Title: Joy Comes in the Morning

Author: Rina (Searider Falcon)

Summary: She's almost certain that a single night of really, really good sex, no matter how fantastically mind blowing in its wonderfulness, should not all but alter her personality.

Pairing: Niles/C.C.

Disclaimer: The Nanny and its characters are all the property of Sony Pictures, High School Sweethearts, and Sternin and Fraser's Ink, Inc. I make no profit from writing and sharing this story.

Author Notes: This started out a fluffy, cheerful stream of consciousness that took an unexpected turn toward slight angst and exploring some of poor C.C.'s numerous insecurities. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened. Eventually, there will probably be companion piece for this story from Niles' POV, but I probably won't get back to working on and finishing it until after the holidays.

The alarm clock blaring in her ears is not her own. She's barely slept. Her muscles ache in ways she didn't know they could ache and the two arms wrapped around her midsection prevent her from moving. It should be a recipe perfectly blended together to create an epic disaster.

C.C. Babcock can't remember ever waking up feeling so content.

She's almost certain that a single night of really, really good sex, no matter how fantastically mind blowing in its wonderfulness, should not all but alter her personality. She's not prone to facing the start of the day with a smile, at least not a genuine one, and the only time anyone might ever describe her as cheerful is while she's trying to sucker a potential backer into writing a big fat check for the next Sheffield-Babcock production. And that brand of sweetness and light is absolutely always faked.

She sure as hell ain't faking anything now. Not on either side of Niles' bedroom door.

She does not hum, twirl, or ever skip no matter how right her world seems. She is not a morning person. Hell, by the account of nearly anyone else who knows her even just a little bit, she barely qualifies as an afternoon or evening person either (and Niles probably would joke that's she doesn't qualify as a human at all).

And yet...

There's something to be said for starting the day with slow sexy kisses, for soft fingertips tracing across the slope of her curves with a barely there touch that's just enough to awaken and light up every nerve ending in her body. For hearing his answering moan when she presses her body against his to begin their dance anew and how their fingers entwine as she grasps his hand when she starts to feel overwhelmed, too many sensations all at once and still not ever enough.

She will never get enough of this.

C.C. hates clichés, rolls her eyes at people who swear their new relationship and everything about it is better than anything that came along before now. Oh, please. Everyone likes to think that at first. It isn't. Not really.

Cliché be damned, though. It's only Day One and it really hasn't ever been so good as it is this time. And occasionally it has been pretty decent in the past. She may suck at actual relationships but she hasn't been quite that unlucky all the time.

It's so good that she's sure it can't possible get any better.

Good grief. She's in such a great mood she's floating around the place like a freaking Disney princess, She's going to turn around at some point and find an audience of small woodland creatures trailing behind her if she keeps this up.

She can't stop.

She swears the sun is shining brighter, the grass is greener, and the air warmer. More clichés that have nothing to do with it being early spring, of course. No, she's suddenly viewing her world in technicolor, a real life Dorothy Gale stepping out of her tornado-rattled house after the storm.

So...this is what it's like. My God. She had no idea. It's unlike anything she's ever felt before.

What really gets her, though, is that to her absolute amazement...the feeling does not go away. If anything, it really does keep getting better and better.

Every time he enters the room, the most pleasant current rushes through her, thrilling her as it charges the atmosphere around them. Every time he sneaks a kiss when no one's looking. Every time he tucks a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. That giddy bubble of delight swells up within her just a little more.

All this from a man who's aggravated, insulted, and generally drove her mad in all the wrong ways for nearly two decades.

There's gotta be some point where she'll just burst.

There are more mornings. Days pass, then weeks. It's been a month. Now two. Soon there are too many mornings to count. They start most of them together now. Even when they're not together to start the day with each other, he's the first person she wants to talk to when she wakes up. Her phone bill after he spends a week in England would have given her a heart attack were she not loaded. Her hotel bill for her trip to Beverly Hills would have been equally horrifying if he hadn't followed her out there, one of the few times Nanny Fine's feather-headed shenanigans are to her benefit.

She soon finds herself waiting for the proverbial other shoe to fall, though.

He'll get bored or she'll somehow screw it up just like she has every other time she starts thinking she has it pretty good. She's a little too skilled at self-sabotage and this thing, this relationship - she supposes she really ought to call it what it seems to have become - is almost way too easy. C.C.'s never known anything to be easy.

There's no learning curve, no awkward getting-to-know-you phase. That's where things usually fall apart for her. They already know almost everything about each other. They skipped over so many of the usual preliminaries of romance that she's clueless and unprepared for the variety of ways it can unravel once she's in this deep. That scares her. She's never fallen quite like this before.

C.C doesn't want to screw up, but Niles must have tossed all the formal steps of dating into his food processor and diced them into small pieces. Sorta, kinda, maybe hate each other for years...only to turn around and propose marriage more times than is reasonable. Get turned down every time, then fight and hurt each other more in five minutes than twenty years of stinging insults ever did. Make up. Sex, sex, make out, more sex, and for a change of pace, sex again.

They're almost going backward and missing half the steps in between. They still haven't been on a proper date. They never made it out of her car the one time they tried, and hell, she was still struggling to accept that she even liked him at all when they got to the "make up" stage. She's so lost with all this hopping around now.

What's next? She has a few ideas for where she might like it to go, but she doesn't dare hope and isn't entirely sure she could handle it even if such wishes did come true.

It can't last forever, can't it? She stopped thinking about concepts like "forever" and "always" several years and too many heartaches ago. This thing may have started because of an out-of-nowhere proposal or four, and he swears on that first night that he meant it every time he asked, but he's going to see her for what she really is at some point, isn't he? At some point, she'll accidentally knock off those rose-tinged glasses through which Niles seems to view her now and that will bring everything back into glaring sharp focus for him once again.

C.C. knows she's still quite selfish, vain, and much too concerned with social propriety. She might happen to be in a slightly better mood these days and a little more at peace with herself and the world around her, but she can't just switch off all the dark, flawed parts of her personality...nor will she make a promise she probably can't keep to try and improve her numerous shortcomings.

Granted, Niles has been aware of every one of her character defects for as long as he's known her; he even used to remind her about each and every one on a daily basis. Has lust made him forgetful or more willing to ignore it all for awhile? Is it causing him see parts of her now that just aren't really there?

Just what the hell does he see in her anyway?

Oh, but she's much too stubborn and scared to ask outright. She's all too aware that she's damaged goods and he surely deserves better.

Ha. It figures. Over twenty million dollars to her name and she's the one that feels unworthy of him. The irony is not lost on her.

Right now, he still looks at her likes she's the one who causes the sun to rise each morning and brings the warm summer breezes (or perhaps she's just projecting how she feels when she looks at him and deluding herself into seeing it reflected back at her). She wants to clobber some sense back into him. She wants him never to stop. More than anything, she wants it to mean more than it does, but it's always in the back of her mind, slicing through her bliss, that it's probably all an optical illusion. Soon he'll figure out.

It's going to shatter her heart beyond repair when he does. He most certainly will, she knows. Autumn will come. The metaphorical flowers in their summer haven will lose their bloom, the leaves to wither away while a chilly gloom sets in. History will repeat its self.

As she flicks through the evening gowns in her closet, looking for just the right one to wear to the Sheffields' first anniversary party, she determines that, for now, she's going to draw out these lazy, summer-like mornings and make them last awhile longer, to try and exist for as long as possible in this snapshot of a perfect moment. For now, she'll cling to this blissful ideal with both hands.

For now, that sense of absolute joy still overwhelms her each morning.

Let there be many more, she prays.