Copley’s an idiot. Intelligent, skilled, knowledgeable and an absolute idiot.
Nicky doesn’t say anything until he and Joe are alone, watches Andy and the relief on her face, Nile and the certainty in her stance, Joe and his steady hands hidden in his pockets. This is not the time.
So Nicky keeps his mouth shut, keeps his thoughts to himself, waits. It’s hard, just this once. He has so much practice waiting for the right moment but this time it takes effort.
Eventually Copley goes to bed. Nile and Andy fall asleep on the couch leaning on each other; Joe finds a blanket to drape over them.
Finally, they’re alone in the guest room. Joe’s climbing into bed while Nicky takes his jeans off (God, he has not enjoyed the past few days sleeping in his clothes. Jeans are amazing and practical and so very uncomfortable to sleep in.) and tries to decide how to bring it up.
He still hasn’t figured it out by the time he’s tucked in Joe’s arms but of course Joe knows him.
“What’s on your mind?” he asks, lips touching the back of Nicky’s neck, hand over his heart.
“Copley’s an idiot,” Nicky replies, all his thinking and planning out the window.
Joe shakes with silent laughter behind him. “Well, yes. But why have you been brooding over that all day?”
Nicky shoves his shoulder back a bit and turns over, once Joe’s moved back a bit, to look at him. “His wall,” he starts, pauses to try and find the words to explain. “He thinks the value of a person’s life is what they do with it. No, that’s not right. But he values what they do for the world more than their lives.”
Joe is smiling, small and soft. “Sara isn’t on his wall.” And that’s all Nicky needs to hear to know Joe understands. He can feel his own face shift to match Joe’s expression.
“No. Nor Danijel or Zeynep or Fabio or Almina. Many names I remember are missing.”
“They didn’t do anything people think is worth remembering,” Joe says. “I miss Fabio’s honey.”
“Do you remember the butterflies?” Nicky has the taste of honey on his tongue now. Joe’s smile looks almost exactly like it did when Almina talked about the butterflies and the flowers.
Joe laughs. “I remember the pair she named for us.”
Nicky leans in, kisses his smile. “We should go see if the field is still there. I do not think the house still stands but perhaps we can find the butterflies.”
Joe hums and pulls him closer. “We should show Nile. But for now,” he shifts, rolls them until he’s leaning over Nicky. “I can think of something else I’d like to remind you of.”
Nicky grins into the next kiss and decides to follow Joe’s lead. Everything else can wait.