"Well, that was a complete waste of time!" Frasier yelled, slamming the door behind him.

"What's with you?" Martin asked.

"I'll tell you what's with me! This Leap Day stuff can... leap into Puget Sound for all I care! It seems that my advice to do something life-changing was... ill-advised!"

Martin feigned shock.

"You think? Gee Fras, I never would have guessed! Especially considering that I damn near almost died, trying to get to Montana for Jimmy's 16th birthday-although in reality, he's going to be-."

"64! Yes Dad, we know! You've told us a hundred times already!"

"Well excuse me!" Martin yelled. "That's the last time I take your damn advice and-."

The door opened and Daphne stood in the entryway, sobbing.

"What's with you?" Martin asked again.

Daphne crossed the room and glared at Martin.

"This is all your fault, old man! You're the one who insisted that I change me hair! And that accent of yours was horrid!"

"Is that why you're wearing that ridiculous hat?" Frasier asked.

"You're one to talk, Dr. Crane! All you did was encourage him! If it weren't for your bloody ridiculous talk about February 29th bein' a gift and all, none of this would have happened!" Daphne cried.

"You're saying this is my fault?" Frasier retorted.

"Well it damn sure isn't mine!" Martin yelled. "I was just sitting here minding my own business, enjoying this nice warm day and all hell breaks loose!"

"Daphne, your hair can't be that bad!" Frasier said.

"Oh yeah? Well how do you like this?" Daphne yelled. She yanked the hat from her head, revealing the most atrocious haircut Martin and Frasier had ever seen. Her brown hair, once soft and layered, was now wild and spiked all over her head.

The sight caused Frasier to jump back in shock, and Eddie to yelp and hide his face in the sofa cushions.

"Dear God!" Frasier said. "It's worse!"

At this, Daphne began to sob again.

"Oh geez..." Martin said.

Just then the doorbell rang and Frasier went to answer it.

"Dear God, can this day get any more miserable?"

He rolled his eyes when he caught a glimpse of his visitor.

"Niles! What in the hell are you doing here? And what happened to you?"

He looked his brother up and down, alarmed at how disheveled he was.

"I couldn't take it anymore, Frasier! I wanted Maris so badly! In fact, so badly that I rushed home and found her lying in wait in her bedroom. I'd rather hoped it would be my bedroom instead, but hers is bigger and-."

"Just finish the story, Niles!" Frasier yelled.

"Of course... So there she was lying in wait... only it wasn't me she was waiting for. As soon as I walked in the room, I pulled off my clothes, ready to satisfy her every desire and to my horror who should come walking out of the closet but Gunnar!"

"The fencing instructor? Oh Niles..."

"And that's not the worst part. He was wearing my robe!"

"Oh Niles..." Frasier said again.

"I was so humiliated! I just can't believe it! True, Maris and I have been separated for six months, but I thought that surely-."

"Niles, you damn fool! I told you not to bother with her! Dear God, Man! What were you thinking? She told you it was over months ago! Didn't you learn anything from all those years of being with that... that..."

"Frasier, haven't I been through enough? I mean, you have no idea what it's like being so...sexually frustrated!"

"That woman has really done a number on you, hasn't she?" Frasier asked.

"But that's exactly my point, Frasier! She hasn't done anything to me! Anything pleasurable anyway!"

Niles began to pace the room, his hands on the back of his head.

"I don't know how much longer I can take this, Frasier!" He grabbed his brother's collar, painfully aware of his own trembling hands.

Frasier immediately pushed him away. "Niles, what's the meaning of this?"

Frasier yelled. "Let go of me!"

"I NEED SEX!" Niles yelled! "I-I..."

Frasier sighed and turned to Martin. "Dad, could you go into the kitchen and get a glass of water, please. No ice."

"Sure Fras, make me do all of Daphne's work!"

Martin walked into the kitchen, shaking his head at Daphne who was sitting on the bar stool, crying.

"Oh geez! Daphne will you stop crying? It's just hair!"

"But I look bloody awful!" she wailed.

"Come on, you look fine!" Martin said.

Daphne caught a glimpse of her hair in the toaster and cried even harder.

Doing his best to ignore his physical therapist, Martin returned to the living room and handed Frasier the glass of water.

"Thank you, Dad." Frasier said, taking the glass from Martin. He turned to Niles who was shaking uncontrollably and promptly threw the water into his face.

"Niles! Control yourself!"

Niles blinked and smiled. "Thank you, Frasier. I was mere seconds away from ravishing the first woman I laid eyes-."

He stopped suddenly, his heart beating faster at the sight of his angel. But something was different.

"Daphne..."

Her eyes met his and then she looked away as though embarrassed.

"H-hello, Dr. Crane. I'll just get you a towel to dry your face."

She retreated into the kitchen and returned with a towel and handed it to Niles.

"Here you are, Dr. Crane. You know I was thinking... It's a lovely day. Would you like to go for a walk?"

His heart skipped a beat, and he was completely taken aback by her question.

He couldn't have heard her correctly.

"I-I'd love to... but..."

She sighed deeply. "It's me hair, isn't it?"

He blinked in confusion. "Y-your-."

Tearfully, Daphne swung around to face his brother. "You see, Dr. Crane? Even your brother doesn't want me! He thinks I look hideous!"

"No... Daphne, wait!"

She burst into tears and ran back into the kitchen.

Unable to take his eyes off her, Niles sighed. For nothing could be further from the truth. She'd never looked more beautiful.

He started to follow her, but he felt Frasier's hand on his arm, pulling him back.

"Niles, you've got to exert some self-control!"

"But Frasier, she's..."

"I know Niles, but you can't attack every woman that comes within two feet of you!"

"I wasn't going to attack her! I was going to-."

"Yes, I know exactly what you were going to do!"

"But Frasier-."

Frasier rubbed his tired eyes "I can't take much more of this. Dad, why don't we go to McGinty's and I'll buy you a beer?"

Martin's eyes widened. "Really, Fras?"

"Yes, Dad. After the day I've had, I could go for a nice cold beer!"

"Me too! And we can get out of this... madhouse!"

Martin headed for the door while Frasier went to get his coat.

"What in the hell do you need that for? It's 80 degrees outside!"

Frasier returned his coat to the hook and chuckled.

"You're right, Dad. Let's go have a cold beer and enjoy this glorious sunshine!"

When they were gone, Niles sank into the plush cushions of Frasier's sofa and sighed.

"Oh, who am I kidding? Maris didn't want me. She never has."

Moments later, Daphne appeared beside him with a glass of sherry. "Here you are, Dr. Crane."

As he sipped his sherry and sighed deeply, Daphne touched his shoulder.

"Are you all right, Dr. Crane?"

"Just lonely. It seems that Maris wasn't very receptive to my... displays of affection."

She took his hand and squeezed gently. "I'm sorry."

He looked down at the carpet. "Thank you Daphne but I don't want to burden you with my problems. I'm sure you have a date or something. I mean you're wearing that beautiful dress and-."

Daphne blinked back tears. "Thank you, Dr. Crane. That's very sweet of you to say. But I don't think any man would want to be seen with me lookin' like this and-."

When she began to sob, he coaxed her to sit down beside him and laid his hand on her back.

"That's not true." He blurted out. "You look beautiful."

She smiled tearfully. "You're always so kind, but I'm afraid your lovely words are just words. I mean, me hair-."

He swallowed hard. "They aren't just words, Daphne. You're beautiful, no matter what anyone says."

Her eyes met his and she touched his cheek, causing him to shiver.

"That's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me. That anyone's ever said."

"Daphne, I-."

To his surprise, she leaned over and kissed his cheek. Almost instantly his face grew warm; the color rising in his cheeks.

Once more she squeezed his hand. "Thank you, Dr. Crane. And I'm sorry."

He blinked and covered her hand with his. "What could you possibly have to be sorry for?"

"Your wife. I-I can't believe she rejected you like that."

He sighed deeply. "I should have expected it. I mean we've been separated for six months and it's been three months since we've..."

"What?"

His breathing staggered when he realized what he was about to reveal. Dear God! How could he even think about telling the woman he loves about his sexual frustrations?

When he began to wheeze, Daphne pushed the hair from his forehead. "Dr Crane, are you all right? What's wrong?"

Her hand moved to his back, rubbing gently in slow, even motions. "Just relax... breathe slowly and everything will be okay. I'm here for you..."

He tried to speak but no words came.

"Dr. Crane? What's wrong?"

"Just lonely, Daphne." He admitted for the second time.

Daphne leaned against the back of the sofa cushions and sighed. "It doesn't seem fair, does it?"

"What's not fair?"

"The two of us, sitting here alone on such a beautiful day! I mean, we're good people, aren't we?"

He tilted his head, not knowing what to say.

"Of course we are!" she continued. "Or at least you are! You're kind, sweet, always carin' about people other than yourself. You're so different from that brother of yours... or your father."

He smiled shyly. "Thank you, Daphne."

There was an awkward pause, before she rose from the sofa. "Well, I suppose I should start on me chores and-."

"Daphne?"

"Yes, Dr. Crane?"

"I wasn't quite finished."

"Oh, I'm sorry. What were you going to say?"

"Well... you're a good person... but you're so much more than I'll ever be."

"Dr. Crane! You know that's not true! You're wonderful! I-I mean... you went to Yale... you're a successful psychiatrist with a lovely home and a-a wife..."

The last word came out so tiny he barely heard it.

"I am those things, I suppose. But I've never known anyone who is as kind and caring as you are. You're the most unselfish, compassionate person I've ever known."

Her eyes filled with tears.

"Thank you."

"And Daphne? There's something else."

"That was so beautiful, Dr. Crane. I can't imagine what else you could possibly-."

Her lips were warm and soft on his as he kissed her without reserve.

When the kiss ended, he stared deeply into her eyes, smiling at her stunned expression.

"Dr Crane... I..."

He kissed her again, more demanding; his breath catching in his throat as she gave into the kiss, running her fingers through his tousled hair and then-.

"Dear God!"

They drew back, startled at the outburst.

"Dr. Crane!"

"Frasier!"

Frasier crossed the room and glared at his brother.

"For God's sake, Niles are you that... sexually deprived that you felt that you had to take advantage of Daphne? I knew it was a bad idea leaving you alone here with a woman... let alone... Daphne! Don't you realize what a gift today is? Why waste it on-."

Daphne gasped, hurt by the unspoken accusation. "Dr. Crane!"

"Daphne, you know I didn't mean it the way it sounded! But Niles has been... well..."

Deeply ashamed, Niles hid his face in his hands afraid to look at Daphne.

"Frasier, I don't mind your harsh implications about my... personal problems; but to embarrass me like this in front of Daphne?"

"Niles, I wasn't trying to-."

"Leave him alone, Fras." Martin said. "Just because you're bitter that you chickened out and couldn't sing your damn aria at the PBS telethon-."

"Dad I did not chicken out!" Frasier yelled.

"Well you sure as hell feel guilty about it! That's all you talked about at McGinty's; how you missed your chance to do something different!"

"Dad! That is not the issue here! Today is a gift and-."

"He's right, Dad." Niles interrupted.

"Well, I'm glad someone agrees with me!" Frasier said.

"Today is a gift." Niles turned to Daphne and took her hand, bringing it to his lips for a kiss.

"... and spending it with Daphne is the best present that I can imagine."

Tears filled Daphne's eyes as she leaned foreword to kiss Niles' cheek.

Martin smiled, but Frasier only rolled his eyes.

"Thank God Leap Day only comes around once every four years!"

"Well, yes Frasier. But I plan on loving Daphne for the rest of my life. If it's all right with her."

Daphne gasped lightly and looked into his eyes.

"Dr Crane... I-I don't know what to say."

Not caring that his father and brother were looking, Niles kissed Daphne tenderly.

"You don't have to say anything."

With a smile, he reached out and caressed her cheek. "Now... you asked me earlier about going for a walk?"

She blushed, making her appear even more beautiful.

"Yes. It's such a lovely day and it's so warm outside. But if you don't want to, I completely-."

"It's a wonderful idea." Niles laced his fingers through hers and led her to the door.

"But... your hair!" Frasier protested.

Martin looked at his son in horror. "Frasier, that's a terrible thing to say! It's bad enough that-"

"Now look, Dr Crane. I know your brother looks a little worn out, but he'll be just fine."

"But Daphne, I meant-."

"I know what you meant!" she yelled. "Now, we'll be back in a little while, so don't worry about us. Niles will take care of me... and I'll take care of him."

Daphne said ignoring Frasier's stunned expression.

When they were gone, Frasier glanced at Martin. "What in the hell was that?"
Martin looked up from his paper and smiled.

"Looked like true love to me, Son."

THE END