And Be Merry
a Highlander AU by auberus

Fitzcairn is grumbling to himself as he goes up the stairs to Adam Pierson's apartment. Mac is off with Amanda somewhere, but since the Highlander has promised Dawson protection for his pet researcher, Fitz has been sent to do the actual dirty work of sitting with the man. He is not happy about it, either - he's canceled a date with a very attractive debutante to play watchdog to this mortal bookworm, and when he'd said as much to MacLeod, the Scot had laughed at him.

"Fitz, no one uses the word 'debutante' any more." There had been a chirpy murmur from Amanda, and Mac had laughed harder. "Except for old women, Amanda says." Then the barbarian oaf had hung up, and Fitz hadn't had a choice but to come over here because he might be a selfish bastard, but he still likes to think of himself as a good man. Good men do not leave lambs to the wolves, and Kalas is positively lupine.

Third floor, finally, and as he pushes open the door from the staircase the buzz hits him, old and strong, enough to raise the hairs on the back of his neck. It's too late, he realizes; Kalas has Pierson and the only way for Fitz to save the mortal is to kill Kalas. Which he has about as much a chance of doing as he does at suddenly developing grey hair and wrinkles, but Pierson has no chance and will end with his tongue cut out if Fitz doesn't do something.

He unsheaths his sword just in front of Pierson's door and pushes it open, expecting to see Kalas on the other side and the mortal bloody and broken behind him. Instead, there's a dark haired man he does not know sitting cross-legged on the floor, and when he turns and sees Fitz his smile flickers and disappears, leaving his face hard-edged and dangerous.

"You're not Kalas," Fitz says stupidly.

"No," the man agrees. Sensing that he isn't going to get anything more without introducing himself, Fitz does.

"Hugh Fitzcairn. I was looking for Adam Piers-" He stops abruptly, because behind the danger in the other Immortal's face and eyes he is almost ridiculously young, and the book on the floor next to him is written in some ancient language that Fitz does not recognise. "Oh," he says, and the next conclusion he comes to is so startling that he drops the point of his sword. It leaves a deep gouge in the wood, and any other time he would apologise (he is a gentleman, after all) but the man in front of him is no brand-new Immortal and what better place for a legend to hide than in a place no one would ever think to look? Fitz may not be that bright, but this is an easy one.

"Bloody hell!" he says explosively. "Methos?" He near-whispers the last, not wanting anyone to overhear him. He's fairly sure that he lost his Watcher somewhere in Sri Lanka, but is not about to take chances.

Methos' face hardens further, and his hand starts moving slowly towards his ankle. Fitz is fairly sure he has a gun holstered there, and even more certain that he does not want to find out, so he hastily tucks his sword back inside his coat and spreads his hands, palms outwards.

"Duncan MacLeod sent me," he says, then realising that that probably won't inspire much confidence, adds, "or rather, Joe Dawson did, by way of MacLeod. I'm supposed to protect you, although I'll admit that's a bloody ridiculous idea. Would have been even if you were a mortal, but Duncan's an overgrown boy scout with the depressing tendency to pout at you if you disappoint him." Methos' eyes narrow.

"Don't you want to have a go at a five thousand year old Quickening?" British accent, which is sort of surprising, and his voice is low and razor sharp, temptation and threat rolled into one.

"Hardly," Fitz says. He means it, too - the Game is nothing more than an inconvenience. It gets in the way of women and drink and food and adventure and women. He explains this to Methos with the air of a sage imparting wisdom to a student, and only realises when he is done how ridiculous he sounded. Still, the classic Fitzcairn technique of defusing hostile situations by making an ass of one's self seems to have worked, because the tension has eased somewhat, and Methos' eyes are merely wary. In one startled, pleased second Fitz realises that there is amusement there too, and cautious agreement. So he sticks out his hand (keeping the other one in plain sight and away from his coat) and Methos uncoils to his feet.

Fitz grasps the other man's wrist in the old way, because here is a man that it will mean something to, and Methos' fingers close reflexively, returning the grip even as he takes a startled indrawn breath and looks sharply at Fitz. Who tries to fight off the unpleasant impression that the man is examining the inside of his skull. The moment passes, and a smile appears briefly on Methos' face, an upwards quirk of the lips. Fitz beams in response.

"Well," he says, releasing the other man's wrist and clapping him on the shoulder, "how do you want to go about this?" Methos looks surprised by the contact, and blinks at him.

"Go about what?" he asks, like a man waiting for the punchline of a joke.

"Getting rid of Kalas, of course." Fitz smirks at him. "It will really tweak Duncan's nose if we take care of it without him. He's got this hero complex, you see..." As a startled, genuine smile spreads across Methos' face, Fitz can't help grinning. This is going to be interesting.

At first, Methos refuses to let Fitz tell Duncan his Secret Identity. (Fitz starts capitalising the words after the first ten minutes of argument.) Apparently one of the gifts you receive after five thousand years of life is the ability to be stubborn. Very stubborn. Fortunately for Fitz, he's English. Methos is not. Not really. And the British have been out-stubborning the entire globe for years. If the good people of London could outstubborn Hitler - and he was there for that - Hugh Fitzcairn can certainly do the same to Methos.

He tells Methos this, and receives a look that says quite plainly: 'I should shoot you and make my escape before you revive. Preferably by locking you in a freezer somewhere. I do not understand why I have not yet done so.'

Fitz gets this look a lot. Especially from Duncan MacLeod.

It is possible, though, that Methos' look is saying: ' I should shoot you and take your head. And I will, if you annoy me just once more.' In light of this, Fitz decides to stop pestering the five thousand year old killer.

For a little while, any way.

"So, Kalas," he says, frowning in concentration and doing a one hundred and eighty degree subject change. "I suppose we could always entomb him in cement and drop him into the Marianas Trench." The thought of the look on Mac's face in that event makes him chuckle softly to himself.

"No," Methos says, "someone will find him eventually." Fitz wants to protest, because it's the deepest place on earth, for god's sake, but the scowl on Methos' face tells him that this is experience talking.

"We could launch him into space," he offers. Methos smirks.

"That is an idea. I know quite a few Immortals who would benefit from an extended space vacation."

"We could advertise," Fitz says gleefully.

Duncan and Amanda come back after three days in somewhere or other, and Fitz is fairly sure that they were both relaxed at some point. They are not relaxed when they come through the door, however, and Mac doesn't look any less unhappy when he finds that it is Fitz on the barge and not Kalas. Methos is out getting more beer and should be back at any moment, so Fitz declines to mention him.

"Fitz," Duncan says, after a long look around, "where is Adam?"

"Adam?" His look of utter confusion makes Duncan's face go an interesting shade of red.

" Adam Pierson, Fitz!" he says, in his best 'trying to remain calm' voice. Fitz hears it a lot, and this one is a classic, down for recording in the permanent memory banks with a little star next to it for 'times I really irritated Duncan MacLeod.' "The Watcher? Joe's friend? The one Kalas was after!"

"Oh, him," Fitz says airily, and watches Duncan's face go three shades darker. "He's gone on a beer run. He should be back shortly."

"A beer run!" Duncan shouts, and Amanda puts her hands over her ears. "There are three dozen bottles in the garbage can, and a half dozen on the table! Why could you possibly need more beer!" He is really angry, Fitz realises; his brogue is slipping back into his speech. "Besides that, Fitz, it's dangerous for him to be out on his own! Kalas could see him! Why didn't you go get the beer?"

"Kalas doesn't know what he looks like," Fitz points out, quite reasonably in his opinion. "And he does know where you live - or he can find out, which is the same thing. Better for me to be here than Adam." He's fairly sure that Duncan is about to object to his logic - loudly - but just then, they all feel the buzz, and conversation stops. MacLeod draws his sword, and Amanda steps out of the way. Fitz gets to his feet. It's probably Methos, but his heart is still pounding in chest, even though he's in on the joke.

It is Methos, and he comes in with his sword in one hand and a case of beer in the other. The wariness goes out of his face when he sees MacLeod, then returns as he sees Amanda.

"Ben!" she exclaims.

"Amanda," Methos says, with the same polite yet extreme caution that anyone who has been entangled in one of her escapades automatically uses with her.

"What are you doing here?" she asks. "I didn't know you knew Fitz."

"We've only just met," Methos says agreeably, putting his sword away. He ducks back outside briefly and returns with another case of beer in his now-free hand.

"Wait a minute," Duncan says, going slightly red again, "who is this, Fitzcairn. Who are you?" This last to Methos' retreating back as the world's oldest Immortal takes the beer to the refrigerator.

"His name is Benjamin Pierce," Amanda says.

"I was asking him, Amanda!"

"Actually, old boy, you were asking me," Fitz reminds him. "At least at first."

"Well, now I'm asking him!"

Methos, returning from the kitchen with two bottles in each hand, smiles at Amanda.

"It's Adam Pierson this year," he says. Turning to Duncan, he adds, "And you're Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Mi casa es su casa," with a wave of a beer-laden hand. "Literally, for the moment." The hand is then thrust in the Highlander's direction. "Have a beer." Duncan takes one automatically, and then his face assumes the familiar Expression Of Scottish Confusion.

"Wait. You're Adam Pierson? But he's mortal! And a Watcher!"

"Yes to the first, no to the second, yes to the third," Methos says, handing a beer to Fitz and offering another to Amanda. Surprisingly enough, she takes it. Methos opens his own, then holds out his tattooed left wrist for inspection. The confusion on Duncan's face deepens, although Amanda is looking at Methos with increasing suspicion.

"Why-" he starts to ask, and then he and Amanda figure it out at the same time. "Bloody hell," Duncan says softly, almost reverently. "You're-"

"Methos!" Amanda interrupts. "Rebecca told me you were old, but she didn't say... Why didn't you tell me?"

"It's not exactly something I advertise," Methos says irritably, "since it's roughly the equivalent of walking about with a sign saying 'Please! Cut my head off!' Look how Kalas is behaving. That's much more typical than the sheeplike look of awe your Highland friend is bestowing upon me with at the moment." Duncan flushes. His circulatory system is getting one hell of a workout tonight, Fitz notes idly.

"It's just - well, it's - "

"Unexpected," Amanda finishes for him.

"It usually is," Methos agrees.

"We've decided how to deal with Kalas," Fitz announces over dinner. They are having chicken. "By the way," he adds, "this is excellent. You have really learned how to cook over the years, Highlander." To Methos and Amanda, he says, "When I met him, he could only make haggis. Taught him everything he knows."

"Fitz," Duncan says darkly, "you don't cook."

"Yes, I do," Fitz retorts. "I just don't cook for you."

"He cooked for me," Methos offers. "It was horrible," he adds, with a reflective look on his face.

"You said you liked it!" Fitz protests.

"I was being polite. Besides, I'm five thousand years old. I've eaten things that make your cooking taste good."

"Like what?" Fitz asks.

"Nothing's that bad," Amanda says.

"Wait. He's cooked for you, too?" Duncan protests.

"Cockroaches," Methos announces.

"You'll have to do better than that. I've eaten cockroaches," Fitz tells the table in general, just as Amanda says "Ew," and Duncan says "Fitz! We're eating!"

"You sound like somebody's mother," Fitz says. "Mine. It's rather frightening." Turning back to Methos. "Well?" Methos chews for a few seconds, then swallows.

"I ate part of my own leg, once. Got stuck in a cave all winter, and rather than starve to death over and over, I took chunks out of my thigh." He sips meditatively at his wine. "It probably would have tasted better if I'd been able to cook it."

"You win," Fitz tells him. The wine is red, which is now vaguely disturbing, but Mac and Amanda look so disgusted that he can't resist. "How did it taste?"

By general consensus, the subject is dropped.

"So, we've decided how to deal with Kalas," Fitz announces after dinner. They are drinking scotch - well, Methos is drinking beer - but the rest of them are drinking scotch.

"So you said at dinner," Duncan reminds him. "Then you got sidetracked by the telling of an outrageous lie."

"True enough," Fitz admits cheerfully. "And now you're trying to do it again."

"I wasn't the one telling lies!"

"No, of course you weren't. Didn't say you were."

"Then what were you implying?"


"When you said I was trying to do it again!"

"That you were trying to sidetrack me."

"Was not."

"Of course you were, old boy," Fitz says, "but that's not the point."

"What is the point?" Duncan asks irritably.

"Confused already? Tch. Really, Duncan, you've got to learn how to pay attention. We were talking about Kalas, old boy." Duncan is gritting his teeth. "You're not going senile, are you?" Fitz asks curiously. "Because Methos hasn't done, so you've really got no excuse."

"What. About. Kalas?" Mac asks, obviously striving for patience with every fibre of his being.

"How to deal with him, of course."

"And how," Duncan asks, after Fitz doesn't elaborate, "will you do that?"

"Simple," Fitz says. "We'll shoot him from a distance, and then tie him down with his neck across a train track."

"What are you, a cartoon villain?" Duncan asks incredulously, obviously too stunned by the sheer audacity of their brilliant plan to be annoyed by it.

"The other option was entombing him in cement and dropping him into the Marianas Trench, but Methos says that someone will find him one day. Oh, and launching him into space," he adds helpfully. "We considered dropping a big rock on his head from the top of Methos' building and crushing it, but we weren't sure it would work."

By now, the Highlander is obviously annoyed. "Those are stupid plans, Fitz. All of them."

"Not if we know the train schedule," Fitz says triumphantly.

"Or if we could steal a spaceship," Amanda muses. "And a launch pad. We could break into NASA..."

"Amanda! No!" Turning back to glare at the rest of them, Duncan announces: "I will deal with Kalas."

"He's doing the Brooding Hero thing," Fitz murmurs to Methos.

"Am not!" Duncan objects.

"You sound like a petulant child when you say that, you know," Fitz tells him. Duncan splutters.

"He's right," Amanda nods. "You do."

"Would anyone else like to get a blow in? Go ahead. Really."

"I'm not saying anything," Methos notes mildly. "You've heard my advice."

"That's your advice?" Duncan asks incredulously. "Shoot him and tie him to a train track?"

"No," Methos says evenly, "my advice was actually 'shoot him and take his head.' Fitz seemed to think you'd have a moral objection to that, so I didn't mention it. It seems he was right."

"Of course he was!" Duncan protests. "It's not honorable."

"It's safer," Methos says. "You've already shot him once."

"Amanda did that. Besides, I didn't take his head!"

"Pity," Methos observes, and takes a long swallow of beer.

The expression on Duncan's face when Fitz and Methos arrive with the police is one that Fitz will cherish until the day his head is removed from his shoulders.
He should have known that breaking Kalas out of jail was a bad idea, and the look on Duncan's face when he and Amanda confess proves that he was right. If Immortals can stroke out, the Highlander is about to.

"You did what?"

Ordinarily, Fitz would tease him about not paying attention, but Duncan looks seriously ticked off, so he just repeats: "We broke Kalas out of jail."

"I heard you the first time," Duncan snaps, ignoring his own request for repitition. "How on earth do you manage to be so stupid?"

"Actually," Amanda says, prompted by a sharp Fitzcairn elbow to the ribs - which she returns with interest - "it was my idea. I was going to take his head. Well, I was going to have Fitz do it."

"What! Me!" Fitz yelps. "Are you insane?"

"I think we all know the answer to that one," Duncan mutters. "And I include you in that statement, Hugh Fitzcairn."

"I know you're trying to sound threatening and ominous," Fitz says, no longer able to resist, "but you sound like my mother. Again. This has to stop, MacLeod," he finishes, waving an admonishing finger in the Highlander's direction.

"Damn it, Fitz!"

"They did what!" Methos asks incredulously. He arrived at the barge less than fifteen minutes after Fitz and Amanda had finished confessing, and walked into three drawn blades and matching expressions. An explanation had been required, and Methos was nearly as stunned as Duncan had been. More so, probably, Fitz thinks, because he hasn't had the past three centuries to get used to the pair of them.

"Broke Kalas out of jail," Duncan repeats.

"Seven," Fitz says.

"What?" Duncan asks, nonplussed.

"That's the seventh time you've said those words since we got here. I'm counting," he says, plastering a look of hurt innocence onto his face.

"Shut up, Fitz," Duncan says warningly.

"No," Methos says, "let him talk. I am intensely curious as to what they were thinking." The ice-cold threat in his voice makes something in Fitz's stomach go 'eep!', and it's fairly obvious that Amanda is thinking much the same thing. So he ends up explaining Amanda's insane plan, making sure to give credit where credit is due, and winds up on the end of two glares of various strengths and Methos' inscrutable look.

"Do they do this sort of thing on a regular basis?" he asks after a minute, his voice as bland as his expression.

"You can't leave them alone for a minute," Duncan says, scowling. "They'll end up in jail, or at least deserving of it, in no time flat."

"I protest!" Fitz exclaims. "Anyway, the last time we got arrested was a mistake. I'd never seen that goat before in my life."

For some reason, Methos thinks this is howlingly funny.

Joe Dawson makes his appearance about half an hour later. Fitz and Methos are comfortably ensconced on opposite ends of the couch, each with a beer in hand, and Amanda has commented that they look like a pair of demented bookends. She is perched on one of Duncan's armchairs, and the man himself is sitting in the other, scotch in hand. They all look up as Joe enters, and he pauses, blinking at the scene in front of him.

"What, are you guys having a convention or something?" His gaze focuses on Methos. "Adam. I've been looking for you." Methos raises his beer bottle in salute.

"And now you've found me. Hello, Joe."

"Cute," Dawson growls. "Do you have any idea how much trouble you're in?" Fitz finds the sight of the mortal fussing at Methos like a mother hen more than a little entertaining.

"A fair amount, I'd wager," Methos says, "since not only have you burst in here like a particularly annoyed thundercloud of doom, but Fitz and Amanda - "

"Amanda and Fitz!" he protests. "It was not my idea!"

"-have taken it upon themselves to liberate Kalas from his imprisonment."

"They did what?" Dawson exclaims.

"Broke Kalas out of jail," Duncan says.

"Eight," Fitz tells him.

"Shut up, Fitz!"

"Why did they - no, never mind. You're not going to distract me that easily, Adam. Outside. Now." Obligingly, Methos rises to his feet and follows the Watcher out on deck.

"Does he know about Methos?" Fitz asks.

"Yes," Duncan says.

"Oh. What are they talking about, do you suppose?"

"I don't know, Fitz."

"Do you think it's Watcher business?"

"I don't know, Fitz."

"Do you think we need to know about it?"

"I don't know, Fitz."

"Do you-" Duncan and Amanda yell at the same time for him to shut up.

"We'll be back," Methos says. He looks more than a little chastened, and Fitz can see Joe Dawson scowling behind him, arms folded in impatience.

"What's happening?" Fitz asks, because he can tell Duncan is dying to ask himself, but doesn't consider it good manners.

"Watcher business," Dawson says gruffly, and jerks a thumb over his shoulder. "Come on, Adam." Methos obeys sheepishly, and closes the door behind him.

"Are you sure Dawson knows that's Methos?" Fitz asks. He's fairly sure that if he tried anything like that with the older Immortal he'd most likely get his head bitten off - figuratively, at least.

"He knows," Duncan says grimly.

"Does he believe it?"

Fitz ignores Duncan's irritated grimace. He's not as stupid as Duncan sometimes likes to intimate that he is, and this 'Watcher business' coming so soon after the Kalas thing -- even if Dawson hadn't known Kalas was free, the two things were still most likely related.

He points this out, but the Highlander's scowl only deepens.

"Which means that if you and Amanda hadn't broken Kalas out of jail in the first place, we wouldn't be in this situation at all, doesn't it?"

Fitz is tempted to say 'nine,' just to watch Mac's head explode, but the humour is mostly gone from the situation. In fact, the more he thinks about it, the worse it gets. He's not sure what the Watchers would do to an Immortal found hiding in their midst, even if that Immortal was Methos, and it's possible that Methos is walking into a trap, which wouldn't do at all. Fitz rather likes the sarcastic old bastard, and it would be grossly unfair for him to lose his head to a group of mortals.

"Duncan," he says, and something in his tone reaches his friend.

"What is it, Fitz?"

"What if Dawson's leading him into a trap? The Watchers can't be happy to have Methos hiding in their ranks, much less researching himself."

"Joe wouldn't do that." The certainty in Duncan's voice goes a good way towards convincing Fitz. Duncan's always been a fairly good judge of character, with the exception of some the women he beds. Still...

"What if he doesn't know either?" The sudden return of Duncan's scowl tells Fitz that he was at least right in his estimation of the Watchers in general.

"That's entirely possible," he admits.

"Well, then we've got to do something, haven't we?" Fitz asks, looking to Amanda for confirmation.

"He's right," she says, "as much as I hate to admit it. Duncan, sweetie, we can't let the Watchers kill Methos."

"We don't have any proof that-" Duncan begins, but Amanda has the idea fully in her grasp now, and within five minutes, the Highlander is pulling on his coat and throwing her occasional sidelong glances. Fitz is sympathetic to his plight. When Amanda really wants something, standing in her way is like trying to stop a hurricane.

One that pouts at you, and steals your valuables.

About two minutes later, they realize that they have absolutely no idea where Methos and Dawson have gone, and that there is, consequently, no way to ride to the rescue. Fitz accepts this economically, as there is nothing he can do about it at this juncture, and Amanda appears to do the same. Unfortunately, they've made the mistake of winding Duncan up, so he paces back and forth annoying everybody until the rattle of Presence down all of their spines announces Methos' imminent return. He's alone and scowling as he comes through the door, and his reaction to Duncan's drawn sword is a roll of his eyes and a snort of irritation.

"Put it away, Highlander," he suggests, going directly to the refrigerator. He looks tired, and surprisingly young. Fitz knows the man is five thousand years old, but at the moment, he looks more like a kid whose dog has just died. He won't be much happier when he finds out that Fitz just finished the last beer.

He isn't. This results in all four of them grabbing coats and swords and heading to the door. Methos' stated destination is Le Blues Bar, and since Duncan clearly wants to go after Kalas alone, Fitz and Amanda sweep him up and force him to come along. The Highlander is certainly able to lose either one of them, but both of them together can keep him in check. If he goes dashing off into the night after Kalas, he's likely to lose his head, and Fitz doesn't particularly want to lose the great Scottish oaf to the great raspy-voiced git.

All of them are a bit on edge, Methos in particular, and when they discover that Dawson still hasn't returned to the bar, the tension level rises even further. Duncan is ready to wander off in search of him. Fitz is spared the necessity of pointing out the futility of such action to the Highlander, because Methos does it for him. With considerably less tact than Fitz was planning on using. Which is saying something. Fitz hadn't realized that Methos is at least as fond of Dawson as Duncan is.

It looks like it's going to take Amanda a good five minutes to peel Duncan off the ceiling, and Fitz decides that now would be a good time for a drink. He'd been planning on saying something conciliatory to Duncan, but Amanda's expression when he opened his mouth had changed his mind on that front rather quickly. Instead, he joins Methos in a corner table. This way, Amanda can glare at both of them at once. It will be cozy.

"You know," he says as he sits down, "it might not have been necessary for you to add the part about 'wandering through the Parisian alleys ringing a little bell and calling for Dawson like he was some sort of lost pet.'" He pauses, considering. "Or the bit about 'wool-brained moronic half-wits without enough sense to dump water out of a boot.' That might have upset him a bit."

"Possibly," Methos acknowledges, without looking up from his rapt contemplation of the contents of his glass.

"Still, he should stop swearing in a minute or two. And Dawson ought to be back soon."


"Damn it, man!" Fitz exclaims, and Methos looks up, startled. "You said yourself that there's nothing we can do but wait. I'm attempting to provide a distraction, but you look like you're about to go into a brooding sulk to rival one of the Highlander's. Even I can't help you once you're that far gone," Fitz warns. Methos raises an eyebrow at him, but there's a spark of amusement in his eyes

"I don't brood," he says. Fitz grins.

"Right. Got it. No brooding from the really old bugger in the corner."

"Bastard," Methos says companionably.

"Well, yes," Fitz says, after a carefully timed pause.

Methos smiles. Fitz looks over to where Amanda is stroking Duncan's arm and whispering into his ear, and decides that he got off easy.

Dawson comes back not long after Amanda manages to talk Scowly MacLeod into a semblance of politeness. Fitz decides without trying that getting Methos to apologize is a lost cause.

The four of them are sitting in the corner booth when Dawson makes his entrance, and he comes over to them immediately, frowning fiercely enough that for a moment Fitz would swear that he's channeling the Highlander.

"Pierson!" he barks, and Methos sits up like someone jammed a ramrod up his ass, nearly knocking over his beer, despite the fact that Fitz knows he saw Dawson come in.

"Yes?" he asks, mopping up the spill with Duncan's napkin.

"My office," Dawson says, then after a moment adds: "The rest of you too."

As they file into the office behind the bar, Fitz is fairly certain that the man mutters something about bringing the whole goddamned circus in on the act.

Author's Notes: This is unbeta'd, so my apologies for any mistakes. Reviews are greatly appreciated. (Feedback is love!)