The guys were dragging. An eight-day Recon patrol had worn them down. They'd had heavy enemy contact and taken on casualties. Myron had just filed his after-action report in the clerks' office when Colonel Stringer had silently materialised behind him. Zeke always hated that, said even a rattlesnake gave you some warning.
Instead of the usual don't let the office door hit you in the butt on your way out debriefing, Myron had been on the receiving end of Colonel Stringer's version of sympathy. The platoon could take a load off for a couple days. He was still unnerved. Stringer had let him off the hook too. The platoon having no duty never meant that he had no duty. He could take a little personal time but he'd have to double-time on the paperwork when he got back. It was rarely worth the effort. This time…no paperwork to do.
Myron wasn't happy. Stringer wasn't a bad C.O., he did care about the men which was as it should be, but…he just wasn't interested in the travails of junior officer grunts. If Myron was getting a couple of days to rest up too it meant something really crappy was looming up at his team in the very near future. In the meantime they were all stood down.
Myron headed over to Zeke's hootch to break the news. Zeke liked that kinda thing. As platoon sergeant it was his privilege to break the good news and take the kudos for it. Curiously enough it didn't work the other way. When Zeke broke bad news Myron took the blame for it. He shrugged, philosophical. Them's the breaks.
He was extremely nervous of being anywhere near Zeke right now. He'd had more shocks in the past two weeks than he'd had any time since his first two weeks at Ladybird even with an eight-day break in the bush.Myron had slowly realised that Zeke was breaking him in as a lover just as he had once broken him in as an officer. It was real ironic. Headed up for two years together and he was still the cherry and Zeke was still the guy with all the experience. Only difference was that in this case he was literally the cherry and it was Zeke's life experience he couldn't compete with.He guessed he was pathetically naïve but…he'd been so worried about not being attracted enough to Zeke to have sex with him…that maybe he'd lose him because of it. Didn't know now how Zeke had managed to keep a straight face. It hadn't even crossed his mind that if anybody knew how to turn a man on it was another man. It wasn't exactly guesswork.
They weren't spending any more time together than they had before. There was nothing out of the ordinary for anybody on base to see and being in the bush had been just the same as it had always been. It had comforted him to know that they could still function together but that pretty much proved to him how far down the line they'd been anyway. So…they weren't spending any more time together but they were spending it differently.
They had always been able to talk, always confided in one another. They had talked about themselves but now they talked about each other, about their future together. Zeke had been married, had been in intense relationships before. With all that experience, with Zeke's natural maturity and simple decency he was real comfortable to be around, made it easy for Myron. Myron had always thought Zeke was a great guy. He was ridiculously pleased that hadn't changed.
It would be wrong to say that Zeke wasn't nervous too. He could hardly bring himself to call Myron by his given name even when they were…Myron hesitated…if he'd been about fifteen he'd have said they necked but he was twenty five so…petting was more appropriate. Recently ... heavy petting. It was goddamn weird to have your lover kissing your hip ecstatically and murmuring 'L.T., L.T.'. They were both still struggling to separate the officer and the platoon sergeant from the lovers. Zeke could kiss his hip but couldn't call him Myron without being prompted.
He was a little embarrassed at how quickly Zeke had got him to the… the heavy petting stage. Somehow Zeke just made all that physical stuff so natural and so heartfelt ... when Zeke's eyes went dreamy and he reached out Myron couldn't seem to resist.
They'd gone from just kissing to some very gentle touching, each fascinated by the other's body. Just getting comfortable seeing one another and being close. He'd been on Zeke's knee as usual and Zeke had just lain down across the bed taking Myron with him, then rolled him gently underneath. Zeke hadn't broken the kiss for a second which had then made it very hard for Myron to say no when Zeke asked if he could see him, touch him. He'd been too breathless to speak. Zeke took outrageous advantage of him, took that as a yes. Zeke being Zeke.
So…another first for Vietnam, land of new experience. Zeke had a thing for buttons, it was like, kiss the appropriate spot then undo the button. Then kiss a little lower down and on to the next button...Myron had been unwrapped like a precious gift for Hanukah. The kissing had been so sensuous he hadn't objected when Zeke had pulled his own T-shirt off and then got started on Myron's fatigue pants. Zeke had eased the pants down a little, taking his time, kissed Myron's hip and then trailed hot kisses across his belly below his navel. Seemed to admire that sensitive spot on his body intensely. Had found a special place right in the centre, low down, that made Myron gasp when Zeke pressed his lips to it.
Zeke had gone that far and no further, raising up suddenly and kissing Myron passionately on the lips again. Myron had felt his full weight for the first time, the solid warmth and power of him. They were both fascinated by the differences and similarities between them. Palm to palm, comparing hands. Zeke's hands were broader but Myron's fingers were longer and suppler.
Zeke was built on heroic scale but he wasn't bulky, he had solid, worked muscles that felt strange colliding against Myron's skin. There wasn't much difference in their heights but Zeke's bones were broad and dense, his rib cage deep. Myron felt a little inadequate with his own lighter frame and musculature but Zeke liked him just fine as he was.
Zeke had confided suddenly that he wasn't afraid of hurting Myron, his weight and strength meant he always had to hold back when he was with a woman. He'd had a lot of experience, was always very gentle because he felt he had to be as much as he wanted to be. He had always restrained the passion he felt. He was stronger than Myron, certainly, but not so much that it intimidated Myron or inhibited Zeke.
He touched Myron far more firmly than he'd ever been touched, his heavy hands strong and sure. It felt wonderful…Zeke had suddenly decided they'd gone far enough and had lifted his weight, sat back up. Myron admitted wryly that he'd been quite put out. Zeke's knowing eyes had lit with amusement and he'd ended up with a pillow behind him, propped up against the wall, Myron lying back with his head on Zeke's shoulder and Zeke's arms around him, fingers entwined. Indulging him. Zeke's teeth worrying gently at the nape of his neck, sending delicious shivers down his spine. They'd stayed like that as long as they'd dared, talking about stuff that had happened on their Tour, stuff that had brought them to where they were right now.
Zeke teased him about Christmas night, outside the Orphanage. Zeke maintained that if he'd had an ounce of sense he should have kissed Myron right there and then, right in front of Roo, Lord knows he'd ASKED for it. Myron had been a little indignant. Just how had he asked for it? Zeke gave him a significant look and said emphatically 'And I've got you'! Myron argued he meant as friend but Zeke didn't believe him. Zeke was quiet a moment and admitted that he was glad it had been so dark because he'd blushed at the warmth of that sentiment, had covered it up with a little joke, 'I said it was ALMOST perfect'.
Myron now knew how close Zeke had come to seducing him at Tay Ninh. If Myron hadn't been so drunk, both of them drinking that way…Zeke wouldn't let himself come to Myron's bed, it wasn't right to take advantage however much he had wanted to…A hand underneath his chin tilted Myron's head around to face Zeke and a powerful, passionate kiss left him shaking and in no doubt just how much Zeke had wanted him and just how close he had come to being in Myron's bed that night.
Feeling all that, Zeke had been so confused when Myron had suddenly mentioned Alex while Digby struggled with his nightmares. Had just hung his head for a moment, shamed by what he was feeling. He'd kept looking at Myron all day. It had been heavy on his conscience. Myron had been aware of some kind of scrutiny, he'd kept looking at Zeke but hadn't managed to make eye contact. Thought Zeke was feeling guilty about the black eye he'd gotten, was all.
It had never crossed Myron's mind that Zeke was thinking about sex but he had realised himself then just how close they were becoming. He'd been very shy about it, and not knowing how to deal with it had let Zeke sweetheart him into letting Digby go. Such a pushover.
Zeke wasn't a pushover. The night before the Recon patrol they had gotten even closer, been even more intimate, wound up completely naked together under Myron's sheets, Zeke's awed hands on him. Myron had been aroused, would have gladly gone further if Zeke had permitted it but no…he'd stopped them again before they could pass the point of no return. Held Myron in his arms, lying side by side, until they'd both calmed down again.
Myron figured he was a little too young to have that kind of iron self-control and he truly didn't understand what it was Zeke was waiting for. He couldn't doubt that Myron was responding to him but still he'd left Myron aching and unsatisfied. It had taken all the intensity and concentration of the patrol, of doing his job in the field for Myron to recover his equilibrium.
He reached Zeke's hootch door and paused, one foot on the bottom step. He was nervous. It really wasn't fair to blame Zeke for sticking faithfully to the ground rules Myron had set but Myron wasn't sure now who was deciding if he was ready to make love. Right now it felt like Zeke was making that judgement for him and was deciding he wasn't ready.
Myron thought maybe he needed to remind Zeke that he wasn't child. For all the difference in their ages and experience, still, he wasn't a child. The care Zeke took for him warmed him right through but he had to be allowed to make his own decisions. Zeke could take that, expected that from his platoon leader but he hadn't yet learned to take it from his lover. They had a partnership in the field, a natural balance. They just needed to find the same balance in their private life.
He tapped and pulled open the hootch door, pulling his cap off.
Zeke was enjoying a beer from his cooler when he heard the tap and the door opening. At Tan Son Nhut he used to have to get up and open the door for Myron, he'd wait politely at the door even after Zeke had yelled for him to come on in. Boy had eased up somewhat.
Zeke wasn't no expert but he was pretty damn sure that as time went on he saw more and more of Myron and less and less of Myron's father in the boy. Every good thing was Myron his own self, blooming as his own self-confidence grew. The less he felt he had to prove the more he managed to prove, to himself and everybody else. Zeke had always felt good watching the boy grow as an officer and a man, he loved to see it any guy, but it held more importance for him now.
He always had trouble keeping his grin down around Myron and it got away from him now. He nodded emphatically. Myron was very easy on the eye as he stood there with the sun streaming down on him through the hootch doorway. He let the door close behind him and grinned right back, slipping his sunglasses into the top pocket of his fatigues.
Zeke figured things mustn't have gone too bad for L.T. to be in this good a mood.Zeke waved the beer and Myron nodded, wandering over to lean against Zeke's desk, legs crossed at the ankles.
"Well, I've got news"
Zeke busied himself at the cooler, grabbed the coldest bottle he could find and headed back over to Myron. He glanced out the door, listened carefully, nobody anywhere near. Satisfied it was safe he faked Myron out with the beer and when he reached for it slid his free arm around his waist and lifted him up onto the desk. Myron was totally off balance, sprawling back and grabbing on to Zeke's shoulders with both hands. Zeke put the beer well out of range and his eager arms wrapped tight around Myron.
Myron knew what was coming, he glanced at the door too and then his face was breaking into laughter. Zeke was shameless. Shameless. It was broad daylight.
Zeke eyed him with complete satisfaction "Well now!"
Then his tongue brushed Myron's lips, insinuated between them and stroked Myron's tongue, possessive. It was intense. Sharing that deep passionate kiss while every sense strained to detect any noise or movement from the Camp that might end them.
Eventually Zeke was persuaded to let him go and settle down to hear the news, hands in pockets, pacing gently back and forth in front of the desk.
"Colonel Stringer has given the platoon a couple days off. We've got no duty and I can sign passes for anybody who wants one"
"Well bless his heart!"
Zeke was delighted. He'd get a hero's welcome in the guys' hootch when he broke this news. His grin was ear to ear. This day was getting better and better. If the guys were off base that would give him and Myron some personal time.
They needed it. Myron still wasn't ready to make love. He was responding to Zeke sure enough, but you could push the right buttons and get that physical response anyhow. Zeke was controlling his own desire rigidly because he was waiting for Myron to reach out to him. Right now Zeke was making all the moves and Myron was letting him do whatever he wanted. Myron was anything but passive so…Zeke was waiting patiently for Myron to want Zeke to love him, to ask for what he wanted and not just accept what Zeke wanted because he found it so difficult to refuse him.
Zeke didn't want their first time to be in no Army cot neither. It wasn't exactly special. If they had some downtime Myron could sign him an after-curfew pass and then get one of his own from Stringer and they could slip out unnoticed amongst the rest of the guys. They could get a room somewhere, private, spend a whole night together. He wanted Myron in his bed, to hold him and talk with him, to sleep and wake up with him in his arms. Get a taste for what their life could be like after they got home. If Myron was ready for some real lovin', then Zeke was ready too but he wouldn't set his heart on it. Just being together, not afraid of anybody seeing them, being relaxed and able to be themselves was good enough for him. Just being this close to Myron made him happy.
It still felt awkward on his tongue, disrespectful, but he persevered because the boy seemed to like hearing it…
Zeke was touched. Myron's face melted into softness and he gave that shy, tender smile that only Zeke ever seemed to see. He stopped right in front of Myron, said earnestly
"Myron, could you get a pass? Into Saigon? We could get a room somewhere, I know a quiet place"
Zeke didn't think it was tactful to say he'd been there once with Jennifer, just for an afternoon.
Zeke moved a little closer, another quick glance out the door and then his hand curved persuasively around Myron's neck, fingers slipping under the collar of his jacket, stroking the nape of his neck. He smiled now, coaxing.
"We could spend the night, be together the whole night. If that's what you want"
Myron blushed a little. He was sorely tempted. Every single minute away from the war was precious. Plus…if they got into anything Zeke wouldn't be able to just cut and run. Either they'd finish what they started or he'd be able to get an explanation from Zeke about why he was holding back so much. It occurred to him that he wouldn't be able to cut and run either…
"Every room has a bath"
That did it. Myron hadn't had a single bath since he'd been in country. He hadn't felt completely clean and relaxed since he'd got here. The worst thing that could happen to them was that they spent the whole night just talking and dreaming of getting their orders home and he'd get the bath either way.He smiled up at Zeke "I'll go see the Colonel right now. Will you talk to the guys?"
"Damn straight. This news will make me a hero round here! I'll come back here, pack, meet you at the motor pool in say 60 mikes?"
Everything had gone smoothly. The guys had almost killed Zeke in the rush to get to the servicemen's bus into Saigon. Taylor had casually asked Zeke what his plans were, Zeke had told him he had personal business to attend to, winked, guy to guy, L.T. was headed his way, he'd get a lift, something to eat, head off, maybe work L.T. over for a lift back in the morning. Taylor smirked, bet Sarge he'd get that lift too, L.T. was a pushover that way.
The hotel was quiet and well away from Tu Do Street. He'd never have known it was here if not for Jennifer. Zeke paid for the room and headed off to the café. They'd have something to eat and just slip away. They didn't know anyone there and nobody knew them from adam out of uniform. Myron was wearing smart lightweight navy trousers and collarless white shirt, open at the throat, sleeves rolled up to just below his elbows. Zeke had rarely seen his L.T. out of uniform, admired the classy picture he made. Zeke himself in the only trousers he had apart from his jeans and his dress uniform, a deep beige so not that different from his uniform, plus his short-sleeved wine-red shirt. Both just smart enough to fit in with the rest of the people here in the hotel. They had a couple of beers with their meal, the food was French and very good. They ate quickly, didn't talk much, just wanted to get to their room and get some peace and privacy.
Myron slipped quietly away as soon as they'd finished their food. Zeke bought a bottle of whiskey at the bar and followed him out after about 10 minutes. Nothing to connect them unless you were looking and nobody was. He didn't relax until he was in the room and the door was locked behind them. Myron had closed the curtains and the windows to block out as much of the overwhelming noise and bustle of Saigon as possible. The room was cool and air-conditioned, a big bed and gleaming wood furniture. It was expensive so it wasn't popular with the guys, as classy as his lover. Looking at Myron's quiet pleasure Zeke figured it was worth every cent to see him so relaxed and at ease.
Myron walked slowly up to Zeke, right up to him, placed his right palm flat to Zeke's stomach then slipped his left arm around Zeke's neck, leaned in raising his face to kiss him gently on the lips. Zeke returned the kiss, his hands going to clasp Myron's waist. Myron eased away from him, stepped back a little, Zeke following, his arms tightening now around Myron's back. Myron kept the kiss gentle, sweet, tiny kisses running into one another.
He pulled back again, smiled as Zeke rubbed affectionately against him, nose to nose. Myron had been dreaming of it…
"I'm going to take that bath"
Zeke wondered if Myron would let him take care of him, cosset him a little.
"Want some privacy?"
Hoping he didn't.
A tiny smile played around Myron's lips. He reached for Zeke's hand and led him to the bathroom.
A huge old-fashioned tub, claw feet, free-standing. Myron could hardly wait, reaching for his top button. Zeke stilled his hand and then reached for the taps, setting the water running.
Zeke smiled tenderly and reached out both hands to unbutton Myron's shirt, wouldn't let him make a move, let him know he would do everything for him.
Myron just stood and let Zeke undress him, every move slow and deliberate, telling him clearer than any words that Zeke intended to take care of him and he may as well get used to it right now. Myron could take care of himself, had managed that for a long time, but allowed himself to be lulled, enjoying the attention and the affection Zeke felt for him.
It was only the second time Zeke had seen him naked but Myron stood in front of him, unashamed, as Zeke's eyes drank him in. A hand was reached out to him, gently held his own hand, and then slid the full length of his arm to his shoulder, curved around his neck, held him there, thumb stroking the base of his throat.
Myron slid into the tub, sighed out loud as the warm water covered him. This was heaven. Zeke sat on the side of the tub, hands scooping the warm water and letting it run down Myron's back. He lathered the soap and washed Myron, soothing him with his hands. The same hands that held a rifle or snapped an enemy's neck with equal facility.
Zeke smiled as Myron said dreamily
Tender loving care. Damn straight. It was about time Myron learned that Zeke would be taking care of him from now on. He'd had little enough of that in his life since his mother had died. He washed Myron's hair, carefully, enjoyed the sensation as the silky strands slipped through his callused, battle-scarred fingers. It was so fine and so thick it was no wonder to Zeke that it never stayed where it was put, always flattened to the shape of Myron's skull with the humidity.
Myron did something he'd always done, ever since he was little, laid down under the water to rinse himself off, stayed down as long as he could and then came up expelling his breath explosively. He relaxed now, instinct told him there was no rush. They had the whole night ahead of them.
Zeke ran a little more hot water for him and he settled back pleasurably. Zeke just sat quietly watching his face, enjoying seeing him so at peace with himself and with Zeke's presence.
When at last the water began to cool Myron stood up and Zeke grabbed a towel, lapped it around him. Myron ran his hands through his hair, shoved it back from his brow.
He stared at Zeke, caught once more by the contrast between the lover and the warrior, asked him suddenly, curious now…
"Just how strong are you?"
Zeke grinned, eyes lighting as they crinkled into laugh-lines at the corners. He stepped right up close and one arm went high around Myron's back, the other around the back of his thighs. He lifted, Myron feeling giddy and out of control for a moment, a laugh surprised out of him, then he was safely in Zeke's arms, Zeke looking into his face. Myron wrapped his own arms around Zeke's neck, hands lightly clasping. Grinned back at Zeke's meaningful look and his emphatic reply.
Zeke carried him effortlessly, like a child, out of the bathroom and over to the bed. Stood at the edge of it, holding his gaze, then laid him gently down.
Zeke undressed himself quickly and methodically, clothes piled neat and ready to hand. It was a soldier's habit, ingrained. You never knew when or how quickly you'd need them again.
Myron stared up at him. His heart was beating erratically and his throat was dry. He finally admitted to himself that when Zeke got into this bed they wouldn't just be talking. He was afraid of what he was feeling but he held out his hand to Zeke anyway.
Zeke reached over and took his hand, entwining his fingers with Myron's, palm to palm, held his eyes and nodded, slowly, satisfied at last by what he saw there. Then he settled himself down on the bed side by side with Myron, reaching for the towel.
He waited until Myron lifted his head for a kiss, met him and they kissed passionately, tongues caressing. Kissed every inch of him. Was kissed in return. Hands moving freely over one another, gentle and curious. Myron was very shy to be sure but for the first time he wanted Zeke as much as Zeke wanted him. Zeke finally surrendered to his desire, gathering him in close and rolling him onto his back, settling his full weight, no distance between them now, warm skin touching the length of their bodies, muscles gently colliding, Myron's long legs wrapped around him. Zeke wasn't sure who was surrendering to who, who was kissing and who was being kissed and it didn't really matter as they moved together, found their rhythm and loved each other.
Zeke had slept a little but as dawn broke he was awake, guarding his lover's rest. Myron stirred in his arms and Zeke soothed him, wanted him to have all the rest and comfort he could offer before they had to face the war again.
He was in love with Myron, was totally committed to him now.
Last night had been wild and passionate and playful. And then had been much, much more…in the darkest hours before dawn he'd woken Myron from his sleep, Myron sweet with trust, had loved him with exquisite tenderness in the most intimate way possible. They'd been as close last night as two men could get, and that was only part of it. For the first time ever Myron had completely lowered his defences, allowed Zeke to see what he kept so closely guarded. All Myron wanted, all he asked, was for the truth and for someone to care for him.
It hurt Zeke that with the little he asked, it had still been too much to give for the others Myron had loved. That was the reason Myron loved him so, he had everything he wanted and needed right here in Zeke. It was that simple and that complicated.
Zeke could hardly bear for this night to end. The commitment was made, he had as much of Myron as Myron had of him. Myron made him feel more alive than anybody else ever had, ever since he had exploded into Zeke's war and into his life, had snapped and snarled his way into Zeke's heart. They belonged together. For the first time Zeke could imagine a future outside the Army. Nobody had ever made him feel so good about himself or had thought so well of him. It didn't matter what he did, Myron only cared about who he was. That wouldn't change.
Myron opened his eyes, stretched luxuriously and sat up just enough to reach Zeke for a kiss. He smiled now, very shy, looking up at Zeke through his lashes.
Zeke's grin was there, the serious look dissolving as he was caught once more by his lover's beguiling brown eyes.
"Hi yourself, darlin'."
Zeke couldn't resist teasing. He was still having difficulty with 'Myron' and he got a rise out of the boy every time he used some outrageously sentimental endearment so darlin' it was for the moment. He'd used honey and he was going to work sweetheart into the conversation the very next time Myron annoyed him. Just like he was annoying Myron right now, the oh-so-familiar scowl making an appearance. This was fun because now he got to kiss that scowl right off the boy's face.
When they had the leisure to speak, Zeke disarmed Myron completely.
"Do I tell you often enough that I love you?"
Myron looked down, blushing a little, grinned and said with spirit
"Not nearly often enough"
"Sweetheart, I love you"
Zeke almost got it past him, then the shy smile froze…
Myron snapped upright, sat on Zeke's stomach, scowled at him.
Zeke sat up, arms going around him, said defiantly
Zeke decided to go for broke, earn himself an article 15 for insubordination and about 10 years in Leavenworth for unlawful fraternisation. He kissed his platoon leader joyfully and tumbled him back down on the bed.
Myron tried hard to hold on to the scowl but he was fighting a losing battle. Not the only battle. He tried to sit back up but Zeke took his hands and plumped him flat back down to the pillows, pinning him with his weight. He realised that Zeke was feeling playful, enjoying the little tussle between them as Myron kept shifting position underneath him.
Myron decided to cheat. He raised his head suddenly and kissed Zeke. It didn't work. Zeke gave him a smug look, pinned his hands even more securely and kissed him back with verve. Things got a little heated and Zeke turned them onto their sides, a gentle persuasive hand slid down Myron's belly, encircled him, began the age old dance every boy learned. His own hand found Zeke, laughing now against each other's mouths, stealing sweet kisses as they each tried to drive the other out of his mind.
They still had a couple more hours before they had to return the room key. Myron was thinking about that bath again. He had an idea, hoped it would please Zeke…
Myron turned in Zeke's arms, head lowering so he could look up through his lashes at him. Knew now that look captivated Zeke.
"Want to share a bath?"
Zeke grinned, eyes lighting up. He wanted that very much. They got out of their bed and wandered hand in hand to the bathroom. Zeke was old enough to be comfortable with himself, to be comfortable in his own skin. That only came with experience. It was harder for Myron, his age as much as anything, but he was much better this morning. A lot of the fear had gone out of him and he was recognisably himself again. He was trying very hard to share things with Zeke and this bath was a good place to start.
Myron ran the water as hot as he could stand it, ready for a good long soak. Zeke had taken care of him all night. It was his turn. Like every soldier Zeke had aches and old wounds that pained him. Myron figured they could soak away those aches and he could try his hand at a back rub.
He slid into the steaming tub and held his hand out to Zeke, saw his surprise. Zeke's turn to get some TLC. Zeke climbed in and Myron made room for him, hands reaching around Zeke's chest to pull his head back onto Myron's shoulder. Zeke settled there with a deep sigh of pleasure, leaned into the embrace, letting Myron hold his weight. Myron kept his hands clasped across Zeke's chest and wrapped his legs around Zeke's waist, settled back, let the hot water soothe them both.
He nuzzled Zeke's cheek and throat caressingly, letting him know he was with him, thinking dreamily that with all that had happened between them, with all the distance they had travelled together, where they were now was beginning to feel natural and right to him. He was finally coming to terms with the fact that his lover was still his trusted friend and comrade, finally realising that for him and Zeke, the more things changed the more they stayed the same.