So I drew this:
Some guy. trolololol. His name is Zapher Raster because I feel like giving things weird names.
My backscratcher is called Dorothy Domner now.
I've always been insecure about love.
“I don't feel the same for you.”
That happened when I was sixteen.
'Disappointment' hadn't been a long enough word to describe my period of depression.
He had been my secret love for more than three years. We lived on the same street, went to the same school, studied in the same class, enrolled in the same club... I'm making it sound as if we were childhood friends... but we really weren't. By coincidence, he also lived in the house next to mine.
He was the boy next door.
Despite these circumstances, we never even knew each other until it was our first year in high school. He was the student all the freshmen aspired to be – the role model; the icon of the school; the blessed presence. He was charismatic, friendly, smart, charming, responsible, physically fit, good-looking, and extremely easy to get along with. As expected, he got a lot of attention from both males and females alike; teachers loved him to the point where they'd do anything he asked them to.
I... was just another face in the crowd of admirers.
“...Terry, perk up a bit, will you?”
The beer can my oh-so-chummy friend tossed at my head hit its target, as the aforementioned friend plopped shamelessly on my bed. I groaned at the pain. And I was just waking up after a night shift at the club, too... “Dee, you fleabag. I'm gonna kill you when I get up...” I rolled onto my back, blindly searching for the beer can Dee threw at me not thirty seconds before. I flung it back at him with as much force my sleepy arms could muster, which didn't amount up to much. Dee stuck his tongue out at me. Very mature, Mr 23 Y.O.
“What the hell... did you go to that brothel again last night?!”
I smacked him one. “It's not a frickin' brothel, you dumb asswipe. It's a CLUB. Get bent.” I kicked his leg when he tried to make a funny face at me. He can such a brat sometimes, despite being the same age as I am. “Some broads demanded that I served them, so I had to go.”
“Didn't you have that job at the petrol station last night, too?”
“Yeah. I had to get my ass over there after those bitchy broads were satisfied. Almost landed myself a speeding ticket. Man...” Dee laughed at me. I kicked him again. “Why're you in my house, anyway? I thought you were crashing with Malloy last night.” I shot him what I later thought of as a sleep-induced death glare, but it seemed sufficient enough to scare him off my bed.
Dee popped the beer can in his hand and chugged it down. Beer so early in the morning... he's amazing. If not stupid. “Yeah, I was planning to. Then his girlfriend turned up, and... you know.”
Oh, I know alright.
“Geez.” I got up, scratching my arms. “He changes his arm-candy as often as he changes his underwear...”
Dee smirked. “Which is often, since he soils them alot.”
I laughed. “Is he still having wet dreams? The sad bastard.”
The phone rang suddenly, and Dee offered to answer it. I don't mind; he comes over so much that he practically lives here. He has constant fights with his father so he could never stay at his own house for long. I felt sorry for him, since the fights are always related one way or another to his homosexuality; a common trait between us. Unlike Dee, though, I fled the roost before my parents could ever discover the fact that I played for the 'other team'. I've been holding up on my own ever since.
I grabbed the cheap alarm clock I bought from Savers from the bedside table and read.
Might as well wake up now. I can never go back to sleep with Dee around – the guy's a walking stereo.
I dug around for a towel under my bed, thinking that a bath should be in order too. It'd be nice to get the grime from the petrol station where I work last night off my skin. I've never been a sucker for dirt; they cling on to you like slugs and stay on you like sticky semen.
...Not that I've ever had experience of that kind of thing first-hand, mind you.
I'm a virgin, through and through.
Which pisses me off a hell of a lot because I get teased for it wherever I go. It seemed that everybody in the street felt like shouting “Oh my god there's goes the town's only virgin at 23!” whenever I pass by.
I wanna get laid.
I seriously do.
...But only with the right person.
And that 'right person' just happened to reject my offer of body and soul 7 years ago.
So yeah. I'll probably be a virgin until I die.
Just as I was going to step into shower for a cold bath, Dee rushed into the bathroom for a peek. Or so I thought. He had the phone in his hand and a panicked expression on his face... I wonder why?
I haven't been here in 5 years.
The houses look the same; the paths linking and slinking between them didn't look much too different either. They chopped off some trees to build a new park round the bend where I used to live. It had slides as tall as I am and a huge sandbox that glittered in the afternoon sun, with three sets of swings in pastel colours. Che, they're 20 years too late.
Most of the people there still remember me, which I find surprising. If I remember right; I never really stood out as a kid, always quiet and timid. Well, it's all changed now. I bet they'd be surprised if I slipped in a casual swearword or two. Little shy Terrence Lancaster, turned delinquent. The shock on their old wrinkly faces would be worth the trip alone.
“Terry, isn't it? Have you come to see your ailing mother?” I turned around slowly and shrugged at the stunt 80-something staring up at me with little beady eyes. I don't know her. Old granny. Look, she's even got bloomers on. “She missed you a lot these past few years, Terry. Where have you been? Your father went to New York to find you, but he got ill during the trip and had to cut it short. You really should've checked in sometimes to let them know you're okay...”
She was starting to annoy me. Besides, I'm really tired from that 4-hour train journey from New York and I wanted somewhere to crash. “I don't have time for this stupid conversation.” Easy as that. I turned back sharply and walked away. Better get to the house quick before all these war veterans start swarming me like a bunch of noisy pigs. Can't get nowhere without bumping into an oldie...
“Terry, dear, you really came back.” She gripped my hand as soon as I sat in the chair beside the bed, smiling at me with loving eyes. She looked really pale and her body temperature wasn't normal. She's not as warm as I remembered her, a long time ago.
“Yes, mom. I'm here. You get better soon, all right?”
Just because I moved to New York to live on my own didn't mean that I had problems with my family. I love my parents a lot; my mom especially, since she was the best friend I had before I met Dee. I guess I ran away because I didn't want them to be hurt by the fact that their youngest son, the apple of their eye, is a raging homosexual who has lost sight of the correct path and is apparently not keen to go looking for it again anytime soon. Though my family is not too bothered about pride or religion, our neighborhood is. If the news of my infidelity leaked out the whole town would probably chase my parents out with pitchforks. It was just that kind of place.
Of course, it didn't stop me from falling in love with the boy next door. Hopefully, nobody but the boy in question should know about that little affair, though. I'm good at keeping my own secrets... well, secret.
“Are you hungry, Terry? You must be; the food in New York couldn't be very nutritious. I'll fix something up really quick.”
I patted her hand gently. “Nah, you just rest. Dad's already in the kitchen. I'm sure he'll come up with something... vaguely edible for lunch.” My dad is hopeless at cooking. A monkey can make a better-tasting pancake than he can, burnt or otherwise.
“...I better go check on him, actually. Do you want anything from the kitchen, mum?”
She shook her head weakly. “No, dear. I'm just going to doze off a little.”
I smiled at her, tucking the duvet closer to her chin. “You do that.”
In the kitchen, my semi-idiotic dad was cooking a meal fit for a starving pig. Whatever it was the black smudge in the pan supposed to be, wasn't anymore. There were oil spatters all over the wall; any redder and they could easily have been mistaken for blood from a homicidal killing spree. The sink was clogged up; the microwave was smoking suspiciously; and I'm pretty sure the mutant sausage in the plate on the table was staring at me with a distinct air of hatred just a moment ago.
“Geez, dad... how the hell did you manage these past few years while I was away?” I rescued a harassed spatula from my dad's evil hands, but I guess my intervention came too late for the pile of ex-somethings in the pan. I discarded them into the bin nearby. “Seriously. No wonder mom got sick...” Are people allowed to have pizza for lunch? Is that legal? I'm sure it's not. Well, too bad, it's the only edible thing I can find in the goddamn fridge that's not past its expiry date... when was the last time they ever restocked the thing?
I left the pizza box on the counter and took out some mugs. Caffeine will get us through this ordeal, no problem. "Well, after you left, Mrs Averfoy next door came over frequently to help you mother cook the meals."
I almost dropped the pizza packaging into the bin... with the frozen pizza still in it.
“But recently she..." Dad took a sip from the mug of coffee I so painstakingly made for him (without breaking a single piece of kitchen appliance). “She divorced with her husband two months ago, and moved away to Hawaii.”
“How did you survive with no-one to cook for you these past two months then?” Maybe mom's been working her ass off making meals for the both of them, and that's why she's been sick. There was a suspicious black something on the plastic packaging of the pizza... it looked like a slug.
Dad paled at the sight of my face. “The boy next door has been helping us--”
I wasn't listening. Whatever he said could not have been more important than the prospect of having no lunch! “THAT'S IT. I'm going out to buy the flipperring groceries!” I turned to my dad and succeeded in intimidating him with a single stab of my index finger. “Stay put and don't DARE touch the kitchen. AT ALL.”
For fuck's sake... where the fuck did they move the convenient store to? Damn it. If I hadn't rushed out of the house so quickly, I would've remembered to ask for frikken directions... what had I expected? That the whole town wouldn't change after six years? Get real, Terrence!
So they built a huge bingo parlour where the 7-11 used to be... how lame. I used to remember seeing a hot guy working the 7-11 counter back when I was in high school. He had these really gorgeous grey eyes and hazel hair, slicked back to perfection... he had a voice like Gackt. He was totally hot.
Che. Why didn't I fall for someone like that?
It was getting dark. After asking an oldie for directions to a convenience store, I spent almost half an hour trying to decipher his scribbly writing... can't help it – nothing but oldies in this goddamned place. I'd rather ask a kid than an oldie, but there doesn't seem to be any around...
I turned a bend on the road and lifted my eyes. I stopped. I stared. I sighed.
I don't know... is it a good or a bad thing that they haven't cut down the tree under which I confessed my feelings to my 'right person', and was promptly rejected?
It brings back memories. Momentarily forgetting my task to feed my starving parents, I went over and caressed the rough trunk of the sycamore tree. Sections of the bark crumbled under my hand. It's certainly the highest tree in our little town, being over 7 metres tall. Its canopy of leaves shone golden-brown in the light of the setting sun, making the whole tree seem golden. I remember in high school that loads of girls from my class confessed to their crushes under this tree, and had their feelings reciprocated.
Maybe the spell only works for girls. Damn girls.
Sighing again, I sat on a nearby bench and scrutinized the humongous specimen of nature towering before me. I wonder how many girls this tree had granted happiness to? No, no. It's a witness of their happiness; not the actual contributor. But still... it must be full of their happy little memories, or some shit like that. Goddamnit. I wonder if it has the memory of my confession to that 'right person' holed up in its trunk somewhere. I'll hire a chainsaw tomorrow, cut it down, and find out.
“Che... is it too late for me to catch the last train back to New York?” This place was starting to mess up my brains.
“...No, the last train leaves at 11.”
“Huh?” I whipped around to face the husky, low-toned voice. It was familiar...
Then I saw him.
Short brown hair; parted at the middle, flopping boyishly over his cobalt blue eyes. A handsomely pointed nose and a strong jawline. A white working shirt; collar up, top buttons undone, revealing a rigid collarbone. Loose black jeans, hugging a pair of strong legs, finishing with a pair of huge Nike trainers.
And those alluring, alluring man-lips.
He hadn't changed at all.
“...We haven't met for ages. Your parents told me that you moved to New York 6 years ago.”
I sipped at the Cola can I bought at the Q-Mart. Looking anywhere else other than his face, I continued to walk ahead slowly. There's no use running away; he lived right next to my house so he'd be heading the same way anyway. It's not like I have anywhere else I could bunk at – all my friends from high school have upped and left the town too, unsurprisingly. “Yeah. I came back to visit my mom.”
Luke made a vaguely acknowledging sound. “Her health isn't too good right now.” I nodded with some consideration, drinking more of my Cola. Then followed a few minutes of silence, which I dared not fill.
This is so awkward.
If Dee was here, he'd make some lame joke about me drinking Cola when I can obviously have beer. (The guy's a frikken drunkard. The only thing he seems to drink is beer.) Then I'd 'accidentally' spill the Cola on his shirt, and he'd jump around like it was acid. We'd have a good laugh, and then Dee would show me his '10 Second Beer-Chugging' trick, after which he'd be so damned sick that he'd puke all over the next passing oldie. I laughed a little at that.
Man... I wish Dee was here. Then it wouldn't be so awkward between me and Luke. He'd be a handy distraction. There's also something reassuring about having your best friend with you wherever you go. Someone familiar. Too bad he had some part-time jobs he needed to fill up, so he can't come along. Maybe I should call and ask him to come over when he's done...
“What have you been doing for the past 5 years?” Luke asked suddenly, catching up with me. His eyes were looking down at me – which ain't surprising since he's almost 6-foot tall. I'm only 5-foot something.
I shrugged. “College. Uni. Job-hopping.” He doesn't need to know the fact that I'm a male escort on the sides.
“Ah. What did you do in university?”
“Hmm. Computers, then?”
“Yeah. I do stencils sometimes.”
Luke nodded. We fell silent again.
Some middle-aged guy stopped Luke for a bit of a chat. I left him there, continuing on my way home. Without him there, I can breathe. Hell. Was he this suffocating five years ago?
“Terrence, wait.” I stopped. Was he going to tail me all the way to my house? Well, I guess in a way it shouldn't matter, since he lives next door, but...
He caught up with me again. “Sorry about that, he was surprised to see me around so...”
I raised an eyebrow, but I guess he couldn't see it in the dark. “Why would he be surprised? You live in the same town.”
Luke smiled. “Well, yeah, but I just got back two months ago.”
Huh? So he was somewhere else before, too?
“I was in California, studying Med. I'm now a doctor at one of the hospitals there.”
“Oh.” I didn't ask. But maybe it was obvious that I wanted to know. Crap, is it also obvious that I still love him, too?
We walked a little more. Did he return because of his parents' divorce? Maybe he came back to take care of the house. Why didn't dad tell me he was back? And why was he at the sycamore tree? Did he... did he go there to think about the past, as well?
“This town's really changed, huh.”
“Did you see the new playground they built near our old school?”
Dammit, don't bring up that place now. I've been trying so hard to forget the times I spent staring at you in class...
Luke chuckled, pretty much to himself. “I've been tempted to try the swings a couple of times.”
“...Did they break?” I joked, smiling at him. We shared a laugh. It's not so awkward anymore.
“I can swing pretty high, you know.” Luke claimed, adopting a half-hearted seriousness in his voice. I snorted.
“I can swing higher than anyone.” And I mean that in more ways than one. I crushed my Cola can and dumped it into a trash bin.
“I bet you can't swing as high as me.”
I shook my head, grinning. The guy didn't know what he's talking about. It was obvious that he didn't catch onto my clue. “Oh, I'm not so sure, about that, Mr Averfoy.” Luke grinned lop-sidedly at that, although I could sense that he was getting uneasy.
What, was he afraid of the homo who confessed to him in high school?
We arrived at my house, finally. “Well, g'night.”
Luke looked surprised. “Didn't you father tell you?”
I paused while pushing the gate open. I blinked at him. “Tell me what?”
So... he's been my parents' personal chef for the past month.
I watched him chop up the onions and scoop them up into the bubbling pot on the stove. He seemed so at ease, like it was his own kitchen. He knew where everything was – it turns out that the fridge was well-stocked after all; just that everything's cooped up in the lowest part of the freezer. I didn't bother to check there before I left the house a few hours ago.
“I didn't expect you to be my parents' servant.” I said casually, whilst scrubbing the oil stains from my dad's havoc-wreaking session off the kitchen wall.
Luke laughed. “Don't say it like that. When I was told that my mother used to take care of your parents I thought I should be responsible for them after she left, as well.”
I got pissed off at that, somehow. “Well, sorry.”
It was almost dark when they left the funeral hall.
The sun was radiating its parting rays, orange and yellow bathing the city in a surreal dreamscape. The air cooled considerably to accentuate the time of year, and tonight was turning out to be one of those notably-December nights. The last of the denizens of day dotted the streets, scuttling tiredly towards their homes, anticipating a warm dinner, a comfy bed and a satisfied family who made all of their day’s work worthwhile.
Tokyo nights promised comfort.
But this particular night, Tokyo seemed to fail Aki.
“...Is it too soon to forget?” Fei brought himself behind Aki, his full height offering the smaller man some semblance of its own comfort and familiarity. Aki tucked his arms around himself, holding himself in place, unease raking his body. He could not take that simple step backwards into Fei’s embrace. He could not bring himself to show that weakness.
“...It is too soon to even ask.”
He could feel Fei’s gaze touching his nape, and he felt himself shiver. It’s just the night air, he chided himself, worried that he was thinking strange thoughts so soon after Asami passed away.
He had just about regained his footing after his world had collapsed around him two weeks ago. He could not afford to lose it again.
It was almost surreal, losing Asami to something as natural as lung cancer. Pathetic though as it was, it was cruelly predictable. Aki knew that Asami was giving his nicotine addiction the benefit of the doubt, had seen the signs of the disease developing, been there when his lover had been admitted to a hospital, had held his hand as Asami breathed his last words. “Miss me... but don’t let me hold you back.
Free yourself, Aki. It is the least you could do for the man who had loved you with all his heart.”
But he knew he could have done much more.
“Do not show your tears in public. Asami’s rivals would get satisfaction knowing the heir to his operations was a weakling.”
Who will protect him from now on? Who could he trust?
“...I didn’t want his operations. It could have gone to the dogs for all I cared. I wanted him!” Aki reined in his voice, he did not want to let go of the iron mask he had so wilfully forced on his demeanour. “Why couldn’t he give me the thing I wanted most?!”
“Don’t be foolish! He gave you time. Time he had so little, and yet he shared it with you! And I--!” I had always envied you for that.
Aki stared, wide eyes glistening, as Fei’s teeth gritted. He knew, through a vague connection that flickered ever so briefly between them, that memories equally as precious as his own were flooding the Chinese man’s obscure thoughts. Fei gripped Aki’s arm roughly, and hauled him towards the road, where a metallic black DBS Volante gleamed orange in the sunset. Aki had just enough time to brace himself before he was shoved into the passenger’s seat of the car, Fei slipping into the driver’s seat next to him barely a minute after, not enough time for him to find a way to escape the car’s complicated security. He felt his tears smudging his cheeks with a golden sheen.
“What are you doing--?!” Aki growled just as Fei grabbed both his arms as he worked the door handle on his side. Fei pulled him back into the interior of the car, across the central console, and ravished his lips just as he fell into the older man’s lap.
“You make me so angry.” Fei whispered roughly, tying the struggling hands with his black tie. Aki blanched, trying to throw Fei’s weight off, but the older man held his shoulders down firmly. The buttons on the central console proved uncomfortable as they clawed his back, but in the frenzy of the situation he found such details immeasurable to the bigger picture. Fei, Asami’s foremost rival, had him pinned down with a beastly look on his face, and that, judging from previous experiences, did not bode well with Aki.
“Fei, stop! Don’t do this! It’s--”
The shock of having two fingers shoved into his mouth placed all of his thoughts on hold. Unwillingly, Aki tasted every callous contour on the digits as Fei thrust them hard into his throat. The intention was clear: shut up or suffer harsher circumstances. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in this kind of situation, hasn’t it?” He chuckled, but it was a fear-inducing cackle that made Aki shiver all over.
With his other hand, Fei undressed his catch and massaged Aki’s body thoroughly, his fingers ghosting over his jugular, then replaced with his mouth as his fingers went on to trace an imaginary line down from Aki’s neck to his chest. He circled Aki’s chest area as his mouth sucked ravenously on his cervical flesh. Aki could not stop the moans escaping from his mouth as his thrashing gradually receded into weak spasms. Fei smiled against the hickey he had left on the other’s jugular.
“What? Is that all the resistance you could muster?” He breathed heavily into Aki’s ear, his tongue snaking into the cavity, finding delight in the small jolts he elicited from the stubborn man. “I can’t imagine Asami having much enjoyment fucking you into the mattress... if you took it like such an obedient bitch.” Aki yipped at the imagery, feeling the tingling dendrites of excitement touching his penis under the soft cover of the cotton suit Asami bought him a year ago.
It came unto him like a blinding flash of light. They had just attended Asami’s funeral. Surely even he could understand the many universal principles they had broken in the space of the last few minutes. It was emotionally and immorally unjust for him to indulge in this act, even if it was thrust upon him, quite literally. He tried to push Fei away, though the larger man’s bulk fought passively against his struggles. If anything, it seemed to drive the other man even wilder. “Oh, this is a change! I am, quite admitted, perversely excited to see you so... lively, Aki. But we’ll soon remedy that.”
“ Fei, what are you—aah!“ He never even got to the end of the sentence before Fei’s wandering hands took all his syllables away. He grabbed Aki’s crotch softly at first, but his grip grew increasingly constrictive. Aki let out a short scream when his clutch became unbearable, the fullness of his sac protruding between Fei’s fingers like a balloon under intense pressure. “Ahhhh! Fei... let go! I’m gonna...”
Fei looked up from his assault on Aki’s navel, which was red with teeth scrape marks. “’Gonna’ what, Aki?” He added the pressure on Aki’s sac, using the heel of his palm to grind against them. Aki’s avid cock bobbed and shivered against Fei’s arm.
“Ah! Ahhhhhn...unnnh... haah...“ Aki’s moans were long and almost sultry. The pleasure was driving him wild. Fei’s grinding was enough to almost send him over the edge. “Don’t... stop... Fei...” He should not do this. “Ah... there... my-- ahhn!” His voice should not be crying out for another man to pleasure him, so soon after—“Feels so good... I can’t... ahhhn... cumming...!” But he cannot hold back the thrill of pleasure—
“...You’re an insatiable little whore.” And Fei rammed into him.
Aki screamed for a reason woefully different from pleasure.
Tears sprung from his eyes though he did not summon them. His body was reacting on its own to somehow fight back the pain. It did not wait for him to grasp the frantic situation. His rectal muscles contracted violently to somehow expel the source of friction in his anus but Fei was too large and he was fucking him like fucking just went out of fashion. The car rocked the road. “So tight! So amazingly tight!” Aki glimpsed Fei’s eyes and they were the eyes of a mad beast. He flailed, trying to grasp anything that could possibly be used as leverage to get him away from the monster before him, but the soft leather of the Aston Martin did not offer any traction. Fei plunged deeper into Aki’s rectum, rubbing brutally on his prostate, at many instances even purposely squashing it to elicit the most terrifying shrieks from the smaller man.
Aki screamed again, and through his pained daze he hoped someone outside, in the foreign comforts of night-time Tokyo, could hear him.
Soft rays of sunlight filtering though wispy curtains. The soft plush on the mattress under him. Birds sang in symphony outside the nearest window, heralding the coming of the morning sun. The comfortable aches of yesterday’s love-making prickled like the thorns of a wishful dream. He yawned and stretched languidly, a well-rested cat ready for a new day. He did not jump at the sensation of his hand being touched. It was routine.
“Aki... Akihito...” He half-buried his face in the pillow and made to sleep, but his unrestrained smile gave it away. A short chuckle rang in his ears; a rare, precious treat. The callous but gentle hand moved from his own to stroke the locks of his unruly hair. “You want me to kiss you out of sleep...? Spoiled kid...” He heard the clinking of glass, before the feeling of someone caressing his cheeks. Large but careful fingers took a hold of his chin and pulled his face away from the pillows. His eyes remained closed, but moments later, he opened his mouth as he was pulled into a demanding but passionate kiss, and a rush of warm water flowed into his own. He gulped down the sustenance and felt his dryness in his throat ebb away.
His eyelids fluttered open. Deep brown eyes stared coolly at him. “Asami...”
But you’re not with me anymore.
Aki woke himself from the dream.
He started to sob as his mind recalled the pleasure of having another man’s cock in his ass, even though Asami’s funeral hall had just been a stone’s throw away from the car. Fei had been gentler during the second bout of love-making and a few rounds after that when his inner demon seemed to be less intent on causing him irreparable injury.
And in those times, he had begged, moaned, cried in ecstasy as Fei impaled his manhood deep inside him and filled him with cum. It was unforgivable, disgusting, unjustifiable. But the act alone did not condemn him. He has shamed Asami’s reputation the moment he walked away from the coffin with Fei by his side. He was barely worthy of being the great man’s heir, let alone being called his lover.
But more importantly, he had betrayed Asami’s love.
No amount of retribution could spare his honour.
....That should be made into a song, baby.
I haven't been posting on my LJ for a shit long time lately because, hell, college has been a suckling bitch from day UNO. I knew Physics would be hard for me since I never did it, but...
I never thought it'd be THIS hard...
...Or THIS stressful, to learn it.
I've been using up half of my midsemester break trying NOT to think about my Physics midterm exams, but I know I'll have to start cramming for it sooner than later. Here it is, laid next to my laptop, my Physics lab report for experiment 6: Uniform Circular Motion, and it is to be handed in by Monday, or a big fat ZERO will be finding itself snug and cozy on my assessment paper. I'm fearing the idea of returning to my college and facing Physics.
Could I have developed physics-phobia? I hope so. Maybe I can get MCs to back it up. Hmm.