As a lifelong lover of tattoos, and owner of several, one of each of the kinds discussed here, I was moved to write this little drabble. Read and Review please, and I don't own Pirates of the Caribbean. But I do own the ideas presented here about tattoos.

Some tattoos are artwork, pure and simple. Something beautiful that graces the body. Skin can be a canvas more supple than the finest stretched linen, more rewarding than a pristine oaken slab ready for transformation, and more meaningful than any vaulted soaring ceiling.

Tattoos for the sake of art don't need to have a profound meaning. They can just be pretty. They usually explode over some expanse of skin in a swirl of undulating color and immaculate line work, or seem to dig deep into muscle in a masterpiece of shading and stark black ink. They are put on display, shown to the world. They peak out from beneath shirt sleeves, peep from above necklines, and play coy games with key-hole dress backs.

Artistic tattoos are attention whores, thrust into the limelight and begging for you to comment, to ooh and ahh over the artistry and skill. We get artistic tattoos because we want something that takes our breath away or makes us happy and laugh. We get them because our body is our most clear billboard for our points of view. We can alienate and attract entire populations of people with a bit of ink, blood, and time.

There's another type of tattoo. One that is pressed into skin that seldom tans or is put on display. A type of tattoo that usually pools over the heart, or at least springs from the heart. Tattoos of faces and words, handprints and symbols, that aren't meant for other people's approval. Tattoos that don't care whether your lover likes to trace their fingers over them or not. Tattoos that mean something deeper than art and whimsy.

The pain that comes with those tattoos isn't something that you grit and bear through, but something that you take deep into your soul. Physical pain that filters into your heart while letting the pain you already felt flow out. This is a pain for remembrance, pain for love, and pain for sorrow. This is a pain that is more cathartic than all the therapy in the world. A thousand shrink's couches found in a few hours in a tattooing chair.

Some tattoos are a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling. Some are a more.

Jack secured the cloth around his forearm. On cold nights he still felt the throbbing in his brand courtesy of Beckett. He could feel the words burning with comforting warmth along his body, the words 'strive to be happy' like a lovers kiss heating his skin. In looping scrawls and flowing symbols his life was told in ink across his body. Like a banner it came before him, drawing the eyes to what he strove to show and what he had for himself was never seen.

The Sparrow on his arm was him. The brand was him. 'Desiderata' was him. His life was art and pain.

He was a Pirate.

Please note that I'm willfully ignoring the third class of tattoos, the ones that start from the phrase "you know what would be awesome?!".