Daphne woke in the early morning to find her boyfriend, Niles Crane, sitting at the breakfast table, sipping at a cup of hot tea. She put her hand on his shoulder as she went to sit next to him, and he gave her a soft smile in response. He would never get used to this. Her being there every single morning with a loving smile reserved only for him. It seemed those years of desperate pinning weren't for nothing.
"Good morning, my love," Niles greeted her. "There is still some tea in the teapot, so help yourself."
"Thank you; I think I shall." She laughed, getting up and pouring herself a nice cup of tea. She sipped at it, not taking her eyes of the man she loved. She still couldn't believe she could be so lucky. To be with a man who loved her unconditionally, who treated her like she was a princess. "How're you this morning?" She asked, taking her place back at the table.
"I'm wonderful. Of course, I'm wonderful every day. No more depression for Niles Crane. Not when he has the most wonderful woman." He took her hand from across the smile.
Daphne blushed softly and giggled. "You flatter me, Niles."
"I'm only telling you truth." Niles caught sight of his wristwatch. He gulped down the rest of his tea, ignoring the hotness of it. "I'm so sorry, Daphne, but I've got to run off. I've got a patient in about fifteen minutes." He gave her hand a small squeeze before pulling away. He wanted nothing more than to stay with her, and intertwine his fingers with hers. He got up and pushed his chair in. Niles smiled, leaning over the table to capture her lips. "I love you."
"I love you, too," Daphne replied. "When will you be home?"
"About three. My last patient is at 1:45. I'll be counting the seconds, my lovely Daphne." He kissed her again before leaving the kitchen. Daphne followed him into the living room, her mug in her hands. "I'll be counting the seconds," he told her as he grabbed his coat and left the Montana.
Daphne hated being at home alone. It made her feel so bored. It was her day off, so she didn't have to go over to Elliot Bay Towers for Martin's exercises. She sat on the fainting couch, tapping her fingers against her now cold tea. It'd be different when she finally had kids. She blushed at her thought. She hadn't been with Niles that long, but the idea of having children with him was very exciting.
"Well, it's not earth-shattering that I'm thinking about it. I do love him with all my heart, after all," she said to herself. "I wonder what I should do today..." Daphne's eyes lit up with an idea. She could do a bit of cleaning. Niles always kept everything in tiptop shape, but it wouldn't be a big deal if she did some work.
Daphne found some clorox wipes under the sink and went to work with cleaning the kitchen table. She washed the dishes, wiped the floor, and cleaned the sink.
Throughout the day, Daphne vacuumed the entire the apartment, washed all the sheets and comforters, made the beds, and cleaned every room.
It was nearing three when she was finished. Daphne sighed in relief, pulling her hair out of its bun, and let it fall past her shoulders. She brushed it out with her fingers as she walked over to the downstairs closet. Maybe she could do some organizing. She was sure there was some things in there that could be thrown away.
Daphne opened the closet, and to her surprise, it wasn't as clean as she thought it would be. Some of the boxes were open, and some papers were on the floor. It was if Niles had not been in this closet for months. And judging by the cobwebs starting to form, she was beginning to think he hadn't.
"Bloody hell," she muttered to herself. She grabbed the duster and got rid of the cobwebs. She pulled a face as she threw the webs into the garbage pin. Getting to her knees, Daphne took the boxes out of the closet. She had only meant to straighten the papers up, but something caught her eye. One of the boxes had her name on it. A blue box clearly had the words "Daphne" written in black sharpie. And that tidy scrawl was, unmistakably, Niles's handwriting
"I wonder what this," she said, pulling the box out of the closet and opening it. Her eyes went wide as she took the papers out. They were love letters! Her eyes scanned the paper.
'My dearest Daphne,
You are never far from my mind. Even with Mel, I find myself thinking about you all the time. I am trying my best to move on, but it is difficult. I know I will never stop regretting not telling you how I feel. I know Donny will treat you with every bit of respect you deserve. I still wish things would be different. That you were not with Donny, and I was not with Mel. That we were together. No matter what awaits us in the future, you are my princess, my goddess, and my one true love. I love you with every fiber of my being.
Daphne clamped a hand over her mouth as tears threatened to overcome her. A tear slide out of her right eye and splashed against the paper, smudging the ink ever so slightly.
What did she do to deserve such a lovely, wonderful man?
The sound of the door opening tore Daphne's eyes away from the letter. Niles put his coat on the coat rack and smiled when he saw her. At the sight of her tears, however, his smile faded into a look of concern.
"Daphne, what is it?" He asked, rushing over to her. "Daphne?"
"Oh, Niles," she cried, tossing the paper away and throwing her arms around his neck. She kissed him, tears still sliding down her cheeks.
Niles's eyes fluttered close as he deepened their kiss and pulled her close to him. He broke the kiss with a slight smile. "What's that about?"
"I found them," she told him. She pointed to the box at her feet, the box that presented the next letter. "The letters you wrote to me."
"Oh." Niles couldn't help but feel embarrassed. His cheeks flushed a brilliant shade of red, and he rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "It was a long time ago... I know it's silly..."
"I think they're lovely! No one's ever done that for me before."
"Of course! I love you so much."
"I love you, too." He pulled the box to him, lightly skimming his fingers over the white paper that contained the contents of his heart and soul, the very things Daphne had stolen from him that first moment they met. "I kept them all," he said. He dug through the box until he finally found what he was looking for. He pulled out the paper and presented it to her. "The first one I ever wrote. It was after you came over to help me with Maris." He scooted close to her and read aloud:
"To Daphne Moon,
I know I shouldn't be feeling with this way, especially since I am married. But, I can't help the way I feel. You burn a fire within me I have never known. And though I know it's impossible for us to ever be one, I am glad to know you. I am glad to be your friend. I have never known a woman's kindness since my mother, and in the midst of everything I've been through with Maris, it is impossible not to fall in love with you. It took me quite some time to come to terms with my feelings, but I can say it without regret: I love you. Thank you for everything, and I will continue to your friend until the very end.
Niles smiled sheepishly when he finished, hoping Daphne didn't think him pathetic for writing love letters to another woman while married. On the contrary, Daphne gave him the most brilliant smile.
"Oh, you are so sweet," she said. "Can we look through the rest?"
How could he ever deny her? Niles nodded, ghosting his lips against hers. "But, right now, there's a more important manner on which to focus."
Daphne looked at him in confusion. "Like what?"
"Daphne Moon, I can tell you without a doubt that those letters will always be true. I will love you until the end of time, and..." He dug into his jacket pocket and showed her the small velvet box that was resting on his palm. "And... I hope you will do me the greatest honor. Daphne Moon, will you marry me?"
Daphne stared, wide eyed, at the box, unable to speak for a few moments. When she looked back into Niles's blues eyes, she found her voice: "Yes. Of course I will!"
He smiled at her as he slid the diamond ring onto her finger. He sighed, relishing the sight of the proof of their love resting on her. "Until the end of time."
"Until the end of time," she agreed, looking down at the shining diamond. Daphne pressed her lips against his once more.
"Come on," he said once they broke apart. "Let's look at these letters." He pulled out the next letter, and the two of them read it together, forever grateful of the not-so-smooth journey that had brought them to the most glorious of places.
Author's Note: What is this? A Frasier fic! Gasp! I've been watching a lot of Frasier lately, and I was reminded of my love for these two! The idea just sprung out of nowhere. I had a feeling that to cope with depression Niles decided to follow one of the exercises he suggested to his patients: Writing a letter.