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Yuletide Ink


Hello all,


How is everyone doing on this nth week of quarantine? It's raining where I live and is supposed to do so all week, which sucks as I have been enjoying mornings sitting outside and writing.


Anyway, enjoy this story. If you have any prompt ideas, feel free to leave a comment and I will give it a shot.



YULETIDE INK


Darcy had wanted a tattoo for as long as she could remember. She couldn’t remember how she had learned about them, but even as a small child, she would use markers and pens to doodle tattoos across her arms.


She even trained herself to write with her left hand so she could have tattoos on both arms instead of just one. Every now and again, Ceri would even allow her to draw something on her skin. Darcy would often draw anchors or hearts that read ‘Mother’. She could draw a rose with her eyes closed since that’s always what Ceri wanted.


When she was in High School, she would use permanent markers to write song lyrics across her wrists. She changed them frequently, depending on what she was listening to or if she heard a song lyric that just spoke to her. One day she would sport a Carly Simon quip and the next a filthy Alice Cooper lyric.


She had been saving all the money that she earned from Doc Robinson to buy two things for her eighteenth birthday. A tattoo and a motorcycle.

She knew the exact make and model bike that she was going to buy. The BMW R1200C, just like the one James Bond drove through the streets and rooftops of Hong Kong. Except hers would be in black.


She wasn’t sure what her first tattoo would be. She thought about the family crest. She had always liked it and thought it was cool how the two wolves in the crest looked like her and Ceri. Tribal tattoos were big when she was in school, but they really weren’t her style.

She figured there would be plenty of time to figure out what she would get. She couldn’t get tattooed until she was eighteen anyway, so she had the entire summer to figure out what she wanted. She had already planned to use her free time to research local tattoo shops and artists.


All those plans changed when she came out and her world turned upside down.

Darcy had spent her summer holiday taking courses at Oxford. She wanted to make a good impression with her professors so she had kept her focus on her studies. The little free time she had, she spent with her linguistics professor, Isabelle.


Isabelle didn’t like the idea of Darcy getting a tattoo. The older woman had told Darcy she thought tattoos didn’t look good. That they made people look trashy. Darcy didn’t understand, especially since Isabelle always talked about how attractive she thought Johnny Depp was. When she had mentioned it, the professor had simply shrugged it off and said it was different for men.


That should have been my first clue, Darcy thought as she doodled on a cocktail napkin at Annie’s Pub. She had wandered into the pub shortly after her breakup and the pack trial that followed. Annette, the owner, taught the young werewolf how to mix drinks on slow nights and let her keep the tips she earned.


Darcy started spending all her free time at the pub. Annette kept a stool at the end of the bar reserved for the alpha. Darcy would sit for hours reading and working on schoolwork while the old Fae kept her fed and served her beers. Sometimes Darcy would get caught up into her work well into the early morning hours and Annette would let her stay in one of the boarding rooms above the bar.


Darcy would be renting the room full time after the Christmas holiday.


“What are you doodling, Girlie?” Annette asked, setting a mug of beer in front of Darcy. “A triquetra?”


“Yeah, I’m going to get it tattooed when I get back to Canada.”


“You finally settled on one then?”


Darcy nodded.


“Do you know what it stands for?”


“My Gran told me about it when I was a kid,” The alpha explained, “I had forgotten about it until she sent me a letter after everything happened.”


“What does the triquetra have to do with your heartbreak?” Annette asked as she lit another cigarette.


“Basically, she told me that it was best that things didn’t work out with Isabelle. That my true mate will love and accept me without question. She also told me that I need to be balanced in order to commit to someone. Body, mind, and soul.”


“Smart woman, your gran.”


“Yeah,” Darcy agreed with a smile. “She is.”


“So this is the one?” Annette asked. “You’ve decided?”


“This is the one,” Darcy confirmed, taking a sip of beer. “The first one, anyway.”


The old Fae gave a short nod and tapped her knuckles on the bar, “Right. Follow me.”

Darcy knew better than to argue, so she grabbed her glass and followed the direction Annette was heading. When they reached the opposite end of the bar, the old woman lifted the bar flap and waved her to the other side.


For a moment, Darcy thought Annette was asking for some help behind the bar, but she was led to a door marked “Private”.


The room was much bigger than Darcy had anticipated. She had expected a small stockroom but was surprised to find a large room with antique furniture and wall to wall shelves filled with thousands of books. There was a large stone fireplace and a spiral staircase that lead to another floor, but she couldn’t see what was upstairs.


“What is this?” Darcy asked.


“My private quarters,” Annette explained. “Only those invited can enter and you have to be invited every time.”


“Paranoid much?”


“You want your gift or not?”


“Gift?”


“I almost gave up on you, Annette,” A man’s voice made Darcy jump. She looked up and saw a middle-aged man coming down the spiral staircase. Despite the bitter winter cold, he was wearing jeans and a black tank top. Every square inch of his skin from his neck down was covered in tattoos. When he saw Darcy, he froze for a split second. He quickly recovered, smiled, and extended his hand. “You must be Darcy Collins.”


Darcy was cautious, she glanced and waited for Annette to nod before she shook the man’s hand. “I am.”


“Hemming,” The man said, his accent was light and Darcy wasn’t entirely sure what it was. “It’s a pleasure.”


Now that he was closer, Darcy could see that the man’s tattoos were quite old. They also looked to be the Viking symbols she had seen in old books. He had blonde hair, blue eyes, and a long beard that he wore in a thick braid.


“I’m sorry,” Darcy said, a bit confused. “But are you supposed to be my gift? Because I’m not into that.”


Hemming laughed while Annette rolled her eyes. “Hemming is going to tattoo you.”

Darcy nearly spat out her beer. “Really?”


The man nodded, “If that’s what you want.”


“Happy Yule, Girlie,” Annette said with a smile.


*****


It took four hours to have a two-inch tattoo set in the werewolf’s skin. It hurt. Darcy had expected it to hurt but was surprised to find that it was actually therapeutic.

The little pain she felt made the adrenaline course through her veins. The scent of blood, even if it was her own, made her hair bristle and her wolf howled in the back of her mind. The first pass of the needle made Darcy want more.


Hemming explained the aftercare. Because Darcy was a werewolf, she would be healed up by morning, but she needed to clean it before she went to bed and make sure not to scratch it overnight or else they would need to touch it up.


Darcy was careful not to thank him, as she could tell he was also Fae, and Annette had told her not to thank them no matter what. Hemming gave her a business card and told Darcy to call him if she wanted any more work done.


Darcy pulled Annette into a hug, “This is an amazing gift, Annette. All I got you was a case of those cigarettes you like.”


“That’s perfect, Girlie,” Annette tried and failed to hide a smile as she returned the hug. “And you’re welcome.”


Darcy bid her goodbyes to the Fae, she had an early flight the next morning and needed to finish packing. The door had just closed behind the young wolf when Hemming turned to Annette.


“She looks just like Rolfie.” Hemming said as he started packing up his tools. “I came down those steps and suddenly I was two hundred again. I half expected her to give me combat orders.”


“It’s uncanny,” Annette agreed as she took a long drag off her cigarette. “The first time she walked into this pub I nearly burst into tears.”


“The kid seems like she’s been through some tough shit. Reminded me of those six months after Rolfie lost Helka and the baby.”


“She just lost her first love,” Annette explained. “She was seeing a human woman who didn’t know about supernaturals. Darcy revealed her true self to her and the woman called her a monster.”


“Humans can be so cruel.”


Annette nodded. “She’ll be fine. She’s destined for someone so much better.”


“Does she know that?”


“No,” the oracle said, “She has no idea what’s in store for her.”


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