Disclaimer: USA is the devil – the network, with its constant NCIS reruns, I mean. I'm a fan of the USA in general, with its Freedom Trails and Constitutions and Kevin Garnetts and such.

Spoilers: Detail from season six's Dagger, other bits from other places which may or may not exist. Setting is mid-summer, post-finale, pre-Miami.

Summary: A certain tattoo in a certain unspoken place provides certain troubles between certain people who are wearing no certain clothing. Certainly.

She didn't usually mind his little games that she was fairly sure he didn't think she realized were games – testing her ticklish spots, feigning sleep while he watched her dress – but this one had lasted for all of two minutes before reaching the point of annoyance. "Go to sleep or go home."

His hand stopped wiggling between her thighs. "Uh…"

"That is not even the right leg."

"That's totally your right leg." She felt him shift behind her as he moved to spoon her. "Okay, so that was your left leg, but how would you even know I was trying to find your right leg?"

"You have been attempting to locate my tattoo for the past ten minutes." That was an exaggeration. Ten minutes ago he had been flat on his back, smiling blissfully while trying to catch his breath. "I doubt you will find it by touch."

"Oh." His hand remained stationary, waiting for her to relax before becoming active again. "Am I close?"

She sighed, not feeling like kicking him out of bed just yet; it had been a long week and she was hoping they could make a weekend of their most successful stress-relieving strategy. "Too low."

"Now you're just baiting me."

She enjoyed his obliging caresses for a moment. "Too high."

"Maybe I found something better to touch."

Her back arched almost involuntarily, pushing her shoulders into his chest. "Why aren't you asleep?"


"Usually I cannot keep you awake long enough to get you off me…"

"When do you ever let me be on top?" he interrupted.

She ignored both his words and his roaming hands, continuing, "And tonight you are like the pink rabbit. You are not using any pharmaceutical assistance, are you?"

"Why would you…hey!" He pushed away from her for a moment to push the sheets away from his body. "Do I look like I need that stuff? I am the quintessential Italian stallion!"

"True, but you are not eighteen anymore." She did have to admit that the part she was most interested in was still impressive, and growing more so at the moment.

"Yeah, well, I'm not the Energizer Bunny, either." He pulled the sheet back up over both of them as he resumed his position behind her and rested his arm in the curve of her waist. "You didn't just confess to some weird stuffed animal fetish, did you?"


"Just thinking." His hand slipped between her thighs again. "Do I have to buy you a teddy bear or something like that now?"

"Do not try to distract me."

"What? Most women like that kind of thing. Of course, most women don't have ink right…here!" He poked her harder than necessary.

"Wrong leg. Again."

"I knew that."

He tried to flip his hand, but she clenched her thighs together. "What is your sudden fascination with my tattoo?"

"I wouldn't call it sudden. It's just…well. Not what I would have expected. Y'know, like a skull or a knife or a gun, sure, but a flower? Did you just walk into the tattoo shop and point to a pretty one in the book?"

She took a deep breath. "It is an almond blossom."

"I…" He tugged his hand back. "You'll hurt me if I make a joke about nuts right now, huh?"


He was silent for so long that she assumed he had fallen asleep when he suddenly asked, "So are you gonna tell me why you have a tattoo of a flower, er, almond blossom on your inner thigh?" His touch abruptly landed in the correct place, though she thought it was probably coincidence.


"What's with the cold shoulder?" His lips pressed against it. "Well, not literally cold. It's warm and sexy."

"I understand the expression. I do not wish to talk about my tattoo."

"How come?"

"That is something which would be addressed if I were willing to talk about it, which I am not."

He snorted. "You didn't by any chance take the bar exam instead of the citizenship test by mistake, did you?"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"That you're trying to get yourself off on a technicality! C'mon, you have to give me something. It means enough that you got a specific flower, so I'm guessing it wasn't a drunken undergraduate thing."

She was really beginning to lose patience. "Let it go. For once, please, just stop."

"I'm not good at letting things go." He tightened his hold around her. "You've probably noticed that about me at some point."

"It is both endearing and infuriating." She predicted that in another minute or two, he would be sufficiently distracted to end all conversation about one thing between her legs.

"And I'm a good investigator, so you should know that I…."

With no warning, her desire faded and her resolve broke. "If we found a headless body we suspected was Abby, what do you think would be the fastest way to identify it?"

He shrank as quickly as could be expected, but his grip didn't slacken. After a few silent moments, he said, "You got a tattoo in case…in case you, uh, turned up…"

"Decapitated. Yes."

"But…aren't there…uh…"

"Not during a mission. Team members would not have time to run DNA samples, if that is what you are asking."

There was another silent interval before he said, "I'm sorry."

"You have no reason to be."

"No, I should trust you when you say you don't want to talk about things."

"Then where would we be?" She turned toward him and nestled against his chest.

"You're right. Then we'd never talk about anything. Well, except movies, and then it would mostly be me talking."

She ran her hands down his stomach. "Not talking has its benefits."

"Mmm." Several minutes of enjoyable not-talking later, he lifted his lips from her neck. "Hey, will you make dinner when we're done?"


"Sorry. Not talking makes me hungry."