nose over tail

I touched on it in this ask but since people keep asking, here are Jack and Michael’s tattoos in more detail. 

Jack - Compass
Ryan’s compass appears without fanfare, after an incident neither he nor Jack have ever explained. Despite its large size it takes a while before anyone notices it, clothing, white ink and the obstruction of his arm keeping the tattoo hidden against his ribs.
Following yet another instance of everyone ignoring Jack’s carefully drawn out safety plan in favour of the option with bigger guns and more explosions, only for Jack’s versions to save their asses in the end, Ray declares he has an errand to run. An Errand. When he turns up later he ignores Gavin’s spluttering and Michael’s yelling, the various judgements from Geoff and Ryan and even Jacks amused smirk, unapologetically refusing to acknowledge that there was anything at all bizarre about the drafting compass on his hand.
Gavin’s compass doesn’t come after a typical save, not a close call or a successful mission. Gavin gets his while visiting England, after everything’s gone to hell in a hand-basket and old betrayal has unearthed the heartbroken boy from his cocky unfazed facade. It’s Jack who sits on the phone for 4 hours in the middle of the night, who talks sense and logic and calm, who calls Gavin home to his American family. The cardinal points felt right, then, small but sturdy and beautiful, intricate loops of filigree surrounding sharp straight lines, stark and unhidden on the back of Gavin’s neck.
After a particularly ridiculous so-wrong-its-right semi-failed heist Michael gets north, south, east and west marked over the nose, tail and wings of a fighter jet, the crew’s symbol emblazoned on the wing and a tiny pilot Jack visibly flipping off the sky from the cockpit.
When the crew barely survives an ambush and Geoff gets it into his head to retaliate immediately in a one-man-stand suicide mission Jack bundles him into a car, locks the doors and drives. They drive for hours, drive through Geoff’s rage, his threats, his fears and his guilt. They drive until they pass a quiet little tattoo parlor where Geoff gets a simple black sketched ink compass tied to an anchor on the inside of his forearm. The drive home is spent coming up with a sensible plan of attack, Jack at his side, like always. 

Michael - Wolf
Like many things in Michaels life, the wolf started with Gavin. Like many things in Gavin’s life it wasn’t quite as simple as it seemed. Gavin picked the wolf before any of them were aware of their tattoo tradition. He ran with the teasing that Michael was his guard dog, but claimed he was not nearly that obedient, loyal yes but as wild as a wolf. Gavin bought Michael his now signature jacket, mostly a joke but it was a nice jacket, and under the teasing they all knew the wolf was a compliment. It fits him in more ways than one, fierce, intelligent and utterly loyal Michael would never be happy as a mindless follower but enjoys his place within the crew more than he would ever wish to lead one of his own.
For all Geoff’s complaints about wolf tattoo’s being cliche it was no real surprise that his was somewhat abstract, the notable destruction of a bank leading to a small howling wolf formed from the shattered pieces of an exploding stick of dynamite.
It isn’t long before the Lupus constellation is inked delicately across Jack’s clavicle, a splash of purple-black galaxy in the background forming the loosest image of a leaping wolf while covering the thin scar left by a surprise knife fight which almost spelled the end.
The placement of Ryan’s tattoo is reminiscent of the location of Michaels jacket wolf, materialising out of his spine. A clear face with ghostly white eyes, the wolf fades out of wispy fog-like swirls which spread across his back. Like an all-seeing guardian spirit there’s something unearthly about it, something haunting and alive.
Gavin chose the wolf, but he didn’t get the first tattoo, or the second. When it comes its not any of the silly images he’s been threatening, not a curly-furred puppy, not bespectacled nor collared, not surfing the roof of a van. Gavin’s wolf is big and dark and photorealistic, prowling around his side with bright, intelligent eyes, not quite snarling but fierce, protective.
Ray gets his wolf when he is fuming. Michael saved the day, sure, but he took a stupid risk to do it and ended up hurt as a result. Ray finds his wolf while angrily scrolling through the internet, waiting for caleb’s verdict - a poorly timed photo, cross eyed, tongue lolling, tripping over nothing. Ray storms off to the tattoo parlor, storm back again, and laughs for the first time afterwards when Michael wakes up, sees it, and goes red in the face expressing his displeasure. 

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. I was having a nice evening. I had just showered, the dishes were washed, and I’m laid in bed just winding down. It’s 10pm. I wanted to go to bed shortly. Did you really have to message me and ruin my night? Thanks a mil’. And FYI, we haven’t “not talked for ages.” We spoke on Monday night, that’s not long ago. And you were a douche. So instead of messaging back being cool about something I’m not cool with, or messaging back and flying off the handle, I just didn’t message back at all. Because I’m trying to DE-STRESS and phase you out of my life.

Goddamnit.