A/N: Here we go! Thanks to some crazy level of inspiration this chapter was done in a single day! Amazing!
So many followers. So many views! So many...REVIEWS!
radical gopher: Loving these lol
A big adorer of time: No Bunnyburrow this time, sorry. But yeah, Nick's getting into the M word!
NoxiousFumes: I...have no idea what to say
Leon Burnes: Yes! Someone got it!
judithwildehopps: Such a bad sow
GameOnNYPD: It is most definitely simply playful. Nick has his own comments. It's a back and forth game.
Cimar of Turalis WildeHopps: He got a nasty punch to the eye which swelled up for a while. He got the hell out of there before it got worse.
DrummerMax64: ALL TEH DAD JOKES! I know far too many of them.
For a lot of you discussing about the four kits, there's a reason for that. I have four myself so I modeled it after my own, though it's a gender swap. Three boys, one girl.
Disclaimer: ...Yeah I got nothin. Put all my writing into the chapter. Oops.
Chapter 44 - Showered with affection
Russet paws flexed dangerously strong, denting the file currently being held though thankfully not piercing it knowing Bogo would have a fit. "Okay. Next time I get shot and collapse a lung I'm fixing myself with a tire pump, some duct tape, and super glue." The idea, while ludicrous, sounded completely sane to Nick as he spent his thirty fifth day of being back to work at his desk playing record keeper.
"Sounds like a fun afternoon. Mind if I watch?" Having been so absorbed in his own misery, the fox hadn't noticed that the chair across from his had suddenly become occupied. Though 'occupied' would be a loose term as the rather small chair designed for a rabbit simply wasn't meant to handle the tigress now perched over it.
"Mind the chair, Whiskers. Carrots will be pretty upset if she came back to work and found it in pieces. She loves that chair as the indentation would show." Lylah looked down her muzzle at the vulpine before turning her gaze downward and smiling mischievously.
"Oh I'm sure Flopsy wouldn't mind. What I'm more interested in would be the claw marks on the arms and the much larger indent in the seat. Almost as if there was more than one mammal in it quite regularly. One larger than the other I might add." Grinning wide letting her teeth flash in the light, she directed her knowing look towards the tod. "Something you want to say, Foxy?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Nick tried his best to look innocent but he couldn't hide the slight uptick at the corners of his mouth. "What are you and the missus up to today?" Lylah couldn't help the blush spreading across her cheeks. Nick took great pleasure in knowing he could still rile his friend up with so few words. The slight increase in her scent that suddenly permeated the area had him grinning even wider.
Lylah did not miss the slight dilation of the vulpine's nostrils knowing full well he had just drawn a decent amount of her change in scent. "Dammit Foxy. You know you're not allowed to do that to me. Keep your sniffer to your own wife."
"Don't worry, Whiskers. I won't tell Tammy you're lusting after her hot bod right now. Right Tammy?" he called out looking past the tigress into the hallway just beyond the still open door. He couldn't help the bark of laughter that sprang from his muzzle as his friend whipped around so fast it made even him dizzy. "God you're too easy." An angry glare sent his way had him laughing a bit harder. "Although I suppose Tammy already knows you're easy. Ain't that right, Furball?" This time Nick's grin looked calmer, more in control, sending Lylah's thoughts for a loop.
"You won't fool me twice, Foxy." Although he did just say 'Furball' instead of Tammy. He never does that unless Tammy is nearby. Could she actually be there? No. No he's just doing that to mess with me again. But he's not smirking. He seems pleased with himself but not mischievously. Ugh, I hate this damn fox. She almost called his bluff when Nick casually raised his paw and gestured for the mammal to come in. She's there! Lylah spun around in her chair only to see another empty doorway. Behind her Nick nearly collapsed to the floor with laughter.
Lylah stood from her perch and circled the desk ready to beat the tod to a pulp when he suddenly grabbed his chest and gasped hard. His eyes grew wide while his claws gripped his shirt, almost pulling it away from his body. Lylah stood nearby ready to call an ambulance if the attack did not stop. It was not the first one he had experienced and most certainly not the first his friends and colleagues had seen. The doctor warned him that too much stress on his lung could cause some pain and tightness. A slight feeling of being suffocated was not unheard of either. Luckily the attack only lasted a minute at the most and soon he was back to breathing normally, though not without a spasm of pain across his face every now and then.
Seeing him back under control, Lylah leaned up against the desk, looking down in concern. "Bad?"
Nick nodded, still wincing slightly while rubbing his paw over his chest. "Haven't had one that bad in weeks. Guess I overdid it on the laughs." Lylah's concern suddenly took a back seat, the idea of Nick Wilde having to keep his own laughter contained too amusing to not visualize. "Hey, hey! Wipe that smirk off your muzzle, Whiskers. This fox ain't about to stop laughing and he definitely won't stop the pranks. I'm still down two pranks cause Tams decided to capitalize on my hospital stay. Ain't that right, Furball?"
Lylah simply rolled her eyes at the lame attempt from the tod. "Foxy, just knock it off. I know Tammy isn't behind m-EEK!" The tigress suddenly let out a shrill squeak, a very interesting sound for a feline to make, at the two spotted arms suddenly encircling her neck. A light pressure of tongue on her cheek left the tigress stumbling over her words, unable to form a coherent sentence.
"Hey Pretty Kitty. We're late for our patrol. You all done playing with the token fox?" Nick let out a mock gasp, acting indignant at the quip.
"Token fox? Madam! I must inform you that I was valedictorian of my graduating class. Granted I only made it because Whiskers felt there was an injustice done and pretty much blackmailed our wonderful leader, but still. Token fox. How dare you." Tammy couldn't help but giggle the whole way through his rant, tightening her grip on her mate and hauling her to her feet.
"Okay, okay. You aren't a token fox. You're just the only fox. In a whole system that has no other foxes anywhere. The only fox in an all non-fox environment." Nick narrowed his eyes at the cheetah.
"You just described a token fox." Tammy went mockingly wide-eyed.
"Did I? Oops!" Nick tossed a wadded up piece of paper at the two felines who quickly retreated with laughter echoing down the hall. Glancing at the clock, he noticed that his interaction with Lylah and Tammy had managed to shave twenty minutes off today's sentence in hell. Of course this meant he was going to behind in his filing and wouldn't be able to catch up by the end of the day but that really didn't matter to him in the long run. The only thing on his mind was the baby shower he was secretly throwing for his mate.
At the thought of Judy, Nick let out a slight whimper. He was having a tough time being away from her that seemed to only grow worse with each passing day. He had consulted the internet as he knew no other foxes that had gone through something similar to this and after several pages of reading he came to the conclusion it was simply a common effect with canids and their offspring. The instinctual desire to protect and be around their mate at all times was one that hadn't made it's way out of the evolved gene pool.
In fact, his desire to be with her right then was so overwhelming he could almost smell her. Closing his eyes, he let his imagination whisk him away to their home, where he could surround himself with her scent much as his mind was letting him do now. Hearing the tiny clicks of her dull claws over the floor before giving way to the soft thumps along the carpet. He could just see in his mind's eye her scrambling up into her desk chair, having a small bit of trouble because she was starting to show a decent sized bulge under her shirt. The shuffling of papers is what caused him to open his eyes, slightly stunned to see his mate seated directly across from him, now searching through the files. Oh great. Now I'm full on hallucinating. Imagining my bunny sitting there doing paperwo-...wait a second. In every fantasy I've imagined her in she's never done paperwork. "Carrots?"
Judy glanced up happily, a bright smile on her lips and a shine to her eyes. "Hey sweetie." Nick was flabbergasted to say the least.
"Wha-..What are you doing here?!" While thrilled to see his mate, he was a bit upset she hadn't mentioned she was leaving the apartment. "Doctor Pawson said you needed to stay away from stressful situations. Take it easy as much as you can."
Judy couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Nick, relax. I'm doing paperwork, not chasing down a mugger or foiling a bank robbery. I've just been so bored stuck at home. There's nothing to do. Especially if no one can hang out. There's only so many times I can watch Hulu before I snap. Besides" she waved her paw over the stacks spread out over both of their desks, "it looks like you could use the help."
Knowing he was never going to talk her out of it, Nick simply slid over his half completed ones letting her start slow in case he was able to convince her it simply wasn't worth it and go home. He should have known better as he watched her attack the pile with zeal. While outwardly he protested, secretly he was very happy to have her there with him. Not just to help with the paperwork which was a godsend by itself, but to able to spend the extra time with her. Of course they both knew that eventually her presence would be noticed.
"O. M. Goodness!" Like right now apparently. The two mammals rotated towards the door just in time to see Clawhauser squeeze through, a box of donuts in paw. "Judy. You look positively glowing! So much has changed since I last saw you!"
Judy giggled at the cheetah's antics. "Ben, we saw each other for lunch just three days ago. Remember?"
"Well yeah," he chuckled, remembering the lunch fondly, as he did every outing he has had with his colleagues. "But you've grown so much since then." The raised brow of the rabbit was the first clue he had just royally screwed up. The second was the way Nick suddenly lifted a folder and hid behind it. "I- I mean-I...oh no."
"Benjamin Clawhauser. Did you just say I was fat?!" Her voice had raised in volume with each word said until the final was almost a shout. Unfortunately for the cheetah, most of the mammals in the precinct had rather good hearing, that fact made all the more pronounced by the deathly silence that settled over the atrium and surrounding offices. If one listened closely, they would have caught the sound of a door on the third floor opening partially before pausing and then closing as quietly as possible.
"What?! I would never! I-I just meant you were showing more-" Nick's frantic shaking of his head made the large cat freeze up as Judy's gaze hit him with such intensity he was surprised his fur wasn't burned clean off. "I-um, donut?" His mind had gone completely blank so he offered the angry mammal the one thing he always had to calm him down. Unfortunately the idea was not the same.
"A donut? To make me even fatter?" This time Nick slid down in his seat nearly far enough for his muzzle to slip under the desk. Ben was now completely lost. He had no idea how to handle the situation so he did the only sensible thing when faced with an angry Judy. He threw the donuts at her side of the table and ran as quick as his legs could manage back to the front desk.
By the time Nick felt it was safe to emerge, Judy had pulled the box over in front of her and began devouring the donuts with a fervor that shocked the vulpine to his core. He had seen her eat fast before and in great quantities. Rabbits needed to because of their fast metabolism, not to mention her profession. The last few weeks though had sparked something even more ferocious in his bunny. She had even begun munching on crickets and beetles with the occasional serving of fish, something she blamed wholly on his 'damn genetics'. What really rocked him though was the serene look on her face as if nothing had just happened.
"Did you-...Did you just hustle Ben for his donuts?" Where before she looked ready to go on a murderous rampage at the very idea of being told she looked pregnant, now her expression was sheepish and a bit embarrassed.
"I'm hungry. I'm eating for five and I swear they all have my metabolism. I can't stop eating and those donuts looked so good." She took another large bite before waving the half-eaten pastry in the air. "I'll buy him another box later. I just needed these right now."
"Well, you scared the poor guy to death so I'm gonna go give him the usual 'bunny hormones' excuse. You just sit there looking beautiful." Judy couldn't help herself and let out an 'aww' which made Nick clamp down hard to not laugh at the ridiculous amount of lemon meringue filling at the corner of her mouth. He stepped out of their office and headed for the receptionist desk, intent on explaining Judy's 'urges' to the dispatch officer.
Craning her head to look out towards the front desk area, Judy swiveled her ears trying to pick up parts of the conversation. Unfortunately to her great displeasure, Nick was leaning in very close to the cheetah keeping themselves overly quiet. Judy had a feeling by the excited nodding from Clawhauser that Nick was doing anything but talking about 'bunny hormones'. The sudden stiffening of the feline caught her interest as did the sudden high pitched but extremely short squeal from her spotted friend before he suddenly collapsed on the floor with Nick standing over him shaking his head.
"Balloons? Who's got the balloons?" The slightly panicked voice would have been a cause for amusement if it had not been all anyone had heard for the past hour. Instead, the collected group of mammals crowded inside the high end apartment simply rolled their eyes at the vulpine.
"Over here, Nick."
"Do we really need balloons? I mean it's just a baby shower."
"Her first baby shower, Whiskers. I'm going all out here. Ahh!" A sharp cry followed by an immediate thud had several mammals swarming to the center of the room where the once frazzled tod was now lying in a crumpled heap below the step ladder, a decorative banner fluttering to land neatly on top of his head. Sitting up and testing his limbs, he was thankful nothing seemed broken and with how smooth his breathing was, not counting the adrenaline spike, he knew his lung was still in good shape. Instead he let out a groan and clutched his head, a sudden throb starting where a large raised bump now sat.
"Told you not to go any higher," came a gruff and deep voice from somewhere in the large pile of paper craft ribbon. "Told you you were gonna fall and break your ass but noooo. Nick Wilde knows everything."
"Oh shut up Finn. I didn't even break my ass. It was my head." To reiterate that fact, he quickly slapped an ice pack on it that Bonnie had gone to fetch from the fridge. "Thanks...mom." The beaming look coming from the bunny matron was enough to make Nick feel more comfortable using the word and he made a mental note to try and do it more often. While Stu was willing to call him 'son' he asked the tod not to call him 'dad', something Nick was all too happy to avoid doing as it made them both uncomfortable.
"Ass. Head. They're interchangeable when it comes to you, Wilde." There was a smattering of giggles heard throughout the room. He recognized Tammy and Lylah's but the and obviously the loud laughs were from Trisha and Sarah, but the last was one that he had only heard a few times and figured it must belong to Jessica, his mate's sister and Finnick's girlfriend.
"What time is Judy going to be home, dear?" Nick jumped on the new topic that he was sure Bonnie had started simply to get him out of trouble as the two of them had gone over the details a dozen times already.
"Fru has her out on a shopping trip that she has already texted and told me it became more of a spree to keep her occupied. The party begins at four so she should be getting home right after that so everyone is here to surprise her." Looking over at the clock, he saw it was already three thirty. "Okay everyone, we've got half an hour to get everything finished so let's hop to it." Groans came from both felines, all three bunnies and the small fennec inside the apartment. "What? I thought it was good."
"Tell you what, Nick. How about no more puns or we quit working." There were a couple of sounds of agreement at that though he knew it was an empty threat. Everyone wanted Judy to be surprised and have a fantastic shower. However, for the sake of cooperation, Nick promised he would hold off on the puns until after the party.
With the jokes on pause and the crew working together, the work went rather smoothly with no more injuries to add to the list. Streamers and banners crisscrossed from the ceiling while balloons hung from the fixtures and off the dining room chairs. The table had been turned into a gift hoard pile which was already overflowing and there were still more guests to arrive. Platters of crackers, cheese and turkey slices lay on the coffee table as well as several vegetable platters. There were also a few bowls of fried crickets, knowing that Nick, Finnick, and Judy would be chowing down on them quite often.
They had gotten just about everything prepared when there came a knock on the door. Checking the time and seeing it was a few minutes shy of four o'clock, Nick figured it couldn't be Judy. Halfway to the door he slapped his forehead at the realization that Judy wouldn't knock on her own door. Turning the handle and sweeping the door wide, a grin broke out on his face as he welcomed in the other interspecies couple in the ZPD. "Wolfeyer! Come on in."
"I don't know why you always insist on calling us that," grumbled Freddie, a playful growl starting in the back of his throat. He cut off suddenly as his mate, a strong and rather gorgeous tigress, cuffed him lightly on the shoulder.
"I think it's cute." She looked about while her mate rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath. "Judy not here yet?" Nick shook his head before glancing at his watch.
"Not yet. Fru said they're a few minutes out so come in, place your sacrifice on the table, grab some turkey or crickets if you want. Don't eat the baby fox-"
"Fuck you, Wilde!"
"He'll give you indigestion," he said while winking at the pair. "Seriously though, come in, get some grub. I'm going to text Fru right now and see if they're here yet." Slipping his phone from his pocket, he started tapping away while the two large mammals crossed the threshold and began mingling with the guests.
While Wolford had met Judy's parents on one of their trips to the city, her sister Jessica and Nick's friend Finnick were rather unknown to the timber wolf, though he had heard quite a few stories. After introducing his mate to Bonnie and Stu and catching up on what had changed in their lives recently, the two of them moved over to meet the other bunny and fox couple present at the party.
Though Finnick was on the right side of the law, and had been for quite some time, the fact that he was surrounded by at least four officers, two of whom were detectives, and they were all much, much larger than him had the small fox on edge. Luckily when Wolford and Fangmeyer sidled up and introduced themselves, Finnick found it less concerning and much friendlier than he expected. It was easiest for him to talk to the wolf who was a lot like Nick just with far less snark. Having heard all the stories of their exploits from Nick, Freddie was quick to assure Finnick that none of them there would be doing any arrests. He even gifted the small mammal some knowledge to sooth his guarded nature about the fact that there were no warrants out for the fox at all. After that he became much more amicable though still kept his gruff exterior.
Fangmeyer meanwhile was discussing the latest fashions with Jessica who had designed many of the creations seen in the city. Liz admitted she had always wanted to model and Jessica spent some time convincing her to come down and try out a shoot. She couldn't guarantee a career of it, not that the tiger would leave the ZPD, but she would have a group of tasteful photos to show her mate and of course get to keep all the clothes she modeled. That last part had finally done it since Liz rarely ever had the spare cash to purchase some of the more expensive outfits.
The next couple was definitely a pair that both detectives had met but for very different circumstances. Trisha was a friend to just about every ZPD officer and a staple of the 10-7 first responders bar. Always there to cheer you up if you needed it or keep the party going if everyone was having a good time. Sarah on the other paw was a much more unsettling time during their first meeting. The duo had been investigating a series of deaths linked to narcotic overdoses and one of the patients ended up in Sarah's OR. Luckily that didn't dampen the festivities and they enjoyed a really nice conversation.
Nick had been nervously adjusting the snack table while the rest of the room moved along without him, moving the punch bowl a few centimeters here and there as he waited for the reply from Fru to reach him. The last one had said they were heading to the apartment but without any new updates he was flying blind. Luckily an answer to his prayers came from a most unlikely source.
A large thud on the door made everyone jump. It had sounded less like a knock and more someone suddenly collapsing against the wood. A second thud, this one slightly quieter as if running low on power, had Nick slowly approaching the door. "I do believe another guest has arrived, if my theory is correct." Grasping the door handle, he turned it while leaping to the side at the same time. It swung wide and very fast, barely missing the fox who had to duck underneath the knob as a very large and round mammal came tumbling into the apartment.
Wheezing heavily, the cheetah struggled to gain his footing, his arm waving out into the hallway wildly. "Judy...Fru...Fru...Com...ing..." Lylah and Tammy each grabbed an arm and lifted the cheetah to his feet, helping him over to one of the large mammal sized chairs.
Nick came over and stood in front of Clawhauser. Even with him sitting down Nick had to look up into his friend's face which appeared a little pale. "I take it you are saying Fru Fru and Judy are on their way up?" Ben could only nod, his breath still coming out in wheezes. "Ben, I hate to say this...again...but you really need to lose weight. I don't want to lose you as a friend, okay?" The big cat seemed to contemplate it seriously. Perhaps it was because he was there to celebrate new life coming to this world. Maybe it was because he was finding himself unable to breathe after running through the lobby. Or it could be something as simple as deciding Nick was right. Whatever it was, the cheetah nodded and made an 'X' over his heart before closing his eyes and resting his head back.
Nick clapped him on the shoulder and gave him a small smile before heading back to the center of the room. "Alright everyone. Judy is almost here, so let's get ready to surprise her. And remember, no actual shouting. Just...just say it or something. Maybe wave your paws."
A loud and deep chuckle rang out catching the red fox's attention. "Jeez. 'Dad' mode hit you early, huh Nick?" There were a few laughs at that though in good fun. Even Nick had to chuckle though his words had been quite serious. Stu sidled up to the vulpine and put his paw up on the fox's shoulder.
"Don't worry, son. It happens to all of us. I wasn't nearly ever this emotional before I became a dad and now...*sniff* now I cr-cry...oh god. My baby is having babies!" Pushing him slightly away to avoid getting soaked with tears and mucus, Nick looked around wildly for Bonnie who came over to deal with her overly emotional husband, patting his back and leading him to a chair. Sarah could only look on in slight amusement having been witness to her father's breakdowns far too often.
The click of the doorknob turning had everyone turning towards the door. At the first crack Fru Fru's animated voice came through very clearly talking a mile a minute. Focused on her friend and their conversation, Judy didn't even look up until they had crossed the threshold. A subdued 'Surprise,' came at her from all directions to Nick's approval. Judy clapped a paw to her mouth and stammered. "O-oh my! This is- wow! Oh you guys are so sweet." Nick, noticing her speech pattern, quickly narrowed his eyes, his lips forming a small scowl.
Judy raised her eyebrows, feigning ignorance. "How long what, sweetie?"
"Oh don't you 'sweetie' me. How long have you known about the shower?" Arching his own brow, Nick stared at her hard.
"A couple weeks," she muttered sheepishly, surrendering to his heated gaze.
"A couple of weeks..." She nodded, slightly proud of herself but also feeling his disappointment. She didn't know what to expect next. It certainly was not the crazy grin that threatened to break his muzzle. "Hey guys! We made it at least two weeks!" The room went up in a cheer of celebration.
"What the-..." Now the bunny was seriously confused. She couldn't tell if they were happy she knew or upset. What she did know is that she wanted some answers, a sign of which was her rapid foot tapping.
"Sorry honey." She felt her mom step up from the side and wrap her arms around her. Judy turned into the hug, nuzzling her mother affectionately. "We had a feeling you would find out so when we started planning last month we wanted to see how long we could keep it from you. We made it halfway so we think we did pretty good." Judy stared at her husband.
"Really, Nick? That's the best use of your time? Coming up with strategies for baby showers?" The tod wagged his digit in her direction, smirking all the while as if hiding a big secret which, her knowing her fox, he probably was. "What are you up to, Slick Nick?" Raising his paw to defend himself, he was saved by the now steadily breathing Clawhauser.
"Hey Nick. Is Ga-"
"AH! Ah ah! Ben...don't make me send you to the other room for the whole party. You'll miss the surprise." Eyes wide and fearful, Clawhauser immediately snapped his jaw shut and mimed locking it with a key. Of course Ben being Ben he then mimed locking it in a tiny box, throwing away the tiny box key then burying the box somewhere there was a waterfall and apparently flamingos.
A knock on the door interrupted what looked to be a rendition of Swan Lake by the large cheetah, and since they were completely stumped as to what he was trying to infer they all gratefully turned to face the entryway. Tammy, who was closest to the door, opened it partially before freezing solid. "Oh. My. God." Nick took that as a sign that their second to last guest had arrived. Stepping back, her jaw slack and in awe, Tammy watched as the tall and graceful mammal entered the apartment.
Bonnie's voice, hushed though it was, rang out in the apartment. "Is that..."
"No way. It can't be." Lylah had heard the stories of Nick being friends with her but had never really believed them. Until now.
"IT'S FREAKING GAZELLE!" Jessica's loud cry broke the spell everyone was under and there was a small rush towards the singer in excitement, though they didn't crowd her thankfully. Even Trisha who didn't really enjoy pop music was starstruck, her mouth opening and closing a few times wordlessly before Sarah reached over and snapped it shut.
"Stop gawking, you're gonna make me jealous." It was said in jest, a twinkle in the painted bunny's vibrant pink eye.
"Oh please? There's more than enough for us to share!" The two bunnies burst out laughing which only doubled when the famous singer gave them a wink to show she had heard their playful antics.
Amelia waved to everyone, a broad grin on her lips. These were some of the times she could just be a normal mammal and she treasured them greatly. She loved her fans but to be able to step away and just be with a few friends was as precious as gold to her. The mother-to-be stepped forward in the crowd and quickly wrapped her small arms around her. "Hello Amelia. I didn't know you were coming."
Amelia crouched down to properly hug her friend. "Oh I wouldn't miss this for the world, Judy. I'm so glad Nick was able to get a hold of me. Let me look at you." Pulling back a little, the star looked over the bunny, taking in the sizable bulge over her belly. "You are looking so healthy. Is everything progressing well?"
"Oh yes, everything is going wonderfully. Three little vixens and a buck," she stated proudly. She couldn't wait to shower her kits in love and affection. Another knocking, this time faint compared to before told Nick that their final guest had arrived. "Mrs. Rivers!" Judy dashed across the room and quickly embraced the elderly otter. "Oh it's so good of you to come. I thought you were going to be away this weekend."
"Oh no. My son decided to bring my grandchildren here instead. I'm not really supposed to travel much these days. But when Nicholas told me about the shower I knew I just had to stop by."
With the guests all assembled and the food dwindling down to where the center of the plates were now visible, Nick turned everyone's attention to the dining room. "We have quite a large selection of gifts here. Who wants to go first?" Trisha upward and literally sprang off Fangmeyer's shoulders in desperation to reach the table first.
"OURS! You have to open ours first!" Nick chuckled before grabbing the large box labeled from the two bunnies. Pulling it away, Trisha stopped him. "All of them." Raising a brow, the fox turned back to the table and saw three more identical boxes in a row. Figuring they were all the same, he shrugged before giving them over to Judy top open. The gray bunny ripped the wrapping paper off ever so viciously, revealing a most welcome sight.
"A convertible rear facing five point safety harness carseat." Sarah narrated all the pros while the two expectant parents opened the box to haul out the carseat. "It's the best available. I made sure to cover every need for both fox and bunny kits."
"And I had it specially painted!" Trisha exclaimed happily. Judy noticed the metallic blue covered in golden glitter sparkles as the seat made it's way out of the box. It seemed rather tame for Trisha which the bunny appreciated. However as it came out further she noticed the swirling spray paint tagging the carseat with 'Anarchy' symbols. She sent her friend a look and an exasperated sigh, almost as if to ask 'really?' Trisha beamed while Sarah slapped a paw to her face.
"What's this?" The three bunnies turned to look at Nick who was now holding an action figure of 'MammalZord', a large robot from an old children's tv show.
"That's mine!" Caught off guard by the high pitched shriek, Nick opened his paw and dropped the toy which was quickly snatched by the brown doe who quickly stuffed it down her shirt. Trisha noticed the stares and shrugged while covering her chest protectively. "What? It has a laser sword and karate chop action."
"Okaaay, moving on." From there the gifts were rather common and acceptable ones without the rather over the top flair from Trisha and Sarah. Jessica had given them cloth diapers she herself had designed and had put into production. Finnick got them some chewing toys for both foxes and rabbits. Lylah and Tammy bought a large play area kit that included door gates and outlet protectors. Wolford had specially ordered a canid den bed that would let the vixens curl up together along with a smaller area right next to where they would lay for the buck. Liz, ever the traditionalist, had gotten each kit several pairs of clothing with the assurance that if the kits were not the appropriate sizes then she would get them remade. Clawhauser had impressed everyone with a luxury four baby stroller that was even remote controlled, something they weren't all too sure they would ever use.
"No, that part is for me. For when you two want me to babysit." The smile on the cheetah's broad face could rival the cheshire cat from the old fables. "I'm gonna follow your advice, Nick. But...well...until I can manage to get that far this might help motivate me."
Judy, unsure of what he and her fox had spoken of, decided to bring up another thing they had been thinking of. "Speaking of, Ben. Nick and I," Judy turned to her mate getting a smile and a nod from him, "we'd love it if you would be their godfather." It was almost too much for the big cat. He tried to speak but was unable to form any words beyond a few strangled squeaks. Worried he might faint, Nick grabbed a small bag Amelia had brought with her.
"Spots, look!" He started unloading the bag onto his wide lap, the feline's eyes growing wider with each passing moment. "Signed Gazelle memorabilia! Remember? That she promised you the last time we were over at her house?" It almost appeared that Ben would come around, but unfortunately with the whites of his eyes showing, he slumped to the floor out cold.
Amelia couldn't help but try to suppress a giggle. She had grown rather fond of the cheetah during the visits they had over at her house and was quick to spoil him with any Gazelle stuff he wanted. She patted his unconscious cheek while turning over her gift, something she called a 'traveling crib'. It looked like a baby travel bag that opened up into both a changing table or a bassinet. Already Judy could envision buying three more for their trips to the park but she found she didn't need to as Amelia quickly pulled out three more identical gifts making the bunny swoon.
A soft thumping sound finally brought Judy's attention to the opposite side of the table where Trisha sat with a huffed expression. Concerned for her friend, she reached out across the table, though her short arms and rather rounded belly made that impossible. "What's wrong, Trish?"
"Well. You asked Benji to be the kits godfather, but what about the godmother? I haven't seen any mention of that coming my way. You know I'd be the best godmother ever."
"Well my friend Fru Fru is the kits godmother as I'm theirs, but don't worry. You get to be Aunt Trisha." She seemed to think that over for a moment, her digit tapping against her chin until a gleeful smile formed.
"Oh I am so gonna be the best aunt in history!" Trisha leaned over the table placing her head right near Judy's belly. "You hear that kits? This your Auntie Trisha. We're gonna drive your mom and dad NUTS!" The brown doe laughed maniacally while rubbing her paws together. Nick and Judy suddenly felt slightly unsure of telling Trisha they considered her to be their aunt but they hoped that maybe she'd calm down once the kits arrived, though they highly doubted it.
Unfortunately Fru had needed to head home after dropping off Judy but she did leave her gift. Fortunately for Judy she had an inkling as to what she may have brought and so had moved the gift to the bedroom rather than opening whatever it was Fru had picked up at 'Vixen's Secret'.
Then it came to her parents. The table was all but empty save for a simple envelope. "Is this from you?" she asked her father who quickly shook his head.
"No, that's not from us. That was there when we arrived. No, what we have is a bit bigger." Stu turned towards Bonnie who approached with a closed paw.
"This is from not just us, but from Gideon and Sharla and Gareth too. We all chipped in knowing that you might need something like this in the big city." With those words, her mother reached out and dropped a key into Judy's outstretched paw. Stu then handed over a small folder that Nick and Judy opened together. It took a few moments to register, but their shock at the small piece of paper on top was evident when their jaws dropped.
"You bought us an SUV?" It was said more in disbelief than anything else, as if it was something out of a dream rather than reality.
"With four kits Jude, it's the only way to get around this crazy city properly. Sure could take a bus or the subway, but that's not all that safe for babies. And taxis just won't work for obvious reasons. So we got this for you. It's all yours, you two. Although you have to get your own insurance. After the incident with the tractor last month," Stu shuddered. "Let's just say I'm not allowed to add anymore vehicles." Judy looked questioningly at her mother who simply closed her eye and shook her head, telling her daughter not to delve any deeper.
"So who is this from?" The last gift, a plain envelope, still lay on the table. There were no markings, no writings. Just a simple white envelope. Nick stood and walked over to the table, picking it up and holding it to his chest.
"This one is from me." Judy reached out to take it but he refused to let go. "Carrots. Judy." Black tipped ears suddenly sprang up as high as they could go, a tiny nose twitching excitedly. "In order for us to start this new chapter in our lives, we need to move onward from where we are. This place," his russet paw waved towards the whole of the apartment, "this place has been our home since we first became us. It's somewhere I never imagined leaving for any reason. And when we thought we only had one child coming, that seemed like a perfect plan. But now, now we have more. Many more." Judy tried to keep her eyes dry, but the idea of leaving their home for somewhere new, where she didn't know the neighbors like she did there, or get to wake up to beautiful sunrises over the balcony, frightened and saddened her. But she knew she would follow her fox to wherever he felt they should go.
Wiping her eyes, she choked a bit as she teased. "Let me guess. You had another friend who could rent us a five bedroom luxury apartment?" Nick kneeled down next to his wife, bringing them eye to eye.
"Well I did see a friend. But not to rent anything." Sliding open the envelope, he first pulled out a piece of paper which she quickly unfolded. This time she couldn't hold back the choked sob and let the tears flow freely. In her paws sat a deed. A house, paid in full. Nick then slid a photograph into her paws. While she never had imagined her perfect dream home growing up or even as an adult, she knew that no place she could ever find would be more perfect than what she saw in front of her. A large traditional country home, covered in exterior brick lay stretched out before her eyes. What looked to be several acres of clean cut yard mixed in with beds of wildflowers was enough to make her swoon.
"It's large enough for all of us. Each of the kids get their own room. It even has a hot tub," he added quietly, waggling his brows. He grinned as she gave him a playful shove, still trying to clear up all the tears on her cheeks. "It's out in the Meadowlands. I thought after everything going on we wouldn't mind a bit of peace and quiet around the house since we'll have plenty of chaos at work. And there's a great school district." Grasping his neck, Judy hauled him in for a hard kiss, laughing while tears still tracked down her cheeks. "It's our home, Carrots."
"Our home," she whispered.