Photographic Memories Part 2
A Gravitation Fanfic
Tatsuha was not used to feeling embarrassed. He was far from prudish, or even modest. He probably had worn something similar to the outfit he was currently wearing sometime in the past month. At a rave, surrounded by people in similar clothing who were busy dancing, flirting, drinking, making-out, or any combination of the four. Depending on the rave, black lighting, moshing, and drugs could also have been involved.
Wearing the outfit in front of a group of people in normal clothes, in a big empty warehouse with cameras and lights surrounding him, was a very different experience. He felt awkward and out of place. And, though he hated to admit it, a touch embarrassed. He was currently lieing on his back, head arched back to look at the camera - one leg bent and the other straight. One hand was reaching for the camera, and the other rested on his stomach - tank pulled up around it to show skin. The position was down right uncomfortable and he couldn't help but wonder if he looked as ridiculous as he felt.
"Unbutton your fly." Himechi directed.
Tatsuha blinked. "Wha-?"
"Unbutton your fly. It's sexier that way. Partially dressed is a hotness that spans cultures." Himechi told him, before disappearing behind the camera again.
Trying to forget that there was a whole group of people watching him as he unbuttoned his pants wasn't easy. He actually felt his cheeks heat slightly and prayed it didn't show under the make-up. Praying was pretty much second-nature to him anyway, and he found himself reciting one in his head that seemed suitable to the occasion. He wasn't aware his lips were moving until Himechi commented.
"Don't mutter under your breath. It twists your mouth and ruins shots. Lie down again. It was almost right."
Tatsuha lied down, but frowned. "I was praying for strength in the face of adversity." He retorted.
"I wouldn't have guessed you were religious."
"I'm a monk."
Himechi opened her mouth to make a snappy retort, but paused - seeing something in his face. "You're not joking, are you?" Her eyes widened in realization.
"Nope." Ryuichi provided before Tatsuha could. "Tatsuha is the heir to a temple."
"Er...this wouldn't be considered sacrilegious in anyway, right?" Himechi asked.
Tatsuha found himself chuckling. "I don't recall sexy photoshoots being directly mentioned in regards to preventing one reaching Nirvana. So I think we're good." He rolled onto one arm to look at her.
"Hm?" His head tilted slightly as the camera emitted strings of clicks.
"Hot." Himechi grinned. "Stand up. How about take the jacket off now? Throw it over the shoulder. C'mon - be sultry! Lid your eyes."
"Lid them?" Tatsuha arched his eyebrows, not understanding the terminology.
"That's a cute expression, actually."
"Cute??" Tatsuha spluttered.
"You can rebutton your pants, actually. And tuck the tank top back in." Himechi instructed, glancing over at where Ryuichi was watching preview shots on a screen. "Ryuichi, if you're feeling better do go get ready for your shoot. Mori!"
Ryuichi frowned at her, but when Tatsuha glanced over he smiled. "These pictures are cool, Tatsuha-kun! What do you think? Is it fun?"
"It's...a different experience." Tatsuha replied. Ryuichi waved as Mori led him toward the make-up room.
"Okay! Lidding means to half-close your eyes, but look forward or up. It's classic sultry. C'mon kid, I know you've got a "Come hither" look in your repertoire. Show it off."
It was strange, as he'd only met Himechi that day, but the way she spoke made it feel like she knew alot about him. And it wasn't as if she said it in an overbearing way, as if she was jumping to conclusions. It was spoken casually - like jokes between old friends. Come to think of it, he'd never told her his age. So why did she keep calling him 'kid', when most everyone else jumped to the conclusion he was older?
At the same time, it didn't make him feel uncomfortable around her - just the opposite. Mori had said Himechi was the best, and he was starting to see why. Turning his back on the camera, he threw the jacket over one shoulder and looked over the other. He was only slightly surprised to find his eyes falling half close as he gave Himechi's camera a look that he'd used to convince more than one partner to follow him from a nightclub.
The camera committed a long string of clicks before Himechi spoke. "Purrr, kid. That's the only word for it. Purrrr...."
To Tatsuha there seemed to be an excessive amount of shots. But he was still posing when an arm wrapped around his shoulders. "Himechi must like your posing, Tatsuha-kun!" Ryuichi exclaimed. "I've seen her send top models home in less time. A few in tears."
"Eh?" Tatsuha looked back, and froze.
A leather vest flowed around Ryuichi, but there was no shirt underneath. Leather pants hung low on his hips, and clung to him like a second skin. Two chains hung around his neck, and a chain hung off the leather armband on one arm. His hair flowed around him, and this close he could see the make-up on his skin and the slight tint on his lips.
"You're blushing, Tatsuha." Ryuichi mentioned. "Has Himechi been making you do naughty poses?"
"I know you're posing with the Ryuichi Sakuma, kid, but how about looking a little less dazed?" Himechi broke the moment.
Embarrassed at being called out on his staring, Tatsuha snapped his head toward Himechi's camera - giving her his best Uesugi glare. The camera clicked away.
"Such a dangerous duo. A little girl like me should be positively terrified." Himechi's smirk belied her words.
Tatsuha glanced up and saw Ryuichi had turned to her as well. If He'd been glaring, he couldn't say. Right then he was chuckling. "You're cruel, Himechi."
"That's why I'm the best. Ready for your shoot?"
"Just a few duo shots! Right, Tatsuha?" Ryuichi grinned at him.
"I-I'd love to!" He admitted.
Himechi sighed. "And this is why I never schedule clientele after Ryuichi. Such a brat. Mori! Prop guns! Okay, you two - impress me."
"This way, Tatsuha." Ryuichi instantly took over, turning him to face him. He hooked his fingers through Tatsuha's belt loops, and drew their bodies close. "Look at Himechi. She'll say to look sultry any minute."
"C'mon, sultry! Sexy!" Himechi instructed. "Make me want to join you!"
Tatsuha half closed his eyes again, but he felt the blush burning his cheeks. This was Ryuichi he was standing close enough to touch. It was arousing. But with Himechi's crew looking on it was embarrassing, too. Once again, Himechi seemed to read his mind. Or maybe she'd just seen his blush. She popped out from behind the camera to study them.
"There's a little bit of exhibitionist in all of us, kid. Now turn and give me that purring come hither look again. Take his arm, Ryu, and give me Come Hither Three...mm, no, make it Come Hither Five."
"Guns." Mori appeared with a rifle and a hand gun as the camera clicked away.
"Ryu, rifle! Kid, Floor!"
"What?" Tatsuha blinked as Ryuichi caught the rifle Mori tossed at him.
"Himechi sometimes reverts to caveman speak when she's on a roll." Ryuichi grinned at him. "She wants you to lie down on the floor."
"Less talk, more posing. Sideways to the camera, kid. Ryu - in front, lean on the rifle. Spread your legs, I want to see the kids face. Mori, handgun."
"Here, Tatsuha!" Mori slid the prop gun across the floor at him.
Tatsuha picked it up blankly. "What do I do with it?"
"Just hold it for now. Prop yourself up with it in the hand of the arm you're leaning on...nice..." Himechi took a few shots. "Hey, kid, wrap one arm around Ryuichi's leg, will you?"
Tatsuha swallowed, reaching up to lay his hand on Ryuichi's leg hesitantly.
"I said wrap. Pull yourself closer so your arm goes around. That's more like it!"
"I don't bite, Tatsuha." Ryuichi's whisper held a teasing note. "Nibble maybe, but never bite."
"Smoking! Mori! Knives! Don't stand up - lay back. Ryu straddle - standing please. Now aim at eachother." Himechi kept going.
"Are we partners or enemies?" Ryuichi asked her as he aimed his rifle at Tatsuha's head.
"Rivals who are forced to work together. Very UST." Himechi countered.
Tatsuha held the handgun in both hands and pointed it at Ryuichi's heart. "What's UST?" He asked the idol. Ryuichi smirked at him, and Tatsuha felt his heart hammer in his chest.
"I think you should hold the gun with one hand." Ryuichi suggested.
"Like this?" Tatsuha switched his hold.
"Exactly." Ryuichi's tone was smug. It was all the warning he got before the singer grabbed his wrist and pinned it to the floor, kneeling to one side as he pressed the rifle into his stomach. "Bam, I win!"
"Hey!" Tatsuha protested.
"Tatsuha, knife!" Mori shouted and something clattered near his ear.
Bending his knee under Ryuichi's gun arm he pushed up.
"Ah!" Ryuichi lost his balance, releasing his arm, and Tatsuha grabbed up the prop knife - pressing it to the idol's throat as he started to get back up. He was vaguely aware of the clicking sound of Himechi's camera.
"Who wins?" Tatsuha challenged
"Me." Another prop knife was in Ryuichi's hand - blade to Tatsuha's stomach.
Tatsuha froze, then began to chuckle. "The last time I did something like this, I was nine."
"Tell me about that time." Ryuichi encouraged. His voice was soft, but still seriousness. Usually Tatsuha did not let himself dwell on the past - especially in regards to his family and childhood, but the soft words were hard to resist.
"Eiri and I were pretending to be samurai." He remembered running through the woods behind the temple, a branch for a sword - trying to catch up with his brother.
"Sounds like fun." Ryuichi's response sounded honestly interested. Not condescending or teasing as he might have expected another to reply to the confession.
"It...was..." He felt himself smile at the half-forgotten memory.
"Maybe we'll try that next. But, Tatsuha?"
"Yes?" He'd relaxed while they chatted - it was a mistake. Ryuichi was suddenly behind him, fake knife to his throat, arm around his chest.
"I always win."
Recalling the handgun, he pointed it up at Ryuichi. "Bam! Not against me!"
"Mori. Blood packs." Himechi's voice was serious.
"Ne?" Mori asked in confusion. "Say, what's happening exactly?"
"This shoot just went from good to fabulous."
Ryuichi and Tatsuha faced off on a dark street. They were bandaged and wounded, like they'd been through a hard fight.
"Where'd the street come from?" Tatsuha asked, studying the preview screen. He was towel drying his hair. Makeup and fake wounds washed away.
"It's one of several thousand background the computer has on memory." Himechi explained. "Looks like it came from a movie, huh?"
"That's...wild. But wasn't Ryuichi supposed to do solo shots for the Nittle Grasper calendar?"
With a click of the mouse, thumbnails appeared on the screen. Every shot showed only Ryuichi. "Think any of those will work?"
Tatsuha found himself studying the thumbnails. "I don't like the last shot." He was a bit surprised by the fact.
"Good eye." Himechi nodded. "Ryu's in wardrobe now. Head to make-up, okay?"
Tatsuha blinked. "But I thought-"
"Listen, kid. I've hired models to pose with Sakuma before, because photographing him alone is always touch and go. I noticed he posed better with Seguchi or Ukai there. They weren't available. You're here. So, I'm gonna be very bad and take advantage of it. So get to make-up, okay?"
Tatsuha paused, then shrugged - grinning. "It's your set."
Himechi watched him head toward make-up before looking at the preview screen again. Mori stepped up behind her. "You stopped using models after the second try. You said they wren't any help."
"They weren't. He is. You can do the math, I can do the math, and we both know Seguchi already did the math or he wouldn't have sent him. But Tatsuha has no clue. And telling him isn't in my job description."
"Does Sakuma know?" Mori was serious.
Himechi snorted, clearing the screen as she stood up. "Sakuma Ryuichi always knows what he wants."
The sun was setting as Ryuichi and Tatsuha walked along the street toward the train station. A baseball hat and sunglasses disguised the idol from prying eyes. "Thanks for coming today, Tatsuha-kun."
"It was...unique." Tatsuha wasn't sure what else to call the day. A taste of another world, maybe?
"Himechi was impressed by you, I could tell." Ryuichi commented. "Ever considered modeling?"
"I'm temple heir." Tatsuha said quietly.
"It's not just an obligation?" Ryuichi asked, his tone serious.
"...was today an obligation for you?"
"It was, but you being there made it fun."
"But it's part of being a singer, right?"
"It's part of being famous." Ryuichi corrected, frowning. Then his face cleared. "I see. Yes, there's obligations that come from being a singer I could do without. But I want to sing, so I'll take whatever comes with it."
"I feel the same."
"But you enjoyed today?" Ryuichi pressed.
"Parts of it." Tatsuha grinned. "Other parts were...awkward."
"Which part? The make-up chair? Or unbuttoning your pants in a room full of people?" The singer teased him, grinning when he saw a blush highlight the young man's cheeks.
"I never realized how uncomfortable certain positions are to hold for a length of time. I'm never going to look at an advertisement the same again." Tatsuha changed the subject.
Ryuichi chuckled. "Tohma sprained his knee once in a shoot. Looking back, it's funny. But I'm sure he didn't find it so at the time."
"Y'know something? All those pictures and I don't have even one to take home with me."
"That's a good point!" Ryuichi's eyes widened. He galnced up and down the street. "Ah! This way!" Grabbing Tatsuha's arm he pulled him to a purikura booth. "In here!"
"Ne? Isn't that for girls and cou-!"
"C'mon!" Ryuichi dragged him inside.
Tatsuha was still grinning as he waved goodbye to Ryuichi while he got on the train to Kyoto. Ryuichi glanced down at his own strip of photos from the booth with a small smile. His cellphone ran, and he picked it up. "Sakuma."
"So, these pictures of you and the kid. I don't think Tohma will appreciate me billing him for them." Himechi told him.
Ryuichi chuckled. "Bill them to me. Prints and a CD, please."
"If you let me use them in my next photobook, I'll give you a discount..." Himechi hedged.
"Full price, thanks. Do you still charge extra for the negatives?"
"A photographer has to make a living."
"I'll need a release form, too."
"All the copies and the rights? If I didn't know better, I'd say you didn't trust me."
"Tongues wag. Negatives can go missing. You have a staff, Himechi. I can't trust all of them."
"Are you protecting him? Or yourself?"
"Y'know, Tohma brought this beautiful young woman to a shoot once. I convinced him to let me do some shots of them together. He payed to keep the negatives and rights too."
"Mika is still beautiful. you should convince Tohma to bring her in to do a shoot sometime."
"I told him something that day, and I'm going to say it to you too. A photograph makes a moment last forever. Chances aren't the same. Be careful not to miss yours."
Ryuichi looked after the train vanishing into the distance on the tracks. "Thank-you for today, Himechi. It's a memory I'll treasure."
"Am I dreaming? Or do I actually hear the sound of Sakuma Ryuichi not playing dirty to get what he wants?"
Ryuich chuckled. "You're mistaking patience for naivety. If I wasn't playing the same as always, he wouldn't have been here today."
"Ah. Well, they say all is fair in love and war."
"It's also been written that war is the art of deceit."
"Contrarywise, I have to say that love is the art of truth. Don't ruin your own chances with your games, Ryu."
"You're forgetting what I told Tatsuha today, Himechi." Ryuichi smirked. "I always win."
"Arrogant as ever. But to win at love you have to lose. Remember that."
"Hn." Ryuichi studied the photostrip from the Purikura booth one last time. "Let's just say, today will be worth sleeping on the couch for." He hung up, leaving her wondering what that meant as he boarded the next train.
I thought about making this longer. Because I'm sure I'm not the only one who could dream up a half dozen cool outfits for Ryuichi and Tatsuha to wear. LOL But I figured that actually writing the photoshoot would get dull pretty fast. So just imagine a super-cool splash page of them in different outfits between the scene between Himechi and Mori talking and Ryuichi walking Tatsuha to the train station. LOL I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter. Expect a new update for The Price for Loving You soon as well.