Disclaimer: I don't own any characters of "The Nanny." I'm not sure who does but they clearly didn't treat them correctly, or I wouldn't have to bother anyone with my writing.

Author's Note: This is a continuation of season 4's "No Muse is Good Muse." I saw it on TV this evening and remembered how I just loved CC's scene with Niles. I wrote this in about 20 minutes and I apologize if it's awful.

Subtlety

CC swept back into the mansion, glancing around for Niles before hanging up her sumptuous fur coat. Clutching the contracts to her chest, she waltzed into the office with a grin plastered on her face. The high she got out of finally, finally, getting a good zinger over Niles rivaled the strongest martini she'd ever hope to have in her life. She tossed the contracts onto Maxwell's desk, the sheets of paper landing with a soft slap.

"You seem to have a newfound self-assurance," she'd told him.

"Really?" he'd returned hopefully. The boyish excitement on his face had nearly caused her to leave it at that, until the minuscule twinge of jealousy that he'd wanted help to find other women spurred her on.

"You know, with this kind of confidence, 'you can get women'…" CC's face had smoothly transformed into an evil smirk that could rival any maniacal genius.

Bringing her back to reality, the intercom clicked on and CC heard Fran whine to Niles that she needed some tea to soothe her vocal chords.

"It's about thirty years too late, Nanny Fine," CC muttered, walking over to her leather bag and rifling through it. She listened as Niles brusquely retorted that he was busy putting together his soufflé for that evening's dinner.

CC dallied around the office for a few more moments before deciding that tea sounded delicious.

Niles glanced up as the kitchen door swung open and quelled his small smile as his blonde nemesis sauntered in. "Decided to shed your outer layer for the summer months?"

CC allowed herself a short, throaty chuckle before replying, "Again with the humor, Niles. Did you get tapes about that, too? Winning Women With Winsome Wit?"

Niles' cheeks reddened slightly and he returned to chopping his vegetables.

"What's this? No response?" CC asked, more unnerved by this than she'd confess. "After all of the embarrassing things you've done to me, it's sad to see that you can't take it."

"I think you'll find I excel more in dishing it out, Miss Babcock," Niles returned swiftly, pushing aside the sliced zucchini and reaching for the squash.

Were CC the blushing sort of woman, that comment might have caused her face to flush, but as it were, his words created a physical reaction slightly further south. "A man with such alleged skills wouldn't need to resort to tapes to find a woman, then."

"A woman would need to get close enough to see he had those skills, though," Niles pointed out. They were approaching dangerous waters but neither had much sense, and so they plowed on.

CC's bright blues looked away from Niles' clear ones, and CC reached for a small piece of a carrot so her hands could have something to do. Rolling it around her fingers, CC told him, "It's not hard to tell if a man's good. You can usually tell by how he dances or kisses…" CC's voice trailed off as she considered her past with the man standing across the counter from her.

Niles made a noncommittal noise in his throat and set down his knife. "Is there something you came in here for, Miss Babcock?"

"Tea," CC answered, setting the carrot back on the cutting board.

Niles nodded wordlessly and walked toward the back of the kitchen, grabbing a tea bag. He swiped the kettle, always full of hot water, off the stove and began pouring it into a mug. Stepping over to CC's side of the counter, Niles reached around her to open the silverware drawer. His arm brushed her hip as he did so and it took all of her willpower to remain in place and act as though she hadn't felt anything.

After adding a touch of honey, Niles handed the mug to her. He then went back to chopping the vegetables as though nothing had happened.

And in truth, nothing had. It was a normal, if slightly sexual in nature, interaction between two people. She'd requested tea and he'd obeyed. But the subtlety was what made the interaction entirely Niles and CC; the look in his eyes when she walked in, the full meaning behind CC mentioning dances and kisses, and the gentle physical contact spoke volumes that an innocent bystander would never have noticed. So it had been for the past several years, and so it would be for two full years before Maxwell and Fran would be so surprised to find that their friends had been doing more than insulting each other all along.

CC gulped down the tea and stupidly grinned inside, knowing that Niles knew exactly how to make her tea. Feeling brazen after the eventful afternoon, she walked around the island and set the mug in the sink.

Niles lifted the cutting board and slid all of the vegetables into the large mixing bowl. Placing it back on the counter, he glanced over and looked at CC. "Anything else I can get for you, Miss Babcock?"

She stepped infinitesimally closer and slid her hand up Niles' arm, mentally noting the surprising muscle she found there. "You know, Niles," she said softly, "as long as you're dishing it out, I have no problem receiving it." A meaningful look passed between them before CC turned and ambled out of the kitchen.

CC returned to the office in time to hear Fran click on the intercom and ask, "Ni-yules, did your soufflé rise yet?"

CC grinned wickedly as she heard a strained British voice grumble, "Just now did. I'll bring your tea in a moment, Miss Fine."