So, right on schedule, here I am with a new fic the same day I have a research paper due. Freakin' ADD man. Seriously. I think I need help.
But 'tongue... it makes you so happy....
That it does, little voice in my head. That it does.
TITLE: Extract, Impact
CHAR: Dean, John (circa fall 2002-err...I think.). Gen.
RATING: PG 13, for cussin'
DISC: I don't own any character except for my own.
SUMMARY: Dean has never been to the dentist. But there comes a time in (almost) every man's life....
A/N: I don't know what inspired me to write this except for a burning desire to not do other stuff. And well, maybe a burning desire to come up with creative new ways of torturing poor Dean. (A oneshot. God, I love the sound of that--*whistles and certainly does not look at two WIPs*)
So, what's the big deal? Sure he always said ribs were his favorite. He's just not that hungry. And so what if he was trying to watch his figure? Is there something wrong with wanting to stay in shape? His body is a temple, after all.
And now Dad's just fucking laughing.
"A temple? Jesus, Dean. The temple where folks go to worship the god of Hedonism maybe. 'Cause last time I checked, you could give a rats ass about trans fats and caloric intake. Or, no. Actually, you usually go out of your way to get more than your fair share."
Funny, Dad. What is he trying to say exactly? Dean frowns and looks down at his stomach. He's never had any reason to feel self-conscious about his body. Until now.
Dad pats him on the back and chuckles. "Let's go. Coyote Bob's Smokehouse awaits."
"You go. Just drop me at the library."
"Okay. What? Who are you, and what have you done with my son?"
"Dean. What is this?"
"Told you. Not hungry."
"My ass you're not."
"Christ. Just let it go okay?"
"What the hell, Dean?"
Yeah, this clearly isn't working out as smoothly as Dean had planned. Of course there never really was a plan to begin with, so he shouldn't be surprised that there's no way around it. He's got to tell him. And he feels like such a fucking tool.
"It's my god damn wisdom teeth, alright." And it sounds so pedestrian he could just puke.
"Your….huh." Dad says, like it's some genuinely fascinating 6 o'clock news item.
"I think I need to get them pulled." And won't that be a hoot and a half.
"They giving you trouble?"
"Would explain the whole not eating solid foods for the past three days thing, now wouldn't it?" It comes out bitter, because while he has been trying to hide it, hell, a part of him seriously resents Dad for not having noticed. Dean rubs at his sore jaw openly now.
"Three days?" Dad squints at his son, sits him self down on the bed right next to him. It's overcompensation time. As soon as Dean senses the disproportionate amount of concern his father's emoting, he regrets his testy attitude.
"I'm so fucking sick of milkshakes and cream of mushroom soup, you have no idea," Dean smiles, trying to make Dad loosen up a little.
"They aren't comin' in straight, or what?"
"I dunno. Feels like they're pushing on my other teeth. And they keep coming in and going back down. Fickle little bastards."
"Definitely need to get them out then. We'll find someone first thing tomorrow."
"It's no big deal. Happens to the best of us, kiddo."
"Yeah. But I'm better than the best."
"You're human, Dean. Don't you forget it," Dad says gruffly, putting Dean in his place.
Dad never was fond of his vain streak.
Dad's always been regimental about dental hygiene. Which sounds pretty damn lame when you say it like that, but neither boys went to the dentist once in their lives, so it's been up to Dad to make sure they never needed one (although Dean imagines Sam doing all kinds of things like that now, things that normal people with normal lives do). And he thinks it's funny that one of the few things Dad excelled at as a parent was getting his kids to brush their teeth before they went to bed every night. But it might be a little sad, too.
So here's something he finds out: He hates the dentist. Well, technically it's an orthodontist, but that's just semantics. 'Cause either way he's lying back in a chair with his mouth wide open letting some stranger poke around in there. And overall, it's a freakin' traumatic experience. He hates that he can't talk. He hates that he can't keep his tongue from twitching around. He hates how bright that damn light is in his eyes, and having some old dude's latex covered fingers poking at his teeth. And he really fucking hates the needle.
"How are you doing, Dean?" the old dude asks, like he knows him from way back or something. Dean just glares at him with all the hate he usually reserves for the evil undead. He doesn't trust this guy for a second.
"I'm going to pull the first tooth now, alright? You'll probably feel some pressure."
And that's the fucking understatement of the year.
He feels funny. Half asleep, and like his head might float away like a beach ball on the ocean. He can hear his Dad talking to someone somewhere. They sound far away, but he feels a familiar hand on his shoulder.
"How much blood?" He sounds pissed.
"Nothing to be too concerned about. It just took longer to get the last one out than we expected. We had to saw a few pieces-"
"Saw? Jesus Christ!"
"It's a very small saw."
"Oh. It's a small saw. Well then."
"Mr. Frehley, your son will be fine."
"Are we done here?"
Dean opens his eyes only to be accosted by the bright overhead lamp again. He so needs to get the hell out of this place.
"Hey. How you holdin' up?" Dad says, squeezing his shoulder.
"I can't feel my face," is what he intends to say. But it comes out sounding closer to "ant eel ny ace," because his mouth is stuffed with cotton and, well, he can't feel his fucking face. But Dad understands.
"It's the anesthetic. It'll wear off."
Dean moves to get up but Doctor Fu Manchu places a wrinkly old hand on his chest.
"Slowly, young man. You're gonna fall right over if you get up that fast."
Dean sighs. Is this what he's been reduced to? Being bullied by a geriatric orthodontist? Jesus. Teeth suck.
He looks over at Dad, and wills him to make eye contact. "Can we go?" he manages to enunciate.
Dad nods, hold his arm as he pushes himself slowly out of the chair, and damn, as soon as he's vertical the room starts to tilt on its axis like a cheap carnival ride. He sways a little, and Dad lets him lean on his shoulder.
God, he feels like such a girl.
"Let's get you home, Dean-o."
It's when he's waiting in the car while Dad's inside the giant supermarket (one of those ones that sells furniture and swimming pools and more random crap than actual food) that the feeling in his face starts to come back. And he realizes being able to feel ones own face is highly overrated. Because Dean thought he knew, prior to this moment, what the meaning of the word throbbing was. But no, he didn't. It's like all the muscle and blood and tissue in the bottom half of his face got together and decided to start a prison riot, decided "We want out of your lousy face, Dean Winchester. Fuck you!" That's throbbing.
"Here." And suddenly a bag of frozen peas flies through the Impala's passenger side window and into his lap. He wipes a couple of stray tears from his cheeks (how the hell did those bastards get there?), and raises the bag to his face reluctantly.
Dad tosses a couple of grocery bags into the back and slips back into the driver's seat.
"Anesthetic's wearing off?" he asks, turning the ignition. Doesn't even have to look at him. Maybe doesn't want to.
Dean nods, and molds the cold pack to his face, feels the condensation drip between his fingers. The fall afternoon sun is bright, and it's like he can fee the light bouncing off the inside of his head like lightning bolts. He slouches back in his seat and slings his free arm over his eyes.
"Pain meds as soon as we get back to the motel. Suck it up, Dean."
And doesn't that feel cozy and familiar. Suck it up? Of course he'll suck it up. Isn't that what he's been doing for the past 4 days? Hell, the past 19 years for that matter. Sometimes he thinks that's all he's ever done.
His head is just a mass of cold, pulsating pain by the time they get back to the motel on the outskirts of town. Dad grabs the stuff from the back and rummages through his various jacket pockets for the key to their room. It only takes Dean about 3 steps to feel the nausea set in and his vision to go blurry. He thinks his whisper for Dad gets vocalized because he hears the groceries fall to the concrete, and feels a hand on his back and one on his torso as he crumples to the ground and pukes up the nothing he's had to eat all day, and his own damn blood.
"Son of a bitch," he groans, tossing blood soaked gauze patches into the gutter. Dad's rubbing his back now, and swearing right along with him, as Dean clutches the Impala's bumper for dear life, and hurls up his stomach lining.
After a few minutes and Dean's coughing instead of gagging, Dad asks "You done?" quiet and firm. Dean nods, and Dad helps him up, guides him into their room, onto the bed, closes the curtains. Dean curls into a fetal position, wraps his arms around his head, and decides that at this point he would take a wreaking ball splattering his brains across the county as a mercy killing.
After a couple of minutes pass, Dad's hand is resting on his back again, and he's coaxing Dean into a sitting position.
"These should help." He hands Dean some fresh gauze along with three pills and a small glass of water, and Dean's almost certain he's not supposed to take more than two at a time. But he trusts his father. And he knows that Dad knows he damn well needs three.
"Thanks," Dean says, like uttering the word actually eases the pain by itself.
"You should keep them iced."
Dad's got some hair-brained idea that he can strap those frozen peas to Dean's face, like he's in some kind of dorky family sit-com from the 80's, and Dean is not impressed.
"What the hell, Dad? My arms are working just fine, thanks."
"You're spent, kid. You need to get some shut-eye. And I ain't holding these puppies up there for you." And it's too late, 'cause Dad's already wrapping a strip of cloth over his head and around the peas, and making him feel like an utter dweeb. It's a good thing Sammy isn't there to witness this, because Dean would never hear the end of it.
"Dad. Are you trying to completely emasculate me?"
"No. That's just an added bonus."
Dean tries to sleep, but the medication only drops the pain down to a dull ache, and his eyeballs don't feel contented open or shut, so he just keeps shifting back and forth. He feels Dad watching him, as he researches their interrupted hunt on the table in their little kitchenette. The drugs wear off after a few hours, and Dean struggles to reach the medication on the night table. Dad doesn't move to help at first, just watches with a careful eye as he shakes the pills out of the bottle and swallows them dry. The old man appears a moment later with a fresh glass of water, and hands it to him silently, then heads back to his research.
At some point during the night, when he thinks Dean is asleep, he kneels next to the bed and removes the mostly luke-warm peas from Dean's cheeks, and kisses his 23 year old son's forehead. Dean lies perfectly still while a whole new kind of ache sets in, borne of the knowledge that his father's affection for him can never be explicit like this when he's awake. And Dean wonders if Dad believes he really is doing his son a favor.
"How you holdin' up, tiger?" Dad asks in the morning, handing him more pills, watching him swallow.
"I'm alright," Dean answers, groggily. Dad weaves his head, taking a better look at the sides of Dean's face. He doesn't look convinced.
"You're black and blue, Dean."
"And your cheeks are pretty swollen…but that's par for the course."
What the hell is Dad talking about? Dean stumbles out of bed and into the bathroom, Dad right behind him.
No way. Whoever it is starring back at him in the mirror is not Dean Winchester. Confused, Dean pulls open the cabinet and checks it for, uh, tampering or something. Dad lets out a smug chortle.
"It's not funny."
"Dean. Come on. You can't tell me you didn't know this is what happens when-"
"When what? When you're possessed by a freakin' rodent?"
"It's not that bad."
"I can't be seen like this." Dean groans. Well this is just the icing on the cake of crap, he thinks, feeling his swollen, bruised cheeks gingerly. His hand shakes a little, and Dad catches it with those hawk eyes of his that always seemed to appear whenever he or Sam were hurt or making trouble when they were kids.
"Come on, you need to eat something," he says sternly, and walks out into the bedroom. Dean knows he's expected to follow, and he does.
"Drink this." Dad commands, shoving a tall glass of green sludge in his face. Dean grabs it like it might just spring a surprise attack on him, and glares down at it in disgust.
"What the hell is this?"
"No Dad. This is algae."
"Well it's your algae. Now drink it."
Dean slumps onto the bed and sighs. What did he do to deserve this? God, he just wants some real food. Greasy, meaty, sticks between your teeth and to the sides of your ribs, artery blocking food. Instead he scrunches his eyebrows and takes a deep breath.
"Bottoms up." It's like diving into an abyss. A putrid, vile, bitter, algae filled abyss. Dean doesn't stop to contemplate much more than that, just chugs the whole magnificent mess down with his eyes squeezed shut.
When he's done he makes the obligatory grossed out face, coughs, composes himself and hands Dad the empty glass back triumphantly.
"50 bucks says I puke that bitch up in half an hour."
"You better hope not. That's what you're living on for the next 3 days. And apple sauce… if you're good."
"Perfect. I look like the freakin' Gerber baby anyway. Might as well endorse the product."
"We'll go for ribs as soon as your stitches are out. Deal?"
"God. Don't even talk about real food. It's torture."
Dad takes a seat next to him on the bed and slaps his leg. "So what should I call you? Alvin, Simon, or Theodore?"
"You just couldn’t resist, could you? God, this bites like a rabid Chihuahua."
"Suck it up, Dean, my boy." Dad says. But this time it's with a little smile and a pat on the back, and Dean thinks that just maybe, something about it doesn't bite so much after all.