Sawdust Voices - carleton97

His name is Jerome, but everyone calls him Scratch. He set up shop on the outskirts of Albuquerque in '79, but he apprenticed in San Francisco, New York, and Osaka before that.

He spends most of his time tattooing recent immigrants and the more adventurous tourists, but it's always boring shit - skulls and roses and fucking butterflies. He thinks it's going to be more of the same when the motorcycle with NY plates stops in a cloud of dust outside the shop, but the kid who walks in is... intense. Heavy stubble for someone who's *maybe* old enough to drink and eyes as dark as some of the Indian kids who hang around.

Scratch knows he really isn't your stereotypical tattoo artist. For one thing, he's not at all grizzled and he knows that if it weren't for the colorful art tracing over all of his available skin, most people would think he was an accountant or some dumb shit.

It's the glasses and the male pattern baldness, he thinks.

Fucking genetics.

But this kid... he's flipping through the flash books with a purpose, obviously looking for something. Scratch isn't shy - his profession kind of makes that impossible - and he'd normally be talking, trying to help the kid find whatever piece of crap design he's got his heart set on, but there's something that keeps him in his chair until the kid flips the last book shut with a frown. And he normally doesn't do this because most people are shallow fuckers and wouldn't appreciate real art if it bit them in the ass, but something makes him pull his sketch book out from under the counter and toss it onto the table in front of the kid.

The kid looks at the book, then back at him for a second before opening it. He stares at the first page - how Scratch remembers his Grandma's house in the middle of an Iowa winter - for a long time before slowly turning the page. He goes through the whole book before turning it back to a page in the middle and handing it back to Scratch.

He glances down at the sketch of a snake slowly unwinding itself from The Staff of Asclepius and remembers the creeping sense of betrayal he'd felt at Mara's death. The kid's clenched jaw and the faint lines around his eyes tell a story Scratch wished he didn't know by heart and he motions for the kid to follow him into the back.

Scratch points at the battered, adjustable bench and begins to pull together what he'll need for the tattoo. "Where?"

In response, the kid drops his jacket in the corner and pulls his t-shirt off, pushing his jeans low on scrawny hips and pointing to his lower back. "This work?"

Scratch imagines the wooden staff lying diagonally, nearly horizontal just above his ass, the snake uncurling itself and slithering off in the other direction.

Yes, that would work.

He nods and the kid unbuttons his jeans so he can roll the waistband down far enough to be out of the way. He pushes his jockeys down too, and sits on the bench, facing away from Scratch's final preparations.

Scratch washes his hands and pulls on his gloves before settling behind the kid. Compared to his face and arms, the skin on his back fine and pale, like it's never seen the sun. And the kid is fucking skinny. Skinnier than Scratch thought and this tattoo is going to hurt like a mother, but he knows better than to ask him if he's sure, so he finishes shaving the area and flicks on the gun. The kid jumps a little, and tenses, but relaxes again right away and Scratch smiles as he leans forward to begin inking him.

This kid's alright.

The End

disclaimer: CSI:Miami isn't mine, but sometimes I like to pretend it is.

Created and maintained by carleton97.

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