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Fic: The Best Day, Kirk/McCoy, PG

Title: The Best Day
Author: caitri
Rating: PG (rated for shmoop)
Pairings: Kirk/McCoy
Word Count: 4,324
Summary: Joanna McCoy knows that being thirteen? Really sucks. Luckily her Uncle Jim is determined to cheer her up. Part of the Log!verse.
Warnings: Only for sick-inducing adorableness.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Gene Roddenberry, J.J. Abrams, Paramount or Bad Robot. Just so you know.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to epiphany_gun who is an awesome beta!

Short note: According to Memory-Alpha, the events of most of Star Trek XI take place in 2258. Following my timeline, therefore, this story takes place in AOS 2262.

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day
With you today

- Taylor Swift, “The Best Day”

The Best Day

“Joanna Banana! Joanna Banana!” comes the familiar chant. It’s what they’ve been doing all week, ever since Monday when she wore a yellow tshirt and Susie Bell declared in front of the entire eighth grade class that Joanna McCoy was as flat and skinny as a stringbean, then Joel Hunter has to crack she wasn’t that skinny and she was like a banana, and—Yuck. It doesn’t even matter, it’s just the latest torment in the long adolescent gauntlet that is Cochrane Middle School.

It’s a Thursday afternoon in September, a quarter past three, and Joanna McCoy thinks she’s either going to bust out crying any second now, or (and if given the choice, this is what she’d pick in a heartbeat) punch Susie’s nose in.

Jo is very aware that if she is successful in this action, she will a) break Susie’s nose possibly to the point of b) shoving little spikes of bone into the brain and killing her instantly. Jo knows this because she found a couple of Dad’s old medical textbooks in the attic a few months ago and has been reading them intermittently when she’s done with her homework. She’s sort of ashamed of this, and hasn’t told Mom or Dad, but she did tell Uncle Jim, because he gets what being a thirteen year old girl is like. (She told this to Dad and Jim once over a comm to their ship. Dad made a funny face, coughed, and left for a second, but she could hear his loud belly laugh even though he must’ve been hiding all the way across the room. Jim just smiled at her and said, “Love you, Bookin!” like he always did when they said bye, because he is cool like that.)

Ten minutes to go ‘til her bus comes.

“Hey, Joanna Banana!” Now that’s Mikey Thornton, who sits third row from the back in Home Room. Seemingly his favorite thing to do in the world is throw spitballs into Jo’s hair. She closes her eyes and pretends she is completely unaware of his existence, or of Susie Bell’s as they form an impromptu chorus.

“Joanna Banana! Joanna Banana!”

They are right in her face now. Literally. She opens her eyes and they are standing before her, Mikey’s face centimeters from hers so that she can see every glistening pustule of his acne-encrusted face.

To hell with it. Jo punches him instead of Susie.


Unfortunately her punch neither broke Mikey’s nose nor sent any splinters into his brain. What it did do was bruise her knuckles, give him a nosebleed (which gratifyingly sprayed on both him and on Susie, but unfortunately also on Jo), and get her sent to the principal’s office until Mom comes to pick her up.

Jocelyn Treadway is a busy woman with her own real estate business to run, and a finely honed sense of how to further punish the guilty, so Jo waits over an hour before Mom comes to get her. On the plus side, Jo at least gets her homework done while waiting.

Mom’s heels click on the linoleum floor of the school in a staccato beat like a song. They click hard and fast and Jo can tell she’s angry. When she bursts through the door like a Savannah hurricane, Jo knows she’s in for it.

“You are in trouble, Joanna Melissa McCoy!” Mom says with enough emphasis to break the spines of the antique bindings Principal Hu keeps on display in his office.

“I know,” Joanna says. Mom using all three of her names? Is a dead give-away.

“You’re as bad as your father!” Mom continues.

“I know.”

“Well what have you got to say for yourself?”

Jo looks at her Mom. “Are your nostrils flaring? ‘Cause I didn’t know that happened in real life.”

The vein in Mom’s forehead throbs visibly. Jo knows she deserves the lengthy invective she gets for that. But it was still totally worth it.

The drive home, later, is silent.

Jo is sent to her room directly after supper, and forbidden from watching any vids or getting on the nets, so she reads Dad’s textbooks some more. If he and Uncle Jim were here, she’s sure, the kids at school would be too in awe of the Federation’s heroes to—

“Joanna!” Mom’s voice yells from downstairs.

Jo opens the door suspiciously. “What is it?”

“You’ve got a comm. It’s your Father.”

Joanna is down there like a shot. “Dad!”

“Hey, sweetie!” Dad’s face on the vidscreen is serious. Also, she notices, the signal is coming in way clearer than usual. “How’s my girl doin’?”

“Dad!” Joanna doesn’t answer his question; she’s too delighted with the comm.

“We heard you got in trouble, Bookin’,” says Jim. Jo smiles at the old nickname; Jim gave it to her the first time he came with Dad to visit, when she was little. He said she always ran around like she was late to something, and back in Iowa they called moving fast like that ‘bookin’.’ He’s joined her Dad on screen now; they are wearing their concerned parent faces. “What’s that about, Jo? You can tell us if something is bothering you at school. Or someone?”

“Well. Um.” Joanna hedges for a moment.

“Tell us, darlin’,” Dad says softly, and something in his voice brings tears to Jo’s eyes. “We won’t be mad, we promise.”

“Aw, Dad,” she says, sniffling, and then it’s all coming out. How she hates her new school, how all the kids tease her constantly, how she has no friends, everyone hates her, she’s bored, she hates it—it all goes on for a while, really.

“Oh, darlin’,” Dad says when she’s done.

“Don’t worry, Jo,” says Jim. He’s smiling at her with that bright, Jim Kirk smile, and she can’t help but smile back. “We’ll cheer you up, we promise.”


Joanna doesn’t eat much breakfast in the morning, just a piece of toast with some jam and orange juice. She’s too nervous at the prospect of spending yet another day in what some people might fondly term Hell, so she plays music in the little earbuds that Dad approved as being unlikely to hurt her hearing too much and tries to focus on song lyrics as she rides the bus.

When her name is called during morning roll, her teacher pauses for a split second, then adds, “Please report to the principal’s office. And take your things with you.”

“Oooooooooh,” comes the chorus of her classmates.

Jo feels herself go red, but she keeps her back straight and her eyes in front of her as she leaves the room. She will not give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her as anything but calm. Dammit.

When she’s alone in the cool quiet of the empty hallway she starts to feel her stomach plummet with nerves though. Keep it together, Jo, she thinks. High school is nothing to what Dad and Jim have to deal with. She tells herself this a lot, but it’s days like this where she thinks that time-traveling Romulans have got to be easier to handle than adolescence.

She enters the principal’s office hesitantly. The school is quiet; morning announcements are being read. Mr. Hu is standing with his back to the door, and as she rounds the corner she sees—

“Dad!” Joanna’s misery changes to ecstasy in seconds, and she’s not even thinking before she’s in his arms.

“Hey, darlin’,” he says, hugging her tight.

“Hey kiddo, we’re springing you out of this joint,” says Jim with his wide grin when she hugs him too.

It takes a minute for the words to penetrate her clouded brain, she’s so excited to see them here. It’s a cognitive dissonance of affection. “Seriously?” she says after a minute.

“Just for the day,” Dad says. “I pulled some strings with your Mom. And your teachers are going to send you your homework. And—“

“And,” Jim interrupts firmly, “we’re going to actually have some fun. Like right now. “ He grins at Jo, and she is convinced (though admittedly, she has known this for a long time anyway) that she has the coolest Stepdad in existence.


It’s not until they are well outside the walls of the school that Jo feels like she can breathe freely. She can feel laughter bubbling up from her tummy to her mouth and she laughs in giddy glee. Dad hugs her again as they walk to their car. “It’s good to see you, JoJo,” he says.

“You too, Dad,” she says honestly. “When did you get to Earth? I thought you weren’t supposed to be home for shore leave for three more months!”

“Long story,” Jim says. “The short version is we got in early,” he says when Dad shoots him a look Jo can’t read.

“We got back into Terran space two days ago,” Dad says. “The ship is out at the shipyards of Utopia Planitia actually. Most of yesterday was spent at Starfleet Command. Then we got your Mom’s comm, and here we are.”

“How long will you be here?” Jo is curious. Dad and Jim both are a little tense, but trying to hide it. “You can’t say, can you,” she says softly.

“Sorry, kiddo,” Jim says as they get in the car. “It’s orders. Anyhow, we have the day at least, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. I have plans for us, young lady!”

“What’s that?” Jo asks. She already has her seatbelt fastened.

“Bones,” Jim says instead, “What did you always want to do when playing hookie as a teenager?”

“I never played hookie,” Dad says, glaring at Jim. “Also, who even uses the word ‘hookie’ anymore?”

“You do, apparently,” Jim answers while Jo giggles. “And never? Seriously?

“Nope,” says Dad, but he’s looking less certain of himself now.

“So you’re telling me that never once in your illustrious school career did you ever skip class.” Jim is skeptical, and a smile is playing at his lips like he knows a victory of some kind is incipient.

“I didn’t say that, exactly,” says Dad. He pauses. “Maybe once.”

Jo puts her hands over her mouth to stifle her giggles.

Jim looks dubious. “Bones.” He draws the word out slowly, a world of question in the single, elongated syllable.

Dad huffs in that way he does. “Maybe twice.” Jim waits patiently for him to keep going. Finally he sighs. “There was a swimming hole my friends and I liked, okay? And sometimes we’d get beer. And by the way,” he says to Jo, “never do anything that I did. Ever. Promise?”

“Right,” Jo says obediently. “Never become a doctor, never save the world, never become a hero of the Federation. Got it. Right.”

Dad looks horrified while Jim cracks up, then he finally relaxes again. He reaches back and ruffles Jo’s hair affectionately. “How did I end up with such a smart ass?”

“Better a smart ass than a dumb ass, Dad,” Jo says immediately, startling both men into laugher again.

“Okay,” Jim says when he can speak again, but his eyes are still crinkled with amusement, “well I can tell you what I used to do when I was thirteen. No swimming or beer involved, Bones, so don’t worry. Bookin’, you let me know what sounds good to you.”

Dad’s holding his hands over his eyes like he’s afraid of what Jim’s going to say next. Joanna laughs as Jim rolls his eyes.

“Ye of little faith,” he says in mock consternation. “Okay,” and he starts holding up his fingers as he lists things they can do. “I can teach you to pick locks, how to drive, we can get ice cream, and…” Jim trails off as he looks at Jo, who is grinning at him like an idiot. “Like any of those, kiddo?”

“All of ‘em,” says Jo.

“Thought so,” Jim says. “Stop looking so worried, Bones,” he says to Dad. “When have I ever led a McCoy wrong?”


They decide on driving first. To everyone’s surprise, Dad lets Jim take charge of the driving lesson. They choose an empty parking lot behind a block of shops that aren’t busy or even open this early in the morning.

Joanna sits in the front seat and listens obediently while Jim talks her through checking the mirrors, aligning the seat just right, and experimenting with the pedals at her feet. “Three hundred years haven’t changed the basic mechanics of the machine,” he says in what Jo likes to think of as his Captain’s voice, low and calm. “You’ve got the steering wheel, which doesn’t need that much steering to turn. You’ve got the brake, and you’ve got acceleration. Not too much of that to start with.” He grins at her, and she smiles back a little nervously.

“Now, I’m punching in some overrides here, just in case,” he continues. “This is more for your Dad’s sake than mine.”

“Jim!” Dad says from the back, but he doesn’t sound that annoyed.

“Hush, backseat driver,” Jim says. “Now, Jo, take her out easy.”

“If you get nervous, just let us know,” says Dad.

“Geez, Dad,” Jo says, “What do you think I’m gonna do? Drive off a cliff or something? Honestly!”

“No one that we know would do that,” says Jim quickly. She darts a glance at him but his eyes are straight ahead, looking through the windshield. “That’s for sure.”

“Parents,” Jo grumbles. “So weird!”

They spend the first hour driving carefully, practicing stops and turns. At the end of the second hour Jim has Jo cutting donuts around the parking lot. By then it’s almost ten and there’s more traffic, so they call the first lesson completed.

“Klingon fire drill, guys,” Jim says, and they all get out again and change seats. Dad drives, Jo rides up front with him, and he sits in the back. When they are all buckled in again, Jo’s stomach chooses that moment to gurgle loudly.

“Are they not feeding you enough, darlin’?” Dad asks.

Jo flushes a darker red. “I didn’t have much breakfast this morning,” she admits.

“Problem solved,” says Jim. “Time for second breakfast!”

“What are you, a hobbit?” Dad asks.

Jo laughs as they continue to bicker. Jim and Dad used to send her comms of them taking turns reading The Hobbit to her when they were still at the Academy, and the work of Tolkien is something the three of them all love. Mom and Clay regard this mutual affection as yet another McCoy-related oddity. “I wouldn’t mind a second breakfast,” she says after a moment. “Or elevenses.”

“Luncheon, dinner, tea, supper,” Jim continues to enumerate as they drive down the steet, and they finally settle on a homey-looking little café where a cheerful-looking woman is setting out chairs and tables with brightly-colored umbrellas on their patio. “Hi,” he greets her. “Ya’ll open now?” He turns back to Dad and Jo. “I got to say ‘ya’ll’!” he says delightedly, like he’s practicing a new language.

The woman has a nametag that says “Sandy” on it and she smiles at them in amusement. “We don’t open for another twenty minutes, but seein’ as you’re clearly practicin’ your Georgian, I might let you in early.”

“That’d be great,” Jim says, beaming at her. “Can we sit outside? I’ll help finish putting out the tables.”

Jo exchanges a look with Dad as Jim helps Sandy put up the remaining tables quickly, even whistling a jaunty tune while they do so. Jim is in hyper-drive to put his beloved step-daughter in a good mood, and they both know it.

When they’re done Sandy seats them a table with an umbrella so brightly gold that it reminds Jo of Jim’s command uniform. “Alright, guys,” Sandy says, “I’ll give you your menus if you”—she looks at Jim—“keep working on your accent.”

Dad makes a face at that. He is clearly thinking, “Oh God. Spare us, please.

“That dog just won’t hunt, ma’am,” Jim says then in a low drawl, clearly imitating Dad.

Sandy makes an impressed face, while Dad’s lips quirk and he lifts one eloquent eyebrow. He is clearly surprised. “Very good, darlin’,” Dad says with a wink for his husband. Jim flushes in pleasure and winks back.

“How long have you been practicing?” asks Sandy as she passes them the menus, seemingly oblivious to this by-play.

“A while,” says Jim airily, looking at both McCoys fondly.

Lunch/elevenses consists of tasty sandwiches on freshly baked bread that’s still faintly warm from the oven. Jo and Jim each get lemonade, and Dad gets a big glass of sweet tea, and they bask in the warmth of the late Georgia summer. The weather is cooler than usual, so right now it’s exactly the right time to be outside, and Jo is grateful to be here with them instead of the artificially cooled school with its tyrannical inmates. They get dessert, too; Jim gets ice cream, Dad gets pie, and she appalls them both by getting ice cream on her pie.

“That’s like cheating,” says Jim. “It’s like two desserts at once!”

“Never mess with good pie,” says Dad.

Jo rolls her eyes at the two of them. “You don’t know what you’re missing,” she says in satisfaction as the ice cream melts into the warm fruit pastry.

“I know exactly what I’m missing,” Jim says enviously.

“You’re on a diet for a reason, Jim,” says Dad. “Your family history has a propensity of diabetes, remember?”

“Sadist,” grumbles Jim.

“You need to be a growing girl like me,” Jo says smugly.

“Nice try, darlin’,” Dad says as he steals a bite from her plate.


After lunch, Jim does indeed show her how to pick locks: old fashioned metal ones and computer ones.

“It’s a useful skill to have,” he tells her before he teaches her to listen for the different clicks the lock can make.

“So she can win friends and corrupt people?” Dad asks, but not seriously.

“Did you learn how to do this at the Academy?” Jo asks.

“Nah, the school of hard knocks,” Jim says. Jo’s about to ask is that in Iowa before she pegs onto the joke.

“Oh,” she says instead.


The end of the day comes too soon. A few years ago, Dad and Jim would read her a story before she went to sleep, but she’s too old for that now. Instead, Dad and Jo sit in the swings of her old swingset, Jim perching on the bottom of the slide that’s attached to it. The sun is setting, the sky’s the color of peaches and there’s a cool breeze blowing.

“How long are you going to be gone this time?” she asks at last. “Your five year mission ended early…” She trails off, knowing there’s a lot they can’t tell her, and that she probably doesn’t even want to know. But she can feel that something is going on, and it makes her nervous.

“We don’t know, darlin’,” Dad says honestly. His mouth is thinned to a tense line. “Our mission isn’t over; we’re just in for repairs, so we have another year. And we’re planning on another five year mission after this one ends, assuming things—assuming a few things really.”

Jo scoots her swing close to his when he says that, hugging him and burying her face in his chest. His arms are around her and she wishes he could stay forever.

“I know,” he says softly into her hair. She’s not sure if she accidentally spoke aloud or if he’s just adept at following her thoughts. He leans back to look at her. “But I need to be out there.” She knows ‘out there’ encompasses space, the Federation, the Enterprise. And she knows he does need to be out there.

Jim is conspicuously silent. He gives her a little smile, a quiet sort of apology, like he knows that most of the reason her Dad is gone so much is because of him. He can be so full of himself sometimes! Jo knows her Dad is gone mostly to make the universe a better place, and being with her Stepdad is just a really good bonus. (Yes, Jo is a very perceptive girl, and she knows it too. She just keeps things to herself. Most of the time.)

“It’s okay, Dad,” she says with an assurance she doesn’t completely feel. “Give me a few years, and I’ll be a doctor just like you. Maybe even on the Enterprise.

“A few years, huh—I’ll buy that. I definitely have some pull as far as things like that go, too,” Jim says. “But give it some time, okay, kiddo? You might want to change your mind some day. Brilliant girl like you can do whatever she wants.”

“What did you want when you were my age, Jim?” she asks curiously. Jim never talks about his youth with her. Dad talks about his some, but Jim never does. She recalls his odd expression in the car earlier, but isn’t sure how to ask what she wants to know.

“Jo—“ Dad starts to say something, but Jim cuts him off.

“It’s a funny story, really,” Jim answers in that honest way he has—the way where he’s not giving you the whole truth, but the easiest version of it. Not necessarily a better version, just—reduced, some how. “Okay, maybe not funny, exactly. But when I was your age, Bookin’, I was messed up.” He pauses awkwardly. “I—wasn’t okay with who I was. And there’s lots of reasons for that, and you don’t need to know most of them. But it took me a long time to make my peace with that.

“But you see,” he continues, “you’re not like me and you’re never going to be, and I mean that in the best way possible. When I was growing up, I was mostly alone. I mean, there were people around me, but I was the one taking care of myself. You’ve got your Dad, and your Mom, and me and Clay. And we’re always going to be looking out for you, and you’re never going to face the things I had to. So trust me, when I say that as crappy as things seem like they are—it’s not so bad, and they’ll get better. It might seem like they won’t, but they will. Trust me on that.”

Jo feels like she could cry at that. Not for herself or for how much she dreads going back to school on Monday (and she really is not looking forward to that), but for how much Jim seems to mean every word he says. She swallows back her tears and says, “Jim? You didn’t answer my question. What did you want when you were my age?”

Jim laughs at that. “I think I wanted a good day,” he says. He turns to Dad, who is looking at them both with a thoughtful, loving look. “How about you, Bones?”

Dad smiles a little. “I’ve always been an old country doctor, even when I was thirteen,” he says. “I was gonna have a partner and a kid and a practice. I got all of ‘em, too.” He kisses the top of Jo’s head. “You, darlin’?”

“Being a doctor would be great,” Jo says honestly, “but a good day is nice too. And I just had one, the best one.”


Monday morning rolls around. Instead of going to Home Room, Joanna goes straight to the Main Office. She came up with a plan over the weekend, so she has her PADD with her. It has letters from Mom, Dad, and Jim on it—real ones that took quite a bit of convincing to get. She shows it to the woman at the desk, who frowns dubiously, then goes into the back to make a comm. Joanna waits patiently, smiling to herself. The woman comes back with Principal Hu, who’s reading through the letters on the PADD.

“This is highly irregular,” he says at last. “But you do have the test scores and the aptitude to do well at the Science Institute on Cerebus. You can transfer at the semester break.”

“I want to transfer into some other classes while I’m here, too,” says Jo. She smiles. “Science classes. I want to be prepared for Cerebus. I want to be a doctor, you see.”

Author’s Gratuitous Notes

Memory-Alpha states that according to Trimble’s Star Trek Concordance, Joanna was born circa 2249. According to TAS, in 2260 Joanna was on Cerebus when it faced a crop failure; I’m tweaking that. Uh, obviously. Memory-Beta also has a few references to Joanna becoming a nurse. Pfft. She’s her father’s daughter, she’ll be kick-ass doctor is what she’ll be.

Utopia Planitia is the shipyards on Mars in the other reality. Cos really, they can’t build the whole fleet in Iowa, can they?


( 16 comments — Add your .02 )
May. 5th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
You know, I just realized I never come and comment on your stories here. This must be rectified!

So, yeah. This? Completely adorable. And this bit makes me laugh:

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” she says in satisfaction as the ice cream melts into the warm fruit pastry.

“I know exactly what I’m missing,” Jim says enviously.

I think it sums up the whole Jim-Bones-Joanna dynamic up rather nicely. :)
May. 5th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Brilliant story. Really enjoyed seeing a growing-up Jo. A girl who is ready to follow her dad and Jim in making her own decisions.

May. 5th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
This was awesome! I can empathize with the trials and tribulations of adolescence...honestly, does everyone have a similar story?

And it was nice to see her easy acceptance of Jim and Bones...and the way their lives have all settled (not to say that there's no conflict, but the conflict isn't with the family)
May. 5th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
This was such a warm, lovely read. :-)
May. 6th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
Wonderful story. Great job of capturing the angst of that age. Love Jim's empathy for Jo and Bones' love and support with their day out. About broke my heart when Jim said at that age he wanted a "good day." Glad Jo is her father's daughter and has a good head on her shoulders. Like her attitude. Well done!
May. 6th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
Very cool, thanks.
And ITA about her being a doctor, not a nurse.
May. 6th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
Joanna is a lucky girl. :) I like what you've done with her here - she's not super-popular or perfect, she's more real than that. And of course, Jim would be the best stepdad. <3

Great job!
May. 6th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
I really did enjoy this! Joanna's actually a very lucky girl, even if it's hard right now (and who didn't think being in middle school was hard?).


May. 10th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC)
Oh, I love Jim in this.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
I very much love this - the epitome of family.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
:D Thank you for reading!!!
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
I just mainlined this series over the weekend; please tell me that all the classified stuff means you're hinting at a longer sequel in the works? Perhaps with a famine and thus Tarsus overtones?

I adored Orlando btw; you never see the man-turned-woman wanting to compare anal sex enough (or ever) in my opinion. And the Faradi were cutely misogynistic and made me want to smack a bitch. :)
Aug. 10th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
Hey, I got mainlined. :D

Yeah, I have three more sequels in the works, plus a one-shot long piece that is all about Tarsus. Most of my energy right now is going into my stbb which changed at the last minute. (ARGH.)

Thanks for writing and for reading, comments like these really make my day and help keep me on task!!!!!!!!! :D
Aug. 11th, 2010 09:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, but I didn't inhale. :P

And squee, *three* sequels *and* a Tarsus piece? OMG, can't wait! :DD
Sep. 7th, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
JOANNAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I love Joanna fics! the world needs more of them. This was great! I sorta wanted it to be longer but then I want it to never end.
Sep. 7th, 2010 03:51 am (UTC)
Thanks, bb!
( 16 comments — Add your .02 )

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