Title: Photograph

Author: Sarah (surrendersomething)

Characters: Cohen's +1. Mainly Kirsten thinking about Ryan, with some Kirsten&Sandy.

Rating: K+

Spoilers: no real spoilers. Mention of Chrismukkah, that's about it.

Disclaimer: yada yada. Not mine, I know.

Notes: I wanted to do something with Kirsten, Sandy and photographs, and it evolved into this. A little Ryan and a little Seth too. Thanks to Kym for reading this through – loveyoudarling! Enjoy x

Photograph

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just another story, caught up in another photograph…

Photograph – Jamie Cullum

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Her foster son had a knack for photography. At first, she'd simply taken it as a sign that he felt more comfortable around them; but she soon realised that it was more than that. Anyone could "point and shoot", but Ryan had an ability with more unconventional shots – capturing people at their most natural, rather than when 'cheese' had just been muttered through gritted teeth.

The first photos he'd produced were of the framed variety as Chrismukkah presents – for Seth, a candid shot of him and Summer arguing over some trivial matter, complete with over-enthusiastic gestures on both parts and affection shining clearly through the glossy paper.

However, it was his gift to Sandy and her that really touched her – one glance at the picture took her right back to the night in question; and she was suddenly in no doubt of his talent. They were seated at the garden table as the sun set, and their chairs were angled towards one another. Two relatively untouched glasses of wine were sat on the table, ignored as his hand rested on her cheek, fingertips raised to brush her hair away from her face. Ryan had taken the shot from a position almost behind Sandy, and it was the expression on her own face that had floored her the most. Their relationship had always been close, but she'd never realised that intimacy was so clear for everyone else to see.

The frame had taken pride of place on a cabinet in their room, and she caught sight of Seth's every time she entered his room. From then, more photos began to appear…

A few appeared unannounced, strategically placed around the house – a snapshot of Seth and Sandy furiously shooing her away from the grill one sunny afternoon clipped to the fridge; various Newpsie party shots placed on the kitchen table for general perusal; a candid shot from one of said parties of Sandy and her dancing, framed on Sandy's desk.

Some were presented for a reason – Sandy and her sheepishly exiting their bedroom on an afternoon they'd promised to spend with their sons (a shot Seth, after significant expressions of his disgust, hid away for 'bribery purposes'); or Seth fast asleep on the couch with Princess Sparkle clutched in one hand (taken for Summer, just to prove that he wasn't quite as macho as he liked to think).

The giving of photographs became a custom at birthdays and Chrismukkah; and was something they eagerly awaited – a perfect action shot of Seth diving into the pool; Sandy and her deep in conversation, sitting on the edge of the pool as Seth swam up to them – the perfect modern family, Sandy had joked; and another favourite of hers – a last minute Chrismukkah gift, taken after a family evening mere nights earlier. Hailey had returned and they were also joined by Caleb and Julie, as well as Summer and Marissa. Lacking sufficient seating; Ryan had captured her perched on Sandy's lap with an arm looped around his neck, happily snuggled back in his arms as they laughed along with whatever joke was being told.

Not only did she treasure the photos themselves, she also treasured the shy pride on his face – the pleasure at being accepted that still saddened her at times.

And while every photo told a story and quickly became such treasured possessions, there was one she continued to treasure more than all the others put together.

Ryan had set the timer on his camera, after much goading on her own part for a true 'family shot'. Seth had been chattering away through their positioning, a practice shot, and right up until Ryan's dash for his seat. Sandy, with one arm round his wife, had reached out to ruffle his sons' hair in mock annoyance… and somehow, Seth had managed to extend a long limb at precisely the right time to send both himself and Ryan toppling onto the floor.

And the camera had flashed – Sandy and herself laughing on the sofa, and the boys sprawled on the floor attempting to glare at one another and hide the bubbling laughter. It was easy and relaxed, and surprisingly, not forced at all.

And it was her family.

fin.