XX As with the clouds comes the reign
Sipping from his green tea silently, he observed the star rising in the distant horizon. Alone in the solitude of the morning sunrise, he could do nothing but reflect on the mysterious questions asked of him.
Many of his division had come to call at some point during the night and early hours of the morning, inquiring about why other Shinigami were claiming he had attacked another captain, defended a Ryoka and used a forbidden Kidou.
Aizen had no answer for anyone who dared to call upon his residence. Unlike his vice captain Hinamori, the Aizen within the domicile could not speak for his own actions and for all he could remember they had never been his own. For more than a hundred years, he had worn the mask made by an artificial reality generator. He had once stood by the side of Shinji Hirako, as a vice captain. Unfortunately, he had neither the mental capacity nor the ability to be consciously aware of ever holding an official rank. He did not even have the ability to plead for Aizen to be merciful enough to end his life.
The doppelganger continued to sit there, even after the star had risen beyond the limit of the edge of the porch, enduring the sacrifice that was never his choice, probably as he would for all of time.
Of the three captains alone in the chamber of the slain council, the real Sosuke sat quietly among the decaying judges. Kaname and Gin dispatched the orders of their lord to a cadre of knelt messengers. Their orders were as real as if a judge of the 46 were speaking to them. Respectfully, each of the messengers listened and memorized every word down to even the manner in which it was spoken as it were their singular purpose in life. Their primary order was the final execution of a long anticipated and carefully sequenced exit strategy that would being Aizen's journey to the throne of all mankind.
Aizen's silence was not entirely unusual, he often delegated menial tasks to his subordinates, but with good reason he remained silent this time.
For the first time in a long while, Sosuke was concerned about the recent events and how they coincidentally happened to intertwine with his own movements. The words of his enchanted subordinate Hinamori had left him quite harrowed, as her eavesdropping had stumbled onto a major revelation.
'"I hear you went against the architect...
"I can hide you somewhere safe, maybe even take you to him…"
"No, he promised me he would make me his equal, therefore I cannot run."
"there's a monster of a shark in this pond, everyone thinks he's just a minnow, but I know better…" '
Like the doppelganger, Hinamori had no level of consciousness when it came to the orders given to her. Even still, her admiration of Aizen would have stifled any subconscious qualm even if one happened to appear. Like a tape recorder, Hinamori recounted the events of the previous night that she had overheard, a curious conversation between Zaraki Kenpachi and Kuchiki Rukia.
Following this train of thought, Aizen reflected upon the irregularities since he initiated the endgame for his plans.
'Byakuya and Renji met with unexpected force in their real world mission, to the extent of narrowly being defeated by children.
Las Noches was attacked, his Privaron wiped out by a single individual, a vizard of unknown origin and mask configuration.
Zaraki uncovered the connection between Aizen and Shinji. He even goes on to reveal that he knows and bows to the destroyer of the fortress.
Zaraki nearly destroys Ulquiorra, a fight which should have been a win for the vastolord. Zaraki survives a level 90 Kidou, and deliberately shows no regard or fear of Sosuke.
Zaraki acts as though he knows the true colors of the fifth captain, yet in spite of this remains reserved in his actions. The fact that he is reserved indicates a plan is in motion, a plan where Zaraki is not the one selected to deal with him.
Zaraki and Kuchiki are aware of a plot involving her! As impossible as it could be,none of the other Shinigami had even a trace of his true nature until now… The prior night though, when he showed himself might be enough to sow doubt into the Shinigami. The problem with Zaraki and Kuchiki is that up until this point neither had contact with the other, yet they seemed so intimately familiar; almost comfortable with each other, as would any who had shared experiences.
Sosuke disregarded Zaraki for a moment because any speculation on the part of him was irrelevant, the captain could be dealt with or discredited without too much effort.
In his opinion, the most damning revelation from his vice captain was the nonchalant attitude which Kuchiki regarded Sosuke. Even in the face of such a threat to her life, Kuchiki refused aid from Zaraki. Kuchiki Rukia was not mired in self destructive doubts and pain, as Sosuke expected her to be. Kuchiki was calm and collecting, she was aware of everything that was transpiring, patiently waiting for pendulum to swing back in her favor. More directly, she was confident enough to reason that she had nothing to be seriously afraid of.
There was little doubt to Sosuke now that everything started to link together, one cog into the fingers of another, progressing not in his favor.
His arms and shoulders were covered in a chill of fear for the first time in an age, as he realized the identity of the one who was attacking him as their could be no other: Kurosaki Ichigo.
Everything was stacked in the favor of this conclusion, his connection to Urahara and his parentage were the primary. It was painfully obvious to Sosuke that Kuchiki inexplicably knew the outcome of any contest between himself and Ichigo would end in the latter's favor, it was the source of her confidence. The result of the breeding of a Shinigami and a human had clearly produced a being far more incredible than Sosuke had theorized. Urahara could have made him a vizard, granted him Shinigami powers and necessary training for both. When presented with Kuchiki Rukia, any number of lies could have been woven to favor the boy while indoctrinating the pair of them with the knowledge of what had transpired in the past. It was clear that Urahara knew of the boy's potential like Sosuke had, and turned him into a enforcer of his own ideal.
But Sosuke on the other hand was not a weakling by any means, he perfected his skills over centuries of life and could not be crushed by some child with hastily acquired powers. He the master of all four Shinigami arts, having captain level proficiency in each field could not be bested by the likes of Kurosaki. Sosuke's momentary displacement was replaced by his righteous resolve, as he knew that he could weather whatever storm Urahara was planning, enforcer or not, the presence of this boy could not dissuade him from action. Luck was still on his side as he was now informed to the presence of the child, and would plan accordingly.
Acknowledging that Ichigo was no longer the child Sosuke believed him to be meant changing all of his plans to suit his new construct of reality. Obtaining the orb was still paramount, though the means in which he acquired it would have to change. Sosuke could not risk drawing out the execution of Kuchiki Rukia, nor could he suddenly have it happen. Sosuke was still hindered by the fact he could not physically access the core of Kuchiki's soul. He could reduce the waiting period for her execution even though it would bring undesired attention to the senate.
A slight snicker came to his lips as he realized how he could distract the Shinigami and at the same time distract Kurosaki.
Kurosaki was not invincible and Sosuke could deal with him in the manner most befitting a god, he would delegate the task to someone beneath him. Recent events being what they were, Sosuke could take full advantage of Ulquiorra's presence and turn it against his enemies.
With a fiery gait of purpose, Aizen rose from the bench he was leaning against. His presence immediately silenced his subordinates and the messengers looked to him as an elder judge.
Appearing to the cadre as a senior judge, Aizen's mastery of perception went as far as to change his voice into something more raspy and ancient. "The council have need of only one messenger", he spoke dismissing most of the cadre with a waving of his hand.
"You are to report to the Captain commander that we have received evidence suggesting that the Ryoka yesterday was a probe of our defenses, a prelude to a coming invasion."
Kaname and Gin weakly looked at each other in quiet dismay, this was clearly not what they had expected him to say. Their plan dictated that Kuchiki would be put to death for her crimes, so what was the intent behind Aizen's new directions?
"For too long we have turned a blind eye to the heresy of Urahara Kisuke. Our evidence suggests the Ryoka to be soldier created by Kisuke. The foremost expert of hollow research has created an army which we believe will come under the guise of attempting to rescue Kuchiki Rukia."
Kaname came to accept that Aizen had a reason for changing their plans, even if he could not yet grasp the motive behind the change. Gin began to see how this shift in tactics could benefit their goals, even if it exposed part of their overall plan.
"If a war is to be on the horizon it is the Shinigami who will start it! We must protect the innocent souls of soul society and the innocence of the world from the blasphemy of Urahara Kisuke. Therefore, it has been decided by the council of 46 that all captains of the Gotei 13 are to depart for Karakura-cho and silence that traitor once and for all!"
With a waving of Aizen's hand, the messenger darted off into the morning… to spread the news of war. Kaname and Gin were speechless, tactically it was a masterstroke that only their leader could think of. Although neither of them could sense why Aizen had taken such an abrupt course correction, he must've had a legitimate reason for doing so.
Aizen sneered at them, "Urahara has managed to create an enforcer that might prove troublesome to us. It's the boy, the son of Kurosaki, I used Ulquiorra as a scapegoat but he'll understand. I need time to research extracting the orb. Send all of our clones along with the Shinigami, see that they are killed in action. Our deaths will galvanize the Shinigami into the correct mindset we need them in. Even if the truth comes out, Kisuke and Kurosaki won't survive long enough to know of it."
In times of weakness due to his ailment, Juushiro could usually be found in what most would consider a feudal lord's kind of retreat. Basically it was just a covered pavilion in the center of a lake, connected by a narrow boardwalk. But it was peaceful and isolated, which allowed Juushiro to rest undisturbed, except Kyoraku did not find him peacefully slumbering but awake and lost in deep thought.
Juushiro's mind labored with the meaning behind the conversation between Kuchiki and Zaraki as he was the other eavesdropper. Uniquely he never thought he'd see a day where his closely reserved subordinate could ever openly speak with another captain and do so in an intimate manner. Mysteriously, the pair of them seemed to be under the impression that Kuchiki's detaining had to do with a plot against her life, by a tormentor that Zaraki had met first hand, in combat perhaps.
Juushiro was usually out of the loop when it came to recent Intel, thanks to his illness, but in journeying to meet or observe Kuchiki as it were, he found himself awe struck by the battle which took place between Zaraki and a being of vastolord caliber. The battle's conclusion obviously held the most interest to him, Zaraki's apparent powers had grown beyond all recognition and as he was about to deal the coup de gras, Captain's Aizen and Komamura intervened in the favor of the invader. Obviously, there was legitimacy behind Aizen's motives, not wanting to kill the Ryoka in favor of gaining information, but his actions definitely seemed out of place for someone like Sosuke. It was not so much the action but more so the remarkable powers in which Sosuke wielded. Like Zaraki's newfound power, Sosuke seemed quite adept at using attack Kidou which were beyond the limit allowed by the law. Perhaps it was justified that only a level 90 could stop someone of Kenpachi's caliber but even still, it made Juushiro doubt everything he thought he knew about the fifth captain.
His thoughts were broken by the presence of his old friend Kyoraku, broken but not forgotten, he placed them on a shelf in his consciousness. Much to his surprise, Kyoraku had brought a large encyclopedia, which he recognized as the zanpakuto of the eight vice captain. The fact that Kyoraku had brought Nanao's zanpakuto was proof that their subordinates had returned with valuable Intel. Without speaking a word, Juushiro's brother in arms set the zanpakuto before them and with the brushing of a page with his hand, activated the sword.
What unfolded before the pair of them, was something truly remarkable. Nanao's zanpakuto opened like an encyclopedia and exposed the pair of them to an actual other worldly view of the subject which her sword had recorded.
They were in a room, of what they presumed to be the residence of Urahara Kisuke… they had been sent in order to ascertain the truth of the situation involving Kuchiki and Kurosaki Ichigo. After some time, a door opened, revealing the one named Ichigo, who remarkably resembled the late Shiba Kaien. Then as he entered, Kaien arrived in the doorway as to prove the similarities accurate.
What he saw… what the pair of them saw made Juushiro's blood run cold. It had to be a mistake…Kaien was alive; the Kaien that he had carried to the door of Kukaku so many years ago was talking and laughing as if he had never died. As much as Juushiro wanted to cry out that it had to be fake, It wasn't just a projection of his dead vice captain. The zanpakuto of Nanao displayed the entire environment of it's exposure, including the internal emotions and subconscious thoughts of everyone involved… Juushiro's eyes watered with tears of relief and happiness that somehow Kaien had been redeemed from the monster which had taken his life. In his heart, Juushiro was assured by the zanpakuto that there was no subterfuge involved, no spell had been cast, there was no puppet master pulling strings. Kaien was alive and seemingly well again and to Juushiro that meant more than anything.
The legitimacy of this Kaien was without question, yet the words in which he and the younger twin spoke, were highly doubtful. Not since the days of Urahara's reign as the technological development chief had there ever been the mentioning of someone with an interest in the production of hollows. It chilled them to think that someone else was capable of creating a hollow that could possess a soul and masquerade as the soul until it had been consumed. Even more so unique was breakdown effect, such an altering of a zanpakuto's physical state had not been witnessed since the days of Kuchiki Kouga and his Muramasa…
Kyoraku's intelligence and the ability to render the truth of a situation was one of the commander's greatest prides.
When Ichigo recoiled slightly at the mentioning of Aizen Sosuke, to Kyoraku it was a flashing light bulb, and given the events of the previous night,
"An architect of misfortunes… huh?" Ukitake Juushiro weakly spoke at having seen the visual records presented by his subordinates, "A rather elaborate title for the real identity he can't yet share with us, wouldn't you say Juushiro?" asked Kyoraku, as he had already perceived the possibility of the boy knowing the real identity, but used a convenient cover up.
"Kuchiki also referred to an architect…" Juushiro added to the moment, revealing in depth what he had heard his subordinate speak with Kenpachi.
Juushiro spoke freely from his mind, stating possibilities based on his initial impressions, "perhaps the slip we witnessed in Kurosaki's demeanor and the words of Kuchiki and Zaraki's suggest that they know the identity of this architect of misfortunes. It's clear that he's created this title because the one that he believes is his enemy is someone we'd almost never suspect. Even if we interpreted this correctly though, the real we have no supporting details other than the words of a human an accused capital criminal and a captain of questionable standing."
Kyoraku followed Juushiro's thoughts and verbally reached his own conclusion, "any statement from Zaraki at this point would be viewed as revenge for Sosuke attacking him. There's not much that Zaraki could say at this point that would be taken seriously. Kuchiki Rukia's word also has very little value, all things considered.
"Unfortunately for us, that leaves just Kurosaki", Kyoraku concluded grimly, " as a human, value of his word in any accusation of us isn't worth the air used to speak it."
Bright and early, as if someone else was really pulling the strings, fate itself appeared in the doorway of the Urahara shop. It came in the form of a usual Shinigami customer, who for a certain price would divulge the political climate of Sereitei as he always did. This time, the customer came with an almost staggering amount of tactical intelligence.
Isshin, stood behind the door curtain, listening intently as the customer began to speak. His demeanor was solemn, and reserved, as he had been since the day his son returned.
All of Sereitei was in a state of disbelief, two captains of the Gotei 13 openly and directly attacked another captain who was in combat against a Ryoka…
Isshin's eyes widened and he felt a chill reach into him like a hand reaching into his soul.
Just as Urahara was probably now gathering, it was time. That was all Isshin needed to hear to confirm his course. Even now Isshin's strength had not yet recovered completely. Although He wasn't powerless by any means, strength wasn't a requisite for what he could do and what had to be done.
The Ryoka in question had been someone beyond captain level strength, on par with the highest level of hollow, the vastolord. During the night, the invader had gathered the attention of the eleventh division captain who happily engaged him. Zaraki released his hidden powers during the fight and nearly destroyed the Ryoka.
While the Shinigami customer couldn't pronounce the name that the invader gave the commander, it was without a doubt the one named Ulquiorra. Urahara gave up on trying to fathom impossibilities, like Ulquiorra being dead. He had fallen at the hands of Ichigo only a short time ago in Hueco mundo yet had reformed as a Shinigami soul and gained access to Sereitei. Urahara accepted the irregularities as just another part of the game Ichigo was waging with Aizen.
It was Aizen who openly moved in the behalf of that Ryoka. Using a forbidden Kidou, and enlisting the 8th squad captain, probably through his hypnosis, Aizen and Sajin attacked Zaraki. Zaraki fought the pair of them, easily crushing the other captain, but he fell against the destructive might of hadou ninety. The Ryoka was able to divert most of the blame from Aizen to himself, under the illusion that he was an arrancar, a legendary type of hollow. Nonsense as it were, considerable doubt had now been sown about the once untouchable reputation of Aizen and if ever there was a time to move against him it was now.
Urahara could have stood there for days on end fathoming the possible ramifications of such Intel, if used properly. The memories of the future who continued to spin like an unending system of gears in his mind were now empowered by the possibilities of catching Aizen in a moment of weakness. Urahara turned from the Shinigami customer and took flight into the halls of his domicile, leaving the messenger in the sight of the children he sought the children below the surface. His skin tingled with the chills of disbelief, in stride he knew that this time the illusions would cease.
Leaning against the door frame as Urahara dashed through the partial curtain, Isshin reached out to him, ceasing the man's progress. Just as he had been throughout this ordeal, he had been wearing his Shinigami persona, he was the utmost of seriousness, a stark contrast to his usual self. His gaze was piercing like two sniper rounds shot into a target, they cut through the walls and into the depth of Urahara's soul.
"His quest begins now Urahara, and I'll sanction it!" Isshin said calmly, his eyes not wavering in their intensity. Urahara's present dismay was taken aback by the short but most poignant revelation from his companion. The words of Isshin were accompanied by the gesture of a hand within his Shinigami robe, revealing a thin metal crown, seven or eight inches in diameter.
Urahara's surprise was genuine, for Isshin to mention something, reveal something of this caliber, the ramifications of it were infinite.
"Isshin-san, by sanction, you mean…?" Urahara mentioned as he regarded the stern facial expression of Isshin and the metal ring in his left hand. Staggering to stand and speak he continued, "what…what makes you think he even needs that? Ichigo is more capable than anyone I've ever seen… he's even exceeded what I've seen of you."
Isshin's mind processed for a moment before stating the obvious, "so I take it you have some idea of his full strength?"
Urahara revealed an object also, the white card through which memories, thoughts and words could be transferred between two souls. With it in his hand, he explained all that he had seen, from Ichigo having a full hollow form similar to an arrancar release but not as precisely controlled. Lastly he recounted that in his full hollow form, Ichigo had stood victorious over Aizen.
Isshin observed the object for a moment and took Kisuke's word for he had seen. Isshin however did not have time to probe the truth, not when an even greater truth was still the more relevant. Regardless of strength, Ichigo still had an impassable barrier in front of him.
His resolve furthermore unbroken, Isshin pressed the greatest weakness that Ichigo possessed, it was not one of strength but even tougher to fight. "If you were the Gotei 13 and had someone come to you fitting Ichigo's description, filling your mind with tales of a dark future, an architect of misfortunes, would you believe?"
Urahara stepped back from the he who had lived in the present, and reinserted himself into the captain of the twelfth. In doing so, he knew that he would have a hard time swallowing the words of a human who had stolen Shinigami powers. The captains, he himself included were bound by the dogmatic ways of their society. Tragically, the Shinigami were narrow-minded, and slow to react to any kind of great change. Also he reasoned that any information that Ichigo were to provide would be easily dismissed as propaganda and would only expose his hand to Aizen, who would then be free to exploit the situation to his advantage. Ichigo would be regarded with the darkest of eyes as a committer of heresy, in addition to the theft of power.
Urahara had to admit that the greatest fight that Ichigo had before him was not of physical strength, but of how he was perceived. Naturally he could run Aizen through his blade and put an end to the situation, but it would force him against each and every Shinigami he never wished to fight. The future could not be expected to follow the same script, Ichigo had changed things too drastically already. The Shinigami would not turn against Aizen without overwhelming tangible evidence, unlike Ichigo's memories which could be disputed as an illusion.
Bowing his head respectfully, Kisuke admitted that his friend was correct. Isshin had already jumped to this conclusion to save his son from being labeled a heretic by the Shinigami. The future he had sought to change would grow undoubtedly more difficult without the Shinigami at least open minded to his presence.
The other complication came with the words that Ichigo might speak in relation to him serving the king.
Only the zero division acted in the name of the king, and to speak of the king without being zero carried the same fate as heresy.
The crown held firmly in Isshin's extended hand was the key to that change of perspective. Regrettably, it was the only way that Ichigo's desired future could come to pass.
Urahara lowered his head, removing the hat from his head and lowered his legs until he had assumed the position of kneeling respectfully, his left arm tucked behind his back as knight would before their king. As respectfully as anyone had ever heard him speak, Urahara queried their next move, "General Shiba, what are your orders, how should we proceed from now on?"
Isshin flinched slightly his face showing more of his usual disregard for anything serious, but given the situation he let the comment slide. It's not like it was untrue though, it was his name and title, but he had buried it on the day he married Masaki.
Isshin extended the crown to Urahara who accepted the item and treated it delicately.
"This isn't the world he came from Urahara, he can't hope to reproduce the same kind of favorable outcome in his meeting with the Gotei 13. As his father it's my duty to prevent my son suffer the hardship of fighting those he considers friends. If I failed to at least do this, I would be less of a father than I already am…"
"Give this to Ichigo, and inform him of what has occurred in Sereitei. Ichigo is to assume the rank of Zero Division Colonel and move out immediately. Ichigo will be sent first to rescue Kuchiki and then when we arrive all of us can take down Aizen together."
Isshin had eloquently laid out his orders, drawing to a conclusion he reemphasized the importance of acting now. "It's clear that Aizen has given us an opportunity to strike him in a moment when his reputation is faltered, we must not fail to take it."
Ryuuken laid upon the jagged floor in the basement level of his hospital, unmistakably worn. The elder Quincy however was not as diminished as his standing son, who he guessed was running on less than fumes. Though he was uninjured, a certain sense of pride and awe kept the elder on the ground, rather than quickly rising. Ryuuken had been defeated honorably, taken down in a manner which chilled his perception of the world.
A slideshow of moments replayed in his mind during that lingering instance…
Ryuuken had let loose an arrow while caught up in the momentum of a forward jump… Uryuu seemed almost overjoyed by the presence of his father's arrow, as he drew a seele blade… as the elder had seen in the movies of lore, his son caught the approaching arrow with his blade and parried it back to its source… and while the arrow itself was not worth focusing on… Ryuuken watched in awe as in the same move used to deflect the arrow, Uryuu launched that very blade at him as an arrow of his own. This was not the crowning achievement of his son, only the beginning of the trap which his son was orchestrating before his eyes…
The seele struck the ground at his feet, drawing his immediate attention to it as another four seele soared over striking places around his feet and he knew what was coming. And so with the tossing of an energy capsule from his son, Ryuuken took flight, only to land outside the pentagon of the five arrows only to find Uryuu behind him. The trap had been set and activated perfectly with Ryuuken then in Uryuu's line of fire. Mercilessly, Uryuu ended their several day war with a shot directly to Ryuuken's chest. Though the arrow was weak, had his son been at full strength, the blow might have killed him. Tactically the victory was Uryuu's and that was enough for Ryuuken to throw in the towel. The fall of his arrogance was replaced by the pride of a father seeing the greatness in his son for the first time.
Ryuuken's senses were on par with any top level warrior, from them he knew that Ichigo's friends had progressed greatly during this time. Uryuu had progressed beyond any of them also in a remarkably short period. Unlike those who wanted to help that orange haired kid, he sensed in Uryuu the kind of resolve found in the desire to surpass a rival. The elder Ishida guessed that from the proud downward stare of his son, that the boy had been envisioning fighting Ichigo this entire time. While his son was no match for the boy as he stood, in soul society it would be an entirely different question. The source of his pride was simply the sight of his child having achieved the final form of their race through force of will alone.
He had pushed the boy beyond anything his father would have ever condoned.
Ryuuken had to stifle a laugh that was largely out of character for him, in spite of the requesting Shinigami, the elder had still given his son the means for concentrating and channeling high level spirit energies. Though the boy forbade the use of the glove which could render a users energy destroyed if removed, Ryuuken knew that achieving the kind of progression the Shinigami wanted wasn't possible without it. Therefore, Ryuuken gave his son the next generation of the spirit glove, condensed into twin metal bracelets, designed by him to achieve the same results but without the harmful affect. The bracelets appeared more like a fashion accessory. While the bracelets were not commonly seen on men, they were an item of high status and far more socially acceptable than a solitary white glove.
His orange hair fluttered in the wind, back and forth as he sailed through the molecules of air in the space between. Arms back, eyes on the horizon, he was finally moving and flying without wings towards his destiny. Even though he was alone this time, he could act as he was meant to without having to fear for his friends. He knew they would be along shortly with those who could keep an eye on them while letting them join Ichigo in the process of saving Rukia.
"Rukia… you need only wait a little while longer, the future is ours."
A/N: Finally, this chapter is completed. Didn't think I'd ever get this one done, ideas creep in so slowly these days and I struggle to find which ones I like and which ones lead nowhere. Finally the story is moving towards soul society, bout damn time I'd say. I'll go into more detail about Ichigo accepting the zero crown in future chapters, I didn't want to kill the forward momentum this chapter had built up with endless descriptions. I also changed the makeup of Ishida's powers, and I'd say the change from the MJ gloves is a big improvement. Unlike the previous twenty, this chapter wraps up a lot of the previously mentioned plots and events which should have created doubt in aizen, but i failed to mention.
Sorry bout the delay as always, life is being a bitch as I bounce back and forth between unemployment and working. My life worries are the catalyst for writers block and even having a job doesn't bring it back completely…
*I know I have a problem with grammar and too many commas, it's my weakness.
Thanks for playing along, -CH