the discipline of self
by kai foster
classes start tomorrow. Taking a psych class and 2 physics classes in
addition to writing and photo. gonna be a busy quarter.
The young professor stood at the front of the lecture hall and fidgeted. He
thought he could remember asking for a smaller room, but he wasn't quite
sure. His mind didn't catalougue too well those things he was supposed to
remember. It made him the sort of professor everyone loved.
That and the fact that he was so young. He'd flown through the lower
schools, and made it out of University by the time he was twenty. He'd been
offered a job in the psychology department of his alma mater, but in his
first year he'd proved that the sort of thing he taught didn't quite fit
into the mold. So he was given free reign over his curriculum. He was still
filed under psych, but the classes he taught were known to venture into
other realms of thought.
Like the one he was teaching now. One of his "Discipline" classes, this one
was titled "Self." It sounded normal enough, and even he thought it might be
normal enough this quarter, his tenth at the school. The registration number
was large, due to the professor's popular reputation for being an easy A.
Thing was, the students were so interested and did so well that the
professor never had to give them an A. They all earned it.
This was the first time he'd be teaching the "Self" class. Truth was, he
hadn't quite finished the curriculum for it. There were so many places he
was stuck. He was hoping to run into a bright student or two that could help
him voice some of the ideas in his head. Students were wonderful resources
for that, he'd found.
The students were beginning to file in, and he fidgeted some more. He was
nervous, as he always was at this time. Before the room got too crowded and
too filled with eyes he straightened the tie that hung nearly undone around
the collar of his equally undone white shirt. He shrugged into his blazer
and sat on the desk in front of the massive room, looking up into the
incline of seats at the faces that he would become both mentor and pupil to.
As always, the room was filled with girls. They liked to come and giggle at
his good looks, at his rumpled appearance and ever-present five o'clock
shadow. They didn't know it, but he had heard them in the hallways, talking
about how sexy his voice was, and he'd hurried away always with his chin
buried in his chest, embarrassed.
There were some male students, too. Although they always ended up liking his
class, they usually came in with the idea that they would pick up some of
the professor's left over admirers. Left over he wasn't sure why they said,
because he never took any of them. They wouldn't understand his ideas and
actions, he was sure. But rumours will be such.
He started, realising that his thoughts had taken him away from watching the
students, which had always been one of his favourite pasttimes in the short
while he'd been teaching. Well, there'd be time for that later. He cleared
his throat and looked up into the aud.
"Welcome. I'm Professor Heero Yuy, but we'll be rid of that formality now
that it's been said. You can all call me Heero." He saw out of the corner of
his eye the girls exchanging knowing glances. He cleared his throat again
and went on.
"I've named this class 'Discipline of Self.' I've never taught it before, so
you all get to be the guinea pigs, I guess." He smiled and folded his arms.
"Now, who wants to throw out an idea of what this class might be about?"
He'd left the description in the class schedule blank. Luckily, with his
reputation it looked as if it was due to purpose rather than unpreparedness.
A blonde girl in the front row raised her hand. He nodded at her and she
nearly swooned. "Umm, punishment?"
"That is a form, yes." From the middle of the hall a male voice laughed.
"So, Relena, you're into self-punishment?" The girl blushed crimson. Heero
smiled and turned his attention to the loudmouth..
"Well, young man, what do you see it as?" The boy looked up and grinned.
"Training! Like in football." Again Heero nodded. Another girl in the back
of the room raised her hand.
"What about control? Or knowledge?" she asked.
"Another good suggestion." Heero inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. They
were interested and intelligent. This wouldn't be so bad. "Anyone else
before we start?" His eyes skimmed the crowd and landed on a boy about his
age in the very back corner of the room whose face was buried in a book.
"How about you, there, in the back?"
The boy didn't even look up while he answered in a light tenor voice, "Order
based on rules of submission," and went on reading his book. Heero started.
He hadn't expected that. He'd dared to hope, but hadn't expected.
"Well, well, if it isn't Mr. Dictionary," the loudmouth in the middle
crowed. The kids around him laughed. Heero's eyes shot again to the corner,
but the boy gave no indication that that he'd heard or was bothered.
"All right, let's get moving," Heero said, dragging himself back to the
class. "You're all right about the definitions of discipline. Webster's
lists seven, we got five. So I think we're relatively well-prepared. What
we're going to be doing in this class is applying these definitions to self,
as defined by yourselves. So there's a lot of flexibility in here..."
He all but staggered in to his small flat after work. Although he only had
three classes to teach this quarter, he was exhausted. Part of it was due,
he was sure, to thinking all day about that kid in his psych class.
He hadn't spoken the rest of the hour, but Heero had kept his eye on him.
He'd followed his movements at the end of class, watched him pick up his
books and pens and shove them in the black backpack. He'd seen the way the
low-slung jeans grabbed the kid's hips, the way the ratty black sweater fell
over one shoulder to reveal a grey tee-shirt underneath. The black Italian
boots. The hair, a long mass of chestnut waves pulled into a sloppy
ponytail, the last bit not pulled all the way through so that it hung in a
loop of sorts between the slender shoulders.
The kid's face was that of an angel, Heero thought. Pale skin stretched over
delicate bones, and finely shaped brows and lips framed by shaggy bangs. But
he hadn't been able to see the kid's eyes. That's what he wanted most. The
eyes. somehow he knew that the answers to all the mysteries he was certain
surrounded the kid were in those eyes.
Heero tossed his briefcase onto the table and collapsed on the couch. What
color were they, he wondered. Were they as cold as the image the boy gave
off? What were the lashes like? Heero silently cursed the bangs that hid the
boy's soul from him.
He let his head loll back and rest against the couch. He was confused. He'd
never felt this way about a student before. Sure, he'd found them
attractive. There were many beautiful people in the school, and professor or
not Heero was still a young man. But he'd never felt so...consumed by any of
them. This boy was different.
He closed his eyes as his hands traveled to rest on his thighs. The image of
the slender boy came immediately to his mind, and before he knew it his hand
was at the juncture between his legs, rubbing the rising length of flesh
there. He kneaded it through his clothes, moaning. On the screen of his
closed eyelids he saw the boy's face above him, as if he were riding him.
The hand became the boy's firm buttocks in Heero's mind, and he came quickly
with that simple thought. He looked down at himself.
"I must really be sick."
classes went well. had photo and psych today. looks like it's gonna be
interesting. might drop a class to spend more time on this one. prof's
something to think about.
He headed into class the next day with the intention of pushing all
distraction to the back of his mind. That idea went out the window when his
boy wasn't in his seat when the bell rang. He stuttered a bit about the
first assignment for thirty minutes until the long-haired boy sauntered in
and sat right in the front row. Heero waited but the boy never looked up at
him. Heero cleared his throat.
"Sir, I'll need to see you after class. You aren't in trouble, I just have
to run over the assignment with you." The boy nodded. Heero was frustrated
at his lack of reaction. He turned his attention back to the class. "All
right then. Any ideas on what you'll be working on?"
He sat in his office after class, waiting. He didn't care if he actually got
to talk to him or not. He just needed to see his eyes. There was a soft
knock on the door, and Heero took a deep breath before calling, "Come in."
The boy entered quietly, saying in that same lovely tenor, "You needed to
see me?" He sat down in the chair directly across from Heero and crossed his
long legs. Heero was almost afraid to look at him, he might not be able to
control himself. But he did, and was treated to a view of the boy in the
same hip-hugging jeans as the last class, coupled this time with a faded
grey Henley shirt and the same Italian boots. Heero thought to himself that
the same look would fail miserably on anyone else. He still couldn't see the
boy's eyes. The hair was pulled into a loose braid, but the bangs still hung
around the face which was looking at the floor.
"...Duo. I needed to tell you about the assignment we'll be working on. It's
one of two major ones that your grade will be based on. The rest of your
mark will depend on class contributions and such, but that won't be a very
big part, so don't worry. Sound okay?"
"All right. What this first piece will be is a short study of yourself that
will be the basis for the big project at the end of the quarter. That will
be a study of discipline of yourself. You might even be gathering
information and ideas for that as you work on this. Both projects can be
presented in any way you chose, but there must be an oral presentation to
supplement the final. This does not have to be in front of the class; I
understand that some people hate speaking to crowds. Is this still clear?
Are there any problems?"
"No. Sounds great."
"All right then. You're free to go, as it were." And he turned to his
papers. Duo left the room in a hurry.
dropped all but psych and photo. need the time to work. this class demands
attention. not a lot of assignments, but a lot of thought. working on study
of myself right now. what to say about that? prof is enigmatic. beautiful,
too. japanese roots? dunno. blue eyes. strange. disciplines of myself?
getting ideas here...
It had been nearly four weeks and Heero couldn't get Duo out of his head.
He'd managed to keep it under control in class, and was pretty sure he was
hiding it effectively from other students. The class was coming along
well...The ideas of discipline were manifesting themselves in the students'
minds, and Heero was looking forward to their projects. He could tell what
was up most of their sleeves as far as the discipline studies were
concerned, except for Duo. The boy never ceased to amaze him and keep him
"What do you all think about the self?" Heero threw the basic question to
the class. "I mean, what definitions of discipline can be applied to the
Relena spoke up first, as she always did. "Well, you can't teach a person to
be themself, so I think that the discipline of instruction is out."
"True, but can't you know yourself? And teach others about yourself?" Hilde
countered. Relena looked taken aback.
"These are great ideas, ones that you'll want to explore in your research. I
expect to see a lot of discussion from class show up." Heero was pleased
with the way things were going.
"Discussion from class?" Zechs, the loudmouth, asked. "Well then, what about
that thing Mr. Dictionary said about submission as a discipline earlier in
the quarter?" He grinned widely. Duo didn't stir.
"Would you like to elaborate in response to Mr. Marquise's question, Duo?"
Heero didn't want to push him.
Without looking up from his desk, Duo replied, "Submission is in every form
of discipline. When you follow a rule, you submit. When you give someone in
the registrar's office your transcript, you submit. When you wait in a line,
you submit. When you look someone in the eye, you submit. And that creates
several situations that can be examples of discipline. There is control,
there is training, there can be punishment seen in any of those."
The room was quiet, and Heero asked, "Answer your question, Zechs? Thank
you, Duo." The bell rang then, and Duo was the first one out the door. He
never looked up.
In his flat, Heero thought about Duo's words constantly. Was that why Duo
wouldn't look at anyone? Fear of submission? Heero would just have to wait
and see. For now, he would submit to something himself. The discipline of
self-punishment, as Zechs had so eloquently put it before.
His hands snaked down into his pants, where one wrapped around the shaft
that was already hard from thinking about Duo and the other moved to fondle
his balls. He stroked himself roughly, intending to make his release hard
and fast without letting himself enjoy it too much. It was discipline, after
done with my study of self.
Heero shuffled through the folders on his desk. These were the studies the
students had done of themselves, ad Heero was seeing much of what he'd
expected to. An essay from Relena regarding her beliefs on peace, a list of
Zech's athletic accomplishments, Dorothy's poetic tributes to the beauty of
battle. He'd been putting off Duo's until the very end, and now it was
finally time to look at it.
He picked up a heavy black folder, and opened it to find a stack of
black-and-white photographs. The first one was of a poverty-ridden street,
the greys and blacks of the photo making it all the more stark. The next was
a photo of a mangled doll that belonged to what obviously was a once-living
child. Then a picture of a small shelter for the homeless. A child stealing
food, a family hiding from the rain. Heero paged through at least twenty
photos like this until he came to well-known scenes of twentieth-century
riots and oppression. The photos ended abruptly with a dark image of a whip
and handcuffs. There were no notes, no words of any kind. He stroked the
stubble on his chin and wondered what it meant.
still haven't looked at him. the time will come soon enough. i hope.
It was the last day of the class. Heero stood in front much like he had the
first day. Duo wasn't there. He was worried but pushed it aside. "I've
really enjoyed this. You've all done very well, your projects were
excellent, as were your presentations. There are still a few of you who have
asked to see me in private for them. I will be in my office immediately
after this class. I hope that, like me, you've all learned a bit about
yourselves and others in here and will take that knowledge with you...la de
dah and all that prof jazz." The class laughed and he smiled. "You'll all
have A's. Now get out of here."
He sat at his desk watching Hilde finish up her oral presentation. It was
later than he'd expected, and he still didn't have Duo's project, let alone
the presentation. He was worried. He didn't want to have to flunk him,
Hilde finished up and he shook her hand, his mind elsewhere as he
complimented her work. She let herself out as he slunk into his seat, but
was back a moment later. "Heero?"
"There's an envelope out here with your name on it. It was lying on the
"Bring it here, would you Hilde?" She handed it to him and he smiled at her.
"Thanks. Now get going! It's the weekend!" She giggled and headed out.
He dropped the playful facade and looked at the large manila envelope. It
was from Duo, he knew it was. Only Duo would do something like this. Heero
opened it up and pulled out another, smaller envelope that said in small
letters, "submitted for your approval." He opened that and pulled out a
photo and a note. And gasped.
It was Duo, naked with hands and ankles bound, kneeling on a black cushion.
He was blindfolded. His hair hung in shining waves down his back. Peering at
the photo Heero could see that he was erect, and something shiny was nestled
at the base of his cock. His head was bowed.
Heero immediately became rock hard. What was this? Barely able to tear his
eyes away from the photo, he looked at the note. In the same scrawl as on
the envelope it said:
i submit to you my project. there will be an
oral presentation as you requested. i am ready
to be disciplined and to show you the disciplines
that make me what and who i am. are you ready
to learn from me?
Beneath that was an address and the words "the door's unlocked." He grabbed
his coat and slammed out of his office.
stage set. now come to me heero.
It was dark by the time Heero got to the address scrawled on the note. The
photo lay on the seat beside him, and after he pulled up to the curb a
little way down from the house he was to be at he reached over and picked it
"God, Duo, you're beautiful," he breathed, looking at the bound figure on
the glossy surface. All too well he knew the position. He knew the nature of
the play, and of the mind and body in play. It was certainly a discipline.
Heero had hoped, but not counted on, a student exploring this facet of the
class. He had hoped for it even more when he'd first seen Duo, when Duo had
first unleashed his obviously elevated intelligence. When he had first felt
the sensuality that radiated from the thin boy. But he still couldn't
believe it was happening.
What was he getting himself into?
The door creaked open slowly as Heero entered the house. It was modest, but
a little more than the average student might have, especially one that had
seen and experienced the things Heero suspected Duo had. He had a feeling
that those things were elemental to what would take place tonight. The
project, as he was still thinking of it, was to be based on the definition
of self that Duo had presented to him, after all.
The entryway was dark and Heero could smell the faint musk of incense
burning. He followed it into a hallway which was lit by single candle wall
sconces. While the other rooms were closed off, the door at the very end of
the hall was open, and that's where Heero headed. When he got there, he laid
his hand lightly on the door. He could see a dim glow through the small
crack, and gulped. What would he find inside? Would it be what he expected?
What he hoped? He swallowed his fears and pushed.
The room was dimly lit, hung in black silk and heavy with musk. Immediately
in front of him was a bathroom. Through the open door he could see a huge
tub in the center of the room which was also hung in black. Heero's eyes
swept the room until they landed on the bed, which was a giant four-poster
job with black silk sheets and cuffs hanging fom each corner. Beyond that
sat a table covered in all types of toys: a nine tails, cuffs, crops and
blindfolds...Heero hadn't thought it possible to get any harder, but he
found himself becoming just that.
And then, to the right of the table, exactly how he'd been in the photo, he
He approached slowly, not wanting to force anything, and said the name
The head rose and Heero could feel that he was being stared at through the
blindfold. "Yes, master?" Heero gulped.
"My project, master." Heero felt ready to faint, and saw the chair that had
been conveniently placed near Duo, where he could get a good look at him. He
sat down and breathed heavily. His cock was throbbing against his jeans.
"Shall I begin?" Duo asked. Heero nodded, and then, remembering that Duo
couldn't see him, said aloud, "Yes, but a question first."
"How did you know?"
"That this was your game? I felt it." That answer seemed enough, and Heero
Duo bowed his head again. "I will now give my oral presentation," he said in
a voice that was lower, huskier than his usual.
"I find that the discipline of self covers many grounds. I will define them
and relate them to my present state. One. Control. I am in no position to
control my surroundings at the moment. Two. Training. I have applied to
myself an apparatus that will prevent me from release in order to train
myself not to come until I am instructed to do so. Three. Obedience. I am
slave to you, and will do as you direct. Four. Knowledge and instruction. I
am presenting to you my body from which you might learn about me. Five.
Punishment. I have been in this position instead of in your classroom, and
expect proper reprimand for this. I have stolen. I have been unable to help
suffering. I must be punished accordingly. In each of these ways discipline
is defined. I have chosen this scenario in order to adequately explain them
on my terms."
Heero swallowed. So that explained some of the pictures. "Very good, Duo."
He wiped the thin sheen of sweat form his brow. He'd known. Somehow, Duo had
known that this was the way Heero played. And he wanted to join him.
"Stand up, Duo." Duo obeyed. Heero had not failed to notice the chain
hanging above Duo, or the fact that Duo's feet were chained to the floor on
either side of the cushion on which he sat. He stepped forward and took
Duo's wrists in his hand, lifting them gently over his head to hook them to
the chain. "You have asked for punishment. You shall receive it. But first,
I deserve my compensation for your disrespect." And he began his
He ran his hands over the insides of Duo's upstreched arms, down the sides
of his well-defined torso, down the sides of the milky thighs. He circled
back up, grasping the flesh of Duo's buttocks, pulling the cheeks ever so
slightly apart. He walked around him and breathed a faint trail of moist,
hot air down Duo's spine, and placed a small kiss on the tailbone before he
parted the cheeks again to dart his tongue into the crevice. The boy chained
to the ceiling shivered but made no sound as his knees visibly weakened.
"You need to stand up when I inspect you, Duo," Heero admonished him as he
walked over to the short table, from which he selected a short handled
riding crop. "You will need to be punished now." And he smacked the crop
across the backs of Duo's thighs, just beneath the cheeks of his ass. Duo
moaned. "No moaning, Duo." And Heero smacked him again, this time straight
across the cheeks themselves. He could hear Duo bite back the moan and was
pleased that he was being obeyed. He smacked his slave again, and with each
contact of the crop the flesh reddened more until it was a glowing pink.
"Lovely, Duo, you really are exquisite." He smacked the crop against his own
thighs and grabbed a feather from the table as he made his way around to
examine the angry red erection that bobbed from its throne above Duo's
slightly parted legs.
"Indeed, exquisite." And he ran the feather lightly along the length of
Duo's member. Duo gasped.
"You're lucky I never said no gasping," Heero teased. "And for my mistake
you shall be rewarded. You may moan." And Heero touched the feather to Duo's
cock again, following it by a quick flick of the crop. Duo moaned loudly.
"You really have a lovely voice, Duo." Duo's cock twitched.
"I think I will let you down now, Duo. Would you like that? You may nod."
Duo nodded quickly. "Good. Then you may crawl to the bed and wait for me."
He unhooked Duo's wrists from the chain and from each other, and to his feet
he did the same. Duo crawled to the bed as instructed and sat up in the
familiar kneeling position, waiting. Heero stood in front of him and stroked
his long hair.
"You may undress me now." Duo's slender fingers ran themselves up Heero's
thighs and chest until they met the buttons of the white shirt and undid
them one by one. Then seamlessly they dropped to the button on Heero's
pants, freeing it and pulling down the zipper in one swift motion. Gliding
back up the chest to Heero's taut shoulders, pushing the shirt back and
falling back to the waistband of the pants, pulling them and the boxers
beneath quickly to the floor.
"Very good, my pet," Heero breathed as he stood naked before Duo. He could
hardly believe how sensuous Duo was, a prince of erotica, more enticing than
any of his wildest unrestrained fantasies. "You may kiss me." Duo leaned to
place a feather light kiss on the head of Heero's penis, and his own member
twitched at the moan that rumbled from deep in Heero's throat. Heero
couldn't see but he smiled to himself. "Suck, Duo."
Heero nearly came right then as a hot mouth engulfed him, taking his entire
length in with one movement. Duo's tongue lapped at the underside of his
cock, his teeth scraping the tiniest bit along the head. Heero could hardly
stand the sight as he looked down to see the lithe boy on his knees, hair
trailing on the floor, his plush lips moving back and forth along the rigid
length of flesh. Pushing Duo away gently, he managed to say in a normal
"Onto the bed. You will spread yourself for me."
Duo did exactly as he was told and Heero wasted no time in shackling him to
the four posts. He ran his hands over the boy's skin, savoring its clean
scent and blush colour. "You are so beautiful. I want to reward you for such
beauty," Heero whispered in his ear. He reached for the bedside table and
retrieved a small tube of oil, squeezing some onto his fingers as he leaned
to trace circles on Duo's chest with his tongue. Duo whimpered voicelessly
as Heero began to probe the hidden crevice between his legs.
"You are such an enigma, Duo," Heero panted slightly as he worked the
fingers inside the tight opening. "A mystery wrapped in a pretty package...I
want to get inside that head of yours as much as I want to get inside this
ass," and added a third finger. Duo continued his silent cries. "I think
you're ready for me now, my pet. Teacher's Pet, that's what you are, Duo.
And I am your teacher." Heero applied a generous amount of the oil to his
neglected erection and positioned himself between Duo's invitingly spread
legs. He nudged the opening with the blunt tip of his penis, rubbing it up
and down the crack, teasing and torturing at the same time. He could tell
that Duo wanted to thrust against him; he certainly had the room to. But the
smaller boy made no move.
"So well behaved, pet." And he began to slide in, a steady pressure against
the natural resistance of Duo's body. Duo was panting heavily, and Heero
leaned in to steal a kiss. "It's not stealing, actually," he almost laughed
huskily, voicing his thoughts. "I only take what rightfully belongs to me."
His tongue slipped past Duo's parted lips as his erection continued to
penetrate. When he was seated he lingered in Duo's mouth, finally nibbling
on the lips as he pulled his face and his lower body away simultaneously. He
then thrust in again, faster this time.
"You are the only one who understood, Duo," he sighed as he buried himself
again and again, quickening the pace with each thrust. "You were the only
one I wanted to understand." And he slammed in with as much force as he
could muster as Duo cried out.
"But have you truly submitted, my Duo?" Heero balanced himself on one arm
and stroked the face of the writhing boy beneath him. "I think there's one
more thing." And he tugged slightly at the blindfold until it came down,
revealing lidded eyes covered by the longest lashes Heero had ever seen. Now
was the acid test.
"Look at me, Duo." His eyes snapped open, amazingly clear for the time they
had been disabled, and looked straight into Heero's. The latter gasped as he
fell into seemingly unending swirls of amethyst, eyes that looked back at
him and were just as much in control as Heero was. Eyes that challenged,
Heero reached down and began pumping Duo's shaft, never once taking his eyes
from those of the boy beneath him, and thrust with every fibre of his being.
He paused long enough to snap the release on the ring at the base of Duo's
cock, and leaning down for another kiss whispered against Duo's lips, "Come
On cue, they exploded into one another, Heero coating Duo's insides and Duo
spraying them both with his essence. They moaned together in a primal cry
and for a moment it was impossible to tell who was truly dominant and who
was submissive. After the last stream pumped from Heero's body he managed to
reach up and undo the chains that bound Duo's arms before collapsing onto
his chest. Duo reached down with his now-free arms and stroked Heero's hair.
"Thank you, friend, lover, mentor."
Heero looked up at him. "You have taught me discipline, Duo," he said
seriously. And they fell asleep together.
When Heero awoke, he found himself alone in the bed. A note lay on the
pillow beside him.
the body and the mind are both disciplines. together they create the self.
there is need to control and train these elements. there are also instances
in which these must be punished. but to be a master of the discipline of
self, as in the knowledge of the self, one must be able to create states of
order and chaos by submission. only then is the true discipline of self
understood. i hope this has been an enlightening project for you, professor
yuy. it certainly has been for me.
now come into the kitchen and get some breakfast.
Heero found himself laughing aloud. He dragged himself from bed and pulling
on a pair of shorts that had been left on a chair padded into the kitchen
where Duo was making omelettes.
"You are no less of an enigma to me, Duo," he said, reaching around the
boy's waist from behind. "But I'm willing to accept the challenge of solving
your riddles, if you'll have me." In response, Duo turned around and melted
into the embrace which signified the love that would inevitably follow them
for the rest of their lives.
on vacation with heero. we're going to the disney parks next so i can get
photos of mickey and goofy. it's going to be great. he's taking the next
year off, he says. we're going to be 'experimenting.' don't think i'll be
needing this book anymore, not too sorry about it either. we love each
other. we understand each other. that's enough.
Notes: This one was a killer. I hope you all enjoyed it, and just maybe took
something away from it. There are a few people who made this happen. They
---Sarah, without whom this would never have been imaginable, let alone
possible. Thank you for teaching me to fly.
---the 1X2X1ML, who helped me through a difficult time. You're all the best.
---Levi, for giving me the opportunity to be free, although I didn't
recognise it for what it was at the time.
---And most of all, Jana, for beta-reading my thoughts and encouraging me to
have them. I love you.