Disclaimer: I do not own Codename Kids Next Door.
She was staring again, and she hated herself for it. He probably got treated like this all the time and he really didn't deserve it. It wasn't his fault, and if the latest mission reports from Sector V were factual, then he more then made up for it in the field. He was one of the rare ones who took his career seriously the moment he moved up from a cadet and she respected him for it. But that didn't change the fact that she was being so obnoxious and staring. And he knew it too.
Well, maybe he didn't. With those intimidating sunglasses, it was hard to tell. But she could hope, right?
Rachel McKenzie, or Numbuh 362, strictly averted her eyes from the operative off to her left and tried to focus on the Supreme Leader speaking in front of them. The three of them were located in one of the many debriefing offices in the Kids Next Door Moonbase, being prepped on the mission they were about to undertake. The blonde was veering off from her main case due to stale leads. Her investigation into the Delightful Children's possible overseer had come up with little to no answers. She didn't even have a solid name yet, but from what she could find the adult called himself 'Father' or something along those lines. But that wouldn't cut it, she needed more information, and hopefully this mission might bring some up.
But how in the world could she even think of the mission when her mind kept trailing back to her partner? It was ridiculous, but she couldn't help it. The guy was just so–
"Did you get that, Numbuh 362?"
Rachel snapped out of her train of thought when Numbuh 100 directed his attention solely on her. She turned towards the stern eyes of the Supreme Leader, and couldn't help but shuffle her feet in slight embarrassment. "Yes, sir." She really didn't, but she always paid attention before, so maybe he'd buy it.
The boy's eyes were hidden under his chocolate bangs, but after a few passing moments, he just clicked his tongue and let his southern accent drawl out once more. "Then you have your orders." He then turned his body towards the leader of Sector V, and nodded when the boy snapped into a sharp salute. "I'll leave you to relay all the current information to Numbuh 1, as well to get better acquainted. This will be the first of a series of mission you two will be on together until we have this adult pinned." His hands then zipped squarely to his back, and Rachel followed into a salute as well as Numbuh 100 prepared to make his exit. "Report to shuttle bay six at 0930 hours. Dismissed!"
"Aye, sir!" Both children spoke in unison as the brunette left the room. As the metal doors clicked closed, Rachel gathered herself as she extended her fist to the operative next to her. "Hello. I'm Numbuh 362, Stealth Tactical of Sector Q and soon to be Second-In-Command of Field Espionage."
The turtleneck wearing boy only nodded as he returned her hand gesture. "Numbuh 1, Leader of Sector V. Pleasure to be working with you, m'am." Nigel's hands returned to their parade-rest position behind his back as he awaited the girl's response. But then his brow arched slightly when he noticed she was just staring upwards a tad. "M'am?"
"Wha? Oh! Yes, likewise." Rachel quickly mumbled as she tore her gaze away. He was British too? Well, she really didn't know how to feel about that. Besides, it wasn't his accent that had her so distracted. It was his –
Dang it, she was staring again!
"Let's…just go over what we know, shall we?" Rachel managed to get out as she fumbled around in the pockets of her stealth outfit. She just needed to be calm about this. Just focus on reading what's on the paper and not let anything stupid slip out. Yeah, simple. After unfolding the parchment, the petite blonde cleared her throat and began. "I'm currently investigating the Delightful Children. More specifically, the adult they are rumored to be taking orders from. And now my sources are all pointing to this new guy. He hasn't openly attacked us, but we have enough evidence to begin checking him out."
At her words, Nigel's brow crinkled a bit. "Yes. An agent claiming to work for him disabled two of my team. I want to make sure he doesn't get the chance to do anything like it again."
Rachel's coco pupils flicked upwards towards the Brit as he spoke. Apparently Sector V was ambushed and the agent attempted to take them out of the picture. He failed, but not before he managed to cripple Numbuhs 8A and 8B. The two Sector V veterans would be trapped in the hospital, and would need to be decommissioned due to age long before they could get back on their feet. That left the sector with only three operatives, and a new villain on the horizon. Seeing as he was the one able to get the attacker to talk, Numbuh 1 was assigned as her partner on this case. There were whispers that Numbuh 274 helped the Brit get on this mission, but only to look out for the rest of his sector. She found it admirable. The boy looked out for his teammates and she was sure they did the same.
But how could they not? She was pretty sure the kid was hard to miss given his– No! Don't think about that again. She was better then that! The blonde growled lowly to herself as she bored into the report she was clutching. All she needed to do was read the words and keep her mind focused.
Nothing could possibly go wrong.
"First the basics. The guy were going to be aiming for calls himself Mr. Bald – BOSS!" She hastily corrected as her cheeks became beat red. She chanced a peek upwards, and only became more flustered when she saw Nigel's blank expression. She lowered her head towards the paper to hide her shame. Okay, that won't happen again. "He's, uh, been doing a great job of covering his under the table, anti-kid dealings so far, but this time he got hairless – C-CARELESS! I meant careless, dangit!"
Nigel watched on with that same, blank, stoic feature that made his emotions impossible to read. After a second, a thin brow rose up to his nonexistent hairline as he watched the blonde spy-girl shake her head; ashamed of her comments apparently. "Is there something bothering you?"
"No, don't worry. Everything's fine Numbuh Bald…I-I mean One!" Rachel felt like slapping her head, but could anyone honestly blame her? There was nothing on his head! Nothing! No trimmed hair, fuzzy hair, nada! Not even a single strand. Just a smooth clear canvass of pale skin, and she couldn't help but stare at it.
Rachel wriggled her hands about in a motion to calm herself. "Really! It's nothing."
Nigel's shades lowered a tad, allowing her the rare sight of his coal blue optics; a nice pleasant distraction from her current worry. "Listen," His smooth words broke the trance, and she was fumbling around once more. "If you want to, I can –"
"N-No! It's not you!" Rachel amended. "I'm sorry. I don't mean anything by it, it's just…I don't know what's wrong with me right now. I'm never this rude; never rude at all actually. And I know you must catch so much grief for something that's not your fault." She mumbled apologetically with a lowered head. Rachel then rose her chin up, let out a long steadying breath, and cleared her jumbling thoughts. "But please be rested assured Numbuh 1, that it won't ever happen aga – "
"Just get it all out."
"BALD!" Rachel wildly snapped. Her finger reared upwards, shaking slightly and pointing right at Nigel's cleared head. "BALD BALD BALD! YOU ARE BALD! WHEN YOU GO TO THE MALL PEOPLE MISTAKE YOU FOR MR. CLEAN BECAUSE YOU ARE THAT FRIKIN' BALD! YOU'RE SO BALD THAT YOU COULD BE MALE PATTERN BALDNESS' SPOKESMAN!" The blonde ranted, her cute eyes twitching a bit.
Nigel only stood there as he let the girl get it out of her system. As she went on, he dusted off his knuckles and flicked a small cookie crumb he found lodged between his nails. How did that get there? He folded his hands again, and glanced towards Rachel as she heaved. He opened his mouth to speak, thinking she was done, but then shut his jaws upon realizing she had a bit left.
"THERE IS NO HAIR ON YOUR HEAD! IT'S ALL GONE BECAUSE YOU ARE BALD! THERE IS NO WORD THAT CAN STRESS JUST HOW BALD YOU REALLY ARE!" The girl took a step closer, suddenly feeling the overwhelming urge to poke at the smooth scalp; and Nigel just stood there. As if it was nothing new. "BALD! BALDY! CUE-BALL! CHROME DOME! THE SECOND SUN! ON HALLOWEEN YOU SHOULD GET SOME FEATHERS AND GO AS A BALD EAGLE! I WANNA TAKE SOME HOT WAX AND SCRUB YOUR SCALP WITH IT SO I CAN SEE MY REFLECTION! BUT THEN I'M AFRAID THAT IF I LOOK TOO CLOESLY I'LL GO BLIND BECAUSE YOU SIR ARE BALD!"
With that final outburst that would make the future Head of Decommissioning jealous, Rachel's posture slumped and she let out a few ragged breaths. The blonde realized her finger was still touching Nigel's head, and she jerked back, not wanting to offend him more. The two stood in an awkward silence, one where Nigel took advantage and readjusted his shades.
"Much better." Rachel then shyed away from the boy, and berated herself about how childish she acted. She couldn't believe this. She was Numbuh 362; an operative who could call herself the Best Spy within the whole organization and get away with. But she didn't because she was modest, or at least she used to be. She covered her face with her hands; groaning into them and wishing this was all some bad dream. "Listen, if you want another partner, that's totally – "
Rachel stopped as she heard the noise. The blonde peered upwards, and rose a brow at the operative. Nigel's lips wiggled ever so slightly, and strained sounds managed to pry themselves out every now and then. If the girl didn't know any better…! "Are you laughing…at me?" How in the world did that work?
"I'm sorry. Heh heh, it's just," His hand shot up, and he quit trying to contain his amusement. "I gave them all chances, but no one was willing to be that straight with me." At this point, he was all out chuckling now. "Scrub me with hot wax, eh?"
Rachel had the decency to blush, and that was followed by a glare. "That NEVER leaves this room, understand?" She didn't need the moonbase gossiping about how she had some crush on the new leader of Sector V when she didn't…
"My lips are sealed, m'am." The boy grinned as he fiddled with his shades again. His smirk then dropped as his mood became serious once more. "But I think we should be getting back to that intell you have there."
Rachel agreed, the stone hard spy in her reemerging now that the silliness had been cleansed from her mind. But as her eyes glanced back up to the Brit, she smirked again. "Sure thing, baldy." Nigel rose his hand to cover a weird sounding cough, and Rachel went back to her report. Sector V's new leader wasn't that bad after all. She briefly wondered if he had a…
No no. Certainly no time to be thinking about that.
I have a much more serious story about how they first met planed up. Serious like 'They Made Him Bald'. But this idea was too good to pass up!