Sven shook his head, trying to ignore the fact that he was in a rickety boat in the middle of a swamp. He glanced up at Nate through his bangs, frowning helplessly.
Sven stared at the pole, then looked up at Nate, peeking at him through his long bangs. He turned his gaze to the water, then back to Nate again.
Sven sat still for a moment. Slowly, he started to set down the pole and reach for the sketchbook and pencil in his pocket.
Sven was soon buried in his careful drawings, pencil etching gentle lines and curves. He was silent as he drew, only glancing up now and then as he sketched.
Sven watched as Nate reeled the fish in. He paused his drawing to look up, ever so slightly.
He had been working on a picture of the swamp, of the water around them, his careful penciling tracing over the paper with a whisper, trying to capture the world around them in a single, unfinished moment.
Sven quietly drew for another moment, glancing up around him every now and then before going back to drawing in the little old book.
"The swamp." Sven said, not looking up from his half finished picture. He paused for a second to look out over the water, not looking in Nate's direction. "It's very pretty."
Sven was still for another moment before he went back to his drawing, trying to capture the way the light hit the water, filtering through the dark branches in a quiet blend of shadows.
In truth, the swamp was more than pretty. Once upon a time, Sven might've used the word beautiful. He would've at least tried to fish. He would've held his head up and looked people in the eyes and laughed and smiled.
But those days were gone, and only a shadow of Sven had been left behind.
Sven quietly finished his drawing and stared at it for a moment before he looked away, quietly turning to a fresh page.
Sven quietly started a new drawing. This time, he didn't look up at all. He wasn't drawing the swamp. He was drawing something else, something stored away in his memory, a memory he never forgot no matter what.
"A picture." Sven whispered hoarsely, sadly, not even pausing his quick, careful and practiced movements with his pencil. He watched the page, watching as the familiar picture took shape under his hands.
A hospital room. A sterile, white, cold hospital room.
Sven just silently clutched his book to his chest as the boat started to move. He closed his eyes, and he could still see it, etched and burned into the backs of his eyelids.
Not just any hospital room. Sven's. His hospital room, and a serious faced doctor who's eyes already said the bad news before his mouth was even opened.
Sven's eyes jerked open. He was still pressing his picture into his chest, clutching the sketchbook tightly. He looked over at Nate and instantly looked away.
"I'm fine." He whispered, closing his eyes again. He felt a heavy ache in his chest. One that was heavier than usual.
"I'm fine." Sven insisted in a mumble, opening his eyes and taking in a quick, shaky breath. He pulled his book away from his chest, snapping it shut tightly, knuckles white.
"Look, I said I'm fine." Sven snapped, letting his emotions slip for a second, letting the aching get the best of him for a moment.
"It's...It's just..." Sven stammered, a lump growing in his throat. His face got hot and he stared at the bottom of the boat harshly. "You wouldn't care anyways." He finally snapped, gripping his sketchbook tighter.
I was just remembering the day everything was ripped from me...
"Just..." Sven squeezed the book harder and harder, his bony fingers going white. "You don't even actually care."
"I-I was just...just...remembering." Sven finally said, turning his head all the way away from Sven. He was digging his fingers into the cover of the book, gritting his teeth tightly.
"Fine." Sven said with a breath, trying to get his emotions stuffed back down again. He stared at the bottom of the boat.
The whole time, Sven was painfully quiet. He just sat there, completely still as he stared downwards, clinging to his book.