Scars by AndromedaMarine

Each time a knife nicked his skin the mark would never fully disappear. Soon, over the years, he accumulated a multitude of scars. Physical scars became nothing but a reminder of past battles won or lost, sometimes a childhood memento here or there. But one scar stood out. This scar bore significant meaning to him, a long, jagged bump of flesh where a sword had nearly gutted him. He was uncomfortable when Elizabeth rested a hand on his chest, because he didn't want her to see it. To feel it. He was ashamed of this scar. It symbolized his failure – the one thing that could have taken him away from her. It was a new scar.

He pulled away from her touch when she rested her hand on his chest. She was confused, for he had never done that before. "Are you okay?" she asked, reaching out to take his hand. "John, what's wrong?"

He shook his head. "Nothing. It...it just – hurts, when you do that."

Elizabeth frowned. "What happened on the planet?" she asked quietly, knowing he'd spent about four hours in the infirmary for his post-mission checkup two days ago. "John, what happened?" Her eyes grew hard, and she made it clear he wasn't getting away with this one.

"A sword," he began, and Elizabeth's jaw dropped. "Some idiot with a sword tried to kill me – and he got my chest area."

"Dammit, John," she said angrily, getting up off the bed. "Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't Keller tell me? Why wasn't it in your mission report?" She ran a hand through her hair, ruffling the curls. "How bad was it?"

"I didn't tell you because I knew how you would react. Like this. I didn't want Keller to tell you because I knew you'd have an even worse reaction since I didn't tell you." He avoided her last question. "It was only a light cut – it's not deep enough to threaten my life!"

Elizabeth crossed her arms and glared at him. "I don't care. You could have died, and you didn't tell me about it. Let me see it." Her voice softened, as did her eyes. "John, let me see it."

John shook his head and closed his eyes, regretting that he didn't tell her. "That's not the only one there, Liz. It's not pretty."

"John," Elizabeth said, sitting down again. "I love you for who you are – not for the number of scars you have. Let me see it." She'd never seen his naked chest before, only the small amount of skin that showed when his shirt accidentally rode up.

Reluctantly he lifted the shirt, revealing his tanned chest. There were scars everywhere, but the newest one stood out, pink and still held together with stitches. "See? Not pretty." He brought the shirt back down and turned away from Elizabeth.

The woman pulled him back to face her. "John, I don't care if it's pretty or not. I care because it's you, and that scar will be a reminder of what could have taken you away. But it didn't. So now, the scar will be a reminder of why you lived. If I'm going to love you, you have to believe that I love your scars too."

Most women that John had been with were turned off by his scars. Some were rather ugly, yes, but they were a part of him. And he was amazed that Elizabeth would love that part of him too.

Elizabeth caught his lips in a kiss, really telling him that she did love him and all his scars.