Even though he knew how much it annoyed Daphne, Niles couldn't get over the adorable nickname that she'd been called as a child. He wanted so much to use it himself, but she simply wouldn't have it. But when his father left the room (in search of "peace and quiet", he'd said), Niles took the opportunity to move closer to his angel and hold her tight. And the moment she turned her head was the perfect moment to engage in a kiss; one that made him dizzy with love for her. When the kiss ended, she drew back, as surprised as he at the sudden intimacy.

"Niles, what was that for? Not that I mind of course."

"Because I love you… Dappy!" He said, grinning at the way he'd so cleverly used her childhood nickname. But he instantly regretted it when her sweet smile disappeared.

"Niles, I told you not to call me that!"

"I'm so sorry my love, but it's just so cute!"

"It's not cute! Do you have any idea what it was like to be made fun of? To feel like you were completely stup-." She paused and regarded him. "Oh, Niles… I'm sorry. Your nickname was much worse than mine. That's awful; calling you 'Piles' like that."

He lowered his head, wishing that his father had never brought out his childhood pictures. It was a whole side of him that Daphne had never seen before and he hoped that she never would. But it wasn't just the nickname that was bothering him. It was the fact that he was a failure when it came to sports of any kind. What kind of stupid kid knocks their tooth out by their own pitch at a baseball game?

"You're not stupid, Niles. And you never were. You were just a little boy and that's nothing to be ashamed of." When she drew him into her arms and held him, he realized that he must have spoken out loud. Or perhaps she'd sensed it. Could she really have been psychic? And then he realized that he didn't care.

"Thank you, Daphne…" he said against her hair. "I love you."

"And I love you."

They held each other for several minutes, neither of them speaking. And suddenly she spoke again. "Did it hurt?"
He lifted his head and looked at her. "Did what hurt? Getting hit with that baseball and losing my tooth? You bet it did. I even cried. Dad had to come down and rush me to the dentist. Fortunately it was a baby tooth, but still, that would have been devastating had it been one of my adult teeth. I mean can you imagine the repercussions-."

She smiled and touched his cheek. "I meant them calling you Piles."

He nodded, knowing that he should have realized that the question was coming. "Oh… truthfully yes. And I hate that Dad brought it up. I hate that he brought out these pictures too. The memories are just too painful."

She engulfed him into another hug. "I'm sorry, Sweetheart. But look how far you've come. You're a handsome, successful man-."

"With a beautiful girlfriend."

Daphne grinned. "I am your girlfriend, aren't I? I like the sound of that. Makes me feel like I'm in high school again."

Another wave of memories washed over him then. "Daphne… Can we… not talk about high school?"

"Why? Oh… Right… Well I have a better idea. Why don't we just not talk at all?"

He chuckled and moved his face closer to hers, prepared to kiss her again. "I think that's a wonderful idea."

THE END