A/N: I'm a fairly recent fan of Numb3rs and this is my first fanfic for the fandom. I like Nikki and after seeing her interaction with Colby in 'Arrow of Time', I couldn't resist writing a story about them. It's just a bit of fun, really. Anyway, I hope you enjoy. Oh, I own nothing! :)
Special Agent Colby Granger stopped to retie the laces on his running shoes. An evening run in the park was a great way to blow off steam after a long day at work. Of course, the rain was a minor problem to deal with, but at least it kept him cool... He straightened up and was about to continue his run when he heard a familiar yell.
"Come back here, you mangy mutt!"
The first thing Colby saw was a huge golden retriever bounding full-speed down the sidewalk. Walking the dog—or rather attempting to—was one Nikki Betancourt. She had the monster of a dog on a leash and was pulling back on it in a vain attempt to stop the dog. Her hair and exercise suit were soaked. She looked like she was undecided whether she was going to kill the dog or cry in pure frustration. All in all, she looked very pitiful.
"Nikki! I didn't know you had a dog," Colby grinned.
"I don't," panted Nikki, "A friend sweet-talked me into dog-sitting this weekend. How, I don't know."
She went over on her back as the dog jumped up on Colby.
"Whoa, easy, Big Fellow. Down."
The dog obediently went down.
"Good boy." Colby rubbed the dog's head.
"Figures," Nikki grunted, struggling to her feet.
"You're not a dog person, are you, Nikki?"
Colby scratched the dog's ears. "Don't take it personally, buddy."
Nikki rolled her eyes. "Alright, Dog Whisperer, how about you finish off his walk and I'll sit here and wait for you."
"Sure. We'll have a good time, won't we... Hey, what's your name, big guy?" Colby glanced up at Nikki.
"You better not be talking to me. He's Kitty."
"No, I'm not."
Nikki plopped down on the park bench. She jumped to her feet quickly as she came in contact with the cold, wet bench. Colby smirked. Nikki was not amused. He wisley decided to take off with Kitty before his coworker took out some of her pending frustrations on him.
"You two have fun." Nikki Betancourt, girl, you are way too soft. That is the last time you ever try and do something nice for anyone. Well, involving dogs, at least.
A good twenty minutes later, Colby and Kitty were back, both completely soaked and panting. Nikki was sitting on the bench, covered by a bright yellow umbrella—rather incongruous with the rest of her—reading a newspaper. She looked up as they ran up.
"You two both look like something the cat drug in. Oh, no, Colby!"
"What?!" Colby quickly glanced down to make sure he wasn't bleeding. She used much the same tone he'd heard in his co-worker's voices after a shoot-out.
"Did you take him swimming in a mud bath? Look at him!"
"Hey, it's raining! We couldn't avoid all the mud puddles."
"How can I take him back to my apartment? He's going to make a huge mess." Nikki moaned.
"Don't worry. We can give Kitty a bath."
Nikki raised an eyebrow in a gesture of incredulity. "I hope you are kidding."
"Nah, it'll be easy. C'mon."
"Oh, yeah, what's that?"
"How are we getting him back to my apartment like this? He's not riding in my car."
"Women, Kitty, they make such a big fuss over the little things. What's a little mud?" Colby glanced in his rear view mirror. Kitty seemed to be making himself quite comfortable in the backseat of Colby's car.
"Good thing I didn't have any plans."
Nikki still seemed incredulous when she greeted Colby at the front door of her apartment. She had laid down a trail of newspapers leading from the front door to the bathroom.
"I hope you know what you're doing, Granger."
"'Course I do. I had a dog once."
He stepped in.
Colby kicked off his shoes and padded into Nikki's apartment.
"Nice place you got here."
"No wonder she doesn't like mud, eh, Kitty?" Colby whispered.
"I heard that."
Kitty, as it turned out, did not approve of Colby's plan to give him a bath. He balked at the site of the bath tub. It was a two person, one dog fight to get the eighty plus pound retriever into the tub.
A few minutes later, red-faced, Nikki turned to her co-worker. "All your ideas this brilliant?"
"Shut up. I'll hold him; you hose him down."
Kitty howled and barked miserably as the two special agents struggled to scrub him down.
"Sorry, boy, I wouldn't like this girl shampoo either."
Nikki caught Colby in the chest with her elbow.
Kitty howled indignantly as the federal agents scrubbed the mud out of his fur.
"There you go, Kitty. All clean now." Colby released the dog, who with a joyful bark, leaped out of the bath tub and shook himself off, sending droplets of water all over the hapless agents.
Nikki grimaced as she wiped water off her face. She reached for her hair dryer and turned it on full blast.
"Nikki...what are you doing?"
"Drying off Kitty. I am not lettinghim out of here soaking wet. What, you never see a hair dyer before?"
Colby shrugged. He watched in amusement as Nikki blow-dried the golden retriever. Kitty seemed to be quite enjoying himself.
"Nikki, your friend: guy or girl?"
"A guy. Why?" She looked at him suspiciously.
"Nothing. Just wondering if he'll mind his dog smelling of Strawberry Sunshine."