Pairing: Jax/Tara, Tara/OC, Tara/Kohn

Warnings: none

Spoilers: Set pre-series

Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing

Word Count: 1756

Summary: Different reactions to Tara's tattoo over the years.

Black on Porcelain

"How come you didn't get something, I don't know, prettier? Why'd you get that?"

Tara's eyes close automatically as her roommate starts questioning her again about the tattoo on her lower back. It hasn't been long enough yet, and she has to take a deep breath to stop the lump from rising in her throat –don't cry, don't cry, don't cry. She's only been at USC for two weeks and she's been away from him for two months.

Her roommate saw the ink on her back three days ago when she was changing for bed. Three months ago she would have been putting on one of his t-shirts… there was an ever growing collection of his things in her drawers… and a pair of shorts. Now she wears one of the cami and shorts sets that her aunt bought for her as part of a going away to college present.

Thoughts of just ignoring Breanne and continuing with her reading for English run through her mind, but that method hasn't proven to work in the past. Maybe it's because she never offered a lot of information to begin with.

Within the first hour of meeting Breanne, Tara learned that she has two older brothers, three cats and one dog. She used to have two dogs, but the other one was tragically run over by a car. She would like to be a nurse, but she also wants to be a stay-at-home mom one day and she really hopes Troy, her high-school sweetheart, is the one because she can't imagine anyone ever being better than him –no one ever will be.

All Tara offered was that she was originally from a small town, and no, she doesn't know what she wants to major in. There isn't much else to say. Before it was all him and now… she's had to become this whole new person. Tara has no idea who that is –Tara and Jax, Tara without Jax.

"I don't know, I guess… I guess I just saw it and I liked it," is all Tara offers and hopes that it's enough –please, please stop asking.

"Really?" The tone in Breanne's voice clearly implies that she doesn't get it. There isn't any amount of explanation that Tara could provide… if she could actually say the words… that would make Breanne understand about blonde-haired biker boys with too much loyalty.

"Yeah." Maybe if Tara had gotten a butterfly or hearts and stars and moons like the other girls have on their backs she could have avoided conversations like this. Tara didn't do it to be like the other girls… she did it to be his girl –not his anymore, she's not his.

"I've thought about getting one. I don't know what, but I don't think I'd get like, Troy's name, or anything like that. I mean just in case you know…." Breanne keeps going, but Tara stops listening –just in case was never supposed to happen. There's more than just a lump rising in her throat now.

"I'll be right back," she manages to get out before she's up and moving to the door as quickly as she can without making Breanne suspicious.

Halfway down the hall Tara has to start running and she barely makes it into the bathroom stall in time. It wasn't supposed to be like this. She had no idea it would be this bad –didn't know a heartbreak could actually physically ache.

Maybe she waited too long to tell him, but she never imagined that he wouldn't come with her. The last time she seen him she asked him to leave with her and he told her he couldn't. Her last week in Charming he was too hurt and she was too angry… and Tara never got her goodbye.

That wasn't supposed to be the last time. She needs to see him just once more. Needs him to kiss her, to hold her –change his mind. She needs to tell him goodbye. There has to be something that can make this better she thinks as she puts her hands under cold water to splash on her face.

Walking back to her room, she hopes that Breanne has found something else to capture her attention. Her prayers are answered, sort of, when Tara walks in and she's on the phone with Troy. She quietly packs up her backpack to take to the library. She can't study in her room amidst the "I love yous."

She's heard often enough that time heals all wounds. Tara isn't sure how long she can wait.

"When did you get this?"

Her breath catches when his fingers touch the small of her back and she knows what he's referring to. His finger traces the outline of a wing and she rolls over to face him. Hopefully, it comes across as if she just wants to look at him, but really she had to make him stop –it's the wrong hand.

"It was a long time ago. I was young," she ends it with a smile and a laugh that are forced just to make him think that she was young and foolish. She leans up for a kiss that she no longer wants in hopes of distracting him.

"How old were you?" No such luck.

"Eighteen," she lies. She was seventeen and Jax paid the guy at the counter extra not to ask for ID. However, she has no plans to tell that story, so it's just easier to lie. She may have been young, but she certainly wasn't foolish –in love then, she's still in love now.

Greg is a fellow med student that she met three weeks ago. It isn't the first time that she's been in his bed, but it is the first time she was there to wake up with him in the morning. She knows that he's just curious. The design on her back isn't what anyone that meets her now would expect to see. Greg can't possibly be aware of the turmoil he's causing inside of her. It's been six years and she still can't talk about him… Jax.

"Does it mean anything?"

At that, she can't even force the smile, so she scoots closer to him and leans in to bury her face in his neck and starts to brush her lips just under his ear. She hopes he doesn't notice the deep breaths she has to take through her nose.

"No" –it means everything.

"I could pay for it you know."

Her shirt rode up when she reached for a glass from the top shelf, giving Josh a glimpse of the mark on her back. Lately, he's been badgering her to get it removed every time he sees it.

The familiar anger rises up and she has to turn away from him before he notices her cheeks get red. There's no point in fighting with Josh, somehow he always wins, and she just wants the subject to drop.

"You know I can't let you do that," she manages to make her tone pleasant –leave it alone, please for once leave it alone.

"I would be happy to. I'm just trying to help you Tar Tar. It just doesn't fit with your career and the person that you've become." He's walking over to her now and she flinches when his hand settles on the small of her back –don't touch, don't touch.

"Josh, please, it's fine," she manages to stammer out. Her mind is still reeling from the word "become." Sometimes he says things… things that don't make sense. He's only ever known the good-girl intern, and she's never gone into any kind of detail about her past… but sometimes she gets this feeling that Josh knows everything about her.

"Okay, okay," he says with a laugh and she knows this isn't over, but she'll take any reprieve.

"We'll finish talking about this later, but for now, what'd you say I take you to dinner? Huh? You can put on that new blue dress I bought for you." He drops a kiss to the top of her head and she closes her eyes and forces a smile.

Tara can't pinpoint exactly when he started to make the cold feeling creep up her spine, but it isn't going away and maybe… maybe she's going to start paying it better attention.

"Oww, oww, oww," she exclaims as Jax pulls the bandage off the tattoo that was put on three hours ago.

"It does not still hurt," he tells her.

"Yes, it does Jax! Some of us don't appreciate a needle entering our skin over and over like you apparently do." She shudders when she thinks of how long the ink covering his back took to put on.

"You just have no tolerance for pain."

"I never really saw a need for it." The bandage is gone, but his hand that's resting on her hip hasn't moved. "Can I see it now?"

"Yeah," his voice is soft and before she can get off the bed his hand comes up to cradle the back of her head and he pulls her in for a long kiss, resting his forehead against hers after he pulls away.

"Jax?" she questions him, because the look on his face has her a little worried.

"Go take a look," the smile is back, but Tara's still concerned.

She turns around in front of the mirror on his dresser and lifts her shirt. Staring back into the mirror, the SAMCRO old lady tattoo stands out against her pale skin –black on porcelain.

"Wow," she says quietly. Of course she seen it before, after it was finished at the tattoo parlor. It's different here, in this room, alone with Jax.

"I know," he replies.

She's still looking back into the mirror when he stands and walks the few steps over to her. His arms come around her waist and fingers trace just outside the black.

"So… this means I'm yours?" she asks, turning to look up into his eyes. She's only seventeen, and while she would like to paint herself as a realist… nothing is practical when it comes to him. Forever doesn't seem so long if she knows it's with him –for always and after.

"As long as you want to be." His hands grip into her sides and bring her closer into him. She puts her arms around his neck, tangling her fingers in all that blonde hair.

"Jax, I'll al…" his lips meeting hers cut her off –always be yours.