Daphne sat on Martin's chair in her bathrobe. She was so glad Frasier and Martin were out for the weekend; she needed the time alone.
Her legs were covered in shaving cream.
She picked up her razor from the nightstand and brought it to her leg. She ran it down her leg when the doorbell rang.
"Oh, who could that be?" She asked herself, setting the razor back on the nightstand and hobbling over to the door.
Who else? It was Niles.
"Hello, Fra…." He stopped short when he was face to face with Daphne. "Daphne!" He flushed bright red.
"Hello, Dr. Crane," she said. "Won't you come in?"
"Not if I'm intruding!" He squealed.
"Oh, no, you're not intruding. Come in."
He followed her in, his face still red.
"Where are Dad and Frasier?" Niles asked, looking around the room to see if he can spot them.
"Dr. Crane is in Boston for the weekend visiting Frederick, and your father's on a fishing trip with Duke. They told you that over dinner a few nights ago."
Oh, yes. Now he remembered. Of course, he wasn't really paying attention to what Dad and Frasier were saying. His attention was on Daphne that whole night.
"What brings you here anyway?" She asked.
"Maris kicked me out."
"Oh!" Daphne gasped. "What happened?"
"I was looking through a magazine of upcoming benefits when I came across the one called "Save the Whales." Well, I showed it to her. And she accused me of calling her a whale. She stood up from her seat and pointed a bony finger towards the door, ordering me out." He shrugged. "I should've known better."
"It's not your fault, Dr. Crane! I think it's just horrid how angry she got!" Daphne yelled.
Niles smiled slightly. "You're welcome to stay here!"
Niles didn't say anything. Should he stay here, alone with her? She was wearing a bathrobe for goodness sake!
He could always get a hotel, but the chance was too much to pass up.
"Yes!" He said immediately. "I'd love that!"
"Good!" She looked down at her attire and blushed. "Why don't I freshen up?"
She grabbed her shaving cream, razor, and nail polish off the table and ran into her bedroom.
Niles took this time to recollect his thoughts and praise himself for having the courage to stay with Daphne for the night.
"Of course, she really only thinks we're friends," he said to himself. "She has no idea of the forever lingering feelings running through my body."
He sat on the couch, having trouble keeping his hands from shaking with nerves. He ran his fingers through his hair, just so he can have something to do with his hands.
Daphne came back, wearing a black skirt with tights and a white sweater.
"Sorry about that!" She said, taking a seat next to him. "I must have scared you half to death!"
"It's not your fault," he said timidly. "It's mine. I really should've called. I should've remembered that Frasier and Dad were out. I should've realized you'd want a little time to yourself."
"Oh, it's no big deal, Dr. Crane! I can take a spa day the next time your brother and father are out. You are more important."
His heart jumped. "Well, thank you, Daphne."
"So, how are you feeling?"
He was feeling exhilarant at the moment; those words coming from Daphne's mouth seemed to spring him out of his bad mood. "I'm feeling a lot better. Thank you."
"But, I really didn't do anything," she said.
"Just being in your presence is enough."
She laughed, turning her head to hide the blush creeping upon her cheeks, but it could not hide from Niles's eyes.
He smiled, dropping his head so she could not see his giddy grin.
When he raised his head again, Daphne had been turning her head back to face him, and their eyes met for a brief moment before Niles felt his face heat up and broke their gaze.
"H-how about some dinner?" Daphne asked loudly. Eddie heard the word 'dinner' and came sprinting into the room, glancing around for his food. "Haha, alright, Eddie! Coming, Dr. Crane?" She asked as she got off the couch.
"Oh, uh, yes!" Niles said, rising from the couch and following Daphne into the kitchen.
"Here you are, Eddie," she said, putting some food into his bowl and placing it on the floor.
Eddie immediately darted to the bowl and greedily began eating.
"Don't be too greedy, Eddie," Daphne told him. "You don't want to make a mess."
Niles was staring at Daphne in a transfixed state. When she turned her attention to him, he glanced quickly away and looked at Eddie eat.
"I have some leftovers, if that's okay," she said. "I could make you something."
"No, leftovers are fine." It didn't matter whether or not she made dinner especially for him.
"Okay." Daphne fished out leftover beef stew from the previous night.
She popped it into the microwave and faced Niles.
"I feel so sorry for you," she said. "I can't believe Mrs. Crane could be so cruel."
Niles sighed. "Well, I don't really blame her."
"But you did nothing wrong! She wrongly assumed you insulting her! You were being a kind person by wanting to help the whales. I love a man who's passionate about animals."
Niles laughed. "Well, in that case, I think I'll volunteer at the animal shelter! Care to join me?"
"If you're serious about it, I will!"
Niles did care about animals, but he really was just saying that to gain her affection. But, upon seeing the determined look on her face, he found himself really wanting to help.
"Yes. We can decide on a day when we can go down there," he said.
"Oh, Dr. Crane, that sounds wonderful!" She squealed, throwing his arms around him.
He smiled and hugged her back. "Yes, it does."
He held her for a while until the microwave beeped.
Daphne smiled at him and went over to get the dinner.
She put it on plates and took them to the table.
"Sherry, Dr. Crane?" She asked.
"I'll get that!" He said, grabbing a bottle of sherry and pouring two glasses.
"Thank you," she said as he pulled out his chair for her.
"Lovely night, isn't it?" She asked, pointing to the windows.
"Yes, it is. So, Daphne, what's going on in your life?"
"Yes!" Niles said. "You always ask what's going on with me, or Frasier, or Dad. Well, I want to know what's going on with you."
"Well, um…" She laughed nervously. "Nothing much. I just stay here a lot of the times. But, there is this one guy who keeps talking to me whenever I go down to do the laundry."
"Oh, really?" Niles asked, unable to keep the jealously obscure.
"Yes. His name is Jim Young. He lives a few floors from us. He has made hints that he's interested in me."
"Has he? Well, are you interested in him?"
"He's kind, and he's attractive," Daphne said. Niles felt his chance slipping away. "But, no." The chance came back. "I just don't feel that way for him."
They ate in silence. Niles was trying to think of something clever and witty to say to her; Daphne was trying to think of something to tell him from her life.
In the end, silence over came them, but he couldn't have been happier sitting right across from her at the dinner table.
"How about some dessert?" Daphne asked, taking the plates off the table.
"Dessert sounds lovely," Niles said, getting up to help her.
"No, you sit right down, Dr. Crane. I'll handle this."
"Are you sure? Because I can help."
Niles sat back down and waited for Daphne.
She came back after washing the dishes with a cake and two small plates.
"This isn't anything Frasier would mind us eating?" Niles asked, knowing full well what Frasier might do.
"Oh, he won't mind. Besides, it's mostly for your father and me."
"…. I see."
"Don't be so frightened of it, Dr. Crane! Your brother picked it out. He said it's something he wouldn't mind eating, but we would like it better."
That made Niles feel a little better.
He watched as Daphne cut two small slices of cake and put one slice on a plate.
"Here you are!"
"Thank you, Daphne."
Again, they ate in silence. Thankfully, to Niles, it was actually good. Not as good as some French desserts he adored, but it was still good.
The silence was broken when Daphne spoke up.
"You've got a little chocolate on your lip, Dr. Crane," she said.
"Oh, do I?" He asked, taking a napkin and raising it to his lips.
Suddenly, a pair of soft lips caught his own.
Daphne was kissing him. She was kissing him!
She pulled away, blushing madly. "I'm so sorry! I shouldn't have done that! You're married! And you're so worried about your marriage with Mrs. Crane. You'd do anything to make it right and here I am, kissing you, like you've got no wife. As if you'd ever feel that way about…" Her speech was halted when Niles finally found the courage in his heart to kiss her.
"I love you," he said when he broke apart. "I've loved you since the moment I met you, Daphne. I wanted to tell you for so long. You're the most sweetest, most beautiful, most charming woman I've ever met."
"Dr. Crane, please, you're just saying that so I don't feel bad," she said.
"I've never spoken truer words in my life!" He exclaimed. "Why would I lie about something so personal, something so deep? And if I did lie about something this extreme, my nose would be a volcano eruption of blood right about now. You don't see any blood, do you?"
"So, I'm not lying!" He held her hands. "You feel the same way?"
"I think I do."
He kissed her again. "Never have I been so jubilant in my entire life. I'm rarely a happy person. Since my mother died, I've found it harder and harder to be happy. However, every time I'm with you, Daphne, I feel so elated. There's a reason why I come to Frasier's as often as I do. It's to see you. To see your beautiful face and those fawnlike eyes."
"You really are the sweetest man alive, aren't you?" She asked, giggling.
"I should hope so."
At that moment the phone started ringing.
"Excuse me," Niles said, going to answer it. "Hello?"
"Niles?" Frasier asked.
"What are you doing there?"
"Maris kicked me out."
"It's a long story. Daphne said I could stay here."
"Niles," Frasier said warningly.
"I'm having a fantastic time. I'll tell you everything at Café Nervosa on Monday, okay?"
"Alright, Niles, but control yourself!"
Niles hung up the phone.
"Was that your brother?" Daphne asked, sitting her head out of the kitchen.
"Yes, it was," Niles replied.
"Did you tell him…?"
"No. I told him I'd explain on Monday over coffee."
"He will be so shocked to learn of this!"
"Well, he already knows my feelings."
"Yes, I told him a while ago. He and Dad know. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, Daphne," Niles said. "I'm not a very courageous person, and I let my nerves overpower me."
"Oh, please don't apologize," she said, walking towards him.
Niles smiled, leaning in to kiss her. She turned her head away, and his lips met her cheek. "I'm sorry," she said. "This isn't right."
"What do you mean?" He asked.
"You're married. I don't feel right."
"Daphne, that marriage is going nowhere. I've tried time and time again to mend it, but nothing works."
"I'm not comfortable," Daphne said, not meeting his eyes.
"I understand," he said. "I'm going to Frasier's room, to look over some files."
"I'm sorry," she said again.
"No, don't be. I understand where you're coming from. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to head into Frasier's room and take a nice, hot bath."
"Okay," Daphne said softly. She wanted to call out to him, apologize once more, but her voice failed her.
Niles knew he should feel hurt, but he actually wasn't. He knew his marriage to Maris was going nowhere, and that it would end soon. With any luck, he'd be with Daphne by the end of the week!
Niles met Frasier for coffee on Monday after he had finished seeing patients. Frasier was sitting at a table in the back of the café as everywhere else was full. He had taken the liberty of placing orders for the both of them.
"Are you sure you got it right?" Niles asked him.
"Yes," Frasier replied.
"Sprinkling of cinnamon? Did you stress that?"
"Thank you," Frasier said as the coffee was delivered. Niles stared intently at his coffee. "Niles, for god's sake."
"I'm just checking." He sipped it. "It's decent, at best."
"So… what happened with Maris?"
"Don't jump right into it! How is Freddy?"
"He is doing well. Getting straight A's, as always," he added with a smirk.
"Good, good. And Lilith?"
"Cold as ever."
"Now," Frasier said. "Tell me what happened."
"Alright," Niles said. "Well, Maris and I were looking through benefits, and I showed her 'save the whales.' She thought I was calling her a whale and kicked me out. So, I went over to your place, completely forgetting that you and Dad left."
"Riiight," Frasier laughed.
"It's true, Frasier!"
"Sure it is."
"Anyway," Niles said through gritted teeth. "I went to your place, and Daphne invited me in. We ate dinner and talked a bit. During dessert, I got some chocolate on my lip. Daphne got it off for me."
"Are you saying Daphne took a napkin to your lip and wiped it off?" Frasier asked in disbelief.
Niles shook his head. "Not with a napkin."
"With what, then, her lips?" Frasier laughed until Niles began to smile nervously. "Oh, my god. You serious?"
"Yes," he giggled. "She then rambled about how sorry she was, and how I was trying to work things with Maris, and how I could never feel the same way, and I kissed her."
"You kissed her?"
"I kissed her," he repeated. "Frasier, she feels the same way! But she's uncomfortable with a relationship between us because of Maris."
"That's completely understandable," Frasier commented.
"It is," Niles agreed. "However, she won't have to worry about that anymore. Maris and I are now officially separated."
"She called me up this morning. Told me I could come home if I apologized for calling her a whale. Now, if I had no idea Daphne felt the same way, I would've apologized, but learning of Daphne's feelings gave me such a confidence boost. I told Maris 'no.' I told her I did nothing wrong. She yelled at me, telling me to apologize this instant. Well, I didn't." He drank his coffee. "And she said if I don't apologize, we were going to split up. And that's what we did. If we do get a divorce, she will drag it out as long as she can to be vindictive."
"Would you expect anything else?" Frasier asked.
"No." Niles laughed. "I'm going with you to your place, so I can tell Daphne the wonderful news!"
Once Frasier unlocked the door, Niles sprinted in.
"Daphne!" He called out. "Dad, where is Daphne?" He asked Martin who was busying watching television.
"She's in Frasier's bedroom, collecting some laundry," Martin replied.
"Daphne!" Niles called out again.
"Yes?" She asked, coming into the living room with a basket full of dirty laundry. "Hello, Dr. Crane," she told Niles.
"Dr. Crane?" He asked. "Why would you call me that?"
"What else would I call you?"
"Call me 'Niles.' After all," he smiled, walking in front of her, "we are a bit of a couple."
"Dr. Crane," Daphne said firmly. "I told you that I didn't feel comfortable while you were with Mrs. Crane."
"And I'm not!"
"Well, you can just… wait, what?" She asked, dumbfounded.
"Maris and I separated this morning. She demanded I apologize for my 'awful behavior,' and I refused. So, here I am."
"Dr. Crane, you can't just separate from your wife because of me!" She cried out, dropping the basket of laundry to bury her face in her hands.
"Daphne, you don't understand," Niles said. "Maris said that if I did not apologize, we would be over. Why would I apologize for not doing anything? You said so yourself that she was out of line."
"Well, yes, but I…"
"Then, there's nothing wrong," Niles continued.
"Daphne, I actually agree with Niles," Frasier spoke up.
"Are you just talking for the sake of hearing yourself talk?" Niles asked, slightly annoyed.
"Niles, I am trying to help you! Daphne, if you feel the same way Niles feels, and Maris is out of the picture, then what's stopping you from being together?"
"I…" She said.
"Could it be, you don't have those feelings?"
"Frasier!" Martin yelled. "Niles is standing right there!" He pointed to Niles who was frozen.
"That's not the case at all!" Daphne yelled out. "I do feel that way. I was just worried about Mrs. Crane is all. But, if everything is as you say it is, then…" She stared into Niles's deep blue eyes.
"Then, there's nothing to worry about," Niles finished for her, softly brushing his lips against hers. "Wonderful, isn't it?"
"Oh, yes," she said, laughing slightly.
"Come on, guys!" Martin shouted. "Let's just watch some TV, okay?"
"Sure thing, Dad," Frasier said, taking a seat.
"Yeah, sure," Niles said, sitting down with Daphne, his fingers interlaced with hers. "By the way, Frasier. As you know, Maris and I have split up."
"Yes, Niles, you have mentioned this," Frasier replied sardonically.
"Then, you must know that I am no longer living there, and I have no place to sleep, so…?"
"Of course you can stay here, Niles," Martin said before Frasier had a chance. "Right, Fras?"
"Uh… yeah, you can stay here," Frasier said.
"Don't worry about sleeping arrangements," Niles said, kissing Daphne's cheek. "Of course, it's Daphne's choice."
"I have no objections, Niles."
Niles sighed; it was nice finally hearing her say his name.
"I'm fine with it," Frasier said. "Just, please, no obsessive cleaning or anything like that."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Frasier."
Niles spent the rest of that night helping Daphne prepare dinner and having the best time in a long time. He was even ecstatic when Roz came by.
"Roz, looking lovely today!" Niles cheered, taking her hands and smiling at her.
"Who gave your brother drugs?" Roz asked, looking over her shoulder at Frasier for some sort of support.
"He's just really happy," Frasier explained.
"Drugs can do that to a person."
"Not drugs!" Niles sighed. He let go of her hands. "Can't I be happy without having to take a drug? I'm with the angel of my life! My sweet, my Daphne!"
"You and Daphne?" Roz asked, stifling a laugh.
"What is so funny about that, Miss Doyle?"
"Nothing… I'm happy for you."
"Well, thank you," Niles said, glaring at her suspiciously. However, he was too overjoyed to question Roz's stifling laughter.
Daphne put the food on the table and called everyone to dinner.
Niles pulled out her chair for her.
"Thank you," she said.
"You're welcome, my love."
They talked merrily, Frasier made a toast to the new happy couple—starting with a famous quotation much to Martin's chagrin—and they just had a nice evening.
As time went on, Roz rose from her seat, announcing that it was getting late.
Frasier walked her to the door and they all said their goodbyes.
Martin and Frasier offered to do the dishes for Niles and Daphne.
"I'll be picking up my stuff tomorrow," he told Daphne. "Frasier, may I borrow a pair of pajamas?"
"Sure," Frasier said. "Just go get some."
Niles went into Frasier's room and retrieved a pair of red, silk pajamas.
He followed Daphne into her bedroom.
She smiled at him as she changed into her pajamas as well.
"Wow," Niles said.
"What?" She asked, blushing.
"Nothing; you're just… so beautiful."
Niles turned off the lights and joined Daphne in bed.
He put his arm around her, the way he had always dreamed, and held her.
"Daphne?" He asked.
"Do you still want to go to an animal shelter and volunteer?"
"Yes, if you want to."
"Yes, I do."
"Hmm. Then, we will."
There was silence.
"Daphne?" Niles asked.
"It was a nice evening, wasn't it?"
"Yes, it was."
There was silence again.
"Daphne?" He asked.
"What is it now?" She asked in irritation.
"I am so happy," he said.
Daphne smiled. "So am I."
She turned around so she could meet his lips.
Niles took her face in his hands and kissed her back.
"I love you," he told her.
"I love you, too," she said.
And Niles held onto Daphne the entire night and loving every minute of it.
Author's note: I thought it would be cool for Daphne to sort of reveal her feelings for Niles before he revealed his feelings for her. Sorry for the long space between my fanfictions. Writer's block got the best of me, but it's finished! So, please, enjoy!