Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for aired episodes only)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam gets wasted and talks about the beauty of the number 9.
The place was small but it was packed.
Filled to the rafters with every son of a bitch within a fifty mile radius with a cashed paycheck and a deep need for some loud music. The place was so crowded that the frigid air that wafted in every time the door swung open was welcome over the heat and smoke.
Dean liked places like this. The void filling to almost bursting at the seams. Talking and laughing everywhere you turned. Thick winter coats piled on the rack so high that the thing had tipped over at the front door. Everyone here worked with one another. Were neighbors for years. Mostly related in one hundred various subtle ways that every name in the room was easy to another’s lips. There were no strangers.
Dean chewed on his swizzle stick and kept himself from checking his watch one more time. He tried anyway.
"36 more to go." He chimed.
Sam had peeled off the label from his beer bottle and was carefully plastering it like some kind of decal tattoo onto the inside of his arm. It was about his fourth beer in about as many minutes.
“Slow it down a little?” Dean tried.
Sam didn’t indulge often but when he did it never ended up very pretty. At least not for Dean. Sam usually had a grand old time right up to the point when he would puke on or directly around Dean’s person. He was going to try another tactic to get Sam to put some brakes on the booze train when he found his brother studying him with a strange look on his face.
"D-Did you know that-that the number 9 is the only number that when it is multiplied by any other number….
“Oh boy.” Dean sighed.
“...and the individual numbers of the answer are added together until you only have a single number the result is always- always the uh...."
Sam trailed off looking down in semi confusion at his empty bottle.
"Always what?" Dean prompted absently as he watched a girl in low riding jeans idle by the jukebox.
"Oh... yeah, it will always end with the number 9."
"Huh." Dean appraised his brother while he watched him wave down the bartender for another drink. "Just thought of that didja?"
"You said 36 minutes." Sam answered with a slight slur. "3 + 6 = 9, 3 x 3 = 9, 6 x 6 = 36, and look! We're right back to 3 + 6--"
"That's great." Distracted, Dean was looking over Sam's shoulder at a young woman that had sat down alone. "Check out the pair of 0's on that one."
Sam turned and smiled largely down at her. She awkwardly smiled back, stuck between him and another guy behind her waiting to order a round.
"I bet you're 27." Sam pointed at her, his finger coming a little too close to her face.
"Uh yeah,” She self consciously touched her hair and shook it back uncertainly over her shoulder. “How'd you know?"
Sam swung back happily to his brother.
"2 + 7."
"Right." Dean tried to smile back. "9."
He sipped his own less fizzy drink. One of the most expensive whiskeys the place had, straight up without even an ice cube. It was luxury he figured he deserved on this night of nights. It was the good stuff that left a sweet burn that didn't hurt down the back of your throat. Settling in nice until even a drunken slightly fuzzy conversation about the number that came after 8 and before 10 could be at least entertained.
He compulsively glanced down at his watch again.
Sam watched him carefully. “How much more time do we have?”
"18 more minutes."
Sam’s grin reappeared as he added the single digits into their mystical sum, tipping up his beer and emptying the thing in one impressive go.
“I got one for ya.” Dean found himself for some reason attempting to contribute. “We got 9 planets?”
Sam suddenly looked sullen and disappointed. “Only 8 planets. They took back Pluto.”
Dean decided not to ask how who the hell had the authority to do that. Between him, Sam and his whiskey glass, he was keeping Pluto up in the planetary scheme of things.
“Ok, how about cats? 9 lives. Got a chow named after it and everything.”
Sam, with a triumphant look in his eyes, nodded knowingly at him before the bartender slid yet another bottle in their direction.
“Ya know...” Dean sipped more liquid fire as he listened to the snap and hiss of the cap being taken off. “Just because you can drink an entire 12 pack without succumbing to brain death doesn’t mean you should—“
"The Hindi’s have a festival, it lasts 9 nights." Sam told him in a low voice just in case anyone around them wasn't allowed to know. "The first three nights are devoted to the deity of destruction."
"Sounds like a blast."
"Nah, it’s not like that. She’s a destroyer of our defects, our dirt, our black rotting edges." Sam was smiling again, that lost far away smile he got when he'd really let himself go. "Got a few of those Dean?"
"I'd need all 9 nights and some bleach."
"Well, the second three nights are devoted to wealth." His brother rubbed his thumb against his fingers. "It's about money sure but the real pay off is winning the karma lotto."
“Does mowing down a squirrel to avoid swerving into oncoming traffic count as good karma?”
Sam thought seriously for a moment before he shrugged, the karmic dilemma too much to contemplate at the moment.
"What about the last three nights? Ya know, of the party?" Dean asked despite himself. "I bet you it's about love. Everyone always gets up in arms for freakin’ love."
"Nope." Sam slammed a fist down on the bar causing several nearby patrons to save their glasses from toppling over. "It's not love. It's the opposite of love."
Dean frowned. "What? Hate?"
"No, the opposite of hate is indifference," Sam explained as he cracked another bottle open. "No, no, no, the opposite of love, is wisdom.”
Dean couldn’t argue with that. He also began to wonder how he was going to get all nine feet of his brother into the car if he kept going at the beer like it was the cure for cancer.
“In 9 nights believers give offerings to-to receive the blessing of all three aspects of divine femininity.” Sam’s smile faltered. “At the end... at the end of it all it’s time for renewal. Rebirth.”
“Second chances?” Dean ventured with another glance at his watch.
Sam crashed his bottle into Dean’s glass, sloshing half its contents out over the varnished wood.
“H-Here’s to the 9 nights of worshipping the aspects!” Sam called out to the room but mostly right into Dean’s face.
“I never met an aspect I didn’t like.” Dean licked the back of his hand where about ten dollars of hooch had spilt and soaked his sleeve.
“You know what Dean?” Sam asked, turning back to look him in the eye and almost coming right off his bar stool with the motion. “I guess, I think-- I know 2007 is going to be a good year. N-N-Nu-Numerologically speaking.”
Dean quickly worked out the sum of the four numbers that made up the swiftly upcoming change in the date. Yup. There was that 9 again. He privately filed away a reminder to try to play some 9s in the state sweepstakes next week.
“Is it time yet?” Sam asked tensely, another beer label now decorating his forehead.
Dean was startled by the entire room around them suddenly erupting into a loud and rambunctious countdown.
Sam smirked and raised his bottle much more gently this time.
Dean clinked his thick glass to it and smiled back.
“9 seconds to go.”