The Leaf that Found its Way

Summary: (NarutoxLotR) After the deaths of the Fourth and Rin, Kakashi joins ANBU to be a lifeless Shinobi tool. The Third who's worried of this, sends the young ANBU on an unlikely S-Rank Mission to the large continent known as Middle Earth…R&R!

Disclaimer: I do NOT own anything of Naruto and LotR, do not sue! They belong to and J.R.R Tolkein respectfully. I only own my twisting plot that intertwines with Tolkein's masterpiece, I doubt there will be any necessary OCs, but I'll see as the fic goes along…

Betas: Thanks to Sherlockian Slytherin and Tsukiyomi the Yami!

Re-Update: 11 February 2007, new format & Proof read. Thanks to my betas!

Author Notes: 3rd fic on ff net and 1st in the Naruto section! This is a special fic for anyone who hasn't read a Naruto x LotR fic! I've read some pretty good starters for Naruto x LotR but the main character tend to focus around Naruto. So for this fic… Main character: Kakashi Hatake!

Constructive advises, ideas or opinions are welcomed, BUT no flames plz! I don't think anyone should ever receive flames, they only discourage others to continue fics and it doesn't help authors to improve their ability. I'm currently a crossover author (see profile) and plan to be original in terms of writing. So if my updates are pretty late, do forgive me… It takes time to get good ideas for a palatable plot, but I can guarantee to make plot like no other fic (at least that's what I've been told)… For the first chapter 4000+ words! (without AU notes) Hopefully it's detailed…

Things to consider before you read:

1) Post Kakashi Gaiden: This fic is mainly about Kakashi's younger self. If you haven't read the Kakashi Gaiden (Chapter in the Manga), there's a lot of spoilers here. You've been warned. He's roughly 14 years old now and about a few months after Rin and the Fourth's death (I'll make it in this fic they both died during the Kyuubi attack). So I'd say it's been at least a year after Obito Uchiha's death (at 13 years old he became jounin).

2) For LotR: During the War of the Ring (aka FotR, TTT, RotK). I'll follow the movie and the book (if needed)… I plan to balance the two. So don't worry if you haven't heard about something from the book because you've only seen the movie. I'll elaborate the best as I can!

3) Geographically: Middle Earth is located far northwest while Fire Country (where the Village Hidden in the Leaves is located) is far to the South East. The five Shinobi countries or the other countries near Middle Earth do not make contact due to Middle Earth's reputation in constant war and the dark lord's domain (aka Mordor) that blocks the east passage into Middle Earth.

4) Ninjutsu, Genjutsu and Taijutsu: Being an ANBU, Kakashi would most likely have copied a few new jutsus with the Sharingan. At this moment, Kakashi still has two swirls (tomoe) on his Sharingan… so I would guess he hasn't got used to it yet. Plus, Kakashi does not have his summoning technique yet.

Yeah, I know your bored reading all the notes but just to make it clear when you read… okay then, on to the fanfic!



Chapter 1: 'The Wizard and the Bodyguard.'

"Once I heard from a person say, 'Do not follow where the paths may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.'(Robert Frost) As long as I could remember in being a shinobi, was I following that path or was I finding a new one? I couldn't tell; all there was to a shinobi were missions, and regulations to be followed. Even after Obito died, I found I haven't changed; I was even more of a tool than before." – Hatake, Kakashi.



Middle Earth

Eriador, West of Middle Earth

Forest Clearing



In a clearing in the woods sat a very old man waiting to see his 'body guard' that he had hired from a foreign country. Of course, this old man wasn't just any old grandpa; he was a wizard. A pretty old one at that, considering he had lived at least well… just say 700 men's life expectancy rates (50 years) added all together. You do the math. As what wizards usually wear, he wore grey wizard like clothes, a pointy hat, plus a staff. And when I had mentioned that he was a 'grandpa', yes, I meant that he also had a very long grey beard and looked as if he had a lot of grandchildren although he didn't have any. As most of his attributes were grey, one of his nicknames of course was 'Gandalf the Grey'. Though he was simply called Gandalf.

Gandalf the Grey stared amusedly at the opened scroll he had in his hand as he sat down on a large log smoking through his pipe. The scroll wasn't the typical parchment, for it had a covering with symbols that looked like leaves and a seal that had to be broken by blood. 'Interesting', Gandalf thought as he read through the scroll.


-Inside the Scroll-


Dear Gandalf the Grey,

Konohagakure, the Hidden Village of the Leaf, hereby accepts your mission, which requests for assistance within the lands of Middle Earth. I assure you that I have chosen the best and most willing shinobi for this mission. Seeing as this is an S-Rank mission and has the possibility of becoming an Un-Ranked mission, I know you may have problems in payment. However, please do not concern yourself with such things, you only have to pay half the price of what was considered. Please take this as my thanks for saving my life thirty years ago.

I have sent a team of four shinobi to you. Apparently the other three are on a mission and will join you much later. The ninja who will meet you first is named Hatake Kakashi; who has signed the contract last (see contract scroll). Hopefully he will be of assistance to you, although he has been having rather hard experiences these past few months. I'd be very thankful if you could at least help him find the light within himself.

Yours sincerely,

Sarutobi Sandaime Hokage


"Ninja", Gandalf said the word. It clearly sounded odd since there were no records of ninjas in the history of Middle Earth. Even Gandalf himself knew only of the existence of 'Ninjas' or 'Shinobi' from his encounter with Sarutobi those thirty years ago. From Gandalf's point of view, Ninjas were basically humans who were bounty hunters. They would do jobs from something as simple as taking out weeds or delivery services, to reconnaissance jobs gaining enemy intelligence or risky assassinations of dangerous and wanted criminals in order to get their pay. Despite all of this, they were still human, Gandalf held a respect for them. Indeed they had a life span of that of lesser men in comparison to the Numenoreans (humans who can live up to 200 years old) or the Elven kind. Yet their intelligence, their skill and their power were above the Numenoreans and even in some cases they had un-natural abilities over the Elves.

It was as though ninjas were a mix of the Eldar (elves) and Men. Those who had the largest desire, at the same time respected and had the ability to manipulate nature.

'Help him find the light within himself?' Gandalf eyed the sentence oddly. He wondered what about this ninja would make the Hokage worry so much.

Gandalf sighed as he waited. For some reason this 'Hatake Kakashi' hadn't shown up for the last five minutes.


Above the Tree in the Forest clearing…


Meanwhile, above where Gandalf sat on a tree and hidden in the leaves was a young ANBU who stared interestedly at his 'supposed to be client'. He wore the same outfit as he did for normal jounin missions like a year ago and not the ANBU armour because he wasn't on an ANBU mission. A dark blue shirt with buckles to the front and his back that looked like an 'X' which now supported two swords: one, his ANBU standardized katana and the other his father's chakra blade. He had two primary pouches that were buckled to his belt at the back and a secondary one tied to his right thigh. His arms were protected with plated armour, and his hands wore fingerless gloves with metal protection plates on the forehand. But no one would have seen his attire since he was wearing his black ANBU cover, which had a hood. As it was a necessity for the ANBU to conceal themselves, Kakashi had worn his white wolf mask. He had orders to take his mask off when he met the client, but that would have to wait for later. The ANBU was more curious of what his client was.

Hokage-sama said that the client was a 'wizard'. Someone who had powers called 'magic' (Middle Earth's saying of chakra) and they were immortal by age. From what Kakashi was looking at, the man in front of him was old enough to be called oji-san (grandpa/old man). Was he really that strong? To Kakashi at the moment, he looked like a normal aging old man… but even the Hokage who was old wasn't an opponent to be trifled with. In addition, his aura and eyes had the sort of wisdom that Hokage-sama had. He also had a broad sword on his belt and staff beside him. From what the ANBU had seen through the Sharingan, the wizard had a large amount of chakra and so did the staff. Kakashi figured that maybe the staff was a sort of medium that wizards used to release their power, very similar to how ninjas used hand seals to do jutsu.

Not too far off was the wizard's horse grazing on some grass. It was white and amazing to look at; for one thing, it didn't seem to be an ordinary horse. From what the ANBU surveyed, the old man had come alone, according to contract. No spies, no traps and no indication of danger in sight. Like the Hokage had warned him, Middle Earth was a continent that had always been dangerous. It was just two days ago when he was travelling on a footpath that Kakashi was attacked by foul creatures known as 'orcs' or 'yrch' in the elvish. The orcs were certainly the most hideous, deformed, and smelliest creatures that Kakashi had ever laid his eyes on. Though the foul things had aggressive and hostile behaviour and relished in the torture of any living thing, they surely weren't too bright. The ANBU had easily lured them into a trap he had set up and burned them into ash. 'Bunch of bakas' Kakashi thought and snorted. Even though they weren't the intelligent kind, the orcs certainly won in numbers. It was because of them Kakashi decided he would travel through the safety of the trees than waste his weapons provisions (such as shurikens and kunai). Speaking of provisions… Kakashi was rather glad he stocked up well for this mission.

This mission apparently would be a long term one, possibly a year and a half long… that was… if he survived… but if he didn't… on second thought, he didn't want to think about it. He had prepared himself well; at least that was what the ANBU thought. It was a wonder why the mission was marked from a S-Rank to an Un-Ranked mission… none of the other Five Great Shinobi countries even dared to set foot on Middle Earth's soil for they were afraid of a 'Dark Lord'. According to the intelligence that his village received from the neighbouring countries, the 'Dark Lord' had powers that rivaled the bijus (the infamous tailed demons), could create armies of dark beings and was in fact immortal. Many of its (Middle Earth's) inhabitants indeed had fought constant wars, thus earning Middle Earth a reputation of lands that none from the further east could go to without taking risks. Even Kakashi wondered why he volunteered in the first place… he was even the last shinobi who signed the contract… truthfully, he wasn't keen on going on a mission like this, but it was the Hokage who had persuaded him…

Other time consuming preparations also included learning the land's languages, to Kakashi's surprise, Middle Earth was rich in culture despite its reputation for being an untouchable country because of constant wars. He learnt the Common Tongue first, which was said to be the language that the Middle Earth folk used the most. Yet, the languages he liked the most were the elvish languages; he certainly liked the pronunciation of the words. They were soothing and the writing was similar to back home (though they weren't as complex). Thanks to Hokage-sama, he was able to learn it quickly… but one could understand why he was a quick learner since Kakashi was a child prodigy. He had graduated from the Ninja Academy at age 5, achieved the rank of a Chunin (middle rank ninja) at 6, and became Jounin at 13. Other languages he had learned (though not as thoroughly as Elvish and the Common Tongue) were Dwarvish and snippets of the Black tongue (due to lack of information). For one thing, Middle Earth did have a lot of races compared to where the ANBU came from.

"Hatake Kakashi, where are you?" The old man seemed to be muttering under his breath to no one in particular.

Kakashi just stood there in the trees not moving at all; from what the ANBU translated from the wizard's body language, he had a hunch Gandalf wasn't aware that Kakashi had been above him all this time. 'Problematic old man', the ANBU thought. Regardless of the amount of Chakra the old man had, Kakashi had a feeling he didn't use it for detecting or certainly didn't know how to sense other people's chakra. Or maybe… people in Middle Earth weren't aware how to manipulate chakra? If that was the case, then it was an advantage. 'They'd be surprised to see clones.' Kakashi snickered.

"Thirty minutes late. I wonder if he had problems coming here." Gandalf thought out loud.

The ANBU only cocked an eyebrow up at the comment in annoyance. He had somehow picked up Obito's chronic lateness when he was in Konohagakure, but when it came to missions, especially when meeting up with a client… he was NEVER late. At times even Kakashi was at the intended spot hours before the client would get there. It was a safety procedure to an ANBU, just in case their client turned against their contract. About coming to Middle Earth… Kakashi had plenty of problems, plenty, and was too lazy to count them all. The major ones were passing enemy countries without getting caught (though he managed to copy some good earth, water and fire style jutsus along the way), transportation going to Middle Earth was rare, and going through the southern country called Harad wasn't particularly easy or more correctly he went around it and traveled by ship.

"It seems he may not be coming, should I come here again tomorrow?" the old man muttered again.

Kakashi scowled in his mind, 'Baka no Wizard.' Well, certainly his client wasn't too much aware of how concealed ninjas were. The ANBU rolled his eyes and decided to show himself. He simply leaned to the right, adjusted his chakra so he wouldn't fall off the branch, twirled and came face to face with the old wizard (in Kakashi's case, upside down.)

The reaction was instantaneous, the wizard nearly tripped on the log he was sitting on, "By the Valar! Who are you?"

"You called?" said Kakashi in a bored tone.

"I don't seem to remember about calling anyone." The wizard said curtly. There was certainly distrust in his eyes.

"But I did recall you were asking where I was." The ninja said smoothly. "I'm Hatake Kakashi or just Kakashi, if you will. I was requested by Hokage-sama for this mission." The ANBU introduced himself as he bowed to the old man, all the while still standing upside down from the branch he was perched at.

Gandalf was more interested on how his soon to be bodyguard was having no problems whatsoever hanging upside down without any normal explanations than the introduction the ninja had made, but shook that off as there were other pressing matters he had to attend to. "Why were you late?" Gandalf asked as the first question came to mind.

"I wasn't. I came here three hours before you did sir." Kakashi said. "I thought it was in the contract to call me through a whistle three times."

Gandalf only stood looking at the ANBU for a moment, and then went back to his battered looking bag pulled and out the contract scroll. His eyes flickered down as he read and soon came face to face with the ninja again. What the ninja in front of him said was right.

"Sorry, forgive this old man for his memory is not as good as his younger days."

"Apology accepted." Kakashi replied as he flipped from the branch and landed lightly on the ground.

Gandalf studied the foreigner. He was wearing mostly black, the most notable features of the stranger was the long sleeved black jacket with a hood and that his contractor was wearing a white mask. From what Gandalf could tell, the mask resembled a wolf. The wizard wasn't sure what it meant, but Gandalf clearly saw his visitor was concealing his identity. However, what caught the wizard's attention the most was…

"You seem rather short for a ninja…" Gandalf commented.

Kakashi was rather glad he had a mask on or the wizard would have clearly seen the grimace on his face. "I'll take that as a compliment." Stated the Shinobi. Honestly, Kakashi was glad he broke his voice a month ago and it sounded deep, or else he had a feeling his client would see him as a normal child. The ANBU was very aware that Middle Earth still had beliefs that a child had no place in being spies and assassinating other people.

"May I see your face? The contract does allow me to see your identity."

Kakashi shook his head. "Not until we reach a place you call Rivendell do I have the permission to show you."

Gandalf eyes darted towards the scroll in his hands and back to Kakashi. "Indeed I have missed a minor detail again. Very well, shall we get going… master Hatake?"

The ANBU was slightly startled when the wizard called him with such formalities. "Just Kakashi. I do not hold any titles as I work for you."

"Done, then you will refer me as Gandalf or the elves would call me-"

"Mithrandir. I like Mithrandir better."

The wizard raised an amused eyebrow.

"Hokage-sama told me." Kakashi masked the information to cover up the old man's curiosity.

Gandalf nodded. "And I assume you would be a part of the ANBU? Or roughly translated as the Assassination Tactics Special Military Force?"

"Yes." Kakashi answered indifferently. "Though the mission only requires me as a Jounin (high rank ninja) once we arrive in Rivendell."

"Come then, we must make haste. Do you have a horse with you?"

Kakashi gave a small whistle as he called a black horse over to him, with his backpack. The two then both mounted their horses and rode through the lands of Middle Earth. As they rode, Gandalf kept an eye on his bodyguard who was riding side by side with him. Kakashi was constantly alert to his surroundings while his horse pressed on, following Gandalf's. Though his new guard was smaller in stature, the ninja emitted a feeling of safety that calmed the wizard. If truly this guard of his was one of the best the Third Hokage had sent, then maybe Gandalf should give up his suspicions about the ninja. Help in Middle Earth certainly wasn't always there when it was needed, even if it meant hiring an assassin.

The ANBU was sensitive to the fact that Gandalf seemed to doubt him. Luckily he had preformed a special genjutsu that would make the victim feel secure or safe from harm. It was usually used for genins (low rank ninjas) or unsuspecting enemies who were about to be killed, but for now it was good enough. Kakashi now concluded that if Middle Earth's inhabitants didn't know about chakra at all, most likely they wouldn't know about ninjutsu or genjutsu. It was safe to say the ANBU would be able to do his task more easily. Yet, he had to be careful of those who might have the ability to manipulate chakra.

The two rode on till noon, before they stopped. Gandalf had said they'd depart again within three and a half hours, which caught the ANBU's attention that a mission was most likely soon to be underway. From the facial features of the wizard, Kakashi predicted that Gandalf was weary as if he had ridden for days. It seemed the old man was in a hurry, as if chasing what little time he had left. "You should rest more." Kakashi urged. "There may be something important you have to do, but don't over exert yourself."

Gandalf chuckled. "You're very different from other people who first meet me, very respectful with elders."

"It's necessary for a Shinobi to take care of their client's well-being." Kakashi said shrugging it off. "And… where I come from it's important to respect your elders".

"Konohagakure is your village?" Gandalf asked.


Gandalf smiled at the Shinobi, "Far south east."

Kakashi nodded but changed the subject. "Am I wrong to presume that what is bothering you most is my first task?"

The wizard only looked at the ANBU silently and replied, "Not bad at guessing Kakashi. You have a way of reading other's minds?"

"No, but your body language clearly states your weariness and worry." The ANBU said. "I'd suggest you sleep for two hours, you can explain my mission later. I'll watch out for you."

'A caring one.' The wizard thought as a grin grew upon his face. "Well, it seems you have persuaded this old man quite well. In two hours then."

The ANBU nodded as he watched the old man lay out his bag for a pillow under a tree and dozed off to sleep. 'He's a lot more tired than I expected.' Kakashi thought. The wizard indeed had ridden for days… The mission probably would be something against time, and it sounded he had some protecting to do. Speaking of being a watch out…

'Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!' (Shadow Replication)

Instantly, three shadow clones were formed. Kakashi directed two clones to be a lookout through the trees, while the other would travel around the perimeter of the area to gather information. Kage bunshins were pretty handy when one worked alone, since what ever they experienced, the user would know… perfect for spying.

Without anything else to do, Kakashi surveyed the area where they were at by opening a scroll map he had received from the Hokage. Middle Earth's terrain was dominated by plains and forests, and mountains, which may prove useful in doing elemental type jutsus. Yet the land did have a flaw, it was a large continent after all. Twice as large as fire country…to travel sufficiently, you'd at least need a horse if you were on the plains… but the mountains posed a different matter. Most likely you'd have to go on foot, or pass the only two roads that were available. One of them was the 'High pass', which was usually used by men, Dwarves or the elves that inhabit the Rhovanion region such as Mirkwood, the Lonely Mountains and Esgaroth. The other was through a way that was marked by a tower called Isenguard. There was also another way besides the two passes… but that path went underground through the gates of Moria, and Kakashi wasn't certain if people still used that way frequently.

Both of them apparently were at the East-West Road in between the town called Bree and a hill called Weathertop. From what the ANBU heard from the locals at Bree (with his clone), Weathertop used to be a watchtower in the past, but now it was rubble. It wasn't too far off from where they were located; at least three to four hours' ride away from their current spot.

There was a lot to take into account for Middle Earth; the lack of technology was also a problem and an advantage at the same time. Problem meaning he would have to use minimum usage while fighting and an advantage to go against the enemy. At least he wouldn't have to worry about the homing beacon he had on his hitai-ate (forehead protector) that had the symbol of the village. It was there so his team later on would locate him easily. Another reason why he brought his hitai-ate with him was to cover his Sharingan eye later on when he couldn't wear his mask.

Kakashi sighed as he looked around him, things looked pretty peaceful…


Two hours later…


The ANBU tapped the old man's shoulder lightly to wake him up. Amusedly he watched the wizard getting up without any difficulty. That was very different from what Kakashi had experienced with Obito when he used to be with Rin and his sensei. Not only did Obito have a problem with being late… he certainly wasn't a morning person either. That habit had made Obito an easy target for his sensei to demonstrate for Kakashi and Rin on how to use water based jutsus. 'Don't dwell on the past again.' Kakashi thought as he shook himself out of the memory. He needed to focus on the mission more.

Casually, Kakashi handed the old man some tea, which he had boiled water for just thirty minutes ago. Gandalf had taken it in gratitude and sipped it slowly. He looked at the ANBU.

Kakashi instantly read what was on his mind, "I drank my tea an hour ago. May I have information on my task, Mithrandir?"

"A true worker, aren't we?" Gandalf smiled. "I'll tell you then." The wizard paused for a moment before he started. "You are aware that these lands have a Dark lord in the name of Sauron?"

"Yes, at Bree I heard a rumour about his Nine followers; five currently heading to the east if I'm not wrong." Kakashi stated.

"Those are your primary targets. I will warn you that no weapon is penetrable to kill them, even if you did, there is a chance a curse would take over you. They are called the Ringwraiths or the Nazgul, nine once great kings who are now slaves to do the Dark Lord's bidding. I suggest you stick to long range weapons or any means of fire would be a natural offense to make them back away."

"What do they look like?" Kakashi asked carefully.

"They all wear black hoods and the horses in their steed aren't quite alive or-"

"The undead?"

"That's one way to put it."

"Anything else I need to know?" the ANBU asked.

"There are four Hobbits you need to protect with a man who calls himself Strider. He's a ranger."

Kakashi's head leaned on to the side. "Hobbits?"

"Small folk, they're quite easy to spot. They're short, usually have curly hair, and have hairy feet." Gandalf said.

'That sounds…weird...' Kakashi thought awkwardly, but he let it slide. "How will they know me if I'm their ally?"

"Refer to my elvish name, or to this." Said the wizard as he gave a parchment to Kakashi.

The ANBU looked through it briefly. "A poem? It's pretty well written."

Gandalf nodded. "There also might be help from the elven realm, and I have a hunch Glorfindel won't be coming, but Arwen."

Kakashi only blinked and looked at the wizard silently for an explanation.

"Glorfindel is second in lordship over Rivendell to Lord Elrond. Arwen is the daughter of Lord Elrond, who rules Rivendell. If she does come to help, see as it that you also protect her and escort her to Rivendell safely." Gandalf described.

"So, it's eradicating five Ringwraiths, protecting four Hobbits, a ranger and an elf if she comes, then escort her back home." The ANBU listed off. "What about you?"

"I will try to get the other four Ringwraiths' attention away from you, it would be folly to be tailed by nine but it's the only thing I can do." Gandalf said.

"… I'm going to let my client go into danger by himself?" the ANBU asked briskly. "I don't like the sound of that."

"Like it or not, Kakashi, it is a part of the contract for you to obey my orders. Do, don't question."

"…Fine." The ANBU reluctantly agreed, since when did he question his client? Kakashi then kept reminding himself to focus on the mission. "But if you don't come back, I'll look for you." Mentally Kakashi added, 'Even if it means dragging your dead body back to Rivendell.'

"Head for Weathertop, they are supposed to meet me there. Hopefully we'll meet again safely in Rivendell." Gandalf said as he mounted on his white horse.

Kakashi mounted on his own horse while he dismissed his clones unnoticed by the wizard. "In a few days then, Mithrandir?"

"Aye." Gandalf said.

The two both parted their ways swiftly. Gandalf headed towards the south, while Kakashi headed east towards Weathertop. 'Three to four hours to Weathertop…' thought Kakashi as he rode on his horse. Most likely he would get there by nightfall, and it would be easier to move around with the cover of darkness. But the enemy had that advantage as well… He would have to be extra careful in facing his opponents this time, since the wizard had warned him about trying to avoid melee attacks. Then Kakashi thought about fire attacks… Most likely he'll be using fire elemental jutsus or exploding tags as another alternative. The shinobi was slightly worried since it was his first time facing a 'not so human or alive' opponent.

"I hope this mission goes well." The ANBU mumbled to himself.



Not bad for the first chapter huh? Comments, recommendations or things to fix, please tell me what you think! I know it's got a lot of flaws in it… but if you got ideas for the plot, I'd be glad to hear it out. I plan to write something about Jiraya and the Third in the next chapter. Help anyone? I'll gladly write up the credits for anyone with ideas!

By the way, I'm looking for a beta for this fic. Is there anyone good with fighting scenes or at least point me out a good Naruto fic that has good fighting scenes? It would really help a LOT. Credits for helping will be put up on my next chapter!

Facts from the book:

-'Mithrandir' is Gandalf's nickname among the elves meaning 'grey pilgrim'

-Gandalf already was friends before the Two Towers with Shadowfax (the White horse in Rohan).

-Glorfindel was the one who took Frodo on the horse to Rivendell, not Arwen according to the book.

-The 'Valar' are considered to be the gods that created and who are watching over Middle Earth.

Anyone interested in my other xover/crossover fics just go to my profile…

Next Chapter:

Chapter 2: 'To Rescue and to Protect.'