Title: Plan of Attack
- Author: meicdon13
- Pairing(s): Zenon x Nataku
- Rating: R
- Summary: When Shien has to go away and leave Nataku behind, he asks Zenon to look after the war prince for him. Zenon discovers that babysitting isn't as easy as it sounds.
- Website: http://meicdon13.livejournal.com/
- Warnings: Shota
- Notes: Written for yuletide_smut 2008.
PLAN OF ATTACK
Taking care of children was not exactly Zenon's strong point. Shien was better suited for that. Unfortunately, Shien was down on Earth along with a troop of soldiers, busy on another subjugation mission against some demons. So Zenon was currently stuck with babysitting duty.
He scowled as he marched through the halls of Heaven, his visible eye on the look-out for Nataku. He'd asked Shien why he couldn't just leave Nataku; after all, Li Touten was there and he was the kid's dad. He'd simply gotten a look and a repeated request for him to keep an eye on the war prince while Shien was gone. Zenon had agreed. After all, how hard could it be watching over a little kid? Especially one that was still recovering from injuries.
Apparently harder than I thought. Zenon pushed past a few officious-looking gods, ignoring their annoyed outcries at being treated so rudely by a common soldier. He turned a corner and almost plowed over a girl carrying a basket, ignored her as well, and went on.
Shien had told Zenon that Nataku liked to play around in the fields. Maybe the brat was there right now. Shifting the machine gun slung over one shoulder to a more comfortable position, the redhead stuck his other hand in his pocket and made his way towards the nearest field. Though it was only a few minutes away from where he currently was, he walked faster, eager to get the entire thing over and done with. He'd find Nataku, force-feed him dinner, drag him back to his room, and then make the little brat go to sleep.
Zenon arrived at the field in record time and stood in the middle of it, slowly turning in a circle and trying to see if he could spot the errant war prince anywhere. Something moved to his left a few feet away, and the redhead squinted. Nataku was leisurely walking through the yellow flowers, face upturned towards the quickly-darkening sky, golden eyes half-lidded and serene.
It seemed like such a waste to ruin Nataku's peaceful stroll but it was getting late and Zenon wanted to get back to his quarters as soon as possible and go to sleep. He was tired from doing drills the entire day and he just wanted to collapse onto his bed and get some rest.
"Oi! Nataku!" he shouted, striding towards the war prince. "I've been looking everywhere for you! What's the big idea, ditching me like that?"
"Let go of me!" Nataku snapped, yanking his arm free from Zenon's grip. He rubbed the spot where the soldier's fingers had dug into his upper arm.
"Listen here, brat," the redhead said, frowning down at Nataku. "Shien asked me to keep an eye on you while he was gone. Personally, I don't really give a shit about you. But Shien's my friend and I'm doing this for him. So you better shape up and stop ditching me whenever you get the urge. Got that?"
"I can take care of myself," was the only reply he got. Zenon took in the bandage still on one cheek and snorted. Kid was probably wrapped in them underneath his robes. The fight with Gyumao had taken a lot out of him, and as Nataku glared up at the redhead, it struck Zenon how young the war prince actually looked.
If brute force wouldn't work, maybe a less hostile approach would. The soldier paused for a moment, trying to think up a plan of attack before he went on. Weighing his words carefully, the redhead replied, "I know you can. It's just that sometimes, you need help. You know?"
"I don't need help either."
Zenon scowled. It took a great effort for him not to simply lean down, grab Nataku, and shake some sense into the little brat. Instead, he ran his free hand through his orange spikes in frustration before taking a deep breath. He couldn't drag Nataku back to the buildings that housed the living quarters since the kid was stronger than he was. Even in his injured state he'd probably be able to kick Zenon's ass if he were so inclined.
The soldier squatted down so he was eye-to-eye with Nataku. "Look, it's getting late, I'm tired, and you're still mostly busted up. You need to rest and so do I. So come on."
The war prince looked at him, golden eyes narrowed. Zenon once more took notice of the bandaged cheek and added, "Aren't you hungry? I'll get you dinner and tuck you in. What do you say?"
"I'm not a baby," Nataku replied shortly. He shifted a bit and glanced at the brightly lit buildings. Zenon tried not to grin.
"Fine. I won't tuck you in. But I'll get you dinner." He stood up, dusted off his jeans and held out his hand. Nataku looked at the proffered hand, then up at Zenon's face before raising his eyebrow and walking towards the building. He had only taken a few steps before he paused and looked at the redhead over his shoulder.
"Are you coming or what? I'm hungry."
I win. Zenon followed Nataku, hands in his pockets as he walked, not bothering to hide his smirk.
Nataku didn't like Zenon that much. Shien, he liked. Zenon…not so much. There was just something about the redhead that annoyed him, and it wasn't just the fact that Zenon saw a little kid whenever he looked at the war prince. At least he didn't treat Nataku like he was a freaky little kid, like some of the other gods.
I don't need a babysitter, Nataku thought to himself. It was bad enough that Shien fussed over him when he was there—not that Nataku really minded; it was Shien after all—but did he really have to assign someone else to do that when he was gone? Nataku wouldn't fall out of Heaven if there wasn't anyone to look after him.
He stabbed at a dumpling with one of his chopsticks and glanced up at the redhead sitting across from him. Zenon was too busy eating a bowl of noodles and methodically emptying a jug of sake to pay much attention to him. Nataku snorted and re-focused on his own dinner.
They were eating in Nataku's room since the idea of being around so many people wasn't exactly appealing to the injured war prince at the moment. People tended to stare and whisper about him more than usual when he was injured. He didn't need to overhear another conversation about the battle between him and Gyumao, thank you very much.
He stabbed another dumpling with his chopstick and chewed it viciously. Carefully, he shifted his grip on his bowl of rice, his healing fingers protesting at the movement. Golden eyes glared at the broken fingers and split knuckles wrapped in bandages. He hated being hurt.
Frustrated, he placed his rice bowl back onto the small table they were sitting at with a little too much force. The bowl of hot soup resting on it toppled over, spilling its contents over Nataku's hand and over his sleeve. The war prince yelped and jerked back from the table. A chair leg snagged on the hem of his long robes and he fell over with a resounding crash, his head banging against the tiled floor.
He blinked up at the ceiling, trying to get his bearings. Dimly, he heard Zenon shouting and cursing somewhere as he got out of his chair. He tried to sit up but the world swam in front of him and he had to lie back down on the floor. At least it was cool against his soup-soaked hand.
"Nataku! Kid, are you alright? Don't sit up by yourself, idiot!" The soldier quickly knelt down beside him and placed a hand behind his neck and one around his waist, slowly helping him into a sitting position. He felt Zenon inspecting his head as he tried to stop his head from spinning.
"I'm not a kid," he mumbled half-heartedly. The back of his head and his hand were beginning to throb. There was a twinge from his mending ribs and he placed a hand over them and winced.
Suddenly, he was scooped up into Zenon's arms and marched into the bathroom. He protested weakly, squirming; it was embarrassing for the war prince to be carried anywhere like some sort of princess. "Put me down!" He went on squirming even though it was making him dizzy again.
Zenon ignored him completely and settled him down on the counter next to the sink. "Give me your hand."
Nataku held out his hand and tried to move his fingers. Okay. They still hurt.
"Are you trying to not get better?" Zenon snapped as he carefully unwound the bandages around Nataku's hand. He deposited them into a soggy pile in the trashcan and turned back to the war prince. Turning on the faucet, he stuck Nataku's hand under the running water to clean it.
Nataku sighed in relief as the cold water soothed his hand. "Leave it there," the redhead told him as he opened a cabinet to pull out a fresh roll of bandages. Nataku complied.
Zenon grabbed a nearby towel, turned off the water, and gently dried off Nataku's hand. Carefully, he re-wrapped it, muttering under his breath about annoying little brats that were careless and messy. When he was done, he stowed away the rest of the bandages then fixed Nataku with a stern look. "Take off your robes."
"What?" Thinking that he had misheard the soldier, he blinked at Zenon from his perch on the bathroom counter.
"I said, take off your robes."
Oh gods, Shien had assigned a pedophile to look after him.
He clutched the front of his robes closed with his good hand and looked at Zenon with incredulous golden eyes. If the bastard made one move towards him, he'd find himself one eye less. Injuries be damned.
"I need to check your ribs. Now hurry up," the redhead snapped.
Moving slowly, Nataku slipped the top half of his robes off of his body, revealing his bruised torso to the soldier. Bandages wound around him from the lower half of his chest to his waist, holding his cracked ribs in place. He glared at Zenon, daring the redhead to say something but all he got in response was a slight widening of Zenon's visible eye before the soldier placed his hands on Nataku's waist.
"Don't move. You might jar them." Nataku watched as the redhead removed the bandages around his waist and ran his fingers over his skin. He tried not to laugh at the ticklish sensation Zenon's inspection produced and finally had to bite down on his lip to do so.
The soldier glanced up at him and grimaced apologetically, obviously thinking that he was in pain. "Sorry," he said as he straightened up. He started placing the bandages back around Nataku's waist. "Nothing feels wrong. You're lucky the worst thing you're going to end up with is a bump on the back of your head." He stepped back to look at his handiwork. "Still feel dizzy?"
Maybe Zenon wasn't so annoying.
"I told you not to move!" Zenon tugged at the ends of the bandages in his hands, earning another yelp and a half-hearted punch from Nataku. "This needs to be tight." He wrapped the roll of bandages around the war prince's torso once more before tying the ends together. He tried to be gentle but Nataku still winced as Zenon re-wrapped his bruised abdomen. "Done," Zenon declared, rocking back onto his heels and getting up, bringing the soiled bandages into the bathroom to throw them away in the wastebasket.
"Finally," Nataku huffed, standing up as well from where he sat on the edge of the bed. He moved carefully as he put his robes back on.
Zenon watched the entire thing with an amused look on his face. It had been almost a week since they had decided on a sort-of truce and the war prince still insisted on keeping up a tough act around the soldier. He strode over to where his machine gun was leaning against the wall and shouldered it, glancing at Nataku. "I need to go. Since Shien's gone, I get stuck with his paperwork, too." He gave Nataku a two-fingered salute before turning to leave. "Later."
Zenon paused in the doorway to Nataku's room, looking over his shoulder at the war prince. The kid's hair wasn't in its customary bun since he'd just finished bathing and his long raven locks spilled across his shoulders as he stopped mid-step, starting in Zenon's direction. All that hair made him look like a girl, really. A pretty girl. The redhead shoved the thought away and leaned against the doorframe. "Yeah?"
Nataku fiddled with the ends of his hair. "Can I go with you? It's boring here."
"What I'm going to do isn't that exciting either." Zenon straightened up. "You sure you want to tag along?"
"Anything'd be better than hanging around here." Nataku apparently realized that he was playing with his hair and immediately stopped, shifting from one foot to another instead. "The attendants that my father picked keep nagging me to just lie in bed. I'm gonna die of boredom if I stay here."
Zenon scratched his head. Well, Nataku was the war prince. If he wanted to hang out at the soldiers' barracks, who was going to complain? "Well…if you're sure." He glanced at Nataku's hair. "Don't you want to tie up your hair or something?"
Nataku held up his bandaged hand and said, "I can't do it myself."
Zenon turned around to face inside the room again. "Where're those women who always seem to hang around here? They're your attendants, right? Shouldn't they be doing that for you, then?"
"Father called away the one on duty at this time. He said he had something he wanted to tell her."
Pushing off from the doorframe, the soldier stepped back into the room, closing the door behind him. "I'm not really good at stuff like this, but I suppose I could fix your hair for you."
Nataku blinked and Zenon thought that he'd get a "Thanks but no thanks," from the little guy. After all, he'd probably end up pulling on the war prince's hair. As if Nataku weren't in enough pain from his injuries. He was pleasantly surprised, however, when Nataku said, "Sure. Thanks!"
It took a while for Zenon to thoroughly comb the mass of raven locks and an additional fifteen minutes just trying to figure out what he was supposed to do with the hair ribbon that Nataku handed him. When he was finally done, the war prince gave an experimental shake of his head. The entire thing came undone.
Zenon supposed he should have been annoyed by Nataku's laughter, especially since it was directed at him but he decided that he could let it go for the moment. After all, even though he was the war prince, Nataku was just a kid and kids were amused by the stupidest little things.
They finally got Nataku's hair to cooperate and spent the rest of the day in Zenon's 'office', the war prince hanging around the redhead's shoulders and asking him every few minutes what he was signing, what he was filling up, what he was reading, and what whatever he was holding was for. It took the soldier double the time to finish and by the time that he had placed his signature on the last piece of paper, his shoulders were aching and his visible eye felt strained and dry.
Hunched over his desk, he rubbed his forehead, trying to stave off the headache he could feel building up. Nataku peered over his shoulder at the sheets of paper scattered over Zenon's desk, still full of energy. "You're done?" he asked.
"Yes," Zenon muttered, slumping onto his desk and burying his head in his arms. He really hated doing paperwork. He needed to get out of the room and into open air. Zenon stood up abruptly, chair legs scraping against the floor. He grabbed his machine gun from where it leaned against the wall and strode out of the room without looking at Nataku. "Let's get out of here."
"Where are we going?" the war prince asked, moving a bit faster to catch up with Zenon's long strides.
"Anywhere but here," the redhead muttered. "I need some fresh air."
The soldier had taken around seven steps when he realized that Nataku wasn't walking beside him anymore. He stopped in his tracks and looked back over his shoulder. Nataku was standing at an intersection, looking at something in the opposite end of the hallway.
Zenon backtracked, wondering what had caught the kid's eye. There was a small brunet boy there, clutching a tall blond's hand. If he remembered correctly, blondie was Konzen Douji or something and the brunet was his ward.
He glanced back down at Nataku standing silently beside him. There was an unreadable expression on the war prince's face and his golden eyes seemed dull. "Kid?"
Nataku seemed to come out of some sort of reverie and blinked up at Zenon. "Sorry. Where were we going again?"
"You okay?" Zenon asked, squatting down to look at Nataku's face.
"I'm fine," the golden-eyed boy said shortly. He turned around sharply and began walking. Away from the brunet and Konzen. Zenon took one last glance at the pair—they didn't seem to have seen them—and went after Nataku. The war prince was walking quickly, robes swirling around him as he went.
The redhead caught up easily and grabbed Nataku's sleeve. "I asked if you were okay," he said, tightening his hold on the cloth and making the war prince stop in his tracks.
Nataku pulled his sleeve out of Zenon's hand. "And I said that I was!"
Great. What happened to their truce? For a moment, the two of them just glared at one another in the middle of the hallway. Zenon was the first to give up and he sighed in exasperation. "Fine. Don't tell me. I just wanted to help."
When Nataku didn't say anything, Zenon sighed again and ruffled the kid's hair. Nataku's bun promptly came undone and the soldier blinked a few times before he burst into laughter. The look that the raven-haired war prince shot him was anything but amused though and he simply began walking again, probably making his way back to his quarters.
The soldier followed him, trying to figure out what had put Nataku in such a bad mood. He had been fine until they'd seen Konzen and his ward. Obviously, something about them had triggered the change in Nataku's mood. But what was it?
Zenon almost walked headfirst into Nataku's closed door. He snapped out of his musings with a scowl and opened the door, marching into the room. The kid was sitting on his bed, trying to redo his hair with one hand. The redhead saw a flash of gold before the war prince resolutely fixed his eyes against the wall.
Closing the door behind him, Zenon stepped into the room and placed his machine gun on the floor. He sat down on the bed behind Nataku and firmly took the comb from the war prince's hand. As he began the task of fixing Nataku's hair once again, Zenon said, "Want to talk about it?"
"Bet if I were Shien you'd tell me what was up." The 'nice guy' approach had worked once; maybe it would work again.
"…Probably," Nataku replied grudgingly.
Zenon found a tangle and worked on it carefully with the comb. "Then why don't you pretend that I'm Shien?"
"You're too annoying to be Shien."
Zenon gently tugged the lock of hair in his hand. "At least I'm trying to be nice, brat."
He was fully prepared to give up on getting Nataku to tell him what was wrong when the war prince visibly hesitated for a moment and then began to talk. The redhead grinned as he continued to comb Nataku's hair.
Best strategy ever, he thought childishly.
"It's nothing I haven't seen before, you know."
Nataku glared at Zenon, arms folded across his chest as he stood his ground. Maybe he had been too hasty to think that the soldier wasn't a pedophile. "You peeped in on me while I was taking a bath before?" His hands tightened convulsively in the folds of his robes as Zenon huffed irritably.
"No!" The redhead ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "I meant that I'm a guy too and anything you've got, I've got."
"It's not the same!" Nataku hissed, eyes narrowed. He was tense from that morning's meeting with his father. Throughout the entire farce, the only thing that Li Touten was obviously worried about was the fact that Nataku wasn't recovering as quickly as expected and might not be fit to be sent on another mission.
To make matters worse, he had called away Nataku's attendant again just when she was about to bathe the war prince. He had recovered enough that he didn't wince every time he moved his fingers and his torso wasn't so stiff anymore, but he still couldn't hold things properly and his ribs still gave a protesting twinge whenever he bent over.
Zenon had offered to take his attendant's place but Nataku was still a bit leery of the redhead. Just because he wasn't trying to ditch the soldier every chance he got anymore, that didn't exactly mean that Zenon had achieved the level of trust he gave Shien.
They argued back and forth for a few more minutes, Nataku's voice getting sharper and Zenon's getting more frustrated, until the soldier stalked over and tossed the war prince over his shoulder, carrying him into the bathroom and kicking the door closed behind him. Nataku yelped then began squirming, wishing that he was fully recovered so he could kick Zenon's ass. Hard.
He was still struggling to free himself while Zenon managed to turn on the faucet one-handed. As the bathtub filled, the soldier placed Nataku on the bathroom counter and began unwrapping the bandages on war prince's hand. "Stop acting like I'm going to take advantage of you."
Nataku managed not to snap something in reply. By the time the tub was full of warm water, Zenon was helping the golden-eyed war prince out of his robes and inspecting the remaining bruises on Nataku's torso. "In you go," the redhead said, stepping back to let Nataku get into the tub.
"Here," Nataku said shortly, grabbing a bottle from a small shelf on the wall and thrusting it into Zenon's hands.
"What's this?" the soldier asked, uncapping said bottle and taking a whiff.
Averting his eyes, Nataku replied, "It's shampoo. If you're going to insist on bathing me, you might as well wash my hair."
What could have been amusement and incredulity passed over Zenon's face before he began laughing. He actually dropped the bottle of shampoo on the floor where it landed with a dull thud. Nataku glared half-heartedly at him until the redhead managed to calm down. "Sorry," Zenon said, obviously not feeling sorry at all.
He took off his jacket and removed his gloves, placing them on the floor. Kneeling beside the tub, he reached out for the shampoo and squeezed a dollop of it onto his palm. He took care of Nataku's hair first before he grabbed a bar of soap from the ledge beside the bathtub and began to lather up a washcloth.
As the redhead carefully began washing Nataku's body, the war prince slowly found himself relaxing, leaning back against the bathtub, his head resting against Zenon's chest. It was…different from how his attendants bathed him. They were all gentle hands that he could sometimes barely feel. Zenon was gentle but firm; Nataku could almost feel the callused palms through the thin washcloth.
The soldier's hands went lower, rubbing against the war prince's stomach and sides. Nataku felt his eyes grow half-lidded as the steam from the water rose up around them. Zenon leaned forward a bit to see where he was cleaning and Nataku ended up with his cheek pressed against the side of the redhead's neck.
The tension in Nataku's body slowly seeped away and he sighed softly as he felt Zenon move to his waist. He was so completely relaxed that it took a moment for him to register the fact that the soldier's hands were making their way towards his groin.
"What are you doing?" he yelped, jerking forward.
"I'm giving you a bath," Zenon deadpanned. "Now keep still or you're going to spill all the water."
Despite his better judgment, Nataku once more leaned back, letting Zenon continue. He tried not to panic as he felt the washcloth travel over his privates, telling himself that his attendants did it all the time and he hadn't even felt the slightest awkwardness when they did. He stifled a whimper when he felt one of Zenon's hands lift his balls to clean the skin under them.
He sighed again when the soldier's hands left his more intimate areas to travel down his legs, only to tense up once more when they arrived at the backs of his knees. He barely suppressed a shudder when he felt the washcloth moving across his skin. It got even worse when Zenon moved to one side of the tub to clean Nataku's feet, the war prince's ankles proving to be just as sensitive.
"Something wrong?" Zenon asked, hands slowing down where they were rubbing his right ankle.
Nataku managed to force out a response. "I'm fine."
"What is it with you and asking me how I am?" Nataku said irritably, mentally panicking because the feel of Zenon's hands against his ankle was slowly giving him an erection. If Zenon saw his hard-on, he would never live it down. Nataku discreetly tried to move the bubbles in the water closer to him.
"Fine, fine." Zenon went back to what he was doing, dropping the war prince's foot back into the water to get the other one. When he was finally done, he reached for the drain plug and pulled it, letting the water drain out so he could refill it with clean water to rinse off the raven-haired war prince.
Nataku was sure that he was going to die. The water was only waist-high and quickly draining away. He hugged his knees to his chest and tried to fight down the blush that was rising up in his cheeks. Zenon was sure to see his predicament once he turned back to the war prince. Nataku felt like he was going to die from sheer embarrassment.
Oh gods. Nataku tried to curl up into a little ball, feeling warm water beginning to fill up the tub again.
The pause that followed was the most awkward moment the war prince had ever experienced before. He wished he could just sink through the floor and somehow fall down to Earth. After a few minutes of staring at his knees, he heard Zenon clear his throat uncomfortably somewhere above him.
"Well, it can't be helped."
Nataku's head jerked up as he looked at the redhead, kneeling shirtless and soapy beside the bathtub. He was sure he was staring at Zenon like he had grown another head.
The soldier shrugged, trying to look nonchalant and failing. "You're a growing boy after all and it's natural that you'd get…excited from having someone…touching you."
Nataku was about to snap that he didn't get hard when his attendants bathed him but quickly closed his mouth. He didn't want to give the redhead any ideas. Instead, he hugged his knees tighter and averted his eyes.
There was a rustle of cloth and Nataku looked back to see what Zenon was doing. To his complete shock, the redhead was stripping, shoving his pants and underwear down his legs and stepping out of them.
"What—" he squeaked when Zenon suddenly clambered into the tub with him. The soldier settled down behind Nataku and reached forward to turn off the water. He leaned back and hooked an arm around the war prince's waist, pulling Nataku onto his lap, the war prince's back resting against Zenon's chest.
"I'm just giving you a hand," the redhead replied simply before he reached down to wrap a hand around Nataku's erection.
Nataku gasped then shuddered as Zenon began to move his hand. Heat pooled and coiled in his stomach as he felt Zenon moving his other hand up to gently brush his fingers against the war prince's chest. Nataku'd never touched himself before and the novel sensations were wreaking havoc with his nerves, making him feel like he was going to burn up.
He whimpered when he felt hot lips against the curve of his ear just as fingers found and tweaked a nipple. "Z-Zenon…"
"Trust me," the soldier replied, moving his hand faster, pumping Nataku's hardness. The war prince's hips jerked involuntarily, thrusting up into the tight channel of Zenon's fist.
Zenon buried his face into the junction of Nataku's neck and shoulder, mouth kissing and nipping against the boy's skin. A tongue snaked out to soothe the area where his teeth had been, and Nataku felt tears coursing down his cheeks.
He tried not to cry; it wasn't like he was getting hurt, but it felt too intense; Zenon's hands and lips and teeth and tongue and fingers moving over his skin, drawing out moans and whimpers.
The hand on his chest ghosted down, moving past Nataku's balls, stroking the skin behind them before the war prince felt a fingertip rubbing against his entrance. He gasped at the feel before he was silenced as Zenon's mouth covered his own in a kiss.
The redhead's tongue took advantage of his open mouth, snaking inside to lave over everything it could reach, rubbing against Nataku's tongue and making the war prince moan.
Nataku felt like he was suffocating, his heart pounding in chest as his hands scrabbled for purchase. He ended up clutching at Zenon's thighs, fingers digging into the flesh under his hands.
Then he was coming, his entire body shuddering at the force of his first climax. Zenon swallowed his scream, muffling it against his mouth, and his arms tightened around Nataku until the waves of pleasure finally receded.
Nataku dimly felt Zenon finish cleaning him up and then drying him off. He was carried back into the bedroom and tucked in, the sheets pulled up to his chin. His golden eyes were closed but he heard the redhead moving around somewhere in the bathroom, probably cleaning up.
Nataku opened one eye in time to see Zenon picking up his pants from the floor. "Zenon?" he said softly, half sitting up. He wasn't sure what he was asking and he wasn't sure if the soldier understood but Zenon dropped the pants and strode into the bedroom. He climbed onto the bed and under the sheets, pulling Nataku up to rest half on top of him.
The war prince rested his head on the soldier's chest. Maybe Zenon really wasn't so bad after all.