All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications. Sailor Moon was created by Naoko Taeuchi.
A Different Viewpoint Pt 19
In Kasumi's room Johnathon and Kasumi both woke up at the loud thump from Ranma's room. Johnathon listened for further noises but heard nothing. He looked over at the clock. It read four thirty in the morning. He looked over at Kasumi questioningly.
Kasumi looked back, smiling. "It's probably nothing." She reassured him.
He listened for a bit longer, then nodded. "I guess so." < Ranma probably fell out of bed or something.> He snuggled up to Kasumi. "Hmm, you awake?"
"Mmm Hmm!" Kasumi kissed him emphatically. Further words were lost in a sudden burst of activity, leaving them too busy to notice anything except each other.
Happosai brought his incense burner out and lit it, letting Ranma get a good sniff. The old letch ran out and came back in with a full glass of water. He changed Ranma to his female form, then began his hypnosis. Happosai called to Ranma's subconscious, trying to release Ranma's female personality. Happosai could vividly remember that cute little girl that Ranma had become when Akane had knocked him into the koi pond one day. Ranma had hit his head on a rock and for awhile had acted just like a girl.
The ancient little master told Ranma's conscious mind to sleep, so his repressed personality could surface. Under the surface of Ranma's consciousness, a personality had indeed been striving for release. This personality had felt itself weakening, and something told it that it was in danger of never surfacing again. It surged to the surface in a rush.
< I've done it! I've awakened my female Ranma!> The perverted master tapped a couple shiatsu points to wake her. Ranma awoke and looked at Happosai. Her eyes narrowed and she gave a feral hiss. "What?" Happosai was confused at Ranma's reaction. "What went wrong?"
Cat-Ranma was aware of someone it disliked immensely standing nearby and acted appropriately. She attacked fiercely. Happosai dodged back once, then was knocked through the window with a second strike. Ranma-chan-cat leapt out after him.
The sudden crash caught Johnathon at a very bad moment. He swore loudly in English and rolled off Kasumi. "That wasn't nothing. I'm going to check."
Kasumi sighed, calming her breathing. "Be careful Johnathon."
Her husband quickly pulled on his pants and went out the door. He made his way to the door of Ranma's room and knocked. "Ranma? Is everything alright?" There was no response. < If it really was nothing, I'm going to kill him.> His eyes went wide at the scene inside. The window was broken, and there was no sign of Ranma. The really interesting part was the two naked women in the room. One was on the floor, the other slumped against the wall. Both appeared unconscious. "What in the world?"
The girl with the white hair, up against the wall groaned and shook her head. She gingerly sat up and felt her head with one hand. Her eyes opened and focused on Johnathon.
He blushed and looked at the floor. "What's going on here?" Johnathon asked slowly.
Artemis looked around the room in shock, as memories of recent events came back to her. "Johnathon." She said slowly. She looked at the woman laying on the floor in front of her and crawled over to her. "Luna? Luna, are you alright? Luna, wake up!" Artemis awkwardly checked Luna over, she seemed to be asleep.
Johnathon looked extremely confused as he stared at the two naked women in Ranma's room. "Who are you?" He blinked. < I'm still in my half-cat form. How did that girl know my name?> He noticed a familiar metal thermos laying opened on the floor. < What the...?>
The white haired woman looked up at him and spoke. "I'm Artemis! I've been turned into a girl!"
Johnathon's brain went into overdrive. "The spring of drowned girl. Then this is, Luna? What's happened here?"
Kasumi came out of her room in a robe. "Johnathon, what's happening?" She walked over to him and looked into Ranma's room. "Oh my." Johnathon and Artemis both froze. "We have guests... hello, who are you?"
Johnathon focused his thoughts in an instant. "There's an open thermos... I believe that those are Artemis and Luna... and they've been splashed with water from the spring of drowned girl. He put his finger to his lips and gave Artemis a significant look. Then he took a couple of quick steps to Ranma's futon and pulled off the sheet. Johnathon laid it over Luna, then around Artemis's shoulders. He knelt down and checked Luna. "She's asleep."
Akane burst into the room suddenly. She took in the scene in an instant. "What's going on? Who are these women? Where's Ranma?" Johnathon turned toward her and Akane blinked. < I can't believe I didn't notice that he was in his half-cat form.>
Johnathon pointed at the empty thermos. "I believe that someone came in and used that thermos on Artemis and Luna. If I was to guess, I would guess it was Happosai, and that was the water from the spring of drowned girl. Ranma must have chased him away. Akane, it's probably best to change them back, could you get some hot water?"
Akane blinked, absorbing all that. "They're the cats? Oh no! Um, right, hot water, got it."
Kasumi turned to her sister. "I'll get it, Akane."
Johnathon stopped her. "No. I don't want you getting anywhere near any water right now!"
Kasumi blinked. "Yes, of course, silly me."
Akane nodded. "You've got to be careful sis. The water is off, but I can get some from the pond and heat a kettle." She went downstairs to do so.
Kasumi joined Johnathon next to the two transformed cats. "Poor things. They must be very confused right now." Johnathon sighed and gave Artemis a sympathetic look. Artemis sat still, looking glum. Kasumi looked at Johnathon questioningly. "What makes you think it was Master Happosai?"
He looked thoughtful and shrugged. "Who else? Cologne is a possibility, but what would she want to use the drowned girl water for? From all I've heard about the old pervert, this is exactly the kind of stunt he'd pull." Johnathon shook his head resignedly. "Besides, If I am jumping to conclusions, Happosai is a good bet."
Kasumi sighed. "I'm afraid you're right."
Akane came in with a kettle. She poured hot water on the two girls, while Kasumi backed carefully away. They shrank instantly. Artemis crawled out from underneath the blanket and meowed. Johnathon pulled back the blanket to reveal Luna.
Akane sighed. "Well, that confirms it. I checked Nabiki's room. Her safe was open."
Johnathon nodded. "Nabiki told me she took the labels off the water. She scratched the girl water's thermos on the bottom just in case, but Happosai couldn't have known that."
Akane gasped. "He tested it? Why?"
Johnathon thought to himself for a moment. "Well, maybe he doesn't know how the curses work. If he thought a second dose of the girl water would make Ranma's curse permanent..."
Akane's eyes went wide. "That's true! Happosai's always saying that he likes Ranma better as a girl!" She shivered, only partially from the breeze that was coming from Ranma's broken window. "Oh, I hope he's not right. If Ranma was permanently a girl, I don't know what..." She paused. "Well at least Shampoo would be off the hook. She's already been punished for not killing Ranma's girl side." Akane shivered again. "I hope Happosai was wrong. Being stuck as a girl would be a living nightmare for Ranma."
Johnathon sighed. "I'd think so. Still, I'm pretty sure the curses don't work that way."
Akane closed her eyes. "I hope you're right."
Before long, Ranma-chan jumped into the room, on all fours. She spotted Akane and went over to her and purred.
Akane looked puzzled, and a bit worried. "The Cat fist? When did this happen, and how? I thought Ranma was getting used to cats."
Johnathon narrowed his eyes, peering at Ranma. "He was. This doesn't make any sense. Ranma would have to been really pushed to resort to becoming a cat. I can't figure what it could've took. He's gotten so much better recently."
Akane petted her fiancee's head and pushed her down. She had been butting against Akane playfully. "Good kitty, down, down." Akane shrugged. "You're right, it doesn't make any sense. Maybe Ranma did it on purpose, to beat Happosai?"
Johnathon blinked. "Can he do that?" He looked thoughtful. "It still doesn't add up. If Ranma used Luna and Artemis to activate his cat personality, then Happosai wouldn't have managed to change them both to humans. So it didn't happen before that. If it did happen afterwards, why would Happosai give Ranma the chance to go cat? Something feels wrong about this."
Akane nodded. "You're right. (Good kitty, sit.) It just doesn't add up. I guess Ranma will have to tell us when he comes out of it."
Johnathon nodded. "I'll take Luna and Artemis downstairs, and you see if you can get him to calm down." Johnathon picked up the two cats, and took the kettle as well. He went down to the kitchen, leaving Akane and Kasumi with Ranma. As soon as he got to the kitchen, he put the two cats down and poured some hot water over his own head, transforming himself back to his human form. Johnathon carefully checked Luna again. She was still sleeping, but seemed fine otherwise. "OK, Artemis, tell me what happened."
Artemis spoke softly but quickly. "I woke up human and female..." He paused, distressed.
Johnathon sighed. "My god, Artemis, this is horrible, I'm so sorry."
Artemis closed his eyes and shook his head. "I'm not quite believing it yet myself. A human girl? Why couldn't it have at least been a guy! This is ridiculous!"
Johnathon looked sad. "I understand something of what you feel. I wish I had never brought that blasted water back from China."
Artemis paced a bit, then shook his head. "It's that little old man's fault."
Johnathon looked squarely at the white cat. "I thought so. I thought I had heard his voice, my hearing in cat form is really good, but I didn't register what I heard until later..." He sniffed in consternation. "It was Happosai all right, the perverted evil master of Anything Goes martial arts."
Artemis blinked. "That's weird."
Johnathon smiled wryly. "Compared to turning into a girl?"
Artemis shuddered. "You have a point. Well anyway, I woke up a girl. I guess I must have been smothering Luna because her claws woke me up. I saw that little guy holding that thermos over Ranma. Luna attacked him, I was trying to figure out why my legs weren't working right. Happosai dropped the thermos and Luna got knocked onto it. I saw her change, and finally figured out what had happened to me. I jumped him then, as best as I could, then he tossed me into the wall like a rag doll. The next thing I know you're coming into the room." He paused. "Oh, I just figured something out that's been bothering me. Ranma was cursed by the spring of drowned girl before tonight, wasn't he." It was a statement, not a question.
Johnathon nodded. "Over a year ago." Then he frowned. "So what happened to Ranma tonight?"
Artemis shook his head. "He slept through the whole thing, as far as I could tell. He was gone when I woke up, but I missed a bit." Artemis looked thoughtful. "I remember a funny smell though." He shrugged. "That's all I know."
Johnathon nodded. "OK, that helps some. I wonder what Luna saw?"
Artemis sniffed at Luna and nudged her with his paw. "Luna, hey Luna, wake up."
The black cat shook her head, then yawned. "Hmm? What? Artemis, what happened?" Luna blinked a few times and slowly got to her feet. "I had a horrible nightmare, I got turned into a human..."
Artemis sadly shook his head. "Luna, I'm afraid that was no dream. A man called Happosai came into Ranma's room and we both got splashed with water from the spring of drowned girl."
Luna gasped in shock. "Oh no! Artemis, that girl with white hair, was you? This is terrible!"
Artemis nodded. < I have white hair? Weird.> "Yes, I was changed first, and later you got thrown into the thermos."
Luna nodded somberly. "I remember. That little pervert attacked me and that white haired girl, you, Artemis, tried to jump him. He flipped you into the wall, and I attacked him. He moved very fast, and I blacked out. Then I woke up here."
Johnathon sighed. "I'm sorry this has happened Luna. I wish I could have prevented it."
Luna also sighed. "I wish the same thing, but it's not your fault. It's that little pervert that's to blame." She looked at Artemis. "Oh Artemis, I shouldn't be worrying about myself. I turn into a girl, but so do you. It must be even worse for you."
The white cat shrugged. "Yeah, well, it's not something I would have chosen. That's for sure."
Johnathon checked the remaining water in the kettle. "I'd better get this to Ranma. He's been in his cat mode for long enough."
Luna's eyes went wide. "He went into the Cat fist?"
Artemis nodded. "Apparently. Not only that, but it seems he has been cursed with the spring of drowned girl as well."
Luna looked incredulously at Johnathon. "Is this true?"
He nodded. "It's true. It happened over a year ago for Ranma. It's a long story."
Luna frowned. "What was that little pervert doing with that water anyway? And who is he?"
Johnathon grimaced. "That was the master of Anything Goes martial arts, Genma and Soun's teacher. He's very skilled, and equally lecherous. He got into Nabiki's safe somehow and got the water."
Artemis nodded. "That's what I heard before. Why didn't you tell us earlier that Ranma turned into a girl?"
Johnathon sighed. "It really wasn't my secret to tell. I told you I wouldn't reveal your secrets. That went for Ranma too."
Artemis looked levelly at Johnathon, then nodded. "That's only fair I suppose. How many cursed individuals are there anyway?"
Johnathon started to count on his fingers. "Well, let's see. You know about Shampoo, Kasumi and I, Ranma, and um, three or four others that I know of. All with different versions of the curses." He paused. "I really should get up there." Johnathon started out of the kitchen. "You two stay out of sight. I don't think Ranma should be seeing any more cats right away."
Upstairs Ranma-chan had become playfully affectionate. Kasumi watched, bemused, as Akane tried to calm Ranma down. Although she was having difficulty not giggling at her fiancee's antics and expression. Ranma-chan wanted to play, nuzzling and pushing at Akane with her head, batting her in mock aggression with her hands. When Johnathon got there he was greeted by Kasumi, who was blushing and giggling at the same time. He walked into Ranma's room and was surprised to see Akane pinned to the futon by Ranma-chan, who was sitting on her and and licking her face while Akane sputtered and giggled.
Akane looked over as Johnathon came in. "Ranma, stop that... hey Johnathon, hurry up and... sputter... change him back before he... giggle... drowns me!"
Johnathon poured hot water on Ranma, who changed instantly, as usual. Ranma glanced at Johnathon, who was startled to find no sign of intelligence in his eyes.
Akane lightly punched him. "Ranma, get off me huh. You're heavy." Ranma looked back at her and meowed. Akane gasped. "Ranma? Ranma? Oh no!" She struggled under him. "Ranma, this had better not be a joke. Get off me!" Ranma just meowed again, interrogatively. He nuzzled Akane again, pushing her shoulders down on the bed with his hands, still acting completely catlike. Akane looked up at Ranma's face. "Ranma, why haven't you changed back?" Ranma, not understanding, nibbled at the ends of Akane's hair. Akane looked at Johnathon worriedly. "Johnathon, why hasn't Ranma changed back? He still thinks he's a cat!"
Johnathon stared intently at Ranma, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. "I, I don't know." He stepped closer and Ranma looked back at him and hissed angrily. Johnathon stepped away hurriedly. Ranma hissed again and turned back to Akane.
Kasumi quietly whispered to her husband. "Ranma seems, unfriendly."
Johnathon nodded, puzzled. < Why? Even as a cat, Ranma has never been hostile towards me before. The cat Ranma seemed to have the same feelings as the human. Ranma likes me, doesn't he?>
Akane was trying to calm Ranma down unsuccessfully. "Good kitty, good kitty." She looked over at Johnathon again. "I can't calm him down... he's really agitated. Don't come any closer Johnathon, he might attack you." As evidence, Ranma looked at Johnathon again and hissed. Johnathon took another large step back, and Ranma turned back to Akane once more. He started licking her cheek, working his way down to her neck.
Johnathon tried to concentrate. He furrowed his brow in thought. Johnathon looked down and saw Artemis and Luna at his feet. Luna had been tugging on his pant leg. Artemis was looking intently at Ranma and Akane. The white cat nodded to himself and looked insistently at Johnathon.
Johnathon put one hand on Kasumi's shoulder. "Don't try anything, I'll be right back." Kasumi looked frightened but nodded. Still holding the kettle, Johnathon ran down the stairs, then down to the kitchen, followed closely by the two cats. He closed the door and looked down at them.
Artemis looked back anxiously. "He still hasn't come out of it? You should bring him out, very soon."
Johnathon shook his head. "Changing him back didn't work. Akane should have been able to bring him out as well, but she hasn't been able too."
Luna's eyes went wide. "This is very bad."
Johnathon nodded. "Yes, I don't know how we are going to bring him out of it..."
Luna interrupted. "You don't understand, Ranma is exhibiting classic mating behavior." Johnathon's eyes went wide.
Artemis nodded. "Yes, driving away rivals, grooming..."
Johnathon interrupted. "What? Of course, I should have seen it coming... Oh my god, Akane..." He looked at the cats. "Akane, he's going to.. Oh no." Johnathon heard a soft screech from upstairs. "Oh no."
Kasumi screamed his name. "Johnathon! Come quickly!"
Artemis hissed at his back as Johnathon started to run. "No! He'll kill you!"
Johnathon froze then spun around. He sprinted to the koi pond and quickly filled the kettle, splashing himself as he did so. "Kasumi! Don't move!" He yelled as he ran for the stairs. He turned the corner on cat's feet and ran down the hall at high speed. Johnathon saw Kasumi sitting against the wall, sobbing and clutching her left arm to her chest, but he didn't have time to think about that. Johnathon turned the corner into Ranma's room at a dead run.
He flung the water from the kettle at Ranma, his eyes catching a freeze frame of Ranma on top of a mostly naked Akane, laying on her front while he tried to mount her. Then he was past, and jumping out the window, feeling certain death would be close on his heels. A a hiss of pure rage came from the now female Ranma's throat and she leapt out of the window in pursuit.
Akane cried weakly. "Ranma, no!" But to no avail.
Johnathon went right over the fence without stopping. < I have a small lead, but it's not going to be enough.> He thought grimly. < Male Ranma was at least as fast as me. As a female she is faster, as a cat, faster still. I'm going to be torn apart in seconds.> Shear fear gave him an incredible surge of adrenaline, but he could still hear Ranma-chan coming.
Johnathon suddenly found himself remembering the last time he had been this scared.
Johnathon was eleven years old, going to his new school, a public school in Detroit Michigan. A group of teenagers had gone after him. He couldn't remember why, or even if there had been a reason, just the chase. Oh yes, that, he remembered. Johnathon had always been small growing up. Short, skinny, geeky. At any one time there had always been one kid in class smaller than him, but only one. Everyone else was bigger. These kids were grown, fifteen or sixteen to his eleven. They each were much taller, and much faster. He had run, fearing for his very life. There had been eight of them he remembered now, each more than twice his weight. He had run faster then he had ever run before, positive that they would catch him anyway.
They hadn't, he remembered suddenly, and just like then, he chanced a look back. Chased by those bullies eleven year old Johnathon had looked back, and had barely been able to see them, four or five blocks behind.
Now, Johnathon looked back and saw. < Ranma's lost ground on me, I'm getting away!> Like when he was eleven, his fear had given him the speed he needed to escape. < Like that day, long ago.> Johnathon left Ranma behind, heading for his apartment, using everything he had just to run. As he arrived he looked back, and Ranma was nowhere to be seen. < Just like that day.> Johnathon quickly entered his apartment and closed the door. He was breathing like a bellows, lungs burning, legs on fire, ready to faint and throw up all at the same time. All the pain had come at once, right after he closed the door. < Just like before.> Johnathon collapsed, suddenly unable to move. He lay there, remembering that day, fifteen years before, and what had happened after.
Eleven year old Johnathon's parents had found him on the floor, and gotten the story out of him. By the end of the week he was taking a Jujitsu/self defense class with his brother and mom. Practicing everyday, striving with great energy. He had taken a Kung-fu class when he was eight. He had enjoyed it, but never really took it seriously. There had never been anyone who could beat him before. That day, fifteen years ago, that all changed, HE had changed. Johnathon remembered as he lay on the floor.
Sixth months into the Jujitsu class, his Dan rated Jujitsu instructor had lined up his students. They had run at him, one every five seconds. As each student reached him the instructor would throw the student to some part of the room, tossing each one to a different spot. Johnathon had reached him and like the rest the instructor had plucked him off the ground to fling him towards a far corner of the room. But that time, Johnathon had wrapped his arms around the instructors head even as he was thrown. Johnathon's small frame, around a third of the mass of the teacher, yanked the instructor off balance. In essence the man had thrown himself.
Johnathon had landed on top of him. He had gotten the best of his teacher. It had been a start. Johnathon had been lucky, but there was skill there too. It had been several more months before Johnathon would again throw his teacher, but a pattern had developed, and Johnathon had never looked back.
Johnathon forced himself to get up, something he hadn't done on that fateful day long ago, something he couldn't have done. He slowly walked to the phone, dialed the Tendo home, and collapsed on his futon, holding the phone to his ear. After a dozen rings someone picked up the phone.
"H-hello?" Kasumi's voice was strained, he could hear the stress in her.
Johnathon's voice was raspy from more than just being half-cat. "It's Johnathon, Kasumi, it's me. Are you and Akane all right?"
Somehow Kasumi made out his words, despite the lack of clarity. "I'm fine. Akane's a bit shaken up but she's not hurt. Johnathon, are you alright?" The worry in her voice was plain.
Johnathon was quick to reassure her. "I'm fine, I outran Ranma. I'm at my apartment." He took some deep breaths. "Kasumi, listen. Ranma was acting like a cat would with a mate. He was treating Akane like a female cat."
Kasumi was silent for several seconds. "Oh my, that's why..."
Johnathon broke in. "Yes. Ranma is female now, but she'll be back, probably soon." < If she doesn't find me here and kill me first.> "Don't boil any water, unless you want Ranma accidentally changing back into a male and finishing up what he started."
Kasumi gasped. "Oh my, Akane has turned the water back on. She said something about running a bath." Johnathon heard the phone clatter to the floor and Kasumi's running feet receding.
He hung on anxiously. < One scream and I'm going back, exhausted or not. Ranma might kill me but...>
Before he could finish the thought Kasumi returned. "It's alright, I told Akane. She understands, we are safe here."
Johnathon sighed in relief. "Good, I, I..." < What am I thinking? I can't go back there! Ranma will tear me apart!>
Kasumi's voice came softly to him. "Johnathon?"
He grimaced. < It doesn't matter, I must go.>
"Johnathon?" Kasumi's voice came again. "Johnathon, don't come back. Ranma might hurt you. Please..."
Johnathon closed his eyes and spoke quietly. "Kasumi. I HAVE to come back... I'll be just fine."
Kasumi protested. "You'll get hurt. It's dangerous."
Johnathon sighed. "I know. I'll be careful." He hesitated, then hung up the phone. < If I go, then Ranma might hurt me. But if I don't go, I'll lose part of my soul.> Johnathon rose shakily and headed for the door. As he got there he realized. "I'm a half-cat still!" < I wonder how many people saw me? The sun isn't up yet, probably nobody, I hope.> "At least I hope no one saw me leave the Tendo's, or come in here."
Johnathon went to his sink and ran the faucet until the water was hot enough. He filled a glass and changed back to human. His aches shifted around a bit, and his fatigue failed to lessen, but it didn't matter. Johnathon paused to consider his course of action. He filled a glass with cold water and walked toward the door. Johnathon opened the door and started to walk back toward the Tendo's, glass in hand. He paused, then turned around, put the glass on his porch, then started walking again without it.
Johnathon walked slowly at first, then faster, picking up the pace till he was jogging. Every bit of him ached, but he was getting a second wind.
Back at the Tendo's, Akane sat in her room, holding her torn pajamas. She had put on her yellow Gi. The familiar garb gave her some measure of calm. Slowly Akane spread the pajamas out. They were torn apart from the back. Ranma had rolled her over and torn them off her with a couple of effortless swipes. He hadn't hurt her at all, he had intended to... mate with her. Akane closed her eyes, trying to resist the urge to cry. She finally found her center after several minutes. Kasumi was there when she opened her eyes.
Akane was distressed at how worried her older sister looked. "I'm alright." Akane assured her big sister. Kasumi smiled at her but the worry didn't leave her eyes. Akane noticed that Kasumi's left arm was bandaged. "Kasumi? Ranma did this?"
Kasumi blinked and looked at her arm. "Oh, I'd forgotten. It's nothing, just a scratch."
Akane didn't believe it. Kasumi still looked worried and Kasumi never looked worried. "What's wrong big sister?"
Kasumi sighed. "Johnathon's coming back here. I couldn't stop him. I'm afraid Ranma will hurt him."
Akane nodded. "Ranma was angry. He might..." Akane paused, Ranma-chan jumped into her room. Akane stood and faced the red headed girl. "Good kitty, good kitty."
Kasumi stood also and backed into the hall. "I'll call everyone at Aunty Nodoka's house."
Akane backed out of her room, followed by Ranma. "No!" Akane blushed as Ranma butted her head up in between her legs. She walked backward, keeping Ranma's attention. "I mean, they wouldn't be able to help. I'll deal with Ranma, in private."
Kasumi blushed bright red. "Akane, you don't mean you're going to..." Akane blushed and nodded, but her face was determined. Kasumi was speechless.
Akane led Ranma toward the bathroom. "Keep everyone away till I say it's OK, Kasumi." She looked imploringly at her older sister. "Promise me!" Kasumi slowly nodded. Akane made it to the bathroom and opened the door behind her.
Kasumi bit her lip. "Akane, are you sure?"
Akane nodded, an intense look in her eyes. "I'm sure."
Akane led Ranma-chan into the bathroom, praying that she wasn't making the worst mistake of her life.
End part 19.
I hope you liked it! C&C is always welcome!