Daphne snuggled closer to her husband. He kissed her soundly and pulled her even closer.
"Goodnight, my love."
"Goodnight." She brushed a damp lock of hair off his forehead then touched her lips to the exposed skin.
Niles rolled her gently onto her side and slung his arm across her waist. Oh, how she missed this. The lovemaking had been wonderful, and though she'd longed for it ever since he was given a clean bill of health, she realized it was the little gestures that she treasured the most. A few short weeks ago, she wasn't sure if she'd ever experience any of it again.
Seeing her husband in the hospital looking so frail and vulnerable was the worst fear she'd ever experienced. She wanted to believe Frasier, Martin, and Roz when they assured her Niles would be fine, but a part of her couldn't help but imagine the worst. It didn't help when her brother-in-law kept referring to that bloody handout detailing the surgery. It only painted a clearer image of him lying on that table with his chest cut open, surrounded by tubes and machines. Just thinking about it brought tears to her eyes and an involuntary sniffle.
"Daphne, are you alright?"
She felt Niles shift his body to face her. Even in the dim light from the streetlamp, she could make out his furrowed brow. He was the one who went through open heart surgery, yet here he was making sure she was okay. His concern for her was so touching that the tears she tried so hard to blink away spilled down her cheeks.
"What is it, my love?"
She wiped the wet streaks and forced a smile. "It's nothing; I'm fine."
He titled his head. "Daphne, you're crying. In all the years I've known you, not once have I seen you cry for no reason. Something must be troubling you."
"I'm okay, really. Go back to sleep. You need your rest."
He sat up against the headboard, the blanket falling to his waist. "Not until you tell me what's wrong."
Knowing he wasn't going to let up, she leaned back with him. "I suppose tonight's events made me emotional. I started reliving your hospital stay. Oh, Niles. I was so worried I was going to lose you."
Niles scooted closer, and she buried her head in his shoulder. "It's okay, my love. I'm not going anywhere. My heart is sound; it has been for weeks. I was just being overly cautious. Daphne, if you only knew how much I missed your touch. I shouldn't have waited so long."
"Hush. I know how frightened you were." She trailed her index finger parallel to the scar on his chest, careful not to touch the healing skin.
"Frightened doesn't even begin to describe it. I was afraid to do anything that could possibly jeopardize my health, which was everything that brings me joy. I knew if we slept in the same bed, I'd be tempted to do more than cuddle and sleep. I was a fool, Daphne. I feel like I failed you as a husband."
"You did no such thing, Niles Crane. You are the kindest, sweetest, most loving and wonderful man I have ever known. I must be the luckiest person alive to have you in life."
"Not as lucky as I am."
"Shall we agree we're both lucky to have found each other?"
He cradled her face and pressed his lips to hers. They'd shared many kisses over the course of their relationship, but never had a kiss held such emotion and meaning as this one. It was laced with apologies, promises, passion, and love.
When they settled down against the pillows. Daphne lay her head on his shoulder and rested her palm to the left of the scar. The feel of Niles' steady heartbeat was comforting. He covered her hand with his and squeezed her fingers gently.
"I love you, Niles."
"I love you too, Daphne."
She closed her eyes and smiled. Each beat of his heart reminded her of how lucky she really was. Back in each other's arms was where they belonged, now and forever.