Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Stephenie Meyer created it all. All credit goes to her for the lines utilized from her books.
This one shot was originally entered into The Canon Tour – Twilight round. A problem occurred with a reviewer that resulted in a difficult situation for me, and I respectfully requested that Solar Eclipses remove it from the competition. I thank her for her understanding and help with the matter.
"Alice, please," Edward begged, his voice sounding almost hoarse from his agitation.
I should have made it easier on him, but I was tired of waiting, so I was making him humble himself a little in retaliation. Bella was going to be my sister and best friend. He was making it more difficult than necessary and just prolonging the inevitable – duh…he was being Edward Cullen. Moody, prone to angst, and mercurial. But Bella did first have to make it through his plans for the afternoon, so I caved. Hearing my thoughts, he, of course, grinned that silly smirk of his.
"So you want us to be at the meadow when?"
~~My Brother's Keeper~~
Jasper just shook his head in consternation as Edward left the house, one of the first true smiles I'd seen in a long time plastered to his face. "We should just get Carlisle to bite her and get this over with," Jasper growled. "It would definitely make everyone's, and in particularly my, life better."
Jasper was pragmatic if nothing else, but I knew that he wantedBella for Edward as well. "Shealreadyloveshim," he'd told me. Silly man…I already knew that…had since Edward's first sniff of her in the biology room. A million thoughts had flown through his mind, a million decisions, but what remained constant was the fact that Bella walked out of that room alive. Oh…he'd dreamed of a thousand ways to kill her, but every time I'd started to race his way, it'd stopped. Finally, I'd gone and remained outside the doorway, just waiting and watching…just as Jasper and I would do this time. It was by sheer will that Edward had conquered his monster that time, which amazed me. And just like I'd planned for the last event, I would make sure to get to him…just after he bit her. Again, I was tired of waiting.
"C'mon darlin'," Jasper drawled against my throat. "Before we play chaperones, let's go hunting, and…" he stopped, sending a particularly vivid vision of our bodies entwined my way. "It'll take Isabella hours to hike there because Edward is going to be super careful." He bit his lip deliciously and raised his eyebrow at me, promising me untold delights.
"Bella," I corrected him, then I giggled, dreaming of a warm meal and my husband's even hotter body as a leisurely dessert for afterwards. Yes…I suspected that we had a long time before Edward would get her there…just enough time for the feast being offered.
~~My Brother's Keeper~~
Jasper groaned when, as she passed below us, Bella's scent wafted up through the boughs of the tall western Red Cedar and Douglas fir trees prevalent in the Forks area, saturating the air around us. Even though we'd hunted with Edward last night in preparation for this, Jasper had intentionally glutted himself again on several deer as well as satisfying himself with me before we made our way to the meadow as Edward had requested.
"How he withstands that, I'll never know." Jasper said as he tensed, his golden eyes darkening ever so perceptibly.
I put my hand on his arm to calm him, my touch doing what words couldn't. "She's his mate, and just like you'd never do anything to hurt me, he's doing his best not to hurt her."
Jasper shook his head briefly. "I don't know…he is being torn in a hundred directions, Alice. The thirst for his singer, the love for his mate, his first hard o…"
I smacked his stomach just as Edward growled under his breath. He was irritated at hearing Jasper's ribaldry; I could see, though, that his desires were finally surfacing, whether he wanted to admit it or not to our family. Bella would never hear us, but what Edward was about to attempt was hard enough…no pun intended. Jasper and I were here to make it better, not worse.
I smirked at Jasper. If he could tease a little, it was a good sign that he was accepting Edward's interest in Bella despite his misgivings; honestly, this was the first time we could seriously pester Edward about sex. Before, when Tanya had stalked him, it had just been harassment. The human girls that had lusted after him in the past just didn't count. Now…it was appropriate torture. He had it bad for Bella, which was fitting considering she was his mate. How long did he think he was going to last? Tanya and her sisters were the only ones that I knew of that could have sex with humans and the humans survive. Even with the trio, it was touch and go for the fragile beings when the sisters were in the throes of sexual lust and less mindful of their own strength.
Edward would have it infinitely harder, denying both his thirst and lust at the same time. He was an idiot, but he was my idiot brother, and I loved him even if I wanted to dismember him for his silly delaying tactics. He snarled at my assessment, causing Jasper to look over at me and roll his eyes. I could tell my mate was holding his breath. After his first whiff of Bella, he'd shut down all breathing. Ever the gentleman… He'd remained distant from Bella in order to control his thirst. It was a testimony to the fact he considered Edward so much a brother that he was here.
We were all being tested through our newest member to the family. Me…my patience, and my mate, his bloodlust. Carlisle had already begun to reassess his philosophy – finding the will to turn the first nondying human, and Esme as she held us all together…dealing with Rosalie's wrath and Edward's joy and heightened angst. Only Emmett, in his unequivocal delight, walked around the house singing. "Dude,justbiteher,getitoverwith,andletAliceandmeplanthehoneymoon.It'llbegoodtohaveyouhappyforonce." Never mind that our treaty explicitly forbade that. His words had drawn a round of laughter from us…ironic, considering a couple of us had been planning her death just days before. The realization that she was Edward's mate had changed everything, I mused, glancing sidelong at Jasper's smooth face.
I heard Bella call Edward's name. We were just about twenty feet from her, perched on a sturdy limb at the top of the Douglas Fir we'd scrambled up. Covered by the thick branches, we remained hidden to her, but could see her clearly as she called out to him. Looking below us, I felt a wave of sadness when I saw his face. He was nervous and fearful to let her see him, wondering if his sparkling diamond appearance would send her running. Bella might never know just how much it took for Edward to walk out into the sunlight, but Jasper and I did. Jasper's hand slipped into mine, giving me courage as I whispered my own encouragement, "Now, Edward!" I felt Jazz's hand tighten slightly, and I knew he was calming our brother, while at the same time sending him a huge dose of courage.
Bella's gasp was followed by her holding her hand out to Edward in petition to join her. Relief and love, so potent it hurt my dead heart, raced across his face as he took the step that would change everything for us. Visions of Bella with my family raced through my head...her laughing with Emmett, reading with Jasper, shopping, albeit grudgingly, with me, cooking with Esme? Carlisle wrapping her in his embrace, Rosalie smiling softly at her? Okay – the Esme and Rosalie visions were throwing me for a loop, but I couldn't always explain what I saw before it happened.
We watched Edward approach her slowly, and she revealed her faith in him by sitting down at his feet. It was if she was either unbelievably trusting, or a total fool. She was sitting at the feet of a man that was struggling against the need to ravish her and drain her in equal measures. God, I loved this girl. It made me furious again - for just a few moments - that Edward was keeping her away from us; aside from my finally formally meeting her at the Forks high school cafeteria before we went hunting in preparation for this. He sat down, and then surprising Jasper and I both, he lay down onto the grass as if he was going to take a nap.
"He's trying to make her feel at ease," Jasper muttered quickly, using some of his air.
"You can breathe, I can't smell her now." I looked up to see that the gentle wind was blowing away from us, stirring Bella's brown hair, infused with strands of red and auburn, in faint wisps around her face. Jasper nodded, and relaxing slightly, took another breath.
He chuckled slightly and then the sound of Bella's heartbeat thundered loudly across the way from us as the moments of their questions of each other wove gently into minutes and then an hour. Bella sat to the other side of Edward, her chin resting on the top of her knees, her arms wrapped around her legs as if she was attempting to hold herself together or resist him – I wasn't sure which.
"Alice, I can't do this," Edward whispered to me after a pause in their conversation. "I want her too much, and it is overwhelming." He groaned in agony. "To lose her now…" he left off, his voice full of pain. This wasn't the first time he'd panicked and whispered similar words while they'd been laying in the sun. He'd come here knowing, that due to his nature as a vampire, there were three distinct resolutions to this outing…her death, her change to a vampire, and what he most desired – her continuing to live on as a human, loving him with all her mortal heart. Our presence here was his attempt to ensure the third was the only choice. Literally, Jasper and I were playing keeper to our own Cain and Abel…wrapped up into one teenage vampire. I'd reassured him the other times he'd become unnerved, so Jasper took over, focusing, and Edward slumped slightly.
"Thank you, Jasper," he said sincerely.
Over our heads, the sun was brilliant and the breeze gentle in the meadow. It was an idyllic setting, perfect for the fairy tale prince and princess lounging in the midst of the slightly swaying purple, blue and yellow flowers and grass blades. But Bella wasn't just a priceless beauty, she was brilliant as well. As she questioned Edward, I wondered just how exceptional she would be as an immortal.
"Edward, what are you doing?" she asked.
He opened his golden eyes and looked directly towards her. "Doing?"
"You look like you were talking?"
Panic filled his face, but she wouldn't be able to notice it…yet. "I was singing…" he left off.
Singing like a canary…or would be when Bella finally got his number. She was extremely observant, and would be even more so once she was turned. Edward was fortunate to be able to momentarily deflect her inquisitiveness. I chuckled at the soft growl coming from Edward when he picked up my thoughts. When I whistled like the tiny bird, Jasper quickly caught on to my connotation, and, smirking, he joined me. The rumble from Edward increased slightly, but still below what Bella would be able to hear.
Then we all froze when we saw Bella slowly and hesitantly begin to extend a hand toward Edward, laying her fingers gently on his hand. Jasper's hand in mine tightened almost uncomfortably, and I knew he was afraid for Edward and Bella. He caught my eyes before focusing on the boy we both loved. If Jasper's grunt of satisfaction was any indication, I knew what Edward must be feeling…total and complete fulfillment at the touch of his mate, enhanced by the blazing heat that must be coming from her fingertips.
Flashes of future intimacies raced through my mind…gentle brushes of hands against skin, the trailing of Edward's nose along her neck, kisses to the forehead, and the ultimate of intimacies to a newly "dating" couple…the kiss. I saw a man I almost didn't recognize…it was Edward, his face free of strain and stress and beside him Bella…golden eyed and vampire white.
I knew this would upset him, so I searched for Emmett in my visions and saw him being handed his ass by the fragile girl caressing Edward's hand. Emmett's astounded face was priceless. There was no way, even with the fact it had been a vampire Bella who did it, that Edward wouldn't find Emmett's disgrace funny.
"I don't scare you?" Edward asked her, a smile, from my images and the feel of Bella, gracing his lips.
Cleverly, Bella answered, "No more than usual."
"Do you mind?" she asked, indicating the freedom she was taking at worshiping his skin.
"No," he said. "You can't imagine how that feels." His contented sigh danced across the meadow, wrapping itself around us to tantalize us with the uniqueness, before it continued into the forest to be absorbed by the teeming life of greenery.
"Dear God, Alice. The feelings coursing through him," Jasper whispered in my ear. "It is as if the venom is boiling under his skin…focusing on the exact point of contact between them. Her heat…it is almost overwhelming, but it is at the same time as if he needs to be closer, to feel the heat of her soaking into him. She's his other half, human or not." He raised his eyebrows and smiled in surprise and fascination. "I can only equate it to the moment I saw you sitting in that bar. It is excruciatingly beautiful."
He meant it, I could tell by the look on his face. I turned to see Edward smiling softly and then to Jasper to see the contentment he was channeling.
"Ah…the first caress, how truly wonderful." Jasper's voice was full of hope.
I was so grateful that I could have Jasper's interpretation of what was going on with Edward physically, because my gift was working overtime, seeing moments of incredible passion between them. I startled and internally gasped when the flashes of vision showed that Bella was still human during some of those times and wanted to shriek out – NO WAY!
As my visions progressed and as I flipped through what I had seen, they'd continued to speak, and I was somewhat pleased by the fact that Edward had to beg for her thoughts. Served the voyeur right…I thought with glee. For so long, he'd been privileged to hear and see everything, that it was perfect comeuppance to have the one mind he would want to know intimately denied to him. I was with Carlisle…there was definitely a God.
"What are you afraid of, then?" he whispered to her.
Then everything went red in a sudden flash of potential future as she leaned toward him, blood dripping from Edward's lips, Bella's eyes closed forever in the sleep of death, Edward's flight for destruction, my grieving family having lost not one, but two children…because I already counted her as ours.
The sound of Edward below us, standing in the shade of a smaller fir just beside the tree we'd climbed, having zipped away from Bella in a split second, called me back to the present. I'd been just about to leap to the ground and intercede.
"ALICE!" he screamed softly. "Jasper, please." He was shaking violently. I'd never heard him so desperate. The fact he'd run toward us spoke volumes.
"You are fine, Edward," I said immediately, showing him the correct future, seeing everything right again. See,noharmdone.Youarestrongerthanyouthink;Bellawillbequitealright. We were back to their sweet romance, the slow building of their passion, and the demolition of Edward's reservations. "Breathe," I told him. "It was just a momentary detour."
"One that could destroy us! Destroy her…me." He cried out softly. "She is…she's my everything."
"I have you," Jasper said quickly. "I'm going to keep you covered. I promise. Edward, I won't fail you," he said.
"I'm…sorry…Edward," Bella called out across the way. We oriented ourselves toward her, seeing her fear.
"Give me a moment," Edward called to her. Then to Jasper he said, "Jazz, infuse me with as much calm and serenity as possible, please. I need to make it up to her…I want her to see that I can be…" his harsh laugh burned me. "I was going to say a man she could love. I guess we know the odds of that." He began moving toward her slowly. His next remark was as much meant for Jasper and I as Bella. "I am so very sorry. Would you understand what I meant if I said I was only human?"
We could smell her fear, and it infuriated him.
"Edward!" Jasper warned, but it was too late. Bitterness welled up within him and for a moment he reacted, blurring around the meadow, snapping a branch from the smaller fir below us and throwing it against the tree we were in, causing it to shake. "Edward, stop! Now! You're making it worse. Go to her. Quit letting the fear control you," Jasper hissed.
We were surprised when Edward did exactly that. The look on Bella's face broke through his temporary madness. I saw his beautiful face slowly morph. It was full of sadness now.
"Jazz!" I turned when he didn't answer and saw that his energy was entirely focused on Edward.
"Don't be afraid. I promise…I swear not to hurt you." Edward's voice came softly.
Jasper nodded at me, and I sighed in relief, knowing that we were past the immediate crisis. A sound of someone coming toward us from further in the forest captured our attention, and I grinned seeing the blond hair. Carlisle climbed into the tree with us. Clad in a light blue T-shirt and jeans, I was amazed at how young he looked.
"Sorry I'm late," he said as he settled himself onto a limb next to ours. "The sunshine kept me a little longer at the hospital until I could sneak away. Esme is on the way as well, but she was settling down Rosalie first." We all knew what he meant...Esme was attempting to deal with Rosalie's tantrum. "How's he doing?" he asked softly looking toward the talking couple.
I gave him a quick summary, and he nodded with a brief smile. He rolled his eyes when Edward began using analogies about food, alcohol, and growled slightly when he finally broke into a discussion of illicit drugs. "For God sake's son, just tell her," he said softly. "She is going to be your salvation, I just know it. She'll do what it takes to help you."
Edward looked our way, a quick look of adorable pleasure racing across his face at the thought. He began to talk in response to a direct question from Bella. "I spoke to my brothers…"
Carlisle smiled gently at Jasper as Edward spoke about him, putting his hand on my mate's shoulder in affection. Nothing, even the slips that Emmett, Jasper, and Edward had experienced, would keep this man from loving us. I reached over and pulled on his T-shirt, drawing his tawny gaze. I stuck my tongue out at him earning a slight chuckle and a tweak to my nose.
"Wasn't going to happen," I said quickly when Edward described the thirst he'd had in the science room and how everyone in it had almost been destroyed. My remark drew a quick glance from my brother.
What? I was just attempting to keep it real.
"Tell her, Edward. She needs to know of your flight to Alaska," Carlisle said softly, but his guidance was clear. I knew Jasper was still providing the calmness needed, and as soon as Edward decided to follow Carlisle's instruction, I grinned at the vision that overwhelmed me. Bella was going to understand his suffering, she was going to understand us all…she was going to love us. I squealed in glee, shaking my and Jasper's perch briefly. He took a deep breath at my thoughts and gazed at the sky above us. He was telling me to calm down. NO WAY!
I was lost in the torrent of visions entering my mind, awash in my dreams of us as a big happy family, so even when he began to speak about the discussion we'd had as a family I didn't pay attention until he said my name. Instantly, my eyes were on him, and I caught the grimace. My visions included Bella as a vampire. He wasn't pleased.
As much as he was telling her his most intimate feelings, he was telling me as well, that he was unwilling to live with my visions. "Isabella." To all of our amazement, he ruffled her hair. Carlisle's gasp of happiness was as clear as a bell. "Bella, I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt you. You don't know how it's tortured me. The thought of you, still, white, cold…never to see you blush scarlet again, to never see the flash of intuition in your eyes when you see through my pretenses…it would be unendurable. You are the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever."
She laid it on the line to him then…that she loved him. Not in those words, of course, but in a way more potent. She told him that she would rather die…die than stay away from him. She would choose to be a vampire, I knew this. My visions were rock-solid on this point, and I flipped to the image of myself holding Bella with her red eyes and pale skin, and smiled. From the look in Carlisle's eyes, he knew it. Jasper had already determined it was a foregone conclusion. To relieve the tension he could sense in Edward, Jasper growled realistically when Edward called himself a lion. I was sure that he'd chosen the mating roar on purpose. He wanted Edward to find pleasure and peace with Bella. Visions of lions mating raced through my head, the male mounting the female gently, roaring his pleasure, while he nipped at her neck. I saw Edward's eyes darken at my thoughts and he narrowed them in warning. Bella was watching him too carefully for him to hiss at me.
"Tell me why you ran from me before."
"You know why."
When she tucked her chin down and muttered "No throat exposure," even Carlisle smiled broadly at the joy of the moment. "I can't wait until she is with us. We've needed her…he's needed her…for so long," he said gently.
We were distracted as Esme came to a quick blur at the bottom of the tree, but her gasp as she watched them forced our attention back to the miracle occurring in the meadow. We saw the subtle tension that came across Edward, and I looked to Jasper in question. Something was about to happen. Then I saw it, just a bare second before he raised his hand to place it at the side of her neck. Jasper, Carlisle, and I prepared to drop down to the bottom of our tree, ready to intercede. But Esme held her hands out with a "shush!" for us to stop. Then we heard the undercurrent of adoration in Edward's voice when he murmured, "The blush on your cheeks is lovely."
He was cradling her face between his hands. "Be very still," he whispered.
We watched in equal parts wonder and horror as he laid his cheek against her throat. Esme fell to her knees in the coverage provided by the shrubbery and low-lying saplings, overwhelmed by the poignant moment.
"Too close!" Jasper hissed in worry. Then, he shivered in delight, Edward's feelings and emotions taking over.
As Jasper reacted, Edward lowered his face to rest against Bella's chest. Then Jasper stopped and his eyes turned black, his hand rubbing against his chest reflexively. He dropped down to the ground as Carlisle did. Carlisle moved to embrace Esme as they watched in joy as Edward's head remained on Bella's chest. Jasper pulled me in as I hit the ground from the tree to hold me cradled in his arms, and we watched the wonder unfold.
"Ah," Edward sighed, and I couldn't control the same response from tearing out of my chest.
Then, as the sound of Bella's thundering heart surrounded us, covered us, reminded us of the beauty of humanity, we, like forgotten garden statues left to be overrun by the greenery of an unattended garden, remained hidden and frozen as the unimaginable happened before us. A vampire, who'd never known affection other than as a son and brother, lovingly held the human who'd stolen his heart.
Esme actually sobbed when Bella caressed his face lovingly, stroking his eyelids, cheek bones, nose, and lips. Jasper couldn't stop the purr that rumbled from him, and I could smell the scent of arousal coming off Edward and Jasper.
"I wish. I wish you could feel the…complexity…the confusion…I feel. That you could understand," he told her.
When Bella explained that it was the same for her, Edward was finally able to realize that the intricacy of feelings was in good part just an issue of old fashioned lust and love. She surprised us all by laying her head against his chest. I looked to the others, and we realized that Edward was past the moments of needing us and our presence now seemed more voyeuristic, like I'd accused him of before, than helpful.
"Edward, we're going…" I left off, allowing him to give us a sign that he didn't want that to happen. We'd done as he requested, but as I suspected, he hadn't needed us. But that was Edward, being over-protective. In this instance, I would give him his protectiveness. I wouldn't rest easy until Bella was one of us and a little more indestructible.
"Thank you," he said softly, and then I saw him grin toward us, over the brilliant reds and browns of Bella's hair. The look on his face was of pure bliss as he rested his cheek to the top of her head, her body surrounded by his arms, protectively. My visions were secure; he was going to be okay.
~~My Brother's Keeper~~
"Esme, I promise to do everything to convince him, but you, of all people, know how stubborn he is," he murmured as we walked slowly through the forest, heading for our home.
She hadn't even had to finish her sentence. He knew her ultimate desire was for Edward to be happy, and it was obvious to at least five of us in the family, what would ensure that happiness. We'd leave Bella to convince Edward, the rest of us would work on defusing Rosalie's anger, envy, and bitterness, and attempt to persuade her to come to our realizations of the burgeoning relationship.
"I can't believe he touched her, and let her touch him." Esme sighed, as she leaned over and wrapped her arm around Carlisle's waist, insinuating herself under his arm.
I giggled, looking at the two of them. They were rarely apart, still needing the contact as if they'd just mated. At that moment, Edward's plan rushed into my head, and I couldn't breathe as I immediately stopped, zoning out momentarily. I heard Jasper calling my name frantically, but I couldn't get over the unbelievable images racing through my mind. I grinned, attempting to let them know everything was okay, and the gasp that escaped me when Edward touched his lips to Bella's echoed around us. But when I saw his impish grin afterward, I couldn't help but dance in place. Suddenly my black-eyed family came back into focus. I could tell that Carlisle was ready to sprint, thinking he had to get to them.
"He kissed her!" I shouted, caring less that I looked like a fool. "And he's smiling about it. He's as besotted as she is," I giggled out.
Esme's eyes glazed over, and I saw her fingers clench around the blue fabric of the T-Shirt Carlisle wore.
"How long, Alice, before he gets home?" Carlisle asked quickly, looking to Esme hungrily…he had after all been at the hospital all night.
"Early tomorrow morning. He is going to stay with her while she sleeps," I murmured as I zoned out briefly, searching for the time we had available to ourselves.
"Hm…we'll meet you at the house then," he grinned and then picked up Esme in his arms, blurring into the woods. Carlisle was smart…he was going to use Esme's happiness to his benefit.
"You know he doesn't have such a bad idea," Jasper drawled from beside me, waggling his eyebrows at me.
"We just…" I started and then realized I didn't care.
His "So?" caused me to laugh and I jumped into his outstretched arms.
~~My Brother's Keeper ~~
We were all waiting, well, except for Rosalie, who was fuming in Emmett's and her room. "He'll be here in a minute," I said quickly and saw Esme smile in anticipation. We heard Rosalie mutter snidely, "Stupid fool," but chose to ignore her…intriguingly, even Emmett was interested in meeting Bella more than dealing with Rosalie's misplaced feelings.
Edward, even with his mind reading abilities, didn't have a chance. Emmett was the most anxious, not having been able to join us at the meadow. He was bubbling over with excitement to catch and razz Edward after his day and "acknowledged" night in her room. Edward had spent many nights there, but this was the first time that Bella would know it. We heard him coming through the woods in the pre-dawn mists, and I buzzed in anticipation.
Knowing it was useless to avoid us, he walked through the front door. Esme and I looked at each other, delight on our face at the contentment he radiated.
"Edward," Esme breathed out. Her pleasure at his happiness was apparent to everyone.
He smirked but shook his head in embarrassment and humbleness. If he'd been human, there was no doubt that his face would have been red.
"Tell us!" she said in a voice only a mom could command.
"I told her everything about us…she knows, and she doesn't care." His face was a mixture of awe and disbelief. "She loves me." The level of disbelief was more apparent when he said the last three words.
Esme raced to him and wrapped him in her arms. "Of course she does. Who wouldn't?"
He chuckled softly…and my mouth dropped at the sound. "I just came back to shower and change. I want to be there when she wakes up."
He was telling us that he wanted to hurry, but I wasn't about to let him go until he said it.
"Edward!" I growled, gaining his attention. He knew what I wanted; it was clear from my thoughts.
His golden eyes glowed when he looked at me. "I need her…I love her. I don't know how yet, but I want her to be a part of the family. Is that…acceptable to everyone?"
Esme's and my squeals, drowning out Rosalie's growl, and the smiles that blessed the male faces around me were answer enough.
Would love to know what you think?
Many, many thanks to my three betas: Crmcneill, Hopeforastalemate, and Cold One Paul for taking their time out to make this one-shot shine.