After the events of Nick’s behavior, he managed to get a hold on Gideon. He wanted to apologize for his aloof behavior over the phone. Wanting to avoid a face to face confrontation. Judy was not amused when she found him trying to leave a quick, apologetic message on Gideon’s voicemail. She convinced him, forcefully, to meet with Gideon and have him work things out between them.
Nick obliged. It was the least thing he could do. Ever since she found out about his suffocating jealousy he found that she has been avoiding him. Not so much as leaving him alone or ignoring him but he found that she was keeping herself busy.
He noticed it when they went into work. They have their own private office and he usually takes the chance to flirt openly and to sneak in a kiss or two, but Judy seemed to not be in the mood. Adamant to the fact that they had a lot to work to finish but it was a ruse. Nick could see through her poker face.
Even if he had apologized to her and was forgiven, he had broken something much worse between them. Their relationship.
Nick leaned against the large metal fridge of the large kitchen. He bit the inside of his cheek as he saw Gideon wipe his paws clean of flour with a checkered cloth. Nick had caught Gideon just an hour before he opened his shop. He could see that Gideon was surprised to see him.
“What is this about, Nicholas?” Gideon asked, throwing the cloth aside.
Nick crossed his arms. “I’m here to talk about Judy.”
Gideon’s brow rose while his eyes moved to the side. “Really? Is it about the scent mark you gave her the other day?”
Nick sucked his cheeks in before answering. “Yeah, that and…some other things.”
“Well shoot. Must be something mighty important.”
Nick chuckled. ‘You have no idea.’ “I’m actually here because Judy got pretty mad at me about the scent mark I gave her.”
That made Gideon turn. Nick noticed his eyes narrow. “You mean, ya didn’t ask permission?”
Nick tapped his fingers against his arm. In fox culture, scent marking is very serious. It was a step forward into a serious relationship. It was something foxes do before becoming mates for life.
“I didn’t think I would need to when it came to a bunny.” He said bluntly. Gideon’s tail frayed from how he explained that information but Nick wasn’t there to discuss the rules of scent marking.
“You telling me that you marked her because…” Gideon took off his apron, setting it aside on the countertop before giving Nick a long hard look. “You were threatened by me?”
Nick titled his head towards him in interest. “At the time, I thought it was a good idea.”
Gideon scoffed. “And I could see why Miss Judy would have been upset with you, Mister Wilde…” He grabbed at his overalls, his knuckles turning white. “For if I was her mate, I would have told her how much I meant it.”
Nick’s tail bristled when he moved away from the fridge, taking a step towards him. “Her mate?” He laughed at the thought. “What an interesting set of words there. Pie boy.”
Gideon shrugged. “I’m mearly makin’ an example, Mister Wilde, nothing more…”
Nick lifted his chin at him, eyeing him carefully. Gideon hadn’t broke eye contact with him. “Right…” Nick stated slowly, he moved his paws into his pockets. “An example. Well! The real reason I was here is to be the bigger fox and tell you, Pie Boy, that I apologize for making you uncomfortable.”
Gideon snorted making Nick lean back and forth on his heels. “Yup! What a surprise…but the truth is, Judy does like you.”
He noticed Gideon’s tail wagged slightly, making Nick’s jaw tighten. He opened his mouth, loosening it. “And she would appreciate it if you give her the honor of becoming her…running partner, again.”
Gideon gave him a smile. “Well, I would be more than happy to.”
Nick chuckled deeply. “Glad to hear it. Just swell. Judy is just going to be so…glad.”
Gideon chuckled in reply. “You tell Judy that I hope to see her again for another friendly run.”
Nick shook a finger at him, sharing in a laugh as he backs up towards the exit. “Oh I will.” He turned, walking out the door and into an alleyway. His eyes narrowed as his nostrils flared when the door closed behind him. “Oh I will.”
Nick found Judy waiting for him back home. She was sitting patiently for him on the couch. Her ears were already up from hearing the door open.
“How was the talk with Gideon?” She asked. Nick debated whether or not to tell her of the interesting talk he had with him. The way he reacted and talked about Judy was enough evidence for Nick to believe that Gideon Grey, does have an interest in Judy.
“Great! It went great!” He sat down beside her as she placed her paws over her knees, wanting to hear more. “He actually said that he would be more than happy to run with you again.”
“Really?” Judy smiled. Happy to see the two finally reconciled. “That was very nice of you to do Nick, thank you.” She said sweetly, placing a paw on his shoulder. His looked at her paw in surprise from it being the first time she had touched him in days. His eyes toggled towards it, subconsciously bringing his own paw right on top of it. The moment was broken when she pulled away, as if she had touched something hot. He felt his chest tightened from her reaction and decided he had enough.
He grabbed her paw again, giving it a squeeze when she tried to pull it away.
“Nick? What are you-!”
“I want to mark you again.” He interrupted. The second he said that made her eyes go down in anger.
“I can’t believe you would ask me-!”
“Just hear me out!” He said sternly, making her close her mouth. She shook her head in disbelief, wanting to wretch her paw out of his. Nick would be lying if he said that it hurt to see her wanting to get far away from him.
“Do you know what scent-marking means to Foxes?” He asked. Judy bit her cheek, glancing off to the side. Nick swallowed and placed his other paw underneath her left paw, pressing it against his paws like a sandwich. “It’s a step into becoming mates for life.”
Judy’s nose twitched when her eyes went as large as food dishes. She turned back to Nick, hearing him continue seriously.
“When I marked you, I was not thinking of your feelings, I was thinking of mine…I was so desperate to keep you I actually soiled how important scent marking really is.” His ears lowered in shame. “And I regret that.”
Judy felt her cheeks turn warm when Nick pressed his lips against her knuckle before seeing him, without letting go, get up and kneel down. A shaky gasp escaped as he had one knee on the ground, his eyes locked with hers when he gave her a smile.
“Judy Hopps. I love you… Would you give me permission to mark you as mine, and mine alone?”
Judy’s eyes softened at his incredible gesture. She stared right into his emerald eyes and saw that there were no tricks. No lies. No selfishness. All she saw was her. She hiccuped, making her cover her mouth in embarrassment as the tears ran down her cheeks. She cursed herself for being born so emotional. Nick gave her another tender kiss on her knuckle, not wanting to look away from her radiant eyes.
“Judy, know that…when I do mark you, it’s not just showing other foxes you’re taken but, I want to show you that I trust you completely, this is something to show that I would rather not have anyone else, but you.”
“Oh Nick…” She sniffed, wiping away her tears. “When you put it that way, I suppose you can.”
She jumped when Nick wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace. His heart leaped for joy from having Judy hug him back, the type of affection he had been yearning for.
After a moment of sweet bliss, Judy cleared her throat pushing his chest away.
“So um…h-how does this work?” She asked grabbing her ears embarrassedly. Nick stifled a laugh when she began asking more questions. “I-is it like last time or a traditional thing? Do I need to tell my parents? Or-ah geez.” She hid her hot face behind her paws. Nick grabbed them and put them down flat on her knees.
“Don’t worry it’s an easy thing to do…”
“Easy for you to say.” She pouted. “I never done this before, I don’t think bunnies actually do scent marking.”
“Look, we’ll do it together, what I’m going to do is just move my cheek over to yours and at the same time you just nuzzle me back, see? Easy.”
“Hmm…okay.” Nick stood up and leaned over to her. Judy sat still in her seat, already feeling her ears turn red. Her paws clenched the fabric of her jeans when she heard a soft rumble. She flinched instinctively when Nick lightly touched her cheek. He looked over her in concern and saw her give him a small nervous smile.
“Can you…not do that?”
“Do what?” He asked, moving his jaw to the side. Not really seeing what she was meant.
She pointed to his chest.
“That noise…you made a noise.”
He rubbed his chin when he stared up in the ceiling in thought. His brows rose in realization.
“Oh…” He gave her a grin. “That noise-” he purred making Judy gently hit him in the shoulder. “I can’t help it!” He exclaimed pressing his nose against her, she pushed him back again with a laugh. “It’s part of my nature! It’s a love growl, it means I love you!”