"Yeah, what is it, dude?" Wes stopped before he completely left the door of their room. He grinned at Danny. "What are you looking for?"
"Uh…marker," Danny replied—he had been on his hands and knees, looking under his bed. He had heard Wes come in, whistling a tune and picking up a football before heading back out. "Do you have an extra one?"
Wes blinked. “Marker…marker, marker…” he crossed the room to his desk, quickly rummaging through the pandemonium in his drawers. “Uh, any specific color or—?”
"Nah, just…something permanent?"
Something about that tone made Wes wonder. He picked up a big black marker and looked to his roommate. “Got one right here.”
"Can I borrow it?" Danny asked, sitting down on his bed.
“‘Course you can.” Wes tossed it to him from where he stood and Danny caught it easily. “Hey…you okay?”
"Mm…? Yeah, fine…" Danny uncapped the marker. And just as Wes expected, he put down his wrist on his knee and started carefully replenishing the color on the word. It didn’t look all that faded, and Wes couldn’t see the very pressing need to recolor it unless…
"You’re not fine." Wes went over to him and sat down next to him. "Tell me what’s wrong?"
"I’m fine, really…" Danny replied with a small smile. "Just one of those days."
"Hey look at me." Wes said firmly, sitting in front of Danny and holding onto his friend’s knees. "I told you…you can tell me when you need me. I’m right here, I’ll come running, you know that."
"I know," Danny replied softly. His hand shook a little as he recolored the word. Courage. Carefully outlining every curve and loop of the script. Courage. "I just…I do this when I need to remember why I wrote it."
Wes smiled faintly and then held out his hand. “Give it here, c’mon.”
Danny blinked at him and handed the marker back. Wes carefully began redrawing it. This word, this particular one, wasn’t the very first one. After the first two got rubbed out with daily activity, Spencer had seen him rewriting it once and decided to help. Spencer was a talented artist himself, and he created a splendid piece of art out of that word—it was worthy of being tattooed onto someone’s skin, that script and all the embellishments. Danny had been very happy and looked after it, recoloring it when it faded in some places.
As Wes did it for him this time, he looked at him briefly. “So…is it okay to talk about it…?”
Danny sighed a little. “Just…nah, not a big deal, just… Lawyer called.”
"That family lawyer, you said…?"
"What did he call for?"
"Nothing, he… You know was checking up on me. Just met with mom and dad, you know…talking about the uh…" He waved absently with a free hand.
Silence again. Just Wes and Danny looking at the word as Wes redrew it. “You know he said…” Danny smiled very slightly, “…he said there’s a, uh…couple of relatives that might…you know…take me in. Since…you know, mom and dad…”
"Yeah?" Wes smiled up at him. "Good news…"
"It’s not really set yet…he hasn’t contacted them but… every bit helps…" Danny smiled back.
Wes knew why Danny had to write it now. Just right now. When he was reminded of how things were at home.
"Yes it does," Wes replied, smiling as he nodded. He put down the wrist. "The other one now."
Danny obligingly gave him the other one. As Wes drew it, Danny said, “Hey, weren’t you going somewhere?”
"Nah, just messing around in the field. I can be late."
They both knew he couldn’t. Murdoch wasn’t forgiving. But neither said anything. That silent question from Danny that asked Wes to stay, that silent reply of Wes that answered before Danny even asked.
"Mm-hmm…?" the tip of the marker redrew a curling flourish.
"Told you. Anytime."