After seeing Nick off on his camping trip, Judy helped get things ready for the Generations Day celebration at the new warren. She worked alongside Hazel, who was quieter than usual. Judy didn’t find out why, until her sister asked her over for tea in the apartment at the warren that she and Zeke had recently moved into.
“Zeke and I had a huge blowout last night.” Judy knew that tea with Hazel meant a lengthy discussion of some sort, so she simply nodded and waited for her sister to continue. “It’s hard to explain what we fought about, so I’m just going to dive right in. There were… complications at the end of my last pregnancy. The doctor advised me not to have any more kits, and honestly I do feel like eight is plenty.” Judy heard the hesitancy in Hazel’s voice, but decided not to interrupt. “Actually, let me back up a bit. After we got married, Zeke and I tried to have kits for almost a year before I found out, well, it wasn’t possible for me to get pregnant the usual way. We ended up seeing a specialist, and in-vitro fertilization worked. As part of the IVF procedure we had over thirty fertilized eggs frozen, and thawed them out as we had them implanted over the years. Only four are left, and--” Hazel’s voice quivered momentarily, until she took a sip of tea and continued. “It’s ridiculous to keep paying to store them. Zeke wants to just donate them to bunnies who can’t have kits of their own, but… oh Judy, I don’t want a stranger raising my babies. I want you to have them!”
Judy was stunned. She reflexively reached out to hug Hazel as her sister wept, and Judy’s mind reeled as she tried to wrap her head around what her sister had just said. Kits of her own? Judy thought about the attack that had put her in the hospital years ago. She’d mostly recovered, except for the permanent damage to her ovaries. Judy hadn’t pursued the matter further because she figured if she was going to have someone else’s kits, she might as well just adopt and avoid pregnancy altogether. But this was different.
Judy sighed and shook her head when she realized now why Hazel had been so obsessed with finding out if Nick wanted kits or not. “Look, I don’t even know… well, I’d need to see a doctor first. This is a lot to take in, Hazel. And I need to discuss it with Nick.”
Hazel wiped her eyes and nodded. “You don’t have to decide right away. I had hoped to get Zeke to agree that we should give them to you before we talked, but instead I got him to pay for one final month of storage--”
Judy frowned. “Waitwaitwait… Zeke doesn’t--”
Hazel interrupted Judy. “Zeke isn’t crazy about Nick helping to raise the kits. But I think I can convince him--”
“Oh sweet cheese and crackers.” Judy held up a paw to keep Hazel from interrupting her again. “If Zeke isn’t on board, none of this matters.”
Hazel nodded. “I’m glad they went camping together. I’m sure Nick will win him over, once Zeke gets to know him.” Hazel laughed nervously. “They’ll probably be best friends when they get back.”
Judy smiled encouragingly, but considering Zeke’s behavior recently, she was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen, no matter how charming Nick could be.
Hazel bit her bottom lip and looked at Judy wistfully. “At least think about it, okay?”
It was the only thing Judy could think about all that evening and through a very sleepless night. She felt like she was being torn in so many directions, and Judy wished that Hazel had talked to her sooner. Then the worrying began. How would she arrange things with work if she decided to go through with this? It would be easier to raise kits in the new warren, but would Nick be accepted there? Would Nick even want to raise kits with her, especially if Zeke was the biological father? And speaking of Zeke, why was he such a jerk towards Nick? After that, she worried about talking to Nick when she wasn’t even sure if IVF would allow her to have kits of her own, and then she realized pretty much everything hinged on this. So as soon as Doctor Avery’s office opened the next morning, Judy called to schedule an appointment and was relieved when a recent cancellation allowed them to squeeze her in at lunchtime on Monday. At least she’d find out if it was even possible for her to have kits this way without a long wait.
Judy dropped her car off for some long overdue maintenance and rode the bus to the warren. She saw a sheep reading the Zootopia Gossip , and couldn’t help but roll her eyes when she spotted the headline: Massive protests over pred/prey scandal with a picture of a half dozen protesters. Clawhauser had already called to talk to her about the ‘huge protests’ over the previous ZG article. Only a few KWK members were picketing outside the mayor’s office, and she smiled when she remembered the last thing the cheetah had said: “No one is paying attention to them, so don’t worry your fluffy little bunny head until Monday.”
Judy was on autopilot all day, but thankfully she was so busy, time flew by and that night she went to bed excited that Nick would be back in the morning. Judy was exhausted. She immediately fell asleep when her head hit the pillow, and she slept soundly through the night.
The next morning, Judy ran to hug Nick as he stepped off the bus. She had never seen him looking so disheveled before. “What happened to your fur?”
Nick hugged her back. “Don’t ask, Carrots.”
Judy looked up into his face and smiled. “Aww, my poor fox. Tell me all about the camping trip.”
“Well, I got into a fight with a sticker bush and lost, met some bears who taught me how to clean fish, and for some reason, Zeke hates me even more than he did before.”
Judy thought about teasing Nick, but by the tone of his voice she could tell the last part about Zeke really bothered him. It bothered her, too, and it certainly made the whole egg situation more complicated. Judy cast around for something to say, until she noticed her parents hugging nearby. “Dad likes you, though. I can tell.”
Nick raised an eyebrow. “How do you know?”
“Because mom looks happy.”
Nick chuckled. “Yeah, at least he and I got to talk a bit.”
Judy sniffed and scrunched up her face. “You smell horrible. We should go home and get you cleaned up.” She tried to pull away, but Nick gripped her tighter and she giggled. “Ugh, let me go, you stinky fox.”
A wicked grin spread across Nick’s face. “Just trying to get you nice and gross so you’ll join me in the shower.”
Judy laughed. “Naughty sly fox.”
Later that day, Judy would have preferred to go with Nick and her dad when Stu offered to show the fox around the warren, but her mom and Hazel begged her to stay and help them in the central kitchen with last minute preparations. Judy had a pretty good idea what the real reason was, and sure enough, right after Nick and her dad left, her mom said, “It sounds like Nick is open to taking care of kits with you someday, Judy.”
Judy sighed and put down the tray she was carrying. “I don’t want any of you bringing this up around Nick until we’ve talked first, and that isn’t going to happen until I’ve had a chance to see the doctor and everything gets worked out with Zeke. I don’t want Nick getting caught up in all of this and worrying for no reason.”
Bonnie nodded and said, “I asked your dad to try to find out why Zeke was so angry with Nick while they were camping, but he didn’t make much headway.”
Judy huffed. “I can’t believe I’m the last one to find out about all this.”
Hazel said, “Only mom and a few of our sisters know about the eggs. And I didn’t want to worry you until Zeke and I had worked things out. At least he finally agreed to go to counseling with me.”
Judy shook her head. “See if you can find out what his problem is with Nick while you’re there.” When she noticed the guilty look on Hazel’s face, she sighed. “Look, I’m still trying to process all this, and it all hinges on two things. At least one of them is under my control, and I’m scheduled to see the doctor on Monday.” Hazel started to bounce excitedly, and Judy glared at her so she wouldn’t interrupt. “And can we please, please talk about something else?”
Instead, they worked quietly for a few minutes before Judy decided to go look for Nick. “Where did dad say they were going?”
Hazel said, “Through the greenhouses and then down to look at the aquaponics setup.”
As Judy walked towards the exit, she rolled her eyes when her mom and Hazel started to talk about Zeke going to counseling and how he and Hazel could work things out.
Judy raced down the stairs and ran into her dad in the greenhouses, where he explained that Nick had decided to go find her in the central kitchen. She ran back and was about to go up the stairs when the elevator dinged and Nick stepped out.
“There you are, Carrots. Your mom said you were looking for me.” His voice sounded odd, but before she could say anything Nick asked, “So, how many mammals are coming to the shindig today?”
Judy smiled and gave him an odd look. “Shindig?”
“I’m just practicing for when I talk to all you country bumpkin bunnies later.”
Judy locked her arm in his and pulled Nick towards an exit. “It’s open to the public, but Hazel doesn’t think it’ll be anyone besides the rabbits working here, and their families.”
Nick grinned. “So only a few hundred thousand rabbits then?” Judy punched him on the arm. “Ow... you’re the one who told me that rabbits are good at multiplying.”
They stepped outside into a small courtyard shaded by tall trees. Judy’s face brightened. “Oh, they’re announcing the new name today. It’s going to officially be called the Zootopia Urban Farm.”
As they walked towards a large open area, Nick said, “No warren or burrow in the name? I’m shocked.”
“They decided on something more generic because of the sponsoring corporation. Plus a rabbit specific name would have been pretty inconsiderate if other mammals are going to be involved here too, right?”
They had just stepped out from under the trees and into the dazzling sunshine when Judy got a text from Hazel:
Can you come to the front entrance? Zeke says there’s a problem. And bring Nick if he’s around.
Minutes later, Judy and Nick arrived at the front entrance to find a group of mammals carrying signs, including one held up by a porcupine that said, Interspecies relationships are unnatural . The small mob of about a dozen protesters all wore shirts that had Kind with Kind emblazoned across the front. Standing off to one side was Marmota, camera in hand.
The porcupine, along with a sheep and an armadillo, were in a heated discussion with Zeke, while several rabbits from the warren milled around behind him uncertainly. They were all standing under a large banner that read: Generations Day celebration at Zootopia Urban Farms, sponsored by HERD Inc.
As Judy and Nick came closer, they heard Zeke say, “This is private property. Well behaved visitors can come to the celebration, but no signs, and if you’re disruptive you’ll be asked to leave.”
An angry murmur arose from the protesters when Judy and Nick arrived. Judy pulled out her badge and said, “Officer Hopps, ZPD. What’s going on here?”
Before any of the mammals could respond, there was the sound of a camera shutter, which caused Judy to turn and glare at Marmota. The woodchuck continued to snap pictures of the confrontation, and Judy moved in his direction. Nick turned to follow her, just as the armadillo raised the sign he was holding and swung it at the fox’s head.