Nick woke up to the sound of Judy's screaming. He jumped out of bed and ran down the hallway. Had someone broken in? No, Judy wouldn't be screaming. That person would be out cold and Judy would already have called the ZPD.
Judy was thrashing around with tears streaming out of her eyes and matting her fur. Her covers were tangled around her limbs.
"Carrots. I need you to calm down. Judy!" Hearing Nick's voice, Judy's eyes opened and she stopped screaming, but the tears continued to fall.
"What's wrong?" Nick held Judy's paws to keep her from tangling herself up even further.
She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head quickly, tightening her grip on his paws.
"Do you want me to stay here?" Nick asked softly, and Judy nodded. She rolled over and Nick lied down next to her. She wouldn't let go of one of his paws, so he wrapped that arm around her.
Judy nestled so far into Nick it was as if she were trying to disappear.
"You're here." She whispered, more to herself than to Nick.
"I'm here." He reassured her.
Eventually, her breathing evened out and her grip slackened.
This was the second time Judy had woken up in a cocoon of orange fur. But this time, it was even harder to get up. Her nightmare has seemed too real, too possible. She felt that if she let go of him, it could come true.
She tried to separate what actually happened that night from her dream, but everything blended together. The gunshot echoing through the trees, the soft thud as Nick hit the ground. Her cries as his eyes slipped shut. But in this version, they never opened.
If she hadn’t been sure before, she was now. Letting go of Nick was as ridiculous as it was impossible. They were the best parts of each other, the only reason either of them were successfully following their dreams. She recalled Mrs. Wildes’ words, saying that she made Nick better, but Judy realized that he made her better too. He was clever, and leveled out some of her blind optimism, and knew a little bit too much about how criminals’ minds work, but she would be nowhere near as good at her job without him by her side. He also helped her look at the world in a different way; the way that predators saw it.
Judy’s phone rang and she jumped up to answer it before she could wake Nick up.
“Hey Benji, what’s up?”
“Nothing much, I was just wondering if you wanted to go to another Gazelle concert next month. Why are you whispering?”
“Nick is sleeping.” Judy’s eyes widened when she realized what she had said.
“Nick? You mean, you were sleeping in the same room?”
Benji squealed so loudly Judy nearly dropped her phone.
“Shhhhhhh…nothing happened. I just had a bad dream so he stayed in my room.”
“Right, right. So does that mean you two are finally together?” She could hear the turning of some pages in the background.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, just looking through some wedding magazines. I bought them the day Nick started on the force. So, I repeat, are you together?”
Judy rolled her eyes, “You're insane. And yeah, I think so. We haven’t really talked about it but I’m pretty sure we both feel the same way.”
“Which is in looooooooove!” Clawhauser sing-songed.
“Yeah.” Judy mumbled, and Benji squealed again, “Okay, this is too much for this early in the morning. I’ll see you at work. Bye.” Judy tossed her phone on the bed and headed to the bathroom to start getting ready.
Nick watched Judy slip out of the room and heard the shower switch on.
Even if Clawhauser’s first squeal hadn't woken Nick up, his second one certainly would have. So he heard nearly the entire conversation. At first he worried that he had dreamed it, but after checking Judy’s recent calls he saw that he hadn’t. It still felt like a dream though.
He had been stupid not to tell her how he felt in the first place. All that stuff that had worried him, Judy’s family, Bogo, what everyone would think, didn’t matter. He was in love with a bunny and if the rest of the world had a problem with that, they should just let it go.