A/N: This was posted on Tumblr yesterday in honor of TheGreatSporkWielder's birthday. Happy birthday, Sporky! Enjoy the awkward!
A/N2: The title is from LBD episode 14. It's what immediately came to mind when I saw Caroline's Thanksgiving-day tweets. I wasn't sure how strict ff.n is with the whole K-rated title policy, so I have a shortened version of the title that shows up on the list, even though I'm sure everyone knows there's not an actual incestuous orgy going on. Just thought I'd be safe... but the title below is the real title.
A Giant Incestuous Orgy of Awkward and Face-Palming
Chapter One: Before
Bing is an inconveniently heavy sleeper.
"Wake up—wake up—come on, Bing, I need your help!" Caroline urges with repeated proddings of his shoulder. Slowly, Bing finds his way to consciousness.
"Whaddy'wann?" he grumbles blearily, fighting through several layers of fatigue.
"I need you to go to the store and get me some butcher's twine and cheesecloth and more coffee beans. And none of the cheap stuff either. Fair trade organic, good coffee. Maybe a Chilean roast?"
"Wait a minute, wait a minute, I'm not even dressed or anything," Bing protests.
"Well, hurry up! I need to get this turkey in the oven as soon as possible for dinner!"
As she speaks, Bing pulls himself out of bed, rummages around his dresser for some clothes to change into, and, having found a t-shirt, jeans, and a fresh pair of boxers, stumbles into the bathroom and closes the door behind him.
"Why are you cooking dinner anyway? Isn't Francis here?" Bing calls through the door.
"I told him not to come in. Said he should spend the holiday with his family. I can handle dinner—I know how to cook." She surveys the clutter in her brother's room with some distaste. Books and clothes and papers are strewn all over the place. "Do you ever tidy up in here?"
"Nope," Bing responds, now dressed and splashing some water on his face. He loads up his toothbrush with toothpaste and opens the door again. "Are you sure you want to do all of this? It's a lot of cooking," he reasons before sticking the toothbrush in his mouth and commencing a vigorous scrub.
"Yes, it'll be fine," Caroline insists. "And anyway, I already told Francis not to come, so it would be rude to call him in now."
Bing turns to spit into the sink. "I guess so," he concedes before brushing some more. He rinses out his mouth and toothbrush, checking in the mirror to be sure there's no leftover toothpaste on his face, and returns to his room. "Still, if you need any help—"
"I do need help, that's why I'm asking you to go to the store!"
"Right. Could you write down the things you need me to get? I think I've already forgotten." He surveys his surroundings and finds a scrap of paper and a pen, which Caroline accepts and begins scribbling.
Moments later, she hands the paper back to her brother, then throws her arms around his neck and gives him a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks a million."
"Any time," Bing smiles. He doesn't even mention the hassle of braving the Thanksgiving crowds, because he's nice like that.
On his way downstairs, Bing meets up with another brother on a mission for his sister—Darcy is headed out the door to pick Gigi up from the airport.
"When are you ever up before noon if you don't have to be?" Darcy asks with a hint of a smirk.
"Caroline needs groceries."
"I don't envy you. The airport on Thanksgiving is bad enough…"
Bing smiles and shrugs. "I'll survive."
They walk together toward the garage and, upon reaching it, exchange goodbyes and good-lucks and drive off in opposite directions.
Darcy is glad to have things to do today. He has resolved not to watch any more of Lizzie's videos, and for the last week and a half (since Caroline randomly appeared in an episode, and Darcy closed out of the YouTube window partway through, feeling guilty and voyeurish), he has succeeded in avoiding them by plunging himself into his work and not allowing himself any time for leisure.
The problem arose when Bing and Caroline invited him to stay for Thanksgiving under the condition that he was not allowed to do any work while he was there. "You're on vacation, so you'd better act like it," Caroline warned. Darcy obeyed, but now he can't prevent his thoughts from returning to Lizzie and her videos, obsessed lovesick idiot that he is.
He had originally continued watching in order to be absolutely sure that Lizzie would say nothing about what he wrote in his letter concerning George Wickham. He was satisfied on that point after two episodes, but had foolishly begun watching the third as well. But now, he knows better. It has done him no good to continue watching. She has shown no signs of liking him any better in those videos than she ever did. It's hopeless, so it's in his best interest to abandon hope.
He's tried telling that to Fitz, who keeps insisting that Lizzie just doesn't know him well enough. Darcy believed him a little at first—enough to pose for a few pictures in which he wore that ridiculous newsie hat ("She needs to see your sense of humor," Fitz said). Darcy even allowed those pictures to be posted on twitter. Nothing came of it, of course. He would never wear that hat again.
Lizzie knows him perfectly well. Her impersonations of him are cuttingly accurate. She sees him with perfect clarity and doesn't like what she sees. It's time to accept that and return to his normal life—a normal life that now seems incomplete without her laughing eyes...
His maudlin musings have carried him the length of the drive to the airport. He has become familiar enough with the maze-like branchings of roads leading to different terminals that he navigates with relative ease toward the place where he is to meet Gigi. He has been without his little sister for far too long, and he finds his sour mood brightening at the prospect of seeing her again.
Darcy finds a parking spot and exits his car, locking the doors with a click of a button. The weather today is reasonably warm, but cloudy, but Darcy doesn't care much. Gigi has always tinged his world with all the sunlight it needs. He walks in through the sliding doors toward the check point where he'll be meeting her. He's about an hour early, so he takes a seat and waits.
Lizzie would like Gigi. The thought comes unbidden to his head, but it doesn't throw him back into depression. Rather, he finds himself smiling a little as he thinks of the similarities between the two of them—they are both cheerful, intelligent, passionate, opinionated, and not easily dispirited by life's difficulties. They are two of the most beautiful women Darcy has ever known.
He watches as a flood of travelers passes by, keeping a keen eye alert for the familiar curly blonde head. It's still too early, though. He settles in for the wait. Across town, the other brother on a mission is not having very good luck.
The first store Bing went to was completely out of any coffee that was not Folgers or Maxwell House, and he realized after scouring the whole place that it wasn't the kind of store that sold butcher's twine or cheesecloth. He thought he knew of a nearby Whole Foods, but he had the wrong location in his head, and by the time he remembered where it actually was and got there through all the traffic, he'd been out for nearly an hour.
He's barely in the door when his phone buzzes. It's a tweet from Caroline.
" bingliest where are you? why aren't you back yet?"
He sighs and decides to put off tweeting back until he actually has the items she needs. The coffee actually isn't too difficult to find. The whole garlic is in short supply, but he manages to grab what he thinks is enough. It takes a little more searching to get to the kitchen department, and he's scanning the aisles for the needed supplies when he catches a sudden glimpse of a head of long braided hair in a familiar shade of red.
Heart racing, he doubles back to hide behind the end display. Then, peering around the edge of the aisle, he lets out a long sigh of mingled relief and disappointment. It is not Jane. (Why would she be here anyway?) This girl is shorter, has brown eyes, and come to think of it, her hair is just a shade darker.
This is the third time in the months since leaving Netherfield that he'd had a false alarm like this, and he's not entirely convinced that it was a false alarm in one of the previous instances. Once, driving through the city, he'd seen a red-headed girl on the sidewalk, and he could have sworn he recognized the dress and headband she wore. But there was no reason for Jane to be in Los Angeles. It was probably just a coincidence.
He took a calming breath and reentered the aisle, discovering to his dismay that this girl with Jane's hair was looking at the butcher's twine. Without making eye contact, he grabbed a roll of it with a muttered "excuse me" before walking on and finding the cheesecloth in the next aisle.
While waiting in the checkout line, he tweets back to Caroline:" that_caroline sorry, it's a madhouse out here. on my way."
There are, of course, still several people in line in front of him, and he knows that every minute he spends inching forward through the checkout lane adds another level of intensity to Caroline's impatience.
Darcy is himself impatient. Of course, the landing time of the plane has just barely passed, and it will take at least a few more minutes for the passengers to disembark and travel through the terminal to the check point. That doesn't stop him from checking the time on his phone every few seconds. Soon enough, however, several travelers pass through the entryway, and Darcy stands to get a better view.
When does see her, he barely has time to prepare before she launches herself into his arms and his vision was obscured by her copious amounts of wayward hair. He's a little winded, but he still manages to return her embrace just as enthusiastically as she gave it.
"I've missed you so much," she whispers in his ear.
She pulls back and fixes him with the kind of grin that can't help but be returned in kind.
"Can I take one of your bags?" he asks.
"Sure!" She hands him the suitcase she'd been rolling behind her (briefly abandoned for the hug), keeping her backpack slung over her shoulders. Darcy thinks this is an unfair division of the load, but knows she'll only refuse if he offers to take the backpack instead.
"I think you have more gray hair than last time I saw you," Gigi observes with a frown. "You're working too much, aren't you?"
Darcy smooths a self-conscious hand along the side of his head, where the gray hairs have been prematurely appearing over the course of the past few years. "Dad had gray hair by the time he was my age. It's probably genetic."
Gigi smiles. "True. He had that dashing salt-and-pepper look when I was little. I often forget he was only in his thirties then." Then, more seriously, "But he always worked too much, too…" She doesn't say that this probably led to the heart attack that killed him. She doesn't need to.
"Well, I'm not working this weekend. Caroline will probably kill me if I do."
"Thank God for Caroline."
They reach the car, stow Gigi's luggage in the trunk, and navigate their way out of the airport.
"Have you decided on a major yet?"
Unlike many in her situation, Gigi isn't an undecided sophomore because she has no interests. Quite the opposite—she has too many! She started out in piano performance, but realized pretty early on that she didn't like the way her class requirements and practice schedule precluded involvement in pretty much anything else. She was even discouraged from playing tennis because she might injure her hands. So she switched her music major to a minor after the first semester, and is now taking a few random classes to try to figure out where she wants to go with this whole education thing. She's taking introductory courses in biology, astronomy, and her current favorite—
"What do you think of linguistics?" she proposed.
"I think you would be good at it," he says fondly. "You're one of the few people who can correct my grammar."
"It's not just grammar, you know. I'm really interested in etymology—the way words travel through different languages and cultures, and often end up meaning something completely different than what they originally meant. It's fascinating…"
Darcy listens in silent contentment as his sister chatters on about how the word "radical" changed from being about returning to what is essential (from the Latin radix meaning "root") to describing extreme departures from the norm...
Caroline's hair is not normally pulled back in a ponytail. She habitually puts a lot of effort into making it soft and shiny enough to slip around her back and shoulders like silk, and locking her hair into the constraining grip of a ponytail holder would defeat the whole purpose of all that work.
But then again, she doesn't normally do things that require her hair to be out of the way.
Her hair treatment regimen has worked too well. Her ponytail holder keeps slipping down her hair until, every hour or so, she has to redo the ponytail, which is a pain because her hair is so long.
The clutter in the kitchen is beginning to build up. A half-prepared turkey rests in its baking pan surrounded by several spice shakers, a half-used stick of butter, and a carton of chicken broth. In another corner, there is a bowl full of chestnuts that she has been sporadically peeling (arduous work), and another bowl holding the peeled nuts, with the skins lying in a heap on the table. Next to this is two bowls of cubed bread (multi-grain and gluten-free), and after that, a pile of yams, for which she has yet to find a potato peeler. In the midst of all of this is her iPad, propped up on its stand with several tabs open (twitter, recipes, cooking advice, instructional videos, etc.).
She is already behind schedule. The recipe she's using calls for a fifteen-pound turkey to bake in the oven for two hours, but she has a twenty-pound turkey. If she doesn't get this bird prepared soon, she'll have to postpone dinner.
"Here comes the pie!" comes Fitz's boisterous voice from the hallway. Soon enough, he bursts into the kitchen holding the heralded dessert. "Pumpkin and pecan pie—see, I alliterated! Jordan and I made two of these. One for his parents' dinner, and one…" he gives her a kiss on the cheek "…for you!" He opens the fridge and rearranges a few items to make space for the pie. "It's only half-cooked so we can throw it in the oven while dinner is served, and it'll be all hot and bubbly when it comes out."
"Great." She tries to sound enthusiastic, but can't quite ignore the fact that Fitz's dessert preparations have been much more successful than her dinner preparations. Trust Fitz to upstage her without even trying—and while alliterating.
Of course, Fitz has his boyfriend to help. Caroline has a brother who is currently being no help at all. He'd tweeted back to her about fifteen (she checks her iPad—yes, fifteen) minutes ago saying he was on his way back, but his arrival was still forthcoming.
"Wow, is this thing from the dark ages or something?" Fitz is holding her oven thermometer.
"No, it works fine." Caroline grabs it out of his hand. She's actually not sure if it works at all, but honestly, she's really getting tired of Fitz right now. And Bing. "Where is he?" she grumbles aloud.
"Bing, he's supposed to be getting groceries for me."
Fitz looks thoughtful. "Where did he go?"
"I don't know, Whole Foods probably."
"Ohhh, no, that place is gonna be packed, and traffic is horrible. Hey, I know a store not too far from here that's really nice and not in the middle of all the traffic. I could be there and back again before you know it. What do you need?"
Caroline obviously should have asked for Fitz's help in the first place. He leaves soon after he came with a shopping list and a promise to return soon. Caroline communicates this as an update on her running twitter commentary of the day's cooking exploits.
She sets about searching for the potato peeler again. Really, it shouldn't be this difficult to find, but searching through cupboards and drawers has thus far yielded nothing. Another search is similarly fruitless.
She settles on peeling chestnuts again, but not before tweeting: "Remind me, why did I want to do this?"
"So Caroline's got you on a supply run?" Jordan asks over the phone.
"Yep." Fitz is browsing the shelves of spices. "I don't mind it, really. Better this than being in that kitchen with her."
Fitz can hear Jordan's grimace over the phone. "That bad, huh?"
"It's like she thinks it's a competition or something. 'Who can be the most domestic?' I brought in our pie and she practically gave it a death glare." He picks up a bottle of sage leaves and sets it down in his basket.
"I didn't know she was the domestic type."
"She's trying it on for size."
"And how does it fit?"
"Not… very well." This gets a laugh from Jordan, a welcome rarity in the tense days leading up to Thanksgiving. "How are things with your parents, by the way?"
"Well, they haven't asked me if I've met any nice girls yet, so I guess that's progress." He sighs.
"So maybe there's a chance I'll be invited to Christmas?" Fitz ventures.
"Ladies and gentlemen: Fitz Williams, the eternal optimist."
"A man can hope." Fitz pauses as he notices a nice-looking oven thermometer. "I think I've just found the perfect peace offering for Caroline," he says, putting it in his basket.
"Great. Hey, I gotta go. Mom's taking a break from the dinner preparations, and she'll want us to have some 'family time.'"
"Yeah, I'm just about done here myself." Fitz concedes as he approaches the checkout lane. "You keep your head up, okay? I love you."
"I love you, too. And I will."
Bing finally returns home after what seems to have been an eternity of waiting: waiting in line at the store and waiting in traffic. And if he was hoping that it would be a relief to come home to his sister—
"What took you so long? I've been waiting forever!"
"Sorry, you know how it is out there on Thanksgiving."
Caroline rolls her eyes as Bing tries to find space on the table for the groceries. "Do you know where the potato peeler is, by the way?" she asks.
Bing blinks, then points toward the opposite wall where it's hanging next to the cutlery.
Caroline lets out a frustrated groan. "God, I'm such an idiot!"
"You're not an idiot."
Caroline ignores him and peers inside the grocery bag. "Well at least now I can finish this stupid turkey."
Bing decides it's probably best for everyone involved if he stays out of Caroline's way. He returns to his room, not quite willing to admit how shaken he still is by the sight of the girl with Jane's hair.
Fitz and the Darcys arrive practically simultaneously. Gigi bounds out of the car and throws herself in Fitz's arms. Darcy stands back to watch.
Fitz laughs. "Hey there, wiggleworm."
Gigi wrinkles her nose. 'Wiggleworm' was a nickname Fitz had given her when she was a child and her high levels of energy always prevented her from sitting still.
"Don't you think I've grown out of that?"
"Never!" Fitz proclaims. "You'll always be a little wiggleworm to me."
"I'm almost as tall as you now."
Fitz stands on tiptoe. "No you're not."
Gigi stands on tiptoe as well. "Yes I am, and I have ballet training, so I can balance on my toes longer than you."
Fitz drops back down onto his flat feet. "Damn, that's true."
"What's in the bag?" Gigi asks.
"Groceries for Caroline—hey, I've got an idea!"
"I swear I shall bend this kitchen to my will by the time wmdarcy gets back from picking ggdarcy up from the airport."
Caroline posts the tweet with a strong, purposeful tap of her iPad's screen, unaware that one of the people she's tagged is creeping up behind her with an accomplice.
"Boo!" Fitz and Gigi cry in unison.
Caroline screams and whirls around, her ponytail holder slipping a good five inches. Fitz and Gigi are laughing so hard they're in tears, and they miss each other's hands in an attempted high five. This makes them laugh even harder. Caroline's barely-controlled frustration is boiling over as anger.
"That's not funny!" she yells, aware of, but unable to help the fact that she sounds like a five year old. "What if I'd had a knife in my hand?"
Fitz shrugs. "You didn't."
Caroline's eyes narrow dangerously. "Out!" She shoos them with her hands. "Both of you! Out of my kitchen!"
Fitz and Gigi back away, hands held up in surrender. Fitz realizes he's still holding the grocery bag, and he sets it gently on the floor before both of them turn and run. At the end of the hallway, the giggles start up again. By the time they reach the lounge where Darcy is, it's all-out gut-busting laughter.
Darcy quirks an eyebrow as the two of them collapse on a nearby couch. They recognize Darcy's subtle and wordless request for explanation.
"We snuck up behind Caroline in the kitchen…"
"You should have seen her face!"
"—and heard the way she screamed!"
Darcy emits a small chuckle. "I think I may have heard the scream, as a matter of fact."
"Hoo boy." Fitz wipes the tears from his eyes. "That's one for the record books."
"We're banned from the kitchen, though," Gigi says, sobering up a bit, "which is too bad, because I think she could've used the help. It's kind of a disaster area in there."
No one says anything, nor is anyone particularly inclined to approach the kitchen.
"Well, I'm going to go change." Gigi announces. "I can't wear my airplane clothes to a fancy Thanksgiving dinner." She rises from the couch and leaves the room.
"So… have you seen Lizzie's latest videos?" Fitz asks with a wink.
Any hint of a smile that may have been playing at Darcy's mouth disappears immediately. "I've stopped watching."
"What? Don't tell me you're giving up."
"Of course I'm giving up. It's what people usually do when they've been rejected."
"But I don't think she hates you anymore."
Darcy lets out a humorless laugh. "Now there's progress."
"But if she just knew you—"
Darcy holds up a hand to stop Fitz from talking. "We've been over this before." He sighs. "It's Thanksgiving. I'd rather not focus on what's wrong with my life, if you don't mind."
Fitz gives a reluctant nod and the two friends fall into silence. After a few minutes, Gigi returns wearing a salmon-colored dress with matching shoes. Her hair is gathered into a loose half ponytail with a few stray golden curls framing her face. As she resumes her place beside Fitz, she decides not to mention that she had overheard the beginning of their conversation when she'd left the room several minutes before.
The three of them pass the remaining time before dinner in easy conversation. Caroline enters periodically, giving increasingly delayed times for the commencement of Thanksgiving dinner. The smells wafting from the kitchen alternate between enticing and… burnt.
Finally, Caroline arrives in a slinky red dress, hair loose and falling over her shoulders as nature intended. "Dinner is served," she announces, her face exhibiting a mixture of pride and exhaustion. As Darcy, Gigi, and Fitz rise from their seats, Caroline frowns.
A/N3: I've had Fitz's boyfriend Jordan in my head-canon for a while now, but no opportunity to write about him until now. I really enjoy their dynamic, and I was debating having Jordan come to dinner. But really, this fic is more about the complex relationships between the five LBD characters in the twitter story. Also, Jordan's presence would have made things a lot less awkward ('cause he's a pretty laid back kind of guy when he's not stressing about his family, and obviously so is Fitz when he's not stressing about Jordan's family-more on that in chapter 2), and things kind of have to be awkward in this fic. One of these days, I'll write something Fitz/Jordan-centric.