by riesling

Summary: After a long night of drinking, a depressed and somewhat lost Hwoarang stumbles into his old friend, Xiaoyu, and her husband, Jin. What happens when Xiaoyu takes the broken young man home and offers him a place to stay? How long will it be before Hwoarang finds the very source of his pain hidden in the Mishima Mansion? Hwoarang x Asuka!

He sighed in frustration as he emptied another empty glass of vodka. Four more, each empty, sat in front of the lonely man. They stood as a testimony to his pain and suffering. With each glass emptied, he was filled with a liquid that drowned away his sorrows; he was stepping closer and closer to the edge; close enough to look off, but there would be no one to catch him should he fall.

From his corner table he was able to drink in the privacy of his own pain, remembering her. She was the first woman he ever let inside of his heart. He'd never held a woman in his arms before her; she could make him melt inside. But now the memories broke him apart.

Dropping the glass next to the others, Hwoarang looked around the now empty bar. Chairs were pushed away from tables littered with used napkins and empty glasses of liquor. The small area cleared away from the center of the room for dancing was sparkling under the dim light in the bar.

His vision was blurred, slightly, but he could still make out the moving figure of a bartender behind the bar. Without speaking, Hwoarang pushed the chair he was sitting in away from the table and stood, taking a moment to steady himself before walking to the door.

His head pounded against his skull, but it was a feeling that he was very used to. He got a little more immune to it every night, a little more tolerant to the violent spinning of the floor as he walked, a little more coherent in getting to his apartment at the end of each night.

Hwoarang didn't say anything to the bartender as he pushed open the door and set foot into the alley outside. Tokyo was cold in the winter. And he shivered as the wind blew his hair away from his face and the liquor began to freeze on his lips.

The bartender shook his head commensurately as he watched Hwoarang leave the bar. The young man came every night to sit in the corner and drown himself in liquor. It didn't even matter what he drank, just so long as it could get him good and drunk.

He frowned to himself as he continued to wipe down the bar. 'He refuses any company and isolates himself from other people his age,' the bartender thought. 'He's a masterpiece of destruction. But he doesn't realize it yet.'

He'd been in the business long enough to realize when someone was trying to drink away their pain, though he'd never seen anything quite like this. The sorrow that he could see in that man's alcohol-glazed eyes almost made his own heart break.

'Must have been some girl,' he thought, 'to drive a man that crazy.'

He wrapped his arms around his shoulders, shivering in the cold, as he walked down the sidewalk. The wind was blowing his hair around his face wildly, but he was too cold to hold it in place. His thin t-shirt wasn't enough to keep him warm in this weather. So he walked, arms wrapped around himself, head bowed, down the sidewalk to his apartment.

Hwoarang wove his way between an occasional group of well-dressed men. He knew that they, too, had spent the majority of their night at a bar. They passed by him, hurrying to the train stations so that they might get home before their worried wives woke up to ask them where they'd been.

'They're lucky,' he thought. 'Lucky that they even have someone to go home to.'

"Watch where you're going!" one high-pitched voice exclaimed as Hwoarang brushed against her.

The voice was familiar. Hwoarang looked up and saw two deep brown eyes glaring into him. He let himself smile a little, immediately recognizing who was standing in front of him.

"Xaioyu," he whispered, tasting her name on his lips.

Her eyes widened as she looked up into the eyes of the stranger. "Is it really you, Hwoarang?" she questioned, reaching out to let her fingers trail along his cheekbone.

He didn't say anything but stared down at her. Her hair had grown longer and was falling in gentle curls around her face. Her skirt fell just below her knees and the blazer she wore fit to accentuate her slightly rounding middle. Black loafers matched the briefcase that she was carrying. He smiled.

But she didn't return the glance as she looked at his torn apart blue jeans and stained t-shirt. Xiaoyu frowned as she said, "It's been a while, Hwoarang."

"A whole ye-er," he whispered, his speech slightly slurring. "But you look good."

"I had hoped to be able to say the same of you," Xiaoyu whispered, letting slight pity fill her voice. But she dropped the formality as concern took over. "What has happened to you, Hwoarang?"

He leaned closer to her and whispered, "You grew up, Xiaoyu. And now a baby, too? Who's the lucky man?"

She backed away from him, sensing danger when she smelled the liquor on his breath. "Hwoarang!" She exclaimed. "You're drunk!"

"No I'm not!" he lied. "I only had a little to drink."

Xiaoyu glared at him, levelly, and sighed. She looked back at the three men her husband had sent there with her. Each one looked just as confused as the next.

"Xiaoyu, ma'am," the first began. "Should we call Mr. Kazama?"

"What about Mr. Kazama?" a voice asked, as the owner rounded the corner.

"Jin!" the small young woman smiled at him.

"Hmm," he frowned at Hwoarang, who was standing between himself and Xiaoyu. "I'd have never expected to find you here. Is he bothering you, dear?"

Hwoarang's head was still spinning and he was a little shaken by the surprise of finding Xiaoyu. Jin was carrying a briefcase almost identical to Xiaoyu's and walked over towards his wife, ignoring Hwoarang.

"It's a little disappointing to find you this way," he confessed to the red head in front of him, not waiting for his wife to respond. "I'd expected you to take better care of yourself. Isn't that why my cousin left you in the first place?"

His words stung at Hwoarang, causing him to clench his teeth and tighten his fists. But the young man wasn't able to steady himself enough and, though thoroughly drunk, knew it better than to start a fight with the Japanese man in front of him.

Jin smirked, knowing that his comment had hit home with the Korean. "I find it better for both of you that she finally realized her mistake and corrected it," his comments weren't any less offensive now, though they failed to elicit the same response from Hwoarang.

Instead, he closed his eyes, feeling himself fading into darkness. He let his body relax, succumbing to the feeling of sleep. Xiaoyu gasped as he fell to the ground in front of them.

"Leave him!" Jin commanded. "Xiaoyu, we're going."

"You can't just leave him like this! He'd never make it home on his own. And God only knows we have so much to catch up on," she took Jin's hand and led him back to the fallen man, slightly disappointed at what had become of them both, her best friends.

Xiaoyu curled comfortably in Jin's lap in the limo, resting her head on his thigh and resting her hands on her rounding stomach. He placed a hand on her shoulder and kissed her forehead before returning to work with his business partners.

Hwoarang was lying on the seat in the back. His legs were hanging over the side in what looked to be a quite uncomfortable position. Xiaoyu hadn't been strong enough to move him into a more comfortable tangle, and, frankly, she was quite tired herself. It wasn't surprising that they were both sleeping peacefully; it was nearly four in the morning.

They were on their way to the former Mishima Mansion, now the residence of Jin Kazama and his lovely wife, Xiaoyu. They'd gotten married not long after Jin won the Fifth Iron Fist Tournament and claimed the Mishima Zaibatsu as his own.

His once kind and caring demeanor had diminished over the year since the tournament. He was now just as dangerous as his father and grandfather had been before him, though he was never hostile towards his wife or co-workers. But something about him was cold and lifeless.

Xiaoyu had, in the time she had been married to Jin, grown up quite a lot from her old self. She was still kind-hearted and carefree, though most of her childish spirit had diminished and disappeared from the stresses of the business world.

And it was how much she still cared for her old friends that brought Hwoarang home with them that night. Jin was indifferent in the matter; Hwoarang hadn't really been an enemy of his. It was Hwoarang that had hated him all along, after all.

The ride was fairly quiet with both Xiaoyu and Hwoarang sleeping. The three businessmen that accompanied the group were Jin's friends from the University. He let them in on most of his ventures, though they were previously unaware of the friendship between Xiaoyu and Hwoarang. It was only normal for them to be wary of the arrangement.

"But, Kazama-kun," the first, Kenji, began. "Is it not strange that this man should stumble back into your life at such a time? It's been a year, has it not?"

"Yes," Jin began. "But it isn't his showing up again that worries me. It is his presence in my house that I will find disturbing. But this is a favor I cannot deny my wife."

"He is the one," another, Kachi, paused to choose the right words. "Your cousin, Asuka-san was in love with."

"Yes," Jin said coolly. "I leave you three in charge of making sure he does not find her. He is not to bother Asuka-san, clear?"

"Yes, Kazama-kun," they bowed, signifying their understanding.

"I fear his presence would only break her apart again," he sighed.

"Ahh," he moaned, holding his head and rolling over in bed. He kept his eyes closed, squinting against the sunlight that poured through the window above the bed. "My head."

"Good morning, sunshine!" Xiaoyu exclaimed, sitting on the bed next to him and wiping his face with a cool cloth. "I was wondering when you would decide to grace us with your presence this morning."

"W-where am I?" he asked, looking around, slightly confused.

"This is my house," she smiled a little at his shock. "Jin's house. But I've lived here with him since we've been married."

"Congratulations," he managed sarcastically. "I bet you're real proud."

Xiaoyu took the cloth away from his forehead and stood up. "Not jealous, are you?" she laughed a little before continuing. "You're not looking very well this morning, Hwo. What happened?"

He could sense her sarcasm as well. "Very funny, Xiaoyu." He'd been a little taken aback by her use of his old nickname.

Hwoarang could feel his stomach churning. He was going to be sick. Xiaoyu watched in amusement as the color drained from his face and his body went rigid.

"Bathroom?" she whispered playfully into his ear. Pointing to the adjoining room, she laughed as he raced in just in time. She frowned, listening to him heaving in the bathroom. Rolling her eyes, she followed him and knelt beside him as his shoulders shook and his breathing increased.

"Poor baby," she whispered, holding his hair away from his face. "It's alright. You'll be ok."

Walking out of the bathroom, he sat back down on the side of the bed. He was smiling up at his friend in her fuzzy pink slippers and pink t-shirt as she walked out of the bathroom after him.

She could feel him looking at her and it made her uneasy. "What?" she asked defensively.

"Cute pajamas, babe," he smiled at her reaction. "They really show you off."

"Hwoarang!" she cried, trying to cover herself.

"Hey, I'm just playin'," he smiled wider now, despite his pounding head. He changed the subject. "It is a nice place you've got yourself here."

"Thanks," Xiaoyu ventured nervously. She sat down next to him on the bed cautiously. "So, how have you been?"

"How do I look?" he asked, regretting asking once he heard her answer.

"Honestly?" she questioned. "You look terrible. You've always got this 'look' in your eyes. It's like you died and came back just to wander without purpose."

"Yeah," he whispered. His voice was cold now. "Well, what did you expect? She took my heart with her."

Xiaoyu knew very well who he was talking about. Asuka was Jin's cousin, now her own as well, and a very good friend. She knew all about why she'd left Hwoarang, and it hadn't anything to do with the things Jin had led the poor man beside her to believe the previous night.

"Hwo," her voice was soothing. "She had her reasons for leaving."

He grunted. Hwoarang couldn't look at her. 'How can she be defending her?' he thought.

"Just, please don't hate her," Xiaoyu began. "She doesn't hate you."

"How would you know?" he blurted out. "Did she tell you?"

His voice was sarcastic and Xiaoyu knew that her answer would probably hurt him. "Yes," she whispered. "As a matter of fact, she did tell me."

Hwoarang's eyes glimmered with a bit of hope. "What else did she say?"

Xiaoyu was silent, not knowing what else to say. She'd made a promise to Jin that she wouldn't let Asuka and Hwoarang find each other while he stayed in the mansion. "N-nothing," she murmured.

And her heart broke with Hwoarang's as she watched all hope fade from his eyes. Sorrow took over as his eyes began to well up with tears.

"I just miss her so much," he cried. "I can't forget her no matter how hard I try."

"Hwoarang," Xiaoyu whispered, taking her friend into her arms and rocking him back and forth. She whispered softly into his ear, "Shh, it's ok. Shh."

"She never said why she left," he cried. "I can't even make it right when I don't know what it was that I did so wrong."

Xiaoyu left the room that Hwoarang was using over an hour later. He'd cried himself to sleep; something she had never seen from him before. Tears stained her own cheeks as she silently padded her way down the hall and back to the room where her husband was still sleeping.

She crawled back into bed, looking at the clock, before snuggling back against her husband. It was only eight in the morning and a Saturday; he would be sleeping for a few more hours. Xiaoyu couldn't hold her tears in. And she cried against Jin's chest.

"Baby," Jin whispered. "Shh, what's wrong?"

She was a little startled but relaxed as Jin pulled her into his arms. "N-nothing," she whispered, quickly drying her tears.

"Baby," he said a little sternly. "Talk to me."

"It's," she paused. "It's Hwoarang."

"What?" he exclaimed. "Did he hurt you? Baby, I swear-"

"No, no Jin," she whispered, burring her face in his neck. "It's just- he's still so in love with her. And I feel terrible, knowing that she still loves him, too. I could end all of this with just three simple words."

"Xiaoyu," Jin's eyes softened. "It's not for us to interfere. And I know how much you want to help, baby. I know how much this hurts you. But it has to work out on its own."

"I know you're right, Jin," she started crying harder. "But I can't stand seeing them like this."

"Baby, shh," he soothed her, kissing her slowly. "Shh."

His voice was so soft but his lips were softer. He pushed her slowly down into her pillow, kissing at the places where trails of tears made their way down her cheeks.

Xiaoyu felt his arms wrapped around her; loosely, delicately. His fingers traced a path from her cheekbone down her neck to her shoulder. He let his body rest against hers as he continued to kiss her so softly, so sweetly.

The tears had stopped and Xiaoyu's heart was racing. Her breathing was deep and she was beginning to get lost in his soft brown eyes. Jin brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes slowly.

He smiled down at her, watching her eyes glaze over. He listened to her breathing and could feel her chest rising and falling against his. She was so beautiful.

Jin reached for one of her sleeves and pulled it up, off of her shoulder, kissing where it had been softly. Xiaoyu began to run her fingernails lightly across his bare back, kissing his neck and smiling to herself as his skin began to prickle.

He kissed her, gently parting her lips with his tongue while his hand found it's way under her shirt to rub her stomach protectively. Her tongue moved against his, feeling its way into his mouth to explore. He brushed her shoulder with his fingertips so tenderly.

When the kiss broke, Jin gently pulled Xiaoyu's shirt over her head and tossed it to the floor. He smiled at how her stomach protruded so slightly; his baby. And she shivered, slightly, from the chill in the room. But Jin pulled her into his arms in an attempt to warm her.

She lovingly kissed him back. Xiaoyu let her hands run across Jin's muscular chest and trace their way to his well muscled stomach.

His hands held her waist for a moment before trailing down to her pants. He began to slide them down gently, making sure to be slow and not to ruin the moment. Xiaoyu gasped as his touch.

Jin tossed her pants to the floor and smiled down at his petite wife. She took his pants off quickly, not afraid of disturbing the moment. She needed him pressed against her, inside of her, moving with her.

Xiaoyu longed for the rhythm of their bodies in motion together. She dreamed of being held in his arms, moving with him. And Jin sensed this.

He plunged his tongue deep into her mouth as he entered her and her eyes widened. But she relaxed as he began to move, hypnotizing her with the motion, slow and gentle at first. But soon all forms of self control were gone and the two were spinning through a tangle of feelings that, when thought of later, neither one could ever quite describe.

"Jin!" she moaned, making a small noise in the back of her throat. "Oh!"

He closed his eyes, burring his face in her neck and whispering her name back.

Her back arched up towards his body and she called his name again. "Jin! Oh Jin!"

"Ahh," he moaned into her neck. "Xiaoyu."

His fingers pressed against her waist where he was holding her as he released.

They rolled away from one another, their bodies covered in a thin layer of sweat. Xiaoyu was the first to move. She crawled over to Jin, kissing his chest before she rested her head on his shoulder.

"Aishiteru, Xiao," he whispered into her ear.

"Aishiteru, sono ui ne."

Hwoarang woke up several hours later, very hungry. He crawled out of bed, once again, and went into the bathroom.

'Xaioyu was right,' he thought. 'I do look terrible.'

His eyes were bloodshot and his hair was a terrible mess, sticking out from one side of his head. Hwoarang turned on the tap and listened to the sound that the clear water made hitting against the marble sink. Splashing some cool water on his face, Hwoarang looked at himself again.

He could smell the alcohol on himself. His clothes smelled of it, his breath, his hair. Turning around, Hwoarang turned on the shower and began to search the bathroom for towels.

He found them and stepped into the shower. Wincing as the cool water fell onto his skin, Hwoarang smiled a little. He was grateful for the slight shock; it woke him up, made him aware of his surroundings.

Despite all that had happened to him this morning, Hwoarang felt better than he had felt in a long time. Stepping out of the shower, Hwoarang walked back into the bedroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. He began to open the dresser drawers, hoping to find some clothes.

He got lucky. The dresser was packed full of clothing, though not much of it was to his liking. He settled for a pair of faded blue jeans with some holes up and down the legs and a faded forest green long sleeved shirt with a navy blue 'Russia or Bust' t-shirt over it.

Hwoarang could hear sounds coming from downstairs. It sounded like pots and pans. And he followed that noise, hoping it was the kitchen and hoping that he would get some food.

She was standing at the sink, humming softly to herself. Her arms were in the sink, which was full of dirty dishes and bubbles. Her back was turned to the kitchen's entrance, but Hwoarang could make out the familiar curve of her hips, hidden under her own blue jeans and t-shirt. It was better that she didn't see him come in. She only heard him.

"Oh, Jin? Would you mind sending someone to the grocery store? We're all out of-" she had turned around and gasped at who she saw.

"Asuka," Hwoarang's voice trailed off. He hadn't spoken her name in nearly a year. The taste of it, so familiar; it was almost inviting.

Her face grew pale and she backed into the sink. "Y-You? What are you doing here?" she whispered. "I-I thought you'd never find me."

Hwoarang lowered his eyes, unable to look at her. It was the fear in her eyes; it shamed him. "I'm sorry," he began. "I didn't mean to startle you."

"No," she whispered and a little disappointment filled her voice. "It's ok, Hwoarang. You weren't looking for me."

"But I was!" he exclaimed, stepping forward slowly. His hand was reaching out to her. "I've been looking for you for so long. I'm sorry, Asuka. I'm so sorry for whatever it is that I've done. But, please. Please give me another chance to make it right."

Asuka didn't say anything. Her eyes were focused on the ground and one fist was clenched over her heart. "It's been so long, Hwoarang," she whispered. "The damage is already done."

"Let me fix it," he whispered, reaching out and touching her shoulder. "Please, Asuka."

She pulled away sharply, looking into his eyes for the first time. They held her gaze for a moment; she could see all of his pain. 'What am I thinking?' she whispered. 'He's back now. This is what I've wanted all along, isn't it?'

"Asuka?" he questioned softly. There was longing in his voice. He wanted to reach out and hold her. He wanted to feel her pressed against him, to feel her lips against his.

"I-I can't," she whispered back. "I'm sorry, Hwoarang. But it's been too long."

She began to walk away but he snared her wrist. "Wait," his voice was soft, but alarming. Her eyes were focused on him and she looked slightly afraid. "You're not leaving me again. Not until you at least tell me why you left the first time."

"Hwoarang, I-"

Just then, Xiaoyu walked into the kitchen holding a little baby, not more than five months old. Her mouth fell open and she held the baby closer to her chest. "Asuka! Hwoarang! I-I," she stammered.

Hwoarang looked at the small child in Xiaoyu's arms felt his heartbeat quicken. 'A baby,' he thought. 'Who's baby? Not Xiaoyu's. Then?'

He looked at Asuka, her eyes were on the floor again, and then he looked back at the baby in Xiaoyu's arms. "Yours?" was all he could manage.

Xiaoyu knew that the question had been directed at her, though she wasn't sure if she should answer. "Well," she began, pausing. "You see-"

"Mine!" Asuka almost shouted. "O-ours."

Hwoarang's face paled. 'Me?' he thought. 'A father?'

Silence filled the kitchen. No one moved, everything in the room was frozen, silent. Asuka stared at the floor, Hwoarang stared at the baby, and Xiaoyu stared at her two friends. When Jin entered, he almost laughed at the sight in front of him.

"So? I take it we're all well acquainted with one another once again," he tried to lighten the mood. But no one else caught the humor.

Xiaoyu moved first, bringing the baby to his mother. "I'm so sorry," she whispered to Asuka. "I should have told you he was here."

Asuka's eyes left the floor and focused on her baby. "No, Xiao," she whispered. "I've needed to see him for a long time. And if it hadn't turned out this way, it would have never been."

Hwoarang was now standing close enough to see his baby's caramel eyes and auburn hair. He reached towards the child, hesitantly, stopping only briefly as the child yawned and closed his eyes. Asuka put the child in his father's arms, with her heart racing.

'Please love him,' her mind begged. "Please forgive me, Hwoarang. Please love me!'

And his heart melted when he held the tiny boy in his arms. 'My baby,' Hwoarang thought. 'If only she'll take me back. I can make this right.'

Jin's arm found its way around Xiaoyu's waist and he pulled her closer to him. They smiled at Hwoarang before leaving the two young parents alone in kitchen; he looked very unnatural as he held the child, slightly away from his body. Asuka took a step forward, nervously, as though testing if it was alright for her to stand so close to him.

She gently stroked her son's tiny hand and smiled at his sleeping figure. "Mind his head," she whispered gently, placing a hand on his arm. "His name is Makoto, after my father."

"He's so tiny," Hwoarang whispered, placing two fingers on his son's chest to feel his little heart beat. "I didn't know babies were this small."

"I always wanted you to know," she said. "But I was so afraid that you'd be mad at me. So, I ran away. I left, hoping that you'd forgive me someday."

"Asuka," he whispered. "This wasn't your responsibility. It was mine, as well."

"Hnn?" she almost sighed as Hwoarang leaned closer to her. "Please don't."

"But-" he began.

"No," her head dropped. She couldn't look at him anymore. "I didn't want you to feel guilty about this. I didn't want to make any of this your fault or your responsibility. I'm so sorry, Hwoarang."

"Stop this!" he exclaimed, his voice was too loud and Matoko began to cry softly. "Ehh? What did I do?"

"Here," Asuka reached for her son.

"No!" He exclaimed. "I'll fix it. How?"

"Rock him," she whispered. "And talk to him."

Awkwardly, Hwoarang stood there, looking down at the wailing child in his arms. But he began to rock him back and forth in his arms, smiling down at the crying baby.

"Oh, shh!" he whispered, laughing softly. "No more crying, baby! Daddy's here to take care of you, now. And everything will be alright, I promise."

Hwoarang continued to rock his child in his arms. He wiped the tears from his son's eyes gently and stared in awe at the tiny life he had created. Matoko wasn't crying as hard, now, though he was looking up at his father intently. To Hwoarang, nothing else mattered in the whole world. It was just him and his son in that moment.

"There we go, Matoko. Now we're calming down," Hwoarang smiled. "I want to know everything about you, little guy. I'll let you be everything that's important in my life, if you can promise not to expect too much of me. I didn't have the greatest childhood or a dad of my own. But I promise I'll be the best father I can be for you. I love you and your mama both too much to let you down."

When Matoko had stopped crying, Hwoarang looked up to see tears falling down Asuka's cheeks. She looked deep into his eyes as though searching for something.

Finally, she spoke, "Do you really mean that?"

Hwoarang looked at her, cocking his head slightly before he answered, "Every word, Asuka."

"Oh, Hwoarang!" she was sobbing onto his shoulder now. Her arms were wrapped around his waist and her soft hair brushed against Hwoarang's cheek bone. "I missed you."

"I missed you, too, Asuka," he said, wrapping one arm around her waist, holding Matoko gently in the other. "I've waited so long to see you again."

And they stood there, in the kitchen of a home not their own. The embrace lasted only seconds, but it made up for so much lost time. But one embrace wasn't all they had. They had the rest of their lives to make up for all of the lost time; to truly become a family.

Hwoarang smiled; rid of the emptiness that had claimed him for so long. He was full of love now, belonging. And there was no more need to be a masterpiece of destruction.


Author's Note: This was just a short little story that I put together in one night (believe it or not) about Hwoarang. This is my first pairing of Hwoarang and Asuka and I'm a little relieved to say that I'm pleased with the way this turned out.

I haven't read too many stories about the pair, though it's always intrigued me just a bit. I'd always seen Asuka with Steve, personally. I don't see her as the type of person to fall for someone so rough as Hwoarang. But, aren't we all a little drawn to the bad boy? I mean, seriously, isn't a little trouble every now and then irresistibly sexy? Lol! Anyway, maybe my next fic will be about Asuka and Steve.

I think that Asuka is probably becoming one of my favorite characters in the series. She is so versatile and, not to mention, completely adorable! But, anyhoo ….

There are still a few loose ends in the story, but we'll just see if you can pick up on those, ne? I'm considering a continuation of this story; so, if you'd like to read more, please tell me so. I'm also open to suggestions and critiques, so long as they can be considered useful (and I don't find flaming the pairing very useful).

Thanks for your time! And I hope you enjoyed reading my story uber-lots! Tehehe! Take care now, fans!