Word Count: 1,300
Characters: Sam and Dean
Disclaimer: I don't own them
An unfortunate coming together with a particularly unpleeasant spirit leaves Dean marked in a way that he could never have expected ...
"Uh, dude, what's that on your face?" Sam asked as Dean strolled into the kitchen wearing his carpet slippers and the saggy, grey monstrosity that was the dead-guy robe.
"What's what?" Dean mumbled vacantly around a huge yawn.
"That," Sam responded, pointing into the general direction of Dean's chin and neck.
Dean frowned quizzically; "English Sam, English!"
Sam sighed. "There's a rash on your jaw and neck. It looks real sore, what is it?"
Dean shrugged; "dunno, a bit of shaving rash I guess."
Sam continued to stare; "It doesn't look like a shaving rash." He rose from his chair and made to approach Dean, who immediately recoiled.
"Oh no, don't you go poking and prodding and going all touchy-feely on me!"
Sam rolled his eyes; "I'm not going to go all touchy-feely, I just wanna …" reaching out, he pulled back one side of the robe's collar, only to have his hand slapped away.
"Quit freakin' touching," Dean growled dangerously; "I told you – no touchy-feely shit!"
Sam sighed, and ran his still-stinging fingers through his hair; "whatever Dean, I don't care about your macho insecurities; I just wanted to check if that rash had spread onto your chest – and it has."
Dean poured himself a mug of coffee; "told you," he grunted as he took his first sip. "Probably just a shaving rash."
"Shaving rash?" Sam parroted incredulously; "did you miss the part when I said it's on your chest? What the hell would you, Mister Smoothie, ever need to take a razor to your chest for?"
Dean glowered at him over the rim of his coffee mug; Sam had touched on a very tender spot for Dean's ego.
"It's just a rash okay," Dean muttered.
"Does it itch?" Sam asked.
"No," Dean replied, scratching his neck.
"Why are you scratching it then?" Sam replied curtly.
"Well, obviously it does NOW," Dean snapped; "'cause you keep freaking yapping about it; it's just – you know – kinda like psychotropic!"
"Psychosomatic," Sam replied wearily.
"Yeah, that too," Dean snorted, draining his coffee mug, whilst at the same time reaching for the perculator for his second fix.
"We haven't changed our detergent recently," Sam mused aloud; "is it something you've used on Baby? A chemical or something?"
"No," Dean replied, closing his eyes and making exaggerated snoring sounds to indicate that he was bored with this conversation. His attempt sailed smoothly over Sam's head at a safe distance.
"Have you got that rash anywhere else?"
Dean's eyes flicked open. "No I haven't," he snapped.
Sam knew that short of conducting his own manual examination of Dean's body, an activity that was likely to lead to a broken nose at the very least, he had to accept Dean's answer as truth.
Except that he didn't believe a word of it.
Over the next few hours, Sam racked his brains to try to figure out the reason for Dean's mysterious rash…
He wondered if it could be a skin condition? However, in all his life, Sam had never known Dean to suffer skin problems. Even through his teenage years, he'd been blessed with a largely flawless complexion – that's what made this blemish stand out so much in Sam's eyes.
Animal hair? Unlikely; Dean was wary of dogs, and allergic to cats, so tended not to hang around them.
Poison Ivy? No, none near the bunker so far as Sam was aware.
Cosmetics? Possible… Sam didn't know exactly what Dean's grooming regime involved, except that it took far longer than Dean would ever care to admit. Sam had even gone as far as sneaking into Dean's room that morning to see if Dean had changed the brand of moisturiser he steadfastly denied even owning, but no, it was still exactly the same.
The clap? On Dean's face and neck? How the hell … would that even be possible? Surely not… Sam swallowed down a dry-heave at the thought.
His mind strayed to the various misadventures they'd faced over the previous week. There had been a vamp, a werewolf and two spirits – nothing either Winchester hadn't faced many times before. Except that one of the spirits had been particularly vindictive little shit who had left Dean and the surrounding area liberally coated in Ectoplasm. Sam had to admit - that had been a first.
Of course, seeing Dean slimed had been hilarious, and Sam had been tormenting Dean with Ghostbusters quotes for hours after. But, now Sam thought back, he realised that Dean had been slimed on his face and neck, and over his T shirt…
Sam's research suddenly took a different turn, and after a couple of hours, he had ascertained that it is quite possible for someone to suffer an allergic reaction to ectoplasm. A reaction which can take the form of an unsightly rash.
Sam sat back and stared at his screen. Ecto-rash … ew, can you get ointment for that?
Later that evening, the Winchesters were sitting at the table, eating Chinese takeout.
"So," Sam began nonchalantly; "I think I've figured out what that rash you've got is…"
Dean looked back at him, unconsciously creating a plausible Ood impression with a clump of stray noodles dangling out of his mouth. He slurped back the noodles, chewing rapidly before responding. "Really, can't this wait until after we've eaten?"
"I think you're allergic to ectoplasm," Sam stated matter-of-factly.
"I tell you what I am allergic to," Dean grumbled; "bullshit, that's what. Where did this flight of fancy come from?"
Sam put down his chopsticks. "Do you remember the spirit of Old Percy Clench last week, the ornery old bastard that slimed you?"
"Don't remind me," Dean groaned; "that was disgusting."
"Yeah," Sam replied, trying not to remind himself that it was kinda funny too; "well, can you remember where he got you?"
Dean scratched his inflamed neck as he pondered on Sam's question. "On my face – mainly on my chin – it tasted freakin' revolting," he replied, nose wrinkling in disgust at the memory. "And it all ran down my neck and soaked into my T shirt."
Sam nodded. "And now you have a rash on your chin, neck and chest."
He waited for Dean to join the dots…
"Yes, oh." Sam replied with a triumphant nod; "as I said, you're allergic to ectoplasm."
Dean laid his chopsticks aside, and looked a little nauseous. "That slimy ASSHOLE! I wish we hadn't burned his goddamn bones, I want to dig 'em up and burn them again now, just out of spite."
Sam gave a little smile of relief that, at last, Dean had accepted the truth. "Well, even though the rash was caused by some supernatural douchebag," Sam explained; "it looks like the rash itself is just a simple, garden-variety one, so I'll get you a tube of hydrocortisone cream, that should help." He grinned; "unless you wanna leave it until Hallowe'en then you can dress as Freddy Krueger – that should scare the kids."
"Bite me," Dean muttered, throwing a water chestnut at Sam's head.
"Ew, no thanks," Sam grinned; "you're all diseased."
Suddenly Dean stopped chewing, his eyes widening as he looked at Sam's grinning face.
"You know when I got slimed, and now I got this rash from the slime?"
"Yeaaah…" Sam replied hesitantly.
"Well I was sitting in a puddle of it until you came along and helped me up…" Dean explained miserably.
"you'd better make that two tubes of hydrocortisone," he sighed, resisting the urge to scratch his ass.