Disclaimer: I don't own Fairy Tail.
Author's notes: BTW, I fixed the first chapter. I noticed it had a lot of grammar mistakes. I really hate when that happens. Chapter two is done! It took me a while before I found the chapter satisfying. I hope you guys like this one! I wasn't able to post it right away which was supposed to be yesterday since there was no internet connection but just for the record. I'm already in the middle of writing the third chapter. There isn't much of nalu interaction in the chapter but I hope you will enjoy reading the continuation.
For my reviewers; Joanna97, RedRose43, bunannza, thank you for your kind words, you got me writing until I finished the chapter.
TheRandomGirl: I'm happy you liked it! I, as well, am currently enjoyed writing this. Lucy and Natsu interacting together as children are hard not to love. I hope you like this one.
Queen Of Narnia49: As for what led Lucy into those wolves, that's something that the story will eventually reveal itself. Look forward to the coming chapters.
And onto the story
"Natsu! What are you doing!" Lucy shouted as she fought against his tight hold.
"Stupid, you need to listen to me. Stop fighting me." As if in cue, a large roar resounded through the forest.
"I'm not leaving you to fight those monsters alone! You need me!" Lucy was being carried like a sack of potatoes on Natsu's shoulders. Natsu gritted his teeth as Lucy kicked and flailed against his hold.
"This isn't some average run of the mill monsters you can beat."
"All the more reason I need to help you! I feel all better! I can fight." The little girl had tears in her eyes, silently aware that she wasn't strong enough to fight such an enormous monster, that she would just get in Natsu's way. Still, that doesn't mean she can't try her luck.
"No. You can't. You know that." Natsu focused onto running, into the direction Lucy could assume where no one could threaten her. She bit her lower lips, tears falling freely, hating her helplessness when she needed it.
Minutes passed with nothing but the sound of Natsu's swift running, her silent hiccups, the sound of branches and leaves swaying as they passed through.
A few moments later, Natsu suddenly halted, dropping her carefully. Her eyes widened at the sight. She could hear the sound of the water's movement as they stood near the forest river. There was an unused boat nearby. Had it always been there? The water in the river's movement flowed in a direction that seems to go away from the place. He quickly pushed Lucy to the boat, ignoring her protests in which resulted to her falling on her rear on the boat.
"Natsu…" She whispered, crying. She didn't want to leave him, to lose him just like how she lost everything else…
The pink haired child put a sack along with some things as he patted her head.
"You really need to learn to stop crying if you want to become stronger." he wiped her tears away then gave a light laughter.
"Stupid. Didn't you say that you'd help me become stronger?" She gripped the familiar scarf around her neck looking at him with teary eyes.
"I also told you that I'd protect you. It's not like I'm dying. I'm a strong person. I don't want you getting hurt so you need to get away. I need to distract them so you could get away safely. This boat's destination will bring you to a nearby village so you'll be fine. This separation is only temporary, we'll be seeing each other soon enough. I just need to get rid of them, okay. I'll follow you after. So there's no need to cry." He then looked behind him, narrowing his eyes, sensing the danger approaching.
"See you later then!" He gave her a wide grin as he gave the boat a strong push enough to get it moving.
"Natsu! We'll… see each other… again, right? Promise?" Lucy all but shouted, her fingers, clenching the scarf around her neck tightly.
"Yeah, of course I will. Promise. Now take good care of yourself. I need to deal with those monsters." He smiled the same wide grin as he waved her goodbye.
She watched as Natsu ran back towards the forest, completely disappearing from her view.
Natsu, if you don't find me. I'll go looking for you.
Seven days had passed since then. Seven days since she last saw Natsu. Seven days since she found and saw a small village. Seven days of waiting in a run-down village where there was no one. In fact, the village looked like it had been abandoned. There was no one there. She didn't have any problems with the place since it was a good place to stay. Food, shelter, and clothes were all there which she took advantage of.
Waiting was hard. She didn't mind being alone since she was used to it. Other than Natsu, she didn't have anything. Not a thing, not a place to return to.
"Puuu" startled by the familiar voice beside her, a small smile formed on her lips. Maybe not really alone, she took a glance at the small white dog spirit on her lap. "I have you don't I, Plue?" she wrapped her arms around the spirit. She still had her spirits. Her hands unconsciously fingered the keys. It was warm. That's right. I still have you guys, that's why she would never be alone.
"Puuu." Plue with his small arms, shaking as he always did, tried to wrap its feeble arms around the small girl.
Speaking of which, she wondered how Natsu was doing. Did he defeat those monsters? She was worried. There were a lot of monsters chasing them and Natsu was facing them. Alone. She wondered if he was alright. Natsu was strong but speculated if that strength of his was enough. She shook her head at that thought. She shouldn't think that. Natsu, though still a kid, was strong. He had this way of making you feel like everything would be alright. She had to hold on his words, that he was fine, that he would defeat them, and that they would meet up again.
She spent most of her days training herself to be stronger, trying out what Natsu taught her like cooking. He also taught her moves that would help. She couldn't really practice them since she had no partner to train with. There were also a lot of books lounging around. Since there was nothing else to do, she spent more often than not reading.
Waking up in the mornings were the hardest. She would sometimes woke up at dawn, tears in her eyes, crying from a nightmare. Usually, Natsu was always there to wipe her tears, and comfort her. She'd imagine him greeting her, teasing her for being such a crybaby only… she would then realize he wasn't there. Then she would remember the scarf around her neck and the promise that they would meet again. So she would immediately stop crying and hope he would come here.
Natsu, when are you coming?
Two weeks passed, yet there was still no sign of him. Lucy started to have her doubts. Natsu was not the type to just go around making promises he can't keep.
The unknown was scary. No news, no signs. Should she try going back? To Natsu? It wouldn't be that dangerous, right? Well there might be monsters there. That was one hurdle that usually kept her from leaving the place. Although she trained for a bit, she wasn't sure if she had what it took to go there on her own.
A repeat of what happened when she went on her own would do her no good. She ventured on the forest were there were monsters and practically almost lost her life. She went back to the village to heal. It was a good thing too, since she didn't injure herself that bad not to mention the village was enchanted. It takes a bit of thinking to get inside and outside, something that wasn't hard since she practically read all the books after a week of staying.
She was sure Natsu wouldn't be happy to see her do such things not after what he did to ensure her safety. If only there was another mage with her, someone strong. Maybe… an adult mage would do her good. It would be great if he was strong.
She snapped out of her thoughts as she heard a voice. There shouldn't be anyone around the place.
There it was again. Was she feeling so lonely, now she was hearing voices? But then, she closed her eyes concentrating.
Except… that was…
A magic of another person. And the great thing about it, it felt strong.
There was someone in the village. She was in luck. If she played her cards right…
"Hey, you." A voice called out.
She turned her head to face the person who entered the village. Taking another bite of an apple she was munching, she continued eating.
"Are an inhabitant of the village?" In front of her was a male adult; covered in an old brown cape, covering most of his body with its edges in tatters, his hair was a messy orange that reached up to the nape of his neck framing his handsome face.
The girl just looked at him with suspicion in her eyes, her brows furrowing at him.
"Well are you?" he scratched the back of his neck.
"I've been living here for a while." She finally chose her words. She needed to keep silent for now. Whatever reason he was here, one thing's for sure, he's a mage and that was the important thing. She needed to plot, so that she can use him.
"So you're not from here then. Little missy, do you know where the villagers are?"
"No. No one's here but me." Was this guy really strong strong? He was an adult and a mage on top of that but really made her doubt since he looked like he hadn't taken a bath in weeks.
The strange man scratched the back of his head, looking at the sky with a conflicted expression.
"You haven't seen anyone around then?"
"Not since I came here." The village was abandoned as far as she could remember getting on the place.
"I see. I might as well take a look, maybe there's someone or some booze around."
"Suit yourself." The girl watch the man walked off to look around the place, not bothering to tell something important about the town that she had noticed. He would find out of his own. If he did, she use that as a way to get him to help her.
That was what Gildarts thought as he stared at the familiar sight of village center. He looked around the village to get something to eat, as well as hoping to find some clues about what happened to the town. With a little research here and there, he discovered a kidnapping took place seeing as there were some places in the town that showed evidence of struggling taking place. With all the information he got, he planned on leaving the village to go where the kidnappers were staying. Problem was, every time he tried to leave, he somehow ended up at the center of the village. Was this village enchanted or something? That was a problem. He didn't have the time to go around looking for the other exit. Then there was also that little girl. What was she doing around in a place like this? Maybe he could get some information out of her.
"You still haven't left?" he looked below to see the girl with her hands on her hips like he was some trouble making kid.
"I have a job to do." He gave a laugh as he answered the little girl as he waved the piece of paper which held the request.
"Job? Old man, are you a mage?" she asked, her eyes went wide, though there was something else in the way she looked. Amused? Like she was having fun or something… which she seemed to try to hide but couldn't. He idly wondered why.
"I'm not that old. I happen to be an appealing young man and on top of that, a mage of Fairy Tail."
"What about you? Why are you here? Where are your parents?" he asked, bending to his knees to reach her eye level as he patted the girl's head.
As if he said something bad, the girl suddenly glared at him. Talk about mood swings…
"I don't have one." Removing his hand on her head, she then proceeded to take the piece of paper from his hand, ignoring his "Hey!"
Please rescue the missing townspeople! A group of monsters have been holding them captive in Mt. Shinui. Reward: 500 million jewels if successful.
"Oh. Are you strong?" she looked back at him with something akin to expectation in her eyes.
"Of course I am." Showing his muscles that usually made women swoon.
"I see." She peered at him from head to toe, criticizing him, with the piece of paper with the request between her hands. She alternated from the paper to him for a few seconds, as if she was contemplating "Alright, I've decided. I'm coming with you. I'll help you. Then you'll come with me."
"Wait-what? Can you repeat that again?" There was something wrong with the girl's statement.
The girl gave a huge sigh as if she was talking to an imbecile. "I'll help you with your job and then you'll come with me. There's a place I need to go." She said it as if there were no space for arguments. It idly reminded him of young Erza.
"Uh, how about a no?" He couldn't just take a little girl with him.
"Why not?" She pouted.
"It's not a place for kids."
She just glared harder.
"You couldn't even get out of the village right? Well I know how to get out of here." Her voice had a tone of smug. Without even waiting for his reply, she started walking in another direction.
"The exit's this way. Follow me."
A couple of steps then, she abruptly stopped to face him. "Oh I almost forgot. I'm Lucy. It's a pleasure to be working with you." she bowed her head a bit as she introduced herself.
The adult mage just heaved a huge sigh. Women, even little girls are as bipolar as they get and demanding. It seemed like there was no convincing the odd girl. Lucy had practically decided everything. "Alright, I'll go along with you little missy but then there are some things I want answered, got it? For the record, I'm Gildarts, a mage of fairy tail." He gestured to himself as he walked by her side.
"Sure, it'll be fun working with you."
"Wow, you're really strong old man."
"Ahh I overdid it again." he scratched the back of his head looking sheepishly at the scene before them.
The ground was broken in several parts making the place look like an earthquake devastated the place. Giant monsters lied around unconscious; various people locked in cages looked at the two strangers with a shock look on their faces.
The job didn't even take a minute to finish.
A couple hours later back at the village, the people were feasting as thanks for the two for saving the town. (AN: not like Lucy did that much to help)
Gildarts had two women draped on his shoulders, happily drinking with a silly grin on his face as they flirted with him. People were singing, dancing, and drinking themselves silly with happiness that the ordeal that the village had been going through was gone.
It was a few hours later that he noticed that the blonde little girl wasn't around the party. Curious, he excused himself, decided to look for her only to find her in an isolated area. She was sitting on a box, drinking, as she looked at the night sky filled with stars.
"Hey, why are you here? Shouldn't you be partying there along with us?"
Her eyes widened in surprise at the sight of him, breaking whatever thoughts she was having. Looking at her drink- which he hoped was not booze- a strange smile erupted at her face. "I'm celebrating too, just not with them since I'm… not that good with crowds."
"Really?" he took a sit next to the girl.
"It's just… I'm not used to be in a place with so much people." He scratched his chin as he looked back on what happened earlier when they-well more like he-rescued the villagers. The girl was strangely meek when she helped the villagers. None of the spirit she had earlier was there when she helped them. She was fidgety, strangely pale, and looked like she was too shy to talk with them. She more often than not, let him do the talking as she watched them, hiding behind him like the little girl normally should be.
But when he teased her about it, whatever issue she had, which she tried to hide though everyone could see through the little girl's demeanor. It didn't last long seeing as he teased his way around her, managing to coax her out of her shell bringing her back to her spirited self. Everyone went along with it, finding it absolutely adorable and much cuter when she was talked back, full of spirit, her shyness and nervousness, gone.
"Is it because you live alone?"
"I don't see what living alone has anything to do with that." She snorted at the implication. "Did you see those people? They're so many. Don't you find it kind of freaky?" Lucy looked with wide eyes her expression holding a mixture of wonder and fear waving her arms frantically.
Just where exactly did this girl live before? Stone Age? He found himself laughing at her. Of things to be afraid of.
"Since I owe you for helping me out missy, where exactly are we going?"
"Ooh. You mean that? There." She dusted dirt out of her lap, stood up pointing to a direction where the river was.
"Well my friend… actually, my best friend might be there."
"I'm not sure if he's still there but that's where he lives." He heard a note of worry in her voice. "Plus, the reason why I'm here in the first place was because I was waiting for him to show up. But he's not here." She took another gulp of her drink, wincing at the taste. "But it's been like what- two weeks since then. I'm worried so I want to check out the place if he's there."
"I don't think there's any town or village in that direction. As far as I could tell there's nothing but what, the forest or mountains, oh and what? The great mother of nature?"
"I know my way through the forest there. Natsu lives there!" Was this Natsu the name of her friend? Was he even human or was he some wild animal?
"Okay. I'll do it. There's something I need to see anyway. I wouldn't mind a little side trip. But first thing's first." Gildarts snatched the girl's beer away ignoring her complaint. "I'll be taking this. Children are not supposed to drink."
"What do you mean by that? One of the villagers gave it to me." Why did he suddenly feel like she was lying? It sounded too familiar, like an excused that his own kid reasoned whenever there was a party back home.
Giving her the same look adults used on kids, he saw her sigh. "Okay, so it's beer. I wanted to try some since people seemed to love it so much. So give it back." her hands gestured to him, urging him to return the thing.
"I'm telling you, you can't." What a stubborn kid.
"You're not yet… prepared."
"Prepared? This is not one of those –you're still a kid kind of thing, right? I've been hearing them all day harp those lines at me." She said incredulously. He wondered how long she spent to get the villagers to give her the beer. The villagers, as happy as they were, wouldn't just give a little girl the booze, no matter how hard she must have tried to convince them otherwise.
Maybe he should try another route.
"You really like it that much huh?"
"Uhh, well of course. Beer is great!" at the corner of his eyes, he saw her eyes widen in surprise. At the same time, she sounded unsure and guilty like she didn't know what she was saying. It lacked the confidence it usually had. He knew a lie when he saw one. Maybe he should try pushing her a bit further. That should convince her otherwise.
"Okay then. I've decided. Since you love it so much, here." He suddenly put the drink on her hands.
"Okay?" she looked at him blankly.
"Well... who am I to deprive you of it?"
The girl looked at him suspiciously but at the same bewildered.
"I mean you love it so much. I really shouldn't take it away from you. In fact-" Gildarts then proceeded to pour more into her half-filled mug. "To make it more fun, let's drink together!"
"Yeah!" he guffawed as he swallowed a mouthful from his.
Minutes passed as he happily drunk, the girl staring at her drink silently with a look of eew over her features.
"What are you doing? Aren't you going to drink? Didn't you like booze? Don't waste it now." Just a little more push. He thought as he look at the girl, her expression changing from disgust, to a weird smile, obviously trying to hide her dislike of the way the situation was going into.
"Hahaha. I'll drink it then?"
"Well? Drink it!" He grinned happily, his face a bit red refilling his mug. That had to be his third bottle now.
She gulped, alternately looking at her mug and Gildarts before grinning as if she was going crazy.
Taking a huge swing, she too, then put the mug on her lips and started drinking.
The girl had guts. Well, he didn't expect this but oh well. What happened, happened. No one's here to reprimand him anyway. He'll deal with the consequences later.
Three days passed before the two set to the place Lucy wanted to go. Really, the two were supposed embark the day after but she had a major what- Gildarts called it hangover. She ended up vomiting contents she ate. Ugh. She was never going to drink that thing again. Gildarts on the other hand seem so fine. That just made her angrier as she remembered the guy laughing at her. She was so going to get him back for what happened that night. That guy must have known she wasn't going to drink the whole thing but just for fun, even so, he manipulated his way around her.
Not only she had to deal with hangover, the two also ended up staying for two more nights. The party actually lasted for two more days. The villagers were determined to celebrate until they drunk themselves to oblivion. Not to mention, they wouldn't let the two leave. The only reason they got away was the fact that everyone was passed out from the party. She was sober at that time, something she had to work hard at seeing as Gildarts had somehow managed to convince them that she had the right to drink. Really, she needed to start plotting her revenge. She then forcefully woke Gildarts up so the two of them could leave the place.
Lucy wasn't sure if Natsu was still there. It wasn't like Natsu specifically told her that he'd come right after dealing with those monsters only that even if they were separated, only that they'd see each other. She assumed that he'd go the village where she stayed at but it didn't feel like that was happening anytime soon. Maybe he was injured and recuperating around. Knowing him, he could have injured himself silly despite the fact he's good at taking care of others.
As Lucy walked into the forest with Gildarts, she couldn't help but feel nostalgic as the feeling of being here. It had been quite some time since she'd last been there. Visions of her and Natsu walking around, collecting firewood, playing around and whatnot filled her head. As short the time the two may have spent it felt like they've been around each other for so long, living in their own little world. It was like coming home.
Home, a place where she could return. "Aren't you hot in that?" Gildarts asked, snapping her thoughts of Natsu, pointing the scarf she always wore.
"Not really, it's actually comfortable to have around." Like he's here with me even when he's not, she added silently.
"Okay." She found herself smiling, happy that he dropped the subject.
After a couple of minutes walking in silence, Lucy started to feel doubt. There was the fear that Natsu might not be there. Moreover, there was the lingering feeling of danger that she felt which shouldn't be there at all as the two walked their way through. Something felt amiss. Was it the lack of presence or does it stem from the feeling of seeing Natsu again? She couldn't help but feel nervous. Glancing at the older mage beside her, she vaguely noticed how he looked uncharacteristically serious, a contemplative look plastered on his face, as he looked ahead, giving her no mind.
"Lucy, behind me." He said so suddenly, she didn't expect it.
"Huh, what? We're almo-"
"Now" Sensing the seriousness of his voice, she shut up did as he said.
"Stay here." Without waiting for a reply he walked ahead, leaving the blonde child behind, ignoring any sound of protests she had.
It was only minutes later that she realized that something was very wrong when she heard a loud sound of something akin to a stomp and a roar, with birds flying away in fear.
Allowing the man to deal with the situation, the small mage sat on the forest floor, wrapping her hands around her bent knees, leaning on a tree. Although it was nice of him to go ahead on his own to deal with the situation, she would've liked to deal with it herself. Then again, Gildarts was one heck of a powerful mage as seen as how he dealt with those monsters at the mountain back then without really trying.
Minutes later had the girl sighing as she stared at her feet. This should be over in no time. Natsu was fine right? Maybe GIldarts already saw him. She felt excitement bubbling coursing through her unaware of the looming shadow a couple of steps behind her.
By force of habit, she glanced another direction her thoughts drifting as to how long she had to wait behind her only-
A huge tentacle came swooping lashing at her. Unprepared, Lucy was caught off-guard as it hit her stomach sending her crashing towards the trees.
The impact hit her with immense pain knocking wind out of her, her mouth opening a silent scream to release some of the burden her small body.
Groaning in pain, she quickly took a golden key out, prepared to fight if needed to.
The monster in front her was well- she didn't know what words she should use to describe it- but it had an upper body of something like a bear with zebra like stripes having human like arms with paws but from its waist and below was that of multiple octopus-like tentacles.
Sensing his movement to lash another of its tentacles, she called forth a spirit, saying "Open the door to the Bull!" the familiar shape of the muscular human shaped bull came out, carrying a heavy ax cutting the tentacle that was about to attack her.
"Mooo! Still not yet fully developed but I'll help you become a nice body Lucy!" the girl in question just looked confused not really understanding what the meaning behind his words.
"We-ll, anyway. Now's not the time. We need to deal with him!" another attack was coming. "Taurus, please!" Taurus easily averted the situation to their favor by smashing his ax on the solid ground causing a small quake, making the enemy swaying off balance, his attack, missing by a couple of inches. Using that momentum of the hybrid-like enemy's state, Taurus, with its sheer strength leaped quickly cut the enemy in half.
Lucy wiped her head as she gave another huff. She knew using a gold key gate took a lot of power, she just didn't know it would take so much. In fact, the scenery before her was starting to become blurry.
"Well, all done. I'll be waiting 'till you become nice body. Until then! Mooo." He then disappeared in a flash of light.
She smiled at the words. He must have noticed how it was impossibly hard it was for her to summon a spirit of a golden key gate. She didn't have time to muse as her head started to feel lightheaded. In fact, the scenery before her was starting to become blurry. Her knees buckled, falling to the ground with a soft thump. So tired… it was so tiring to summon. Wincing, she could barely keep herself up, noticing the pain her body suffered. Placing a hand on her torso where the tentacle hit her she briefly remembered the immense pain combined with her back that hurt from being slammed on the tree's bark. Vaguely, she felt herself falling to the ground.
Gingerly raising her hands to feel the soft scarf, she couldn't help but think of Natsu. She defeated the monster. Did that make her stronger? Her eyes slowly closed, drowsiness taking over to bear the pain of her small body took. She silently noted the familiar silhouette of Gildarts before she felt herself falling into something soft as the world turn black.
Hours later she found herself awake, it was already night time, and Gildarts was eating happily.
"Finally awake missy?" She sat up, wincing, noticed her bandages on her torso. She blinked her eyes a couple of times then felt her stomach grumble in hunger. She saw Gildarts look at her, eyes in mirth causing Lucy to blush in embarrassment.
He didn't say anything but handed her a piece of meat that was cooked over the fire. She mumbled her thanks; she took a bite, savoring the taste.
Minutes of silenced passed between the two with noting but the sound of the wood burning, the wind whistling softly with the leaves rustling accompanying. The experience made her feel nostalgic; it was almost like something she did before, except the lack of presence of the person she was looking for wasn't there.
What happened? She scratched her memory remembering waiting for Gildarts when some hybrid-like monster attacked her. She vaguely remembered defeating it with Taurus help and then what? Then what, she tried to think of what happened then but nothing came to her head. Whatever the case since she was here, alive and well only meant that Gildarts probably dealt with the remaining enemies.
Odd, she would have taught there would be no threat since Natsu… should have defeated those. She still saw no sign of him which either worried or relieved her. It was either one or the other. Then again, the two hadn't been here long enough to reach the place. Chances are, Natsu may be still lounging around which is something she hoped to be the case so that this won't be some wild goose chase.
But she doesn't find him here… she bit her lip at the thought, not really wanting to think about that.
"What's wrong?" he asked, one of his brows rose in question.
"Uhh, nothing… I was just thinking about what happened earlier… but… never mind about that!" she wanted to focus at her goal why she came here. As scared as she was of the unknown, the need to know was stronger. "Did you see anyone here?"
Several seconds passed; there was no response from the man. She held her breath, worried, for he was not saying anything. That troubled her.
"Shouldn't you first focus on healing before asking me that?" he looked at her, peering at her injured torso.
He gave her a hard look. Lucy could have laughed; the expression didn't seem to fit the carefree old man.
"Okay, so I don't really feel all that well…" she relented, okay, the wound on her torso hurt a lot more than she cared to admit but that's not what she wanted to know.
"Rest first, then we'll talk tomorrow." as if he sensed her thoughts.
She bit her lower lip. "But I want to know now."
Several second passed, the two, having a staring contest until Lucy tore her eyes away, staring at the fire, puffing her cheeks in annoyance.
"Very. Children normally listen to adults." He ruffled her hair, a gesture of his which started to annoy her.
She then continued to eat, a bit peeved but accepted Gildarts insistence to postpone their talk. There was something about Gildarts silence told her something was wrong. Whatever it was, it'll have to wait in the morning. It shouldn't be that bad. Right now, she was comfortable with eating out in the open. Waiting a day isn't that long.
Unknown to the little girl, tomorrow would be a day where she would realize nothing would ever be the same.
AN: Heck, Gildarts wasn't even supposed to make an appearance and here he was; a full blown interaction with him and Lucy. It's funny how writing could do that. I hope the chapter wasn't too long. I know I cut the scenes of interaction between Natsu and Lucy short but I have my reasons for doing that.
How do you find the chapter; like it? Or not? Comments, critiques and suggestions are all welcome.
'Till next time.