Marc stares down at Sid's half unbuttoned shirt, both his collar bones well exposed. On the left side, below his clavicle is a bright yellow sunflower. It's petals shift a little across his skin as Sid breathes in and out. He's half tempted to reach out and touch it just to make sure it's really there. He hopes it's just painted on, even if he already knows it's permanent.
"You fucking idiot."
"Listen," Sid begins, but Marc cuts him off.
"No, you listen. What were you thinking? That people won't notice?"
"I can hide it."
"It's not like I walk around naked." Sid tries for humour, but fails under Marc's glare. Everyone is going to look at that tattoo and know who it's for. There's no point.
"Someone will see eventually."
"I don't care." Sid juts out his chin, looking up at him with stubborn hazel eyes. He takes a deep, shaky breath that makes the sunflower flutter. "I don't care anymore. I wanted this."
"If you have to ask, then what's the point?" Sid's voice is cracking, like it does after a long game. He sounds defeated. Flower lets his anger dissolve. He can't handle it when Sid starts to crumble like this, but tries to be brave. He puts a hand gently on Sid's shoulder.
"I know why, but I still feel like I don't understand."
The why is simple. Because of a trade that could happen. Because of a trade that will happen. Because Sid has seen so many people go, knowing it's a business and he can't control it. Trades, injuries. Because it should get easier after all these years but damn it, it still hurts. It hurts because it never should happen. It hurts because it's Marc.
"Why, Sid?" Marc asks again, softer this time. He doesn't understand why Sid would make himself suffer.
"Because," Sid lets out a shaky laugh. "Because you're leaving. You can't stay and it's driving me crazy. I didn't think you would get mad."
"I'm not mad,"
Sid tilts his head to the side.
"Okay, I'm a little mad. It just sucks to think about the future right now, and looking at that, that sunflower, it makes me think of everything that's going to happen."
He imagines all the other guys reacting to it once he's gone. The guys outside the immediate core frowning sympathetically, but giving Sid his distance. Oh, Bing, Kris would say to himself with a sigh. Kuni would be silently watching out for him, always ready to be a shoulder to cry on but Sid would stay strong. He wouldn't say a word. Geno would watch him like a hawk anyway, quietly wishing there was something he could do to take away every wrong Sid has ever shouldered.
He sees all that when he looks down at the dazzlingly intricate sunflower blooming right over where is heart would be. It's less photo realistic, more focused on a precise geometric pattern the petals create. The warm splash of yellow across Sid's pale skin makes it impossible not to stand out. Yes, Marc admits it is beautiful. He's tempted to ask where and how he got it done. He settles his hand gently over the skin, warmth seeping into the tips of his fingers.
"I want you to always be with me, even when I know you can't." Sid puts his hand over Marc's where it rests over the tattoo.
"Yeah, let's go with that."
A week later, Marc bursts into Sid's house, haphazardly unbuttoning his shirt as he goes to find Sid on the couch in the living room.
"What are you doing?" Sid says, a little perplexed as Marc flurries around him, trying to rip off his shirt.
"Look!" He's pointing towards a suspiciously simular looking bandage attached just below his collar bone.
"Oh, I did." Marc goes to carefully peel it away.
Sid watches as under the bandage, a small yellow shape appears. He peers closer at the raw skin and can hardly believe his eyes.
"It's a bee." Marc says, like Sid doesn't already know. A little bumble bee, right where Sid's own sunflower sits over his chest. He can hardly believe it.
"And what are you going to say if anyone asks about it?"
"Not sure. Maybe I say I just like bees. Or it's about wildlife conservation shit."
Sid rolls his eyes as he smiles. It's such a weak excuse. He should go get some of his left over ointment for it to heal quicker.
"Or maybe," Marc continues to grin down at him. "I say it's a little Cros-bee."
Sid groans, holding back a honk of laughter.
"An idiot?" Marc suggests, raising his eyebrows.
"Guess that makes two of us." Sid giggles and pushes him away as Marc leans in close and makes buzzing sounds in his ear.