Never Trust Birds to Keep a Secret

Niles was sitting on his fainting couch at his apartment at the Montana. His bird, Baby, was on his shoulder, gently nipping at his hair.

"Aren't you sweet?" Niles said, smiling at her. He was glad to have some sort of affection since his split from Maris. Needless to say, he had been trying to gain that affection from Daphne, but with no success. Of course, he had been trying to gain her attention even before he and Maris separated.

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang causing Baby to screech and dig her talons into Niles's shoulder.

"Baby, go to your perch," he said, cringing with pain.

She quickly flew to the perch near the front door.

Shaking off the pain in his shoulder, Niles rose from his couch and answered the door. Frasier was standing before him.

"Ah, Frasier. What brings you here?" Niles asked, opening the door all the way to let his brother in.

"I thought it would be nice to spend time with my younger brother." Frasier dug into his pocket and brandished two tickets. Niles gasped loudly.

"You're kidding?" He shouted. "You actually got tickets to the symphony? But how? It's the symphony of the season!"

"Give me a little credit, Niles," Frasier said with a satisfied smirk. "It doesn't matter how I got them. The point is I got them."

"You didn't do anything illegal did you?" Niles asked nervously.

"You're so funny," he replied sarcastically.

Niles smiled and took one of the tickets from Frasier's hands. He stared gleefully at it. "I can't wait. Thank you, Frasier." Another thought came to Niles's head as Frasier took a seat. "I thought you, Dad, and Daphne were doing something tonight? She told me you guys were going to some sort of movie?" He sat next to him.

Frasier rolled his eyes. "A movie that only Dad would be interested in seeing. It turns out Dad met a woman last night at Mcginty's, and she wants to see the movie. I gladly backed out of going." He chuckled. "As for Daphne, she doesn't want to be a third wheel. Luckily for her, she met someone as well." Niles looked up with interest at these words. Frasier nodded. "She has a date with him tonight."

"Have you met him?" Niles asked, more forcefully than he had intended to.

Frasier was not taken aback by Niles's tone; he had expected it. "Yes, I have. They went out to lunch together, and so he picked her up. His name is Jonathon. He works at some grocery store as a cashier."

Niles scoffed. "An angel such as Daphne deserves much better than a cashier at a supermarket."

"Still pining, Niles?"

"Of course I am. That dinner we had a few weeks ago made me fall deeper in love with her. I think we belong together, Frasier."

"I think you've wasted enough chances, Niles," Frasier said firmly. "Unless this relationship doesn't work out, hold your tongue."
Niles sighed. "I'm sorry I'm such a coward. It's just difficult, you know? This depression I've been going through ever since Maris and I split up." Frasier raised his eyebrows. Niles smiled sardonically. "Oh, alright! I've had this depression even before we split up. I think it mostly had to do with my desire for Daphne. I love Daphne. And that's all there is to it."

"Yes, well, why don't we just shout it from the rooftops? Niles loves Daphne!" Frasier shouted.

"See, now, you're just being silly. Why don't we head off? We can get some dinner before the symphony." Niles suggested.

"Good idea," Frasier agreed, rising from his seat. He stood by the door as Niles grabbed his coat from the coat rack.

"Goodbye, Baby," Niles said, gently pecking her on the beak. "Be a good girl, okay?"

And with that, Niles and Frasier left the apartment with high hopes for dinner and the symphony.

A few nights later, Niles was getting the apartment ready for dinner. Frasier, Martin, Daphne, and Roz were coming over to spend a few hours. It was a nice change from going to Frasier's all the time.

Not that he was complaining. Anywhere Daphne was was comforting to Niles.

Except this morning when he had the misfortune of meeting her new boyfriend. It didn't take a genius to figure out that Jonathon had spent the night and had psychical relations with her. Sure, the guy seemed nice enough, but Niles didn't like him for obvious reasons. It was even worst when he was being all lovey dovey with Daphne right in front of him! Well, it wasn't as if Jonathon knew how Niles about her. It's not as though he was making fun of or taunting him.

"Still…" Niles said to himself. "I don't like Jonathon. Daphne could do so much better."

Niles bitterly thought about this morning and pulled the roast out of the oven. After checking that it was cooked, he finished tossing the salad.

He brought everything out and set it on his dining table where four wine glasses were already waiting. And a can of Ballantine for Martin.

Niles wiped his hands on his apron and returned to the kitchen to clean himself up.

The doorbell rang and Baby screeched.

"Shh, shh, Baby." Niles calmed her down. "Come in, you guys! I'm just finishing up!" He called out.

As everyone filed in, Niles ran out of the kitchen to greet them.

"Hello, everyone," he said. "Well, dinner is ready, so go ahead and sit down. My, my, Daphne, don't you look lovely?"

Daphne was wearing a long blue dress. "Thank you, Dr. Crane. You're looking pretty spiffy yourself. You're wearing the blue blazer! I always loved that one on you."

Niles caught Frasier's eye and shrugged. "Thank you, Daphne. Here, go sit down. I'll get a bottle of wine."

Frasier watched Niles as he sat next to Roz. He suspected he had some sort of plan to get Daphne to notice him.

"So. How's Alice?" Niles asked Roz as he sat down across from her; he was also sitting right next to Daphne.

"Oh, she's getting bigger everyday!" Roz exclaimed. Her face always lit up when she was talking about her daughter. "She's the cutest thing ever. Frasier told me you once considered being a father?"

"Oh, yes." Niles laughed at the memory of his flour child. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon. Not unless Maris and I can resolve our differences."

"Yeah, that'll happen," Martin muttered.

"Thanks for the support, Dad." Niles scowled.

"Sorry, Niles, but it's a long shot. Maris is controlling, and she's only going to want you back if you let her walk all over you."

"She won't do much damage. She's so tiny, poor thing."

"You know what I mean!"

"Why don't we stop talking about Niles's love affairs and eat?" Frasier suggested, taking the plate of roast beef and cutting it into equal peaces. While he did handed them out, Niles poured wine into each glass. Martin eagerly opened his Ballantine and took a good, long drink.

"Everything looks delicious, Dr. Crane," Daphne said as Niles served the salad.

"Thank you, Daphne. I hope it tastes as good as it looks."

"It's really good!" Roz told him. "I don't think I've ever had roast beef this good! Well, except my mom's."

"Why, thank you, Roz. Daphne, how do you like it? Not too bland? Not too salty." He was wringing his hands in anticipation.

"It tastes just right." She smiled.

Niles felt his knees go weak, and he was thanking God that he was sitting down already. He wanted to tell her he was glad, but his voice seemed to have failed him. Instead, he took a sip of wine, his face turning a light shade of red.

They spent most of the evening talking about their plans for vacations and what was going on in their lives at the moment.

Niles was silent throughout most of the dinner. He had no plans for vacations, and the things that were going on his life were his separation from Maris and his dislike for Daphne's new boyfriend. If he brought up the latter, Daphne would question why he didn't like him, and he couldn't lie to her; he'd end up confessing every little thing. No, it was best to keep quiet.

"Dr. Crane?" Daphne asked him just as they had finished dessert, and everyone was feeling a bit drowsy. "May I see your bird?"

"Baby? Go right ahead, Daphne," Niles said, pointing to the kitchen door. "She's on her perch in there."

Daphne smiled and went into the kitchen. "Hi, Baby," she said.

"Hi," Baby replied. Niles had taught her to say 'hi' when people greeted her. "Cute, but stupid." Daphne laughed.

"You still remember that, don't you? My name's Daphne."

"I love Daphne."

"Oh, how cute! Aren't you the sweetest thing ever?" Daphne squealed. "Say it again."

"I love Daphne."

The door to the kitchen opened. Martin, Frasier, Roz, and Niles came in to see Baby as well.

Daphne was beaming. "Oh, Dr. Crane, your bird is adorable!"

"Isn't she?" Niles asked.

"She told me she loved me."

"She did? Oh, Baby, that's so nice of you. Say it again."

"I love Daphne."

"Niles," Frasier whispered.

"Not now, Frasier," Niles said, waving Frasier away with his hand.

"I love Daphne."

"Niles!" Frasier whispered louder.

"Frasier, can't you see we're trying to hear Baby?" Niles sighed in exasperation.

"Niles loves Daphne," Baby said.

Niles froze. He slowly turned his head to Frasier. "Is that what you were trying to warn me about?"

Frasier nodded.

"Oh, my god! Oh, my god!"

"Dr. Crane?" Daphne asked softly.

"Oh, my god!" Niles screamed, going into the living room and collapsing against the fainting couch. Everyone rushed into the living room. "Oh, my god. Oh, my god."

"Dad, Roz, why don't we go outside? I suspect Niles and Daphne have some things to talk about." Frasier said.

"Sure," Roz said.

Martin and Roz glanced at Niles, who was burying his head into a pillow muttering 'oh, my god.'

The three of them left the apartment, and it was only Niles and Daphne.

"Dr. Crane?" Daphne asked again. Niles stopped muttering to himself. He slowly raised his head up from the pillow and stared at her. Daphne sat next to him.

"Daphne, I am sorry," he said. "Baby picked it up from Frasier. It's all his fault."

"So, it's not true, then?"

He wanted to tell her it wasn't. He didn't want her to know just yet, but he couldn't lie, especially not to her. "I wish I can say it wasn't, so I could spare you the awkwardness, but it is. I've felt this way for some time now. I planned asking you out two weeks ago, but I was terrified. I really wanted to ask you on a date, not Phyllis."

"You wanted to ask me?" He nodded. "You got what you wanted, then. You and I did have a wonderful evening together, didn't we?"

"Yes, we did." He laughed. "Daphne, I'm sorry for putting you through this. I know you have a boyfriend. But, Frasier and I were having a conversation a few days ago, and Baby picked up the phrases. Of all the phrases, she picked those two up! This isn't how I wanted you to find out."

"How did you?" She asked, full of curiosity.

Niles was taken by surprise. "Well, uh… I would've taken you to a beautiful restaurant, as a friend so you wouldn't know my true intentions. After we had dinner, but before dessert, I would have someone play beautiful music. I would hold your hands, stare deeply into your beautiful brown eyes and tell you that I was in love with you." Niles held her hands and was lost in her eyes. He caught himself and smiled nervously, keeping his hands to himself. "I'm sorry," he said again.

"I've told a few men in my lifetime that I loved them. I sat them down on the sofa. They usually sat on the side you're on. I sat on this side. I held one hand." She held one of Niles's hands. "I would take my free hand and turn their head to face me." She put her other hand on Niles's cheek and turned his head toward her. "And then I would tell them I was in love with them."

Both were caught up in the moment. Slowly, ever so slowly, they brought their heads to each other's and met lips.

The kiss only last two seconds before Niles broke away.

"I'm sorry," he murmured. He seemed to be apologizing a lot tonight.

"Don't be," Daphne told him. "Dr. Crane, I must come clean… I have been harboring secret feelings for you for quite some time now."
Niles's eyes widened at the shocking news. "R-really?"

"Yes. I managed to push them to the back of my mind and ignore them. I always thought it couldn't be because when it came to classes, I was under you."

Niles flushed. He knew she didn't mean it in a sexual way, but he couldn't help but let his mind wander. "Oh, Daphne, you mustn't be worried about something as trivial as that. I thought I had no chance because I'm so high strung, and you're… well, you're gorgeous. You're free spirited, and you like to just have fun."

"That's trivial as well," she said, frowning.

"Do you really love me?" He asked, voice trembling slightly. He held his breath, expecting the worst. Daphne was only humoring him; he was sure of it. But, wait… How could he expect something so cruel from an angel?

"Yes, I do." Her words sent warmness throughout his entire body.

"Daphne, you have no idea how happy you've just made me," he whispered.

"YAY!" Roz screamed, bursting through the door. "YAY, YAY, YAY! CONGRATS, YOU TWO!"

"Roz, must you scream so loud?" Frasier asked, digging his index finger in his ear.

"Oh, don't be such a sourpuss! Aren't you happy for them?!"

"Yes, I am! But, I'd rather keep my hearing, thank you."
Niles and Daphne chuckled.

"Don't be a stick in the mud, Fras!" Martin shouted. "We're happy for you two!"

"Thank you," Niles said softly, lacing his fingers with Daphne. "Now that all the awkwardness has passed, why don't we sit down to a little TV?"

"Sounds good to me!" Martin said at once.

They got more wine and beer and sat around the television set, Niles with his arm around Daphne, smiling giddily.

Baby flew off her perch in the kitchen and landed on Niles's shoulder. He smiled at her, giving her a little kiss on the beak.

"Niles loves Daphne," Baby chirped.

Niles glanced over at Daphne. "He most certainly does," he said, kissing Daphne's lips gently.

He pulled her closer to them, and they all enjoyed their night, though Frasier and Martin were arguing about what to watch, and Roz was yelling at Frasier for being such a prat, and Niles and Daphne just smiled at them, knowing that nothing could put a damper on their good mood.

The End

Author's Note: It's been a while since I've posted a Frasier fic! It's been a while since I've been watching it, but I did watch a couple of episodes tonight: Ski Lodge and the Doctor is Out, two personal favorites of mine. I actually wrote this months ago, but I never got around to finishing it up. I apologize for not being so active with Frasier. I have, as you can tell, recently got into Doctor Who and that's my current thing now. So you will see a lot of Doctor/Rose fics up here, but fret not. If I have ideas for Frasier ones, I will be writing it! Thanks! Also, if you're wondering about Daphne's current boyfriend, it wasn't going to last anyway. He got back together with his ex-girlfriend. (not great, but whatever.)