his chest out. Hands that were busy unbuttoning her pants paused when her gaze tracked the cream-colored fur down the front of his toned body, coming to rest on the thick sheath between his thighs. Particularly the red tip that was peeking out of said sheath. "Terribly lonely without my wife in it with me."
"Now you're just trying to be cheesy," she said, shaking of the sharp spike in need that rolled over her at the first sight of his arousal. Shoving her pants and briefs down in one motion, she paused when his eyes settled on her as she did so. The wet form of the fox turned in the bath to face her again, muzzle resting on his paws as he watched her without the worry or doubt that had clouded his gaze before. Now it held an open fascination and appreciation when she shimmied her hips a bit to slide her pants down around her paws before she kicked that out into the bedroom, too.
"I'm cheesy when I'm nervous," he admitted, though the look in his eyes went from fascinated to hungry at the sight of her fully nude. The difference in his attitude, his easy of speaking, and the way he watched her were all obvious. Maybe he had remembered something. Maybe it had been something that had reminded him that he didn't need to be afraid of hurting her. But as curious as she might have been to know what had caused it, she didn't want to press as her heart fluttered and her body tingled when the long pink muscle of his tongue slid out over his muzzle.
"You don't look nervous," she mumbled as she moved closer to the edge of the tub, raising one leg to step over the edge. She paused when one large paw slipped behind her knee and another rested on her hip to help her keep balance. She blinked slowly down at him when he leaned close to her, placing a light kiss on her hip that caused a little shiver to slide deliciously down her spine. Then both paws claimed her hips, lifting her easily over the edge before slowly lowering her into the hot water.
"I'm very nervous," he said as she gave little hiccuping gasps as the heat of the water enveloped her up to her chest soaked into her fur. The time it took her to adapt to the heat surrounding her distracted her to the fact that she was just as surrounded by fox. His legs were spread on either side of her hips so that the first thing she became very clearly aware of was the fact that his sheath was nestled against the small of her back. And as appealing as that was, it wasn't the focus for long when his arms wrapped around her to draw her back into his belly. That long muzzle nestled against the base of one relaxed ear, causing her lips to part at the pleasant sensation of his humming voice speaking softly against it. "I've never done this before."
His words clarified the state of his memory and caused a thrill of pleasure to race through her when he brushed his teeth through the fur of her ear. Light, sensual, but careful. The sort of bite she might have expected from him in the first days of their relationship before she had really started to urge him not to hold himself as much as he often did. Stretching one arm up over her head so she could reach around to grip the back of his neck, she did just that. Urged him until he nipped again so that she felt the gentle slide of his canines over the flesh under fur. A little groan escaped her and had him doing it again before he latched on softly and released a soft sound that was right on the edge of a growl. If he continued, she knew she would become a puddle of melted bunny and a slave to his desires. The need to have her fox back, to feel him touch her, had her squirm slowly with a roll of hips back against his.
"If you don't remember, what changed?" she asked as she savored the feel of his pads sliding down the front of her body. Her heart demanded patience while her body cried for a quickening. She hammered the desire down even as her free hand slid down his thigh, feeling a light pulse from the length that slowly rose against the small of her back.
"I realized why I kept freezing," he said, and she slid forward when his hands took control of her hips to nudge her away from him slightly. Disappointment quickly faded when he moved her away from his body only to see him reach for the scent free fur shampoo. The choice was so very Nick. Her scent was what he wanted, not some artificial flower. "I thought it was just because I didn't want to hurt you, which was a part of it. A very large part of it. But that branched from the fact that I convinced my mind that if I didn't remember something, I couldn't do it right."
While he explained, she submitted herself to his paws. The cool sensation of a good bit of the shampoo being poured over her shoulders, the sensation of his fingers gently working it into a lather. The tingle of arousal mingled with a calming relaxation that had her quietly debating which she wanted more: to be taken that very minute with every bit of passion he could muster or to simply let him pamper her. A question that was momentarily answered when his palm-pad pressed into the top of her shoulders and his fingers spread out. The massage came as a surprise, but the first slow roll of his thumb around the almost forgotten ache in her shoulder muscles drew a contented moan. Her head dropped forward, her ears flopping and slapping the surface of the water in a way that had him chuckling as he continued to wash/massage her.
"Well, you were obviously wrong about that," she groaned in pure delight when his thumb pads ran in small circles on either side of her neck, right at the base where the worst of the tension seemed to be. "That feels amazing."
"Anything for you, Fluff," he said, and the way he focused his attention on a spot right below her shoulder-blades had her letting out another long sound of pleasure. She didn't even have to ham it up for him. She knew what he was doing or had started to do when she had stepped into the bath with him. What had started as a way for him to learn her body again had become something entirely for her benefit. The fact that she felt not the slightest bit of guilt was purely selfish on her part, but he didn't seem to mind. The fact that he was almost fully hard – sans knot – against the small of her back now was a clear enough sign of that, along with the way the pace of his paws didn't change or urge more from her than the nudge forward so he could move lower.
"So now you… Ah! That spot, right there!" she cried when he cupped her waist with both paws and ran his thumbs slowly and firmly over a tender bunch of muscles on her lower back. The pain at the start was worth it a hundred times over as they started to relax under his now focused attention. "I've always loved your paws."
"Have you," he hummed, switching the direction of his paws until she could feel them cupping her hips under the water to scoot her rear back against him. The heat of his arousal right up against her tail made her shiver even as it caused a little lusty growl to rise in his throat. "What is it that you love about my paws?"
"They're big," she breathed, wiggling her hips and her tail in a motion that made him throb against her. The water might have hidden the musky scent of his arousal for the most part, but just feeling it so obviously after so long made her blood run hot. "I feel like you're touching me everywhere at once sometimes. But you're almost always gentle."
"Almost always?" he questioned, making her whimper when his paws left her hips and reached for the soap again. When they returned, their attention now shifted to the fur on top of her head and around the base of her ears. Remembering their sex life or not, he certainly had learned some sensitive spots. The tingle that spread like a pleasant warmth from her ears and scalp traveled down her spine until her desire to simply raise her hips and take him inside of her was almost overpowering. The ache of need denied even this much until now, was almost painful.
"You get a little wild sometimes," she said, her head tilted back as he slowly worked the lather around the base of each ear without letting it get into the ear itself. She felt his fingers slow and tilted her head back to look at the slight frown on his muzzle. Her lips turned up into a grin as she slid her paws down his thighs slowly. "I love it when you're wild. I love it when you're gentle. There were times when you've spent what felt like hours kissing and touching me until I just wanted to beg you to take me. Just like there were times when we would get home from work and hardly make it through the door before you would bend me over whatever piece of furniture we managed to reach first. I have very fond memories of the dining room table, you know."
"Carrots," he all but groaned, and she squirmed herself back against him until she felt a very lively throb from the length of fox she had trapped between softly furred cheeks.
"And the back of the couch," she continued, her grin growing sultry as her eyes heated at the almost pained looked on his face. His ears were set back, obviously trying to show some control, but it was impossible for her not to tease him when the paws on her ears tried their best to continue the gentle wash he had clearly planned in very detail. Even as she continued, she rocked back to meet the eager grind of his hips. And it felt so good, just feeling him that intimately again; feeling the need rolling through him as his moans mingled with a growl. "And the wall in the hallway. I've wondered if it is just something you like doing with me because I'm small and light enough for you to just pick up and shove against any random surface. But you've always had a thing for pinning me against the wall. So predatory, demanding, desperate. I feel so beautiful and needed when you can't control yourself."
"Fluff," he tried again, the near whimper of his voice delighting her to no end, just like the feel of his claws sliding past the fur to brush against her skin so softly that it was like the touch of a feather.
Still being so gentle. This was Her Fox, even if he didn't remember everything that made him so. He was still the Nick she had fallen in love with and she was still his mate. She could hear his heart as clearly as she could feel the hot breath close to her ears and the throb of his need. An arch of the hips allowed her tail to peek out of the water, along with the white fur of her rear when she leaned away from him a bit. Just to give him the view of her raised hips, which he drank in and reached for with a gleam of nearly feral lust in his eyes.
With a tinkling laugh, she rolled onto her back between those paws so she could dunk herself under the surface. Squirming around when she felt his hands fall on her hips, she rubbed her hands over her fur quickly to rinse off the soap before she found herself dragged into his arms. Muzzle to muzzle, nose to nose, eye to eye. She felt the humor of her short escape from the aroused fox fade when she met his gaze. The feel and sound of water raining down their bodies as she rested her paws on his chest to brace herself was background sensation to the feeling of her own heart beating fast. And she realized that he wasn't the only nervous one in their bath, her belly quivering just because of how he looked at her. Like he was still trying to figure everything out, reaching for information that was just beyond his reach.
"We're not going to stop this time, are we?" she whispered, feeling more than a little shy under the intensity of his gaze. The hunger in those green eyes was so familiar, but somehow different at the same time. Tempered and restrained, but just on the edge of breaking out.
"No," came his reply in a voice that was a little rough as he dragged her closer. She could feel his heat pulse against her belly fur and quivered into the kiss when his mouth met hers. Soft but deep, slow but not innocent, his tongue met hers the moment their mouths parted. Her own pleased moan was drowned under his growl, just as her mouth was covered by his. Not forcefully, not without care, but overwhelming all the same until all she wanted was to wrap her body around his and feel him slide into her.
Instead, she felt the motion of their bodies when he stood and carried her out of the bath. About to wrap her legs around him, she blinked slowly and broke the kiss when he set her on her feet. Slightly confused and slightly disappointed, her eyes rose to him to find him grinning down at her toothily.
"No, we're not going to stop this time," he assured her, reaching to tug a thick, fluffy towel from the rack on the wall. "But we're not going to rush it either."
"What if I want to rush it?" she huffed, dripping in more ways than one as she squirmed in place. She could see that he knew exactly what her current state was by the flare of his nostrils, the slow slide of his tongue over the roof of his mouth and the continued grin as he lowered himself to one knee in front of her. Her ears folded back when he simply unfolded the towel and held it out for her. When she stepped into the offered warmth, she turned around to face away from him as he started to scrub it over her fur slowly.
Even knowing that he was trying to be patient and take his time was having the opposite effect on her. She was with her husband, after all. She knew his body, knew what she wanted and it had been so long. Feeling selfish wasn't stopping her body from arching slowly into the hands that she could feel through the towel as he dried her. When he cupped her belly and chest, sliding the towel more carefully over the white fur there as he breathed in her ear, her legs shook. The feeling of the cloth over her nipples sent little shocks through her, pleasure and need gathering between her thighs until her sex ached. Even though she tried to calm herself, tried to give him everything that he wanted, the scent of aroused fox was all around her. Like flowers and male and salt all mingled together in a combination that made her want to whimper. It had been so long and she needed him so much.
Even as she struggled between the need to please him and the need to satisfy her own unbearable desire, she realized that the paw cupping her rear was not separated from her by a towel. The slightly rough pad of his palm slowly explored the cleft under her, sliding lower as she felt the press of his muzzle against her ear. The whisper of a growl that he released made her already shaky legs wobble, forcing her to lean back against him when his fingers slipped between her thighs.
"You're hot," he murmured, sounding as surprised by it as he had the first time they had made love. She was certain that she was, and felt the shock of pleasure when he allowed one thick finger to slide over the folds of her sex. Slick flesh parted easily to him, her head dropping back on his shoulder so she could moan to the ceiling as the pad explored her easily. "You smell amazing."
"Nick, please," she groaned, and in a sexual daze watched his free paw move to the switch on the wall. Warm air billowed over them as the fur driers embedded in the walls came on. Using that warming little distraction, he pressed that single finger deeper, causing her hips to arch back even as her legs finally decided to give out. She didn't just drop to the floor. He didn't allow that to happen. One paw spread over her chest while the other remained seated between her legs from behind, lowering her to the ground until she settled on her hands and knees. His body followed, staying close, half covering her so his muzzle could stay close to her ear and his chest was pressed to her back.
"You're so amazing. So small and so beautiful," he said, and to her, his voice sounded half-drunk with a need all his own. Oddly, it calmed him that he was as needy as she was. He wasn't doing this because he wanted to tease her; he was doing this because he wanted to know her. She felt the curious finger moving over wet flesh, dipping deeper to make her hike her hips up as the pressure inside of her increased until she was panting and staring off into space. There was nothing for her to see or hear or smell or feel beyond the fox behind and on top of her. The slick sound of his finger pumping into her now, the tickle of his fur on her outer lips, the not quite complete fullness just because of how large his paws were. All of it was pushing her so close…
"I love you, Judy."
The softly murmured words, the fact that he said her name for the first time since she had come home: it was all too much. She was sent tumbling over the edge of orgasm so suddenly that the shockwave of emotion and sensation combined to tear a sound from her muzzle that wasn't at all civilized. She fisted her fingers into the plush rug under her as she arched her hips back to his now quickly moving paw, a paw that cupped her sex fully and moved with the swift buck of her hips. She rode the sensation, rode the finger inside of her and the pad of his palm as it pressed to the sensitive bud of her clit. She didn't know when the sob came or when the tears started to fall, but she knew that it was just another part of the release that had been building for so long.
What should have weakened her only energized her and made her want more. She felt his paw slow, felt him draw his muzzle away from her ears and when she glanced up, realized that he was frowning with his ears pinned back because of the tears that had fallen. A quick sniff and a brush of her paw over her cheeks was enough to remove the traces even as he looked at her worriedly.
Dumb fox. A paw covered in the juices of her orgasm and he no doubt wondered if he'd hurt her.
"Make me feel so good that I cried a little?" she chirped, moving closer to him as he stood on his knees to give her room to move.
She heard his sharp intake of breath when she moved close to him, still on her hands and knees, and pressed her nose into the still damp fur of his belly. Clean as he was, the scent of his wet fur was lightly floral, very male and didn't hide the salty scent of his arousal. The arousal that she cupped with both silky paws, tracing her fingers up the length of red flesh until she felt the damp of precum sliding between her fingers. She kept her eyes on his, enjoying the fact that he seemed entranced when she leaned forward to slide her tongue over her fingers to savor the taste of him without actually touching him. She allowed herself that moment to tease him, where his attention was fully focused on her and what she did; from the high position of his ears to the little quivering twitches of his broader nose. The sharp huff of his exhale when she touched the tip of her nose against the base of his shaft was followed by a long groan when she slid her tongue up the length. She watched him clench his teeth, his eyes closed for a moment when she rolled that tongue over the narrow tip until his hips tensed and pressed the achingly hard flesh more firmly into her paws. Then she drew back, licking her lips as she waited patiently for his eyes to open again. The pleading in them made her heart flutter and her arousal spike, and she knew that she wouldn't be teasing him for long. But she could still tease just a little.
She made sure he his mouth was open to speak before she parted her lips and carefully slid the tip between them for a light suck. Whatever he had planned on saying escaped as a throaty sound; primal, needy and pleased all at once. She tasted that need again, savored the salt and male flavor that she had missed as she felt his hips tremble with the effort to keep himself still. He was as on edge as she had been, and she had no doubt that she could send him over. Her fingers confirmed it when she felt the beginning swell of his knot at the base before she let him slide free with a little flick of her tongue over the tip.
"Are you done exploring me, fox?" she questioned, seeing that feral, predatory glint come back into his eyes. It was more intense this time. The need to mate. She knew that look and longed for what it would bring. So she pushed for more as she nestled her muzzle against the pulsing and very hard length, little huffing breaths whispering over the length as she continued. "If you can catch me, you can have me."
The way his eyes narrowed on her the moment before she released him and scrambled through the door on all fours told her that he got it. It wasn't even a chase. He might not remember playing this game before, hunting her through the house, but she could tell that he remembered the rules when he was on her before she even made it to the bedroom door. The surprised 'whompph' of her breath leaving her when her mad dash for the door was cut short by the sensation of being lifted and swung towards the bed.
Her back hit the cool silk covering the mattress was a short-term sensation, instantly overwhelmed by the heat of her fox over her. The scent of him, the heat of him on top of her taking all other sensation from the world and focusing every nerve on the brush of fur against fur, flesh against flesh when her thighs parted for him until she felt the tip of his need nudge the mouth of her sex. Whether he intended to be gentle or not was lost when she squeezed strong thighs around him, and even as he rose on his elbows to look down at her she dragged him forward firmly. The sharp moment of pain from being stretched so after so long without him inside of her was drowned in the pleasure as their voices called out together. Then they lay together, both breathing deeply and trembling as they savored the closeness of being joined so completely.
Realizing that it was very much like their first time all over again, Judy felt the need blend with a contentment that came just knowing that he was inside of her. She savored the heat of him inside of her, the heat of his body on top of hers, the pressure his size created and the knowledge that there was more to come. And him. The little whispers of his breath over her ears; soft inhales and slow, heated exhales that came between soft licks. She brushed her lips over his chest in light kisses, pausing for sharp moan when he drew back almost to the tip only to fill her again. He was testing his limits, she knew. Savoring at least as much as she was with every thrust that followed, but still holding himself back. Still afraid that he could hurt her.
"All of you Nick," she whispered, tightening around him when he sheathed himself inside of her fully. The sound of his moans and the thickening at the base of his length told her how close he was, just like the shaking in his arms told her how hard he was trying to hold back. "Don't hold back. I'm your wife, your partner, and I've always wanted this. I will always want this."
The last she said as she tightened her arms and legs around him and because he seemed to accept the truth of it she felt him tense as he allowed himself to slip fully inside her. The swelling that had been hardly noticeable came so quickly inside of her that it was almost painful. The increase in pressure, the fullness as his knot thickened and locked inside of her was bliss to the body that had grown to love the feeling. Hesitation was thrown to the wind when she felt him buck against her. Her hips rose to meet the quick, urgent thrusts that came now that he was no longer able to hold the need back, no longer saw the need to hold it back. His arms gave way until she felt the full weight of him on top of her, felt him arch his back so that he could bury his muzzle in her throat. The bite came as a surprise but acted as a catalyst when the build of pleasure came on like fire in her blood. The sharp drag of his teeth and the vibration of his voice when he growled was as erotic and blissful to her as the pleasure of his flesh throbbing inside of her.
She felt him tense. Felt every muscle under her paws and pressed against her body tighten and strain as he ground his hips against hers. She felt his shaft thicken, felt his knot pulse eagerly, and bore down against the rush that was so intense that it was almost agony when she felt him fill her with liquid heat. Pulse after pulse, beat after beat until she muffled her scream into the fur of his shoulder. Months of need and denial robbed her of the ability to think when orgasm rippled through her with such intensity that light bloomed behind closed eyes. All she could do was ride it out, cling to him as he clung to her and allow their bodies to have what they needed from one another.
She didn't think she passed out, though she was sure it was close. Drowning in sensation had left her adrift in a weightless world where the first coherent thought she had was the sound of his voice whispering her name. Then came loving words that she didn't fully translate at first, but got the gist of their meaning when they were combined with the gentle feel of his paws sliding over her muzzle and his lips brushing hers. When her eyes finally managed to open, she was looking into emerald green eyes that watched her from a face that was as blissfully content as she felt.
Stages of happiness, she decided. She could track them from the moment she had learned he was alive after the attack, to the moment she saw him look at her with love in his eyes for the first time since losing his memory, and then hearing him proclaim that he was her husband. And every moment between. Every one of those moments a step up, closer to where she wanted to be. To where she wanted them to be; both happy, together, and ridiculously in love.
And locked together by the knot that made her insides ache in the best of ways. If that wasn't bliss, she didn't know what the word meant.
"That was," he began after a moment, then shook his head when words failed him.
"That was us," she said for him, spreading her fingers out over his chest to feel the muscle under fur even as she felt one of his paws slide along the curve of her hip.
"It's always like this? How are we alive?" he said, that cocky grin crawling over his muzzle just before he pressed that muzzle to hers.
"Well, not always," she countered with a short laugh when the kiss broke, more than content at the moment to just savor this 'mandatory cuddle time.' Not that she ever felt he needed to be forced to cuddle. Once Nicholas Wilde had opened up, he had proven to be every bit the devoted and cuddle-hungry mate. "But often enough that we keep trying until we reach it again."
The grin grew on his muzzle as the eager humor in his eyes turned sultry and heated for a moment. Then as they lay together, she saw his expression become curious and somber. Maybe a little uncertain, maybe a little frightened when he reached up to cup her face in both paws.
"Carrots, have I ever thanked you?"
"Thanked me?" Genuinely confused, she place her paws over his lightly and searched his face.
"For this," he said and she didn't bother to hide her chuckle when he rolled his eyes at the wiggle of her eyebrows. He ground his hips forward, tearing a little groan from her when he rubbed every little spot inside of her just the right way. "Yes, this too. But I mean all of this. This life."
"Nick," she began but was stopped when he placed a finger over her muzzle.
"I was a street hustler who had given up on ever being more than that before I was dragging into your house with a head wound and no memory of the last three years." He moved his paw, placing a soft kiss on her lips before he continued. "And since then, I've learned that I am trusted and honorable. I've learned that I am a member of the ZPD and that people like me for who I am, and not what I pretend to be. I have friends who have just been waiting for me to remember them. My mom is proud of me. Hell, I am proud of who I am."
"Nick, this is who you really are," she said, smiling softly as she felt a little rise of pride in her chest. "Everything you've done came from who you are, not because of me."
"I don't think so, not entirely," he admitted, shaking his head slightly before meeting her eyes. "Maybe who I was before, with these, slowly returning memories, forgot where I came from. But because I don't have those memories, I see it all clearly. I may have worked for what I have now, but I would never have taken the steps needed without you. And I know I can see myself as more than the hustler I most remember being because you trust me. Everything, all you've done for me, is what's important. This happiness, what to me is a life that I was never meant to have, exists because you are mine and I am yours. I love you, Judy. And I want to thank you for loving me."
The tears that blurred her vision and finally fell were kissed away by his gentle tongue as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Those words, so similar to those he had said in the past – words that he didn't remember but still felt – eased whatever fear still lingered in her heart. And it reminded her that, even without those memories, this was still Her Fox.
And he always would be.
Waking up that morning should have been hard. He had woken her up once in the middle of the night, taking the first real taste of her that he could remember. And that delightful bit of self-indulgence, where he learned exactly how delicious rabbit was, had turned into an hour-long lovemaking that had kept them up until two in the morning. He had expected to be more dead than alive when he woke, but it was hard to stay asleep when she seemed intent on returning his late-night favor by taking her own taste of him as the glow of the morning sun peeked in through the window. He soon found that pinning her face down and taking her from behind, while she muffled her delighted cries with a pillow, had been more than enough to invigorate him for the day to come.
A day that promised to be busy and had him cross his arms as he stood beside the bed and stared down at his sleeping wife. Not that he minded the view of the bunny, who slept on her side facing away from him. Not a stitch of clothing had managed to make its way back onto that toned and softly furred body. He was afforded a beautiful view that he took a moment to admire for the second time that morning before he leaned over and pressed his muzzle against her ear.
"Wake up, Fluff. You have to get ready for work."
Waking was a slow process, even as he nibbled on her bare shoulder and ran his paw down the curve of her hip slowly. She grumbled a bit, drawing a chuckle from him when she reached back to grab his paw and drag it up to her chest to hug.
"I'll call in sick," she muttered, not even bothering to open her eyes as she used her grip on his hand to try to drag him back into bed. "Stay in bed with me all day. Catch up."
How tempting an offer that was, that it made him sigh and have to actively resist the desire to crawl in beside her again. But no, he had been ideal enough.
"I would love to," he quipped, then slowly dragged his arm away from her as she protested the loss by turning and blinking sleepily up at him. "But I just ironed my uniform and wouldn't want to go in for my first day back looking like the fox who'd just attacked a bunny."
That woke her up. Another few blinks followed before she sat bolt upright with ears so high they trembled when she realized that he was in his duty uniform. He grinned as he stepped back, holding his arms out to show the crisp and neatly pressed blues, shiny brass shield and the name tag that read Nicholas P. Wilde.
"How do I look?" he asked, then shook his head at her expression when she looked on the verge of tears. "No, no, no Officer Hopps. If you're going to cry, cry after I've survived my first day. Bogo is expecting me, and says you can have your partner back as long as you're all right with light duty for the ne…"
He was cut off by her mouth on his when she launched herself from the bed and threw her arms around him. All the talk about wrinkling his uniform when right out the window when her kiss became heated and her paws gripped his tie so she could drag him back into bed and under her. All in all, having to smooth out the uniform and sprits himself with scent neutralizer while he watched the well-loved bunny beside him pull on the dark blue vest that completed her uniform was well worth it. The sex had certainly been a bonus.
"Are you always like this when I'm in uniform?" he asked, adjusting the tie that she hadn't let go of until she'd been satisfied. "If so, I feel I should wear it all the time. But then, how do we ever get any work done?"
"Very carefully," she snorted in reply, looking up at him with bright amethyst eyes that nearly glowed with an excited energy. "It's really good to see you in uniform again, Slick."
Turning to look at himself in the mirror, he considered what he saw for a long moment as he let his paws fall away from the tie. He had memories of himself in this uniform, as sparse as they were. And of course, he had seen pictures of himself. Newspaper clippings, the graduation photos with his mom and Judy, and the multitude of shots on her phone. But that fox had almost looked like a stranger to him. Not what he was seeing now, not after the feeling of pride he had experienced when he had taken his time making sure that the uniform was neat and everything was in order. It still felt a little strange.
Then a tiny paw moved to the knot of his tie, and he watched as she tugged it down a few inches away from the collar. He glanced down to Judy as she adjusted it again and then hung his pair of aviator sunglasses from the front of his shirt as she grinned up at him. Then she turned and his gaze followed hers to the mirror.
The uniform looked better, more natural to him. A little more relaxed, though no less official with the brass shield shining on his chest. The memories would come in time, but now he understood that the memories were not needed for him to be who he was. And it was the bunny beside him, leaning against his side with a look of unparalleled delight on her face at the prospect of having her partner back, that made the picture complete.
This was Nicholas Wilde and everything – everyone – that made him who he was.
"You ready to get back to it, partner?" his wife chirped, quite literally bouncing as she made her way out the door.
Pausing for a second, he stepped over to the dresser beside the bed and tugged the drawer open. The carrot pen sat, with its message to them both unchanged for the years they had been married. Years that he would get back, eventually. But for now, he would hold onto everything he had and build on everything they shared. Reaching in, he picked up the pen and tucked it into his shirt pocket before facing the mirror again.
"Of course I am," he grinned, giving the fox in the mirror a private salute before he turned to follow her. "One hundred percent."