‘…and if you flip to page 239 you will see a full diagram of the left and right palms…’
Being a daughter of Hermione Granger, I assure you I am perfectly capable of making wise and shrewd decisions and choices. Said decisions are usually rational and logical. Although I have to admit I’m beginning to question my decision to continue taking Divination for my fifth year.
‘... only truly gifted Seers will be able to See the future at their first try in palm-reading, so don’t be too disappointed if the future is, at the moment, foggy and unclear to you, dears.’
I wouldn’t mind it so much if—
1. It didn’t smell like some Arabian whorehouse in here,
2. Professor Trelawney wasn’t the Divination Professor,
3. The classroom didn’t only have one window—it’s like the inside of a dragon’s in the North Tower,
4. I was actually able to See.
If you remember, one of the many things I’d like to achieve before I eventually kick the bucket is to be the first-ever person in Hogwarts’ history to take eighteen subjects for my NEWTS. My mum took seventeen—she dropped Divination when she was in her third year. Naturally, I was the only one who actually signed up for Divination, everyone else save for a few dropped it. There was only about twelve Slytherins and Gryffindors in this particular fifth-year class.
I have no idea how I’m going to get an Outstanding in Divination, though. As far as I can see, I’m completely useless at it. When Professor Trelawney gives us homework, I mostly just guess. I’m assuming my guesses are extremely accurate, because I’ve never gotten lower than an Acceptable in Divination homework before. Either that or Professor Trelawney hasn’t the foggiest idea what she’s teaching. Sadly enough, the latter seems more likely. Professor Trelawney is an extremely enthusiastic teacher, but unfortunately it was a widely known fact that she was completely bogus—not an ounce of Seer blood in her.
‘Spread your palms, children!’ Professor Trelawney cried, spreading her arms wide, therefore making her look alarmingly similar to a hulking vulture. ‘Decipher your future!’
I blinked and pulled my textbook closer to me, peering at page 239. A huge, detailed diagram of two knobbly palms was spread across the paper.
Well. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. I should ask someone.
‘What’re we supposed to do?’ I asked the person next to me, trying to see through the thick, heavily perfumed smoke that was permeating the air and reducing my vision to none.
Hattie Malcoms peered at me blearily from under heavily hooded eyelids. ‘Dunno.’ She mumbled. ‘I’m so tired…’ and she went back to sleep, snoring unattractively.
Gah. Asking someone else for help in class is already humiliating enough.
Professor Trelawney shook out her wildly curly hair, readjusted her mile-thick glasses and began weaving through beanbags and velvety armchairs. ‘Concentrate, my dears!’ she shook her hands dramatically so the two million bangles she wore would jingle in a way I presume she thought was menacing and mysterious.
I looked around desperately for some sort of clue. Scorpius Malfoy—seated far into the corner—was looking closely at his left hand, tracing the lines of his palm. I’d only recently noticed both of us were taking Divination—I guess I never really noticed him that much before I made him teach me Quidditch. A little strange, to be honest.
‘Right.’ I muttered to myself, spreading my right palm. There were tons of delicate lines criss-crossing the skin of my palm, and I started with the three main ones (yes, I’d been listening to Professor Trelawney).
I traced my Life Line—the long one going horizontally across your palm. I squinted hard, and flipped a few pages of my textbook.
If it forks into two halfway across the palm, you shall be blessed with good health, vigorous strength in your old age and a flair for growing particularly large and juicy Polish Pumpkins.
If it forks into three halfway across the palm, you shall be blessed with unusually fast-growing toenails, a long life and an extraordinary aptitude for combing hair.
Alas, if it forks not at all, you will die an early, painful death this coming Thursday.
Apparently, according to The Basics of Palm-Reading and Other Arts by Serena Limpwurt, I was going to die this Thursday. Merlin, I can see why my mum couldn’t stand Divination. It’s so stupid. It’s all just lucky speculation and estimation. Whatever happened to good old solid fact?
Huffing ever so slightly, I flipped the page and went to my Love Line—the one curving vertically towards your arm.
If your love line is straight and true, you will be blessed with an amorous, passionate love life and a loving husband. Your heart will never be broken!
If your love line zigzags and is discontinuous, your love life shall be rocky and uncertain, but nevertheless you will find your true love in the end.
If your love line ends abruptly halfway, you will never get to taste or experience the dizzying sensation of love for you shall be transformed into an ugly old hag at age twenty-four. You shall die an old, virginal maid with two Cheshire cats and five Crups and your parents shall disown you.
I wonder what Serena Limpwurt was on when she wrote this?
‘… is everybody done?’ Professor Trelawney trilled, practically orgasmic with joy and rapture.
There was a general murmur of assent, and Professor Trelawney clapped her hands thrice. ‘Theodore Thotts, please stand up and tell the whole class about your future!’
Theodore Thotts lugged himself up from his comfy chair and said, ‘It seems that I will meet a swarm of Bowtruckles on my way to an ice-cream parlor next February and I’m to die a grisly death because the Bowtruckles will be offended by a peanut shell I shall be wearing on my neck and attack me.’
Professor Trelawney ostensibly didn’t find anything wrong with Theodore Thotts prediction of his rather bleak and somber future, because she clapped her hands yet again and said in a quivery voice, ‘Excellent work, Thotts! Next! How about you, Layla Cress?’
Layla stood up, shook out her shimmery chestnut hair and read out, ‘It appears that I’m to have a total of eleven children and one of them will be born a half-gnome. My husband will leave me because he cannot stand the shame of having such a hideous child and I shall eventually commit suicide with a sharpened piece of Chinese Carrot.’ She sounded rather bewildered, and a few people snickered.
‘Am I really going to commit suicide with a piece of carrot?’ she asked, paling. Layla’s an attractive girl, but she’s not the brightest Lumos in the spell box, if you know what I mean.
‘Of course you are! Brilliant palm-reading!’ Professor Trelawney gushed. ‘Now, I want everyone to find a partner!’
‘Now it’s time to read each other’s palms! Decode your future!’
Everyone started shuffling around, muttering and grunting. Before I could detach my arse from my beanbag—have you any idea how hard it is to get up from one of Professor Trelawney’s beanbags after you’ve been sitting in them for an hour?—Scorpius Malfoy thunked his copy of The Basics of Palm-Reading and Other Arts beside mine and sat down, grinning.
‘Hello.’ He greeted, flipping open his textbook.
‘What the fuck are you doing?’ I hissed, pushing his textbook away frantically. ‘This—' I gestured wildly between us. ‘—is supposed to be a secret.’
‘Relax, Rose.’ He drawled, settling himself comfortably in his chair.
‘People are already beginning to stare!’ I hated the way my voice sounded so shrill, but I honestly couldn’t help it. I’d practically given myself a hernia trying to keep this thing between me and Malfoy a secret—what with my stuttering lies and weak cover-ups—and now here he was, conversing casually with me as though we weren’t supposed to be sworn enemies.
‘Go pair up with Jensen Worcestershire or something.’ I insisted, eyes looking around shiftily. Layla Cress was already pointing.
‘He’s taken.’ Malfoy shrugged, carelessly pushing back a stray lock of blond, immaculate hair. I noticed he appeared to have lost the first two buttons of his white school uniform and his green and silver tie was gone. He winked surreptitiously at Layla Cress, and she blushed a violent, pleased red.
‘Stop that!’ I hissed. ‘It’s disgusting, the way you blokes manipulate girls.’
‘But they like it!’ Malfoy defended himself. A wide grin spread itself across his face. ‘Does it bother you?’ he questioned.
‘Very much.’ I snapped.
‘Is everybody in their pairs?’ Professor Trelawney called out. ‘Right! Now, I want everyone to decipher their partner’s futures!’
‘Guess I’m bloody stuck with you.’ I grumbled, crouching down in my seat. ‘Is anybody looking?’
He snorted with laughter. ‘Hardly. Most of them are sleeping, actually.’
‘Don’t ever do this again!’
‘It’s only Divination. Potter isn’t around.’ His expression darkened.
‘Still. People might talk and James will hear.’ I emphasized the James, a part of me wanting to piss Malfoy off.
‘You do know he’ll find out eventually.’ He crossed his arms, leaning back in his chair.
‘Yes—well—I know but I’d rather it wasn’t so soon!’ I sputtered. Well, this is sort of the truth. I was actually planning on keeping this a secret forever. Letting others know hadn’t even occurred to me. ‘Why’re you here, anyway?’
He shrugged again, expression pensive. ‘Not very sure.’ He said finally.
I glared. ‘Why can’t you ever give me a straight answer?’
‘That was a straight answer.’
‘Divination is horrible. Why’re you still taking it?’
‘I could ask you the same question.’
‘I—’ my words died on my lips and I looked away, blushing a tad. Absolutely no one knew about my dream of becoming the very first person to take eighteen subjects for my NEWTS—it’s sort of a personal thing. ‘My mum wants me to take it.’
‘Right.’ I couldn’t tell if Malfoy believed me or not.
‘Have you started yet?’ Professor Trelawney’s strident tones made us both jump. ‘I suggest you two begin.’ And she floated away, garishly colorful robes flapping.
‘You start first.’ I shoved my hand at him, scowling slightly. ‘You’re probably better at it than I am. And put on your fecking tie—you’re a Prefect. I’m wearing mine, aren’t I? I could dock you points for that.’
Malfoy calmly retrieved his silvery-green tie from his book bag and fastened it around his neck, sighing in exasperation. ‘Right, give me your palm.’
I stretched further forward, slapping my hand down on the intricately carved mahogany table. I watched irritably as Malfoy flipped to page 239.
‘This is your Life Line, right?’ Malfoy held down my hand and lightly prodded my palm with an astonishingly cold finger that made me jump slightly. ‘This one?’
I felt his finger gently trace my Life Line. ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ I replied, fidgeting in my seat. Bloody hell, this feels… good. Nice. Soothing. Aurgh.
‘It’s right across your palm, so that means…’ his head bent closer to The Basics of Palm-Reading and Other Arts, carefully perusing its contents. ‘I think it means you’re going to live a reasonably long life. Either that or you die next Thursday.’
‘I got “die next Thursday” just now.’ I stared down at Malfoy’s fingers on my palm. I was beginning to get rather tingly inside… probably because his fingers were so fecking cold. Merlin, did he douse them in the Black Lake before he came in to Divination, or what?
‘Is this the—er—Love Line?’ he traced another line, looking at me with those scarily intense gray eyes of his. I wish I had an unusual eye color—mine are just plain brown.
‘Should be.’ I said, shrugging.
‘This is such bollocks.’ He sighed, running his finger down a page. ‘I bet none of this is true. You taking it for your—what’s wrong?’
‘You’re all tense.’ He observed.
‘Well—er—’ Should I tell him this? ‘—your fingers are rather cold, see.’ I informed him.
‘Oh.’ He gazed at his own fingers and withdrew quickly. ‘Sorry about that.’
‘No—no—it’s not a problem—sorry. Erm, carry on.’
‘Okay.’ He flexed his fingers carefully, glancing up at me uncertainly. ‘Are they really that cold? Because if you—don’t want me to—erm—touch—’
‘No! Forget what I said.’ I said hastily. Gah, I could kill myself right now. I mean, “your fingers are really cold”? Who says that?
‘Okay then.’ He rubbed both his hands together furiously, shooting me a small grin. ‘Right, give me your palm. Love Line—yours is sort of choppy and weird…’
‘…I think it means…’ he referenced the textbook again. ‘… your love life shall be rocky and uncertain, but nevertheless you will find your true love in the end.’ He read out, laughing slightly. ‘That sounds so clichéd.’
‘Yeah it does.’ I said vaguely, tapping my feet impatiently. The perfume and smoke was making me rather prickly and cantankerous. ‘Wealth Line is next.’
‘Wealth Line....’ he traced my palm absent-mindedly. My petulance almost immediately vanished. Merlin, he’s got some sodding marvelous fingers. I know that sounded exceedingly pervy but at the moment I couldn’t care less. The heavy, nauseating perfume seemed to lull me closer and closer to sleep…
‘…and you’re going to have mountains and mountains of Galleons when you’re thirty-five, but you’re going to wake up one morning and discover it’s all leprechaun gold.’ Malfoy finished, letting go of my palm.
‘What?’ I said stupidly, blinking rapidly. ‘Sorry—I think I dozed off a little back there.’
‘Do you have any idea how long I took to decipher that stupid line?’ he grumbled, pushing his textbook away. ‘My turn.’
‘Give it.’ I grabbed his hand forcefully, jerking him forward violently. Hee hee.
‘That’s your Life Line.’ I jabbed his palm mercilessly and Malfoy yelped in pain and shock.
‘Gentle!’ he cried out. ‘I was gentle with you, wasn’t I?’
I ignored this question. His palm had the skin of a member of the upper class—all smooth and unblemished. Even his fingernails were perfect. Still cold, though. His Life Line was a thin, pale streak across.
‘So…’ I examined my textbook. ‘Here it says that you’ll live a long, long life. Until you’re a hundred and fourteen, actually.’
‘Fantastic news, that.’
‘And you’re also going to lose two limbs when you’re fifty-three…’
I was almost crying with relief when the bell finally rang. The smoky perfume was practically choking me at this point. After I was done with Malfoy’s palm, we sort of sat around and talked about this and that. It was mostly hesitant and rather unsure conversation, though.
‘Class dismissed, dears!’ Professor Trelawney announced, shooing us out. ‘Jensen Worcestershire—look out for that invisible step on your way down and Layla Cress—the pink quill you’re looking for is under your bed in your dormitory. I want everyone to read as many palms as possible—write down all your predictions on a piece of parchment and pass it to me the next class!’
I hurriedly packed up my book bag, eager to get out. ‘Bye.’ I said shortly, giving a little wave.
‘Hold on.’ Malfoy quickly gathered up his things and shoved them messily into his book bag. I cringed internally—I could never stand it if my things weren’t orderly and neat in my book bag. ‘It’s the last class of today, right?’
‘Yes.’ I headed for the small trapdoor, waiting patiently as everyone stumbled down the flimsy wooden ladder affixed clumsily underneath the trapdoor. ‘Why?’
‘Any chance you’re up for another session of Quidditch?’ he fell easily into step beside me, the epitome of grace and aristocratic elegance. I suppose you get that when you’re a Malfoy.
Iris was furious.
Completely and utterly livid.
‘Budge over.’ Elisha muttered, pushing Iris forcefully out of the way. ‘I can’t see anything with your great big head in the way.’
‘I was here first, if you remember.’ Iris reminded Elisha, pushing back her short blond hair and shoving an old pair of Omniculars against her eyes.
‘It’s my turn to look!’ Elisha hissed indignantly, immensely annoyed. ‘Give them back!’
‘You hogged them for ten whole minutes!’ Iris protested, shuffling further away from Elisha and leaning across the window for a better view. ‘It’s my turn!’ she twiddled the purple and yellow Zoom dials on that particular pair of Omniculars and banged them violently against the stone wall when they didn’t work. ‘Bloody—useless—’ she grunted.
‘Well, what d’you expect? I bought them three years ago, it’s a wonder it’s still intact. And don’t hit it like that! They cost ten galleons!’
‘Get a new pair next time we’re in Hogsmeade.’ Iris said distractedly, twiddling dials again. ‘They’re working!’
She carefully adjusted the left and right Zoom dials so that she could properly see what Rose and Malfoy were doing. It had been by chance that they found this perfect spot to spy on their friend Rose—Iris had been walking up to the North Tower to post a letter to her grandmother in the Owlery and she was on her way back down when she stopped at a random window to look at the beautiful mountainous scenery. She’d nearly had a double heart attack when she glanced down and saw Rose and that Malfoy bloke running around in that small patch of grass behind the Herbology greenhouses. She’d flown down to the Gryffindor Common Room, quickly told Elisha what she’d discovered and the two of them had sped over to this window, Omniculars eagerly in tow.
Oh yes, Iris was raging mad. Not because Rose had been so audacious as to enlist the help of a Slytherin to teach her Quidditch, oh no. She was fuming because Rose hadn’t introduced her to Scorpius Malfoy when she asked him to be her Quidditch coach. Hadn’t Iris just told Rose two weeks ago how fit she thought Malfoy was? It was absurd of Rose to tell no one but Elisha—what about her?
‘Merlin, look at that boy!’ Iris murmured, furiously Zooming and un-Zooming. ‘I can’t believe Rose managed to land one of the most gorgeous blokes in Hogwarts! And she didn’t even tell me!’
‘Is that what you think?’ Iris’ eyes left the Omniculars long enough to shoot Elisha a knowing look. ‘Methinks it’s something more.’
‘But Malfoy’s a Slytherin!’’ Elisha exclaimed in horror.
‘That simply makes him more attractive.’ Iris explained knowledgably. ‘Rose obviously likes the forbidden romance relationships.’
‘No sodding way!’ Elisha immediately objected. ‘Rose—forbidden romance? You and I both know her well enough to know Rose would never—never like a bloody Slytherin. And Rose is so not the forbidden romance type!’
‘It’s always the quiet ones.’ Iris said absent-mindedly. ‘Anyway, anyone can see they’re completely smitten with each other.’
‘Okay, well, maybe not, but they will be, give or take a couple of weeks.’ Iris shrugged carelessly, concentrating on the Omniculars. Apparently she’d seen something rather comical, because she let out a great snort of laughter and fell to the floor.
‘What?’ Elisha demanded, scrambling for the Omniculars.
‘Look—look—’ Iris scuttled forwards again, picking herself up hurriedly. ‘I can make Rose hit herself on her head with her broomstick again—and again—and again—’ Iris gleefully twiddled the Play-by-Play buttons, laughing sadistically at her friends’ expense. ‘This is hilarious.’
‘Ha-ha.’ Elisha said sourly. ‘Let me see, it should be my turn by now.’
‘Wait, I’ve still got a few more minutes left—’
Without waiting for Iris’ consent, Elisha forcibly snatched the old, weary pair of Omniculars back and attached them firmly to her eyes. ‘Where are they—oh, wait…’ Elisha muttered, adjusting a few knobs. About thirty feet below them, Rose and that Malfoy wanker were standing face to face in that small clearing, broomsticks laid carefully on the ground.
‘What’re they doing? What?’ Iris shook Elisha’s shoulders desperately.
Elisha zoomed in and watched as Rose’s broomstick flew straight into her hands. She saw Rose jump up and down in joy. ‘Too bad we can’t hear what they’re saying.’ Elisha said under her breath. ‘My stash of Extendable Ears just ran out.’
‘What’re they doing?’ Iris was practically bouncing up and down in eagerness.
‘Rose managed to get her broom off the ground—and now he’s helping Rose up her broom—and HOLY SHITE!’
‘WHAT?!’ Iris immediately shot up, eyes as wide as saucers. ‘What what what?’
‘That—Malfoy—’ Elisha was apparently lost for words. She fell back down on the stone floor and started spluttering like a fish out of water.
‘Give them!’ Iris seized the Omniculars desperately and twiddled the Play-by-Play. Iris’ jaw scraped the floor as she watched Rose get up on her broom clumsily. She watched as Malfoy reached out and gripped Rose’s shoulders to steady her. She watched as…as… Malfoy stepped back and began to admire Rose’s behind in a decidedly unashamed manner.
‘Was Malfoy checking out her arse?’ Iris squealed in an impossibly high decibel and accompanied Elisha on the stone floor. ‘Bloody hell! Oh—fuck—Rose, you lucky arsehole!’
‘Lucky?’ Elisha seethed, grabbing the Omniculars and struggling back to the window. ‘I cannot believe that—that—Slytherin bastard actually had the audacity to check Rose out!’
‘Well—er—he doesn’t actually realize there are people watching, so Malfoy is, in fact, fully justified in his rights to check out Rose’s arse. I’m sure he wouldn’t think of checking Rose out in public. He is, after all, a fifteen-year-old bloke chock full with raging hormones. I’d be more worried if he wasn’t checking Rose out.’
‘What’s wrong with you?’ Elisha said, huffing and going bright red with outraged fury. ‘You’re acting as though—as though—as though you approve of this thing between Rose and Malfoy!’
‘Well, I wouldn’t say approve…’ Iris said thoughtfully, a wide grin spreading itself generously across her face. ‘Though I certainly wouldn’t frown upon it if Rose somehow managed to introduce him to me…’
‘You’re disgusting.’ Elisha said bluntly, going back to the Omniculars. ‘Thank Merlin—he’s stopped checking her out. Ugh!’
‘What’re they doing now?’ Iris clambered to her knees.
‘He’s trying to make Rose fly, I think…’ Elisha concentrated harder. ‘Rose is sort of—sort of floating a few feet above the ground. She’s wobbling here and there though, things don’t look too good—oops, she just fell.’
‘Yeah—Malfoy’s helping her up again. I think he’s laughing—what a prick.’
‘He’s a bloody gorgeous prick—’
‘What’re you two doing?’
Elisha and Iris both screamed in unison, and fell painfully down to the stone floor (again). Elisha hastily hid the Omniculars underneath her robes and smiled unconvincingly at Dominique Weasley.
‘He—hello!’ Iris squeaked, giving her a funny sort of jerky wave.
Dominique stared down at them with a peculiar expression on her face. ‘What on earth is going on here?’
‘We’re—we’re just enjoying—er—the view!’ Elisha cringed at her unsteady voice. Normally, she was a good liar and was mildly adept at keeping a straight face, but something about Rose’s older cousin sort of intimidated her. Perhaps it was because Dominique Weasley was 1/8 Veela and almost painfully beautiful, or maybe it was because she was a sixth-year and therefore vastly superior to her. Or even because Dominique had this sort of cold, calculating feel about her.
‘What’s with the view?’ Dominique stepped forward to crane her neck out of the window. Iris immediately jumped up and literally pushed her out of the way.
‘No—no! It’s gone now! We thought we saw an, er, orange Capybara behind the greenhouses but it’s gone now! Yes! Very rare, orange Capybaras! They’re usually turquoise or, erm, fuchsia…’
Elisha winced internally at Iris’ monumentally pathetic excuse.
‘You can’t honestly expect me to believe that.’ Dominique snorted, hands on her slim hips. ‘Come on, what’s so secret?’ She was feeling rather curious. She’d just been on her way down to the fifth-floor for her Astronomy class when she saw two of Rose’s best friends whispering conspiratorially by the small stone window right beside this monstrously ugly tapestry of Cormin the Clumsy and Tyson the Terrible in powdery wigs dancing around a mulberry bush in winter.
‘We were just about to leave anyway, right?’ Iris picked up her book bag, smoothing back her messy short blonde hair. ‘Good day.’
‘Er—yes, good day.’
They stood in silence for a few seconds.
‘Well, aren’t you going to leave?’ Dominique asked slyly.
‘Well—we’d rather you leave first, see.’ Elisha said desperately.
‘Why don’t you two leave first?’ Dominique raised a perfectly groomed eyebrow, scrutinizing them both carefully. Dominique knew perfectly well there was something those two were hiding. She was not, after all, born yesterday.
‘Oh. Well—we’d much rather you left first.’ Iris said.
Dominique let out a small breath, turned and took two steps down the stairs. She figured she might as well leave, anyway. Those two didn’t look as though they’d be giving up their secret anytime soon. It probably wasn’t all that interesting, at any rate.
‘Goodbye!’ Elisha waved, hugely relieved. ‘Good—’
Dominique whirled around at the sound of something significantly heavy thudding down on the stone floor. She saw it before they did—a pair of Omniculars sitting beside Elisha’s feet. It all happened quickly—Dominique hurried over, quickly snatched up the pair of rusty Omniculars from the ground and shoved the two away so that she could find out who they were spying on.
‘No! No—nooo!’ Elisha shrieked. ‘Nothing to see here—’ she practically threw herself onto the older girl’s back and tugged her down.
‘Give—those—back—’ Iris grunted shrilly, pulling on Dominique’s sleeve.
Dominique let out a mangled cry and the three tumbled over.
‘Those are ours!’ Elisha climbed over Dominique to grab the Omniculars away, utterly frantic. She managed to sink a hand in Dominique’s stomach, and Dom let out a high-pitched bawl of agony.
‘You’re on my foot!’
‘Bloody hell, just get up!’
‘My fucking hair! Ouch—stop tugging!’
After several more seconds of excruciating, confused struggling, the three of them eventually disentangled themselves and stood up, panting heavily. Elisha’s robes had a hole the size of a Quaffle and Iris’ hair was a lost cause. Dominique was the only one who’d emerged completely flawless.
Iris looked at Dominique warily, hugging the Omniculars to her heaving chest. Did she—did she see them?
Dominique had muddled expression of horror, dismay and disbelief on her face. ‘What—what—’
Elisha shook her head sadly, heart pounding several thousand miles a second. ‘We’re bloody fucked.’
Iris nodded silently, still staring wide-eyed at Dominique. ‘So—so what did you see?’
Dominique let out a screech. ‘Holy feck! Was that Rose and Scorpius Malfoy?’
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