"Who did this tattoo?" Daniel asked, tracing a finger over the quarter-sized circle on her sweat-sheened skin. "It looks Druid, but it the design isn't quite right."
"Maybe because it's not Druid," Abby grinned as Daniel frowned.
She loved his inquisitive, brilliant mind. The way she could talk to him about her work. He would actually listen and sometimes understand.
"Daniel! You're supposed to be the cultural expert! You're telling me you've never seen this before?"
"It's a triskele, but that's a cross-cultural symbol with dozens of meanings."
She watched him as he studied the tat. Could almost see his mind sorting and discarding possibilities. Finally, she took pity on him. Used her thumbs to ease his scrunched brow.
"Let me educate you, Doctor. It really doesn't have a name. It's just called 'The Emblem'. It's an easy way for BDSM practitioners to recognize each other in a vanilla world."
"Would you have a reason to know what this was Daniel?"
"Ummm . . . it's been awhile since I've actively pursued that type of sexuality."
"Then I'll forgive you lack of knowledge."
"Gee, thanks, Dr. Sciuto."
She gave him a tender slap to the back of the head.
"Careful," he grinned, "I might like that." He pressed a kiss to the outside edge of the emblem. "You were going to educate me?"
She stared into his eyes until he smiled.
"The--um--number three is important. Several meanings." Focus! she chided herself, He's not the first person who's ever flirted with you. "Three divisions of BDSM: B&D, S&M, and D&S. Three words of the BDSM motto: safe, sane and consensual. Three types of players: Tops, bottoms, and switches."
"And the three holes?" Daniel inquired, wiggling his eyebrows.
"It's not what you think it is." In a softer voice, she continued, "They remind us that without a partner, we are incomplete."
She watched his expression change before he lowered his eyes. She lifted his chin and pressed her other hand to his cheek.
"Daniel, you're not incomplete tonight."