by Missi

nebula: (n) a diffuse mass of interstellar dust or gas or both, visible as luminous patches or areas of darkness depending on the way the mass absorbs or reflects incident radiation.

plural: nebulae.

You show them the pictures before you send them back to California to be readied for a gallery exhibit. You pretend not to notice when Elijah's forehead crinkles up, when he's looking at the picture of Orlando putting his contact in. You watch Orlando stare intently at the picture of Elijah in the snow, but just as intently as the picture of John in makeup. What you really see, though, you with your artist's eye, is Elijah watching Orlando.

After that, you watch Elijah watching Orlando. It gives you time to think about what you know about them. Orlando. Very friendly, easy to get along with. Easygoing. Attractive. You never really thought about it before, but now that you're so intently watching them, you realise that Orlando really is quite the cast slut. Sleeps with anyone he can get it from, and that includes you. That was early on during the film shoot, and only one night, and he moved on, and you pretended to forget it ever happened until you actually did. Elijah. Friendly, but quiet. Huge blue alien eyes, ever watchful. There isn't anything he doesn't see, you think, and you know that means he knows you're watching him while he watches Orlando. He absorbs the light that Orlando reflects, and they are like day and night. If Orlando is pansexual, then Elijah is asexual. You don't think he's slept with anyone since you arrived in New Zealand. You're sure of it.

You're so busy watching Elijah be Orlando's shadow that you're startled when the scene you're watching mixes with your reality -- Orlando has come into your space and is snapping his fingers at you. "Vig. Are you awake in there?"

"Oh, hey, yeah. I was just thinking."

"Well, okay. Look. I want to ask you." Orlando stopped and scrubbed a hand over his face.


"Would you take photographs of me? Naked? It's just that I've never trusted anyone enough to do it, and you're so good with your camera. You're a real artist, and a friend I trust. Please."

He's got this look on his face that you can't resist, and hello, Orlando Bloom just asked you to photograph him naked. You are an artist, and his body would be the perfect subject, you know. You know that his skin is olive toned, that his body has clear cut lines, and that you could do anything with the right light and angle and subject. And who is a more perfect subject? No one that you can think of at that moment.

"Sure. When?"

So you agree. What photographer would turn that down? You set up a time and place and date with Orlando, and all the while, you feel Elijah's eyes burning into you, and he finally walks in closer and speaks up.

"Can I come?"

You're all ready to nod, because why would Orlando have a problem with that? he's never had a problem being naked in front of anyone. when you see Orlando's head turn so that he can look at Elijah, and the statement on his face is. hesitation? It is hesitation, and you don't understand. You think that you've watched them enough to know anything that's going on with them, between them, in their minds, but apparently not, because you don't know why Orlando wouldn't want Elijah to be there for this photo shoot.

"I'll just watch. Nothing else." Elijah's face is so open, so clear, so honest, and you're confused, but you look at Orlando and wait for him to give his word. There's a tension there between them, you wonder why you haven't noticed before. Maybe you've been looking too closely to see the big picture.

Orlando hesitates, and for a moment, you think he won't agree. Why? Why can't Elijah be there? What's happened between them? His face clears, though, and he says "Yes." and your heart, for some reason you can't comprehend and don't even want to try, leaps. Elijah nods and quietly thanks Orlando, and what was Orlando's reaction all about? You and he both know Elijah isn't some sort of perverted freak, and you know that he's honestly interested in photography and art. He's talked to you about it before, before Orlando ever asked you to photograph his naked form and you. You are going to take pictures of a naked Orlando Bloom. That's a thought to ponder when Elijah melts away, and Orlando follows quickly, leaving you alone with your thoughts and ideas for a camera shoot.

There is still much shooting to be done, wrapping up with this and that, and you're so busy that you manage to forget about the photo shoot until Elijah comes up to you and tells you that he thinks "a beach house would be nice, don't you think? with nice open light coming through a huge window?" and you tune out for the rest of it, the facts and information about this house he's found on a nearby New Zealand beach, because you're remembering Orlando's body, and you're mentally placing it in silhouette before a beachfront plate glass window, and oh. That's nice.

You pull Orlando aside during filming one day near the end, and you ask him

"Are you busy this afternoon?"

and he winks and says

"No. Do you have film?"

and you reply, of course,

"Of course."

And it's on for that night. Elijah is there for the details, he with his sharp mind to match his sharp eyes, and you tell him that it's going down that night as well, and he just nods, as if he knew that all along. You think maybe he did.

You borrow some sort of SUV from Peter, throw in lamps and cameras and film and bedsheets and some other things. Elijah wisely shows up with a picnic basket, and you bless his little heart. In his red hooded sweatshirt and picnic basket, your mind automatically draws the Little Red Riding Hood conclusion, and you have an idea for a shoot for Elijah. Now if you could just be definite on one for Orlando.

No, wait.

That's a lie, and you know it. You know what you want to do with his shoot.

"If we don't leave soon, we're going to miss all of that light you want for your shots." Your eyebrows shoot up at Elijah, who just shrugs and looks away. He knows where Orlando is, you know he does, and you think you have a pretty good idea. You heard Orlando say once that "Billy could talk to me all day long, and I'd be set. That Glasgow tongue of his..." He'd trailed off into laughter then. You thought that maybe Billy was getting a chance to work those oral skills. Which was fine for you.

Because Orlando would be nice and sex sated when he climbed into the SUV, and would just glow for the photoshoot. Naked. Glowing naked. Camera.

"Here he is!" Elijah shouts with joviality, clapping Orlando on the back. There, now you definitely feel lost.

Orlando grins and climbs into the front seat of the vehicle. "Are we ready, mates?" You manage to squeeze in beside him to allow Elijah to drive, as he is the only one who's been to this beach house. You start to question everything you think you've ever known about Orlando as the three of you drive silently to this house Elijah's picked for the shoot. Would he be shy about stripping for the camera? Or would he be completely at home? Would he be dark or light against the window? Would he photograph better in color or in black and white? Would he be a star or a black hole?

"We're here."

The three of you pile out, grab gear, and head into the house. Still a few hours of afternoon light before dusk hits, you know, and you judge where to set the equipment up. Elijah gestures with things, and you gesture with your hands, replying to his silent questions with silent answers. Where that goes, what this does. Orlando just stands there, hands in pockets, chiseled face open and smiling. Once the camera is in place, backdrops set, lamps already up for when the sunlight would end, he looks at you and asks

"Shall I?"

and you reply

"Just the shirt."

and Elijah adds

"Open the jeans."

And so Orlando does. You stand behind your camera and wait as he strips off his tee shirt, mussing his hair as he goes, and then opens his jeans. click. click. click. You don't tell him to pose, just to "Be yourself", and he just moves around, staying in a blocked off area. Elijah sits beside you, and you explain things to him just enough so that his pretense at least seems real. You think again about how Orlando's been with everyone except Elijah, even as you're clicking away on your camera and talking F-stop to Elijah. You pause and nod towards Orlando.

"I think it's time to lose the jeans."

And you learn that he is indeed not shy for the camera, shucking his Levis like they were being worn over another pair, and that he wasn't completely naked once they were gone. Except, he was.

You've draped the bedsheets everywhere, on the walls, on the floor, on furniture. You're photographing him in black and white because with his coloring, he'll be just striking in monotone. He sits on the couch, and you just keep clicking. Minutes stretch into what feels like days but in reality is probably only an hour or so, and you stop for a moment.

"Break time, boys."

Orlando stretches, and Elijah stretches and goes into the kitchen for his picnic basket. He doesn't bring out food, though; he doesn't come out at all. Not for a few minutes anyway, and when he does, he has a cup of tea in his right hand. You're resting behind your camera, the place where you're most comfortable, and through the viewfinder you see


It's a whisper when it leaves your lips, and neither Orlando nor Elijah notice. They're rather caught up in one another, naked Orlando stretched out on a white bedsheet covered chaise lounge, bright Elijah bending over him with a cup of tea. When Elijah goes to move away, you make a noise at the same time Orlando's hand circles his wrist.

This. This is what all the waiting and watching and strange behavior has come to. It's been leading to this for quite some time. Why didn't you see it?

You take a picture.

You barely notice when the teacup splashes and then crashes to the floor. You do, however, notice the quick shucking of Elijah's clothing and the

"Oh.", and the


You wonder why you aren't jealous. Wonder why you can only stare through a small square at this beauty unfolding before you. Pale, pale Elijah, reflecting all of the lamp light from the strategically placed ambient lamps, shadowed by dark Orlando, who sucks Elijah's light into his blackness. You keep taking pictures. Your mouth is dry.

So dry. Drier still when Elijah, and then Orlando, looks up at you and locks your gaze, both sets of eyes expressing something you need to see and feel. Trust. You nod. They look away. You lick your lips and attempt to clear your parched throat. Nothing.

They are moving in tandem, dark and light. They have forgotten you are there. They're just boys, and yet all man, both of them. You take pictures of hairy legs tangled with other hairy legs, boyish hands caught up by other boyish hands. Slow, slow kisses.

Slow. That's how it's happening in front of your eyes. Orlando is writhing slowly against Elijah, who is slowly running his hands everywhere along Orlando's body. Slow. The movement of their very thrusts is slow. You don't remember it being so slow with Orlando. In fact, as you recall, he was very much 'wham bam thank you ma'am' in his style with you. You realise that you are clearly not Elijah.

And there is clearly something about Elijah.

The sounds are getting louder, you think now that they're coming from all three of you. There's a careful avoidance of the word 'love' coming from the two in front of you, and hey! you think. When did this go from a tasteful nude shoot to an art porn shoot? You don't want to be the next Mapplethorpe. You know then that no one will ever see these pictures other than yourself, Elijah, and Orlando.

There. You've just captured the perfect moment on film. They are frozen, eyes wide, mouths open in pants, backs painfully arched. Frozen. Beautiful. You don't want this view to ever, ever end.

They collapse, though, and you feel an ache at the loss of beauty. They have ceased to be objects of art and have become what they've always been -- two gorgeous men. Right now they just happen to be two gorgeous men completely caught up in one another, and yes, now that's beautiful. They are wrapped in the sheet from the chaise lounge, and their heads are bent together, and their breathing is evening out, and that's just. You take one last picture, and then you put the camera away.

You develop the prints in a makeshift dark room a few weeks later, when you can bring yourself to look at them. They, like the others, inspire you to quote literature and poetry on each and every one, but you don't. You pull a few out for Orlando to have, his jeans and nudes, before Elijah was involved. It's a very nice shoot, and you pat yourself on the back.

You pull out three more and put them together triptych like. From left to right you have set up a shot of Orlando in his open jeans, against the bright window, looking down. The perfect picture of compliance and need, when Elijah is bending over Orlando with the tea, and Orlando has just grasped his wrist. They're staring holes into one another. The third is a shot of tangled boy, two actually, tangled in bedsheets and one another. From memory you take a three stanza poem and split it up over the display.

You briefly consider that the poem is about a woman, but discard the remembrance for favor of the fact that the poem is really about beauty, and so you write it out. On One, you write

"Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

On Two, you write

"We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh-
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

On Three, you write

"One-woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair
Collects her motions into shape.

You place the triptych into a portfolio along with the others and, on second thought, place the negatives in as well. You leave the folder in Orlando's flat. You can't help but think that you weren't supposed to be there. You're so glad that you were.

How many more chances will you get to witness perfection?