They're crashing parties, the whole crew, and Ashley and Kevin keep bringing him drinks and snatching them away again, laughing under the lights and rubbing the top of his award for luck each time. There's music, and Lea and Dianna are dancing, and this is the eighth drink they've done this with, and it doesn't matter if he hasn't finished a single one of them, he is kind of completely shitfaced.
It seems to make about as much sense as anything else tonight. Did he mention he won? A Golden Globe? He's not even sure he knows how to talk anymore, there's too much amazing in the air around him.
Ash swans back to him through the crowd, carrying something bright green in what looks to be a test tube, and tells him she's afraid to try it. He takes care of that for her, and it's apples, oh my god, deadly apples, and she takes it back before he can do much more than choke and wave it in her general direction. He sees her down it as she heads back to the bar, high-fiving Heather and hip-checking Darren on the way.
That's pretty much how he spends the evening, until 3 AM rolls around and Lea's fumbling for the keys as everybody stands outside his apartment, apparently waiting for his couch and armchairs to welcome them with tender embraces. Whatever. His apartment, his furniture, and everyone else should just feel lucky he bought eggs a few days ago. And coffee. And toilet paper.
Single life is hard, and no one should pretend otherwise.
It's when he's shucking himself out of his suit, still staring at the award cradled against his pillow, that he notices that his phone has a text. It's Cory, who was wise and valiant and went home like a sane person.
canucks unite: Nathan Fillion dm'd me and asked to send his congrats. woooo!!
The last thing Chris thinks before he crawls into bed and falls into a sleep that lasts a thousand years is, But I'm not Canadian--
Usually, Chris is a terrible sleeper. Insomnia, screaming dreams, that time he bought the Marie Antoinette painting while apparently completely unconscious-- he's got the works. He's the last to go to sleep, and the earliest to wake up, and it's all very predictable and boring once you ignore the whole "sleep-shopping" thing, which is more disturbing than interesting anyway.
Except not that night. And it's probably because of the adrenaline, but Chris likes to think it's a little bit because the award's real, and there, and bruising his face in a comfortingly material way. He falls asleep immediately, and when he wakes up the clock says 11 and someone is playing the guitar in his living room, snatches of tunes and idle chord changes. Chris flips a mental coin between Darren and Mark, and then clenches his eyes shut because ow, his brain is too hungover right now for these kinds of complex computations. It doesn't really matter -- someone's playing, which means someone else is listening, which probably means he's right back to being out of eggs.
Chris stumbles out of bed, throws on whatever clothes are on the floor nearby, and heads for the living room. The award he leaves on the pillow; it's probably not nice to actually carry it around with him everywhere. Probably.
As it turns out, the person on the guitar (and on his kitchen counter): Darren. Person standing next to him, staring at the coffee machine: Mark. Persons on the couch, chair, and floor, watching clips of last night's show and poking dully at their eggs: Lea, Kevin, Amber.
"Jenna?" he asks the room at large. Lea groans.
"Everybody else went home," Kevin says. "Except Ashley. Ashley's in the shower."
Chris wades into the thick of things and shoves Lea over. "Hey, winner," she says, relinquishing half the sofa to him, "how does it feel?"
"Weird," he says, because it's true, it is weird. Wonderful, obviously, he's pretty sure it's wonderful, but-- He doesn't exactly remember what he said during his acceptance speech. He hopes it was good, because what he mostly felt was terrified out of his mind about going on stage and saying things that would naturally show up minutes later on every news outlet--
"There you are," Amber calls out, and there's Chris on-screen, clutching his award like he's about to strangle it to death. Chris tries to listen, but Lea's tearing up again, and Kevin's saying something to Amber about Chris's shiny lapels, and Darren decides now is a great time to start playing something recognizable right at the edge of Chris's hearing.
Mark stumbles up behind him and hands him a diet Coke. Chris decides that Mark is his favorite. "You did us proud," Mark says, clapping a hand on Chris's shoulder before heading into the bedroom to, Chris suspects, steal his bed and catch a nap before heading back to his place. Chris wonders if he should warn about the Globe lying in wait, except Lea is full-out crying again, and he doesn't have a chance.
When Cory shows up as part of the fashion sprawl on the TV, Chris remembers the text from the night before. "Hey," he says to the group, "Nathan Fillion says congrats?"
"Like, Castle? Captain Hammer?" Kevin says, and Chris shrugs.
"I guess? He tweeted Cory about it, and Cory told me."
Darren changes tunes abruptly. "Clearly, you should now be friends," he says, picking at the strings and pulling something faster than his usual riffs, more intricate. "Just remember, he likes being referred to as Captain. Captain Tightpants to his friends, of course, which you will now be."
Chris takes a long drink from his Coke and thinks about ignoring Darren, who is probably Up to No Good, among other capitalized words. Darren keeps playing that tune, though, and is so clearly waiting for someone to get the joke that it's almost painful.
It's Amber who takes the bait. "Tightpants?" she asks, and that's it, Darren's swung off the counter and is crowding up in front of Chris faster than should be possible on a morning after that many parties.
"Chris," Darren says solemnly, "tell me you know whereof I speak."
"Uh," Chris says.
"Oh my god," says Darren, "and you're the sci-fi geek. Tell me you have Netflix or something, anything, because we have got to fix this."
Yes, Chris does, and after some bullying and promising to buy everyone lunch if they stay, Darren plugs Chris's laptop into the television and Darren's weird little tune is playing on Chris's speakers as the word Firefly is burned across the screen.
Ash comes in just as Nathan Fillion sees the Alliance blow up Serenity Valley, towelling off her hair. "Captain Tightpants," she says approvingly; Darren kisses her.
Darren knows about Firefly because, per him, everyone in the world should know about Firefly. It's also because he did a massive genre cramming session with every bit of space opera available when he was writing music for his Starkids project, and now he can quote R2D2's exact boo-be-boops and swear in Chinese.
That's what he says anyway. He refuses to prove it. Chris calls shenanigans.
It takes a couple of weeks, catching episodes when they all can, but eventually the entire cast finishes the series. And yes, Darren was right, everyone should watch Firefly, and there's an unfortunate period of time where Mark decides that Puck is clearly Jayne's great-great-great-grandfather, and therefore Puck should have a knitted hat with a pom-pom on it to wear at all times. And a gun named Vera. And Whedonesque dialogue.
(Naya doesn't help when she actually buys him the hat. Naya is not at all like her character except for the times when she is. She is a chaos factor of evil wrapped in a delightful personality.)
Before all that, though, Chris watches the first episode curled around Lea and Ashley, Amber and Kevin and Darren at his feet. Around the time Captain Reynolds is eating tomatoes with a pair of chopsticks, Chris texts Cory back. Something like "tell him thank you" and maybe some exclamation marks thrown in. Whatever. Busy now.