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Girl Genius fic: Quit Pretending

Set sometime after Mechanicsburg is freed as everyone settles into life at Castle Heterodyne. Agatha thinks she knows how to fix Gil and Tarvek’s relationship. She’s usually right. Written for day 1 of Girl Genius Week 2018 on tumblr.
1071 words | [PG-13]


“That’s it! I can’t take it anymore!”

Gil stumbled to a stop as Agatha swung around to face him and Tarvek. They shared uneasy glances at the slight Sparkiness in her tone. “Wha-” he started to say, but she cut him off.

“The arguing and bickering. Can’t you two do anything without fighting?”

Another exchange of looks. Gil couldn’t even remember what they were fighting about moments ago, but he knew they’d been doing it. They fought over everything and anything and nothing. He wasn’t even sure why anymore.

“We’re not-” Tarvek protested, but Agatha put a hand up to stop him.

“Enough. I don’t want to hear it. I want you to fix it.”

They looked at each other, neither wanting to ask the question. Agatha sighed dramatically. “You’re both ridiculous, you know that. This isn’t as difficult as you’re making it out to be.”

Gil was so confused. “Making what difficult?”

Agatha rolled her eyes. “Getting along. Being around each other. You try so hard to irritate each other instead of being friends. You spend all your time pretending to hate each other—always pushing the other away when it’s obviously not what you want.”

“It’s not?” Gil asked stupidly.

The Spark flashed in her eyes again. Uh-oh. “No. And since you two are stubborn idiots, it looks like I’m going to have to fix everything like I always do.”

She wrenched each by the arm so they were facing each other then took a step back, expectantly. Gil stared at an equally baffled Tarvek.

“Agatha,” Tarvek said, slowly, “are you feeling well?”

“I told you, I’m going to fix this constant fighting thing.”

“How?”

She forced them to face each other again. In fact, she pushed them a little closer until Gil’s toes bumped Tarvek’s polished boots. “Kiss.”

Gil was sure he must have heard her wrong except for the look of sheer horror on Tarvek’s face.

“What?” Tarvek squeaked at the same time Gil said, “don’t be absurd.”

“Why not?”

There were so many reasons this was ridiculous, starting with the fact that it was Tarvek Sturmvorous of all people in front of him. His arch-nemesis. A sneaky-sneak. A weasel.

The gleeful Spark dissipated from Agatha’s eyes, replaced by a soft fondness. “I love you both, but I can’t watch you tear each other apart when-” She trailed off for a second, eyes closing. “Quit pretending you don’t want this. It’s just the three of us here. No one else is going to know. If you can’t trust me—if you can’t trust each other—then this isn’t going to work.”

What? She was insane. He didn’t want to kiss Tarvek. Ridiculous. And there was no way Tarvek wanted to kiss him. Tarvek thought he was a complete waste of space. He made sure Gil knew it every chance he got. Tarvek hated him.

Then why did he still have that look of terror on his face?

A pain grew in Gil’s chest until he let out the breath he’d forgotten about. “Agatha,” he said softly. “I-”

Tarvek looked away, a pink tint climbing up his neck. Gil’s heart hammered so loud he was sure all of Mechanicsburg could hear it. This wasn’t happening—was it?

“Enough games,” Agatha whispered, nudging them closer. “Just kiss him.”

Tarvek finally looked back at him with something Gil couldn’t begin to describe in his eyes, but it looked kind of like hurt. And Gil hated it. Just kiss him. The words bounced around his head. Quit pretending, Agatha had said. Damn. She was right.

Arm shaking, Gil slowly reached out, running his fingers along Tarvek’s jaw. There was just a hint of stubble there that sent a tingle down his spine that he thought had more to do with the idea of Tarvek not being one hundred percent perfect at all times.

Tarvek shivered under his touch. Wow. Gil had no idea he could do that. He cupped Tarvek’s cheek, bringing his other hand up to match the movement. His fingers slid along Tarvek’s earlobe, eliciting another tremor.

Gil was dying. Slowly and painfully. Everything else faded away—the room, the castle who was surely recording this moment for future blackmailing purposes, Agatha. The world slowed to a stop. There was just him and Tarvek and Tarvek’s eyes flicking down to Gil’s mouth. Dying.

“I-” Tarvek licked his lips, drawing Gil’s full attention so he missed whatever else Tarvek said. He couldn’t hear anything through the rush of blood between his ears anyway.

Quit pretending. Just kiss him. Enough. Gil tightened his grip on Tarvek’s face, pulling him closer as he leaned in. He paused a hairsbreadth’s away, a lifetime of insecurities screaming in his head. What if he screwed this up like he screwed everything else up?

“Gil?” Tarvek breathed his name and Gil was done with being afraid. He smashed his lips against Tarvek’s. They were soft and warm and tasted like the candies they’d been eating earlier. Tarvek’s hands made their way up his chest and around his neck, his fingers tangling in Gil’s hair, and damn. if Gil didn’t come unwound.

Gil had no idea how long the kiss lasted. There were years of pent-up frustration and longing and love. It seemed like forever and no time at all when Tarvek finally pulled away, panting, hand still twisted in Gil’s hair.

“Oh,” was all he said.

Gil leaned his forehead against Tarvek’s and tried to calm his breathing. “Yeah.” Equally as elegant, he thought. Then he remembered they weren’t alone.

Agatha clasped her hands together beneath her chin, a huge smile on her face. She was radiating Sparky energy. “Finally,” she muttered, bouncing on her toes. Then she pushed herself between them, wrapping her arms around Tarvek’s waist. Tarvek sighed into her hair, but his eyes were on Gil.

“You okay?” he asked.

What a dumb question. Gil nodded then slid his arms around the two of them, squishing Agatha between him and Tarvek. He pressed a kiss to the top of Agatha’s head. “Thank you,” he whispered. It seemed like the thing to say.

“You’re welcome.” Agatha nuzzled Tarvek’s neck and twined her fingers with Gil’s around his back. “Now maybe we can get some work done.”

Maybe, but by the look in Tarvek’s eyes, he wasn’t thinking about work any more than Gil was at the moment.

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