tattoos of the first word(s) your soulmate says to you au for bob tho:
• nix has “is that vat-69? alcohol is contraband” curling from the bottom of his sternum to the outside of his ribcage. “sorry i get so drunk i keep damn forgetting” is above dick’s hips in an uncertain line, like the letters are drunk themselves. both their mothers just about cry the first time they see them
• gene gets told “think you can fix me up doc?” all the damn time, but it’s there, on the inside of his elbow and reminding him it’s there every time he rolls his sleeves to treat a dying man. babe doesn’t hear “yes i think i can… private…” half as much. he gets why the letters are small and kind of shaky the first time he hears gene’s voice, when gene’s putting a bandage over a cut on his shoulder. gene gets something, too, when he sees those letters almost directly under the cut.
• luz has so many- just random words and phrases like “hey” and “better polish those boots before sobel sees” and “how are you”- his recruiter almost disqualified him for service because he thought they were actual tattoos. over time, he realizes he doesn’t have a soulmate. it’s everything all his best friends had said to him. he doesn’t mind being a spinster, as they call it back home.
• speirs has “sir” on the side of his thumb, and when he joins the paratroops, he just about dies of anxiety every time someone salutes and says it. lipton, though, under the lights in the church with the choir singing and so many men lost, has “what is it?” printed nice and neat on his wrist. and speirs knows.
• bill loves his tattoo- “as long as he’s a paratrooper” set in the muscle of his bicep. he knows where he’s going as soon as he hears about the experimental units on the news. joe, though, has “once we get into combat the only people you can trust is yourself and the fella next to you” going all the way down his left leg from the knee, and the thinks it’s one hell of an inconvenience until he sees who’s saying it.
• johnny has “oh my bad didn’t see you there” on his right side, above his hip, and he hears it all the time in high school, him being short around tall, gangly boys that have no clue what to do with their limbs. bull has “you makin’ some kind of fuckin’ joke on my height mr. jack and the beanstalk” crammed in under his knee. bull knows it’s fate from the specific wording. johnny knows it’s fate because bull slams into his side, right where the tattoo is, during training- even before the words leave his mouth.
• “hey pull up a chair and i’ll deal you in buddy” is written down the inside of malarkey’s calf. “not if you want to lose all of your money cowboy” cuts diagonal across skip’s neck. they love it at first, how it makes them feel like partners in crime. malarkey loves it less when he’s clutching skip’s rosary in his hand, on his knees in the silent snow of the ardennes.