Pope got out of the truck. He resisted the urge to slam the door and instead eased it closed gently. It was very late, almost early and the house was no doubt fast asleep. He wouldn’t risk waking Lena just to get a moment of satisfaction from the damned door.
Entering the dark house quietly, he noticed a faint blue glow emanating from the living room. He crept silently into the room and stopped short at what he saw. Deran was lying on the couch fast asleep. That in and of itself wouldn’t be so surprising if he was by himself. But he wasn’t. Deran was lying on top of someone else with their arms wrapped tight around him.
Pope couldn’t help but feel a little warmth bloom in his chest. He’d known about Deran for years and suspected about Adrian for longer but he never thought he’d get to see his brother be open about it. Let alone snuggling on the couch with his boyfriend. And there was no doubt about what they were. A few weeks ago, Adrian had turned up at the Cody house looking for Deran, something obviously very wrong. Pope had never gotten the details but since that day, Deran had been an attentive partner and the two men were clearly together. Pope thought that Craig might know more of the details but he didn’t really care. He knew enough.
A small movement caught his eye and he turned his head to see the other end of the couch. Tucked under the blanket, he almost missed her despite staring right at her. With a quick glance at the tv, which he now registered as silently playing a cartoon, Pope walked over to kneel by Lena.
“What are you doing up?” he asked quietly.
“I had a nightmare. No one was awake so I came out here to watch TV.” She answered. “I didn’t want to wake Uncle Deran and Uncle Adrian so I put it on mute.”
Pope started a bit at hearing her call Adrian uncle. But he supposed it wasn’t that far off. He had been hanging around a lot the past couple of weeks and sticking very close to Deran so it was easy to see how Lena might have gotten that impression. And it wasn’t as if Adrian was a total stranger. He had been around the Cody family, Lena included, for years.
“That was very considerate of you.” Pope told Lena. “But you need to get some sleep. Come on. I’ll tuck you in.”
She looked like she might argue with him for a second but eventually she nodded her head. Pope reached for the remote and turned off the TV. Blinking a few times to adjust his eyes to the darkness, he quickly picked Lena off of the couch. Her feet caught in the blanket and pulled it a bit, tugging it off of Deran. As Pope stood up, his brother shifted and looked over at him. Pope just nodded and made towards Lena’s bedroom.
Behind him, he heard more shifting and he turned around to see that Deran’s movements had woken up Adrian as well.
“Something wrong?” he heard Adrian ask.
“Nah. Lena was watching TV and Pope’s taking her back to bed. Nothing to worry about.” Deran reassured him. Pope watched as he moved up to give Adrian a soft kiss. “Go back to sleep.”
Adrian hummed. “We could do that.” He agreed. “We should do that. Or we can get off this couch and go find your room.”
Pope couldn’t quite see them in the dark but he didn’t need to. He heard the sudden shifting of two men hurrying to get up off the couch. “Pst.” He called out. “Keep it down. I want Lena to go to sleep. Not be kept up all night because of you two.”
By now the other two had walked up to him, Deran’s room being in the same part of the house as Lena’s, and he could see Adrian duck his head in embarrassment. Deran just chuckled. “No worries Pope. We’ll be quiet.” As he and Adrian passed Pope and Lena, he reached out and rubbed Lena’s head gently. “’night, Lena.” He offered quietly and with a nod at Pope, the two disappeared down the hallway.
Pope watched them go. He’d never put as much stock in the family as Smurf would have wanted but since Baz got shot, he had been keeping a closer eye on Craig and Deran, and even J, a bit more. It was nice to see Deran happy. Maybe with Adrian by his side, he wouldn’t end up like Baz.
“Uncle Pope?” Lena asked quietly from his shoulder. “Are we going to bed?”
Pope nodded. “Of course. You need your sleep.” And with that, he put Deran and his boyfriend out of his mind and focused on his niece.