She was emotionally drained by the time she climbed the stairs. A check on her son confirmed that he was sleeping soundly. Her heart was grateful that he'd chosen to sleep thorough the night.
But as a precaution she changed his diaper, amazed that he barely stirred as she was doing so.
"Sleep well my angel." She said kissing his soft cheek.
Taking one last glance at her sleeping son, she turned out the light and crept out of the room.
An unexpected sight greeted her when she entered the bedroom;
Niles was awake.
He sat on the edge of the bed, his hand over his face. When she moved closer, her heart broke when she heard his soft sobs.
She sat down beside him and touched his cheek. The gentle motion prompted him to face her and he gave her a small sad smile as he took her hand bringing it to his lips for a kiss.
"I'm a failure, Daphne." He said in a voice so soft it was barely audible.
The words stunned her; for he'd never spoken this way before.
"No, you're not! How can you say that?"
"I've failed you, Daphne. I've failed you, our son, Frasier, my father... even Mrs. Woodson-."
His broken voice brought tears to her eyes but she didn't want him to see how much his words were hurting her.
When he began to sob, she took his face in her hands.
"You listen to me, Niles Crane... You are most certainly not a failure! You're a kind, smart, sweet loving man with the biggest heart I've ever seen!"
"But my patient... she..."
"Hush. You did nothin' wrong. That woman was severely disturbed. She couldn't be helped."
"You did everything you could and that's all that matters."
He hung his head in shame. "I'm a disgrace to my profession."
Her hand gently turned his face toward hers.
"You could never be a disgrace. I love you and nothing you can say or do will change that."
Before he could reply, she kissed him deeply, but pulled away when the affection wasn't returned.
She tried to be strong but when she started to cry again her composure faltered.
Brushing the tears from his cheeks, she took him in her arms. They held each other for several minutes and she rubbed his back in slow, even circles.
However, there was no calming him. Even the soothing words she whispered didn't seem to be working. Finally she coaxed him back into bed and tucked him in.
"I'll be right back, Darling."
She kissed him softly and changed into her nightgown. It was much earlier than her normal bedtime and she still had a million things to do.
But right now her husband needed her; and she needed him.
She climbed into bed, hurt when Niles didn't take her in his arms the way he usually did. Instead he lay facing the opposite direction. She ran her fingers through his hair, smiling when he finally turned to face her.
Her hand caressed his cheek, which was still wet with tears. "Please don't cry, Sweetheart. Everything will be all right."
Finally he took her in his arms and kissed her, causing a rush of love to flow through her. At that moment she loved him more than ever.
Drawing him closer, she held him tightly.
"How did I get so lucky? If only I'd known that you loved me sooner. I should have seen it. You've always been so sweet and thoughtful; always complimentin' me. I guess I just never dreamed that someone like you could ever love someone like me. And I love you more than you will ever know."
"I love you too, Daphne."
They kissed once more and she cradled her head in the crook of his neck, sighing contentedly.
"Why don't we do something tomorrow night? Just the two of us? We can take David over to Ronee and Martin's and... Niles?"
She lifted her head, smiling when she noticed that he had fallen asleep. The smile still on her face, Daphne turned out the light and snuggled even closer to her husband, placing a soft kiss on his mouth.
"Sleep well, my angel."