"Shaun, can I ask you something?"
Shaun looked up from the picture of Big Bird he was carefully coloring bright green. "Sure buddy, you can ask me anything."
Cody was sprawled on his belly across the floor, mirroring Shaun's own position, testing different shades of purple for the water in the picture he was coloring - a sketch Zach had made him when Cody had officially deemed his old Sesame Street book too 'babyish' for him.
"What's Valentine's?" Cody asked, glancing over briefly to inspect Shaun's progress. He nodded his approval of Shaun's color choices. He'd taken a very serious, if somewhat simplistic, interest in art ever since Zach had started Cal Arts, and surrealism was his current favorite thing ever.
"Valentine's Day? It's a day we show everyone we love how much we care about them with cards and candy. And lots of hugs and kisses," Shaun said. "I'm sure you'll hear more about it in school. We'll have to go pick up a box of cards for you. Maybe some of those candy hearts with the sayings on them too."
"Okay," Cody said agreeably. "Can we get Power Rangers cards?"
"Sure buddy, whatever you want."
"And a new Power Rangers coloring book too?"
"Okay," Shaun agreed. They colored in silence for a few more minutes, but Shaun could see Cody thinking something over in the distracted looks he kept throwing him.
"Can we make Uncle Zach brownies? To let him know we love him?" Cody asked finally.
"Brownies, huh? I don't know." Shaun put on his most serious frown-y face. The one that made Zach kiss him senseless, and Cody giggle. "Brownies are pretty special. It takes a lot of love to make them taste just right. Do you think we can handle it?"
Cody met Shaun's gaze and nodded solemnly. "We love him a lot. He's my daddy."
"Codes," Shaun started, but Cody had already caught himself.
"Like a dad, not really my dad." He looked up to Shaun for verification and smiled when Shaun nodded his approval. "But I still want to make him brownies. With heart shaped sprinkles."
"Okay," Shaun said. "Brownies are good for both dads and uncles with dad-like qualities. Not to mention Codys and Shauns."
Cody giggled, then asked seriously, "What's good for moms on Valentines?"
Shaun tensed, but forced himself to keep his tone light. "I always send my mom daisies: they're her favorite flower." He had no idea when or even if they'd be hearing from Jeanne again: the last time she'd called she'd asked for money and barely remembered to ask about Cody. But if it'd make Cody happy they'd send a dozen long stemmed roses to her last known address.
Cody looked down at his picture and then turned a solemn expression back to Shaun. Shaun braced himself for a question about Jeanne or her whereabouts. "Shaun?" Cody began, "What's your favorite flower?"
Shaun couldn't help it, he threw his head back and laughed.