Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: The Winchesters must attend the ballet and Dean's new watch sucks.
The small tinny beeping always started at 4:18PM on the dot.
Sam wasn’t looking at his own watch or the one on his brother’s wrist but he knew the time and minute exactly. He knew it with such certainty because the alarm had been going off unerringly at the same moment for the past 19 days.
“You gonna do something about that?”
Without fail its digital distress would jerk Sam out of whatever it was he happened to be doing. If fate had deemed him the daily grind of a normal person lingering by a water cooler, it probably would have been a curt reminder of the dwindling opportunity to finish up the sales report before the evening deadline. If he were the student he once was, the sound would have probably startled him out of a multi-hour time warp back in the library rows while he crammed for midterms. However, these days all that the minuscule commotion seemed to consistently accomplish was to yank him out of a fragile sleep.
But not today.
Their twenty-four hour routine was so haphazard that nocturnal didn’t even apply to the constantly shifting misalignment of their living cycle. Twilight frequently served as their dawn. Early morning was just as apt to be midnight. But for some reason this week had started off on a regular old 9 to 5. Tonight they were wide awake just like everybody else. They were even out in public standing behind a fancy red velvet rope and pretending like hell that they were keyed up to see the ballet season’s very last showing of ‘Les Sylphides’. They needed to be in there when the house lights came down. More importantly, they needed to play the parts of dedicated theater aficionados to get back stage after the curtain call.
At least for long enough to get a good look at the European dance company’s historic prop collection. With any luck they would quickly find what they were looking for. After that it was just a matter of getting rid of it before anymore hapless stagehands had the misfortune to bite it under a few hundred pounds of flat fake German forest.
bleep! bleep! bleep!
“Turn it off.” Sam envisioned tossing it under a passing car.
“It’ll go off in a sec.” Dean answered without much conviction. “Maybe.”
Sam tugged at the white starched cuffs at his wrists until they were sticking out in uniform lengths at the edge of the black jacket sleeves. He fought the urge to do the same to his brother’s even though their collective facade was as close to perfect as reality allowed.
The Winchesters were no strangers at getting out the shoe polish and struggling into an imperfectly fitted wardrobe. Dressing up to be anything but what they were was an old trick they’d performed plenty of times. But there had been a tense discussion over this particularly taxing outing. Its sphere of annoying sophistication had not only required them both to shave like they meant it, but a trip to the barbers. They’d both had enough hacked off to make a decent attempt to imitate the type of human being that might be concerned with their appearance. It had all been relatively smooth sailing until Sam busted out the cufflinks.
After Sam had ultimately admitted what the humble cufflink was actually used for within the great grand scheme of current dressage the issue was dropped. He didn’t know why acknowledging the links as ‘lame jewelry for dudes’ was all it took to end the argument. But Dean had finally slipped them on with the smug satisfaction of the righteously validated. Glancing at the banged up ring on his brother’s finger and the necklace hidden under the dress button down, Sam decided not to ask what made other overt male accessorization completely permissible. All in all, they looked fairly presentable. Except for one ornament his brother would rather take an eye out with a fork rather than leave behind.
No matter how Sam went about demanding it, the chunky thing with the frayed nylon strap wasn’t going anywhere.
bleep! bleep! bleep!
“Your watch?” Sam prompted tiredly.
“It’s about 4:30.”
Many days ago the daily alarm had been funny. But the inability to switch off the useless alert had gradually turned into a source of unfathomable frustration.
Dean and their old man had that much in common.
What they knew, they knew real well. Nonetheless, throw one wrench in the works and they were standing at square one again. In this case, it was the ownership of a brand new timepiece. After an unpleasant job had forced them to spend a night wading through a raw sewage line, they had agreed that everything on their person that had been exposed had to be burned and never spoken of again. Sam had taken off anything he’d wanted to keep before climbing down into that fragrant tunnel, but his brother hadn’t removed the trusty chronometer that had been permanently attached to his wrist since the late 1990s. Despite Dean’s loyalty to the mechanism whose now only failing was an ability to spread Hepatitis, it had been forlornly tossed onto the bonfire along with everything else.
“Think that thing’s dead?”
Sam looked at about 10,000 dollars of rodentia hanging limply off an elderly woman’s bared shoulder. Its head was still attached and gazing serenely in their direction.
“That right there?” Dean pointed. “Now, that’s what I need.”
Sam observed the aged gentleman at the woman’s side carefully studying the face of a gold plated and ludicrously antiquated pocket watch. Even from several yards away, Sam could see its intricate scrolled hands and frail etched case.
“Yup." Dean nodded. “With one of those I’d never be late for a fox hunt again.”
Sam sighed at the unabated racket that was still coming from his brother’s person.
It had taken close to forever to find a watch deemed worthy of its doomed predecessor. The apparatus that would have the honor of showering, sleeping and living strapped to his brother’s wrist couldn’t be any old piece of shit. It was not only required to be the same brand as the last one, it had to look and function in a completely identical manner. Considering that the recently deceased timepiece had been acquired second hand over a decade ago, Dean was finally forced to compromise with a substandard replacement. The conciliation happened to be an advanced model that Sam thought might have more bells and whistles on it than his own current dated laptop.
Although its only real job was to display the accurate hour, it might as well been a NASA super computer for all its countless and gratuitous nuances. Of course the detailed instruction booklet had been tossed away with the plastic shrink wrap it had been shoplifted in. With no guidelines to consult, it had left the numerous and unmarked buttons very wide to interpretation.
Not for the first time, Sam wondered why the hell it had ever been set to go off at 4:18 to begin with.
“Check that out.” Dean mumbled.
Hoping it was a big red button that said: OFF, Sam was disappointed to see his brother’s concentration was directed curb side. A long stretch limo had pulled up alongside the glittering brass partitions by the front entrance. The elderly passenger and his lovely escort were graciously being allowed to cut past everyone else in line and go right in.
“Who do you think the skirt is?” Dean asked. “2 & ½ star porn actress, personal trainer or former Brazilian nanny?”
“That’s the mayor.” Sam said. “That woman is his daughter.”
“Man, oh man.” He whistled. “I love this town.”
There hadn’t been hundreds of times to think about, but Sam had always liked the feel of a suit. There was something about the snug cut that made you stand up a little straighter and keep your chin up when you were used to ducking any eyes that tried to meet yours. The addition of a perfect bow tie and the absence of scuffed leather with muddy boots automatically made you someone else. The sight of a designer label and a pressed white shirt put you up within a sphere of certain prospects. At any rate, it felt a whole lot different than the usual dismissal abundantly supplied by their regular disguises.
The presence of a nice suit didn’t seem to be occasion for Dean to alter his mannerisms in any way. Besides the intermittent uneasy tug at the high stiff collar, his brother was regarding everyone and everything like they might have well been playing pool under some flickering Budweiser promo lights. Sam had always privately compared his sibling’s inherent state of awareness to the constant state of a man impatiently looking for someone in a crowd. There was an authoritative expectation that he displayed no matter what he was wearing or whatever indignity of style he was forced to endure. It caused strangers step out of his way or readily respond in any manner that he may require. It made people involuntarily pay attention when there were no credentials to suggest they should. Sam had to begrudgingly admit that when that natural stance was combined with a rig that cost a few grand, Dean looked just like every other pissed off investment banker in the crowd denied timely seating.
In fact, his brother looked more the part than half the people surrounding them. Watching a man ahead in line who was enthusiastically cursing at a palm pilot, Sam supposed wanton aggression looked the same no matter how elaborately you painted it.
bleep! bleep! bleep!
Several people nearby checked the insides of their Burberry and mink coats to see if their hidden cell phones might be the cause of the insistent and infuriating noise pollution. Sam angrily flipped closed his playbill and gave up on the interminable wait for the correct succession of buttons to be pressed.
“It’s the one on the right.” He tried to grab for it. “No, the one under—“
“Touch me again.” Dean offered.
Sam knew what that friendly suggestion meant when it was accompanied by that look. As much as he kind of wanted to see what would happen, he didn’t want to blow their chances of getting into the place by starting a free for all fist fight out here on the red carpet.
A waiter wandered by with a tray of sparkling wine to appease the impatient masses that were anxiously waiting to get their ballet groove on. Sam watched his brother obliviously cause the guy an anxiety attack when the tray started to pass them by without a pause. Dean promptly put a crack in the illusion of rightfully belonging when he hesitated with delicate the champagne flute.
After a few moments of deliberation a few crumpled singles were tossed on the tray.
Sam sipped expensive alcohol when his inclination was to gulp so he could get another one before the server vanished again. He idly speculated how many more of the thin insubstantial glasses could be packed away before the waiter cut him off.
The beeping started going into a frantic double time.
He gave a nearby well coiffed woman what he hoped was a reassuring nod when she seemed to be getting nervous. It did sound an awful lot like Dean was packed with plastic explosives and was on some kind of harrowing count down. But then, to Sam unadulterated relief, the line suddenly lurched and began to creep forward towards the broad double doors. The theater had finally opened its gates wide with the faint sounds of the orchestra warming up for the performance.
Everyone’s quiet voices became even more subdued as they began filing into the religious hushed space of the somberly curtained stage. Every whisper became magnified with the finely crafted acoustics. Each shuffling footstep echoed across the ceiling as melodiously as the stray notes from the tuning violins.
The alarm was still going.
“Hey?” Dean lowered his voice appropriately. “Does this extravaganza have a half time?”
Sam shoved himself down into the velvety assigned seat and smiled weakly at the staring lady with the decorative animal carcass. With a small growl of exasperation, Dean sat down and thrust his offending hand into a trouser pocket as far it could possibly go. It didn’t do much but slightly muffle the shrill sound down to a meek incessant shriek.
Dean shrugged and got comfortable.
“Here’s to hopin’ the battery dies by kick off.”