Disclaimer: Whedon owns all. Fall Out Boy. "I Don't Care.". Folie à Deux, 2009.
Summary: Angel didn't let on that this was in the previous century. There was no point.
Notes: This one got put on the back-burner by my muse for a bit. It seems to be back for the time being.
Notes, cont'd: The Magdalene Asylums were initially refuges to assist and rehabilitate women, particularly in Ireland, but also in other countries including the United States, who had engaged in prostitution or suffered sexual abuse of any kind.
They increasingly turned into punitive sorts of prisons where 'fallen' women who had borne children out of wedlock through means of 'indiscretion' or rape were forced to do hard labor, most often laundry for long hours and never allowed to see any children who resulted from their 'affairs'. The last Lady Magdalene laundry closed in the Republic of Ireland in 1996.
Mal leaned irritably up against the counter as he watched Doctor Tam examine both River and Connor in their sleep. He glared at Angel again, once more bothered when he didn't get much of a response from the apparently ancient man.
"You know," he said irritably, unaccountably disturbed as he watched Angel lean over and stroke Connor's hair away from his brow before kissing it. "As much of an explanation as you pretended to give us about your boys there, you really didn't and it's startin' to get on my nerves. Doc explained about his sister - you said my ship was honest and as long as you're on it, that'll include you and I don't care how old you are, dong ma?"
"I do keep dancing around it, don't I?" Angel asked lightly, thoroughly dismissing Mal's attempt to threaten him and, thus, angering the captain further, which Angel noticed, though his face remained contemplative.
"Point: Sam is a vampire with his soul returned to him - I arranged for that before Los Angeles fell so it was still in place when Hell on Earth That Was came to our doors and when the door was slammed shut. It - Sam's soul - remains there to this day.
"Point: Connor is my biological son who shouldn't be alive except that God - you'll leave me to my beliefs, captain, and I'll leave you to yours. Yes, his mother was another vampire - my sire - ah, the vampire who made me...a vampire. Darla.
"She and I had an interesting talk about that that's...actually probably not very interesting to anyone but Shepherd Book, but...she damned me, just as surely as she'd damned herself. But...she gave her life for our son. Connor. She died to save his life the night he was born."
Mal, on the point of interrupting, snapped his mouth shut, a glare on his face and his heart thudding for reasons he honestly didn't understand. Angel had made it a point to seem as non-threatening as possible to him and his, so what the hell was up all of a sudden that he couldn't get a word in on his own ship, nor assert his own rules without being brought low and Angel was doing it again and again and all he felt about it was a schoolboy's gorram shame? That didn't damned well make sense.
He avoided looking at Kaylee's face right now, knowing her feelings almost as well as he knew Zoe's. She would be heartbroken to hear Connor's origins and wouldn't bother hiding it none.
But Angel was talking again and Mal found himself strangely compelled to listen, " - God wouldn't waste a promise made in earnest. I earned a life so when his mother couldn't use it, it was given to him. He's human except for demonic strength, healing, reflexes - apparently he can't age past sixteen, either, though being in the Quor'Toth dimension poisoned his body so much that now that he's out of that cesspool, his mind has taken up the slack, though I doubt it would have again if the Alliance hadn't gotten a hold of him."
Angel sighed very heavily and Mal and Simon could both feel over a thousand years of weight within that soft expulsion of air, but Mal fought not to let it affect him.
"I can feel everything that's been done to them, I just don't know what it was. My body is non-specific about anything other than them hurting. And Connor and Sam hurting, I cannot abide peacefully or no."
Angel had gotten a haircut on Persephone and now ran his hands through his once-again short hair, feeling as though he did when he first reached the shores of New York so long ago. He had to find his ground, now, and try to stand on it.
"Point: Sam was already suffering even before his soul was returned - I...my soul...when I turned him, I had my soul, so a fragment of it was given to him. We share souls just like my youngest does with his mother...when she was pregnant with him, his soul suffused her, gave her a conscience she didn't have otherwise. But Sam..."
Angel ran his hand over his hair again and frowned, remembering that day as clearly as any other, just like always. "He...Sammy begged me for a mission - to kill him, but I couldn't...I couldn't keep the promise I'd made sixty years before - so I decided to use Wolfram and Hart's - I know those words mean nothing to you - resources to pull his soul out of the ether and give it back to him."
Angel's face became forlorn but resolute, "I damned myself again - or so I thought - because I played God just as the Romany gypsies - ancient tribe, long gone - no point in explaining now - who cursed me did, except that my intent wasn't that of revenge, but of salvation. Perhaps that's why he's never lost it."
Angel sighed, "I took him to see a friend of my mate's - my wife, she's dead, I don't want to talk about it - and he was able to tell me that Sam's soul is not in the precarious position the gypsies left mine in because I never wanted him to suffer. The same actually went for me by then, and I was surprised that he told me that because he hated me, except that my mate and another of our friends - the one who restored mine the second time - threatened him with certain torture if he didn't tell the truth that time."
Angel didn't let on that this was in the previous century. There was no point.
"The innocence in Connor's soul was destroyed by the man who raised him instead of me. Then, further by the...thing...whose face your first mate and best friend resembles through no fault of hers. Connor put his fist through her skull and then tried to kill himself and twelve other people after taking them hostage."
Angel continued to stroke Connor's hair, never once looking in the captain or Simon's directions, even as he knew he caught Simon up short. "I did it for him and then I had his memories and past rewritten. This was undone later by my best friend, Wes, who made a presumption based on my mistaken belief that what they didn't know couldn't hurt them - I have a long track record with that, hence my words earlier about the truth and my adherence to it now.
"Still, hopefully, I can bring him back to where he was on Earth That Was, after all of that. My best friend - not him, her name was Cordelia - was able to detox him of all the horrors of that place, but another of my best friends - the one I was just talking about - accidentally opened them all back up again out of a mistake."
Angel frowned now, infinitely saddened, "Sometimes Connor's able to escape them, others he thinks he's back there - killing because it kept him alive. The demons in that place called him 'The Destroyer' and that's who he becomes. That's who you saw when he was up on that scaffold.
"Right now - and just as soon as he landed down in front of River and they communicated, sharing each other's sorrows - he's asleep. He's just Connor. I-I need to go get his hockey jersey. He likes to sleep in it and Willow - she put a spell on it so it would never fall apart..."
Angel carefully turned toward the exit, but Mal got in his way. He sighed and forced himself to be patient.
"Yeah?" Mal challenged, visually fed up with Angel's adept ability to set up camp under his skin and bother the go se out of him like a damned tick. Angel would have smiled if he didn't feel like crying all the time now. "Well, you still haven't answered what the hell you are - "
Angel turned around and opened his mouth, but Mal cut him off. "Yeah, you listed all kinds of titles, but you never said WHAT. YOU. ARE."
Angel's calm demeanor still failed to change and Mal felt himself growing yet angrier, until he - fed up - snarled, "Soon as we stop on Whitefall, you and yours are gettin' the hell off my ship."
"I paid your mechanic fare for myself and my sons for however long we want to stay on this ship. Unless you give us that money back, we're not going anywhere." Angel's tone, in turn, while still calm, didn't allow for discussion. "And even if you do, I doubt either of them would go without my say so and, even then, not without a fight - which I don't want and I know my youngest doesn't want."
Trevor Lockley's only words to him came back yet again, as they often did these last five hundred and some odd years and now he repeated them to Mal, his voice quiet and wistful.
"You got any kids, Mal?"
Mal obviously resisted the urge to roll his eyes, "I assure you, Angel, if I had any runnin' around the ship, you'd never miss 'em."
Angel took this in, expecting as much, "Then don't try to tell me how a father feels or why he does the things he does. A loving, if misguided man told me that once. I didn't have any children at the time, myself, and said as much. I didn't understand desperation until I looked in my son's eyes and tried to convince him he had things to live for, that he had family and friends who loved him - that his life had only just started, but he was right. I just wasn't there before. I missed sixteen years of his life - his first steps and words, his - well, I suppose this only would have mattered since he was my son - his first kill. I couldn't comfort him or reassure him.
"I highly doubt the son of a bitch who raised him ever did much of either, no matter what he said. I know it felt foreign to him as it had to me at his age. Different circumstances but the result was the same - he just wanted to stop fighting. Stop feeling alone. I didn't understand horror until my other son had my best friends trussed up with double-aught wire, gagged and helpless, his eyes looking into mine - Come on, chief...
"Don't underestimate me, captain, I picked your ship for a reason, and it may be yours, but you won't be the one who gets us off it."
Angel frowned further and wheeled around, followed by both Simon's exclamation of shock and Mal's loud swearing.
Sam was leaning in the door jamb, his boyish grin on his face full of pain that Angel easily recognized from the moment Sam had been Sired.
"It gets funnier every time you tell it, Chief. I always wonder if I'll stop being amused, but - every damned time."
"Sam," Angel said quietly, adopting the same mildly chastising expression he'd held earlier toward Connor. "Did you hurt anyone here?"
"You already know I didn't, Chief," Sam said easily, entering the infirmary and ignoring the flinching Simon did toward both the sleeping River and Kaylee, as well as the captain's reflexive pull and cocking of hs gun. Sam looked at the gun and chuckled lightly, looking at his father and pointedly rolling his eyes.
"You know my rules, Sam," Angel reaffirmed and Sam sighed and shook his head 'yes'. "Will you sit very still and let the doctor examine you - "
Both ignored Simon's deer-in-headlights expression. "Or will I have to hold you down and gag you?"
"The brig, again? But, sir, I was just released! I haven't gone against regulation!"
Angel sighed, "It's not that you've done anything, son, it's - "
"She looks ripe," Sam said idly, his placid face on Kaylee and the captain swore again, stepping in front of his mei mei and pointing his gun directly at Sam's head. "Oh, that won't do...well, it'll make a terrible mess - I'll suffer amnesia and definitely migraines from hell, but eventually I'll be to rights."
"Samuel Aaron Lawson Angel," Angel said dangerously and, surprisingly, Sam froze, whimpering.
"Not right - not right..." Sam muttered, tears suddenly springing to his eyes and spilling over. It was only then that he got a look at River and his eyes widened. He slowly looked at Angel. "Chief?"
"Are you going to be good or do I have to put you in the brig again?"
"No...no, no - no, please?" Sam whispered, biting his lip, drawing blood, which slid down his face. Angel calmly swiped it away with his thumb, licking it off before taking hold of Sam's face and gently holding his attention.
"Are you going to let the doctor look you over and make sure the - "
"Hands of Blue, two by two, Hands - "
River stirred worriedly against the wall, her murmurs becoming the same as Sam's, "...Of Blue...Two by Two..."
"No, not that kind of doctor, Sammy, I promise. He won't poke and prod. He just fixes things gone wrong with your body - puts things back to rights. Gets everyone through this..."
"Safe and sound," Sam said softly, a relieved breath coming to him as River muttered, "Safe and sound" in a small echo and finally settled.
"Is he your first in command, sir?" Sam asked worriedly and Angel frowned, openly bothered.
"Of course not, son. You and Connor. Always. I know I promised."
"You did, very, very long ago. The world was fire and demons were in the ground and the sky and of the buildings."
"Everything was hell, I know. I...messed up again."
"No!" Sam disagreed fervently, reaching forward and gripping every inch of Angel's torso that he could reach. Angel picked him up effortlessly and placed Sam on a table. "You didn't!"
"Well, who else did? Who got Wesley killed? Who got Gunn - "
"Turned back into a man in more than just flesh. You gave of yourself. Little Brother was dead - you made them turn you back into this, into us...if not quite."
Angel was stripping Sam of his clothing and Simon was gripping his medkit as though his life depended on it, but - and this Mal noticed, as well - hadn't begun inching away from the bed. Kaylee was now awake and watched with wide eyes, but didn't seem to be horrified. Afraid, yes, but not terrified. Angel knew she saw Sam as the victim he was, so many times over.
"Which he has been," Angel said softly, glancing at her, long used to the way her eyes now widened because he knew her thoughts.
"You a reader?" Mal asked, aiming his gun at Angel again, who rolled his eyes and sighed, "Did I not say that? Did I not say I have the ability to see things that are coming and, if they're strong enough, other people's thoughts? And that I can influence the thoughts, emotions, and actions of my sons?"
"You...did..." Simon said hesitantly, afraid to look away from Sam's injuries for fear of the vampire attacking him no matter what Angel said.
"Simon, how fast do you think I am?" Angel asked then, and Simon's eyes widened before he forced himself to concentrate on his work and simply answer.
"I'm not sure, sir. I've never seen - "
Angel dashed around the room, picking up the various tools and antiseptics he knew Simon would use even if he didn't need all of them, and then methodically lined them all up next to Sam's chuckling body, all of this done in a mere ten seconds - probably less.
"Eight point five, five, six seconds," Sam said with the pride of a six year old tying his shoes for the first time. "Go Chief!"
Angel mussed Sam's hair before turning to stare at the flabbergasted captain. "You should probably put that away. All of us - River, too - could have that out of your hands and you on the floor before you could so much as squeeze the trigger. No need, of course, but we could."
"He's no bad man," Sam rolled his eyes, vamping out and giggling when Simon flinched backward, exclaiming, only to be caught on the shoulder by Angel and given a slight shove back to Sam, who was now waiting patiently.
"Sam, put your face away, please, you're scaring the doctor."
"Shouldn't he learn to get used to it? Anyway, he hasn't seen Little Brother's, so this should get him nice and prepared."
"Right, nice and prepared for Connor's much less dramatic game face. Away, please, Samuel."
"You'd think he was ordering the kid to put somethin' he caught back outside," Mal muttered, but then Sam growled at him, fangs still apparent.
"Samuel." Angel's voice allowed no room for argument.
With another snarling noise, Sam's face receded and he froze perfectly still as Simon mustered up the courage to work on him some more.
"He's not gonna hurt ya, Simon," Kaylee said drunkenly. "His dad's there ta protect ya."
"Forgive me, Kaylee, I've never worked on vam - vampires before," Simon forced out as he examined old scars on Sam's body that seemed to be what what formed a latticework on his shoulder.
"For these to be this ingrained, given your enhanced..." Simon palpated the region and Sam hissed, but a look from Angel kept him still perfectly motionless. "There's something...embedded...in his shoulder."
Simon shut himself up and simply slathered a numbing agent onto it. Sam flinched backward, whimpering, but then Angel walked back up and took hold of Sam's face again, "Look at me. Look at me."
Sam didn't whimper again, but tears fell as Simon cut a horizontal incision into Sam's skin just above the scarred tissue and began removing it layer by very fine layer.
Simon could tell the captain was staring the whole while, but before long was only focused on the work he needed to do. Slowly, painstakingly, he alternated removing thin layers of scarring and injecting numbing agent into what remained until finally...
The captain swore liberally in Mandarin as thin wafts of black smoke drifted upward and the smell of ozone filled the infirmary.
"Oh, my God," Simon whispered, trying not to let his horror and revulsion show. Beneath the layers of what turned out to be cauterized - for lack of a better term - scar tissue, there was a set of crosses composed of various types of metals, it seemed, embedded into Sam's skin, burning him literally from the inside out for who knew how long.
Angel forced himself not to show any anger or dismay lest he upset his eldest more, but kept his face carefully blank as Simon finally suggested sedating Sam like his brother and River.
Simon removed the crosses, one by one, tossing them in the medical waste bin and feeling almost as repulsed by them as he knew his patient likely was. This wasn't the holiness the Shepherd spoke of, this was a sacrilege. These crosses were no one's protection, only someone's idea of fun. And punishment undeserved, even he could see.
"I can't have him conscious if I intend to repair this," Simon whispered as quietly as he possibly could into Angel's ear, hoping Sam was too busy whimpering to hear him.
"Leave it, his body will repair it and there won't be a scar. Now that the...now that they're gone, he'll feel better."
Simon ignored the tears he could see gathered in Angel's eyes. Angel ignored him back altogether, "Sammy, do you care to stay still while I go get your brother's jersey? I'll only be a minute."
Sam's only response was another, softer whimper, and Angel frowned, another tear trailing down his face as he finally stepped up and took hold of Sam's arms, arresting his sudden movements as he allowed Simon to sedate Sam, too.
Standing still momentarily and breathing deeply through his nose, Simon tried to calm down and Angel rather pitied him. But he had more important things to think about right now.
"I'll be right back," Angel said and before anyone could see either Mal or Simon saw where he went, he was gone.
Kaylee's eyes were wide, however, and she smiled thickly. "Whoa, he's a fast one. Like an angel...like he's got wings you just can't see."
"That's just his name, mei mei, Mal corrected, glaring darkly at the direction Angel had gone. "No angels on my boat."
"You're wrong, cap'n," Kaylee insisted, taking his hand. "'Cause I just saw one. He was all dark and shiny even if he didn't have wings. Not ones we could see anyhow."
Mal honestly didn't know what to say so he simply stroked Kaylee's hair until she fell back to sleep and then left the infirmary. He could crack wise to the preacher or Inara all he wanted, the fire of turmoil being stoked in his belly wouldn't be assuaged by a few untoward jokes. He hated Angel and couldn't understand why. He couldn't even bring himself to call the man out of his name and that sense of obedience scared him more than anything else. Mal obeyed no one, that was for sure.
He was the captain of this wayward ship and no one was going to steal that out from under him, not in his own mind, sure as hell not outside it.
So why was he so afraid?
...The best of us can find happiness in misery...
Angel snatched up Connor's discarded Los Angeles Kings jersey and shook it out, brushing off the small amount of dust that had gotten on it from its position on the floor, before turning to go back to the infirmary.
Captain Reynolds was standing in his way and suddenly Angel could remember with the clarity of a church bell the day he left his family's home forever.
You'll want to move away from the door now, Father.
Shaking his head, Angel frowned and stared at Mal, the first vestiges of anger seeping into his face and tone. "Move."
"See, here's where I think you have things a little backward," Mal said, pointedly stepping into their haphazardly messy suite and folding his arms as he tried to act like the fact that he couldn't meet Angel's eyes was his own doing.
"This is my ship and on my ship the only one givin' out orders and havin' 'em followed would be me. I told you that when you got on and I don't see a reason in the 'verse why I should do a thing you say, vampire or no."
Angel's face closed even further and he stepped forward only to have Mal diverge into his path. Even now, he could feel the man shaking, but slightly. He admired Mal's courage even as it pissed him off.
"You don't want to go down this road with me, boy," Angel said calmly, and Mal blinked, shocked and even frightened as, inward of his own head, he heard those very words issuing from his own mouth, only he was speaking to Dr. Tam...Simon...
Go through it, but don't ever expect ter come back!
Mal resisted the urge to yell with everything he had in him. "You an' yours got on and in less than a day's time have turned my boat inside out. I should leave you lay and..."
Mal froze. He was saying his own words again (this time, to Shepherd Book...elsewhere...) and it made his skin crawl.
He looked again at Angel, who was still staring at him, his face closed, blank, clutching the jersey. "Demon."
Angel actually froze and then looked upward, "Are you happy, Cordy? Buffy? I actually have a reason to say it!"
He looked back down at Mal Reynolds and said pointedly, "Duh, dumbass. I've only been telling you as much. But that's not your worry, as you like to say. I'm a Seer. I've been one all my life, even when I was a normal human - "
"So you are human - "
"My ship! My crew!"
"You have them. You'll have them as long as you need."
"Stop talking in riddles!"
"Stop being obtuse."
Mal was breathing heavily now, just itching to punch this hyun dan in the mouth so hard he couldn't say another word as long as he was on Mal's boat...but he couldn't.
"Who the hell are you?" Mal snarled in a low voice. "Bad enough I got an Alliance Fed trussed up somewhere on my ship, bad enough I got a bunch of strays makin' trouble I don't need - you're not even all human and I'm just supposed to - "
"I believe the technical term is many-times great-grandfather," Angel sighed, leaving Mal blinking before backpedaling.
"I - no way in Hell."
Angel gave a little laugh, chased by a sardonic smile, "Funny you should phrase it like that."
"What the hell are you - "
"Short version: I wasn't exactly a monk during my first human years. Far from it, though I believed deeply - never stopped, hence my anger. I hated that God would reject me in such a way as to let me become what I did, that the very way of life I loved - something my father never believed about me, but I don't care to go into religious semantics - would reject me so. If God truly felt me an aberration, then I was going to be that aberration, in His Holy Name, I decided.
"My logic wasn't exactly sound. You don't really get sound logic out of a demon, but I've always had an obsession with love...different targets, but my feelings have never wavered in their strength. I can't help but do three things: protect, love, or destroy, depending on whom I'm directing those feelings or actions toward. Anyway, I thought I'd slaughtered the entire village, taken care of everything that had reminded me of my whole life there...but I was wrong."
Mal couldn't stop staring. His anger and fury over Kaylee had been shoved into a backseat and he hated it, but he couldn't stop listening.
"It was customary back then and even into the mid-twentieth century to send women who'd been unchaste or even raped to convents. I've always found that disgusting, but as much as everyone likes to make of the power of one, the power of many still takes precedence in most cases, including one such as that.
"Popular opinion brands the girl a whore and she's punished for something she wanted equal or no part in and the male party gets off scot-free. As it turned out, your many-greats-grandmother was one of those unfortunate women. They were made to do hard labor and never allowed to see their children, who were either adopted out or raised by friends of the family elsewhere.
"My last argument with my father was about Cara. I..." Angel breathed deeply, anger smoldering in his eyes even at events so long past. "Her family blamed her for 'letting me defile' her; I wanted to marry her, but her father hated me and wouldn't allow it, especially after finding out she was with - carrying my child. That sent him over reason's edge. The tragedy of his daughter bearing my child was something he couldn't abide. I begged my father to try to do something to stop it. He said I needed to learn my lesson once and for all and, maybe, seeing the 'true' - "
And here Angel's face became livid with anger and Mal felt his breath hitch. "Consequences of my actions might teach me to fetter myself and my ungodly urges in the future, lest it happen to another girl. In the end, I left, but I was too late - she was gone, sent away, and I was never even allowed to see my child. My - well, they weren't my friends, but I didn'..."
Mal could hear a strange accent leaking slowly into Angel's voice the longer he spoke, but his head was too full of what he was learning to comment on it or much of anything.
"Anyway, they couldn' understan' why I cared so much abou' 'er fate - she was just a woman after all an' what were they, really, but little more' horses in most peoples' minds. I hurt so badly I drank all o' me money away, but...I coul' see, even then. I've always dreamt o' things. Me mate did the same, bu' that was connected ter her Callin'. She weren' a Seer such as me an' me mam befer me - she died, just like me father's first family all died...he thought himself a walkin' sin just as he taught me.
Angel laughed sadly, "An' me, o' course. Another thing me father felt was some sin 'e'd earned. Me whole existence. Devil's child, they called me. I almos' wasn' even Christened. Damned, they felt me. I begged God's fergiveness. I canno' describe the pain. Then again, I don't have ter describe it ter ye, do I? That seperation..."
Mal felt that same strange lance of pain shoot through him as had on Serenity when he'd watched those airships launching. As had taken over as he watched near everyone under his command die...except Zoe. Clenching his eyes shut and pulling them open again, he gritted his teeth at Angel, but the man wasn't watching him just then.
Angel snapped out of the faraway expression that had taken over his face, but the change in his voice was still there, "I don' know what happened after that - her name was Cara, before ye ask, the Irish fer 'friend', but a name, as well - but it saved her from me an' what I became. An' her misfortune o' being sent ter hard labor an' destitution o' sorts actually kept her alive.
"I don' know if we had a daughter or a son...all I know is down an' down the line went somehow an' finally, here, five hundred an' seventy-five years later, even now...yer blood calls ter mine. Because it be mine. It sings. You be o' me blood, just as me sons're - I suppose ye're wondering why ye react ter me the way ye do. It's not yer fault."
Mal was staring at Angel, his very soul tingling with the truth of Angel's words despite his not wanting to believe them.
"You're goin' out my airlock," he whispered, unable to yell and walk away like he desperately wanted to.
"Do you really think so?" Angel asked calmly, sighing in his own mind.
"Right now," Mal forced out, but it wasn't nearly as resolute as he usually sounded.
"I'm going to give the son I do have back his jersey," Angel countered, his voice back to normal. "Then you might want to check on Mr. Dobbs. He'd do anything to get free and turn this whole crew in for anything he can think of."
Mal's eyes widened and then he raked his hand through his hair. "You and me ain't finished with this."
"Duh, little one," Angel said softly again, this time with a very slight smile. "I'd tell you in Irish, but you'd never understand me. That's pointless at the moment, though. Pain is scary and Jayne is of the same mind - for now. I'll give my son his jersey and then..."
A very dangerous smile grew on Angel's face and Mal found himself torn again. He wanted to step away, he wanted to join Angel and Jayne in their torture. "You go to your mei-mei. She needs you. But first...show me to our Mr. Dobbs."
Mal would never admit this to anyone, but at that particular time he was glad of this inability to disobey.
...Say my name and hiss in the same breath - I dare you to say they taste the same...