Standing in front of the building that used to be his studio, Armen has a sudden thought. I've been dead a year, right? So is my studio even really still my studio? After a moment of contemplation, Armen shrugs. Well, there's only one way to find out.
Armen walks up to the doors and sees a security guard. He freezes, then opens his mouth ready to pull out his special skill but the security guard speaks first with a smile.
"You're Armen right? Mr. Amani mentioned you, come right this way."
"Yes, Raian Amani."
"...Huh." Armen follows the guard, for once at a loss of words.
Like most well known photographers, Armen did have a studio although due to his eccentric nature, he typically worked alone in it. Actually, the story of the studio itself is a funny one. Most photographers use their studios in order to shoot photos as well as produce their photos. Armen initially intended to do the same however he quickly discovered how much he hated shooting photographs in an artificial environment.
He only liked shooting things in their natural habitat. Therefore, he ran off to shoot animals in the wild, only using the studio to produce his photos.
"How funny that I'm actually using the studio for it's initial purpose now." Armen mutters with a laugh, caressing one of the studio lights.
Armen blinks, turning to find Raian standing behind him. The other man is slightly out of breath. "Sorry I'm late."
"That's fine." Armen turns back to the light. "You..."
"You maintained this place?" For me?
"I, well, yes." Raian replies.
"It's nothing..." Raian blushes slightly.
Armen continues running his fingers over the equipment while Raian stands behind him, slightly at a loss. Finally, Armen turns around. "Well? Let's get shooting."
"Oh, huh? Okay."
So, there stands Armen with his camera facing a nervous looking Rain in front of a blank white background. Armen fiddles with his camera, glancing up at Raian once in a while, scrutinizing the image before him. Meanwhile, Raian is fidgeting for a bit. Noticing this, Armen speaks.
"Don't be nervous and don't worry about me. I like to take photos of things in their natural state so try to relax." Upon hearing the word "natural" Raian freezes. He looks hesitant about something before finally coming to a decision. Biting his lip, he slowly starts striping one by one, peeling of his suit and tie. Halfway through taking his undershirt off, Armen notices his actions.
"What are you doing?"
"Huh? Uh, I'm taking my shirt off."
"Well, you said you like to film natural things right? So..."
"I do, but that's usually animals. Who said I was doing nude photography?"
Armen stares at Raian. How did this man's mind arrive at the convoluted conclusion that if I'm filming something in its "natural state", I want to film nude photography? Although..., Armen runs a scrutinizing eye over Raian, his body is better than most I've seen. Honestly I could...
Meanwhile, Raian's face turns a vibrant shade of red as he realizes that the nude aspect is a misunderstanding on his part. He hastily starts rebuttoning his shirt and Armen sighs in regret.
Once Raian is finally fully dressed, the shoot begins...supposedly. Armen speechlessly watches Raian fidget this way and that.
"Do you think you could move around less?"
"Huh? Oh, sure." And then Raian becomes as still as a statue, not daring to move a muscle.
"Neverminded, just try to look more natural-scratch that, normal." Armen says with a sigh.
"...Okay." Raian loosens his shoulders and tries to look "normal". However, his gaze keeps straying to Armen with the camera. The other man watches him with a focused gaze and Raian becomes transfixed by that attention that he's never received before. Raian feels his face heating up under that gaze, his throat bobs, and another part of him becomes active.
Click! Armen snaps a photo and Raian blinks, coming back to himself and realizing his body's reaction.
"Uh, I need to use the restroom!" He replies, scurrying away. Armen watches his back speechlessly. And I finally got a decent shot too.
Armen glances down at his camera and thinks for a moment. Clearly, this isn't working. Then...
A while later, Raian finally comes out of the restroom looking sheepish. Armen watches him inscrutably. Catching his gaze, Raian freezes. "...What?"
"This isn't working."
Raian bites his lip. "Then...you no longer want to-"
"So let's go on a date!"
"...Ah?" Raian turns red.
Armen coughs. Come on Armen, men can hang out without going on a date! I guess this is my occupational habit from being a scumbag shou.
"Let's go hang out to see you in a more natural state!"
"Oh, okay..." Armen turns and bounds away, not noticing the disappointment in Raian's voice. The two walk along the street attracting occasional passing glances from the passerby for their aura and above average appearance yet neither takes any notice. Despite his role as photographer Armen runs ahead, examining shops and calling back to Raian.
"Oh, look at how cute this is! Raian, it's Ethopian cuisine, you don't see that as often." As he runs along Armen feels immersed in a strange bliss at being back in his own world. Here are the stories, the food, the things he didn't get to try in time. Just the feelings of being a simple pedestrian on the street without having to worry about staying in character every minute of every second allows him to feel like a massive weight has been lifted from his chest.
For the first time, Armen finds himself taking pictures of the street filled with people. Previously he scorned such pedestrian scenes, preferring the wild and exotic ones rather than the simple and ordinary that he took for granted. As Armen revels in the newfound freedom he never realized that he lost, Raian watches him with a doting smile.
Armen continues strolling along until a sign catches his eye.
"OMG! A cat cafe, Raian it's a cat cafe, that's so cute!"
Raian makes a noise of assent, a smile audible in his reply. Hearing him, Armen pauses, recalling his initial intention. With a low cough of embarrassment he says, in his most professional tone, "a cat cafe is a good location for our photoshoot since humans tend to show their truest selves around animals..." Raian simply nods with a smile and Armen feels his ears burn. Ah screw it, I'm the king of shamelessness, who cares!
With this, Armen pushes inside. The atmosphere is cozy with light music playing and warm lights covering pink and red plush chairs. Off to the side, a young woman stands behind a counter.
"We charge five dollars per person which we use to help us adopt more cats and take care of them!" She chirps. Armen very naturally, turns to Raian who goes to pay while stifling a smile. Immediately after this, Armen bounds over to a large red plush chair where a furry orange cat is splayed out lazily.
Armen reaches a hand out but immediately the cat shifts away. He tries again and the cat once again avoids. This cycle repeats until the cat finally gets up and springs away. Behind him, Raian stifles a laugh and Armen shoots him a glare.
Deciding he'll have better luck next time, Armen approaches a fluffy gray fur ball fiercely guarding a cardboard box. Armen slowly brings his hand towards it. You'll like me, I know you will kitty...
"Hiss!" The cat violently springs back. However, Armen persists. The result? He gets nipped. By this point Raian is barely holding back.
"Go ahead and laugh." Armen huffs and Raian does just that, letting the chuckles pour out in waves. Armen examines him for a moment, damn he really does look good. Watching Raian's joy, Armen feels his bad mood dissipate. Damn, good looking guys really are magical.
Suddenly he freezes. "Rai, look, your arm!" Raian blinks, looking down to see a black fur ball pressing against his hand. He blinks, before slowly stroking it. Watching him, Armen feels extremely conflicted. Why did I make all that effort to get nothing but a cat just falls into his lap quite literally? But then again, the esthetic of this image - an elite boss gently petting a cat - is totally mind boggling, I'd better grab my camera.
Armen does just this. Snapping pictures of the handsome man stroking the cat with a doting smile, Armen sighs. Prime boyfriend material right there...He protects your studio, visits your grave, and he's the first human you actually want to photograph, what more could you ask for Armen? Then he pauses. What am I thinking? He's not my Rai, I'm going to leave and I'll never see him again, plus...Anyway, get that thought out of your head.
Raian suddenly laughs as the cat bats at him and Armen sighs. Handsome and gentle, the deadliest combination...