Title: Constellation

Author: FraidyCat

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em.

A/N: A mere catharsis, a somewhat fluffy decompression after some serious torture. This is less-serious torture.

Chapter 1


He tried to pry his eyes open. Honestly. They appeared to be glued in place. So he just lay there and concentrated on forming most of a word. "Wha?"

"I think I'm going to be sick."

Don thought about that, and decided his brother had a pretty good idea. "Me, too," he mumbled.

"Seriousl…oh, no…" Charlie's voice broke off into violent retching, which went on long enough for Don to manage to get one eye open.

Were they lying on the lawn?

He decided not to worry about that right now, and his one eye continued its search for Charlie, who was still being sick somewhere. Suddenly, his other eye popped open, and he blinked into the grey light of dawn. He turned his head a little, and the jackhammers inside drilled down to a new level. But at least he could see Charlie, now.

He was about ten feet away, half in and half out of Dad's rose bushes. Definitely on the ground, although raised slightly, halfway sitting in his misery. He seemed to be doing everything halfway. Except vomiting. That he pretty much was committed to. As Don contemplated this, Charlie groaned and allowed himself to slump backwards onto the lawn, his head dangerously close to the koi pond.

Don closed his eyes again, to think. He needed to figure this out. He seemed to have to look down a little at Charlie, and the grass felt funny. He kept his eyes closed, and experimented with his hand, felt something metal and followed it up to something damp, cold and plastic. He almost opened his eyes again in triumph, when he figured it out, but they had re-sealed.

The lounge chair. He was lying mostly on his face, mostly on the chaise near the koi pond.

Unaccountably pleased to know where he was, his reverie was interrupted by the sound of Charlie heaving again. This time his eyes both opened at the same time, although it took a few tries. "You all right?"

"No, sir," groaned his brother.

Don frowned. Sir? That wasn't a generic, "no-siree-bob" kind of 'sir', that was the kind of 'sir' Don had used with Dad whenever he got caught breaking curfew, or the time when he was 17 and came home drunk…

Ah. Drunk. That rang a bell.

More retching. Charlie sounded miserable. Don should do something about that. He heaved his body carefully over the edge of the lounger, and threw up himself.

Well. He had done that for Charlie — really — but it proved to be a good decision for Don, as well. He felt much better. He actually clawed his way into a sitting position of the edge of the lounger.

Something was wrong, though. His eyes were pretty much open, now, but he still couldn't see. After a moment, he realized he was holding his head in his hands. He dropped them, looked at Charlie, who was lying in a fetal position on the grass, now. He looked a little further afield and saw another set of legs about 20 feet away, closer to the house. The other half of the body was underneath the other lounger. The legs were familiar, though. Don took a shot.


Granger popped up in one motion. "Here," he said somewhat frantically. Unfortunately, as he was under the lounger, the chaise settled around his shoulders, and Colby fought with it as if a dragon had descend upon him. "Get off!" After some fumbling, the offending beast was cast several feet away, and Colby began searching for his service weapon. Don sincerely hoped he wasn't wearing it. "They're coming!" Colby suddenly shouted, and impressed Don immensely by actually achieving an upright position and disappearing, in a sort of odd staggering run, into the back of the house.

He looked again at Charlie. Don's vision of Colby had stirred his memories. He had been minding his own business, chatting with Dad in the kitchen — that reminded him, where was Dad? Anyway, Colby and Charlie had come crashing in, Charlie frantic because Colby was threatening to eat the koi. Something about Charlie taking the last piece of pizza. The two had careened out the back door, and Don had followed, grabbing a couple of the bottles off the table on the way. At the pond, Colby actually had his hand in the water, and Charlie was practically in tears. Don held up the bottles and suggested a drinking game. Colby was all for it right away, a dripping hand relieving him of one of the bottles. Charlie had probably only agreed so quickly to further distract Colby from the koi…

Wait a minute. He remembered Colby going back for more bottles, and… Hadn't Charlie ended up winning? Don shook his head, immediately regretted it. No way would Charlie win a drinking contest against him and Colby. He was smaller and a less-experienced drinker than either one of them. His mind must still be muddled.

"Oh, dear."

Don focused on the voice and eventually tracked Larry, standing over Charlie.

"What happened here?"

More pieces of the puzzle clicked into place, and Don growled. Larry. This was all his fault. He stood shakily, tried to advance on him, but found he couldn't move his legs. "You," he said. He was trying to sound menacing, but his own voice reminded him of Megan's kitten. "You did this."

Larry's eyes got wide. "I beg your pardon? When I left, you were all still in the house. This morning, I couldn't get anyone to answer a phone call, so I came over. No one answered the door. I decided to come around back, try the kitchen…This is quite disturbing."

Don took one step, but couldn't seem to take another and found himself in an odd straddle position. "Exactly. Not only do you bring some strange off-brand tequila I've never heard of to your own bachelor party, you refuse to allow the stripper inside and you leave your own party at 9 o'clock. 9 o'clock!"

Larry puffed up like a banty rooster. "I asked you not to retain the services of…entertainment. And I wanted to be well-rested for the ceremony. Megan deserves my best." He leaned over a little and peered at Charlie, again. "You know, ordinarily I would find it fascinating that he appears to have vomited the constellation of Orion around himself, but I refuse to have my Best Man bleed throughout the wedding, or throwing up on the bride."

Bleed? Charlie was bleeding? Don felt the last vestiges of sobriety overtake him, and he was able to walk again. He joined Larry over the body. He looked down and felt another memory click. "That's dry. Just a small scratch. You know how head wounds bleed. He fell into the rose bushes."

Larry sighed. He bent over and picked up an empty bottle, studied the label. "Perhaps this was a bad idea. The students who gave it to me assured me that it was just the thing for a bachelor party. They drove to Mexico for it."

"I think it's half turpentine," complained Don. He lifted his eyes from Charlie to Larry. "Did you say no-one answered the door?" Where was Alan?

He felt a hand around his ankle and looked back down. "Charlie?"


"Charles. Get up, this instant." Larry was tugging on Charlie's arm.

His head was still pounding, but Don thought he could handle helping. He semi-crouched and between the two of them, eventually Charlie was weaving upright. "Koi all right?", he asked, and the final memory settled on Don. Colby had fed the koi the worms from two of the tequila bottles — Charlie had eaten the others, to stop him. No wonder he'd thrown up an entire constellation.

Don chanced a look into the pond. Seemed to be pretty motionless in the early morning light, but there didn't appear to be any floating on the top.

He turned back and was startled to see Colby standing with them. His clothes were all wet, and he was shivering.

"I need your help," he whined.

Don just looked at him.

"I gotta take a shower. Please."

Don shrugged. "Sure. You know where it is."

Charlie's weaving grew more dramatic and Don grabbed an elbow to steady him, still looking at Colby, who looked ready to cry.

"Help me get your Dad out of the bathtub."