Alone in his study, he sighed and rubbed his tired eyes, no longer able to concentrate on his patient notes. He stood and moved woodenly across the room, unable to believe that this was happening.

His father, the man who was once the guiding force in his life... was at death's door.

He prayed silently that he'd make it to Seattle before...

He forced the morbid thought from his mind.

No... It simply wasn't going to happen.

His dad would be fine. There was absolutely no reason to get upset.

Suddenly he thought of Niles and how scared and fragile he sounded over the phone... like a frightened child, not at all like the successful, confident man that Frasier knew him to be.

With a trembling hand, Frasier picked up the phone and dialed the line, waiting impatiently for someone to answer.

And when someone finally did answer, Frasier spoke harshly, demanding the first available flight. But to his dismay, no flights were leaving Boston until the next morning.

To which he'd promptly gone into a tirade about how a graduate of Harvard deserved only the best.

Unfortunately his demands for an earlier flight were ignored. Not even the mention of his gravely ill father would deter them.

After several calls to every airline he could think of, he simply gave up.

Reluctantly he called Niles and, not surprisingly was greeted with his brother's cheerful voice, prompting him to leave a message. Solemnly, he informed Niles that he was unable to get a flight into Seattle until early the next morning.

But somehow he knew that Niles was still at the hospital, keeping vigil over their father. He hoped and prayed that Niles wasn't alone; that somehow Maris had miraculously grown a heart and finally realized that her place was with her husband.

Sadly he knew that scenario would never happen. He simply hated to think of his little brother scared, alone and hurting.

Without giving it another thought, he rushed into his room and began to pack. This was a journey that he was simply not looking foreword to taking.

That night, alone on the sofa he knew that sleep would be a luxury... if it ever came at all. For all he could think was the family who needed him.

And he needed them... more than ever.