BODY ART

PROMPT: Human Touch (Judging Amy)

Post-Demonology with Spoilers

She giggled softly as his hand traced over the tattoo on her hip. She was ticklish, he knew it, and yet, every time they did this, every time they ended up in bed, he always traced that same spot, regardless of how ticklish she was. He'd never asked about it, but it wasn't about that. Her laughter made him smile.

"Where did you get it?"

He was naked beside her, the sheet draped over his lower half like it had been on hers not five minutes prior. One hand propped his head up, the other darted over the coloured ink. She bit her lip. She'd never talked about it because he'd never asked, but that first time together, when his attention had been completely on her, she'd known she could tell him.

"Italy," she said quietly. "Rome."

He nodded slowly and she was struck with the feeling that he already knew it had everything to do with Father Silvano. It had been three weeks since that case. They'd never talked about it, about the issues that had sprouted because of it, and she found herself wondering if they were about to hash it all out right here. Part of her was terrified. Part of her thought it was about time.

"When?"

"I was fifteen," she replied, letting her head fall back in his pillows, not meeting his eyes. There were very few places she felt safer than in his bed. The only one she could think of was in his arms. But this was a story she wasn't sure she could talk about with his arms wrapped around her. This was the darkness of her life and while she appreciated that he wanted to know, and for once, felt no fear in telling another person, it felt wrong to tell him while she was wrapped up in his embrace.

"Why a lily?"

She sucked in a breath. It signified so many things for her, so many facets of her life that as much as she wanted to forget, they were part of who she was. It was the only reason she'd decided on such a dark significance of a tattoo. The lily, the flower used at so many funerals, represented some death to her. The death of her childhood, the death of her innocence… That flower and everything it represented to her were the things that made her who she was. They were her demons and her choices, reminding her of the things she'd been through and the places she'd been.

He seemed to sense her deeper thoughts because his fingers stopped moving, his palm flattening over the skin. "You don't have to tell me."

Her hand moved to rest over his. "When I was fifteen, all I wanted to do was fit in," she said quietly. "I'd do anything. I did anything. And I got pregnant."

He took a deep breath, but didn't remove his hand and didn't move closer. She knew he wasn't stupid. The fact that she didn't have a child now explained much more than her words ever could and explained the involvement of the Vatican and the Catholic church in the demons of her past.

"I chose a lily to remind me of who I am, that life isn't without struggles. I remind myself of the bad decisions I made and the consequences they had on my life." Finally, she looked up at him. He didn't look disturbed, offended or angry. He didn't look at her with pity or sympathy. He watched her carefully with understanding and an open-mindedness that made her heart ache. Yet, she could see the pain behind his eyes, his own regrets. They were a screwed up pair, with all of her issues and his combined, but, as she often reminded herself, this way they could be screwed up together.

"I wish I could have helped you through that," he said softly.

Her hand moved then as she shifted, turning on her side and brushing her fingers against his cheek. "I'm sorry I was such a brat about it. I knew you couldn't." Well, not at the time she didn't, but she understood now.

"I should have," he whispered, his hand flattening against her back and pulling her closer, rolling so he could position her on top of his body. "I wanted to, more than anything."

"Your first responsibility is the Bureau. Even if I didn't understand it then, I do now," she replied. "I'm glad things turned out the way they did, don't get me wrong, but you need to follow protocol. Always."

He blew out a breath as she settled against him, her head over his heart. The thumping soothed her, washed away her demons. It felt a little stupid, but it was comfortable.

"You helped afterwards," she reminded him.

She knew he didn't believe that. She took a few days of leave, partially because of his previous order, partially because Dave had convinced her it was probably a good idea. She'd seen that John recovered, gone to visit once or twice, then, the day before she was due back to the office, she'd made the drive to his apartment. Neither of them had said much of anything that night. There was just the relief of being together, the comfort they drew from each other during tough times. He'd held her that night, close and tight, like he never wanted to let her go, and that had been the best remedy for the pain she'd experienced.

If it wasn't for the hand combing through her long hair, she'd have thought he drifted off to sleep. "I don't like it when you're hurting."

"I'm not," she told him, resting her hand on his chest so she could prop her chin in her hand. "You make sure I don't hurt. And what happened here," her hand went down, sliding between their bodies to press against her hip, "is in my past."

Placated for the time being, he reached down and pulled the blankets up and around her shoulders. She slid off of him, curling against his side instead. They drifted off together, warm, and secure, demons pushed away for another day.