Just the sight of him caused Daphne's heart to beat wildly; as though she were still a schoolgirl in Manchester.

Was it possible that Niles had become even more handsome overnight?

"Niles..." She breathed.

His sad expression made him look like a young boy, and it truly broke her heart.

"Hello, Daphne. You look especially lovely this morning." He said.

Daphne glanced down at her jeans and faded Space Needle sweatshirt, knowing he was over-exaggerating again but feeling as though she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

"Why thank you, Niles."

Niles leaned over to kiss her, but when his eyes met Frasier's he straightened, nodding to his brother without as much as a smile.

"Well Niles." Frasier said. "What brings you here?"

Niles' expression was terse. "Look Frasier. I know you don't want me here, but I've come to see -"

His eyes fell onto the suitcases that sat at Daphne's feet.

"Daphne, where are you going?"

"I'm not sure... yet." She said, glancing at Frasier.

"Oh God..." Niles said. "Frasier, please don't do this! It's me you're angry with, not her!"

"Niles, what are you talking about?" Frasier asked.

"You're throwing her out, too? My God, what kind of a person are you?"

"But Niles, you don't understand! Daphne..."

"Is a kind, good-hearted person! The best person I know, in fact! She's beautiful, intelligent and... I love her... More than she'll ever know."

Daphne smiled through her tears.

"I know you do, Niles."

"And Frasier, there's nothing you can say that will change... wait, what did you just say?"

Frasier smiled at his brother. "I know you do. And she loves you. Very deeply in fact."

Niles looked at Daphne who touched his cheek. "He's right you know."

Frasier sighed.

"Look, Niles... I-I can't tell you how sorry I am for the way I've acted. I thought this was just an infatuation but

now I can see that you have real feelings for her; feelings that can never be broken. I guess maybe I was a

little jealous that you'd found someone that you care for so deeply and I have... well right now I have no one.

And I took out my own frustrations on you. I don't blame you for hating me but I only wanted what was best for

you. And now I can see that the best person for you is Daphne. Now if you'll excuse me, I think something's

burning in the kitchen."

"But there's nothing cooking in there!" Daphne said as tears flowed down her cheeks.

"I know." Frasier said giving Daphne a knowing smile.

Niles looked at Daphne, then at Frasier, who was walking away. "Frasier, wait!"

Frasier turned around. "Yes Niles?"

"There's something... There's something I want to say."

"Well of course Niles. Anything."

"Look, I am sorry for... well, I'm sorry for the way I acted before; for my sarcasm and mockery. I've been

beating myself up over it lately-especially last night, alone in my cold, empty house and-."

"You mean Maris wasn't home last night? Niles I didn't mean for you to-."

Niles sighed. "No, apparently she and her new beau have set off for the Swiss Alps for three weeks."

"Dear God, Niles. I am sorry." Frasier said. "I'm sure that must have hurt, reading her note. It was a note, wasn't it?"

"As always."

"I'm sorry too, Niles." Daphne said, truly meaning it. Just because she loved the man, she didn't expect his

feelings for his wife to simply vanish into thin air. They would work through that... eventually.

"Go on Niles. You were about to say something." Frasier said.

"Well I feel terrible for the way I treated you, suggesting that you go work for the Mariners. And with their

shoddy record! I tell you these over-paid players make me absolutely livid! You'd think with their abundance of

money, they could learn to throw a baseball, let alone hit one!"

Frasier laughed. "Dad thought it was pretty funny."

Niles suppressed a smile. "I thought as much. Anyway, I just... I'm sorry Frasier. Truly I am. And I'm sorry that

your radio show isn't going well at the moment."

"Well it's not the show per say. It's just that the calls coming in... It seems that people have so many problems

these days and it's getting harder and harder to find people who are happy."

Frasier glanced at Daphne and Niles. "But I couldn't be more pleased to see that two of those happy people are

members of my own family. I was that happy once."

Daphne walked over to Frasier and kissed him on the cheek. "And you will be again, Dr. Crane. I promise."

"Thank you, Daphne."

Niles cleared his throat. "Um... Frasier, I don't say it very often, but... I love you. Never in a million years could I

hate you."

Frasier smiled. "Oh Niles... Thank you." He walked over to his brother, and pulled him into an embrace.

"Well... I guess I should leave you two alone. And Daphne if you need any help with those bags, I'm sure Niles

will-."

"Actually Dr. Crane I was hopin' you'd be helpin' me."

"Daphne I don't know... I mean, I just can't believe that you're..."

Daphne picked up the suitcases and smiled. "Put these in me room, will ya?"

"Y-your... room? Does that mean you're staying? Oh what am I saying, of course it does! Oh, Daphne you have

no idea how happy this makes me!"

To Daphne's surprise, Frasier walked over and grabbed Daphne in an embrace, swinging her around before

setting her back on her feet.

"Dr Crane!"

"I-I'm sorry. I... I got carried away."

"No... That was the loveliest thing I've ever seen you do!" She said; her senses still reeling from the

unexpected show of happiness.

"Well, I'll leave you two alone, and-."

"See you later, Dr. Crane."

They watched as Frasier left the living room and walked into the hallway, Daphne's suitcases in his hands.

"I'll start your breakfast right away, Dr. Crane." Daphne called to him.

Frasier peered into the living room "Take your time. It looks like you have something else to work on right now."

When he was gone, Daphne and Niles turned to each other, and Daphne felt herself becoming the Manchester schoolgirl again.

"So..." Niles said.

"Did you really mean all those things you said about me?" Daphne asked.

"You mean about you being beautiful and intelligent?"

"Actually I meant the part about you lovin' me more than I'll ever know?"

Niles' reddened. "Oh... that. Yes. I meant it with all my heart."

"I hate to say this, but I already know how much you love me. And Niles? I love you too."

He leaned toward her and pulled her into a kiss; sending her mind spinning out of control. It had only been a

few hours since they'd last kissed, but it felt like a lifetime.

Suddenly he pulled away, breaking off the kiss. "Wait... I can't do this. This is wrong."

Her heart sank. "Wrong? But Niles, what on Earth are you talkin' about?"

"Maris."

Daphne swallowed hard. "What about Mrs. Crane?"

"I just... I need to make a phone call."

She watched him; nerves filling her chest as he stepped around her and removed his cell phone from his jacket pocket.

"Niles, what-."

He held up his hand to silence her as he began to dial.

The silence that followed was agonizing.

"Hello? Yes. This is Niles. Niles Crane. Listen, I need you to contact my lawyer for me and draw up some divorce

papers. Yes, right away... Why?"

He turned and smiled at Daphne.

"Because I'm deeply in love with someone else."

THE END