A/N: How would Martin, Daphne, and especially Frasier react to what happened after the infamous opening scene from "Three Valentines"?
Inspired in part by "Valentine of his Dreams" by Kristen3
The minute Martin and Daphne reentered Apartment 1901, home from their "date", they realized something was terribly wrong. Niles was passed out on the floor , the air was still slightly hazy with smoke, and the scent of scorched upholstery lingered.
Daphne kneeled beside Niles, checking his pulse while Martin canvassed the living room, to see if this was just a bizarre accident, or something more sinister. But all he saw was Eddie, still nibbling on spaghetti, and a mess of foam, along with Niles' scorched pants.
"You're all right, Dr. Crane. Just sit still," Daphne was saying as a worried Martin returned.
She gently laid his head on her lap and Niles was far from protesting. Martin returned with an ice pack and put it on his son's head, frowning worriedly.
After a few more minutes passed, Daphne judged that Niles could get up.
"But straight to bed," she warned.
"I should call my date," Niles protested.
"You can call her in the morning. Now, come along. You can borrow Frasier's bed and I'll get you one of his robes. I imagine he'll be 'spending the night' with his girlfriend, anyway."
Niles stopped short and made a move to leave.
"What if he comes back early? He'll kill me!"
Martin used his most authoritative voice. "Get to bed, now. I'll deal with your brother."
Once in Frasier's bedroom, Daphne helped a very stiff and sore Niles undress down to his boxer shorts; upon seeing his stunned look, she chuckled, misinterpreting his reaction.
"I don't mean to treat you like you can't do this yourself, but you are a bit banged up," she said.
Niles, of course, did not correct her and say that the tender way in which she had undressed him was making his imagination go wild. Hepushed the fantasy out of his head before he ended up saying something he couldn't take back, and obediently settled into Frasier's bed. Daphne covered Niles with a blanket and then, to his surprise and delight, gently kissed his cheek.
"Get some rest," she said fondly. "Call me if you need anything."
I need YOU, Niles wanted to say.
Later that evening
"WHAT THE FRESH HELL IS THIS?!"
Frasier looked on in as he beheld his ruined, blackened sofa.
"Be quiet!" Frasier heard Martin's hissing voice. He turned to see his father, who, up until then, had been watching a replay of the game, unaware of Frasier coming into the apartment.
"What happened, Dad?" Frasier spluttered.
"Don't use that tone with me," Martin snapped. "And keep your voice down. Your brother had a bad accident, and he got kind of beat up. He's sleeping in your room."
"I'm going to ask him right now what he was—,"
"No, you aren't. Where's that cot Niles used when he was staying here? You can use that for the night."
"Fras, what you need to say can wait for the morning."
Frasier grimaced. "Do you know how much that cost? It's a rare Chanel sofa!"
"What are you doing home early, anyway?" Martin said, to distract Frasier from another outburst.
"I don't want to talk about it," he grumbled. "First my date goes wrong and then my brother nearly destroys my apartment!"
Martin didn't rebuke Frasier—yet—for his lack of care about Niles. It wouldn't have any affect while Frasier was so angry.
When Martin turned to face the television again, the his flashing red light on the answering machine distracted him, and he hit the play button. A falsely sweet female voice was speaking.
You didn't answer when I came to your apartment and you didn't answer my calls, a falsely sweet female voice said. I'll save us both some embarrassment and tell you now that I think accepting your invitation was a mistake. I know Maris gave you permission to see other people, but it's obvious you're not ready yet, if you can't even give me an answer. Goodnight.
Martin deleted the message. He'd relay the gist of the message to Niles himself. The last thing Niles needed to hear were those nasty, presumptuous words.
Frasier broke into Martin's thoughts.
"Well, goodnight, Dad. I'm going to sleep. Can you just wake me up next year or whenever things finally go better for me?"
With that, he flopped down on the cot in a huff.
"Frasier," his father fixed him with a disapproving look. "Your brother had a bad night, and his date just left a nasty message. Now, I'm not saying you can't be upset over your sofa getting ruined, but I don't like your self-centered attitude."
Frasier merely ignored him.
As the morning light filtered through the gap in Frasier's curtains, Niles stirred awake. As he opened his eyes, he was momentarily confused. This wasn't his bedroom at the Shangri La…no, this was Frasier's bedroom! But why?
Then he remembered what had happened and panicked. He had to get out before Frasier returnedv.
Niles stiffly dressed in his shirt and jacket, and …oh dear…what to wear? His pride wouldn't let him wear those scorched pants. He carefully selected from Frasier's closet. A bit baggy on his small frame, but when you're desperate…
Niles stole into the main area of the apartment, desperate to sneak out. Better to deal with an irate Frasier over the phone than to—
Niles turned toward that familiar, outraged voice.
"Fras…" Martin warned.
Frasier, Martin, and Daphne were sitting down to breakfast; Daphne gave Niles a smile that made him melt.
"Breakfast, Dr. Crane?" she asked solicitously.
"Okay," Niles agreed readily.
"How are you doing, son?" Martin asked.
"A little stiff, but I'm all right," he said, as he ate a surprisingly top-notch breakfast prepared by Daphne.
After he had finished, a stonily silent Frasier finally spoke up.
"Perhaps now you'll tell us what happened?"
Martin shot a withering glance in his direction. "Let the kid rest, okay?"
Niles waved his father's concern away. "Might as well get it over with."
Frasier's eyebrows rose higher and higher as his brother recounted the previous night.
"So you not only did you stain my couch, but you set it on fire and put it out with a pot of spaghetti?"
The stress of the previous evening caught up with Niles and he turned on Frasier, not undeservedly.
"When things are better for me financially, I'll pay you back," Niles said at the end. "But right now, I just want to go home. Oh, by the way, I'm doing fine, in case you wanted to know."
His last words were heavy with sarcasm
Without so much as glancing at his insensitive brother, Niles rose, bade goodbye to Martin and Daphne, and strode for the front door—but he hadn't taken but a few steps when he stopped abruptly and yelped in pain. Daphne was beside him in a moment. Before she could even speak, Niles spoke up reassuringly, not wanting to worry her.
"I'll be all right, Daphne," he fibbed.
"You won't be if you don't get that back taken care of," she spoke up firmly. "How does a massage sound to you?"
A massage? From Daphne? Niles masterfully feigned reluctance.
"I don't want to trouble you…but you think it would help…"
Just then, Martin remembered something.
"By the way, Niles, your date left a message, and…er…"
To his relief, Niles halted an awkward conversation. Daphne was leading him to Frasier's bedroom for the massage, and he called out cheerfully over his shoulder:
"I know what you're going to say. It's all right. It was just a casual date, anyway."
Martin smiled knowingly. The Space Needle could have collapsed at the moment and Niles wouldn't care, not when he was giddy with the prospect of Daphne's soothing touch.