by Genee Li

Lance and Joey looked like all-American fly boys, fighter pilots out of uniform, strong and silent, like rangers dropped into the studio's wild west, weary and strange. JC stretched out and sighed, leaning his head back onto Chris's leg, grateful his part in the morning's press-fest was over. He was careful not to get too comfortable, though. He knew better, with so many cameras around, even if he was technically off the set. Still, this was his favorite part.

JC liked to watch.

He could already see the would-be prints, black and white, he thought, and smoothed over in sepia, and he swallowed hard, eyes closed against the images. They weren't usually like this, especially not Lance, not for the public anyway, but sometimes... Well, sometimes, they were so damn hot and, like, in the moment or whatever, burning through the flash and the lights and before they knew it, the cameras had captured something none of you meant for them to see, and there it was, baby, laid out for all the world. Mostly they were all just over-grown boys, romping for the cameras, goofy and bouncing and all dressed up in someone else's dreams, but, sometimes, rarely, they were simply who they were, not-quite men, not-quite real, and their handlers liked to release those photographs every once in a while, too.

JC wondered if they would release these. Lance and Joey weren't touching or anything, so maybe they would.

Fucked senseless the night before, all of them together, and the thrum of Lance coming over and over an endless echo in his bones, the imprint of fiery hands and slick bodies soaked deep in his skin. JC couldn't help thinking how Lance's lips were still swollen, how his eyes were still lost and dreamy and sated, and how the last little bit of their private lives might be exposed on today's film, and it would all be over, too much, too soon. JC looked up at Chris, at Justin's long arms draped around Chris's shoulders, and saw the relief in Chris's eyes when the photographer moved Joey into the foreground, his shadow shielding Lance like it always did, protective, almost enough.

JC hoped the photographer would send him the proofs directly, so he could pick his own prints without having to go through half a dozen strangers to get them.

Lance blinked slowly and focused far away, real, and sexier than he had any right to be when they were all exhausted and midway through the tour and finishing up another photo shoot. And even though Lance wasn't half as hot now as he'd been last night, JC thought if he painted the memory with sweet words and warm kisses and soft, soft strokes, and if Lance held the smooth edges of the photograph in his fingers with his own morning-after eyes reflecting through the gloss, maybe Lance would finally understand, would see he was more beautiful than strange, would know he was more than just there, would feel as connected to them as they were to him.

Maybe, JC thought, while behind him Chris's fingers tapped an unending rhythm and Justin bit his lip. Maybe, JC thought again, closing his eyes and half-hoping Lance might need some more convincing after all.

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