Chapter 6 : Rage
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It didn’t take very long for us all to be completely swamped with homework. Every subject that we had brought another 5 foot long essay to be completed for the following week. Our NEWT year was going to be tough. We quickly fell back into our old routines and with each day, it actually got a little easier being back. It felt just like old times and the more time I spent in the castle, the less I was seeing the faces of the dead and the more I could remember of the happier times that we had spent here.
Although as the days went on and the first few weeks passed, it felt like we spent less and less time with each other. Quidditch try- outs had been held in the first week, as Harry (who had been re- appointed Quidditch captain) was desperate to get training started and get his team back into shape. Ron and Ginny were of course picked to be on the team, playing their old roles of Keeper and Chaser. The three of them spent two nights every week training as well as a few hours at the weekend. For the first few training sessions, I had gone down to watch them, but I could only feign interest for so long and got pretty bored sitting by myself, watching them practice the same manoeuvres over and over again, so after the first week, I made my excuses and went to the library to read or study instead.
It also didn’t help that Lavender Brown started to crop up like a bad penny. She appeared at meal times, walking to and from classes and in the common room. I even saw her go down to watch quidditch practice. I knew for a fact that Lavender hated quidditch and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that she wasn’t spending hours sitting in the cold for her love of the game.
I know it was stupid and completely irrational of me, but I couldn’t bear to watch her all over Ron and see him staring at her with his tongue practically hanging out. I knew that he wasn’t mine and I had no right to be jealous, but I just felt hurt that he had kissed me and then moved on so quickly.
So as things were becoming pretty uncomfortable and unbearable, I ate my meals as quickly as I could and then went to the library to get some peace and be away from all the endless flirting that caused me to feel completely irrational anger. The library was my solace and it immediately made me feel at peace. It was generally quiet in the evenings and it gave me the time to be alone with my thoughts. I was quickly becoming a regular at the library, even more so than before, along with some Ravenclaws who were pretty dedicated to their studies. I had even noticed Draco Malfoy in the library most evenings, which was completely uncharacteristic for him. In six years, I don’t think I had ever seen him in the library once. The library was my safe haven and it annoyed me that he was in here in my private zone, which I know is stupid because it’s the school library and not solely for my purpose, but I just felt slightly on edge, again waiting for the moment when the abuse and name calling would begin.
But I didn’t need to worry he kept himself to himself and didn’t bother me. I guess he wasn’t so tough when he was by himself, although I was actually pretty sure that he could give me a run for my money one on one. However the amount of work that I had to do and the current Ron situation taking up so many of my thoughts which meant that Malfoy’s weird behaviour didn’t occupy my thoughts for long.
At the start of the third week back however, I was given something else to focus my mind on, when Ginny plonked herself down beside me at the Gryffindor table.
‘Hermione’, Ginny said all too sweetly, in a tone that I knew for a fact meant that she was just about to ask me for some kind of favour.
‘Yes,’ I answered very hesitantly. Ginny’s favours could be anything and she had a way of making me agree to do anything, despite, my better judgement. The time when she had convinced me to join her in taking one of George’s new line of love potions had to be the worst. I shuddered at the memory of the way I acted that day. Unfortunately for me, the first boy I had seen that day was Neville. I don’t think he’s ever quite gotten over it.
‘Well, you see I’ve been thinking,’ always a bad sign I thought nervously, ‘you see, it’s your birthday this week and it’s your eighteenth after all and well we kind of missed Harry’s eighteenth, what with everything that happened over the summer and since we haven’t really seen that much of each other since we got back, I was kind of thinking that we could have a joint birthday party on Friday night for both of you,’ she rushed out, keen to get it out quickly. She must have seen my panicked face, as she quickly added, ‘nothing big of course, just a few friends. I was thinking the Room of Requirement.’
I groaned a little as I pondered what she had said, but thinking about it, it actually seemed like a good idea. Had I not said that this year was going to be about me, and having a party seemed like a good way to start it. Besides it was a joint party, so some of the focus would be on Harry too.
I decided to let Ginny stew for a moment, but on seeing her hopeful expression, turn slightly nervous at my reaction, I couldn’t keep it up for too long.
‘Ginny, I think that’s a great idea. As long as it’s small. Ooh you’ll need to help me decide what to wear.’
I giggled as she squealed and clapped her hands together, before launching into a very detailed plan of what she was going to wear and what we would have to ask the room of requirement to provide for us. We were in the middle of our plans when the boys came down and joined us at the table..
‘Oh brilliant. Me and Harry can go down the passage way to Hogsmeade and buy in some Butterbeer and Firewhisky. Make it a real party,’ Ron interjected enthusiastically.
At this, I became slightly nervous. I was not a party animal and I certainly didn’t break the rules, well not unless there was a very good reason, like someone’s life being in danger, but getting drunk at Hogwarts just seemed a little too risky for a normally perfect student like me.
‘Oh chill Hermione,’ Ron said on seeing the look of what must have either been horror or nerves on my face, ‘it’s only a couple of drinks and you don’t even have to have any. Don’t be such a worry wart.’
I pulled a face at him, but couldn’t help to feel slightly nervous but excited at the same time. It was stupid, but the image of Ron seeing me look amazing at the party flashed through my mind. He would see me looking drop dead gorgeous and maybe then he would finally admit how he felt about me. No wait, I did not like Ron anymore. I did not want him to want me like that anymore. We were friends and nothing more. But then maybe that could change.
The next few days were spent talking about and planning for the party. We kept it pretty quiet, making sure that no one knew about it who wasn’t invited. All of the Gryffindor seventh years were invited, along with Luna and a few of the Hufflepuff seventh years. Our ‘small’ party now had around twenty five people going and I couldn’t help but feel that things were going to disastrously wrong, however I kept my worries to myself.
The day of my birthday came all too soon and with it the day of the party. I spent breakfast that morning opening my birthday presents. I got a gorgeous new quill from Harry, made from a phoenix feather, a beautiful gold necklace from Ginny that had a star pendent at the bottom, a book from Ron (how imaginative), the usual box of sweets from Mrs Weasley and the promised box of beauty products from George. Ginny was so excited, saying how we would get to sample some of them tonight.
The last present that I opened came from my parents. I nervously opened the present, slightly apprehensive at what they would have got me for my eighteenth birthday. As I peeled back the pink paper, I realised that the present was a book and as I caught the name of the title, I had to work extra hard to control the disappointment from etching on my face. I already had this book. My parents had actually been the ones to give it to me three years before. How could they not know that I had it? I was pretty sure I had talked none stop about it for a week, going on about how much I had loved it. I opened the card next and paused, watching as a pile of twenty pound notes fluttered down onto the table. My heart immediately sank. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, but I couldn’t help but remember how my parents had always said that giving money as a present was a huge cop- out and it basically just meant that you didn’t know the person well enough to buy them anything personal.
I turned my attention back to the card and realised that my mum had written a short note on the inside.
Happy Birthday. We’re sure you’ll have a good day. We hope you like the present and buy something nice with it. We hope you’re having a good time at school. Everything’s fine here. Everything returning to normal. We’ve even booked up a holiday for over Christmas. We’ve decided to go back to Australia for a month to see the place where we stayed, since we can’t really remember it, so we trust that you’ll have other arrangements for Christmas anyway. Have a good day.
From Mum and Dad
I read the letter over three times, each time going more slowly than the time before. I felt the beginning of tears begin to form and my breath was becoming increasingly ragged. My friends immediately noticed my distress.
'Hermione, is everything ok? Is that from your parents? Has something happened?’ Harry asked questioningly with a look of worry on his face.
I quickly folded up the letter and out it away, forcing a smile on my face. ‘Yes it’s from my parents. Everything’s fine. I guess I just miss them that’s all,’ I lied quickly.
Harry nodded understandingly, seeming to accept my answer and returning to his breakfast. I excused myself from the table, saying that I had to get a book from the library before class and that I would meet them in charms. In truth, I just needed some time alone. As soon as I was out of the great hall, I let out a deep breath and allowed the tears to begin to fill my eyes. My sobbing didn’t start until I made my way hastily to a dis- used classroom.
My parents didn’t care about me and they would never forgive me. They gave me a present which said they don’t care, they were leaving me alone for Christmas, and they hadn’t even signed the letter with love. It was from mum and dad. Even in a letter they couldn’t bear to say that they loved me. I allowed myself to sob for five full minutes, before I realised that I had to get to class. I wiped my face and tried to make it look like I hadn’t been crying, before quickly making my way to class.
The rest of the day was a complete disaster. I couldn’t focus on anything. I didn’t put my hand up to answer a question all day and when Professor Flitwick picked me to answer one, I got the answer wrong. I could see his eyes widen in surprise and I immediately lowered my eyes, trying to hide the flush that had appeared on my cheeks. Transfiguration wasn’t much better. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t clear my mind. All I could think was ‘they don’t love me,’ and my work suffered because of it. I wasn’t the first in the class to change the cushion into a rabbit. That honour went to Malfoy, who earned ten house points for Slytherin and I didn’t miss the smug smirk that he shot in my direction, just to rub it in that he had beaten me.
I couldn’t wait for lunch to come, so that my humiliation could end, but that was only worse. I was just approaching the Gryffindor table, when I heard the two words that caused me fists to clench in anger.
‘Oh Won Won,’ I heard Lavender squeal, as she wrapped her arms around his neck and planted her lips firmly on his. I stopped dead in my tracks and felt my jaw drop. He was dating her. He was actually dating her. He had forgotten all about me. He had moved on. And here I had been thinking that tonight would be the night when he might finally admit how he felt about me. What an idiot. I felt the familiar prickling as the tears fill my eyes for the second time that day however this time I would not let them fall. I would not let Ron Weasley make me cry.
How could be such an insensitive arsehole? He knew how I had felt about him and here he was clearly moving on and rubbing it in my face and on my birthday as well. My hunger quickly faded, as I stormed out of the great hall and back to the library, feeling my anger build with every step that I took.
As I made my way to the last class of the day, double potions, perfect, I was still filled with rage. I could tell that my eyes were hard and tutted rather rudely when anyone got in my way and even barged past a few people who didn’t get out of my way quick enough. I stormed into the classroom, realising Harry and Ron were already there. Harry tried to catch my eye and send me a wave, but when I glimpsed the dreamy look on Ron’s face, I felt my blood boil further and I just stormed past them both and slammed my bag down on the table, causing half of the ingredients already neatly lain out on the table to jump up and fall over.
Malfoy, who was already sitting at his seat, turned around to glare at me snarling ‘do you mind?’
I shot him an equally hate filled glare before hissing back ‘Not particularly, no.’
I spent the next twenty minutes of the lesson, ignoring Professor Haven who was wittering away at the front of the class. Today we were making a healing potion for boils as our Polyjuice Potion now had to brew for the next week, before we could complete the next step. I had only two thoughts in my head and they kept swirling round and round. Ron, my parents, Ron kissing Lavender, my parents hate me, Ron with his tongue down her throat, my parents abandoning me for Christmas, Ron bloody dating her. My body was completely tense and I could feel the anger seeping out of my pores. My jaw was clenched tightly, my hands were balled up into tight fists and they were practically shaking with the rage flowing through my body.
I still wasn’t over my fury by the time we had to start to make our potion, which actually turned out to be quite beneficial as I had to grind the porcupine quills with the pestle and mortar. I felt a huge amount of satisfaction as I twisted the pestle and heard the crunching of the porcupine quills as my anger and frustration ground them into dust. I imagined Ron’s face at the bottom of the bowl as I crushed the little quills into virtual oblivion. However much it felt good, it wasn’t enough to make my rage disappear entirely. It was still very much evident boiling underneath the surface.
We only had thirty minutes to go in the lesson, when unfortunately, I happened to glance in Malfoy’s direction and saw that he was about to screw up our second potion in a row.
‘Malfoy, what the fuck are you doing?’ I hissed in his direction, satisfied when he looked at me in surprise. ‘Are you a complete and utter idiot? It stated quite clearly that you add the dittany after the foxglove, not before, you moron,’ I spat bitterly in his direction. It felt good to finally be releasing some of my pent up anger.
‘What is your problem, Granger? You still jealous that I beat your sorry ass for once. The mighty Granger didn’t come top of a class.’ He said giving me a satisfied sneer.
I recoiled slightly at his arrogance, but it didn’t take me long to find a comeback.
‘Oh get over yourself Malfoy. My problem is that you are completely and utterly incapable.’
‘Is that so, I could manage perfectly well, without you. Believe it or not Granger, you’re not the only one who can actually do things. But then again, maybe it’s not me your mad at, maybe you’re mad cos Weasleby’s got himself a new girlfriend. I guess even he’s not into the frizzy haired know it all.’
At this I finally snapped. It was as if a red mist settled over my brain. I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing. The monster inside of me that had been hinting at appearing finally broke free and before I knew it, I grabbed my wand from my pocket, pointed it directly at him and said the spell in my head, causing him to be thrown back hard against the wall, before his perfectly pale skin erupted with large orange boils.
‘What the …’, he yelled, looking at the huge pussy boils on his hand. He stood in complete shock for a moment, before finding his wand and casting a hex at me, however I was ready for him and I managed to deflect the spell, before quickly firing the Bat Bogey Hex at him. I wasn’t as good at the curse as Ginny, but I was pleased when saw rather large grotesque, green bogies streaming down his nose and a huge pair of wings, sprouting out of his back. I this I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. He looked so furious, but that only made the whole situation seem funnier.
However he took advantage of my momentary lack of concentration and took the opportunity to fire a curse at me. I recoiled slightly at the force of the spell he hit and waited for a moment, trying to figure out what he had done. When he burst out laughing, I knew that he had done something, but couldn’t quite work what it was. That was until my vision was gradually obscured until I couldn’t see anything at all. I put my hand up to my face and realised that it was completely covered by hair, which seemed to still be rapidly growing in length, as I could now feel it reach the backs of my legs.
‘You little bastard,’ I screamed at him. I pushed my hair out of my eyes, before firing another hex at him, which this time he actually managed to deflect. We continued firing hexes at each other, but both managing to deflect them easily. My brain barely even registered the sound of a commotion behind me, but I was distracted enough to partially turn my head in the direction of the noise. I was half way between turning around when I heard ‘Immobula’ and I was frozen still in my movements. No matter how hard I tried, the only part of my body that I could move was my eyes.
It was then that the red mist that had descended began to clear and I immediately realised what I’d done. Oh My God. What the hell had I done? I was going to be in so much trouble. Malfoy was standing in front of me, covered in bogies and huge orange boils with bat wings coming out of his back, apparently paralysed like I was. Usually I would have laughed at this sight, but I was still in too much shock. Even if I had wanted to laugh, I still wasn’t in control of my mouth. In fact I was pretty certain, it was still hanging open, ready to fire the next curse at Malfoy, before I had been immobilised. I could only imagine what I looked like, with my already frizzy hair, now having reached the floor and billowing out like the train of a dress behind me.
Professor Haven then came into view and I felt my stomach squirm. She was not happy. She waved her wand again and I felt my hair retract to its usual length and watched as Malfoy’s appearance too returned to normal. I was kind of disappointed. He suited having bat wings. She then muttered a spell which allowed us to move again. I glanced around the class room and my jaw dropped in horror.
Only a minute before, it had just been me and Malfoy. I hadn’t been able to see or hear anything else. All I had known was that I was angry and I wanted to hurt him. As I gazed around the classroom, I gazed at a scene of complete and utter destruction. Our deflected hexes had clearly found targets elsewhere. Jars that sat on the shelves around the classroom lay shattered; their contents splattered against the wall and on the floor. I realised that half the occupants of the room were cowering behind their desks and the other half that hadn’t quite made it to cover, were covered in red angry boils. I looked around confused as to why they were covered in boils, when my gaze fell onto a cauldron that currently lay in a mangled mess. I guess it had exploded, sending potion flying across the classroom. I wondered which one of us had hit that. I prayed with all my magic that it hadn’t been me.
My eyes eventually landed on the angry witch that stood before us. I winced as realised that half of her face was covered in angry red boils. Her eyes contained such rage that I couldn’t bear to look at them and so I did the cowardly thing and looked at my feet.
‘Never have I seen anything so shameful in my life and from seventh years. Both of you gather your things together and go and see Professor McGonagall. She can deal with both of you.’
Malfoy stormed out of the class ahead of me and I caught the look of pure rage on his face. I practically ran from the class, barely registering the looks of horror on Ron’s and Harry’s face.
I made my way to Professor McGonagall’s office in a complete daze. What the hell had gotten into me? It was only Malfoy. I could handle Malfoy. He had pissed me off nearly every day in life and I had never before reacted that way. I tried to go as quickly as I could manage. Part of me wished that I could delay it by walking as slowly as possible, yet Malfoy had left before me and I really didn’t want to turn up too much later after him. I didn’t need to get into trouble for wasting time as well.
When I finally reached the head mistresses office, I nervously knocked on the door and winced when I heard a sharp voice say ‘Come in.’
I walked into the office, quickly glancing at Professor McGonagall’s furious face, before lowering my eyes again.
‘Sit down Miss Granger,’ McGonagall said with that sharp edge to her voice that made most pupils completely fear her. I was experiencing first hand just how very true that was.
As I sat down next to Malfoy, I noticed how cool and calm he seemed. Only the slight flush of his cheeks and the hard set of his jaw and his eyes gave any clue as to his emotions. I on the other hand was scarlet, my breath was shaky and uneven and my palms were so sweaty and my leg was bouncing up and down with the nervous twitch that I always got when I was scared or nervous. Professor McGonagall began to speak and I kept my eyes firmly on my lap, determined not to look at her.
‘I have already had a note from Professor Haven explaining the events that occurred today in your potions class, so an explanation of events will not be necessary.’
I glanced up briefly at her eyes and immediately regretted it. Her steely eyes displayed such anger that it made me flinch. However it was the disappointment that I saw reflected in those blue eyes that threatened to bring the tears to my own.
‘Both of you have caused a considerable amount of damage to your classroom and many of your fellow students and Professor Haven have had to go to the hospital wing to be treated for the effects of the potion that they were hit with. I think that it goes without saying that I am very disappointed in both if you. Both of you have previously been prefects at this school and as such I expect you to continue to act in a manner befitting of that position.’
She paused slightly and looked at the two of us, but this time I kept my eyes firmly on my lap. She sighed again as she began.
‘I am aware that you two have had difficulties in the past, but I had expected that after the past years events that both of you could have been mature enough to have put these petty rivalries behind you.’
At that my head snapped up. Rivalries? Since when were me and Draco rivals? He was a big jerk that insisted on making my life hell. I was in no way in competition with him. I had nothing to prove to him. I despised and hated him, but I was in no way his rival.
‘I believe that I made it clear in the start of term speech that I expected members of different houses to work together. I warn both of you that a lengthy punishment is in order, after the severity of your actions.’
I felt my stomach drop at her words. I was a complete and utter idiot. What had gotten into me? Professor McGonagall pondered the options for a minute, before finally settling on our punishment.
‘Hmm, well let me see. The library needs to be re- catalogued, so I think that this is the perfect assignment for your detention.’
I actually thought that this could be a lot worse, but then I remembered how many books there were in the library and before I could stop myself blurted out, ‘but Professor McGonagall, that could take weeks!’
Draco looked equally horrified at the prospect and I could see him shoot me a glare out of the corner of his eye, as if he was blaming me for the fact the punishment was so potentially long.
‘Yes I believe that it will take quite a while, but the good news for both of you is that you will be completing your detention together, so it will give you the perfect opportunity to work together. You will have detention every week until the Christmas break. Ample time to complete the task I should think.’
At this I closed my eyes and let out a quiet groan. How wrong I had been when I thought that things couldn’t get any worse. Here was me thinking that detention surrounded by my greatest passion wouldn’t actually be too bad. But then throw my biggest hate into the mix and it was pretty much my personal hell. Malfoy was apparently just as horrified at this prospect as I was, as his cool exterior seemed to have shattered. His eyes were wide and his eyebrows were so high that they nearly met his hairline, his jaw hanging open in disbelief.
However, whereas I had accidentally and only slightly questioned Professor McGonagall, Malfoy apparently had no issues in voicing his disgust to our head teacher.
‘Months of detention for one tiny little incident that wasn’t even my fault! That’s insane and besides the day Granger and I work together is the day that the Chudley Cannons win the Quidditch cup. I cannot even bear to be in her company for longer than a minute without wanting to hex her. This is going to be completely unbearable’. At this he folded his arms and shot me a look of contempt just to make it clear to me that he had no intentions of working together.
This however brought back the red mist that had settled in potions class and I quickly forgot my fear at being in the head teacher’s office. I lifted my head to meet his angry eyes, filling my own with as much hate as I could muster. I struggled to keep my voice calm, but failed miserably as I shot back ‘oh don’t worry, Malfoy,’ I spat out with much more venom that I had intended, ‘the feeling is entirely mutual.’
We continued to glare at each other, shooting the other looks of utter revulsion, completely forgetting that we were actually sitting in front of the head teacher. Professor McGonagall simply sat at her desk, her gaze lingering on the two of us, watching our exchange with interest.
‘Well in that case’ she began, as both pairs of eyes darted hopefully to her, ‘Since you Mr Malfoy don’t think that you can work sufficiently well together, I suggest that we make the detentions twice a week, just to ensure that you get the task done to a high standard.’
As I absorbed the information that I was hearing, I felt my eyes widen and my jaw drop. I turned to glare at Malfoy and realised that his expression was the exact mirror image of mine. Then just as I cried out ‘but that’s not fair!’ I heard Malfoy say the exact same thing at the exact same time. I turned to give him one furious glare, hoping that I was conveying the message, ‘this is your fault’, when I noticed that he too had turned to give me similar look. I turned my head away from him in disgust, stewing at the situation that I found myself in. I knew it was completely my own fault that we were in this situation, but he had just gone and doubled our punishment with his stupid big mouth.
Professor McGonagall stood up and raised her hand out in front of her, to stop us from arguing with her further. I wanted to say more to her, about how this would interfere with our studies, but couldn’t muster up enough courage to argue further with her. I guess I had used up all of my bottle for the day.
‘Now Miss Granger, Mr Malfoy, I should warn you both that any more incidents of this nature from either or you will result in more punishments and the removal of certain privileges such as Quidditch, Hogsmeades visits and may even result in letters home to your parents.’
I heard Malfoy gasp slightly as this. I was pretty sure he was more worried about losing quidditch privileges rather than the prospect of a letter home. I bet his parents would probably be quite proud that their son had been fighting, especially with their least favourite little mudblood. I however was terrified at this prospect. My parents already feared me enough. They really didn’t need to hear about how I was going around attacking people.
‘You will have detentions every Saturday afternoon and Wednesday nights, beginning tomorrow. Mr Malfoy, you may return to class, Miss Granger, if you could wait here for a moment.’ Malfoy certainly didn’t need telling twice and practically ran out of the door, slamming it rather loudly behind him. I determinedly watched him leave, wanting to prolong the moment where I would have to look back at McGonagall and receive another telling off. However, when I did eventually look back at her face, I was surprised to see that her eyes weren’t full of anger or even disappointment, they were full of concern.
‘Miss Granger, is everything alright? I know it must be tough being back after what you’ve been through, and I know that you and Mr Malfoy have never got on that well, but I am concerned at your behaviour today.’
In truth I thought, I was far from alright. My parents hated me, Ron had moved on and I was feeling more and more alone. However I really didn’t want to mention that to anyone, least of all the head teacher, so I went with the easy answer.
‘I’m fine Professor,’ I answered, trying to give her a smile. ‘Honestly. I guess I’m just a little tired and a little stressed. I’m really sorry for what happened today. I don’t know what happened.’
McGonagall looked doubtingly at me, but tried to give me a comforting smile. ‘Are you sure Miss Granger? Mr Malfoy hasn’t done or said anything?’
She looked completely uncomfortable at having to ask the question and for a split second I actually felt kind of sorry for Malfoy since he technically had only been defending himself from my crazed attack.
‘No professor, it’s nothing to do with him.’ I hesitated slightly. ‘Can I go now Professor?’ I asked hesitantly. I really didn’t want to be rude, but neither did I want to sit here answering awkward questions.
Professor McGonagall sighed slightly at my response, but then said, ‘yes of course Miss Granger. Please remember that I am always here if you need to talk.’
I gave her a small smile, but inside I could honestly not think of anything I would rather not do. I practically ran to the door, afraid that she would call me back and let out a heavy sigh when I was finally safe on the other side of the door. It looked like my year was about to get a lot worse.
A/N- Thank you all so much for reading. This is my longest chapter so far and I hope you like where the story's going. Things are starting to pick up now and will get a lot more interesting in the next few chapters. Thanks so much to the people who've reviewed or added it to your favourites. It really gives me such a buzz to know that people are actually taking the time to read it, so please review if you can.
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