“I went to the Nick and Judy meet and greet at California Adventure and meeting Nick made me like him even more. When I was next in line to meet them, I was going in for a hug but Nick instead grabbed my hand and kissed it and gave me many more kisses after that. He honestly made my day. I ain’t no furry but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a giddy school girl.”
The moment the thought enters his head, Nick finds the panic in his chest dying down. His shaking stops. His muscles relax. He can breathe again.
Well. Sort of. There’s still far too much ash in the air, but now his lungs aren’t protesting the same way they were before; he can take it, now. For the moment.
Something large and wooden collapses nearby, sending a fresh flurry of embers and sparks into the air, and he jumps. The warehouse is alive with flames, and it’s getting too difficult to see anything else through all of the smoke. Still, Nick scans the area for any signs of life. When he spots none, he tries to call out, but his throat is coated with soot. Clutching his throat, he coughs and hacks the words out of his throat:
There’s no answer. The panic starts to press into him again.
Still nothing. He twists his head about, chest heaving again, trying to see through the fire.
He lurches forward from the force of his yell, and almost falls back onto his stomach. Air hisses through his teeth, his eyes start to burn even more than they already have been, and he runs his paw down his face, squeezing to relieve the pain because he’s not going to lose it again, that’s not how he’s going to die, he-
It’s weak and in pain, but it’s her voice, and it’s nearby. He looks around in a frenzy, trying to find its source, but there’s still only flame and smoke and rubble.
“Judy?” he rasps, pulling himself forward with his good arm (the other one is worryingly numb, but there’s no time for that, he reminds himself). “Judy, where”—he hacks again, harder this time—”where are you? Keep talking!”
“I’m here, Nick! I’m–” Her cries are replaced with short, rough coughs that he pinpoints behind a pile of crates that are starting to blacken. Nick flings himself past them as fast as he can, ignoring the pain shooting through his legs and chest with every exertion he makes. He finds her lying on the ground, legs covered by a large beam that isn’t on fire, but very close to it, thanks to the crates she’d been hidden behind. She’s curled up, clutching at her own chest, and she shudders with every powerful cough that leaves her.
Her lungs are smaller, he thinks, and immediately goes to work getting her out from under the debris. She yells as he lifts the beam off of her, but he manages to toss it aside and lie with her, covering her as much as he can with his jacket.
“Here, here, against me. Breathe through the fabric, it’ll help.” He presses her head against his chest, and she wraps her arms around him, wheezing now more than actually breathing. She needs a gas mask, and he wants to beat himself up for not having one, but who would have brought a gas mask to what was supposed to be a gunfight? How could they have known that this wasn’t just the hiding spot of the raccoon in charge of the drug ring they’d been trying to break up for the past month, but also the place where said drugs were made, from several highly flammable chemicals? How could they guess that the drug lord had the foresight to plan an escape route, that he knew they were coming, and that he wasn’t afraid to let his business go down in order to avoid his own arrest?
If this operation has to burn, then you’re both burning with it.
His last words ring in Nick’s head as he rests his muzzle between Judy’s ears and tries to untwist the expression stuck on his face. He’s pulled her against him as tightly as he can with one arm. Her heartbeat pounds against his stomach.
“Backup’s on the way?” she asks, voiced muffled against his shirt.
“I– I don’t know.”
She looks up at him with wide, fearful eyes. He feels ill.
“You radio’d them, though.” It’s a plea from her, not a statement.
“I got shot before I could finish the request,” he answers, checking to see if the feeling in his right paw has returned and finding that nope, it’s still completely numb, and it’ll probably stay that way for the rest of his life (all fifteen minutes of it). “They might not have heard me.”
“But mine’s…” She reaches down and grasps at her belt, but it’s gone. “No.” She tries to sit up to look for it, but just lifting her head makes her gasp in pain. Nick helps her settle back down on the floor as she groans, pained and angry and desperate. Her nose is twitching, and watching it makes his stomach wrench. He reaches up and cups her cheek, doing his best to give her a smile.
“Hey. It’s okay, Carrots.” It’s not, it’s going to be so much worse than okay, but he has to tell her that, he refuses to tell her anything worse. “It’s gonna be okay.”
“Nick…” She’s shivering. Tears trickle through the ash collecting in her fur and leave trails on her cheeks. Her arms come up to his shoulders, running along them gently. She winces when another part of the warehouse collapses, so he yanks his jacket up over their heads so they can see only each other.
“Listen, when we get outta this, I’m taking you to dinner.” His paw returns to her cheek, wiping away her tears with his thumb. “We’ll go to that snooty, all-organic place you’ve wanted to try forever, my treat.” He swallows thickly, resists hacking again. “A-And after that, I know where we can go to get the best carrot-cake ice cream in the city, and we’ll go to that park you love in the Meadowlands to eat it, the one that doesn’t have any lampposts so you can see all the stars when it’s nighttime, and then– and then I don’t know, we’ll do something else, whatever you want, because– because–”
She just blinks at him. Her breaths are small, barely audible, and definitely not enough to keep her going. Her paws have moved up to his jaw, running down the length of it slowly, in the way she always does to calm him down. He can see she’s beginning to fade, but he doesn’t stop talking, he just pulls her closer to she can hear him better, even if everything he’s saying at this point is hysterical and crazy and what he’d never want her to hear if the danger of losing her wasn’t so real and in front of him right now, because anything is better than lying in silence with her so still.
“–because I want to make you happy, and I want to be with you more. I want to spend every night with you watching those dumb romantic movies you love on your tiny phone in your apartment. I want to meet your family and see the place where you grew up, and I want you to meet my mother and listen to all her stories from back in the day while we sit on her balcony. I want to go dancing with you, and show you all the greatest spots in Zootopia’s nightlife, and do all those stupid, clichéd things you do when you want to show someone you love them… because I do. I love y–”
He stops when her paws slips from his jaw, dropping to the floor, and the pain that surges through him then is annihilating. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tries in vain to stop shuddering, to stop hissing through his goddamn teeth like this, but he can’t, so he holds her against him instead to make sure she doesn’t see him like this, and waits for his shuddering to die down. By the time it does, her eyelids are half-closed. He stares at her, wetness dripping from the tip of his nose, and runs his thumbs across her cheek again.
We’re going to die in here, he thinks, and all the panic comes back.
“Please.” He doesn’t know if she can hear him, or doesn’t care, or both. “I want you to stay. I need you to stay. You don’t know. I can’t be alone anymore. I–”
Her eyes close completely, and something in him breaks. Bringing her to his chest again, he cradles her, presses his muzzle against the top of her head, and whispers sweet nothings until the smoke takes him as well.
He doesn’t think he’s awake, and his first thought is:
The afterlife smells too clean.
But then he realizes he still has eyelids, and that there are lights pounding against them, and he groans.
“Judy?” he mumbles, even though the voice he just heard is far too old to be her.
“Oh Nick, you’re awake! Oh, my baby…”
He’s being surrounded by something warm and soft, and he tries to move, but he’s exhausted and half-asleep and still not entirely sure he’s not dead, so he just groans again. His eyes open a sliver, just enough to see the graying, tear-streaked muzzle of the fox leaning over him.
“Mom,” he sighs, trying again to sit up. “What–”
She stops him, settles him back against his bed (he’s in a bed, he knows that now, and it’s in a hospital room, he recognizes the clean smell). “Stay still, dear. I’ll get the nurse, tell him you’re awake.”
“What…” He waits for his brain to catch up. “…happened?”
“You were in a fire, dear. You and your partner.”
He feels his heart beating again. “Judy?”
“Yes, you were both in very bad shape when they found you.” She rests a paw on cheek, smiling. “But you’re okay, hon, and so is she. They saved you.” Her eyes flicker downward. “Well, most of you.”
He follows her gaze, looking down at his right paw.
“Oh.” Now he’s awake.
Clawhauser had, in fact, heard his yelling, as well as the gunshot that broke their connection, and he’d immediately launched into action after trying in vain to contact him again. Half the precinct was on it’s way within minutes, and the moment Fangmire smelled smoke in the direction they were headed, they got the fire department involved. The warehouse was nearly engulfed by the time everyone had arrived, but fortunately Nick’s meddling with the debris that had landed on Judy had cleared enough of a path that the rescue team could get to them before anything major collapsed on them, although they could not, it transpired, save all of their fur. Beginning to end, it had taken half an hour to get them out of there. The only thing that had kept their lungs from being completely smothered by the ash in the air during that time was his police jacket.
This is the report Bogo gives on his single visit to the hospital during Nick’s stay, concluding it with, “It’s a miracle they could get your lungs cleaned out, the way you two looked.” It appears to be a struggle for him, but he eventually admits that he’s relieved to see that they’re okay. It’s the nicest thing he’s ever said to Nick.
The rest of the ZPD visits him over the course of his month-long recovery, and soon he finds himself surrounded by flowers, cards, and several boxes of donuts, which his nurse removes almost immediately for the sake of keeping him healthy (A very thin excuse, Nick thinks, watching the badger lick his lips as he leaves with the treats in his arms). He doesn’t mind, though. He’s just waiting for them to let him get out of bed. He tried to, a few days after waking from his coma, and found that his legs had decided to turn to jello since he’d last used them. His body was still getting used to working again, they’d said. Fine, he’d replied, he could stand to wait (or sit to wait, rather). It didn’t matter how long it took for him to heal.
As long as Judy was okay.
She’s more okay than him, it turns out, because she recovers first, and visits him the day before he’s set to be released.
When she pokes her head out from behind the door, he has to dig his claws into his leg to keep from yelling her name and tackling her. He channels this mad energy into his usual laid-back grin instead, and settles against his mountain of pillows as she approaches his bed.
“You’re okay,” she says, her paws wringing together. The only sign on her that tells him she’s been in a fire is a small burn mark on one of her ears. She’s wearing her pink plaid shirt and jeans, the outfit he will forever know in his head as her Museum Clothes, and he wonders if she always wears it whenever something tragic happens to them. She looks beautiful.
“Pfft, like I was gonna let a little smoke get to me!” It feels so good to talk to her again, he can’t help but slide right back into his normal attitude. “I was too busy saving us both with my jacket to get hurt.” He glances at his paw. “For the most part.”
She’s at the edge of his bed now. Her smile makes his chest swell and his cheeks hurt. She brings her paws up and covers her mouth. He sees her eyes are watery, so he does something stupid to try and cheer her up.
“Hey,” he says, lifting his right paw and wiggling his fingers. “High three!”
But now the tears are running down her face and she’s shaking, and he feels like an idiot.
Of course that was a bad idea, you see each other for the first time in a month after almost dying and your first thought is to show her your brand new stump, what an idiot, you’ve probably traumatized her and she hates you and why is she laughing?
He stares in wonder at her as she giggles, wiping away the tears. His injured paw is still stuck up in the air. He lowers it, thanking genetics that his fur is already red and she can’t see his blush.
“Oh thank god,” she breathes, and then she leaps onto him.
He has time to get out half of her name before she leans in and kisses him, and then he goes into shock, and all he can see is her gray fur, and all he can taste are blueberries and chocolate pudding, and all he can feel is her lips and her paws and her heart beating like a jackhammer against his chest, and then he shuts his eyes and just blends with her for a moment.
An eternity passes, and then they separate. She’s still crying, and he wipes her tears away with a thumb. She holds his paw to her cheek as she sniffles and wipes her face with her sleeve.
“You know,” he says, still somewhat paralyzed, “there are tissues right there on my bedside table.”
“Shut up.” She kisses him again, running her paws through his fur from his jaw to his cheeks to the back of his head. He pulls her in closer, holding her tightly with one arm.
“So, uh, I guess you heard what I said in the warehouse, huh?” he asks when he can breathe again.
“You’re taking me to dinner tomorrow,” she answers. “And then we’re getting ice cream, and we’re going to the park, and we’re going to lie there all night and watch the stars together, just like you promised.”
Nick hates the cliché, and he never thought it would happen to him, but his heart flutters.
“I don’t remember saying anything about stargazing, Carrots.”
She nestles into the space under his chin, hugging him tightly. He can feel her smile into his fur.
“I know you’ll do it, though,” she teases. “Because you love me.”
Chuckling, he leans his head down and kisses the top of her head. She hums against his neck, and he thinks, I’m dead, and this is the illusion my mind made up for me in the second before I go so I can cope with it. Then she kisses his jaw, and he shoves the thought away, bringing her up so he can look her in the eye.
“You got me there, Fluff.” He strokes her cheek, kisses her lips again, thinks, I’m never going to get tired of that, and smiles.
“In Mexico there are no Disney stores at all, not even in Cancún or Mexico City (the more touristic and popular places) and it really breaks my heart because I’m a big fan; I’m afraid that if Trump wins we might even stop traveling to the USA and I’ll never get the merchandise I want or even visit the parks. It’s not fair, I didn’t do anything, I feel like Nick being discriminated, bullied and left out just for being a predator.”
“I’m so tired of the male main character that’s a jerk, but secretly has a heart of gold. Example : Nick from Zootopia, Eugene from Tangled and Kristoff. I have had some terribly experiences, but I let guys emotionally abuse me, and treat me terribly, believing that inside, deep down, he really does care. There’s no Flynn Riders, there’s just jerks who are fully, deep down a massive jerk. You can create a flawed main male, who doesn’t to be that damaging trope.”
Okay…I decide to put the forth episode earlier for an apology because tons of people replied that the bear’s gun-holding position can’t be weird anymore.
I’m sorry about that.QwQ It was the first time I draw scenes like this…
So the new episode is here~Also, since my summer vacation is going to end the day after tomorrow, so I’ll decrease the frequency I post Nick&Judy comics. New works are going to be shown only on Saturday. I’m sorry about this too…
“I really ship Judy and Nick even if they aren’t an official couple because they’re not just because they’re from different species (they have all those romantic moments throughout the movie tho). Maybe it would be weird to see a fox and a rabbit kiss but to me it would be a step forward, like seeing a relationship between different races, genders, nationalities or religions. It’s not the same, but it’s still refreshing. Everyone should be able to love or be loved despite being different.”