The day of the hockey semi-final came and Matthew was still not allowed to play. He was still sneezing and his nose was stuffed; the aftereffects of being sick. Instead he sat on the bench, watching his teammates go out and play. The substitute for Matthew was good, but the lack of team experience hurt the team. There were moments Matthew's grip on his jersey tightened to the point it left wrinkles.

"Mattie, you gotta help me. I keep messing up." Claus, the sub, asked.

Matthew nodded, determined to see his team win with or without him.

"You need to watch the opponent's movements along with Matthias and stop trying to play like me. He's the one giving you the signs." Matthew pointed to a rather loud blonde, who clapped another player on the back. "If you do that you'll be fine. If you don't think you can shoot, pass it. Set up the plays like you usually do in practice. You can do it."

The advice seemed to have helped a little. Claus stopped trying to mimic the way Matthew played and did what he normally during practice. Slowly, the team came together, widening the score between them and their rivals. They won, with a four-point lead. The moment the buzzer sounded, Claus skated up towards Matthew, hugging him tightly thanking him for the advice. Pleased, their coach told them they had the next day off, meaning no practice. Claus, decided to have a celebration inviting everyone to his house.

Throughout the game, Gilbert, who was bundled up quite warmly, sat in the stands texting Matthew. Gilbert made sure Matthew was okay with having to sit out, which of course Matthew was bitter about, but knew better than to really get caught up by it all. Besides, knowing that he could at least give advice or help hand out the water to his team helped a little.

Claus came up to Matthew while they were all in the locker room, the plans for the party buzzing in the air. Matthew was the first to finish changing, so he waited for the rest of the team.

"Gilbert can come too if he wants. He's the one who helped during practice when he could." Claus grinned, patted Matthew on the back and walked back to his locker to put on his shirt.

The two were standing near each other at the party. Matthew couldn't necessarily focus on the party so much as his own thoughts. Everyone was talking about Claus and how well he played. Doubt slowly crept in. Matthew wondered if Claus would replace him on the team and suddenly he would be the one benched. Hockey was the only sport he could ever try and beat Alfred at. The sport was the one thing Matthew felt proud of. He feared it would be all taken away with Claus having scored the final point. He knew the doubt was irrational at best, but he couldn't stop the thoughts. When Gilbert or anyone struck up a conversation with him, he had to ask several times what the other said because he just couldn't focus on them as much as his fear of being replaced.

"Okay, birdie. What's the matter? Obviously it's something if you just stand there lost in thought half the time." Gilbert nudged him a little, the hint of beer on his breath. Matthew volunteered to drive since he couldn't drink just yet.

"No-Nothing." Matthew said quickly. "I….I just feel like I let them all down."

"Let them down? What gave you that idea? You guys won." Gilbert set his beer down on the nearest flat surface, focusing his attention to Matthew.

"I wasn't able to play because of my stuffed nose. Of all things." Matthew crossed his arms awkwardly across his chest, a red plastic cup filled with juice in one hand

"Birdie, you know you're probably the one thinking that way right? Watch," Gilbert turned to Claus"Yo, what do you think of Mattie?"

"Huh? What do you mean?" Claus came closer, clearly a little smashed from the sluggish movements.

"Do you think he let the team down?" Gilbert asked.

"Nah man. He was just sick, everyone gets sick. It was as honour to play for 'im. Though I made a lot of mistakes, I bet we'da won a lot easier with him playing. The advice was totally what helped in the end. Get better, yeah?" He patted, or attempted to pat Matthew's shoulder. He missed, landing on Matthew's chest instead. "Sorry man."

Matthew could see Gilbert tense a little, but soon Claus left to get another drink and mingle with another group of players. Gilbert unclenched his tightened fists, forcing a smile. Matthew set down his cup next to Gilbert's empty beer.

"Do you see now?" Gilbert asked.

Matthew nodded. What would he have done without Gilbert? Wallowed in these thoughts all alone at home. Alfred was too busy with school work to come to the game, but he promised to be there for the finals since Matthew was going to play. Arthur and Francis were having their own problems and it wasn't as if either understood hockey either. The only one from the apartments were Kiku who took pictures for the newspaper, Gilbert, and any player who lived there.

"Besides, it was sorta my fault you didn't get better soon. You took care of me when I was pretty out of it." Gilbert smiled sheepishly. "I…I still remember you let me use you as a pillow and all. So danke. Not everyone would have done that."

Staring for a moment, Matthew only blinked. Gilbert blamed himself, but he had nothing to do with how long a cold lasts. Matthew shook his head with a small smile.

"O-Oh, ummm, sure. I mean I got you sick in the first place. It was the least I could do, but I don't think it was your fault." A blush bloomed on Matthew's face.

"If you say so."

Seeing Gilbert give up suddenly was a little odd.

"Don't get me wrong, I still think it's my fault, but then if I argue back it will only go into circles Mattie. You know that." Gilbert laughed. "Oddly though, I had this dream where you said something, but I mean, I know it wasn't true." Gilbert shrugged. "I'm just digging myself a new hole, just ignore me."

"….What did I say?" Matthew tried to keep the horrified look off his face. This was Gilbert after all, the dream could have been about anything or anyone. There was no way Gilbert had heard him confess to him.

"Oh you know," Gilbert's own pale face was flushed a deep red and not because of the beer he had. "Y-You know what? Nevermind I said anything. It was just a dream anyway. There was no way you said you could be falling in love with me. BUT I me-mean tth-that's impossible. Like I said, just a silly dream. Don't worry too much about it."

Gilbert laughed nervously. Matthew stood there, eyes wide. So Gilbert had heard him in the end. The dream Gilbert had was the last thing Matthew said to him. The shock wore off after a minute, Gilbert stood there, waiting for some sort of response. Was he waiting for Matthew to tell him it was all just a joke and it would be fine?

"Look, birdie. Like I said, it was all just a dream. I-I shouldn't have said a word. Okay? Just forget about it. I know you don't-"

"Gil, shut up." Matthew said quietly.

He grabbed Gilbert by the arm and took him outside. Those who noticed called out to the two, knowing of Gilbert's crush on Matthew. None of what they said helped the tomato red blooming on Matthew's face. He tried to hid it from Gilbert with his curls. Gilbert stumbled along, half from the alcohol in his system and half from Matthew's tugging him along until Matthew slowed down the moment they were outside. For once Gilbert kept his mouth shut, unsure of what was going to happen. Had he just lost best friend because of what he said?

Matthew let go of Gilbert's hand, taking a few steps forward, but didn't turn around. Silence filled the void. A few minutes passed, until almost five minutes had gone by. Gilbert just couldn't handle it anymore. Just what was going on in Matthew's head?

"The dream you had. Don't forget it," Matthew said quietly.

He couldn't face Gilbert with the blush on his face or the fear he couldn't say what he wanted because he was too nervous. What if Gilbert no longer liked him? What if he found someone else? All the irrational feels he could think of came flooding all at once as Gilbert stayed silent. Gilbert was never silent, he always had something to say. After a few minutes Matthew peaked a little over his shoulders to see Gilbert looking at him with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open. A new blush formed as Matthew looked straight ahead again.

"We-Well say something."

The demand seemed to have woken Gilbert from his stupor. Matthew heard the shuffle of Gilbert's feet, yet he still jumped a little at seeing Gilbert suddenly in front of him. Taking Matthew's hands in his own, Gilbert grinned.

"Does this mean what I think?" he asked.

Matthew couldn't look Gilbert long enough in the eyes to say anything. Instead, he just nodded his head. Gilbert's hands cupped Matthew's face.

"Hey, look at me."

Matthew shifted his eyes to look at Gilbert. The same nervous energy he felt, Gilbert reflected. The palms on either side of his face were slightly damp. Both were blushing and while Matthew stammered, so had Gilbert towards the beginning. Now Gilbert got exactly what he wanted since the very beginning. A smile broke out on Gilbert's face while Matthew continued to look at him and not turn away.

"Are you sure? I don't want to pressure you," Gilbert said quietly.

Matthew bit his lip a little trying to find the words.

"…I-Yes." He nodded for good measure. "I talked with Francis and Arthur. I did a bit of research on my own. I'm sure."

Gilbert pulled him into a hug. He spun Matthew slightly in the air, all the while laughing. Matthew yelped a little at the sudden feeling of his feet leaving the ground slightly but trusted Gilbert not to let him fall. Gilbert buried his head into Matthew's neck once Matthew's feet were back on the ground. He sighed for a moment, his breath tickling Matthew a little. Seeming satisfied, Gilbert pulled back, but kept his hands around Matthew's waist. Matthew could tell Gilbert was cautious, the touch light so if Matthew wanted to he could break the contact. Matthew stayed right where he was.

"What research did you do?" Gilbert asked, a grin on his face.

"Umm…..j-just you know different sexualities and s-stuff like that." Matthew wondered just how many times could someone blush before their face couldn't change a deeper shade of red.

"Oh. So, you were just-"

"Yup, trying to find myself."

"Are you going to tell me what you found?" Gilbert asked, genuine curiosity in his tone.

"I need to have the emotional connection first before I can fall for someone. If I don't have the connection, I won't have the possibilities of actually being able to return romantic feelings." Matthew shrugged.

"So my getting know you and actually being your friend first actually helped my chances? Wunderbar! Everyone thought I was either pushing you or just hurting myself by staying with you, but to know that it was actually a good thing." Gilbert laughed before pulling Matthew into another hug, this time tighter.

Matthew could honestly say he loved the tight embrace, despite feeling a bit embarrassed at it all. Gilbert just had a way of sneaking his way right through Matthew's defences and into his heart. Though he was sure his own feelings still didn't completely match Gilbert's, he figured with time he would come to love Gilbert just as much as Gilbert claimed to love him. For now, while the confession was there, he still wanted to take everything a bit slow. After all his one crush had been after Alfred and not him. If things went south with Gilbert, he didn't want to be in too deep.

"Birdie, hey, come back to me," Gilbert said pulling Matthew out of his thoughts.


"You looked like you were far away. Are you okay? D-Do you not want me to…umm…hold you like this or something?"

Matthew shook his head. "I'm fine, but can we take it slow?"

"Of course Birdie! Whatever you want." Gilbert leaned up slightly and kissed his forehead. "Will you go out with me Matthew Williams?"

"….Yes," Matthew said sheepishly.

"About time!"

Both turned to look up at a window full of hockey players. A few were leaning out and others were pressed in behind them. Matthew's blush returned tenfold and Gilbert cackled, not letting Matthew go.

So sorry for the long wait for this chapter. A lot of stuff happened during the summer and a lot is still going on. It's all just life and no one really cares about that stuff XD I hope you enjoyed the chapter.

I almost want to leave it like this and call it finished, but let me know if you want to see more as their relationship progresses. Thanks