[A/N Hey, guys. I'm so sorry that I missed a week updating and I haven't replied to your reviews. I'm really sorry. I just had some personal issues that needed my attention and my creative flow had to go on the back burner.]

I am a lot of things. Not all of them complementary. However, I am not a dumbfuck. That is why when I pulled up to West and Italy's place I flew to the back of the car and pulled all of Italy's bags out at one go. I placed them all on the stoop of their duplex and was flying back to the car by the time Italy was half way up the walk. "Aren't you going to come in and visit?" Feliciano asked, genuinely confused.

"Hell no," I shouted as I ran to the other side of the car. "I'm not stupid. And you're not fooling me with that innocent 'aren't you coming in' act. See ya." With that I ducked into the car and turned the engine on. Pffffft. Look at him standing on the stoop with that puzzled look on his mug. A lesser-thinking man than I would think that Feliciano had forgotten about tattling on me to West. But that blank face won't fool me. Oh no it won't. And it wouldn't fool you either, if you had seen the serious look on his face when he informed me that West will be informed of my recent ongoings.

Believe me, there will be hell to pay on so many levels and I intent to postpone the inevitable as long as humanly possible. Police fucking brutality is what is awaiting in my future.

XxXxX

So I had to talk to that Swiss bastard again. Ah, yes. Even though things began cordially enough between Vash and me the situation had deteriorated rapidly. And I don't see reconciliation between us in the foreseeable future. Ah, fuck him.

Even if he did have some damn good smokes.

But at least I didn't have to see him again. I just called him up. Roderich must have talked to him earlier, though, because Vash seemed to know a good bit about what was going on and what I was planning. After confirming that I was indeed awesome enough to get us a warehouse (even if it did basically cost me 7,000 dollars—fuck you, Romano. Fuck you in the ass. And I don't mean that in a good way. No, I mean it Fullmetal Jacket style.) I told Vash what his part in this would be.

He was shady enough to find the people to steal the piano in the first place. In my opinion, he was also shady enough to move the damned thing into the warehouse for us as well. And it's not like I knew where he was keeping the Bösendorfer. I never did find that out. I my opinion it's an unimportant detail. Ah, but I digress. Vash was willing enough to move the piano to the warehouse. He was probably getting a little nervous about keeping the thing around anyways. I cautioned him to leave no fingerprints, trace evidence, or otherwise but he simply gave a haughty sniff and coolly informed me that he knew what needed to be done, thank you very much.

Well fine. Don't say I didn't warn him if the fool leaves one of his fancy pants butts at the scene of the crime. Again.

So that's done. All that's left is for me to call the tip in to the police. For that I'm planning to drive to the other edge of town and using a pay phone. Preferably in one of the shitty neighborhoods on the south edge. I asked Vash if it would give him enough time if I called in the tip tomorrow at three. He merely scoffed and said I underestimated him. Dang, why does he have to be such a prick? We were getting along so nicely at first too. I'm pretty sure he's just one of those guys who gets ticked when someone gets the better of him. Which, you gotta admit, I did get that fucker good.

That's me, ya know. Making friends wherever I go. Huh. Come to think of it, both of Roderich's best friends hate me. That, uh, well that might not be good for me. Hopefully my delightful, sparkling personality and razor sharp wit will make up for the general disapproval of the Gilbert Hate Club. Well, I can dream, can't I?

XxXxX

The phone in tip? That was easy. It all went like I thought it would. I drove to the other side of town and used a pay phone in front of a seedy looking gas station. I told the dispatcher that I'd heard an interesting tidbit about a stolen Bösendorfer being held in a rickety old warehouse near the old steel mill. There hasn't been a company in there for twenty years so it was perfect.

Of course, the prick running dispatch down at the station insisted that I give my name and contact information. I told him to go fuck himself and hung up the phone. I know how this shit works. The police think they can intimidate you into giving them your name. That way if the tip turns out sour or they need more info they know right where to find you. But you don't have to give them your name. That's why it's called an anonymous tip.

After that I drove home. I could use a nap. Really, I could. There's been so much stress in my life lately. I just need a little me time.

Does it surprise you at all, then, that when I got home West was sitting in my living room waiting for me? No? It doesn't? Well it doesn't surprise me either. Anything to fuck with me. Anything to fuck with me.

Belatedly, I recalled giving West a key to my place when I first moved in. That was back before he was with Feliciano and he used to swing by all the time and bring beer. I considered running for a moment but wearily discarded the idea. West keeps himself in shape and I don't. He'd definitely catch me and I don't want to make him angrier than I already have.

West didn't say anything. At all. I took a seat on the couch opposite to him. He continued to stare me down a moment. Pffffft. Trying to intimidate me. What he doesn't realize is that I'm immune to his aura of general disapproval. West's mad at me. Big deal. Happens all the time.

"Gilbert, I'm trying very hard right now to not kick your ass." Well that's… direct. "So I suggest you keep your mouth shut and listen.

"I know you're irresponsible. I know you're selfish. I know you're smart as a whip but refuse to apply yourself to any honest profession. I know all of this. And since I know all of this I shouldn't be surprised by your behavior. But there's just one thing I always forget to take into account. The 'Gilbert factor.' That little extra push of bad decision making that turns a questionable situation into a total disaster." Up until this point West had been speaking in a normal tone of voice. He began yelling now. "I can't leave you alone for one weekend without you making a muck of things." I opened my mouth to retort but West barreled on.

"Unfortunately, Feliciano has forbidden me from beating the piss out of you. I debated it on the car ride over. I debated it as I walked up the stairs to your apartment. I debated as I sat here waiting for you to come home. And I reached a decision. Would you like to hear what it is, Gilbert?" West asked rhetorically.

"I've decided that I'll give you a pass. This time. Only because you somehow managed to put a golden lining into this situation. Do something like this again, though, I'll rip your balls off and stuff them down your throat." That's a little uncalled for, don't you think? But who cares. West is going all softie on me. Aw, he can't stay mad at his big brother that long. Can't say I blame him. I'm just that good.

"However," West continued severely, "this doesn't mean you won't be punished. When I walked in I just happened to see a very nice crate of German beer. It now belongs to me."

"What!" I exclaimed, literally jumping up. Oh, no. You do not mess with my booze. I'll fistfight him. I'll lay down an old school ass whooping. Like hell will he take my beer.

"Calm down," West said, unconcerned by my anger. "You messed up and you know it. Now take your punishment like a good boy."

"Fuck you. Who the hell do you think you are?" I'm not letting this drop.

"Gilbert," West said, sitting forward and glaring up at me. "You made Feliciano cry. Repeatedly. You caused him undue mental stress. I can't just let you get away with that. If you can't get it through your thick skull that I won't allow you to terrorize the love of my life then you're a horrible, self centered person."

"Fine, whatever," I said, sitting back down and pretending like I actually wasn't ashamed of myself when he puts it like that. "Take my beer. See if I care. And while you're at it how about getting the fuck out of my apartment."

West only snorted at my threat. How typical. He doesn't take me seriously. "Don't be like that, Gil. You're acting like a baby. Now, the second thing I wanted to talk to you about; what's this I hear about you, um, batting for the other team, shall we say?"

"None of your damned business," I snapped. Unfortunately, I could feel my cheeks getting warm. There's just something about West knowing that upsets me. And I mean for fuck's sake, the only people who this concerns is me and Roderich. Why the hell is everyone so concerned about where I'm putting my dick these days?

"Feliciano tells me you have a boyfriend. Is this true, Gilbert?"

"Fuck you," I replied.

"Gilbert, I don't know why you're getting so upset about this. I'm only curious. I just didn't know you were, uh, into that kind of thing. Come on, if you're too ashamed to tell your own brother then that's not fair to this fellow you're testing the waters with."

"I'm not 'testing the waters,'" I said, genuinely pissed. "You never take me fucking serious, Ludwig." In case you're wondering I only say West's real name when I'm genuinely upset with him. It doesn't happen very often. "But then again, why would you? I fuck up everything, isn't that right? So therefore I must be just playing with Roderich's feelings, huh? I'm not capable of having feelings for someone or being in a stable relationship. Obviously I must be satisfying my sick curiosity. Is that it, Ludwig? You can get out, now. I think you've said enough." And I was dead serious.

"Come on, Gil," West said, sounding sorry. "I didn't mean it like that. I'm sorry. I should have thought more carefully about what I was saying. It was just such a sudden development. You've never shown any interest in men before."

"Well, you have to start some time," I snapped. "Don't know what to tell you. And in case you didn't realize, I'm not obligated to report to you. I could be into fucking sheep and that still isn't your problem."

"Fine, fine," West said, holding his hands out at me. "Well, in any case, Feliciano and I would like to meet your fellow sometime soon. Please? It would mean a lot to us."

"Ok," I relented. "Sometime soon. I'll have to talk to Roderich, of course."

"Ok, great," West said with a smile. "I think I'll get going now, before I say something else to upset you."

"Yeah, bye," I said, bored. Finally he's leaving. What West doesn't know is that I put a good deal of that beer in my fridge. Not all hope is lost, even if he does take what's left in the crate.

"Oh, by the way," West said as he opened the door. "I took the beer you had chilling in the fridge as well." That bastard! "I'm disappointed in you, Gilbert. What good German man puts beer in the fridge? That's kind of a pussy move." And he was gone out the door.

Did my little brother just steal all of my beer and call me a pussy? Damn.

XxXxX

Ring…. Ring…. Ring…

"Hello?"

"Gilbert!" Roderich shouted over the phone.

"Ye-es?" I asked, confused.

"The police just called me. They say they found my piano! They're still processing the crime scene but they are expecting to release it to me in about three weeks." Roderich laughed with relief. "It worked. It really worked!"

"Of course it did," I said breezily. "And you doubted me?"

Roderich just laughed again. I could hear how relieved he was. What a weight this must be off of his shoulders. "Can I come over," he asked suddenly. "I want to see you."

"Sure," I said, my chest doing a funny little flutter inside of me. I think it still surprises me that this guy wants to see me.

"Ok, I'm leaving right now. See you soon."

XxXxX

Somehow, it seemed fitting to sit at my desk and wait for Roderich. So here I am. Back where I started, in a way.

Instead of napping behind my desk like a deadbeat, though, I was looking over some papers on my newest case. Whenever I got my mail this morning there was a manila envelope, unmarked by postage, stuck in with my usual fair of bills and catalogues. When I opened it up I saw it was from Romano.

Inside the envelope there was a letter that explained what he wants me to do. I'm supposed to trail some friend of Romano's wife. I'm to see if she's cheating on her husband. There was a photo of a slim, dark haired lady and an address. Half of the fee was in the envelope; the second half would be given at the conclusion of the case. I guess it's started, then. I'm on the Vargas pay roll.

I threw the papers down as I heard someone knocking on the door. "Come in," I shouted. I found it funny that he knocked. Roderich didn't have any problem waltzing into my place the first time.

"Look at you, behind your desk working hard," he joked as he crossed the living room.

"Well, I'm such an ace detective, you know. I've just got cases falling into my lap," I said in a jokingly haughty tone.

"I know," Roderich said, smiling. That gave me a pause. I expected him to scoff at my bravado.

I stood up and walked a few steps to meet him. I paused a step away from Roderich, not sure what I should do. We weren't into that phase of a relationship where I could just kiss him offhandedly.

"Really, though. I can't say it enough," Roderich said softly, "thank you. I deserved to fall hard for my mistakes and somehow I skimmed by. I couldn't have done it without you." And then he hugged me. It was kinda cute, actually. When we pulled away I felt confident enough to sneak in a quick peck on the lips.

XxXxX

We ended up settling into the couch and watching television. I'll admit, we did fight a little (a lot) over what we were going to watch but eventually we compromised. And when I say 'compromise' I mean that Roderich just got his way. I'm such a damned push over, aren't I? He picked the news. I mean, come on. Is there anything more boring and depressing than the news?

Haughtily pleased that he got his way, Roderich curled up next to me. Humph. Probably trying to appease me after grossly getting his way. Well, it's kinda working.

Roderich was leaning against me, his head on my shoulder. I took this moment to wrap my arms around him and get comfortable. Oh yes. How long is the news? An hour? Fair enough, I suppose.

"Hey," I murmured once a commercial break started. "My brother wants to meet you. Are you ok with that?"

"Really," Roderich asked looking up to my face. The dancing lights from the television were reflecting off of his glasses, obscuring his eyes. "He wants to meet me? I'm flattered. Actually, I'm just kind of flattered that you told your family about me."

"Well, my brother is all I have left," I explained. "And…." And I almost just said 'I didn't tell him about you so much as he just found out.' At least I stopped myself in time. That would have been a horrible thing to say. Disaster avoided. "And he really wants to meet you," I finished lamely.

Roderich was looking at me confused, as if he were trying to remember something correctly. "Wait," he said. "Don't you have a sister too," he asked.

"No," I said, confused at where he could have gotten that notion.

"Then who was that guy who yelled in the background the other day? Remember, it was when I was mad at you for inviting that woman on our date. You said he was your brother-in-law," Roderich said in a no-nonsense, you have some 'splainin to do voice.

"Listen," I blurted. "That was my brother's boyfriend. I just didn't know how to explain something like that over the phone. I went the easy route and said he's my brother-in-law. He might as well be!"

"Your brother's gay too," Roderich asked, shocked.

"Yeah," I said.

"Oh. Ok," said Roderich. "Well, I can't wait to meet him. And his boyfriend," Roderich clarified meaningfully. Hey, buddy. Can do.

Roderich settled back into my side again as the news came back on. We were hardly half way through the news and I couldn't take another minute of it. The remote is setting right by my hand. The temptation is too great. Must…. Resist…. Resistance… is… futile!

I flipped the channel to something more interesting. "Hey," Roderich said indignantly, setting up and pulling away from me. "I was watching that"

"I'm not sure how," I said. "I had to flip the channel before my pulse stopped out of sheer lack of motivation to live through another moment of that."

"You are so over dramatic. I want to watch the rest of the news."

"I have the remote. I get to choose."

"Then give me the remote." Roderich deftly plucked it from my hands, despite the fact that I was trying to hold it out of his reach. "You're such an instigator," Roderich said disapprovingly as he switched the channel back to the news. When he was sure the remote was safely tucked out of my reach he turned to me with his triumphant, Cheshire cat smile before snuggling back into my side.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't grinning ear to ear myself. Oh, yes. I have a feeling that we're going to be one of those couples that fight often and love every minute of it.

XxXxX

End

XxXxX

[A/N The end? Really? : / Sad face. I can't even begin to write down how this makes me feel. This was my first fanfic, you know. And it's currently my longest. I just want to say that I loved every minute of writing it and I love all you guys who read Gilbert Beilschmidt, Private eye. Seriously, you guys are great. You've been so supportive and wonderful. Some of you have even been invaluably helpful with pointing out errors and helping me with translations. I want to thank every one of you for reviewing and reading. :3 :3 Seriously, your reviews light up my day when they flood my inbox 3

Are you in despair yet? Is the thought of living in a world without Detective Beilschmidt too lachrymose? I feel your pain. So that's why I'm pleased to announce that I will be writing a sequel to this story. How could I not?

Don't get too excited yet, though. I won't be starting the sequel for several months. I would like to take a break and write some other things I have rolling about my head first. But rest assured I will be back at it, sooner rather than later. For now, I've posted a small blurb for the next adventure. This blurb will be telling you what the story will be about and will serve as an anchor so that you guys who wish to read more Detective Beilschmidt can go ahead and add a story alert so you don't have to keep checking back to my page to see when my lazy ass actually gets back to writing. It's called Gilbert Beilschmidt, Ace Detective. Title is super lame and subject to change XD XD Please go check it out!]