Set in the same AU as this fic.
The movements are known, like little steps engraved in his mind, almost familiar: The weight and size of his very used sketchbook as he takes it out of his bag; the roundness and warm texture of the wood of a pencil and the mild cold of a blade; the rustle of sheets on his ears as he finds a blank one.
But there’s something new this time that makes Niki hover his pencil over the blank page hesitantly.
He lifts his eyes from the sketchbook to find a pair of deep navy irises fixed on him. They look at him intently, transfixed in something past his skin but there’s no sign fear or shame in the layers and layers of blue; there’s only trust with a mix of the same amusement that pulls at the corners of thin lips to frame said eyes in a smile.
Their eyes meet after a moment, something makes James blush lightly but the smile never wavers or dims but lights all the room on its own, and it’s all Niki needs to turn and face the imposing starkness of the white sheet.
There’s nothing Niki relishes more of drawing than how he can fill the nothingness of a blank sheet with just the flick of his wrist.
He draws lines first, steadily breaking with black the smoothness of white, and then he turns those lines into strong arms and long legs; a bare chest and the soft line of a neck. He takes his time, tracing every plane of James’ body with the precision of someone who has memorized it with lips and hands; attempting to catch with every stroke the wholeness of James.
But it’s a futile attempt; he realises as he stops to grab another set of pencils and sharpen them. There’s no technique that can replicate the vibrant sound of James’ laugh or the way his hair turns to gold as the sun sets beyond his window; there’s no way he can portray the exact way his stubble feels in the morning, or how warm and skilled his lips are. There’s no way he can draw the vividness and depth of his eyes of a blue as the night sky.
It’s impossible to capture the bittersweet roughness and roundness of James Hunt with the sole aid of a pencil on his hand.
By the time he finishes, the city outside is awoken with the last rays of the sun and his room is filled with the smell of rain. James puts one of his shirts on – too small for him – and sits beside him; kissing Niki on the neck as his hands take the sketchbook away from his hands.
“It’s wonderful,” James says, his voice tickling Niki’s right ear pleasantly.
“Not completely,” Niki admits, omitting the romance out of his reply but imprinting it on the kiss that silences James’ unspoken complaint and stops the time around them.