"He's not there?" Daisuke frowned, puzzling over what his best friend's mother had just told him. "Well, where is he?"
"He's working on a computer program for the national competition coming up," Mrs. Ichijouji replied, cheerfully. "Didn't he tell you? I would've thought he would…"
"No…" Daisuke drew the word out a little. It seemed to him that Ken might have said something about this… But who remembered all the genius stuff he got into? There was so much of it… "How come he doesn't just work on it at home?"
"Oh! He and one of his friends are working as a team this year." She seemed to take even more pleasure in this than in the national competition. "Why don't you call him over there? I could give you the number."
"Sure. Where's he at?"
"Hmm…" He could hear the rustling of paper over the phone line. "Oh, here it is! Izumi residence. And the number is - "
"Izumi?" Daisuke repeated, surprised. Ken was ditching him to hang out with Koushiro? Since when had the two of them been so chummy? He ignored the little voice at the back of his head that was trying to remind him that Ken had not ditched him, as they had not made plans in the first place and he hadn't been expecting Daisuke's call.
This wasn't right!
"Oh, you know him then?"
"Yeah… I got the number already." Daisuke scowled at the wall in his house. Why couldn't he spend time with Ken whenever he wanted? "Thanks, Mrs. Ichijouji."
"Oh, any time, Daisuke. Don't be shy about stopping by, either."
"No problem." He hung up, and stared at the phone for a moment, terribly hurt by his exclusion from Ken's day.
What was so special about computer programs anyway?
Taichi whistled to himself under his breath, listening to the phone on the other end of the line ringing. It was usually about three rings - four if he was interrupting something - and he'd only heard two so far.
Perfect. "Hey Koushiro, what are you up to?"
"Oh, hi Taichi." That was hardly an enthusiastic greeting. "I'm actually quite busy at the moment - Ken's over here and we're - "
"Ken?" Taichi raised an eyebrow, even though he knew this wouldn't have any effect over the phone. "I didn't know you guys hung out."
"We're not exactly hanging out," Koushiro admitted. "The two of us were discussing the National Competition for - "
"Computer genius stuff that a dumb jock like me wouldn't understand," Taichi finished, grinning a little. "Let me guess - you're working on some kind of computer thing as an entry to this competition."
"That's right." Koushiro didn't even sound surprised that he'd figured it out. "We're probably going to be busy for most of the day, so if you were wondering whether you and I might do something, I'm afraid I'll have to take a raincheck."
"Ah, that's all right." Taichi waved a careless hand, once again disregarding the fact that this wouldn't be seen over the phone. "I understand. Don't worry about it."
"How about tomorrow instead?"
"Sounds good. See you then." Taichi hung up the phone.
Yamato was at an overnight gig… Sora was staying with her father… Jyou - well, Jyou was taking summer courses, of all things… even Hikari was out, and he didn't know the others well enough to want to call them up. Besides, he had wanted to spend the day with Koushiro - waiting to see how long it took the so-called genius to realize he was being hit on.
And now… he had a whole day to himself.
This couldn't be good.
Under his fingers, the phone suddenly rang. Taichi picked it up. "Hel - ?"
"TAICHI!" Daisuke's voice wailed, right into his ear. Taichi held the phone at arms' length, feeling his head ringing from the noise. "Ken ditched me! He ditched me for Koushiro! What do I do?"
"He ditched you?" Taichi blinked - then felt a smile inching onto his face, an inkling of an idea beginning to form. "Well… we can't let him get away with that, can we?"
The day suddenly looked a lot less boring.
"We seem to have made considerable progress." Koushiro pushed his chair back a little, stretching. "I'd say we deserve a break - wouldn't you?"
Ken nodded, also leaning back with a satisfied look on his face. "I'm starving. Do you think we could get some lunch?"
"I think that would be - " Koushiro was interrupted before he could finish by his cell phone ringing. He pulled it out and checked the ID - Taichi again. What could he want? I already told him I'd be busy all day… "Hello?"
"Hi Koushiro!" a bright, familiar voice said in response. "It's Daisuke. Can I talk to Ken?"
"Uhhh…" Well, that was a little unexpected. "Sure. I guess. Hold on a minute." He held the phone out to the dark-haired boy sitting next to him. "It's for you. Daisuke."
"Daisuke?" Ken looked surprised, but he took the phone. "Hello?"
Koushiro watched as he spoke, more than a little curious about this unpredicted phone call. What was Daisuke doing calling from Taichi's phone? And calling Koushiro's phone to speak with Ken? Why didn't he just call the home phone line, if he knew Ken was here?
I don't think I should spend a lot of energy trying to unravel the workings of Daisuke's mind… It was hard enough trying to understand Taichi's.
"Sure… I guess," Ken was saying, in a soft, confused sort of tone. "We were talking about it anyway, so… Yeah, that sounds good. We'll see you there. Okay. Bye."
"What did he want?" Koushiro asked, taking back his phone after Ken had shut hung up.
Ken gave him a bemused little smile. "He wanted to know if you and I would like to go for lunch with him and Taichi. I told him it was okay, since we were planning to take a break for lunch anyway. You don't mind, do you?"
"Of course not." Koushiro shook his head. Something about this didn't add up… "I don't know why Daisuke just didn't ask me… but I guess that doesn't really matter. Where do they want to meet us?"
"That's the weird part." Ken shook his head. "Daisuke told me that he and Taichi made lunch together, and they want to eat it in the park. I've never known him to be very excited about making his own food, though…"
"The park?" Koushiro felt one eyebrow raising even as he said the words. "Uh-oh…"
Ken gave him a blank look. "What?"
"Well, Taichi asked me to have lunch with him at the park once before," the redhead admitted, slowly. "And when I got there, he didn't actually have food in the basket with him…"
Ken blinked. "What did he have?"
"Water balloons, squirt guns, and super-soakers," Koushiro said flatly. His eyes were narrowing. "I was completely drenched by the time he was done - and I barely got him wet at all, because I hadn't been prepared."
"You think they're trying to start up a water fight?"
"Well, it is the weather for it…" Koushiro glanced out the window. "When did you say we'd meet them?"
"In about half an hour," Ken said thoughtfully. A small smile was starting to inch its way across his face; his eyes were glinting. "We're not going to just go down quietly and let them soak us, are we?"
"Of course not." There was an answering gleam in Koushiro's eyes. "Those two haven't got a clue who they're messing with. I think it's about time we declared war."
The grin that had formed on Ken's face would have done the Kaizer proud.
"Check." Daisuke grinned, holding up the last item in the basket Taichi had prepared. "Dude, this is gonna be great!"
"Shh! Put those away." Taichi grabbed Daisuke's wrist and lowered it so that the item in question was not in full view of anyone who might join them. "Keep in mind that this is war," he said gravely. "We can't reveal our secret weapons to the enemy."
Daisuke let go of the handcuffs. He was terribly excited about their battle plan - this was going to be a fantastic afternoon! "What's taking them so long to get here?"
"Koushiro's probably suspicious." Taichi returned his grin, kneeling beside the basket. "This isn't the first time I've done this, you know. I bet he'll have a retaliatory plan in mind. Be prepared to be surprised."
"But I thought we were gonna surprise them." Daisuke frowned, a little confused.
"Where's the fun in that?" The older boy gave him an amused look. "It's not much of a war if you ambush your enemy and he doesn't get a chance to rebel. Once you've gotten them involved - then you've managed a victory."
"I get it…" Daisuke puzzled his way through that. "I think."
"Trust me," Taichi assured him. "I've been doing this for a long, long time."
That made sense. Daisuke smiled, relieved that his partner in crime was so confident. It made him feel much better about their chances of winning this whole thing - even if their opponents were geniuses. "Okay Taichi."
Footsteps suddenly sounded from down the path leading into their little grotto - the arrival of the other side. Daisuke grinned. "Now?"
"Now." Taichi nodded. "Ready your weapon."
Both of them reached into the basket and removed the jumbo-sized super-soakers. Taichi readied his with a practiced ease, holding it in position to attack. Daisuke copied him, leaning forward with the front end of his weapon pointed at the path. The footsteps were getting louder… whoever it was had almost reached them…
Daisuke turned instinctively at the voice coming from behind him, and received a well-aimed water balloon full in the face as he did. "Ack!" He fell back, stunned. "Ken?"
"You were expecting Mimi?" Ken threw another balloon, holding a basket similar to theirs in his other hand - and hit Daisuke directly in the chest, plastering his clothes with water. "Can't you duck, Motomiya?"
"That's fighting dirty!" Taichi turned, aiming his water gun at Ken's head. "You need to learn a few things about the art of water wars!"
"Like never to turn your back on an opponent!" Koushiro's voice called from the path, and in the next instant a blast of water from a loaded super-soaker struck the side of Taichi's head.
"Agh!" Taichi turned around, losing his balance and missing Ken by a mile.
"Pay attention, Yagami!" Koushiro called out, in a very un-Koushiro-like manner. He got Daisuke in the face with his gun, darted across the clearing to join Ken, and grabbed a water balloon - which he immediately used to score another direct hit on Taichi. "Maybe then you can catch up to us!"
"You guys cheat!" Daisuke called, grabbing at the gun he'd lost a hold on somewhere in the middle of that surprise assault. His opponents were already disappearing through the trees. "Hey, come back!"
"Come and try to make us!" Ken's voice called back.
"Just you wait…" Daisuke reached into their basket for a supply of water balloons. "That didn't go well, did it, Taichi?" he mourned.
"Are you kidding?" Taichi sat up, grinning at him wickedly. "We're a million miles ahead of them."
Daisuke blinked at him. "You mean you wanted them to charge in and get us by surprise?"
"Exactly." The older boy gave him a quick wink. "Now grab our ammo - it's on to phase two!"
Ken crouched in the bushes, keeping a lookout while Koushiro refilled his weapon in the pond. "You think we've got them off balance?"
"It's a little too much to hope for at this point." The redhead finished with his super-soaker, and pulled Ken's out of the basket, handing it to him. "You forget who our opponent is - Taichi is skilled and dangerous."
Ken smirked at him, readying his weapon. "So are we."
"He's been doing this for longer," Koushiro cautioned, glancing around warily. "Never underestimate the experienced warrior. Our greatest element was surprise in that initial attack - now we need to be prepared."
"Their move?" Ken hefted a water balloon in his other hand. "I have much better aim than Daisuke."
"Don’t be overconfident." Koushiro kept both of his hands on his gun, still looking around him. "We need a strategy. Taichi's been doing this longer," he mused, expression thoughtful, "but I'm sure if we put our heads together, we can come up with something…"
Ken was ready to do anything before he'd admit defeat. "What kind of strategy would be effective?"
"How about this one?"
And that was all the warning they got before a flurry of water balloons fell from the sky to explode around them.
"AGH!" Koushiro jumped up - only to get even more soaked as a couple struck his shoulders and the top of his head.
Ken looked up, narrowly missing a balloon right in the face. "They're up in the trees!"
"And they've sacrificed the last of their balloons!" Koushiro started to raise his weapon.
"Getting slow, Izumi!" Taichi gloated, already crouched with his gun at the ready and the empty basket beside him. He loosed a blast at the redhead's face.
"Keep your eyes on your attacker, Ichijouji!" Daisuke called from a different tree, and Ken was hit by a fierce blast of super-soaker force.
Taichi jumped down from the tree, grabbed one of the balloons from Koushiro's and Ken's own supply, and pelted his stunned opponent with it - throwing him even further off balance and into a not-so-graceful seat right in the shallow water near the shore of the pond.
"Hey - those are our - ack!" Ken ducked under another spray from Daisuke's gun, and turned to try and grab a balloon before Taichi could steal any more.
The moment his back was turned, Daisuke jumped down from his perch, and shoved him back to join Koushiro in the water. He made an even more spectacular splash than the older boy as he fell, drenching them both.
"Catch you later, geniuses!" Daisuke called cheerfully, and the two of them made off with the rest of the balloons.
"Enjoy your swim!" Taichi added, laughing.
Ken glanced over at Koushiro - in time to meet an even more determined stare than before.
"That about does it, wouldn't you say?" the redhead asked conversationally.
Ken nodded, raising his gun again. "This means war!"
"That was great!" Daisuke crowed, tossing one of their pilfered water balloons from one hand to the other triumphantly. "We really got 'em that time, didn't we?"
"Yeah, but don’t underestimate them," Taichi cautioned. He held his gun in one hand and a water balloon in the other, and his eyes were bright and alert. "They're geniuses, remember? They'll have some sort of plan in mind."
Daisuke grinned, not bothering to reclaim his gun. "What's our next plan of action?"
"Well…" Taichi glanced around at the trees before continuing. "I'd say it's about time to split up and take them from both sides."
"All right!" Daisuke cheered, holding the water balloon above his head. "We'll cream 'em!"
"Okay." Taichi grinned. "Here's the best way to do it. The guns need to be refilled, so I'll take them down the pond. You circle around the other way, and try to find them. As soon as we've got them located, we'll come at them from both sides - you with the balloons and me with the guns."
"They won’t even know what hit 'em!" The younger boy agreed, enthusiastically.
Taichi nodded. There were flaws in the master plan, sure, but he didn't think either Koushiro or Ken would suspect anything. "Got your secret weapon on you?"
Daisuke nodded, a smirk forming on his face. "Got it, Taichi!"
"Good." Then everything would go well for sure.
A super-soaker blast got Daisuke in the back of the head.
"AH!" The younger boy spun around - to face empty air. "What…?"
Taichi sat up - in time to take a second blast full in the face. He sputtered, waving his free hand, and rolled away, to point his gun at…
"Dude… I don't like the look of this." Daisuke held his balloon at the ready, eyes darting nervously around at the trees. "How come they're not coming out?"
Taichi moved over beside him. "Back to back!" He ordered. "They can't get us from behind that way!"
He watched the trees, letting his eyes circle slowly… The next blast would not catch him unaware. Now that he was ready for it, he'd be able to spot a water gun shot from a mile away.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a shot at him that his opponents were after.
"Taichi!" Daisuke cried, dismayed. "Look!" He was pointing to where their stolen water balloon supply had been. "They're gone!"
The older boy's eyebrows went up. "Good move, Koushiro…"
"Where'd they go?" Daisuke demanded, turning around and staring at Taichi in dismay.
His answer came seconds later - in the form of a balloon to the face.
"Thank god you don't play guard, Daisuke!" Ken's voice called out - and another balloon flew by to hit Taichi in the stomach. "Your defense really needs work!"
"Hey - awp!" Daisuke tried to duck another balloon, and wound up taking a nose dive.
"Take back the last of your pilferage, Taichi!" Koushiro's voice added, and two more water balloons flew out of the trees in rapid succession - one from each side.
In an attempt to avoid them, Taichi wound up catching both - and then taking a water gun blast seconds later, causing him to fall back into the mud.
There was laughing from the unseen attackers - and then silence.
Daisuke glanced up at him - and offered a grin. "On to phase three?"
"On to phase three."
Ken took his newly filled gun from Koushiro, grinning as he did. "I say we split up."
"I believe you may have hit on something with that plan." Koushiro returned his grin, filling his own super-soaker. "Taichi himself was suggesting it - and we may even manage to get in another attack before they return our previous one."
"We'll have to scratch the water balloons, though." Ken was thoroughly enjoying the battle - even if he was totally soaked. His clothing clung to him, the thin material of the T-shirt stuck onto his body. "We used the last of them to knock Taichi down."
"That's all right." Koushiro looked up at him again with a bright glint in his eyes. He was clearly enjoying himself as well - even though he was as soaked as Ken. His firy hair was plastered to his skull - a few droplets sliding down over his face every so often. "We have our guns - newly reloaded, I might add. I believe we're ready for whatever may be coming."
Ken waited for him to finish. "All right - so what are we doing once we split up?"
"We locate Daisuke and Taichi." Koushiro finished filling his gun, and brought it back up out of the pond. "We could try back at the same place - but I doubt they'll be there. We're going to have to hunt for them."
"Fine by me." Ken didn't mind the less-than-concrete plan - he was going to win this game, one way or another. "If you come across them, let out a shout - and I'll come and get them from behind."
"Right. And same for you." Koushiro grinned at him one more time, and then both of them melted back into the trees - heading in opposite directions.
All right… Ken crept forward. If I were a pair of team leaders with a strange affinity for goggles… where would I be?
So far, there was no sign of either Taichi or Daisuke - the entire park seemed quiet. Clearly, they weren't going to sit around and talk any more. So wherever they were, they didn't want Ken to spot them.
That was fine with him. Hunting time!
A branch fell from the tree just ahead of him.
Ken glanced up quickly. Perched precariously at the end of a long branch - which had a base on the tree above him - was Taichi's crouched figure. He was holding his gun at the ready, and didn't appear to have noticed Ken just yet - his attention being focussed on the ground ahead of him.
Trees again? Ken smirked to himself. Isn't that getting old?
He could see an immediate advantage in this situation. The branch was attached to the tree right above his head - and it seemed to be a bit shaky. Taichi's end looked even more so.
So, if Ken were to reach up and shake the branch…
He'd have the older boy at his mercy!
Ken set his gun down carefully, and reached up to get a grip on the branch.
"Hah!" Daisuke landed on the branch just above it, and reached down before Ken could react to his sudden appearance. There was an audible click, and the young genius felt cold, thin metal against his wrists.
Wait a minute…
"Gotcha." Taichi turned and grinned, sliding expertly down from the tree. "Never trust a perfect set-up, Ken," he added, facing the gaping younger boy. "It's almost always a trap."
And he picked up Ken's super-soaker and disappeared somewhere into the surrounding trees.
Ken turned wide eyes up at Daisuke, who was grinning like a cat that had gotten into some major supply of cream. "Wha… but… you… handcuffs?" he blurted, unable to form an intelligent sentence. He tugged at the cuffs, but they'd securely locked his arms up above his head.
Daisuke slid down out of the tree, still beaming at him. "Gotcha," he pointed out cheerfully, prodding Ken in the chest with one finger. "You are now officially my prisoner of war!"
So that's how it was going to be. Ken narrowed his eyes, staring at his best friend with suspicion that was only half mocking. "You have me," he agreed, cautiously. "Now what are you going to do with me?"
"What do you think I'm going to do with you?" Daisuke answered smugly - and then he rested his hands against the tree trunk behind Ken, leaned forward, and pressed his cold, wet lips to the taller boy's slack ones.
"Wha… What are you doing?" This wasn't what he'd suspected at all… Koushiro had never said anything about this…
Daisuke gave him a very appealing grin. His hair was sticking to his face just like Ken's was - and his face hadn't dried since being drenched by water balloons and super-soakers. The wet coating seemed to give his skin a golden-toned sheen. "I'm torturing you until you tell us all your plans."
And he kissed Ken again - longer, and more firmly this time.
Ken froze for about half a second, and then he kissed back, shutting his eyes and drowning out everything else but his own happiness at the contact.
Daisuke pulled back, and they were both breathing heavy, staring at each others' faces with half-lidded eyes.
"I'll… I'll never talk," Ken panted, bracing his handcuffed wrists against the branch above him. "You couldn't drag the words out of me no matter how many hours of torture you administer!"
Daisuke grinned. "I was hoping you'd say that," he breathed, and leaned forward again.
Koushiro was creeping through a patch of bushes with his gun ready and his eyes darted around for signs of trouble… when Ken's super-soaker flew through the air to his side and clattered to the ground.
Why on earth would Ken throw his gun at me?
The redhead bent to retrieve the weapon - and found a somewhat soggy but legible note attached to it with a rubber band. 'Surrender yourself up at our original battlefield,' the note read, in Taichi's somewhat messy handwriting. 'Or the pretty boy gets it.'
A hostage taking!
Koushiro crumpled the note his fist, frowning. Just what are those two up to, anyway? They've kidnapped Ken? What are they trying to accomplish?
Well… there was nothing for it: he'd have to go back to the meeting spot they'd agreed on before the fight had begun, and see what the terms were.
This didn't seem at all like Taichi's usual water fights.
Secretly, Koushiro had to admit he was going to the meeting place more out of curiosity than out of concern for Ken's welfare. After all, once you'd thoroughly drenched someone in a water fight, what more was there that you could do to him?
That thought made him grimace. If there is something else, Taichi and Daisuke will be the ones to find it.
Needless to say, Koushiro was gripping his gun very tightly by the time he made it to the little clearing where he and Ken had originally ambushed their opponents. "Taichi?" he called out, glancing around warily. "Daisuke?"
"Go no further," Taichi's amused voice announced, from somewhere in front of him. "This is my party, genius. Throw down your weapon!"
Koushiro stubbornly gripped his gun even tighter, trying to spot the source of that voice. "I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself! Where's my partner?"
"You're not getting any answers until you learn to follow orders," the voice answered him, sounding confident even in the face of his defiance. "I repeat: throw down your weapon!"
This isn't getting me anywhere… Koushiro tossed his gun to the side - close enough so he'd be able to retrieve it quickly if he needed it. "All right. Now will you answer my question?"
"Don't be so quick to make demands." Taichi seemed to have moved some time during that. "I'm the one with the upper hand here. Put your hands up where I can see them."
Koushiro sighed. "Taichi…"
"Do what I say, or your partner gets it." The older boy's voice was definitely still amused. "Hurry up - I don't have all day, you know."
"All right…" Koushiro raised his hands, holding them just beside his ears. "Now are you going to tell me what this - "
"Silence, prisoner." Taichi was clearly enjoying this. "I'll tell you when I'm good and ready. Now close your eyes and don't move a muscle. Unless you want a good soaking."
Koushiro took in another uneasy breath, and shut his eyes. He could hear Taichi moving around, but couldn't tell where he was… Not in front of him any more…
He jumped a little as the older boy's hands brushed carefully over his neck from behind - and his eyes opened. "Taichi…!"
"Didn't I say not to talk?" Taichi's voice spoke directly into his ear, the warm breath making him shudder. "Now close your eyes like a good prisoner and don't move."
Koushiro felt his heart pounding hard against his chest, but let his eyes slide shut again. Taichi's thumbs slid up, brushing gently over the sensitive skin below his ears - and he shivered again.
"Relax," Taichi breathed reassuringly, and replaced one hand with his mouth, tilting Koushiro's head to the side so he could have better access.
An unexpected jolt of warm pleasure shot through the younger boy, and he leaned back completely into Taichi's hold, forgetting about wars, water guns, or hostages. This is… is…
"Turn around," Taichi ordered, and Koushiro was only too happy to comply, turning in his friend's hold to meet the taller boy's lips in an eager kiss.
What a perfect incentive for ending a war.
"I think next time we should have me and Ken against you and Koushiro," Daisuke said, stirring his straw around in his lemonade - and, incidentally, dripping water all over table.
Taichi laughed. "At least that way there'd be no fraternizing with the enemy."
"No, but I doubt there'd be much fighting." Ken smiled ruefully, taking a sip from his own drink. They were at a casual café - seated at an outdoor table, and currently the subject of a baleful stare from the waitress who would probably have to clean the table and chairs when they left.
"My mom's going to kill me when we return," Koushiro pointed out, grimacing. "We're going to end up tracking muddy water over her immaculately clean floor."
"What a shame," Taichi noted, not looking the least bit apologetic. He slid a casual arm over Koushiro's shoulders. "I guess you'll have to stay out here until you dry off."
"All right!" Daisuke beamed at Ken, scooting his chair closer. "Our second victory of the day!"
Ken and Koushiro exchanged rueful looks.
"You guys have to admit, this is more fun than a computer program." Taichi smiled. "The two of you need to get out and get away from that thing once in a while - spending all day in front of a computer can't be healthy."
"Spending all day shooting water guns isn't particularly healthy either," Koushiro noted, raising an eyebrow at the older boy.
"But that's fun!" Daisuke protested.
If anything, Taichi's smile got wider. "How about spending the day making out and having sex?"
Koushiro made a little 'eep' noise, and his face shade turned almost bright enough to blend in with his hair. Ken, who had been taking a sip of his drink at the time, suddenly made a strangled noise and started coughing violently.
"Are you okay?" Daisuke asked him, patting the dark-haired boy on the back.
"… Fine." Ken blinked a few times, very rapidly. "I think."
"I believe it's time to end this discussion on good health," Koushiro said quickly, his cheeks still flushed but with the color fading somewhat. "If anyone makes an attempt to test out that theory, I don't want to hear about it."
"It's all in the name of scientific exploration," Taichi said, with a completely straight face. "I believe it should be attempted."
Daisuke nodded his agreement, face solemn.
Ken blinked a few more times. "Well… if it's in the name of science…"
"Can we drop this?" Koushiro asked plaintively, his face flaming yet again.
Taichi grinned, bringing his other arm around so that the redhead's shoulders were caught in his grip. "Spoils of war," he said casually.
The expression on Koushiro's face sent Daisuke off into hysterical laughter, and Ken into a series of suspicious-sounding coughs which he muffled with his hand.
Taichi just smirked.
The war had been fought, the victors emerged, and it was definitely about time for the victory celebration.