It could have been Christmas when River and Declan got home with all the luxuries River missed. Except, Declan didn't have cable. Even so, River switched on the laptop so he could put on some music. They set on the couch watching the laptop like it might be a little fireplace on the coffee table.
"Did I hear Noah mention something about your brother?" Declan looked at River who winced a face and looked at Declan.
"No. I don't think so." He shook his head. "I didn't hear anything about him." River shrugged.
"Huh. I thought I did." Declan winced back as if maybe River was just a tease. "What about that job? What did you do?"
"Grade papers." He blew air from his pursed lips as if he really did not want to discuss it. "Teach." He gritted an uneasy smile then.
"Teach? You?" Declan smiled into a laugh. Here he'd thought all this time of River as a slacker and uneducated kid living on the streets in some Canadian railroad town.
River rolled his eyes. A song came on he didn't like. It was all sad and lonely. He switched it to something upbeat and jazzy.
"She hated me. Told me I was nothing. And there Noah was, acting like I wasn't half the man he was. Maybe..maybe it was like a breakdown, of some kind. I dunno." He looked so mad, maybe even sad. Possibly, at himself.
Declan took River's hand before he pulled away from him. River didn't move. He watched Declan's clean and even fingernails. Declan felt the tenderness of River's palm against his. Finally, he seemed steady.
"I'm a fuck'n idiot." River gritted as if he'd given up.
"No, you're not." Declan did not believe that. River rested his head on Declan's shoulder. He knew River needed him. He hadn't meant to upset him. "What about your brother though? Where is he?" Declan hoped he wasn't in prison or something.
"He went to Paris for a little while. Met his father. He's a jazz musician there. Got somebody pregnant. Came home. Now he's going blind."
"You're brother? Is he blind?" Declan wanted to know.
"Possibly." River shrugged.
"And you're an uncle?" Declan asked.
"I suppose." He shrugged again. Declan felt River's warm breath on his neck. If they were quiet for a few more seconds, Declan was sure River would want to kiss. Perhaps avoid more talk.
"Well?" Declan thought River would know more about his brother. Finally, River pulled away even if he looked so sleepy. He looked at Declan wide-eyed as if he could go on with the conversation.
"He has a daughter. She's just a baby. Last time I saw her." River closed and dropped back to Declan's shoulder as if he might keep nudging him until they were wrapped up in each other on the couch.
"We should see them." Delcan nodded.
"No." River woke up and looked at him. "I can't do that. Might not be able to get back in the country."
Declan guessed he hadn't thought this through. He didn't know much about visas or immigrants. Really. He supposed they'd have to get Internet now. Read up on all this. It was new to him.