Dr Carson Beckett had always been fascinated by tattoos; they could say so much about a person or could be a design picked at random. In his years as a doctor, Carson had seen thousands of patients with tattoos, but the ones that captivated him the most were those he'd seen on the Atlantis expedition members in the last few years; most he found had been picked for a reason. Some had shocked the hell out of him; others, not so much.
Laura Cadman's for example, had come as no surprise. The bold "Semper Fi" blocked across the small of her back was perfectly in keeping with her personality. Laura was a marine through and through, but she was also an unbelievably loyal friend.
Dr. Radek Zelenka's while slightly more surprising, was also very symbolic of his character. The Czech flag with the lion from their national crest definitely belonged right above his heart; the man was a true patriot. Carson knew that Radek harbored a lot of guilt that he wasn't working directly for his homeland, instead only improving his countrymen's lives in an indirect manner.
Beckett had encountered Ronan's tattoo the first time he'd met the man. It was only later that he came to understand what the mark meant; the mark of a runner, a mark that forbid him refuge in any village. He'd once asked Ronan if he'd like the mark removed. The reply had been a definite shake of the lion's mane of hair; it was then that Dex had informed him that while the mark was a constant reminder of his time as a runner, it was also a reminder to never take what he had now for granted.
Carson knew he wouldn't be able to describe Teyla's tattoo if his life depended on it; he only knew that it spoke of strength and beauty to him. He'd questioned her about it soon after she'd joined the expedition and had been told that the designs at the base of her neck were symbolic of leadership among her people.
He literally laughed aloud the first time he caught sight of Elizabeth's, at first the zodiac constellation resting on her hip seemed completely incongruous. After he'd stopped laughing, and gotten swatted several times, he found out that it had been a dare during a college spring break in Florida. She'd picked the Taurus constellation simply because she was born in May and couldn't think of anything else that she wanted. On later consideration, Carson decided that the bull fit, probably more than she knew. Besides the fact that her destiny lay in the stars, he'd read once that Taureans were known to be driven, extremely stubborn and natural born diplomats. However, they rarely allowed people to get truly close to them and their feelings, fears and desires often ran far deeper than anyone around them would guess. In retrospect, he didn't think she could have more accurately described herself if she'd tried.
Rodney's was the one that had truly floored Carson. He couldn't imagine that that physicist would ever voluntarily let himself be touched by a needle; but the small black hole design with the initials ES in the corner well hidden on the underside of his upper arm was a testament that not only had he allowed the needle to touch him, but he'd done so on a highly sensitive area of the body just so it would remain hidden to the casual observer. Beckett had spotted the tiny drawing during Rodney's first physical in Antarctica, but had reserved his comment due to the obviously personal nature of the tattoo. It was two years before he'd felt close enough to Rodney to bring it up; an extremely haunted look and a reply of 'I wasn't always this bad at the mushy stuff' was the only response he'd gotten before McKay had fled the room. Carson had left an apology and an offer to talk in Rodney's lab, but the man had yet to approach him a year later.
John's was another that was very typical of who he was. The soaring eagle sketched across his right shoulder blade spoke plainly of Sheppard's love of freedom and flying. Of course, John now had two tattoos.
Carson gently traced the band of Celtic knot work that settled just above his bicep on his left arm. He paused as John shifted sleepily beneath his touch; sleep encrusted hazel eyes regarded him questioningly for several seconds before John spoke.
"Babe, everything ok?"
Carson gave him a dimpled smile, "Aye, luv, couldn't be better."
The doctor shifted to his stomach and intertwined his left hand with John's; his own band of Celtic knot work coming to rest next to that of his new husband's.
Summary: Dr Carson Beckett had always been fascinated by tattoos; they could say so much about a person or could be a design picked at random.