"Go ahead, Daphne. Make my eggs."

That had happened the day before Daphne kicked him out of Frasier's house, which was the day before he was walking with his father on this pitiful night, looking for a place where he could drink his problems away. Because that really was all he wanted right now. The road he was walking on was desolate, only marred by small snowflakes drifting onto the dark sidewalks and dying grass. As he kicked a rock, not caring if it scuffed his $500 shoes, he soon realized that what he was looking at was the perfect picture that described the feeling of his heart which had just broken into a million pieces.

For the whole walk, his father tried the usual platitudes and advice about love. He had tried to listen but none of it helped. None of it helped with anything. As he sighed deeply, he saw his breath cumulate in front of him, then slowly fade. Aghh. If only he hadn't been so insensitive!

But what had he really done wrong? Maybe he is a coward like Frasier said. Frasier. Yes, that was his only advice.

Frasier was too much of a big shot now to seriously help him. But that was the usual, stuck up Frasier that he knew backward and forwards. Since he was Seattle's big hero now, he didn't have time for Niles' problems; but, now his inflated ego wanted to cast him away for more dangerous, important situations that would gain him more fame. But what if he was right? Why was that sticking to him so much? Why did that eat him up inside? Why did he let those four words contain so much power: You are a coward ?

What if I am a coward?

No, Frasier was probably just saying that because of his giant heroic act. After all, this happened all of the time. Something miraculous would happen to Frasier and he would get an ego boost, but then it would slowly be sucked out of him. This was just one of those times, and of course, it had to happen coincidentally during the purgatory of Niles' and Daphne's relationship.

Or was he not 'just saying that'? Was it true?

"Hey! Here's a shortcut to get to the bar Niles!" Martin's loud, enthusiastic voice shattered Niles' thoughts and brought him back into reality.

Martin had tried all of the platitudes because he didn't know what else to do. He understood both sides of the argument between the two lovers, and after everything they sacrificed, he didn't want to see their breakup unfold before his eyes. He knew Niles wasn't listening, and he knew he couldn't make Niles listen. But he still said it, probably because it put his mind more at ease. Well, whatever. The sooner they would get to the bar, the better.

"It's pretty dark down this alleyway, though," Niles responded worriedly as he caught up with his dad. "Maybe we shouldn't go down here…"

"Oh, you're just being paranoid. Remember? Ex-cop here! You'll be fine. Jeez, Niles!"

"Okay, okay!" Niles said quickly. Frasier's words kept ringing in his ears, in his memory: You're a coward. Don't be a coward. Don't be a coward. You're NOT a coward.

They slowly walked into the dark alley. Little light wafted into the narrow street as Niles thought he heard voices, a knife being unsheathed.

Then he was sure he heard someone shout, "Put your hands in the air and don't move!" Niles felt himself being thrust up against the wall by his father as he felt his hands being held upward for him. Those supports slowly let go.

Then, a light. No… three lights. Three flashlights showing Martin and Niles' terrified faces as well as three crooked smiles. Two men stood farther away from them, holding knives. And one man, with ragged clothes, muttered, "We got 'im, boys," and pointed a loaded pistol at them.

Suddenly, all that was heard was the clattering of Martin's cane as it tipped over and fell onto the hard cement.