Chapter One: Shy Little Boy

"Babysit?", Nicky incredulously asked Rod, becoming shocked when his roommate broke the news that they were to babysit Rod's co-worker's five-year old for the weekend. He wasn't happy. "Oh hell no!"

Rod crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. "Well too bad, Nicholas.", he told him. "I had already said yes after Derek kept pestering me about it, and just to shut him up I agreed."

"Why did he have to ask you though, of all people?", Nicky complained.

"Because he's a great guy and he and I use to share a office before I got upgraded to a higher position. I've met his wife before and, to my dismay, she's very beautiful. They just bought a home in Avenue Q and I'm the only one they know here."

"But we don't know anything about babysitting, you know that Rod.", Nicky argued. "We've said that we'll wait until Brian and Christmas Eve or Kate and Princeton have a kid for us to babysit for, and that hasn't happened yet!"

Rod was becoming irritated with Nicky's whining. "Oh will you stop it, Nicky? We'll learn on the job. I know you and I don't like the thought of babies being around us but we gotta try new things." To make his stubborn friend think differently Rod promised to split their paid cash in half after the job is done.

Nicky grumbled and said, "Alright then. At least I won't ask you for money."

"And maybe you'd have that money for a long time if you'd learn to save it.", Rod bickered. "Now hurry up and get dress. Derek and Angelica will be here in five minutes with Mark."

"The son's name is Mark? Wow, just like that dweeb from that RENT musical that you were obsessed with for a while.", Nicky teased. "No wonder you said yeah."

"Oh fuck off!", Rod groaned as he threw up his hands. Nicky laughed as he walked to their shared bedroom, avoiding a pillow that Rod threw to wipe the smile off of that man child's face. "And if you're going to shave, don't cut yourself like last time."

However, even though Nicky's 5 o'clock shadow made him look like a homeless slouch, Rod did put it in his mental list of Features That Make Nicky Irresistible. It was #5.

Five minutes went by sooner and there was a knock at their apartment's door. Rod took a deep breath, brushed his clothes and turned the knob, giving Derek and Angelica Anderson a welcoming hello. Their son Mark stood right below Rod and when the investment banker saw him a smile formed on Rod's face, crouching down or be at the five-year-old's height.

"Hi there, Mark.", Rod greeted the five-year-old, putting out his hand. "My name's Rod. I'm your daddy's friend. Oh you're such a cute little boy!"

The young sprout just stared at Rod as he sucked his thumb, not shaking Rod's hand and stayed close to his daddy. "He's very shy at first when meeting new people.", Derek said. "But he might open up later."

"How precious.", Rod answered back. "I was a shy one myself."

"And he still is.", Nicky included as he walked up from behind Rod, still goofing around as he continued to push Rod's buttons. "It's hard to get the guy to flirt with another dude."

Rod sighed and said, "Right. This is my roommate, Nicky, and he's going to watch Mark with me as well. Aren't you?" Rod gave Nicky a no-nonsense glare and Nicky understood.

"Sure 'am.", Nicky said. "Whatever he does, I do. We're as close as buddies can get." The dark haired man looked down at little Mark and pretty much beamed like Rod did. "Hey there lil' dude! You must be the little guy we're suppose to sit, huh? Don't you look like a fun, fella!"

Mark didn't show emotion, just staring up at the green man. "Did I so something weird that he's just looking at me?", Nicky asked the parents.

"He's shy.", Angelica, the mother, said.

"Oh a shy one, eh?", the green complexed male said. "Well looks like this babysitting thing will be easier than I thought."

The proud parents realized that they had to get to the airport for their flight to Florida. They left the babysitters each of their numbers and others to call for emergencies, of course, and what not, then it came for them to say goodbye to their son, which became hard to do because that's when Mark began to show an emotion, sadness as he cried.

When Rod shut the door he and Nicky had to find a way to cheer the boy up. "Don't cry, Mark. They'll be back soon.", Nicky said as he, well at least try to, picked the crying young boy up.

He had no idea that the lil' guy could really pack a punch and he let an unseen hand fly and Mark slapped Nicky's face, throwing a bigger tantrum.

"He...he hit me!", Nicky gasped.

"Well first of all, did you even have the thought that maybe he didn't want his personal space be invaded by a complete stranger?", Rod wise cracked, even though he was surprised that a shy five-year-old could really smack 'em. "Here, let me try to calm him down before Gary starts banging down the door."

Mark's parents had left them a bag of toys and kid DVD's that Mark could play with during his stay. Rod reached into this sack and pulled out one of Mark's stuffed animals, a snow owl.

"Lookie here, Marky!", Rod said to Mark over his sobs for Mommy and Daddy. "Here's your buddy, Mr. Owl!"

Mark looked at the one with his doll and, like a miracle, he began to turn off the waterworks. He waddled to Rod as the investment banker began to put on a cartoony voice. "Hey there, Mark. As long as you be good little bot and have me around, everything will be ok."

Mark began to form a small smile as he watched his stuffed owl be played around by Rod. Just when the child claimed his toy Rod turned to Nicky, who was sitting in their sofa with a can of beer, and grinned teasingly. Nicky rolled his eyes. "Sure. Rub it in.", he drawled.

"You just don't know how to make a first impression, Nicholas.", Rod retort.

The proud individual's bubble of victory was soon popped when he felt a toy owl be thrown at his face, knocking his glasses off his face. Mark was giggling merrily and soon Nicky did the same. Rod's smirk turned to a straight line.

"You were saying?", Nicky guffawed.