Terribly sorry that this took so long! I hope it makes up for the length of time I left you hanging. Enjoy!
June 7 – Week 24
Resting on the bed, Matthew covered his eyes with his arm. His back ached, his ankles were beginning to swell, and his skin was itchy. Cool, calloused hands smoothed lotion over his growing belly, and Matthew tried to suppress a groan.
"Shhh, just try to relax, Mattie. I'm so sorry you're uncomfortable. I'll do anything to help you, I promise," Gilbert soothed, letting his long fingers slide down to Matthew's back.
"Can you call Francis, please? I just want to talk to him." Matthew whimpered pitifully.
"Of course, baby. Do you want me to rub your back?" Gilbert asked as he pulled out his cell phone.
"Not right now," came the pained moan.
Gilbert stood, kissing Matthew on the forehead. "I'll be right back, Liebling."
Matthew attempted to roll onto his side, but a catch in his back prohibited him from moving far. He gasped, flopping onto his back, and groaned almost obscenely. When Gilbert came back into the bedroom, carrying an ice pack, heating pad, glass of water, and his cell phone, Matthew just breathed shakily.
"Here, sweetness," Gilbert said, tucking the phone against Matthew's ear and allowing him to take it. "Let me put this heating pad on your back. It'll help, I promise."
"Cher, I am so sorry you feel so terrible. Just try to relax and have Gilbert get you anything you need. I'm sure he won't mind," Francis crooned, and Matthew closed his eyes as his papa's voice washed over him.
"It's not your fault," Matthew choked out as he rolled onto his side as Gilbert situated the heating pad under his lower back.
"Easy, wertvoll. Just relax; now roll onto your back. There, is that better?" Gilbert kept up a steady stream of sweet, soothing words. His hands fluttered across Matthew, stroking hair away from his face or smoothing his T-shirt over his belly.
"Stay calm for me, Matthieu. Things will get better, I promise." Francis's voice made something warm spread through Matthew's chest. He felt the baby kick and started slightly.
Gilbert hushed him, rubbing a hand carefully over his swollen belly. He pulled Matthew's T-shirt up and pressed his lips to the skin there. Purring softly against Matthew's abdomen, Gilbert pleaded with their child to let Matthew rest. Matthew just smiled wistfully and stroked Gilbert's silvery hair.
"I wish you were here, papa. The baby is kicking; Gilbert's trying to soothe…him. I can't wait for you to feel him kick, hear his heartbeat." Matthew arched his back, shifting slightly.
"Do you know it's a 'he', chaton?" Francis's voice was intrigued, excited.
"No, I just think it is. Gilbert's just eager to be a dad; he doesn't care if it's a boy or a girl, but I think he secretly wants a girl," Matthew chuckled, glancing up at the ceiling.
"Ah, I am so very excited as well. I can't wait to meet this little one that's made us all so happy. You sound very tired, so get some rest. Je t'aime, Matthieu."
"Je t'aime, papa."
Matthew hung up the phone, setting it on the bed. Gilbert was still cooing at their baby, listening intently to the child's heartbeat and grinning when he felt a kick. Long fingers threaded through fine, silver hair and Gilbert leaned into the hand.
"Are you feeling better, Mattie? I hate seeing you in such pain." Gilbert shifted closer to Matthew's face but kept a hand on Matthew's belly.
"I am. Thank you for everything, Gil. It means so much that you do all of this for me," Matthew sighed, cupping his hand around Gilbert's cheek.
"It's nothing, babe. I want to help you, and I wouldn't be able to leave you without the things you need. I'll always be here for you, I promise," Gilbert reassured him, stroking wavy blond hair away from Matthew's face.
He climbed up into the bed with Matthew, letting the Canadian use his arm as a pillow and curl up against his side. It was difficult, but they snuggled together. Their fingers linked together on Matthew's stomach, chasing the kicks from the baby.
"Do you really think it's a boy?" Gilbert asked, brushing his lips across Matthew's forehead.
"Mmm, I do. Whenever I think about him and when he's born, I can't imagine anything but a little boy. Of course, I'm perfectly fine with a girl. I'd love to have a little girl to spoil rotten." Matthew grinned adorably, one arm wrapping protectively around his belly.
"To be honest, it won't bother me what gender the baby is, but I will tell you that I would love to have a girl. I never truly thought about being a father, but when I did entertain the idea I really wanted a baby girl," Gilbert confessed, his pale cheeks turning pink.
Matthew laughed, groaning a bit under the strain, but kissed Gilbert's jaw affectionately.
Waddling towards the door, Matthew drew his sweatshirt around his stomach. It was an automatic reflex and couldn't be helped. It was just Alfred behind the door, but Matthew didn't want any of his and Gilbert's neighbors to see his huge stomach. It still freaked him out to see himself naked.
Alfred burst into the apartment with his usual gusto. He bore a few gifts and lots of hugs. Once he was calmer, settled on the couch with a can of soda, he turned his attention to Matthew's belly. Matthew just let him whisper and cluck at his future niece or nephew and read through the book Ludwig had given him. He jumped when the baby kicked but Alfred practically squealed with delight.
"Oh, Jesus, that was a hard one," Matthew groaned, laying his head back on the arm of the sofa.
Alfred immediately hovered beside Matthew, perched on the coffee table. "Are you alright? Do you need something?"
"No, sweetie. I'm fine," Matthew breathed, not even realizing the pet name that slipped out.
He felt a warm weight rested against his shoulder and opened his eyes to find Alfred's head there. Warm fingers smoothed over his belly and Alfred snuggled up against the couch and Matthew's side. Matthew just smiled, closing his eyes again and letting Alfred get out his fascination. Despite his attempts, Matthew dozed off quickly with his hand curled around Alfred's.
When Gilbert came home, Matthew was startled awake. Alfred and Gilbert were speaking quickly and softly in the kitchen, finally not fighting. Gilbert, dressed in a suit for a conference with Ludwig's boss, rounded the couch to greet Matthew.
"Hey, sleepyhead, how are you feeling?" Gilbert asked, kissing Matthew on the forehead.
"Better. The baby wouldn't let me rest all morning and it finally settled down once Alfred came over. What time is it?" Matthew replied, yawning softly.
Gilbert checked his watch. "Just after five-thirty. Do you want some dinner?"
As he sat up, Matthew put a steadying hand on his stomach, and Gilbert automatically reached to hold him. The Prussian crouched in front of Matthew and smoothed the big T-shirt up over the swollen belly.
With his lips pressed to Matthew's skin, Gilbert murmured, "Hello, my little one. Why don't you let your papa rest, hm?" He shifted to rest his forehead on the firm stomach. "I love you, meine süße."
Matthew ran his hand over Gilbert's silver hair, smiling drowsily. "I think he just missed you. He's a lot quieter now."
"Do you know it's a boy, Mattie?" Alfred chirped eagerly from behind the couch.
"No, but I have a feeling that it is," Matthew replied, hands cupping his belly reverently. He smiled shyly down at Gilbert, who winked at him.
Despite most of the other nation's opinions, Arthur was very supportive of and even excited for Matthew. He, with so many talented doctors from his country, was there every step of the way. Be it over the phone or making trips down to see his former colony. He would always be there if Matthew was teary or in pain. There was nothing that could keep him away from his son and grandchild. After much persuasion, he confessed that he wanted the baby to be a girl. Matthew just smiled and leaned against his father figure, touching his fingers to Arthur's on his belly.
"How are you and Gilbert doing, love? He seems to be very helpful," Arthur asked one late morning, tucking strands of sweaty blond hair away from Matthew's face.
Grimacing slightly as the baby shifted yet again, Matthew let out a breath. "We're alright. He's very helpful, but I feel as if I'm no good as a lover anymore."
"You're pregnant, Matthew. You can't do all the things that you used to. I hope he understands that. But I'm sure you don't like leaving the apartment, and that's alright. You two can always do things together inside. Have a picnic in the living room or—God, help me—make love somewhere other than your bed. Mix things up a little bit," Arthur suggested, long fingers cupping around Matthew's chin. "And don't worry so much. Things will make themselves right when they need to."
Matthew just nodded, his face screwing up again with a particularly hard kick. "I think this child has Alfred's strength. Ahh!"
"Shhh, try to relax and, maybe, talk to them, Matthew. I read that babies like the sound of their parents' voices," Arthur soothed, falling quiet when Matthew usually whispery voice became stronger and more emotional.
The stream of English and French terms of endearment and cooed phrases made Arthur see Matthew in a different light. The colony he'd fleetingly thought would never survive on his own was going to be a father. He would be a brilliant father and that was evident in just the way he spoke to his child. Rubbing that narrow back comfortingly, Arthur felt a new surge of adoration for the Canadian. When Matthew curled up against his side, sleepy and finally getting a moment of peace, the Englishman couldn't help but press a kiss to the warm forehead.
"I love you, Matthew. Never doubt that," he murmured, touching the slender hand.
"I won't. Thank you, Arthur…" Matthew's voice was distant and lilting as he dozed.
"Come on, baby," Gilbert whispered, his hand working Matthew's manhood almost gently. His long fingers squeezed, flicked, and stroked, eliciting the sweetest sounds from his lover.
Cool water beat down on them, soaking wavy blond hair and dripping off of pale eyelashes. Matthew struggled to maintain his internal temperature with his pregnancy and often took showers to cool down. He had no problem with getting warm, he had Gilbert for that, but making himself cooler posed a problem. Of course Gilbert was always eager to hop in with him and make it worthwhile.
"Gil," Matthew sighed, hips flexing against Gilbert's hand. "Oh, oh."
Soft lips pressed against Matthew's jaw, a slick hand sliding in between Matthew and the tile wall to support the small of his back. "That's it, sweet boy."
Chest heaving, Matthew came with a soft cry and his knees went weak. Gilbert caught him, nuzzling in for a tender kiss as Matthew's hips continued to jump against his own.
"Shhh," Gilbert hushed, kissing Matthew on the forehead. He smiled and hummed against Matthew's hairline. "You're so gorgeous."
Matthew just whimpered, shivering against Gilbert's chest. "Thank you."
Chuckling softly, Gilbert bumped their noses together. "You're welcome, Schätzchen."
Gilbert smoothed his hands along Matthew's shoulders, back, and chest, letting the water run over heated skin. He ghosted his fingers across Matthew's stomach, feeling the baby kick and Matthew jolt slightly.
"Easy," he whispered, supporting his lover and pressing his hand against his belly. "I've got you."
"I swear he's got Alfred's strength," Matthew hissed, still listless from his orgasm.
"Maybe we'll have a talk when we lay down," Gilbert teased, winking at Matthew.
A delighted laugh and Matthew shut off the shower. Gilbert climbed out first, wrapping a fluffy towel around Matthew and smoothing it gently over his pinking skin. He kneeled on the rugs, kissing Matthew's stomach, and chased the water droplets down Matthew's legs abdomen and legs. The Canadian grabbed another towel, draping it over Gilbert's silvery hair and rubbing it briskly until the short hair stuck up in damp spikes.
Once they were both dry, Gilbert turned down the bed sheets and turned on the ceiling fan. Matthew spread himself out on the bed on his back, hair pulled back into a damp ponytail to keep it off his neck. Gilbert jokingly retrieved the newspaper to fan Matthew with.
"Is this enough wind for you, my Lord?" Gilbert asked in a horridly fake British accent.
Matthew cracked an eye open and yanked the newspaper out of Gilbert's hands, swatting him with it. "Shut your mouth and get in the bed."
Gilbert just howled with laughter until Matthew wrestled him into the bed. With a slightly annoyed and newly aroused Canadian sitting on his hips, Gilbert took the opportunity to distract his lover from the discomfort of pregnancy as well as his idiotic behavior by making love to him. He had Matthew calling out and mewling sweetly in no time at all.
Liebling - darling (German)
wertvoll - precious (German)
chaton - kitten (French)
meine süße - my sweet (German)
Schätzchen - sweetie (German)