So, I was sitting in Anthropology, and the idea for this little story popped into my head...I hope you like it
I never wanted to want you...
I never wanted to need you...
I never wanted to love you...
But I do.
A young woman with petal pink hair wiped the blood from her hands using a piece of cloth recovered from the body that lay before her, grimacing. As accustomed to the sight of blood as she was after being the leader of the Special Interrogation Unit of Onyx, the spy network her husband formed nearly five years past, she still disliked it.
Her victim she had never meant to kill, but he proved to be uncooperative, and she was left with no other choice. While she was unable to glean any new information out of him, she was aware that he knew something that could be potentially dangerous if spread. The Code stated that in such cases, the suspect must be bereft of his or her life.
In Onyx, the Code was the law.
Sakura sat back on her heels and raked sweaty hair out of her eyes. Her hands started shaking.
A large man with a ruddy complexion and a mop of black hair moved towards her. When he was close enough, he rested one browned hand on her shoulder. His eyes went to the body.
"How you holdin' up, kiddo?" He asked, worry in his voice. Though she was his commander, he cared about Sakura as a sister.
She gave him a wan smile.
"Not too bad, Bear. I've been worse."
The man called Bear wrapped his arm around her. "Come on, champion. Let's get you some grub, eh?"
Sakura chuckled. Leave it to Bear to think about food at a time like this.
Back at the makeshift camp, her fellows greeted her with a round of raucous cheering. The mission was considered a success, which meant that they would be going home after a month of being out in the field. Sakura's action had ended the mission officially, which was cause for celebration.
She stayed with her men for as long as she could handle, but after a few hours, Sakura wanted to be alone. Winking at Bear, she slipped out of the mess and crawled into her own tent, trying to banish the images of the dead man that played through her head.
"Time to go home," she said out loud.
The dead man was replaced by a mental snapshot of her house, complete with her rosebushes in front, and the elm tree whose branches reached out to tickle the roof.
She pictured her husband, his bright blue eyes sparkling, his blonde hair unruly, the whisker-like markings on his cheeks making him appear almost foxish.
She pictured their little boy, not even a year old, with the same emerald eyes as his mother and his father's blonde hair. His personality was a mixture of both his parents, and his curiosity led him to get into all kinds of trouble.
She missed her family terribly, but she would see them soon, and that fact alone kept the tears from falling.
Remembering the letter that Naruto had written her a few days ago, she dug through her belongings and took it out of the pouch she's stowed it in.
Hey babe. How goes it? Things are kinda slow over here. Not much happening. I had a meeting with a few diplomats from Lightning Country, but, honestly, they were boring. Hardly a sense of humor between them. Made me feel like an idiot.
I had dinner with Shikamaru and Ino last night. Ino looks positively blooming. She's due in about three weeks, if I'm not mistaken. I think Shikamaru is going to go out of his mind. The idea of fatherhood makes him nervous. They both asked about you, babe, and I told 'em you should be back within the week.
Our hellion got into one of your potted plants before I could stop him. There was dirt all over the place. In his mouth, up his nose, in his ears...total mess. I gave him a bath, but most of the water ended up on me. No more potted plants, okay?
Sakura laughed, and read on.
I miss you, babe. The house feels so empty without you here. I'm glad I've got the baby to keep me company, because otherwise, I don't know what I'd do. He misses you too, I can tell. He seems put-out whenever I come into his room instead of you... he's been sleeping in our bed with me the past few nights, to tell the truth. It's a comfort for both of us.
I hate it when you're away like this and I can't watch out for you. It terrifies me. Don't get me wrong, I know you can take care of yourself, and I know that you're always careful, but it still scares the shit out of me. If anything ever happened to you...I'm not even going to think about it. I can't.
Well, I've never been much of a writer, as you are well aware of. I did try though! Just...don't do anything stupid, Sakura. I'm expecting you to come back to me. If you don't, I'll be pissed. More than pissed, actually. Livid is more like it.
I love you, babe. You know how much. Say hi to the guys for me.
p.s. I LOVE YOU!
p.p.s. I LOVE YOU!
p.p.p.s. I LOVE YOU!
(so you don't forget)
"Oh Naruto," she giggled, shaking her head. "Like I could ever forget." Her fingers brushed over his words slowly, and she imagined him sitting down in his study to write them, most likely at night, when the baby was asleep. His desk would be full of clutter, and he would shove most of it aside half-hazardly, not noticing if a few items fell over the side. Their housekeeper scolded him time and again for his habits, but he always seemed to forget, not because he liked to frustrate the housekeeper, but because he could be a tad...scatterbrained.
Sakura giggled again. Through the years, most of the people who had dealings with Konoha, and especially the people who lived there learned that the best way to get the Hokage to remember something was to make sure that he himself wrote it down, or else suffer ridiculous amounts of exasperation by trying to remind him day after day.
Personally, Sakura believed that her husband had somewhat of a selective memory, and he chose to disregard less important matters on purpose. His sense of humor led him to enjoy seeing certain individuals who had high opinions of themselves come close to apoplexy when he casually informed them that he did not recall their requests, and that they would have to wait until his other business was taken care of before he could get back to them. It became almost like a game to him, and all of his advisors and Council members were in on it. Needless to say, practical jokes ran rampant in Naruto's Meeting Hall, and laughter was not uncommon by any means.
That is not to say that Rokudaime did not watch over his flock with an iron fist, however. He could jump from happy and cheerful to strict and imposing in the blink of an eye if the situation called for it, and his fearlessness to administer whatever punishment necessary earned him the respect of all, both friends and enemies. He tried to be fair to everyone, but he had no tolerance for those who broke with the laws of the land, for those who betrayed their kindred, for those who strove to lord themselves over the weak.
His fondness for the underdogs stemmed from his own childhood experiences, as did his convictions on what makes a criminal. Sasuke's betrayal scarred him beyond the point of healing, and Sakura knew that better than anyone. She, too, felt the blow of her former teammate's deception as a constant, dull ache in her heart, one that would never fully fade.
But it was not out of love that she still felt something for Sasuke.
It was anger.
How long had she paced back and forth across her bedroom floor, waiting with baited breath for any sign, anything at all, from her friends? It seemed like forever. Sakura was out of her mind with worry, always thinking of the possibilities, each more horrible than the last. Were they injured? Lost? Helpless?
Or had they killed each other?
The last she could not dwell on.
"No, they aren't dead. They can't be. They'll come home, both of them. I know it." She told herself.
Her heart said something else, however. It said that an event had occurred that would change everything, and all she thought she knew would be turned upside down. She did not understand how she came to such a conclusion, but no matter what she did, she could not ignore it.
Falling to her knees, she buried her head in her hands and wept like she never had before, wept for herself, wept for Sasuke, wept for Naruto...wept for all of them, now torn asunder.
Naruto promised before he went away that he would bring Sasuke back no matter what happened.
"But...if he doesn't want to be brought back..."
She left the end of the sentence hanging as she choked back her tears. The fit had passed, and she felt foolish. She had no reason to cry. Her life was not on the line, and she could not bear to imagine what Naruto would say if he found her in such a state.
His boyish face materialized in her mind. The same face that she'd seen over and over as they completed missions together, the face that never changed, that always saved a smile just for her.
Sakura closed her eyes.
"You never got to look at me when I shined, Naruto. You only saw my weaknesses...my failures...and...you still care about me. Why?"
"Because you and I are the same."
Sakura gasped. Her breath caught in her throat. That voice...
She turned her head.
Naruto, beaten, torn, broken, stood in her doorway.
"Your door wasn't locked, so I came in. I hope you aren't mad," he whispered, and collapsed.
As if her body moved of its own accord, Sakura picked herself up and slid across the floor, catching the blonde boy before he could hit the ground.
"I got blood everywhere," he croaked, but Sakura silenced him.
"Hush," she murmured, stroking his matted hair away from his forehead, her hands trembling. "I'll clean it later." Her eyes burned. "Oh God...what happened to you?" She continued to stroke him, a tiny ember of rage beginning to burn deep inside. In any other circumstance, she would be frightened of these feelings, but not now.
"Who did this?" She asked as calmly as she could manage. One of her hands cupped Naruto's cheek, turning his face towards her own. Their eyes locked. "Tell me the truth."
Through his cracked lips, Naruto whispered, "The Sasuke we knew is dead. Gone. Nothing's left of him...he's...a...a shell."
Sakura glimpsed the tiny diamonds that sparkled in the blue depths of his eyes, and she bit her lip.
"I tried, Sakura-chan...I tried so hard..."
His tears rolled down his cheeks.
The rage burst into flame. Sasuke did not deserve Naruto's tears. Not a single one. Against her will, she cried with him, cradling him close.
"I know," she said softly, Naruto's blood tacky against her skin.
"He didn't want to come home."
Sakura pressed a hand to her chest, breathing deeply. Even now, it hurt to remember that day.
The day she realized that Sasuke had betrayed them all.
Later on, she would discover that, before they fought, Sasuke told Naruto he was his best friend.
That only made it more painful.
The dark haired prodigy of the Uchiha clan never returned to Konoha, and it was as if he had never been. His name became a taboo, as well as that of his family. Cursed, people said. Tragic.
Every now and then, Sakura and Naruto would remember their friend to each other, the Sasuke before the seal, before Orochimaru and Akatsuki.
Before the madness took him.
"I really believed that I loved you," Sakura said out loud, staring off at a tiny corner of the tent. "But I loved who I thought you were, not you."
I never wanted to want you...
I never wanted to need you...
I never wanted to love you...
But I do.
They sat side by side on a park bench, the clouds roiling ominously overhead. Neither cared all that much. A little rain wouldn't hurt anything.
"Naruto," Sakura began, a slight catch in her voice. "I...I've always wondered...what you meant when you said that I was the same as you, but I never got up the nerve to ask—"
She stopped when Naruto pulled her against his side and held her there, resting his head against hers. Sakura's heart began to flutter.
"You've been misjudged all your life, Sakura-chan," Naruto said softly. "People called you weak, useless...the same things they said about me. We've both strived for attention, for acknowledgement." He paused, gripping her tighter. "For what it's worth, you have nothing left to prove to me."
Thunder crashed overhead, and whether it was because of that or some other reason, Sakura clung to the blonde boy next to her, not caring if it was wrong or right. As the rain fell upon them, large, wet drops, she sobbed as if her heart would break. Naruto clung back, the rain beating upon his upturned face.
He closed his eyes.
By chance, Sakura looked at him.
A divine warrior plunged out of heaven manifested before her.
Sakura's breath caught in her throat.
Slowly, his lids lifted.
Crystal rain gleamed as it ran down his skin.
"Sakura-chan..." His hand reached out and twined in her hair.
Time stood still.
"It's raining," he observed, the hand never moving. Painfully aware of her pounding heart, Sakura giggled.
A mouth, beautiful, yearning, crushed against her own, and stole away any words she would have spoken.
His kisses were insistent, fiery. All Sakura could do was hold on to him and allow him to lead her. In earlier days, she shuddered at the thought of doing with Naruto what she did now, but her mind had matured since childhood. And her heart...
Her heart, she finally understood.
All those years she had been disillusioned in her desire for Sasuke, too blind to see who he truly was. The characteristics she believed he possessed had belonged to Naruto all along, though her infatuation clouded her judgment. Sasuke was a prize that she sought, an ideal that rested just beyond her reach. No one in the real world could ever sit upon the pedestal she carved for him, a fact she came to realize when he, of his own choosing, became an enemy.
From birth, he was shunned by all, labeled a demon, a monster, an infidel. From birth, people despised him for what his body housed, feared him because of the beast living inside. Day after day, he endured the hatred without complaint, holding his head high, determined to become the greatest of all the shinobi of the Leaf...
His dream, his wish, was to serve those who hurt him, to lay down his life for them, to be their shepherd, their leader.
The veil over her eyes dissipated. Sakura truly saw his strength then. It left her in awe of him, made her appear small in light of his power.
Since Academy, others glimpsed what she only just touched, but of all people for him to care for, of all people for him to love, he chose her.
Even if she mistreated him, even if she screamed at him, abused him with her venomous tongue, she remained his Sakura-chan, the one woman he swore to protect until he died. His heart never swayed, but remained constant, unwavering, always willing to give a little more...
She kissed him back with all the fervor she could muster, fingers tangled in the silken strands of his hair, wanting to be as close as humanly possible. Naruto responded by dragging her onto his lap and holding her there, the tears that spilled from his eyes mixing with the water of the sky.
A boy, now a man...
A girl, now a woman...
Her hand went to her lips. Though she had received many more kisses since their first, she would always remember exactly how she felt that first time...
"I miss being kissed," she said to herself, and laughed. "Naruto's got a lot of work to do when I get back."
The pads of her fingers traced the contours of her mouth, and she imagined her husband's callused hands doing the same, the desire to be home with him greater than ever. During missions, she purposefully became like a machine, focusing only on the task, but at times like this, with nothing left to occupy her, the wants of her body sprang violently forth.
As a teenager, Sakura, when not overcome with embarrassment, would allow herself to dream about being made love to by someone...Sasuke, in the beginning, soon to be replaced by Naruto...but the reality far surpassed her idle fantasy. Naruto, while excelling in other areas of his life, proved to be quite efficient when it came to bedroom activity, knowing exactly where to touch her and when, a devious trick, she believed. Sometimes, he was slow and gentle, others frenzied and rough, though never to the point of hurting her. She trusted him completely, the only man ever to behold her unclad.
No place in the world was safer than lying naked in his arms.
She grinned at him, a naughty grin that was for his eyes alone. He sat on the couch of his new abode, given him along with his title, and she stood in the kitchen, pretending to supervise the water that boiled on the stove. Naruto had just returned from a long day of tedious meetings and Sakura thought making him dinner would cheer him up. However, she could not seem to tear her eyes from him, now that he was here.
She moved in with him soon after he became Hokage, as his fiancée. The wedding was to be held that spring, so it surprised no one when Sakura began transferring her things to Naruto's place.
After a long talk when they first became a couple, Naruto and Sakura came to a mutual agreement that they would wait to make love until after they were married. Yes, Sakura thought it to be a very good idea then, but, the closer she became to Naruto, the more her body contradicted her. She found herself examining him in ways that would have made her blush before, and she knew he did the same from the guilty expression he wore whenever she questioned him.
Tonight was proving to be no different.
As she poured noodles in the pot of water, she allowed one edge of her sweater to slide tantalizingly down her shoulder, almost feeling Naruto's eyes on her.
She glanced behind her to give him another grin, but she saw nothing.
Her heart beat an uneven rhythm.
In a blur, she found herself up against the wall on the far side of the kitchen, one of Naruto's hands on either side of her.
Like a cornered deer, she stared at him, eyes wide. He stared back, his nose almost touching hers.
"You're playing with fire, little girl," he growled, moving even closer. "Keep it up, and you'll get burned." His mouth descended on hers so hard that she moaned. When he pulled away, she considered slapping him, but settled on yanking him in for another kiss instead.
Back and forth, they traded kiss after kiss, the noodles on the stove long forgotten. Articles of hastily removed clothing littered the ground. Before either had time to consider what they were doing, Naruto kissed her yet again, his hands moving downward.
Everything beyond that point passed in a haze of sensation, one that Sakura came out of hours after the fact as she and Naruto lay nestled beneath a blanket on the couch.
Nothing ever felt so right.
"I love you," she whispered against his chest, which vibrated when he chuckled. His fingers traced lazy patterns on her back.
"I love you too, babe."
A few moments of silence passed, until Sakura sat bolt upright.
Naruto had been close to sleep, and she startled him. "Wassamatter?" He mumbled.
Sakura scrambled off the couch. "The water!" She yelped.
After the implications sank in, he, too, rolled from the couch and ran into the kitchen.
The noodles were all over the floor, and the bottom of the pot had more than a few burn marks. Sakura turned off the stove while giggling hysterically, the sight so humorous that Naruto laughed with her.
"I guess we should be more careful next time," he admitted sheepishly, eyeing the ruined pot.
"I think you might be right," Sakura agreed, still giggling.
After they became husband and wife, playfulness was restricted to before or after meals to avoid any similar incidents...
Sakura smiled at the memory. "We were such kids," she laughed. The first years of their marriage were full of learning experiences, such as how to use certain household appliances like vacuums, for instance. Naruto ended up vacuuming his socks, as well as some of the sheets off of the bed before he could stop the thing, and by then, his frustration levels were beyond high. Sakura walked in on him just in time to witness the vacuum bag blow up in his face, and her ears were subject to some of the vilest oaths imaginable. The housekeeper came along soon after, much to Sakura's relief.
Their biggest adjustment, however, entered the world only eight months past, and his arrival put a whole new perspective on life for both of his parents.
No matter how often she looked at him, Sakura was struck in the gut by how much her son resembled his daddy, from the unruly blonde hair to the ever-present, cheerful smile. Naruto adored his little boy, and he played with him for hours on end, babbling in baby-talk and tickling him. It warmed Sakura's heart to watch her husband and child interact with each other, filled her with a sense of peace. She had always wanted to be a mother, and Alex's birth was one of the happiest moments of her life.
"Push, Sakura," the doctor told her, seated on a chair at the end of the bed. Two nurses stood around him, smiling encouragement. Naruto, on the other hand, had no idea what to do. His wife was in pain, and he wanted to help her somehow, but, obviously, he couldn't, and it upset him.
"Just give me your hand," Sakura barked in between pushes, and Naruto, beside himself, gave it.
"Here's the head!"
Naruto came close to fainting.
"One more push, Sakura!"
Her grip on his hand became bone-shattering, though Naruto did not notice. The cries of a newborn filled the room.
"It's a boy!" The doctor beamed. "Congratulations!"
Naruto blinked, overcome with hundreds of emotions at once. Sakura cried openly, and when the baby was placed in her arms after he was cleaned and his cord cut, she studied him in wonder. His tiny, emerald eyes opened, and he surveyed his parents gravely.
"He's beautiful, isn't he?" She asked Naruto, her smile radiant. "He looks just like you."
Naruto felt a lump rise in his throat. Leaning down, he kissed his wife's forehead, and then his son's.
"Do you have any idea how happy I am?" He whispered in Sakura's ear. "I love you."
"I know," Sakura whispered back, kissing his lips. Their eyes held. "I love you, too."
They decided to call him Alexander, or Alex, for short. Sakura stumbled upon the name as she poured through books of them, and she as well as Naruto fell in love with it instantly. For some reason, they felt that a foreign name would suit their child, and their hunch proved correct on many levels. Alex was definitely an individual with a personality, one that he exhibited often. His inquisitive nature drove him to explore everything, and he seemed to enjoy finding ways to become as dirty as possible. Baths were frequent, though Alex still managed to make a mess in the tub as well by kicking his little legs and waving his little arms, sending spectacular amounts of water flying, and it was whichever parent supervising him who received the bath, not Alex.
Still, Naruto and Sakura could not be prouder of their baby, and they knew that he was destined for great things. Already, they began to teach him the values that they lived by, and even though Alex was not capable of understanding most of his parents' words just yet, he always listened with rapt attention whenever they spoke to him.
For now, their lives were complete. More babies would follow in the future, of course, but Alex filled the gap that had been left open after three years of childless marriage.
"Spike? Yo, Spike!"
"Huh?" Sakura was jolted out of her reveries by Bear's hand on her shoulder. The big man jerked his thumb towards the tent flap.
"Let's go home, eh?"
Grinning, Sakura allowed Bear to haul her up and helped him gather up the things in the tent. She never brought much along with her on missions, so the task did not take long, and within fifteen minutes, she joined the rest of her unit as they prepared to head out. Someone had buried the man she killed in an unmarked grave.
"Go on, guys, I'll catch up in a minute," she told them, and waved her hand. Bear appeared as if he wanted to say something, though he held his tongue, shrugging.
At the grave, Sakura sank to her knees and touched her forehead in an ancient sign of respect.
"We were enemies by circumstance, friend," she said quietly. "You fought well, and you have not betrayed your people. I hope I have given you an honorable death."
One last touch of the forehead, and she got to her feet, the stars burning bright in the sky.
Naruto tried to stay awake. Something told him that his wife would return that night, and he wanted to greet her when she came in. Alex, too, felt the same sense of excitement as his father, and he refused to sleep when Naruto laid him in his crib. Therefore, Naruto decided to sit with Alex in the large oak rocking chair that was situated near the left-hand side of the baby's room, reading to him out of an old storybook full of illustrated battles, castles and princes, dragons and damsels in distress. The book was Alex's favorite, because he liked looking at the colorful pictures while his father brought them to life with his expressive voice.
Naturally, since they were trying to stay awake, both fell asleep within a few hours.
When Sakura entered the house, she found it dark, no sign of her husband on the first floor. She decided not to turn on any lights and moved up the stairs slowly, not wanting to wake anyone. She checked Alex's room first, and saw her husband and son fast asleep on the chair.
"Oh, how adorable," she murmured, her hand going to her mouth. She leaned up against the doorframe and watched them, a whimsical smile on her face.
Naruto's eyes opened. He sensed another presence in the room, and squinted towards the doorway. His cheeks dimpled.
"Hey, babe," he whispered. Alex stirred a bit, but snuggled closer to his father and sank back into sleep.
Sakura moved closer and knelt beside the chair, one hand gently stroking the baby's hair.
"How's he been?" She asked.
"A hellion, as usual," Naruto grinned. "You got my letter? That plant's trashed."
Sakura grinned back. "We don't really need plants."
Rising from the chair, Naruto went over to the crib and laid Alex down. The baby did not stir again, and Naruto pulled a blanket up over him.
"Night, buddy," he said, and backed out of the room, Sakura following behind him. In the master bedroom, he turned a lamp on, and got a good look at his wife. She had blood smeared all over her clothes, and some on her face, mixed in with dirt and grime. He raised an eyebrow.
"You didn't have to go through all the trouble to look nice for me, babe."
Sakura raised one of her own brows, a wicked smile tugging at her lips. "I know, but you deserve only the best, Hokage-sama. What kind of wife would I be if I didn't try to please my husband with my beauteousness?"
He kept a straight face for a few seconds before the mask cracked. "I love you," he told her with mirth, yanking her into his arms for a crushing hug. Sakura matched his enthusiasm with hers.
"I love you, too," she giggled into his neck. "I missed you, fox."
Naruto moved his head back to wink at her, a recognizable twinkle in his eyes. "Why don't you take a shower, little lady, and the fox'll show you how much he missed you. As much as I like the natural look, the idea of dirt in my teeth isn't all that pleasant."
Sakura smacked him playfully on the arm, though she agreed with him. "Give me five minutes, tops." With that, she kissed him on the nose, and disappeared into the bathroom.
The water was blissful as it beat against her skin, and she would have stayed longer in the shower if she didn't have such an appealing incentive to move fast. Naruto waited for her on the bed when she emerged, and, feeling girlish, she leaped onto bed and tackled him. After a brief tussle, Naruto pinned her beneath him, his hands gripping either of her wrists.
"Not bad, Spike, but not good enough to best me, of course."
Before Sakura could retort, Naruto cut her off with a kiss.
Later, as they lay in each others' arms, Sakura related the details of the mission, including the man she killed. Naruto ran his hand up and down her back as she spoke, his eyes never leaving hers.
"Are you okay?" He inquired softly. "I know you don't like killing."
"I'm better now," she replied, burrowing closer. "I may not like it, but I do what I have to. I'm not the leader of S.P.I. for nothing." She smiled.
"Gaara chose well," Naruto agreed. "He knew like I do that you could handle it. I just wish I could come along more often..." His brow furrowed.
Sakura reached up and smoothed the lines away. "You have too much to worry about as it is. Onyx is in good hands. Besides, my men watch me like a hawk, anyway, even though I've told them time and again that I can take care of myself. If I were in danger, they'd all jump in and get me out of it." She sighed. "It's nice to know that they care so much, but it can get irritating. Oh well. No one has been brave enough to fight me when I'm using my brass knuckles yet, so at least I have that advantage."
Naruto laughed. "Hell, I wouldn't fight you when you've got those things out. Nasty buggers." He kissed her swiftly. "Oh, don't mind me. I try not to worry, but...I can't help it."
"Well, you're different. You're my husband. Husbands are supposed to worry."
"Is that how it works?"
"I'll have to remember that."
Naruto laughed again. "I love bantering with you, because you can keep up with me. And you actually have a sense of humor, unlike some people I know." He sighed tragically. "Diplomats."
"Poor baby," Sakura teased. "Stuck in a room with all those fat-heads, and me unable to rescue you."
Naruto snorted. "Indeed." His eyes became soft suddenly as he looked at her. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Sakura-chan, you know that?" He kissed her long and sweetly. "I love you."
"I love you too," she whispered, her head in the crook of his shoulder. "You're the reason I've come this far..."
And she meant it.
Slowly, the symphony of the night's creatures lulled them off to sleep, a smile on each of their faces.
I never wanted to want you...
I never wanted to need you...
I never wanted to love you...
But I do.
So there it is...tell me what you think, eh?