"You have got to be kidding me!" Nick exclaimed. Greg was bent down nose to nose with a small furry creature in a cage.

"No I am completely serious Nicky, I think it's a good idea, she can keep you company while I'm gone"

"But a rat Greg? Why not a kitten or a nice goldfish?"

"I'm not your little goldfish though, am I?" Greg teased. "Come on now isn't she cute?" He asked as he scooped her out of the cage and held her out to Nick. The little rodent blinked up at an uncomfortable Nick. It was clear Greg wanted him to hold her, but Nick was not about to do so.

"No? you're gonna make her sad Nicky!" Greg placed her on his shoulder "suit yourself, but I like Sandy." Nick rolled his eyes, Sandy? Someone has seen Grease too many times! For the rest of the day Sandy and Greg were inseparable, and by the end of the afternoon she had learned at least four tricks, including coming when called. Nick attempted to avoid his boyfriend and his new pet, but at in the evening it became more difficult.

"Come here Nicky darling!" Greg called from the couch. Nick new he was in for trouble, he was "Nicky darling" when Greg was about to try and make him do something he didn't want to. "Snuggle with us?" He asked, making the face he knew Nick couldn't resist. Nick looked down at his reclining boyfriend, the offer was tempting, but there was a rat on his chest.

"No thanks, not as long as that rat is out."

"That rat" is going to be solely in your care starting tomorrow night, I suggest you get to know her!"

Greg had an expression on his face somewhere between a pout and his version of a death glare, Nick caved.

He settled down, his back to the arm of the couch, Greg reclined and rested flush against him. Sandy sat on Greg's chest. Soon Greg and Nick became absorbed in whatever documentary was on TV and Sandy became preoccupied with exploring Nick. Nick was not pleased, especially because he was pinned to the couch with no way to escape. Finally he could not take it anymore he got off the couch leaving a hurt Greg and an oblivious Sandy.

Greg barely spoke to Nick the next day, he was still upset about the night before. Just before he left for his conference he gave Nick instructions.

"Feed her and change her water once a day, and on Tuesday clean out her cage. Don't forget she likes attention, play with her sometimes, try and bond a little or something!" He said as he kissed Nick on the cheek and left for his lecture.

Bond a little? With the rat? Oh well I'll just take care of her until he gets back and he'll never know the difference. Nick thought as he settled into Greg's favorite chair to watch a few hours of television. Before he went to bed Nick examined the creature now occupying a small space in the corner of the kitchen. She was a blond color, sort of like Greg's hair, then it clicked. Sandy, of course! Sandy...Sanders, Nick's little lab rat. Greg sure had an odd sense of humor. Well it wasn't supposed to be funny, Nick thought. It was sweet Greg didn't want him to be lonely while he was gone even if it was for three days. Leave it to Greg to pick something unusual.

The next morning before work Nick fed and watered Sandy, and sort of half petted her. He was not going to be intimidated by a rat. When he got home very late in the evening he checked on her again. He peered into the cage...he looked harder...he got down on his hands and knees and looked closer, there was no rat in the cage. Damn it! Where did it go! For the next hour and a half Nick turned the apartment upside-down looking for Sandy, but eventually he had to give up for the night, but not after heading out to the nearest 24 hour convenience store to by a set of humane traps for the apartment. Nick felt ridiculously like Elmer Fudd setting a trap for Bugs Bunny. He knew it was useless but he still had to try.

THAT MORNING AFTER NICK LEFT

Sandy ate a little of her food and drank some water. it was then she noticed that the door to her cage was open. Mine doesn't leave my door open, she thought. then she realized Hers did not come to visit her. only the other one, the one that didn't like her came to see her. she wondered where her

Hers was. so she decided to go look for him. she smelt Him in a cabinet but it turned out to be just a bag of some dark funny smelling beans, and they didn't taste very good she noted. then she thought she could smell Him coming from a different room in the house. she had never been in this room before, it was sort of cold and slick and it smelt really funny, she could not see Him anywhere so she decided to search the rest of the house. she didn't find him but she did find lots of boxes with treats in them. she like finding those. even if they were really hard to get out of. eventually she had to give up, He was clearly not in the house anywhere. that made her a little sad. she liked it when He played games with her. she wandered her way into the room that smelt like Him the most and found a soft spot to sleep. her last thought before falling asleep was i wonder if he will ever come back?

Nick's mind was not on work that day, he kept imagining what would happen to him if he never found Sandy. Greg would probably never speak to him again. That night he raced home again, and checked all the traps. They were all empty, but there was no Sandy anywhere. The next day Greg would be home and he would be in serious trouble if he couldn't find Sandy. He briefly contemplated buying a new rat but he was sure Greg would be able to tell the difference. Again he turned the place upside-down, reset all the traps and went to bed.

Nick was twice as fidgety at work, the time to find Sandy was running short and he was stuck in the desert collecting evidence on a case he would normally find amusing. There was a body buried head down in the sand, and rigor had caused the legs to stick straight up, today however it was not funny. After he got off work he checked all the traps again, they were all empty. I'm really screwed now. Nick frantically searched the apartment again before collapsing on the couch. He only meant to lay for a moment to think of a new strategy, he even turned on the TV. Perfect, he thought, Grease is on, I'm being mocked...but as soon as he lay down he was fast asleep.

WHILE NICK SLEPT

Sandy heard a familiar sound...it sounded like the song that Hers would sometimes sing to her. the one with her name in it. she scampered out to the big room with the Tvbox in it. Hers was not there, but the other one was. she could tell he was asleep. also that he had been moving a lot, he smelt a little like sweat. she could also tell he was not happy. maybe it is because he misses mine too. anyway Sandy thought she would be nice and try to be his friend, maybe it would make them both feel better. she made her her way onto the couch and rested on his chest like she would do with Hers.

It was about four in the morning when Greg got home. He stood in the doorway taking in the sight. The apartment was a mess, stuff was everywhere. The TV was on and all the food from the cabinets was on the kitchen table. He surveyed the living room. It was then he looked at the couch. Greg smiled, it was probably the cutest thing he had ever seen. Nick was fast asleep, his hand rested on and equally asleep Sandy. He didn't think they would ever get along, but it looked like they had found something in common after all.