I do not own Harry Potter or Yu Yu Hakusho. I have messed around in their worlds, dragging their characters into my sandbox. The characterization is not perfect, but hopefully not so terribly off that I cause aneurisms.
This is a Drabble Series. None of the sections are very long, but they do follow the same timeline, and are in order. I am doing this mostly for my own amusement, and I figured that I would share. I am not looking for comments or hits before I continue, it all depends on my own inspiration. I may continue this series for a while, I may never get past the first compiled 'chapter'. If you are looking for something completed or regularly updated, read at your own risk.
A bit of info about the timeline:
In this setting, Kurama was born as Shuichi on Dec 29/75, while Harry was born July 31/90, making Shuichi 14 years 7 months old when Harry was born. The YuYu Hakusho wiki notes that Kurama met Hiei when he was 14. There isn't yet any 'romance' in the series. It can be taken as such, but I've left it pretty ambiguous. You can interpret it as you like. I don't feel I've crossed over to the line where the debate of the Kurama/Hiei pairing is applicable, and I may never do so. Enjoy it (or not) as you will.
As far as I can work out, Kurama turns 16 the same year (1991) that the first Makai Tournament (to determine the ruler of Makai) is held, thus in this series, the Makai tournament takes place just about the same time that the Potters are in hiding, and are then killed. Koenma asked Kurama a 'final favor' after the tournament was finished and he was returning to the Human world - A massive surge of spiritual energy had been detected in England, and he had no one else who would be able to check it out. Kurama arrives in England, tracks the energy signature to Little Whining, Surrey, and then runs into a situation:
* O * O * O * O *
Minamino Shuichi, more commonly known as Yoko Kurama to his friends and co-workers, paused at the young voice apparently calling him. He looked around just to make sure. No one else was around, so he turned to the voice and took in the speaker.
"Do you mean me?" he asked, looking at the toddler sitting close by. He was dressed in oversized infant clothes, especially so on his strangely thin frame, and was looking straight at him.
"Mama!" The cry was direct and a bit plaintive, and definitely directed at him. The baby who looked barely a year old was calling him, an almost 16 year old boy, Mama. The only thing he could see that they had in common was the brilliant green eyes. While his own hair was a striking shade of vibrant red, the infant's was dark brown - although he wasn't sure if it would stay that shade when washed - and while he was clearly of asian origin, the baby was distinctly caucasian.
Abruptly a blonde woman with a long face and an even longer neck approached and grabbed hold of the boy in a very un-gentile manner. A small frown tugged at the edge of his lips, and he couldn't help trying to find out more, especially since the infant was now reaching out for him and looked ready to cry.
"Excuse me, ma'am?" he called out. The woman stopped and seemed to think hard before actually deciding to turn and face him.
"Yes? What is it?"
"Is that little boy your son?" he asked, both doubting that was the case, and hoping it wasn't.
"No," was the sharp and immediate reply, "My sister went and died and her brat was left with me."
A deeper frown pulled at his lips at the derisive way the woman spoke about her dead family and the innocent baby she carried. "I see."
She gave him a dark look at his tone, but seemed to blink in surprize as she actually looked at him.
"Mama!" The infant decided to chime in now that he wasn't being carried away, reaching for him again. The blonde frowned at the baby in an irritated way, then glanced at him again.
"You have my sister's coloring. She had the same eye and hair colour as you. Probably why he's confused." She said, looking as though she would rather say nothing. She turned away without waiting for him to respond and started marching away. The baby in her arms started struggling and crying out for 'Mama' in Kurama's direction. The farther away the woman marched the louder the baby cried, until there was a loud pop, and shriek of fear from the woman.
He would have gone to investigate, but Kurama suddenly had an arm-full of clinging baby. He was crying soft little hiccuped mumbles of 'Mama' into his shoulder and had a strong grip around his neck. Reflexively he raised his arms to hold the child and started rocking to try and get the tears to stop.
- o - o - o - o -
"And now anytime I try to leave him, he just 'pops' back into my arms and I can't get rid of him!" Kurama finished explaining to his partner. "It doesn't help that the Aunt didn't even stick around. I tracked down the house but the kid was very upset and the Aunt refused to open the door anyway."
Hiei made an impressive show of not falling over laughing at his predicament.
"So..." the drawn out pause was the only indication he got that the smaller demon was repressing his amusement, "You ended up coming all the way home from England with an 16 month old child. What did your mother say?" Kurama repressed a sigh at the thought.
"Somehow, she thinks that this is adorable. I can't understand how, I'm still in HighSchool and trying to get into a good University." he complained. "I think she just likes doting on him." Which was why he was able to meet his partner without his tag along at that very moment.
Hiei relaxed just enough at his whining to let out a huff of laughter. "Humans are crazy." he commented idly.
Kurama's expression turned serious. "Whatever power he's got... if he got it from his parents or not, someone killed over it. His parents were murdered. Heck, his childhood so far sounds like something more out of Makai than the Human World. The woman's screeching and rambling through the door when I tracked them down was enough to deduce that much."
"And the Aunt sounds like she shouldn't have children of her own, let alone anyone else's." the fire demon retorted. Kurama stayed silent in agreement.
* O * O * O * O *
Kurama's eyes bugged out and he bit his lip to hold in the surprised laugh that wanted suddenly to escape. He turned his head away from his partner's expression as a backup measure.
"What." Was the flat response to the baby boy's exclamation. Kurama was certain he was going to draw blood, or possibly burst a lung.
"Papa." the baby stated again, reaching for the smaller demon before him. Who was eyeing him with suspicion.
"Well," Kurama started to say, but stopped at the strangled sound that came out instead. Taking a quick deep breath, he tried again. "You do have... similar hair." he managed to get out before Hiei's full glare was turned on him.
"This is your fault, Yoko."
* O * O * O * O *
"Are you sure we should bring him to the Makai with us?"
Hiei turned to glare at him as he asked the question he'd repeated four times in the last hour already. "You made the call, Yoko. Everyone else who could look after him is now unavailable, or also in Makai. Deal with it."
Kurama declined to reply.
He hiked the two year old onto his back and made sure he was securely strapped on. The vines making up the child carrier came conveniently (and by Kurama's design) with the blossom of a slumber-flower blooming right under the child's nose.
Despite the relatively more hospitable Makai that had arisen after the Tournament that arose following Raizen's death, he wasn't about to let his guard down. Although he was a strong and experienced Youkai, accompanied by another, both of whom had fought in said tournament, he appeared to be a teenage human.
With an infant.
By the time they reached Mukuro's domain Kurama felt ready to drop. He'd never felt this stressed while traveling, even in the old days while pulling a heist. He senses were stretched as far as they could go the entire trip and it was exhausting.
He didn't even acknowledge the raised eyebrow from Mukuro when she spotted the toddler. Hiei also refused to comment when the inquisitive look was turned on him.
No further comment was made until the boy woke less than an hour later.
"Mama, who Papa talk to?"
Kurama most certainly did not blush. No matter how pointed a look Mukuro gave either of them.
* O * O * O * O *
Kurama turned back towards Hiei and their little boy. He'd wanted to take off and just run. It was one of the many things he was very limited from doing in the human world. But Hiei would not stop him for no reason.
Looking at the infant sitting in his partner's arms with a head full of now long silver hair, to match his own no-longer-red locks, thoughts of leaving to run were put on hold. Indefinitely.
Shapeshifter? he thought at his partner, knowing that the smaller demon would pick up the directed thought.
Seems like it Hiei's thoughts drifted back to him, and he watched with a confused feeling squeezing his heart as the smaller demon pulled gently at the small silver fox ears matching his own upon the little boy's head. Do you think that's why..?
That... woman, I'm sure she was about to call him something derogatory and specific when we first met. Kurama crouched before the boy, observing in interest as the once green eyes slowly changed to a golden yellow to match his own.
It appears likely that she knew he was a shapeshifter then, and is someone who dislike them. came the reply.
I believe that they are called Changelings in Britain, and legends about them are quite negative. Kurama took in the overall appearance, noting how, while the boy now had his Youko coloring, he appeared to have taken on Hiei's facial structure. He looked like a chibi-Hiei with his own eyes and hair. And ears.
"He looks like you, right now." he finally commented out loud. The fire apparition turned the boy in his lap so he could take in the change.
Kurama was content with the silence that followed.
* O * O * O * O *
"So does he have a name?"
Hiei snorted in derision at Kuwabara's question. Kurama didn't think it was particularly bright either, but he refrained from giving any outward sign that he thought so.
"Yes. Minamino Kuronue." he replied instead. The taller red-head looked puzzled for a moment.
"Why'd you name him 'Black Crane'? He doesn't have black hair or eyes" he finally asked.
Idiot Hiei's opinion echoed through his head.
"Kuronue was the name of a close friend of mine." Kurama replied out loud. He didn't reply to Hiei at all. It was the only name he felt anything for, and Hiei had said he didn't mind. Kuwabara still looked a bit confused, but carried on nonetheless.
"Well, he certainly looks like both of you." Which was true. Kuronue was currently wearing his most common appearance, Hiei's face with Kurama's red hair and green eyes. Kuwabara was likely thinking 'however that's possible' to himself.
"At the moment." Kurama replied. Kuwabara blinked at his reply. Before he could ask, and because there was no one but the three of them and Kuronue present, Kurama decided to just show him instead. He picked up Kuronue and sat with him face to face, then transformed into his Yoko form. Kuwabara squawked in surprise when Kuronue followed along quickly, hair growing long and silver with little fox ears on top, and once turned to face him, green eyes gone golden.
"Kuronue, why don't you try hair like Kuwabara?" he asked the child. It was the best way he knew how to help train the talent, get him to try impersonating those around him. He was puzzled when Kuronue scrunched up his face and shook his head.
"Why not?" he asked.
"Yucky, Mama!" he exclaimed, pointing at Kuwabara's bright orange pompadour. "Don't like carrots."
"Oi!" Kuwabara exclaimed while Hiei started laughing.
* O * O * O * O *
"Shuichi, can you come here, please?" Shiori called as soon as Kurama came through the door after school. Usually on days that she took care of Kuronue when he was at school he at least got his shoes off before he was greeted. She must have been listening for him.
He wondered if he should feel nervous.
"Coming mother." he replied and set his school bag down before tracking his mother and son to the living room.
Just as he was about to ask what she needed, he noticed with a gulp of silent apprehension that her fingers were playing with small silver fox ears, sitting atop a head of long silver hair.
"Ah- haha..." Was the best he could stutter out at the sight.
"Shuichi, what do you know about this?" She asked directly, even as Kuronue changed back from his 'Youko' look to his now regular red-haired green-eyed chibi-Hiei look. She seemed to pout for a moment as the small fox ears she had been petting disappeared.
"I- Er... That's- I mean, Kuronue is-,"
He stumbled to a stop to regain his composure. When he'd decided to stay and live as a human for his mother, he had decided not to tell her about his other heritage. It seems he should have re-visited that decision once he found himself adopting a changeling.
Stepping forward, he knelt before his mother and lifted the three old into his lap. Coming to a decision, he allowed his Youki out. He heard his mother inhale sharply as his hair and eyes changed color, his school uniform growing tighter on his larger frame. He could feel Kuronue laugh and follow suit.
"He can look like that for the same reason I can." he said, momentarily settling for the short succinct explanation. He would elaborate when she was less stunned. Looking at her calmly, he was thankful to see that she appeared mostly calm. After a moment she rose from the couch and approached him before brushing careful fingers over one of his ears. It twitched back reflexively and she gave a lighthearted giggle at the reaction.
"Mama," Kuronue spoke up suddenly, twisting around to look at him, "Where's Papa?" The look he got from his mother for that comment actually made him blush.
"Hiei is likely closeby." he answered when Kuronue stared at him imploringly. His mother's expression was much sterner.
"And why haven't I met this young man?" she asked with a raised eyebrow. Kurama wasn't sure if he should laugh or sputter. He managed to do neither of them, but decided that he shouldn't be alone doing this.
Hiei, are you near? He sent out mentally.
Kuronue managed to spill most of our beans. Mother would like to meet you.
He was answered by silence.
Three hours later he walked down the road beside Hiei, who was carrying Kuronue. Their argument was entirely silent.
What did you tell that woman?
Nothing like that! I don't know why exactly she seems to be under the impression that Kuronue is our biological son. And that somehow I'm the mother! The fact that she knows he can shape-shift makes that even more confusing!
It might not have helped that she saw you 'change shape'.
Kurama sputtered silently for a moment, That's not at all the same thing!
But she doesn't seem to know that. Came the swift rebuttal.
* O * O * O * O *
"So how come I'm the last to find out that you have a kid? With Hiei?"
Kurama stared at Yusuke, unsure which part to explain first.
"I ended up in England as a favor to Koenma. The kid got attached to me, and literally would not let me leave him behind. When he met Hiei he had the same reaction. He's a shapeshifter and finds it entertaining to look like Hiei and I, and to mimic my Youko transformation."
Yusuke gave him a slight glare when he was done explaining. "I didn't ask how you ended up with a kid with Hiei, I asked why I was the last to find out."
Kurama did not roll his eyes. "We haven't been telling anyone, Yusuke. Mother had to know because he'd be living with us. We had to take a trip to Makai to see Mukuro once and he ended up coming along. Kuwabara came over to visit one day and met him that way. Koenma, Botan and Yukina don't know, and Genkai never met him."
Yusuke gave him a funny look. "Well I found out from a few of Raizen's old friends when I ran into them. Apparently everyone in Mukuro's area knows about him. And when I stopped through and saw Botan last, she knew, so obviously Koenma knows as well. Yukina said that Kuwabara told her about it." A strange pout/glare formed on Yusuke's face, "So yeah, I am the last to know. Not cool!"
Kurama was a bit gobsmacked, though it quickly turned to resignation. Of course he should have known that anyone who saw them at Mukuro's would have taken note, especially as the child had started looking like the two of them just after their arrival. Kuwabara telling Yukina was no surprise, and with so many others knowing, it was no shock that Botan and Koenma both had gotten word.
"I hadn't realized that was the case, Yusuke. I apologize. Would you like to meet Kuronue?"
"Sure, let's meet the kid."
Fifteen minutes later Kurama was regretting letting anyone find out.
"So, did you turn into a girl or something? Yoko can do that, right?"
He really wanted to destroy whatever kept perpetuating this wild theory that he was somehow Kuronue's actual mother.
"No, Yusuke, Kuronue's adopted. He looks like Hiei and I because he's a shapeshifter."
"Well yeah, I thought all Kitsune were?"
Kurama ignored the urge to bang his head against a flat surface. Of all the times for someone (especially someone who dealt with actual Youkai) to bring out that stupid mythos. Just because he was a Yoko did not mean that he transformed into a woman to seduce men in his spare time.
Although there was that one tricky escape when he still worked with Yomi...
"So how old is he?" Yusuke asked as they continued their way back to Kurama's home.
"Kuronue is almost three and a half." he replied with a smile. The little boy was growing fairly fast. He wondered if this was how his own mother had felt about him.
Yusuke stopped, looking thoughtful.
"We've known each other around four years, right?" He finally asked.
"Yes, just a bit more than four years."
"So... so when you went and got the mirror, and were gonna make that wish, did you know?"
Kurama blinked at the non-sequitur. Looking back at Yusuke's expression didn't give him any clues either. "I'm sorry, I don't follow." He admitted after a moment. Yusuke scratched at the back of his neck and looked embarrassed for a moment.
"Did you know about Kuronue when you were making the wish on the mirror?" He blurted out.
"He wasn't even born at that point," Kurama replied, "How would I have... ?"
He means did you know you were expecting, Yoko.
Kurama's flushed red at the comment. I wasn't! We definitely hadn't- And even if... I was only 14!
And I wasn't 100 yet, but no one seems to care about that part either. Hiei's amused mental voice replied.
Hiei was getting far too much entertainment out of the mistaken assumption that others continued having that they were Kuronue's birth parents. Specifically that he was Kuronue's birth mother.
* O * O * O * O *
Botan & Koenma
"Kurama! Hiei! Nice to see you!"
Kurama looked up at the human form of the cheerful ferry girl as she crossed the park and knelt down to join them. Hiei ignored her and handed Kuronue an apple.
"Hello Botan. How are you?" she smiled at his polite greeting.
"I'm well, thank you. Koenma is asking to see the both of you. As well as your son."
Hiei hmph-ed knowingly.
"And when would he like this meeting to occur?" Kurama asked her.
"Oh, as soon as you're ready." Botan replied. "I'll be back to take you over shortly!" She gave them a cheerful wave and trotted away.
By the time she returned in her FerryGirl form, they had packed up and were prepared for her to take them across to Reikai. Kuronue was fascinated by her floating oar and was thrilled to ride along with her on the way. They were immediately ushered into Koenma's office once they arrived.
"Now, I've heard from several sources that you two have a son. This is him?" he got immediately to the point. It was an interesting change from his sometimes irritating hemming and hawing. Kurama supposed no longer being under his father's thumb had greatly reduced his stress levels.
Turning Kuronue around in his arms, Kurama nodded, "This is Minamino Kuronue. Say hello to Koenma."
Kuronue merely gave a shy wave, but Koenma took no offence. "He doesn't have any papers, certificates, or legal documents, does he?"
Kurama and Hiei both blinked. They hadn't really thought of it. As demons they'd never really needed any, and Kurama, as Shuichi, had never yet had to deal with getting or creating official paperwork for himself.
"Uh, no, he doesn't. It never really crossed my mind." Kurama said, a bit embarrassed.
"Well, that's what I thought might have happened. As Youkai, even ones living part time in the human world, I didn't really expect you to think about getting him official documents. Luckily we have a way around that, since it's becoming more necessary. I've prepared all the documentation Kuronue will need, you two just need to sign a few papers." Koenma said, pulling out a small folder and setting out the papers needing to be signed. One was a birth certificate.
That listed Minamino Shuichi as Kuronue's mother. Kurama's eye twitched.
Hiei was suppressing his amusement, until he saw his name on the line for Kuronue's father, listed as Minamino Hiei.
He'll need the papers. Kurama commented silently when he noticed Hiei's irritated hesitance.
Why is my name listed with your last name? Your human last name?
What is he going to put down? Yoko? That makes even less sense. Koorime?
Yes, because 'Master of the Evil Eye' will not give the wrong impression in the Human world at all.
Hiei fumed and accepted the inevitable with poor grace.
* O * O * O * O *
"Hello Kuronue, I'm your Auntie Yukina!"
Hiei was so still that Kurama wondered if he'd turned to stone. The three-almost-four year old greeted his new aunt with a smile even as his coloring abruptly shifted to match her own pale blue-green locks and blood-red eyes - the exact twins to Hiei's eyes.
When no more mention of familial relations to Yukina were made Hiei relaxed again. Kurama was glad. He'd had enough trouble convincing him to visit the shrine, and his unknowing twin sister as a result. He did not need to have that secret spilling and ruining the day.
"What's that?" Kuronue asked, pointing to the Crystal Tear hanging around Yukina's neck. She smiled gently and lifted the Hiruiseki from around her neck and gently placed it in his hands.
"This is my Hiruiseki. Like all Ice Maidens, when I was born my mother shed a tear and it became this jewel. My twin brother has one as well." Kuronue looked at the tiny round jewel raptly, then carefully handed it back to the girl.
"So, when you have a baby, you'll give it a Hiruski?" he asked, looking up at her. Kurama blinked at the sudden resemblance Kuronue had to Yukina. With Hiei's facial features and his long hair in Yukina's colors, he looked like her tiny mirror image, like he could be her son. She smiled gently at the mispronunciation.
"Hiruiseki - Crystal Tear. And I've shed a number of them in my life, they all become jewels. But the one that is shed by a mother when a child is born is the one that they keep all their life." Kuronue looked contemplative for a moment before turning in Kurama and Hiei's direction.
"Mama, do I have one?" Hiei looked distinctly amused at the question, "Did I lose your tear?" He looked less amused after that one. Likely recalling losing his own Hiruiseki. Kurama wished he could point out that he didn't have one because he was a Yoko, not a Koorime, but honestly he looked so devastated that he couldn't bring himself to. Fortunately Hiei stepped in.
"No, it's at home."
Kuronue smiled at that, perfectly content with the explanation. He turned back to Yukina, who was looking at Hiei with an amused light in her eyes. Like she knew a secret.
When they got home, Kuronue asked about the Hiruiseki again, and Hiei gave him his own. He'd reclaimed it from Mukuro years ago, but had never again wore the stone.
If Yukina noticed it around Kuronue's neck when they next came to visit, she never said a thing.
* O * O * O * O *
Kurama looked around outside, knowing his son should be around. He was headed for the University and was starting to wonder if Hiei hadn't been by to pick Kuronue up already. Usually he answered right away.
"Mama!" came the five year old's voice from around the back of the building. Jogging around the corner with a slight smile on his face, Kurama froze as soon as he saw him.
Sitting contentedly in the flowerbed surrounded by fully blooming bushes and flowers was Kuronue. The flower bed had been healthy, but nowhere near full bloom just last evening.
"Kuronue, what happened here?" he managed after getting his feet moving again towards the flourishing plants surrounding his son.
"I made them grow! Just like you, Mama!" Kuronue chirped cheerily. Kurama was feeling anything but cheerful. He was... concerned.
"How long have you been able to do this, Kuronue?" he asked when he was close enough to kneel down and start carefully prodding the plants away from his son with his Youki.
"Um... dunno?" he replied with a shrug. Kurama gave him a stern look and he continued, "I been practicing since spring! This is the first time they all got so big."
With a fond sigh Kurama reached down and lifted Kuronue from the now untangled plants and carried him around to the front door. Brushing any clinging dirt off, he set him down inside and grabbed his school bag.
"Hiei's meeting us soon, then I'll be off to school. I'll be back in the afternoon." he said as he took Kuronue's hand and led him back outside and they started walking towards the train station.
"I'll be as fast as Papa someday!" Kuronue exclaimed as they walked. An amused huff from the treeline revealed Hiei's presence.
"Papa!" Kuronue cried and tackled him with a hug. Hiei's hand ran through Kuronue's long red hair fondly as he guided the boy back towards the road to walk with Kurama until his trainstop.
"He managed to cause the back garden to fully bloom this morning." he revealed once they were back on their way.
Hiei raised an eyebrow in question. So?
Sighing out loud, he replied silently, expressing his worry but not wanting to worry their child. He's not actually a Yoko. Is it normal for him to develop powers over plant life, or is it actually my influence? Will he develop fire or ice abilities as well? I don't know what to think of this.
Hiei gave a silent scoff. You worry too much.
Three weeks later, when Kuronue showed them his new Jagan, his third eye, Kurama knew he could, but couldn't quite bring himself to say 'I told you so'.
* O * O * O * O *
Kurama & Hiei
"Do you know your son's blood type, Minamino-san?"
"No, but I'm a universal donor anyway." Kurama replied absently, all senses focused on trying to know how his little boy was doing in the next room.
"Alright, and what about his father?" the nurse persisted.
"He's on the way."
"I'm here." Hiei replied, appearing behind him without warning. The nurse jumped.
"Ah. Um, do you know your son's blood type, Minamino-san?" she asked Hiei. He shook his head.
"I can be his donor as well, if needed." Kurama gave him a surprised look at that.
Shigure was the only reply he got.
The door behind the nurse opened, and the doctor called her closer. After a moment Kurama and Hiei were called into the room. They were both led over to the side of the bed at the back of the room.
The pain in Kurama's chest intensified at the sight of the six year old Kuronue lying on the white sheets barely paler than his skin.
What happened? Hiei's voice echoed through his mind, startling him out of his own thoughts.
We'd gone to the park. A trio of demons passed through.
Yes. They recognized me from the Demon World tournaments. They hadn't known about Kuronue. They decided that he would be good leverage and tried to grab him. Kuronue got a hold of some of my seeds and attacked with them.
That doesn't explain why he had to be brought to the hospital for blood loss.
One of the seeds he got hold of was a Makai plant. Kurama's head dropped at the admission. He'd been so careless.
The other demons are dead?
Kurama merely nodded.
When they were able to take Kuronue home days later, Shiori met them at the door.
"Mother? What are you doing here?" Kurama asked. He hadn't expected to see his mother over at his new house until she was at least told that they were home.
"Of course I'm here, Shuichi. I've sorted your things out and made a meal for all of us." she replied. "Hello Kuronue-chan, how are you feeling?"
Kuronue looked up at his grandmother with a small smile. It was less carefree than his previous smiles and somehow, Kurama was saddened by the loss.
"I'm fine gramma. Still tired."
"And how are you and Hiei, Shuichi?"
"Fine." Hiei replied shortly and guided Kuronue into the house. Kurama smiled fondly after them and did the same for his mother.
"Both Hiei and I had to give him blood transfusions, but he's well now." Shiori got a contemplative look on her face for a moment.
"There won't be any effects from giving a transfusion of demon blood, will there?"
Kurama wasn't assured by the shiver that went down his spine at the question that hadn't occurred to him until it was asked.
* O * O * O * O *