A/N: Like I said in the description, I have a second chapter in the works but I'm not sure if I should scrap it or not. I really want to know what you guys think (considering the fact that I'm really bad at fluff too so I'm very open to criticism lol), so pls R&R. It would really mean a lot. Thx!
As always, enjoy!
At first, he felt blinded by an intense amount of light. That wonderful dream he was having- the one where he and Daphne had two little girls- had suddenly vanished.
He was surrounded by an abyss of white. He noticed he was wearing his favorite armani suit, along with his favorite golden tie he only reserved for special occasions. He was still getting used to this new, mysterious place when he heard a voice.
"I knew you could do better than Maris. Or Mel."
Niles knew that voice, and he knew it well. He turned around abruptly.
There, his mother sat in an antique wooden chair.
"Mother!" Niles squealed, ecstatic to see Hester again. He ran to her as she stood up, her blue dress billowing in a soft breeze. Niles clung to her, the scent of her hair reminding him of blissful memories from childhood. "I missed you so much," he whispered as he began to cry into her sleeve.
"Shhh, I know, I know," she responded consolingly, just like she always did whenever Niles came home battered and bruised from the work of a bully. When mother and son finally broke free of their embrace, a second chair appeared. She motioned for Niles to sit down.
"We have a lot to talk about," Hester started. Niles looked at her, motioning for her to begin the conversation.
"Pretty scary operation, huh? You seemed pretty calm, which I don't normally see from you."
"I had to for Daphne," Niles responded succinctly. "I was terrified though," he admitted.
"Speaking of Daphne!" Hester smiled at his son. "I'm proud of you. For multiple reasons. First, I approve of her. She is such a good woman for you."
Niles swelled with pride. "Thank you, mother."
"Secondly, you treat her like a queen."
"Well, I learned that from you and Dad," Niles said sheepishly as he looked at his shoes.
Hester smiled warmly at her youngest son. "Niles, I've been looking over you, Frasier and Martin even when you haven't been able to see me." She smiled. "They love you, you know. Even when it seems like they don't."
"I know," Niles said quietly. At that moment a pang of reality hit him. He was having a wonderful, tender conversation, but with his… deceased mother.
"Am I dead?"
"Technically," Hester answered matter-of-factly. "Are you gonna go back?"
"Of course," Niles answered immediately. "Daphne and I are newlyweds. We're just starting a life together, I would do anything in my power to prevent anything from jeopardizing that."
"Which makes the timing of this situation even worse." Hester chuckled, but then her expression grew serious. "Would you have answered the same, say, three years ago?"
Three years ago. What had happened three years ago? Ahh, yes: Daphne and Donny's engagement.
The question suddenly became a lot harder to answer.
"What?" Niles looked up at his mother.
"You heard me," she replied. "And, answer honestly."
A long silence lingered in the still air as Niles became pensive. This light-hearted conversation just veered onto a much more serious path.
"No," he realized with a sense of disbelief. "I would've been… a lot more hesitant."
"Oh Niles," Hester consoled as she motioned for her youngest son to sit on her lap. He obliged.
"That was an extremely hard time for you. The love of your life had just agreed to marrying another man. But that just goes to show: pretentiousness, a large apartment, luxury, expensive suits and shoes… they're things on the outside, all of which you had, but they didn't fulfill you on the inside. And the inside is what counts."
Niles looked at his mother with curiosity. He stood up and paced back and forth while digesting what she had just said. Hester then stood up as well. With a snap of her fingers, the two of them were no longer in the middle of nowhere. And Niles was suddenly staring at a tree trunk.
Niles and Hester were now in a beautiful park. Trees outlined the hexagonal patterned stone path they were standing on. The bright blue sky was only interrupted by the ball of light casting warm rays from above, as well as providing essential nutrients for the flowers that were littered across the fertile landscape. Not an inch of the land was devoid of healthy, bright green grass that covered the ground as far as the eye could see. Copious amounts of butterflies and birds added the final touch to the perfect scene Niles was standing in.
"Niles, life is something to be treasured," Hester continued as a blue jay landed on her shoulder. "It's beautiful, and manifests in different ways. And you... you, my son, are special. Because money and success doesn't mean everything to you. You consist of something more inside." She walked over to him and touched his chest. "Unlike people like Maris, you have a heart. That has been scarred over the years, and now we'll see physical evidence of that." She smiled. "But your heart was hungry for love, and with Daphne, it has been fed."
The paradise they were in suddenly disappeared, leaving Hester and Niles in the white emptiness yet again.
"So, Niles Crane, don't you ever forget that. Even during a rough patch, when life sucks, it's not something to be taken for granted, so don't ever throw it away. Once you've hit rock-bottom, you can only go up. Oh, and don't let go of Daphne either. She loves you very much."
Niles grinned. "I won't mom." He hugged her again. "Thank you for the, uh... talk. I think I needed that," he said awkwardly, fidgeting with his hands.
"Hey, no problem. It's great up here, I know just what my son needs, whenever! And a special meeting like this is to be... cherished, even though these only occur during trying circumstances ."
"I've missed you so much."
She touched his cheek. "I know. But you've moved on, and grown so much over the years. I'm so proud of you, all three of you!"
A tear slid down Niles' face which his mother quickly brushed away.
"It's okay, honey. But I have to go. Daphne's at a breaking point and is driving herself crazy, and if she doesn't get news about your condition soon, she'll be a basket case." Hester grinned and gazed at her son. "I love you Niles. And remember; I am always watching over you."
"I love you too," Niles managed to say before everything faded to black.