Judy's ears perked up as the door clicked open. She bounded out of the kitchen into the hallway, beaming brightly.
“Hey there, Nick! How was your day?”
Nick let the door creak slowly shut behind him. The bags under his eyes were worse than usual, and he was slouched over as though weighed down by the world. “Hellish,” he said finally.
Judy raised an eyebrow, a slight smirk forming on her face. “More or less hellish than usual?”
“More. Definitely more.” Nick shuffled forward into the sitting room, dumping his bag against the wall.
Judy followed behind him. “That's right... Monday is when you have the most physical training, isn't it?”
“I still think it doesn't count as 'training' if they end up breaking you,” protested Nick flatly. “I'll be no use as a cop if I'm a pile of... broken bones and pulled muscles.” Nick let himself collapse onto one of the couches, landing face first and bouncing slightly. “Ow,” he added.
Judy walked around him, still smiling. “Well, you'll be no use as a cop if you can't chase down any bad guys either! Don't worry about it. I struggled with the physical stuff for ages. You'll get there eventually.”
Nick pulled a cushion into his face. “Mmmmmmmmmph,” he said.
“That's the spirit! Besides, you're awesome at the academic classes. You're doing great, Nick.” Judy opened the door connecting the sitting room to the kitchen. “I gotta finish these dishes real quick, okay?”
“Mmmmmph,” said Nick.
Judy leaped back onto the tall stool she'd been using to reach the sink. “You really need to take better care of this kitchen,” she called as she resumed scrubbing dirty plates. “I mean, this house is lovely!”
“Mmmmmmmmmph!” Nick countered.
Judy nodded. “Yeah, that's fair. You can't be expected to do too much when you come home so tired every day. But that's just one of the many reasons you're lucky to have such an understanding and supportive roomie, right?”
“Right! Plus, you get to come home at the end of every day. I had to take a room at the academy.” Judy gestured with the sponge, sending flecks of soapy water in various directions. “It was okay, but I really missed my own room back home, y'know?”
“Yeah.” There was a few moments of silence as Judy finished up the plates and Nick lay still on the couch.
“I'm real glad I was able to move in,” Judy said after a while. She took a bowl from the pile of clean dishes and started to dry it. “I mean, my apartment was just the worst. And with you finding it harder to make rent...” She chuckled. “Must've been tough to give up the tax-free income of a semi-legal con artist, huh?”
“Mph,” said Nick sourly.
“But things worked out pretty great,” Judy said quietly. “You got to keep your house, I got to move in somewhere way nicer, and... we both got a cool room-mate.”
With difficulty, Nick turned himself over on the couch, moving to lie on his back. He rubbed his eyes with one hand and cleared his throat.
Then he picked up another cushion and held it into his face.
“Mmmmmmph,” he said.
“Exactly.” Judy pulled the stool into the living room, then headed back into the kitchen. “Oh, Chief Bogo was asking about you today!” She dropped her voice as low as she could to imitate the chief's mighty baritone. “'How's Wilde finding academy life?'... I told him, 'Every day he comes home and says he's in hell!' And he said, 'Good. That means it's working.'”
“Yeah, yeah. Like I said, you'll get there.”
Nick heard Judy re-enter the room and put something on the stool. “Speaking of the chief, I gotta dash. I got the night shift tonight, so you'll have to cook your own dinner for once.” She patted him absently on the arm. “You take it easy, y'hear?”
Nick pushed the cushion off his face, but his eyes were still closed. “Believe me, Carrots, I will.”
“Heh, thought so.” Judy went to the hallway and easily jumped into her coat, which was hanging from a hook at fox height. She landed lightly and hefted up her bag. “See ya later, Dumb Fox!”
Nick didn't open his eyes until he heard the door shut. He looked blearily over to the stool. She had left him a bowl of blueberries.
Nick smiled quietly to himself, picking out a handful. “... Sly Bunny.”