|The Best Laid Plans
Author: fembuck PM
A capture the flag game at Camp Half-Blood turns out unexpectedly for Annabeth and Clarisse. MATURE story contains graphic sexual content, Annabeth/Clarisse, femslashRated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Clarisse R. & Annabeth C. - Words: 5,256 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 83 - Follows: 10 - Published: 01-20-11 - id: 6671588
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: The Best Laid Plans
Fandom: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Pairing: Annabeth/Clarisse, established relationship
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just borrowing them.
Summary: A capture the flag game at Camp Half-Blood turns out unexpectedly for Annabeth and Clarisse.
Note: The story takes place after the end of the last book, when Annabeth and Clarisse are 17 or 18 years old, and it follows the same timeline as my previous stories Turnabout is Fair Play and Light My Fire.
Attn: The epilogue of this story is a shout out to lightbluenym and Omniscience Sucks, her companion piece to Turnabout is Fair Play)
Annabeth's heart was beating madly beneath her chest and her legs ached as she raced through the forest. She had a good idea where the flag was being kept, but she'd gotten separated from her partner and she needed to find another member of the Athena cabin to help her if she was going to be able to retrieve the flag from where she believed it to be hidden.
A movement registered with Annabeth out of the corner of her eye, and she skipped to a stop, withdrawing her sword before dropping into a combat crouch and allowing her eyes to scan the area around her. She could hear voices in the direction she had come from and knew that the Sunshine Boys she had been running from were gaining on her. However, immediately around her it was still. The voices were getting closer and she knew that she should turn and leave, but she couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched and wasn't quite willing to give up yet. There was a dense thicket of bushes just ahead in the direction she had been heading in that formed a seemingly impenetrable circle of vegetation. But if the thicket became less dense as one got closer to the center it, Annabeth supposed it would have been possible for two or three people to be laying in wait in it.
The idea intrigued her and she was tempted to check it out, but the Sunshine Boys were close enough that she could make out actual words and she knew she had to move or she'd be captured by them. She was good, but she wasn't good enough to take on three or four sons of Apollo at the same time. If there was anyone in the thicket they were likely just scouts and from what they had seen of her, they'd have nothing relevant to report.
Decision made, Annabeth pivoted and took off in the direction she had been heading in before. The voices behind her were getting louder, and she was worried that the Sunshine Boys might actually be able to get a visual on her in a few moments, and her mind was focused on that as she passed by the thicket. She was so focused on it, that she didn't register the figure emerging from behind the tangle of leaves until it was upon her, clamping a hand over her mouth as a strong arm wrapped itself around her waist, and then she was being dragged back into the wall of vegetation.
Annabeth's heart was thundering in her chest, adrenaline pumping madly through her making her feel light-headed and hot. She struggled in the grip of the arms around her, and felt her capture grunt with the effort of trying to keep her still and silent. The leaves of the trees and the bushes provided good cover, and inside of the thicket it was cool and shaded. There were slight gaps that allowed Annabeth to see out, but she knew for a fact that it was impossible to see in with any clarity because she'd been attempting to only a minute before.
Annabeth brought her arm back, trying to jab her capture in the ribs, but they shifted quite expertly to the side while still maintaining their hold on her. She was about to give it another attempt when the Sunshine Boys came into sight, but she paused, wanting them to go by without drawing their attention, one, because it was embarrassing to have been ambushed, and two, because she figured her odds of escaping one enemy combatant were better than her chances of escaping four or five.
As she stilled against the body holding her when the Sunshine Boys ran past, Annabeth was able to concentrate in a way she hadn't been when she was first pulled into the thicket, and she realized that the body behind her was female. She could feel the cups of a breast plate now that she was thinking, and the arms that were wrapped around her were slight, though they were strong. An idea tickled the back of Annabeth's brain and she breathed in deeply to try and confirm her suspicion. The scent of vanilla and berries reached her among the other scents of the forest, and Annabeth released a sigh of relief before slumping against the body behind her.
It was Clarisse.
She couldn't see her girlfriend, and there were no markings on her armour to indicate who it was, but Annabeth knew the scent of her shampoo intimately, and as she glanced down at the bare arms wrapped around her, she knew that only one girl in camp had such exquisitely shaped arms.
Clarisse smiled as she felt Annabeth slump against her, and loosened the hold she had on the blonde, knowing that Annabeth had finally realized that it was her. She hadn't wanted to scare Annabeth, she'd just wanted to surprise her, but when she'd heard voices and footsteps rapidly approaching them, her instincts had kicked in and she'd focused on keeping quiet and still so they wouldn't be discovered, instead of whispering, "Surprise!" in Annabeth's ear like she'd planned on.
When the Sunshine Boys voices and footsteps faded away, Clarisse removed her hand from over Annabeth's lips.
"Hey," Clarisse began softly, her voice a little hesitant in anticipation of Annabeth yelling at her for the stunt she had just pulled. "It's okay, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare yo..."
"Please don't hurt me," Annabeth whispered urgently, cutting off Clarisse. Adrenaline was still pumping through her from the earlier skirmish she had escaped, her flight away from it, and then the recent shock of finding herself suddenly restrained. She could feel Clarisse's body against her, and the feel of Clarisse's arm around her was reminding her of other ways Clarisse had embraced her in the past. Now that she knew who was holding her, she didn't mind being captive so much, and if the arousal pounding through her body was any indication, she wouldn't mind staying captive for a while longer. "I'll do whatever you want," Annabeth continued breathlessly.
Clarisse's eyebrows scrunched together in confusion. She'd thought that Annabeth had realized it was her when she had relaxed earlier, and if she hadn't the sound of her voice just now should have been enough to let the blonde know that it was her holding her, but Annabeth was acting scared again.
"Annabeth," she said gently, "I'm not going to ..."
"Whatever you want," Annabeth injected, placing a seductive emphasis on the word 'whatever', interrupting Clarisse again. "I promise I'll be quiet," she continued breathily, feeling her chest rise and fall deeply as she struggled to control her desire. "Just tell me what to do," she continued, shifting on the ground between Clarisse's legs restlessly.
Clarisse breathed in sharply as she recognized the breathy tone in Annabeth's voice as arousal. The way the blonde was squirming between her legs also showed her desire, and Clarisse's lips curved up in a smile. When she'd pulled Annabeth into the thicket, she'd done so hoping that they could make out a bit before returning to the game, but from the tone in Annabeth's voice, the way she was shifting, and the nature of the game she seemed to want to play, Clarisse was sure they would end up doing more than making out.
"That's a good girl," Clarisse said, more than happy to oblige Annabeth's desire to role-play. "Do what I say and everything will be fine," she continued in a low voice made husky as desire began to course through her as well.
"Yes, ma'am," Annabeth whispered meekly, making Clarisse have to clench her jaw powerfully to stop herself from moaning at the blonde's acquiescent tone.
"Mm," Clarisse hummed into Annabeth's ear as she moved her hand to rest on the blonde's leg. "That's right. Keep being such a good sport, and you might even enjoy this," she whispered, sucking Annabeth's earlobe into her mouth as her hand crept up Annabeth's thigh and moved between them to cup her sex suggestively.
It was Annabeth's game and she knew she should have been stoic, but she was too aroused to ignore the feel of Clarisse's hand between her legs and she sighed contently as Clarisse squeezed her and then pressed her heel hand against Annabeth, making sure she felt the contact. She likewise couldn't stop the soft moan that escaped her lips when Clarisse's hand traveled up her torso and then slipped beneath her armour to cover her breast. However, as Clarisse began to massage her hand-sized breast, Annabeth forced herself to breath in and out deeply until she had gained some measure of control over her body's responses.
Annabeth angled her head away from Clarisse and forced her body to be still, pretending to be unmoved by the touch, even though Clarisse's hand was bringing her much pleasure. Annabeth's breathing increased as Clarisse's thumb brushed over the hard tip of her nipple, still sensitive even beneath two layers of clothes, and she couldn't stop her breath from hitching occasionally when Clarisse pinched at her nipple, but otherwise she kept herself silent and still.
"Get on your knees and brace your hands against the tree," Clarisse ordered, her voice rough with need, as she drew her hand out from beneath Annabeth's amour.
She needed to feel the softness and heat of Annabeth's skin against her fingers, not just the rough scratch of her clothes.
Annabeth breathed in sharply as her sex clenched at the sound of Clarisse's words, the commanding tone exciting her greatly. She wasted no time following the brunette's orders, scrambling quickly up onto her knees and bracing her hands as she was told. Once she was in position she felt Clarisse move in behind her and sighed contently.
With practiced hands, Clarisse quickly went about untying Annabeth's breast plate and then she anxiously tugged it from her body. Once that barrier was removed, she pressed herself against Annabeth's back and slipped her hand under the blonde's shirt, lifting the material higher as her hands moved to cup Annabeth's breasts.
For minutes, Clarisse massaged the small, perfectly formed breasts, squeezing, and pinching at Annabeth's tight nipples. She continued to tease Annabeth, while licking, kissing and nipping at the pale skin exposed by her tank-top, until Annabeth's breathing was ragged and her hips were bucking rhythmically, uselessly humping the air in an attempt to relieve the pressure between her legs.
Seeing her in such a state, Clarisse knew that Annabeth couldn't take too much more teasing without being rewarded with firmer touches, but she wanted to taste Annabeth's breasts before dedicating herself to bringing the blonde to climax.
Annabeth gasped as Clarisse took hold of her hips and yanked her back, a surprised cry falling from her lips as Clarisse dumped her onto her back and then moved to straddle her.
"I told you not to make a sound," she growled.
Annabeth just stared up at her wide-eyed with her lips slightly parted, her brain too clouded by desire to formulate a response.
"Do you want me to have to teach you a lesson?" Clarisse asked using her hands to yank Annabeth's shirt up so that it was bunched up just above her breasts. "Or will you be good?" she asked, pulling the cups of Annabeth's bra down forcefully, releasing tantalizing, pale mounds of flesh from their confines.
Clarisse was caught by the sight of Annabeth's breasts after she freed them, and she found herself simply staring at them for a moment as she licked her lips. Annabeth's eyes were trained on her the whole time, and the hunger in Clarisse's gaze affected her like a physical touch causing her to squirm restlessly beneath Clarisse.
"I'll be good," Annabeth promised softly.
Clarisse stared at her for a moment longer, and then in a soft, awe filled voice she said, "You won't have a choice," before she clamped her hand over Annabeth's mouth and lowered her head to the blonde's chest.
Clarisse sucked Annabeth's nipple into her mouth hungrily, pulling again and again, allowing the nipple to pop from between her lips before taking hold of it once more and repeating the process. She flicked her tongue over the sensitive tip rapidly, and then clamped down on it with her teeth, tugging carefully, before soothing the nipple by gently sucking at it. When Annabeth's fingers tangled in her hair, she shifted to the other breast and repeated to process until Annabeth's hips were continuously bucking into her.
Without lifting her mouth from Annabeth's tit, Clarisse shifted so that she was able to slip her hand between Annabeth's legs, and groaned around the blonde's nipple as Annabeth cried out sharply behind her hand. Clarisse moved her hand against her again, and as she did Annabeth continued to whimper things that Clarisse couldn't hear, though she was certain that Annabeth was encouraging her and begging her not to stop.
She loved to hear the things that came out of Annabeth's mouth when they made love. The passionate and often dirty things that came out of Annabeth's mouth had surprised Clarisse when they first became lovers, but they had also powerfully aroused her and they still had that effect of her.
Reluctantly, Clarisse released Annabeth's nipple with a wet pop, and lifted her head, listening to sounds of the forest around them. She couldn't hear anything other than the sound of the birds and the wind and their own ragged breath. She drew her hand away from Annabeth's mouth deciding to take the risk so that she could hear her girlfriend's voice.
"What was that ... whore?" Clarisse asked looking down into Annabeth's eyes, watching Annabeth's face carefully to see whether she liked the name-calling or was offended by it.
Annabeth's eyes closed and she breathed in shakily and Clarisse knew that name calling was alright in the context of their game.
"I'm not a whore," Annabeth managed to get out softly a few seconds later. "I'm a good girl. Please don't take my virtue," she begged staring up into Clarisse's eyes beseechingly, employing all of her Athenian control to stop herself from smiling when Clarisse's eyes closed and her hips bucked in desire at the sound of her words.
Clarisse couldn't help moaning at the memory of how she had actually taken Annabeth's virtue the first time in another part of those very woods. The memory of Annabeth uncontrollably humping her hand as she'd pinned her to the ground excited Clarisse even more, and she moved her hand against Annabeth, drawing a delicious whimper from her.
"I don't think you have much virtue left to take," the brunette husked as she slipped her hands under Annabeth's leggings and slipped a finger inside of her.
Annabeth gasped and her back arched, straining into Clarisse's touch.
"You barbarian," Annabeth groaned as her legs automatically spread wider, giving Clarisse more room to work her.
Clarisse smirked at that and used the opportunity to slip another finger inside of Annabeth before she returned her lips to Annabeth's tits.
As Clarisse suckled at Annabeth's breasts, she began to powerfully thrust her fingers in and out of the blonde, using her well-muscled arm to penetrate Annabeth strongly until Annabeth couldn't maintain the role-play and began to softly vocalize her pleasure.
"Gods baby, you're so good at that," Annabeth panted as Clarisse continued to expertly finger her. "Oh gods! Don't stop, baby. Please don't stop. I'm so close. I'm so very close," she continued, reaching out for Clarisse and placing her hand on her powerful shoulder, feeling her muscles bunch and shift as Clarisse pumped into her. "Oh gods," Annabeth gasped as Clarisse began to toy with her clit while she used her teeth to tug on her nipples. "Oh gods," the blonde moaned again and again as her orgasm rapidly began to build.
Clarisse lifted her head from Annabeth's tit and shifted until she was hovering over the blonde's face, never once losing the rhythm she had set between her legs.
"You might call them you know," Clarisse breathed out, referencing the old camp myth that when a demigod cried out for the gods that all of the Olympians could all hear them and see them in their time of need.
Clarisse stared down at Annabeth with eyes that were fathomlessly dark with arousal.
"Is that what you're trying to do? Do you want them to see? Do you want them to watch as you come?" she asked, watching Annabeth's eyes widen and then close as she bucked into Clarisse's hand. "Do you want your mother to see you come?"
Annabeth gasped, and her right hand slipped from her stomach where it had been resting and moved between her legs so that she could rub her clit while Clarisse continued to move inside of her.
"What would she say Annabeth?" Clarisse continued breathlessly, her body clenching in sympathy with Annabeth as the blonde bucked into her and rubbed herself so vigorously it looked painful. "What would she think of you, seeing you on the ground with your legs spread begging to be fu...?"
The end of Clarisse's question was cut off as the fingers of Annabeth's left hand clawed at her, digging into the tanned skin of her shoulders as her pussy clenched at Clarisse's fingers and pulled them further inside of her, clamping down on them as her orgasm tore through her.
Clarisse watched her for a moment, awed by the sight of Annabeth lost in pleasure, and then she started stroking her again wanting to draw out her orgasm as long as possible.
Annabeth began to moan again when Clarisse's fingers started moving once more and Clarisse knew that she could get her off again and continued to stroke her until Annabeth climaxed again, a choked sob escaping from between her lips as tears of pleasure leaked from her eyes.
When Annabeth collapsed against the ground after her second orgasm ran its course, Clarisse knew that she was spent, at least for the moment, and she carefully extracted her fingers from between the blonde's thighs. She wiped her fingers discreetly on her leggings and then she reached out for Annabeth and tugged her bra back into position.
Annabeth's gasped in surprise at the feeling of the material pressing against her sensitive, swollen nipples, and Clarisse kissed her apologetically, realizing that she might have been a bit too enthusiastic while loving Annabeth's breasts earlier.
"Sit up, just for a second," Clarisse said softly, and still breathing hard as she recovered, Annabeth struggled to obey.
Once Annabeth was sitting up, Clarisse quickly pulled her shirt back down, and then she lowered them both back down to the ground and drew Annabeth against her, holding her tenderly until her breathing returned to normal.
"You okay?" Clarisse asked when Annabeth began to snuggle into her, breathing easily once again.
"Yeah," Annabeth breathed out, kissing Clarisse's neck before shifting up to kiss her girlfriend properly for the first time since she had been pulled into the thicket.
As they kissed, Annabeth's hand moved between Clarisse's legs, but Clarisse grasped it and tugged it away before Annabeth could do more than graze the seam of her pants.
"I'm okay," Clarisse said even though she was slick with wetness and almost too turned on to lie still. "We should get back to the game. People are probably wondering where we are by now."
Annabeth allowed Clarisse to hold her hand as she studied her girlfriend, then she tugged her hand free of Clarisse's hold and moved her hand between Clarisse's legs again. This time she managed to make solid contact, and when she pressed her palm to Clarisse, the brunette's hips arched into her, automatically seeking out touch.
"I don't care," Annabeth declared softly. "Let them wonder," she continued, not at all willing to leave unsatisfied.
With Clarisse's boots on Annabeth couldn't take her pants off, but Annabeth was slim and used it to her advantage and tugged Clarisse's leggings and panties down far enough that she could slip between the brunette's legs. The scent of Clarisse's arousal filled the air around her, and she could see her girlfriend's desire, slick and glistening, even in the poorly lit thicket.
Annabeth flattened her tongue up and dragged it up the length of Clarisse's slit, earning a deep groan from the brunette and moaning herself at that the taste of the other girl. She stroked Clarisse similarly a few more times, and she shifted her attention to Clarisse's pink, engorged lower lips, and began to alternate between sucking on them and tonguing them until Clarisse's hand moved to the back of her head and the brunette moaned, "Please."
Annabeth could've stayed between her legs teasing for a lot longer, but she knew that Clarisse had already been close to coming when she had started to touch her and that the brunette couldn't take too much more teasing. Clarisse was prone to sympathetic orgasms, but she didn't always come from Annabeth climaxing and when she didn't she was always very close to the edge and could be coaxed to climax very quickly once Annabeth's fingers and mouth were on her.
Her girlfriend had been able to have quite a bit of fun drawing her own orgasm out, but Annabeth knew it would be cruel to tease Clarisse in the same way given the state she had been in when Annabeth began to lick her. Besides, she knew Clarisse was right and that the members of their respective cabins would have begun to notice their absences. For the sake of Clarisse's sanity and to avoid discovery, Annabeth knew that she would have to ignore her own desire to luxuriate between Clarisse's legs.
Annabeth allowed herself to give Clarisse's sex a few more languorous strokes, and then she drew her mouth up to Clarisse's clit and started to suck on it. She then positioned three fingers at Clarisse's entrance, and after teasing the sensitive flesh for a moment, she slipped her fingers inside and began to pump them, knowing that the feel of her fingers stretching Clarisse open greatly excitedly the brunette.
Clarisse moaned at the sudden intrusion and as Annabeth began to stroke her, she lowered her right hand to tangle in Annabeth's blonde curls, holding her girlfriend where she needed her the most.
A minute later Clarisse eyes squeezed shut and her lips parted in a silent cry as came into Annabeth's mouth.
Annabeth stayed between Clarisse's legs, kissing her thighs as she continued to move her fingers, drawing the brunette down gently. Then, when Clarisse's body had settled down, Annabeth slipped from between her legs, and with Clarisse's help she was able to draw the brunette's underwear and pants back into position. Once Clarisse was fully clothed again, Annabeth leaned over her and stroked her girlfriend's cheek tenderly until Clarisse's breathing settled and her eyes were clear and focused once more.
"You," Annabeth breathed out in an impossibly tender voice as she stared down at Clarisse lovingly.
Clarisse's eyes met hers as a wide, sweet smile spread across her lips and Annabeth leaned down and brought their lips together in a sweet, lingering kiss that made her heart fill with warmth.
"I hate to even think about moving, but we really should go," Annabeth sighed regretfully when she leaned back.
Clarisse, who was still a little dazed from her orgasm, simply nodded her head and followed Annabeth's lead, standing up when the blonde did and then brushing off her clothes and tugging everything back into its proper place as Annabeth did.
"Meet you at the cave later?" Clarisse asked when they were both relatively presentable again.
"Nothing will keep me away," Annabeth promised.
They'd planned the date at the cave days ago. Annabeth had found a myth she thought Clarisse would like and she had been looking forward to reciting it to her when they met that night. Now that they'd burned off some of the sexual energy that constantly pulsed between them, Annabeth thought that she might actually be even be able to make it through the whole story before they started tearing each other's clothes off again.
Clarisse smiled the shy, sweet smile that Annabeth had come to love more than any other, and then Clarisse bent down slightly to kiss Annabeth softly one more time before they had to leave.
They lingered in each other's personal space for a few seconds longer, enjoying the closeness of each other's bodies, but finally Clarisse stepped back, and after directing one last, lingering look at Annabeth, she turned from the blonde and slipped out of the thicket before starting to jog away.
Annabeth slipped out of the thicket right behind her, but she paused once she was out in the forest once more to watch Clarisse go, enjoying the grace with which Clarisse moved. Then, smiling to herself happily, Annabeth turned towards the Athena cabins home base and began to run.
Far above the clouds on Olympus, Athena sighed rested her hands on the edge of the viewing portal as her siblings laughing voices and footsteps faded away.
These viewings were becoming a daily occurrence and she wasn't sure how much more of Ares teasing she could tolerate, or much more time she could dedicate to obscuring her siblings views of the events taking place in the mortal realm when Annabeth's cries to gods during her intimacies with Clarisse drew their attention.
A hand came to rest on Athena's weary shoulder and the goddess turned to the side to see her sister Aphrodite standing beside her, the gentle and compassionate expression on her face almost successfully camouflaging the amusement in her eyes.
"If it is any consolation to you, dear sister, despite their constant stream of libidinous encounters and their admirably open-minded fondness for semi-public fornication and erotic games, your daughter and Ares' spawn are quite in love with each other," Aphrodite offered, squeezing Athena's shoulder supportively.
Athena could hear the sincerity in her sister's voice, but Aphrodite's words were not as comforting to her as Aphrodite might have hoped. Still, she offered the Goddess of Love a smile and replied, "That is comforting to know. Thank you."
Aphrodite glowed, pleased to have offered comfort and perspective to her sister who was, she admitted, generally much wiser than she. And still swelling with pride at her good deed, Aphrodite turned to Athena and said, "You should know that Apollo has been keeping a close eye on them since this started, and consequently he has witnessed some ... quieter intimacies that did not draw your attention. You should probably have a talk with Annabeth. I know your children love to use their words, but it would behoove this particular one to use a few words less."
Athena sighed deeply and lowered her head in defeat.
"Yes, I have had thoughts along these lines as well," she replied reluctantly.
She really couldn't afford to dedicate too much more of her time to guarding her daughter's privacy, but she was disturbed by the idea her siblings watching unimpeded when they were called, which meant she had to talk to Annabeth and make her aware of what she had unintentionally been doing.
"I could talk to her for you," Aphrodite offered immediately, charmed by the idea of being able to help out Athena for once, and titillated by the idea of being able to prod Annabeth for some details from her encounters with Clarisse. Athena had been maddeningly adept at blocking them from seeing the fun parts.
For a second Athena was tempted to accept her sister's offer as she desperately did not want to have this particular conversation with Annabeth. She did not condemn her daughter for being a sexual being though she herself had chosen chastity, and she was happy that Annabeth had found a partner who loved her and also brought her pleasure. She just did not anticipate ever having to talk to her children about their sex lives, and she certainly did not ever think she would have to coach one on appropriate and inappropriate exclamations to use while being pleasured. So, Aphrodite's offer did appeal to her. However, there was a mischievous glint in the lithe blonde's eyes as she gazed expectantly at Athena that gave the Goddess of Wisdom pause.
"Thank you," Athena said kindly, "but as is my duty as mother, I will speak to Annabeth myself."
Aphrodite's face fell, but she quickly pulled herself together again and smiled as she squeezed Athena's shoulder once more.
"If you are sure," Aphrodite murmured before bowing her head and turning to leave. "Oh," Aphrodite exclaimed, halting her retreat and turning back to face Athena. "If you would be so kind, when you speak to Annabeth, would mention to her that the thing she was wondering about is very possible and that if she makes me an offering I'll personally explain how," Aphrodite continued, winking at Athena playfully. "That daughter of yours has quite an imagination really. I don't think I ever gave your children enough credit for their inventiveness in my realm of expertise," Aphrodite added laughing as Athena eyes turned stormy grey.
With that, Aphrodite sashayed away, and Athena turned towards the viewing portal again, her eyes finding Annabeth just as her daughter reached the area where the rest of her children were assembled. Athena sighed as she watched her other children began catch Annabeth up on progress of the game, and as they began to strategize together, she began to devise a plan for approaching Annabeth for a talk.