“He’s gonna pick Saki,” Hagakure mused, looking up from pouring herself a third glass of champagne as she peered up to the TV. “She’s the nicest one up there.”
“Bullshit,” Uraraka called. “Harumi’s the only independent girl on that show. Clearly he’s gonna go for the more mature option.”
“Please stop moving,” Yaoyorozu begged. “I’m gonna mess up your nails if you keep thrashing around.”
“Sorry, Yaomomo!” Uraraka flashed an apologetic smile before turning her head to Midoriya Izuku, who was draped over the end of the couch, staring down at his wine glass with fixed concentration. “What do you think, Izu?”
He didn’t budge, definitely didn’t notice Uraraka ask him a question as he swirled his glass and watched the alcohol ripple inside it. A sigh escaped his lips and Uraraka shot a sympathetic look in his direction before turning to look back at the girls. Tsuyu was doing Jirou’s makeup in a way very ill fitting manor for the punk rocker, though she was definitely being a good sport. Hagakure was invested in the TV and Yaoyorozu was immensely focused on not messing up Uraraka’s nails.
All in all, it was a relatively relaxed night in: Nothing wild, nothing insane. Probably the tamest Bachelorette Party ever, and while Uraraka wouldn’t complain due to the fact that her dearest ‘Man’ of Honor had done his utmost, she somewhat wished for a little more action, a little more excitement.
But it was fine.
There were two more weeks to the wedding and they could always have a wild night once they got to Hawaii. At least if anything went wrong there, they’d still be on the island. They wouldn’t miss their flight to the destination or anything of the sort. So, really, it was okay that they sat around, doing nails and makeup, watching the Bachelorette while getting tipsy off massive bottles of champagne.
“So, Uraraka,” Jirou asked, eyes closed as Tsuyu applied wings of eyeliner to her lids. “Now that you’re marrying into royalty, you taking a private jet to the wedding?”
She snorted. “You kidding me? Tenya might be rich, and I might be getting spoiled, but I’m not about to waste money on private jets. We’re taking first class and that’s just because he’d suffer if I put him in business.”
“Damn,” Hagakure mumbled,shifting her body away from the television to deliver full attention to the bride-to-be. “I wish I had a billionaire fiance.”
“He’s not a billionaire,” Uraraka corrected, raising a hand to her mouth to blow on the drying paint. “His family is.”
“Same difference,” Jirou scoffed. “Look at your apartment, Uraraka. It’s basically a penthouse.”
“I’d get a smaller one if I could,” she told them. “It’s too much space for two people. It’s a waste of money.”
“Uraraka,” Yaoyorozu sighed, looking up from her nail work to fix the brunette with an endearing look. “Can I offer you some advice?”
“Hm?” She quirked a brow. “Yeah, Yaomomo?”
The other girl grabbed her hand--careful not to ruin her nails--and squeezed it. “Don’t think to much about it, okay? I can understand it’s a bit odd for you, but Iida just wants to spoil you. I think you should let him. Afterall, you’re all he thinks about.” She shifted her gaze to the other end of the couch, where Izuku continued to stare at his glass in immense fascination. “Isn’t that right, Midoriya?”
“Hmm?” He perked up, jerking in his seat as he turned his attention to the girls and did his utmost to pretend he’d been paying attention the entire time. “Yup. Yeah, for sure!”
Uraraka rolled her eyes, and deadpanned. “Thanks, Izukkun.”
“Anything for you, babe,” he winked and she simply shook her head and went back to blowing her nails dry.
“Anyways,” Yaoyorozu continued. “Private jets are fun! I’m taking one to O’ahu with Shouto and Touya.”
“The rest of the Todoroki’s aren’t coming?” Tsuyu asked.
“No, they are,” she answered, reaching for her champagne glass and taking a swig. “But Mr. Todoroki is with Fuyumi on a business trip, so they’re flying in from New York and Natsuo’s skiing in the Alps at the moment so he’s coming later,” she took a moment, inhaled deeply before admitting something else. “I know it’s an awful thing to say, but the truth? No one wants to be on the jet with Touya’s new girlfriend.”
Ears perked up as the girls all closed in on Yaoyorozu, curious about what she had to say about Todoroki Touya’s new girlfriend.
“Wait, wait, wait.” Jirou’s eyes were wide. “You actually met her? What was she like?”
“Guys-” Uraraka tried to but in, but Hagakure interrupted her.
“I heard she’s got a criminal record,” she told them. “When I asked Ojiro, he said that Shouto said that she’d done a stint for assaulting her ex-husband.”
“Shinsou said she took Touya’s credit card and went wild in Ginza,” Tsuyu added. “She spent upwards of three hundred thousand yen on her outfit for the wedding.”
Yaoyorozu looked hesitant, like everything was edging on the tip of her tongue, but her moral compass was holding her back. Uraraka thought for a good few seconds that she’d stop the conversation and they could continue the night without delving into this matter.
She was wrong.
“Okay, so,” Yaoyorozu spilled. “I don’t want to judge her. I’m sure she’s very nice, but she certainly is… something. She’s kinda wild, demanded that the server at dinner pick out all the seeds from her raspberry vinaigrette and when I asked her why, she looked at me with a straight face and said, ‘Cause I f-ing can’!”
“She said ‘f-ing’?”
“No, but I’m a lady and I’m not going to say it,” Yaoyorozu explained. “Anyways, the point is that Touya did a total one-eighty when it comes to partners. I mean, she is nothing like-”
“Nothing like me?”
The room went silent.
All eyes turned to Izuku Midoriya, sitting on the couch, no longer swirling his drink around the glass, no longer vacant in expression. He looked somewhat pained, sad, but sporting a smile that didn’t match his eyes.
Almost instantaneously, Yaoyorozu’s face went red and a sense of dread and embarrassment washed over all but Uraraka, who’d tried to warn them. She was simply looking at her best friend with a sympathetic, weary smile. “Midoriya,” Yaoyorozu pleaded. “I am so sorry! I forgot that-”
“It’s fine,” he told them, clearing his throat as he leaned forward to sit his glass on the coffee table. “You didn’t realize. It’s been two weeks after all.”
“Izukkun, baby…” Uraraka cooed, but Izuku only nodded at her with an artificial smile and hoisted himself up onto his feet.
“It’s fine, Ocha,” he told her. “Um, keep watching the show. I’m just gonna use the restroom real fast.”
“Izu-” But he’d already bolted from the room, headed down the hall. The girls heard the door shut with a soft click! And Uraraka looked back to her other bridesmaids.
“Way to go, ladies.”
Izuku locked the door behind him. It wasn’t out of Uraraka’s character to barge in under the guise of a ‘concerned friend’ to see what he was doing. It wasn’t technically a lie, because she was always concerned when it came to his well being, but still. He didn’t want to talk to her right now.
Besides, it wasn’t her job to console him right now. Izuku didn’t even think he should be freaking out right now. After all, he was her ‘Man of Honor’ and this was her bachelorette party. It was supposed to be about her, not him. So, he needed to get his emotions in check so he could go back out there and pretend his life wasn’t falling apart because his boyfriend of nearly seven years dumped him without warning just two weeks ago.
Because this wasn’t about him.
It’s not about me! Izuku thought, again, before hitting back against the door and sinking to the bathroom floor. He rested his face in his hands and pulled his hair between his fingers while releasing a shaky breath. He felt so guilty sitting here, not enjoying Uraraka’s night like he should.
But his wounds were still fresh. The break up was still fresh and he couldn’t for the life of him go an hour without thinking of how Touya wrote him off without a second thought, how he’d been thrown to the side like some week old trash.
“Pull yourself together, dumbass!” He scolded himself, smacking his palms against his forehead. “You’re better than this! Don’t ruin your best friend’s night! Be a man!”
He took a deep breath, pulled himself to his feet and looked into the mirror hanging above the sink. Though he’d successfully refrained from crying--a big step for him--his eyes were still tinted red, rimmed with dark circles. These last two weeks had not been kind to him.
He thought he might invest in some concealer, something to better hide his sorry state from the only person who should matter as of now.
So, he splashed some water on his face and left the bathroom to meet her and the rest of the bridesmaids. Though, they weren’t in the living room like he’d left them. No, giggles echoed down the hall from Iida and Uraraka’s bedroom. Izuku quirked an eyebrow as he walked up to the door and pushed it open, finding the girls digging through Uraraka’s closet and throwing her clothes onto the king bed.
“Uh, what’s going on?” He asked as the girls stopped their rearranging of Uraraka’s belongings to stare at him like deer caught in the headlights. He quirked a brow at the odd behavior before Uraraka scurried up to him with a smile stretched across her face and grabbed his hands in hers.
“Izuku, baby,” she cooed, and now he was very suspicious.
“You have done a marvelous job with this bachelorette party,” she told him, rubbing little circles in his hands while she looked up to him.
“Um, thank you, I-”
“But it’s our last night in Japan,” she explained. “And I think it might fun to go out on the town, okay?”
He shrugged. “Well, it’s your bachelorette party, Ocha. We can do whatever you want to do.”
Her grin widened. “Perfect, you phrased that exactly how I wanted you to.”
“Nothing, nothing,” she sung, skipping off farther into the room to give Tsuyu her opinion on a green-sequin dress she had in her clutches. He watched until another hand slipped around his wrist and he turned his gaze to its owner.
Yaoyorozu had a nervous look to her when she addressed him, her eyebrows scrunched in concern. “Hey, Midoriya.”
“Um, hey?” He answered. “Why are you greeting me?”
She shrugged. “I just--I’m sorry about before. I wasn’t thinking and so-”
Izuku raised his hand to rest on her shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. It stung deep in his heart, but he didn’t need to think about that. “It’s okay. I overreacted.”
Hesitantly, he nodded his head and forced a false grin onto his face. It was hard, his chest constricting and a brokenhearted choke lodging in his throat, but the girls didn’t need to know all that. “Yeah.”
It sounded so incredibly fake, but Yaoyorozu seemed to buy it, a more assured look finding its way onto her features. She straightened, smiled at Izuku, and beckoned for him to follow her. “Great! C’mon, we’re gonna get you fixed up! Guys’ll be kissing the ground you walk on when we’re done!”
“Can I leave the jacket in the car?” He asked as they pulled up to whatever location Ochako had whispered to her chauffeur. “It’s too big and the sleeves keep falling.”
“Told you that Iida’s jacket would be to big,” Jirou smirked.
“Well, I still think it looks good,” Uraraka admitted, ignoring Hagakure’s jab of ‘because it’s your fiance’s’ and answered her friend. “But sure, just leave it on the seat.”
Izuku removed the article of clothing, adjusted the sleeves of his button-up, and made to get out of the car after Tsuyu. He wasn’t exactly sure where they were going since Uraraka and the rest had been oddly secretive about the whole thing, but he assumed that it was probably a spa or something he’d have no interest in going to. Thus, they thought it would be fun to hide it from him until the last minute.
Well, that’s what he thought until he stepped out into the Tokyo night and found his surroundings illuminated by a massive, blinking, neon sign. The pink glow was bright, making Uraraka’s excited smile seem nothing but devious. “Ochako…”
“Oh, c’mon,” she whined, rushing forward to tug on his wrist. “Let me have this, okay? I’m about to give myself to Iida for the rest of my life! Let’s be free for just one more night!”
“Ocha, you don’t have to convince me if this is how you want to spend you Bachelorette Party,” he explained. “I just… have you ever even been to one of these places?”
“No, have you?”
“ No,” he insisted. “It’s--Look, I’ve been in a very serious relationship for six years-”
“On and off,” Uraraka added.
“And so I’ve had no reason to go into one of these places. I’m a loyal boyfriend.”
“Are you saying I’m not a loyal fiance?” She deadpanned, a severe expression on her face.
Izuku’s eyes went wide as he realized just what he had insinuated. He went red, his mouth gaping in a stutter. “Ochako, I-I-”
The brunette broke out into a laugh. “I’m just kidding, Izu. I know that’s not what you meant.” She reached forward and rubbed his forearm with her hand. “But listen. You and he who shall remain unnamed are no longer together. So, it’s okay for you to come in with me…” she told him, gripping his wrist and pulling him forward, closer to the door situated below the hot pink, blinking sign. “Please Izu, this is my last chance to get a lap dance before I’m no longer a single woman.”
Izuku gnawed his lip, leaned into his best friend’s pull as he saw the other girls beckon him forward. This was… Not how he expected the night to go, but it was Uraraka’s night. Who was he to refuse her or the others their fun?
He flashed the group a weary, but accepting, smile and a cheer echoed through the parking lot as Uraraka and the rest dragged him towards the entrance of Club Ultra.
“Hey!” Uraraka shouted over the music and cheers of screaming women. The club was relatively packed at the moment, crowds of women cheering and waving ten thousand yen bills at the dancers: men glistening in body oils, dressed in underwear so tight that nothing could be left to the imagination. It was a bit stifling, but that didn’t matter to Uraraka. She had a very small window of time to work with while Izuku and Jirou had gone to get cash for the dancers. “Can we please get some help over here?” She asked.
Or, more like demanded.
They were at the bar now, women crowding around the alcohol-soaked counter to talk to some of the bartenders. There was a girl and two boys, all in heavy conversation with different people. Uraraka rolled her eyes and groaned.
“Uraraka, they’re gonna be back soon!” Hagakure reminded her and Uraraka hated to do this--she really did--but she ripped a fifty thousand yen bill from the pocket of her skirt and stuck it up in the air. If her new found rich card would get this done faster, then so be it.
Uraraka would do anything for a friend.
“WHOEVER HELPS ME GETS FIFTY THOUSAND!” And within seconds of sticking her hand up into the air, a muscular redhead swiped it from her fingers and leaned against the counter top to smile at her.
“What can I do ya for, ladies?” He asked, quirking an eyebrow and looking incredibly smug. He wasn’t wearing a shirt, but his muscles glistened in the strobing lights.
Extremely attractive, but Uraraka was engaged and on a mission. “Drop the act bud, we’re on business,” she told him and the man immediately picked up, dropping the flirtatious stance and flashing them a genuine smile.
“Well, alrighty then!” He told them. “What can I do for ya?”
“Look,” she told him, leaning forward on the counter and pointing to him. “It’s my Bachelorette Party-”
“Woah, hey!” He clapped. “Congrats, miss! That’s pretty spectacular!”
“Thanks, but listen to me,” she demanded. “My sweet, dear-to-my-heart, best friend and my Man of Honor, just got dumped. He’s been a total buzzkill and frankly,” she told him, gesturing to all the girls behind him. “We can all agree that he needs to get the edge off.”
“Of course,” he smirked. “Cause the answer to any break up is a stripper.”
“Look, buddy,” Hagakure cut in. “We’re not concerned about ethics. We’re just trying to get him a dicking.”
The man’s smile dropped as he turned to focus on the plain looking girl. “We don’t do prostitution here, ma’am.”
Uraraka waved him off. “Stop. Ignore her,” she advised him, before turning quickly to address her friend. “We are not here for a dicking, Hagakure! We’re here to get him some hot, male contact that is not Todoroki Touya.”
Hagakure rolled her eyes, but quieted down as Uraraka turned back to her business transaction. “Look, he’s gonna find us soon. We just want to pay for a guy to pay attention to him for the rest of the night, okay?”
“That’s gonna be pretty pricey.”
“Money isn’t an issue of concern,” Yaoyorozu cut in, moving up to stand beside Uraraka at the counter. “We can take care of that. Just, please help us. He’s our friend and we hate seeing him so upset.”
The man pressed his lips firm together, scrunched his nose in concentration and eyed each of the girls. It felt like forever with Izuku’s impending return, but eventually the man sighed and scoffed at himself. “Alright, alright. What kinda guy is he into?”
“He loves assholes!”
“Hagakure, maybe you should be quiet for a little bit,” Tsuyu suggested.
“Well, it’s true!”
The man laughed, looked down the length of the bar and shouted after someone. “Hey, Pinky!”
The group’s eyes followed the man’s beckon and watched as a girl with wild, pink hair came barreling down to where they stood. She was all dolled up, her uniform somewhat reminiscent of a maid’s, extremely low cut and pink in an attempt to match her curls. She smiled and waved at the girls when she stopped in front of them, before turning to the man. “Yeah, Riot?”
“Can you take these girls to one of the private VIP rooms? One of the ones with a stage,” he asked her, and her eyes widened a fraction, spinning on the girls. “Woah, you guys get a package deal or somethin’? You members?”
“Pinky, chill out a bit.” Riot ruffled her hair and she laughed as he turned to address the bachelorette party. “Pinky’s gonna take you to a room. I got the perfect guy for your friend so you guys get situated in there and I’ll send him in. You guys want me to bring in any drinks to start out?”
“Fireballs,” Uraraka told him, before Hagakure butted in.
“And we’re gonna need three shots of tequila for Midoriya,” she told him, and Riot simply looked over to Uraraka and Yaoyorozu.
“Should I listen to her this time?”
Uraraka snorted. “Yeah, he’s gonna need them.”
“Where are we going?” Izuku asked as Pinky led the group down a vacant hall. “Why are we back here?” The walls were decorated in framed, vintage pin-ups and skillfully-crafted graffiti art. It was very much quiet, though, and it made Izuku slightly uncomfortable.
“I feel like we’re gonna be murdered,” Tsuyu informed the others and he and Jirou nodded in agreement.
Pinky laughed from the head of the group and waved off her comment. “No one’s gonna murder you. This is just the way to the VIP rooms.”
“Wait, VIP?” Izuku gaped.
“Ocha, I know I’m supposed to pay for this cause I’m your Man of Honor,” he muttered. “But I don’t know if I can afford this…”
“Well, it’s a good thing I’m paying then,” Yaoyorozu smiled, coming up to his side to wrap her arm around his shoulders and give him a loving squeeze. “You’ve done a great job, so let me treat to this!”
“C’mon, baby,” Pinky cooed, dropping back to walk on his other side. “It’s gonna be real fun! I promise you!”
“Oh, wait no!” He told her, waving his hands aggressively. “I’m not looking for any ‘fun’,” he air-quoted. “I’m just here for moral support.”
“Ocha’s gonna get a lap dance for her Bachelorette Party,” he explained and the girl continued to nod.
“Yeah, she told me somethin’ about that,” Pinky responded, a smirk tugging at her lip, before turning to address Uraraka. “You excited, hun? To get married?”
Uraraka turned her head to the side, tried to look back at the group as she continued to walk forward. “ So excited! He’s amazing, best man I’ve ever met,” she sighed, contendly. That is, before she playfully followed up with: “Besides Izu, that is.”
A small smile tugged at the corners of Izuku’s mouth as Pinky ran back up to the front, stopped in front of a graffitied door at the end of the hall, and grabbed onto the knob. As the group packed around it, Pinky took a moment to look each and every one of them in the eye before flashing a devilish smile. “Ladies,” she began. “And our dear gentleman, I welcome you to the VIP lounge!”
She swung open the door to a room bathed in tinted lights, warm hues of pink and red. In the center was a rounded stage, a pole standing in the middle, and a short protruding platform off the side, surrounding on three sides by expensive, dark leather couches. A small bar, stocked to its limit in expensive alcohols sat in the opposite corner. A chorus of ooo’s and aahhh's broke out amongst his friends as they entered the room, Pinky shutting the door behind them. “Nice, huh?”
“Amazing,” Uraraka assured her, before turning to her best friend and grabbing his wrist. “C’mon let’s get up on stage, alright?”
“Are we allowed?” He asked, hesitant to follow her. “Won’t we get in the way?”
Uraraka shook her head. “He’s not here yet. It’ll be fine.”
“She’s gotta get on stage anyways for her lap dance,” Pinky assured him, hopping up on stage with a chair she’d rolled out from the corner. “She’s gonna sit right here!” She sat the chair down on the protruding stage and gestured for Uraraka to sit down, who so willingly went along.
She plopped down on it, a rather ornate looking thing, devoid of armrests but having twice the amount of cushion. Uraraka gasped when she sat down, looked Izuku dead in the eye. “This is so comfortable!”
Izuku quirked an eyebrow. “What are you talking about? It’s a chair.”
“Yeah,” she nodded. “But it’s a comfy chair! Here, you try it out!” She told him, hopping up and reaching forward to grab Izuku by his shoulders and guide him down. As soon as his ass hit the seat, though, he was relatively confused.
“Your chairs at home are way more comfortable,” Izuku told her. “How do you think this is better?”
The door slammed open and a redhead Izuku had not yet met came rushing in with a tray of drinks in hand. “Alright, ladies! I got drinks!”
Hagakure rushed for him, grabbing two shot glasses off the tray and started shouting: “Shots! Shots! Shots!” Before downing both and getting terrified looks from both the workers and her friends. Izuku stared at her both worried and curious as Tsuyu offered up a question everyone had been wondering.
“How are there not more tabloid scandals about you?”
She shrugged, ran towards the sofa Tsuyu sat on and jumped into her lap. “Because I’m stealthy!”
While Izuku watched Hagakure continue to act as the group’s resident troublemaker, he didn’t happen to notice Uraraka round on him and, along with Pinky, grab his arms and force them down to the back legs of the chair.
He yelped at the sudden force, jerked his head behind him to see what they were doing, but felt the metal around his wrists and the click of a lock before he could actually see what they were doing.
His expression dropped as he tugged his wrists and found them restrained. “No.”
“Izuku, baby,” Uraraka cooed, coming back to his front to crouch in front of him and rest her palms on his knees. She squeezed them assuringly as she smiled up at him. “You’ve had a rough time recently.”
“Ochako, let me out.”
“We all think this’ll be good for you,” Yaoyorozu added, hopping up on the stage to stand beside Uraraka.
Jirou snorted, joining them. “Even I think you gotta let off some steam, dude,” she told him. “You gotta live a little.”
“I don’t gotta do anything,” he told them, miffed. “I am completely fine.”
“No, you’re not,” Uraraka told him, getting up and stomping over to the edge of the stage. “Riot, let’s get this started. He needs to cool off.”
“On it!” He shouted from behind the bar, fiddling with a high-tech, surround sound stereo. “Give me a second to tell him get over here!”
“Him? Who’s him?”
“Pinky, get me a tequila shot!” Uraraka ordered, ignoring her agitated friend. Pinky hopped down from the stage--as did Jirou and Yaoyorozu, who took a seat on the sofa opposite Tsuyu and Hagakure. Pinky grabbed a shot off the table near the latter group and lifted it up to Uraraka and the girl grinned. “Pinky, feel free to stay with us tonight. I’m gonna need the moral support.”
“Sure thing, sweetheart,” she winked, moving off to sit next to Tsuyu. Uraraka spun on her heels, back towards Izuku, and lifted the glass with a grin.
“Bottoms up, baby!”
“Ochako, I swear to god if you-”
She grabbed his jaw while he spoke, catching him mid sentence and locking her shockingly strong grip to keep his mouth open. And then she lifted the shot glass to his lips and dumped the strong liquid into his mouth before forcing her forearm over it and demanding him to swallow.
But Izuku simply shut his lips, puffed out his cheeks and shook his head aggressively as Uraraka stepped back and ordered him to swallow. He was so caught up in the nagging, the begging and pleading from his dearest friends, that he didn’t notice the door slam open and a new figure enter the room.
“Cherry Bomb!” Pinky screamed from the couch, and the man turned to talk to her while Uraraka continued to nag Izuku about letting loose and having fun. He was starting to phase out though, flattered that Uraraka would go to these lengths to get him out of his funk, but wanting it to end nevertheless.
“ What the fuck you doin’ here, Pinky?” the man shouted, his voice course and aggressive.
And just like that, Izuku cut off completely from Uraraka’s tangent. He knew that voice. It was distant, practically a phantom memory at this point, but it couldn’t be…
He jerked his head towards the new arrival and the shock of blonde hair, the chiseled jaw and severe features that he now only ever saw in pictures from their youth, were right in front of him. A body sculpted by the hands of the gods, the one he’d fantasized in the quiet recesses of his childhood bedroom in the dead of night, was there, in the flesh. He was dressed so revealing, too. Tight, black pants sculpted his ass, his thighs and calves like a second skin. He had no shirt, but accessorized with a bowtie, collar, and sleeveless cuffs. Those massive pecs and sculpted abs on display...
His jaw went slack, his lips parting and the alcohol stored in his cheeks spilled down his chin, onto his lap. He couldn’t care less, barely noticed. Only Uraraka did, sighing loud enough for all the room to hear. “Izuku, those pants are expensive!”
But Izuku wasn’t listening or looking at her. His eyes were fixed on a ghost, a ghost who had heard Uraraka’s complaint. Izuku watched the very moment the blond’s eyes widened and he snapped his head towards the stage to find Izuku Midoriya cuffed to the chair on its platform.
It felt like hours that he stared at Izuku, coming to terms with the fact that a man, his childhood best friend, whom he hadn’t seen since their senior year of high school, was there in front of his very eyes. Then his brows furrowed and his jaw clenched before he uttered through gritted teeth the very name Izuku had longed to hear for years.