Still in a state of shock, Daphne quickly left the doctor's office. Rather than returning to Elliot Bay Towers, she took a different bus, one that stopped just down the street from the Montana. Her heart pounded wildly as she entered the building and stepped on to the elevator. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door. It was opened almost immediately, and before Daphne could even say a word, Niles kissed her gently on the lips. It took her by surprise, completely making her forget why she'd come. But when he finally drew back, she remembered, and her heart broke even more.

"Daphne, what's wrong?" Niles asked, seeing the sad expression on her face.

Daphne couldn't help herself. She reached out, lightly caressing Niles' cheek with her hand. The love she saw in his expression was more than she could possibly deserve. Especially in light of what she had to say. "We need to talk."

Niles took hold of her hand, leading her to the fainting couch. "What is it?"

"Well, when I woke up this morning, I couldn't catch me breath. Me chest felt tight. And then I began to get dizzy, just like I did yesterday. So I just went to visit the doctor."

"Oh, Daphne. No wonder you look so frightened." He hated to see her suffering this way.

Daphne looked down, wishing she didn't have to say this. "He couldn't find anything wrong with me. At least...not physically."

"What are you saying?" Niles asked. He reached over to touch her cheek, noticing that a small tear was making its way down.

"He asked me if something in me life was making me anxious...like a relationship."

Niles' heart broke. "I am so sorry."

"What would you be sorry for?" Daphne asked. None of this was his fault. It was just her body's way of telling her this relationship could never work. In a way, she was glad. Better to know now, than find out later. That would hurt many times worse than what she was experiencing now.

"Well, I've waited so long, searching for just the perfect way to reveal my feelings to you, and what do I do? I end up scaring the life out of you."

Daphne reached over and took his hand. "You didn't scare me. I was taken a bit by surprise, but I've never been happier. At least until this morning."

Niles looked at her. "I don't know what to say."

Daphne smiled, although she knew it felt forced. "Maybe this was for the best. I mean, what were the chances of you and me actually working out? We're so different!"

"I've known since the moment we met that you were different. And that's exactly why I love you so much. You care about people more than anyone I've ever seen. No matter what goes on in your life, you find a way to make the best of it. Those are just some of the things I admire about you."

Daphne's heart melted at his words. She'd always known that Niles was a sweet man who certainly deserved to be happy in his life. But could he really be happy with her? She had no idea. His offer seemed genuine enough, but still there was no guarantee. It would be easy to do the safe, sensible thing. To simply not do something that might risk both their hearts and the friendship that they shared. But she'd seen many patients whose lives were turned upside down out of nowhere in a single moment. They missed chances to say things to loved ones, chances that could never be recovered. When that happened, regret always followed. Maybe it was better to take the gamble, and risk some heartache. If it didn't work out, at least she would know that she had tried. And if it did, well, it might end up being the greatest happy ending ever.

The End