Title: Their First Date Continues
Rating: mild sexual innuendos (ehe... of course)
Timeline: Right after SE05EP20 "First Date", with some referring to previous episodes.
Disclaimer: The characters from Frasier are property of Paramount and Grub Street
Author's note: Hey ^^ Thanks for reading this fanfiction. I think "First date" must be my favourite episode: this fanfiction is, in fact, how i think their dinner went. I hope it'll be clear enough ;_; i'm not a writer but I felt anyway the urge to write this: Daphne and Niles are absolutely adorable in that episode :)) I tried my best to be clear and precise but again, if you find it horrible, there's always badfic_quotes 8D. Maybe there's some OOC here and there, but I have a soft spot for Fragile!Niles C: lolAlso, i'm not english mothertongue, so please, if you spot any grammar mistake report them to me and i'll correct them crediting you. Again, thanks for reading and enjoy :)
Daphne looked at Dr Crane, feeling deeply sorry for him.
The dinner started very well: they talked a long time about sopranos and operettas and he offered to lend her some of his videotapes of his favourite plays. But then they gradually stopped talking untill the only sound heard was their spoons against the soup plate.
Although he tried his hard to hide it, she could see how sad he was: he kept on staring his soup and giving out little sighs. It must have been because that Phyllis woman he was so crazy about just ran off as soon as she realized how complicated a relationship with him would have been: he was in the middle of a divorce, he was so fragile and needy...
She could understand her point of view, you can't burden people you've just met with your problems.
Luckily with Daphne was different, and she was glad she was a longtime friend of Dr Crane: she was happy to be of help, that's what friends are meant to be, no?
She smiled widely while she quickly thought of something to say to cheer him up a little.
<You know, Dr Crane> said Daphne <Phylis is missing a fantastic first date. It makes me kind of wish I was the lucky gal!> she added, with a wink.
He twitched an eyebrow <Oh> simply said <You do?> he added without raising his eyes from the plate, nervously stroking the edge of the spoon.
"Poor Dr Crane. Always looking for approval" thought Daphne.
<Of course!> she said cheerfully <I fear you don't realize how charming you can be. Just before, when you were talking about all those subjects you were so fond of, you were very fascinating. No one could have resisted you!> she paused and grinned <I know I couldn't>.
She was trying very hard to raise his spirit, but it seemed she made things even worse. He sighed and started to rub his temple.
<You know> she tried again <Maybe you're just out of training. We could have more of this dinners, with you gaining back your confidence and me giving you dating advices, you'll be soon winning her heart>.
<That... would be very nice> he said, raising his face for the first time since she started to talk; he smiled when his eyes met hers, but soon glanced away <But, you know, I fear it's hopeless with...> he frowned a little.
<Phyllis> Daphne said.
<Yes, that's right, Phyllis> he smiled nervously <But thanks anyway for being such a good friend>.
He then kept on sipping his soup. Daphne started observing him: rejections always made people think of themselves as horrible creatures impossible to love so it was no wonder Dr Crane was so low on his mood; but Phyllis aside, he always seemed to had quite the bad luck in the lady department. She couldn't understand why, he was a pleasent man, maybe a little snobbish, certanly stuck-up, but a good man at heart and wise on a large variety of subjects: so where did all that unluck with women come from? Maybe it was really that he didn't know exactly what to say during important occasions: if it was only that, then she really could help him; she had the most ingenious insights when dating matters were involved. She almost could picture already Dr Crane and Phyllis together, smiling, thanking her for her precious help, saying they wouldn't have been together if it weren't for her; and then Dr Crane would give Daphne their framed honeymoon picture to put in the office of her new Matchmaking Agency she would have created after she was able to fix even the other Dr Crane and Mister Crane, and everyone in town just kept talking about this Brit Cupid gal who was so good in dating matters; and Dr Crane, grateful for his newfound happiness, would agree to pay for a TV commercial where there could have been the Crane boys' smiling faces on the screen, telling the world how happy and deeply in love they were, and it was all thanks to... How could she call the agency? Matchmaking Daphne? Nah.. Oh, "A romantic Moon", maybe? Yes, that was nice! And the people in the ad could say "All we needed was A romantic moon" and then the camera would move on the moon in the sky, over which Daphne's face winked at them...
<Daphne, I must admit, it's fantastic> said Niles, trying to break the silence.
<Really? Don't you think a little kitsch?>
Niles stopped sipping the soup. He stayed perfectly still and raised and eyebrow, studying her.
<Hum.... no?> He hazarded, hoping that was the right answer.
<Ah, perfect then!> she said cheerfully <Thank you, Dr Crane, I really value your opinion>
<Ah... not at all Daphne.> he said, still rather perplexed. He learned not to ask further questions when Daphne's train of thoughts were involved.
<So...> he started awkwardly after a while <You're saying that I could actually... win her heart?>
She smiled <Sure you can! I mean, why couldn't you? You're good looking, smart... sophisticated...>
<Oh please... go on> he joked.
<You are! I really wish you realize yourself someday. How could this woman be so unreachable? To me, you're just idealizing her>
<Oh no. I'm not. I...> he stared at her with a serious look on his face, then blushing looked away <I assure you I'm not. She's just that perfect>.
Daphne sighed. Dr Crane was so naive about women: after all he manged to stay married to Maris the Icewoman for almost 15 years without realizing how deleterious she was for him. As long as they provided the love he needed, women were absolute angels to him.
<And more... I fear she could reject me> he sighed <And then, how could I face her everyday again? She would feel sorry for me, I would feel angry with myself for being so stupid and impulsive, and everything would be an utterly disgusting mess of emotions I hate to have to deal with. I wouldn't lose just my love, you see... I would lose a friend. A very precious friend. And I don't want that>.
Daphne was puzzled. How could Phyllis be so close to Dr Crane if the only time they spent together was the elevator trip? But she reminded how he idealized the women he desidered and didn't question his feelings anymore. Probably in his head those short minutes together were filled with deep conversations about novels, psychiatric essays, plays and those obscure mongolian throat singers only he and his brother seemed to appreciate; maybe he even imagined to talk to Phyllis about the operettas he just told Daphne about, and for a brief moment she felt her womanly pride hurt that *herself* wasn't the object of Dr Crane's love. "Enough of this nonsense, now", she thought.
She took his hands in hers and gave them a little squeeze <If she's a friend you won't lose her: she won't desert you because she loves you>.
<I suppose so> he said, staring at his hands in hers <But I'm ashamed to say... I'm too scared, anyway>
<This will prevent you from a lot of good things, Dr Crane> she reprehended him, giving a little pat on his head <Don't be such a fraidy-cat!>
Niles chuckled: probably not even his 64 years old father would use such a word. <So... what do you suggest me to do? I can't just go to her and tell her how I feel, no? I have to... ingratiate her a little, don't you think?>
<You're probably right> she giggled <And God knows how gullible we women can be if you men say the right things>.
Laughing, she started talking about some of the craziest things she did for love, just because the boyfriend of the occasion was galant enough: like that one time she agreed to go all the way during the Love Tunnel in the amusement park just because he told her she had the softest hair and he could smell her head all day long, and found out only later there they sold photos at the end of the course; or that time she had to run through all the city park wearing nothing but her earrings because a policeman cought her "thanking" her boyfriend for telling her that her laugh made the stars shine. Dr Crane, with his legs tightly crossed and stroking the neck of his wine glass, was literally clinging to every word she was saying.
She was very flattered of how high in consideration such a renowed psychiatrist took her advices. He often asked her for advices in matter of dating and such, what she would like as presents or places to eat. Once he even asked her to suggest him a lingerie piece for some ladyfriend of his who quite curiously shared her exact same sizes: he kind of crossed the line when he asked her if she could try the underwear on to see if it was worth the price, but she just assumed he cared so much about her opinion he didn't thik about how risquèe the request was. It was such a pity he had to cancel his date when he had that unfortunate little stroke right when Daphne stepped out of the changing room wearing the underwear, but, as they agreed when he woke up at the hospital, it wasn't a great loss since the woman didn't show up nor callled to make sure of his conditions, she simply disappeared like she'd never existed in the first place: he was better off without her.
Daphne was starting to talk about that boyfriend who gave her 23 red roses for her 23th birthday, so after the party was over she took some leftover icecream and she put right on his---
<PLEASE, Daphne, please> Niles outbursted, completely red on his face <I got the point, really>. He felt he couldn't take it anymore: he whimpered on the inside glancing at the champagne ice bucket, feeling the urge to pour its content on his crotch.
She looked at him, repressing a little chuckle <You can be such a prude, Dr Crane. But alright, I proved my point: women will do anything if not asked directly>.
He answered weakly <Thank you>
<You know... talking about icecream... it gave me an idea> she grinned a little.
He startled with such force he made the plates on the table jump and the bottle almost fall off, pouring the wine on the table cloth. <An... idea?> he muttered, practically glowing red.
<Yes, there's no better remedy for a broken heart than icecream, a sofa....> she said lowering her voice.
Niles stared at her lips. Those red, red lips. He quickly thought about his flowers. He could gather a maximum of 30 roses around his house. Her birthday was still a bit far away, but maybe pretending he was convinced she was only 30 could do the trick as well---
<....and a good friend to tell all Phyllis' flaws to!>
<...what?> he gasped, reality giving him the best slap it could.
<I'ts proven, Dr Crane. There's nothing better than talking bad about your love interest to cheer an aching heart> she said smiling.
<Oh. ...oh! That's what the icecream's for. Of course it is. Of... course it is> he faked a smile as best as he could.
Dr Crane seemed disappointed <What's wrong? You don't believe me?> asked Daphne.
<Ah... of course I do. It's just, I don't have any icecream or high-fat food in my house. They're strictly forbidden>
<What?!> she exclaimed <No wonder not many women come here often!> she joked, but felt guilty when she saw his offended look <I'm sorry, that didn't come out right. But how come? Not even a little cup of Häagen-Dazs?>
<I'm afraid not. I think it's a little... heritage from the years spent with Maris. She had the most genuine terror for fat food. And...> he paused, looking away.
<That's rather vane, I'm afraid> he said embarassed <But, you have seen my father and brother. There are many things that we share, the strong chin, the greek nose, the wide forehead and the... slightly... receding hairline>. He noticed Daphne repressed a chuckle at the word "Slightly", and he gave her a jokingly reproaching look. <I'll be more than happy to avoid as long as possible to share also the Crane pear-shaped looks>.
Daphne laughed hard <That's wicked, Dr Crane! Your father and brother aren't fat! They're... well... robust!>
<Ooooh... right.> he joked <I will remind Frasier he doesn't have to hold his stomach back during photo sessions. But, vanity apart, I really believe in "Mens sana in corpore sano", so no junk food for this healthy little man>.
<Mh? What's that? Some italian diet?> she asked.
He laughed a little <No no, that's latin. It means "healthy mind in a healthy body">
She opened her mouth in amazement <You know latin too, Dr Crane?>
<Why yes, of course I do> he felt like a peacock spreading his tail <That's common knowledge in Yale. And Cambridge>. added proudly.
She tried her best not to roll her eyes <So you must know some poems right? Tell me some!>
Niles frowned. In his eager to show off his prestigious studies he omitted to say that his interest towards latin weren't the most pure. In fact, he spent more time staring at his young and passionate teacher then her notes on the blackboard, making it easy to tell by heart her measurements but kind of hard to recite "Rosa Rosae".
<So?> she asked <Don't be shy!>
<Ah, hum...> He muttered. He remembered only one, the motherload of classics, the most romantic and heartbreaking one. "I wonder what she could do to me for this one?" he smiled at the thought.
<What are you thinking about?>
<Ah... the poem, of course> he blushed. <It's the most famous Catullo's one> He cleared his throat and declaimed:
"Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior."
Niles looked at her in silence. She stood still, waiting; then, after some moments said <That's... that's all? You don't remember it?>
He chuckled <No, it's just it. But really, you don't need anything more. It's every experience of love in two tidy lines>
<What does it says?>
He looked down on the wine stain on the table cloth, and with a sad smile he softly spoke <"I hate and I love. Why I do this, you may ask. I don't know, but I feel so and I am tortured">
They both stood in silence for a little while, alone with their private thoughts.
Daphne quickly dried a tear in the corner of her eye. How could such a brief poem touch her so? Maybe it was Dr Crane's tone of voice: he sounded like he really felt those words, the confusion, the pain...
<Oh, Dr Crane...>
<Actually, "excrucior" is more like "I feel like I'm on the cross". Because, as you know, the cross was the device of torture reserved for the scum of society, thieves and such; and Catullo feels like that because of Lesbia, his mistress, to whom the poem is dedicated, treats his love like a cleaning rag and tosses his heart away when she's done with it> he added, with the presumptous smirk he surely must have had back in school during oral exams.
Daphne felt the simpathy for Dr Crane quickly fade away.
<It's very beautiful, Dr Crane>
<It really is; and.. very hard not to relate to>
<Do you hate Phyllis, Dr Crane?> Daphne asked cautiously.
<What...? Oh, no no, I don't hate... her. I hate myself for being such an idiot.> he smiled sadly <But anyway, I couldn't hate her anyway. She's impossible to>.
<And there you go again> she fumed <You can't idealize her like that! Besides, it's not right towards her either>
<What do you mean?> asked Dr Crane rather puzzled.
<Well, suppose she actually feels the same about you... which is not that impossible, of course> she quickly added <She'd find herself with an idolizing man watching closely anything she'd do: but she's a human and fated to make a mistake sooner or later and when he realizes that, what will he do? Will he be in love with the woman herself or leave her when he realizes he loved just his image he had of her? That's putting too much pressure on a person, Dr Crane. It's not fair>.
Dr Crane stood silent, then smiled <Maybe you're right. But I assure you... she has no flaw. She's above human standards>
Daphne battled against the urge to throw a piece of bread in his head. How could he be so stubborn to not see how resizing that woman was crucial for himself too? She breathed deeply <Dr Crane. Listen to me. It's important you put her in the right perspective. Find some flaws of her... she must have some. Do it for me?> she tried a little incouraging smile.
<Oh well> he smiled after a while, after drinking a glass of wine <I suppose I can give it a try>.
Daphne could see he wasn't really serious about it: he had that look on his face like he felt that was just a useless charade, like he could never change his mind about Phyllis. For a brief moment there Daphne wondered what it was about to be so adored and admired by a man, and felt, just a little, that she would be happy if she had been the woman Dr Crane loved so much.
<Let's see...> he said, pouring some more wine in his glass <She has a questionable taste in movies, for a start. I feel like a date outside a good restaurant would be rather difficult, in order to please us both>
"...then again, I don't know if I would be in love enough to remain awake three hours straight of opera for him" she thought bitterly. She smiled <That's good. Go on. What about her appereance?>
<Oh no. That's impossible. How could...> he stopped when he saw the reprehensive look on her face <Oh, all right. Well... she's so gorgeous she'd make me look like a little toad> he joked, sipping a little wine.
She gave in the urge, took the bread and actually threw against him <Please Dr Crane, it's important! Be Serious!>
He laughed, screening his face with his free hand <Ok ok! I'll stop joking. Mmmh...> he assumed a thinking expression <Oh, oh, I know! She's a bit too high! And very skinny too, It'd hurt my masculine pride to be seen against such a perch> he said, proud of himself for finding something against her.
"It's not *her* fault if you're a short cap" she thought, offended herself since she was also high and thin (that was weird, though, Phyllis didn't seem to be very thin, no?) <You're doing good. Anything else?>
<Well> he continued with an amused smirk after finishing his glass <She's very gullible, she believes in... things science can't prove>
<What? Like... psychic powers?> she said, raising an eyebrow.
<Yeah> he laughed <I mean, no! I mean, yes, she does, but it's different with you, I mean, you're really a... a psychic. You have your... sort of proofs> he said with some difficulty.
<...nice save, Dr Crane> she gave him a little sneer.
<Eheh...> he gulped rumorously his glass of wine <But it's not only that. She's also *tremendously* oblivious. She doesn't really seem to understand what's happening around her> he chuckled like he was trying to repress a lot more laughs <She often loses herself in her own world and acts surprised when people don't follow her impossible reasonings. She thinks of herself as some relationship genious and takes credit for your love life success, even if in reality it turns up the woman you're after is actually trying to set you up with her decrepit mother>
She laughed <Oh God, is she really *that* stupid?>
He looked at her chuckling <Oh, you have no idea. She's so absent minded she actually thinks she can cook well, when it's absolutely not the case; everyone can make the most disgusted faces while tasting her recipies and she simply wouldn't see it>
<Sounds in denial to me!> said her cheerfully, encouraging Dr Crane to say more.
<Ahah, I guess so!> he laughed <And, listen to this, she's so oblivious I could go to her saying I love her, and she'd probably answer she loved me too, completely missing the tone of my voice.>
<Holy Moses, Dr Crane> she exclaimed <She sounds like a complete twit!>
Dr Crane couldn't contain anymore and burst out laughing like Daphne said the funniest joke in the world.
<Are you ok, Dr Crane? I fear you had too much wine, eh?> she smiled.
<Oh it's Ok, it's nothing. It's not the wine.Thanks for everything, I really needed that> he said drying a tear from too much laughing and giving her hand a little squeeze. <I really love you, Daphne>.
And right there, when he took her hand, something in Daphne's mind snapped. His smile was so warm and sweet, she felt her heart stopping a little and then starting to beat a lot faster to make up for the inaction time.
How could he have ever tasted Phyllis cooking? And what about her being "so gorgeous she'd make him look like a toad"? Daphne was tall, thin and attractive. Daphne was the one who believed in psychic powers. Daphne was the one who was a good cook but for some reason most of people preferred order a take-away then let her cook. Daphne was the one who thought of "A Romantic Moon" matchmaking agency while listening to his love problems. And Dr Crane, he didn't seem so fond of Phyllis, like he, like he didn't care at all of her.
Could it be...? Was Dr Crane actually in love with...?
The oven alarm clock ringed. The roast was finally ready.
<Oh> she startled <I need to get that. Sorry>
<Is everything all right, Daphne?> he asked, worried.
<Yes, yes, I was just a little dizzy, the wine you see> she smiled <I love you too, Dr Crane> she patted his shoulder while heading towards the kitchen.
"Of course you do" he sighed, sipping his wine.
In the kitchen, she leaned against the wall, feeling her cheeks in flames. She giggled while taking the roast out of the oven.
"You, my little lamb friend, just saved my life" she thought towards the burnt piece of meat "God knows where all that nonsense could have brought me!"
<The rest of the dinner is served!> she proclaimed, putting the roast on the table.
<It looks delicious> he said, knowing for sure she wouldnt see how terrible he was at lying.
It was almost midnight when they finished the dinner and they hadn't anything else left to say. They stood in front of the door, making small talk. Niles looked at her, thinking about the conversation they had before: how could he ever find flaws in her? Even her polite chit-chat was lovely.
<Thanks again for the delightful evening, Dr Crane> she said putting on her jacket.
<Ah, thanks to you, Daphne. You were really supportive. You saved my night> he replied smiling <I hope we'll do this again sometime>
<I hope next time you will be to busy spending time with your lovely woman to be with a friend> she gave him a nudge.
"Exactly my point" he thought <I... hope so too, Daphne> he said stepping forward to give her a hug.
And he didn't know if it was that intoxicating, sweet smell of her hair, or it was just all the wine he drank, but he felt so dizzy he almost fainted, and the only thing he could think of was that he loved her, he loved her so much, so bad he couldn't keep it inside anymore and he could see the surprised look on her face when he'd burst out saying those three words, and then she'd replied you dumb, sweet man, what took you so long? And then he could have been able to finally kiss those red lips of hers, finally realizing that everything would turn out ok now, his divorce, his life, everything.
<Daphne...> he started, breaking off the hug.
<Yes, Dr Crane?> she asked, looking him in the eye.
But then again, maybe it was only he really drank too much wine, after all hat hug seemed very short, very friend-like, and her eyes seemed kind of worried, like he was going to say something horribly stupid, like he loved her, and she didn't, and then he wouldn't be able to go and see his brother nor his father again because she would have been there with those worried eyes, excluding him from her life to spare his feelings. And he surrended to his fears: he wasn't ready to lose another woman so dear to him, not again.
<Do you want me to walk you home?> he asked, trying to cover his trembling voice.
<Oh no, there's no need to. I'll call a taxi. But thanks anyway> she smiled <You know... about Phyllis>
<Maybe it would be a good idea if you took your mind off of her for a while. You know... seeing how "normal" women are, maybe doing so you'll be able to downsize Phyllis and learn to love her for the human being she is>
Niles opened his mouth to say something. He wanted to object that it was impossible for him to see her as a normal person, because she *wasn't* a normal person for a start; but he knew that would have just got on her nerves and he simply thanked her for her advice.
<Well, I better be off now. Goodnight, Dr Crane>
Niles opened the door, watched her exit, said goonight again and closed the door. He leaned on the door, wanting badly to kick something.
"This attitude of yours won't take you anywhere, Dr Crane" she said.
"If this woman is so wonderful as you say she is, she won't be on the market forever" she said "You shouldn't be wasting another moment"
"You are intelligent... charming..."
What if... what if all those messages actually meant a.. lassez-passez, so to speak? She didn't seem to have difficulties finding ways to flatter him, as if, YES!, he was always on her mind!, and he could have sworn she blushed when he took her hand.
Maybe he was right. Maybe she was right outside the door waiting for him to open it abruptly, take her in his arms, lean her on her back and...
Yet again, maybe was the wine thinking. He couldn't see her throught the door peephole.
But Daphne was a shy person after all, she knew he had a peephole no? Oh poor Daphne, he could imagine her, crouched on the floor, pressed against the door not to be seen, feeling like a fool because herself couldn't say how much she cared...
He felt rather stupid opening the door and not finding anyone. "Now Niles" he thought bitterly, closing the door "You're just being delusional. It'll take time, but you'll be able to talk to her about your feelings, eventually. As for now, stop fantasizing about her being heart-broken, shivering and scared against your door, or the corridor or..."
...and no, of course, she wasn't standing in the corridor either. She went home, like she said she would. He closed the door for the last time, slapping his head for the frustration. Maybe she was right, he needed to get his mind off of her for a while. She was driving him insane, with her soft and good scented hair, with her caring manners... with her twisted kinky stories...
And finally, for the first time after years -last time being in college when he refused to suck nutella from his girlfriend fingers because he was worried of the damage to his hip line -, he really hated to have those fatso-inclined genes in his blood. He dropped on the sofa buring his face into the pillow; he really could have used some high-fat chocolate right now.