Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: The boys crash a wedding.
The soft dinging of spoons against water glasses filled the banquet hall like the pleasant sound of rain falling through wind chimes.
When the music resulted in bride and groom tongue action, the buzzed mob exploded in a round of applause. The flicker of flashes and exclamations of communal joy made Sam grit his teeth. When the newlyweds shyly ended the chaste kiss to receive another round of clapping, he wondered if anyone was aware that the happy couple’s future was already headed towards a bad talk show. The intoxicated groom had already gotten a jump-start on infidelity in the coatroom with one of the guests before the first course had even started. At least that was what Dean had reported with great relish.
However, despite the glazed disoriented bliss in the newlywed’s eyes, Sam believed what he was told. There wasn’t much reason for his brother to bother creating lewd embellishments. At least for a sex life that wasn’t his.
The best man was getting to his feet again although his embarrassed date was trying to keep him in his seat.
“I-I’m gonna make a toast!” He announced.
Hefting the awkward weight of the bulky Nikon camera in his hands, Sam waited for another badly quoted phrase from a coffee table guide to inspiration. Instead, the drunken guy took a few moments to sober up enough to manage a serious expression and emotionally clear his throat.
Sam was distracted by a tap on the shoulder.
It always felt better to crash a wedding when he and his brother had a plausible function for being there. The nature of such an occasion usually helped their anonymous cause, but it didn’t make him feel like any less of an intruder. Even in a building filled with random circles of family and friends that were completely unaware of one another, he still managed to feel like the only stranger in the crowd.
He summoned a smile as several wasted groomsmen attempted to orchestrate a sloppy pose. They didn’t have to be asked to say ‘cheese’ before he took the requested photo. Several more angles were demanded with raised beers before they dissembled back towards the open bar. Sam didn’t have to pretend to admire the authentic crystal chandeliers and turn of the century stained glass windows. His real job lay somewhere up the winding stairs of the plantation house turned rental space for public gatherings. It was also work that could only be done when the party was over and the parking lot was empty.
“I wrote this mahself.” The best man slurred. “For this bootiful day.”
The room paused over their garden salads in rapt attention.
“Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue,
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself, it's you!
Memorization had let the words flow forth more smoothly than Sam had predicted. Nonetheless, he knew good poetry when he heard it and even more importantly he knew the classics. When everyone started smiling appreciatively at the blatant plagiarism he almost raised his voice in protest. Biting down on his tongue Sam considered how many people would even know whom the verse rightfully belonged to anyway. Mr. Rogers wasn’t exactly required reading in many branches of academia.
Repositioning his camera, he clicked the shutter on the priest speaking to the bride’s ailing father who was confined to a wheelchair.
If he were actually ever developing the film, the photo would have been a choice catch for a silver frame and the back of a grand piano. The real professional photographer that had been paid to be there watched Sam doubtfully as he starting taking random snaps of the demolished hors d’œuvres table. Dean had already explained to anyone that thought to ask that the extra picture taking was a gift from a relative. Everyone around was too consumed with getting their matrimonial groove on not to buy it. Besides, it was difficult to come up with a complaint when their services were free of charge.
The ice sculpture sitting in a sea of shrimp cocktails was half way to ruination. Sam made sure to catch different angles in the lens of the melted sag of what had been majestic and proud only a few hours prior. The creation of fleeting art was as an ancient a practice as getting hitched. More than a few people took pleasure in the mere moments required to destroy what it took a lifetime to construct. They liked it even more when the phenomenon worked itself in reverse.
The spoons started melodiously tapping at glass again.
He reconsidered the blocks of ice that still vaguely resembled the unicorn it once was. Judging from the subject matter he thought maybe he was witnessing something a little less than a man’s painstaking expression towards perpetuity. It was probably closer to a waste of a good solid half an hour.
The world went suddenly white.
Sam stumbled backwards after a blinding camera flash went off a few inches from his face. Behind the zigzagging sear across his retinas he heard his brother make a small sound of annoyance.
“Why ya gotta always fuck up a perfectly decent picture by not smiling?”
Sam rubbed his eyes and tried maintain his equilibrium.
“Oh, man.” Dean lowered the camera and sighed. “Would you look at that?”
“Someone really ought to cut her off.”
It took a few tries for his bulb filament branded gaze to locate the dance floor.
He had to agree that no one’s 90 year old grandmother should be allowed to get that inebriated and left to gyrate suggestively to MC Hammer. An entire evening with unlimited access to ‘Pink Squirrels’ wasn’t good for anyone’s dignity. Sam looked sideways at the bored DJ who had a few empty highballs glasses of his own scattered around the charmingly antiquated turntable. The man with the 1986 soundtrack wasn’t doing much for the common good either.
“I-I talked to one of the cater waiters.” Sam blinked as his sight gradually returned to normal. “There’s leftovers.”
“Great.” Dean yawned. “I could use a break.”
“Yeah, me t—“
The flash exploded three more times into his eyes.
Apologizing to the table senior citizens whose wine bottles he’d knocked over, Sam attempted to follow his brother by sound alone. Finding the empty seats nearest the swinging kitchen doors, Sam realized he’d noticed a few other things over the years in concerns to social mechanics. The world that divided the servers and those being served was pretty much a constant wherever they went. Anyone who wasn’t a paid guest was automatically on the service industry’s side of the customer service war. The kindly source of food this evening was a harried lady who was determined to feed them, a couple of Spanish speaking valets and the exhausted high school harpist.
He anticipated that any leftovers would be the rarely chosen 4th option on the party invite. After the cow, bird and aquatics there was usually a dubious vegetarian number the bride tacked on for an environmentally conscious cousin. However, to his pleasant shock the waitress had scored them a couple of heaping plates of the greatest selection of all wedding-dining options ever.
“It’s a bit on the rare side.” She said in apology for the state of the prime rib. “Hope you boys don’t mind.”
Sam wished he could have shown the benevolent woman the alternative of the half empty bag of sunflower seeds sitting out in the glove box. Now that they were finally sitting down, he counted how many hours had been spent standing up. Against his will, he felt his body start to relax despite the lack of a beer.
The ceremony had lasted most of the afternoon and the rowdy reception didn’t seem like it was nearing any conclusion. While he waited for Dean to get done with the salt and pepper, his thoughts wandered outside to the altar that sat in the hushed green garden under the clear blue September sky. For all the loss of true superstition in the western world, when it came time to make contracts it inevitably included symbolic colors, garlands of flowers, fire and a holy man. The rudimentary basics of human ritual had always appealed to him. Sam decided to toss caution to the wind and say what was on his mind.
“The ceremony was nice.”
Dean’s immediate and ready agreement made Sam sigh.
“What wasn’t nice about it?”
“Not a thing.” Dean unfolded a golden envelope of butter over his twice-baked potato. “Especially the first two hours. The first two hours were the best.”
Sam had in fact been questioning the wisdom of subjecting the sleepy elderly and bored young to that many hours of brutal bible verse. His own mind had meandered away from the far off monotone drone of scripture more than a few times. There were entire spans of minutes dedicated to watching bridesmaid #3 adjust a rogue bra strap. For a great while he had carefully observed an oblivious housefly as it alighted on equally oblivious attendees. It had leisurely traveled from fancy hats to bald heads until ultimately committing suicide in the gurgling champagne fountain.
“But I’ll have to admit, the minister really started kicking it in by hour three.” Dean pointed at Sam to add emphasis. “I liked all the parts about how she has to obey and submit to her husband in every way or suffer the Lord’s wrath.”
Sam dug into the elegant array of asparagus and the fancy multi-colored rice.
“Yup.” Dean wistfully shook his head. “That was some of the most romantic shit I’ve ever heard.”
It didn't feel worth the effort to argue the sentiment behind it all. No matter how flawed it was in its commercially archaic packaging, Sam still found a comfort in the rites. Even if the whole shebang was headed for a quick pregnancy and a messy divorce, there still must have been honesty involved somewhere along the way. He watched Dean tear the last of the awesome bread rolls in two before tossing one half in his direction.
A lady in a hot pink pantsuit startled them both by disrupting the privacy of their corner.
“Would you both like to take your centerpiece?” She asked brightly.
Her cheerful and all accepting gaze traveled between the two of them in a manner that Sam had gotten used to seeing over the past couple years. It didn’t bother him much but it always made him appreciate how little resemblance existed in his family.
“The who and the what now?” Dean asked.
“Thanks.” Sam answered politely. “We’d love to.”
Satisfied that the collection of dyed carnations and baby’s breath was spoken for, the woman briskly moved on to the next table to ordain the next lucky winner. When his brother still appeared lost, Sam helpfully pointed at the bouquet. The confounded look on Dean’s face forced Sam to consider that neither one of them had been handed such a gift in their entire combined lives.
“No kiddin’.” Dean seemed faintly touched by the gesture. “What are we supposed to do with it?”
He thoughtfully tapped the bowl of warm fall foliage, assorted turkeys, pumpkins and something that looked like it may have been a pilgrim. They were a long way from New England but the event planners had known how to take a theme and run it into the ground. The little table back in their motel room didn’t have much sitting on it besides a crappy lamp and about three weeks worth of takeout menus. Those four walls probably hadn’t seen a living green thing since the shower mold had last been obliterated by a yearly dosing of bleach. There was nothing really like accentuating your living space with some ambiance even if both were temporary.
Sam decided he knew precisely what to do with the wonderous arrangement.
Take it home.