A/N: This is an idea that has been floating around in my head for awhile, and now that I finally have more time, I'm hoping that I'll be able to work it all out. Enjoy. Please let me know what you think so I'll know that there's enough interest for me to update (and how soon to update).

Killing B.B. Babcock

C.C. took a languid sip from her half-empty glass, enjoying the bittersweet flavor of the aged red wine upon her tongue. She turned slightly on her stool as Niles entered the kitchen. Maybe it was just the wine talking, but he was certainly looking especially attractive with his dark suit that hugged his broad, masculine shoulders just right and his light blue tie that precisely mirrored the piercing color of his azure eyes.

"Oh, Miss Babcock, it's eight o' clock in the morning," Niles fumed. "Isn't it a bit early to be boozing it up?"

"My mother called," she answered simply, slumping over onto the kitchen counter and swirling a fingertip over the rim of the fine glass.

"So?"

C.C. sat up straighter and breathed a heavy sigh.

"So, she informed me that she's coming here for a four-day visit, and she wants to see me, for God only knows what reason."

"I fail to see how this is that big of a problem," Niles commented.

"You don't know my mother," C.C. told him, shaking her head disdainfully. "B.B. Babcock is an evil, conniving woman who thrives on inflicting misery on everyone in her path."

"Ah, like mother, like daughter!" he observed with a wicked grin.

When C.C. didn't even flinch at his wisecrack, Niles knew that something was wrong.

"And what's worse," she continued miserably, completely ignoring him, "is that I lied and told her that I'm dating a wonderful man, so now she insists upon meeting him."

"Why would you do that?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow at her.

C.C. groaned and took another sip of wine.

"She wouldn't get off my back about how dreadful it is for a woman of my age to still be alone like a dog - those were her exact words, might I add - so I shut her up by telling her about the new man in my life…"

"Who doesn't exist," Niles offered.

C.C. rolled her eyes.

"Exactly. I can't just tell her that I lied, obviously. She already thinks I'm incurably pathetic."

"What are you going to do?" he asked, allowing the opportunity for an insult to slide.

She shrugged.

"That's just it. I have no idea, and she'll be here tomorrow."

Niles shook his head incredulously.

"Too bad you can't just hire a man for the job. But that seems a bit desperate, even for you," he joked.

C.C.'s eyes grew large as she turned slowly to look fully into his face.

"Hire someone," she repeated thoughtfully. "Now there's an idea."

"You can't be serious," he exclaimed with bemusement. "Who in the world could you get to pretend to be your boyfriend?"

A devilish grin played at C.C.'s lips.

"You."

"Me?" he asked in surprise.

"Yes! You'd do that for me, wouldn't you, Butler Boy?" she asked, pouting at him.

He'd never tell her, but whenever C.C. gave him that adorable pout, Niles was never able to refuse her anything.

"What's in it for me?" he asked.

"Eight hundred dollars in cash," C.C. answered. "That's two hundred dollars a day, and all you have to do is play a little game of pretend."

"Let's make it an even thousand," Niles counter-offered, flashing a competitive grin.

"Fine," she said, barely giving it a second thought. "But you'll do what I need you to do."

"Of course."

"And there's one more thing," C.C. continued as she moved deftly from the stool to her feet. "We'll have to make Nanny Fine, Maxwell, and the rest believe it as well."

"What? Why?" Niles asked.

"Because you know Nanny Fine," C.C. stated, as if it were obvious. "If she knows the truth, she'll blab with the first chance she gets."

"Good point," he conceded. "But I don't see how we're going to convince the entire family that you and I suddenly went from hating each other to being in love overnight."

C.C. drank the remaining drops of wine from the glass and walked over to the sink.

"I'm leaving you to that," she replied indifferently. "Pretend that we've been keeping our love a secret for quite some time and have finally decided to share it with everyone else. Then after my mother leaves, we can tell them the truth and go back to hating each other like old times."

Niles nodded, considering this.

"I hope this will be worth it," he said.

"Oh, it will be," C.C. said with a small laugh, placing her glass in the sink and heading for the door, "because when my mother finds out that the love of my life is a butler, it'll kill her. It's a win-win situation."

To be continued…