Chapter Seventeen

A/N: The final chapter! I was afraid I'd never get to this point for a while.

I have one little note based on something an anonymous reviewer left that I didn't express very well in the written chapters. The only things we know about Gil's grandfather come from her perspective, which is highly biased. Her opinions on her grandfather aren't 100% in line with the truth, even if she believes that they are. Some of the things she says/believes about him just aren't very accurate. She is not a reliable narrator.

Anyway, please enjoy and review!

"Gil, I think we need to talk about what happened last night," Matthew said, then fell silent. He wasn't really sure what to say next; he hadn't really planned this very well. "Um, well, I guess it was actually this morning."

Gil looked mortified for a split second before her face went blank.

"Did something happen this morning?" she said, obviously trying to lie. After six months of living together, he could tell right away. "I can't remember."

"I think you do, you haven't looked at me once all day and every time you do, you start blushing," Matthew pointed out rather directly. There was really no point in beating around the bush at this point. As if to prove his point, her face turned pink.

"I do not blush!" she insisted. He almost replied to that, before Matthew remembered that he had something important he was supposed to be talking to Gil about.

"Why did you kiss me?" he asked bluntly. Gil made a choking sound and her blush went from pink to fuchsia. She looked away before she spoke.

"Do we really have to talk about this?" she groaned miserably.

"Yes," Matthew replied uncomfortably. Maybe it was selfish of him to bother her like this, but he couldn't leave it alone.

"Why?" Gil whined. "It... was an accident."

Matthew almost winced; that was what he'd been afraid of. Feeling like a lead weight was sinking down into his chest, he looked away, too. He was just about to let the matter go, feelind stupid and disappointed, but Gil kept talking, her hands twitching and flailing as her words grew more frantic.

"I was tired, you know. I wasn't thinking straight. I didn't mean it."

"Oka—" Matthew tried to say, the leaden feeling spreading to his arms and legs, but she didn't stop.

"So don't think anything of it. Total accident, didn't mean anything, forget it ever happ—"

He cut her off by grasping her hand lightly. She looked as surprised as he felt for a moment; he hadn't intended to grab her hand. Then, Gil's face darkened even further (he'd never known that color was achievable by the human skin before) and she tried to wrestle her hand away from his.

"Stop doing that! Stop acting like you care and confusing the hell out of me!"

"I'm sorry."

"Well, if you're sorry than don't do it!" Gil snapped before yanking her hand out of his grip. She still looked awfully flustered and Matthew decided that it was now or never. He'd already set himself up for failure; might as well go in with no regrets. At least if she flat-out rejected him he would never have to wonder. And maybe he could move on.

"Um, I do care," Matthew said quietly. "Probably more than is healthy. Or appropriate. And, well, I don't want to forget what happened."

Gil gaped at him in a way that he really hoped was a good sign.

"I like you," he added pathetically.

"Like a friend?" Gil supplied suspiciously. Matthew shook his head.

"Like more than a friend." And then, so she couldn't possibly mistake his words, "Like romantically."

She was making a strange face that Matthew couldn't read and looked down at her hands. Unaware, he was holding his breath as he waited for her answer.

"You... can't mean that."

A flare of annoyance rose in Matthew and he let out that breath in a huff.

"Of course I do!" he said testily. "I'm a grown man, I can tell my own feelings."

Gil looked up, looking a little surprised at his reaction.

"I just wanted to make sure you weren't messing with me!" she defended herself.

"I would never do that," Matthew said.

"Well, excuse me for being a little wary of dudes at the moment."

"Right," Matthew cringed. "Sorry."

An uncomfortable silence stretched between the two. Matthew was contemplating saying something when Gil broke the silence with what sounded like a hopeful tone.

"So... you really like me?"

He nodded, his breath caught in his throat. It was the moment of truth.

"Uh, that's awesome. 'Cause... I-I kinda like you, too. A lot. Maybe."

Matthew was frozen in disbelief for a few moments before he could speak again.

"Really?" he said stupidly when he could.

"Isn't that what I just said?" Gil questioned, turning pink again.

"Just checking," Matthew replied before throwing all caution and pride to the wind and leaning in to kiss her.

Her lips were horribly chapped. It was the first thing he couldn't help noticing. He forgot about that quickly enough when Gil started to kiss him back. A bubble of nervous happiness welled up in his chest, displacing the dead, leaden weight of disappointment and Matthew knew he was smiling even as he kissed Gil again. Her hands came to rest on his shoulders and curled in his hair. His own hovered awkwardly before they settled on her waist. Things felt awesome until Matthew suddenly heard a snicker. His blood ran cold and he drew back, almost choking on air when he saw Alfred lounging in the doorway.

"That was the worst love confession I've ever seen," he declared. "I'm disappointed with you, bro."

The nearest object nearest to Matthew (which happened to be a box of tongue depressors) went flying toward Alfred's face, hitting him right between the eyes. His brother shrieked girlishly before fleeing the room. Then Matthew's red face met his palms with a resounding thwack! He stayed slumped over for some time before Gil began to pat his back comfortingly.

"No one's ever 'confessed their love' to me before, so you're still number one in my book," Gil said. Matthew still couldn't bring himself to move, too mortified by his idiotic brother. He was going to do something...awful to him later. Matthew wasn't sure what yet. He couldn't really think beyond the thick blanket of embarrassment his brother had just heaped upon his shoulders.

"But I might have to rank you number two at kissing," Gil confessed as she continued to pat his back. He finally raised his head, giving her a look which read, "Why would you say that?" even though he was still incapable of speech at this point. Gil merely shrugged.

"I kissed Antonio once years ago, and he's pretty good. But, uh," she trailed off for a moment before finishing, "I think you need to show him up one of these days. On a date, maybe."

"That...sounds nice," Matthew said. It really did. She smiled at him and he smiled back and the sticky sweet moment was broken by a yawn instead of his obnoxious brother.

"Don't fall asleep on me again," Matthew joked. Gil threw a pillow at his face.

She was discharged from the hospital midway through the next day after she had finished all the paperwork for her son's birth certificate. Matthew ended up carrying the baby, who was dozing in his baby carrier, while a nurse pushed Gil in a wheelchair toward the parking lot.

The first day home with the baby was...odd, for lack of a better word. Matthew felt a little like a third wheel who was getting in the way of the new family. He hovered awkwardly around during the hours that followed their homecoming, which consisted of a draining haze of liberal crying and frequent feedings. Even he felt more tired than he'd been since med school a few hours later and Gil was the one doing all of the work. Freddie had finally settled down to sleep longer than fifteen minutes at a time and Gil celebrated by going for her first real shower while he was still sleeping.

The water had just started running when Freddie began to fuss again. Matthew set down his book awkwardly before crossing the room to the bassinet and kneeling down beside it. One little fist had managed to get free of the swaddling and the baby waved it angrily as he whined.

"Hey, there," Matthew said for lack of anything else to say. He was only an expert on babies until they came out of the womb; he was at a loss of what to do now. Freddie only started fussing louder and Matthew struggled internally between the awkwardness of dealing with Gil's baby or disrupting the first moment of peace she'd had in days. The struggle was short; Matthew soon found himself picking him up and settling down on his couch with the baby in his arms. A quick check showed that his diaper was still clean so he did the only thing he could really do; he rocked the baby gently and tried to make soothing noises, hoping that he was doing this right. The cries abated a little, hopefully long enough so that Gil could finish her shower, and then finally slowed back down to snuffles. After he'd calmed down, the baby looked up at Matthew curiously. He'd stuck his fist in his mouth and sucked it in a classic hunger sign while he engaged in a staring contest with Matthew.

It felt awkward to just be staring at the baby; Matthew struggled for words that might lessen the tension in the air.

"You're hungry, aren't you?" he asked. He only received a slow blink of violet eyes. Could babies make "duh" faces this young? That was disturbing. After a while, the baby seemed to get bored with staring at him, closed his eyes again, and nodded off in Matthew's arms. He felt awkward again with Gil's son sleeping away on him, but tried to settle in so that they were both more comfortable. As the time passed, he reflected that it was kind of nice.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed when Gil bounced onto the couch, hair still wet from the shower.

"Is Freddie okay?" she asked. The baby stirred from the bouncing and the noise, making a grumpy face.

"He's fine, but I think he's hungry," Matthew replied before handing her son back to her. She accepted him easily and left to go feed him in the other room but not before planting a kiss on Matthew's mouth.

By the time the sun was starting to set, Gil and Matthew were both thoroughly exhausted. The decision to go to bed early was quickly made. Sinking down into bed after two nights at the hospital felt like heaven. Matthew had just gotten settled in when his bedroom door creaked open. Gil came in, whistling and carrying Freddie's bassinet.

"What are you doing?" Matthew asked as she set the bassinet down next to his bed.

"Well, not to be ungrateful or anything, but the bed you bought me is super uncomfortable," Gil said by way of explanation as she climbed into his bed. "Also, I don't know what I'm doing with Freddie. If I wake up in the middle of the night and need your help, I won't have to trek all the way here. This will be much more efficient! And you know how we Germans love efficiency."

Her face was turned away from him so Matthew couldn't tell if she was blushing, but he knew for sure he was.

"Okay," he stuttered before exhaustion finally took its toll on the two.

It felt like his eyes had only been closed for a few minutes when he was suddenly woken by shrill crying. Blinking sleepily at his alarm clock, he saw that it had actually been almost ninety minutes as Gil went to pick up her son. Matthew had almost fallen back asleep by the time Freddie finished eating and Gil crawled back under the covers. Sleepily, she cuddled up to Matthew and he instinctively wrapped his arm around her. He was tired but warm and Gil was soft and pliant in his arms. Having her beside him felt wonderful and made him happier than he could remember having been in a long time. The moment felt perfect.

Yeah, he could definitely get used to this. Maybe even for the rest of his life.

A/N: Aaaaand we're done! And it only took me twenty-one months! Ha...haha. Sorry about that again.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this fic.