[personal profile] maayacolabackup











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Yixing’s not sure how it ends up like this. Only he is, because it only makes sense, through the hazy fog of desire, to run his fingers along those mesmerizing contours; run his tongue along them too, for good measure.

Jongin is electric. He whimpers and writhes and gasps beneath Yixing’s desperate hands and mouth, and fists his hands in Yixing’s shirt he traps Yixing against the studio table, careful not to push him too hard lest some of Yixing’s pictures fall to the floor.

EXO had gotten in a few hours ago on a late flight. Jongin’d gone to his hotel and he’d called Yixing, and Yixing had mumbled something about developed photos, and then forty minutes later Jongin was at Yixing’s door.

“I had Chanyeol get me a cab,” Jongin said, quickly, like Yixing was going to question why he’d come. “I told him you wanted me to look at a few pictures.”

“I do,” Yixing had said in response, and Jongin’s cheeks were flushed pink and his hands were sliding in and out of his pocket like he wasn’t sure if he wanted them there or not. “Stop fidgeting.”

“I don’t fidget--” Jongin had started to say, and Yixing had shoved him against the doorframe of the studio entryway and kissed him.

Jongin had squeaked, and then his hands had come up and settled on Yixing’s hips, and he’d kissed him right back.

And now… Now, Yixing drags his mouth along the line of Jongin’s jaw, and Jongin hisses into his ear, slides his hands down Yixing’s sides, warm through Yixing’s shirt.

Yixing doesn’t like men, necessarily, but he likes Jongin. He doesn’t know how anyone couldn’t, when Jongin’s so full of life and color and movement and all those things that make people beautiful, all concentrated into their purest forms.

Jongin finds Yixing’s mouth again, and Yixing licks along his teeth and cheeks and the roof of Jongin’s mouth and tastes shadows and contrasts and love as true as ink and celluloid.

“I don’t have to keep waiting?” Jongin asks, and Yixing shakes his head, before he catches Jongin’s lower lip between his teeth.

“No,” Yixing says. “You don’t.”



#



Yixing teasingly pushes him back, small hands exerting almost no pressure on Jongin’s chest, but Jongin falls like he’s been shoved. Yixing’s bed is soft; the sheets high-thread-count cotton and luxurious, and he only gives Jongin a moment to second-guess any of this before he kisses him.

Everything’s a blur as color drips down the back of Jongin’s back and Yixing tastes those shadows, licking and biting at the column of Jongin’s neck as Jongin gasps and tries to breathe beneath him. His hair, piceous liquid silk, brushes Yixing’s forehead as Yixing brings their mouths together again.

Yixing kisses him until Jongin is splayed out beneath him, breathing hard, lips swollen and blush and parted as he gasps for air. He reaches for his camera, and takes a photo as Jongin’s hands skate up his bare chest.

“You’re so weird,” Jongin says, and he laughs, and thrusts up, and Yixing’d forgotten that they’d lost their jeans a couple rooms back, and now all that separates their erections are the thin material of their briefs, but now he’s reminded, the friction making his hands shake on his camera.

Jongin moans, baring his throat, and Yixing takes another shot.

And then the camera finds itself abandoned on the side of the bed as Jongin flips them, kissing down Yixing’s chest and down, lower, mouthing Yixing through the material of his briefs, and Yixing’s hips cant off the bed, toward the warmth of Jongin’s mouth, and Jongin grins, cheekily.

When they’re both bare, sliding together, sweat and the need to touch overwhelming, Yixing thinks he might be coming apart.

“You’re so beautiful,” Yixing says, as Jongin slides a single digit inside him. It stings, and Yixing already feels like this is too much; like everything is too much and he might break. But then Jongin pulls out slowly and pushes back in, and Yixing hisses at the burn, but he doesn’t break. He stretches. “So beautiful.”

“How can you even see me in the dark?” Jongin’s voice is breathy, like maybe he feels as taut and on edge as Yixing does as he works that single finger in and out. “Relax,” Jongin whispers. “Let me make you feel good. Let me make this feel good.”

“Photographers see things other people don’t,” Yixing says, voice and thighs shaking at the ache, focusing on the friction inside of him, unclenching his muscles as the slide of Jongin’s finger becomes more familiar and a little more easy. “That’s why we become photographers in the first place.” Jongin curls his finger, and the press of the pad of his finger against the walls of his inside startles a gasp from him.

Even in the caliginous room, Yixing can see the shadows clinging to Jongin’s shoulders and neck. Jongin is Old Hollywood again, and Yixing is Slim Adams, and this is the Jongin he saw, the first day they met, but open and distilled and the story Yixing feels like he has always been looking, but better, because he’s real and here and moving.

“Don’t lose track of this, or wander off,” Jongin whispers, as he thrusts hard into Yixing for the first time. Yixing’s thighs tremble, and he feels like he’s splitting in half. It’s more pain than pleasure, but he has faith that that will change. His nails dig into the skin of Jongin’s back. “Don’t think about anything but me.” They aren’t perfectly coherent words, and Yixing’s unsure if he’s speaking in Mandarin or Korean, but he feels them, deep in his bones, like an anchor. Jongin’s skin shines in the thin streams of moonlight, and Yixing’s still as mesmerized as he was that first night on the terrace.

Yixing doesn’t think that Jongin understands that he can’t look anywhere else, because Jongin is the most perfect photograph Yixing’s never taken.

Pleasure arcs up the small of his back, tangled with the pain of the stretch and the exhilaration of the pressure against his insides, and Yixing finally feels like his skin might be as warm as Jongin’s.

“I won’t,” Yixing whispers, and his voice comes out cracked and hoarse, and Jongin shivers at it. “I can’t.”

“Good,” Jongin says, and he pulls out, slow and steady, and pushes back in harder; hard enough to shake Yixing’s thin body as the bed shakes with him, and Yixing makes a garbled noise that would be embarrassing if he didn’t want to pull Jongin closer and feel whatever that feeling is again.

It’s like panning; Jongin is the sole distinguishable object in a sea of blur, and Yixing follows him with eyes and shoulders and hips as he presses in again and again.
“I can’t,” Yixing says again, and nothing has ever been more true.



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Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever... it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything. –Aaron Siskind



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Jongin is impossible to capture, after all. Yixing runs hand down the smooth muscle of Jongin's arms and memorizes the strength he can feel beneath his fingertips. He memorizes the years of sadness he can taste in Jongin's sweat and wonders if he were to cut Jongin open whether all he'd find inside was more of that sadness- that echoing emptiness that isn't black or white or any shade in between. He memorizes the shuddering breaths Jongin takes that sound a lot like the quick release shutter on his favorite long-lens camera, and the way Jongin looks, in those moments, blurry to Yixing's carefully watching eyes as he tries to freeze-frame the perfect moment.

Yixing used to think there was no beauty he couldn't catch with a fast enough shudder speed and an eye for the lighting, but Jongin is everything Yixing has never tried to catch. Yixing lives his life in grayscale and exact pinpoint moments, but Jongin is color in motion, defying the click of the camera and defying Yixing's ability to understand him.

Yixing realizes, as he presses a kiss to the corner of Jongin’s sleeping mouth, that he might be willing to spend the rest of his life trying.

Jongin shift and his palm falls open and flat across Yixing’s heart, and it’s enough.



#



Good things, Yixing knows, aren’t meant to last.

It’s balance—just like in a photograph, there has to be an even distribution of visual elements, and of light and dark. Yixing thinks life is kind of like that, and maybe what he has with Jongin is too much happiness and so there has to be misery now, to even out the score.

That’s why when he sees the cover of the tabloid, he knows something bad is about to happen.

“I’m coming over,” Jongin says, and his voice is grim. “For the last time.”

Yixing feels like the next two hours happen through a polarizer filter, a grainy black and white video that’s not his real life at all.

But it is his real life, and maybe it’s that fact that makes it so hard to see.

“I can’t see you anymore,” Jongin says, and Yixing’s been expecting since he first saw the tabloid but it still hurts to hear.

“Because someone took a picture of us?” Yixing asks, looking up at Jongin with a face that’s carefully blank. “There are a million ways to explain-“

“Because there’s too much at stake,” Jongin says, and this is how it feels, Yixing thinks, to stand at the gate and watch someone leave. “And it’s not worth it.”

That hurts the worst of all, until Yixing squints and really looks at Jongin.

Jongin doesn’t believe that. Yixing has been memorizing every nuance of Jongin’s face for months and months, and Jongin’s always been shit at lying.

Jongin’s always tried to protect him. To keep his face out of the news, and Yixing’s always been grateful, before. But now Jongin is looking at him and saying he can’t see Yixing anymore, because there are too many people watching. Because the paparazzi are getting too close and Jongin’s got his career and Yixing’s got his and that’s the way it has to be.

“No it doesn’t,” Yixing says, and Jongin closes his eyes.

“I want it to be, then.” Jongin steps back as Yixing steps forward, and Yixing pretends not to notice that it hurts. “This is goodbye.”

He chooses the word on purpose. Yixing knows he does.

Yixing hates goodbyes. And yet here he is staring at another one.

The world’s in grayscale.



#



“You haven’t complained about the food even once,” Jongdae says. “What’s wrong?”

Yixing hasn’t taken any pictures in three weeks and he keeps trying but the only story he can find is his own heartbreak. He finds it in sidewalk cracks and in helpless earthworms drowning in the early spring rains. He finds it in his studio, where he’s still got hundreds of pictures of Jongin in piles on his desk that he can’t bear to look through.

He finds it in Jongin’s parted lips and they way Jongin had looked at him before he walked out the door, and every time he lifts his camera up to snap a photo, he sees Jongin through the viewfinder; Jongin in New York, laughing at the surprise snow. Jongin in Tokyo, green soybean powder decorating his face. Jongin on Yixing’s bed, stretched out like a cat in the sun as he plays games on his mobile phone, one hand on his stomach and the other on Yixing’s calf as Yixing takes pictures of Jongin’s fingers and Jongin’s toes because the abstract can sometimes tell the story of a moment.

“I’m fine,” Yixing says, and he takes a bite of Jongdae’s latest concoction and grimaces. “This is truly horrible, though, you’re right.”

“You ate half already, Yixing.” Jongdae sounds half seriously concerned and half amazed. “Is your grandmother okay?”

“She’s fine. Everything’s fine.”

“If everything were fine, you wouldn’t look so glum.” Jongdae pushes the traditional pot of reheated dumplings toward him. “Here, have a dumpling.”

“Wow, I must look really pathetic.”

“Just a lot,” Jongdae says. “What are you thinking so hard about?”

“Goodbyes,” Yixing says.

“Well that’s why you look so sad,” Jongdae says. “Wouldn’t you rather think about ‘hello’s?”

There are no hellos left with Jongin. Yixing’s phone hasn’t rung. Yixing’s spare key remains undisturbed beneath the mat in front of his door.

“Sometimes there aren’t any hellos left,” Yixing says, and Jongdae sets down his chopsticks.

“So you know Kris is the one with all the deep philosophical advice, right?” Jongdae sighs. “That said, I think there are always hellos left. And after… after she died you took a really long time to say hello to a lot of things.”

“I know,” Yixing says. “I know.”

“So don’t let go of that! That thing that made you say ‘hello’ again. Don’t… let go of that.”

Yixing looks at Jongdae, and Jongdae smiles and shoves a dumpling in his mouth. “Thanks,” Yixing says, and Jongdae chokes.

“I should’ve left the pep talks to duizhang,” he says around a mouthful, and Yixing exhales.

“I think you did all right,” Yixing says, and takes another terrible bite of his lunch.



#



Yixing sorts the photos on his studio table into piles for filing. He does his best not to let his eyes linger on some of them as he organizes, and he’s mostly successful, willing himself to treat them as if they’re the dregs of any other finished project.

It’s hard, but he does it.

But then he comes across the picture… the one Jongin took, in his car, in front of Yixing’s hotel when Yixing had still been teetering on the brink of admitting to himself that it was all okay; that the things he was feeling for Jongin weren’t going to disappear just because Yixing was afraid.

‘Patiently waiting for the right moment.’ He’s so in love. In the photo, and in real life, and everywhere in between.

He swallows, and it hurts. His throat feels stopped up, like his heart is stuck there and refusing to let anything else through.

He closes his eyes for a moment, and sets the photo to the side.

Beneath it, though, is another photo.

Yixing took that one, in the dressing room. ‘Wanting.’

Jongin is looking straight at the camera, and Yixing will never forget that moment. It’s still, Yixing thinks, one of the best photos of Jongin he’s ever taken. And Jongin is looking at the camera; at Yixing behind it, like he’s everything, and Yixing wants…

Yixing wants to see Jongin look at him like that again. Yixing wants to run his fingers along Jongin’s neck where his hair has grown a little too long and for Jongin to run his fingers up Yixing’s forearm slow and steady, and Yixing wants to take photographs of Jongin’s lips and then kiss every place his lens has captured.

“Love is selfish,” Yixing had told Jongin once, and he’d meant it.

And Yixing knows Jongin is trying to protect Yixing, and protect himself too. He knows that, but it doesn’t make it easier to live with.

Yixing lift his camera, his grandfather’s camera, and looks through the viewfinder, and points it toward the empty doorway of his studio. He remembers when Jongin had stood there, hands in his pockets. He remembers pressing Jongin against it and kissing him.

He takes a photo of the empty doorway.

The photo comes out eerie, almost like there’s a ghost in the doorway that only Yixing can see.

He titles it ‘Miss You, Miss You’, even if he only calls it that in his head, and he locks it in the top drawer of his desk.

Yixing still hasn’t taken… He still hasn’t taken the photo of Jongin he’s always wanted to take. The one he’s promised to take. He’s taken photos that look like Jongin, but Jongin is so much more than those. Jongin is the challenge Yixing wants to keep attempting, over and over again,, for as long as he can.

Yixing doesn’t think he can give Jongin up.


TIP 09



Sometimes photographers think too much.

Yixing often gets so caught up in figuring out all the threads of what he’s trying to represent—what he wants the viewer to take away, and what he wants to be sure to catch, that he forgets to really look.

Because in the end, photography is really about seeing. It’s about taking a deep breath and observing. It’s about looking at the world around him and noticing the little things, or the big things, that other people don’t notice.

And when he gets caught up in all the thoughts; thoughts about that strange shape in the corner or that little fraction of Jongin’s face that’s slightly too much in shadow, or all the consequences of being completely and totally infatuated with the way Jongin looks when his eyes open in the morning, lips dry and cracked and breath stale and eyes so deep he might drown in them, he forgets the important things.

Like that he’s so crazy in love with Jongin that every exhale hurts just a little, because his heart has swelled so big it pushes into his lungs and the pressure aches.

And maybe now is the time not to think. Maybe now is the time to just see.



#



Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment - this very moment - to stay. – Sam Abell



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It’s the same road. She’s waiting at the end of it, again, and Yixing walks toward her, again.

This time, she gets closer. When he reaches her, he lifts his camera up to take a picture, and she smiles.

But then she puts her hands on his shoulders, and spins him around, and behind him is Jongin.

Jongin is standing there on Yixing’s gray road with it’s gray pebbles and light charcoal colored grass, and he’s wearing blue-jeans and a white sweater with navy and red stripes. Everything else is in black and white, but Jongin is shifting his weight from foot to foot in full color.

He holds out a hand, and Yixing swallows. He can feel her fingernails digging into his shoulders, and then she pushes, and Yixing stumbles forward.

Yixing lifts his camera, and Jongin smiles, straight at him, with no pretence or worry or hesitance, and Yixing finally catches him. He finally takes a photo that feels like Jongin.

When he wakes, sheets sticking to his legs and stomach, Yixing finds it hard to breathe.

”The limitations of your photography are yourself,” Ernest Haas had once said.

Yixing scrambles for his phone. It’s eight-thirty in the morning. It’s late enough to call a travel agent.




#




His badge still works. He flashes it to the guard and smiles lopsidedly, and the guard seems to vaguely remember him, waving him up. He leaves his bag behind the desk.

He follows incessant bass beats to the right rehearsal room.

The first person to notice him standing in the doorway is Zitao, who smiles a tiny little grin before offering a soft wave. Yixing waves back, and the action catches Sehun’s eyes. Sehun’s mouth opens into a tiny ‘o’ of surprise, and he quickly glances over to Zitao. They share a loaded glance; one that would offer a hundred interpretations in a gallery show, critics standing side by side with flutes of champagne and plenty of opinions.

Jongin is facing away from the door, stretching his arms above his head, bouncing on the balls of his feet to the beat of the music to keep his muscles from tightening up.

Yixing can see the shift of his shoulder blades through his sweaty shirt, and he remembers what they feel like beneath his desperate hands and Jongin presses kisses to his jaw.

He clears his throat, and Jongin spins around. His eyes widen, and his mouth parts, and he’s always picture-perfect but Yixing thinks this is one moment, one image of Jongin, that he’ll never be able to forget.

He has a speech planned in his head, that he’d rehearsed to himself on the plane ride and in the taxi ride here, and he’d almost gone to the hotel first but he’d been afraid he’d chicken out if he did.

But now, standing in front of Jongin, the man who’d brought the life back into his pictures and maybe back into his heart, the words disappear.

Jongin moves closer. Yixing’s stomach drops.

“What are you doing here, Zhang Yixing?” He’s guarded, and his arms are wrapped around his ribs like he’s hugging himself. There’s also disbelief in the set of his mouth, like he can’t believe Yixing is here. “I thought I made it pretty clear that things were over between us.”

He can’t even pretend to be detached, Yixing thinks distantly. Not to Yixing, who has seen so much of him.

“I said I’d never…” Jongin is flushed, hair sticking to his face with sweat, and Yixing can see Zitao and Sehun watching them from the doorway. Sehun has a smirk crawling up his face and Zitao looks enthralled. “Come.”

He grabs Jongin’s forearm and tugs, and Jongin spills out into the hallway, sneakers squeaking as Yixing drags him down until they reach the vending machines. “How’d you even get in here-“

“I still have a clearance badge,” Yixing says. “As your official photographer.”

“Are you here for something relating to the photo book?” Jongin asks. “Because I have a manager for that, as obnoxious as he is.”

“No,” Yixing says, and he wants to make his face impassive but that’s not fair. Right now, more than anything, he wants to hold up his camera and hide behind it. “I am here on personal business.”

“Personal business?” Jongin laughs, dryly, and Yixing winces. “We can’t… I’m too famous, and there’s too much... I’m a client, and you’re a photographer, and between us it the camera, and that’s--“

“Do you remember?” Yixing interrupts, and Jongin pauses, sweat-slick skin shining under fluorescent lights and this is terrible lighting but Jongin is still beautiful. “The first time you saw my oversized print of ‘Tears Airport’.”

“At your studio.” Jongin narrows his eyes. “Of course I do. I wanted to tell you, then, that I… It doesn’t matter, I guess.”

“Do you remember what I said, about that photo?”

“You were in love with her.” Jongin is terse, and short. His adam’s apple bobs as he exhales, and his nails are digging into his palms. “Yes, of course I remember. How could I forget?”

What else did I say?” Yixing knows he sounds desperate, and he lets the feeling show on his face, too. He lets Jongin see it all. He’s stripped Jongin bare in front of his lenses and all he can do now is repay the favor.

“You said… she let you go.” Jongin’s eyes flicker up then, confused. There’s a strange light in his eyes now, and he takes a step closer. He smells like sweat and like his favorite cinnamon coffee and like floor cleaner, and Yixing doesn’t care because he probably smells like airport and like developer and like a halfway broken heart. “You said she let you go.”

“And then I said,” Yixing searches for the words, the exact words, because precision is important when you want to capture an entire scene, “I would never let the one I love walk out of my life like I walked out of hers.”

“I remember that, too,” Jongin says, and it’s soft and crackling. His tongue peeks out to lick his lips. “But-“

“I’m not going to let you walk out of my life,” Yixing says lowly, and he reaches up and fists his hand into Jongin’s damp tank shirt and looks at him steadily, even though he knows he’s shaking. Yixing tries to find words that are enough. “I look at the world and as soon as you’re there, I can’t see anything else.” He takes a shuddering breath. “In my dreams, everything but you is in grayscale. But you… you’re in color.”

“I thought color was distracting,” Jongin says.

“It is,” Yixing replies. “But just this once, it made things a little clearer.”

There are video cameras, and Yixing’s very aware of that. Jongin is too, but he still sets one hand on Yixing’s hip, and Yixing thinks Jongin wants to kiss him. Jongin’s eyes are soft amber and molten bronze and sparkling cinnamon, same as they were when Yixing had met him for the first time and been unable to look away.

Jongin laughs, and it’s sort of like a sob. “You’re… you’re so confusing.”

“I’m sorry.” Yixing curls his fingers tighter into the sweaty fabric. His knuckles dig into Jongin’s sternum. “But I love you.”

“You do?” And Yixing wonders if Jongin had only tried to leave because he thought Yixing hadn’t already given Jongin his whole heart.

Yes,” Yixing says, and Jongin exhales.

“That… changes things. I thought you-“ Jongin shakes his head, and tendrils of his hair cling to his cheeks. “I thought it was some weird, artist-muse thing, and you’d just gotten caught up in it and you’d find it easy to get over me, if I left you-“

“No,” Yixing says. “I want to take pictures of you because I can’t look away. And it’s not your face. It’s all the little bits of you hidden away that I can only seem to see if I keep looking.”

“Then,” and Jongin closes his eyes for a moment, before he opens them again. “I guess maybe it might be worth it, after all, as long as you let me see the hidden bits of you, too, sometimes.”

“We have a deal,” Yixing says solemnly, and Jongin is so bright he burns.

“You might never take a photograph like that again, with those emotions, but there are other emotions. There’s still a lot left to discover, for you,” Jongin had said, and Yixing, as he lets his hand fall back to his side, wonders if this is one of those other emotions; an unbearable obsession that eats him up inside and makes him wonder if it’s possible to take enough pictures to capture all the different ways Jongin looks when he’s in love. In love with Yixing. He thinks it might not be possible, but he’s willing to try.

“So can I take you out on a date?” Jongin’s words are playful, but there’s uncertainty lingering in the audible question mark. “A secret one, of course, because obviously I’m an idol, and I’ve already filled my scandal quota for the year—“

”We can go on a hundred dates, if you want,” Yixing wants to say, but he thinks Jongin already knows that, deep down.

“I think that would be nice,” Yixing says, instead, and this: Jongin’s smile stretching from ear to ear in a boyish smile as his hair sticks to his face and his eyes light up… This is a flashbulb memory.




#




A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.—Ansel Adams




#




“So are you coming to my show?” Yixing asks, and Kris raises an eyebrow.

“I figured I’d be driving you,” Kris says with a laugh, and Yixing scratches the back of his neck.

“Jongin probably will, actually.”

“Isn’t that out of his way?” Minseok asks. He’s quickly correcting the size on the files Yixing had sent him—a series of photos on footprints, which is Yixing’s current obsession. Yixing’s making a website to collect other people’s photos and put up his own, but Minseok is the on who knows how big they need to be and how to upload them and all that.

“No.” Yixing doesn’t say it’s because Jongin will probably spend the day with him, as Yixing takes photographs of the way Jongin’s hipbones jut out when Yixing drags a fingers across the skin there, or the way his fingers and Jongin’s look laced together, Yixing’s hand thin and small looking wrapped in Jongin’s.

Lu Han’s always been good at reading between the lines with Yixing though, and he peers more closely at Yixing when Yixing doesn’t offer more information. “Are you… dating him?”

It sounds funny. Yixing doesn’t think of what he has with Jongin—an obsession with the lines around his mouth and the shadows that linger along the dips in his torso and the way he whispers Yixing’s name when he thinks Yixing is asleep or the way he’s never, ever still, as dating.

It feels a little different from that.

“Yes.”

Jongdae whistles inappropriately as Kris looks up from his phone with interest, and Yixing realizes, belatedly, that he’s sort of dropped more than one bomb at once on his friends, and he braces himself for impact.

“So let me get this straight-“ Lu Han has his hands resting on the table behind him, and his fingers tap a rhythmless pattern into the wood.

Gay,” Jongdae says. “I think you mean get this gay.” Kris smacks him upside the back of the head.

“Grow up,” Kris hisses, but Yixing just laughs and adjusts the settings on his camera.

“It’s fine,” Yixing says. “Yes, Jongdae. Gay.” It’s not that simple, but Yixing doesn’t expect other people to understand when he doesn’t get it himself.

All Yixing knows is that Jongin is… Jongin is the person who dragged Yixing kicking and screaming out of his own reservations and fear, and Jongin is the person who makes it all worth it, in the end. Jongin is better than any Lucie award or any gallery show, because Jongin is an endless world of photographs Yixing has yet to take.

“It’s not fun if you’re not even the least bit defensive,” Jongdae says. “Also Lu Han owes me 300 yuan.”

“I never agreed to that,” Lu Han says. “I knew he’d figure out he liked Kai way before you did, you vulture.” He turns to Minseok with puppy dog eyes. “Didn’t I?”

“You sure did,” Minseok says consolingly, not looking up from the computer.

Yixing should be upset that his friends have been taking bets behind his back, but Kris looks dismayed enough for the both of them, so he settles for laughing, an effusing warmth spreading from his belly all the way up through his chest.

“I want to take a photo.”

“What’s stopping you?” Lu Han says, but Yixing shakes his head.

“Of you guys,” he clarifies, and Minseok spins around in his spinning chair as Kris blinks in surprise.

Somehow they all stand and assemble, and Yixing unpacks his camera from his backpack. It’s a new roll, so he takes a picture of the surge bar in the corner before he looks through the viewfinder.

“Smile, you guys,” he says, and as they bicker and clamor to fit together in front of Minseok’s desk, Jongdae bending forward in front and Lu Han making bunny ears behind him. Minseok is laughing as Kris stoically stands with his hand on the computer monitor and the other resting on Lu Han’s shoulder.

Yixing takes the picture before they’re ready. Minseok’s mouth is wide open in a laugh and Jongdae is looking up at Kris and Lu Han’s eyes are wild. Kris looks a bit constipated.

“Yixing, that was cold, man,” Jongdae says, and Yixing laughs.

“We can take another,” Yixing says, and he lifts the camera back up to his eye and squints through the viewfinder. “I’ve got plenty of film.”



#



Jongin holds the camera up, so neither of them can see through the viewfinder, lens pointed toward their mashed together faces.

“What’s the story?” Yixing laughs as he says it.

“An artist and his muse,” Jongin says, tone pretentious, and Yixing laughs even harder as Jongin presses the shutter.



#



Yixing is not a snake that can shed its old skin and start over anew, gleaming as it slithers free of it’s old shell into the grass.

But he feels sort of like that as Jongin’s hands slide down his arms and take Yixing’s long cultivated detachment with them layer by layer as he pushes in slow and gentle and fucks Yixing until Yixing claws at his back for release.

Yixing feels like he was a roll of film still in the can, and Jongin has carefully taken the negative of Yixing’s heart and exposed it; printing him perfect beneath stubborn lips and fluttering eyelashes.



TIP 10



One of the most important things about photography-- capturing the perfect photo of Jongin, stretched out across the sheets with one hand curled up and mashed into his cheek, lines from Yixing’s pillowcase across the other side of his face, and long legs almost golden against white cotton, is that one has to believe in luck.

No matter how great the photographer, one cannot take that ideal photo if there’s nothing to take it of.

Sometimes it’s luck that a photograph appears in front of Yixing’s eyes; like now, as Jongin’s chest rises and falls with steady, even breaths to an inaudible beat.

Yixing picks up his camera, sitting up carefully so he doesn’t disturb his sleeping love.

Yixing holds the camera up, squinting through the viewfinder until everything is a pale wash of whites and beiges and yellows, and the shadows of Jongin’s dark hair a vivid contrast against it all. Even in sleep, there’s still something restless about Jongin—Yixing thinks Jongin’s skin is dancing to make up for the stillness of his limbs.

He clicks the shutter, and there’s the whirr of sliding film in the belly of the camera; a simple 35mm roll.

Yixing smiles.

It’s color film.

When Yixing dreams, it’s alight with every tint of the rainbow, and Jongin’s eyes shine gold.

This is luck.






END


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December 2012

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