Four Days Later...

Boldly, Niles stepped off of the elevator and walked across the hall to his brother's home. For several minutes he stood, staring at the door until he finally summoned

up the courage to knock.

To his utter relief, Daphne answered the door and smiled at him. "Dr. Crane!"

"Hello, Daphne. My, don't you look lovely." He said, looking her up and down. Lovely was a major understatement. In her red sweater and brown pencil skirt with brown suede flats, she looked absolutely gorgeous.

She blushed at the compliment. "Thank you, Dr. Crane! Won't you come in?"

"No, he won't!" Frasier's voice boomed from the living room.

Niles' first thought was to leave, but then he felt Daphne's hand on his back.

"Dr Crane, this is your home too, and since I opened the door, I insist that you stay."

"Daphne!" came Frasier's stern warning.

"Frasier, this is stupid! Get off your high horse and let him come in already!" Martin said.

"Oh... all right." Frasier said reluctantly.

"Thank you, Frasier, Dad, Daphne." Niles said as he stepped into the foyer.

"Sherry, Niles?" Frasier asked.

"Yes, that would be wonderful, thanks." Niles replied, hopeful that his brother might have somehow forgiven him. He sat down on the edge of the sofa and smiled at his father. "So, Dad, are you enjoying the new book I bought you?"

"It's not bad!" Martin replied. "You know, usually I can't understand a word of these psycho books, but this one's pretty entertaining."

Niles chuckled at his father's mispronunciation. "Psychology, Dad. Not psycho."

"Sucking up to our father, are you?" Frasier asked, handing Niles the glass of Sherry.

"Well, if he is, he's doing a damn good job of it!" Martin replied.

The phone rang, sparing Niles from whatever hurtful comment his brother was planning on throwing his way.

"Hello? Oh, Frederick my boy! It's so good to hear from you!"

Niles rose from edge of the sofa. "Maybe I should just leave."

"You'll do nothin' of the sort, Dr. Crane. You've done nothin' wrong." Daphne said.

"She's right." Martin said. "You're staying and that's final!"

"What's that, Frederick?" Frasier was saying into the phone. "You say your nose has been causing you great pain? And your friends at school have been teasing you?

Well that is unfortunate."

Niles crossed the room and headed for the kitchen, hurt by the memories of what his nephew had been put through. He could still hear his brother trying to soothe

Frederick by reassuring him that everything would be all right. He was deep in thought, leaning on the kitchen counter when he realized that Daphne was standing by

his side. His heart warmed, knowing that she cared about him.

"Well Frederick, I am sorry that your mother and I weren't home to prevent this disaster from happening. I just knew that this would have lasting effects." Frasier was

saying.

When Niles sighed and turned away, Daphne gently rubbed his back.

"It's okay, Niles." She said quietly.

They returned to the living room and sat down on the sofa, fully aware of Martin's disgusted look as he listened to his oldest son.

"No Fredrick. I'm afraid that your Uncle Niles can't come to the phone right now. Why? Well... he's... not here."

"Frasier!" Martin yelled. "You know damn well he's here! If my grandson wants to talk to his Uncle Niles, then let him!"

"Dad, don't tell me how to raise my son!" Frasier yelled, covering the receiver with his hand.

"Yeah, you're doing a fine job of it on your own!" Martin yelled back.

"Dad, please! I'm on the phone!" Frasier retorted.

"Give me that!" Martin said, grabbing the receiver from Frasier's hand. "Hey Freddie! Yeah, it's Grandpa! How's it going? Good! Good. Glad you're feeling better. Uncle

Niles? He's right here! Just came in as a matter of fact."

"Dad, no!" Frasier yelled.

Ignoring his son, Martin turned to Niles. "Freddie wants to talk to you."

Niles glanced worriedly at Daphne. "It's all right. Go on." She said, squeezing his hand.

Nervously he took the receiver from his father."Hello, Frederick? It's Uncle Niles."

"Hi, Uncle Niles." The boy answered.

"Um, how are you doing? I hope you're feeling much better." Niles said.

"Oh, I am!" Frederick said; his voice bubbling with happiness.

"Frederick, are you sure? I heard your dad say that the other kids have been teasing you and that you've been in a lot of pain. I can't tell you how much it hurts me to

hear-."

"I'm fine, Uncle Niles." Frederick said. "Nobody's been bothering me. I told my dad that, but he wouldn't listen."

"Really." Niles replied, harboring a sudden anger at his brother. He glared at Frasier who turned and looked out at the Seattle skyline through the large window.

"Yeah! My nose is all better now! You can hardly tell it was broken. Even Mom was amazed." Frederick said.

"Really." Niles said again.

"Uncle Niles?"

"Yes, Frederick?"

"Thank you for the letter. I hardly ever get mail and I've already read it about a hundred times!"

"You did?" Niles asked, touched by the comment.

"Yes, and I'll probably read it a hundred times more!" Frederick said.

"I'm so happy to hear that, Frederick, because I meant every word." Niles said.

"I forgive you, Uncle Niles."

At the boy's words, Niles couldn't help but smile. "You do?"

"Of course! It was just an accident and you took such good care of me afterwards. I'm sorry that Dad got so mad at you."

Niles' heart was overflowing with love for his nephew. "It's okay, Frederick. The most important thing is that you're okay and that you know how much I love you."

"I love you too, Uncle Niles." Frederick said. "Can I talk to Dad again?"

"Certainly Frederick." Niles said. "Frasier, your son wants to talk to you."

"Tell him I'll take it in the bedroom." Frasier said.

When Frasier picked up the bedroom line, Niles hung up the living room extension.

"See? Everything's okay now." Martin said. "I told you it would be."

"You're right, Dad and I wish I could be happy about that, but I'm afraid that Frasier will never forgive me."

"Oh come on. He'll be fine." Martin said. "Sounds like you worked out everything with Freddy and that's what counts."

"Yes, but Frasier-."

"...would like a word with his brother." Frasier said as he walked into the living room.

"All right. We'll just go into the kitchen." Daphne said. "Come on, Mr. Crane."

"No Daphne. Whatever Frasier has to say to Niles he can say in front of us." Martin said.

Frasier swallowed hard. "All right."

He walked over to Niles and sat down next to him on the sofa, causing them both to speak at once.

"Niles, I-."

"Frasier, I-"

After a brief pause, Niles smiled. "You go ahead."

"Niles, I just got off the phone with Frederick and... well, he told me about the letter you sent him."

Niles smiled. "I wasn't trying to demean your parenting skills, but I just wanted him to know how sorry I am for hurting him and that I love him."

"He also told me about everything that happened on Thanksgiving Day."

Niles looked down at his feet. "Oh..."

"Niles? I'm so sorry for blaming you for his injuries. You see, I realize from talking to Freddie just now that you were telling the truth. They really were accidents. I know

you would never hurt Frederick purposely."

"No I wouldn't. Not in a million years." Niles replied.

"I just... couldn't stand the thought of him being in pain, but I never thought about the pain I was causing you. He's my son, but you're my brother and I love you. I

just... don't say it often enough."

Niles patted his older brother's shoulder. "Thank you, Frasier. That means a lot to me."

Frasier put his finger on his chin, thoughtfully. "You know... Frederick was just thrilled about your letter. He couldn't stop talking about it. Or you."

"Well, I didn't do anything special." Niles said. "It wasn't even that great of a letter."

"It was special to Frederick." Frasier said. "In fact, he said that you're the perfect uncle."

Niles' beamed at the unexpected compliment. "Oh... I think that's an exaggeration, don't you?"

Frasier smiled at his younger brother. "Not to Frederick. And I happen to think he's right."

THE END