Cleaning Out Old Demons -part 2 (NC-17)
The appraiser made an appointment to meet them at four that afternoon. It was time for a break though and since breakfast had been light, now was as good a time as any for lunch.
"Come on Mulder. We can do another room after lunch, maybe the kitchen. I'm getting hungry."
He nodded, following her lead. Lunch was quiet though she saw him looking at the ring on her hand several times. She didn't mention it, and was just grateful that the ladies hadn't chosen the same place to eat as them today.
In the beginning, the kitchen was fairly easy. The foods that could be sent to a soup kitchen went in one area, the garbage in another. Pots and pans were stacked and boxed. "Mulder, what about the china?"
"Let the appraiser look at it too. Scully, I don't want anything from here. You understand that, don't you?"
She sighed. She did understand but it made her so incredibly sad.
"Scully, let's forget this for now. I want to check out the box."
"Are you ready for that?"
"I don't know." He gave her a small grin. "I have to do it sometime."
"Okay. Let's go." He took her hand - her left - and led her toward the study. She felt his thumb find the ring and touch it. For some reason she felt his touch deep in the pit of her stomach. She shook it off; she needed to be in the moment right now.
They sat on the small sofa where she had first seen him when she arrived. He put the drawer on the floor and piled the table with the papers from it.
The papers were mundane for the most part, immunization records, report cards, brownie badges. There were notes from teachers and pictures Samantha had drawn. There was nothing really unexpected, but what began to nag at Scully was there was absolutely nothing of Mulder's here. Okay, maybe she had just set this drawer aside after Samantha's disappearance, but surely his mother had kept some of these things from Mulder's past as well.
She realized that Mulder wasn't throwing any of these papers away, folding and packing them carefully back in the box they had carried down. These were the only things he planned to keep? He had told her he was free; he knew what had happened to Samantha. Well, after twenty-five years, knowing and moving on might be two very different things.
Since they were already settled, he pulled back out the drawer he had been trying to go through when she arrived. It was easier with her here; hell everything was easier with her in touching distance.
They made quick work of a couple of drawers, placing some papers aside for the attorney handling the estate, trashing the rest. She noted that only information pertaining to Samantha was worthy of keeping in his eyes.
When the doorbell rang, Mulder went to answer it as Scully cleared off the table to make room for the jewelry.
The small man at the door smiled up at Mulder. "Mr. Mulder? I'm Samuel Lafayette, from Lafayette Brothers."
"Yes, we were expecting you." He shook the man's hand and let him in the front door.
"I was terribly sorry to hear that you had lost your mother, Mr. Mulder."
"Thanks." He motioned for Mr. Lafayette to follow him. Mulder paused at the door and Mr. Lafayette preceded him into the room.
He held out his hand, "Mrs. Mulder."
"Uh, no. Dana Scully, I'm - "
"She's a friend."
"I see, forgive me." He took her hand then and lifted it to his lips. Mulder's eyes narrowed but he kept quiet. This man’s eyes took in all of her and seemed to appreciate it. Mulder took a step forward. "Ms. Scully, that's a beautiful emerald. May I see it?"
She glanced over at Mulder startled, then lifted her hand to give him a closer look. "Ms. Scully, this is a magnificent piece. If you're ever in the market to sell it, I hope you'll remember me."
"It won't be for sale."
"I understand." He glanced over at Mulder and saw him nod very slightly. "Well, should we get started?" He seated himself on the sofa and began looking at the jewelry in front of him.
Mulder stayed by the door, watching him as Scully sat again beside him. "There are some very nice pieces here, Mr. Mulder. Someone in your family appreciated the value of fine gems."
Scully looked up at Mulder, his eyes were closed and he was leaning against the door jam. Before she could speak, he did.
"I need to get out of here for a little while. I'm going to take a walk."
"Mulder?" She watched him turn and leave the room. "Excuse me just a minute." She spoke to Mr. Lafayette but didn't wait for his reply before following Mulder out.
"Mulder, are you okay?"
"I just need . . . Scully, I need to - "
"What about . . . “ She glanced back into the room.
"Whatever you decide is fine Scully."
"Mulder, I can't - "
"Scully, turn the stuff over to him, keep it for yourself, whatever. I don't care. I don't want it. I don't want any of it. Please."
She sighed, "Okay Mulder. I'll handle it. Don't be gone too long, please." She pulled his face down to her and kissed his forehead.
"Thanks Scully." He was moving now, his need to leave growing with every second. She stood there until she heard the front door close, then took a deep breath and returned to the study.
"Is he all right? I'm terribly sorry if anything I said upset him."
"He'll be fine."
"I'm sure Mrs. Mulder's death was a shock to him. It was to all of us."
"You knew Mrs. Mulder?"
"I had met her on several occasions. She was a . . . a very aristocratic woman."
Scully wanted to smile, how politically correct. "Have you had the chance to see Mrs. Mulder's things?"
"Yes. I think I can handle these items for Mr. Mulder. Of course some of the pieces are less valuable than others, but overall I believe he'll be pleased with my representation of the articles."
"I'm sure. Would you like to see the furniture?"
Scully led the man through the house, as he made notes and stuck numbers on the furniture. In the dining room, he advised her that he didn't handle china but gave her the name of someone else to call. The man obviously knew his line of work.
She agreed with most of his recommendations, questioning a few and reaching a compromise. Mostly, though she was beginning to watch the time. Mulder still wasn't back and she felt the need to find him. He wasn't okay. Maybe she was helping, but she needed to see him.
Finally Mr. Lafayette was ready to leave. She walked him to the door, trying not to show her relief. She opened the door. "The van will be here in the morning for the furniture. I'll pick up the jewelry myself when I pick up the contract. Mr. Mulder is very fortunate to have you for a friend."
"You have no idea."
"Mulder?" She hadn't seen him standing there just outside the door.
"Well, you two don't need me here. I'll see you in the morning." Mr. Lafayette nodded to Mulder and headed for his car.
"I'm glad you're back."
"I have been for awhile, I just couldn't come inside."
She nodded. "He's coming back tomorrow with the truck. You'll need to sign the contract."
"Sure. Thanks for handling . . ."
"Listen, we got a lot done today. Let's call it quits for now."
"Yeah. That's probably a good idea."
She slipped her hand into his and let him lock the door without bothering to go back inside.
He took the driver's side. She didn't ask where he wanted to go, just being with him. He drove aimlessly for about twenty minutes, then seemed to decide on a destination. He pulled up to a park and looked over at her. "Want to walk a little?"
He took her hand again and walked her to the lake. Without preamble he started talking, "Lafayette was right. I'm damn lucky to have you. I shouldn't have dumped that on you, but I . . ."
"It's okay Mulder."
"No, it's not okay, but I thought I could handle it. I thought I had closure on this. Mom's dead, and you proved that it wasn't a conspiracy. And I know in my heart what happened to Samantha. It should be over, but all of this . . . it just . . .” He ran down, looking at the ground, not willing to face her.
"Mulder, I wanted to help. I wanted to be here for you." She drew his head down again, placing a long kiss on his forehead. His arms slipped around her and pulled her close. She wasn't entirely sure whether or not he was crying, but didn't ask, just holding him close as well.
Before she realized what was happening, his lips were on hers, pressing, tasting her. And she was responding. This was a mistake; he was too vulnerable. She shouldn't take advantage and that's what she was doing.
She didn't break away, but when the kiss ended she placed her hand on his face, caressing it lightly. She smiled and took a half step back.
The movement didn't escape him and his face went blank. He'd overstepped but she was too polite to actually slap him. He had thought the bleakness was as bad as it could get. Just goes to show how wrong he could be.
"I guess we should head over to the motel."
"Mulder?" He was distant again. She'd handled that badly but she'd been caught off guard. He didn't take her hand again; just turned toward the car and looked to see if she was following. Shit!
He walked her to her room. "Scully, I'm not hungry. If you want dinner, just go ahead without me. Okay? I'll, uh, I'll see you in the morning."
"Mulder - "
"In the morning, okay?" He turned from her then. She leaned her head back against the doorframe. Shit! Shit! Shit! How was she supposed to get through the night, when all she could think of was the feel of his lips against hers?
She woke shuddering and out of breath. Mulder, she needed Mulder. Without any other thought she jumped from her bed and pulled on her robe, then found herself knocking on his door.
"Scully? Come in." He moved aside to let her in his room. "You okay?"
"It was a dream."
"You're shaking. Come on, get in the bed." He pulled the covers up over them both as he spooned her trying to get her to relax. What was wrong with her? His distance from her disappearing with her need.
Last night they had both been dressed, now he was wearing only his boxers, but he didn't take time to think about it.
"I'm sorry I woke you." She pulled his arm tighter around her.
"I couldn't get to sleep tonight. I'm glad you knew you could come to me." He hugged her to him.
She didn't respond, letting her eyes drift closed as she allowed him to comfort her. What had she dreamed? The physical reaction to it was incredible. What had scared her so?
As she relaxed images began to come back to her. Mulder, he was the focus of the dream, he was . . . oh God! She stiffened again, mortified. It wasn't a nightmare, good god it had been a wet dream! She'd come in her sleep, dreaming of Mulder. How the hell could she not recognize that? How long had it been since she . . . She had to get out of here.
"Scully? Scully what's wrong? What's . . . are you crying?" She was, she was crying. Scully didn't cry, at least she didn't let him see it when she did. He turned her to face him then and she buried her face in his chest, giving herself up to the tears.
He just held her as she cried, at a loss as to what could have caused this. When she finally began to calm down, he smoothed the hair from her face. "What happened Scully? Talk to me."
She shook her head, talk to him about this?
"Come on, you can say anything to me. Scully, what did you dream? What kind of nightmare was it?"
"It, it wasn't a nightmare." She took a shaky breath. "I need to go back to my room."
"Don't go Scully. You're not okay. Last night was - "
"That's the problem. Last night and . . . and this afternoon."
Now he was completely out to sea. "Scully, I didn't mean to hurt you, make you uncomfortable." His hand came up to brush that strand of hair back again and she moved from him.
"Don't." She started to rise from the bed, then saw the look of hurt on his face. She closed her eyes and just sagged back down in the bed. He was Mulder; she couldn't hurt him, not like this.
"It wasn't a nightmare. I woke up and didn't realize . . . Damn it, Mulder." She sniffed and closed her eyes tighter. "I didn't realize what had happened until I got here."
"What did happen?" He spoke softly, causing yet another shiver to travel through her body.
"It was a . . . a wet dream. God is that pitiful, that I couldn't even recognize it."
He lay there stunned, a sex dream? He couldn't help himself, "Who was the guy, Scully?"
Her eyes flew open then, startled. "You."
"Me?" It was the only word he could say.
"I, I need to go."
"No. Please don't go, please Scully." Another tear slipped from under her eyelid. "If it, if it makes you feel any better, I have that dream all the time."
"Don't. Don't say - "
"It's true Scully. You should know it. Scully, you're a healthy vital woman. You're at your sexual peak. I should go out and find some studdly nineteen year old for you, but to be honest, I'd want to kill any man that touched you."
She gaped at him then. What was he talking about?
"God, don't look so startled Scully. This cannot be a surprise to you."
The shake of her head was almost imperceptible.
"You didn't know, or you don't want to know?"
"Mulder. Mulder, what does it mean?"
"It means I love you. You know that, I've told you before."
"But we . . . we can't - "
"I wouldn't know how to stop Scully." She found his arms around her and her hands were exploring the muscles of his back. Then she felt his lips on hers. What was she doing? And why couldn't she pull away?
His hands were on her skin now, was it the dream again? No, it felt too good, too right. For now, just for now couldn't she accept this, enjoy this? His lips had moved down to her throat, against the pulse that had increased dramatically.
"Let me love you Scully." He was nuzzling her cleavage. Her only response was a moan as her hand wove its way into his hair.
He managed to roll to the side rather than collapse on top of her. Getting his breath back wasn't going to happen. He hadn't come like that in forever.
Now he found himself scared to death. Was she going to get out of this bed and never see him again? He had to know - he'd already lost everyone else, was he going to lose her now too?
He forced himself to look at her and was stunned to see she looked just as frightened as he felt. "Scully?"
"Mulder, I didn't mean to take advantage of you, not like this. Please - “ She was talking rapidly, wanting to get it out before he could interrupt.
"Take advantage of me? Is that what you . . . I was the one taking advantage, Scully."
She managed a slight smile. "So you're not angry with me?"
"Angry isn't the word that comes to mind, no." Now a smile was coming into his eyes. "Scully, are you angry with me?"
She shook her head, not sure what to say. She watched the sigh of relief that shook his whole body. And then the smile that began to grow on his face. Her own smile began to grow as well.
"What have we done Mulder?"
"Well, you've made me the happiest man on earth."
"Mulder - "
"I'm not kidding Scully. You . . . I feel, I feel free, happy. I know, you're surprised I recognize it, but look at my day - you accepted my grandmother's ring, you handled a delicate family transaction, and then . . . and then you came to me. Scully you came to me, maybe it wasn't what you planned, maybe it wasn't what you wanted, but you did." He kissed her lips then, “I don’t know what happens next. I don’t want to think you’ll come to your senses anytime soon.” He caressed her face. “We need to get to know each other all over again and that’s what I want to do, Scully. Say something.”
Her lips moved, but no sound emerged for a long moment. “What if, what if they find out? What if Skinner finds out?”
“He’ll be consumed by jealousy.”
“What? You didn’t know that either? I thought you were more observant Agent Scully.”
“Mulder, be serious.”
“I am serious. But I agree we need to be discreet. I can’t walk around with this grin on my face for the rest of my life.”
The rest of his life? Had she really heard him correctly?
Rather than comment, she pulled slightly away and he forced himself to release her. "Sleep here Scully. Please."
She nodded, no reason not to, not anymore.
Morning came too soon. She woke to a feeling of wonder and physical peace like she hadn’t felt in years. Then came the realization of her whereabouts, memory of their actions and the feeling of Mulder’s eyes on her. Rather than comment on that, she decided to be practical.
"We need to get over to the house. Mr. Lafayette will be there soon with the truck."
"Okay." It was all he said, but he was watching her closely. They were in totally new territory here and he realized the feeling creeping in on him again was fear.
She saw that, in his face, in the tenseness of his hands. She didn't regret what had happened, how could she - this was Mulder. But did he understand that? She leaned toward him and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, not the cheek. "I need a shower. Meet you in thirty minutes?"
It was as though the world began revolving again. He managed to hold in his comment about the shower, though he could see in her eyes that she knew. He watched her rise from the bed and his eyes drank her in. She reached for her robe and covered herself. Part of him wanted to whimper.
She looked down and blushed at the look in his eyes.
"You know, Scully, you could shower here." He couldn't just let her walk out without some comment.
"Do you honestly think we'd make our appointment with Mr. Lafayette if I did that?" She smiled at his obvious reaction to his own suggestion.
"I guess not."
"Yeah, I 'guess' not, Mulder." She let herself out.
It was barely 29 minutes later when he tapped on her door. "Mulder? Come on in, I'll be ready in a minute. How did you get ready so fast?"
"It was a quick shower, on the cold side."
"Mulder!" She couldn't help but laugh.
"Well, it's true."
She shook her head and took him by the hand, leading him toward the car.
They barely beat the truck to the house. While Mulder signed the contract, Scully hurried to empty out the china cabinet. He retreated to the kitchen as she and Mr. Lafayette supervised the moving of the furniture.
The mood was certainly more somber by the time the movers had finished. She shut the door behind Mr. Lafayette and hurried to find Mulder. He had finished in the kitchen, packing up the rest of the cookware and the silverware. The silver would go with the china. That appraiser would be over later in the afternoon.
"I know." She ran her hand up his arm, up under the short sleeve of his t-shirt and back down, appreciating the muscle under her fingertips. "Basement or attic?"
"I checked, there's nothing in the attic."
"Okay, it's the basement then. Maybe we can finish up today."
"That would be good." He nodded and turned toward the basement door. They separated to different parts of the basement. In the back of her mind she was still looking for the box of mementos of Mulder's childhood. There had been nothing upstairs, only Samantha's things.
As she went though boxes, she felt herself grow angry. She kept quiet; mentioning it would do no good.
"Oh god!" Her head flew up and she was moving toward him before the sound quit echoing off the cinder blocks.
"Mulder? What? What did you find?"
He pointed with a shaking hand and she turned to look even as her hand reached out to touch his arm.
"What? It's just a vacuum . . . oh my god." She pulled at him then, tugging him away and wrapped her arms around him. "Mulder, I'm sorry." He shook his head, not speaking. "Come on, Mulder. Let's go upstairs."
He allowed her to lead him back to the kitchen. "Mulder, let's load your car and you take the stuff over to the shelter." He didn't seem to hear her.
She picked up a box of food and put it into his arms. He took hold of it and finally focused on her. "Come on Mulder. Take that out to the car."
He closed his eyes and let his head fall back. "Mulder, take the stuff over to the shelter."
"Aren't you coming?"
"I'll finish the basement."
"Scully - "
"You need to get out of here. Let's load the car."
"Scu - "
"You have to. Just let me handle this. Okay?" She picked up another box and followed him out to the car.
"I won't be long."
"Just be careful." She stood in the driveway until he pulled out onto the street, then waved. Once he was out of sight, she raced back to the basement. She grabbed up a large wrench lying in a pile of tools and attacked the vacuum cleaner, smashing the plastic casing, obliterating the word 'Princess'. How could the woman have done this? What kind of a woman was she? Nothing, she had kept no mementos of her son's childhood, but she had held on to a vacuum cleaner that her husband had purchased from a serial killer. John Roche had nearly ended Mulder's career and definitely haunted him to this day. He had never found the 16th victim though he knew now that Roche had not been involved with Samantha's disappearance.
Her fury and energy spent, she finally let the wrench drop from her hand. She had to get this thing out of the house. Scully shook open a large trash bag and threw in the larger pieces, then scouted around to find every scrap. She threw a few items of trash on top and closed the bag, hauling it upstairs and out the back door. The trashcan was full from other bags they had already carried out, but this needed to be buried. She pulled other bags out, then stuffed this one deep inside and replaced what she could.
It wasn't until she was through that reaction set in. She slid to the ground next to the trashcan and buried her face in her shaking hands. This explained so much to her.
She had always known Mulder was damaged. She had assumed most of the abuse, if you could call it that, had come from his father. Now, she knew better. The fact that he could function in society as well as he did, was a testament to his own inner strength. He had survived on his own from the age of twelve and become this incredible, loving man.
Memories of last night flooded her mind. He loved her. He loved her and he trusted her. It was no wonder it had taken them so long to admit, hell, to realize these feelings. She had become a loner growing up, with all the moves, and he . . . he had overcome monumental obstacles just to be who he was. And who he was, was the man she adored. To hell with regulations and brothers and history - they were together now.
She rose on shaky legs and returned to the basement. She wasn't going to find anything of Mulder's down here. What he wanted had been removed years ago and his mother had wanted nothing.
With the rest of the things hauled upstairs to be trashed, she finally checked the time. He should be back by now. She felt a frisson of fear run through her. Maybe he was waiting outside like he had yesterday. She looked out; his car wasn't there. "Mulder, where are you?" She spoke aloud and it echoed in the nearly empty house.
She didn't know where to start, but she couldn't panic. She forced herself to continue working - checking each room to see what was left, picking up an occasional piece of trash. The cabinets were left open to ensure they had been emptied. When the second hour had passed, she realized she was crying as she worked.
He wouldn't harm himself; he was much too smart for that. And after last night . . . surely he knew what he had to live for? "Damn it, Mulder!" She shouted this into the empty house, finally allowing fear to take over.
She stood helpless in the empty living room until she heard a car pull up. She flew to the door, flinging it open and saw him coming up the steps, a bag of fast food in his hand. One look at her face and he was racing toward her. "Scully, what - "
But her lips silenced him as she launched herself toward him. He let the food drop from his hand once he had moved her back indoors and used his foot to slam the door behind them.
When they finally released each other, he took a half step back to better look at her. "What happened?"
"You were gone, you were gone so long."
"You were worried about me."
She nodded, hiccupping back a sob.
"You don't have to worry about me, Scully. You're in my life. I don't deserve it, but you are." He watched her expression change to one he was honestly unfamiliar with, and she took his hand, tugging at him. "Scully?"
"Come with me."
Puzzled at the change, he followed her upstairs past his mother's room and on into his old room. It was completely bare now. He looked around, "Scully?" Then his breath caught as her hands found their way under his t-shirt. She ran her nails up his back and his eyes closed. He lifted his arms as she pulled the t-shirt off of him and he shuddered as he felt her lips on his nipple. "Scully, what . . . ummm, what are you doing?"
"Making a memory? Exorcising a demon?" She glanced down; he seemed to be more than willing to play.
"There's no . . . Scully,” he groaned as she cupped him. "There's no bed." But the gleam in his eyes belied the tone of worry.
"Then I get to be on top." His eyes widened as she slipped her own shirt over her head. He could no more stop his hands from surrounding her waist than stop the rotation of the planet. "Good idea, Mulder?"
His answer was a growl as he buried his face in her neck. She fumbled with the waistband of his jeans, but was ultra careful with the zipper, and he sprang free gratefully.
"Did you ever think about things like this in this room?" Her tone was teasing but his answer was lost as her hand squeezed his cock. She took that for a yes and sank to her knees.
"Sculleee . . . “ No fantasy at fourteen had ever included something like this.
Before she could complete her task, he managed to pull free with superhuman effort, and sank to his own knees. "Scu . . . "
Her hand pushed him back and he found himself lying on the carpet looking up at her. She tugged the jeans and boxers from his body, then she was all over him with lips and tongue, marking her territory - no other woman could have this man.
She finally moved from him slightly and wiggled out of her own jeans, enjoying his reaction to the sight, then settled herself on his stomach, feeling him against her backside.
He couldn't take his eyes off of her, but wasn't sure what his next move should be. He knew what it was going to be, and soon, but she had instigated this and he was fascinated at that prospect.
Whatever she saw on his face seemed to satisfy her because she rose and quickly impaled herself. He came damn close to losing control then and there, but her smile was a challenge and fortunately she gave him some time before beginning her assault on his body again.
His hand on her waist steadied her and allowed him deeper access to her body. Part of him could have watched this sight above him until death took him. Her beautiful red hair partially obscuring her face, those blue eyes meeting his own hazel ones, her breasts bobbing slightly above him. She shifted and he couldn't hold back any longer. He moved one hand in order to press against her clit and saw her eyes widen as her body began convulsing around him. That was all it took, and they were coming together - his eyes never left her and he saw her begin to collapse towards him. He caught her and eased her down onto his chest, withdrawing from her body reluctantly.
When her breathing began to return to normal, he ceased stroking her back, and moved her farther up on his chest.
"It's no wonder I love you."
She snuggled into his chest. "Just hold me, Mulder."
"Always." Her even breathing against his body lulled him to sleep as well. He didn't know how long they dozed, but the doorbell roused them. She came awake with a gasp.
"The appraiser! Oh my god."
"Scully, Scully it's okay. I'll go let him in, you take your time." He was already pulling on his jeans. She nodded searching for her bra and panties in the tangle of clothing.
By the time she got downstairs, Mulder had the man and woman in the kitchen, looking through the china and silver he had moved there.
He turned when he heard her footsteps in the dining room. She looked mostly composed, only he would know her hair was a little more curly and disheveled than normal. He managed to keep the smile from his lips, but his eyes gleamed at the sight of her. She, wisely, didn't meet his gaze.
"Scully, this is Mrs. Simpson and her assistant, Mr. Ellis." Scully shook hands with them both, his hand lingering a little longer than strictly necessary. Scully felt Mulder's eyes on him, but not the tenseness she realized she had come to expect.
She glanced up at him and saw the relaxation in his limbs, his posture. It hit her like a ton of bricks - he felt secure. He knew where he stood with her; he knew he was the man in her life. It hadn't occurred to her that would be a side effect of making love with him.
Ellis saw whatever it was that passed between them and moved over to help his employer. There was no reason to even fantasize about this woman.
Scully put her hand into his and they moved closer, trying to concentrate on the woman's words. Hindu would have made as much sense, but they nodded at appropriate times and when paper was placed before him, he signed it. Things were repacked and moved out to the van they had brought and finally the two of them were alone again.
"I think that's everything Scully. I just need to move the garbage out to the street and take the last load to the shelter. Then . . . "
The smile that came to his face gave her complete assurance. "Yeah, yeah I'm okay. Scully,” he grew serious again, "I can't . . . You saved this for me. I, there was never anything about this house that was, was home. You can't know what you did for me, and I can't - "
Her lips silenced him, "What we did for each other Mulder. We've still got some time. We don't have to be back in the office until Monday. Any ideas?"
"Lots of them Scully. More than we can accomplish before Monday, but we could give it a good start."
"Mulder . . . " But he could hear the amusement in her voice.
"Hey, you created some memories, exorcised some demons. It's my turn."
She nodded, yeah, it was and they would be together.