He drove back to his space in the parking garage of the building that housed his hope. And when he stepped out of the car, closing the door behind him, Frasier leaned back against it and thought…mulled over all that had occurred today, between the two of them.

"I have it, Frasier! Your animosity towards Diane was overcome when you discovered the depths of her current vulnerability. You'll recall that you'd first discovered you'd fallen for her when her time at Goldenbrook had ended—and she was free to re-enter the world. Perhaps her…immense gratitude then bordered on hero-worship—you effectively rescued her from peril, and she saw you as a proverbial 'knight in shining armor'. Naturally, you found yourself deeply drawn to such an heroic image of yourself—and so in accepting it, you—"

Oh, really! Where do these thoughts come from, anyway?

"I'm simply suggesting…you're seeing her as in deep peril and distress once again, Frasier—and once again, you're the brave knight coming to her rescue. Perhaps that's something you can't resist…a sort of 'Nightingale Effect', hmm? And while we're on the subject—perhaps that is why she reacted as tensely as she did?"

Frasier shook his head. That wasn't Niles anyway—just his projection of what he might say.

Speaking of Niles… He checked his watch. Niles wouldn't be at Café Nervosa for an hour or so.

Well…thirty-two blocks away—time enough to walk there. Time enough, Frasier supposed, to clear his head.

And to get that now-infernal song about everybody playing the fool out of his mind.

He straightened up, let out a sigh of resignation—and walked, bracing himself for a confrontation—with Niles or with himself, he didn't know. But he braced himself against the uncertainty of the future, nonetheless…only barely aware that he was humming the song to himself, all the way there.


The end...but their journeys are only beginning.