A/N: Trying my best to get this done before Halloween, should be only one more chapter left. Thank you so much for the alerts and favs! Special thanks to those who were so sweet to review: LalaKisses, REJ624, Rayne McKenna, Evraska, Raven Almasy, gladsomemind, criminalmindsfreak03, nicolethecrazyone, 68luvcarter, SpencerReidsTrueLove. Enjoy!
Can't Ignore This War
Derek caught the actions of her body going slightly off beat and took the liberty to turn the kiss that was becoming sensual and slow into a more passionate one. And when his other hand repeats the process on the other side of her ass, she moans and dips her head back, eyes falling into wide narrow slits and starts to quickly rejoin the pace he had ordered. Liking the feeling and texture of the fishnet tights under his hands, felt like he found a line and he was reeling her in.
Spencer's breath hitches and grabs a desperate hold onto the dark man's firm forearm, it's scalding under his glove, and he jerks them closer together. His body falling back into rhythm, but at the same time his mind was battling it out inside. It was a war waging, thank God for his talent of multitasking. His consciousness was telling him he should stop and warn this man before something happens beyond their control, and the situation turns horribly wrong, especially since everything was beautifully right at that moment. Although concentrating on the side that had a hand snaking around beneath his ass seemed like a better option than waiting quietly for the inevitable crash and burn. Because each movement drags the tight, soft fabric against his skin, and intensifies the feelings multiple times over.
Derek's lips curve into a smile against her neck at how breathless she sounds. His hold on her is firm as one of his knees comes up between her legs, and he feels her clamp down on them then loosens before repeating the process. She is bouncing up and down swaying with the motions the beat is swinging, hips rocking and flowing with an oddity. Like she is dancing to her own beat and remixing it to her own liking. Derek leans back when she presses into his body, moving his feet side to side to keep them moving at all angles. She takes a step further with her right foot, bends at the waist and rocks side to side and her hands wander with purpose over his shoulders, nails felt through her satin gloves clawing at his biceps, one grazing down to behind his back and just digs in. Giving him a raw sensation of tingling and pain raging at the places she leaves soft marks at. He raises one hand back up to put a possessive claim on her lithe frame's lower back, right above the swell of her ass. Nibbling on her lower lip, wanting to hear more of those wonderful noises that she makes, and she doesn't disappoint. And man was she delicious.
Spencer keens a noise between a cry and moan at the feel of those white pearly teeth biting down on his lip, its pain with pleasure. He knows he should be more careful, careful to make sure this man doesn't feel his painfully tight erection being held down. But he can't help it, the high energy and fast variations between tempo and stimulation is clouding his judgment and the man is rubbing, and grinding up against him. How can he say no to that? Sitting on the knee he puts pressure on his left foot and leans on his left hip briefly before raising his flushed chest closer to the dark man's body, pushing his hips to roll on the thigh between his legs. Riding it out like a cowboy holding on for dear life, afraid to be thrown off the massively strong body. Deciding it was his turn to make the man make noises he ventures to also bite down on the dark man's lower lip in return, extracting a groan in response. He smirks with his lips curled up, lip still trapped between his teeth, oh that was fun he thinks. And he can taste it, the reminiscent flavor of cherry from the lip gloss he was wearing, the texture was something else, and the flavor of the man's mouth was better than any sweet sugary treat he has ever tasted. Oh how he wanted to taste more of this chocolate and honey man.
Derek's body is losing control, his adrenaline is pumping. He wants this feeling to last forever, needs it, sees it, moves with it, and has to own it. He lowers their bodies and they grind faster, chest heaving with effort to keep from collapsing. Pressing into her harder, his kiss strengthening in its force to complement this motion, allowing her to take short breaks in between to pant hot against his chest, he feels like she is branding his skin with every puff released. His hand relinquishes its hold on her ass and moves to caress under her left arm, barely touching it and lifting it up in the air to follow the fluid movements they are making. When the kiss breaks apart, she closes her eyes and sways, her face the epitome of peace and surrender. They are gliding on the floor, barely touching it because they are flying.
Even though the kiss has briefly ended Spencer doesn't relax against the man or pull away while they catch their breaths, but instead holds on tighter. He leans forward a little bit, wanting to taste the shining lines of moisture on the mocha colored neck. Pouncing without a second thought he bites down on the exposed area above the man's collar, only to lick and softly kiss the hurt away before diving back in once again. Spencer's hand wraps tighter around the man's shoulder blade, while the other is scratching up his side making its way back towards the dark man's strong chest, fisting a handful of his dark shirt in his hands, tugging it every which way they bounce. Spencer is usually not this forward with what he wants; none of his usual kindness underlies this closeness, only mad feverish passion. The tall dark man makes a little noise, lifts a hand under his chin and kisses him deeply and grinds their hips together at this action.
Prentiss and Garcia were laughing and stumbling slightly from exiting the women's room, arms linked together.
"Oh my gosh, can you believe that guy? Using that kind of pick up line, 'Here kitty cat, you can sit on my lap.' Tacky." Garcia scoffs and makes her way towards the bar where Kevin was awaiting their arrival with drinks already ordered.
"I know. This night sure is freaky, fun, but freaky." Prentiss notes with a nod of her head as they approach the bar.
"Thanks honey munchkins." Garcia greets Kevin with a peck to the cheek, and starts sipping on her cocktail.
"No problem dove." Kevin replies wrapping an arm around her.
Prentiss groans rolling her eyes, twirling the straw in her drink, "Get a room would you." then looks around the place before asking, "Has anyone seen Reid yet?"
Kevin shakes his head, "Nope not since we lost him. Maybe he snuck off from under your noses and ran home."
Prentiss bites her lip, "Nah, I think he would have at least said bye to us. He went through all that trouble to get dolled up, I doubt some dancing would have scared him off that bad." and takes a sip of her drink with a smile on her face.
"Maybe he is hiding out in the men's room. Kevin maybe you should go check on him." Garcia suggests, sounding slightly worried.
Before Kevin can even get a foot away from the bar, Hotch and Rossi appear next to them both looking bored. Garcia and Prentiss smile hugely at them.
"Hey boss men, how's your night so far?" Garcia asks with a grin, leaning her head on Prentiss's shoulder and places her drink on the counter top.
"Decent." Hotch answers.
"We were thinking about leaving and wanted to say good night." Rossi states taking a seat on the bar stool.
"Where's Morgan at?" Prentiss asks, leaning slightly forward to see behind them.
"We lost Morgan some time tonight, haven't seen him since. And have yet to spot Reid, did he not show up?" Hotch asks calmly.
Kevin looks lost and not sure what to say, while the girls hold in their laughter and giggles. The girls had discussed earlier how they weren't going to tell the men and let them figure out for themselves about Reid's costume. But they lost their transformed little genius in the dance mash up...
Prentiss clears her throat as Garcia's eyes stray away from her colleagues mischievously.
"Oh he is somewhere; we sort of lost him to. What do you know; guess Prentiss isn't the only kitty cat that needs a leash." Garcia says jokingly staring at her friend.
Prentiss smiles at her with mock irritation as the men just look confused with frowns on their faces.
"So what did Morgan show up as after all?" Garcia asks curiously.
Hotch's eye brows rise up, "The Spirt, some DC super hero."
Garcia beans happily at this answer, "Oh sexy!"
"Ohhhh." Prentiss says.
"Nice." Kevin adds nodding his approval.
Turning her face away from her friends Garcia quickly scans the mass of bodies for her friends. She gasps slightly when she catches a glimpse of a black hat then the back of the body to match, its hotness heating up the dance floor with seductive moves to boot. She whistles out loud.
Prentiss catches her gaze and she smiles shaking her head slightly, "Typical Morgan, can't take him anywhere."
Hotch leans forward taking a look at where they were staring, and Rossi looks up from his glass to see what was going on.
The beat changes and the body of hotness they were watching turns to show him dancing with a certain Playmate Bunny.
Rossi smirks and looks back into his drink, "Oh, so he found her after all. Good for him." and toasts to the air.
Hotch gives Rossi a look and smiles slightly also, before taking in his two women colleagues faces and Kevin's reactions.
Prentiss and Garcia's jaws have dropped to the floor, eyes wide, and shock written on their faces. Prentiss had to hold onto the table to keep from falling over, while Kevin was turning red slightly, and Garcia didn't move an inch.
Rossi and Hotch give them appraising looks and open their mouths about to ask what was wrong, when Garcia takes off towards the dance floor so fast her robe swished like a cape in the air.
Prentiss holds up a finger quickly with an apologizing look announcing, "We'll be right back." and dashes off to catch up with Garcia, her heels clicking the floor with its resounding sound mixing with the music as they both disappear from view.
Spencer was in bliss; the bass was vibrating, felt it rattling his bony knees, and settled, throbbing in the pit of his chest. Or maybe that was this intense feeling he was feeling towards this mysterious man? Something about the way his hands lightly caressed his skin and body; it was like he was in a protective cradle, being coddled with lust. The scent and body was familiar but zoning in and out made thinking impossible, because all he could even pay attention to was figuring out how to prolong this amazing feeling that was going along his lips. Maybe he could tell this man in black that he was a man and be accepted? Would he be punched and ridiculed for his erratic behavior? So many things and emotions were tormenting Spencer's mind, while his body was being tormented by please and desire.
Spencer didn't have the chance to think of a solution as he felt a pressure on his shoulder, it was a third hand. That's strange. He feels himself being pulled back slightly. He stumbles slightly from the turn, but not enough to fall over since the strong dark man's hands are still keeping him on place. He finds himself staring stunned face toe to toe with Penelope Garcia, with an out of breath Prentiss behind her. Garcia is looking at him with something akin to shock and confusion painting it. His chest swells with panic. He wants to start rambling or more likely stuttering an explanation, but the man is still there. Desperately he looks to his dance partner in hopes that this didn't just ruin the best night he's ever had. Instead he is shocked to see a confused expression turning into a smirk on the dark man's lips. The words that come out of his mouth freeze Spencer to his core. His heart stops for a moment, his veins became ice, eyes widening and mouth falling open.
"Hi Baby Girl, you aren't getting jealous now are you?" His deep charming voice booms over the noise.
And Spencer cracks a little in the process, wanting to cry out and scream to the top of his lungs in frustration but neither happens. He has forgotten how to breathe and speak. Untangling himself from the once wonderfully strong and blissful hold, he backs up a few steps, shaking his head gently back and forth in dismay. This can't be happening he reasons to himself. He has just ruined everything, changed everything! The once handsome mysterious man is now known as Morgan, and he is looking at him, his brows furrowed and looking once again confused, hands still outstretched in the air like not understanding what was going on. Spencer feels his eyes stinging and it's not from the fog either, he turns on the heels of his feet and pushes desperately passed the crashing and sweaty bodies. Felt Emily's hand on his arm trying to grab hold of him, but he shakes it off roughly and keeps going, not looking up from the ground afraid of what he might see.
"Wait!" Derek shouts looking at the direction his dream girl just ran off in, she had looked so panicked and sadden, he couldn't figure out what had happened or what he did wrong. He takes a few steps to start going after her when Garcia's hand grips his arm in a tight hold stopping him in his place.
"Wait Derek!" Penelope says quickly, trying to establish eye contact with him.
Eye contact he refuses to give, because he is too busy trying to track her fading movements. "Not right now Garcia, I gotta go after her." Morgan exclaims, and jerks out of her grip and starts pushing through dance floor in search for her.
Spencer finally made it out of the dance area and was making his way passed the bar in an alarming fast rate. Trying his best not to trip over his own two feet and stay focused. He felt another hand reach for his arm, he didn't need to look up to know from his squinted vision that it was Kevin. He dodges the grab and almost fell over in the process, but quickly regains his balance and runs towards the elevators. Never so glad in his life to see the elevator doors still open, he barely makes it before he is throwing his body through the slowly closing doors. Luckily no one else was inside the small compartment either, because he falters in his steps and leans heavily against the wall, reaching out to touch the ground level button before slumping his shoulders and letting his head fall backwards until it makes a reverberated thud throughout the walls and his dense skull.
That was till he heard the sound of machinery and the screeching of metal moving, he lowers his head slightly and peeks out a curious eye to see what it was. He snaps back into a straight standing position in alert, and inhales a surprised breath when he sees Morgan standing there. Two muscle ripped arms outstretched pulling the doors open, as soon as they open the rest of the way he lowers them to his sides and walks in the compartment slowly while studying Spencer curiously and cautiously. Spencer couldn't take it; his best friend would hate him for years to come. They'd have to transfer one of them, Morgan would never forgive him. He was berating himself in his mind; he was so stupid, stupid, and stupid. Never should have let his instincts take over; he was the rational and logical one for a reason. It's what he was good at. He should have known better, should have warned Morgan, but it was like an outer body experience. It was…. magical, and he still wasn't sure what took over him. Spencer stares at the floor, blushing, presses his knuckles to his lips then switches to start biting his index finger between his teeth nervously.
Derek took in her nervous gestures, and body language that screamed uncomfortable and wanted to try and appease her uneasiness, "Hey, I'm sorry if they scared you. Nothing is going on between her and I. We're just friends you know?" he asks softly tilting his head, and trying to gauge her expression but nothing changes, except more twitches.
Derek sighs taking a tentative step toward her, stuffing his hands in his pockets and whispers, "What's wrong? Is it something I did?" and stops once she starts cowering closer to the corner of the wall.
Spencer shook his head pathetically, he felt so horrible. Now he's made his friend think he is at fault, he's hurting Morgan. He's never wanted to hurt Derek Morgan! He's has always been there for him, through thick and thin. Silent encourages and nudges. The person who protects him, teases him, listens to him. Who is funny, smart, brave, gentle, kind, loyal, the best person in the world and model of perfection for the male species. And he is hurting him! He couldn't take it anymore... Lowering his eyes to the ground, he sucks up any remainder of courage and dignity he had left. For Morgan he would do anything, so he just went for it.
Clearing his throat nervously but still not trusting his voice very much, Spencer stammers in a very small like voice, "Y-you... d- di-idn't do any… anything wrong…"
Derek's eyes widen a little at the sound of the voice, it's strained and weak sounding. Something familiar about it rang in his ears though, alerting his brain to think and concentrate on it…
Shaking his head Derek still wasn't sure, so he asks, "What? Sorry, I'm confused here." He makes another step towards her, hand outstretched somewhat, wanting to hear her more clearly, but stops when he sees the pain in her eyes. It strikes through his chest, he felt like he was fucking breaking into pieces. Those eyes, those beautiful eyes that now in the bright light he could tell looked so familiar. He could see the expressiveness that he has grown accustomed to, to read so well, to search for answers in. His feet feel wobbly and his eyes narrowed.
Lowering the hand at his mouth Spencer slouches a little on the wall to stare eye level at Derek. Silently willing him to understand but just for good measure adds his voice once more.
Blinking slowly and swallowing tightly Spencer whispers, "Morgan, it's me… Reid." and bites his lower lip.
Comprehension finishes clicking its wheels in Derek's mind. It makes sense now. His eyes widen slightly before darting over Reid's figure. He is taking in, mentally comparing it to the normal dressed Reid and starting to see the resemblances. Who knew the kid had such a body beneath those sweaters and loose fitting clothes? Sure he'd wear nice outfits that hugged better in places every now and then. But now he was forced to see every angle, every inch of skin that the kid usually covered up, and he couldn't stop his brain from sending signals to his lower body saying… that he was still hot. That was replaced suddenly by the look on the kid's face. He looked so sad and in pain. He never wanted the kid to feel that way. Still he had to ask one thing…
"Did you know?" Derek breathes, searching Spencer's eyes intently when they caught his gaze.
Grabbing hold of the rail beside him, Spencer answers honestly, "No, no I didn't know it was you… not, not till…" he trails off, eyes darting around the small space.
"Garcia." Derek finishes softly. It wasn't a question but statement, because now Reid's reaction made perfect sense at the time.
Nodding his head Spencer replies in a whisper, "Yeah…"
The silence that surrounded them was suffocating. Time seemed to be standing still. So many things left unsaid, things that needed to be said and things that were afraid to be said.
Morgan was fighting an internal battle from within; he'd never in his life thought he'd kiss another man. He'd like to think of himself as open minded person, open to a lot of kinky fun things and all, but that was a can of worms he'd never thought he'd open up or even wanted to open up, especially with the young and innocent Doctor Reid. But his heart was aching, telling him he wanted more, and to have that beautiful sense of whole he felt out on the dance floor. No wonder he felt so at ease and happy holding that woman, he corrects himself – Spencer, it was because they already have a strong connection to each other. That awkward and unusual soul he felt out there was what he sees right before him right now, same person. All that matters is what's on the inside they say right? Because what he experienced, what he was drawn to out there was something he'd never felt before and it scared the hell out of him. But at the same time he wanted more, because life doesn't seem as bright and as lively without that feeling anymore. Every bone in his body shook with uncertainty and confusion, but his heart was pulling him forwards wanting him to grasp that once again. So what was he going to do about it?
Spencer was worried and anxious. Morgan didn't seem to be angry with him, but on the contrary he seemed to be thinking and his face was one of confusion turning into contemplation. He wished he felt the same, because right now all he felt was ashamed and heartbroken. He'd known better, what was he expecting after all? From the beginning he knew he was on a one way road. Knew the charade had to end tonight, he was a man after all, kissing another man who didn't know he was a man. Something that made him blush, and feel scared even thinking about how easily he lost all control over his mind and body, and did something so reckless like that. Although at the same time, he can't seem to tell himself he regrets it, because now life suddenly seemed emptier. Like a shooting star flew across his sky and lit up his world, made it all worth while, and when it was ripped away he was left blinded by its pure light, and now he can't see or enjoy anything like that ever again. It makes sense he supposes, there must be sacrifice for that kind of emotion, no matter how short it was, and this was his price. Thank goodness for his memory, or maybe his memory is a curse. Because now he can't stop thinking about those lips, those hands, and the look he was given. He wanted to cry as he felt tears prickle in his vision. He knew he should have paid attention to the clues, it all pointed towards Morgan. Every sharp bone and muscle, soft tender touches, even that charming grin of his should have been a given as to who it was. But he was blinded and loved every second of it.
The bell rings on the elevator panel alerting them their decent is over, and the doors opening startles them both from their silent musing and internal battles waging on.
Taking heavy breaths, Spencer's feet feels like lead. He has a feeling that if he walks out of this elevator right now, he is leaving something behind. What that is? He isn't sure of, but he doesn't know what else to do, he's already messed up things beyond repair. So with a heavy heart and empty feeling soul he treads his way home, alone and burnt out.
The second Reid left the elevator, all Derek could do was track his movements with pained eyes and watch him move farther and farther away, till he was outside those doors beyond sight and reach. His heart ached and seized inside, crushing him to the floor with its weight alone. He wasn't sure what to do or think, that was until he was jarred back awake when the elevator doors started closing again. And he realized he just left the dream. The dream was real, and it was within his grasp, the most beautiful dream he ever had, and now's he's woken up, and it's cold. So cold, and he wants to be warm again, to feel again. Slamming his hands between the doors he once again pries it open, and starts off in a bruising run towards Spencer for the second time tonight. This time knowing who he was going after, and now this time he knows why.
The night air was much cooler than it was before the sun had set. The clouds were out, just a few, but enough to pass over the brightly lit moon and cast a shadow here and there as the wind picked up randomly. It was chilly and Spencer didn't remember to grab his coat before leaving, nor did he drive there since he had rode with Garcia to the party. Now it was what he assumed in the early 30 degree ferinheight range outside. His lungs for the first time that night in a long time felt cold, and it made him shiver from the inside out. Now he had the outside finally feeling like the inside at least. Might as well go all out he thought. He'd have to try and find a cab tonight and get him home, no taking the bus or train in what he was wearing. He was almost across the parking long heading to the side walk when he heard footsteps approaching, instantly alert he turns around only to see the same man of so many times tonight take his breath away and chase after him. Only this time, it couldn't be for the same reason the previous two were. That was before Morgan knew, and now he probably finally came to his senses and wanted to drill it into him before he left. Taking a deep breath, he slowed his pace down to a stop and willed himself to stay strong. Do not cry he tells himself, Morgan deserves that much.
Slowing to a stop Derek's chest was heaving in and out rapidly, he leaned on his left knee briefly before rising up and looking at Reid more clearly. The boy still seemed upset and he couldn't let him feel that way, he wanted to see him smile. His smile was worth more than money could buy in Derek's book.
"Kid.. no wait.. Reid," Derek chuckles to himself, "I think after what we did, we can probably drop the formalities now, what do you say... Spencer?" He says standing not two feet away from the boy, his gaze warm as his breath came out in slightly foggy puffs.
Spencer's holds his breath in at the mention of his name, and a blush had crept on his face, tinting his ears and cheeks a soft color pink at the mention and memory of what happened earlier. But he tries to maintain eye contact no matter how hard it was, swallowing tightly and crossing his arms over his mid-section Reid nods his head to the older man.
Derek slowly lets a grin loose across his face, and pulls off the mask and hat finally for the first time that night and drops it to the concrete ground. He should have done that earlier, but he was so shocked it had slipped his mind.
"Spencer, I think we should talk about what happened -"
"I'm sorry!" Spencer cuts in sharply in a panicked voice that quivers. His eyes are shut tightly and his grip on his mid-section tightens as he continues to shiver. "I should have told you who I was. I would… I would under-understand, if… if you'd never wa– want, to talk to me again. I'm so sorry…" he trails off, tears once again barely at bay in his eyes, he feels his face flushing, and wills his heart to stop hammering so hard.
"Well I'm not sorry. It's better this way don't you think? It was, how it was." Derek states confidently, cursing himself mentally for not thinking of something better to say. He reaches a hand outstretched towards Spencer and takes another step closer to him, just at arms length now.
Spencer's eyes are snapped open, teeth chattering and he is shocked still. A pang hit his heart, made his chest swell with an emotion he's never felt before. He was warm again, but he was still so confused. The sinking feeling was slowly coming back, and he wanted it so badly.
"Do you -" Spencer licks his lips and his eyes wandered quickly to Morgan's – Derek's, and then back to his eyes, " - really mean that? And not because I'm dressed up like a girl?"
Derek's hand reaches out slowly and very softly to touch Spencer's shoulder and declares, "I don't want to know heartache if it means letting you leave right now, not when we know there was something out there on that dance floor that we can't deny. It scares me shitless, but it was paradise Spencer, and I could give all my life to search for that feeling in a woman or anyone for that matter, and never find it. Never found that feeling; I never did, not till tonight, not until you were in my arms!" he tried to keep his voice steady but it wavered with emotion, and he realized as the words came out of his mouth that he meant every single one.
Spencer's shoulders lower and relief floods his face, he didn't know this was what he wanted until it was right there in front of him. All he can think of right then and there was how happy he was, and something new and different stirred in the pit of his stomach. That's when it hits him, hits Spencer like a ton of bricks. He could see the writing on the wall, it was so clear now, his heart was taken by this man… he became a victim of love, he was abducted and he never wanted to be released.
Spencer blows out a puff of air and his lips curl up into a genuinely happy, open smile at the Derek. "I feel the same way… I've never felt this way before, and it scares me too, and it also excites me. I've never felt so alive or safe before than when… when in your arms." He admits blushing, and looks away quickly realizing what he had said.
Derek's face softens and his heart does a funny jump and skips at the boy's words, and he feels his body pulling the lithe man's body closer to his. "Well, there is only one thing to do right now then isn't there?" He says slowly, voice deep and gravelly.
Spencer breath is quickening and his pulse is drumming in his ears as he wills himself to pay attention to what Derek is saying and not watching his lips move so sensually. He licks his lips nervously and asks, "What's that?" and gulps as the older man's body is getting closer to his, only inches apart now.
Derek's breath ghost across Spencer's lips, his hand had moved from the younger man's shoulder to gently pull off his wig and land softly on the ground, running his fingers gently through the soft brown curls. His other arm wraps around to land a hand on the small of boy's back, "Guess genius." and his eyes feel heavy and every fiber of his being is solely focused on the man trembling in his hold.
Spencer huffs a short laugh and his lips are so close to Derek's that he can feel them moving. He says the first thing that comes to his dazed mind, something that every pore in his body was screaming for, "Ki-ki-kiss me?" he almost whimpered, and he was starting to feel incredibly turned on, it was scaring him but he loved it every second of it.
The answering response is lips crashing together on a moon lit Halloween night. Wind blowing as the two men's world started to spin and drift to another dimension, and everything wrong in the world was set right. The internal wars were over and the cease fires were called. Like every puzzle piece finally fitted together perfectly. Hearts beating so fast that they were threatening to go into tachycardia. The spooky night suddenly seemed so bright and happy. Their two sparks clashed and ignited something so powerful it shocked the world; they were out of the atmosphere, sinking, flying, falling, and burning. This was what they were living for.
A/N: Hope it didn't suck, I tried to push myself to finish this as fast as I could. Next chapter should have some *cough* dirty stuff hehe *fan-girl grin*. Thanks for reading! ^-^.