They didn't bring it up for a whole two days.
This was a new record on Peter's part - it was like he had some kind of itch inside that pushed him to resolve every little issue or deconstruct every breakdown, especially when they were Wade's. Almost exclusively Wade's. It would be frustrating if it wasn't so damn endearing.
After one week, Peter had finally gotten Wade to talk by wrestling him over the arm of the couch and pressing kisses to his forehead so hard he thought his skull might crack. He was whispering please's and talk to me's and Wade's little heard melted just enough for him to give in.
He hated the whole process. Lying on the couch like he was at a fucking shrink and Pete listening intently, face blank and eyes expressionless, like any show of sympathy might cause the other man to break. (And honestly, it just might.)
He told him that, too, through a heavy tongue and constricted throat.
"I don't anybody's sympathy. I don't want anybody to love me just because they feel like they should, because they think I deserve it after 'what I've been through'. I hate that. I don't want that from you, Pete."
Peter held his hands and wiped under Wade's eyes with his shirtsleeve. He wasn't crying, but Peter's shirt was soft, and Wade appreciated the gesture anyway.
It was during a Seinfeld marathon two weeks later - Peter cackling wildly at something Elaine had said - that Wade suggested they try again.
Peter froze with a handful of popcorn halfway to his mouth. He turned to look at him, eyes wide, searching his face like there was something to be found - like Wade had some kind of ulterior motive for bringing up 'that scene' after he had fought so hard to do exactly the opposite.
He didn't miss the hard swallow in Peter's neck.
His finger lingered on the mute button of the TV remote.
"Pete, I want to try again."
He held firm to the remote when he felt Peter try to pick it up.
"Wade, let go."
"No," Wade mimicked, then immediately felt like an asshole. He sighed, running his free hand over his head. "I just- Pete, why don't you wanna discuss this?"
Peter stared at him incredulously, "Why do you want to? Why now? You avoided the bathroom for a day afterwards, Wade. You've only just started letting me spank you again when we fuck and you safeworded after I practically hit you straight into a panic attack!"
"Pete-" He tried, but Peter's voice raised over his.
"I don't want to do that again!" His hand shook where it met Wade's. "I can't do that to you again. I can't see you hurt like that because of something I've done." He said, and Wade's heart broke.
Wade move slightly so he could wrap his fingers around Peter's wrist, who then tucked his fingers through Wade's own.
"I love you, Pete. You didn't hurt me- no, wait a minute. You didn't hurt me in any way I didn't ask you to. You did so well. I loved it, right up until my brain thought it'd be a great idea to make me think I was starring in 'A Night in the Wilson Household'. That part sucked, yeah, but it wasn't your fault." Wade squeezed, and Pete shuffled forward so he could melt into his chest. This boy.
"What about if we discuss it?" Peter hummed at that, so he continued. "Through and through, like proper grown-up kinky people. You can lay out what you're comfortable with and we can set out a little rota so you and I both know what's going on. We can even type it up and put it on the fridge. I got the printer working."
Pete giggled at that, snuggling his forehead into Wade's shirt. He mumbled something into the fabric that Wade missed, so he rested his hand on Peter's shoulder and pulled him back a second.
"What was that, babycakes?"
"No babycakes." Peter huffed, then averted his eyes. Wade moved his hand from shoulder to chin and made Peter face him.
"What's up, Petey?" His thumb caressed the skin of Peter's jaw, loving the soft smoothness. He loved the boy's skin.
"I said," Peter began quietly, "Would you tell me what he used to do? Or say?"
The room was silent for a moment.
Wade shifted in place, thinking of some way he could say no to Peter without upsetting him, but the look on his baby boy's face stopped him. Fuck.
Wade let go of Peter's face and pulled him into a hug. His chest ached with a feeling he wasn't used to letting stay inside him. By now he'd usually be throwing himself off a building or turning the stove on with his hand pressed firm to the burner. Anything.
"Okay." He said. "Okay. Just not now, yeah?"
He felt Peter nod. There was a slight movement in the smaller boy, and the room filled with sound. Seinfeld was back on, Jerry and Newman arguing about something, and the familiar noise was welcome.
Peter turned away to face the screen to watch it, and Wade let him, but he didn't let go. He couldn't, yet. Needed just a little longer for him to be okay.
"You want sugar? I forget what stage of 'healthy eating' you're at."
The teaspoon hovered over Wade's mug as he waited for an answer.
"You gonna make out with the coffee?" Wade yelled back, voice muffled by the bathroom door.
Peter made a face, then rolled his eyes as he realised what Wade meant. "No, Wade."
The door burst open, and Peter looked up to see Wade emerge looking clean and slightly sparkly, shiny drops of water still clinging to his forearms, mouth pulled wide into a smile.
"Then that's a no on the sugar," He said, and leant in to kiss Peter, tongue swiping his lower lip, managing a tiny nibble at the soft mouth before Peter elbowed him away. "Or maybe a yes?"
"Shut up, sit down, and drink your coffee, Wade," Peter said fondly, handing him his Batman mug.
Their kitchen table was small round thing Peter had picked up at IKEA a few weeks after they moved in together. Wade had woken up from a nap on the floor (the frame for their double mattress hadn't been delivered yet and Wade refused to sleep on it until it had been 'properly christened') to the sound of Peter grunting and cursing, momentarily afraid and somewhat aroused. He had rushed to his feet, ready to fight whatever bad guy or boner was ailing his baby boy, then doubled over in laughter as he saw Pete wrestling with a flat-pack table leg, tiny screws and empty cans of hard cider strewn around him.
Once it was assembled, Wade had the idea of having sex on the tabletop to show it who was boss, but Peter had just shook his head and said, "No. This thing's about as stable as you are". Wade had tickle-attacked him then, which led to them fucking on the mattress - Peter's feet cold against the floor but the rest of him so, so warm against Wade's own body.
Wade rocked his hips forward. The wood beneath him squeaked against the floorboards.
He had made sure to sit on the rickety stool so Peter wouldn't have to - something he considered himself mightily chivalrous for- and the chair legs creaked as he moved. The noise was a welcome distraction. God, he felt like he was about to be grounded. He'd never been grounded personally, but he watched a lot of after-school tween TV and the act often began with a round-table discussion. Maybe Peter would put on his dad-glasses and call him son. That'd be nice. He should write that one down for later use.
He stared at the logo of his Batman mug - a straight-up yellow cartoon bat. Why the fuck they made it yellow made no sense to him. Maybe he could give DC some pointers on their colour schemes? Bat = black. Yellow = 70s Wolverine.
He could feel Peter's eyes on him, but he didn't want to look up yet. He wasn't broken. He knew that. Peter told him that, and he believed everything his Peter told him.
That didn't make it easier to remember. It didn't make it easier to speak about. But fuck, for Peter, he'd do anything. Even if it hurt.
Peter reached across the table and took Wade's hand into his own. The skin was warm from having been wrapped around his coffee mug. "You good, babe?"
Okay. Come on. They were just words. Just memories. "I'm okay."
Peter's brows came together, but he nodded, and squeezed his fingers over Wade's closed fist.
"Do you wanna start anywhere in particular, or would you rather me ask questions?"
"Just make sure you stay here with me, okay? If you get floaty you need to tell me."
The sounds in the apartment were getting louder, so he tried to filter them out. Focus on Peter's voice. Not the kitchenette tap, or the alert tones coming from Pete's phone, or the voices outside (or the voices inside). Wade straightened his back, breathed deep, and nodded.
"Good boy. Now, I want to go through what I said during our last playtime. Can you remember what it was I said that you liked?" Peter's voice was low, caring but not cautious. Wade adored that about Peter. He was one of the few who treated him like he wasn't dangerous. Like small things didn't set him off, or make him hurt himself or others.
Wade shut his eyes and thought back. "The...the stuff about me being yours. I liked that a lot."
"Mm. Anything else?"
"When you said only you found me beautiful. I liked that, too."
"You didn't think it was too harsh?"
Wade could hear regret filtering into Peter's words, so he quickly shook his head. "No, I liked it. I like the possessive streak that comes out when you top me. I like the humiliation."
That seemed to put Peter at ease. Wade had known for a long time Peter was a bit of a sadist, but they had never explicitly talked about it. Wade just moaned and offered words of encouragement whenever Peter smacked or bit or called him dirty or a whore when they were in bed together. He'd figure it out eventually. Making sure Peter knew he liked the pain was all that was important to Wade.
Peter rubbed his hand with lithe fingers, then moved them back across the table to grip his mug once more.
"So the ownership is good, degradation is good. What was it I said that you didn't like, Wade?" Peter's eyes were open and honest and Wade did as best he could to swallow the many lies that jumped up into the back of his throat. (Tell him you weren't feeling well. Tell him it was the pain. Say your head hurt. Tell him next time will be fine, it's all okay, we can go relax now.)
(Please don't tell him.)
"Wade?" Peter pressed, and Wade realised he hadn't responded.
His throat was closing up. He could feel the lies forming into a lump too big for him to breathe around and damn it he was not going to cry in front of Peter when they were having grown-up emotional kink talk. Wade inhaled.
"When you said I was nothing."
The drips of the tap hit the sink in a rhythm.
"What was it about those words that made you say your safeword, Wade?" Peter said softly.
"It's not- I don't-" Come on, Wade. Breathe. "My father used to say that to my mother. He'd say she was nothing, that he found her in the dirt and without him she was good as dirt. Once she got cancer, she was a little too weak for him to beat without damaging her too badly, so he went after the other burden of the household: yours truly. Wasn't a big fan of vocabulary, Papa, so he just recycled those same phrases, over and over. I was nothing to him. I was nothing right up until the day I shot him in the head."
Peter was very still, fingers tight around the handle of his mug, mouth set in a straight line. Wade couldn't tell whether he was upset or angry or something else entirely. When Peter spoke, it was with slow, careful words, like he was afraid if he spoke too loud he'd be screaming.
"When we were in the bathroom, you thought you were back there, didn't you?"
The lump of lies jittered in his throat.
"Were you afraid of me?"
Fuck, Pete. "Yes."
"But only because you thought I was him."
It wasn't a question. Peter let go of his mug and walked around the table to drape himself over Wade's back. His hands ran up and down Wade's arms, and Wade practically feel guilt buzzing from Peter's skin to his.
"I want to hurt you." Pete breathed into his neck, "But never like that. I never want you to feel like you're not in control of the situation. If I could've been there back when he was...Fuck, I would have never let him touch you." Not guilt, then. Anger.
Wade couldn't handle the emotion being poured into his head, so he opted for, "You weren't even born back then, baby boy. I'm an old man."
"You're my man." Peter said, and Wade was finally able to swallow the lies down.
"I love you, Pete." He choked out. "Please hurt me, fuck, I love you."
Peter groaned into his ear, and Wade could feel him nodding. "Tell me?"
Somehow wade knew exactly what he meant. He turned as he stood, knocking the chair leg with his foot to move it under the table, keeping Peter pressed tight to him. He ducked down to nip his teeth into Peter's neck, which earned him a soft whine.
"I want you to hit me. Please. I want you to hit me as hard as you can, you know I can take it. I want you to treat me like I can't break, cause I can't, Pete. I'm yours, please make me yours." Wade was taller, but he felt so small when Peter gripped his arms and walked him backwards, towards the door of their bedroom. He was bigger, shoulders broad and muscle bulkier than Peter's own, but Peter has the proportional strength of a spider and he used it. Wade keened at the bruising grip Pete had on him, fingernails digging half-moons into his skin like a bite within a punch. Peter shoved him backward onto the bed (complete with a bedframe) with more force than was really necessary, and Wade couldn't help but smile.
Wade moved backward until his back hit the headboard, legs splayed out in front of him. Pete shuffled toward him on his knees, looking both intimidating and like a penguin at the same time. His penguin.
Pete pinched his leg. "What you smiling about, baby?"
Wade met Peter's eyes, which were wide and dark and squinted with amusement.
Peter's mouth quirked like he wanted to smile. Instead, he leaned forward and captured Wade's mouth in a kiss. His lips were soft against the scars of Wade's own, but they quickly became rougher, pressing firm and wet as his tongue licked stripes along Wade's teeth. It ended too fast for Wade's liking, but it did the trick. Peter was smirking at him like he was ready to either fight or fuck him, and Wade could do - would do - nothing to stop him.
Peter leant in and Wade bent his neck, expecting a bite, but Peter brushed his lips against his ear instead.
A hand snaked over the crotch of his jeans, fingers hovering at the zipper. Wade shook his head, confused. "My colours?"
Peter swung a leg over and smacked his hip, 'hop up, Wade'. Wade moved so Peter could pull his jeans down and off, frowning when he saw he'd left his boxers on.
"Do you want words, Wade? You want me to call you those things we talked about? Do you want me to slap you and call you names, baby? Call you my whore?" Peter guided Wade so he was kneeling in the middle of the bed, slipping his shirt off and tossing it onto the floor as he spoke.
As good as that sounded, Wade wanted this to go well. He wanted Peter to use his hands on him, make him hurt and bruise and feel good while doing it. He wanted the pain more than anything, and he didn't trust his brain with filtering voices right now, so he shook his head.
"Maybe next time," Peter said, and kissed his shoulder.
Wade stayed still, knees apart, kneeling on their shared bed as Peter stripped himself of his clothes, not bothering to kick them in the direction of the laundry hamper. His hand moved to his cock, fisting it slowly as he walked toward the bed.
"What are your colours, Wade?"
Wade's eyes were closed, arms locked behind his back. "Green, yellow and red, sir."
"And what do they mean?"
Peter toed off his socks and stepped onto the bed so he could kneel in front of Wade.
"Green means I'm good, yellow means slow down, red means I want to stop."
Peter reached an arm out and stroked the back of his hand across Wade's face, knuckles dragging along his lips, pressing down so he could feel the teeth behind them.
"Open your eyes, baby. Good boy. Now, I want you to speak during this, okay? Not just to use your colours. I want to know what you like the best, and what you don't like. I know you don't like to talk while you're down, but I'm asking you to. Can you do that for me, baby?"
"Yes, sir." Wade responded, voice soft the way it was only when Peter brought him down to the place where he was floating.
"Good boy," Peter said, and brought the back of his hand cracking across Wade's jaw, causing the man's face to whip to the side. He used the same hand - burning with the force of the hit - to grip Wade's jaw so he could look him in the eyes.
Wade looked distant, already beginning to drop into his subspace, but his eyes were hard when they met Peter's. He gave a nod, imperceptibly small, and Peter smiled. Such a good boy.
The next hit struck Wade harder than the first. His skin burned and the muscle underneath ached - both for it to stop and for Peter to continue. Wade groaned lowly, something that rumbled in his chest, and that sound must have urged Peter on because there was a hand on his hip, tugging at the elastic but not pulling it down.
Peter hit him. Hard.
For a second Wade didn't know what happened, but judging by the fierce throbbing in his temple he figured he'd been punched. The shock of it spread into a warm buzz that made its way down to his groin, and Wade once again wished Peter would just take off his fucking boxers. Another burst of pain bloomed across his chest where Peter had slapped him, adding to the buzz that was growing stronger, his cock standing attention under the thin fabric.
"Please," Wade uttered out after a particularly hard slap across the jaw. Peter was holding back - using his full strength could kill Wade, and though he'd asked for it many times, he knew Peter never would go that far - still, the slap hurt in a way the others hadn't before. His skin felt as though it had split and was starting to tingle with numbness, overtaken by the familiar burn of his cells regenerating.
Peter pinched the area between his thumb and forefinger, tugging at it. "What was that, sweetheart?"
Wade gasped as Peter's nails dragged sharp and fast down the same patch of skin. "Please touch me, sir."
Peter hummed. "I am touching you, Wade."
Three more slaps landed across his face, his ribs, his head.
Peter was pushing him. He knew that. Knew he wanted Wade to say exactly what he wanted before he'd do it. Knew he'd hit him harder until he gave in. So Wade pressed his lips together and said nothing.
Almost experimentally, fingers brushed across his stomach, above his navel. Then-
Wade hunched forward, falling into Peter as the air rushed out of his lungs. Peter's fist splayed out on Wade's chest to push him back, other arm reaching around to brace him so he stayed steady.
Wade grunted in response, chest still spasming from the impact. He felt two fingers tap against his cheek. Wade opened his eyes to Peter's brown ones, concern knitting his brows. The buzz subsided partially as Wade was filled with pure adoration for the boy. Only Peter could hurt him so sweet.
Wade heaved in a breath and flexed his fingers where they gripped his forearms. "Green, Peter. Greengreengreen please-"
Peter smiled. "Good boy, baby."
Wade waited for the impact of another blow to his chest, but instead felt soft fingers slip under the waistband of his boxers, nails scratching gently at the area where most people would have pubic hair. Peter's mouth was on his ear, warm breath coming out in pants as he mouthed at the skin there, and Wade realised Peter was stroking himself.
"I could fuck you. Nice and slow, take my time with you. Watch you fall apart underneath me," Peter's voice was barely above a whisper. "But I'm not gonna do that."
Wade whimpered, a small, pathetic noise. Peter kissed the shell of his ear.
"I want you to touch yourself, and I want to watch you while you do it. I want you to get yourself off while I hit you, baby, over and over, and I won't stop until you come. How does that sound?"
Peter bit into his neck hard enough to break the skin, and Wade cried out.
"Peter, please, fuck-"
"Sir." Wade corrected, "Please, can I move my arms?"
"Oh, shit, yeah. Yes, you can, Wade. Just know that once your hand touches your cock, I'm going to start hitting you, and I won't stop unless you tell me to." Peter ran a hand along the back of Wade's bald head. "So please tell me if it's too much." He said the last part much quieter, voice low and sincere.
The muscles in his arms ached when he finally unfolded them from behind his back. He stretched them out the the side, then in front of him, waiting for the soreness to subside before moving to pull at his boxers. He was quickly stopped by firm hands around his wrists. Wade snapped his head up.
Peter was looking at him shyly. When he spoke, it was in his usual tone - slightly higher, and softer than the confident dominating voice he'd been using.
"Keep them on? Please?"
Oh, Peter Parker, you kinky motherfucker.
Wade pressed his lips together to keep from smiling, and said, "Yes, sir."
Wade's cock twitched under his fingers when he finally took himself in hand. The scars covered the expanse of his entire body, so Peter's soft fingers were always his preference when it came to jerking off, but in this instance Wade wasn't complaining.
He rocked his hips into his fist, cockhead hitting the wet patch of the plaid fabric that had cooled to the room temperature. It wasn't a great feeling, but Peter had started stroking himself in earnest - his hard breaths and the slick sound of their movements was the only thing he could focus on, making the dampness on his skin nothing but background noise.
The first slap came as a surprise.
It was softer than the others, and hit more of his nose and brow bone than his cheek, but then another followed it right after, and another, building the tingling in his face up to a constant burn. He turned his head to the side to get away from the sensation (like moving his hand from the stove burner), but Peter's hand followed him, raining down hits on the same place until he felt tears stinging his eye.
There were grunts and soft curses in his ear, and Wade was vaguely aware that Peter was touching himself, too, getting off on the fact that he was causing Wade pain. Wade slid his thumb over the head of his cock, fingers brushing wet fabric, and leant his head back.
The next slap landed on his bared throat, causing Wade to cry out.
"Fuck, Wade," Peter groaned, and hit him again in the same place.
It stung, fuck, it stung, but it felt amazing as well. Wade worked himself faster, feeling the buzz of pain drive his orgasm closer and closer, but it wasn't enough. He needed more. His mouth was dry, tongue slack, but he forced himself to speak.
"More," Wade said, barely audible.
Peter hit him across the head, above the ear, the base of his palm thudding into his skull like a slab of concrete. It was hard, but not hard enough.
"More, Pete, please," He tried again.
He could taste blood on his tongue - he must have bit it at some point, or maybe Peter had cut his cheek on one of his teeth with a particularly hard slap. He wasn't sure. Pete's eyes were digging into his skin, concern working its way over his features. He opened his mouth, presumably to say no, so Wade spoke over the top of him. Peter's mouth snapped shut.
"I can take it. I need it. Please, please, sir, I'm green, I'm so close, please-"
Wade's vision went white.
His orgasm rushed up to greet him at the feeling of his skull cracking, fragments piercing into the tissue underneath, blood rushing to the split in his skin so fast he could hear it.
He squeezed his cock, stroking it fast and hard as he chased the high, trying to draw it out for as long as possible, come spurting out in short bursts and sticking to the boxers still around his hips. His fingers felt numb. His whole arm felt numb. His back felt weak. His knees buckled, body swaying backward. His head hit something hard behind him, then he didn't feel anything.
That was Peter's voice.
(Mm, very perceptive)
Tissue stitched itself together. The fragments of bone piercing his brain dissolved and regrew over the hole in his skull, forming and hardening. Blood and sinew and skin bubbled into place, baby-fresh skin soon scarring as his cells tried to heal the cancer that came with it.
Wade sat up, the throbbing in his head subsiding into a dull ache until it was nothing at all.
Peter was sitting cross-legged on the bed, shirtless, loose pyjama pants covering his lower half.
"Hey, Pete." Wade croaked out. He ran a hand over his head and down his body, where he was met with wet fabric covering his soft cock. "That was fun."
Peter lurched forward and pulled him into a tight embrace, fingers clutching at the skin of his back.
"Did I kill you? Wade, did I kill you?" He asked, voice frantic.
Wade found the feeling in his arms and reached them around Peter's wiry frame, rubbing soft circles into his back to calm him down.
"Nah, you didn't. I think I just passed out. That's a thing that happens, right? Though I'm not sure if it was from the ejaculation or the blunt force trauma - maybe a mix?" Wade said.
Peter giggled. His hands relaxed against Wade's back, so Wade pulled back to look at his baby boy.
"Was that okay?"
Peter rolled his eyes. "You're asking me if I'm okay? I cracked your skull with my fist and fucking came from doing so."
Wade's eyes widened. "Holy shit, babycakes, that's fucking awesome. I'm glad I was able to get you off. Or, my head at least. I must've been to the edge, though; I met the boxes. They're still assholes."
"No babycakes. Also- Boxes?" Peter frowned.
"Nevermind." Wade looked down at the sheets beneath him and asked, "Hey, did I bleed on anything?"
"Yeah, me. And yourself. I wiped myself down while you were fixing the hole in your head - I didn't want to go near it with the baby wipes just in case I messed something up." Peter said, tracing patterns into the scars in Wade's skin.
"I notice I'm still in these wonderful pantaloons while you are dressed? Don't tell me you left these on because you didn't want to 'interfere with the healing process'" Wade questioned, motioning at the PJ's covering Peter's beautiful legs (one of Wade's favourite things about Peter, along with every other part of him).
Peter grinned impishly.
"You have issues, Parker. I think you have a panties kink, or a four-dollar K-Mart boxers kink, and it's obviously stronger than your maternal instinct to get me clean and my very own jammies." Wade grinned back.
"That's not what maternal instinct is, Wade."
Wade ignored him.
"Come on, up. I wanna suck you off in the shower." He patted Peter's leg and stood, foot catching on something that felt suspiciously like Peter's-jeans-that-were-not-in-the-hamper when he tried to take a step.
Peter just stretched, and fell forward onto the bed, which was conveniently free of blood or brain matter.
"Is that a priority right now?" He mumbled into the sheets.
"You are my number one priority, always. So is your cock. And I want you and it, together, with me, in the shower. The sooner the better." Wade replied.
Peter groaned, reluctantly leaving his place on the bed to follow Wade to the bathroom.
He caught the hem of his pants with his toe, pulling down until they slipped free, wiggling his hands at Wade like he'd just performed the greatest magic trick in the world. Wade shook his head. He stepped forward and ducked his head down to capture the boy's lips in a kiss, aiming for something heated and rough, but Peter wouldn't have any of it. He worked his lips soft and slow against Wade's, tongue gently pressing against his mouth until it met with Wade's own. It was different than their usual couch makeout. It was sweet. Tender. Pete hummed into his mouth, hands running down up his arms to his face where he held it, warm and firm, like he was trying to keep Wade from going anywhere.
Wade pulled back slowly, eyes wandering along Peter's mouth, his nose, his eyes, his everything.
Something in his chest heaved, and it felt so wonderful that it hurt. Funny, really.
"I think I love you, Pete." He said, and he thought he might cry.
Peter cocked his head. "Don't you already?"
Wade nodded adamantly. "I mean that...I love you. I can feel it. I fucking love you."
Peter's eyes softened, and the ache in Wade's chest flared even bigger.
"I love you too, Wade. Now, you want to get in the shower so you can get your mouth on my cock?" He said, his attempt at innocence failing even through the coy look and batted eyelashes. Fuck, he was perfect. Wade loved him. Of all the places he could be, he chose to be with Wade, in a small rented apartment bathroom with horrendous brown tiles, asking for his ugly mug to be wrapped around that perfect cock.
He pressed a hand over Peter's own where it rested against his cheek, keeping him there a moment longer.
"Definitely," Wade said, and bent down to kiss him once more.