Chapter 5 : Resolute Followers
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Norah Longbottom – Rachel McAdams
Lorcan Scamander – Harry Lloyd, as appears as Viserys in Game of Thrones
James didn't know how long his second seizure had lasted. He had stared at the ceiling the entire time, unable to take control of his body, only lay there hopelessly and feel his body jerk about violently. He could feel his tears pushing through the corners of his eyes once more at the pain. Then he could see nothing but black, but he didn't believe he had closed his eyes either. They had rolled into the back of his head, and as far as James knew, he mentally blacked out.
He could feel his seizing grow stronger, and he understood that words were leaving his mouth, for he could feel his mouth moving. But whether they were actual words or complete gibberish, he did not know. He didn't know if he was screaming or whispering. He only knew he was voicing something not of his own accord. When he felt his mouth clamp shut, his senses returned to him. The aching returned, the pain returned, but most importantly the ability to control his own body returned.
He lay on the floor for many moments, mortified beyond belief. He was overcome with so many emotions as well as physical pain. He was aching in pain, and he was terrified of himself because he had had no control whatsoever. He was terrified because he didn't know what he was becoming; he was terrified because, when he was seizing, he felt as if he had been placed under the Cruciatus Curse. He was angry, upset, embarrassed, horrified, and distraught all at the same time. He hated the feeling of not being in control; he hated that he had no idea when a seizure would come, how badly it would be, or how much pain it would cause him. He was embarrassed with himself because he did not want to walk downstairs and tell his family that he had just had his second seizure. He was angry because he knew it would be the right thing to do, yet he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
So, with his emotions overwhelming his senses and the tips of his fingers tingling with the odd sensation, he allowed himself to have a good cry on his bedroom floor. His second within twenty-four hours. All the while, he could not erase his self-loathing thoughts, thoughts that danced along the lines of What's wrong with me, I terrify myself, and I hurt so fucking bad.
When he felt his senses completely return, he found that he was able to pull himself along the wooden floor of his bedroom and to his nightstand where his elixir was. His weak fingers fumbled for the bottle, and when they grabbed hold, he tugged his hand off the nightstand, letting gravity do the rest of the work. He took a large sip and felt partly rejuvenated after that.
He heaved himself into his bed and officially decided that no one had to know about his second seizure. He didn't need any more whispers from Albus, more worried questions from his mother, and more babying-actions from everybody else. He found that he was fine from his seizure. Even though he would have rated it at a seven, he was fine. Not great, but he was no worse than he was that morning. Just tired and aching, nothing a little sleep and more elixir wouldn't fix. There was no harm in that, right?
He slept the day away, his family oblivious to his second seizure, and he recalled sleeping just as much the day after that. It was when he finally felt awake and felt as if he had a normal vigor that he crawled out of bed and faced the day before him with the hopes that it could be seizure-free.
And it was. As were the next few days. His strength was returning, and he was back to his regular absurd teenage sleeping schedule. He hopped on a broom three days after the second seizure and played Quidditch again, much to his father’s dismay. He degnomed his grandparents' garden without complaining only a few days after that. He felt and acted as if he hadn't received his diagnosis and that he hadn't had his mental breakdown upon hearing it. He was happy and carefree once more, and eventually the day to board the train to Hogwarts had finally rolled around.
When they arrived at the station after swiftly running through the wall and onto platform 9 and 3/4, James ditched his parents in search of his friends. He saw Ron and Hermione with Rose and Hugo migrating their way toward his parents. He waved to them and continued to search for Lorcan and Norah. He found them standing with their parents, the adults in pleasant chatter and Lorcan and Norah swapping summer stories.
James set off at a sprint, grinning wildly, and he pitched himself onto Lorcan’s back. Lorcan yelped and turned around while James clung onto his back, laughing as he gave him a noogie in his mass of blonde hair.
“You little bleeder!” Lorcan blurted while wrestling James off of his back, Norah Longbottom giggling off to the side. James eventually let go of his friend and hopped down from his back so they could share a proper brotherly hug.
“Nice to see you, too, Lore!” beamed James. Lorcan rolled his eyes, and James moved onto Norah. He engulfed the girl into his arms with a cheerful grin. “Looking beautiful as ever, Norah.”
“Thanks, James,” she grinned.
He released her from their hug and gave the two of them a boyish grin. It felt good to be back with his friends, and he knew Lorcan and Norah felt the same way, too. Lorcan was bouncing on the spot, his long and lanky arms flailing about his side. He was antsy to board the train and to begin conspiring with Molly about all their pranks for the year. Lorcan had his mother's light blonde hair, and he kept it long. Half the time it was unbrushed and a mess about his head; other times, Lorcan did odd things to it like make a single braid down one side of his head, or pull the front of his hair back into a half-ponytail, something James always found to be too girlish for him. Lorcan was more creative with his hair than any man had ever been, if you didn't count Teddy with his ever-changing hair color.
Today Lorcan had his light blonde hair in a wavy mess with a braid behind his left ear where a small feather was tucked into the bottom of the braid.
With pale skin and light hair, Lorcan had piercing blue eyes to complete the package. They stood out behind his pale features, sparkling with his enthusiasm for life and whatever mischief he held. But Lorcan was also tall and broad, a beater's build.
Norah had brown curls down to her hips with eyes just as piercing as Lorcan's. They were the lightest of blues, creating a nice complexion with her darker hair and tan skin. She was of average height with a loving heart-shaped face. Norah had always been the comforting sister to James, and she immediately resumed that role after their hug ended and she asked him about his new condition. “James, how have you been? How are you handling it?”
“I'm handling it fine, Norah,” he answered with a grin. If Norah had asked him the same question two weeks ago, he believed he would have entered a mad rage and would have begun screaming about it, saying he was handling it awfully. But the two weeks had gone very differently. If Albus had maybe asked him the question, he would have responded differently, but Norah always soothed him in a way no one else could. “It's different, and it's definitely life-changing, but I'm all right. I've only had the one seizure. The only thing I want is to not be treated any differently.”
“You've got my word on that, Jamie. Epilepsy won't stop me from whooping your butt or pranking you in the middle of the night!” teased Lorcan as he wrapped an arm around his neck and brought James bending forward. He gave James a noogie as he laughed, James trying to shove him off. But he appreciated the gesture from his friend and only smiled in return.
“Good. That's what I want to hear,” replied James, pleased, no matter how badly he didn't want to be pranked by Lorcan. Lorcan was a brilliant prankster, so good that James wondered how he wasn't a Weasley because of it. Of course, James never liked it when he awoke with chocolate frogs bouncing all over him in the middle of the night or found his boxers strung from the light fixtures of the Gryffindor common room, permanently stuck there for months at a time, but he did enjoy their playful games. It was always a competition to see who could best the other.
“Oi,” Lorcan began quickly, “and congrats on Head Boy. You and Norah better not give the lot of us detentions. And I'll just give you a heads up. Why don't you leave that Heads meeting a little early on the train?”
“What?” asked James. His eyebrows pulled up in curiosity, wondering what Lorcan had up his sleeve this time.
Norah seemed just as confused as she asked with a roll of the eye. “What are you going to do now?”
“Oh, just dropping a few dungbombs in the compartment. It's all in good fun, Nore. Just slip out ten minutes early and all will be well,” Lorcan advised with a snicker. He glanced over his shoulder to his twin brother, Lysander, who was chatting away with his fellow Ravenclaws. “Honestly, as much fun as it would be to dungbomb the two of you, I would prefer not to. We have a long train ride ahead and then dinner, and I shouldn't like to spend the entire day with the pair of you reeking like shit. But Sanny would be quite fun; he got Ravenclaw Head Boy, you know? Molls and I have it all planned out.”
“That's all fine, Lorcan,” James laughed under his breath. He found it odd and exactly in Lorcan's character to not bomb the two of them because it would only irritate Lorcan himself. “But make sure you plan it out well enough so that it doesn't look as if I've bombed the compartment. Really, first day as Head Boy on the job, and I would prefer not to make Professor Clearwater regret the decision. If I leave and the next minute it's bombed, it only makes sense for people to believe Norah and I did it.”
“Not to worry, Jamie! We will take care of it all. And you couldn't make Professor Clearwater regret making you Head Boy. If you weren't Head Boy, then I would be, and that, my friend, is a poor decision,” Lorcan said with a jocund laugh, and he strolled back to his parents to retrieve his school belongings as students began to pile onto the train.
James left his friends and returned to his parents to retrieve his stuff and say his final goodbyes. It appeared as if Al had already said goodbye, as he was slipping onto the train with Rose, Fred, and Louis in tow. Lily was trying to shove Ginny off as their mother plastered Lily's cheek with thick kisses. Ginny never got sappy when she said goodbye to her children, which was why James knew that his mother was only kissing Lily in such a way to embarrass her.
James chuckled as Lily was finally able to push her mother away, Ginny laughing with her victory. Lily slipped into her father's arms with a loving smile and kind words before leaving as well. James approached his parents and braced himself for the most serious of conversations he knew his parents would give for the day. He exhaled heavily and held his chest firm when his father clamped him on the shoulder and began to speak to him in a low voice. “Okay, Jamie. Remember to take your pill every day, and feel free to tell Teddy or Dominique about anything that is troubling you. That's why they are there.”
James released a large breath and gave his father a half-hug. He didn't wish to part on bad terms with his father, no matter how badly he wanted to remind Harry that he wasn't a baby, so he merely nodded. He found that he wasn't truly listening to the advice his parents gave him as he hugged the both of them and said their farewells. He could handle himself just fine, and he didn't need to be reminded of his differences anymore.
With that, he waved goodbye to his many aunts and uncles and made his way to train where he rejoined Lorcan, Norah, and Molly. They clambered onboard and situated themselves in a compartment. When they had the door locked so no one could disrupt them, James was greeted by a sudden string of questions about his epilepsy from Lorcan, Molly, and Norah. He didn't feel as if he were being dissected for experimentation from their questions; instead, he felt as if they were greatly intrigued, and that made answering their questions easier.
Soon enough, the train began to move with a gentle lurch, and they were off. The trolley witch came by, and Lorcan indulged himself by buying three chocolate frogs and a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. When he fumbled around with his escaping frogs and finally managed to yank off their heads, he glimpsed at the cards. He blurted happily at two of them. “Oi! Jamie! It's your dad!”
Lorcan tossed him the chocolate frog card of Harry Potter. James had seen plenty of them, and even the students who didn't know James personally liked to wave the card in front of his face to show that they had one of his father, the famous Harry Potter.
He caught the card and skimmed over the information he probably already had memorized.
b. July 31, 1980
The first wizard to survive the Killing Curse, earning the title The Boy Who Lived
Most famously, for the defeat of the most dangerous dark wizard of all time, Lord Voldemort, in 1998 and revolutionization of the Ministry of Magic.
He flipped it over to look at the moving picture of his father, years younger but still with the same happy smile on his face and the same long black hair. James smiled at the card and tossed it back to Lorcan. “And the other is your Aunt Hermione!”
“How many of my dad do you have now, like ten?” James snorted.
“Probably, yeah,” Lorcan grinned as he bit the head off of a frog.
“Right,” answered James as he rose from his seat. He looked to Norah and Molly. “I'm gonna go find Ted and Dominique. Meet you at the Heads meeting, Norah.”
“Sure, James,” Norah grinned before James slipped out of the compartment.
His head began to irritate him as he forced his way through excited first and second years. He had forgotten how small half the population of Hogwarts was; half the lot of them only went up to his waist. He felt like a giant as he pushed his way through them. He didn't recognize any of them, but it was obvious they new who he was. It was at times like these when James cursed his Potter hair. The young kids whispered about the son of Harry Potter, but thankfully it was for that reason and that reason alone. His condition had managed to stay within family and friends for the time being. He was quite thankful for that.
Their whispers were several volumes too loud to be considered considerate, and that only irritated him. He felt as if his head were pounding on the boundaries of his skull as his headache intensified, and he finally resulted in minor shouting. “Yes, I'm bloody James Potter. Now bugger off.”
Some giggled and some were in awe just by hearing his voice, but they scattered like flies nonetheless, and he was finally able to glimpse into the compartments as he made his way down the train. He spotted Albus with Rose, Fred, and—much to James' surprise—Scorpius Malfoy. He continued down the hall until he came to the very back where he found Ted and Dominique in a compartment together.
James knocked politely before slipping in. Teddy was reading The Quibbler, his hair a dulcet shade of blonde for the day, and Dominique lay on the opposite side of the compartment with a cloak draped over her face to shield her eyes from the sunlight.
James smiled at her before lifting the cloak to lean over her face and burst out. “Oi!”
Dom only groaned and pulled the cloak back over her eyes. James chuckled and shifted past her. He lifted her thin legs so he had room to sit and placed them delicately in his lap. He pat them generously to show that he wouldn't disturb her anymore from her sleep. She groaned and pivoted about in a small ball to switch ends. In a swift movement, she placed her head in his lap, her feet at the opposite end.
James smiled and began to gently stroke Dom's hair. “Why are you so tired? You have a long night, you know? Best start to wake up.”
“No. First we have a long train ride. Best start trying to sleep,” Dominique muttered with her face pressed against one of his knees.
“Vic and I were fighting last night. That's why she's tired,” Teddy answered in a monotone voice. It was empty of all emotion, and his eyes didn't even leave The Quibbler. From what James could tell, it didn't seem to appear as if Ted cared in the slightest.
“Yeah, and thanks for keeping your voices down!” Dominique shot quickly to Ted, sending him a glare.
“What were you doing fighting at Bill and Fleur’s in the middle of the night?” James asked in surprise.
“Well, it's not my fault!” Teddy immediately defended himself. He finally lowered his magazine. Dominique retorted again, and their personalities began to clash as they shouted random accusations at one another. Dominique blamed him for being so loud and the reason she was so tired, while Ted accused her of being too much of a girl and for not apparating to the Potter’s or elsewhere to get a good night's rest.
“Calm down!” interjected James, and they each did so. Dominique wiggled into the security of James' arms and curled back into her comfortable sleeping position. When all had settled, James asked Teddy to explain again.
“Well, she owled me yesterday, you know, blaming me for being the reason we broke up and what not. She thought I snogged Portia Greengrass in my office at the Ministry. Well, I hadn't! I wouldn't do that! Well, she freaked out on me and started making wild accusations. Basically, that's why she decided to break things off in the first place, but then we got into a huge fight the night we broke up about the different things we wanted in life, and Vic came to the conclusion that she wanted things too different from me, and therefore we were making a stupid choice by being together. Well, whatever floats her hell-driven boat!”
James noticed that Teddy had only broached off-topic slightly, so James gave a wiggle of an eyebrow to try and steer Teddy back in the right direction. “Right, well, the owl. The owl she sent me was pretty much just more nasty accusations, and I don't just let that sit and stew in the air. So I apparated over to get things straight. Well, sorry, we kept you up, Dom. The conversation was pointless and it ended with us on exactly the same terms as it started.”
“Sorry about that, Teddy,” answered James in a regretful voice. It was clear that Teddy was doing his best to move past his relationship with Victoire.
“Yeah, well, whatever. Her loss,” Teddy huffed and tossed the magazine on the floor. He sprawled out along his side of the compartment. Placing his head against the plush red cushion, he lifted his long legs in the air and let them lean against the wall of the compartment. Dom huffed at Teddy's attempt to take up the entire compartment from left to right and from down to up.
“Leave it be,” James murmured to her and began to run his fingers through her hair once more. He tried not to laugh at Dominique's thoughts on Teddy and instead smiled to her as she closed her eyes. James knew his cousin loved for her hair to be played with; it was the one thing that could put her to sleep within minutes. So, James continued to gently play with the strawberry blonde locks running softly between his long fingers.
He listened to Teddy rant about his thoughts about being a Transfiguration teacher for the year. He joked about setting a snake in the classroom, seeing who could actually achieve the lesson the fastest; he joked about failing the Slytherins without reading their papers and other random stuff even as Dom slipped into sleep. James found all of his friend's thoughts amusing and clever. In fact, James did hope that Teddy would at least fail Scorpius Malfoy on purpose and perhaps set an animal lose in a class in hopes that they paid attention to the lesson close enough in order to know which spell would change it into a water goblet.
The rest of the train ride went smoothly. The Heads meeting was laid back as they went over their duties for the evening and their responsibilities for the school year. And as requested by Lorcan, James and Norah managed to slip out of the meeting unnoticed ten minutes before its conclusion. They left just in time to see Lorcan tip-toeing down the hall to toss the dungbombs into the compartment. That had—of course—caused a huge commotion on their end of the train, but it had put lightened everyone's mood, except for the Ravenclaw Head Boy and Girl who couldn’t seem to handle the prank. Lysander had run out of the compartment, trying to rid himself of the dung smell by waving his arms around animatedly. He seemed to know immediately who the mastermind behind the prank had been, for he had shouted wildly in accusation, “Lorcan! I swear I’ll shave your head in your sleep, Lorcan!”
Upon arriving at Hogwarts, James, along with Norah, Lysander, and the other Heads, herded the first years across the Black Lake in the boats and to the main entrance hall where they met up with Professor Neville Longbottom, Head of Gryffindor House, waiting to bring the first years into the Great Hall for the sorting.
James had noticed that his headache had only grown as the evening progressed, but he pushed it aside. He was glad to be back at Hogwarts; he was glad to be treated like he was normal by all of his peers who didn't yet know of his condition.
He and Norah waved discreetly to Norah's father before slipping into the Great Hall. They went unnoticed to the large student body already seated at their house tables, eagerly awaiting the sorting and the feast. The two of them found their spots next to Molly, Lorcan, and Albus at the Gryffindor table. Everything came and went easily with its usual extent of excitement and anticipation.
In all his years at Hogwarts, this was the first year in which he didn't recognize any of the first years. So, he didn't pay much mind to the sorting, but then he regretted it after a student was sorted into Gryffindor and he found he had already forgotten their name. He knew as Head Boy it was his responsibility to show them about the castle and to the Gryffindor Tower after dinner. He then made it a priority to learn their names. He was aware that one girl's name was Anita, and a young boy's name was Reed, but that was it.
He indulged himself in the wonderful feast. He had been eating happily when Molly and Norah got all sappy. “Awe,” Molly sighed in an exasperated manner as the realization dawned on her. “This is our last year at Hogwarts.”
“Good job, Molls,” Lorcan snorted as he bit into the leg of a chicken.
“She's right, though! This is our last feast!” Norah replied as she glanced to her friend. They exchanged a look only girls could have comprehended in that moment. James and Lorcan merely shrugged their shoulders at one another and pushed it aside.
When James' headache only seemed to intensify, he downed his entire glass of pumpkin juice and quickly set it back on the table to watch it refill instantly. When it was full to the brim, he placed it back upon his lips and drank as if it would rid him of his headache.
Norah looked at him from across the table with a worried expression. “Slow down, Jamie. You all right?”
“I–I'm fine,” answered James, even though he was still undecided on the matter.
He looked to Norah and tried to muster a persuasive grin for her even as his head pounded within its skull and his heartbeat quickened. He knew what those feelings were, and he hoped to Merlin another seizure wouldn't be the outcome of it. He tried to force aside any of his bad feelings as he smiled to her, but then something else happened.
His vision flashed black, and then he was blinded by a brighter light before he was looking at something else entirely. It only appeared before his eyes for the smallest amount of time, but it was enough to register that it was still Norah Longbottom he was looking at.
Only this Norah he saw within his mind had her brown curls loose about her face. She wore different clothes, but more importantly, she was kissing a man in such a way James never thought Norah capable of. It was with a deep hunger and passion as she knotted her hands in the dark hair of the man. James was unable to catch his face but registered his thick and sinew arms about Norah as he kissed her back with equal force.
Albus...? he thought.
Then, just as soon as it had come, it faded from his mind, and James was left to see the real Norah sitting before him with a look of surprise on her face. “J–Jamie...?” she stuttered to him after catching his horror-struck expression.
James swallowed and tried to ignore the confused and worried expression of his friends, siblings, and cousins around him. He was aware that their end of the Gryffindor table had quieted. James tried to swallow down his fear, tried to muster up that smile once more, but he couldn't. As he whipped his head about, he looked to his brother, wondering if it really was Albus he had envisioned Norah kissing.
As he did so, his vision flashed again. He was staring at his brother, sitting adjacent to him, before everything faded black once more and then Albus was lying in a bed, his surroundings white, Albus pale and still as death, his veins pulsing a sickly, dark blue. James could feel his skin rise with goosebumps at the picture of his brother lying there helplessly, but once again, just as soon as it had come, it left.
The Great Hall returned, only to fade from his vision once again to be replaced by something else. Lily was sobbing desperately. Then Norah was diving into icy, black waters. Then Dominique was beating her fists against a door and crying out for Teddy.
What's happening to me...? he thought hopelessly.
Then everything faded.
As his breath caught in his throat, the Great Hall returned to his vision, and he was aware that the entire Gryffindor table had quieted now. He could quickly feel his control over his mind beginning to fade, and his headache only raged stronger. Seeing his distraught family sent him into a spiral of panic. He rose from the table with a clamp to his forehead as he felt the surge of another seizure arise.
He had to leave before he began to seize. He had to get out of there before he made himself look like a fool in front of the entire school.
He began to sprint as he felt his vision go black yet again, this time remaining so. The sweat beaded around his temple, and he felt as if he had never run such a long stretch. He knew his commotion had caused Teddy and Dominique to rise from their position at the staff table, and they were quickly bolting around the end of the table and down the aisle where James was hopelessly stumbling along the aisle.
The Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors along his aisle rose with confusion and horror to watch James struggle down the aisle. He could hear his brother yelling his name some distance behind him, and he then knew that his brother was also racing after him. James tried to make a mental note about Al's brotherly love and worry for him, pleased to see some sort of emotion from him that didn’t involve self-preservation.
When the large door to the main entrance hall was only a desperate ten meters in front of him, he lost control of his body. He felt his muscles go weak and lethargic, his legs unwilling to cooperate any longer, and he fell to the floor in a heap. He face planted onto the stone floor and groaned as he tried to heave himself up.
Unable to do so, he rolled onto his back to stare up at the enchanted ceiling. He tried to regain his breath, to pull himself up and leave, but he couldn't.
Next he knew, he had lost all control over his body and his senses. He felt himself tense up as he began to jerk about. The last thing he saw was a bunch of unrecognizable third years leaning over him in terror before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and everything went black.
Albus, Teddy, and Dominique reached his side just as he began to thrash about.
Teddy cursed under his breath and said to Dominique. “Come on; we have to get him out of here. You grab his left, and I'll grab his right.”
They both fell to their knees as they each tried to grab hold of their assigned arm, but James' tossing and turning only made it more difficult. Albus pressed his knee into his brother's chest to lessen the strenuous task, and eventually they were able to take their hold.
The three tried to push out the mutters and whispers of the students around them. Al could hear things like ‘Is he having a fit?’ and other outrageous questions that didn't even give his brother justice. He didn't want his peers to believe that his older brother had immature fits when that wasn't the case at all.
They began to drag him out of the hall when James gave one severely violent thrash, and his eyes rolled forward once more. He began to shout in a voice that was not his own. It was raspy and hoarse; it didn't belong within his body, and such a voice made Teddy, Dominique, and Albus aware that his speaking was not of his own accord.
“The Dark Lord may be dead, but those who once followed him—”
“What the hell?” Al muttered as he followed his seizing brother.
“Is that a—” Dominique blurted out in horror. They had both paused in their shock even when they both knew it was only a greater reason to remove him from the large audience.
“A prophecy, yes,” Teddy stumbled over his words.
“—so resolutely will never lose their faith in him or give up their ways. The years have been quiet, but the one who brought on the Dark Lord's end shall be thrown into hell once more. The world shall follow with it, and all who hold the Chosen One most dear shall watch as his life becomes forfeit!”
“Oh my god...” Dominique whispered in horror after several moments.
After his shouting had ceased, so did his thrashing. He went limp, and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. He slipped into unconsciousness as the Great Hall fell into horror-struck silence. Albus swallowed uneasily, looking about his peers and taking in their shocked faces.
“D–D–Dominique,” Teddy muttered, “c–come on. We have to get him out of here.”
Dominique nodded sternly even as tears pushed themselves into her eyes. She swiped them away with the back of her hand and gathered James into her arms. Together they hauled him out of the Great Hall. Albus followed in their wake, too afraid to look at their faces once more. Even as he slammed the large doors shut on the Great Hall and after he tossed his back against it, wanting to keep the rest of the student body away for the time being, he could hear their gossiping whispers. “Potter's a seer...”
A/N: Edited 8.22 for grammar and further changed prophecy/visions for sequel plot
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