A/N: Hi, folks! This is a slightly older piece that I've been poking at for the past two years or so. It's mostly an amalgamation of one very weird late-night conversation with my brothers where we wondered just how much of the exposition Sasuke was actually present for.
The narration is sometimes filtered through Sasuke or other's perception of events, and thoughts are in "quotation marks and italics." The fic starts out a little slow, but I hope you enjoy the silliness.
And (because I need to do this at least once) Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, these characters, this website, this computer, my house, or a lot of things, really…
Itachi Uchiha – Akatsuki member, murderer of the Uchiha clan and all-around awful older brother – was about to die. His enthusiastic executioner was none other than his younger brother, Sasuke.
The two Uchiha faced off across the barren battlefield. Both unleashed Genjutsu that made mere moments seem like hours of intense combat. Finally, each leapt, meeting midair in a whirl of taijutsu. Landing hard, Sasuke stubbornly ignored his aching ribs. Itachi had one hell of a kick.
Meanwhile, Itachi landed without his customary grace. His pale fingers, wearing something that looked suspiciously like nail polish, flew up to cover a hacking cough that caused his whole body to shudder. Even across the battlefield, Sasuke noticed the distinct hue of blood coloring his brother's palm.
Sasuke smirked, "Then again, my kicks aren't half bad, either."
Truly, Itachi was a fool for ever picking a fight with the Uchiha.
Unaware of his inevitable defeat, Itachi walked towards the boy he had left among the corpses of their slaughtered clan years before. His footsteps echoed across the valley, accompanied by he and Sasuke's breathing: one ragged and shallow, the other deep and strong. Itachi drew his arm upward until his fingers pointed, almost accusingly, at the younger man. The distance closed. Ten feet. Five. Four.
The Uchiha halted, however, when a kunai embedded itself between his bright red eyes.
His arm dropped, and the rest of the legendary missing-nin was quick to follow. His tall body lay gracelessly on the ground, the splashes of blood on his pale skin eerily reminiscent of the red clouds of his ever-present cloak.
For a moment, all was silent.
The stillness was only broken when Sasuke's hands tentatively rose to form a seal, and he whispered, "Kai." The scene remained unchanged: the same broken corpse, the same desolate battlefield, the same victor with disbelief and giddy joy warring on his face.
"That man is dead…from a kunai? Kunai don't kill people. They're used to get people to jump away or, sometimes, for explosions that make people jump away farther, but not for killing. Yet, he seems to be dead."
The last Uchiha quietly walked to his brother's body and pulled the kunai out with a thunk. Pocketing it, he decided, "Yep, definitely dead."
"Neat. I've finally achieved my dream."
Sasuke took a moment to relish his success. A very un-Uchiha smile spread across his face. It took only a short while for internal gloating and idly kicking Itachi's corpse (to avenge his clan, obviously) to lose its appeal. Alone, bored, and basking in the afterglow of murdering his older brother, something occurred to him.
"Wait," he asked the air, "What do I do now?"
Several minutes of intense thought later, he said, "Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to rebuild my clan. Guess it's time to head back to Konoha."
Sasuke strode in a random direction. Had he continued on, he likely would have ended up somewhere in Lightning Country and declared it "close enough."
Luckily, a team of elite Konoha shinobi including Yamato, Kakashi, Sai, Kiba, Shino, Sakura, and Naruto raced towards him from the opposite direction. Hinata was there, too.
"Sasuke!" Sasuke's oldest (and loudest) teammate exclaimed, "You're coming back to Konoha!"
"There's no use argu…wait, what?"
Sasuke frowned. Wow, Naruto really was an idiot. "I said that I'm coming back to Konoha."
"But…why?" the blond annoyance asked.
"I killed Itachi. It was my greatest ambition. Weren't you paying any attention during our team introductions? First: Kill Itachi. Second: Rebuild my clan. It had to be in that order. If I rebuilt my clan first, Itachi would come and kill them. He already did it once. That's a pattern."
The other ninja stared at Sasuke. He was actually being pleasant for once…sort of…y'know, for an Uchiha. Add to that his strange eagerness to go with them, and it looked like he was either a spy or suffering from some pretty nasty head trauma.
Sakura said, "But you betrayed the village!"
"What! No I didn't. I was on a training trip."
"Training trip! You ran away for four years with a missing nin."
"Who?" Sasuke asked, completely baffled.
"Wait a second, Orochimaru was a traitor?! No one ever told me that. Sure, Kakashi didn't seem to like him all that much, but that's no reason to assume he's evil."
Sakura's hands began to curl into fists. "What do you think he was doing when he attacked you in the Forest of Death? He gave you the curse seal, for the love of…" Her words devolved into unintelligible grumbling.
Sasuke said, "I got the curse seal from a Grass kunoichi. I'm surprised you don't remember that; it was a very traumatic event. Orochimaru was there to help control the seal."
Kakashi said, "Actually that was me."
"Yes, and he was there, too."
The jounin raised his eyebrow. "Weren't you unconscious?"
"Was I?" The Uchiha looked thoughtful for a moment.
Breaking his reverie, Kiba shouted, "But what about when Orochimaru invaded the village?"
"The village was invaded?"
Naruto eagerly reentered the conversation. "Yeah, by Sound and Sand. Remember, we fought with Gaara?"
"I thought that was part of the tournament!"
Shino inquired, "You didn't think anything was strange about chasing him into the forest?"
"The proctor told me to. Sure, it seemed a little weird when no one stopped Naruto from interfering, but, then, those two sand ninja were fighting, too. We were all competitors, so I just assumed that the match had been changed to a free-for-all."
"You were hospitalized!" Sakura interjected.
"That's how all of my fights end." Sasuke said with a shrug.
Kakashi asked, "If you didn't know about the invasion, then how did you think the Hokage died?"
"He was old. The Chuunin Exams are a very intense and exciting event. I thought that was why we made our next Hokage a medic-nin."
"Okay," Kakashi continued, giving him a look usually reserved for Gai's more insane moments. "Let's say you didn't know about your sealing, Orochimaru's past, or the invasion. Why did you think you had to sneak out of the village to meet Orochimaru?"
Sasuke said, "I'd hardly call it sneaking out. I said goodbye to Sakura, and she didn't say anything about me betraying the village. She just whined about how much she'd miss me. Sure, I had to knock her out so she wouldn't tag along during my awesome training trip, but I was walking down the main road. If I was really being sneaky, Sakura would have never found out I was leaving. I mean, really, she's Sakura."
"You put a chidori through my chest!" Naruto yelled.
"You were being clingy and tried to attack me with a Rasengan. I had to end things quickly before you hurt yourself. Keep in mind, I only knew three offensive jutsu at the time. It was either chidori or setting you on fire. You're fine, so I obviously made the right decision."
Said orange ninja looked torn between hugging his newly reformed teammate and punching him in the face. He settled for twirling a kunai in a manner that might have been threatening, if the one doing it weren't, well, Naruto. Hinata gazed longingly at the oblivious blond, and Sakura had discovered the joys of kicking Itachi's corpse. It really isn't healthy to keep your anger bottled up, after all.
"During your…training trip…you didn't find it odd that Orochimaru, a 'loyal Konoha ninja' never stopped by Fire Country?" Kakashi asked.
"He's one of the Sannin. They're allowed to wander around in exchange for special services to the village. Tsunade was gone for decades and no one had a problem with her becoming Hokage. Besides, I did kill him later, so everything is about even."
"…Moving on. There were several missions to retrieve you."
Sasuke stared at him blankly. "I don't remember any…Wait. Do you mean Naruto? Why didn't you send some hunter-nin or jounin? I just thought Naruto missed me and wanted me to help with his birthday parties, or whatever it is Naruto does."
"And he never told you that you were a traitor?"
"Well, yeah, but Naruto calls you a traitor if you eat the last bowl of ramen."
"Naruto actually did that once," Sakura sheepishly agreed.
"And Naruto is always telling people what to do, even when it has nothing to do with his missions. Like that one time he made that Hyuuga chick completely change her view on fate."
"You mean Neji?" Hinata guessed.
"Yeah, her. Or that time he ordered a snow princess to stop being a wimp and take back her kingdom."
"Remember? We went on a mission with an actress who was actually a princess and fought a bunch of snow ninja with super-chakra armor and freed the Land of Snow. It was pretty epic."
"Sasuke, that never happened," Sakura said.
Kiba frowned. "Wasn't that the plot of a Princess Fun movie?"
"Was it? In my defense, I don't watch many movies."
"So, after you murdered your…sensei," Kakashi began.
Sasuke cut in, "In self-defense, he turned into a snake and tried to molest me or something."
"…in self defense, why did you decide to form a team out of Sound Ninja?"
"I was under the impression that Sound was a part of Leaf, since Orochimaru ran it and he was a Sannin. So, technically, I formed a team of Leaf ninja."
Sakura's eye twitched. "They're a completely separate village. They even have different headbands!"
"So does Grass."
Sakura said, "Grass isn't part of Konoha."
Sasuke frowned. "Really? Regardless, I don't know why you guys are complaining. When Naruto befriends other ninja, it's great. He can befriend that ice girl or that redheaded sand chipmunk, and he's 'forging alliances' and 'being nice,' but if I make friends, suddenly it's bad."
Sasuke shook his head. He just didn't understand all the favoritism towards Naruto. Between the Hokages, Kakashi, and even Iruka-sensei in the Academy, that guy could get away with anything.
"Why did you form the team in the first place?" Frustration crept into Sakura's voice. 'Why didn't you come back?' lay unspoken in the air. As was typical, the last Uchiha didn't notice.
"I was trying to kill Itachi; we covered this. They all had bloodlines, too. Lots of bloodlines. We love bloodlines. Remember that time one of our ambassadors tried to kidnap some little kid for one?"
Hinata looked mildly disturbed. "That was Kumo."
While the other shinobi continued to prattle on about his supposed betrayal, Sasuke turned his attention towards what was really important: Rebuilding his clan.
"Hmmm, so I guess I need a wife or something…" He glanced around the clearing. "Male. Male. Male. Presumably male. Has had a crush on me since the Academy…also male. Horrifying, terrifying bugs, that happen to be male…Ah hah!"
"Hey, Sakura, you're a girl, right?" The following glare was answer enough.
"But, wait, doesn't Sakura want to become Hokage? I mean, one of my teammates definitely wanted to be Hokage and the other one was obsessed with me. Seeing as how Naruto is obviously obsessed with me and he did kiss me that one time…"
"So, how's that whole Hokage thing going?" Sasuke asked the girl.
The look of confusion on Sakura's face seemed to have become a permanent fixture, "Um, my apprenticeship with Tsunade-sensei has been going well."
Sasuke smiled. "You're making great progress!"
"Well, I don't want to interfere with Sakura's dream. Who else is there…? Wait a minute! The Hyuuga was one of my fangirls, right? Of course she was. Our whole class was filled with fangirls. I should know; it was terrifying. I guess she must have been very subtle and stealthy about stalking me. That's a great quality in a ninja! Plus, she has magic eyes, and is almost certainly a girl. This is perfect."
Oblivious to his teammate's whirling thoughts, Naruto yelled, "Let's go back to Konoha!"
Later, in Konoha
While the ninja of Konoha do have a reputation for being far too trusting, they are not nearly idiotic enough to let a traitor back in without so much as a blink. So it was that Tsunade, Sasuke, Sakura and Naruto found themselves in a dimly lit room - usually used for interrogations - with an unconscious Inoichi Yamanaka.
Sakura, Naruto, and the Hokage made small talk. Sasuke, meanwhile, alternated between staring blankly and twitching. After several minutes, Inoichi released his mental hold on Sasuke and was back on his feet in an instant.
"So?" Tsunade demanded.
"My impression is that he is deeply psychologically disturbed – though not as much as I would have expected, considering his background. If Academy students were given proper psych evals, he never would have been fielded as a genin in the first place."
Tsunade snapped, "This isn't the time for one of your crusades, Inoichi."
Inoichi frowned but continued, "My apologies, Hokage-sama. Uchiha-san appears to have replaced all emotional responses with goal-oriented action. This would have begun as a coping mechanism, leaving him unable to focus on anything unrelated to his ultimate goal."
Kakashi arrived, mumbling something about a lost little girl and her cat. They all ignored him.
"Is he fit to remain an active-duty shinobi?" Tsunade asked.
Inoichi shrugged. "As long as he channels his madness into something constructive, we should be able to keep him as an eccentric but loyal ninja. Like Gai, whose tendencies have been mostly suppressed."
Kakashi nodded knowingly. He was well aware of his "eternal rival's" sordid past.
"What do we do now?" asked Sakura.
Inoichi said, "His current goal is positive so I'd suggest we leave him to it. We wouldn't be able to easily detain him with his current skill level. If we tried, the best case scenario is him fleeing and founding his clan in an enemy nation. In the worst case scenario, he snaps and keeps killing until there's no Konoha left except for him and whatever wives he manages to kidnap.
"We should be thankful he managed to switch goals, at all. He might have continued on a destructive rampage of revenge, lashing out at anything at all connected to the death of his clan.
"…In any case, he's already left."
Showing the unique blend of apathy and laziness that was surprisingly common among the Kage, Tsunade muttered something about paperwork and took off for the nearest bar. Inoichi was also rather nonchalant about the no-longer-missing-nin's whereabouts.
"He's more stable than most ninja," the blond explained as he disappeared into the twisting hallways of Konoha's T&I division.
That left Team 7 to find Sasuke. Kakashi promptly began his search in the pages of Icha Icha Paradise. Naruto raced to the nearest training grounds. Sakura took the five minute walk to the Uchiha District.
The girl hurried past broken-down buildings.
After the Uchiha massacre, the District had been left to fall apart. It had only grown more dilapidated during its last inhabitant's four year absence. Though it lay in the center of a bustling village, this place had long since died.
The silence of the abandoned street was broken by a steady pounding. The source of this noise was one Sasuke Uchiha, who was repeatedly hitting a dark orange roof with a hammer.
"Sasuke-kun, what are you doing?"
"Fixing the roof."
"Oh…" A very loud crack echoed through the street as a roof tile split in half.
"Do you know how to fix a roof?"
Sasuke stared at the hammer. "…Not exactly. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it."
Quick to change the subject before her ex(?)-teammate put another hole in the roof – Sakura remarked, "It's a shame that the village let this place fall apart. You'd think Tsunade-sensei would be worried about disrespecting the dead or hazardous debris or something."
Her statement was punctuated by another crack. Sakura winced. "There has to be room in the budget for a roofer, at least!"
"I'm sure that, when you're Rokudaime, you'll do a much better job," Sasuke reassured her.
"What? I don't want to be Hokage!"
Sasuke flashed a smile that should never be found anywhere but underneath Gai and Lee's bowl cut bangs. "Don't give up on your dream, Sakura. I just accomplished one of mine and I'm still riding the high."
"I…but…Naruto's the one who wants to be Hokage."
"That's ridiculous. If Naruto wanted to be Hokage, why didn't he ever attend class at the Academy? Or study for the final exam? He didn't even seem all that gung-ho about becoming a ninja."
Sakura paused. "Why would he become a ninja if he didn't want to?"
"Aren't all orphans ninja?"
"I don't…think so?"
"Besides, Naruto would be a terrible Hokage."
"He's constantly rushing in without a plan, doesn't have the attention span for paperwork, and has no understanding of diplomacy. The clans would be calling for his resignation within the week."
"No they…okay, maybe the Hyuuga would be, and I don't really know the other clan heads. Except Ino's dad, he seems nice. But, really, Naruto would last longer than a…Sasuke?"
The Uchiha was no longer on the battered roof. A quick glance informed her that he wasn't on any of the surrounding roofs, either.
"Not again," Sakura groaned. She allowed her eyes to roam across the street, but the Uchiha was nowhere to be found. Finally, her gaze came to rest on the Hokage Mountain. "Me, Hokage? As if!"
Sure, she could have kept looking, but she'd spent enough time chasing Sasuke Uchiha. He was home, now, and no longer her responsibility. Sakura Haruno left the Uchiha District with a smile.
Hiashi Hyuuga leapt to his feet when an unfamiliar ninja jumped through the window of his office. His eyes narrowed, and his Byakugan flared to life. "Who are you?"
"I'm not a missing-nin. Why does everyone think that?" Sasuke sighed and shook his head. There was something seriously wrong with Konoha's espionage network.
Hiashi barked, "Guards!"
Three Branch members shuffled in. "Yes, sir?"
"Why is there a missing-nin in my office?"
"He isn't technically a missing-nin, sir. The Hokage pardoned him earlier."
Hiashi said, "That's great information, information that you would have passed on earlier if you were anywhere close to competent. It still doesn't explain how he got past all three of you and into my office."
"We don't know sir!" cried one.
The second said, "It's like he came out of nowhere."
The third nodded in agreement.
Hiashi glared. "Explain."
Sasuke said "I applied three genjutsu, scaled the wall, and crawled through the grass."
"If you were trying to kill me-"
Sasuke interrupted him. "If I was trying to kill you, you'd be dead. Besides, I'm sure you could have stopped me if you wanted to. You can see through my techniques with your doujutsu."
"Then why bother sneaking in?" Hiashi asked.
Baffled, Sasuke replied, "I'm a ninja."
Hiashi sighed and waved away the other Hyuuga. He deactivated his Byakugan and sat behind his desk, turning to Sasuke with an imperious eyebrow raised.
"What do you want?"
"To marry your younger daughter."
"Unacceptable," Hiashi said, "Hanabi is only twelve."
Sasuke frowned. "Not your youngest daughter, your younger daughter. The middle one. She was in my class."
"I only have two daughters."
"That's a terrible thing to say," Sasuke admonished. "What about that brunette who fought Naruto in the Chuunin exams? Nana or something?"
"Neji," Hiashi said.
"Right. I want the one that's younger than Neji."
"And you wish to marry my daughter…why, exactly?"
Sasuke said, "She's an awesome ninja with a doujutsu; I'm an awesome ninja with doujutsu. These things stack, right?"
Sasuke ignored him. "Right! So can I have her?"
"Oh, come on. You have three heirs!"
"That's a lot of heirs."
Hiashi paused. The boy was an idiot, undoubtedly, but he had a point. The Hyuuga Council didn't like ambiguity in succession. If Hinata hadn't been so deeply incompetent, Hanabi would have taken the Cage Bird Seal years ago, a fate he wished his favorite daughter to avoid. "That is not entirely untrue."
"So can I have her? I'll teach you guys the Grand Fireball Jutsu."
"Why would the Hyuuga want that?"
"It sets things on fire," Sasuke said. Was that not obvious?
"That is the most pathetic bribe I have ever been offered."
Sasuke sighed. Clearly, Hiashi Hyuuga drove a hard bargain. "You can also have the Chidori."
Hiashi contemplated his options. Yes, the boy's bargaining was moronic, but he offered more than he knew.
When Hanabi achieved Chuunin – which could take as little as a year – he would be forced to seal one of his daughters. If Hinata was married into an outside clan of equal power, she would be safe and Hiashi could pass it off as a political move: with Hinata as matriarch, the fledgling Uchiha Clan would remain firmly under Hyuuga control. Beyond that, she had always been docile, better suited to a housewife than a leader.
"I will speak to Hinata," Hiashi said.
"The one you asked to marry."
"Oh," Sasuke said, nodding. The Chidori was a powerful bargaining tool, indeed.
"Now, if you will…" Hiashi paused. "Guards, where did the Uchiha go?"
"We're not sure, sir."
"Wonderful," Hiashi grumbled.
Tsunade leaned over her desk, eyes serious. "This will be classified as an S-rank mission since there is one hundred percent certainty of encountering an S-class ninja. By distracting Sasuke Uchiha and keeping him reasonably grounded in reality, we will avoid a disaster on par with the Uchiha Massacre. This is of vital importance to the village. Do you understand that?"
Hinata gulped. "Yes, Hokage-sama."
"Because it's so important, I don't want you going into this unwillingly. If you can't dedicate yourself to this mission, it's doomed to failure. Is there anything that would keep you from marrying Sasuke Uchiha?" Tsunade asked.
"I…I, um," Hinata stuttered.
She couldn't…She didn't want to disappoint her father or the Hokage, and Sasuke wasn't that bad, she didn't think. But if there was even the smallest chance that Naruto could love her back…
"Yatta!" Naruto cried, bursting through the window like a proper ninja.
"N-Naruto?" Hinata stuttered.
"I was listening at the window," he declared. "You can't marry Sasuke."
An awestruck smile spread across her face. This was just like a dream. She whispered, "I can't?"
Naruto continued, "…unless I get to be best man!"
Hinata's heart broke into a thousand pieces. Her eyes settled upon a friendly patch of wall. It was brown…and nice, nicely brown.
She momentarily returned to reality when Naruto grabbed her shoulders, blue eyes taking up her whole world. He was so beautiful…
"So can I? Can I please? Please? Please?" he whined.
Blankly, Hinata nodded. "Okay."
"That's great! I'm gonna go tell Sasuke. We can talk about it over ramen. I love ramen!"
"Okay." Hinata gazed out the window. It looked like it might rain. How sad.
The blonde clambered out the window, shouting goodbyes which she couldn't hear over the sound of her heartbeat. It was like kunai throwing practice inside her ears. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Was it always that loud?
"You're taking the mission, then?" Tsunade asked.
Hinata nodded, smiling dazedly at the Hokage. "Okay."
Naruto scoured the Uchiha District, searching every alleyway, police station, shop, and home. Finally, he found Sasuke in the largest house.
"Sasuke, I'm going to be your best man!" Naruto said.
"That's nice, Naruto," Sasuke muttered. He leaned over a table, squinting down at an enormous scroll. On it, dozens of names were scrawled, connected by a mess of lines.
"Sasuke? Saaasuke?!" Naruto frowned. Sasuke was ignoring him again. That was terrible behavior for a best friend.
Grinning mischievously, he said, "I was talking to Hinata about your wedding, and we were thinking the theme could be pink with lots of little hearts…"
He glanced at Sasuke, who scribbled down something else on the scroll.
"…and we were thinking we would invite Itachi because he was such a great older brother…"
Still no response. Grumbling, Sasuke hastily scratched out his latest addition to the rapidly filling scroll. Naruto furrowed his brow.
"…and then we decided that, since the Hyuuga Clan is so big and stuff, we should just get rid of the Uchiha Clan."
Sasuke's head jerked up, Sharingan activated. "What was that about the Uchiha Clan?"
Naruto chuckled nervously. "Eh, heh, heh. Nothing important. So, what are you doing, Sasuke?"
"I'm devising a genealogy."
Sasuke sighed. Did every conversation with Naruto have to lead to explaining a basic facet of the universe?
"The Uchiha Clan won't be properly revived until the Sharingan starts showing up, again. I'm marking down my children, their spouses, their children, and so on for the next five generations or so. I'm here, at the top, and my future wife is to my right."
"Oh," Naruto said, leaning over. "Who're all these other girls?"
"Those are my mistresses."
"What?! You can't have mistresses!"
Sasuke frowned. "Why not?"
"Because you're marrying Hinata!"
"Yes, exactly, and she has a doujutsu. I need to have children with other people, just in case ours are born without eyes, or something."
"Could that happen?" Naruto asked.
Sasuke shrugged. "Maybe. Bloodlines are weird like that."
"But won't Hinata be upset?"
"Why would she be upset? This way, she doesn't have to have fifty children."
Naruto tried a different tack. "You put Ino down as one of your mistresses."
"Is she okay with that?"
Sasuke stared a hole through Naruto, tomoe swirling. "Ino is president of the Sasuke Uchiha Fan Club."
"Right. Stupid question."
Sasuke refrained from mentioning that all of Naruto's questions were stupid. No need to discourage progress, after all.
Naruto said, "What about these ones? You didn't even give them names!"
Several of the spaces were, indeed, filled with Fangirl #1 through #7.
"Look, Naruto, I had a lot of fangirls back in the Academy. I can't be expected to remember all their names. Sure, there was Ino, Hinata, Shikamaru, you…"
"I wasn't one of your fangirls!"
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "Naruto, you kissed me at graduation."
Sasuke left him to his denial. "Either way, I'm sure it can't be that hard to find them."
Naruto's eyes widened. "Wait a minute! You aren't taking Sakura, too, are you?"
"No. You're the one who's marrying Sakura," Sasuke said.
"I am?" Naruto asked. Sasuke sighed – yet another stupid question.
He gestured towards the scroll. "Yeah, you need to have at least six kids or this won't work at all."
"…Really?" Naruto's usual grin grew even wider, which really shouldn't have been possible in Sasuke's opinion. It was mildly disturbing.
He placed a hand on the blond's shoulder. "Believe it, Naruto."
A/N (again): As much as I love Hinata, I've found that I love torturing her more. Also, while I consider this a one-shot, there may be a sequel. Thanks for reading, reviewing, following, favoriting, and generally existing!