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Showers of Blessing

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Bruce's mouth on his was hot and fierce, and he was still getting used to the way the entire room tipped over onto its side whenever Bruce sealed their mouths together.

"Christ," Bruce swore softly, coming up for air.

"Me too," said Clark, before diving in for more, because it had never been this way for him, with anyone. His fingers could not touch enough, his mouth taste enough, his cock. . .God, the things it wanted. Anyone watching them would have said they were making out like teenagers, but Clark didn't know—he had never made out with anyone like this when he was a teenager, though he couldn't speak for Bruce. They hadn't yet shared much in the way of their sexual experiences with each other; mostly they had been too busy grappling and climbing down each others' throats in the last two weeks.

Bruce's groan shivered Clark's spine. How was it possible for this to be so hot? Two grown men, fully clothed, making out in the private washroom off Bruce's office, and an executive washroom, who even had one of those? This room was bigger than his living room. It might in actual fact be bigger than his whole apartment. Bruce's fingers were digging into his ass now. Clark gave a panicked gasp. There was hard against his hard now, and God, Bruce's cock, Bruce's cock. He could bring him off just rubbing like this, he knew he could. He had done it day before yesterday, and Bruce had never looked more beautifully debauched than fisting Clark's tie and coming in his pants.

"Come on, yes," Bruce was murmuring in his ear. They were rubbing hard now, cock to cock. Clark knew how to get him over the edge, and got a hand in between them, unzipping him deftly. Bruce's hungry cock found his hand, Bruce's fingers were digging into his shoulders. Clark licked his neck. "Come for me," he whispered, and Bruce shuddered, splattered his hand with wet. Bruce's rasp of breath echoed in the tiled room. Clark found that gorgeous mouth again, gone sex-soft, and kissed it, kissed it. He wanted, oh, what he wanted. Bruce's boneless body began to right itself against him, and Bruce's hand began to quest, reaching to unzip him now. Clark swallowed.

"I have a meeting I have to get to," he said. "I didn't realize—it was—getting so late." He controlled himself with difficulty, because those fingers had found him now, oh God, this was torture. He should never have let it get this far.

"I'm fast," came Bruce's breath of whisper in return, right in his ear. Those firm insistent fingers were on his cock now, stroking him, and it was a torment, God, he couldn't stand it. "Come on, let go for me, that's it," said Bruce, but it was enough to pull Clark back to reality, and his hand closed on Bruce's wrist, firmly, in a grip he knew Bruce couldn't break.

"No," he said. "No, I have to—have to go." And he hastily zipped himself back in—ah, the agony of that, his cock was barely touchable, it was so hard and already beginning to leak, he didn't have much time now. He couldn't cut it that close again.

"Clark," said Bruce, in a menacing tone of voice. "What the hell is going on."

Clark turned and fiddled with the taps, splashed water on his face. He needed to put his whole head under the tap, was what he needed. His whole body. He scrubbed at his face, took his time drying his hands, all to avoid Bruce's dark gaze in the mirror. "I can't afford to be late," was all he said.

"Liar," said Bruce, in a voice designed to cut. He grabbed Clark, turned him around, wouldn't let go of his eyes. "In the past two weeks, we've made out over a dozen times. You've sucked me off, but every time I've tried to reciprocate you've made up some excuse about having to be somewhere. You give me mind-blowing orgasms, but whenever I reach for you, you push me away. Clark. Are we done here? Because please tell me now. If I'm not what you want, tell me now."

"You're everything I want," and Clark's voice was traitorous, it would not hold steady. He saw Bruce's pupils dilate, heard his involuntary swallow. It was as close as they had come to saying the unsayable.

"Then what is it," breathed Bruce. "Why won't you come for me?"

Clark ducked his head, looked away, anywhere but Bruce. He had to get out of here, had to get out of this room right now. "I—I can't," he said. "Please. You don't understand. I want to, I just—I can't."

"Okay," said Bruce, and that voice had gone tender. Anything but that; it was going to unstring him. There was a hand on the side of his face, caressing him. "Okay. Why don't you tell me about it."

Clark met his eyes. "Our physiologies are not—compatible," he said. Bruce's eyes narrowed. He dropped his hand, and studied Clark's face.

"Compatible," he repeated. "Clark. Excuse me, but what the fucking hell are you talking about?"

Shame scoured him like lye. Why hadn't he left this room ten minutes ago? "It doesn't have to matter," Clark said. "I can make you feel good. We can still—be together. But we can't—I can't—just not that, please. But I promise, I can make it good. You won't be—"

"Fuck that," said Bruce firmly. "If I'm coming, you're coming. Tell me what the hell you mean about your physiology?"

Bruce's hands were on either side of him, on the wall, trapping him. Anyone else, he could have temporized, could have distracted, could have diverted. Lots of people, it had taken them whole months to notice something was up; Lois never had. Once he had perfected the ability to fake, everything had been great. Somehow he didn't think faking was going to work with Bruce. "I can't come with you," Clark said at last. He writhed in an agony of shame, but those eyes would not release him. "Kryptonian—Kryptonian ejaculate is, it's not, it's, it's—"

"Radioactive?" Bruce asked with an arch of his brow.

"There's a lot of it," said Clark, dropping his eyes in humiliation. "Look, it's just that there's a lot of it, all right. Not—not anywhere near normal human amounts. It's—trust me, it's not that appealing to most people."

Something dark flashed behind Bruce's eyes, but he was quiet for a minute. "I think you should let this human decide that," he said.

"It's—" And his brain sputtered on all the ways to complete that sentence. Not that easy to be reminded of the line between human and not-human when you're in bed with someone. Painful to feel like a freak. Embarrassing. Humiliating. Ridiculous. "Not that simple," he settled on.

Bruce was still silent, still looking at him. Whatever calculations that brain was running, Clark didn't like where things were heading. "Here's the thing," Bruce finally said. He put an arm on Clark's waist, inside his jacket. The thumb described small circles. "And the thing is this. All of you, or none of you. That's the deal. You share every part of your body with me, and I share every part of my body with you, and that's just the way it works. That's the way this works. Understand?"

Clark tried to nod, but something sharp stung him behind the eyes. God, that he could fuck this up. That he could lose this, lose Bruce. His chest writhed and ached. "And if—if I can't," he whispered, because there was no more shame he could feel.

A dark head tipped against his own. "Then we just accept that I'm bluffing, and move on," murmured Bruce, seizing his mouth. Bruce was kissing him like it was his job, both hands on his face now, a hand moving to clutch at his back underneath his jacket, his hips sliding closer. It occurred to him Bruce had not tucked himself back in, and his softened cock was still outside his pants. Bruce's kisses had moved to his neck.

"You want so bad to come," Bruce was whispering. "I can feel it in your whole body."

"Christ," Clark gasped, moving his head aside.

Bruce wasn't trying to touch his cock again, instead just letting his hands roam over the rest of him. Those hands owned him. "I've wanted you so long," Bruce husked. "Wanted to watch you. Tell me what you think about when you jack off."

"Fucking you."

Bruce's throat made a noise. "Yes," he hissed. "That." The hands were brushing his nipples through his shirt. The mouth was back on his. The mouth was at his ear. "You have no idea," he whispered. "How much I jack off."

The thought of it made Clark's knees buckle. "Do, do you," he stuttered.

"I used to try not to think about you. Tried not to think about how you'd laugh, if you knew. Tried not to see what your face would look like, if you knew what I thought about."

Clark kissed him to tell him. Bruce's mouth was so hungry it almost bit him. "When you touch yourself," and Bruce's voice was the faintest of whispers, "do you think about what I would sound like, with you fucking me?"

"Oh, Jesus," Clark whimpered, letting his head hit the tile behind him. "Jesus fuck."

"Because sometimes when I touch myself, and think about you, I can't stay quiet. I try. But there are times I can't. I bite my mouth to stay quiet, but sometimes it's too real. I can almost feel your cock in me. Sometimes I can't beat off hard enough."

"God. God God God."

He didn't even notice when his zipper had been pulled down. But there was air hitting his soaked boxers. Shit no, too much precome, he was already wet with it. His whole body trembled rhythmically, outside of his control. He could still stop this, he could still walk out of here, any minute now he could, he would.

Bruce was on his knees, too quick this time for Clark's hand. He had his mouth on the tip of Clark's cock. Clark cried out like he had been burned. "I'm gonna suck you," husked Bruce. "And you're gonna do what you need to do." And with that his lips slid around the rest of Clark's cock, slow and hot and wet, all the way down, good God he was taking all of him.

"No, God, please!" shouted Clark, but Bruce was merciless, he wouldn't— "I can't stop," Clark pleaded. "Rao, I can't stop, you have to—God," and his aching cock would no longer be denied. The come spurted from him in heavy bursts, Bruce, no, he had to warn him, stop him, too late, too late. His knees shook, his vision exploded. He was pumping come into the warm welcoming suction of Bruce's mouth, and Bruce was swallowing it greedily. Bruce's throat was caressing him.

"It won't—stop," he tried to say, but he wasn't sure if he'd got the words out. He saw the moment when Bruce realized he would not be able to swallow it all, and just let his mouth go slack. Clark's come spilled off his tongue, flowed onto his shirtfront.

"Fuck!" Clark yelled, gripping Bruce's head, pushing forward into that mouth now slick with his own come. It was so much, it had never been so much, Bruce was soaked with it. Bruce's chin was slick with it. Bruce's shirt was covered with it. And still it wouldn't stop, and still Bruce drank. The third wave of his orgasm shook him, and almost toppled him, if Bruce's hands hadn't braced the back of his knees. "Nngh," he moaned, and the last of it dribbled out of him, a heavy squirt that had Bruce at last coughing.

When he had collapsed back, not just boneless but organless, bloodless, desiccated, Bruce rose. There was come on the side of his face, on his neck, and his sopping, transparent shirt was clinging to him. Come was dripping off his fingers, smearing his lips. Bruce made only a small animal sound before crushing their bodies together, rubbing himself on Clark. The smell of his own come was overpowering, it was all around them.

"It tastes so good," moaned Bruce. "You didn't tell me—the taste—God," and the swipe of his hand across his face only smeared more of it everywhere. "I want all your come, I want it all over me." Clark had never heard him like this, never seen this before. He realized Bruce was humping him, just rutting against him, and Bruce's cock was hard again, his fingers digging into Clark. "Shit, Clark, I have to come again, you're too hot, I have to," and Bruce was maneuvering them closer to the sinks, he was turning him around.

"Fuck you, can I fuck you," he was gasping, and Clark's cock sprang back to thick pulsing life. He hadn't even gotten to the part about Kryptonian physiology requiring multiple orgasms, but somehow he didn't think that would be a problem. Bruce had his pants shoved down, had a heavy handful of come in his fingers, was rubbing it around his asshole, teasing him. "Tell me how much you can take," Bruce said, his voice shredded, and Clark didn't know what he meant, so he said, "Everything," and Bruce shoved inside him neither gently nor elegantly, and his cock pulsed and jumped with the shock of it.

Bruce's head was bent to his shoulders, Bruce's hands kneading him. Clark wondered if he was watching the join of their bodies. The room echoed with the rasping pull of their lungs, their heavy groans. "Are you—gonna—come like that—for me—all the time," Bruce managed, and Clark only moaned in answer, reached a hand around to Bruce's ass to push him in farther. Bruce was balls-deep in him now, he could reach around and hold their balls together, squeeze them as they swayed and slapped together.

"Sweet fuck," breathed Bruce, and Clark felt his shudder build. He began fisting his own slick purple cock while Bruce watched in the mirror.

"Is it—gonna happen again," he said, and Clark tipped his head back in answer. Bruce's cock was stiff inside him, battering him, Bruce's cock was fat and needy and wanting to come. He wanted to come too. Bruce's fingers spread his ass open wider, dug hollows in his flesh. "Let me see, God, let me see."

Clark felt the tremors build, and let himself go with a shout. He aimed his cock at the sink, but it jerked too much, and he sprayed the mirror too. He was delirious with the beauty of it. He wanted it never to stop, it was never going to stop. His cock splattered the sink, the faucets, the wall, the tile, everything. "That's right, spray it, spray it everywhere," panted Bruce's voice, and then Bruce was groaning obscenities he had never even heard before, and he could feel—actually feel—every pulse of Bruce's climax inside him, every drop of come that coated his insides.

"I want to come like that, want to cover you in it," Bruce moaned, and then they slid to the floor together, a wet tangled heap, or maybe Bruce had actually slipped in a puddle of come and they were collapsing together. Who the fuck knew. Who the fuck cared. He was sprawled lifeless on a cold tile floor and his body had never, never felt so good. Bruce flung himself on top of him, and together their muscles just twitched and spasmed, random neurons firing, re-aligning.

"I hope," Clark said, when he had breath again, "that the lock on your office door is substantial."

Bruce rolled to the side. "Don't have one," he said, and Clark looked at his face, not sure he had ever seen it like this—every muscle softened, every line relaxed. He hauled himself onto his elbow.

"Please tell me you are kidding," he said. Bruce tipped his head Clark's direction, gave what was probably meant to be a smirk but came off as a bleary smile.

"Clark. No one opens a door that I've closed."

Clark considered the justice of that. "Okay," he said. "But soundproofing, any chance of that?"

"Now that I do have. I'll tell you what else I have in here, and that's a shower." He began to stagger up, peel off his utterly sopping, ruined clothes. The tie landed in a slick of come, and idly Clark watched it soak up its destruction. The rest of Bruce's clothes followed, and just like that, he was naked for the first time in front of Clark, like it was something they did all the time.

"Out of curiosity," said Clark, "how much was that suit I just destroyed?"

"Why? Would it make you feel better, or worse, if I told you it was worth more than your salary?"

Clark gave a rueful laugh. Bruce knelt to him, hauled him up by his cheap tie. "I will pay you twice your salary, if I can keep you locked in a room and coming like that for me, every single day."

"Mm." Their mouths slid together, sloppy and sated. He let his eyes wander over Bruce's nakedness. "So beautiful," he said, with a brush of his knuckles against Bruce's abdomen.

"You're still hard."

"I will be for a while. It—takes a while."

"Will you need to come again?"

Clark fought down a faint burn across his cheekbones. "Probably. Yes. Just—a few more times. I can take care of it."

Bruce's fingers brushed his jaw, in a gesture as gentle and questing as his own. "Whoever made you feel this way, I will hunt them down and fucking kill them."

Clark's smile was wry. "It's going to be a bit hard for us to save the world, what with me locked in your sex dungeon and you off hunting down my ex-girlfriends." Bruce's eyebrow quirked, and he caught his mistake.

"Girlfriends," Bruce said mildly. "No boyfriends?"

"Well," Clark said, knowing he had been caught out. I mean, it's a commonplace that Kryptonians are naturally bisexual, he had said to Bruce just week before last, as if it were the most casual observation in the world.

"Dammit, Clark," Bruce growled. "You let me take you like that when you hadn't—ah hell, I'm a shit. I'm sorry, I can do—"

"Hush," said Clark, and to his surprise Bruce did. "You didn't hurt me. You couldn't."

"Are you challenging me?" Bruce's voice was a throaty growl, the Batman voice, and Clark let it swirl around inside him.

"You use that voice when I'm already hard, and you're not going to need a towel to clean this up, you're going to need an irrigation pump."

Bruce looked like he was going to say something, grinned, turned his face away. "What?" said Clark.

"Really?" Bruce's back shook with laughter. "An irrigation pump? Talk dirty to me, Kansas."

"Shut the hell up," and Clark pushed at his shoulder. It only made Bruce laugh harder. Clark grinned, too, lost in the wonder of watching Bruce—Bruce—actually laugh. Not the fake society laugh of Bruce Wayne, but Bruce's laugh, his Bruce, this strange mercurial creature who was not wholly Batman or Bruce Wayne, but some part of both, and neither. I love you, his body ached to say, but that could wait, he could wait.

"So, shower," Clark said, and he made it to his feet. Bruce was eyeing his swollen cock, from where he sat, gloriously, unconcernedly naked.

"If you insist," he said, and crawled to Clark's cock, licking him.


"Why? What on earth does it matter?" Clark peered over the top of his newspaper to frown at Bruce. Bruce was stretched at the foot of the bed, wearing only pyjama bottoms.

"If it doesn't matter, then why not tell me?"

"Oh for God's sake." He went back to his op-ed. He uncapped his pen, holding the cap in his teeth, and made some notes in the margin.

"I'm just saying," Bruce continued, somehow, impossibly, still talking. "If you were truly not bothered by it, if you really were over it, you wouldn't have a problem telling me what she said."

Not for the first time Clark wished he actually did need glasses, just to stare over them at Bruce. "For the last time—for the nine millionth time—I'm not telling you. I'm not telling you, because you would not be able to let it go. I'm not the one who cares. You obviously do."

He watched Bruce weigh that one. Actually, it was a pleasure just to watch Bruce like this, stretched out on their bed—and more and more, it seemed natural to say that—on a lazy Sunday evening, wearing only pyjama pants that tugged down over his hips in interesting ways. He was lying on his stomach, pillowing his head on crossed arms, meditatively, in a way that made him look all of twelve years old. Clark smiled surreptitiously, and tucked the image away for later savoring—during tomorrow's mission briefing at the Watchtower, say.

"I do care," Bruce admitted. "I care because I think you still care. And if you still care what she said, then there's a part of you that still thinks it's true. That part of you still feels shame about your body, still feels shame about the way Kryptonians differ from humans sexually. That will continue to affect our relationship, until you can get it off your chest, and put it behind you. Behind us."

Clark snorted. Bruce only ever used the word relationship when he was angling for something. "You really think I still care. After a year of being with you, after everything we've—after this, you think I care what some long ago person said whose name I don't even remember."

"You remember her name."

Well. There was no denying that one. Clark looked down at his newspaper, because Bruce's internal lie-detector was infallible. "Then don't tell me her name," said Bruce. "You're right. The identity doesn't matter. But what she said matters."

"Okay, is there any reason we're doing this tonight? Not that this isn't fun and all."

"We're doing it tonight because I'm thinking about it tonight."

"And you're thinking about it tonight why? Is there something wrong with our sex life? Do you think I am somehow Secretly Troubled? What is it?"

Bruce propped up on an elbow. Clark took a moment to appreciate the flex of that chest. He took another moment to wonder if the shirt was off deliberately. Bruce was a fairly intense manipulator, when he put his mind to it. "You don't find it curious that you are incapable of sharing this with me. You don't find that suspicious at all."

"Suspicious." Clark put down his paper. "Good God. Look, if I tell you this, do you promise this is the last conversation we will ever have about it? And that you won't let it get to you, in some weird, paranoid—"


"Batshit kind of way? You promise?"

He heard the long drawn inhale of Bruce's sigh. "I promise."

"Great. Because, if I tell you what it was—" And he broke off, grinning despite himself. "It's actually kind of hilarious. I mean now that I think about it. It was hurtful at the time, but now. You know." He chuckled, rubbed at his jaw. "Fine. You wanna know what she said, I will tell you."

"I want to know what she said."

"Okay. This was when I was in college. This was after she and I—this woman—had been together for like, six months. The bloom had definitely worn off on our relationship, as it starts to do by that point." Both Bruce's eyebrows arched up, but he ignored it. "And I was getting, you know, a little randy one night, putting the moves on her, and she had stuff to do, I don't know—for one reason or another, it was irritating her, and I said, come on, don't you want to fool around tonight, and she said—" He paused to chuckle again. "She said, honestly Clark, the sight of you coming is about as appealing as watching my Labrador piss on a fire hydrant."

He shook his head, still chuckling a little to himself, and picked up his paper again. From the foot of the bed, Bruce was silent. Clark made another marginal note, then glanced up at Bruce, who had gone still. "Bruce?"


"You okay?"

"I'm fine."

"That would be why you're answering me in your not-fine voice." Clark returned to his notes, and for a minute or so he thought Bruce might have fallen asleep, he had gone so still. Then the paper was suddenly tossed from his hands, his pen flung to the floor. "Wha—"

Bruce's mouth was on his, kissing him, saying a great many things. Clark relaxed into it, threaded his fingers in the back of Bruce's neck. "Bruce," he said softly. "It was a long time ago. It's all right."

"I know it is. Can't I kiss you."

"Always," said Clark, as Bruce crawled on top of him.

"I am not even kidding, there is no way I am kidding here," said Lana Lang, snatching the Xbox remote from her son's hands.

"Aw, mom, it's not even eight yet!"

"It's a school night," she said firmly. "No electronics after 7:45 on a school night, you know that. No, I don't want to hear any more. Come on, just because your dad's out of town doesn't mean you're going to get away with stuff. Besides, Stella gets nervous when your dad's out of town, you know that. It's easier for her to sleep if you're in your room next to her. Come on, be a good big brother. Up you go."

He grumbled, he rolled his eyes, but he went. "And brush your teeth," she called up the stairs. "You know, I can tell when you don't, just by looking at the tube. And Dr. Schwartz can tell too. How about for every cavity, I get three Saturdays of mowing the lawn?"

"MOM!" came the strangled cry of protest, and she laughed. It was a deep, warm, pleasant laugh.

She flipped on the lights in the kitchen, checked the laundry room door—yes, she was a little extra careful when Steven was out of town, she admitted—and walked back through the kitchen, flipping the lights off. "Don't move," said a voice, and her veins ran icewater.

Jeremy and Stella upstairs, forty feet to the stairs, another thirty to the gunsafe in the bedroom. She would not let him hear the pant of her fear.

"I'm not here to hurt you," said the voice. It was a low growl of a voice. "I'm not here to hurt your children. We have a mutual friend I want to talk about." He stepped forward, and the light from the window outlined him. It was—

"Batman?" she said, incredulously. There were impostors. Everybody knew there were nutjobs who got their kicks dressing up like Batman, terrorizing people. But something in the quality of the voice—after her initial shock of fear, some part of her had known she was not under threat.

"Please," she said, struggling to control her voice. "Get—get out of my house."

"I will. But I need you to do something for me first."

"Do. . . something? For you?"

In the half-light, she could see him lean forward to the kitchen table. There was a pad on it, and a pen.

"Write," he said.

Clark put his feet up on the corner of his desk, absently flipping through the mail. Nothing of interest, because anything important got said in e-mail, of course, and nine-tenths of what he got at the office was mass mailing or solicitation. The remaining one-tenth was crazies who just knew they had a lead on the next big story, because they had seen Superman sodomizing the chickens at the Tyson factory, but those were at least fun. He held one up that looked less crazy than the others; at least it wasn't pasted together from magazine letters, or scribbled like a ransom note. In fact, the handwriting looked vaguely familiar.

Frowning, he opened it, and read it silently. His frown deepened, and the lines around his mouth became set. He had his phone out before he had even finished it.

"Hello there, Bruce," he said.


"So I have received some rather interesting mail."

"And you felt the need to call me in the middle of the day to tell me about it?"

"As a matter of fact I did. It's from my old college girlfriend, Lana Lang. I'm sure you have no idea who that is."

"Not really." Bruce sounded bored, and mildly irritated.

"Well, that's too bad. Because she's a pretty good writer. Would you like to hear some of what she has to say?"

"You obviously feel the need to tell me."

"I'll just skip to the interesting parts. Many years ago, she writes, I once said something I wish I could take back, and that was born of my own ignorance and pettiness. You have to admit she has a way with words."

"Mm," said Bruce.

"I would give anything if I could take back my words, she goes on to say. But I know the path of life has carried us far apart, and the chance for forgiveness has long past, so I will just say this. Here is where it gets good. I truly loved you, all those years ago, and I was an idiot ever to end our relationship as I did. For the record, I broke up with her, but I think we can let that go by. I have never found a love as true as yours, in all the years since, and you will always be the one true love of my heart. Sincerely yours, Lana Lang McDonnell."

"Nice letter," Bruce said.

"Yes it is. Bruce. If you goddamn ever pull something like that again, I swear I will boot your ass through the rings of Jupiter before you can even pull on your underwear, I am not goddamn kidding around. Have you ever seen me really angry?"

"Not that I recall."

"You want to keep it that way. You and me, us, this thing we have, it's in the here and now, and it has nothing to do with whatever happened in the past, to either one of us. Nobody else matters, what they did, what they said. Do you understand me? None of that matters. If you want my future, forget my past. Are we clear?"

"Definitely. Though it would have been more impressive if you hadn't quoted the Spice Girls at the end."

Clark rubbed his forehead. "All right," he said. "Goddammit. All right. I have decades of this sort of lunacy to look forward to, don't I?"

"Absolutely." Bruce's voice had gone rich and warm and baritone, and Clark was glad the phone hid his smile. He sat there for a second, letting the delicious promise of that word roll around in the center of his body, where it wanted to nestle.

"I'll see you tonight then," he said at last.

"Wear the green shirt," said Bruce. Clark palmed the phone. He picked up the letter, studied it again, gave another rueful shake of the head. Then he opened his laptop. A minute or so of googling got him what he needed, and he began the e-mail.

Dear Lana,

I am so so so incredibly sorry. . .