EARNING AN ACCOLADE
Part II: Responsibility
August 26th, 2007
Okay...I didn't intend to do this initially. "Accolade" was supposed to be a oneshot. But I found that I couldn't leave it alone. The setup of this work was one I felt I could use again, and so I gave it a shot. Like the first section, this is comprised of eight somewhat loosely connected scenes.
A disclaimer regarding scene five: Seto expounds upon his very...particular views regarding organized religion, and is not very tactful about it. If this scene offends anyone, I would like it noted that I do not agree with his assessments. I simply believe them to fit his personality.
With that said, I hope you enjoy this.
Thank you. Thank you for saving my brother's soul. He means everything to me.
It had been a moment of weakness. He wasn't entirely certain why he had said it in the first place. They didn't care; they had their assumptions, and they were comfortable with them. More than likely that acknowledgment of gratitude would be forgotten within the day, and he would go back to being the "mean" one, the "jerk," the "arrogant punk."
It only bothered him insomuch as it proved his assumptions on this particular group's collective intelligence level to be true; that was, they more than likely couldn't solve a child's jigsaw puzzle without a camera and a pad of notes.
They didn't see their hypocrisy.
And he had a feeling that, even if they had, they would shrug it off as unimportant.
It's only Kaiba, after all.
They probably still wondered why he didn't "open up more."
How open did they want him to become, exactly? Was he expected to bow down in homage to The Great Yugi and kiss his feet like they all did? Was he expected to construct a time machine and stop himself from ripping the fourth Blue-Eyes card in half?
They hadn't caught on to the idea that not everyone considered Yugi Motou to be the center of the universe, or at least had not accepted it, as though they were acolytes to a new religion, spreading The Transcendent Truth, and were incensed that other people (heathens, all) refused to convert.
He decided to let it pass.
Looking down, and seeing the reverent gray-violet glow of his brother's eyes, so filled again with light and life, so filled with loving trust and undying loyalty, Seto Kaiba found that Yugi and his band didn't really matter.
Not one bit.
He supposed he should have known better.
And later, he would wonder at himself, and shake his head in that wonder, at not trusting Mokuba's word. It wasn't as though the ebon-crowned boy had ever given him a reason to doubt.
The only time Mokuba had ever lied to him had been regarding a birthday gift three years prior, which Seto had found a week too early.
Mokuba had said it was for a friend.
...Which wasn't really even a lie, come to think of it.
But he supposed it was every parent's assumption that his child was lying when he claimed to be too sick to attend school on the day of a test.
The more Seto thought about it, however, the more he berated himself for that assumption. Mokuba's grades were impeccable, and he had been studying diligently for the past week. There was no reason for Mokuba to suddenly lie about his health.
But Seto had thought he was, for some reason.
"I know you have a test today, kiddo," Seto had said, not even looking at his doorway. If he had, he would have noticed that Mokuba was leaning rather heavily on said doorway, eyes clouded and half-closed.
"I...I know...Niisama..." Mokuba had responded, and Seto's passing thought in response to that was that the boy had become a surprisingly good actor.
"Then get ready. You're going to be late." Here he glanced fleetingly at Mokuba, but only to discern that he was still in pajamas. "Hurry, now. Get dressed. I know your laundry's clean, so go."
"Mokuba, I don't have time to be—"
He turned, finally, just in time to see Mokuba double over and vomit on the floor. Moaning pitifully, the boy wasn't able to hold his feet as his small body was racked with convulsions, and crumpled to his knees, clutching his stomach. When the spasms passed, Mokuba fell, exhausted, to the side.
Seto didn't say a word.
Not, "Mokuba!" or, "Oh, I'm sorry!" or anything else.
He simply shot to his feet, swept his brother up into his arms, and strode quickly down the hall into the front parlor. On the way he kicked open a closet and snatched a blanket and pillow (reserved for guests who hardly ever showed up and never required use of such things) without slowing.
After settling Mokuba onto the couch situated against the center of one wall, Seto tucked the blanket around him, deposited a small trash bin near the boy's head, and fished a cellular phone out of his pocket.
After three separate calls (one to Mokuba's school, one to his own, and one to his office), Seto pitched the phone aside and knelt down by Mokuba's side.
"Are you comfortable, Mokuba?" he asked softly.
The tone of his voice, and the look in his eyes, betrayed the mechanical manner with which he had thus far dealt with the situation.
"Yes...Niisama. I'm...sorry for...for throwing up...in your office..."
"Hush," Seto whispered soothingly. "Don't you worry about that."
He left for a moment and came back with a thermometer, which he slipped into Mokuba's mouth before any protest could be mustered.
"Sit still and wait, Mokuba," Seto said. "Move, and I'll just have to do it again. I know, I know, it makes you want to gag. No need to give me that kicked-puppy look."
Seto shifted himself to sit on the edge of the couch and put a gentle hand on his brother's forehead, brushing his bangs back in a methodical, thoughtless gesture of affection.
Mokuba smiled around the thermometer and did as asked.
"Oi! Lookee there, Yug!"
Seto closed his eyes and sighed, running a hand through his hair in an attempt to calm himself. He was most certainly not in the mood to deal with another sidewalk-vernacular symphony from Domino City's resident runner-up.
"Oh. Kaiba! Hey, Kaiba! Fancy seeing you here!"
Oh, wondrous luck...
He tried vainly to telepathically order the pair to find a bus to jump under, but unfortunately his ability in that particular art was lacking.
"So how come you wasn't at school today, huh?"
Resisting a suddenly near-insatiable urge to grind his teeth, Seto instead sighed again and shifted his shoulders. "I had pressing business to attend to, Wheeler," he said, in his most overt "don't-talk-to-me" tone.
It didn't work.
"What kinda business?"
"What's 'at mean?"
"It's the present participle form of the—"
"Oh, shut up! I know that, you jerk!"
"Then don't ask."
Yugi, ever the peacemaker, chuckled nervously. "...Heh. Good one...Kaiba. But why weren't you at school? You're not one to skip."
"...I. Had. Pressing. Business."
How long would it take, he wondered, before these two got the hint that he did not intend to elaborate? It wasn't as though they actually wanted to know the answer...well, Yugi might have. But Joey was just in it to annoy him.
He didn't intend to show that it was working.
Oh, great, Seto thought, what stunning epiphany have you come to now, O Second Coming of Aristotle?
"Didn' know ya had it in ya, Kaiba!"
"Yer buyin' soda! Yer frickin' normal sometimes, Kaiba!"
"This is for Mokuba, Wheeler."
"...Oh. Never mind, then. Yer still weird."
"Thank you. So magnanimous of you to point that out."
Seto paid for the twelve-pack of 7-Up and left the store without another word.
There was a piano in the parlor.
It was old but well-cared for; a monument to a lost age of music, when each note was carefully scrutinized, when the music was enough to stand on its own, without the addition of lyric. When melody mattered. When composition was not a profession, but an art.
Nobody but Mokuba knew that Seto played the piano. This was not so much because it was a secret but because Seto preferred not to allow others into his home.
Whenever Mokuba wanted to have a sleepover with a friend, he went to their home. It was never the other way around. And when Seto conducted an interview, it was always at a public venue.
And despite what people may have thought, Seto did not have a myriad of workers living at his estate. He'd had a butler, once, but only for a short time.
Seto preferred solitude.
Mokuba felt exceedingly proud that he was the single exception to that rule.
Or he would have, if his stomach hadn't currently been attempting to rip itself apart.
Seto's hand on his back was the only thing reminding Mokuba to breathe as he leaned over the trash bin and retched. He moaned with each convulsion, wanting nothing more than to curl into a ball and die.
"Shhh...it's okay, Mokuba...just breathe...breathe, kiddo..."
Tears streamed down his face as a thousand shards of jagged glass dug themselves deeper and deeper into his gut, straining futilely to find some phantom irritant.
He couldn't breathe.
He couldn't think.
There was nothing but the pain.
The pain...and Seto's hand.
Ten thousand years later, it passed, and Mokuba collapsed against his brother, unable to hold himself up anymore. Seto hugged him gently, stroked back his hair, and laid him back down.
"There...do you feel better now, Mokuba?"
He barely managed a nod.
"Good. Try to sleep, little brother."
Seto got up, and though Mokuba couldn't turn his head to watch, he knew that his brother was seating himself at the piano.
He could see, in his mind, Seto's hands gliding over the keys as the room filled with music. The notes drifted in the air, soft and light, never fully vanishing but intermingling with each other into a dance that spun and twirled into eternity. Closing his eyes, Mokuba felt himself floating along with the soft, soothing melody, guided by his brother's gentle hand into a dream.
"That's pretty...Niisama..." he whispered.
He heard Seto chuckle slightly before falling into sleep.
There were, inevitably, times that Seto fleetingly wondered why he bothered attending high school at all. He supposed it might have been because it was "required" and/or "expected" of him...or at least, that was the explanation he used when anyone bothered to ask him.
But considering the overall goal of education, which was – when last he checked – to prepare children for survival in that ambiguous, intoxicating arena called the "real" world, Seto really didn't need to waste his time.
He had had as much an education as anyone, although he still had a year before graduation.
It could be because the classroom gave him time to clear his head.
It could be because he didn't want Mokuba having to admit that his parent hadn't graduated high school.
It could be because he didn't want people shoving the aforementioned information in his face, because there were so many other things he was criticized for.
He wasn't entirely certain.
But he did, and he supposed he had no one to blame but himself for that. And so he sat, hands combing back his hair, elbows on his desk, trying not to think too much about his still-sick brother lying on the couch at home.
He'd been told, on that first day, that he had missed too many days that semester and needed to start showing up more often or he wouldn't graduate...or, at least, that was the gist of it. He hadn't been paying too much attention at the time. Mokuba's illness had chosen that particular phone call as an opportune time to let itself be known again, and it was decidedly difficult to block out the sound of your child vomiting in order to listen to a voice you didn't want to hear in the first place.
But he figured it prudent to attend. And Mokuba had assured him he felt better. Good enough to handle himself, if not good enough to go back to school. And if anything happened, there was still the phone.
He sometimes thought he worried too much.
He sometimes thought he didn't care that he worried too much.
Seto blinked, irritated at having been caught not paying attention, and turned his gaze to the speaker, his instructor.
Seto knew he hadn't been paying attention, and thus it wasn't really his place to snap at the teacher, but then again, it was clear he hadn't been paying attention, and thus obviously had no idea what he was expected to answer.
The instructor - a tall, angular man by the name of Ted Young - sighed heavily. "We were discussing the article Miss Gardner brought in. Current events...you know, that thing we do every morning? As you recall, I'm sure, a Mister Theodore McAllen accidentally backed over his infant son in his car, resulting in the baby's death. Miss Gardner has stated that it is unfair to punish him further, as he has suffered enough. Do you agree? Or not?"
"I do not."
He left it at that. He knew he was expected to elaborate, but Seto wasn't in a particularly cooperative mood (when was he ever?).
"...Would you mind telling us why?"
"I would, but I assume that is irrelevant," Seto muttered.
Mister Young's glare was enough of an answer. Seto sighed and decided it would take less time and effort to simply do as asked, and speak his mind on the subject.
"...That the father has 'suffered enough' is a nonsensical statement," Seto said with strained, condescending patience. "Accident or not, the fact remains that this man killed a child."
"It was an accident, Kaiba!" came Téa Gardner's indignant squawk from behind him.
He clenched his teeth. "Accident or not, is that child any less dead?" he demanded in a harsh whisper. "Was the car expected to stop on principle before crushing him?"
"Of course not," came the reply, "but that's the point! He shouldn't have to go to prison after losing his son!"
"Losing? This isn't like a runaway puppy, you idiot," Seto snapped. "He didn't misplace his keys. You can call it an accident all you want; it won't make it true. Strip away the pointless emotional hand-wringing and all you have left is a dead child and a guilty father. Add one to the other and you have murder."
The class went stone silent, and even Mister Young didn't say a word. Téa, clearly shocked by her classmate's callous treatment of the situation, didn't reply for a long moment.
"Kaiba...it was an accident." Here Seto groaned, irritated. "He didn't mean to do it. He's been punished enough for what he did. We shouldn't add to his grief."
"Imprisonment isn't about punishment, Gardner, it's a deterrent. Punished enough? Are you telling me God punished him for his carelessness? Well, guess what? That religious trash doesn't work, because the father wasn't punished at all. If your god had any sense of competence then the infant – who had no choice in the matter – would have been left alone! Are you trying to tell me God kills innocents to prove a point? That sounds suspiciously like terrorism to me."
He wasn't usually so vocal about his beliefs...or about anything, for that matter. Normally, he wouldn't have even bothered. He wasn't sure – or just didn't want to admit to himself – what had him so irritated about this particular argument.
As he'd figured, Téa gasped indignantly. If she'd been sitting closer to him, she probably would have slapped him. "Kaiba...don't you dare talk like that—"
"Don't I dare? What, is God going to set me on fire? He doesn't need you protecting his image, if he even exists at all. So save it. I don't care. How about this? Now that I've been roped into this stupid discussion, how about we finish it?"
"I'll not have you taking the—"
"Oh, for the...then leave."
"You leave! It's obvious you don't have any human emotion! So why don't you just run back to your computers and leave us alone?"
"That was mature. All right. Say I do. Then what? Are you going to leave me alone? Or are you going to take the next time we inevitably meet each other to browbeat me with bible passages and friendship speeches because you've obviously forgotten your assessment of me again? If you're going to argue something, make sure it has relevance, and that it's true. You don't want me to leave. You want me to stop arguing the point and just accept you're right because you think you're right and therefore must be."
"I want you to have some compassion for a man who's lost his child!"
Seto drew in a deep breath through clenched teeth. "I said it once...apparently you've a limited understanding of English, so I'll reiterate: Mister McAllen didn't lose his child. This was carelessness. Pure. Simple. Clear. And that carelessness – directly on the part of McAllen – resulted in a child's death. The child is where your compassion should be, Gardner, not with the man who killed him.
"I have no sympathy for a man too stupid to scan his yard for his infant before starting his car. I also have no sympathy for a man too stupid not to make sure his infant won't crawl into the path of his car."
"Some things just happen, Kaiba! We shouldn't punish him for something that was out of his contr—"
Seto stood up. "With your permission, Mister Young, I wish to make a quick trip to the library and find a dictionary so that Miss Gardner may look up the definition of control."
A few of the other students chuckled nervously.
He turned and faced Téa directly. "A parent is legally responsible for his child," he said, and now his voice was oddly mechanical. "If something happens to that child, it is the parent's responsibility to deal with the consequences. McAllen's child died. And if he was a good parent, he is grieving because of that. He is also willing to accept responsibility for it."
His eyes narrowed. "Maybe you need an example for this to sink in. Let us assume that I am twenty-one, and have visited a convention as a result of my job. I was offered, and I accepted, several alcoholic drinks. As a result, by the time I decide to leave, my blood alcohol level is above the legal limit. I do not realize that. I believe that I retain the ability to drive competently. No one stops me.
"I get into my car and attempt to drive home. I swerve into the path of another vehicle and, as a result of that crash, Mokuba – you remember him, don't you? – dies. I did not intend for that. I had every intention of seeing him home and safe, sleeping peacefully. I ask you, Téa Gardner...whose fault is it that that did not happen?"
"...Yours. You drank too much."
"Theodore McAllen did not check to see if his child was safe before backing out of his driveway."
"But...but...that's not against the law!"
Seto's eyes narrowed further, and there was a hard glint to them, but beneath that, a hint of profound sorrow. "...Perhaps it should be."
Everyone stared at him.
No one dared say a word against him when he turned away and walked out of the room.
Truancy was never his aim, but it was by this point rather commonplace for Seto to leave school in the middle of the day, and his instructors had all but accepted it.
This day, however, marked the first time he had done so out of anger.
It wasn't so much the argument itself that had him angered; he had argued any number of times with Yugi and his clique, sometimes had even instigated those arguments out of boredom or amusement or both.
Rather, it was Téa's assessment of both the situation and his reaction to it. He had known from the start that he wouldn't change the girl's opinion of him, and knew that his outburst at her expense had been purely cathartic, with no productive motive behind it and certainly no positive outcome.
She thought, surely, that his harsh view of the man from the newspaper and his actions was due to his being inhuman. An animal. A machine. A thing without any concept of mercy or pity.
Mercy had nothing to do with it.
Nothing at all.
He remembered something Mokuba had told him, that first night back home after the Duelist Kingdom debacle. Seto had just tucked the boy in – a practice that hadn't taken place in about half a year because Mokuba had decided himself too mature for such things – and was about to turn off the light and leave when Mokuba said,
"...I never gave it to them."
For a moment, Seto had stood there, confused, not understanding what his brother was talking about. That confusion was obviously stamped all over his face, because Mokuba elaborated:
"The key. To your safe. I never gave it to them. I never told them anything."
The key...his safe...
Suddenly, as he recalled a series of documents held in a small safe hidden in his office, Seto understood. Of course...
But then, a larger realization came to him.
Mokuba had risked his life to protect him.
Not Seto's life...but his reputation. His livelihood.
The thought made him go pale.
"M-Mokuba..." he'd said, "...you..."
He'd meant to say, "You shouldn't have done that." The words had been there, on his lips, and he'd had every intent to say them.
Something in Mokuba's eyes stopped him short.
He was looking for reassurance, Seto realized. He was looking for acceptance. For recognition. Acknowledgment.
He did it not only to protect me, Seto thought, but...to make me proud. He wants to know I'm proud of him.
To deny Mokuba that acknowledgment would be inexcusable.
Seto started again.
"...Just what I'd expect from my vice-president."
Mokuba's smile reached his ears. "Yes, sir."
Seto returned the smile and switched off the light.
"Now get some sleep, Mokuba."
He turned to leave.
"Good night, Niisama. I...I love you."
"I love you, too, Mokuba."
Just for that...for those few, simple words...Mokuba had risked dying. For that simple acknowledgment from the man who was his role model, Mokuba had stood against one of the most powerful organizations on the planet.
After that night, Seto had come to realize the depth of Mokuba's loyalty, and just how heavy his responsibility to the boy was.
It was Seto's job to prove that loyalty well-placed.
That was the heart of any parent's job. To prove that unquestioning loyalty, that unconditional love, to be well-placed.
McAllen had failed.
And Téa Gardner thought he should be left alone.
Just the thought of it made Seto's teeth clench. That sort of failure was not only inexcusable but unforgivable, and if there was any crime worth punishing in the mind of Seto Kaiba, it was that.
Theodore McAllen was lucky Seto hadn't decided to take on a legal profession.
Asking an introvert why he doesn't get out more seemed to Seto as asinine a question as asking a student of Spanish why he doesn't learn Japanese instead.
Upon further consideration, Seto realized just how apt that simile was, when he came to the conclusion that his peers would ask such a question, and find nothing at all idiotic about it.
Joey Wheeler's favorite question for Seto, as if he were a parrot with specialized memorizations for each face he knew, was what he was doing.
Apparently, though, Joey was the King of Parrots, because said question was always uttered with a slathering of condescension.
Which, now that Seto thought about it, compounded upon his many other hypocrisies in that he acted as though the only place Seto were allowed to be was his own home (because no matter where he was, "what're you doin' here, Kaiba?" were the first words out of the blonde's mouth, in that precise inflection), and yet criticized him in the same breath for staying locked up in his office all the time.
Wonder of wonders...
"I was trying to pretend you were in another country," came Seto's reply this time, "but you went and shattered my illusion. Happy now?"
"Ha, ha. Real funny, Kaiba."
"I'm so relieved you approve. I spent all week on it."
Once again attempting to play intermediary, Yugi chuckled. Of course. If Joey was here, so was Yugi. Like conjoined twins who had forgotten their surgical separation.
"Uh..." Yugi began, his typical segue, "Téa told me that, uh...you scared her today."
"What'd ya do, Kaiba, show 'er yer face?"
"Yes. Because she's never seen it before. No one has, actually. I keep it hidden in my basement."
Joey scowled. "You think yer funny, don'tcha?"
"I think you're blocking my silence."
"Kaiba...what did you say?" Yugi pressed.
"I'm not sure why you thought you would get that information out of me more readily than you would Gardner. But it is apparent by the tone of your voice that you believe me to have overstepped my bounds."
Yugi didn't answer. He simply frowned.
"This conversation might have proven fruitful if I happened to care," Seto continued.
"Man, Kaiba, why you gotta be such a—"
"You're blocking the shelf, Wheeler."
"Ask me if I care."
"A fascinating response. I'll let you ponder on the irony of it. In the meantime, kindly remove yourself from the aisle before I do."
"You don't strike me as a fan of manga, Kaiba," Yugi noted. "What are you looking for?"
"A way out of this conversation. What say we look for one together? Wheeler, I'm serious: move."
Joey smirked. "No."
Seto sighed irritably, glanced at his watch, and lifted Joey off the floor, placing him – none too gently – to the side. "But I'm the jerk..." he muttered.
"Joey, knock it off," Yugi admonished, with no real reproach, before the blonde started in again. "I don't think you wanna make Kaiba mad."
Finally finding what he was looking for, Seto knelt down and grabbed the spine of a rather thick volume, inspected it, and nodded.
"Before you ask," Seto said, cutting Yugi off as he was drawing in a breath to speak, "this is for Mokuba. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. Yes, I am an insufferable, belligerent asshole. No, I am not sorry for that. No, I don't intend to change that, because I don't like you. Because you annoy me."
Raising an eyebrow, Seto looked at the pair. "I trust this will end the conversation. Feel free to add your input to it amongst yourselves."
He turned away from them.
"Ya know, Kaiba, I'll never understand what Mokuba sees in you."
Seto didn't turn around.
"Bad day, Niisama?"
"Not particularly," Seto replied dryly as he hung up his coat. "Rather normal, I'd say. How are you feeling?"
Mokuba smiled. "Better."
"Good." Seto tossed a small plastic bag his brother's way. "Here."
Blinking, Mokuba opened the bag and withdrew the book. His eyes lit up, and he grinned widely. "I've been waiting for this! Thanks, Niisama!"
He walked over and ruffled his brother's hair. "Feel good enough to go to school tomorrow?"
Mokuba nodded. "Prob'ly."
"What about you?" Mokuba asked, grinning mischievously.
"No fair." He pouted.
"Never has been. I'll be in my office, kiddo. Have fun."
The grin was back. "'Kay."
And so it began again. Like any number of days in the Kaiba home, the elder would work in his study, while the younger sat in the front parlor.
Some time during the evening, Seto would make dinner, and Mokuba would beg for dessert even though he was never hungry enough to bother with one, and would protest when Seto reminded him of that fact, saying that this time it was different; he was famished this time. Really.
Then Seto would make Mokuba brush his teeth, come into the boy's room at nine and turn off the television. He would tuck Mokuba in, and if Mokuba protested he wouldn't really mean it.
"I love you, Niisama," Mokuba would say as his brother left the room.
"Love you too, kid," Seto would reply as he turned out the light.
Seto would go back into his study and work until he couldn't keep his eyes open, then depending on how late it was he would either go to bed or just sleep in his chair.
And no matter which happened, he would wake up at four in the morning, would wake Mokuba at six-thirty, and the cycle would begin anew.
It was a routine.
A comfortable routine.
"Why don't you get out more?" Yugi sometimes asked. "Why don't you try new things, meet new people, go to new places?"
The answer was simple, really.
"We have all that we need."
Firstly, I would like to thank Shakiah Kestrel. Without your assistance, I doubt I would have finished this. Your input was invaluable.
The opening line to scene one, like in the first section, is a quote from the dub, this one from Seto himself. However, I altered it slightly for the sake of flow. The actual line reads, "Thank you for saving my brother Mokuba's soul..."
I felt that the use of Mokuba's name here was unnecessarily wordy, and so took it out. Throughout this series, it seems like the dub's writers thought we might forget a character's name if it isn't spoken at least four times per episode, and the same could be said about the relationships between certain characters. How often, for example, have we heard Joey talk about his "sister Serenity," rather than simply his sister, or Serenity? Apparently the use of one label necessitates the other in the minds of these people.
I would also like to note a specific factor in scene four. Although I could not describe it sufficiently enough, I did have a specific piece of music in mind when I wrote that scene. A small piece written for episode 3-15 ("Half-Wit") of "House, M.D." Those of you who have seen that episode will know what I'm talking about. I still believe that that song is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard played on a piano. And it fit the scene well, I think. For those of who who have no idea what I'm talking about...substitute something soothing.
I made an attempt to shed light on Mokuba's character a bit this time, but it didn't happen quite the way I'd figured. So, I decided to just run with it. While the first section deals more with how Seto came to earn the title of "Niisama," this section deals with Seto's beliefs on just what that means to him, in terms of responsibility.
This took far too long to get out, I think, and I hope I never have to struggle through something like this again. But then, I probably will. I hope the work put out something enjoyable. And who knows? Maybe I'll crank out a third section at some point. I don't know.
Until we meet again, my fair audience, I bid you farewell.