Disclaimer: I own nothing
Author Note: Sequel to 'Telling Tales', which can be found here at at my profile. But it also works fine as a standalone fic. Enjoy :)
At the top of Agron's arm was a large and historically accurate sword and shield tattoo. Duro had had an identical one. Whenever their Dad had gotten drunk, he'd always talked about their ancestry and how they came from a long line of fucking fighters. He'd tell the same stories about Grandpa Mirko and Uncle Kyle and how they'd defended the neighbourhood. Then he'd talk about even further back, about fights for property and women and weapons and taking back what was rightfully theirs because nobody stole anything from the Bauers for long. He'd shown them photos and drawings and family crests and 'that's us, jungs, don't you fucking forget it'. Agron could still rattle off those stories by heart.
So when it had come to getting his first tattoo, he'd known exactly what he wanted. There'd been a picture in one of his Dad's books that Agron had always liked, of a battlefield and banners and the expressions on the soldiers' faces. Some of the weaponry had looked like his high school football team's logo. He'd taken the book with him to the tattoo store. Donar had played on the same football team, had raised his eyebrows at the age of the book, but had sketched the sword crossing over the shield, like a crest or a defensive ready pose. Agron had grinned, knocked back his beer, and said fuck yeah.
Nasir's hand lightly glided over the weapons tattoo as he straddled Agron, a teasing knowing smile playing with his mouth. Agron rolled his hips lewdly and told him it was his turn.
Nasir tugged down the waistband of his slacks and revealed a possessive creeping vine wrapped around his thigh. It was a vivid green, studded with tiny deep-purple blossoms. Tendrils reached for his inner thigh but teasingly never quite got there. According to Nasir, he'd gotten it because of a particularly good holiday.
Agron raised his eyebrows, his fingers enjoying a very thorough tracing of the complicated vine pattern. Holiday tattoos were bad beer ideas, somebody's name that you wanted to forget when you were sober. They weren't something pretty out of a gardening magazine.
Nasir rolled his head back with a soft look of nostalgia as he recounted being in Athens after his high school senior year – the heat and the ancient buildings that he'd sketched and the memorable evening that he'd gone skinny dipping under the beautiful milky heavens and had gotten hopelessly tangled in vines just like the one on his thigh. He'd wanted to remember always how the world had looked that night.
The one around Agron's wrist was always on show. His sisters' names formed a bracelet, which would be added to once Isold had her kid. Over pasta and thick creamy sauce, Agron talked about the many ways that Isold had learned to creep out of the house undetected past curfew and how even now Leonore could kick his arse at footie. He grinned about the rosewater perfume Isold still drowned herself in and that he'd always claimed made him sneeze, and how Leonore emphatically kicked her shoes off the moment she got past anyone's front door.
Nasir was peeling off his shirt that night when Agron got his first proper look at the scar on Nasir's back. It was thick with tissue and looked like it had been burned as well as torn up pretty fucking unforgivably. Nasir had turned and seen the look on Agron's face, so he'd pointed out the tattoo beside the scar. A small but perfectly detailed pair of wings – part bird, part angel – with three names wound into the mutant feathers.
"It's a reminder of the good back home to balance out the bad shit."
It was only later after Agron had heard more and more stories about Nasir's estranged brother Kedar that he realised that Kedar had been the cause of Nasir's back scar and that it hadn't happened accidentally.
Nasir always hummed when his mouth was lavishing attention on Agron's left pec. Under his tongue was an altered Deftones lyric - snap at walls and don't calm down. It was a reminder every time Agron was dressing and glanced in the mirror. It made his mother roll her eyes and made Leonore break into a hilarious interpretation of the song's guitar part. It made Nasir hum against Agron's skin, adding a few lyrics of his own and making Agron's heart speed up.
Agron laughed when he saw what covered Nasir's lower back. A beautiful strip of sheet music, detailed with staves and quavers and professional flourishes. There were no lyrics. Agron wondered if it was from the same song as the music notes on Nasir's forearm. He frequently connected the dots with his tongue and tried out a different musical interpretation each time. Every one of them made Nasir laugh.
"Music's a real thing for you, isn't it?"
Nasir palmed his cheek with a tenderness that made Agron's heart twist. "Almost everything."
Over Agron's heart was Duro's name. It was simple and elegant. Donar had spent a while getting it just right. It was a name and nothing more, no memorial portraits, no R.I.P. Just the name. That was enough. Nasir often traced it carefully with his fingers; it became a habit. He never asked about it though. That made Agron want to tell.
So one night, when Nasir's hand had been tracing the name again, Agron's voice cracked over tales of his baby brother. How they'd been joined at the hip since Duro's birth, how Duro had always been found underneath a car somewhere whenever he went missing, screwing with its innards and insisting that he was improving it. How he'd worked in a garage after finishing school and sung along badly to the radio. How he'd insisted on getting the same sword and shield as Agron tattooed on his arm and how he'd passed out after it was finished. When he was drunk he'd always talked about getting a tattoo that declared his love for Diona but he never did because even his pickled brain knew that Diona would have killed him in the morning.
Nasir soaked up the words and kept his fingers pressed to the tattoo and his lips on Agron's skin, an anchor with a gentle understanding grip.
On Nasir's right ankle was a single sentence in Arabic. He never offered up its meaning. But he did gasp hotly whenever Agron lovingly tongued it.
Near Agron's hip at the top of his thigh was a baby handprint. Soon after Alisha had been born, Agron had gotten her tiny hand traced right on that spot and then had gotten Donar to tattoo it along with the date of her birth. Diona had called him a stupid sentimental fuck but had added that it was exactly what Duro would have done. Agron's brother hadn't lived to see his daughter born.