*****Beethoven's Sixth*****

Summary: In Episode 7x15, "Out With Dad," Daphne shows a flicker of interest when it first appears that Niles and Mel will not be spending Valentine's Day together. What if Daphne and Niles went out the next day?

*****Author's Notes*****

I do not own the TV show Frasier. This story is written purely for entertainment purposes only. I get no compensation from it.

All during the second half of the seventh season of Frasier, Daphne Moon was portrayed as a conflicted woman - one who was developing feelings for Niles Crane while still engaged to Donny Douglas. On top of that, at least on the surface Niles had moved on. Scattered among these episodes were big and small hints of Daphne's growing affection for Niles.

One such instance - a very, very brief one - occurred in episode 7x15, "Out With Dad." At the beginning of the episode, Frasier mentions that he and Niles are going to the opera. Daphne quickly seizes on the idea that Niles is not seeing Mel on Valentine's Day ("So Dr. Crane's not spending the night with Mel?"). Of course, Mel changes her plans to be with Niles so Frasier "drafts" his father Martin to go the opera with him. And of course that sets in motion the main plot involving Martin's mis-representation of himself.

What if Daphne had tickets to another event the next day?

This story functions as a large-size episode tag for episode 7x15 and another episode described in the Author's Notes at the end.

Daphne, Niles, and Martin narrate the story in turn.

***** "Two Free Tickets" - Daphne's narration*****

Just when you think things are getting dull around the Crane household, something always comes up to make life interesting.

Mr. Crane gay? And dating a man young enough to be his son? It still brought me a laugh the next day, although I was sorry for Niles (in my mind I always call Dr. Crane "Niles") getting mixed up in that. My sympathy did not extend to Mr. Crane though. He had caused his own trouble.

Breakfast the next morning proved more interesting than usual. First, there were the flowers that Mr. Crane received from their guest Edward. It was so hard to stifle my laughter that I finally gave up. By that time Mr. Crane was ignoring me since he was on the phone with Niles.

Second, Dr. Crane (Frasier) came out of his room quite chipper so I assumed he hadn't ruined things with his new lady friend yet. He wolfed down his food and made for the door.

"Dad, Daphne. I've got a date with Emily tonight! We're going to dinner and the opening of the Picasso exhibit at the museum. Don't wait up for me!"

I nodded while clearing away the dishes, and Mr. Crane waved to his son while he was now talking on the phone with his friend Duke. While I was loading the dishwasher I heard Mr. Crane call out.

"Hey, Daph. Don't put all the food away yet. Niles is coming over for breakfast."

My heart leaped. Niles was coming over! I went to the kitchen entrance to look over at Mr. Crane.

"Mr. Crane, what I am supposed to whip up on such short notice? I wish you had told me your son was coming over sooner."

"Daph, it's just Niles. He's had breakfast with us hundreds of times. Just bring that cereal and fruit back out." Mr. Crane eyed me with that police detective look of his, but in a moment he went back to his phone call with Duke.

Everything Mr. Crane said was true. It's just that since I found out about how Niles had felt about me, I looked at him in a new way.

"All right, Mr. Crane. I still wish you had let me know sooner though." All I got out of him was a grunt so I went back into the kitchen. Once there I used my reflection in the oven door to touch up my hair.

In a few minutes Mr. Crane called out to me again.

"Hey, Daph. Have I got a deal for you. Come out here."

Wiping my hands I went back into the living room. I couldn't resist playing the skeptic.

"A deal? This sounds ominous."

"No it's not. You like classical music, don't you?"

"I guess. Why?"

"Duke's giving me two tickets to that symphony concert tonight."

"Why to you?"

"Because he can't stand classical music. We figured that I could come closer to finding someone to enjoy the concert. And you heard that Frasier already has plans for tonight."

"What about your friend Edward?"

Too soon, too soon, too soon to be making a joke about that. Mr. Crane scowled at me.

"Be serious. How 'bout it, Daph?"

When I thought about it the idea of an elegant evening out sounded like fun. Donny was still out of town but among Roz and my other friends surely I could find someone to go with me.

"OK, Mr. Crane, I'll take you and Duke up on those tickets. Now I just have to find someone to go with me." At that instant the doorbell rang.

Niles had arrived! When I opened the door for him, my speech left me. That had been happening since Christmas when I learned the big secret about Niles. It seemed like my emotions kept running wild, and it didn't help that Niles was standing there in his neatly pressed suit and shirt. To top it off, he was wearing the blue tie I gave him for his last birthday. My heart pounded but at last I got a greeting out to him.

"Good morning, Dr. Crane. You're looking dashing this morning." Dashing? When did I start sounding like some star-struck school girl?

"Daphne, if I look anywhere near decent it's because of you. It's your tie that makes the outfit. Thank you again for your present and your good eye in picking it out. This tie has become my favorite. And by the way you look especially radiant this morning."

Why had it taken me so long to see how charming my friend was? And attentive? And caring? I cursed my lack of awareness.

"Hey, Niles. Did you take Mel to the airport already?"

"Yes, Dad. She's giving a talk at that medical conference this afternoon. She's planning to be back tomorrow."

Something stirred in me but I wasn't exactly sure what or why. We walked over to the kitchen table and sat down with Mr. Crane. While Niles ate, his father and I drank coffee.

"Well, you know what son. You and Frasier aren't the only ones getting a little high culture around here. Daphne's going to the symphony tonight."

"Tonight?" Niles looked at Mr. Crane and me with something akin to what? Wonder?

"Yeah, tonight."

"The symphony hall here in Seattle?"

"Here. Not Portland, not Vancouver, here in Seattle."

Niles focused on me now.

"Daphne, I must say that I'm envious."

"I'm looking forward to it. Your father's friend Duke is giving me two tickets."

On hearing the source of my tickets, Niles looked puzzled but he recovered.

"I congratulate you. That concert has been sold out for months. I know because I desperately tried to get a ticket when I found out the program. They'll be performing Tchaikovsky's violin concerto in the first half and Beethoven's Sixth symphony in the second half. You and Donny will be in for a real treat."

A thought struck me. Before I had time to let fear take over, I blurted it out.

"Dr. Crane. Donny is still out of town. Would you like to go with me?"

For a moment his mouth hung open without a sound. Finally some words did come out.

"Da-Da-Daphne, I don't know what to say."

"Say 'Yes' Niles," Mr. Crane said. He placed a hand on his son's shoulder and nodded at him.

I flashed a hopeful smile to Niles. Niles smiled back at me.

"Yes, Daphne. I'd love to go."

When I heard, I couldn't help myself. Jumping up, I clapped my hands.

"Oh, I'm so excited! My best friend is going with me to the concert! We'll have so much fun!"

I looked back at Niles and he was beaming now. So was Mr. Crane, which surprised me.

"Shall I pick you up for dinner before the concert? It's the least I can do in return."

"That's even better, Dr. Crane. How about at six?"

"Perfect. Now if the two of you will excuse me, I need to get to my office. Until this evening then?"

The rest of the morning I felt like I was gliding across the breezes instead of trudging across the floor of the apartment. I was going out! With Niles! Even if we were fated to be merely friends, we were best friends. All day I kept replaying the look of joy that I had seen on his face and it warmed my soul. It also seemed that Mr. Crane was in an especially good mood.

"Daph, I haven't seen you this excited in a long time. If I'd known music did that to you, I'd have brought my harmonica back out a long time ago. Have you ever heard me do 'Lady of Spain'?"

"Mr. Crane, I appreciate the tickets and I love you, but if you retrieve your harmonica from storage there'll be one more homicide for your old colleagues from the police force to deal with."

Mr. Crane laughed but then gave me one of those inscrutable looks of his, like he was still the detective taking the measure of a suspect.

At mid-day while I was preparing a light lunch for us, I walked into the living room and overheard Mr. Crane on his phone.

"...Yeah, that's a great idea. I understand now why you left so soon. She'll like that."

Mr. Crane looked up and saw me. Panic flashed across his face but he quickly got off the phone.

"Our sandwiches are ready, Mr. Crane. And just for today, I put some regular mayonnaise on yours, not the low-calorie stuff. But this is a one-time-only event."

"Wow, you are in a good mood, Daph."

"Like I said, don't count on this every day, old man." I swatted him playfully on the shoulder.

After lunch, Mr. Crane and Eddie excused themselves for a walk. While out, Mr. Crane said he would swing by to collect the tickets from Duke. That was just as well with me, I planned to take extra care in getting ready for the evening and I'd feel better without having anyone else around.

Eventually I decided on one of my red dresses - Dr. Crane always seemed to like me wearing red so I was happy to oblige.

Six o'clock couldn't come fast enough. The anticipation made me tingle with delight.