"You said that sometimes you don't know why I love you. I can't... I'm not sure how to... say it, like it should be said. But..." Raa walked to his desk, picking up the sketchbook laying there, looking at it's smooth black cover with an uncertain expression. "When I draw... it's not just drawing. It's... thought, and memory, and emotion that I can't get out any other way. Some are..." His expression twisted into a hard self-depreciating little smirk. "Some are not nice. But others..."
He walked to Marcus side, and flipped open the book to the first page, revealing a remarkably accurate depiction of Marcus' laughing face. The next page showed him as they were in the dressing room of the costume store, though Raa had not drawn himself into the image. It was Marcus holding a shadow, arms wrapped around it, wicked smile and daring eyes shining outward from the page as Raa had seen them shining into the mirror. The third and fourth pages were tacked together with a line of glue on their edges, but the drawings on them were done with such a heavy hand that the tip of Raa's pencil had ripped through the page in several areas, and Raa's expression darkened when he saw those, knowing exactly who was drawn on them, and glad that Marcus could see nothing more of them than dark swaths on their backs. The fifth page showed what Marcus had looked like in the hospital bed of the Emergency Room, small and scared and tired. Two purposefully smudged and shadowed figures stood at the side of his bed, blocking all but a small strip of Marcus, while a third stood at the foot of it. Marcus had his eyes on the third, mouth open as though talking, cheeks wet and eyes shining, hands holding to tight to the sheet placed over his lap that his knuckles had turned visibly white. Each one done in the soft black-and-white of a mechanical pencil, each one with the bare minimum of background drawn to give definition to memory.
Raa nodded his chin toward his shelf, seven black leather bound sketchbooks lining it, each one an inch thick. Several of their pages were glued together, too, but many more were not, and each one held Marcus as Raa remembered him during each inspiration. Some were happy, others were sad, and some were drawn so heavily it was difficult to make out expression, but Raa remembered where each one of them came from, and he cherished them all. "They're all like this," he said quietly, cheeks burning slightly; he wanted Marcus to see these, to show him through artful depiction what he didn't know how to put into words, but he'd never shown them to anyone before. Doing so now was like stripping himself completely bare, revealing a part of him that no one else knew existed. There were hundreds more than the ones lining his shelf, some in his closet and under his bed, others in boxes shoved into a much avoided corner of the basement, and some that had been tossed into the fireplace, all full of much darker and nastier things that he hoped Marcus would never know existed within him. "They're all full of you, and they're replacing the ones that aren't so nice. That's why I love you. That's why I want to know when you're hurt, or sad, or mad, or whatever you're feeling, because I don't feel that way anymore because of you. These books, Marcus? They're my existence down on paper, and they're full of nothing but you."
"If he asks me what day of the week it is, I'll be sorely tempted to answer 'orange'." ~Chang WuFei,