"What in the hell is that?"
"What's what?" Leonard asked, toweling his hair dry. He'd walked out of their bathroom in grey boxer briefs and black t-shirt, never comfortable with coming out fully naked like Jim was.
"That thing on your hip! It was like a black mark or something. Did you miss a spot while showering? Do I need to start coming in and helping you?" he asked, grinning wickedly at the last sentence.
"It's nothing." Leonard brushed him off and walked over to the laundry chute, tossing his towel inside. "You're seeing things."
"No, I definitely saw something. I think there was even a flash of blue?"
"Nope. There's nothing there. Now shut up and turn off the lights."
"I think there's something there you don't want me to see. What is it?"
"Nothing," Leonard stubbornly replied, climbing into bed and settling down under the covers….which were promptly ripped off of him by Jim.
Jim ignored Leonard's protests and pushed his shirt up, exposing a small black mark. Unsatisfied, he tugged the waistband of his underwear down, grinning triumphantly when Leonard stopped struggling long enough for Jim to get a good look at what he was hiding.
It was a tattoo of a dove sitting on top of a lotus flower.
"It's the result of a drunken night with Jocelyn in college," he grumbled, crossing his arms and staring at the wall, face turning an interesting shade of red.
"Why's it so…girly?"
Leonard sighed, rubbing at his face.
"That was the first time I opened up to Joce about my mom's death and the fact that Dad was dying. I dunno. She talked me into getting a memento of them, but I honestly don't remember getting it until I woke up the next morning with the worst hangover ever and a throbbing pain in my hip."
"So why a dove? And a lotus flower?" Jim was tracing the outline of the tattoo with the tips of his fingers, intrigued by the story. "And why not just remove it, if you're that embarrassed by it?"
"Momma always talked about doves being this symbol of freedom or something. She loved the silly birds."
"And what about the flower?"
"I dunno. Joce said it had something to do with some zen shit or another. She was a gigantic fucking hippie in college."
Jim laughed, still tracing the tattoo.
"So why keep it? You know it wouldn't take any time at all to remove it."
"I kinda like it," Leonard replied after a moment, brushing his fingers through Jim's hair. "Reminds me of them. And I've grown attached to it, in a way."
"Sentimental old man."
"Yeah, and you love me for it."
Jim didn't respond, only smiled and divested Leonard of his black shirt, kissing him softly, before moving down his body and pressing a kiss to the tattoo on his hip.