Note: I feel kinda ambivalent about posting this story now that I've caught up with this season of SN. :/ I still like it though, and I hope you guys find some enjoyment too. :D

Spoilers/Season: I think this only goes up to Season 2, somewhere. Most likely up to AHBL Part 2.

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"Comic Life"

Part 1: "Use It or Lose It"

"Sucks... sucks... double sucks..." Dean mumbled to himself, as he sat on a bench in front of the local library, looking through the sketches he'd made in the last hour in the brand new drawing pad he held on his lap.

Earlier that day, Sam had mentioned they were running low on cash. Now, they could run more credit card scams, but it actually did take awhile for the things to come in the mail. And they would probably starve in the meantime, not that Dean couldn't spare a few pounds.

Back in the day, he'd taken a few art classes. Sam thought it was because he got to screw around for the whole period, and that was what Dean let him believe. The truth was, he'd really liked it. He'd drawn some really neat stuff, but unfortunately, he'd lost his homemade portfolio in one of their many moves.

His dad had known about his skills, even though Dean had hidden them, like a dragon hides its treasures, from Sammy. But John had known the truth because he'd seen Dean's report card, and gone to one of the student-parent nights and seen Dean's work. He'd left most of his stuff at school, only daring to bring home the shabby sketch pad. Of course, he'd hidden it well during the times he wasn't actually drawing in it.

Sam would have so teased him relentlessly for his interest in art. Not something he'd ever want his little bro to be able to hold over his head.

But when his dad realized how good he was at drawing, he asked Dean for a favor. They'd needed extra cash then, too, and John had thought it was worth a shot to sell some of Dean's art. Dean had come up with a short comic, and they'd turned it in to a newspaper under another name.

They'd gotten paid, and Dean had drawn a few follow-ups before they'd had to leave town again. It'd given them enough money for the trip, at least. And Dean could still feel the pride of having seen his work in a newspaper, albeit over his art teacher's shoulder. He'd actually liked Dean's comic.

'Now if I can just make another one that's not complete crap.' Dean glared at the rebellious sketches on the white page. 'Then I can get it put in this town's funny-papers, and get me and Sammy a little bonus.' A grin tugged at his lips, but was quickly suppressed by reality.

The problem was, it seemed he'd lost some of his imagination somewhere along the way. Probably in a pile with all the rest of the brain matter he'd lost from being thrown around so much by evil scum wads.

"Wow, that's cool," a Hispanic kid of indeterminate age said, coming to hover in front of Dean and the marble bench he slouched on. "Can you draw Superman?" the brat wondered, and Dean pursed his lips.

"Sure I can," he said, after a moment. But the truth was, he couldn't just pull crap from his head like that. He had to have some reference. But that didn't stop him from turning to a blank page and starting to sketch.

Strangely, the first thing that popped into his mind was an image of his father in full hunting mode. But because that hurt too much to think about, drawing Dad, he pictured Sammy next. His lips curled up with mischief, and he started sketching.

The kid came to sit next to him, scooting into his personal space to look over Dean's shoulder as he drew. Dean ignored him and continued to draw Sam as he would be if he were Superboy. He couldn't help the intermittent chuckles that escaped as the picture began to develop.

It was Sam, with the shaggy hair and puppy-dog face, but he had on a cape over his usual clothes, and his body was unusually proportioned, narrowing down as it got to his feet. His hands were on his hips, chest all puffed out and displaying the Superman emblem on his t-shirt. The kid complained, "That's not Superman!"

Dean straightened his smirk. "Okay, you want Superman?" he asked, pretending to be serious about it this time. He totally wasn't. The kid nodded, giving Dean a skeptical glare.

Dean turned another page and started sketching again. This time he started with Sam holding a shotgun, then drew in a ghost for good measure. Only this spook looked liked a cross between Casper and a zombie.

He squinted his eyes and licked his lips, then drew in the rock salt exploding from the barrel of the shotgun. The kid surprised him by saying, "Whoa." When Dean glanced over and down, he saw the boy's dark eyes were as wide as saucers.

"Cool, huh?" Dean replied, feigning cockiness. Actually, he was pretty amazed the kid thought it was awesome. Probably wouldn't think it was so awesome if he saw a real ghost, though.

"Yeah," the kid exclaimed. "Draw something else! I mean, what happens next?" He demanded, excitedly, breaking boundaries again by shaking Dean's arm.

"Sheesh, go bother someone else," Dean grumbled, "I'm trying to make a short, not a whole comic."

"You should make a comic!" the boy told him, looking at Dean as if he were crazy, or at the very least, squandering his talent. Dean sighed, looking away.

"I don't have time, hombre," he said, "I need something short and sweet."

"I know!" the kid said, hopping off of the bench in his excitement. He waved his small hands around. "You can shrink that guy, make him look goofy, and then have him chase ghosts."

Dean cringed. "That's, um... th-that's..." He made a face. He wasn't sure the kid got the point. "Where are your parents, anyway?"

"Mom's inside. Well, are you gonna draw it?" The kid crossed his arms over his chest.

Dean tried not to insult him by chuckling at his gesture. "All right. Let's see..." he murmured, turning the page again and staring at the whiteness for awhile.

When he started to sketch again, he was thinking of the many times he and Sam had been thrown into walls. If you translated that to a cartoon, he was sure it would be a little funny. Especially considering how experienced they were supposed to be by now. And still getting kicked around like they were rookies?

He couldn't help the wry, tight smile that found its way to his lips. 'Agh, a ghost!' he drew a cute chick screaming. Scary-ghost loomed over her, as she cowered on the floor of some nondescript room. Enter absurdly skinny and tall Sam, and short and slightly squat Dean, both toting simplified shotguns. 'Don't worry, I'll save you,' said his Dean, and he was really poking fun at himself now. He knew he had an ego, but comics had a to be super-exaggerated to get the point across.

Comic-Sam gave him a dirty look, but turned his attentions to the girl. 'Are you alright? It's okay to cry, I'll hold you.' The girl looked at him as if he were crazy. Comic-Dean fired at the ghost, but the ghost gave a wicked laugh, 'Muhahahahah!' and waved its blobby hand.

Comic-Dean hit the wall, and Comic-Sam, incidentally, who was knocked over like a bowling pin. Comic-cute-chick grabbed the shotgun and saved the day.

Then Comic-Dean and Comic-Sam shoved each other and Comic-Sam said, 'Jerk!' Comic-Dean retorted, 'Sissy!'

"I think it's too long," his little friend commented. Dean scowled at him.

"What d'you know?" he grumbled.

The kid gave him a look and held out his hand. "Here, let me see." Dean resisted the urge to scuff the kid and handed over the sketch book. The kid held out his hand for the pencil too, and Dean glared at him, which only made the child emphasize the gesture by jerking his hand a little.

Dean rolled his eyes and handed over the pencil. He expected the kid to deface his work, but after some lengthy scribbling, he handed the pencil and book back to Dean with a definitive, "There." He gave Dean a satisfied smile, and Dean looked it over.

All he'd done was to redraw the comic at the bottom of the page combining several of the panels so that it was much shorter. He had a pretty good eye, Dean noticed, as he blinked and nodded, slowly. Then he gave the kid an appreciative look. He ruffled his hair. "Pretty smart. Maybe you should draw one of these yourself."

The kid smiled hugely. "Really?"

"Sure," Dean answered, giving the brat a sincere smile for once. "Why not?"

"Julio!" a woman scolded, and Dean glanced back towards the sliding doors of the library, sharply. A Hispanic babe stood just behind the bench, looking steamed. Her eyes were on Julio though, and Dean relaxed a little bit.

"What are you doing, mijo?" she demanded. "I hope you're not bothering this man."

Julio shuffled his sneakers nervously. "No, ama." He ducked his head, and Dean stood up and put on his best smile.

"He wasn't bothering me, really," he said. "Helping me with my comic, actually. I think maybe Julio's going to make a great comic-book artist some day."

The mother blinked, glanced at her nervous son, then back to Dean. She offered him a shy smile, and it practically made her face glow. 'Whoa, Dean,' he told himself, 'No getting involved with this one.'

"Thank you, mister," she said, "Come on, Julio," she called then, holding out her hand for her son. Dean watched the kid run to her, and then turn back at the last minute and say, "I'm gonna watch for your comic in the newspaper, okay?"

Dean nodded once--smiled. "Okay." He waved, and Julio waved back, took his mother's hand and turned away. The woman offered Dean one last smile before also turning, and he grinned. It brought a bemused look to her face, and she finished the turn and they were off.

Dean watched until they got in their car and drove away. He shook his head at himself and headed for the Impala. He tried to banish his odd mood with the thought, 'Now to get this baby in print.'

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Ama basically means "mom", but I looked it up, and it could mean "landlady or madame" too. I don't know. I always thought it meant "mom," but maybe it's more along the lines of "old lady." Heh. If anyone knows, feel free to tell me. :D