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Stellar Explosion

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"So we do two sets of photos," the photographer growls. Jim has already dubbed him Bones in his mind because of the way he keeps barking out orders on how to stand during the lighting tests that are weirdly anatomically correct. No one's ever shouted at Jim to position his ulna a certain way to get the best angle before, but hey, whatever works.

"One for color and one for black and white?" the assistant asks anxiously. He's curly haired and wide-eyed, probably even younger than Jim, and looking at Bones like his word is a decree handed down from on high.

"No, kid, one set of shots including the girls for the mainstream magazines, and one set with just the guys for the 'men's magazines'," Bones mutters as he makes air-quotes with his fingers. He changes his camera lens quickly before he downs the rest of his coffee with a grimace.

"Oh, yes! The homoerotic shots, got it."

Jim has the urge to raise his hand to ask a question, like he's back in school, because what the hell? It sounds even more startling in that Slavic-type accent Curly Hair has. But Curly Hair is already nodding fervently at something else Bones is complaining about, quickly making a note on his tablet and trotting after the photographer when the man stalks over to the lights to adjust them yet again.

"Uh," Jim says awkwardly to the other male model who just arrived at the shoot, already done with wardrobe and make-up. Spock, his mind supplies; he's seen the guy's work in magazine spreads and on billboards, all blank expressions and elegant lines and that weird signature haircut of his. He's such a superstar that he apparently gets to go by only one name, unlike Jim, who keeps nervously introducing himself as "Jim Kirk," like it's one word (and only just remembering to change the first word from "Jimmy").

The words "homoerotic shots" are still echoing in his head as Jim laughs awkwardly and says, "That's, uh. Okay. Right?" He blushes, but he stares at Spock expectantly. Spock's a pro, after all; he's got to know whether or not this is a normal type thing.

"Does your utterance require a reply?" Spock asks, one eyebrow arched skeptically.

"Homoerotic?" Jim blurts.

"You are new to this venture," Spock decides before he obligingly turns his face to a makeup assistant who has just bustled over to him to do a touch-up to his cheekbones. Not that she has to highlight them at all; the guy's gorgeous, with the kind of bone structure that makes fashion editors swoon. "I surmise you were discovered quite recently."

"Pike Universal Modeling found me in Iowa," Jim says and quickly winces. He doesn't want to seem like a totally naïve newcomer. "How'd you know I was new to modeling?" he asks a second later, trying to seem blasé. "I've done, you know, some stuff already. For Seventeen, and there was that spread for that crappy clothing chain that makes the sweatshirts --"

"I have not seen you in the major magazines," Spock comments calmly. "With your distinctive blue eyes and all-American look, an appearance quite in demand of late, I imagine I would have encountered your work before this point were you not a newcomer to the profession."

"Yeah, I guess I am kinda new," Jim says awkwardly. Inside his mind, he's telling himself to shut up, to act way cooler. This Spock guy probably sees him as competition, and Jim so doesn't want to be eaten alive on his first major modeling gig.

"The insinuations of sexual attraction between men are quite common in the versions of advertisements that are published in magazines aimed at a male audience," Spock explains as if lecturing. Weirdly, Jim kind of wants to take notes, because it occurs to him in a startled rush that makes his cheeks flush red that Spock is pretty much trying to help him out, instead of squashing him like bug. "You need not concern yourself with the implications the photographer will desire to portray."

"Okay," Jim says, swallowing. "Um. Thanks."

Spock gives him a brief nod before he turns to greet a few of the girls who have just arrived on the set.

Soon enough Bones is back, his assistant Pavel darting here and there to make adjustments to equipment or convey Bones's orders to the various helpers hovering around waiting to do their parts. Jim finds he doesn't have time to be nervous, not with being directed to stand here, look there, lean back, eyes up, and all that kind of thing.

At some point he's directed to stand next to Spock. One of the girls sprawls just below them, looking more bored than Jim thought was possible, which Bones seems to think is fantastic.

"Perfect, Beth; you're stunning," Bones grumbles as he looks down to get the shot. "Jim, closer to Spock. That's it."

He probably shouldn't relax for even a second, given the way Bones is snapping away like crazy, and Jim's agent has sternly told him multiple times that he always has to be "on" when he's getting photographed. But he's close enough to Spock, and tired enough from the whirlwind of the shoot, that he leans on Spock just for a second.

Two things happen. Spock stiffens for a moment before he relaxes and slides a hand to cover Jim's hipbone. And Bones just about gives himself a heart attack shouting at them, "Yes, Jim, lean in, more, that's fabulous!" He almost sounds angry, but Jim can tell from the way Pavel is fluttering around that this is definitely a good development.

Before Jim knows it, he's draped over Spock, the girls have been ordered to the side, and Spock has turned his head like he's nuzzling Jim's hair.

Curly Hair is going nuts, rushing around the set to tell everyone what adjustments to make, and the people from the fashion house are grouped together in a weirdly intense huddle, whispering excitedly.

All the while, Spock stands just behind him, guiding Jim through the moves. He's doing things like skimming fingertips down Jim's arm or half-curling his lean frame possessively around Jim's, almost like he's protecting him from possible enemies. It's a far cry from Spock's very distant posing at the start of the shoot, that's for sure. It makes Jim's heart beat faster, feeling the heat from Spock's body against his and the steady puff of Spock's breath at his neck. But somehow Jim finds himself standing more confidently, letting his eyelids go heavy when Bones calls for that and allowing his hips to tilt forward easily when Spock directs him to do it with a brush of his hand against the small of Jim's back.

"And that's it, everyone," Jim hears Bones call out. Jim straightens, feeling dazed, and watches in some confusion as Spock resumes his stiff posture and stalks away.

"Terrific work out there," Bones says as Jim walks by. "You're going to be a star, kid."

"What was all that about?" one of the girls from the shoot asks Jim as he emerges from the dressing area back in his street clothes.

"Um. Modeling?" he offers.

She snorts. "No, all the stuff with Spock." She peers at him with interest and shakes her head when he looks at her blankly. "Come on. You must know Spock refuses to touch anyone when he's posing. Like, it's in his contracts; he's never done it before. And the two of you were all over each other just now."

He has no idea how to answer, and lucky for him, he doesn't have to. "I have to take this," he says, trying not to seem too eager when his cell phone goes off with his agent's name.

"They want you for another shoot with Spock," she says eagerly as soon as Jim answers.

"I barely finished the first one," he answers, completely bewildered.

"The two of you are so hot together; I'm hearing it was like a stellar explosion on the set! Jimmy, I've gotten three calls already wanting to know if they can get the two of you in as soon as possible."

Jim looks up and catches Spock's eye just as the other model pauses at the warehouse door, about to depart.

"Jim, let me tell them yes," his agent is practically screeching.

"Yeah, okay, yes," he says quickly.

Spock nods once at him and leaves. And already all Jim can think about is seeing him again.