A/N: Since Groundhog Day is my favorite holiday,and I LOVE the movie, I couldn't resist writing in lines from my favorite romantic scenes (which are in italics) into a Niles and Daphne story!
Niles walked into Frasier's apartment to find Martin seated in his favorite chair, engrossed in a television program. It was a familiar scenario, one he had witnessed many times before.
But there was something about the way his dad was staring at the screen...
He looked happy.
The mere sight made Niles smile.
Martin looked up, smiling when he saw his son.
"Hey Niles! Want a beer?"
"Sure, Dad. I'll get it. I don't want to interrupt your program."
Niles retreated into the kitchen, returning seconds later with two beers.
Martin gulped down the beer and began laughing hysterically at the television screen.
Amused, Niles walked over to Martin, laying a gentle hand on his father's shoulder.
"What are you watching, Dad? My Favorite Martian again?"
"No, this is Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's best movie. It's hilarious!"
Niles glanced at the screen, where Bill Murray was standing in a blizzard, his teeth chattering like crazy.
"Bill Murray... Bill Murray..." he repeated, trying to remember where he'd seen the actor before.
"Oh! Bill Murray! He narrated that fascinating documentary on the History Channel last month. It was all about Russia!"
But Martin waved his arm. "Russia Schmusha! Who cares about that country? They're all-."
"Dad-." Niles warned in an effort to stop what would surely be an endless rant.
Gratefully, the movie pulled Martin back in and he began to laugh even harder than before.
Intrigued, he lowered himself to the sofa and stared at the screen. He'd never heard his father laugh quite so much at a film before.
"So what's this movie about?"
"Bill Murray is a weatherman who keeps reliving Groundhog Day over and over again."
Niles rolled his eyes. "Where do they come up with these ludicrous ideas? There's no way I'd watch a movie like that!"
Before long, Niles was immersed in the movie, laughing along with his father.
And almost an hour and a half later, he was enjoying himself so much that he barely noticed that someone else had entered the living room.
"Mr. Crane, are you watching that silly movie again?"
"What are you talking about; silly? This film is a classic! And besides it's February 2nd, in case you hadn't bothered to look at a calendar! Best day of the year!"
Daphne shook her head in disbelief.
"Gone with the Wind is a classic! Besides, who ever heard of a rodent predicting the weather? And now you've got poor Dr. Crane watching it too!"
At the sound of her honey-sweet voice, Niles stood and smiled; his heart warming rapidly.
"Dr. Crane, how nice to see you."
"Thank you, Daphne. I just wanted to stop by and... see how Dad's doing; what with Frasier being out of town and all."
Martin rose from his chair and handed Niles a Kleenex.
"What's this?" Niles asked.
"Your nose is bleeding again."
Unable to make eye contact with Daphne, Niles blushed deeply.
"Dr. Crane, you really don't have to sit here and watch this just to make your father happy. God knows I've seen it so many times I have it memorized."
Martin scoffed. "That's because you know that deep down you really like it. You just won't admit it!"
"You're so wrong!" Daphne said, a little too quickly. "And... even if you were right... which you aren't... could you blame me? I mean, considerin' how many times you've forced me to watch it with you!"
She turned to Niles and smiled.
"But... since Dr. Crane's here, I might as well keep him company."
She sat down on the sofa next to Niles causing the scent of her sandalwood shampoo to waft in his direction. Instantly his heart beat faster and he had to remind himself to breathe.
"I hope this is all right, Dr. Crane; my keepin' you company."
He shivered at the touch of his hand on her arm.
"Of course. I always enjoy your company."
"Well, thank you Dr. Crane. That's very sweet. But I'm afraid your father would disagree."
Martin burst into laughter, prompting Niles to glare at him in amazement.
"Dad, how can you sit there and laugh like that?"
"Because, Niles... It's funny!" Martin said, laughing even harder.
Niles' mouth fell open in revulsion. "Daphne's no joke! She's... kind and caring and... well..."
Angrily Martin turned and pointed at Niles.
"Look, if you're going to sit there and continue to interrupt my show, then you can just leave! You got that? I don't want to hear another word, Niles! And I mean it!"
"But Dad, I was just-."
"Get out, Niles! Now!"
Daphne stared at Martin in shock. "Dr. Crane!"
Embarrassed, Niles rose from the sofa.
"Dad's right. I should probably get going. It was nice to see you again, Daphne. Bye, Dad."
"Out, Niles!" Martin yelled, never taking his eyes from the television set.
Niles pulled on his coat and made his way to the door.
"Dr Crane, please don't leave!" Daphne pleaded as she ran to stop him.
Niles turned and took her hand, boldly bringing it to his lips for a kiss.
"Thank you Daphne, but Dad's right. He's trying to relax and... well, I'm just being a bother. To tell you the truth, the film is quite humorous, but I just don't see the point in reliving the same day over and over, unless you were there and... Well, anyway... I should go. Goodnight, Daphne."
Without another glance at Daphne or his father, he opened the door and stepped into the hallway.
When the door closed behind him, he could hear subdued voices and he couldn't resist pressing his ear to the door in interest. He could barely make out what they were saying, but clearly Daphne and his father were arguing.
"Hey! What in the hell are you doing?" Martin was yelling.
"Listen here old man! You can yell at me all you want, but Dr. Crane just stopped by to see how you were doing! He's a kind and loving son, but I guess you just don't see that, do you? I think you should apologize for the way you treated him!"
"Like hell I will!" Martin yelled. "He knows better than to interrupt me when I'm watching TV!"
"You're just impossible!" Daphne yelled.
When he heard the door unlock, Niles turned and quickly pushed the call elevator call button, willing the doors to open. He certainly didn't want his father or Daphne to know he'd been shamelessly eavesdropping.
But as soon as the elevator doors opened, he heard her voice.
Swallowing hard, he turned around, trying desperately to think of an excuse.
Her fingers went to his lips, making him forget what he was about to say. "You don't have to apologize."
She took his hands in hers and squeezed gently.
"I'm sorry your father treated you that way. I know you love him, but he had no right! Especially when you came all the way over just to make sure he was okay! I'm sure your brother would be happy to know that you're lookin' after your father."
He smiled, touched by her words. "Thank you, Daphne."
"Now... your father's gone to his room, so why don't you come back inside and
I'll make us some tea?"
He sighed, grateful for her kindness. His first thought was to politely decline her generous offer, but when he saw the pleading in her eyes, he knew he couldn't say no. It would only serve to hurt her feelings, which was something he swore that he'd never do.
"I'd like that. It is rather drafty in this hallway." He said.
When she smiled, he followed her back into the condo where he helped her make a pot of tea.
"This is nice." She said when they settled back onto the sofa. He sipped his tea, trying not to stare at her... but her beauty made it impossible.
"Is something wrong, Dr. Crane?"
"Oh... Well... no. I just..."
The words came tumbling out before he could stop himself.
"There's something... I want to tell you."
She turned her body toward him and smiled. "All right."
He swallowed hard, suddenly unable to say what he really wanted to say.
"I think you're the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I've ever met in my life. I've never seen anyone that's nicer to people than you are. The first time I saw you something happened to me. I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could. I don't deserve someone like you, but if I ever could, I swear I would love you for the rest of my life."
When he finished speaking he held his breath, waiting for her reaction.
"Why, that's the sweetest thing I've ever heard!"
"Of course it is! Come here, you wonderful man!"
She threw her arms around him for a warm, lingering hug.
His cheek rested against the soft fabric of her sweater and he was sure that he had died and gone to Heaven. He was in her arms; he could feel her heartbeat... and amazingly it beat in time with his.
When she let go he stared at her, his thoughts racing so fast he could hardly comprehend them.
"That's so sweet of you to memorize a scene in the movie!. Your father will be so proud! Although I still think he needs to apologize to you. After all you went to all that trouble to memorize it."
"Is something wrong?"
"Um... Daphne? I didn't memorize it for Dad. I meant every word."
She gasped lightly.
"Well that and... You're very generous. You're kind to strangers and children, and when you stand in the snow you look like an angel."
"But Dr. Crane, it's not snow-"
She stopped suddenly, her mouth trembling when she saw the look on his face.
He reached out to caress her cheek, pulling her closer, but when her eyes filled with tears, he drew back.
"I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."
The tears slid down her cheeks and she sighed. "Why didn't you tell me before?"
He swallowed hard. "B-Because I..."
Slowly she moved her face closer to his, a small sob escaping when he brushed the tears from her cheek with his thumb.
And before she knew what was happening, they were kissing.
When the kisses ended she turned away, trying to stop the tears from coming.
"Oh Daphne, please don't cry."
"I-I'm sorry." She said against his chest. "I-I just... can't believe this is happening."
"Neither can I but I know one thing..."
He took a deep breath before saying the words he'd wanted to say for years.
"I love you."
She gasped. "Y-You do?"
"More now than I did five minutes ago."
She sniffled as more tears ran down her cheeks. "I-I'm sorry for cryin' so much... It's just... I've never been this happy before."
Niles smiled, feeling as though he could fly.
"Oh Daphne... I love you so much!"
"I-I love you too, Dr-."
"Niles." He corrected.
They kissed again and then held each other close.
"Do you want to watch more of the movie... Niles?" She asked, leaning her cheek against his.
"I think that's a wonderful idea." Niles said.
She settled herself against him, and he took the opportunity to put his arm around her.
Finally he had the woman that he'd loved from afar for so long. And he was happier than he ever dreamed.
"You know..." Daphne said, breaking into his thoughts. "This Groundhog Festival?"
"I've been doing some research... you know, just out of curiosity and it turns out that they're real."
He stared at her, anxious to find out where this conversation was headed.
"And I was thinking about how nice it would be to stay at a bed and breakfast... like the one in the movie. It looks so romantic."
He was so filled with love for her, that he could hardly find the words, so he kissed her again.
Then he drew back, brushing the hair from her face.
"Daphne... No matter what happens tomorrow... or for the rest of my life... I'm happy now because I love you."
She smiled and kissed him again.
"I think I'm happy too."