Bo tapped into the kitchen and found it empty, which wasn't very surprising since it was only five o'clock on Sunday morning. Looking around the room he chewed on his bottom lip and considered his options. No one would be up for hours yet, so he might as well make himself breakfast and settle down in the living-room to watch some TV. With a determined expression Bo climbed on a kitchen chair to raid the cupboards.
He was just preparing a mug of cocoa so huge he had to hold it with both hands when he saw something moving from the corner of his eye. Bo put the mug down on the kitchen table, spilling some cocoa in the process. He sneaked towards the door, his naked feet moving silently on the floor. And really, there was a tall figure in the hall, creeping just as quietly towards the front door.
The tall figure flinched and then spun around.
"Good morning, Scip!" Bo gave his friend a wide smile. "Couldn't you sleep anymore, too?" He looked at Scipio's face a bit more closely, narrowing his eyes. "Are you sick? You look as if you have to puke, Scip."
"Ah… No. I mean, yes. I mean, I'm not sick. What are you doing here, anyway?"
"I'm making breakfast. Do you want some?"
Scip shook his head. "No, thank you. I'm just, ah – I have to go home. Look, Bo…" Scip knelt down in front of the boy. "You don't have to tell anyone you saw me, okay? Let this be our secret."
"Because, uhm… I was here because of… Because of a new case! And it's very secret and dangerous, but I can't tell you anything yet." Scip looked at him with what Bo secretly called his Fairy Tale Face. Some weeks ago Scipio had told them an outrageous story about how he had single-handedly battled a streetgang while he was on a case, and Bo had whispered those words into Prosper's ear. His older brother had snorted his lemonade out through his nose and hadn't completely stopped grinning until the next afternoon. Scipio now looked very earnestly at Bo and put his large hands on the boy's shoulders. "It is very important, Bo. Promise me you won't tell anyone you saw me. It might ruin the case. I'm sorry I can't tell you more right now."
"Okay." Bo nodded at him graciously.
"Sure?" Now Scip was making Serious Adult Face.
"Yeah." Bo found it a bit strange that adults always needed you to repeat your answers. But he'd heard somewhere that older people didn't hear that well, so it probably had something to do with that.
Scipio gave him a big smile and squeezed his shoulders. "Thank you, Bo. I knew I could rely on you. You know, I think you'll make a great detective yourself one day."
Bo shrugged. "I thought you'd just stayed with Prop again."
Now Scipio definitely looked as though he needed to puke. "What did you say?" His hands fell limply off Bo's shoulders.
"I said I thought you'd just stayed with Prop again, like the other times. Last week, when we watched the movie. You left really early the next morning, I saw you through the window."
"Yes. Ah. I did. Because your brother and I had talked so long about this interesting case that Victor and me –"
"That must have been boring."
"Because you were sleeping when I came in."
"You WHAT!" Scipio looked very sick now. Bo watched him worriedly as he took some deep breaths. Then he took the boy's hands. "Come on, Bo, let's sit down."
Five minutes later both were sitting snugly on the large sofa in the living-room; Bo cuddled up against Scipio, eating chocolate cookies Scip had taken from their hiding place on the highest shelf.
"So what exactly did you see?" Scip sounded more like himself now, probably because he had gulped down a huge glass of milk in the kitchen.
"Just you, Scip." Honestly. Where was the problem? But as long as Scip kept handing him cookies, Bo could put up with the silly questions. "Well, and Prop, of course. I mean, it's his bed."
"Oh god!" Scipio groaned and closed his eyes. "Did you tell anyone?"
"No!" Bo was indignant. Why should he tell someone? He came over to sleep in Prosper's bed when he felt alone in his own room, too. That still didn't mean he went around telling everyone.
"Good. Did you – I mean, you haven't – did you see anything else?" Now Scipio looked positively anxious. Adults were weird.
Else? "Like what?"
"Oh, you mean the other times? No, you always look the same. Wait, that's not true – once I saw you sleeping on your back, and Prop was half on top of you." Bo giggled. "That must have been uncomfortable! The other times you always look like the forks in the cutlery drawer."
"Spoons, Bo," Scip corrected him half-heartedly. "So, you visit Prop's room in the night?"
"Sometimes. When I can't sleep." Bo snuggled up closer to Scip, his voice suddenly very small. "Sometimes I'm scared he's gone away somewhere. And then I go to his room, and then he's there, and then I can sleep again."
Scipio held him a bit tighter at that. "I know what you mean. But Prop would never leave you. You know that, Bo."
"Yeah. Scip?" Bo looked up at his friend.
Bo thought – not for the first time – that he liked being alone with Scip, because Scip was somehow different then. It was as if he had another mask on his face, an invisible one, and he'd only remove it when you were alone with him. "Why don't you want anyone to know?"
Scipio sighed. "It's complicated."
"Do you love Prop?" Bo looked at Scipio curiously. "Because I think Prop loves you."
"You do?" Scip looked dumbstruck and handed Bo another cookie. "Why?"
Bo shrugged and chewed the cookie with a concentrated expression. "He always looks at you like people on TV do when they're in love. And he only ever let me sleep in his bed before, and he loves me, so if he lets you sleep in his bed too, then he must love you too. So do you love him?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I love him." Scip's voice sounded a bit weird, but he probably just had some cookie crumbs stuck in his throat. "But maybe the others will find it a bit strange. Me being older than him now, and then Hornet's in love with him anyway, and us being boys and everything…"
Bo clicked his tongue. "Nah, you're not really older. That's just magic, that doesn't count. And Hornet told me how happy she is she's got brothers now, and you can't be in love with your brother. And of course you're boys. So what?"
"Well… Sometimes people find it strange when two boys are in love with each other."
"Why?" Bo was truly puzzled.
"I don't know. But what if Ida doesn't like it? Or Victor? Or the others?"
Bo thought hard for a moment. "No, I don't think so. I think they'd be happy. They like you both alone, then they will like you together."
"Maybe you're right, Bo." Scip ruffled his hair lightly.
"Course I am." Bo yawned heartily. Now he was suddenly tired again. He felt his eyes drifting shut, feeling secure in the arms of his older friend.
"Bo?" Scip's voice sounded a long way off. A few seconds later Bo felt himself lifted off the sofa and carried somewhere. His face was in the crook of Scipio's neck, and already half-asleep he thought that Scip smelled a lot like his brother. Then he was laid down gently in his bed, his blanket being tucked in around him. The last thing he registered before slipping away into slumber was Scipio's quiet voice.
"Thank you, Bo."