"Morning Uncle Gil." Lindsey said jumping onto a stool in Gil's kitchen, still in her PJ's.
Gil gave her smile, and set down pancakes in front of her.
"Morning butterfly." Gil said.
"Huh... she gets cute bug names how come I don't?" his lovers voice drifted across the living area.
"Because she's cuter than you are." Gil replied with a grin as Lindsey giggled.
Nick pretended to be wounded, holding one hand over his heart and pouting, which only had Gil and Lindsey giggling more.
"You'd better hurry up with that Linds, and get ready for school." Gil told the young girl as he put a few things into the dishwasher.
Lindsey scoffed down the pancakes quite happily, as Nick snuck up behind Gil, wrapping his arms around his waist, both men watching her eat.
Gil still found it all hard to believe, barely more than a year ago he'd been single, no children, only his job, and a bug collection to keep him company, so much had changed.
The first change had been Nick, Gil still smiled when he remembered the first time they'd kissed, first time they'd made love, the first time he'd woken up with Nick wrapped around him like a blanket.
He'd never been happier and it showed in everything he did.
It was almost eight months ago, just five weeks after Nick had moved in with him, when the second change happened.
Gil had never cried as much in his life as he did that week.
Catherine Willows, his best friend for more years than he almost cared to count had been killed.
Gil had raged, cried, and finally pulled himself together enough to tell her little girl that mommy wasn't coming home.
Catherine had made her wishes clear, Gil and Nick were to have full custody of Lindsey, so they had packed together a few of her things, and taken her home, Gil staying with her all night as she cried, and screamed, and hit out over and over, finally falling asleep exhausted not long before the sun had come up.
It had taken a long time, some days were still uncertain, but they took the good with the bad, and tried their best to do for Lindsey what they knew Catherine would want.
Lindsey for her part, did try to make things easier on them, she didn't fight at school, although there had been one incident with book throwing, but Gil hadn't even been able to bring himself to chastise her for that, reasoning that he'd probably have done the same had he been present, but she was mostly well behaved.
Oh she had her moments, she was an almost teenage girl, it was to be expected, but she wasn't so bad that she couldn't be handled, which was a lot more than could be said for a lot of children both men were well aware.
Lindsey didn't say a word about their relationship, unless they were having a disagreement, and then she made her feelings on the matter perfectly clear, generally by pointing out to one man or the other exactly how childish they were being.
She was quite content to snuggle in between then when watching TV in the evening, and ate up all the information either man was willing to provide on almost any topic.
"She's a good kid." Nick murmured in Gil's ear when Lindsey had run of to get changed for school.
"Yeah." Gil agreed.
"Thinking about it all weren't you? Catherine? Lindsey?" Nick asked.
"Sometimes I can't help it, she looks so much like her mother." Gil said.
"Yeah she does... I still miss her too." Nick said, squeezing Gil a little tighter, and placing a light kiss at the side of his neck.
"Uck you two are so... teenage..." Lindsey's voice interrupted them.
"You just wait till you fall in love with some regular brand of hottie." Nick told her with a flourish and a wink as he moved quickly away from Gil to tickle her.
"Uncle Nicky stop it... besides Uncle Gil is so NOT a hottie, although my teacher Miss Kelly thinks he is, but she's completely old." Lindsey announced wiggling away from Nick's grip.
"Well your Uncle Gil is pretty old too." Nick said with a grin at Gil.
Lindsey giggled but didn't reply as she grabbed her school things together.
"Oh you guys are going to be there this afternoon right? The science fair?" she asked.
"Wouldn't miss it." Gil promised.
"Cool... bye!" Lindsey said, giving each man a kiss on the cheek before running out to catch the bus at the end of the road.
Gil and Nick both watching from the living room window until she was safely onboard.
"Bed?" Nick asked.
Gil yawned and nodded.
"Getting old?" Nick teased.
"I'll show you old Nicky..." Gil grinned, chasing Nick towards their bedroom.
Life was definitely different for Gil now, a lover, a daughter, neither of which he'd planned for or expected, but both of which he loved to distraction. His only sadness now was that Catherine wouldn't get to see her daughter become a woman... but Lindsey told him with assuredness that his friend was still watching over them, so he held onto that thought with a childish innocent he'd long lost, and hoped that he could help make Lindsey into the sort of woman Catherine would want her to be.
Life was different yes... but definitely better.