A/N: No, I haven't given up on Scream of the Butterfly or Gifts or anything else. Sometimes things happen and we need to write about them. Thank you to Trasan!!
A Spot of Trouble
Wind whipped the trees into a fury as Dean pulled the Impala into the parking space outside the motel. It wasn't as seedy as some they'd stayed at recently, at least from the outside, and the office had been happily free of dirt and other questionable substances. Sometimes stumbling into a tourist town in the off-season had its advantages and cheap rooms in nicer motels was one of them. And they needed a break. They were both bruised and aching from the last hunt and Dean was looking forward to just crashing and watching a bad sci fi movie marathon and nothing else for a day or two.
"This place doesn't look too bad," Sam said as he got out of the car. "I'm worried."
"Why?" Dean opened the truck and grabbed his bag.
"With our luck lately, Dean?"
"Yeah. Should we open the door and toss in salt and holy water just in case?"
Sam laughed. "Maybe."
Dean opened the door cautiously, more to play along with Sam than anything else. It was a nice room, nicer than he'd expected. There was even a decent size fridge and stove in the corner. It smelled clean. He wasn't sure exactly how to describe the smell, but it was there, maybe it was the hint of bleach from the sheets or the vague scent of cleaning products. He dropped his bag on one of the beds and grinned at Sam. "Still worried?"
"Even more now." Sam grinned back and picked up the booklet by the phone. "Hey there's a Thai place that delivers to the motel."
"Order, I'm going to take a shower."
"What do you want?" Sam asked, flipping through the menu.
"Not tofu." He grabbed some clothes out of his bag and headed into the bathroom.
He stayed in the shower longer than he'd planned. The hot water was easing his headache and the aches in his back caused by coming into contact with a wall, a tree, a car and a brick driveway. It was also nice to enjoy the shower without having to keep a wary eye on some kind of strange slime growing in the corner of the stall. At the last motel they'd stayed at, he was sure he'd seen the stuff move at least once. Sam pounding on the door to announce the arrival of the food was finally the motivation to get out of the shower.
Glancing in the mirror as he got out, he scrubbed a hand over the days old beard he was sporting. The last motel had also been missing a mirror. Dean leaned forward, turning his head to get a better look at the bruise covering the left side of his face. It was an impressive bruise, no wonder the waitress last night had been so sympathetic. Huh, what's that? He moved closer, turning his head to catch the light. He couldn't be sure, and decided it was just the product of too little sleep and a huge bruise.
Sam was sitting on the other bed, a takeout container in his hand when Dean wandered out of the bathroom. Several bottles of beer sat on the table between the beds. Dean picked one up and frowned at the label. "What's this?"
"The only beer they had on the menu," Sam said with a grin. "It's not bad."
"Not bad or good?" Dean dropped onto his bed and sniffed the beer.
"I'm not sure. It's cold, how's that? And it goes good with the food."
He picked up one of the food containers and leaned back with a sigh. After flipping through the channels several times and arguing with Sam about TV viewing choices—there was a documentary about mummies in the Andes that Sam was sure would be worth watching—they'd settled on a repeat of "Independence Day." Dean fell asleep before the final battle, the container of Thai food congealing on his chest.
The smell of coffee woke him. Dean opened an eye and looked for the source of the smell. The coffeemaker in the kitchen area was gurgling out the last of its water into the pot. He opened his other eye and sat up, glancing at the clock beside the bed. Ten-thirty, he'd slept almost thirteen hours but it felt good, he was still drowsy but the dragging exhaustion was gone. Getting out of bed, he noticed every single bruise as he moved. "I'm getting old," he muttered as he poured a cup of coffee. He was halfway through his second cup when Sam stepped out of the bathroom, steam billowing around him.
"What's the plan for today?" Sam asked.
"Food and TV?"
Sam smiled. "You don't want to head out today?"
"No, maybe tomorrow." He put his coffee down and walked into the bathroom. He paused by the mirror to look at the bruise again. It is bigger. He bent closer and took a good look. The freckle beside his left eye, the one that had been there his whole life was no longer a freckle. It was an ugly bump. It'd been a freckle a week before. A tiny wisp of dread curled through his chest. Freaked out freckles were rarely a good thing. Still, he might be imagining it.
Five days later, they were still there, and Dean had no complaints. His brother had managed to find a hunt, nothing big, just a routine salt and burn, but it served as enough of an excuse to keep them there. They'd gone through the entire menu of the Thai place and were working their way through the pizzas from the pub up the street. The dark circles from lack of sleep were finally gone from under Sam's eyes and Dean was more relaxed than he'd been in months.
Well, except for that damn freckle.
The bump was not only still there, but it had gotten bigger. At least he was sure it had. He kept waiting for Sam to mention it, thinking that if Sam hadn't noticed it was all in his head. Objectively he knew better, but he was willing to lie to himself a little longer. Sam had squinted at him once or twice, but hadn't said anything, so Dean wasn't worried.
He wasn't worried—most of the time. Every once in awhile a stray note of panic would creep into his brain and make his heart pound and his hands shake. A freckle getting bigger just wasn't a good thing. Maybe it wasn't actually a freckle gone bad? Maybe it was a blood blister left over from the well placed punch that gave him a black eye?
Be honest, it's a freckle. A freckle that's going rogue.
And when that thought formed, the panic was back. Freckles didn't grow exponentially. Not when they'd been sitting there at the edge of his eye for his entire life. When he'd been eighteen a waitress in a town they were passing through had taken a particular liking to that freckle for some reason. That wasn't quite true, she had a thing for the freckles on his nose, but she'd mentioned that one several times.
He was staring at it in the bathroom mirror for the five thousandth time, feeling the odd stretch of skin there and poking at it, wondering if it was sore or not when he decided he had to do something. He'd actually made note of the medical clinic in town the day before when they were at the grocery store. It was a gleaming all glass building, tucked under two large pine trees. The garden out front boasted early winter flowers and there was a waterfall fountain beside the door. He figured it was a measure of his cool calm that he'd written down the number from the sign out front and kept it in his pocket.
After listening at the door to make sure the TV was on and Sam wouldn't hear, he dialed the number.
"Pines Medical," a woman with the perfect voice for phone sex answered the line.
"Hi, my name is Dean Perry," he said, using the name from his latest credit card. "I, um, I have a freckle that's gotten kind of big in the last two weeks."
"Yeah, it's been there for a long time, but it's more like a bump now," he said, feeling unbelievably stupid.
"Can you hold for a moment?"Without waiting for him to answer the line clicked and classical music started playing. He was getting ready to just hang up, when she was back. "Can you come in this afternoon?"
"Yes, Dr. Ford wants to see you as soon as possible."
"Um, okay." He flipped the phone closed and wondered how the hell he would manage to ditch Sam.
His brother solved it for him, declaring he wanted to go to the bookstore for a few hours. Sam had fallen in love with the place the first time he'd wandered in, he'd disappeared and Dean had found him several hours later sitting in front of a shelf, books piled around him.
Dean dropped him off, telling him he'd be back before closing, Sam nodded absently and got out. Dean watched him go in, then headed to the clinic two blocks away. They had paperwork ready for him, and he filled it out, trying to ignore the nervous butterflies trying to gnaw their way out of his stomach. It's just a mole or something, you're overreacting, so stop. By the time they called him back, he'd left sweaty fingerprints on three issues of National Geographic.
They stopped by the scale on the way to the exam room and he made a lame joke about how he didn't think it was that big yet. The gray-haired nurse frowned at him and led him back without another word. He tried the jokes again when she took his blood pressure. Her frown deepened and she pumped the cuff up so tight Dean was pretty sure his arm was going to come off. She took his temperature and humphed at him, then took his pulse with a similar humph. She left with a curt "The doctor will be right back," and stomped out.
"Thanks," he said to the closed door and paced around the room. The magazine rack was full of parenting and cooking magazines, so he walked to the window and watched the water as it bubbled over the rocks in the fountain. His hands were shaking, he wiped them on his jeans and paced back across the room.
It was just a freckle, it had to be. It just got a little angry at him or something. Freckles did that right?
There was a soft tap on the door and the doctor came in, a tall man with dark hair. "I'm Dr. Ford. So, Dean, right?"
"What brings you here today?"
"This freckle, it got kind of big."
"Sit on the exam table and let me take a look. How long has it been there?"
"The freckle?" Dean asked, hopping up on the table. "As long as I can remember."
"When did it start growing?"
"I first noticed it five days ago."
"Five days?" Dr. Ford turned Dean's head and gentle poked at his face.
"Does it hurt?"
"It feels stretched and a little sore, I guess."
"What's hmm, doc?" Dean asked, trying to still the panic in his chest. "It's just a freckle right?"
"Do you mind if I have a colleague come in?"
The doctor smiled at Dean and walked out. Once he was gone, Dean took several deep breaths and got off the exam table. He walked to the window and watched the water. A bird was hopping along the rocks. Dean's heart was pounding. This really wasn't a good time for a panic attack, it was just a freckle. A freckle. He heard the door open.
"Why are you here?" A harsh voice demanded. Dean turned, the mass of his brother filled the doorway.
"Sammy? What are you doing here?" Dean asked, actually relieved to see Sam.
"I went to get a cup of coffee and saw the Impala parked here." Sam closed the door carefully. "Well?" Sam huffed.
"How did you get back here?"
"I told them I was your brother."
"And they just let you back?"
"Uh huh," Dean said. He used the secret weapon. Damn, I wish I could do that.
"Is it about that thing on your eye?" Sam asked, coming over to stand beside him.
"Dean..." Sam sighed and shoved his hand in his pocket. "Yes."
"Why didn't you mention it?" Dean said, looking at his brother. Sam gave him one of those looks. The tap on the door stopped whatever comment went with the look. Doctor Ford stepped back in, behind him was a small, heavy-set man with a Santa Claus beard. Dean walked over to the exam table and sat back down.
"This is Dr. Stern," Ford said. "He's a specialist."
"A specialist?" Sam asked, a squinch appearing. "What kind?"
"I'm an ophthalmologist," he said absently, moving Dean's head to get a better look at his face. "Hmm."
"Hmm? What's hmm?" Sam stepped closed.
"Who are you?" Dr. Ford asked.
"My brother, Sammy," Dean said.
"Hold still," Dr. Stern poked at his eye, made a humphing noise and pulled a small needle-looking thing and poked at the freckle. Dean hissed in pain, Sam tensed up and the doctor stepped away, tossing the needle into the sink. "Can you come in tomorrow?" he said.
"I can't get you in today," Dr. Stern washed his hands and came over to them again.
"Why?" Sam said, hovering protectively at the edge of the exam table.
"We need to get that off, and biopsied."
"You can just take it off?" Dean sighed in relief. Thank god. Then the rest of it caught up with him. "Wait? Biopsied?"
"Yes, of course."
"But it just a freckle, right?" Dean asked. Sam put his hand on Dean's shoulder.
"No, son, I'm sorry. It's not just a freckle."
To Be Continued