It was a normal day for Gideon Grey. He was busy working in his bakery, selling various pastries as he had done for many years now. Today though, it seemed he was a bit distracted by something.
Many of his usual customers in the Burrows took notice of this, but any time one of them would ask about it, the fox simply said it was nothing and that he was just thinking too much.
As the clock ticked away to closing time in his shop, Gideon began contemplating what he would do for the evening. He was in the middle of these thoughts when the bell over his front door jingled, indicating he had another customer.
“Gideon’s Bakery, how can ah help you to...” He stopped when he saw who had entered. “Judy!”
Judy Hopps, now one of Zootopia’s best officers had stepped through the door with a smile on her face. She was wearing the normal clothes she wore when she was off duty. “Hi Gideon. How are you today?”
Gideon rubbed the back of his neck as he looked at his rabbit friend. “Ah’m doin’ alright, ah suppose. How about you?”
“Doing well. Thought I’d come by and pick up Mom and Dad’s recent order,” she told him.
“Oh! Right! Yeah, ah jus’ got through bakin’ ‘em a few minutes ago. Hang on a sec,” Gideon then disappeared into the back of his shop briefly, before coming out with one box holding a blueberry pie, and another box holding a carrot cake. He carefully set the two on the counter.
“Do we owe you anything for these today,” Judy asked.
“Nope. Yer dad already paid for ‘em,” Gideon told her. “Yer all set.” He then gave a quiet sigh as he stood there.
Judy was about to pick up the pastries when she heard the sigh. “Gideon... are you alright?”
Gideon looked up. “Huh? Oh... Yeah, ah’m okay. Ah’m just thinkin’ too much about stuff is all.”
“About what,” Judy asked, concerned for her friend.
“Awww, it’s nothin’ ya need ta worry about. Ah’m fine, really,” Gideon lied.
Judy just looked at him and shook her head. “You are not fine. Your ears are droopy. What’s wrong?”
Gideon shook his head and gave another sigh. “It’s stupid, Judy, and ah don’t wanna bring ya down.”
Judy walked over to Gideon, and took his paw. “Something is clearly bothering you. Please tell me. I can’t help if I don’t know what’s going on.”
Gideon looked at his rabbit friend, who just stood there with a gentle, comforting smile. “It’s.... Well... Judy, mah birthday is tomorrow.”
Judy’s eyes raised a bit at this, but she remained calm, sensing there was more. “Go on...”
“Ah ain’t really lookin’ forward to it though, cuz ah always end up spendin’ it alone. Kinda hard ta make the day special when yer all alone,” the fox explained.
“Oh...” Judy frowned momentarily, but then dropped the frown. “Gideon, why don’t you spend it with your family?”
“Ah ain’t got none. Mah dad died when ah was a kit, and mah mom passed away a few years ago. And ah ain’t got any siblings.”
The frown on Judy’s face returned. “Oh, Gideon, I’m so sorry.”
“It is what it is, Judy. There ain’t a thing ah can do about it. But yeah, it means ah’m gonna be alone on mah birthday this year.”
Judy stood there in silence for several moments before shaking her head. “No.”
Gideon looked at her, confused. “No? No what?”
“You’re not going to be alone. Absolutely not. I want you to come to mom and dad’s place first thing tomorrow. You close your bakery on Saturdays anyway, right? I want to see you there no later than ten AM tomorrow.”
“But Judy, ah can’t just...”
“Tell me you’ll come, Gideon. Please? Don’t ask me to go home knowing you’re stuck alone tomorrow.”
“But what are ya gonna...”
Judy looked him in the eyes. “You’ll find that out tomorrow. Please just promise me you’ll come.”
“Alright Judy, ah’ll be there. Ah promise.”
“Good,” Judy said as she picked up the pie and cake. “And if you’re not there, I’ll come by and arrest you for lying to an officer.” She said this with no seriousness in her voice at all, clearly only joking.
Gideon actually smiled. He knew that she wouldn’t do that. “Can’t have an arrest on mah record, so ah guess ah better make sure ah’m there, right?”
“Right. See you tomorrow, Gideon,” Judy headed toward the door.
Gideon quickly rushed over to hold the door open for her. “See you tomorrow.”
As Gideon watched Judy leave, he couldn’t help but chuckle. The rest of the day was much more pleasant for him, and by the time he closed the shop to head home.
Once he got to his trailer, he was quick to head for a shower, as he often did after work, then made himself something to eat. After that, he watched a bit of TV before heading to bed.
The next morning, he awoke and a up in bed. He gave a bit of a sigh at the realization of what today was, but he then remembered the promise he made to Judy. Looking at his clock showed it was roughly eight thirty, which meant he had an hour and a half to get dressed, eat breakfast and get to Judy’s house.
It didn’t take him quite that long. After putting on some clean clothes and having a bowl of oatmeal, Gideon set out to the Hopps home, arriving there a short time later.
Looking around, he didn’t see Judy or her parents, so he walked over the front door of their home and knocked.
A few seconds later, he was greeted by Stu Hopps, who saw Gideon and smiled. “Gideon! Glad you could make it! Come on in. Oh! And happy birthday!” He stepped aside.
“Thanks, Mister H.,” Gideon said as he entered. When he did though he was nearly run over by a couple of Judy’s siblings, who were racing about the house chasing each other.
“Judy! Gideon’s here,” Stu called out.
A few moments later, Judy walked into the room. She quickly raced over and hugged Gideon. “Happy birthday, Gideon.”
Surprised by the hug, Gideon’s eyes grew, but he hugged back. “Thanks, Judy.”
Judy then let go of him. “You’re welcome... Now come on... I’ve got something to show you.” Judy then grabbed the fox’s arm, pulling him along, until they got to the back door, which she then opened, pulling Gideon outside again.
Gideon was surprised to see that the back yard had been decorated with balloons and streamers. There was also a huge banner hanging from a couple trees that read ‘Happy Birthday’ and had several different sized rabbit pawprints painted on it. “Y’all didn’t haveta go through this much trouble fer me.”
“Wasn’t any trouble at all,” came the voice of Judy’s mother, Bonnie, from behind them. “Gideon, no one should have to be alone on their birthday. Besides, you’re part of our family.”
Gideon’s jaw dropped hearing those words. “What did ya say there, Mrs H..? Ah think ah may have heard ya wrong.”
“She said you’re family,” Judy told the fox. “We love and care about you just as much as if you were our own flesh and blood.”
“Ah... ah don’t.... Ah mean...” Gideon blushed. “Aw shucks... That means a lot ta me. It really does.”
Judy hugged him again. This time, she was also joined by Stu and Bonnie.
Gideon hugged back and looked around with a smile. “Still can’t believe ya did this just fer me.”
“Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet,” Judy told him.
Over the next several hours, the smile on Gideon’s face only grew. It seemed every one of the Hopps family members had taken to giving him a gift.
From the youngest siblings came a pie made of mud with a small box of rocks and sticks. This made Gideon smile even though he couldn’t really do anything with the gift.
The slightly older rabbits had taken to making him birthday cards or pictures.
The entire family had put together a video where they all sat together and sang Happy Birthday for him. This had gotten Gideon teary eyed.
“Thank ya... All of ya... Ya made this one of the best birthdays ah’ve ever had.”
Judy smiled. “We’ve got one last gift to give you, Gideon,” Judy told him. She then disappeared into the house and came back out with a large carrot cake. One that seemed a fair bit bigger than the one Judy had picked up from his shop the day before.
The cake had orange frosting on top with the words ‘Happy Birthday’ on it, and also had a few candles on it, which were lit.
“Ya actually made this... fer me?”
“Yup.” Judy carefully set the cake down. “Make a wish, Gideon.”
Gideon stood there in front of the cake for a few moments before he blew out the candles.
This caused a lot of the younger bunnies to cheer.
“Ah really don’t know what ta say. When ah woke up, ah was expectin’ it ta be a day where ah was just sittin’ around feelin’ sorry fer myself. This was a much better way ta spend the day.”
On that note, the cake was then cut up, being served along with some ice cream. It seemed that several cakes had actually been made, because all of Judy’s siblings each had a piece of cake by that point.
When the cake and ice cream were all gone, Gideon looked around at his new family. He still couldn’t believe all that Judy and her family had gone through just to make his birthday special.
“So... can we count on seeing you for Easter,” Judy asked with a grin.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Gideon said as he sat there, smiling and happy. He knew he wouldn’t have to face being alone again anymore.