Disclaimer: I so massively don't own any of this. And I'm not making any money.
Mike has always had a thing with photography. He liked it and was decent at it, he felt. His older sister was a professional so he had one of her older camera – professional grade and expensive looking. He used to take photos of sunsets, lakes in the summer, Columbus architecture, stuff like that. But, lately he had taken up taking photos of people.
He has a box of photos in his room. The ones he really likes get put in The Folder. (It's actually not just one folder anymore, it started as one, but now it's two.) He's got some really good shots he feels.
There's one of Matt, reclining on his bedroom floor with CDs surrounding him, smirking at the camera. Mike showed it to his sister and she really liked it, so he figured it was good and it got to be put in The Folder.
Kurt has quite a few places in The Folder, mostly because he's so photogenic. There's a photo of Kurt laughing with Mercedes where he just seems to shine. His eyes are sparkling and he looks genuinely happy – it makes Mike uncomfortable to realize how long it's been since he saw Kurt look that happy at school. There's also a photo of Kurt shopping in Columbus – he was dragged along for some reason he can't remember – in it Kurt is trying on a hat, which is the foreground image, but the background is some guy checking him out. Mike was lucky to have been standing where he was to catch the guy.
Mercedes has a few places in The Folder as well. One that Mike remembers vividly is Mercedes playing DDR at an arcade with Quinn, Kurt, and Tina. The lights are flashing, the screen is lit up, and Mercedes is in the center of the shot, smiling widely. The shutter went off right when she planted her left foot behind her, which got her body to turn just enough that Mike caught her face. Another is a picture of Mercedes playing the piano with Rachel in the glee room really early in the morning – he doesn't remember why they were at school that early but suspects it's probably Rachel Berry related – so the light is shining through the top windows just right and Rachel's hair seems to be glowing and Mercedes looks radiant. It's a wonderful shot.
Puck has one photo, so far, in The Folder. It's of him and his little sister at the Lima mall, he's wiping her face off with a napkin and looking at her with such gentleness Mike had warm fussy feelings. In the box of photos in his room there are a few photos of Puck with Quinn, Puck with Rachel, and even a few of Puck with Kurt. He doesn't know if he wants to elevate them to The Folder, because he's sure he only likes them because of the context, not because of the quality of the shots. The photo of Puck and Quinn is just them sitting together, Quinn leaning on him and their intertwined hands laying on her very pronounced baby bump. The photo of Rachel and Puck is even sweeter – he supposes he should move that one to The Folder – Puck is kissing the top of Rachel's head as she stares off after Finn, who's walking away from them. There's something incredibly sweet about how it doesn't seem like a bitter picture. The picture of Kurt and Puck he wants to keep hidden away because he's sure it was supposed to be a private moment…maybe one day it'll make it to The Folder. It was taken during that horrible week where Kurt's dad was in the hospital – you can tell by the dressed down appearance of Kurt and how he's leaning against Puck's chest, obviously hiding his face. Puck's arms are wrapped around Kurt's waist and he looks a little lost. It was obviously not something meant to be caught forever, but it was. And Mike felt marginally uncomfortable about having captured it, like he was intruding.
Artie has one that he remembers being in The Folder – it's him rocking out on a guitar. There's something awesome in the fact that the top of it goes above Artie's head and yet he still manages to look like a rock star.
Britney and Santana, of course, have a few where they're together: Santana braiding Britney's hair out by the bleachers, sunlight streaming down to make Britney's hair shine and a bracelet on Santana's wrist glisten. Britney leaning her head against Santana's shoulder during a Glee performance, looking up at the other girl adoringly.
He even managed to get Sam, the New Kid, into The Folder. He's with Quinn, but he's in it! It's a shot of him showing Quinn something in a comic book. Simple really, at first glance it doesn't seem like it deserves to be in The Folder…until you realize that they're under an umbrella, a huge umbrella, in perfect sunlight. And that Quinn has an exasperated but fond look on her face while her fingers curl around the umbrella handle, keeping them out of the sun's harsh glare.
Of course, he also has a few photos of Mr. Schue – the most prominent one being him looking at Finn with this goofy, new dad grin on his face. The way Mr. Schue feels about Finn is somewhat adorable in all its daddy feeling-ness.
Then there are pictures of Tina. He has quite a few in the second Folder and countless more in the box. The first is a picture of Tina in mid twirl, outside in a glen-like valley behind the Asian Community Center. Her face is upturned, arms spread out, hair cascading around her. The lighting was just right, the sun was going down and it looked like her hair was on fire.
In all honesty that picture was what leads to Mike and Tina having their first conversation that went differently than: "hi", "hey", "Mr. Schue is kinda cool." "Yeah." "This assignment is exciting, huh?" "Yeah." Mike was overjoyed at the chance to reconnect with Tina – they had been real close as kids, but when Middle School started they drifted apart. It was nice to reconnect with her, even if it was only over eastern dramas like Smiling Pasta and Gift.
The next photo of Tina is from someone's coming of age party – some cousin of Tina's who was a friend of a distant cousin that Mike had never meet. The party was rather…interesting. It was culturally involved and there were many traditions that he had marveled at and…it was boring as watching paint dry. Possibly worse. The music was horrible, the kids all around them were loud and misbehaving, the couples were obnoxious, and only the adults were allowed alcohol.
He had been wandering around with his camera – he had already taken a few photos of various relatives and strangers – when he chanced upon her. She was wearing a simple lavender dress that reached her ankles with a modest neckline. Her hair was up and twirled in a bun atop her head and she was wearing no make-up whatsoever.
She looked beautiful. He remembers feeling his arms lift up of their own accord and snapping a shot. Then Tina looked down and smiled widely and when Mike looked at who caught her smile he saw…
Artie. Of course. He looked happy, smiling up at Tina, and Mike felt a little envious. He remembers that he spent the rest of that night dancing with his sister, his version of sulking.
The next photo of Tina was taken after they started dating, officially. The start-up…thing…they had during the summer wasn't in any way official.
This photo isn't as innocent as the last one. It's not downright dirty, but it's certainly not something he would want his mother to find. The photo is of Tina, hair spread out around her, laying flat on his living room floor, laughing…in nothing but a sports bra and spandex. They had just been fooling around when Tina said she wanted him to take pictures of her.
So, he got his camera and the two of them just had fun – dancing and jumping around while occasionally Mike tried to find a good place or angle to get a good shot of her. Honestly, he can't even remember how Tina's shirt came off or how she had gotten on the floor, or how he had ended up straddling her with the camera in his hands, but it had lead to a great shot. And to a heavy and hot make-out session.
It's the farthest they've gone, sexually, even though Mike's seen her completely naked. And wow, he's be grounded forever if his mother found the photos he has of Tina naked. Those pictures are tucked away in a special nondescript binder under his bed and he had really only taken them for the artistic value. It wasn't like he was jacking off to them – though he certainly used the memories to do that – but the photos aren't sexual, they're just…artistic nude.
The first one, the one he remembers as being the most nerve wreaking, is of Tina in his shower. He remembers that it was his idea, that he and Tina had to have a huge conversation about how far they were willing to go with each other, what they were ready for and not ready for, and the conversation was part mortifying and part thrilling. So, with that conversation working as a foundation he had taken the chance to ask Tina if he could photograph her naked. It was the most awkward thing he had ever done in his life and he felt like a creeper until Tina started asking all sorts of questions about poses and locations and different elements to incorporate.
She was the one that suggested water. And that lead to the shower. And now he had at least 10 different pictures of Tina, in various states of undress, in the shower and wet. He never needed any other wet dream ever again.
Artistically speaking – and he totally meant that, it wasn't all about the sex and naked girlfriend, he swears – the one he liked the most was the one of her leaning against the wall, smiling at the camera. Water is flowing down her neck, her nipples are hard, and her hair is sticking to her shoulders and arms. He felt that the photo was really very good and he wanted to show it to his sister, to get her professional opinion on it but…it's a picture of his naked girlfriend.
At least none of them are online or digital in any way.