Chapter 3 : The not-so-perfect Daughter
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Molly Audrey Weasley
born 2002 (date and middle name not canon)
September 1st, 2020
Molly Audrey Weasley was ready. This was her final year, and it would be the best yet. She was Head Girl, she had revised the past years’ curriculum, had even started to go through her new books.
Her father was a member of the most popular wizarding family, the Weasleys. He worked at the Ministry and had helped bring about order after the end of the war. He had also rather high standards when it came to his daughters, wanted them to do perfectly. Molly thought she did rather well, that she came close to his expectations. She had always aced her exams, prefect, now Head Girl. She loved her new power, and had vowed to use it for the good of all.
She prepared to run through the barrier to the platform. When the crowd finally cleared somewhat for her to get through, she was met with a most unwelcome sight. He just stood there – the bane of her existence. A lean built; a dark, snug pair of jeans, ripped and with holes in places; a black, fitting t-shirt. His black hair was tousled, his eyes which she knew were blue, hidden behind a pair of sunglasses. His trunk was beside him.
“Duke!” Molly called out, vexed. She veered off course and came to a stop in front of him. “What do you think you’re doing? Posing here with your trunk for everyone to see?”
His smirk annoyed her to no end, as he took off his glasses and gave her a once over. “Weasley! So glad to see you haven’t changed! Would have been such a shame, too. And Head Girl!” His eyes had landed on her chest.
Molly went red, she couldn’t say if it was from anger or embarrassment. She shoved him backwards, and when she slipped through the barrier herself, she saw him sprawled on the floor, looking for the world as if he intended to be just there. “Oh wow, that was direct,” he teased at her. "You could have just told me to lay down!"
“Shut up, moron!” Molly stormed away from him. Not a good example to set on her first day as Head Girl, but she just couldn’t help herself when around him. At least no one had seen.
She huffed a little as she got off the train again, after having put away her trunk. She was early, her family would be here shortly, but she had wanted to be present in case any of the new (or old) students needed her help. But for now, the platform was empty, safe for the obnoxious boy who cost her all her nerves.
His name was Robert Duke, grandson of Catriona McCormack, the famous keeper for the Holyhead Harpies, and son of Kirley Duke, lead guitarist of the once very popular wizarding band The Weird Sisters. One of those names alone would have made him very famous with his fellow students.
Except that he didn’t care for followers. He was arrogant, impolite, and a complete toe-rag who seized every opportunity to make himself more unpopular. He was a Gryffindor alright, but preferred to keep to himself most of the time. Only the fact that he was spectacular at Quidditch somehow redeemed him with his fellow Gryffindors. Molly simply hated his guts, he especially seemed to enjoy goading her.
At the moment, he was still lounging on the ground, looking for all the world like he was taking a comfortable nap.
Git. She trudged over, seeing as there was nothing better to do. “You’re blocking the entrance, again,” she told him matter-of-factly.
He only opened one eye, signalling that he had been awake the whole time. “So? ‘s not as if someone would be nuts enough to be here that early. Only you and me, apparently.”
“That is … Oh, uh, go die in a hole!” She sputtered and marched away, making her robes swish behind her. What a git, she had only intended to make conversation, seeing as it was only them here. That’s what she got for trying to be friendly.
Molly was in full swing, back on her way to stand by the train. She could hear steps behind her and was caught by her hand. She wheeled around and saw that arrogant face again, smirking at her.
“What do you want?” Really, she started to get really agitated. He had been obnoxious since he first opened his mouth in first year, but he had never pestered her specifically.
“Molly, I must say you look especially stunning, that badge really compliments you,” he told her.
Molly gaped at him like a fish. What? Was he mocking her? She couldn’t believe it. The nerve of him!
“Although I must say that look is not flattering at all,” he smirked at her.
Molly was struggling to regain her composure, when she heard her father’s voice from the barrier.
She urged herself to turn in that direction, and stepped away from Duke, as gracefully as she could. She would not let someone like him ruin that day for her.
She approached her father, and gave him a light hug in greeting as he proudly grinned down at her.
“Good day, father, as you see, I needn’t have worried. No one’s here yet,” she said.
“Yes, except me. So I take it you are Mr Weasley? My name is Robert Duke, Molly’s classmate.” Molly had to close her eyes for a second before she turned around to throw him an irritated glance. What was this all about?
“Uh, pleased to meet you, Mr Duke. Surely what Molly meant to say was that you are not in need of direction, seeing as you must be a seventh year yourself?” Percy Weasley returned the greeting politely, although Molly just knew he was eyeing the other’s clothing disapprovingly. She didn’t even need to look at his face for that, his voice had that special undertone his family knew only too well. She had to suppress the giggles that threatened to overcome her. Maybe Duke could be good for some entertainment, at least.
Molly’s sister Lucy, who would have to wait another year to start Hogwarts, was peering curiously and unabashedly at the boy’s trousers.
“Daddy? Can’t he not afford whole trousers? Grandpa Arthur has those old ones he never uses anymore,” Lucy suggested brightly.
“Lucy!” Her mother shrieked, pushing her behind her. “Pardon my dear! I don’t know what it is with her, sometimes.”
Grateful that her mother couldn’t see her own face at the moment, she gave Duke a full view of her gleeful face. Oh Lucy, she would have to remember to send her sister an extra pack of chocolate frogs.
Duke had gathered his wits rather fast, answered with a, “Don’t worry, I understand,” and had excused himself. Just as she was starting to admire his fast recovery, he turned around, saying “See you on the train, Molly Dolly!”
Molly scowled after him. Stupid git.
“Molly Dolly?” Her father asked, aghast. “Molly, I hope you know better that to consort with the likes of him. And you should keep your focus completely on your studies. You are Head Girl, after all.”
“Don’t worry, Daddy. He was annoying, thank Merlin you came! I barely spoke to him during the last years, I don’t know why he’s started now.” That was a mystery she would have to figure out. Or not. She didn’t really care.
“Molly!” She once again hear her name, this time a grin broke out on her face at the sound of the voice.
“Clare!” Molly had to brace herself as her best friend jumped into her arms.
The girls started to exchange news, Molly had to push Lucy back multiple times, as her little sister tried to but in, asking many questions.
“Lucy, go away!” Honestly, sometimes the little thing was just too nosy for her own good.
Molly looked at the clock as more and more students began filtering onto the platform. “Listen, Clare. I’ll catch you later, I should probably make sure everything’s in order, and then there’s the prefect meeting.”
“See you then, perfect prefect! Ops, sorry, perfect Head Girl!” Clare saluted her, laughing, as she skipped away.
Molly then formally said goodbye to her father, mother, and sister. She had always felt that her own immediate family was the most reserved among the Weasley family. She shrugged it off, that was just one of the things that couldn’t be changed. She sorted some eleven-year-olds out, showing them the luggage car and advising them to get a seat as soon as possible.
Then, she saw a crowd forming in front of one of the train doors. Approaching the crowd, she couldn’t help the grin that was forming on her lips. She had just spotted two tall men among the crowd, one had jet-black, messy hair, the other's was fire-engine red.
“Come on, please don’t clog the ways! Move on, people!” Molly tried the most authoritative voice she could muster, and indeed, people started to move away.
“Blimey, Molly! You’ve go to teach me that! Sounding like Percy without sounding like Percy!” Uncle Ron teased her, ignoring her hand as always, as he pulled her into a hug.
Uncle Harry chuckled. “Seems like you just saved us! We saw your parents, we only managed a few waves before they disappeared.”
“That’s possible. We’ve already said our goodbyes, Father needs to go to work.” She turned to look at Lily and Hugo, who were standing beside their parents, Lily bursting with excitement and Hugo slightly behind her. “Are you ready to start Hogwarts?”
“’Course! I’ve been waiting for this day for years now!” Lily took the initiative, as always.
Molly nodded. “So, if you’re ready, go get a seat, the train will fill up quickly now.”
She exchanged some polite conversation with her uncles and aunts, then proceeded to do her duties as a Head Girl. She really loved that job.
Molly jumped onto the train when she couldn’t see any students anymore on the platform. The train departed. Molly made her way to the front of the train, and entered the prefect compartment where she would be heading the prefect meeting.
It was a good crowd this year, and she was positive she would get along just fine with Gareth Lyons, her partner, and Head Boy, this year. They had discussed the patrol schedule for the year, and had managed to keep order during the meeting. So, everything was fine. If it wasn’t for that nagging feeling, a foreboding feeling. Something told her there would be more bumps in the road than the last years together.
She had just finished patrolling her designated car, and was on her way back to go looking for Clare. Then, she remembered she had had her knapsack when she started the meeting in the prefect car. Scolding herself, she turned on her heel to head into the opposite direction. As she approached the compartment, she almost rolled her eyes when she caught sight of Duke again. He was leaning against the closed door of the prefect compartment – where her knapsack was.
“Molly Dolly! I was waiting for you! Where did you go?” Why was he grinning at her? He usually just glared at people, or ignored them entirely.
She regarded him, with a critically raised eyebrow. “Molly Dolly?” She tried to shove him away. He wouldn’t budge.
“Yes, that’s my new nickname for you,” he teased her.
Molly pressed the knapsack to her chest, now completely confused. “What … why are you … Duke, I don’t even talk to you! And even more important, you don’t talk to anyone, except if it is for Quidditch! So why are you talking to me?!”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “I was trying to start over, turn over a new leaf, whatever. But if I’m not good enough to talk to you …” he let his sentence trail off.
“Don’t make me the villain in this. You don’t start over by calling someone ‘Molly Dolly’. Where did you get that idea, anyway? – No, I don’t want to know,” she hastily added, when he opened his mouth to elaborate. “And now, I’m going. My friends are waiting for me.”
Molly rushed by him, without waiting for an answer, and didn’t slow down until she neared the compartment where she had seen Clare earlier on her rounds. What a day already. If that was the first day, what about the rest?
“Clare!” she had had to take a breath, then entered the compartment a little bit calmer. She stopped short at the sight of Clare and Darius Callaghan, both were sitting very close together. Darius was one of the Gryffindor boys, and he often hung out with them. Both Darius and Clare were rather red in the face.
What was going on? Molly sat down, but the atmosphere was rather tense as neither of the other two said much and were avoiding each other’s eyes at any cost. Molly soon gave up her attempt at conversation and retreated behind a book. When she couldn’t stand the atmosphere anymore, she hastily excused herself under the pretence of going to the loo.
She wandered along the hall, drawn by a familiar laughter. At least, something that hadn’t changed. James Potter. As she approached the source of the laughter, she could also distinguish Freddie’s deeper laugh.
She opened the compartment door, to be greeted with a now familiar sight. The Gryffindor fourth years, which included James and Fred, had their heads together and were cackling about something that had to be on the floor.
“What is going on here?” she asked the apartment at large. The boys jumped about a mile into the air, but soon, her cousins gave her an innocent smile as soon as they discovered who it was. “Molly! Don’t let us keep you from your duties!” Fred exclaimed grandiosely.
“Oh, I will, but not before I have a look on what is so funny,” she responded, fully entering the room.
The boys parted, and all she saw was a pile of sweets. Not something to justify the nervous jumping and too-innocent smiles. But, she couldn’t see anything wrong with it.
Molly gave them her best Head Girl look, cautioned them if anything should happen later, if during the train ride or the feast, she would personally hunt them down. She stalked out again, letting the compartment door fall closed.
“Very well done, that was impressive.” That annoying voice reached her ears again.
“Duke,” Molly sighed, resigned to her fate. “Are you stalking me, by any chance? You still haven’t given me a valid reason, except for ‘wanting to start anew’. Don’t you have somewhere to sit?”
“I do, but I had to go to the toilet, and look who I run into …,” he said suggestively.
“Great, just great!” Molly rolled her eyes and pushed once again past him.
Soon enough, Molly was caught up in her Head Girl duties again. She had barely time to breath, yet alone think straight.
She had rushed through the feast, then it was her last first day, and the first week seemed to fly by. Often, she would come into her dorm late at night, falling onto her bed and falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She rarely saw Clare and Darius, and if she did, the two of them were either avoiding each other or glaring daggers at each other.
Normally, Molly would make it her mission to find out was going on. She contemplated this as she strode back from her first prefect meeting, on her way to the Great Hall. “Things to do: Find out what is going on with Clare and Darius. Either hit their heads together, lock them into a broom closet, make them talk, uh, …”
“Option B, lock them into a broom closet,” came a voice from behind. Molly grabbed her chest in shock. Who would be sneaking around and scaring people? Oh, of course.
“Don’t – don’t. Ever. Scare me. Like that! Merlin, Duke, what is wrong with you?”
“Molly Dolly! Miss me?” Robert Duke stood in the middle of the hallway now with his broomstick on his shoulder, effectively blocking the hallway. Molly could smell sweat and rain, and his robes were muddy.
“Oh yes, whatever would I do without you?” She added with a bite, marching off again.
“Are you going to lunch? I’d be happy to accompany you, but I’m afraid I’ll need a shower first.”
“So, first off, whatever gave you the impression I wanted your company? And second, I didn’t know you knew so many words,” she responded.
“Aww, Molly Dolly, I know so much more words, I’d be happy to show you!”
“Go away. I’m not in the mood to deal with your new-found need to bother me,” she told him tiredly. Surprisingly enough, the comments stopped, as did his footsteps. When she checked behind her, he had disappeared. Molly shook her head, that was really weird.
Molly’s next class was Potions. She had sat alone at lunch, Merlin knew where her so-called friends had gone off to.
When she arrived in the classroom, Clare was sitting at the right side of their usual table, Darius at the left. They were looking in opposite directions. “Hey, you missed lunch. Where have you been?” she asked cheerfully. Totally faked on her part, but neither seemed to notice.
“Kitchen,” mumbled Darius, as Clare said, “Not hungry.”
“Ok, listen, what is …,” but she was interrupted by the arrival of Professor Slughorn and his new assistant Professor Ryder. Molly spent the first half of the double period thoroughly bored and frustrated. At first, they had to copy down the instructions, they would only move on to the practical part in the second half. Her desk neighbours still ignored each other, so Molly was left to take down notes. Occasionally, she would look around the classroom in an attempt to distract her from what proved to be an abysmal lesson.
Her eyes landed on one particular boy. He had managed to come to that lesson, she observed. Although he didn’t bother to do much more, he was only lounging on his chair which was dipped back on its hind legs. He was sitting alone again, but that wasn’t something new.
Molly wondered. He was as hostile as ever towards everyone else, but seemed to have taken a liking to bothering her. She looked a little closer; his hair was in that untidy style again, his eyes half-closed. She caught herself thinking what a lazy bum he was, not paying attention and all, but as she realised she was currently guilty of doing the same thing, she felt the blood rush into her cheeks. Just her luck that he would look over at that exact moment, catching her mid-stare, mid-blush. Fantastic, Molly though to herself, rolling her eyes. She kept looking around, acting as if she had not stared at him in particular, but was actually watching the class in general.
Her eyes landed on Sienna Davies of Ravenclaw next. Sienna had given her attitude at the prefect meeting today, and on the train. She was the seventh year prefect, and had been her closest rival for the Head Girl position. Sienna was glaring back at her.
Head Girl stress: check; growing backlog of homework: check; obnoxious stalker: check; arguing friends: check; jealous arch-nemesis: check.
Sienna was still glaring. Molly found she was tired of all the nonsense, decided she would just get rid of one of the problems. She flicked her wand once, and sat back up straight to take notes like the diligent, proper Head Girl she was.
After the note-taking part of the lesson was over, Professor Ryder told them to collect certain ingredients from the storage cupboard and start the practical part of the lesson. He was interrupted by a shriek from Sienna Davies. She had started to get up, but found her feet tangled in hair. Her braided pigtails had grown out, so they now reached the floor and had pooled there. Sienna was lying flat on her face, her fall cushioned a little by her masses of hair.
“Ms Davies?” Professor Slughorn questioned. “The lesson is about hair-growing potion, yes, but you’re supposed to do that now. Do you have an explanation for this?”
“I – I don’t know, Professor. Someone must have done it.”
“I can only assume Ms Davies would not jinx herself, would the one responsible please step forward?” Of course, no one did.
“Hm, yes, that was to be expected. Nonetheless, I expect the person responsible to stand up, or the whole class will have to suffer for this.”
Now Molly felt really bad, it never crossed her mind that her little prank would end that way. She cleared her throat to give herself up, but her voice wasn’t heard as someone talked over her.
“That was me, Professor.” Molly twisted her upper body around to see who had spoken, although she could already tell from the voice. Duke?
“Mr Duke? Why, pray tell, did you feel the need for something childish like that? Stay back after class, please, to receive your detention,” Professor Slughorn told him in an annoyed voice, then advised everyone to start brewing. Sienna’s hair problem was soon fixed.
Molly stood up to go to the storage cupboard, this time not even noticing, or caring, that her desk neighbours had started bickering. Just as she had thought, she could feel someone approach behind her. “Why did you do that? It wasn’t you!”
“Really? Are you going to tell?” There it was again, that teasing tone.
“You obviously know it was me. And I should reveal myself.”
“Ah no, what knight in shining armour would I be if I just let a lady sacrifice herself?” He acted as if he wanted to kiss her hand.
“Leave it,” she admonished him, slapping his hand away. “What do you think you’re doing? And what is that rubbish about a knight?”
“Oh, my dear lady, that I cannot tell. But, you now owe me. Tonight, eight o’clock, the entrance hall,” he gambled.
“Are you – are you completely insane now? Why would I do that?” Molly asked indignantly.
“Because, you owe me. Meet me there, and keep your good-girl reputation. Or speak up, get a detention and possibly an owl to your dear father. Your choice.” With that, the obnoxious git sauntered off, leaving Molly with her jaw on the floor. He just couldn’t be serious. What would he get out of it?
She didn’t have anymore time to contemplate this now, she had to go back and concentrate on the potion-making. And on keeping her two friends from attacking each other. Clare was throwing vicious glances over her head, Darius had taken to squashing the beetles with unnecessary force. Just great, Molly thought, I’m in a life crisis and those two are intend on murdering each other.
After what seemed like an eternity, the lesson was finally over. Molly packed up her bag, and she felt watched. When she peeked through her curtain of red hair, she spotted Duke. He was packing up as well. It seemed to her as if he was paying her close attention. Was he waiting for her to reveal herself to the Professor? She was tempted to; after all, it was the right thing to do. But could she? He had struck a nerve, she had to admit, when he had mentioned her father and her perfect record. That’s what she was, the Perfect Prefect Molly Weasley, never straying from the right path. She didn’t even know what had made her do it. But no, she would not risk that owl to her family, just too much questions. All she had to do was she had to swallow her pride. Right, she thought to herself, that she could never do.
She snatched up her bag, and marched toward the front of the classroom. “Professor, I …,” but she was again interrupted.
“Professor, you wanted to give me the time for my detention?”
“Yes, Mr Duke. Ms Weasley, was there anything you wanted?”
“Yes, sir, I …”
“She wanted to volunteer overseeing my detention, I must imagine,” Duke inserted smoothly.
“I think that won’t be necessary. I am quite sure Ms Weasley has more important things to attend to than your dettention. Mr Filch was requesting help, that’s where you’ll go.”
Molly could hear Duke groan quietly beside her, but that’s what he deserved. Served him right, she had wanted to take the blame.
“So, Molly Dolly, I must be off. Don’t forget tonight. And be sure to wear something nice!” He called after her, a seemingly relieved grin on his face.
“What …?” What the heck, who was glad about receiving a detention, and even stampeded over others to get it? Shaking her head, she went back to the Gryffindor common room in a slower pace.
She was seriously contemplating the wisdom of going tonight, keeping her part of the bargain. But wait, she hadn’t even agreed. The sensible thing was really to just ignore the idiot. It was his own fault for striking a bargain without sealing it, and taking the blame for something he hadn’t even done, for someone who would have taken the responsibility herself. And what was that nonsense about dressing up, and knights in shining armour?
Molly wondered again where those friends of her were when she needed them. Killing each other, most likely. What had happened to that well-structured, familiar routine? Everything was different this year. In the past, she wouldn’t even have gotten in a situation like this.
Molly fumed as she arrived in her dorm, having talked herself into a frustrated state. She threw her bag into the corner, and herself onto her bed. Merlin, that boy was going to be the death of her. She tried to calm down, and realised it was time for dinner. Nothing ever could stop a Weasley from his (or her) food.
So she got up again, making her way to the Great Hall. At the Gryffindor table, she caught James, Fred and their friends goofing off with the peas. She swiftly took Fred’s spoon from his hand and jabbed him in the ribs.
“Naughty naughty,” she heard behind her. Not again, Molly thought, resigned. She quickly sat herself down beside Dom, then caught the others’ questioning looks.
“My friends seem to have disappeared, and Duke’s bothering me. If only I could tell why,” she sighed.
“Dear cousin, Gryffindor’s unwilling Quidditch hero is talking to you, and you’re complaining? – Oi, could you ask him to train me?” James asked eagerly.
“Sure, James, why not? I have nothing better to do, after all!” Molly answered him, sarcastically.
Molly rolled her eyes and concentrated on her food. Recently, she had noticed a tendency with herself for sarcasm and double entendres. Pity no one seemed to realise it, or maybe they just didn’t expect it from her. She listened a bit to her cousins’ conversation, then got up. She took the stairs upstairs, with every intention to return to the common room.
Yet, she found herself pulled into an unused classroom. “Promise not to scream,” the owner of the hand covering her mouth whispered into her ear.
Molly nodded her head, but as soon as the hand was gone, she let out a high-pitched yell, that was cut short by the hand again.
“Molly Dolly, please don’t scream, I just need to light a few candles for us.”
The hand let go again, and someone fumbled around in the darkness around her. Just great, she thought, she could just tell who the person was.
“Duke, what are you doing now? Is it not enough you’re stalking me? Now it’s kidnapping?”
Indeed, his handsome face (she had to admit that) appeared in the glow of a thick candle.
“You didn’t intend to keep our little rendez-vous, didn’t you?” He asked her. She didn’t know how to interpret the expression of his face.
“We don’t have a rendez-vous. I never agreed to whatever you’re planning.”
“You don’t even know what it is I’m planning. – Now come with me.” He took her hand and guided her outside, with his lit wand this time. Molly followed, a little intrigued despite herself.
They came to a stop in front of a door of what looked like a broom cupboard.
“So, what’s here that I absolutely had to see?” she asked irritated.
“Ssh! Did you miss your friends, by the way?” he asked, seemingly without connection.
“My friends? No, they haven’t been at dinner. Who knows where … Wait, are they in there? What did you do, you idiot?” Molly wanted to pull open the door.
“Just carrying out your suggestion, Molly Dolly! You said …”
“Don’t –“ she poked him in the chest, “call –“ poke, “me” poke, “that!”
“But I like the nickname! What do you want me to call you then?”
“You don’t need to call me anything! Why are suddenly so interested in me? And I’m going to let them out now.”
“I’d leave them in there for a while, if I were you. – Don’t poke me again, woman,” he said hastily, holding up his hands. “I caught them snogging on the train, and ever since then, they’re acting stupid. I think you might have noticed, too,” he added with his trademark smirk.
Molly thought about it. “That’s what this was all about, then?”
“Uhuh. So, we’re waiting. Should take a while, I’d say,” he estimated and let himself slide down the wall. “So, you’ve loosened up a little this year.” At her questioning glance, he added, “Pushing me around, hitting your cousins, playing pranks, …”
Molly shrugged and sat down as well, straightening out her robes around her to cover her legs as she did so.
“Why don’t you leave it? The robes, I mean. I happen to like your legs.” Molly’s head snapped up at his statement, and she thought she had seen him blushing.
“What was that?” Molly watched him closely. Both had their wands lit now, so it was light enough to see his chiselled profile, his straight nose and – really, there was a red tinge on his cheeks. Strange, she had only noticed that with red-heads.
“You like my legs? Now you’re really creeping me out.” Although, Molly didn’t know if she wanted to feel crept out.
“Erg, yes, I said that. Uh, Molly, can I ask you something?”
That was the first time he had actually called her by her first name, not her last name, or some sort of constructed nickname, and she found she quite liked it. Did she see a trace of anxiousness in his eyes?
“Do you – do you like someone?” Was he holding his breath?
Molly thought about it. She had never felt the need to ask herself that question – except for now. Hm, he was certainly not what her father would have had in mind for her. She was feeling bold, all of a sudden.
Inching closer, she whispered, “No, not particularly. I have one stalker, though. He’s quite adamant, too.” Her lips hovered over his. Deciding she didn’t care anymore, she took the plunge and lowered her head a little, just as he lifted his. Robert Duke, was her last coherent thought for a while, you’re quite the mystery.
You know the drill, everything you recognise is not mine.
I quite like this chapter! What do you think?
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