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Author Topic: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}  (Read 2408 times)

September 10, 2022, 06:03:42 PM
Reply #30

anaithnid

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2022, 06:03:42 PM »
Selim met Hollis warmly, clearly noticing how nervous they were. Tom had been about to take their hand to reassure them, but his old mentor easily stepped in instead. ”Do not worry, my dear,” the elderly man replied. ”While Tom has learned much from me, I was not too old to not learn a few tricks of my own when we worked together. Now, come.” Selim turned away to lead the way through the rear of the shop, which had since resumed its business.

With Hollis’ hand securely in his own, Tom squeezed their fingers gently. He was already grinning when they remarked that they had been correct in assuming that his mentor was still alive, leading his smile to grow even more.
“You were right,” Tom replied softly with a chuckle and nod. He leaned over to press a small kiss to their brow, excitement flowing and sparking through his veins. Now that they were here, he could hardly believe this was happening. Not only was his best friend and father figure, Selim, alive and well, but Tom was also able to share this reunion with someone he really cared about. Never in a million years would he have imagined that he would have returned to his old stomping grounds with a life partner at his side.

The pair of them followed Selim out the back door and up a set of stone steps to the rooftop. Tom felt a sense of deja vu, then immediately recalled that his mentor was bringing him and Hollis into his home. The table was set for tea with blankets and pillows placed around it beneath a canopy to fend off the Egyptian sun. Tom allowed Hollis to take a seat ahead of him before sitting down so that he was between them and Selim.


”Please,” the older man said, gesturing towards the snacks on the table as he moved to begin pouring the tea. ”Help yourself.” There was a moment of silence as Selim finished filling their cups and they helped themselves. ”How are you, Thomas?” he asked.

“Doing well,” Tom replied after taking a sip from his cup. “I moved to the United States a few years ago for work and…” His gaze shifted easily over to Hollis, his eyes sparkling. “... and it’s been going pretty well, I’d say. Far better than I would have expected, really.”

”I’m glad,” Selim said with a smile. ”How is the family?”

“Spending most of their time in England, I believe.”

Selim raised his eyebrows over the lip of his cup. ”You believe? Do you not talk to them, Thomas?”

Tom could feel his mentor scrutinizing him. While Selim knew that George and Melody Hawkins had never approved of Tom’s interest in tattoos, the younger man had never talked much about just how much they disapproved. Selim had never pressed before, as there had still been much for his apprentice to learn to occupy them instead. But now, with his student now a master himself, there was little to else to change the subject to nearly as easily. “I do,” Tom answered after a small hesitation. He then popped a date into his mouth, chewing it thoroughly before continuing. His stalling probably was helping his situation, but Tom needed to make sure he chose his words carefully. “I just… prefer to only visit and chat when necessary. We still don’t always see eye-to-eye.”

”After all these years?” Selim asked. ”They still have not accepted the path you have chosen to take?”

“Mum tries to act as if she has,” Tom said, fighting the urge to roll his eyes. “But it’s not like we’ve ever talked it out. I conceal my tattoos around her and we act like it all doesn’t exist, basically. I don’t talk about my work experiences and she is just glad that I don’t live on the streets. And that’s that.”

”So that’s why you stay away,” Selim said thoughtfully. He looked saddened. ”To avoid all of that.”

“I have more positive things in my life now,” Tom responded, glancing over at Hollis again. “I would rather be happy than upset trying to make others happy.” It had taken him a while to get to that mindset, especially since it involved his family. Looking back now, however, Tom had deep down known that blood was not always thicker than water. He had spent almost every holiday home in this very shop, cherishing those who loved him for him. Tom did love his parents, but he decided that those who truly supported him held a special place in his heart.
  • Fandoms: Harry Potter
the stories in your heart, written on your skin

September 27, 2022, 03:23:09 PM
Reply #31

anamnesis

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2022, 03:23:09 PM »
Hollis breathed an audible sigh of relief when Selim spoke to them in English. They still hadn't quite gotten used to Tom doing all the talking... okay, that might not have been terribly out of the norm, since they felt like they made a fool of themself nearly every time they opened their mouth, but they also didn't understand a word most people said here in Egypt. It was nice that Tom wouldn't have to translate the entire time.

He kissed their temple as they followed Selim out of the tattoo shop. He looked legitimately happy, and Hollis was grateful Selim was still kicking around. The Egyptian was clearly getting on in his years, and who knew how many more times Tom would get to see him. Maybe this was supposed to be an anniversary trip for the couple, but it was always going to be a homecoming for Tom too, and Hollis wouldn't have had it any other way. They wanted their boyfriend to be happy.

The trio climbed a set of stairs and entered a small abode, and Selim led them to a table with tea and snacks. Hollis chose a chair, and Tom took a seat next to them. His mentor offered snacks while he poured the tea. The blonde Obliviator had done a little bit of research on Egyptian food before they left (thank Circe they had a Squib brother who had the internet), so they recognized the glazed nuts and the sliced plums. Fruit sounded like a nice option, so Hollis reached for one of the plums.

They listened quietly as Tom caught up with Selim. Their brown eyes met their boyfriend's when he looked at them, and a small smile appeared on their lips. Things between them were going far better than anyone had ever expected, even Joanne, but Hollis certainly wasn't complaining. It had been a long time since they dated anyone, and they'd never had a relationship last this long. The unfamiliar territory was scary, but Tom made them feel safe in a way few people could.

Then the conversation shifted to his family, and Hollis reached for their tea, drinking it if only to have something to do. They knew that while Tom could get along with his parents, he didn't really care to. That was what happened when the Hawkinses disapproved of their son's endeavors. Hollis was grateful their parents hadn't taken issue with any of the Vane siblings' careers. Maybe it was hard to disapprove of teaching and Obliviating, but Sabrina's dive into the world of fashion magazines could've caused similar ire as Tom's fascination with tattoos. Then again, Mom was also into fashion, so maybe it wouldn't have caused that much of a hullabaloo. But still. Hollis' heart went out to Tom.


"You can't really talk much about your work anyway," they chimed in when he looked at them again. "He works for DARK, which is a secret government research department," they explained to Selim. "So there are all sorts of rules about what he can and can't talk about. Like I barely know what he does beyond tattoo research." Hopefully that would diffuse a little bit of the tension they felt creeping in between mentor and mentee. Maybe he'd be able to share his work one day, but honestly, it didn't really sound like it. There were all sorts of hoops operatives had to jump through to get their research out in the world, and Hollis didn't really understand the process. All they knew was that they were glad Tom's coworker had gotten cell phones out into the wizarding world.

"Ooh, but you can show him what you showed me this morning," they remembered, a wide smile breaking out on their face. "The butterfly." As if Tom could've forgotten. It wasn't that long ago. But still. Hollis thought Selim would enjoy the progress his protegee had made since they parted ways last.

October 17, 2022, 08:06:58 PM
Reply #32

anaithnid

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2022, 08:06:58 PM »
If there was one thing that Tom didn’t miss about Selim, it was how easily he understood him. Even if Tom didn’t say it out loud, the old man knew what he meant deep down. It had been probably been pretty obvious that he hadn’t gotten along with his family when he was young. The minute he was up in the morning, Tom had been inside the tattoo parlor, eager and waiting. He shared many meals with Selim and his family, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way. And while Selim seemed to have hoped that Tom had reconciled and made amends after all of these years, that was not true.

”You can’t really talk much about your work anyway…”

Tom couldn’t be any more grateful for Hollis than he was at that moment. He felt his body relax somewhat as they went on to explain that their boyfriend technically couldn’t tell anyone about his work and experiences. And they were right, but that didn’t mean that Tom didn’t notice how odd it sounded. For a moment, he felt bad regarding how little Hollis knew about his career. A part of Tom knew that it didn’t really matter; after all, it was very obvious that he was a tattoo artist. Did he really have to say much more?

Well, for his parents, that was enough. The second Tom indicated that he was working in that field, the arguing usually started. It would immediately shut him down, forcing all passion he had regarding his work out of him. But with Hollis… His partner was more than willing to give him the time of day. Their reaction to his fully exposed array of runes on his skin earlier said more than enough, giving him more respect than Tom could have hoped for. And now here, the way that they were taking a moment to make it seem like Tom hadn’t completely abandoned the thought of ever talking with his parents.

Tom almost wanted to continue to discuss how his parents had become almost nonexistent in his life, but the smile that Hollis met him with when they directed the conversation to something brighter made him put on the brakes. He could see the genuine pride and excitement in their face. Who was Tom to disappoint them by saying no?

Hollis was also lucky that Selim would very much appreciate his latest creation.
”A butterfly, eh?” his old mentor inquired. His eyes sparkled. ”And what makes this butterfly so special?”

“I was experimenting with an old friend,” Tom replied. He was finally able to smile with the pair of them, officially shifting gears. He rolled up his sleeve, exposing the colored rune. Selim was intrigued by the colors, appearing impressed by the shading and such. As he had done before, Tom tapped the tattoo with a finger to conjure the emerald insect. Selim backed away slightly in surprise, but his eyes were captivated by the holographic image that fluttered off his skin. “Runes and colors,” Tom said once the butterfly had faded away. He gave a small chuckle. “Who knew?”

”Incredible,” Selim said. ”And bold. Runes are an ancient magic that must be respected, always. And that can be difficult to do without being careless. But this -” He gestured to the design. ”This requires embracing the power of the rune and allowing it to speak to you.” A warmth not brought on by the Egypt sun moved across Tom’s skin. What was wonderful about Selim and Hollis both was just how easy it was to talk with them. Tom didn’t have to beg for praise or acceptance. Both just came naturally, leaving Tom feeling confident in himself and supported. Selim had started that progress years ago, having no problem with including a gangly white boy under his wing. And now Hollis was here as well, fueling his fire in ways that Tom had never thought he would ever experience. Because of that, he was briefly lost for words, taking in the presence of the two people who meant everything to him.

Selim smiled, reaching over to pat Tom on the shoulder. He looked over at Hollis.
”What about you?” he asked gently. ”Do you do ‘secret government’ work too?”
  • Fandoms: Harry Potter
the stories in your heart, written on your skin

November 04, 2022, 03:10:09 PM
Reply #33

anamnesis

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2022, 03:10:09 PM »
Hollis wasn't typically good at reading people, but they had gotten to know Tom's tells pretty well in the last year. Then again, anyone with any passing knowledge of his family dynamic probably could tell how uncomfortable he was getting as Selim was asking about his parents, so it wasn't a hard decision to swoop in and help out, especially because it wasn't a lie. Tom couldn't talk to his parents about his tattoo work because he couldn't tell anybody about his work... It just also happened to be the case that he wouldn't tell them about his work even if it wasn't highly classified.

But the butterfly was something that Tom had crafted outside of DARK, so it didn't fall under the same regulations. If Selim was a tattoo artist, they figured he would appreciate what his apprentice had discovered. Tom smiled at the mention of the butterfly, and he started rolling up his sleeve to show off his artwork. Once again, Hollis was enraptured as a viridian butterfly sprung from his bicep and fluttered around.

When they were a kid, they never would've imagined they would end up dating someone so smart and talented and, well, downright attractive. But they were grateful for Joanne, because without her, they never would've met one of the best men in their life.

Selim seemed impressed by the butterfly, and everything he said after that went over the blonde Obliviator's head. They hadn't taken Ancient Runes at SWI, as they had mentioned to Tom before, so they had no idea how "bold" or "respectful" his experiment had been. But they hadn't asked for the details; they had just prompted their boyfriend to show off to his mentor. This conversation wasn't about them. It was for the two men in front of them.

Then the Egyptian turned to them and posed a question. Hollis opened their mouth to provide an answer, but then they paused and furrowed their brow.
"Well... technically, I guess," they concluded after scratching their chin in thought for a few moments. "But not like Tom. I also work for the MACUSA and keep things secret, but I'm an Obliviator. I just make sure the Statute of Secrecy stays intact as much as possible and handle incidents when No-Majs see something they shouldn't." It really wasn't as fancy as Tom or Selim's jobs. "Though I suppose I deal with magic gone wrong fairly often too. Just reversing it and making sure none of the No-Majs see it." Every time they spoke of that side of their job, they couldn't help but picture the gigantic vegetables they had to reduce to size and Olivia's question about whether they got to take home any of the small veggies. The memories always brought a small smile to their face.

"So I know how Tom got into tattooing," they shifted the conversation away from themselves, looking from their boyfriend to Selim. "But how did you get interested in it?" Everyone had a story, and while there were plenty of dull people with dull stories, they didn't think Selim was going to be one of those people.

November 19, 2022, 07:50:34 PM
Reply #34

anaithnid

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2022, 07:50:34 PM »
Tom always found it interesting how similar and different his and Hollis’ careers were. Each of them was involved in the realm of magical secrecy, working to preserve their areas in their own unique ways. Hollis tended to have just as many, if not more, stories to tell, but they appeared to be more focused on Tom and his mentor today. It was rather thoughtful, even though Tom wanted them to be just as included in this moment. Despite how he and Selim had the most history together, Hollis had managed to fill in crevices in Tom’s life and heart that he hadn’t even known to be there.

Selim chuckled as he considered Hollis’ inquiry.
”I haven’t been asked that in quite some time,” he replied. ”More want to know when the old man is going to fade away from the art than how he started.” Selim took another sip of his tea, reaching for a date before sitting back in his chair. ”I come from a long line of tattoo artists,” he went on. ”My family has been around since the time of the ancient pharaohs, living here in Cairo just as the great pyramids were being built in the ever-shifting sands.

“My bloodline was not prosperous, but not considered to be of the lower class. Many of the men in my family had jobs as scribes, so the use of hieroglyphs -”
Selim gestured briefly to the faintly inked eye of Horus at the base of his throat. ”- was a common practice in the household regardless of gender or age. One of my distant relatives, Hesi, became the first priestess for the goddess of fertility in the family. She became one of the few who assisted in tattooing her sisters with the symbols of protection for the goddess. Using some of the hieroglyphs that she had learned from home, she began to incorporate some of them in her designs to strengthen the protective enchantments. It is said that she was even asked by Ankhesenamun, the Great Royal Wife of Tutankhamun, to tattoo at least one protective hieroglyph prior to bedding her husband, her work had been that desired.

“Hesi wrote down all of the designs that seemed to create the strongest enchantments, warding off evil, and studied which herbs and plants worked best to make the correct inks. The practice was passed on through the women in my family as more and more of them became people of religion. My great-great-grandmother was one of the last priests to serve Hathor, but she passed her traits down to her daughters regardless. My mother only raised sons but had no qualms teaching me the art of our family. I was the one who chose to start the tattoo parlor, which would explain why the shop isn’t as ancient as the art’s history.”
Selim swallowed the rest of his tea. ”Long story short, I got into the business through the family. But only because I begged my mother to teach me how to ‘draw on myself’ like she could.”

Tom had heard Selim’s story before, but it never ceased to amaze him. His paternal side was interesting, considering how his father’s family exhumed tombs and searched for treasure, but he couldn’t trace them back nearly as far as Selim could. Despite how he had been born and raised in Egypt and could technically be considered Egyptian-European, Tom had no blood tie to it. He could only gaze upon its history and culture in awe, inspired by it all since he could walk. He was beyond privileged to have been taught by the likes of Selim and his family, and he would be forever grateful for it.
  • Fandoms: Harry Potter
the stories in your heart, written on your skin

December 19, 2022, 02:58:25 PM
Reply #35

anamnesis

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2022, 02:58:25 PM »
Whatever story Hollis had expected Selim to tell, it certainly wasn't this one.

They couldn't help but look almost awestruck as Tom's mentor told his family's story, one that was intertwined with the history of Egypt. His ancestors had been in this country before it was a country; they had been around when the pyramids were being built. He was descended from a priest who served King Tut's wife, and her knowledge had been passed down through generations of women. It was only when Selim's mother only had sons that men joined his family's business. Hollis couldn't help but imagine Selim as a small child (who, admittedly, looked a lot like the Selim in front of them, except he was about three feet tall) begging his mother to teach him to draw, and they smiled fondly at the mental image.


"That sounds really wonderful," they replied sincerely. Then a question crossed their mind. "What's it like to have family that you can trace back that far?" they asked politely, leaning on the armrest of their chair and propping up their chin in their palm. "I don't even know where my ancestors lived before they came to America." Hollis knew the Vanes were primarily English on their father's side and Polish on their mother's, but the Obliviator was so far removed from their ancestral history that it felt impossible to trace. Maybe if they put some work into it, they could learn something, but Selim just had all of his ancestors' stories at hand. It was awe-inspiring to say the least.

"So you learned from your mom," Hollis continued on. "And then you taught Tom." They had to bite back a chuckle at their accidental rhyme. Maybe Selim would think it was funny too, but best not to risk making a fool of themselves in front of such an important figure in Tom's life. "How did he persuade you to let him apprentice?" They looked at their boyfriend with a fond smirk. "I know his side of the story, but I wouldn't mind hearing it from your perspective too." Their dad often said that there were three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth. Hollis figured the truth of how Selim and Tom came together laid somewhere in the middle of each of their stories.

January 22, 2023, 08:51:21 PM
Reply #36

anaithnid

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2023, 08:51:21 PM »
Tom couldn’t help but silently chuckle to himself, watching the engagement between his old mentor and his partner. It was both amusing and fascinating how intrigued the pair of them were by each other, leaving him somewhat out of the conversation. If he didn’t know any better, Tom could have just taken his tea downstairs back into the tattoo parlor and taken up a few appointments, if he had felt so inclined. But instead, he just sat back in his seat, sipping from his cup quietly as Hollis eagerly asked Selim more questions.

Just as Tom remembered, Selim enjoyed an inquiring mind. He continued to smile, his eyes only for Hollis.
”It is never too late to try and learn more about your ancestors. After all, they have helped bring you into this world and to us.” he replied. "Many of us are proud to be able to trace our families back that far. We are also able to learn a lot from our history, from the good and the bad. Sometimes it has been tough, as there are expectations that we may have to meet and traditions we are expected to uphold. But our ancestors would also be proud of us for the changes we have made to benefit those around us.”

Selim chuckled lightly to himself. ”Using stone does help with keeping track of history, but skin has always been my favorite medium because of its uniqueness,” he said. ”My family has been much easier to track because of this for sure.”

“It is a unique signature,” Tom agreed as he refilled his cup. “Much easier to carry than a stone tablet or even a scroll of parchment, but more sacred, being etched into a living being.”

”And that is the kind of talk that encouraged me to really take Tom under my wing,” Selim said with a grin. ”This little white boy, barely thirteen, walked into my shop ogling my inks and needles and artists after having learned my name from some of my regulars. At first, my artists were wary of him on first glance. But I could hear him speak Arabic so naturally and respectfully that I knew we had to give him the time of day.” He paused, looking more at Tom for a moment. ”Do you still have that little notebook you carried around for your sketches?”

Tom’s cheekbones flushed pink under Selim’s gaze. “Of course,” he answered softly. Tom had several leatherbound journals for his designs and random ideas. He always tried to have the newest one on hand for when he became inspired, especially if he didn’t have something to doodle on his skin with. But the little book that his mentor was referring to was the very first journal Tom had possessed. It was also wrapped in leather, but it was extremely worn with the spine having been repaired at least three times and the string replaced twice. Tom treasured that notebook, as a majority of the pages contained the teachings of several of his teachers, including Selim and Selim’s mother. Therefore, it was Tom’s most prized possession. He had almost every page memorized, so it was safely locked away in his desk at DARK until he felt ready to pass it on. “And even more books as well,” Tom said with a laugh. “My head would explode if I tried to keep all the ideas inside.”

”He was constantly taking notes and drawings in that book,” Selim went on, turning back to Hollis. ”He paid attention to everything going on, taking in every detail. One of my sons even tried to quiz him on a few hieroglyphics, but he was not phased one bit. He was ready to please, immediately answering any and all questions thrown his way.” Tom’s blush deepened, his gaze dropping into the depths of his tea. He was very much not used to receiving so much praise related to his field, even from his mentor. ”Tom came into the world of Egyptian tattooing with a different perspective. My family and employees have grown up in this field, so their respect for and view of it is different. Tom brought two worlds together in a way I never would have imagined, and I am so happy he did.”
  • Fandoms: Harry Potter
the stories in your heart, written on your skin

April 18, 2023, 11:40:42 AM
Reply #37

anamnesis

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2023, 11:40:42 AM »
Hollis was astonished by nearly everything Selim had said during this conversation. He was a man who had lived a full lifetime, in which he changed their boyfriend's life. The Obliviator knew Tom wasn't close with his family outside of his cousin Aston, so meeting Selim almost felt like meeting Tom's father in some ways. This man indelibly shaped the DARK operative's life, so he might as well have been more than family. Blood of the covenant being thicker than the water of the womb and all that.

But even beyond that, Selim had stories, a whole life behind them, and he seemed more than willing to share his wisdom with the happy couple sitting with him. He encouraged Hollis to look into their ancestry, to connect with them and learn from them. He thought their ancestors would be proud of them.

Hollis tensed slightly at that thought. Maybe that would be true, but it was just as likely that it wasn't true. Being an Obliviator was a fine profession, even if they had stumbled into it. But being non-binary... that wasn't a thing to their ancestors. They knew gender roles hadn't always been so rigid, but somehow they didn't think their ancestors would be proud of a descendent they couldn't understand.

Then again, their ancestors wouldn't be able to understand the smart phones Lenny or Sabrina used, so maybe gender wasn't the defining trait of what made Hollis a complete mystery to their ancestors.

Despite all that, it was still such a pleasure to hear Selim and Tom discuss how tattoos helped track ancestry. There was a beauty to their words, a reverence that Hollis would've reserved for things like the Roman Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower.
"Kind of makes me want to get a tattoo now," they remarked quietly. They had no idea what they would get, but they found themselves getting swept up in the language the two artists were using. There was a sort of romance to it, and maybe it would be okay to just get lost in that for a little while.

Instead, Selim asked about Tom's notebook, and the Obliviator couldn't stifle a giggle as their boyfriend's cheeks turned bright pink. He had plenty of journals stashed away, including the original one.
"I can't tell you the number of times I've met up with Tom and found doodles in pen or marker on his skin," they supplied with an easy smile. For a man who could and did tattoo himself semi-regularly, the small drawings always looked a little goofy, but they found it charming. This was his life's work, he was clearly passionate about it. There was no harm in doodling on his own arms or fingers, so Hollis found it endearing.

Then Tom's mentor continued on, sharing more about how he had guided the teenage boy into his craft. Tom brought something new to the field, something Selim hadn't seen before.
"What does that mean?" they asked curiously. "I don't know much about tattooing, much less the... subcultures of it." Was that the right word? Who the hell knew. Hopefully Selim would understand. "So what did he bring to it that was so unique?" They had seen how deeply Tom was blushing, and they could tell he was a little uncomfortable with all the praise. But he deserved every ounce of it. So if Hollis could continue to pull compliments out of Selim, they would do so. They wanted their boyfriend to know how amazing he was.

May 27, 2023, 12:26:55 PM
Reply #38

anaithnid

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2023, 12:26:55 PM »
Despite how everything Selim was saying was out of absolute love, Tom couldn’t help but want to just disappear into the sand dunes. The praise was welcome and yet not, making him feel several different emotions at once. A part of Tom knew he had earned it for his humble beginnings and all the hard work he had put in since then, but even his pride had its limits. Even to this day, he felt he was just a simple tattoo artist and researcher, constantly on the personal hunt to expand on his craft and nothing more.

”Kind of makes me want to get a tattoo now…”

Thank Merlin for Hollis. In that statement, Tom felt some of the pressure lifted off his shoulders, even if momentarily. Not one the enjoy the spotlight to begin with, he appreciated the subtle shift.
“Oh really?” he murmured back with a small chuckle. Tom knew for a fact that the act of getting a tattoo was contagious, so he was not surprised that Hollis had this feeling. “You’re in the right place then, perhaps we can figure something else out when we go back to the shop if you still feel that way.” Tom couldn’t help but feel a little bit excited by the idea of his partner getting a tattoo, whether it was done by him or someone else. He could think of some little ideas already, the artist side of him awakened by just a single comment.

After that small break, the conversation continued on. Hollis was still amazing throughout though, laughing gently at him blushing about his journals. They mentioned noticing his occasional doodles. For a while, Tom had used his trick of making his current tattoos disappear to be “normal.” But now that he was more comfortable and confident in his own skin (literally), Tom more than often took advantage of the move to create a blank canvas. Pig skin was helpful for the most part, but wasn’t shaped like the human body nor was it always available when Tom was suddenly inspired. He was a little touched that Hollis noticed it so much, and he couldn’t help but smile at them even more.

Tom couldn’t help but wonder slightly as to why Selim was gushing so much about him. Was it because he was hoping it would keep Hollis around? Tom had kept his personal life away from his passions, not even dating until he had been closer to graduating from Hogwarts. Selim had never met his previous partners. Hell, he barely even knew Aston and Tom’s parents. Maybe because of his understanding of Tom’s familial relationships, he was hoping that Hollis would be able to see his passion from a more beautiful perspective and not judge him. But for once, Tom didn’t feel that that was necessary to do with Hollis. But, there seemed no stopping Selim now, and the telling seemed to intrigue his partner regardless.

”So what did he bring to it that was so unique?”

Tom liked to think he knew the answer to this question. After all, a part of his goal in his field was to develop and bring unique aspects to his profession. But that was something he had developed over the years. What Hollis was asking about involved Selim’s perspective before Tom even found his stride.


”Well,” Selim began with a smile of his own. ”My children and their children and so forth are often stuck in tradition. And while Tom respected that, his doodles and drawings told me that he had bigger plans. The modern twists were subtle, but it was enticing to the younger crowds. I saw that he had new and great ideas that could be a breath of fresh air.”

Tom recalled the day that Selim spoke up about the said drawings. He had begun to encourage his young mentoree to offer the designs to customers, raising some eyebrows. Most of the other artists had been supportive, but there had been those who felt that changing any traditional symbols in any way was not appropriate. But once the nay-sayers caught a glimpse of the final pieces consisting of additional glyphs, parchment, stone, lotuses and lilies, or ink splatters, they seemed to find the beauty in them as well.

”You helped some of my other artists develop their personal styles,” Selim went on. The remark caught Tom slightly off-guard, especially when he noticed that his mentor was gazing directly at him. He had never taken on an apprentice, so he wondered how exactly that could have occurred. ”Ever since you started taking that freedom, others followed suit. I never said they couldn’t do that, but that deep-rooted devotion to tradition is very strong. Even I struggle with its pull. But because you led by such a respectful example, we all feel comfortable enough to take our chances to do the same.”
  • Fandoms: Harry Potter
the stories in your heart, written on your skin

May 06, 2024, 02:54:18 PM
Reply #39

anamnesis

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Re: i’m building a dream… with elevators in it? {private}
« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2024, 02:54:18 PM »
Maybe they shouldn't have said that.

The moment Hollis showed an interest in getting tattooed, Tom's ears practically perked up like a cat's. They were in the right place, he said, they could figure something out back at the shop.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold your horses there, babe," they insisted, trying to keep their tone lighthearted even though their heartbeat was growing faster by the second. "I wouldn't even know what to get, and I don't want to waste your time or Selim's while I sort that out." The two artists spoke of tattooing with a reverence that made Hollis want to do their due diligence in picking a design. They didn't want to get something on a whim, like a pyramid just because they were in Egypt. "I want something meaningful, and that'll probably take me a bit to sort out." They didn't want to rush into anything. They wanted it to hold the weight it deserved, and that meant they needed to give the design the thought it deserved.

There was also a part of them that didn't want the spotlight to be on them right now. This was about Selim and Tom catching up, not Hollis getting their first tattoo... although they could tell from the look on Tom's face that he was excited by the latter prospect. But they'd get there in due time.

Besides, the Obliviator wanted to know more about their boyfriend's history and what made him stand out to someone who had been tattooing people since before they were born. The blonde listened closely as Selim described Tom's singular style. The mentor clearly loved his family, but he spoke of the tattooing traditions they were all rooted in. Tom had been new to that world, and while he clearly respected those traditions, he had the courage to play with some of the boundaries and tweak things in his own way. He honored where the artform had come from while taking it to new heights.
"New and great ideas?" they repeated before glancing over to their boyfriend. "Yeah, that sounds like the DARK operative I know." They smirked fondly at him before reaching for a hand and squeezing it gently. No one could've expected the British-born, Egyptian-taught tattoo artist would end up working for one of the most secretive research organizations ever created, but it sounded like his life took the exact path it was supposed to. It led him to Hollis, after all, and they couldn't complain too much about that.

But apparently Tom had much more of an impact. Hollis' brown eyes flicked in his direction as Selim continued on, describing the influence he'd had on the other artists in Selim's shop. There was so much history in tattooing, so much history in this land now called Egypt, that it had been hard for the artists to break away from that... until a white boy walked into the shop and changed their minds. Hollis might've critiqued this if it had been anyone else, but they knew Selim wasn't calling Tom a white savior. Tom had inspired his coworkers, not saved them. He had unknowingly pushed them to greater heights, and everyone came out better for it.


"Did you try something new too?" they asked the Egyptian man curiously. "What's your favorite tattoo you've done in this old-meets-new style." Then their eyes turned to their boyfriend once more. "I said I needed inspiration," they said with a shrug. Might as well start now.