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Circumventing the Collar

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"All of this is yours?" Nick breathed, his voice equal parts confusion and awe as Judy led him into a small room--for him, anyway--filled with all sorts of clutter imaginable. Packed filing cabinets left half-open were the chief offenders, with notable additions including a typewriter, hastily scribbled notes, equipment for developing photographs, a bed tucked haphazardly into a corner, and something Nick felt safe identifying as a shortwave radio. It all radiated from a huge cork board that was dominated by a map of Zootopia and the outlying areas, complete with pictures and colored string. Nick was no expert, but it felt like walking into a miniature police precinct. A grin tugged at his muzzle at how fitting that was.

"Yep," Judy called back from the top of the stairs. "Normally we don't get rooms this big until we get married, but, well--I've always been a bit of a special case." She closed and bolted the door shut before hopping down to meet Nick in the middle of the room.

"Right," Nick drawled, gently bumping her with a hip. "I'm sure your bad attitude had nothing to do with it."

Judy huffed good-naturedly in response as she slipped an arm around him to help him shuffle along. He rolled his eyes, his warm-hearted gripes and complaints having already fallen on deaf ears. "It's certainly not my fault my family can't respect procedure. Besides, it lets me get some privacy."

Nick shambled over to the bed with Judy’s assistance, his light tone and smug look not quite disguising the tension that left his frame as he got off his feet. His hand, however, stayed perched on her shoulder as she hopped up onto the bed next to him. "Seems to me the problem is they've got plenty of procedures to follow already, LT. Honestly, all the rules in a rabbit house kinda makes me glad I was an only child."

Judy started a little in surprise. The fox wasn't usually the sort to just hand out personal details like that. She drew closer to him, sizing him up with a critical eye: the white bandages around his midsection, thankfully unstained; the tame collar and its steady green light, despite the truly impressive amount of punishment it had recently undergone; the tattered remains of his green button-up, and the dark slacks still stained with his own blood, both of which he'd been wearing since they arrived. What caught her attention the most, though, was the way weariness seemed to be intent on dragging down every expression and movement he made. The last week had been even harder on him than they had on her, despite the scant couple of days he’d had to recover at her home. Mustering her resolve for the conversation ahead, Lieutenant Hopps let her ears fall over the arm of the lounging fox. "Wilde," she started, then let out a small sigh. "Nick. I brought you here because I wanted to...apologize, and to thank you."

Nick's eyebrows rose and his ears came forward in a display of bald incredulity. "Apologize?" A chuckle snuck its way out. "For what?"

Judy's ears, however, fell back. "Where to start?" She scuffed her feet together in embarrassment and not a small amount of shame. "For the awful things I said, when we first met," she brought up her fingers and started a running tally. "for all the slack I refused to cut you, even if you didn’t always deserve it. For taking you into a potentially life-threatening situation before backup arrived. For..." she trailed off for a moment, glancing back at the surprised predator, and raised a hand to touch the gauze he still wore. "For this."

Nick, to his credit, was silent for a moment as he digested her words. He slowly raised one hand to cover her own, squeezing it gently, his voice soft. "That was my choice, Hopps."

"A choice you shouldn't have had to make," Judy argued. She could still remember the deep rumble of the feral jaguar, the vicious snarl Nick had answered it with, his cry of pain when the claws found him, the crackling of the collar as it punished him for defending her. "But one I'm still thanking you for. For the river, too. You had so many chances to get away from me, Nick, to go back to what you were doing before. You could've taken any one of them."

Their escape from the feral mammal, such that it was, had been more a series of vaguely controlled falls through the branches and vegetation of the Rainforest District, ending with an icy dip into one of the mammalmade rivers that flowed through it. Judy, despite her impressive array of skills, could do only so much in the face of nature when she weighed so little, and was flung about by the currents like an exceptionally unlucky piece of driftwood. Nick, bleeding and terrified though he might have been, was still bigger and heavier, and had the strength to cut through the swift-moving waters enough to recover the ZPD's most determined officer and get them both to what passed for dry land in the waterlogged District. Though she'd been thoroughly disoriented at the time, she could still remember with nauseating clarity the snaps and pops his collar had made as it delivered agony, no doubt amplified by the water, to the soaked fox in return for his panicked heroics. Despite it all, he'd been calling her name. Not one of his dumb but increasingly lovable nicknames--her name. Judy. She'd fought her way back to alertness, intending to remove that cruel band from Nick's neck--it had done nothing but impede her investigation, it made perfect sense--only to come to the horrifying realization that her key had been washed away during their unexpected swimming lesson, and could do nothing as her savior heaved a huge sigh of relief and promptly passed out. What a wonderful conversation with the Chief all THAT had culminated in.

Nick smoothly slid his hand from her shoulder to her bare arm, pulling her in slightly in a show of cameraderie. "Mmm...nah," he started, a toothy grin finding its way to his face. "I don't think I could've. I like you a bit too much."

Judy's eyes flicked to his sharp teeth for a moment, noting dimly that they didn’t spark the same unease as when they’d first met. "That's kind of what I wanted to thank you for."

At that admission, the laughter in Nick's eyes forced its way out of his mouth as he gently squeezed her shoulder. "You want to thank me for liking you? I mean, I know we're getting a little mushy here, Fluff, but you’re giving me too much credit."

"Well, it's not just that," Judy admitted as she leaned into his touch, resting her ears on his shoulder, listening to the slow, powerful beats of his heart while searching for the right words. "My whole life, support for my dreams has been a little...thin on the ground. I've known ever since I was a kid that I wanted to be a police officer, but rabbits don't that. My family never really stopped me from trying, but it always felt more like they were humoring me than anything. But then I finally made it, and..." she trailed off for a moment, looking up into Nick's eyes. His really, really green eyes. “Turns out nobody on the force really believes in me, either. So I work longer and harder than anyone else, because if I don't, I prove everyone right. Then you came along."

Nick's ran his thumb along the tantalizingly soft fur of Judy’s arm almost unconsciously. "I distinctly remember making a number of jokes at your expense when we met. Some real zingers, actually. Shoulda written 'em down."

"Well, sure. I happen to recall a number of pretty unsubtle digs at predators on my part." Judy shrugged a bit before carrying on. "It just...felt different. Like you were on the defensive, and not me, for once. Point is, we got better."

"Yeah," the fox murmured. "We did, didn't we?"

Judy's voice found some steel as she plowed on. "You believed in me, Nick. Out of all the people I, friends, coworkers...the first one to really believe in me was you."

This declaration stunned Nick, leaving him speechless for several long moments even as Judy could hear his heart begin to pound. It took some effort, but he finally croaked out a reply. "You're a force of nature, Carrots. It was only a matter of time. You’re too committed.

Judy's face bloomed into a winsome smile, and she moved onto her knees to put herself on more even footing with the firm predator next to her, choosing to ignore for the moment the happy warmth that blossomed in her chest when his hand casually resettled itself on her back. "Well, this force of nature never would've gotten anywhere without you."

Nick had never seen an amethyst before. Predators, as a general rule, did not make enough money to blow it on frivolous things like pretty stones or gold. But as Judy brought herself closer to look pretty deliberately into his eyes, he suddenly felt that if they were anything like the shimmering gaze that met him--trusted him?--that he could kind of understand the fascination. "You're selling yourself pretty short, there, Cottontail."

Judy shook her head and raised a hand to gently brush against his muzzle. "I'm a good cop, Nick. A great cop, even. But even a great cop doesn't just waltz in and talk to a bigshot like Koslov, and they certainly don't waltz right back out again. You got me my first big lead, you got me into half a dozen places that otherwise would never trust a prey, let alone the police. Then you saved my life Twice. In less than an hour, and showed me how...backwards I’d been." Nick's ears flicked down in happy embarrassment, and Judy brought her hand around to delicately grasp one, her sensitive hearing catching the hitch in his breath, the happy wagging of his tail out of her sight. "You keep showing me glimpses of something amazing in you, Nick Wilde, and I--I wanna see more."

Judy's scent, a righteous combination of soil, ink, artificially flowery soap, and shitty bulk detergent, invaded Nick's senses even as her lips invaded his own. No one had ever accused Slick Nick of being slow on the uptake, however, and he smoothly pressed her smaller body to his own and fervently returned her kiss. It wasn't perfect--he'd never kissed a rabbit before, and he wasn't entirely convinced Judy had ever kissed anyone at all--and he might have even called it kind of bad if it weren't for the electric feeling that surged through his body, a feeling he was tempted to blame on his collar; instead of pain, however, it brought a yearning hunger for more light touches from the determined bunny pressing against him. Nick couldn't resist slipping a couple of fingers under her shirt to caress the small of her back, delighting in the gentle shudder that the feather-light touch of his claws evoked from her.

Judy pressed forward, seemingly intent on physically scaling his larger frame, but Nick handily broke her concentration when his tongue darted out and slipped into her mouth. She did a fantastic impression of a melting pawpsicle, and made a noise of contentment and want that caused Nick's hungering desire to rapidly evolve into something more akin to a fierce roar, prompting the newly energetic fox to grasp the smaller mammal's flawless thighs and draw her bodily into his lap. When Judy moaned, and one of her hands clenched the free fur of his chest, the engrossed predator could actually feel it spill into his own body, satisfying a deep-seated need that spent so much time being denied. Freshly intent on getting his energetic partner to make that fantastic noise again, Nick focused on using his tongue to draw Judy's own out of her mouth and into his own as much as he could. It was small, smaller than his, just like the rest of her--but just like the bunny it was attached to it charged forward, perfectly willing to wrestle with the one who had so graciously offered an invitation. Nick succumbed to temptation and let his hands roam, one answering the call of romance and gently cupping the side of Judy's face; the other answered a call much more primitive, sliding up and grasping her rear, dedicating a couple of his fingers to exploring her wonderful tail.

Judy's response was immediate and powerful, drawing in a stuttering gasp, raising herself up evenly with the fox that was making himself so at home; she petered off into an adorable whimper, a thickly sweet scent rapidly filling the air, wiping everything else away and threatening to overwhelm the larger mammal. When the thoroughly captivated rabbit surged forward, hands running desperately along his chest and sliding the pitiful remains of his shirt from his shoulders, he became sharply aware of the rushing in his ears and the pounding of his own heart; panic blossomed in his chest and Nick hurriedly separated himself from her. "Hopps, wait, stop --”

Anything further was lost when a searing heat erupted around his neck, stealing the breath from his lungs and rattling the teeth in his skull even as it brought cold reality crashing back down on him. The confused, searching look on Judy’s face only served to hammer home the realization that the shock, though mild in comparison to his recent exploits, was still the product of an embarrassing lack of composure that he hadn’t suffered since he was a teenager.

He swallowed heavily as Judy leaned forward, reaching out to the rattled fox. “Nick, what…?"

"Lieutenant, I...we..." Nick trailed off as he averted his gaze, his ears going flat, unwilling to watch her face fall, as he knew it would. "W-we can't."

She stilled, her ears falling in realization, and she drew back as though burned. "R-right," she choked out, shame and mortification creeping up to clench around her heart. “I just thought you felt...I mean, I thought we had--” she broke off, becoming increasingly flustered and incoherent. Nick’s confusion was rapidly smothered under a growing sense of alarm. She hadn’t noticed?

"No! No, Hopps, it's not--there's nothing wrong with--" he spluttered, sliding his hands into place over her hips, desperate to cut her off, to salvage the situation. "The collar," he blurted out, then drew a quiet, calming breath, his pulse still racing uncontrollably. "It's...the collar. It's not that I don't...want to, it's that we--we can't."

Judy's face twisted in consternation, one hand moving gently to touch the collar and its infuriating green light. A thousand epithets raced through her mind, cursing herself now more than ever for losing her damned key. The uncomfortable heat between her legs demanded her attention, however. "Y-you can't--I dunno, pick the lock or something? How did you do it last time?"

The bemused, but similarly frustrated fox ran his thumbs along Judy's sides, which had the unexpected effect of causing her to cutely bite her lip at the sensation. "I had a key. It was cobbled together, but it worked, and has since been confiscated by the fine, hard-working officers of the ZPD." His attempt at good humor fell flat as his lashing tail gave away his reluctant irritation.

Drawing a calming breath, Judy’s grip on Nick’s collar tightened as her respect for the fox grew yet again. “So it’s like that all the time for you? You can’t even…”

“Excited?” Nick finished for her. “Nah. Angry, excited, happy...heck, can’t even cry too hard.”

“That’s not…” Judy trailed off with a sigh, suddenly understanding so much about the way Nick moved through his life. Getting angry wouldn’t help anything, but comfort might; she buried herself into the thick fur of his neck, breathing deeply of his scent as his arms circled gently around her. He smelled fresh, like rain, with a spicy undercurrent. “That’s not fair. There’s really no way?”

“Well…” Nick seemed reluctant for a moment, but pushed on regardless. “I didn’t say that.”

Judy’s ears shot up so fast they nearly hit him as she moved around his loose grip to give him her full attention, hope and excitement in her expression. “Nick?”

Nick, trying to resist burying himself deeper in the warmth and scent of the wonderful female lounging in his lap, perked up and let his half-lidded gaze slide away. "Well, I long as collars have been around, people have been trying to get around them. It's possible, but it's--it's hard." He quirked an eyebrow at her mortified expression, and was quick to interject when her eyes started moving down. "Difficult! It's difficult! The collars, they--they've got a few factors, but the biggest one is heart rate, so you've got some wiggle room. It can be done, but you've gotta be slow and really careful."

Judy sat back with a contemplative look on her face, despite her quickened breaths. "Slow, huh."

Nick grimaced at her tone. "Yeah...slow. Can't get too worked up. It's kind of a pain, really, and a lot of effort--especially for a, well, a scoundrel like me, who you barely know? I understand, LT. It's okay." His hands started slipping down, savoring these last few moments before he would get up, finish calming down, and try not to be pissed at yet another thing the collar fucked up. Which is why he could be forgiven for yipping in surprise when a determined set of hands deftly unbuttoned and unzipped him. "H-Hopps, what-!?"

The view that greeted him was the sexiest, most stubborn pair of purple eyes he'd ever had the pleasure to witness. "Mr. Wilde, if you think a little hard work is going to deter me, you clearly don't know me very well." She punctuated her declaration with a confident grasp that made Nick gasp and groan.

"T-then I guess I need to get to know you a little better," he forced out, gulping down air to try to calm his traitorous, racing heart. He finally finished the job that Judy started of slipping out of his shirt, and set to work on hers. To any other mammal, Judy's buttons would be laughably small, and probably a little more than infuriating, but were hardly an afterthought to the dexterity of such a multitalented fox. He used his claws to rapidly free one button after another, eliciting a startled gasp from his partner.

"N-Nick--" she started, a little surprised at his sudden aggression.

"We can slow down, if you need to." Nick's gentle voice put a smile on her face.

Judy giggled. "Wilde, if we slow down any more we'll start going backwards. I didn’t expect it, that's all. You've got talented fingers."

Despite being pinned beneath a particularly attractive rabbit, Nick still managed to prowl forward, his hands sliding under Judy's shirt, marveling at the bit of heaven he found in the short, silken fur there. He found himself almost growling in satisfaction at the stuttering moan she let out at his touch. He worked his way up, reveling in the increasing pace of her breaths the higher he worked, until he reached her shoulders and slowly slid the--plaid? Gingham? He'd never learned the difference--material off of her shivering frame. He dipped his muzzle down to her ears, gently kissing one, eliciting a breathless "oh god" from the wound-up bunny he had at his mercy. "You don't know the half of it," he warned, his voice deep and husky.

"Promises," his lover squeaked out, pawing at his pants. "Get these off, I'm sick of them."

Nick couldn't ask for a better reason to escape his ruined pants, and to Judy's immense delight, he lifted her off of him with a single arm--god, she was light--and using the other to slip the worthless fabric off, freeing his trapped tail in a single smooth movement. As he resettled his insatiable rabbit on his thighs, he noticed that she was staring, mesmerized, at his newly-exposed length. "Like what you see, Fluff?"

She jerked out of her reverie, but surprisingly with no embarrassment that he could divine. "It's big," she blurted, eliciting a joyful laugh from the fox.

"My ego's not what needs stroking, Cottontail," he teased, his eyes dancing.

"C-Can I?" She asked shyly. His grip slid up her thighs and casually began exploring the area around her tail again, so she took that as a yes. She reached out with more confidence than she felt, and slid her hand from the top down, pulling a sudden groan from the horny predator. "N-Nick?"

"K-Keep going, you're fine, that's good--it's not glass, you can use some pressure." Nick leaned back, eyes closed, and tried to get his breathing under control, even as his hand slid around to Judy's front. A second hand joined the first on his shaft, and he held in a whine, but only just; as it was, his jaw dropped, fangs on full display, panting openly as he steadfastly refused to let his tongue loll out. He moved to return the favor, only to find her jeans already open for him. That simple fact made his attempts to control himself so much harder, even before taking into consideration the rabbit's growing confidence in fondling him. His hand darted down, thumb finding the needy bunny's burning core. A single stroke broke her concentration utterly, making her cry out and hunch forward, her hot, rapid breath tickling him and making him twitch madly. His pads, while not coarse, were far rougher than her own hands and brought a relief she never could have managed on her own.

"G-god, Nick, please--" Judy mewled in a voice that was almost pathetic with need. If Nick couldn't see her face he might think she was about to cry.

"I've got you," he whispered, pressing into her with more force, pushing his whole hand into her pants with wild abandon, filling the space and his nostrils with the sweet scent that he had the oddest urge to cover himself in. He pulled her closer, his digits finding her soaking wet and white-hot, and he loved it. "I've got you, Judy." God, the things this rabbit did to him. He found himself quietly glad for the time to breathe, for what good it was doing. She was driving him mad. He slipped one finger in, taking heart from the bone-rattling moan she released, the way she clutched at him.

Nick had never been with a prey mammal before. He’d thought about it, of course, he figured most predators had; it was just easier to deal with one collar than two. He bit his lip and wondered why he hadn’t ever given it more serious consideration as she arched her back and he grazed lightly against her with his palm.

"Just like that, Nick," Judy gasped, her eyes snapping open and boring into him behind a burning, murky layer of something he couldn't quite identify. " Just like that. "

He said nothing, just drove deeper into her, taking extreme satisfaction in the series of moans and gasps she wasn't even trying to hide anymore. He dragged his claws on the outer edge of her, tempted to make a game of it, of how tightly he could wind her up--but that was the Asshole Fox talking, and he had something better to do--principally, the moaning wreck in his lap. He nuzzled deeply into her neck, heaving a deep breath, drowning himself in her scent, and pressed another finger in. He was no expert on rabbits, but judging from the "yesyesyesyes" that was steadily streaming from Judy's mouth, and the way she wrapped herself around his neck, he was pretty confident he was on the right track. "Shit, you're so small," he muttered--mostly to himself, as he wasn't entirely sure Judy could even hear him anymore. He let himself have one long, luxurious lick of Judy's shoulder before he started working his way up her neck with tiny, loving nibbles and then he curved his fingers just right--

Judy went absolutely rigid, her mouth open in a silent cry as her grip on the thick fur of Nick's neck turned to iron. "Oh," she managed in the barest whisper, again and again as she was overcome and held on to the warm, solid body of Nick for dear life. Nick kept going, gently drawing out her climax as long as he could, murmuring to her all along the way. The words didn't matter, just the soothing tone and affectionate nuzzles as she slowly made her way back from her spill over the edge. It took several long minutes of resting in his arms, but he didn't mind in the slightest. That he could have such an effect on her filled him with a certain macho pride that he refused to dignify with more than a spare thought.

"Nick," Judy finally slurred, as if waking from a deep sleep. "This wasn't supposed to be all about me."

Hearing his name, the fox dipped his head down and captured Judy's lips in a lingering kiss, swiping his tongue across her front teeth and flicking her own for the barest moment before pulling back with a wet smack worthy of the movies. "Catch your breath," he said quietly. "I'm not going anywhere."

She pressed her nose against his, a grin wide on her face. "I know," she stated simply. She pushed herself up and Nick finally slid his fingers free, drawing a small coo of contentment from her, and he realized that they were still drenched in her. She got her legs under her and did away with her sodden clothing. "Ugh, these are done for. Nick?"

One of his ears flicked in her direction, showing that he'd heard her, but his focus was on his hand. The scent of her arousal emanated from it in one, long unbroken wave and he pressed it closer to his snout to take a deeper draw from it, close enough to smear it, uncaring, on his nose. For a moment the scent was so intoxicating that he swore he saw double and, ignoring Judy's sputtering, stuck his tongue out and drew it slowly through his fingers, making various sounds of satisfaction. He only stopped when Judy uttered an absolutely scandalized exclamation of his name. "Sorry, Carrots," his face pulling back into a teeth-filled, predatory grin. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you are absolutely delicious."

"Oh my god --" the flustered rabbit pulled her ears down and tried to hide away behind them, prompting Nick to snicker. He grabbed his shirt and wiped his hands on it--it was fucked anyway. Once they were reasonably clean he set them back to work roaming his favorite bunny's body.

"I didn't mean to embarrass you," he said by way of apology, lightly raking his claws along her chest.

"I know," she admitted, peeking out from behind her ears with one eye. "It's just--when you tease me like that, Nick--"

He interrupted her, his voice calm and soothing. "I meant every word. I'm not here, doing this, to make you feel bad, and don't think for a second otherwise." He didn't know if it was his words or his ministrations, but the sweet smell of her arousal was clouding the air again, and Judy bit her lip behind her ears. He leaned back into the wall, enjoying the soft feeling of her fur, when he felt a pair of hands grasp him again. He offered a hum of pleasure, cracking one eye open to see her looking at him, a small smile on her face as she saw to him once more. She leaned down, not breaking eye contact as she slid out of his grip and offered him a number of kisses, peppering them across his head. He groaned and closed his eye again, basking in her determined attentions. His breaths deepened as she got the hang of using her hands to work the rest of him, sliding further and further down with each repetition. He clenched Judy's blanket in his hands and finally slipped into a nice groove, until--

"What the hell is that!?" God damn it. His eyes snapped open and he was upright in an instant.

"What? What's what!? " He quickly surveyed the room. He thought she'd locked the door. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, no horde of horrified rabbits gaping at their sister servicing a fox, so what-?

He looked down at Judy, her gaze locked on his cock. Ice doused his insides for a moment at the thought of her having found something awful on the surface of him, and he inspected himself closely. His head was fine, his shaft was goddamn magnificent, he didn't see anything wrong with--and he burst out laughing. He gave a titanic effort to stop, but his body refused him, his shoulders shaking with mirth. He grabbed his adorable, naïve little bunny rabbit and pulled her into a hug, laughing all the while until tears started to form and he devolved into silent giggles. At long last, he pulled back and chanced a look at Judy, who was making her displeasure at being the butt of an unknown joke clearly known. At least, that's what he assumed the murder in her eyes meant. "I'm sorry," he forced out between breaths. "I'm sorry, I really shouldn't have laughed, but--but you're--you are just the shittiest preddo I have ever seen."

Judy went rigid as he wiped the tears from his eyes, and she started to muster a righteous diatribe. "Wh--I--Nicholas P. Wilde, I am NOT--" she was cut off as something tapped at her. She looked down, confused, and her ears wilted as quickly as her argument at the undeniably predatory shaft pressing against her very naked body. She looked up at Nick, an eyebrow quirked upwards and a very smug grin on his face. "Okay. Okay, so maybe I'm giving the predophile experience a trial run. But don't change the subject, I still want to know what THAT--" she gestured at his length, "-is. Is that normal?"

Nick took a moment, blinking, before he rolled his eyes in amused resignation and sighed deeply, a grin tugging at his lips. Slow, he reminded himself. “It’s a knot, and yes, it’s completely natural and not weird at all. As long as you’re a fox or a wolf or something.”

Judy, now interested, leaned forward and touched it gingerly, prompting a quick and poorly-disguised gasp from the fox. “But what do you do with it ?

“Well, it--” Nick’s voice cracked as the other hand joined her explorations, and he cleared his throat. “It goes in. When we’re almost there.”

“You’re kidding,” she breathed. Her attention was riveted on her feathery touches, and Nick couldn’t resist the quick rush of flattery that came at her obvious fascination. “Why?”

Nick, for his part, leaned back once more, trying to slip back into the soft mood that Judy’s sudden alarm had broken. “Well, it gets bigger--”

Bigger? ” Judy’s ministrations ceased entirely for a moment, but when Nick let slip a sound of annoyance she quickly resumed.

“It gets bigger and--ah--locks us together. To improve our...chances.” Nick couldn’t help but respond with some of his own touches, hoping to spur the invested officer to greater action.

Some apprehension entered Judy’s voice, and her movements slowed. “Nick, I--I don’t know if I can, uh…”

“It’s okay,” he cut in, his voice husky. “We can ignore it, it’s alright. But--but Carrots, you just keep teasing me…”

"I'm sorry, Nick," Judy said, her voice quiet. "I didn't mean--"

"I know," he interrupted, his voice strained. She heard something shift against the fabric of her bed and felt the plush warmth of Nick's tail wrap comfortingly around her. "I know, and I'm sorry, I know I said slow, I just--it's your scent, Judy, and the way you touch me, it’s driving me nuts and I--I really--" he broke off into a loud groan that culminated in a sharp yip as Judy eagerly sought to make up for her mistakes by drawing her tongue languidly all the way up his length. She went to continue her work, but was stopped by one of his strong hands grasping her shoulder. Confused, she looked up at him, and saw his heaving chest, his eyes wide open with a hint of fear, and she saw his collar's light as he grasped it tightly; a steady yellow that was far more ominous than it really had any right to be. She reached out and massaged him, gently, his grip on her tightening somewhat but not stopping her as he blinked and the fear receded. After a few tense moments of heavy breathing from Nick, the light blinked back to green, and Nick spoke. "God. Okay. You caught me off-guard. Take it a little slower, and just--god, please, don't stop, not again, not if you don't have to."

Judy went right back to it, humming her assent while kissing him up and down, the sound moving through his entirety, any previous hesitation utterly obliterated. He interrupted his deep, measured breaths to give her encouraging noises, only a few of them approaching words. She moved in vague patterns, kissing and suckling the underside while her hands dealt out a mirror treatment on the other. She pressed forward, pushing him down somewhat so she could get a look at his face; his ears were flared out to the sides, eyes closed, seemingly lost in his own world. She couldn't deny the sense of power she felt, bringing such a mighty predator--HER predator--to his knees with just a few gentle touches. She didn't get too ahead of herself, however--she hadn't forgotten how quickly she'd submitted to his own touch, earlier. She worked her way up to the top again, each breath filled with Nick, filling her nostrils like fire; the whole of her ached to go, to throw herself into it full-tilt like everything else she did, but the ghost of a red light and a torturous crackle kept her grounded. When she reached his peak, she slipped her mouth around it, revelling unashamedly in the high-pitched whine that originated somewhere in his throat. She rose up, then slipped back down a little further than before, then again, slowly charting a little more of her course every time. Nick made several strangled sounds that he finally sorted out into a desperate plea.

"N-n-no, wait," he ground out, visibly restraining himself, but unable to stop a growl from rumbling through his chest.

Unhurried, Judy drew herself off of him, freeing herself with a lewd pop that she didn't even acknowledge, and spoke with a quiet calm. "Yes, Nick?"

His voice rasped out, and she could hear how difficult the words were for him to say. "The collar," he bit out in a pained voice, unable to bring himself to look at her. "Your teeth, t-they make me nervous, and I--I can't, not now, if I wasn't wearing it--I'm sorry, I'm sorry --"

Judy's heart broke at the pain and shame in the voice of the normally easygoing fox, and glared balefully at the offending article, willing it to break off and grind itself to dust; its light gleamed resolutely in response, flickering mockingly between green and yellow. She ran her fingers comfortingly through the fur on his stomach that wasn’t trapped under his bandages; she noted the tension that bled out of his body and filed that away for future use. "You don't ever have to apologize for that thing, not to me. I'm not the one who suffers if we mess this up. You've done so much for me already. We can do what you want, whatever it is."

When his hands crept out and gently pulled her closer to him, she let herself be pulled along. He placed his muzzle on the top of her head, and she felt him trembling, clutching her like he was drowning. "You," he whispered, in a voice so low that she couldn't help but be grateful for her sharp hearing. "I want you."

She looked in his eyes, then, his wonderful, vulnerable green eyes that reminded her of home, of everything vibrant and alive, and for a fleeting moment she saw exactly what he wanted. She saw a hundred different ways that he would give himself to her, that she would give herself to him, wild and free and full of joy, and the quiet moments afterward. She saw a hundred different things that they couldn't do, not tonight, because of one little loathsome piece of plastic and metal and fear.

Then the moment was over, and she surged forward, pressing her lips to his, pouring every ounce of warmth and devotion and yes, maybe even love that she could dredge up into the kiss; her hands bunched up in the fur of his neck that she couldn't seem to get enough of, willing, hoping that he understood everything she was trying to convey. She raised herself to his ears and breathed her own whisper into his confidence. "Then you get me, Nick." Operating on pure instinct, she pressed the soft fur of her chin into the top of his head, and fiercely rubbed it against him all the way down to the tip of his snout.

Before she could let herself be distracted again, she scooted back and grasped him, commanding his attention as she ground herself lightly against him. She grabbed one of his hands and placed it firmly on her backside, the other following up quickly, not needing an invitation. His thumbs played enticingly on her hips, and she smugly dispelled the last shred of hesitation in his gaze by raising herself up and firmly dropping down, her breath quickening and squeezing short gasps from Nick as she worked him inside. She stuck by her original assessment: he was big, and even she wasn't stubborn enough to work her way down to his hilt all at once. "I'm gonna...need to take this a little slow, Nick."

Nick, impossibly, managed to look her dead in the eye and give her a smug look. "Then I guess it's a good thing slow is the name of the game tonight, isn't it?" His grasp of her tightened for just a moment, and she didn't need words to know that he was with her every step of the way. She took the same approach as before, raising herself and dropping down a little more each time, steadily working herself further and further down his length. Each time she dropped, he tensed and his claws dug pleasurable paths through her fur. It took time, and effort, but the most determined officer of the ZPD finally tasted the sweet rush of victory as she bottomed out against Nick's knot, panting heavily, overwhelmed by the heat that filled her. She straightened herself out, meaning to ask for a few moments, but stopped short when she saw Nick's eyes shut tight, struggling to draw measured breaths, his collar burning that angry yellow.

She sat, patient, and let him take all the time he needed. He'd been so good to her, and she didn't dare give a single shred less than her absolute best. As searing as it was, the desire to move, to do whatever it took to sate the molten heat between her legs, quailed beneath her devotion to someone who had rapidly become one of the most important people in her life. She reached out and gently stroked his neck, brushing across his collar and surprising herself with the sheer depth of hatred she could harbor for an inanimate object. The light flicked back to green, and after a few more deep breaths, Nick's eyes opened and locked on to her. He didn't say anything, he just pulled her closer and pressed his hands, delicately, to her face, his thumbs grazing tenderly against her cheeks before he slowly drifted forward and pressed a sweet kiss to her lips. She didn't question him when he pulled away, not even when he pressed the side of his muzzle to her face, rubbing them softly together. Judy's sense of smell may not have been as powerful as Nick's, but the flowery scent that filled her nose was impossible to miss, as he repeated his actions on the other side of her face, and a final time across the top of her head, right between her ears. The farm girl part of her tried desperately to identify the familiar smell but failed completely as other priorities made themselves known. She burrowed into his chest, rubbing her chin against him as best she could, anywhere she could, taking solace in the slow, powerful beats of his heart and the mighty cadence of his carefully controlled breathing. A shiver of delight ran up her spine when she felt his fangs graze the edge of her ear, tracing its shape with infinite care and concern before breathing three simple words. "Are you ready?"

"Always," she breathed back, and pulled away as she felt his hands move behind her and resettle. She lifted herself up, just a little, Nick's strong grasp always with her, never asking for more or settling for less. She worked her original plan in reverse, lifting up a little bit more each time before sinking back down, clenching tightly, the deep, measured breaths of her fox always with her, never wavering. Her own breaths were a ragged mess, but she refused to let her rhythm falter, because she didn't want to consider what might happen if she ruined the delicate balance they'd struck. When, finally, she reached his tip once again, Nick introduced a new element to their pace--he thrust his hips up to meet her on the way down, causing her to cry out shamelessly. Her passionate voice joined the beat, complementing the sound of the predator rising up to meet his prey again and again and again. She tried to stay focused, stay in control, but it was a lost cause;  Nick's steady but relentless pace, the constant pounding of his heart under her hands, and soothing in and out of his powerful breaths all conspired against her, pulling her into an unforgiving ebb and flow, the passing of time a fevered dream. Her only concerns were Nick, herself, and all the sensations and noises the fox was gifting to her. It was finally her, however, who slipped out of the balance the fox had so painstakingly constructed. He was prepared for that, and without missing a beat he flopped onto his back and pulled her deep into his chest, kissing the top of her head and holding her still.

Words tumbled from his lips between breaths. "Let me handle the rest; I'm almost there." She meant to argue, something nagging at her to not let him take over, but then he started moving again and the only thing she managed to fill the silence with was moans. He held her steady while he rocked back and forth, sliding himself in and out and all she could do, all she could think to do, was fill her hands with whatever she could grip and hold on. She felt Nick's steady pace begin to pick up, breaking his self-imposed rhythm for the first time since they'd started, and she was suddenly aware of the desperate bent his gasping breaths had taken, felt the crescendo approaching, the tempo agonizingly leaving her climax just out of reach. As her thoughts turned to finishing, one in particular bubbled to the surface and she somehow found the words to give it life.

"N-Nick--your knot, what about--" she didn't get to finish as she was cut off by the sound of a ragged gasp meeting a desperate snarl.

"Next time," he hissed, and pointed his muzzle up, trying desperately to fill his lungs with cooler, better air, unaware of the satisfaction that took root deep in his partner.

With her sudden concern sated, something much more immediate made itself known. "So close, Nick--I'm so close--!" For a moment she was afraid that he hadn't heard her, or that he'd ignored her, when one of his hands relinquished its iron grasp of her and slid to her front, his thumb darting out to where they were connected. Then, with all the ceremony of flicking a light switch, he dragged her over the edge with him.

A broken whisper of "Judy" was all she heard as he drove deep into her, deeper than ever before, his knot hammering at her as his body tensed and she let out a soundless cry, a sunburst filling her vision, a searing heat filling her to the brim and more. The moment hung there, quiet, her body shaking relentlessly with the sensations cascading through her nerves like wildfire, until it was broken by another ragged gasp from Nick, another thrust, another burst of satisfying heat, another wildfire. It happened again, and again, and again, each one diminishing in intensity until all that was left was sparking aftershocks.

Judy recovered first, finding herself staring at the yellow light of Nick's collar while he weakly attempted to drive himself deeper into her, punctuating each attempt with a shallow breath, still attempting to adhere to a tattered discipline. She let go of the fur that still remained clenched in her fists and stretched out to grab Nick's muzzle in both hands. She spoke out, but wasn't prepared for the destroyed whisper her voice had become. "Nick," she called out, forcing him to face her, "Nick, you big dummy, come on back."

He slowed to a stop, but his breaths didn't, still coming rapid and shallow. His eyes slid open, and recognition was slow to appear, but appear it did. With what was seemingly a herculean effort, he wrapped his arms around her and flopped onto his side; seeing as how they were both connected, Judy came along for the ride but was far too tired to care. Nick took immediate advantage of this by tangling their legs together and curling around her, tail and all. They lay there for an indeterminate amount of time, Judy burying herself into Nick's heaving chest and basking in his scent while he focused on evening out his breathing, still wary of setting off his collar again.

The steadily deepening noise of Nick's focused breathing helped pull Judy down back to earth, helped soothe her own fiercely rapid heartbeat and lulling her into a sense of quiet calm. She listened to his heart beat, managing a guess as to when his collar would flick back to green, off by only a few seconds. It fascinated her, this heart of his, so much slower and more powerful than her own, with the potential to bring him pain where hers was completely unfettered. She waited for him, waited for him to emerge from his battle with himself, and when he did he pressed his nose between her ears and hid away there, filling his breaths with her, with her scent, openly and without reservation before speaking. "I cannot believe I didn't buzz myself."

Judy giggled and burrowed deeper into her new favorite color. There were going to be repercussions to deal with, and a case left to solve, but for once she decided that they could afford to wait a little while. Instead, she piped up. "Am I still the shittiest preddo you've ever seen?"

"Mmm," he hummed, considering. "First impressions, I'd give you a six outta ten, you've got some room to grow." At the weak thump of her tiny fist against his chest, his muzzle split into a grin and he gave her a teasing lick. "But I'd have to get more in-depth to really know for sure."

"Would that be next time, then?" She questioned coyly.

Nick cleared his throat, a little embarrassed. "I mean, uh. If you--want? I didn't really mean to imply anything, I just..."

"I get it, Nick. It was kind of a dumb time to ask. I don't have much practice at this yet." She pressed a kiss to the strong chest in front of her.

The fox paused. "Yet?"

She casually hummed her assent. "Mmhmm. After all, I should have my new key next time." He had no words to say to that. To her delight, he pulled her in tighter, moving his muzzle down where she could nuzzle freely against it, coiling his body around her as best he could. She brought one hand up to rub his jaw and pressed her nose gently between his eyes. "How long do you stay like this, anyway?"

His eyes opened and met hers, and her heart skipped a beat. His voice was quiet and gentle. "Oh, twenty or thirty minutes, give or take. I've heard it can get up to an hour, but I've never done it. You can get off whenever, but we kind of make a mess either way."

Her own voice softened to match his own and to dispel his worries. "This is a rabbit burrow, remember? We make lots of messes. Nobody will notice. Besides, far be it from me to end the authentic preddo experience early."

She thought he might have fallen asleep, it took him so long to speak again, but when he did she didn't hear any exhaustion in his voice. He sounded happy, and safe, and content. "I'm not going anywhere."

He would never see the smile she gave him, then, pressed into his snout as it was, his eyes already closed and basking in the presence of his energetic, caring rabbit. She whispered, not sure if it was directed more at him or herself. It was soft, determined, trusting, and full of faith. "I know."