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that painting's not so blue.
Supernatural. Sam/Dean. PG-13. Approx. 660 words. Title from Frank O'Hara.


Dean looks at Lucas and remembers how much Sam used to love crayons when he was still Sammy.

He worked his way through boxes and boxes of Crayola colors with a vengeance, and he always drew more whenever Dad was on one of his trips, the long ones he came back from bloody and beaten and too close to broken. Those times, Sammy used a lot of red.

When he still had time for it, John used to tell Sammy how good he was, how much it helped to come home to new pictures. Adds color, lightness, zest. He ran out of adjectives soon, but Sammy, before he was Sam, never noticed. He just glowed.

::

For those first few years, when their dad held a regular job and things were almost okay, there were always colorful Sam Winchester originals scotch-taped to every wall, papering the fridge and held up by the restaurant magnets they got free in the mail.

And even after, when the compliments stop coming, Dean buys markers and colored pencils if he has the cash, and once a sixty-four color case of crayons that Sam takes his time with, uses up slowly, like he's savoring it. Like he doesn't want to waste a single one.

Before he throws it out, he's used up every single crayon to a tiny chip of wax in his fingers, even the white.

He's nine years old.

::

In middle school and high school, he doodles. Sam's notes are covered in spirals and symbols, ancient crosses and knots and sigils, but he always gets down all of the lecture, every single word.

Sometimes he'll sketch the things they've seen, the things they've killed, and sometimes he draws fire. More often than not, he draws fire.

When Sam turns sixteen, Dean buys what the chick at the art store register says are the right pencils, the right sketchbook, the right erasers. He throws in a mix tape of the music Sam swears he hates, too, just so that his brother can bitch if he needs to.

::

In summer, Dad goes on hunting trips and Dean strips off his shirt and fiddles with the car, always has something to fix. Sam sits with a sketchpad and watches him, sometimes gets up and brings a sweating glass of ice water. Sometimes, there's this look that they share, and they know. Dean sets aside his tools and Sam puts down the book. He pushes his brother's back against their bedroom wall, and graphite-stained fingers leave bruise-shaped smudges against Dean's thighs.

When it's over, when it's late in the afternoon, it's too hot to go back outside.

::

In his junior year, Sam had no time for art. Dean and Dad hunted more, left him alone more, and Dean guesses now that Sam spent his alone time filling out applications, writing essays, reading brochures and taking SAT prep courses after school.

The weeks before the Fight—always, always capitalized in his head—Dad's in one of the Carolinas and they're in a cheap apartment in Des Moines. Sam's pencils and paper and gum eraser suddenly appear, and Dean wakes up on Sunday with his brother sitting, watching, drawing, and he smiles good morning and says something about enjoying the view, Sammy?

And Sam laughs and says, Blow me, and he calls Dean a stuck-up ass. He drops his pencil and climbs back into bed and they fuck until lunchtime.

::

He still sketches, but it's mostly on motel stationary and bar room napkins, now.

And Sam thinks Dean doesn't know, because they all end up crumpled at the bottom of the trash cans in their rooms or in the glove box so he can get rid of them later, but Dean does. He does knows. Always did.

He pulls them out, one by one, and smoothes the creases, and sticks them in the photo box in the trunk. Sam never looks at those, anyway.
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