Only Shades of Gray
Buffy:tVS, Angel:tS, Highlander (for now).Category:
Crossover, drama, action. Title:
Only Shades of Gray (and yes I know I've originally used British spelling, but I changed my mind).Pairing:
Slash, varied/undecided. Summary:
After over a year in Africa, Xander hears of Spike's return. He heads for LA to confront his vampires, and the rest of his past.Main Character:
Xander-centric.Main Supporting Character:
Spike (S/X is friendship).Other Characters of Import:
Wesley, Angel, Methos, OC, Ensemble casts.Rating:
PG-13 and up the scale to R.Length:
Long, and that's despite the fact that it's a work in progress.Archive:
Yes, let me know.Warnings:
Mentions of rape.Acknowledgements:
A great thank you to all my lovely reviewers, past, present and future. Every positive comment means the world to me. A special thank you to my first!ever shiny Beta Marns, go give her lots of cuddles ather journal
, as she is a big reason why you're getting revisions and updates at this late date (as opposed to years from now, or never). Err, Marns doesn't do much spelling and grammar beta'ing though and I suck at self-editing, so expect to find glaring errors still and always.Disclaimer:
This is fanfiction, which means my writings are based on already established fiction. IE stuff that other people created. Joss Whedon, Panzer&Davies; more power to them.Comments on the Author:
I cheerfully ignore canon whenever I feel like it. I do the characters as I see fit; OOC or not. I love reviews, especially ones that point out stuff that you liked, and/or give ideas etc. Any positive feedback is positive. I am a very infrequent updater, but the more love you give me, especially constructive love, the more I'll want to give you another chapter. Flames will be quartered and drawn, and if they're really good they'll be hung out to dry in public.A/n:
Cleaned (slightly) and revised. Hope springs eternal.On formatting:
1) Italics are used to emphasize, so are bold characters.
2) Italics are also used to separate thoughts from narrative.
3) Italics when found between ~ and ~ means that the paragraph(s) takes place in the past or in a dreamscape. The Wayward Son~*~
It’s been one year and eleven days since he last set foot on American soil. One year he’s been out in Africa, finding slayers and finding himself in the process. He’s older now, his bearing has changed. His clothes are rough and made for hiking, made for fighting. Some times during his stay in the cradle of civilization he’s wondered why he got to go there all by himself. It’s not like he was trusted, not like they thought they needed him, not that he was competent, still he went to one of the roughest and toughest places on Earth to find girls with superpowers among all groups of society. Among the thugs in Johannesburg, the students in the schools, the tribes out in Never Never Land. Maybe Giles just didn’t know what to expect from the place that bore the first slayer, maybe he just didn’t think about it.
Xander knew though. He knew about so many variables of demons and how to kill them that he had actually written a whole book on the subject after six months. Which he succinctly had posted on the intra net of the watcher’s council. Giles’ reaction to that had been comical if it hadn’t been so damn tragic. His first question had been if it was a joke, forgivable maybe. No, not really, but understandable. His other question had been if he wanted to go home, Xander had answered that with one single word –no. The next question had been if he wanted some back up. Xander had laughed as he read that, 6 months of trekking the deserts and the jungles, dealing with demons, vampires, scared parents and terrified girls and now they asked if he wanted back up. He had gracefully declined, saying that it would take up to much of his time to pick up his would be companions and training them in customs and how to take care of themselves. He was fine on his own.
In hind sight, he felt grateful that the new formed watcher’s council hadn’t known what he ventured out into, they probably wouldn’t have let him anywhere near the continent if they had. It had been rough in the beginning, oh hell it had been rough all the way really, but he had learned so much and seen and done so many things that the difficulties entailed just didn’t seem to compare in importance. The natives of the land simply called him Wanderer, that’s what he was. But other words were also spoken, words like hunter, ghost and shaman. The White Devil was a name he had only heard in passing in a bar. When he’d gone to investigate this new name a silence had fallen that he normally only associated with one of his master vampires walking into a bar. A sense of trepidation that filled the air ‘til it could almost be cut through with a knife.
That had been three months ago, which was when he finally realized how changed he was. Sure he knew that he was more knowledgeable he had learned secrets from shamans and voodoo practitioners and stories from the elders, dirty tricks from friends in the cities. He had gone on more ritual hunts than he could count and knew at least a few words in many languages spoken on the vast continent including some demonic ones. He had befriended human and demon alike and had had many companions on his journeys that stayed for a while and then left. Sometimes they were companions that he would never speak of to the council, as new and improved as it may be.
He’d met a guy too, a rich and handsome man with a great many secrets and even more sorrows. They’d been together on and off over the course of the past six months. Xander had never felt as content and secure with a lover as he did with Methos. The Immortal, because that’s what he was, an immortal. 5000 years old and he could not die unless his head was severed from his body. He had showed him many things, taught him many things, how to use a sword with mastery was one of those things though many times Xander would still use his axe in fighting because it made a sturdier weapon and he didn’t want to risk the sword that was his lover’s gift needlessly. Of course Methos was more a friend than the love of his life and that was fine with Xander, you could never have too many friends.
He sighed as he looked on the mass of humans that moved around on LAX, his Hyena was going crazy with so many people around and up close. Hell his human side was going crazy too, he’d gotten used to the open wild as of late.
The Hyena, yes that had been quite the challenge to make her submit and join with him after the demon shaman in Gh-phnmskl had shown him how to communicate with the primal spirit that had been locked away in his mind all those years ago instead of being exorcised with the rest of her pack. Joining with the Hyena after a long night of fighting on a mental battleground had left Xander as something similar to a vampire, a bit stronger really, but without the constant blood drinking and fight between demon and soul.
That was something else he had learned from the shaman, the truth about Vampires and their souls. The soul never leaves, it’s simply suppressed and the demon calls on its baser instincts, so vampires did love, only they hated with equal or greater ferocity and since their only food source was blood it was only natural that the demon got the bigger end of the stick so to say. That was apparently the secret to Angel and Spike. Angel’s curse had been so constructed as to completely suppress the demon side and so heavy with guilt that the vampire could hardly even feed himself. With the added guilt and the danger of the curse the vampire’s existence had been completely unnatural and confused add to that the fact that Angel chose a slayer of all people to get a moment of happiness with and it was no wonder that Angelus had been livid and certifiable when the demon side was finally released, Angelus was in fact the whole person demon and soul combined, but being insane had led to the wonders of a really twisted Valentines’ day and Acathla.
And god did he want to forget that Valentine’s Day. Angelus had been relentless in his courting after that day and adamant about showing how little he cared about the young slayer. Xander had dodged every sexual advance, by some miracle, highly due to his two former possessions for which he was highly grateful. A cursed Angel was a whiny coward or an adequate ally depending if it was a good day or not, an insane Angelus was worse, he’d let all boundaries go and had they gotten together the chances where great that Xander would have died from that encounter simply because the master vampire had lost all sense of perspective.
But, Willow had tried to end the world also and she didn’t have the excuse of blood loss and a hundred years of torture so what the hell, Angelus could be absolved too in Xander’s opinion, he was insane after all, something which, granted was his own fault in some ways, but that gypsy curse had simply been moronic from start to finish.
Spike, now there was a dozy, as far as Xander could reckon Spike’s soul was more often than not actually in control of the vampire even before the so called ensoulment that had brought it promptly to the fore. That Wish demon had been one hell of a negotiator. Even Xander with all his new strengths had had some trouble getting out of that situation He had prevailed though and emerged from the caves with a new eye and another slayed demon under his notch. Well he could hardly leave the thing alive, it granting wishes to any and all that made it through the trials was dangerous to say the least. Well, anyway all the wish had really done to Spike was to simply finalize the merger between human and demon and make sure that the soul was always in charge. Something that would actually happen with age too for other vampires and also if the demon and soul got to liking each other from the get go, assuming the soul was strong enough of course.
Xander had long known, not all demons where bad. Of course most vampires were bad but that had more to do with what people they were when turned and whether or not they were made minions or childer. Minions kept very little of the soul connection to make them more obedient and one track minded while childer where made for companionship and therefore where allowed to keep more of their humanity. The reason why most vampires were so cruel often had to do with upbringing more than anything else. Spending your existence being alternately tortured, fucked and mind warped by your sire could turn most into cold blooded killers.
Christ did they have to be so loud and obnoxious.
Xander shook his head. Well the Hyena side of him had been good on many an occasion of course there were some odd quirks like wanting his stake very rare and claiming pack. That’s what he’s done with Angel and Spike, that’s why he called them ‘his master vampires’. Because they were, them and the scoobies and the girls he’d found in Africa and some other people and beings as well, they were all pack. Had been since the initial possession really, but it hadn’t really been a big deal since the Hyena had been as repressed as she had. All he’d had left after that spell that more had given him a chance to take control of his possession as anything else, had been some enhanced senses, the memories of the pack and the hunt. He’d continued taking care of his pack even after the so called depossession of course.
Since Hyena had never really left he still felt responsible for them all and he had tried to make sure that they were all okay during the aftermath of the principal’s death and all through graduation. Every one of them had left the state after that which had filled Xander with both sadness and relief. Contrary to popular belief he had in fact not lost his virginity to Faith, but during those days of the hunt. He’d slept with all of his pack members, sex being used as reward as well as punishment or just good old fun of course and that’s what had made him realize that having a man or woman really didn’t matter to him in bed as long as the sex was good.
Finally he was at the last security check. Fuck, I’m so out of here.
He had some things that needed delivering to Wolfram and Hart, but had decided that that could wait for the time being. Tonight he was going out to acclimatize himself and have a little down time, giving himself a chance to calm down. When he’d finally gotten word a week ago that Spike apparently was un-alive and well under Angel’s reign. Xander had been absolutely livid that no one had bothered to tell him this before. Not to mention pissed off that Spike himself hadn’t let him know that he was okay. Something that was very strange considering the close connection that they had had before the last battle with the First.
Yes they were all going to have a long talk about that tomorrow. Tonight he needed a place to relax and let his mind go.
Xander hailed a taxi outside and headed for the posh hotel that the Watcher’s Council had booked for him. He could easily smell that the driver was a demon, but that didn’t bother him. He was just minding his business like anyone else.
“Hey, d’you know if Caritas’s been rebuilt?”
The demon flashed him a look in the mirror.
“Yeah, opened last week down on Truman and third. Lorne’s got a new booth and everything.”
There was silence for a moment and then the demon spoke again.
“Sorry, to disturb, but you smell like you’re in from Africa. I’ve got some cousins down there in J’burg. Wonder if you’ve met’em. Journo owns a bar down by the docks.”
Xander smiled broadly.
“Hell yeah, we’ve met. Journo does one mean Sugelflug drink. There’s one hell of a kick to that one if you’re to believe my friend it’s the best damn liquor on this side of hell and he should know. ‘Course Minya beats him over the head regularly when he lets those Mourna demons drink too much. It’s just so fun when they get drunk, but Minya thinks it’s disrespectful to the elders to let the kids run wild.”
The demon in the front seat laughed.
“Yeah that’s Minya for’ya. Always looking out for everyone she’s got a mother hen streak a mile wide.”
“Yep, she was expecting a third little one when I left a month ago.”
“Really, thanks man. I really should send a card or something. Gotta keep your family close ya’know.”
Xander looked out the window and sighed. Family, pack. Xander had not only been livid when he heard about Spike, but also he’d felt completely shocked when he heard about him being brought back by the powers. He was completely confused over why they would bring him back as a vampire though, but figured it had had a lot to do with simply needing another strong champion. Gods he’d missed his Spike, his William. They had spent so much time together the two years before the destruction of Sunnydale and the subsequent death or whatever it was of Spike. They’d talked a lot and Spike had opened up to him like no other because Xander didn’t really care that he was a vampire, he judged people on face value and anyone should have been able to see the depth of the master vampire’s feelings. Poor Will, he’d called himself Love’s Bitch and it really was the truth.
Xander knew all about that, he’d had his fair share of bad breaks. The best times he’d had had been with guys. Jesse, whom he’d killed with his own two hands, Kyle and Thor from his original pack, Damian on the road trip after graduation and Methos. Though they had been close out of sight from the rest of the scoobies there had never been anything sexual between him and Spike. For some reason Xander had always felt like the older one when dealing with the vampire.
It probably had a lot to do with the lack of comfort and care that Spike had enjoyed in his life. Though he had existed for over a century he had not really gotten to live all that much. Killing had never really been all that high up on the agenda, it had more been something that he did to prove himself to his peers and betters and yeah he’d taken to it with a childish glee when he had no choice. Despite the fact, Spike had even before his so called re-souling been one of the most human persons that Xander knew. But of course masks had to be worn and secrets kept, that was the way of the Hellmouth.
Be that as it may Xander had decided to adopt the vampire and the Hyena in him actually made him think of the vampire as his cub. The thought was of course hilarious in its impossibility. Spike was well over a century old and definitely not a child, but that didn’t change Xander’s want to protect and care for him. Of course there’d been some rough times and while with others they never blatantly displayed any affection, quite the opposite in fact. Never the less Xander was going to see his cub in the morning and punish him for his idiocy and inconsiderate behavior after crushing him in a hug and rain down kisses on his blond hair and angelic features.
Xander shook his head. Enough of this, they had reached the hotel and further thoughts could wait come morning. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t brooded enough about Spike, Angel and all of his family this whole past week.
He thanked and tipped the driver who gave him a calling card in case he needed anything, then he went and checked in to his suite to shower and change his outfit before heading out for the night.
Reaching the seemingly empty lot where the newly open Caritas should be, Xander took a nervous breath of air before entering.
He had met an anagogic demon before, down in Africa and when he’d sung for him the demon had fainted and entered a slight coma. The demon after waking had then told him that he was too sensitive to be able to read anything from Xander. Apparently there was so much there that the demon simply became overpowered by it, the demon had then told him that the only thing he could think of for Xander to do was to find someone with similar gifts, but not as sensitive.
Apparently there were different levels of sensitivity for anagoges and someone with lower levels should be able to read him, in theory. So that’s why he was here, to see if Lorne could get something out of him. It might be a long shot but it was all Xander could think of. At first singing to Anama in Africa had only been for fun, but when hearing the difficulties that the demon had with his reading he swiftly came to the conclusion that there had to be big things in his future, things like more apocalypses perhaps and if that was the case forewarned was definitely forearmed.
Coming into the warm and well-lit bar Xander headed directly for the counter were he waited for a chance to talk to Lorne alone. After a while the green skinned demon walked up from behind him.
“Well hello there tall, dark and gorgeous, welcome to Caritas. Please tell me that you sing as good as you look?”
Xander turned around with a smile on his face.
“Lorne.” He nodded.
“It’s good to see the face of an ally again.”
“My name is Alexander Harris, you might have heard of me?”
“I certainly have, quite frequently, I might add. If you don’t mind, why are you here? I mean why aren’t you at Wolfram and Hart?”
Xander raised an eyebrow at that.
“I just arrived this evening and wanted some downtime before dealing with Angel.”
His voice must have hinted at his not so slight irritation at the law firm’s CEO, because Lorne suddenly went from host to guarded friend in a split second.
“Oh, you think he needs dealing with?”
Xander sipped from the drink he’d acquired as soon as he’d gotten to the bar counter before leveling his eyes squarely at the anagogic demon.
“Angel always needs dealing with, it’s the bane of my existence. And since it seems that the newly founded watcher’s council don’t trust him all that much anymore I feel it to be my obligation to check up on things personally… Like Spike.”
Lorne suddenly seemed very flustered and uncomfortable, but was doing his best to cover it up it seemed.
Xander felt himself tense up at the sign that all was not as it should be with his vampire and narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
“Lorne, is there something I should know perhaps about the situation at Wolfram and Hart?”
“Maybe there is, handsome. But I think that seeing it with your own eyes might be the better way.”
“I see. Well then I was looking forward to singing here tonight so I was wondering I you could tell me what sensitivity level you are so I know if it’ll work?”
“I’m only a level 5 actually, but I can read important stuff sometimes.”
If he could, Xander would have sworn that the demon was actually blushing at his admittance of his shortcomings.
“But hang on, how did you know about sensitivity levels?”
“Oh I met a Pylean down in Africa, he was too sensitive to be able to read anything from me so he advised me to find someone less sensitive to sing to.”
“Hang on there sweetcheekes. Are you saying that you’ve talked to a living, breathing Pylean, here, on Earth?”
Xander’s eyebrows furrowed.
“Well yeah, there’s actually this small colony down there that was founded some hundred years ago or so. Why?”
The demon looked ready to faint at any minute so Xander smoothly got up and stirred him towards an empty seat.
“I thought I was the only one?”
Xander’s heart clenched at the desolate voice.
“You thought you were the only one of your kind on Earth? Wow, I’m sorry, if I’d have known I would have forwarded some info to Angel as soon as I met them. I can find a way to contact them for you if you’d like?”
Lorne’s eyes suddenly sparkled back to life.
“If I’d like? Sweetie, that would be the single best thing ever! I will be in your dept.”
Xander smiled and gave the elated demon a one armed hug.
“Consider it done, I’ll have a contact of mine get in touch with Anama and I’m sure he’ll have gotten back to you within a week at most.”
Lorne sat in silence for a while before shaking himself from top to toe and locking eyes with Xander.
“Now, about that song. You said the other person you sung to was too sensitive to be able to read anything off of you.”
Xander blushed faintly.
“Anama actually went in a coma for a day. It’s okay if you don’t want to risk it, it’s just that it’d be really good if I could get to know something about the future, anything. It might be important, hell considering who I am and where I grew up it wouldn’t surprise me if it had an apocalypse attached to it.”
Lorne looked serious.
“You’ve given me a great gift by offering to help me get in touch with my brethren and you’ve shown tonight that even though you hunt demons, you don’t discriminate blindly against us. Besides that you’ve fought on the Hellmouth and saved the world, I think you deserve all the help I can give you. I can’t promise anything, but if you sing I will try to read you.”
“I really don’t require any payment for doing the right thing, but I will sing if you’re sure. But promise me that if you start to feel pain of feel faint you have me stop. Just shout the word and I’ll hear you and stop immediately. Sound good?”
“Sounds great sweet cheeks. Don’t worry about me though. If it gets too much I’ll go into the back room, it’s sound proof. Now, what would you like to sing?”
“Well, actually if you have a guitar available, I’d like to sing a song I’ve composed myself.”
“So you can sing! That’s wonderful, it’ll make things so much better for me. Sure there is an acoustic guitar with amplifier, just follow me.”
Lorne headed out on to the floor and the stage beyond and Xander followed.
Soon thereafter he was seated on a barstool up on stage, doing the last fine tuning of the instrument. Then nodding to Lorne who had bunkered up in a corner of the room near his ‘emergency exit with a glass of scotch in front of him he started his singing. First off the words came slow and hesitantly, but just after the first two lines he was lost in the music and the memories it carried.Well I did what needed doing and
I saw what to be seen
And I lived my life for fighting
And I fought for the dream
Oh, I did my time for treason though
My reasons were my own
And I left some secrets hidden
not to reap what I had sown
He’d always been the one that did what had to be done, he staked Jesse, stood up to Angelus, lied to Buffy about the ensoulment spell... Something that was still one of his most guarded secrets. He’d been the one who saw. Just as Caleb had said, that’s why the first had never come near him. He could see straight through those lies. Pity it didn’t help him see which lovers where going to try to kill him though.
Ever since meeting Buffy he had lived for the fighting. He’d fought because it was the right thing to do, because he couldn’t let anyone else lose loved ones to the darkness if he could help it.I have lost some friends and loved ones
On the winding road to here
But it all comes down to this my friend
That life does win, in the end
That was one truth, when he’d written this song he’d still thought that Spike was dead. Singing it now he could still feel the sorrow at that thought. He also felt the weight of all the other people he’d lost along the way, to death and to life. His pack and his friends they’d all deserted him one way or another. But that didn’t matter because he would always stay true and in the end Life was what mattered and living life and remembering the good times.But friends they need a shoulder yeah
They need a standing stone
So if you change before your time
Words scar you to the bone
And when the curtain’s fallen oh
You need a changing roll
So you go and fight another war
Though fighting takes its toll
He’d always been the heart of the scoobies. The human one, the one they fought for, or so they said. He’d never wanted that role, not really, but someone had to keep them all grounded and the weight had fell on his shoulders. That was why Buffy had always been so adamant about him not fighting. She needed him to live the normal life that she denied herself because of her calling. None of them had ever wanted to see anything else than the joker and the heart and so he had stayed that way, only showing another side when they weren’t present or too hard pressed in a fight to notice.
But no one could live a lie forever and after Sunnydale had fallen Xander had just been too damn tired to play the same old games. Of course fighting alone in Africa had not always been easy. He had met friends down there, good friends or people, persons who could have been good friends if they hadn’t died. Some part of him thought that he should be used to losses, but the truth of the matter was that he never would be and if he ever became that placate, he swore he’d take his own life.I have lost some friends and loved ones
On the winding road to here
But it all comes down to this my friend
That life does win, in the end
Xander checked for Lorne, he hadn’t left, but was slumping heavily over the table furiously massaging his temples. When Xander had finished the song the green demon rose staggering from his seat and hurried to the safe room. Xander hesitantly followed, relieved that he hadn’t been the cause of another coma, but still worried over the Pylean’s health.
He kept his voice low and closed the door as fast as he could against the sounds of the outside club. The green demon was lying on a leather couch nursing a glass of whiskey with a towel over his eyes. He must have had that one prepared before. Xander waited patiently for an answer and when none came he sighed and went to sit in an armchair to wait for the anagogic demon to pull himself together again.
“You realize of course that I won’t be able to work again for a few days…”
Xander opened his eyes in response to finally hearing Lorne’s voice.
Lorne waved a hand in his general direction.
“No, no. It’s all right, this was important. I can’t tell you too much though, simply because these are the sort of things were self-fulfilling prophecies come to mind. Right now I see your path clearly and you’re of such…importance in the great scheme of things that I simply cannot in good conscience tell you things that might influence your actions.”
Xander frowned. That sounded, troubling. So, he wasn’t in for retirement, but there really were things so important tied to him that Lorne didn’t even want to talk about it. Great. Really, that was just, great. No help in other words…
“I can respect that, is there anything at all that you can tell me?”
Xander swore that he could actually hear the demon frowning as he tried to come up with an answer.
“I can tell you some of the little things to ease your way, it won’t actually affect your decisions just speed things up a bit…”
Lorne quieted and Xander wondered for a moment if the demon had fainted anyway, then he saw the glass of scotch moving and he leaned back in his chair to patiently wait things out.
“All right, here goes nothing. You can show Spike how you feel about him and preferably in a blatant way. He craves affection and will not really be insulted because it’s you, anyone else of your age and he’d be tearing their throats out, but you have a way about you that makes people trust you and your intentions. Claim him and he’s yours.”
Xander blinked at that. That was really, wow. He could claim Spike for real.
“What about Angel?”
Lorne took a deep gulp of the golden liquid before answering.
“Angel… That’s complicated. He is not right, you need to fix him. Make him become Angelus again, for real this time, healed and whole. The rest, well, I’m sure you can find a way to make things right… Know that Liam and the Demon both love you, Angelus loves you.”
“The senior slayer is unstable and needs counseling, her relationship with the one calling himself The Immortal is unhealthy. The Key is still the Key, whatever you may have thought about time limits. She was, she is and will always be, her human form will only last one lifetime though, after that the Key essence will return to its original form. Dawn has a soul though which is separate from that which is the Key so don’t worry about that.”
“Your friend the witch is not what or who you want her to be, she never was, she can still become that though, but she needs her powers bound or she’ll end up worse than the Chaos Sorcerer. He is slowly starting to heal, be kind to him, his life has been one of hardship and he never really had any mal intent. He and your watcher friend need each other. They are two parts of a whole, you need to help them get back to the love they’ve always shared.
“Wesley is a lot like your William, he still needs you. Don’t blame yourself for forcing him to walk on his own two feet, you did the right thing, but remember that he is family, remind him of that. Everyone you meet you impact Alexander, that is your greatest gift and it gives you enormous power over the individual people, remember that. It’s for good and bad, a two-edged word.”
“That’s all I’m gonna tell you about family issues as far as visions go. As for other things. The evil that is the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart are in no way defeated and are trying to regain control of LA. You cannot under any circumstances let this come to pass.”
The silence stretched on after that.
“That’s it. That’s all you’re going to tell me, some things about my family, and to watch my back?”
“Your family is your strength, Alexander and I’m not only telling you to watch your back, I’m telling you that evil will try to take control over LA and that cannot be allowed, no matter what.”
Xander nodded. This time he understood what the anagogic demon was trying to say without saying it. There would be hard days ahead.
After that Lorne’s visions were done, but Xander stayed for a while longer listening to the demon telling him of some of the things he had missed while not being in better contact with the fang gang and he also spoke some more about Angel and Spike and his words made Xander’s stomach clench, things were not a ok in LA that was for sure.~*~