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Fox in the Bunnyhouse

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While Judy hadn’t exactly been worried about Robin’s reaction to her and Nick starting a relationship, the bunny hadn’t known what to expect, either. This wasn’t anything like the previous times his mother had attempted to become romantically involved with another mammal – rare as such an occurrence was – where the young kit wouldn’t have even met the guy in question because he was kicked to the curb so quickly. Literally, in some cases.

This time, however, the guy in question wasn’t somebunny the doe barely knew, it was Nick. The clever fox who was always there to lend a helping paw (sometimes before Judy even knew she needed help) and whose heart was always in the right place despite being battered and bruised from living a life filled with prejudice against his species.

More importantly, she was attempting to start something with a mammal that Robin had known for much longer than Judy had. The two vulpines had a strong bond and the bunny would never want to get in the way of that, not for anything. And so, wanting to make sure her son was confident in the knowledge that whatever happened between her and Nick wouldn’t affect his relationship with the tod, Judy attempted to broach the subject as gently as possible.

As it turned out, however, the bunny had nothing to worry about.

“You and Nick are going out on a date?!” The kit’s robin egg blue eyes were as wide as saucers, ears perked in excitement.

“We are.” Judy confirmed, trying to gauge his response to the news before clarifying, “But I want you to know that this won’t change anything between you and Nick, okay? I know how important your friendship is to both of you.”

Robin’s tail is almost a blur, it’s wagging so fast, “I know! I’m not worried.”

The bunny raised an eyebrow at his calm confidence, “You’re not?”

“Nope.” The kit shook his head, “Nick promised he’d never just leave me – we’re good.”

“Well, alright. I just wanted to make sure you’re comfortable with all this.” She paused as another thought occurred to her, “And you’ll be alright spending the evening at Mr. Big’s?”

“Are you kidding? This is awesome!” Unable to contain his enthusiasm, his feet began to rapidly thump against the floor, “I’ll be fine with Ju Ju, don’t worry about me, mom. Plus, you heard Kevin swear to protect me on his honour and with his family’s life, or something, so I could even sleep over if you wanted to spend more time with Nick.”

Innocent blue eyes blinked up at her and the bunny had to resist the urge to balk, “Yeah, that’s not happening, Bottlebrush, but thanks for the offer. Now, move that tail along and brush your teeth for bed; it’s getting late.”

Judy shook her head as she watched her son practically skip down the hallway, the weight lifted from her shoulders allowing her to truly become excited for her approaching night out.

***

Nick took Judy out on their first date a week after he was released from the hospital; the ability to have such mundane, quality time together feeling absurdly luxurious to both mammals. The bunny took the time to recount her experiences upon first arriving in Zootopia and further details exactly how she had ended up adopting Robin. Nick told her more about his life growing up in the city, occasionally bringing up different hustles he had pulled over the years, and eventually admitted to why he had been surprised Bellwether had set up their meet-and-greet at the old docks.

“You live in one of those decrepit warehouses?” Judy exclaimed.

“Decrepit is a bit of a stretch. I have running water, electricity, heating – it’s just that there is a lot of building to be maintained by one mammal for such a long time.”

“And how long is that?”

Nick does a quick tally, counting on his fingers, “Twelve years. Give or take a few months.”

Twelve years!? How has no one found out you’ve been living in a city owned building for twelve years?”

“Simple, the city doesn’t own the building I live in – I do.” Seeing the bunny’s dumbfounded look, the fox asked, “Did you notice that one of the warehouses looked significantly different from the other two? Not just in colour, but in how the building was designed?”

“I was pretty preoccupied at the time so I didn’t get a great look but, yeah, I did notice a difference.”

“That’s because it was built about a year before the city stopped using those docks – which was a good decade after the other two warehouses were built – by an independent contractor with a ‘sure-fire’ business idea. The poor mammal dumped his whole life savings into the project only to realize no one was interested and he’d dug himself into a hole with no way to get out.”

Judy sat in rapt attention, listening as Nick weaved his tale, “Around this same time, a young and still slightly naïve fox had his own ‘sure-fire’ business idea and he knew he had saved up enough to get started. Hustling was beginning to get old; he just needed the right location and he’d be on his way.”

“Wait, you were going to get out of hustling?” She wanted to confirm.

The fox nodded, “The one and only time I ever attempted to go legit. I’m sure you can already see where this is going: I offered to buy the warehouse off the contractor at a reduced rate, he agreed because he had no better options coming forward, and then my own business venture fell flat. The only difference between me and the contractor was that I didn’t sink my entire life savings into it before I failed.”

Nick shrugged as if to say, ‘oh well, what can you do?’ and went back to eating as if that was the end of it. Judy wasn’t so easily satisfied, however, “There has to be more to it than that.” The fox looked back up at her, surprised at the conviction in her voice, “I know you, Nick, you wouldn’t try to start a business on a whim; you would have had a solid plan already in place. One of the reasons you made such a great hustler is because you know what mammals want and what they need.”

“Wow, Carrots,” he tried to deflect, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you consider hustling a noble profession.”

The bunny rolled her eyes at his weak attempt to get out of talking, “I don’t have to like the ‘profession’ of husting to recognize and appreciate the people skills and business knowledge you need to be successful at it. Now,” Judy folded her paws in front of her on the table, lifting her ears in focused attention, “tell me what your idea was and the real reason it didn’t come to fruition.”

Nick looks at her with a critical eye for a moment but, upon seeing her sincere interest, gives a gusty sigh of defeat. This causes Judy to break into a wide smile, buck teeth on display, knowing she’s won the silent battle of wills. Scooting toward the edge of her seat, the bunny waits with eager impatience.

“Well, like when you told me about your first few months in the city, it doesn’t take mammals long to realize that Zootopia isn’t the picture perfect city of harmony it’s advertised as. Tension between the classes of predator and prey has always been there. And as Bellwether helpfully pointed out and exploited, some of that tension is due to long held-over fear from a time when predators used to eat prey – no matter how illogical that fear is today.”

He watched Judy nodding along as he spoke, following his line of thought and adding, “All Bellwether had to do was aggravate a wound that was already bleeding.”

The fox smiled sadly at the truth of that statement before refocusing on his story, “In any case, because the city’s population is mostly composed of prey mammals, it’s always been difficult for predators to fully relax in public. We’re taught from a young age to always keep our teeth covered when we smile, our claws retracted, to not eat protein products outside of our homes – things like that. My idea was to create a place where predators could gather and not have to worry about accidently scaring a prey mammal; a place where they could have fun and the traits that were classified as predatory would be celebrated.”

Judy had had no idea that predators were self-censoring to such a large degree for the comfort of the prey mammals around them. That predator children were taught how to hide their physical attributes because it would be impolite not to. To think of censoring Robin in such a way, to make him feel ashamed of the way he naturally looked and acted, horrified the bunny.

“That sounds like an amazing idea, Nick! And the warehouse certainly is isolated enough that you wouldn’t have to worry about complaints from neighbouring businesses.”

Nick couldn’t help the smile that spread across his muzzle at the pure excitement coming off the bunny, the fox remembering his own eagerness when he first thought of the idea, “You haven’t even heard what the place would be, Carrots!”

“Doesn’t matter, whatever it would have been, the purpose was the same: to give predators a place to be themselves. That’s the amazing part.” Judy paused, chewing on her bottom lip for a moment, before bashfully asking, “Just out of curiosity, though, what were you going to make it?”

The tod couldn’t help but burst out laughing, having known the inquisitive bunny never would have been able to handle not knowing. He finally started to calm down, only to catch sight of the scowl Judy was shooting his way and the laughing fit started all over again.

“Yes, ha ha, very funny.” She kicked at his leg under the table, “Can you just tell me?”

“Sorry, Carrots, you’re just really cute when you’re annoyed.” That comment earned his shin another hard kick, but it was worth it. Wiping at the tears that had sprung to his eyes, he finally tells her, “I was going to build an amusement park inside the warehouse, complete with rides and games that put predatory characteristics in the spotlight. Was going to call it ‘Wilde Times’.”

Judy’s eyes widened, picturing what such a place would look like and absolutely loving it.

“So what happened? You owned the location and you’ve had to get so many permits for various hustles over the years I’m sure that wouldn’t have been a problem. Your niche market is the entire predator population of Zootopia! I just don’t see how it didn’t turn out.”

“You’re forgetting one important factor there: the owner was a fox.” Judy’s ears dropped behind her head, a pit forming in her stomach at the immediate realization of what Nick’s statement meant. He continued, “No construction company I approached offered me anywhere near a fair price for the work I needed done. I would never have been able to pay off the construction debt, keep the park running, and make enough to live off of.” He gave a resigned shrug, “I physically couldn’t get my business off the ground.”

The bunny’s brow furrowed at the unfairness of it all, muzzle set in a deep frown. It should have been criminal that such an amazing place wasn’t in existence because of speciest pricks that only cared about the thickness of their own wallet.

The more Judy thought about Nick’s amusement park, the more she wished she could take Robin there. The young kit loved to be out and about, but they rarely had the time to take the long train ride up to the farm where he could play with his cousins. Not to mention the fact that being taken and drugged by a bunch of sheep with an anti-predator agenda had really taken its toll on the fox. Having a place where Robin can be himself and see other predators embracing their natural abilities suddenly became vitally important to Judy.

Ears perking back up, the bunny tilted her head in thought, paw on chin. When the answer came to her, it was so obvious she could have smacked herself.

Judy whipped her head to stare Nick down so fast, the fox jerked back in his seat. Narrowing her amethyst eyes in a way that made him feel uncomfortably exposed, her tone became alarmingly stern, “If you could get a fair price for your park’s construction, would you still be interested?”

“What?” He asked, not understanding her line of questioning.

“Would you still be interested?” She repeated, “Would you want to stop hustling and legitimately own and operate an amusement park for predators?”

“Judy, I never stopped being interested. I hustle because that’s the only way I ever saw a fox getting a fair wage for his work. Of course I’d love to open Wilde Times; especially after everything predators have had to go through these past couple months within the city.”

But instead of asking another question like he anticipated, the bunny suddenly stood from her seat, chair scraping against the tiled floor, and simply said, “I have to use the lady’s room.”

Then she was hurrying away from their table, weaving through the other patrons with ease as she made her way to the restaurant’s bathroom and left a dumbfounded fox staring after her.

Judy had been gone for almost ten minutes by the time Nick saw the bunny making her way back to him, a self-satisfied smile gracing her muzzle.

Instead of explaining her sudden disappearing act once she sat down, however, Judy just started sipping on the last of her iced tea. Nick raised both eyebrows at her, “Are you going to tell me what just happened?”

Judy put down her glass, “Yes, but not here. The waiter should be by with the check in a minute and then I thought we could head down to the water. It’s beautiful out right now and we might as well take advantage of the fact you picked a restaurant along the riverbank.”

The fox was even more suspicious now, though still willing to oblige the bunny’s request. He waited as patiently as he could but was unable to hide his tail’s agitated twitching as they made their way to the riverbank.

Once she was sure the two were alone, Judy pulled Nick to a stop and let a wide smile bloom across her face, “I made a call.”

“Well, I figured it was something along those lines. Who did you talk to that has you so giddy?”

“A few of my siblings; it was a conference call.”

“Okay,” Nick was sure her cheeks must be aching, her smile stretched so large, “and am I to assume your emergency meeting had something to do with our conversation?”

The bunny was almost vibrating with anticipation, not able to hold off the telling any longer, “It had everything to do with our conversation. You better start filing the paperwork for all the permits you’ll need because Wilde Times starts construction at your go-ahead.”

While, individually, all the words made sense, Nick struggled to understand her meaning, “Come again?”

Back-tracking, Judy tried to better explain the situation, knowing she had gotten ahead of herself in her excitement, “I called my siblings to pitch your idea to them and they want to take the job.”

“I thought you guys were farmers.” Nick was somewhat incredulous about these rabbits’ qualifications to build a rollercoaster and didn’t want to get his hopes up.

But Judy just rolled her eyes, waving off his doubt like it was ridiculous, “I’m not sure if Robin told you a lot about his extended family, but I can fairly assume he didn’t give you a head count. To put it into perspective for you, I have two hundred and seventy-five siblings, most already mated and starting families of their own.”

“Two hundred-” He couldn’t even say it, the idea of such a large family previously unthinkable to him.

“The Hopps Family Farm is virtually self-sustaining, Nick. It would be impossible for us to do that if all everybunny knew how to do was grow carrots; we diversify.” She began listing points on her fingers, “With the warren continuously growing as new litters are born, the burrow has to expand with it, meaning that I have more siblings than I can count who specialize in architecture and construction. Not to mention the amount of heavy machinery used daily around the farm; so many machines that need to be constantly fixed and maintained means that we have dozens of mechanics and welders in the family. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least ten relatives that I’m positive got their degree in mechanical engineering and they’re constantly testing out new ways the farm could be more efficient.”

“Your immediate family is its own mini-city, I hope you realize that, Carrots.”

She shot him a deadpan look, not appreciating his snark, “The point is they loved your idea and want to work with you on it. Most already have experience working with low-key amusement park rides – the town does a small set up for the kits whenever we have a festival – and they’re certain they can create large-scale rides that will hold up. Plus, at the end of the day, the city will still have to do a safety inspection before you open; if there is anything concerning, they’ll make sure it’s fixed.”

Nick could hardly believe what he was hearing. What Judy had planned could very well work but he still hesitated to jump on the offer, “And their price range?”

Her wide smile returned, “They want to do this for their nephew, Nick. The entire warren was in an uproar after what happened to Robin. Trust me, if the farm wouldn’t have collapsed, Zootopia Central Station would have been overrun with righteously enraged bunnies by nightfall. All the siblings I spoke with were in unanimous agreement: as long as Robin gets free admission for life, they will do the job at cost.”

Simultaneously, the fox could feel his ears and tail fall limp, absolute astonishment written all over his face. Judy’s smile became cheeky as she watched his reaction, “Family is everything to bunnies; you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. We take care of each other.” She paused briefly, a slight crease forming in her brow, “Though they’ll have to temporarily relocate for the actual construction; the commute would be impossible to make daily.”

“They could live on-site.” Nick offered, thinking quickly, “The warehouse has an upper level that’s made up of old offices. It could easily be turned into a living space and that way they wouldn’t have to pay rent or utilities while in Zootopia.”

Judy gave a little hop, feeling like everything was coming together, “That’s perfect!”

Nick’s tail was beginning to wag now, slowly at first and then in earnest. As a fox, something like this happening to him was always so out of the realm of possibility that this whole conversation felt unreal. In a stupor, he stared down at his bunny, in awe that a mammal like her even existed.

“So,” Judy prompted when Nick didn’t say anything further, “what do you think, Slick?”

Snapping back into reality, the tod bent forward, grabbed Judy by the waist and lifted her into the air. The bunny gave a startled squeak when she felt her feet leave the ground, giggling when Nick spun her around in a fast circle.

Stilling, he pulls her close, Judy wrapping her legs around his waist as they lean their foreheads together, “I think you’re amazing and that it’s a good thing you like foxes because you’re never getting rid of me.”

Ears heating, she lightly thumps his shoulder, “I meant about the construction of Wilde Times. Should I tell my siblings to start researching park ride requirements?”

“We’ll call them up tomorrow. But, just between you and me, you already have my official seal of approval.” Then, unable to resist, titled his muzzle forward to lightly press his lips against hers.

***

Three Years Later

Judy carefully balances the wooden breakfast tray laden with a plate of fresh blueberry pancakes and a steaming mug of coffee, silently making her way down the hall to the bedroom. Robin trotted behind her, being mindful not to get underfoot of his mom while she carried the meal, a homemade birthday card in paw. It was times like these when the bunny was thankful her fox had no trouble sleeping in, burrowing under the blankets to hide from the sun that streamed through the gap in the curtains.

While these past three years had been nothing short of hectic, they had been some of the best years of the bunny’s life. Once Nick had given his go-ahead, her siblings had begun drawing up design plans for Wilde Times almost immediately, integrating the fox’s notes on how to make the rides more predator friendly. Within weeks, orders for building material were being placed and, not long after that, the first group of rabbits pulled into Zootopia Central Station with suitcases in paw.

With all needed permits acquired and construction finally underway, it truly hit Nick that no one was going to come in and dash his hopes all over again. He had forged a new path for himself and it was past time he acted on it.

He called Finnick first, needing to apologize for leaving him in the lurch these past few weeks while he got things sorted on his end. The tiny fennec did not mince words when he made his displeasure with the red fox known, chewing him out for his constant disappearing acts. Nick took the verbal abuse, knowing it wasn’t unwarranted, but made sure to take the first pause in Fin’s tirade to explain just what was going on. Shocked, he hadn’t known what to say; while he was happy for his friend, he worried what losing his partner-in-almost-crime would realistically mean for him. Of course, the fennec’s fears turned out to be pointless as the tod made certain to assure him that he wanted Fin on board with his project.

Nick couldn’t simply call the next mammal he had to say sorry to and so, with his heart in his throat, he had knocked on his mother’s door for the first time in nine years. Marian Wilde had promptly burst into tears at the sight of her only son standing on her doorstep, the older vixen desperately reaching out to wrap him in her arms. The tod hadn’t been able to keep his own tears at bay as he repeatedly whispered apologies for staying away from her for so long. As soon as she had been able to calm down, his mom hurried him inside and had him settle down on their old living room couch beside her. Nick’s proud proclamation to the vixen that “he was in the midst of genuinely turning his life around” caused another outpouring of joyful tears. The fox’s heart felt lighter than it had in a long time, knowing he had just taken the first step in truly mending his relationship with his mother and thankful beyond words that she would be a part of all that was to come.

Life went on, Judy and Nick becoming closer everyday and, together with Robin, became their own little family. It was just before their first anniversary when Nick officially moved into the condo with his bunny and their fox kit. Construction on the park was far enough along now that the fox wasn’t needed on site twenty-four/seven, having transitioned into more of an executive role once the layout and design plans were completed. It was no surprise to anyone that Wilde Times was a major success from its opening day, eighteen months after Judy had pitched Nick’s idea to her siblings in a restaurant bathroom.

That first day will always be held close in Judy’s heart, forever immortalized for two reasons. The first being the pure joy she could feel pouring out of both her foxes from sunrise to sunset as they raced from ride to ride together, indulging in their predator qualities. The second is that that was the day Nick proposed to her, sitting at the top of the Ferris Wheel where they could watch as they made the world a better place.

When Judy had officially become Mrs. Wilde, just over ten months ago now, Robin had requested the duo to change his last name, too. The kit wanted it to be obvious to everyone that they were a family and he liked the idea that they’d now all share the same name. In reality, Robin had begun to think of Nick as his father long before he got married to his mom. Even still, he didn’t gain the courage to ask the older tod if he could call him ‘dad’ until the day of the wedding. Nick, already fairly emotional from the day’s events, had just about broken down at the kit’s shy request. Choking on his own voice, the newly married tod had been reduced to franticly nodding his acquiescence , dropping to his knees to wrap Robin in a tight embrace. Judy had stood close by, heart fuller then it had ever been as she watched her mate scent mark their son for the first time.

Recently, though, it had crossed Robin’s mind that despite every other affirmation of Nick as his dad, he wasn’t legally considered to be his parent. Robin wanted to change that so he went to the mammal who knows everything there is to know about the law: his mom. That’s when she came up with the best idea; mother and son working together so they could surprise the fox with it for his birthday – which was today.

Slipping past the bunny so he could open the door for her, Robin anxiously looked toward the bed to see if his dad was awake yet but only saw a pile of blankets, the fox completely buried underneath.

A sly smile (which he of course didn’t learn from me, Carrots) grew across the kit’s face and, turning to the bunny, whispered, “Can I, mom?”

Despite rolling her eyes, Judy’s lips curled in amusement and she gestured toward the bed with a tilt of her head to give Robin permission. Not wasting a moment, the tod twisted back on target and took a running leap at the sleeping lump, throwing himself directly on top.

Nick gasped awake, limbs flailing as his body jerked upright with a shout of, “Stop, ZPD!”

Robin began giggling madly and rolled off his dad to land on the other side of the bed, clutching his stomach as it shook with the force of his laughter. Judy gave an entertained snort, walking the breakfast tray over as Nick blinked the sleep out of his eyes, “Interesting dream, Slick?”

Noticing the tray his mate was bringing him, the fox propped himself up on the headboard, taking her load from her with a tender smile, “Thanks, Carrots.” He shook his head, trying to clear the fog from his mind, “Yeah, I was dreaming that I became your partner on the force; we had the best solve rate old Buffalo-Butt had ever seen.”

“I have no doubt about that. You would have made a great cop, Nick, and we would have taken Precinct One by storm.”

“We would have taken Zootopia by storm.” The fox corrected before looking down at the still giggling kit beside him, “And what are you laughing at, Red?”

“You!” Well, at least he was honest.

Judy bit her tongue to keep herself from smiling, instead lifting her mate’s muzzle with a paw so that she could give him a proper kiss, initiating a brief exchange of affectionate scent marks and saying afterward, “Happy Birthday, Slick.”

“Happy Birthday, dad!” Robin shouted, thrusting the now slightly crumped card into his face.

“Thank you.” He said sincerely, emerald eyes shining with happiness as he took the card to read over while he sipped at his coffee. Handing the card back to Robin so the kit could find a good place to display it, Nick began eating his blueberry pancakes. He returned a couple minutes later to contentedly snuggle into the older tod’s side, him and his mom having already eaten earlier that morning.

“So,” Nick began, swallowing his last bite of pancake and picking his coffee mug back up, “are you excited to spend the whole day at Wilde Times?”

“Yes!” He exclaimed, “We haven’t all been there together in forever.”

“Forever? I could have sworn we took him just last month, didn’t we, Carrots?”

“Sounds about right to me, Nick. And don’t forget all the time he spends there with you after school.”

The fox chuckled at Robin’s pout, ruffling the fur between his ears, before he sets his mug down, “Well, if it’s been as long as all that, there’s no time to waste. Give me a few minutes to get dressed and clean up, then we’ll start heading out.”

“No!”

Nick jolts back at the unexpected shout, eyes wide in surprise.

Judy picks up the tray from his lap, soothing Robin, “It’s okay, Bottlebrush, you can still give your dad his present.” Turning to Nick, “Stay right there; we’ll be back in a minute.”

The kit scrambles off the bed to run out the door, the bunny following at a more sedate pace to place the used tray by the kitchen sink to be dealt with later. She walks back down the hall to find Robin exiting his bedroom, a stack of papers in paw.

“Ready?” She whispers to her son.

Robin tips his chin up confidently, “Yeah, pretty much born ready.”

Re-entering, they find Nick exactly where they left him: staring at the bedroom doorway with ears perked and head tilted in curiosity. Noticing the papers that the kit held tightly within his grasp, pressed against his stomach so that the older tod couldn’t peek, Nick waits until they reach the bed before he asks inquisitively, “What’s this?”

Despite his earlier bravado, Judy watches as Robin becomes suddenly shy under Nick’s gaze, tail unconsciously curling up around his feet, “Um.”

When his speech falters, the bunny provides a gentle prompt, “Robin has a birthday present for you, Nick. We’ve been working on it together to surprise you but it was all his idea.”

Nick, who had flicked his eyes over to Judy while she talked, looked back toward the young kit. Robin, who had taken the moment to regather his courage, voiced his agreement with Judy’s statement, “Yeah, I went to mom for help on it and she had the idea to keep it a secret so we could surprise you for your birthday.”

“Well, now I’m really curious.” Smiling down at Robin, the fox held out his paw, “Can I see it?”

With a small nod, the kit carefully places the stack of papers into Nick’s paw, anxiety twisting his gut into knots as he watches him turn the document so as to read it. The tod realizes what he’s looking at within the first glance and feels his whole body tense up at the unexpected shock. An official application form for the adoption of a child within Zootopia sat in his grasp, information boxes already filled with his mates neat handwriting. His unblinking stare finally noticing the form was incomplete: two blank lines sat at the end of the document, to be signed and dated by the applicant.

Tears stinging his eyes, Nick let the papers fall to his lap, leaned off the edge of the bed and pulled Robin into a fierce hug. All anxiety dissipating with this one action, the kit happily returned his dad’s embrace, feeling his mom join them a moment later to bring the family into a group hug.

Nick swipes the underside of his muzzle across Robin’s brow, making sure to firmly scent mark his son before breaking out of his family’s hold. Knuckling at an eye, he gives a weak laugh, “Mission accomplished you two; that was some surprise.”

“Do you like it?”

“I love it, Red. Best birthday present I’ve ever gotten. In fact,” Nick grabs the papers from where they had spread across the blankets, shuffling them into a neat pile, “I’m going to sign this right now. First thing tomorrow, you and I will personally walk this adoption form downtown so it can be filed with the city.”

Tremendously eager, yet determined to do this right, Robin cried, “Wait! You need to use the lucky pen like mom did.” And then he was racing out the door again, in search of the proper writing implement.

“My recording carrot pen.” Judy supplies when Nick raises an eyebrow in silent question.

Smiling in understanding, he moves to link their paws together and give his mate a quick kiss, radiating happiness.

Pulling back, Judy returns his smile before lowering her gaze to their paws, oh-so-casually saying, “You know, filling out all those adoption papers made me incredibly nostalgic.” Glancing up at him through half-lidded eyes, she coyly adds, “Maybe we can do it together next time.”

“Next time?” the fox asks, unsure where she was going with this.

A slight heat in her cheeks now, she clarifies, “Because, well, I’ve been thinking, it would be nice for Robin to have a sibling.”

Nick sucks in a quick breath, his bunny still having the ability to amaze him after all this time, and responded in the only way he could, “I love you, you know that?”

“Do I know that? Yes, yes I do.”

FIN