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Igglybuddy
October 1st, 2003, 05:48 PM
Alright...this is a 'fic I've been working on for a few months now, an OT story set in Hoenn...I've slowed down quite considerably in the production of new chapters, much to the infuriation of my FFnet fans...ack...but that's school to blame, there. Anyway, I'll post one chapter a day--if people start responding, of course--and I've written fourteen so far...please review and tell me what you thought of them, and how I can improve. It's cool if it's just a "good chapter" or whatever, but it makes me feel more special if you can tell me what you liked...or what you didn't, of course. (That makes me feel less special but it can help me write better.) =]

Anyway...on to the story! It is rated PG-13 for mention of mature ideas, occasional swear words (none especially serious) and, later, violence. So nothing really hardcore or whatever, it might make you a bit uncomfortable if you're younger than thirteen, though. =]

Blackbird
Chapter One: A Wish or a Prayer?

The sun rose early in the eastern sky, burning with the fury of the coming summer. Wingulls took up their raucous calling, gliding on the breezes like scraps of cloth. The suns rays slowly crept up the sides of the ancient crater before spilling over its edge and making the white stone glow. Sootopolis City gradually came to life.

Noirsha Hunter awoke with a start as someone flung the light, summer sheets from her bed.

"Wakey wakey, Nori! First day of summer hols! Six AM, doesnt do to waste the day! UPUPUPUP, LETS GO LETS GO!!"

Nori clutched at her pillow protectively, drawing her legs up against her chest. "No! Wanna sleeeeeeeeeeeep"

"Nonsense, sillypants!"

"Go AWAY, Mark!"

"You are SUCH a grouch in the morning."

"Its not morning! Its still bloody dark out" whined Nori, covering her head with her pillow.

"Dark? Its been light for half an hour! Youre wasting time."

"Shush, theres no such time as six in the morning, only six in the too bloody early!"

"Do I have to bodily haul you into the lake? You know I will," said Mark, tapping his foot impatiently as Nori groaned into her pillow.

"Fiiiiiiine"

"GREAT! Ive got your shorts and a t-shirt and your b"

"DAMMIT MARK I CAN GET MY OWN CLOTHES"

"Rightoh, Ill just skitter off into the hallway, shall I? O-kay."

Mark quickly vacated Noris room, closing the door behind him. Nori re-emerged a moment later, pulling on a pair of much-worn mens khaki shorts over her boxers. She glared at him with bleary, dark green eyes.

"Who let you in, anyway?"

"Myself. I think your brothers are still asleep."

"Theyd sleep through a three-alarm fire, the ba"

"So, are we ready to go?" asked Mark brightly, beaming at Nori.

"Yeah, yeah," said Nori, straightening her black tank top and running a hand through her spiky, chestnut bangs, "Whatever youURK!"

Mark had grabbed her hand and started running, while she helplessly stumbled along in his wake. They thundered down the stairs, through a hallway and the kitchen and paused briefly enough for Nori to grab her sandals before flying out the door.

Nori felt better after she pushed Mark off the dock.

~*~*~

Sootopolis Island was an old volcano crater, made of the white ash spewed out by the earth in days long past. The city was built on the inside of the crater, the rock terraced to create a flat surface. In the center of the crater, rainwater had collected over the ages, creating a treacherously deep freshwater lake. To the annoyance of most trainers, it contained mostly magikarp, but tales were told of things much older in the deepsand especially of the Cave of Origin.

Growing up in Sootopolis, children learned to swim, run and climb very quickly. With daily practice running up and down sets of stairs most of the day, the local high schools track and field team regularly dominated the other teams from Hoenn, and this year were poised for victory over Johto and Kanto in a tri-region meet. Swimming they were excellent at as well, but the real titans were the Pacifidlog and various Orange Island teams.

Mark and Nori were no exception to this rule, even going beyond what was normally seen. They lived outside, really, most of the summer, and most people had no idea why they hadnt gone out on their trainers quests yet. Mark was eighteen and Nori seventeen, and by those ages most kids had been out training, won badges and come home already. Also perplexing to most gossips was their romantic status; many things were suggested, but there was no real evidence, and the pair refused to confirm anything. Mark had a talent for not hearing questions he didnt want to answer, and Nori deserved a medal for changing the direction of a conversation.

Sootopolis was small, only a few thousand people, like most towns in Hoenn. It was dubbed a city not because of population, but due to Wallaces position as a gym leader. The island was famous for one other thing: berries.

Berries, used by trainers as cheap alternatives to the artificially produced status-rectifying potions, or as ingredients in the mysterious candy called pokblocks, were difficult to grow: they required a certain amount of water, sunlight, a certain type of soilbut if those requirements were fulfilled, the plants grew rapidly. Sootopolis, with its sub-tropical climate and volcanic soil, wasnt quite idealbut it worked. Berry trees of many different shades flourished on every slope, yielding a crop of berries every few days or weeks, depending on the berry. Every house had at least three old trees in their backyard, tended by successive generations of residents.

Nori was her houses unofficial berry tender, and she was good at it, too. It was mostly because of her that her family was able to scratch out a living, although few people knew this

"Hey! Wait, wait dammit!"

"Wouldja look at that sky? Beautiful!" Mark stood on a pinnacle of rock on the edge of the crater, the sea-salt breeze ruffling his extremely curly, unkempt light brown hair, while Nori scrabbled to gain a hold on the rock. He bent down and seized both of Noris forearms before hauling her easily up onto the rock.

"Urk! Thanks"

"Don mention it."

They formed an interesting pair; Mark was muscular and of average height, five foot ten or so, and Nori was as thin as a rail, five foot eight and her womanly curves rating depressingly low. What little flesh she did have on her bones was muscle gained from eleven years of tussling with Mark. Much to her annoyance, he still had her beat with everything they did except for school, swimming and berry growing. They were constantly in motion, save for when they were sleeping. With Mark it was obvious, but with Nori it wasnt immediately apparent. She tended to be quiet and rather cynical, ranging on bitter. Mark was energetic and never let anything get him down for long.

Mark hopped off the rock onto another, arms outstretched and whistling. Nori clambered down, following on the ground. She was all right with most heights, but the dizzying sheer drop on the outside edge of the crater was too much for her.

They stopped to flop down in front of an ancient, weathered pecha berry tree, overlooking the ocean. The two sat in silence for a while, listening to the roar of the sea against the rock of the island. A few wingulls swooped and dove, their thin bodies supported by the gentle breeze. Fluffy, white clouds passed lazily overhead. The sea sparkled in the sun to the edge of the horizon, where you might fancy you saw Mossdeep Island.

"So" said Mark, quietly, suddenly serious. "Your dad get a job yet?"

Nori was silent a long time before she sighed, and answered, "Nonot yet."

"Itll be all right. Somethingll turn up," said Mark, syrupy brown eyes concerned. Nori seemed to be staring very intently at a point in the air in front of her.

"Noit wont," she said, quietly. "Ever sinceever since mom died, hes" Nori trailed off. Mark sneaked a glance at her; she was hastily rubbing her eyes. "Wellif it wasnt for the berries, and for Andrews pair of delcatties I dont know if wed be able to feed ourselves. I want to get awaygo off pokmon trainingbut I cant. Theyre all lazy bastards, every one of them. They dont carethe only reason they havent kicked me out is because I pay the bills"

Mark stared at the ground, biting his lower lip as if debating with himself. Finally he sighed, and put an arm around Noris shoulders, pulling her closer. "Youve been dealt some pretty bad handsthis is the first time Ive seen you really broken up about it. What happened?"

"Were done high school, Mark. I realized that if I dont do somethingabout my family, Im never going to go anywhere. Im going to be stuck on this island shipping berries and skitty kittens to Lilycove while my brothers and my father sit around all day alternately jacking off and eating, all the while talking about the jobs theyre sure theyre going to get. I cant take it anymore."

Mark felt her twitch slightly, as if she wanted to fling herself onto his shoulder and sob hysterically, but instead Nori got to her feet and started running down the path back inside the town.

"Nori? Wait a m" Mark trailed off. "Gods. Like a stantler, that one," he said to himself as he watched her run. He leaned back, sighing. "Women." He then rose to his feet and started running after her.

Igglybuddy
October 1st, 2003, 05:49 PM
--Note--
BAH! Word limit! EVAIL! This is still chapter 1...
--End Note--

~*~*~

Mark found her a bit later, floating on her back in the lake, not too far from the waters edge, her sandals and tank top discarded at the end of the wooden dock. He moved quickly to the side of the dock, where, crouching, he could not be seen. He regretted having to soak his khaki shorts again right after theyd achieved some measure of dryness, but shed his own sandals and t-shirt, placing them on top of the wooden planks of the docks surface anyway. Moving as silently as he could, Mark slipped into the water. As he rounded the corner of the dock, he took a deep breath and vanished beneath the crystal surface of the lake.

Nori sighed, staring up into the blue, blue sky. Her ears were underwater, cutting off most outside sound. She floated with her hands resting on her stomach, chestnut hair fanning out behind her, her only motion her chest rising and falling with her breathing. How peaceful and quiet things seemed, how simple

Mark swam along the soft sand bottom of the lake, doing an easy breaststroke. He passed under Nori, flipping around, then kicking off the bottom and shooting upward, breaking the surface of the water. He closed his arms in a bear hug around Noris middle, his weight forcing them both down beneath the surface of the water.

Nori blinked, her eyes adjusting the crystalline water, bubbles swirling around in a desperate flight for the sea of air above. What had grabbed her? A gyarados? her shocked mind considered for a very random split-second. She looked down, seeing fluffed-out curly hair. No, worse. Mark. She reached out and, grabbing a handful of Marks curly locks, gave them a hard yank. Mark relinquished his hold on her, and she kicked out toward the surface and sweet, sweet oxygen. She broke the surface, sputtering and coughing, Mark appearing directly after her, laughing.

"You, you bastard!" she said, in between coughs.

"Aww, come onheyyy, youre smiling."

Nori tried to glare but found it impossible, so she tried to tackle Mark instead, which led to a round of splashing and horseplay.

Finally, Mark backed away, making a T shape with his hands.

"Okay, truce! Truce! I want to show you this place I found the other day."

Nori looked at him a bit skeptically, but nodded. "Fine. Where?"

"Over there," Mark said, treading water with one arm and gesturing across the lake with the other.

"Its a bit of a climb, though, we should walk there."

"Right. Race you to shore!" Nori dove underwater, streaking off like an otter.

Mark followed at a more leisurely pace. He had no chance of winning now that Nori had a head start.

When he reached the shore of the lake, Nori was already sitting on the end of the dock, her feet dangling in the water as she waited for the breeze to dry her upper body, which wouldnt take long in this heat. It was barely nine in the morning, but the sun was already high and oppressive.

"So, whats this place you found?" Nori asked, when he had joined her at the end of the dock.

"Oh, youll see when we get there, I guess."

They sat in silence for a moment longer.

"Alright, thats good enough. Show me," said Nori, pulling her tank top back on and standing up.

"Mmkay," Mark said, putting his own t-shirt back on. "This way."

~*~*~

The majority of Sootopolis Citys clean, white buildings existed on the heavily terraced south-facing slope of the crater. The other side, the shaded north slope, was covered in trees, and was primarily untouched by humansalthough no one was really sure why. Some said it was because the north slope was in shadow most of the day, others that it would cost too much to develop. Unspoken was the affirmation that every resident of Sootopolis shared: that they, personally, would never live there. Let the tourists defile the land where the gods were said to speak.

They walked in silence, shedding water as they moved, passing from the bright, hot sands of the lake to the cool, shadowed forest. It would have been hard going, had there not been an ancient stair of flat planks of wood set into the steep hillside, winding and curving around trees and rocks.

The forest was incredibly still, the only sound the breeze moving through the trees and the creak of the old stair. There were no pokmon in the gods wood.

"Wellwere here."

Nori looked around, seeing nothing at firstthen she looked up, seeing the small shrines set into the edge of the crater. She drew closer to the nearest one. It was small, four wooden pillars set into the stone of the crater with crosspieces running between them and a tiled roof overhead. Old, faded banners flapped idly in the breeze. She looked at the next structure, and the next, and the next; they seemed to be identical, save for what color remained on the faded banners, and the ancient glyph carved into the crosspieces of each one.

"Theseare the temples to the gods," said Nori, speaking quietly, although she did not know why.

"Yes. I saw my mother coming up here, and I followed. Some people still follow the old traditions, I guess," Mark answered, speaking equally soft.

Nori swallowed, feeling apprehensive. There was an ancient tradition of honoring legendary pokmonpokmon of immense power and rarityas the manifestations of gods on the earth.

"Why show me this?"

"I thought you might like to make a request at the temple of the spirit of wishes."

"Mark, you know I dont believe"

"Can it hurt, at this point?"

Nori frowned, staring off into the sky beyond the temples. "Fine"

Mark smiled. "Alright, I think its this one"

The temple to Jirachi, god of the stars and of wishes, contained a stone tablet, carved with the image of what the artist supposed the pokmon looked like, and surrounded by runic symbols and constellations.

"So what do I do?" asked Nori, grumpily, the sea breeze playing with her hair.

"Make a wish," Mark said, seemingly trying not to grin.

"About what?"

"Im sure you can think of something youd like changed in your life," said Mark. "Ill meet you back at my house. I havent eaten yet today and Im starving." He put his hands on her shoulders, feeling the tension and stubbornness that was coursing through her so angrily. "Have some faith now and then, hmm?" he said, quietly, then bent forward a bit and kissed her on the cheek.

He disappeared back into the shadows of the trees, but Nori stood in complete shock for a moment or two. She put her hand up to touch her cheek as if she couldnt comprehend what had just occurred. Only when the breeze began to blow her long hair around again did she shake her head, dismissing it as pure silliness.

"Stupidnow, a wish" she muttered, folding her arms and staring hard into the distance.

^^NICK^^ v.2.0
October 4th, 2003, 08:31 PM
I like this fic. It's creative, and I hope you continue.

Igglybuddy
October 5th, 2003, 01:11 PM
--Note--
Wow, someone read it...cool! Here's chapter two. ^_^
--End Note--

Chapter 2: When All You Have Is Anger

"Sowhatd you wish for?"
"Cant tell. It wont come true."
"Oh. Darn."
Nori could never help resenting Marks house. Despite the two teenage boys (men, Mark would insist) in residence, it was always spotlessly clean, everything always carefully arranged and free of dust. There were vases of fresh flowers in the windows, artistically arranged, and even on this dinner table, a basket of fruit, glistening with photographic perfection.
She picked at her bacon idly with her fork, one elbow on the table and her chin resting on her hand. Mark watched her, looking worried. Despite his friends cynical nature, she didnt usually let things bother her for this long. He finished chewing and opened his mouth to say something, but Nori interrupted.
"I wanted to apologize. I shouldnt try to pawn off any of my misery on you."
Mark shook his head. "Nonsense. I force so much of my giddiness on you, its only fair you give me something in return."
"No, Im seriousyou dont have anything to worry about. Youve got it made. You shouldnt let me bring you down."
"Well, I think that you need to stop feeling so sorry for yourself and get out and do something."
"Like what?"
"You know what I mean."
"You know I cantmy dad, my brothers"
"Screw them."
"What?"
"I said, screw them. Youre seventeen, youve got an International Baccalaureate High School Diploma, a Pokmon Trainers license and a pokmon buddy who can swim. Get your crap together and haul @ss out of town."
"ButtheyI cant"
"Your dad is, what, forty-five? He can take care of himself."
"And Andrew and Jason?"
"Andrew was a trainer for four years, and Jason should get out and become one, too. I dare say they can figure it out as well."
"Fine, so what do I do?" said Nori angrily, "Just walk into the house, Hey dad, sibs, Im going to be a pokmon trainer. Scaaarew you all, huh? I wont make it out of there alive."
"Obviously not. Just disappear. They wont know the difference until they realize theyve run out of money."
"Thats another thingmy dad has all the cash, I cant up and go training without any funds."
"Where does he keep it?"
"What?"
"All the money you make and forfeit to him. Where?"
"In a box in his room, under his bed, probably. Why?"
"Take it."
""
"Its yours, really, isnt it?"
Nori just stared at him.
"Why do you look so shocked?"
"Well, lets seemostly, my best friend, whom I thought to be a carefree, simple individual, is suggesting to me that I steal money and leave my house through covert means with the confidence and poise of aan I-dont-know-what. So, yeah, Im just a teeny bit startled."
"Oh, I take it you dont remember how effectively I organized our capture-the-flag team in eleventh grade? Anyway, its good that youve been caught off guard. Gets the adrenaline going. When do you want to leave?"
"II need some time to think about this." Nori rose, pushing back her hair absently. "Illgive you a call, I guess, if" she trailed off, and wandered out of the kitchen. Mark heard the front door open and shut a moment later.
"She didnt eat anything," he muttered to himself, scraping Noris untouched bacon and eggs onto his own plate. "Its worse than I thought."
~*~*~
Nori walked along the stony path, weaving between houses and under trees. It wasnt a long way from Marks house to her own, but it seemed to take an eternity. At last, she reached it, sighing. Her own home, with its peeling paint, rotting verandah and broken roof tiles was in sharp contrast to Marks highly polished residence. Only the backyard showed any evidence of care; her berry trees ringed the house, squat and brightly colored.
Nori walked up to her front door, the steps and deck creaking loudly. She went in, the screen door snapping shut behind her. She kicked off her sandals into the closet beside the door and walked into the living room, where her only parent and siblings were watching televisionsome league match, by the sound of it.
"Nori!" exclaimed her father, shutting off the television and getting up off the armchair he had been sitting in. For a second, she imagined that he was pleased to see her. "Where the h3ll have you been? All I get is an empty bed, no note or anything! Just what have you been doing?"
"I went swimming and walking with a friend."
"Who?"
"Mark."
"That Evans boy!?"
"Yes."
"Swimming, eh? Why is it only your shorts that look damp, then?" interjected Andrew from his spot on the couch.
Nori took a deep breath to try and stay calm. "Because I take off my tank top to swim."
"I knew it!" her father roared. "Swimming topless with a man, you little slut!"
Nori felt a terrible, burning anger swell up inside her at those words. "I was not swimming topless! I had a bra on, for your information," she roared back.
"Its almost as bad, then!"
"No, its not! Ive seen girls with bikini tops skimpier than my underwear, and its solid fabric, not lace or something."
Andrew snorted. "Yeah, right."
"Oh, would you like me to remove my clothes and prove it? I bet youd love that, you perverted bastards!"
That caught them off guard. Her father dropped the attack, sensing hed rapidly lost control of the situation. "Now just wait a minute, Nori, I never meant thatits just not respectable, thats all"
"Not respectable? Ill tell you whats not respectable: screwing around here at home all day, living off your daughters income!"
"That, that was uncalled-for," her father managed to stammer out. "You know Im just waiting for my application to go thr"
"Oh really? Well you just keep telling yourself that, Rob."
"Come on, Norimom said weve got to stick together" whispered Jason, staring at his hands.
"Dont you even try to use guilt against me," Nori hissed dangerously.
"I dont see what youre so mad about. If it were up to me, youd be locked in the kitchen, where you belong," sneered Andrew.
"You pustulant misogynist!" spat Nori. "I am going to break your fu"
"That is enough, Nori! Gogo to your room!"
"Fine."
Nori exited the room, her thudding steps up the stairs very audible to the three males. Only when they heard a door slam did they dare to speak again.
Andrew whistled. "Jeez, PMS or what?"
The others didnt reply. After a moment, Jason rose to his feet.
"Im going upstairs."
"Its your funeral," grunted Andrew, taking the remote control off the coffee table and switching the television back on. "Aww jeez, we missed the match."
"Who won?" grunted Robert Hunter, seeming to come back to his senses.
"Cant tell. Stupid b!tch, whyd she have to come in right then?"
"Dont talk about your sister that way," Rob said, automatically.
"Whatever."
~*~*~
Nori thundered around her room in a rage. She couldnt stay here, no, not a moment longer, not with those threealright, Jason wasnt such a bad sorttwo pitiful excuses for human beings sitting down there. Only when she punched the wall furiouslyleaving a dentand hurting her hand, did she begin to think more clearly.
It was no good trying to go nowthe living room had a full view of the front door, and shed make too much noise trying to leave via the kitchen door. It was, however, an ideal time to retrieve the money container from under her fathers bed.
She stepped out of her room, quietly shutting the dooronly to realize Jason was standing right there.
"Youre leaving, arent you?" he asked, startlingly blue eyes misted over with tears.
"What?" Nori stopped herself from looking too guiltyshe hoped.
"Youre going to go away and leave us. You cant. I wont let you."
"JasonI dont know where youre getting this idea, but"
"I can see it. You want to go to the mainland and train pokmon."
Nori stared, trying not to look incredulous. Jason ran a hand through his spiky cobalt blue hairso like her mothersin agitation. He was thirteen, he was merely overreacting of coursehe couldnt sense her thoughtscould he?
"Its not true."
"It is. You cant go. Im telling dad."
"Jason, wait" Nori tried to grab him, but he was already flying down the hallway and then the stairs.
"Dad! DAAAD!!" She heard his voice echo in the stairwell.
"Jason, NO!" she yelled, hopelessly.
~*~*~
"You can not leave. I forbid it. I was charged by my dead wife to keep this family together. You are going nowhere."
"I doubt Marisa Hunter had this in mind when she said that," Nori hissed back.
They were standing very close, trying to stare each other down.
"And you knew her better than me, I take it?"
"Maybe not, but I am not blinded by a need to keep my oldest daughter in virtual servitude so your lazy @ss can afford cable."
"This isnt about me! This is about the group as a whole. We share the money you make so we can all live, while Im trying to find a job."
"And Andrew? Hes twenty-one years old. What the h3ll is he doing, screwing around all day, huh?"
"What Andrew does with himself is his business"
"Oh, is it? Maybe its my business what I do with my money, like, for example, NOT BLOWING IT ON SOME LAZY WANKERS!"
"Jeez, Nori, take some d@mn ritaliiiiiiAUGH!" Andrew slumped to the floor, clutching at his groin.
"Ive had enough out of you, you lazy fu"
"Nori, honestly"
"Do not even try to tell me that was uncalled-for. You cannot guilt me into staying and supporting your stupid asses anymore. Step out of the way of my life."
"Nori, please" Jason whispered, tears crystalline on his upturned face.
"Grow up, you little monster," Nori spat, before turning and thundering back up the stairs.
~*~*~

Igglybuddy
October 5th, 2003, 01:12 PM
--Note--
Character limit + censor = EVIL!
--End Note--

It was amazing how little she really owned.
She had fit all her worldly possessions into two duffel bags, a backpack and a cardboard box. She had lowered the duffel bags and the backpack to the ground outside her window, but the box contained moredelicate items, so it would have to be carried.
She had found her old trainers belt in her closet. It felt odd, wearing it now.
She still had all her old gear, amassed in preparation for a cross-region journey that never happened.
She didnt have much moneya few coins and bills she found tucked away in her roombut she imagined that if things were really bleak, she might be able to borrow something from Mark until she started winning battles.
If you win battles, a cruel voice reminded her.
Nori put the box under one arm, trying to move stealthily. She exited her room, silent as a shadow and closed the door carefullyonly to come face-to-face with her father.
She opened her mouth to snap something, but subsided as Rob waved a hand and blinked tired, red-rimmed eyes.
"I know I cant stop you going. ButI would appreciate"he took a thin, paper-wrapped bundle from a pocket"if you would burn these. At the temple of wanderers."
Nori took the bundle a bit awkwardly, trying not to jostle the box. "Youknow I dont believe"
"I know. But it would make me feel better."
"Whatever." Nori tried to push past her father, towards the stairs.
"Wait. Take this, too. Its yours, anyway."
Nori took the wad of pokyen bills Rob held out. "What? But"
"Thats not all of it, butI was hoping youd lend us some."
"Yeah. Yeah, thats fine."
Nori stared a moment before bowing, the action abbreviated by the things she carried, then continued down the stairs.
After a moment, Rob heard the muted click of the front door being closed.
"Good luckyoull need it."

Kyosuke
October 25th, 2003, 07:22 PM
Your fan-fic is really nice, the details, the characters, there all good, my favourite line was, "Its still bloody dark out".

Anyway, great fan-fic all around and please keep writing.

Igglybuddy
October 25th, 2003, 08:37 PM
Heh, thanks for reading! I'm too lazy to post the other chapters, they're long and it's a lot of work looking for italics and such to enclose in code...so just click the 'blackbird' image in my sig to read the other chapters. You can e-mail me comments or post them here, whatever you feel like (that's right, all two of my readers...). XD

Kairi
October 25th, 2003, 08:46 PM
You know if you have the advanced toolbar WSYIG or something, you can copy and paste directly from a program that already has text italicized etc and it should retain its formatting-I think. ^_^

Igglybuddy
October 26th, 2003, 01:39 PM
Cool! I don't think I have that, though. Oh well. ^^;