A/N:: Well, here is my attempt at the iPod shuffle fanfiction challenge. It was a bit of hard work to write a coherent story in the length of a song, but I find music to be inspiration anyway, so that's a plus. I'm not very happy with some of these, but it's okay, I guess. Enjoy! :)


1. "Brave" – Idina Menzel

If this is the last chance before we say goodbye, at least it's the first day of the rest of our lives. I can't be afraid, 'cause it's my turn to be brave.

Niles wrung a clean dishrag nervously in his hands. He knew what he had to do, but it terrified him far more than he cared to admit.

"I love you, Miss Babcock," he spoke aloud into the empty room, practicing the words as if they were of a foreign tongue.

The resounding words sent a shiver down his spine. He could handle rejection, and God knows he could handle acceptance, but the not knowing was killing him. It was time to be brave.

2. "Apologize" – One Republic

You tell me that you need me, then you go and cut me down, but wait... You tell me that you're sorry, didn't think I'd turn around and say 'It's too late to apologize.'

The earnestness in her voice made him turn around to face her.

"There's nothing more to say," he said in a low voice.

"Will you just shut up and listen to me for a moment?!" she yelled louder than intended.

He paused as he let her words sink in for both of them.

"Sorry..." she whispered, realizing her harshness.

"It's too late to apologize..."

3. "Unbreak My Heart" – Toni Braxton

Don't leave me in all this pain. Don't leave me out in the rain. Bring back the nights when I held you beside me. Oh, unbreak my heart. Say you love me again.

C.C. startled as she turned in the room to find herself staring unexpectedly into her husband's darkened eyes. She whispered his name into the night air.

"You're back?" she asked shakily.

He nodded, and she swept into his embrace. Niles held her tightly and chased away the tears escaping her eyes.

"Don't ever leave me again," C.C. said as forcefully as she could.

He stroked her face softly as he spoke into her blonde hair.

"Never again."

4. "Make No Mistake (He's Mine)" – Barbra Streisand & Kim Carnes

Don't get too close when you dance, 'cause I don't wanna hear from my friends you were out on the town there in his arms.

A particularly unbecoming scowl darkened C.C. Babcock's lovely face as she watched Niles twirl a blonde woman around on the dance floor. It wasn't that C.C. was jealous... Okay, yes, she was jealous – bitterly so – but she would never let anyone else know of such a thing. As Niles and... that woman exited the dance floor, C.C. gave her a glare that instantly wiped the grin off of her silly face in a manner perhaps even better than words could.

"Make no mistake, honey," C.C. grumbled inaudibly to anyone but herself. "The butler is mine."

5. "Vienna" – Linda Eder

Now we sit here the best of strangers. We play the game for all it's worth. Endless nights in Vienna's eyes, take me back again, 'cause in Vienna, we were poetry. Yes, in Vienna, love was alive."Tea, Miss Babcock?" Niles questioned flatly.

"Yes, Niles," she replied almost dismissively, barely looking up from her paperwork.

When their eyes met as he handed her the steaming cup, however, the connection between them was undeniable. C.C. couldn't believe what had happened to them. There they stood before each other like enemies, or worse – like strangers. No one would ever know of the time they had spent together only last month (had it really been that recently?) on a business trip to Vienna. They were as friends there – lovers, even. Unspoken but understood words had filled the nights, but it was over now just as quickly as it had begun.

C.C. quickly blinked away a tear unnoticed, as she knew that the best time of her entire life was over and would never be acknowledged again.

6. "I Do (Cherish You)" – 98 Degrees

When you smile I can feel all my passion unfolding. Your hand brushes mine, and a thousand sensations seduce me 'cause I, I do cherish you.

To say that it had been a terrible day would be an extreme understatement. Nothing had gone right, and to top it off, C.C. now had a horrendous headache. As she sat on the green leather sofa in Maxwell's office, massaging her throbbing temples with her eyes squeezed tightly shut, her hand was suddenly taken into someone else's with a touch that gave her a chill.

"Allow me," Niles's sweet voice said.

C.C. smiled and allowed him to massage her shoulders, neck, and temples, noting incredulously that suddenly the day didn't seem so horrible after all.

7. "Insatiable" – Darren Hayes

The moonlight plays upon your skin. A kiss that lingers takes me in...

The glow of the moonlight upon her creamy white skin left him breathless. She shivered as he ran his fingertips across her bare stomach. Their lips met in a sweet but passionate kiss that silenced the low moan escaping from C.C.'s mouth.

"I love you," she whispered in a hushed, sultry voice.

His eyes sparkled; no matter how long they had been married, those three words still shook him to the core with joy, just as they had the very first time.

"I love you too."

8. "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" – Celine Dion

But when you touch me like this and you hold me like that, I just have to admit that it's all coming back to me.

How could C.C. possible love such an infuriating man as much as she did? He never ceased to drive her crazy, but she adored him for it. He was her drug, and she needed him desperately. C.C. had told herself that she wouldn't give in to him so quickly this time, that she just needed to be mad for awhile, but there he was, brushing his hand softly across her cheek and enveloping her into his strong arms as he whispered that he loved her into her ear, and she was his once more – body and soul.

9. "Hate That I Love You" – Rhianna & Ne-Yo

That's how much I love you; that's how much I need you, and I can't stand you. Must everything you do make me want to smile? Can I not like you for awhile?

"Oh, look what the cat dragged in," Niles commented as soon as C.C. swept through the front door.

She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips severely.

"Can it, Niles," she snapped.

He chuckled softly and tried not to stare at her lovely figure as C.C. removed her coat and gave it to him to hang in the closet.

"What are you staring at, Butler Boy?"

"Nothing at all," he replied quickly and headed towards the kitchen.

She smiled as she watched him walk away. C.C. knew exactly what it meant when Niles had no return zinger – she had caught him admiring her again. She knew that she had the same effect on him that he had on her, and she loved it.

10. "From Where You Are" – Lifehouse

I miss the years that were erased. I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face. I miss all the little things. I never thought that they'd mean everything to me. Yeah, I miss you, and I wish you were here.

Niles stood just outside the front door and gazed up at the clear night sky. He sighed to himself as he wondered exactly what C.C. was doing at that very moment. The business trip to Boston was only for a week, but even that was too long. Speaking to her over the telephone was just not enough, though it momentarily did help to fill the void. He missed everything about her – the sound of her voice, the soft but intoxicating smell of her skin, the way she rolled her eyes, even the way she shouted at him when they were having a real fight... everything.

He glanced at his watch; 12:18 AM – only five days more, and she would be home again.

The End