Disclaimer: It's theirs.
He should have known it was a mistake to do this in the house.
Charlie was so engrossed in the web page before him, he didn't even notice it when Don snuck up behind him. He didn't hear the door opening, or the telltale footfall of his brother, or even the way he cast a shadow over Charlie, in the dimming light streaming through the kitchen window. Nothing registered until the snort of laughter. The air Don expelled with it actually ruffled Charlie's curls a little.
The professor started, exclaimed a nonsensical word of surprise, and slammed the laptop closed.
Alas, it was too late. Don had obviously held his position behind Charlie long enough. He choked on another laugh and spoke in an incredulous tone. "What the hell? 'myspace', Charlie?"
The younger man felt himself blushing into his hairline and thrust the offending laptop away from himself, across the surface of the table. "I...I like to keep up on what my students are into!", he defended. He tried to push back the chair and hit solid thigh.
Don was unbelieving. "Come on, Chuck. That was your page. I saw the profile picture. You had seven new comments, and you haven't read your messages yet. Maybe someone wants to be your friend." The hardened F.B.I. agent dissolved in another round of laughter, melting into a chair a few feet away from his uncomfortable brother. "Oh, this is rich," he snickered, softly banging a fist into the fine old wood. "Charlie, how many views have you had?"
Charlie glared at him, and tried to change the subject. "Shut-up. What the hell are you doing, sneaking in here anyway? You know Dad's at his book club tonight, there's nothing to eat."
Don raised one eyebrow. "Not gonna work, Chuck. I don't just come here for Dad's food. I thought you and I could go out, or order Chinese take-out, or something." He giggled again, a little inanely. "Chuckie, what's your profile song? Will you play it for me?"
Charlie reached up a hand and yanked on his own hair. "Stop it, you jerk! I just...have a page so my students can...contact me. Yeah. That's it."
Don rolled his eyes and grinned. "Right. Because traditional CalSci educational e-mail is just so sporadic, these days. Have you thought about adding a video?" He straightened a little in his chair and tried to look serious. "You should divide your photos into albums. Perhaps you've already done that?"
Charlie's eyes narrowed and his face took on an expression that suddenly made Don nervous. "So why do you know so much about 'myspace', Don?"
It was Don's turn to look uncomfortable. "A case." he answered, too quickly. "It came up in a case recently. I'm a detective, you know."
An evil grin turned up the corners of Charlie's mouth and he dragged the laptop back over the table, opening it as he did. "Oh, really?" Quickly he began tapping on the keyboard.
Don lunged from the chair, but Charlie deftly angled his body away from his brother, shielding the computer with his arms. "What do you think you're doing?", bellowed Big Brother.
Charlie waited smugly for the search to complete itself. "Just a little investigative work of my own," he answered. The screen switched, and Charlie paled, leaning closer to it. "Oh, no," he whispered, almost to himself. "No, no, no. This cannot be right."
Don was standing again, ready to jerk the laptop away by force, but he hesitated at Charlie's tone. "What is it?", he asked, leaning over slightly to peer over Charlie's shoulder.
Wordlessly, Charlie pointed to the screen with a shaking finger, and managed to click one last time.
The two brothers stared in awkward and confused silence for a long minute.
"Damn," Charlie finally muttered. "Dad has more friends than I do."