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17 May 2007 @ 06:51 pm
Ficlets: A Better Man (11-20): Don/Charlie, Bradford  
Title: A Better Man (11-20)
Fandom: Numb3rs
Characters: Don/Charlie, Bradford
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 4000
Warning: Incest
Prompt: 15minuteficlets, Therapy for eppescest
Feedback: Is love
Disclaimer: Not mine, only borrowing, just fun, no infringement intended
A/N: Not such a good section. I had a terrible experience last night, so I was really struggling to write this.
1-10


#11 Vacation
“When you left the camp site, was that the first time you ran away?” Bradford crossed his legs and cocked his head to the side. Charlie noticed he did that a lot. Maybe the therapist thought that if he directed his body to his patient and looked closer, it might seem that he was genuinely interested and not running through his shopping list.

“Yeah. Well, it was the first time that it was really like running away. I left Don a lot when he was supposed to be watching me, just went off to do my own thing. But it was never like running away. And, you know, I don’t really feel like I ran away from the camp site. I just left. I wasn’t planning on disappearing and never coming back.”

“Did you ever think about doing that?”

“What?”

“Running away and never coming back.”

“Sure. A lot, actually. I wanted to go on a permanent vacation to a place where there were people like me.”

“Other geniuses.”

“Yeah, people who could understand. And only people like that, no one to look at me strange or call me a freak. Nobody ever got me. My parents tried, but they were… lost. I used to hear them arguing all the time about me. I don’t think Don ever heard. I don’t think they knew that I could hear them. But they would fight about me, about how they were going to manage to keep me in the math programs and afford Princeton. I mean, we were doing well. I didn’t know that then; I know that now. Dad was a good contractor, and Mom was a successful lawyer, and we had money, but Princeton’s not cheap. And they would fight about how the other kids at school didn’t get along with me. I think it upset them that I wasn’t more like Don in that way.”

“It didn’t occur to you that they were just worried about you?”
“Not at the time, no. No, I only thought they were disappointed in me, like I was this burden. It made it hard to be able to enjoy things when I knew how much of a hassle it was for them. They had to take time away from work to take me to the math center, and I just… thought they’d be happier if I wasn’t the way I am.”

“Even though they still took you to the math center and made sure you got the attention you needed?”

“Well, of course they were still going to do it. I mean, they’re my parents. That’s just the kind of people they are.”

“Then I think you should consider yourself blessed. Not every kid has parents like that.”



#12 Explosion
Alan paged through his newspaper, bifocals poised on his nose, and attentively began to read the new section. Charlie watched him, his calm, his restfulness, his cool wisdom.

“Dad?”

Alan looked up from the paper and patiently looked at Charlie.

“Thanks for all the stuff you did for me growing up.”

His eyebrows knitted slightly in question as he folded the paper closed and rested it in his lap.

“I know it wasn’t easy for you and Mom. And I know you probably could have just let me go on as is in school.” Charlie looked at the carpet, rubbing his fingers together absentmindedly between his knees. “You didn’t have to take all the time to make sure that I had the right teachers or that the school put me into Don’s grade so I could… learn at the right level. You didn’t have to do all the things you did, but… you did.” Charlie looked up at his father. “So thanks.”

Alan pulled off his glasses and set them on the small table next to his chair. “Of course we were going to take care of you, Charlie. You’re our son. A parent makes sure that his child gets the best opportunities. We couldn’t let you stay in your grade. You had needs that had to be addressed. It’s a parent’s responsibility to see those things and do what’s best.”

“But you didn’t have to. You and Mom were so busy. You didn’t have to go out of your way for me.”

A small smile crossed Alan’s face. “It’s never going out of your way for your child.”

“Did you ever…” Charlie cleared his throat. “Did you ever wish that I wasn’t… me?” His eyes returned to the floor, uncomfortable being this open and vulnerable. He’d always been open and vulnerable and had tried so hard to close off himself, hide his emotions, be more like Don.

Alan uncrossed and re-crossed his legs. “Don’t be ridiculous, Charlie. We wouldn’t have you any other way.”

Don rushed through the room, cell phone in his hand. “Sorry to bail on dinner, guys, but there was an explosion at a factory, and they’re pretty sure it’s arson.”

“Yeah, Donnie, we understand. Come back when you can and eat some real food, not that takeout stuff you usually get.”

Don smiled and grabbed his FBI jacket, leaving the room just as quickly as he had arrived.

As the echo of the front door shutting faded, Alan turned back to Charlie. “At least you weren’t always getting into fights in school like your brother.”



#13 Salvation
“My dad said something the other day about Don getting into fights in school all the time,” Charlie offered, staring up at the ceiling from where he laid on the sofa in Bradford’s office. “I started thinking about that. Most of those fights were about me.”

“How did that make you feel back then?”

“Lucky. Don was… salvation, like all I needed to do was stay by his side in order to not get hurt.”

“Yet you said that you ran away from him a lot, that you hated the way he looked at you.”

Charlie absorbed Bradford’s words, laying in silence. He shrugged. “I guess you take what you can get.”

“There never really was any shelter from the storm.”

“No, I guess there wasn’t. But at least Don never hit me.”

“The kids at school were hitting you?”

“Yeah. Hit me, pushed me down, shoved me in lockers, kicked me, stole my books. They, uh, they really hated me.”

“Why do you think that was?”

“I don’t know.” Charlie shook his head, curls spilling over the imitation leather. “Vanity says it’s because they were jealous.”

“But you don’t think that’s right.”

“No. No, I… I’m not sure. Maybe they didn’t like me because I wasn’t like them. They wanted to get rid of someone who wasn’t like them. God, I was so weird. I am so weird.” Charlie ran a hand over his face.

“Is this the ‘self-pity for $100 an hour’ that you were talking about?”

Charlie turned his head to look at Bradford. The stoic face stared back at him. Charlie had only seen his expression change once, and that was when he was talking about his wife. “Does it sound like I’m pitying myself?”

Bradford leaned towards him. “We can’t change the past, only the future.”



#14 Question
“If there was one question that you could ask your brother, a question you’ve always wanted to ask but were too scared to, what would it be?”

Do you love me?

“I don’t know. When I have questions for him, I ask.”

“Not about a case. Not about something that comes up in conversation. A real question.”

Charlie swallowed and licked his lips. What the hell? It’s not like Bradford would know what he really meant. “I’d ask him if he loves me.”

“You said in your joint session that you love working with him. Do you love your brother?”

Charlie felt shaky ground below him. This was dangerous. “Of course I love him. He’s my brother.”

“Yet you think you’d have ask him to know if he felt the same.”

“I… I’d want to hear him say it.”

“Don’s not the type to talk about his emotions, is he?”

Of all the times Charlie tried to talk to Don about them, about their relationship, Charlie couldn’t recall an instance in which Don had spoke comfortably or easily. He avoided conversations like that as often as he could. “No, he’s not.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“I don’t know; I’m not inside his head.” Charlie slowly blinked and crossed his hands over his stomach. “Maybe it’s because of the FBI. He has to be so hard. He sees so much, and I think he’s learned to shut himself down, to not be vulnerable.”

“Not like you.”

Charlie turned to Bradford, a small look of shock on his face.

“That’s the way you feel about yourself, isn’t it? Vulnerable. The kid who got beat up in school, the one no one understood, always searching for your vindication even when you have to go looking for it in dangerous places.”

Charlie thought about the first time he slept with Don, his need to know that his brother didn’t hate him or resent him, that Don felt the opposite of all that. “Yes.”

“I bet it drives you crazy that Don seems to never feel that way.”

“Yes.”

“I’ve got news for you, Charlie.” Charlie searched Bradford’s face. “He does. He’s human, just as vulnerable as any of us. He might act like he’s not, but he needs the same acceptance and assurance you do.”



#15 Slowly
Don ran his fingertips along Charlie’s skin, bringing goose bumps to the surface. He gently kissed Charlie’s thighs, moving up to his cock. Slowly, he licked at the head. His fingers wrapped around Charlie’s cock and stroked him, continuing to lave the tip. He swirled his tongue around and ran a finger over the slit. Charlie shivered.

“Do you love me, Don?” Charlie whispered, his eyes softly closed.

“Of course I do, buddy.”

“I want to hear you say it.”

“Shh, Charlie. Let me take care of you.”

Charlie tried to not be disappointed, a feat made easier as Don swallowed his cock and pulled back, then back down again. Charlie watched his cock slipping in and out of Don’s mouth, and he gently thrust his hips, slowly fucking Don’s mouth. Don’s other hand reached for Charlie’s balls, and he cradled them, lightly squeezing.

Don pulled off and moved up Charlie’s body as he reached for the lube on the nightstand. He flicked the cap open and slicked a generous amount over his cock and fingers. He set the bottle back down and returned his attention to Charlie. Charlie spread his legs wider as Don settled between them, and Don slowly pushed a finger inside, adding a second. He twisted his fingers and found Charlie’s prostate and ran his fingers over it. Charlie keened and clenched down.

He pulled his fingers out and replaced them with his cock, pressing deep into Charlie’s body. Once he was fully seated inside, he took a leisurely pace, drawing out Charlie’s need.

“God, Don, please fuck me.”

“Stay with me. Nice and easy.” Don wrapped a hand around Charlie’s cock and stroked him to his slow rhythm.

Finally, Don rode him hard, working Charlie’s body to a fever pitch. Charlie struggled for breath and squeezed his eyes shut, mouth fallen open to let out his endless stream of moans and pleas for more, more, more.

White heat crept through his veins, and light exploded behind his eyes as he came hard, feeling his come streak across his stomach, feeling Don letting go inside him.

Don pulled out, drawing another moan from Charlie, and laid down next to his brother.



#16 Abomination
Charlie grabbed his shirt off the floor and started buttoning it.

“Do you ever feel vulnerable?”

Don stopped buckling his belt and stared at Charlie. He shook his head. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, do you ever feel… vulnerable?”

“Well, yeah, sure. Every time I go into a raid, I’m vulnerable. Anybody can get shot.”

“But what about emotionally? Do you ever feel like – “

“What, what are you doing, Charlie?” Don put out his hands.

“What do you mean?”

“This 20 Questions thing.”

“I’m just talking to you.”

“No, you’re not. ‘How ‘bout that game?’ is talking. This is… this is…” Don shook his head. “Bradford stays in the office, okay?”

“Is that what you’re learning in your therapy?”

“My therapy is my therapy. Isn’t that what you said?”

“Yet you still wanted to bring me in there. You’re the one who suggested that I start going myself.”

“Yeah, so you’d have someone to talk to about your stuff.”

“Just so long as it’s not you.”

Don rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry if I don’t want to discuss these things with you.”

“No, you just want to fuck me. God, is that all I am to you?”

“What do you want from me, Charlie? Want to have a heart-to-heart? Want to hear me say that of course I feel vulnerable, I’m fucking my brother? This is a… an abomination, Charlie. I’m trying to not make it into something that I can’t get out of my head. I have to stay focused when you’re around so that I don’t screw up. Don’t you know how hard it is to be with you in the office and not touch you, do everything it takes to not give us away? So maybe I don’t want to turn this into a relationship where we talk about our feelings.”

“So that’s it? You just want to use me?”

“Charlie, I’m trying to make this work. It’s not easy.”

“I know it’s not!”

“Look, I think we’ve said enough tonight. Maybe it’s time for you to go home.”



#17 Bright
Sunlight filtered in through windows of his bedroom, and Charlie slowly woke. Sunday. He nestled deeper into his covers and ignored the pang of incompleteness he felt that Don wasn’t there with him to hold. Maybe Don was right. Maybe it was best that they not let this turn into something they won’t be able to control. It was hard to not touch Don when others were around, to limit their brushes with each other to be playful, brotherly shoves and pats on the back for a job well done. When Don returned from arresting someone, shots having been fired, all Charlie wanted to do was take him into his arms and kiss him, make sure that he was okay.

Charlie slipped out his bed and padded down the stairs into the living room filled with the bright light of the sun. Alan sat in his chair, reading the Sunday paper. He turned at the sound of Charlie.

“Oh, Charlie, a William Bradford called. He said that he has to cancel your next session.”

Charlie brushed back his curls and rubbed a hand against his still half-mast eye. “I don’t know why he didn’t just call my cell.”

“He did.” Alan lifted up the small phone. “I wasn’t sure if it was important, so I answered just in case.”

“Oh. Well… okay.” Charlie shrugged and sat down on the couch, his fingers reaching for one of his new journals.

“Is this is the same Bradford that Don’s been seeing for his therapy?”

“Yeah.” Charlie paused. “Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that I’m seeing him.”

“Both of my sons in therapy; I’m starting to question my parenting.”

“It’s nothing like that, Dad. Don has a lot of stress from work. I mean, he sees some pretty bad stuff; there are lives in his hands. And how many people has he shot now? Can’t be easy.”

“And you? What’s your reason?”

Charlie opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. “I… I don’t know. Don suggested that I give it a try.”

“And idea why Don would think you need therapy?” Charlie shrugged. “Well, for whatever reason you’re going, it’s working.”

Charlie tilted his head. “It is?”

Alan nodded. “Yes. And I, for one, think it’s commendable to take the steps towards becoming a better man.”



#18 Match
“We haven’t talked about your boyfriend in a while.”

Charlie propped up an elbow on the armrest of the couch and set his cheek on his fist. “He’s not really my boyfriend.”

“Are you going to be upset with me if I ask if that’s because it’s sexual only?”

Charlie lifted his eyebrows. “Was that a double-question? No, I suppose we can talk about that. I mean, a little.”

“Okay, then.” Bradford straightened his posture. “Is it sexual only?”

“For him, I think it is.”

“But not for you.”

“No. No, I love him.”

“Does he know?”

“He has to. I tell him all the time.”

“But he never says it back.”

“I’ve asked him. I asked him if he loves me. He changed the subject.”

“So do you think he doesn’t love you?”

Charlie tightened. “He’s got to feel something for me. I mean, we are sleeping together. He’s not the kind of guy who just sleeps with people for no reason.” Charlie stopped to consider the number of women Don had been with. He rubbed a hand over his face. “What am I talking about? Of course he is.” Charlie dropped his hand in defeat. “I can’t… I don’t believe that’s the case with us.”

“Why not? If he sleeps with other people without consideration for them, what makes you think it’s any different with you?” Charlie stared at him, taken aback. “I’m not trying to hurt you, Charlie. Just asking you to explore this.”

Charlie shook his head. “He wouldn’t do that to me. We’ve known each other for… a long time. He wouldn’t have let this happen between us… wouldn’t risk ruining things between us unless he felt something for me. He could have gone to someone else if he wanted only sex.”

“Yet you say that you think he sees it as only sexual.”

“I don’t know.” Charlie sighed. “I don’t know what to think. We’re good match for each other. I mean, even though I’m not supposed to be with him, we’re a good fit.”

“Who says you’re not supposed to be with him?”

Charlie felt himself begin to panic. He had walked himself into a corner, and he fought for a way to get out of it. “I just know my family wouldn’t approve.”

“What makes you think that?”

“I don’t…” Charlie put his head in his hands. “I just have a feeling.”

“Charlie, I’m going to ask you again. Is he abusing you?”

“No!” Charlie lowered his voice. “No. No, I told you he’s not… he would never.”

“But the sex is rough.”

“Sometimes. Last time, it wasn’t. Well, not as rough.”

“Does he ever force you to have sex with him?”

“No. I always want to. I would do anything he asked me, willingly and happily. Like I said, I love him.”

“I think you might want to take a closer look at your relationship, see if you’re getting what you’re giving. You’re only hurting yourself if you’re with someone who doesn’t respect you.”



#19 Alias
“Has Bradford asked you anything about us?”

Don looked away from the game at Charlie. “Yeah, we talk about you all the time. And, no, Charlie, I’m not going to tell you about it.”

“No, I mean… has he asked you about us?”

Don’s face contorted. “Why the hell would he ask about that? Charlie, God, you’re not talking about – “

“No, I’m not talking to him about us. I mean, I am talking about us, but he doesn’t know that it’s you. That’s why I’m asking you if he’s mentioned anything about… I don’t know, the person I’m seeing.”

Don shook his head. “Why?”

“Because I said that my family wouldn’t approve.”

Don huffed. “You got that right.”

“But, Don, he’s going to include you in that family, and I don’t know if he’s going to say something to you.”

“So what do you want to do about it?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe I should give you alias for when I talk about you.”

“Me, your imaginary boyfriend.”

Charlie looked at his shoes. “I said you weren’t my boyfriend.”

Don was silent for a while. “Okay…” Charlie looked back up at him. “I don’t know what you want me to say, Charlie. If you think I’m not your boyfriend, then I’m not your boyfriend.”

“Do you feel like you’re my boyfriend?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know how what we have translates into normal relationships. Yeah, I guess I thought you were my boyfriend. I mean, we’re exclusive.” Don studied Charlie. “We are exclusive, right?”

“Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah. I’m not… not with anyone else.”

“You spend a lot of time here with me. You have stuff here. And we’ve been together for a while now. I mean, that sounds like a boyfriend to me.”

“But you… you never say…”

“Never say what?”

I love you.

“Charlie…” Don put the TV on mute and stood, taking Charlie into his arms. He brushed Charlie’s hair away from his face. “You know I love you, buddy.” Charlie stood quietly, unmoved. Don took a deep breath and licked his lips. “I love you, Charlie.”

A smile spread across Charlie’s face, and he grabbed Don, kissing him hard. “I love you, too, Don.”

Don smiled back. “There. Now I’ve said it.” He ran his thumb over Charlie’s lower lip. “So the next time Bradford asks you, you damn well better say that you’ve got a boyfriend.” Don let go of Charlie and returned to the couch.

“I love you, Don.” Joy bubbled in Charlie’s voice. He was anxious to hear Don say it again.

“Love you, too, Charlie.”

Charlie felt warmth fill him from his toes on up.



#20 Dust
“He said it,” Charlie announced, walking into the office.

Bradford looked up from his pad. “Who said what?”

“My boyfriend said he loves me.”

“Ah, it’s boyfriend now.” For the first time since their second meeting, Bradford smiled.

Charlie sat down in the familiar spot on the sofa. “It is. And I have you to thank. I don’t think we ever would have talked about it before I started coming here.”

Bradford dipped his head, accepting Charlie’s thanks.



In the garage, Charlie wiped a film of dust from the top of one of his chalkboards and tossed the paper towel into the trash. He grabbed a piece of chalk and began to write, the lines pouring out of him.

“Good session?”

Charlie startled at the unexpected sound of his father’s voice and turned to see Alan standing in the doorway. Alan nodded his head in the direction of the quickly-filling chalkboard. “Cognitive Emergence. Seems like you only work on that when you’re in a particularly good mood.”

Charlie felt his happiness tickling at his nerves but then sobered when he remembered that he couldn’t share his joy with his father. He nodded his head. “Yeah, good session.”

“You know, you and Don have me thinking about maybe starting to see a therapist myself.”

Charlie titled his head to the side. “Really?”

“Yeah. You both seem like it’s helped you. Don seems to be more open, and you… well, you’re lighter.”

Charlie smiled. “It’s been a good thing so far.”

“I don’t suppose you can ever be too old for self-improvement.”

“No, I don’t suppose so.”

Alan ran a hand over the smooth woodwork of the doorway. “Do you think Bradford would see me, or does he limit his services to FBI agents and consultants?”

Charlie felt a moment of panic as he imagined Bradford telling Alan about Charlie’s boyfriend (doctor-patient privilege be damned) and then having to carefully dodge the subject with Alan. What if Bradford said something, and then Alan wanted to meet this secret boyfriend Charlie said he wouldn’t approve of? “I don’t know, Dad. Might be a conflict of interest. I mean, he’s already seeing Don and me.”

“You’re probably right.”
 
 
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
Current Music: Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely?
 
 
 
ang \\: fbi ball capcallmeang on May 18th, 2007 12:26 am (UTC)
Sigh. Wonderful as usual. I love the fact that you're using Bradford, and that the guys are going to therapy. I like the way they start to open up and explore themselves (and each other) within the therapy.

I know you said you were struggling, but I can't tell. It's that fantastic.
NV: [n3] charlie & larry // bffneur0vanity on May 18th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, boo. ♥ I thought it seemed rough.
ang \\: smokin' a cigarcallmeang on May 18th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
I didn't think so. And if it is rough, then it works; it isn't exactly easy for Charlie to go to therapy, and it's not easy for him to not talk about Don/to talk about Don. At least, that's my philosophy on it. ♥

I emailed you the link to the zip file of that CD! :D
NV: [bones] hodgins // holy bathrobeneur0vanity on May 18th, 2007 02:39 am (UTC)
Sweet!!

And look, you've already made icons of the new Robbie pics!
ang \\: hmmm..callmeang on May 18th, 2007 02:52 am (UTC)
:D

My friend Becky made them for me, I totally attacked her and was like I AM A SKANK MAKE ALL THESE ICONS FOR ME ILU. Ahaha.

Your icon -- god. I am reading the very best Jack/Zack story eva, jesus. I love that scene, and just gah.

HAI BOO ♥
NV: [bones] hodgins // holy bathrobeneur0vanity on May 18th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
A Jack/Zack story?? *dies*
ang \\: it's like they are on vacationcallmeang on May 18th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
ooooooohhhhhhhhhh maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood best characterization dies. The link is here. It's long and hot and god. I'm flailing.
pinkdoom on May 18th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
Well, I hope all is well on your end now....

So allow me to say that this was, as always, brilliantly composed and characterized. I love reading your Don/Charlie. ;)
NV: [n3] eppescest // in your roomneur0vanity on May 18th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
Thank you, darling. I truly appreciate it. :)
meluvstonymeluvstony on May 18th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)
I love the boy's going to therapy. This is a great series. Can't wait for the next instalment

Melly
NV: [n3] eppescest // at the tableneur0vanity on May 18th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, Melly. <3
it only burns when I breathe: charlie_blank_lilaspikedluv on May 18th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
Wonderful job! I love Charlie exploring his feelings about school and Don and his parents, and opening up to Alan, and getting Don to open up to him... ♥
NV: [n3] eppescest // in your roomneur0vanity on May 21st, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Really glad you're enjoying this. I hope that it will be something where we see the boys improving the quality of their lives.
Mouse: Side by Side / angeliksmallcastalie on May 18th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
I'm completely hooked on that series, got hooked with the first installment and it only got stronger with this one. I'm sorry to hear you went through a horrible experience last night but your story didn't suffer from it; it was beautifully written *hugs*
NV: [n3] eppescest // read more pornneur0vanity on May 21st, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, doll. So happy that you're enjoying this, and it's good to know that the writing didn't suck like I was afraid it would. *hugs*
R-EVOLVE: close up glassesjaredsexual on May 20th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)
eee, I love this. It's a very original way to explore some eppescesty themes.
NV: [n3] eppescest // on my mindneur0vanity on May 21st, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm kind of at a standstill with it, but I think the season finale has given me enough to break through my block.
Nicelyobsessed: Don heartnicelyobsessed on June 6th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
When Don said to Charlie that he loves him, I felt like Charlie, I was so happy!
Love you honey, thanks for this piece of heaven.
NV: [n3] don // smileneur0vanity on June 8th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Love you, too, baby! <3
niitiniiti on June 8th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
absolutely loved this and the way you showed the progression in their relationship prompted by Charlie's sessions with Bradford. Particuarly liked the end where Charlie carefully deflected Alan from visiting the same therapist as he and Don, I could picture the scene in my head and it made me grin.
NV: [n3] charlie // cheersneur0vanity on June 8th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Thank you so much for your comment. :)
Paraka: N3-D/C-Worriedparaka on October 12th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
Wow. I really really like this fic. I wonder what Bradford's reaction would have been had either of them let it slip though....