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Laffeetaffee

Artist | Professional | Varied
United States
I do oiled colored pencil and graphite art, and I do a little bit of graphic art. I do commissions for people over the internet for oil colored pencil and graphic drawings, but not yet for graphic art because I don't think I'm that good yet, especially to be paid for it.

Visit my other DeviantArt page specific to Fan Fiction
laffeetaffeeff.deviantart.com/
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   “I didn’t say I was a seamstress,” said Ashley. She leaned forward and there was a snapping sound as she bit the thread with her teeth.
   “Christ…” Norman shifted the lamp along the table. “Do you want some scissors?”
   Ashley looked up at him, blowing puffs of air to get rid of the loose thread on her lip. “Well it’s too late now.” Shadows from the window danced on her face as rain battered the hotel. She looked down again, hunched over the jacket. Norman leaned over her, studying her work.
   “Really, it looks like a child did this,” he said. He heard Ashley sigh heavily.
   “All that matters is nothing falls out and it doesn’t come undone,” she said. “Anyway, it’s on the inside. No one’s going to see it.”
   “I’m going to see it,” said Norman. Ashley sat up quickly, and Norman found himself nose to nose with her. He felt his face flush as the nervous twinge hit him again.
   “You really want a fifty dollar job on four inches of fabric?” She blew a rope of hair out of her face. Then she looked down again, giving Norman some time to calm his heart. “I thought of you as a frugal kind of guy.”
   Norman laughed lightly, then felt a slow dread fall over him. He’d almost forgotten what it was like to simply enjoy a moment without the urgency of time pressing on him. Although there had been some strange comfort in it. An excuse to pull him away and focus on anything but the current situation. And now that he had all the time to spare, he suddenly wished he had a place to hide again.
   Ashley straightened, folding the jacket closed. “Alright. Let’s see it.”
   Norman stepped back as she pushed away from the desk and stood up. Her form was broken in the dim light, and it took a moment for Norman’s eyes to adjust as she swung the jacket over her shoulders. She fitted her arms in the sleeves, and then plunged her hands into the pockets.
   She glanced up at him, then rolled her shoulders. “Me-tested.” She smiled, stretching her arms into the pockets.
   Norman moved forward, trying his best to shake his nervousness. He pulled the jacket back from her shoulders, leaning forward into her as she drew her hands from the pockets. The subtle peach scent caught his attention, and he avoided her gaze as he swept the jacket around her thin frame.
   He put his hand in the pocket, roughing it a bit. The rolls of the thread ran along his fingers, but the pocket stayed solid. He looked at Ashley. “And me-approved.” He spun the jacket around and hung it on the edge of the desk.
   “What─ serious?” There was a flurry of movement as Ashley stepped in front of him and scooped the jacket up. “No wonder your clothes are falling apart. Are you sure you were nearly killed or do you just throw your stuff anywhere?”
   She moved away from him, and Norman watched as she crossed the room. She’d put her hair back into a short ponytail, falling into the same ponytail, black shirt and jeans profile that Norman had come to know. What he hadn’t expected was to end up here, fixing a jacket that he didn’t care about, and alone with her in his hotel room.
   There was a rumble as the closet door rolled open, and Ashley leaned inside. “What’s the point in getting the presidential suite if you’re not going to use any of this?”
   “It’s not the presidential─” Norman ran a hand over his face. “It was paid for.”
   Ashley paused for a moment. Then she leaned back, twisting to look at Norman with her wide brown eyes. “By who?”
   “By… Washington─ look, why does that matter?” Norman moved toward her as she leaned into the closet again. He heard her muffled laughter as she unhooked a clothes hanger.
   “Well, it didn’t. But now I’m curious.” She threw a glance at him over her shoulder, sending her hair sweeping back. “Did they pay for your car, too?”
   Norman sighed, tilting his head back. “No, it’s mine.”
   “What about your gun? Is that yours?”
   “What kind of question is that?” Norman gripped her arm, and she turned slightly to face him. A pang of shock hit him as he gazed at her, and he let her arm go quickly. “Look, what are you doing?”
   Ashley blinked, her eyes growing wider. “I’m hanging up your jacket.”
   “Not that. I mean…” Norman let out a heavy breath, leaning his shoulder against the wall. “Are you trying to make me uncomfortable?”
   Ashley’s hair fell sideways as she tilted her head, her eyes glinting in the dim light. “Yes?”
   “Please don’t,” said Norman. He ran a hand through his hair, straightening as he realized Ashley had folded the jacket on her arm and was staring at him. He dropped his arm at his side. “What?”
   The corner of her mouth rose, and she shifted her weight. “I didn’t know. All this time I thought I had you figured out.”
   “What’s that supposed to mean?” said Norman. Ashley turned again, reaching into the closet.
   “That you’re scared of letting someone into your personal space,” she said. “I thought this whole time you were scared of everyone else. But that’s not what you’re really scared of.”
   Norman leaned off the wall, trying to ignore the peach fragrance. “Oh yeah?”
   “Yeah.” She turned back again, throwing him another squinted smirk. “It’s you.”
   A numb feeling washed over Norman’s body. He swallowed heavily as Ashley hung the jacket onto the rail and pushed it back.
   “I mean, it all makes sense considering the whole anti-social jerk thing.” She slid the closet door closed and turned. “You and Blake could’ve been best friends─”
   The nervous twinge burned in Norman’s chest, paralyzing his senses as he moved forward into her, holding the side of her neck in one hand and closing his mouth over her lips. It took him a moment to realize where he was as he breathed against her skin, the peach scent threatening to overwhelm him. He paused a moment, letting her pull away slightly so that she rested her forehead against his. It came on slowly. That familiar debilitating closeness. That feeling of terror and excitement at the same time. And for a second, he didn’t feel he was ready for it.
   Ashley moved back, her face coming into view. A nervous energy burned in her eyes, and Norman felt his heart race in panic. It was the same doubtful expression he’d seen when she left his office. Her brows slightly furrowed, and a hesitant glint lit her brown eyes. Norman desperately tried to hold onto the space before she could break it again. He ran his thumb along her jawline, savoring how close his mouth was to hers. He needed to remember this. If it was the worst mistake he’d ever make, he needed to hold onto it forever.
   Ashley’s eyes narrowed slightly. Norman felt his breath quicken as he waited for her to pull away. Then her face disappeared, and a wave of numb energy fell over him as she pressed into him, her lips meeting his again.
Without thinking, he pulled her into him, clutching the small of her back and leaning into her. Pressure along his chest told him she was sliding her hands up, and he felt her wrap her arms over his shoulders. He caught each closing of her mouth with desperate energy, smoothing his hands over her back as if he couldn’t draw her in close enough. This woman─ this person that he’d known for such a short time. She made him so angry. So confused. So happy. So utterly ashamed. And he needed all of it. Everything at once.
   He took small pauses, resting his forehead against hers before tightening his arms over her back and finding her mouth again. Her shaken breath warmed his skin, and the drift of her hand through his hair as her arms tightened caused goosebumps to rise along his neck. The sensation was overwhelming. He could hardly believe he’d been living without this.
   Her hands slid over his shoulders, and he felt her fingers graze his jaw. He paused against her again, his nose pressed against her cheek, and he tilted his head sideways to close his mouth over hers. He felt her fingers tighten along his jawline as she leaned into him, and her chest rose and fell heavily with each breath. Her breathing seemed to fill him with energy, and he pulled her tighter into him as her hands fell along his neck. He was almost completely absorbed in the sensation, and it took him a moment to realize the tug at his collar.
   He relaxed his grip on her and pulled away slightly. In the dim light, he found her face again, her brown eyes alight in energy. He struggled to reorganize his thoughts in the midst of his overwhelming euphoria. She’d done something with his collar. No… a cascade of shocking realization fell over him. She was loosening his tie.
   Her mouth tensed and her eyes wrinkled slightly in the smallest hint of a smile. Norman felt her fingers work again, and his collar loosened around his neck. Then she moved into him again, breathing in as her mouth closed against his, and he felt the tie slide free.
   A strange sense of surrender seemed to take over his body. He held onto her waist as her hands moved down his shirt, undoing the buttons one by one. His heart pounded, and he thought his chest would burst as he arched into her, pressing his mouth against hers. As her hands reached his waist, she leaned into him, pulling his shirt loose from underneath his belt. He felt her straighten, and then she gripped his shirt and coat at his collar. Norman rolled his shoulders back, and she pushed it away from his chest so that it fell along his arms onto the floor.
   His skin was chilled, though he couldn’t be sure if it was from the cold air or the electric sensation he was experiencing. He pulled her into him again by the waist, pausing again to let his senses catch up with him. He felt her hot breath against his skin, travelling down his cheek as she tilted her head into his neck. A soft brush along his chest sent a shiver through his body as her hands drifted down his midsection, exploring the bumps and ridges of his waist. He’d never wanted to be so exposed. So vulnerable. And at the same time, he’d never felt safer in his life.
   He drew in a sharp breath, a wave of ice flowing through him as he felt the shocking warm wet touch of her mouth on his shoulder. The peach fragrance overtook him as he pressed his mouth to her hair. Her slender body moved against him, and her hands left his waist. Then her body arched back, her elbows drawing up in front of her, pulling up the black fabric of her clothes. It swept over her head, and she lowered her arms as her shirt dropped, leaving her slender upper body bare in the soft light.
   Norman stood somewhat frozen in front of her, a sweet terror keeping him still as she slowly moved into him. He caught a glimpse of her face as she slid her hands over his shoulders, her brown eyes focused on his in a determined gaze. Then her head fell sideways and she pressed into him again, her breath warming his cheek. Her slender body locked against his, brushing against his bare skin, and he carefully allowed himself to slide his hands up her waist. He traced the contours of her torso, a nervous thrill burning through him as he ran his thumbs over the outer curves of her breasts. She was really giving herself to him. Completely and willingly. He hardly felt worthy of it.
   He slid his hands over her back, drawing in the details of her skin and how her muscles flexed as she moved against him. She was so slender. So delicate. And yet perfect in every way. He pulled her into him as her hands drifted down over his chest again. She twisted slightly, fumbling with something. He felt her pull his arms, covering his hands on her sides with her own. She paused against him, breathing heavily against his neck, and then Norman felt her push his hands down. His fingers swept over the curves of her body, smoothing down to her waist until they touched the top of her jeans. He gripped her sides, his heart pounding so heavily he thought it would burst from his chest. Then she pushed down again, sliding his hands under the hem of her jeans so his thumbs hooked onto it, and he traced the slope of her hips as he pulled the jeans low enough until they fell free onto the floor.
   There was a light shuffle as Ashley pushed him backward slightly, stepping up to him with her eyes locked on his. She reached up again, twisting her head slightly as she fumbled something behind her head. Her hair fell loose, falling over her shoulders in a sweep of messy locks and framing her face in a curtain of brown. Norman slid a hand over her neck, brushing away part of the curtain as he moved into her again. Her trembled breaths betrayed her surrender to him. It shook what little remained of his own sense of control, and he dared to run his hand down her neck, over her delicate collarbone, and over her breast.
   A brush of warm air hit him as Ashley exhaled. She pushed into him again, and Norman felt a tug at his hips as she unbuckled his belt.
   A surge of energy flowed through him, and a powerful hunger took over. Without hesitating, he pulled her to the side, walking her backwards as she continued to loosen his pants. She worked with almost desperate intent, and he felt a tremor as she pushed her fingers into his pants, pulling everything free from him.
   He immediately leaned forward, pushing her back onto the bed with a new sense of urgency. She pulled herself further onto the bed, her hand against Norman’s neck as if guiding him to her. He followed, hovering over her as she stopped, her face barely visible in the light and her hair splayed back over the sheets in soft waves. Her wide brown eyes gleamed in the darkness, reflecting a desperate glimmer of the clueless expression he’d fallen so hard for. Sharp breaths escaped her lips, her mouth open slightly and her chest heaving as she gazed at him. She was completely undone. And it was all for him.
   Norman lowered himself down onto her, finding her mouth again. Her body arched against him and he felt her leg slide against his hip, sending another wave of powerful desire through him. He ran a hand along her body, brushing it against her other leg and hooking his fingers under her knee, slowly bringing it up. Her heavy breaths were almost sending him into a frenzy, urging him not to stop. He could taste the desire on her skin and feel it in the tense strain of her muscles, filling his core with burning pressure. He closed his mouth against her jaw. Then he arched his hips, pulling her leg up as he slid himself inside her.
   An encompassing warmth captured him, starting at his pelvis and slowly spreading. He felt Ashley rise slightly, her mouth falling open and a heavy sigh leaving her, broken by her soft voice. It spurred him on, and he gently rocked his hips into her. Each pulse gradually fed this warmth, filling him with stronger purpose. This was where he’d always wanted to be. All of the doubt and uncertainty he’d experienced… it all led to this. Being here with her, completely exposed and wrapped up in her at the same time. And every fiber of him was urging him for more.
   He pulled her knee up so that her leg locked over his waist, and he pressed his nose into her cheek as her desperate breaths echoed in his ear. He felt her hands slide down his chest and brush against his tense waist, clenching slowly over his back. The sensation made him rock harder, deeper into her. The burning energy was taking complete control, moving his body automatically against her as if it was the only thing he had left.
   He pressed his hand against her neck, tilting her head towards him to find her mouth again. She breathed in deep against his skin and then opened her mouth, her heavy breaths warming his lips. Her voice broke through with each breath, feeding the energy that kept him moving. He slid a hand down her waist and and cupped her jaw with the other. She was falling over the edge. All because of him. And it was intoxicating.
   He pressed his mouth against hers and rolled sideways onto his back, carrying her with him clenched to his body. Her hair fell forward and encircled his face, brushing against his skin. He pushed it back behind her ear, bringing light to her brown eyes. An exhausted energy burned in them like he had never seen. She gazed back into his eyes for a moment, and then she began to roll her hips back and forth into him, bringing back the burning pressure in his core.
   He gripped her waist, clenching his hands with each motion as she slowly raised herself. Her eyes fell closed and her head tilted, causing her hair to fall sideways. Her hand drifted along his chest, propping herself up, and her bare body glowed in the dim light. She was perfect. Her slender body curved at her hips, tapering up to her delicate bare arms. Her collarbones glistened with fresh sweat, and her round breasts were smooth and firm. Norman ran a hand over her body as she continued to roll her pelvis into him, and his fingers brushed along the jagged sutures in her lower abdomen. The only thing marring her perfect form.
   She hissed in a breath of air and jolted slightly, her legs tensing on either side of him. An icy cascade flowed through him, and he pressed his hand to her neck as her hips slowed. She didn’t deserve to have that on her body. Her muscles and skin were too perfect to have that gash. But somehow, Norman felt himself burn deeper for it.
   Ashley reached up, lacing her fingers over his hand against her face. He watched as she pulled his hand down to her hip, and pushed up, gliding over the sutures. His hand slid over the contours of her waist, and then she pushed his hand against her breast, clenching her fingers between his.
   Her head fell back, and her pelvis rolled into him with renewed energy. The surge of warm pressure filled his body, and Norman tightened his fingers over her breast, watching her knuckles turn white. Her voice returned with each breath, her chest heaving as her body worked harder onto him. The burning urge in his core was growing with an overwhelming desperation, and he found himself breathing heavier.
   He pulled her down onto him again, closing his mouth over hers as he rolled on top of her. He pulled her knee up as she wrapped her arms over his shoulders, and he rocked his pelvis into her with greater force. He needed her to lose control. To give up everything until it was just him driving her over the brink. And she needed to take him with her.
   Ashley raised her body into him, her hands clenched on his back as her exhausted voice filled the room. Her legs bent, and he felt her lock them over his hips, bringing him further into her. Her breath moistened his skin as her mouth opened against his, her nose pressed into his cheek. Her body was growing tighter around him, warming the pressure at his core. He slid his hand over her leg as he rocked himself into her. It was building. And as she breathed heavier against him, he felt her body suddenly shake.
   She drew her knees up further, and her hands clawed into his skin. A desperate moan escaped her as she arched her back, driving him deep into her. Norman let out a sharp breath as a jolt of energy shot through him. She was losing it. Losing everything. He pushed himself against her, and the pressure in his core suddenly released in a euphoric wave.
   His body seized, and a light groan left him. He felt himself push deeper, the release igniting his senses until he lost all thought. It was nothing and everything at once. It was ecstasy.
Norman rocked slowly into her as the wave faded, leaving him mildly dazed. His chest pressed against hers as exhaustion overtook him, his breath mingling with hers. He felt Ashley’s body relax under him, and her hands drifted over his back as she breathed heavily into him. For a while, neither of them moved.
   Slowly, Norman shifted sideways, resting slightly on top of her, his nose overlapping hers as he laid his head on the pillow. He slid his hand to her neck, running his thumb over her cheek. He could just barely make out the outline of her face in the darkness, her eyes closed and her chest heaving. Her hair was pulled back from her face, revealing the delicate line of her neck and shoulders. She seemed completely oblivious─ lost in exhaustion. And despite himself, Norman felt a swell of pleasure.
   He smoothed his thumb along her jawline as her breathing calmed. Sweat beaded her body, causing her skin to glisten in the low light. Norman couldn’t help but study her, taking in the detail of her skin and the curve of her body. He’d never felt so complete as he was laying with her, totally spent physically and mentally but in a way that he’d give again in a heartbeat. And in place of what he’d given was everything he didn’t know he wanted. Every part of him that had caused him fear and doubt was now filled by her.
   His mind swam as her soft breath warmed his cheek. He could never have imagined that three days would lead him here. Three days of dodging the subject, wrong impressions, and mistakes on all sides. There was nothing that mattered more than this. Nothing that could pull him from her ever again…
   A deep dread crept slowly into his chest. He paused as he brushed his hand over her cheek. There was something. Time was working against him. Everything was finished. The Origami killings were over. And Norman’s time here was going to be over soon as well.
   It seemed such a trivial thing. He struggled even to comprehend it. Three hour’s distance was nothing. And at the same time, it terrified him. He smoothed his palm over Ashley’s neck, gazing over the soft curve of her jaw and the angle of her nose. She meant too much to him now. He needed this. He needed her. And there was no compromise he’d settle for if it meant leaving her behind.
   Ashley shifted slightly, her nose brushing his. Norman felt his heart skip a beat.
   “Come to Washington with me,” he said.
   It took Norman a second to realize what he’d said. Ashley’s brown eyes opened, blinking with weariness as she focused on him. She shook her head slightly.
   “What?” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
   Norman smoothed his thumb over her cheek. “Come back to Washington with me.” A slight panic burned through him as he gazed at her through the dark. It didn’t matter what happened later. She simply needed to say yes.
   Ashley stared at him, her eyes studying as if she were reading him. Then she closed her eyes, a small smile forming on her lips. “Are you asking me this now because I’m in utter ecstasy…”
   Norman pressed his thumb and forefinger to her jaw, drawing her attention back. “I want you to come back to Washington with me,” he said. “I’m in love with you, Ashley.”
   Her eyes burned with renewed focus. Through the dark, he saw her throat work, sending beads of sweat trickling down her neck. She lowered her gaze, and Norman’s heart raced. There was nothing left to hide from her. He was completely exposed. And somehow he felt more vulnerable than anything he’d experienced that night.
   Her eyes met his again, and for a moment, his breath was caught in his throat. She bit her lip.
   “Okay,” she said. Her mouth parted in a smile, and a hint of the clueless expression danced in her eyes. “Sure.”
   A wave of relief washed through him. He breathed a small laugh, running his thumb over her jaw. She shifted closer into him, lowering her gaze again.
   “I can’t say no to you anyways,” she said. Her eyes met his. “I love you.”
   For a moment, Norman was still as a numb cascade fell over him. Then he pulled her forward, closing his mouth over hers. His heart pounded in his chest, and he felt her wrap an arm around him.
   He pulled away slightly, resting his forehead against hers. “Say it again.”
   Ashley’s breath warmed his mouth as her chest rose and fell. She pressed her hand against the side of his neck. “I love you, Norman Jayden.” Then her hand slipped through his hair as Norman slid onto her, the warm pressure burning through him once again.
Heavy Rain: ARI Chapter 21: Obsession
Chapter 1: The Dog fav.me/da8aocw
Chapter 2: ARI fav.me/da8slgu
Chapter 3: Briefing fav.me/da98lj1
Chapter 4: She-Devil fav.me/da9qdbj
Chapter 5: Good Cop, Bad Cop fav.me/daairtc
Chapter 6: Separate Ways fav.me/dab5787
Chapter 7: The Well fav.me/dabu9vk
Chapter 8: Karma fav.me/dadczmz
Chapter 9: Fugitive fav.me/daebg1w
Chapter 10: Triptocaine fav.me/daf9cff
Chapter 11: Clue fav.me/dahv3ff
Chapter 12: Mad Jack fav.me/dain80c
Chapter 13: Ethan Mars fav.me/dak8h38
Chapter 14: Club Synn fav.me/dalhush
Chapter 15: Loss fav.me/damkfm5
Chapter 16: A Reason To Live fav.me/daqf8vx
Chapter 17: The Origami Killer fav.me/dasmlnh
Chapter 18: The Old Warehouse fav.me/datkn68
Chapter 19: Surrender fav.me/dawuozh
Chapter 20: Paper fav.me/day5m9p

A little late for Valentine's Day, but jeeesus this chapter was hard to write. Took about a week and tons of Thomas Newman.
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   “Yes, the PPD can confirm that the Origami Killer was killed during a police operation on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Shaun Mars was rescued, and no one else has been harmed.”
   “You said yesterday that the Origami Killer had been apprehended. Isn’t Ethan Mars the killer?”
   “It has since been discovered that Ethan Mars was innocent. He was apparently manipulated by the Origami Killer in a sick series of trials that are still being investigated. We should have more information on that later.”
   “If Ethan Mars wasn’t the Origami Killer, who was?”
   “We’re not relaying that information just yet out of respect for the families involved.”
   “There’s a rumor that the Origami Killer may have been a retired police officer from this precinct. Can you comment on that, Captain?”
   Norman had to fight his laughter at the shocked look on Perry’s face. Perry cleared his throat and adjusted his hands on the podium.
   “We can’t confirm that to the public at this point.”
   Norman leaned sideways slightly, bumping into Ashley’s arm. “Was that you?”
   Ashley lowered her arm, her lip still slightly white where she’d been pressing her thumb. “Well, no one was looking. I just sort of… you know.”
   Norman laughed, struggling to keep quiet. “Yeah, I know.” He unfolded his leather jacket as Perry fumbled his way through another question.
   “I guess this means I don’t owe you another one?”
   Norman looked sideways at Ashley who glanced at his leather jacket. Her mouth spread in a small smile, and she reached for it. The nervous twinge floated through his chest, and Norman had to breathe deeply to calm his heart. It was something he was still getting used to. He handed her the jacket, and she opened it carefully.
   “At least all my ideas were good ideas,” said Ashley. She fitted her arms into the jacket, clenching it closed against her neck.
   “You mean all the ideas where people died?” He turned to smile at her and froze solid at the murderous look on Ashley’s face. She stared at him for a moment, then dropped her shoulders and plunged her hands into the jacket pockets.
   “So how many buildings did you scout because you were too dumb to get around a simple traffic surveillance authorization?” she said with a smirk on her face. Norman leaned his head back, relief fighting his humiliation.
   “For your information,” he said. “None.” He watched as Ashley flexed her shoulders, giving him a mock-glare. Then she stretched her arm, her hand appearing from the bottom of his jacket.
   She glanced down at the jacket, then back up to Norman. “So much for no holes.”
   Norman sighed heavily. “I can get it fixed.” He gazed at the podium where Perry was pointing to one of the journalists and stammering a reply. It was far more entertaining this time than the morning of Norman’s arrival, partially because half of what Perry said was a lie, and the other half a poor omission of the truth.
   “Mmm.”
   Norman turned curiously, then stopped. Ashley stood silently, one hand stuffed firmly in the coat pocket, and the other holding a small paper dog.
   He moved towards her, staring at the small dog. “Where did you get that?”
   “It was in your pocket,” said Ashley. “Your─ jacket pocket I mean.” She glanced up at Norman, and he met her nervous gaze. A flicker of apprehension held him still, but he shook it off almost immediately. Perhaps Ethan had forgotten it before he’d returned the jacket.
   Norman took the paper dog from Ashley, throwing her another glance. Then carefully, he unfolded it. It took him a few moments to peel the edges from the folds, and he stretched it flat. The page was blank.
   Ashley breathed a heavy sigh next to him. “Just a paper dog.”
   “Yeah.” Norman glared at the paper, then crumpled it in his hand. “Just a paper dog.” He looked up at her, meeting her nervous brown eyes. It was obvious how close they’d been to losing Shaun. A mysterious reminder was the last thing he needed after finally allowing his nerves to settle. It already felt like the longest day of his life, and it was still getting longer.
   He sighed and ran a hand over his face, letting the drone of the assembly swallow him again. His mind was foggy and tired of being worried. Part of him was relieved that he would be congratulated on his return to Washington instead of being fired, but whenever he approached that train of thought, he’d hit a wall. It was unnerving to think of his return to Washington. Something that he’d hoped and prayed for since he first arrived in Philadelphia, but now felt like a terrible betrayal.
   Norman looked at Ashley who was staring at the podium, pressing a thumb to her lip so that it wrinkled. It was happening again─ that subject he hated so much. He shifted his weight, but stopped as Ashley’s expression brightened in shock. Norman followed her gaze toward the podium.
   “Well, as a matter of fact, he’s here and available to give his account,” said Perry.
   “Can we hear it, sir?” Several of the reporters raised their pens, and some straightened to look around. Norman felt his face flush. They couldn’t be talking about him…
   “Absolutely.” Perry looked over the crowd, and Norman found himself looking into Perry’s eyes. Norman swallowed. He’d never considered that the case would turn him into a hero. And in the very precinct that hated him. It was almost comical.
   He felt Ashley move into him as Perry waved a hand. “Let me invite him up.” Perry turned to his left. “Lieutenant Carter Blake?”
   The floor seemed to fall from under him as Norman watched Perry step down from the podium. Blake appeared, standing out against the gray backdrop in his usual black trenchcoat, pausing to shake hands with Perry before stepping up to the podium. The room ignited in white flashes as people rose to take photographs, and about twenty hands shot into the air accompanied by a roaring of questions.
   Blake shifted as he put one hand on the podium, looking around the room slowly with a smug smile. Then he straightened as his eyes fell on Norman, his smile growing a bit wider.
   For what seemed an eternity, Norman was frozen, a sick numbness spreading through his body. He couldn’t believe it. After everything he’d done… after all the mistakes that Blake had made… the complete fallacy of Ethan Mars as the Origami Killer… they’d have the gall to say Blake was the hero?
   He gazed back at Blake, unable to move. Blake’s tweaked beard and wicked eyes practically screamed usurper. How could he even tell the story without lying about every bit of it? What could they possibly hope to achieve…
   A slow wave fell over Norman. He felt his shoulders sink, and his fists relaxed. The roar of the crowd seemed to grow silent as he stared over them. Everything looked so well in place. The hero of Philadelphia. The street cop that made it to the top. Perfectly placed in his perfect precinct in the perfect little town.
   Norman stared back at Blake, and unwittingly felt his mouth shift into a small smile. Then he blinked slowly, giving a small nod.
   Blake’s eyes narrowed, and his smile fell a bit. Then he gazed down at the podium and cleared his throat. “Well, let me start off by saying it was a great honor to save Shaun Mars…”
   “That─ I can’t─ bullshit!” Ashley moved forward slightly. “What the hell is this? They really think they can do this? How can they─” Ashley’s brown eyes lit up in anger as she looked sideways at Norman. “What’s going on?” She turned to face him, her mouth slightly open in disbelief. “You’re not just going to let this asshole take all of the credit?”
   Norman watched as Blake ticked one of the raised pens. He barely listened to what Blake was saying. Blake sure had a way of acting like he wasn’t the world’s biggest liar. And the longer Norman watched him, the more he was convinced that there was no way Norman could even fake the charisma and pride that Blake showed.
   “Norman?” There was a tug, and Norman found himself looking at Ashley. She tilted her head at him, her brown hair falling sideways. Her brows were narrowed, giving her eyes a bright glint. That nervous jolt shot through him again. He shifted slightly on the spot.
   “Want to get out of here?” he said.
   Ashley’s eyes went wide. She straightened. “Are you serious? What about─” she motioned towards the crowd, “─everything?
   Norman glanced at the podium. “I think Blake’s got it covered.” He turned back to her, laughing through his nose at the shocked look on Ashley’s face. He jerked his shoulder. “Come on.”
   “How can you… but─” Ashley looked towards the podium. “But Blake─”
   “Come on.” Norman stepped back towards the double doors of the lobby. “I want to get my jacket fixed.”
   Ashley slowly moved with him, her brown eyes furrowed in a suspicious glare. “Fix your jacket. Fix your goddamn jacket.”
   “I like my jacket,” said Norman.
   “I like not watching egocentric pricks get everything they don’t deserve,” said Ashley.
   Norman stopped. “Is that a stab at me?”
   Ashley froze, her eyes becoming more narrow. She slowly shook her head and moved past him. Norman followed, struggling to hide his smile.
“You want your jacket fixed,” said Ashley. “I’ll fix your stupid jacket.”
Heavy Rain: ARI Chapter 20: Paper
Chapter 1: The Dog fav.me/da8aocw
Chapter 2: ARI fav.me/da8slgu
Chapter 3: Briefing fav.me/da98lj1
Chapter 4: She-Devil fav.me/da9qdbj
Chapter 5: Good Cop, Bad Cop fav.me/daairtc
Chapter 6: Separate Ways fav.me/dab5787
Chapter 7: The Well fav.me/dabu9vk
Chapter 8: Karma fav.me/dadczmz
Chapter 9: Fugitive fav.me/daebg1w
Chapter 10: Triptocaine fav.me/daf9cff
Chapter 11: Clue fav.me/dahv3ff
Chapter 12: Mad Jack fav.me/dain80c
Chapter 13: Ethan Mars fav.me/dak8h38
Chapter 14: Club Synn fav.me/dalhush
Chapter 15: Loss fav.me/damkfm5
Chapter 16: A Reason To Live fav.me/daqf8vx
Chapter 17: The Origami Killer fav.me/dasmlnh
Chapter 18: The Old Warehouse fav.me/datkn68
Chapter 19: Surrender fav.me/dawuozh
-
Chapter 21: Obsession fav.me/daz6ia5

Fine Blake. You can have the credit. While Nahman walks away with the girl :D (Big Grin) 
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   Norman was nearly blinded by a dozen spotlights as he stepped out of the steel hanger. The helicopter roared overhead, and the rain pounded from above. He raised a hand to shield the light, and felt Ethan step close behind him.
   Voices echoed around him. For a moment, he simply stood still, waiting for a response from the army of police in front of him. They had to recognize him. Even if Blake was there, he wouldn’t simply shoot him. Still, he felt the petrifying unease of dozens of guns pointed in his direction.
   Norman bowed his head against the rain and blinding light, and moved forward. Slight pressure on his shoulder told him Ethan was right behind him. They hadn’t opened fire, and that was encouraging. Whether it was because Norman was blocking their line of fire or they were taking Ethan alive, Norman couldn’t be sure. And he wasn’t interesting in finding out.
   Someone shouted ahead, and there were heavy splashes in the distance. Norman took an automatic step backwards, holding his arm out against Ethan. The bright lights were punctured by shadows, and muffled voices floated through the rain. Then someone darted at them.
   Norman was pushed to the side as a figure collided with Ethan. Norman braced, preparing to pull the figure off, then stopped in shock as he saw Ethan wrap his arms around the figure.
   “Ethan! Thank god, Ethan…”
   The black haired woman pulled away and placed both hands on either side of Ethan’s face, pressing her forehead against his. Norman gazed around as police moved into the light and hurried past them. They barely even noticed that Ethan and Norman were there.
   A police officer stopped next to them, hooking an arm around Ethan’s waist and walking him towards the lights. Norman followed them, watching while the woman also helped Ethan to the mass of police cars. Paramedics stood in groups, and police aimed their guns toward the building. They weren’t arresting Ethan Mars.
   Someone cried out to Norman’s left and Shaun sprinted into the rain, burying himself in Ethan’s chest. Norman moved towards them as he watched the police. Everyone was convinced that Ethan Mars was the Origami Killer. Why wasn’t anyone arresting them both─
   Norman froze in his tracks, his heart in his throat. In front of the ambulance through the haze of rain, Ashley stood alone, gazing at him with wide eyes.
   For a moment, Norman was too terrified to move. The paralyzing nervousness that flowed through him seemed to slow his senses. She was here. She must have gotten his message. And if she got his message, she must have met with the police. And the fact that he and Ethan hadn’t been arrested meant she had somehow miraculously convinced them not to.
   The immense shock and relief he felt was compounded by uncertainty. That didn’t matter. If Ethan and Norman had been arrested, it was nothing compared to the shame that Norman felt as he looked at her. He struggled to read her expression through the rain. Her wide brown eyes betrayed a strong look of focus. He desperately tried to interpret it. Was she angry with him? Relieved? He frantically debated whether he should speak or move. But he found himself locked, afraid of losing this moment that wasn’t his worst fears, and resorted to simply taking in the sight of her standing in the rain.
   Her mouth clenched slightly and her shoulders tensed. The small motion sent a wave of nervousness through Norman’s body. Then slowly, Ashley moved forward, her eyes still locked on his. Norman desperately tried to read them, his heart hammering in his chest. Her pace quickened, and then she broke into a run. Her brown eyes flashed, giving in to worry, and Norman thought his heart would burst. Without thinking, he stepped forward and caught her in his arms, holding her tightly into him.
   She shook as she tightened her arms around his shoulders, and Norman closed his eyes as he breathed in the peach scent of her hair. All energy seemed to leave him. Nothing mattered outside of this. She was here with him, and any worry that she still might hate him was gone. He wrapped his arms tighter around her, flexing his hands against her back, and her breath stuttered in his ear as her fingers brushed through his hair. The painful anxiety of everything that had happened floated through him at the sensation. The Origami Killer, saving Shaun and Ethan, nearly dying countless times… he’d do it all over if it meant he’d never have to let Ashley go again.
   Norman tilted his head, pressing his mouth to the side of her forehead. A flicker of the debilitating closeness drifted through him, bringing with it a sense of peace and finality. There was so much he’d wanted to say. So many mistakes to fix. Yet somehow as he stood locked into her, he knew he’d never need to.
   It took him a while to realize someone was speaking his name. He felt Ashley’s arms relax over his shoulders, and reluctantly he let her pull away from him. He stole the moment to gaze at her face, her brown eyes worn and weary, yet the usual nervous expression was replaced by a relieved smile. It gave him energy, and he felt the familiar twinge sweep through his chest.
   “Agent Jayden?”
   Norman looked to his right at an officer who was packed under a heavy coat. The officer motioned over his shoulder. “They need you to make a report as soon as possible. We found the body on the roof.”
   Norman gazed through the rain at the officer’s gesture. Several groups of figures stood apart near the line of police cars. As he watched, one of them turned, and Norman recognized the outline of Blake’s dark beard.
   Norman nodded. “Okay,” he said. He looked at Ashley as the officer moved away. It took him a moment to realize that she still had an arm over his shoulder, and he felt a brush on his jacket as she slid her hand down his arm. Her face tensed, and she closed her eyes.
   “Norman…” She bit her lip. “I’m─”
   “Don’t.” Norman put his hand against her neck, rubbing her cheek with his thumb. She opened her eyes, meeting his with a look of shame. She reached up slowly, covering her hand over his and leaned into him. He could almost read the words on her face, but he could live the rest of his life without hearing them.
   “Jayden!” Something waved in the distance, and Norman saw Blake’s form motion to him. “Get your ass over here!”
   Norman breathed out heavily, and underneath Ashley’s short curtain of hair, he saw her mouth strain in a smile.
   “Go ahead,” she said quietly, looking up towards him so her hair fell back from her brown eyes. Her hand slipped under his, gently prying him away, and she took a small step back. A frantic bolt of panic swept through him, but the warm look in her eyes held him still as she moved away. There would be time to talk later.
   He watched her form fade into the rain for a few moments before turning to the police cars. There was a strange energy buzzing in him that he couldn’t describe. Some kind of excitement yet terror that couldn’t quite decide which it would be. It made him feel almost ridiculous, and he struggled to get his thoughts together. The next few hours were going to be a nightmare of confusion, and he’d need his last remaining strength to get through it.
   “Officer Jayden!”
   A flicker of frustration made Norman sink his shoulders as he looked to his left toward the ambulance. He immediately straightened as he recognized the figure moving toward him through the rain.
   Ethan Mars held out the lump of soaked leather that was Norman’s jacket. Norman felt an almost guilty pang in his chest as Ethan approached. He’d almost forgotten about him in the short time they’d been separated.
   “I hope I got your name right,” said Ethan. He gazed at Norman with a friendly energy in his tired blue eyes.
   Norman took the jacket from him. It felt strange to have it back in his possession. “Actually, it’s Agent Jayden,” he said. He saw a smile spread across Ethan’s face. Ethan motioned to the jacket.
   “No holes,” said Ethan. He laughed and ran a hand over his jaw, his face suddenly becoming serious. “I meant to thank you for loaning that to me.”
   Norman tightened his grip on the jacket. It was almost surreal to be talking to the man he’d been chasing for three days. “It was nothing,” said Norman. “I’m just glad you made it out alive. You and Shaun.”
   Ethan nodded slowly. “You saved all our lives. I don’t know how to repay you for that.”
   Something hit Norman around his midsection, and he stumbled back a step. It took him a moment to recognize the small figure clasped around his waist.
   “You fought the origami man!” Shaun’s voice was muffled slightly in Norman’s jacket. “That was totally cool!”
   A breath of nervous laughter escaped Norman’s throat as he raised his arms slightly. He glanced up at Ethan who was laughing lightly, and Norman gently ruffled Shaun’s soaked brown hair.
   “He kept me in that tank for days. I thought I was gonna die.” Shaun looked up at Norman, his blue eyes glittering. “Did you kill him? I heard a gun.”
   A pang of dread hit Norman’s chest. He immediately looked up at Ethan. Ethan’s residual smile faded a bit, and a darkness fell over his face that mirrored his expression on the rooftop. Norman swallowed nervously and looked down at Shaun.
   “Yeah, Shaun,” said Norman. “He’ll never try to hurt you again.”
   “Good.” Shaun let go of Norman’s waist, a proud smile spreading on his lips. “I’m glad you killed him. He deserved it for trying to kill my dad.”
   Norman ran a hand through his hair, unsure of what to say. The whole situation was confusing, and everything had happened so fast. Yet Norman couldn’t shake the ominous feeling that Ethan was hiding more than the fact he’d been the one to kill the Origami Killer.
   Ethan clapped a hand on Shaun’s shoulder. “Alright, come on kiddo.” He threw Norman one last thankful glance before he and Shaun turned away into the rain.
   Norman watched them as they faded into the darkness. Then he moved towards the police cars, a growing dread replacing his faded relief.
Heavy Rain: ARI Chapter 19: Surrender
Chapter 1: The Dog fav.me/da8aocw
Chapter 2: ARI fav.me/da8slgu
Chapter 3: Briefing fav.me/da98lj1
Chapter 4: She-Devil fav.me/da9qdbj
Chapter 5: Good Cop, Bad Cop fav.me/daairtc
Chapter 6: Separate Ways fav.me/dab5787
Chapter 7: The Well fav.me/dabu9vk
Chapter 8: Karma fav.me/dadczmz
Chapter 9: Fugitive fav.me/daebg1w
Chapter 10: Triptocaine fav.me/daf9cff
Chapter 11: Clue fav.me/dahv3ff
Chapter 12: Mad Jack fav.me/dain80c
Chapter 13: Ethan Mars fav.me/dak8h38
Chapter 14: Club Synn fav.me/dalhush
Chapter 15: Loss fav.me/damkfm5
Chapter 16: A Reason To Live fav.me/daqf8vx
Chapter 17: The Origami Killer fav.me/dasmlnh
Chapter 18: The Old Warehouse fav.me/datkn68
-
Chapter 20: Paper fav.me/day5m9p
Chapter 21: Obsession fav.me/daz6ia5

Bro hug That hug.... I has to draw it somehow...
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   Norman removed his glasses as he steered the car towards the large steel hanger. It loomed through the haze of rain, almost disappearing into the darkness. Through the mist, large steel machinery stood like a twisted network of trees. There was no one in sight. Norman felt an uncomfortable dread creep through him. This was the perfect place to hide a crime.
   He followed the road towards the front of the hanger, and braked. There were three vehicles parked haphazardly in front. A sedan, a motorcycle, and─ Norman felt his heart skip a beat. An old blue Chevrolet.
   He turned off the car and stepped out into the rain. One of the cars had to belong to Ethan Mars. And if the Chevrolet Malibu was here, then so was the killer. Panic spurred Norman forward. He couldn’t be too late…
   The front of the hanger had only one standard door. Norman slowed as he approached it. Part of him screamed at him to wait. He could negotiate with the police. Ashley might have gotten his message and she could be on her way. Perhaps the killer only left the Chevrolet there to avoid suspicion. Norman shook his head. It was useless to hesitate. He’d found the building, and it was all up to him now. He pressed his shoulder against the door as he rested his hand on the doorknob. Then with a deep breath, he quietly turned the knob, and stepped inside.
   The interior of the steel hanger was massive. Dark shapes of abandoned machinery lined the steel walls which were shelved in platforms. The space was broken by large bars of gray light which filtered through a massive break in the ceiling at the far end of the hanger. The floor looked like it had been cleared recently, leaving a patchwork of steel grates and holes. A heavy roaring filled the air as the rain beat down on the steel roof, echoing in the metallic chamber. And above the roar of the rain, Norman heard broken voices.
   A curtain of rain encircled the far end of the exposed hanger. In the middle of it were three dark figures.
   Norman quickly moved to the side, his heart racing. He crouched behind an unrecognizable machine and peered around at the figures. Two seemed to be hunched over the ground, speaking in quick, panicked voices. The third stood several feet away, unmoving. The roaring of the rain was too loud, and the figures too far away to identify. He needed to get closer.
   The space opened in several places along the wall, and Norman plotted a path. Carefully, he stepped out and moved along the machinery, his gaze locked on the three figures. As he approached, the voices became clearer.
   “─final sacrifice. Shit, what is it?”
   “There’s got to be something you missed. Was there anything in the origami figures? The phone?”
   “He said I already know it. Four letters…”
   Norman kneeled and looked over the machinery. The figures were now several yards away, and Norman felt his gut wrench as he recognized one was wearing his own leather jacket. Ethan Mars was bent over a steel grate in the floor, fumbling with something. The black haired woman crouched next to him, peering over his shoulder. And standing behind them silently watching was the Origami Killer.
   Several panicked thoughts raced through Norman’s mind. Ethan and the woman either seemed to ignore the killer, or they didn’t know he was there. It was too dark and hazy for Norman to tell if the killer was armed or not. Norman leaned out, and suddenly noticed a small hand rising through the grate.
   Ethan grasped the small hand. “I’m gonna get you out Shaun. I’m here. I got you.”
   “What about ‘love?’” The woman reached for the grate. “Did you try ‘love?’”
   “Love, fate, dead…” Ethan gripped his hair with one hand. “The final sacrifice…” There was a short pause, then Ethan leaned forward with visible energy. “The final sacrifice. Life.
   Norman watched as Ethan fumbled with the item, and then something snapped. Ethan and the woman both gripped the bars in unison, and the grate rose with a loud creak. The two groaned with effort, and then the grate arched back and crashed against the metal floor.
   Ethan dropped and immediately reached into the gap in the ground. There was splashing, and then he drew back, pulling with him a small shivering figure.
   “I got you.” Ethan wrapped his arms around the young boy who curled himself into a tight ball. “I got you, Shaun. It’s all over.”
   The woman crouched next to them, smoothing back the boy’s hair. Then Norman saw movement next to them. The killer was stepping forward.
   Norman fought the urge to bolt into the clearing. He gripped the edge of the machinery as Shelby stopped above them.
   “The ultimate sacrifice,” said Shelby. Ethan and the woman twisted on the spot, gazing up in shock. “A father willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to save his son.”
   Ethan’s face tensed through the rain. For a moment, no one spoke. Then Shelby paced in front of them. “You almost made me lose hope, Ethan. I didn’t think there was a single father left in this world who’d be willing to lift a finger to save his own son. What with everything you’ve been through, why would this son matter? You’ve already lost one after all.”
   Shelby sighed, leaning his head back in the rain. “You’re the only one that has passed all the trials. The only one to actually save his son. Congratulations. You did what no other father could.” He looked down at Ethan who glared back at him. “Sacrificed yourself to save your son.”
   “What no other father could?” Ethan pulled Shaun closer into him. “What about all those men who died in the trials? They gave their lives trying to save their sons. Why weren’t they enough?”
   “Oh, they were the worst ones,” said Shelby. “You don’t understand. They chose to die rather than save their sons. You’re the only one who chose to live, so that you can willingly give that life up when the time came.”
   Shelby reached into his trenchcoat, and Norman’s body froze as the gun glinted in the dim light. The woman gripped Ethan’s shoulder and moved closer to him as they both gazed up at Shelby.
   “You’re a wonderful father, Ethan,” Shelby continued. “Far better than mine, who couldn’t be bothered to save my brother when he was slowly drowning. Your son will remember that for the rest of his life.”
   Norman shifted, panic flowing through him. The situation was getting out of control. He had to do something. Fast.
   Before he knew it, he was stepping out into the clearing. He moved slowly, avoiding the puddles and metal. He had no plan. No idea what he was doing. This was crazy. He was going to get everyone killed.
   Through the haze, Norman saw Ethan’s eyes flash in his direction. Norman raised his hands slowly. Then Ethan glared back at Shelby.
   “You’re going to kill me?” said Ethan. “In front of my own son?”
   The anticipation nearly crippled Norman as he continued to move forward. Ethan was stalling. Long enough for Norman to come up with a plan. He needed a weapon. Anything that could cause damage.
   Carefully, Norman bent and grasped a heavy steel pipe from the ground in both hands. He straightened, lifting the pipe high enough to show his intentions. Ethan’s eyes darted in his direction again, and Norman saw his jaw tense.
   “Don’t worry,” said Shelby. “I’ll take care of your son. I’ll make sure the police find him safe and sound. But you. Both of you.” Shelby panned the gun between Ethan and the woman. “You’ve earned my respect.”
   Norman was only a few meters away. His heart hammered in his chest as he prepared to swing.
   “All you’re doing is depriving a son of his father,” said the woman. She wrapped her arm around Ethan’s shoulders. “You’re not proving anything.”
   “I don’t have to prove anything to you,” said Shelby. He raised the gun to Ethan’s face. “Just Shaun.”
   Norman moved forward onto the platform. He was within swinging distance. He had to do it now.
   The platform creaked underneath him. Ethan glanced at him again, and then Shelby twisted.
   The pipe swung through the air, and Norman felt it hit something hard. Shelby cried out as the pistol flew through the curtain of rain, disappearing into the darkness. Norman straightened, but felt something huge crash into him. He stumbled backward, losing his balance and falling onto his back.
   Shelby stood above him, his face scrunched into the same focused expression that Norman had seen in Paco’s office. Before Norman could move, Shelby raised his boot above Norman’s face.
   There was a shout, and Norman covered his head with his arms as Shelby stumbled over him. Someone pulled at Norman’s arm, and he looked up. Ethan was crouched over him, glaring above him. Frantically, Norman scrambled onto his feet.
   Shelby backed away, his focused expression becoming more exasperated. A movement behind Norman told him that Ethan and the woman were standing behind him. Norman’s panic gave way to intense hope. The killer was disarmed. It was three against one.
   Shelby bolted. His dark form broke the curtain of rain, and there was only the sound of heavy splashing.
   There was no time to think. Norman sprinted after him, dropping the pipe to the ground and crashing through the waterfall of rain. Through the haze, Norman spotted the dark form moving up the metal stairs toward the platforms. Norman vaulted over a pile of mangled machinery and crashed into the stairwell, scrambling up the wet stairs two at a time. He had to stay on the killer’s tail. There was no way he was letting the killer get away now.
   Norman’s chest ached as he ran, the metal platform banging loudly under his footsteps. Shelby’s trenchcoat whipped, and then there was a heavy slam as Shelby disappeared behind a wooden door at the top of a steep set of stairs.
   Norman crashed against it, fighting with the doorknob. He slammed his shoulder against the door. It crunched, then broke open as Norman crashed into it a second time. He grasped the rail of another metal staircase, then darted up onto the roof of the hanger.
   The roaring of the rain was near deafening. Rusted machinery rose around him seeming to shift in the torrent of rain. Norman spun around as he searched for any sign of movement. The roof was clear. Shelby had disappeared.
   White lights suddenly flashed in his direction. Norman raised his hand as he gazed over the edge of the hanger. Far below him, blue and red lights dotted the surrounding area. He backed away from the edge. The police had arrived.
   Heavy footsteps captured his attention. He spun, and ducked as a heavy steel bar sailed over his head. Blind panic bolted through him as he stumbled away from the edge, narrowly avoiding another swing from the steel bar. Shelby’s large form appeared in front of him, angling as he swung the bar again.
   Norman backed over a steel catwalk which stretched over the sea of police vehicles. They had to see him. They had to know it was him. Why weren’t they doing something to stop this?
   Sparks flew as the steel bar collided with the rails of the catwalk. With a sharp breath, Norman shot forward, catching Shelby around the waist and knocking him a few steps backward. Pressure around Norman’s neck told him Shelby had wrapped his arm around his throat, and suddenly Norman found himself being lifted in the air.
   Belligerent terror streaked through Norman’s body. Frantically, he swung his arms and grasped the steel rail of the catwalk before he was thrown over the edge.
   He swung treacherously through the air by one hand, grasping with his other for the rail. The ground spun wildly below him, and Norman felt dizziness compact his panic. This couldn’t be a worse situation. He gazed up through the rain, and Shelby’s form appeared over him.
   Shelby lunged, and Norman rocked sideways as the steel bar cracked against the catwalk. The bar vanished, and then there was another crack. Norman shifted his weight, grasping the catwalk with both hands. How the hell was he going to get out of this?
   Another crack, and the steel bar appeared in front of him. Without thinking, he gripped it tightly and felt himself lifted enough for him to grip the second railing. Shelby’s furious face came into view, and Norman pushed the steel bar with all his might.
   Shelby jerked as the end of the steel bar knocked into his shoulder. He stumbled back a few feet, and Norman didn’t hesitate. He swung his legs up onto the catwalk, gripping either side with each hand.
   A split second allowed Norman to catch his breath. His body shook as he savored the support underneath him. Then pounding told him Shelby was coming for him again.
   Norman turned and bolted down the catwalk. The white lights followed him as he ran stumbling occasionally against the steel rails. He had to keep Shelby focused on him. It was the only control he had.
   The catwalk dipped down, and Norman darted onto the roof of another building. Small sheds and ducts lined the roof, breaking up any clear path. Norman darted over one of the ducts, crashing into the wall of one of the sheds. Without hesitating, he flung open the door and jumped inside, slamming it closed behind him.
   The patter of rain was muffled slightly. Gray light filtered into the shed through the glass windows. Norman spun around, his heart pounding in his chest. There wasn’t much inside the shed besides circuits and panels. Nothing he could effectively use as a weapon.
   The glass window exploded next to him, and Norman flattened himself against the door as a large fist swung towards him. Shelby leaned through the window, just inches from grasping Norman’s jacket. Norman cowered down, gripping the doorknob with one hand. He couldn’t escape through the door. And Shelby was gradually climbing further through the window.
   Norman mustered his energy, then leapt forward, pushing Shelby from the window just enough to spare himself space. Then Norman flung the door open, and bolted into the rain.
   He needed a weapon. There was no fight against Shelby without one. There was another shed on the roof, and Norman sprinted towards it. If he could just find something to fight with…
   Something tripped him from behind, and Norman stumbled over a duct, crashing onto the steel roof. He scrambled forward, struggling to climb to his feet. Then everything went white as the breath was knocked from him.
   Norman rolled onto his side, wrapping his arms around his waist. He had to get up. He had to keep moving.
   Something pushed his shoulder, and Norman looked up into the dark sky filled with rain. The water blurred his eyes, obscuring his vision. He raised a hand over his face. The god damn rain. If it could just stop raining…
   He felt himself lift by the collar as a dark form appeared above him. Shelby’s fierce eyes glared at him through the pouring rain. His hand was raised, and something shiny glinted in his clenched fist.
   Norman gripped Shelby’s wrist as he struggled to pull away from him. He couldn’t see what Shelby was holding, but he was sure it could do serious damage. He pushed against the steel ground, but his vision faded as Shelby shook him by the collar.
   Norman raised his arm in a feeble attempt to protect his face. Through the haze, he finally realized what Shelby was holding. It was a broken shard of glass, bloodied from Shelby’s grip.
   A powerful numbness flowed through Norman’s body. This was going to hurt. But he had to stay alive. He had to keep the killer occupied. At least long enough for the police to sweep the building. If they were even going to. What had he even accomplished? Delivering the police straight to Ethan Mars. Letting the killer get away. And giving the police another dead cop to deal with.
   Norman gazed into Shelby’s cold eyes. The man he’d been chasing for three days. Finally here. Exposed. And there was nothing Norman could do to stop him.
   Shelby raised the shard, the blood running down to the tip and mixing with the clear rainwater. Norman felt his breath freeze in his chest.
   The roar of the rain was suddenly pierced by loud pops. Shelby jerked and then froze, a look of astonishment in his eyes.
   Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Norman gazed over his arm as Shelby stared at him, water running in rivers over his face. The glass shard was still poised above him, ready to drop at any moment. Then Shelby coughed lightly, bringing a splatter of blood from his mouth.
   Shelby rocked backwards, falling against the metal duct. There was a clatter as the glass shard fell to the ground. For a moment, Norman simply stayed frozen to the spot. The coal gray clouds swirled above him, broken by the falling raindrops. It felt surreal. As if he were reaching the end of a nightmare. Norman pushed himself onto his elbows, struggling to accept the scene in front of him.
   Shelby leaned against the duct, steady streams of blood flowing from ripped holes in his chest. He gazed straight ahead, his eyes glazed over and empty. Over the rain, Norman could hear faint gurgling in the man’s throat. With each breath, the blood travelled further down Shelby’s chin, and the holes in his upper chest bubbled.
   A figure moved through the haze of the rain. Norman raised a hand to block the water as the figure approached, firearm raised. It took him a moment to recognize the leather jacket and the matted hair.
   Ethan Mars kneeled next to Shelby, resting the pistol on his knee. His mouth was clenched, and he narrowed his eyebrows as he gazed at him. Shelby coughed, then his eyes fluttered up to meet Ethan’s.
   The pounding rain filled the silence as Norman watched the two unmoving men. A dull shock pulsed through his veins. Somehow, he felt he was intruding on this moment. And at the same time, he knew he needed to be here for it. Ethan’s gaze was colder than Norman had ever seen it, and yet the look Shelby returned was almost peaceful. As if he were finally letting go.
   Shelby let out another small cough, and then his shoulders sank. His brown-eyed gaze lowered, and with a deep sigh, his chest fell still.
   Norman couldn’t explain the overwhelming emptiness that suddenly fell over them. Everything had changed in an instant. As if they were no longer standing on a rooftop in the middle of the pouring rain. He didn’t even attempt to process what had just happened. It seemed pointless. Unnecessary. And in some strange way, he felt he needed to stay in this moment for as long as possible.
   Ethan was frozen, his hand still clenched on the gun at his knee. It was impossible to read the expression on his face. His dark eyebrows were narrowed over his tense stare, not in anger or in shame. It was as though he were waiting for something. Shelby’s lifeless form lay slumped against the duct, his legs stretched in front of him and his hands resting on his thighs. If Norman didn’t know better, he would have thought Shelby was deep in thought.
   A distant chopping broke the steady patter of rainwater, finally pulling Norman to his senses. Through the haze in the sky, a bright white beam panned back and forth, highlighting a path through the clouds.
   Norman looked back at Ethan who still hadn’t moved. They couldn’t stay here. They had to leave.
   He raised himself off the floor, climbing to his feet. Ethan gave no indication that he was aware of Norman at all. But as the beam in the sky panned closer, Norman felt a sense of urgency take over.
   “We’ve got to go,” said Norman. He spoke quietly, as if he were interrupting something. Ethan’s fingers flexed on the pistol, but he stayed still, staring into Shelby’s blank eyes. Norman placed a hand on Ethan’s shoulder. “We’ve got to get off the roof.”
   A faded white spotlight travelled over the distant rooftops of the docks. Ethan shifted, and Norman heard him sigh heavily. Norman kneeled down next to him.
   “The police are coming,” said Norman. “We need to get you out of here.” He gripped Ethan’s arm gently as the spotlight moved closer to them, and he pulled upward. “Come on.”
   Slowly, Ethan rose, his eyes still locked on the body in front of him. The sounds of the helicopter roared in waves overhead, growing steadily louder. Norman took a step back towards the steel hanger, reaching for Ethan’s shoulder as he moved.
   Finally, Ethan moved sideways, his face scrunched in an almost regretful frown. Norman walked with him, the chopping of the helicopter filling him with nervous energy. As Norman picked up speed across the catwalk, Ethan jogged with him, their footsteps pounding the metallic walkway.
   They stepped onto the roof of the hanger, and Norman glanced back to be sure Ethan was still following him. The steel stairs appeared, and they both darted down the steps under the shelter of the hanger.
   Norman gazed over the rails as they moved along the platform. The circular curtain of rain poured steadily from the hole in the ceiling, creating a perfect ring around the opened steel grate in the floor. He scanned the warehouse floor as they neared the staircase.
   “Where’s Shaun?” asked Norman. He looked over his shoulder at Ethan whose face was still tense in blank shock.
   “Madison has him,” said Ethan. “I let them go.”
   They moved down the stairway towards the ground floor, and Norman felt his footsteps grow heavier and heavier. As he slowed, he saw Ethan slow with him. Finally, Norman stopped. He ran a hand over his face, wincing from the still aching bruise in his eye. His leg hurt from having tripped, and his shoulder was beginning to ache. A dull pain pulsed through his body. He felt as though he’d fallen down several flights of stairs.
   He sighed and ran a hand through his wet hair, noticing that Ethan was watching him. Ethan looked like Norman felt. His black hair was matted, and his bruised face was overgrown with a light beard. Underneath Norman’s leather jacket, Ethan’s clothes were ripped, bloodstained, and soaked. And despite the hell they’d both survived, it still wasn’t over.
   Norman felt his shoulders sink as he gazed at Ethan. “The police are waiting outside.”
   Ethan’s expression didn’t change. “Yeah,” he said.
   “Everyone thinks you’re the killer,” said Norman. He put his forehead in his hand. “They’ll shoot you on sight.”
   Ethan nodded slightly, his gaze falling to the floor. “I’m okay with that.”
   Norman sighed heavily again. Of course he was. The resolution in Ethan’s eyes was unmistakeable. And underneath Norman’s exhaustion, he almost agreed with him.
   Norman moved forward, catching Ethan’s attention again. “We’ll I’m not,” said Norman. He threw Ethan a glare as he stepped towards the door of the hanger. “I’m tired of watching people die. And you’re wearing my jacket.” He motioned to Ethan’s torso. “I don’t want holes in it.”
   Ethan gripped the jacket as if he’d just realized he was wearing it. He looked up at Norman, his eyes narrowed in scrutiny. But Norman could see a small spark of a smile in them.
   “I’ll walk out first,” said Norman, placing his hand on the doorknob. “Stay directly behind me. They’ll have to arrest me first if they want to get to you.”
   “How do you know they won’t just shoot you first?” Ethan stepped towards him, his shoulders tensing. Norman swallowed, trying and failing to bury his fear.
   “I don’t,” he said.
Heavy Rain: ARI Chapter 18: The Old Warehouse
Chapter 1: The Dog fav.me/da8aocw
Chapter 2: ARI fav.me/da8slgu
Chapter 3: Briefing fav.me/da98lj1
Chapter 4: She-Devil fav.me/da9qdbj
Chapter 5: Good Cop, Bad Cop fav.me/daairtc
Chapter 6: Separate Ways fav.me/dab5787
Chapter 7: The Well fav.me/dabu9vk
Chapter 8: Karma fav.me/dadczmz
Chapter 9: Fugitive fav.me/daebg1w
Chapter 10: Triptocaine fav.me/daf9cff
Chapter 11: Clue fav.me/dahv3ff
Chapter 12: Mad Jack fav.me/dain80c
Chapter 13: Ethan Mars fav.me/dak8h38
Chapter 14: Club Synn fav.me/dalhush
Chapter 15: Loss fav.me/damkfm5
Chapter 16: A Reason To Live fav.me/daqf8vx
Chapter 17: The Origami Killer fav.me/dasmlnh
-
Chapter 19: Surrender fav.me/dawuozh
Chapter 20: Paper fav.me/day5m9p
Chapter 21: Obsession fav.me/daz6ia5

SHAUN! SHAAAAAAUUUUUN!!! 
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   A heavy slamming caused Norman to jolt awake in a panic.
   “Rise and shine, sweetheart! Looks like someone slept in this morning.”
   Pale light filled the room through the small window of the office. Norman pushed himself straight, his head aching where he’d rested it on the hard surface of the desk. It took him a moment to notice Blake was standing next to him, one hand on the office chair that Ashley had brought in the night before.
   “You like being under arrest or something?” Blake clenched his hand on the back of the chair. “Touch my stuff again and beat your ass into the ground.”
   The events of the previous night worked their way back into Norman’s memory. He rubbed his face as the office came into clearer view. The ARI lay upside-down on the corner of the desk with the killer’s pistol a few inches away from it. The familiar tension of the case weighed him down almost immediately, followed by the dull dread of the memory of Ashley with him in the office. A thousand frustrating thoughts rushed through his mind. He needed to find Ashley. He had to set things right with her. But he still had to find the name of the Origami Killer. The ARI was in front of him. He could start searching again right away. Was there even enough time?
   Norman twisted as Blake rolled the chair towards the office door. “What time is it?” said Norman before he could stop himself.
   Blake glanced up at him, his dark eyes scrunched into a bewildered glare. “It’s time for you to get the fuck out of Philadelphia, you prick,” said Blake. The office door clicked open as Blake opened the door.
Norman stood up, wobbly from lack of sleep. “The Origami Killer is a cop.”
Blake stood frozen for a moment. The room fell eerily silent, and a steady nervousness crept in Norman’s chest. He didn’t know why he’d said that; his mind was still fuzzy from waking up so abruptly. But was Blake actually going to listen to him?
   Blake’s hand clenched on the door handle, and he leaned forward slightly. Then his cold laughter echoed through the room. He stood up straight, and Norman felt his heart sink at the expression on Blake’s face.
   “What?” Blake shook his head as he looked at Norman. “What did you say?” Blake rested both hands on the back of the chair and leaned. “Are you officially bat-shit insane?”
   Norman fell back into his chair, resting his forehead in his hand. He was really out of his mind if he was attempting to convince Blake. Norman pulled the pistol towards him on the desk, staring blankly as he reorganized his thoughts. He had to think clearly and fast. This was the third day, and if he’d already wasted most of it with sleep, he’d need to act quickly to find the name of the killer.
   The pistol was suddenly pulled away in front of him, and Norman sat up straight as Blake put the pistol in his jacket. Norman immediately prepared for a battle, but stopped cold at the look on Blake’s face. It was accusatory.
   “What are you doing?” said Norman. Blake took a step back from him.
   “What the hell are you doing with this?” Blake motioned toward the pistol in his jacket.
   The suspicion lined in Blake’s face left Norman at a loss for words. For a moment, he fought the urge to launch into detail about the battle with the Origami Killer at Paco’s office. There was something Norman hadn’t considered. And it forced him instead to be cautious.
   Norman leaned back in his chair, beating down his apprehension. “Well, let’s say someone tried to kill me with it.”
   Blake snorted in laughter. “Shit, you’re pulling people out of retirement?” He laughed as he moved toward the door. “And I thought I was the only cop that wanted to kill you.”
   A fiery energy burned through Norman’s body as Blake opened the door. “Do you know who owns that firearm?”
   Blake turned toward him, his eyes narrowed. “Wait, let me guess.” He motioned toward the pistol again. “You think he’s the Origami Killer?” Norman nearly shook with anxiety as Blake laughed again. “Nah, I think I’ll spare an old friend from getting his house caught on fire.”
   “You won’t tell me who he is,” said Norman, standing up, “even if it meant finding Ethan Mars?”
   The humor vanished from Blake’s eyes. His dark brows narrowed, and he took a step forward. “What are you talking about?” Norman’s heart hammered as Blake’s fists clenched. “You know where Ethan Mars is? This whole time?”
   Norman swallowed, feeling as though he were burying himself in a deeper and deeper hole. “Call it a trade. You tell me who owns that gun, and I’ll tell you where Ethan Mars is.”
   “We’re not calling it anything.” Blake strode forward, stopping only inches from Norman’s face. “You’re gonna tell me where Mars is right now or I’ll fucking beat your skull open. You think you can hide information from me? You haven’t even seen police brutality yet, you stuck up bitch!”
   Norman clenched his jaw and returned Blake’s furrowed gaze. He could almost see the frustration burning behind Blake’s dark eyes. But a powerful anger forced Norman to hold his ground. After all he’d been through─ Nathaniel, Roman, Mad Jack, Club Synn… all to find the identity of the killer. He’d nearly killed himself trying to find it. And the one person who could tell him was the last person who would ever help him.
   He drew in a deep breath, fighting to keep his voice steady. “The Origami Killer is yours, Blake. All I need is a name.”
   Something flashed in Blake’s eyes, and Norman felt a rush of hope. The only thing Blake ever cared about… it had to be worth it. If he could set aside his urge to beat Norman into the ground if only it meant catching Ethan Mars, the fake Origami Killer.
   Blake let out a small breath of air, and his beard tweaked. “Okay, fine,” he said, crossing his arms. “His name’s Shelby.”
   Norman nearly tumbled over the newspapers as he spun and snatched his glasses from the desk. He raised his hands, forming a rough square. “Shelby. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” The interface lit up in front of him, and he reached around him as he pulled the information together.
   “You got the name,” said Blake. “Now where’s Mars?”
   Norman’s heart pounded in his chest as the list of names scrolled automatically in front of him. Then it highlighted a single name: Scott Shelby. The bar expanded, and Norman was looking at a rough older man with short gray hair, tense brown eyes, and a sour expression. Norman felt the blood drain from his face. It was the same man from Paco’s office.
   “Hey asshole.” Blake moved forward as Norman scrolled through the list of information. “Where the fuck is Mars?”
   The information sped past as Norman glazed it over. Born February 1, 1967, six foot five inches, retired Marine and police lieutenant… He pressed his hand to the list. “Residence,” he said. The information scrolled down to a list of owned properties. Shelby owned an apartment in northern Philadelphia. Even as Norman memorized the address, he felt frustrated anxiety burn through him. Shaun Mars had only hours to live, and it was next to impossible that he would be at the killer’s residence. Norman ran his fingers through his hair. There had to be a clue somewhere…
   He drew up another square in front of him. “Geoanalysis history.” The square filled with a list of addresses, including the search for Club Synn, the scrapyard, and the broken address from Roman’s phone. Norman pressed a finger to the broken address, and dragged it to Shelby’s summary. The list scrolled again, and paused on a highlighted address. Norman nearly shook with anticipation as he analyzed it. This had to be it.
   “You hear what I─” Blake moved back as Norman stood up. The room grew brighter as Norman removed the glasses.
   “852 Theodore Roosevelt Road,” said Norman.
   For a moment, they were both silent. Blake opened his mouth to speak, but Norman moved past him, his heart pounding in his throat. He moved automatically through the door, slamming it behind him as he entered the lobby.
   He made a path between the office desks, his eyes set on the sliding glass doors. Several officers looked up curiously as he marched quickly. There was no point in reasoning. No point in preparing. If he was right, Shaun Mars was close to death, and the killer would be there to cover up the whole thing. But it was utterly perilous. Norman had lost his gun and his badge at Club Synn, and there wasn’t an officer in the precinct that would be willing to offer backup─
   Norman stopped dead in his tracks at the glass doors, the familiar twinge rising in his chest.
   Slowly he reached into his pocket and brought out his cell phone. He scrolled through the list of numbers, pausing on the missed call two days prior. He couldn’t leave her in the dark on this. Not when he’d finally found everything.
   He redialed, feeling the uncomfortable dread wash over his anticipation. The dial buzzed, and he felt his heart skip a beat as he heard Ashley’s voice.
   “You’ve reached Sergeant Ashley Gibbons. Please leave a message.”
   Norman ran a hand over his face as he took a deep breath. “Ashley, I found him. The Origami Killer’s name is Scott Shelby. He owns a warehouse on Theodore Roosevelt Road near the docks, and I’m positive that’s where he’s keeping Shaun Mars. I’m heading there now. I just─” Norman bit his lip. “I thought you should know. I hope you get this soon.” He paused a moment, searching for something else to say. Then he lowered the phone and ended the call.
   Norman gazed at the floor, clenching the phone in his fist. He was unarmed, alone, and the police were right behind him after the wrong man again. It was suicide, but somehow suicide seemed less intense when Ashley was with him.
   He moved forward and the doors slid open in front of him, exposing the rush of rain. The air was almost icy, and the cloudy sky was almost permanent black as it had been when he first arrived. Norman gripped his arms, conserving his warmth. Then he stepped through the curtain of water into the heavy rain.
Heavy Rain: ARI Chapter 17: The Origami Killer
Chapter 1: The Dog fav.me/da8aocw
Chapter 2: ARI fav.me/da8slgu
Chapter 3: Briefing fav.me/da98lj1
Chapter 4: She-Devil fav.me/da9qdbj
Chapter 5: Good Cop, Bad Cop fav.me/daairtc
Chapter 6: Separate Ways fav.me/dab5787
Chapter 7: The Well fav.me/dabu9vk
Chapter 8: Karma fav.me/dadczmz
Chapter 9: Fugitive fav.me/daebg1w
Chapter 10: Triptocaine fav.me/daf9cff
Chapter 11: Clue fav.me/dahv3ff
Chapter 12: Mad Jack fav.me/dain80c
Chapter 13: Ethan Mars fav.me/dak8h38
Chapter 14: Club Synn fav.me/dalhush
Chapter 15: Loss fav.me/damkfm5
Chapter 16: A Reason To Live fav.me/daqf8vx
-
Chapter 18: The Old Warehouse fav.me/datkn68
Chapter 19: Surrender fav.me/dawuozh
Chapter 20: Paper fav.me/day5m9p
Chapter 21: Obsession fav.me/daz6ia5

Omigod it's almost Christmastime and I couldn't figure out which way this chapter was gonna go. Just realized how easy Blake is to manipulate. Anyone got someone they really hate? Call Blake and say "dood, this guy knows about the Origami Killer. Can you come get him and take him in for 'questioning?'" EVIL Laughter! 
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Because I got flagged by Deviantart for trying to send thank yous to all 200 or so far who've favorited and given me llamas LOL  Here's a big thank you to you guys! You're all awesome!

Warfstache Thank You by Laffeetaffee

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:iconcookiesophie:
cookiesophie Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy birthday ,baby . Hope you had a great day. :heart:
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SoPhoReal Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
OMG!! I absolutely love your Markiplier drawings! They are so life like!
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:iconlaffeetaffee:
Laffeetaffee Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2016  Professional General Artist
Lol thanks I like drawing him the best =D The glasses and the big chin
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LoxyTheFoxy Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2016  Student Digital Artist
OMG your art is beyond fantabulous!
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Renegad3Spectre Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
your art is so fabulous!
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:iconlaffeetaffee:
Laffeetaffee Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
Lol thanks I try hard
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ChaoKitty Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for watching !!Heart 3D
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Rosedge Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
AWESOME!
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LacrimosaART Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Student General Artist
I discovered it's best to take a picture of your art on a fresh sunny day! :happybounce: Sun's light is the best! CURSE YOU! 
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:iconlaffeetaffee:
Laffeetaffee Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional General Artist
Definitely! As much ambient light as you can get, and sunlight is best. I would kill for a sunroof in my studio :eager: by darkmoon3636 All I got is a dingy little window
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