Author’s Note: Any similarity to Jeanine’s “Markings” is purely coincidental, as I wrote most of this before she posted that. But that’s a great fic, so anyone who hasn’t should go read it.
She has never needed to count the scars that lace his body like unwanted tattoos, marking everything he’s suffered since before their paths first crossed. She never needed to search for them, even the scars that couldn’t be seen. She’s known them by heart almost as long as she’s known him, long before the first time they lay in each other’s arms like this–bodies, souls and hearts laid naked and trusting in each other’s hands.
There, in the smooth, unblemished skin of his side, is where he took a staff blast meant for Jack O’Neill, on the first mission to Abydos that she wasn’t part of. The mark is gone, like so many others, because of the healing powers of the sarcophagus that they didn’t yet know to fear. Like so many of the other vanished scars on his body, it’s a mark not just of an injury, but a death. Deaths that she will forever be grateful were reversed, despite the cost.
There, in the strong hands and arms that have only grown stronger in the time she’s known him, is the memory of being cast out of himself and into a body on the verge of death. He never forgot, never neglected his body again after that, until now he rivals many of the men on base who learned physical discipline at boot camp.
There, running in a white streak across his belly, is where his appendix was removed…such a laughable, normal thing, almost, compared to the rest, but still a mark of a battle fought and won.
There, in the almost indiscernible beginning of lines on his forehead, is the mind that fought a battle with irresistible temptation so many times–Hathor, Shyla and the sarcophagus, Shi’fu and all the deadly knowledge and power of the Goa’uld–and emerged battered and shaken, but unbroken, every time.
There, in the deceptive youthfulness of his face, is the ugly, heart-breaking necrosis he sustained from naquadriah radiation, trying to save a world he barely knew. Damage left behind when he ascended, and left behind again–thankfully, for it would have broken her heart every time she touched him–when he returned to them.
There, in the stubborn, steady beat of his heart, is the angry gash left by the sight of his wife on another man’s arm, carrying another man’s child, falling for the last time at the hand of a friend. There, in the nearsighted eyes hidden from her by lids closed in sleep, are the hours of study and sleepless nights that transformed a heartbroken child into a man and a scholar.
She could read the pattern with her eyes closed, and often has. The first time they made love, she kissed them all, too overwhelmed to communicate with words what she desperately had needed to say–that she loved every part of him: every scar and every heartbreak just as much as every joy. So she spoke without words, but still with lips and tongue and breath.
He is the expert on languages, not her. But the language of his body, the language of scars in which his biography is written for only her to see, is one that she reads fluently. One that she does not need to study to remember.
No, she remembers the scars because she watched them mold and carve him into the man he is, the man she loves. The man she sometimes thinks she has always loved, even when she didn’t know it. But never less with each new scar, only more.
Even more than for his scars, though, she loves him for the fact that he has seen her scars as well, and always struggled not to flinch, even when faced with Jolinar staring at him through her eyes. He hasn’t always won the battle, but he’s always fought with honor. For that alone, she can forgive him any loss.
She loves him for the fact that just the touch of his hand or his voice has become a balm to her rawest and deepest hurts, both new and old. He is, and has been for so long, the reason that nothing remains of many of those griefs except a thin white line of tissue that, when translated, proclaims, “here was a broken heart, but now it is healed.”
From the first time he promised her she wouldn’t have to face the battle to save Cassie alone, to the day he saw the open wound left in her eyes by the lack of recognition in his, and followed her home to a world he didn’t remember to try to mend it. To the way he held her for hours tonight while she poured out her heart yet again. Never offering unwanted advice or useless platitudes, only the constant, steady comfort and promise of his presence.
There is no one else in her life who cares as deeply when she hurts, or who will do more to try to save her, even when he himself is broken. How could she not have fallen in love with him? And why, she often wonders, did it take her so long to decipher the whispering of her own heart?
Perhaps the truth just lay buried within her, like the knowledge of Goa’uld technology that Jolinar left behind. Or perhaps it’s because the language of love is one she spoke with little fluency and less confidence until a vision of what she thought she wanted encouraged her to let go of her safety, of her caution.
So she let go of safety, and chose to ride out the storm, the rollercoaster that is loving Daniel Jackson. The man who always comes back to her in the end…even from the dead.
Beside her, Daniel begins to stir in response to the light path her fingers are skimming over his chest. “Sam?”
It always thrills her when he wakes with her name on his lips. The first few times, she was afraid he’d awaken still looking for Sha’re, but that love, while unforgotten, is in his past. Now that they have each other, he no longer needs to search for it in his dreams.
“What are you doing?” he murmurs in drowsy amusement. One arm snakes out to curl around her waist and draw her closer.
She smiles and leans over him to lay a feather-soft kiss on his droopy smile. “Reading our story.”
“Hmmm…” he makes a sound of soft agreement, his tone mildly teasing and his voice throaty. “Feel like adding a steamy love scene to this chapter?”
She laughs with her whole heart–God, he makes her so happy!–and answers with another kiss, this one eloquent with intent. “That’s my favorite part.”