Title: Rhythm & Bruise: Gaara's Story
Series: Monoshizukanohi//Naruto AU
Pairing: Many, many pairings. Almost everyone in the Naru-verse is here in some capacity or another.
Word Count: Ongoing
Warnings/Notes: D/s, bondage, impact play, minor humil, language
Spoilers: None whatsoever.
Summary: The streets of Monoshizukanohi are not kind to youth, and Gaara is no exception. After running away from an abusive home, Gaara struggles to find meaning in life through violence, drugs, and anything he can manage to survive. Join him as Gaara and his ever-present friend Jody struggle from the streets to the top of the social strata. It's rags to riches, despair to hope, and everything in between.
Gaara slowly swiveled his gaze around the room and thought about sex.
Break was a dark, growling, rabid beast barely contained by the leash of walls and accepted rules of conduct. The air was red, the shadows long, and cries of pain and pleasure rose above the music composed and controlled at Gaara’s fingertips.
The VIP of the night fit right into the crowd. Itachi’s shoulders and body were relaxed beneath his flowing white shirt and loose leather pants, and he greeted everyone with a neutral face and bow of his head. Naruto and Sasuke did show – arrived just before Itachi – and now the trio gathered around a table near the stage, talking. Itachi idly played with one of the mini floggers – which were a great hit, actually. Delighted chuckles erupted when the regulars saw their favors and much playful experimentation went on to see how hard the small toys could hit.
On the stage, Kimimaro performed, his skin naked except for the extensive metal through various bits of flesh. Rings and bars gleamed from ears, mouth, nose, nipples, navel, cock, and back. Ribbons and chain looped and connected some of the piercings, and in this light the fabric looked like blackened blood. Kimi was both a piercing artist and a contortionist, and he could move in ways that made an audience shiver, cry out, and pant.
As Gaara watched, Kimi kicked up and wrapped his legs and then body upside-down around a pole. He ground and gyrated, earning soft applause from the men and women at the tables close to the stage. Gaara’d seen the show hundreds of times, but he still found it a fascinating study in anatomy and musicality.
Gaara adjusted a dial and some settings so he could switch from Kimi’s music to his set with relative ease. The show gave him time to rest and watch, and tonight there was no shortage of entertainment. In front of the booth, play area two was lively. A sub kneeled with bound arms and spread knees on the carpet. He held a flat, wooden, paddle-shaped dish between his teeth. On the widened part of the dish, a plastic cup half-filled with water balanced precariously over a dom’s lap.
That would be difficult enough to manage, Gaara thought, but it was made more interesting by the other sub behind the bound man. That sub slowly but surely fucked the bound cup-bearer with the handle of a rather vicious-looking flogger. Gaara wasn’t sure how long this particular bit of torture could continue, as the bound man was shaking, sweating, and the water was sloshing dangerously close to the edge of the cup. The dom – a brunette woman whom Gaara did not know – appeared the picture of disinterested, her head turned to watch Kimimaro bend himself in half.
Viewing the display, Gaara thought about arousal and how nebulous it was. During his time at Haze, he’d tortured and endured with the best of the club members. He got off and found pleasure and at times even felt closer to master or slave than he did to anyone else on the planet.
But now things were different: new life, new goals, new responsibilities. The medications dulled the edges of lust and craving until they were nothing more than display swords put up for decoration in the hall of past needs. Gaara couldn’t remember the last time he jerked off, much less the last time he truly wanted someone in his bed. That wasn’t so troubling: he spent years selling his body and in that time had experienced a full education of pain and pleasure. Mostly the first. He’d never had a steady lover, and love was still a dream to be chased: a symbol engraved in his skin.
It was hard to miss something when you knew only its shadows.
The world of want and heat and lust seemed very far away, tonight. Every inch between Gaara’s booth and the rest of Break felt like miles. It was the distance between safety and lost control. Gaara’s handlers – his shrink and siblings, mostly – told him that the current status quo was in his best interests, and Gaara could see their point. He was a creature unfit for human games of interaction and nicety, and he could provide thousands of examples to support that theory.
However…standing here and watching scenes unfold and eyes cloud with desire and submission, Gaara wondered where his own opinion fit into this paradigm of restriction. Did he even have an opinion? Did it matter one way or the other if he did?
Gaara’s fingers played over the instrument panel, and he felt confusion swirl and settle in his gut. It wasn’t the first time he’d thought all this…and it wouldn’t be the last. It was one reason he hated the time between gigs; hated the hours sitting in his office that weren’t filled with numbers or Jody’s calm, daily reports. It was the reason why he had two careers and took classes on top of both.
Down time was the enemy…the mischievous devil sent to play havoc upon Gaara’s careful world. It made him long for chaos, wish to flush pills down toilets, and drive Beast to a cliff so he could contemplate wings and gravity or lack thereof.
Beneath the medication and the semblance of civility, Gaara was still the man who pulled a trigger to prove himself worthy of gang war. He was the whore, the leader, the survivor; the untouchable and unshakable teenager aged so far beyond his years he needed immortality to explain his timeline.
Issues could resolve themselves, Gaara could find comfort in friendship, and he could pass time in his early twenties as an observer more than participant of life. He could even move past his childhood abuse with weekly visits to a shrink who thought medication and bloody talking were the secrets to mental health…but he had no idea where that truly left him. Everything still felt – Empty.
--unfocused. Gaara brought a fist to his mouth and absently nibbled at his thumb.
Applause went up in earnest, breaking Gaara’s reverie, and Kimimaro took a bow. Gaara flicked switches on autopilot and immediately the low throb of bass pulsed into the club: a beat perfect for the lash of tails on breakable skin.
Thoughts thankfully vanished and Gaara focused once again on music. The sub spilled the water, and the group got up to drag the boy off to the ‘Combs and to a room where punishment could be meted out appropriately. Gaara spun and mindlessly observed the room: Naruto and Sasuke left early, but the VIP of the night stayed with Neji in the main lounge area, apparently chatting. Iruka and Kakashi nodded at Gaara on their way out – to room or home, Gaara didn’t know or care. Kimi came down into the crowd and a dom set him up in play area one: stocks and paddling to commence.
Time ticked, people flitted by in peripheral vision, and Gaara’s hands danced over turntable and computer.
At midnight, Gaara began the transition toward the end of the evening. The beat of the music slowed, the tones got softer, and the lights began to fade from red-gray haze to mere gloom. Gaara felt his own body begin to unwind in response to the relaxing of the room, and he blew out a sigh as he let his head roll around on his shoulders. He stretched his back, felt the bones pop, and when he opened his eyes, he met the gaze of a semi-familiar man.
He sat sprawled in a black, leather chair that he’d turned to face the DJ booth. One leg was over the low right arm, the other foot flat on the floor. His hands were up with fingers laced behind his head, and he wore nothing but a pair of dark corduroy pants and heavy, black boots. His hair was dark, thick, and unruly and his eyes were of indistinguishable color in the club’s light. Gaara’s eyes swept over heavily muscled arms to wide chest, and stopped to study the tattoos.
Beginning in the center of the man’s breastbone was a sort of triskelion spiral that formed the necks of three dragon heads. The beasts looked wrought from metal and nightmare, swirling out from the man's core. One faced collarbone and chin, one stretched southward beneath right armpit and flank, and the third hung upside-down over the left side of the man's body. All three snarled with snaking tongues extended, blind eyes challenging every observer.
Gaara noted all this with a long gaze and blank expression. Normally people flinched, shifted, or grew uncomfortable under his assessing stare, but this man didn’t do anything of the sort. He watched the slender DJ, a smile playing across his lips, and let Gaara take his fill.
Nice. Interesting and nice, he supposed. Gaara blinked and looked back down at the instrument panel. His fingers brushed the edge of a record not currently in use, and he could feel the weight of the man’s gaze still on him. When Gaara looked back up, the man caught his eyes again, smiling now with a flash of white teeth.
Frowning, Gaara looked away and turned to sort through a stack of vinyl. He tried to place the tattooed man and finally managed to remember that he was Naruto’s friend – Keza? Keava? Something like that. Gaara’d never been introduced, but Naruto spoke of his friend often and he’d seen both men drinking and laughing at Bliss, Break, and Glow. The man was a dom, if Gaara remembered correctly, with a reputation for being heavy-handed.
Identity mystery solved, Gaara pushed the information out of his thoughts and focused on making sure the lighting and music were set up properly. He started packing things away and storing them for the night, the tasks soothing in their pattern.
When Gaara next looked up, Itachi, Neji, and Naruto’s friend – Kiba, his name was Kiba – were standing and talking. Kiba laughed at something Neji said, the Hyuga smiled, and Gaara watched Itachi put his arms behind his back and give Kiba a small smile. Itachi's gaze went floorward, and Gaara’s eyebrows went up in mild interest. It was a very submissive posture, and one not lost on Kiba. Neji seemed pleased and stepped back with a sly look at Kiba, but the tattooed man didn’t seem to notice. His eyes were on Itachi, now, and Gaara recognized the focused gaze of a dominant easily enough.
Kiba slowly reached out with one arm and fingered the hem of Itachi’s shirt, mouth moving as he spoke to the other man. Gaara’s gaze became transfixed on Kiba’s fingers: long, blunt-nailed, well-formed. They were the fingers of a guitarist: big enough to reach the chords and dexterous enough to move through the notes quickly. Gaara watched the fingers play with the white hem of the shirt, seeming without point. Kiba stepped closer, and Itachi’s gaze stayed down the entire time. A small smile played on Itachi's lips, now, and Gaara noted somewhat distantly that Itachi was taller than Kiba.
Gaara started to look away, but two things happened at once: Kiba quite suddenly ripped fabric and buttons with a show of violence, and his eyes sought out and met Gaara’s. Kiba grinned when he found Gaara watching, and he brought up a hand to cup the back of Itachi’s head as the taller man leaned forward, forehead resting on Kiba’s shoulder.
Now Gaara did look away, somewhat uncomfortable and not really knowing why. He’d watched his fair share of shows – even participated in a few of them. He’d seen people fuck in all manner of ways, and sex on display didn’t bother him.
But this felt…personal. Gaara didn’t particularly like that sensation, but it intrigued him that he felt it. It reminded Gaara of holding his bare palm over a candle’s flame: mesmerizing and surprisingly hot. Gaara played with the stilled turntable again, and bit his cheek when he looked up again almost against his will.
Kiba was once again in the chair, and Itachi knelt on the ground between Kiba’s knees, pale hands resting on the corduroy-covered thighs. Kiba’s face was buried in Itachi’s dark hair, lips near his ear and mouth moving as he kissed or spoke or both. Itachi's head fell to one side, and Gaara watched Kiba say something that made Itachi shiver, fingers clenching on Kiba’s legs. He would swear later that he heard the kneeling man moan, but the music was far too loud.
Kiba and Itachi’s games drew a small crowd, Neji among them. The watchers drew closer by hesitant footsteps, eyes eager and arms crossed as though to keep themselves from touching. It wasn’t the most graphic display by any means, but this was the VIP on his knees after a night of not interacting much at all. And Kiba, apparently, was good for a show: his presence was almost magnetic in its charisma, and Gaara wondered with clinical detachment why he hadn’t noticed this man before tonight.
One of Kiba’s hands came up to grip Itachi’s hair and pull his head further to the side. Itachi didn’t fight the movement, body bending gracefully. Kiba sank teeth into the flesh near Itachi’s collar bone and then licked a purposeful line from that point up to the kneeling man’s ear.
Before Itachi could recover or move or do anything that Gaara could observe, Kiba yanked backward on Itachi's long hair. Kiba’s body bent forward, and he gently kissed the front of Itachi’s neck before turning his head to the side and biting. His mouth covered Itachi’s trachea, and his teeth scraped up and down in such a clear show of dominance that Gaara swallowed in something like sympathy.
Bystanders found chairs and the subs sat on the floor – Kimimaro among them – eyes on the last show of the night. For his part, Gaara queued up a slightly faster-tempo song to mix and meld with the current one before diving down into the softer tones that heralded the end of the night. The movement forced him to look away, but he looked back over at the pair just in time to see Itachi kneel forward and kiss the top of Kiba’s boot. The seated man chuckled, the movement making his abdominal muscles contract. Gaara’s gaze moved up Kiba’s reclining form and saw that once again, Kiba’s eyes were on Gaara – not the beautiful man pressing his lips to Kiba’s shin.
Gaara tilted his head slightly to one side, questioning, and Kiba winked at him. His head rested on the back of the leather chair, and Itachi’s hands moved to Kiba’s belt. Gaara didn’t blink or turn away as Itachi undid buckle and fly and worked Kiba’s length out of the pants. Itachi's body blocked Gaara’s view of the specific actions, but he got the gist. Kiba lifted a hip and said something, eyes still on Gaara’s. Itachi removed a condom from Kiba’s pocket and tore it open. Again, Gaara couldn’t see, but he followed the minute movements of Itachi’s body as he got the latex over skin.
Ready to look away from the odd man and rather mundane scene, Gaara’s attention was again grabbed when Kiba looked away from the DJ, grabbed Itachi’s hair in a firm grip, and started to speak. The onlookers moved even closer almost en masse, and Neji gestured to Gaara with a twist of elegant hand. Gaara reached for the master volume and turned the music down immediately.
Yet still Gaara couldn’t hear anything. His headphones rested around his neck, forgotten, and instead of hearing with his ears he read Kiba’s lips. Tell you…suck me…
Gaara understood immediately: Kiba would direct and Itachi would obey. Kiba pulled Itachi’s head and upper body to one side, and Gaara’s brow rose in appreciation of Kiba’s size. And then he could only imagine how graphic and heated the commands were as Itachi’s tongue slid out of his mouth to carefully lick the side of Kiba’s shaft. Itachi's eyes were mostly closed, his body relaxed and moving easily as Kiba’s hand guided his head. The crowd shifted, and one sub crawled closer until her lead stopped her movement.
Itachi’s tongue and lips moved and danced as Kiba told him what to do, when to do it, and for how long. Gaara could only read some of the words from Kiba’s lips – …harder…lick…fuck…stop…
- but it was enough. And yet it wasn’t. Gaara was curious and fascinated and his gaze stayed transfixed along with the rest of the room as Kiba worked Itachi working Kiba. Again, it wasn’t the most graphic display: but there was something about the way Kiba’s body stayed relaxed even as his hand gripped hair in a harsh hold. Something about the way Itachi gave into that touch and the words coming from Kiba’s mouth without pause or hesitation...
It made Gaara want to fuck, and he wasn’t even sure why. Watching things like this was normal at Break – expected, encouraged.
But when Kiba glanced up at Gaara and found him watching, it was as though Kiba gave Gaara – not the room at large – permission to watch with a lazy come-hither smile. Like this was a private show for the redhead alone.
Fascinating…and somewhat troubling.
And then in a move that made Gaara’s teeth clack shut, Kiba yanked Itachi away from his lap and up his body. Itachi scrambled onto one foot else his hair be removed from his head, and Gaara heard his angry cry over the music and distance.
“Enough. Ya gotta earn the rest.”
Kiba’s deep, clipped, voice rang out clearly in the room, and Gaara saw Itachi’s lungs expand rapidly as his body was held at an awkward angle.
“Ya want more, bitch?” Kiba asked calmly.
Itachi must have replied with the affirmative because Kiba released Itachi’s hair and shifted forward in the chair. He tucked himself back into his pants, leaving them undone. Kiba’s hands came up and guided Itachi’s body sideways, Kiba’s legs going wider to accommodate the positioning. Kiba pushed Itachi against the inside of his right leg, back to the onlookers. Itachi’s chest rested against Kiba’s inner thigh and Kiba bent to speak to Itachi for a second.
And whatever he said made the proud Uchiha moan loudly and bend forward over Kiba’s thigh, hands coming up to grip the arm of the chair.
“Take ‘em down, slut. I ain’t doin’ it for ya.”
The words were loud, rough, and low and Itachi immediately released the arm of the chair to undo his pants. His head stayed bowed, and Gaara could see him breathing through the thin fabric of his ruined shirt.
Kiba said something else, and Itachi nodded. He pushed the pants down to just below his ass – pale, smooth, round – and then resumed his position against and slightly over Kiba’s leg. His hands gripped the arm of the chair and his forehead came down on top of his hands.
“Turn yer head toward the DJ,” Kiba said, and his eyes met Gaara’s for a second and he flashed the redhead an evil grin.Now we’ll have some fun,
the grin said. Gaara stared, slightly bewildered, as Itachi obeyed the command, and Kiba gently pulled dark hair away from Itachi’s face.
“Everybody gotta good view?” Kiba asked conversationally, turning to look at the crowd.
“Yeah,” somebody called.
“Got an eyeful of Uchiha cock-slut ass, do ya?”
“Yeah,” the same somebody called, voice a little rougher.
“Oh good,” Kiba said with a smile. He straightened his left leg to get it out of the way and brought his hand down to meet Itachi’s skin. Gaara’s eyes focused on the swing and the cup of Kiba’s hand as he delivered an expert spank to Itachi’s left cheek. And it was no warm-up swing, either. Itachi jerked, eyes opening and unfocused, and somebody in the crowd laughed.
Kiba’s other hand came up to grip the back of Itachi’s neck, bracing and confining at the same time. Gaara counted nine strikes, and they were harsh and had Itachi’s ass blooming a pretty red.
“I’ve got a great paddle you could use,” someone said. Gaara couldn’t seem to make himself look away from Itachi’s panting form to see who spoke.
“Nah,” Kiba said with a shake of his head. “This bitch is so soft, my hand’ll do just fine, thanks.” Itachi made a noise, and Kiba’s hand flexed on the back of Itachi's neck. He bent, spoke, and then sat up with a sneer.
The strikes resumed, and Gaara watched, fascinated by Kiba’s face and body language. His arm moved with relentless force – Itachi started crying out on swing seventeen – but the rest of him looked completely at ease. His face wasn’t set into hard lines of concentration – quite the opposite. He smiled easily and almost kindly; like he was having a great time doing something totally ordinary and physically undemanding. Cooking a nice meal, for example.
Gaara shook his head, the movement almost imperceptible. He set aside questions for now and focused on the curious show.
Itachi’s cries were broken off as he tried to hold them back, and Gaara silently counted his way to thirty before Kiba stopped. He wrung out his hand and then gave Itachi’s behind a playful swat that made the Uchiha yelp more than the strikes.
“Nice,” Kiba said, leaning back in the chair. “Now finish what ya started, bitch. That red ass of yours turns me the fuck on.” He laughed and looked up at Gaara with a wink that said, Damn fun, don’t you think?
Gaara just stared.
Itachi moved with grace as he shifted on his knees. He reached down to do something – pull up his pants, who knows – and Kiba’s hand reached forward and lightly smacked Itachi’s face. He said nothing, just looked at Itachi.Now, now
, said the look. There will be none of that you bad boy.
The gleam in Kiba’s eyes made Gaara’s shoulders jerk in a shiver – it was such an odd combination of casual control with a hint of impenetrable will beneath it. Almost as if Kiba dared Itachi to try it again – because Kiba would fucking love it if he did.
Itachi, however, merely bent forward and went to work, body blocking most of what he did. But Itachi’s entire form seemed absorbed in a telling bob and bend, red ass bare to the room, and Gaara sucked on the inside of his cheek. Kiba’s arms came up behind his head again, fingers laced. He watched Itachi for a second, calm and detached. Then he looked up, met Gaara’s gaze, and his mouth split into a lazy smirk.
Intellectually, Gaara knew that only a few minutes passed. But emotionally it felt like an eternity. Kiba’s eyes never wavered from Gaara’s. He blinked slowly and his eyelids closed to half-mast as he got closer to the edge, but the intensity never receded. Gaara found he couldn’t meet that stare; he switched from watching Itachi’s head to looking at Kiba’s jaw line. He saw Kiba’s throat move as he swallowed, saw his lips part when he got close, and then saw his teeth clench when he got off. It was one of the only visible signs: Kiba’s hips twitched up slightly and then he sighed. That was it.
“Nice,” Kiba said again, voice perfectly calm. He slid off the condom, tied it with a practiced movement of fingers, and put it in the discreet waste bin under the table next to the chair. Then he did up his pants and gave Itachi a smile. “Thanks for playin’.”
Itachi’s whine sounded equal parts indignant and needy, but nobody made a sound.
“Oh, what? You want somethin’?”
Itachi spoke softly with his head down.
“What? Can’t hear ya, sorry…” Kiba frowned and leaned forward in the chair. The act should have looked comically overdone, but instead it appeared menacing.
“…like to come,” was all Gaara could hear – the voice restrained and careful.
“That wasn’t part of the bargain,” Kiba said, and his fingers drummed on the arm of the chair. “My cock not enough for ya?”
Itachi must have wisely stayed silent. Kiba’s voice and body were totally controlled: a coiled spring.
For several long seconds, it was quiet except for the low notes of slow music. Then Kiba sighed.
“Oh fer fuck’s sake…needy bitches. Jesus. Okay, okay…turn around.”
Itachi shifted on his knees to face away from the chair, and Kiba sat forward.
“Spread your legs,” Kiba ordered. Itachi made a face – discomfort from the look of it – but then did as he was told, knees going wide.
Then Kiba startled Gaara – and Itachi, if the soft cry was any indication – by grabbing Itachi under the arms and pulling him up and back. Kiba slid his knees under Itachi’s arms and put his feet on the floor, hooking them over and in front of Itachi’s legs. He pulled Itachi back again, spreading his thighs wider with his feet. Itachi’s inner thighs were now braced against Kiba’s ankles, and Kiba kept his hands on Itachi’s shoulders, one kneading the skin. Itachi’s loose pants strained but accommodated the position. It exposed, braced, and pinned all at the same time, and Gaara made a small, unheard noise of appreciation. Clever.
Itachi, however, winced as his muscles strained and his face flushed. Kiba pet his hair and rubbed his shoulder. Kiba shifted again and produced another condom from his pocket.
“Can’t have ya spurting all over the boss man’s carpet, now can we?” Kiba laughed.
Itachi blinked and Gaara watched Kiba tear the package with his teeth before bending. Itachi’s height made it easy for Kiba to whisper in Itachi's ear as his arm reached down Itachi’s body. Kiba spoke and worked Itachi free of his pants, and Gaara blinked rapidly when Itachi’s lips parted and his eyes closed.
Kiba carefully rolled latex over Itachi’s length, but Gaara didn’t bother to watch. Instead, he gripped the edge of the console in an effort to stop himself from walking out of his booth to get closer. He couldn’t hear what Kiba said, and with Kiba whispering in Itachi’s ear, Gaara couldn’t read his lips.
But whatever Kiba said made Itachi’s head fall back, his hand wrap around his own length, and made Itachi moan with eyes squeezed tightly shut. Gaara watched Kiba’s hand move again into Itachi’s dark hair, pull his head back. The crowd stirred as they watched Kiba’s other hand come up to caress and then gently close over Itachi’s throat – just a gentle grip, nothing more. But the threat was there – and his words must have matched it because Itachi started to beg.
Itachi's words were an incoherent mess full of pleading and cursing and shuddering breaths. And Kiba’s hand held him steady and his lips never stopped moving next to Itachi’s ear. Gaara vaguely saw Neji shiver, saw Kimimaro turn his head into his temporary dom’s thigh, saw wet lips and heated eyes.
It shouldn’t have been so fucking hypnotic. It shouldn’t have been so intensely erotic.
Gaara was hard even before Kiba turned his head and met Gaara’s gaze with a look that seared and scorched. It was playful, greedy, cocky, and daring, that look. It made Gaara’s breath catch, and he heard Kiba’s final command – spoken louder for the benefit of bystander:
“Come for me, already, bitch. I don’t have all night.”
A choked scream went through the club a few seconds and harsh strokes later, but to Gaara it sounded muffled. Because he was drowning in that gaze, he was waylaid by that grin, and he was confounded by why any of it was happening or why he felt heat pull at his groin with the hard thud of blood and pulse.
Kiba let Itachi go limp and for a second he cradled the man, hand petting dark hair. Then he squeezed Itachi’s shoulder, swung his legs back over and away from Itachi’s thighs, and stood up to stretch.
“Nice,” Kiba said again. He put his back to Gaara and reached down with two fingers to touch Itachi’s cheek. The kneeling man leaned and rested his head against Kiba’s leg, his pale chest rising and falling under the ripped shirt. Neji came forward – composure restored – and smiled. Applause went up from the voyeurs, and Kiba chuckled and shook his head.
“Tattoos,” Gaara whispered to himself, looking intently at the design that played up and down Kiba’s spine and broad back. Dark, wicked lines swept up along the contours of his shoulderblades and met his backbone, where piercing art mimicking bone linked by blades pointed down over the vertebrae. They ran from neck to below the waist of Kiba’s pants, and for a crazy second Gaara could only think that it must have hurt like a son of a bitch.
He licked his lips.
And then he quickly turned to put the music on a timer. In ten minutes, it would fade away completely, but Gaara planned to be gone before that happened. He quite suddenly wanted to be anywhere but this club.~*~