Ethan Winters’ resilience is tempered by his incessant altruism, his deep psychological desire to help and protect. His unstinting demeanour had always been a consistent force in his life, but his self-sacrificing nature had become far more prevalent in the last couple of years, an aspect of his personality cemented in Dulvey, Louisiana.
Chris Redfield understands how Ethan works, and has garnered enough trust in him to permit him to assist in taking down Miranda. It was inevitable that Ethan would want to get involved, so the kindest thing Chris can do is set him on tasks suited to his capabilities whilst still keeping him separate from the worst of the danger.
The Blue Umbrella reconnaissance team had caught wind of heavy artillery north of the village, now located in what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse, and artillery was potentially useful in destroying Miranda. A crude map had been drawn out soon after, and Chris had discovered that the artillery could be transported via elevator. The details regarding what was in the factory were still vague, but Chris had not seen smoke from the chimney and reasoned that it was simply out of commission and derelict.
It was a safe and simple task, but when Chris informed Ethan of the plan, the colour ran from his face.
Ethan longed to demand that Chris reconsider his strategy, but the fire in Chris’ eyes reminded him of Mia's desperation in Dulvey, and of Jack Baker pleading for the emancipation of his family. Ethan furiously relented and realised his altruism was his greatest strength and his damning weakness. All he could do was hope to God that Chris was correct about the factory being abandoned, or pray that Heisenberg was not paranoid enough to install cameras in the basement portion of his domain.
“Counting on you.” Chris had said as Ethan left, a genuine tone of encouragement hidden under brusque professionalism.
The elevator grates against metal, a noise commonplace in Heisenberg’s factory. Ethan almost finds it ironic that a man so gifted in engineering seems to care little about regularly oiling his machinery. Then again, elevators were not typically used as weaponry, so Ethan wagered that was the reason for Heisenberg’s negligence.
The elevator grinds to a halt, and Ethan cautiously peers out to survey his surroundings. Once satisfied that there are no rogue Soldats lying in wait for him, he steps out and nearly collapses at the behemoth of metal before him.
“A fucking tank? ”
In truth, Ethan did not know what to expect when Chris explained ‘artillery’. At best, he had hoped for a minigun or perhaps a rocket launcher, but a tank is almost biblical in comparison. It is a modified weapon, a possible Cold-War era tank with what appears to be a machine gun and chainsaw welded onto it. The sheer absurdity of the machine almost makes Ethan laugh, as it looks like something a teenage boy would dream up whilst listening to heavy metal. Ethan cannot, however, suppress a slight thrill of excitement when he remembers that he will be the one to drive the deathcart.
“You’d win first prize at a science fair, you prick.” Ethan chuckles, running his hand over the ridges and juts of the track.
The tank certainly looks complex, despite the haphazard welding and general indifference to aesthetics. Ethan drops his attaché case onto the seat and climbs onto the track to inspect the controls. He grips the artillery’s frame as he climbs, peering over to survey gear sticks, two pedals, and a large trigger connected to an oversized cannon. It is incredibly inane given the circumstances, but Ethan can already picture himself inside the tank and loses himself to the mental image.
He places one foot inside, but something takes hold of his jacket and yanks him backwards, ripping him from the tank and throwing him to the floor. He lands foul on his back, head crashing against concrete and eyes blurring in sudden pain. Ethan fumbles for the knife in the belt-loop of his jeans, but something heavy swiftly clamps down on his hand and he yells out in pain.
In the midst of obscured vision, he can make out a tall, brown-clad figure.
“Well, well, if it isn’t Ethan Winters,” Heisenberg drawls, “I wish I could say I’m surprised but I had a feeling you’d come crawling back.”
Ethan’s fingers creak and groan beneath the heel of his boot, and Ethan punches wildly against Heisenberg’s leg. The dull punches do not affect him, and he grinds his heel down harder.
“Get off!” Ethan pleads, “You’re gonna crush my fucking hand!”
“Quit your whining, you’ve had it sliced off before,” Heisenberg tuts, signature patronising tone leaking through his words, “What’s the nature of this visit, Ethan? It’s rude to show up unannounced.”
Ethan flails wildly beneath his boot, desperately kicking and trying to escape. Heisenberg does not relent, and simply places more of his weight onto Ethan, completely covering his fingers with the sole of his boot. Ethan continues to yell whilst Heisenberg watches.
“You better start talking Ethan, or I’ll crush your fingers so bad even your weird fucking fluid won’t fix them.”
“Okay, okay! Get off my fucking hand and I’ll talk!”
The foot lifts at his request and Ethan immediately cradles his hand. There are no bones broken thankfully, but the tips of his fingers are red from a lack of circulation and a filthy footprint has been embedded into the flat of his hand. It is painful, but nothing compared to the swift, sudden kick to his side, followed by Heisenberg clamping down on his chest with his boot.
Heisenberg already has a few inches of height on Ethan, and he certainly has more weight to him. His frame is intimidating, and if he swings his hammer with such minimal effort, he can easily cave in Ethan’s chest. Heisenberg presses further into Ethan’s sternum, and the man chokes out an answer.
“Artillery! We need your artillery to beat Miranda.”
“We?” Heisenberg jerks and scrunches his nose at the word, “Did that asshole Redfield put you up to this?”
Ethan breathes heavily through his nose, and his silence is all the confirmation Heisenberg needs.
“I’ve overestimated Redfield if he needs that heap of shit to put down Miranda,” Heisenberg says, gesturing to the artillery. He then stares back down to Ethan, lips spread into a thin line.
“But I still would’ve appreciated a courtesy call or some shit. We could’ve worked something out again, but you decided to sneak in here like a common fucking thief.”
Ethan cranes his neck up as best he can, “You make cyborg abominations but draw the line at stealing? You’re a real piece of work.”
Heisenberg stomps down onto Ethan’s chest, and the man coughs, splutters and swears under the shockwave.
“That mouth of yours is only good for one thing, so you can stop your fucking preaching.” Heisenberg snorts, grinning when Ethan’s face darkens.
An idea crosses his mind.
Heisenberg’s heel scrapes against Ethan’s chest, moving upward until the tip of his shoe rests just below Ethan’s bottom lip. He presses down with a singular purpose.
“Put that mouth to good use and apologise, Ethan. I won’t ask twice.”
Disgust manifests on Ethan’s face and he grimaces at the request. There is nothing about Heisenberg that looks especially clean, from his filthy duster coat to his moth-eaten hat to his lank, unwashed hair. It is unsurprising to find that his boots are no different; the leather is worn and cracked from years of use, with dirt nestled in each crease of leather and within the rim of the rubber sole.
“You’re out of your goddamn mind.” Ethan hisses, and any further protest is silenced by Heisenberg’s sole clamping down over his lips.
“Hey, you’re lucky I’m still grounded enough to not kill you. I find you learn best after licking your wounds,” Heisenberg retorts, tapping his boot against Ethan’s mouth, “You can pretend it’s my dick if it gets you to lick any faster.”
Ethan’s face burns in rage, something untempered and raw. His position is far too vulnerable to attack and risk Heisenberg’s ire, so Ethan has no choice but to yield. A tentative tongue licks the toe cap of the boot, arguably the cleanest part of the entire shoe, and coats it in a wet sheen of saliva. The taste is non-existent, but there is still a scent of leather which permeates through the material and detracts from the filth. Ethan swallows his pride and gives another long lick.
“There you go, Ethan,” Heisenberg says, “Gotta admit: you’re kinda hot on your back, showing me how sorry you are.”
Ethan seethes but his tongue swipes further upward over the boot. The flat of his tongue explores the area, flicking up at the incline of the boot and leaving a glossy trail behind in the process. Heisenberg shudders like it is his cock being licked, the visual pleasure of Ethan Winters worshipping his boot already rendering him half-hard.
“Fuck. Your mouth ain’t so fucking clever now, huh?”
Heisenberg palms his cock through his trousers, squeezing at himself through two layers of fabric. To be unwound and not even touched, Ethan wonders just how much power his tongue truly has. Another quick sweep over the leather sends a wash of pleasure over Heisenberg, and he stiffens entirely with his cock pressed against the seam of his trousers.
Arousal overtakes him, and Heisenberg fumbles with his belt with trembling hands as Ethan continues to lick at his boot. When his trousers grace his thighs, the angle of his preventing further descent, he takes a hold of his thick cock whilst Ethan worships the worn leather presented. The strokes are slow and languid, matching the rhythm of which Ethan licks, and Heisenberg places most of his attention to the tip.
He rolls his thumb over the leaking slit, breathing between his teeth as he mirrors Ethan’s flicks with his hand. The leather of his gloves glides so easily over his cock, and when the burgeoning precum provides enough lubricant over each stroke, Heisenberg is reminded of the tight hotness of Ethan’s mouth.
His sudden masturbation does not deter the man below. Rather, Ethan licks at his boot like a starving man, hoping to bring Heisenberg to completion and escape with just his ego bruised. It is unsurprising that a man as egotistical as Heisenberg enjoys power play, so the most Ethan can do is pour fuel upon the fire and pray he finishes quickly.
Heisenberg fucks his fist with increased fervour, imagining each strong jerk as Ethan’s throat. The man places an open-mouthed kiss to the tip of his boot, and Heisenberg jerks faster, fantasizing about how the wet kiss would feel on his sensitive cockhead. Ethan continues to flick his tongue over the boot, and Heisenberg has to physically restrain himself and stymie his masturbation. He does not want to cum all over Ethan’s debauched face. Not today.
The boot is removed from Ethan’s mouth and Heisenberg stands over him, still slowly jerking his hand over a stiff, wanting prick.
“Apology accepted, Ethan,” he says between pants, “But I still want some kind of payment for the artillery.”
There is a heaviness to Ethan’s eyes, but whether it is sleep-deprivation or misplaced lust Heisenberg is uncertain. Regardless, it is an ample opportunity to bend Ethan while he has him pliant.
Ethan staggers up to a sitting position, “I’m not sucking you off again.”
“No shit, I don’t want another blowjob. And I don’t want a handjob either, I’m not letting you rub me off with that fucked-up hand of yours when I could do it myself and save the mess.”
Ethan laughs, an incredulous bark of laughter that sounds more like a sigh of resignation, “Not leaving me with a lot of options here, Heisenberg. Just say you want to fuck me, you’re too much of a psychopath to play coy.”
“In that case, I’ll skip foreplay. Get on your knees.”
Ethan’s heart rate quickens, but he does as he is told. He pulls himself up from his back and rolls to his front, starting to work his own belt. The loss of his fingers, accompanied by the pain still coursing through his fingertips, makes unfastening his jeans a lot harder than it should be. Heisenberg briefly stops fucking his fist to help, doing so out of impatience rather than courtesy. Jeans and underwear bunch around Ethan’s knees and Heisenberg takes a moment to admire the sight.
“Running away from Lycans has done wonders for your ass, Ethan.” The sentence is punctuated by a harsh slap, a red mark already forming over the ass cheek.
“Fuck. You.” Ethan hisses under his breath, eyes burning holes into the concrete below.
By the grace of God, Heisenberg does not hear the remark and Ethan is spared the inevitable, cliché retort. A gloved hand traces over the welt on his ass, cupping and squeezing until the skin turns a violent shade of pink. He then leans in and scrapes his teeth against the mark. Ethan grunts in surprise but Heisenberg pays little attention, his tongue lapping at the red mark formed.
He grins wickedly to himself, and soon repeats the action on the other cheek. His tongue trails down to the inward portion of the thigh, and Ethan curses; Heisenberg’s teeth, tongue and facial hair attack every sensitive spot Ethan never knew he had. The man eventually notices, and pulls away with his lips glistening.
“A little bit of attention and the great Ethan Winters moans like a whore,” Heisenberg runs a finger over Ethan’s perineum, stopping just short of his hole, “I hope you remembered my name, I wanna hear you screaming it.”
Both Heisenberg’s personality and talk belong in the gutter, but his verbal filth is rousing. Ethan’s own cock twitches in interest and Ethan quickly smothers it with his hand to not inflame Heisenberg’s monstrous ego. Naturally, it doesn’t work.
Heisenberg leans in, hot breath on Ethan’s nape and dick grazing against his thigh, “Already getting hard, sweetheart? Don’t worry, I won’t keep you waiting.”
Ethan’s pride refuses to let him look over his shoulder, but he can hear Heisenberg shed his coat and rummage through one of the pockets. He soon pulls out a bottle from the front, a small vial with a faded label and cork stopper, which is then presented to Ethan.
“The fuck is that?” He asks, trying to discern the obscured, illegible writing.
Ethan recoils, “Yeah, from what fucking year and for what purpose?”
“Look, I can fuck you dry if you’re gonna whine about it.” There is a burgeoning tone of annoyance to Heisenberg’s usual deep voice, one that promises to make good on a threat and Ethan bites back any further questioning.
“Good boy,” Heisenberg chides, and he pulls out the stopper with his teeth before pouring the translucent liquid over his fingers, “I’ll stretch you out as best I can. You’re gonna need it.”
There is no lie in the statement: the man is incredibly well-endowed. Perhaps a by-product of Cadou, perhaps just good genetics. Regardless, it hangs thick and heavy in a nest of dark hair, and if Heisenberg were to press it in as is, Ethan would most definitely feel it.
Ethan is on the cusp of calling out Heisenberg’s conceited power-trip, but the words die in his throat when a slick finger glides over his hole. He gasps involuntarily, and can practically feel Heisenberg smirk as he begins to push his finger through the ring of muscle. The lube and leather reduce friction, but the sensation of being spread open is new and slightly uncomfortable. There is an initial twinge of pain, one that soon disappears when Heisenberg slowly pulls his finger out and then back in.
Then, the pain becomes pleasure.
Ethan closes his eyes and breathes heavy through his nostrils, chewing at the inside of his mouth as Heisenberg pushes his finger further in. The interior of his ass is tight around the finger, almost clenching around the digit in a bid to keep it inside. It is something Heisenberg does not fail to notice, and he jerks his cock in anticipation of the heat that awaits him.
Heisenberg continues to finger fuck him, almost zealous in the way he monitors each inhale of breath, each curt moan. When the finger presses upwards, and Ethan groans long and wanton into his hands, Heisenberg knows he has found his undoing. He presses in again, and this time Ethan palms himself, no longer caring about maintaining an act of disgusted indifference. It feels so much better than it should, and Ethan Winters deserves a reprieve.
More lube is spilled over Heisenberg’s hand and he wastes little time in lining up the second digit with Ethan’s hole. He pushes in and Ethan’s stomach tightens and cock throbs instantaneously. He barely has time to accommodate or even register the stretch, as Heisenberg promptly returns to assaulting his prostate with heavy caresses and forceful prodding.
A sudden, deep thrust has Ethan bucking forwards. He collapses onto an elbow, hand still firmly wrapped around his cock, and Heisenberg closes the distance between them, shuffling so close that Ethan can feel the heat radiating from his crotch and onto his ass. It is wrong, depraved even, but Ethan cannot stop himself wanting something thicker and longer than Heisenberg’s fingers inside him.
“Come on now, Ethan,” Heisenberg is over him again, the heady smell of tobacco making his head spin, “Don’t be a pillow princess. I wanna hear some encouragement.”
“You’re go- it's good, really good.”
“Heh, that’ll do.”
Ethan tenses when the fingers are pulled out, despising himself for missing them. Heisenberg removes his hat and glasses, tossing them to the side unceremoniously. He grabs the lubricant, lathering it onto his hand and transferring it to his cock, working the liquid up and down the shaft in quick strokes until he is fully hard again.
Fully erect, he grabs Ethan’s hip with one hand and aligns his cock to Ethan’s hole with the other. He grazes over it, slow and teasing, and when Ethan shudders at the touch, the last of Heisenberg’s restraint bends and snaps.
He pushes in.
Ethan’s ass is hot, almost overwhelmingly so. The muscles clench around Heisenberg, each ragged breath ripped from Ethan causing him to spasm on the cock buried inside him. Each curve and ridge of muscle caresses Heisenberg, his cockhead grazing against the oversensitive cluster of nerves.
He slowly pulls out and Ethan groans wordlessly into the floor. To be so stretched, so full, both mortifies and arouses him. The fingering had prevented the pain, but there is still the raw feeling of being split in two by something large, thick and long. He has Heisenberg gently fucking him, massaging places he never dreamed would feel good, and the last lingering thread of self-respect preventing him rolling back his hips is incredibly thin.
Heisenberg pulls halfway out, and then snaps his hips back in. He hooks this thumbs into the cleft of Ethan's ass, gnawing at bottom lip as he watches the way he sinks in and out so easily. The sensation is like nothing ever experienced before; simultaneously hot, wet and tight all at once. He repeats the action once more, and Ethan’s thread breaks. He pushes back onto Heisenberg, groaning low and long when he feels his ass connect to a pair of hips. He doesn't even feel humiliated when Heisenberg laughs.
“Yeah, you like that?” There’s another snap of his hips, one that causes Ethan’s stomach to coil, “Gonna have you fucking delirious, fuck you ‘til the only thing you can say is my name.”
Tempted, Ethan rolls his head back and bites, “You run your mouth too much, Heisenberg. Prove it or shut the fuck up.”
Heisenberg grunts at the challenge and curls his fingers into Ethan’s ass, one thumb sweeping over the bruise. He quickens his pace, fucking into Ethan with mounting intensity, thrusts so quick that Ethan can no longer discern when Heisenberg grazes his prostate and when he is reeling from aftershock. All he knows is that it feels good; sordid and degrading, but good.
He’s been achingly hard for what feels like an hour, each thrust into his prostate sending a white-hot jolt of arousal down his spine and coursing through his body. Heisenberg finds a brutal pace to fuck him, grunting and growling like he's in heat, and Ethan collapses onto the crux of his elbow and strokes himself with desperate fervour.
“Come on, sweetheart,” Heisenberg croons, voice less even and more akin to a hiss, “Show me how badly you want this. Cum with my dick shoved inside you.”
The sensation builds, the overwhelming need for relief from the constant assault of pleasure. Ethan’s stomach feels like liquid, his legs shake from each crash of their bodies. A gloved hand snakes its way from his ass, travelling beneath his jacket and spreading out over his stomach. Heisenberg presses him back and lies atop of him, body heat permeating through his shirt and warming every exposed area of skin on Ethan's body. He pants in his ear and whispers filth.
"Should've done this when I had you tied up in front of Miranda. Should've fucked you into the dirt while those three freaks watched."
Ethan keens. When the gloved hand slides over his own and forces him to fuck his own fist at Heisenberg’s design, Ethan’s resolve crumbles and moans out in wanton abandonment.
“Ah, fucking shit! Fuck! ”
Lost in his own pleasure, on the precipice of sweet release, Ethan breaks and shouts the one word that should feel like dirt upon his lips:
Heisenberg tenses at the call of his name, and Ethan comes undone. He shudders as he climaxes, eyes squeezed shut and palm covered in a thin layer of his own release. It seeps through his fingers, trickling onto the floor, and Ethan buries himself into his arm again, reeling as Heisenberg fucks the last of his orgasm out of him until all he can feel is a dull haze of pleasure.
Ethan's body relaxes, but the last remaining waves of his climax still hit him in spurts, all of which cause him to tighten his hold on Heisenberg's prick. The pressure shifts, the tightness is still very much present, but it is now accompanied by rhythmic tensing which massages the underside of Heisenberg's dick and focuses the hot pressure over the cockhead.
The orgasm only invigorates him. The spectacle of seeing Ethan cum beneath him is intoxicating and all-consuming. His cock throbs, no doubt leaking precum into Ethan’s convulsing body, and Heisenberg’s need to claim and mark overtakes him.
His thrusts become erratic, his breathing laboured and mind slipping into deranged rapture. His biceps bulge under strain, deep breaths as loud as the roar of an engine. He pulls Ethan back, hand wrapped around his throat and presses against his ear, tracing the outer shell with his tongue.
“Love the way you moan my name, sweetheart. It was a pity you couldn’t do it when I fucked your throat.” He says, nose now buried in strands of blonde hair.
Ethan Winters moaning his name, ass and mouth filled with cum; a filthy fantasy that will keep Heisenberg entertained for weeks to come.
He feels Ethan swallow through the fabric of his gloves, his neck strained. His eyes are half-lidded, lips dry and parted. Their eyes meet, both heavy and lusting, and Heisenberg stifles the urge to lean in and take his mouth, to taste what he left in there previously. Instead, he turns away and sloppily kisses the nape of Ethan's neck.
“Gonna cum, Ethan. Gonna fill you with it.” He pants, hot breath tickling the expanse of neck.
Ethan tilts backwards and curls his own fingers into strands of long, mousy hair. He can feel Ethan's finger nails gently rake at his scalp, brushing through his hair in a manner that is almost romantic when compared to the dissipation.
“Then do it, Karl.” The command is soft but demanding.
He bites down at Ethan’s nape, teeth ensnaring the sensitive flesh. His forehead rests at the base of Ethan’s head and he can smell the man’s hair; clean and fragrant and tinged with salt. It is the last thing he can fathom before he feels himself empty within the tight heat of Ethan’s ass.
He ruts there, moaning and heaving, milking his orgasm. It is too much, but not enough, paradoxically rendering him oversensitive and making him want to fuck Ethan all over again to retain the pleasure. He collapses onto him, not yet pulling out and softening cock still buried at the hilt. He can hear Ethan’s heartbeat; so human and so alive and wrought low by him twice.
He gently nips at the tip of Ethan’s ear, eliciting a small shudder, before he pulls out completely.
Ethan crumples onto concrete and Heisenberg shuffles backwards, and they are both ruined and disoriented. They pause for the most fleeting of moments, waiting for reality to return and cement them back into a world of danger and death. Heisenberg tucks himself back into his clothes, not yet bothering to fasten his belt. There might be time for a second round.
He reaches for his coat, fishing for his cigar holder and box of matches. He retrieves them, lights a cigar and breathes in a deep inhale of tobacco, now forever associated with the smell of sex, salt and Ethan Winters.
“You’re a good lay, Ethan,” he chuckles, “Just full of surprises, ain’t you?”
Ethan has managed to pull his own jeans back up, diminishing any hope for another round. He winces slightly when he stumbles to his feet and there are also a set of teeth marks embedded in his neck, still wet with saliva. If Redfield does not question his limp, he will certainly question the blemish.
Chris Redfield realising that his precious envoy was just thoroughly fucked by the only surviving Lord sends a thrill up Heisenberg’s spine.
Ethan straightens his jacket, combs the hair out of his face. He looks toward the artillery, and then back to Heisenberg.
“Can I go now? Or do I have to humiliate myself even more?”
Heisenberg smirks under a cloud of grey smoke, “You have terrible bedside manners, Ethan. If you’re gonna leave right after sex, you should at least say ‘thanks’ or compliment my dicking.”
“Thanks for making me lick your nasty fucking shoes and sweating all over me, I really appreciate it, Heisenberg.”
He is ‘Heisenberg’ again, ‘Karl’ being a name reserved for lapses in judgement and curtailed sexuality. It is fitting almost, to possess a Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy, since Ethan undoubtedly considers him a monster.
“You’re welcome, sweetheart.” Heisenberg says, taking another drag of his cigar. He is half-tempted to offer one to Ethan, but exports are rare in the mountains and he already burns through tobacco the same way Ethan burns when he stares too long.
Ethan cringes at the pet name, “I’m not your goddamn ‘sweetheart’ , asshole. And now that you can’t possibly take anything else from me, if I ever see your fucking face again I’m putting a bullet right between your eyes.”
“I’ll keep my schedule free then, just in case.”
“Yeah, and make arrangements with a funeral home while you're at it.” Ethan spits and he slowly, cautiously climbs into the tank. Heisenberg snorts when Ethan grimaces in either pain or disgust as he sits.
Ethan readies the artillery, the pedals deliberately designed to mimic those of a car. The tank looks horribly complex and daunting, but is surprisingly easy to control once correctly ridden. Heisenberg chuckles at the entendre, and finally understands why Ethan was so keen on the piece of scrap in the first place.
“So long, Ethan Winters!” Heisenberg calls as Ethan pulls the artillery into the elevator, “That tank is also prone to spontaneous break downs, so be sure to visit for a maintenance check.”
“Yeah, maybe when hell freezes over.” Ethan shoots back, the elevator creaking under the weight of the tank as it ascends.
Heisenberg brings the cigar to his lips, a trail of thick smoke curling around his face as he watches Ethan leave for the second time. He is gone in a matter of seconds, and the factory descends back into its regimen oppressive stillness.
A minute passes and Heisenberg finally gets up. He collects his things and redresses, still routinely unkempt but now with the scent of Ethan Winters clinging to his clothes. If he’s quick enough, he can beat Ethan to Miranda and linger in the shadows, watching the chaos as it unfolds. If he’s lucky, Ethan might even notice him standing there. He takes one final drag of his cigar and then throws it to the floor, stomping it out with his boot heel.
“It’s showtime, Ethan.”