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Maybe some guys wondered how the fuck Miguel Alvarez had gotten his hands on a Polaroid camera, and why no Hacks were batoning it out of said hands -- but Ryan actually knew, because it was information and he always caught the pulse of that.

Somehow, the loco Latino had convinced the nun and McManus it was therapeutic or something. Something to occupy his idle stabbing hands, a creative focus for his troubled hanging mind. Whatever, they let Ryan keep his damn viewmaster, and nobody paid attention to Adebisi's fucking cd player, so Ryan wasn't making waves. Little entertainments that slipped through loopholes and under the radar did help distract them. (Briefly.)

Whatever line of bullshit those two had bought, Alvarez was clearly having a fucking ball. Who the fuck knew why, since it's not like there was anything in here worth seeing, let alone like, capturing for posterity.

Ryan caught Alvarez's small quirking grin as he shook the drying pictures once though, clear proof he found something to enjoy in it. Ryan let the thought that rare real grin was actually something the guy should maybe take a picture of skitter away, irrelevant.

Ryan had gotten a chuckle (his own), and a highly amusing squinting glare (Alvarez's), when the guy had tried to take his own picture once, fucked up and blinded himself with the damn flash.

Alvarez mostly took pictures of other inmates after that. (Never the fucking Hacks.) Most of them were preening vain assholes, posing all carefully and puffed up, happily allowing him to without protest.

At some point, Ryan was pretty sure Alvarez had a stroke of cleverness -- he seemed to be selling some of the shots back to their subjects, careful and quiet to preserve the allowance of his therapeutic toy. See? Vain motherfuckers.

Ryan didn't fucking pose, and he didn't fucking pay, but he heard that whir near him several times. Faced it lazily head on, just as he was, once or twice. Stayed steady, as Alvarez did the same.

Why? Whatever. Who the fuck cared. Would anyone ever see it? Wasn't like a shitty expose on the news, warping who he was and ruining lives for fucking ratings. Not sloppy journalistic bullshit, just slices of boredom and nothingness, tucked away out of sight, just like them.

Yeah, no words, no poses, just him as he was. (In a cage.)

Nobody would see them, except Alvarez, and maybe McManus and the good Sister. Hell, maybe she'd steal one and break her vows a little one night, thinking of him. That? Ryan would be fine with, definitely.

Alvarez looked at them, shuffling through them while slouching in his bunk, but he was probably thinking about like, light and shadow, photography crap or something. Always looked contemplative, not motherfucking creepy.

Ryan approached Alvarez's cocked open pod with a lazy two-knuckle knock one day. He got bored, all right? And yeah, information was always useful.

He was right about Alvarez selling 'em, because he made Ryan an offer. (Turned it down.)

Alvarez let him slip closer and look, though.

Man did have an eye, to go with steady hands. The shots were good. Weird fucking subjects, of course. Lots of the two old muppets of Em City, several of Hill. Artful captures of various tattoos. A strange quiet moment in the laundry room between Keller and Beech, light catching in an interesting way on the glass. Which honestly, Alvarez probably could've sold to Keller for several Bennies if the guy didn't try to shank him for sneakily taking it. (Maybe that caution was why he was holding on to it? What other reason -- those two doomed lovebirds weren't even doing anything in it. But there was something... a bland intimacy, something normal and shared.)

There were shots without any people at all, just rare natural light catching on the dull insides of their prison, dim and filtered by the caged windows kept out of frame, but showing up in the patterns of shadow. Hospital ward, or hallways, maybe?

And yeah, Ryan was mixed in there, trapped like everything else. He looked... didn't look trapped, though. Calm, hard, and powerful, clever and in control, or... Ryan didn't know the word for it. Couldn't pin it down. There was something there, though.

Maybe Alvarez knew the word for it.

Maybe Alvarez knew why.

Probably shouldn't ask him, though.

**
End