Chapter 10 : Chapter Ten
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Chapter Image by the Wonderful Clara Oswald @ TDA
Disclaimer: I don't own Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, or her brilliant witty remarks.
You can do this.
You’re a clever and strong sixteen year old witch. You have survived the Fred Fiasco of Fifth Year. You piloted the James prank during summer. You’re the daughter of Ron Weasley and Hermonie Granger. Your shoe collection has just recovered, but they cannot be deterred. They will survive. And in the last 24 hours, you have endured 3 hours of detention, a terrifying but overall successful presentation, a night of debauchery in Hogsmeade, witnessed the horrifying musical performance of Ace, and their heartbreaking disbandment, been punched in the face, all in the company of your arch nemesis – who you’re now calling by his first name.
You are ready. You can handle anything.
It’s not going to be as bad as you think. Of course… it’s probably going to be worse.
I really think I’m overreacting. And I think I need to stop the talking in my head – or I’m going to have a whole other mess to deal with.
“You know you need to twist the door knob for it to open – or have you mastered the arts of wandless magic?” the prat mocked sounding extremely amused.
“I’m mentally preparing” I was still staring apprehensively at the door knob.
We were still in the sixth year boy’s dorm, class would begin in 28 minutes 32 seconds. Scorpius was dressed and ready, I was still re-enacting the role of the walk of shame. I really need to hurry and buck up. This is ridiculous. She’s just one person. I’m not in mortal danger. I hope.
“She’s probably already on her way to class”
“Your obvious lack of Lucy knowledge is not reassuring me at all”
He sighs and comes up behind me and puts his hands on my shoulders.
“I’ll wait for you in the common room. If I hear any screams, I know you want a fudge named in memory of you”
“And that I’ll probably haunt you for the rest of your life” I added.
“I can live with that” He chuckled.
And then he shoved me out the door, and slammed it in my face.
Real keeper that one.
I can do this.
How bad can it be?
With my new found confidence and courage. I twist the door knob and greet the eery quiet dormitory with sweaty palms and pounding heartbeat.
It appears to be empty. Maybe she has left already.
Her bed is made and her books are absent. I think I’m in the clear. Max and Jordan must already be at breakfast too.
I quickly grab my fresh and clean uniform, and bolt for the bathroom. I don’t want to push my luck.
I lock the door, and pull open the shower curtain.
I nearly trip over my own feet in shock.
Because hanging, heavy, Red, dripping wet and looking extremely tortured is the coat I was wearing last night.
I looked at it in horror - What has she done?
Oh, dear. This is worse than I thought.
Mental warfare. She’s going to make me live in fear all day before she pounces.
She can be one scary witch and best friend.
4 minutes and 32 seconds. The time in which we have to travel down the seven flights of stairs to the entrance hall and out into the Greenhouses.
15 minutes. The time in which Albus stuffed 25 bars of Fudge in his mouth. It was disgusting.
2 seconds. The time it took Franklin Guber to receive a Hogsmeade rejection.
5 minutes. The time it took me to scribble down something worthy of an assignment.
18 minutes. The amount of time I have been waiting oh so patiently for her honour.
9 hours 48 minutes and 17 seconds. The time since the tragedy breakup of Ace.
5 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days. The time I swear I’ve been completely out of my mind.
I feel like I haven’t slept at all, I’m actually starving, have a best friend who has gone on a fudge bender, and I have a crush on a girl who is actually excruciatingly aggravating. I think I should just go back to bed and sleep the day away.
The common room is fairly empty now, with the exception of the rebellious stragglier. I’m slumped in one of the arm chairs by the fire, completely and utterly exhausted. I’m worried for Al and Chase. Nervous and elated about Rose and I. Dreading the oncoming day of academics. And actually a little dubious of Symons words last night. What if she was right? What if I am a complete fool? What if I just exaggerate these “moments” in my head?
“Luuuucccceeeeeyyyy” sounded from the Herd of elephants trampling down the girls staircase.
What the hell?
That could only be Rose.
Then I catch the sight of red curls in a tumbled mess at the bottom of the stairs.
She just loves to make an entrance.
“So was this tumble of elegance a new hip dance move gone wrong, a new and inventive way of travel, or an act of protest for the fight against conformity? If it’s the first, dance has never been your forte, and you know what they say (if at first you don’t succeed – give up) if it’s the second – I don’t think the trend is going to catch on, and if it’s the third I applaud your enthusiasm, but I don’t think you’re sending the right message” I grin. She glares from the ground. I offer my hand – as I predicted, she ignores it and struggles to her feet. Ever the independent.
“Actually it was the coveted performance of ‘What happens when your best friend goes mental and jinxes your shoe laces together’ it’s a working title” Rose replied with a frown and tight fits.
Clever. Jinxing the shoe laces. How does Lucy come up with these things? Alex would definitely not approve. I like that. It makes be believe under that rule abiding façade the real Lucy Weasley is smiling evilly.
“Anything broken?” I check as she lifts her school bag and straightens her robes.
“Just my faith in Karma” she responded grumpily.
Quite often Rose and Lucy seem to be having these tiffs. I used to think they just liked pranking each other. However they have become more frequent and intense of late.
“You’ve got some dust” I lifted my hand to brush it off her cheek. But of course ruining our clichéd moment. She swatted my hand away. “Leave it. It’s going to fuel my hatred for the day” and with that she strode out of the portrait hole.
Then she reappears. “Quit dilly dallying Scorpius we’re late for Herbology”
I rolled my eyes. This is going to be a very long day.
Just act normal.
Yep. Like nothing has happened – and you didn’t stuff your face full of fudge for courage and to ease the pain.
This is going to be torture. It hasn’t even been 24 hours. How am I supposed to handle this? And of course we had to have Herbology first – where we sit right next to each other.
I hate the universe. Absolutely no compassion for breakups and the awkward and depressing aftershocks.
I’m Albus Severus Potter and I can handle this. Right? Yes.
Here goes nothing.
Apparently the single status makes Albus suddenly tardy. I arrived late – just so I wouldn’t be here first. Karma’s a bitch. And so am I.
Rose and Scoprius aren’t here yet either. Yeah thanks friends for the moral support. This is going to be the longest class of my life. Should I have ditched? How am I supposed to act? Do I smile at him? That might send the wrong message. But if I don’t, that might also send a message. What is the correct message I should be sending? Oh Merlin. Rose is supposed to be here…
The door opens.
Oh Merlin that’s his foot. Wait! Should I have sat here…? Do you think he won’t want to sit with me? I don’t know where else to sit. What if he hates me?
Breathe Chase Breathe.
He stops in the doorway. I look up and see his familiar and comforting face. His hair is dishevelled (Probably been for an early morning Fly), I also notice a little bit of chocolate fudge sitting above his top lip (He always did love his Fudge), and finally his eyes – locked on mine (Those wild and expressive emerald green eyes) God he looks good. In pain, and as nervous as I am. But is still Albus. My Al. And I think he always will be.
We both smile. Awkwardly, but friendly.
God. I miss him.
How can you miss someone so much, when they’re standing ten feet away?
What have I done?
I turn the handle, and there he is.
Right where he should be. I was a little worried he wouldn’t want to sit with me. But there he is, looking at me the same way he always does. He looks like shit – I don’t think he slept much at all. I woke up in James’ dorm. It feels like it’s been years since I’ve seen his smile.
He’s smiling at me. I’m smiling back. Merlin it feels awkward. But exactly what I needed. It’s painful, but comforting. I’m a masochist.
I should probably move from the door way. But what am I going to say? I haven’t thought this through. I think I need some more fudge.
Why did this have to happen? I look like an idiot. Everyone is starting to notice the petrified statue blocking the doorway. Chase is looking a little concerned. I don’t want his pity. I just want him.
What am I going to do?
Make a run for it?
I could probably slowly duck out. People would just think I’ve forgotten something. Yep. I’ve decided.
I pull my face into this weird oops-I’ve-forgotten-something-smile (Whatever the hell that looks like) and begin to step backwards…
I face plant.
Well that’s one way to move forward I guess.
You know the nightmare, when you’ve just completely humiliated yourself, you feel like your life is in ruins, and you can never show your face again? And then the relief washes over you when, realisation hits that it was just a dream.
This is not one of those times.
I mean I didn’t do anything terribly mortifying. But I suppose that depends on your mortification meter. Once when I was seven I was really obsessed with the… Wait that’s way too embarrassing to relive.
Why do I want to make myself feel worse?
Ouch. My dignity already felt like it was on the ground, why did I have to fall flat onto it as well?
“Al? Sorry mate. I didn’t see you” Jacob Fiend spoke from above me.
He offers his hand to help me up. I think I was probably better off on the ground. It’s not like I can feel any worse there. Well, until the bell rings and the herd of students trample me in their haste to the next class. But no one is that unlucky. I hope.
Chase had somehow flew to us and grabbed my other hand.
“You alright?” He asked me softly. Jacob sauntered off to his seat. I’m quidditch captain, and Lily Potter’s brother – my face making an unfriendly acquaintance with the ground, is not going to break me. However the concerned and pained eyes of me ex-boyfriend is another matter.
“I’m…” I started. I wasn’t really sure where I was going with that. I’m definitely not alright. But I’m not sure if I want him to know that. How should I play this? Merlin. I’m not going to last 5 minutes if he keeps looking at me like that.
“Seats. Seats. Everyone take their seats” The Professor flew into the room. The only time, one has ever appreciated the interruption of the academic system.
We awkwardly stared at each other before moving to sit at our bench.
Merlin. This is going to be the longest class of my life.
Where is Scorpius and Rose?
“Can’t you walk any faster? We’re already late” Scorpius yells from ahead of me. Damn him and his long legs. I wish I had my broom.
“I didn’t ask you to wait for me” I spluttered. Trying to quicken my pace.
“Oh I’m sure I wouldn’t have suffered if I didn’t” he rolled his eyes at me. A particular event came to mind – Malfoy wearing his breakfast when he pissed me off.
“Pure speculation. You know that you shouldn’t assume things” I informed him.
“Normal people just say thank you” He looked back at me.
“Scorpius Malfoy I graciously commend you for gallantly awaiting my arrival and escorting my poor self the treacherous journey, to Herbology, you really are too kind” I look at him with faux sweetness and pure admiration and appreciation in my wide eyes.
“You forgot providing sustenance for the deranged and unhinged” He smirked back at me. He’s too damn clever for his own good. The smarmy git. The croissants were public property and the muffin was complementary for having to wait for his snoring self to wake up. I think I’m the one who deserves the gratitude. I have suffered.
“I don’t appreciate your insult and will only accept some of Honeydukes finest as apology” I tell him. He just rolls his eyes.
“What a surprise” he looks at me knowingly.
“I’m very unpredictable” I grin at him.
He just rolls his eyes again. Then grabs my hand and pulls me behind a suit of armour and into a secret corridor.
“Well this isn’t exactly going to get us to class faster” I quirk an eyebrow at him.
He puts his hand over my mouth and points to Filch who waltzes straight past us, mumbling something about Mrs Norris and Pink Taffeta. Gross.
I remember the last time Filch caught us being tardy. It wasn’t pretty.
“Merlin” He leans back against the stone wall.
He looks exhausted. He did carry me all the way back to the castle last night. He always seems to be looking out for me. For everybody really. Scorpius Malfoy benevolent. You knew? Well I guess deep down, I always did.
“Al and Chase are going to murder us for leaving them alone together” He spoke. There he goes again. Putting the rest of us to shame for worrying about everyone except himself.
“At least they won’t be able to avoid each other” I point out hopefully.
“I’m sure they will try and find a way” He smirks.
I laughed in agreement.
My mind is literally blank. I can’t think of a single thing to say. Well something suitable. We haven’t spoken more than two words to each other since I sat down. I have no idea why I thought sitting together was a good idea. I’m a masochist. My mind and body is going crazy sitting this close to him, after everything. My hands keep moving of their own accord. I swear I’m going to grab his hand, if I don’t get a hold of myself. And that is definitely going to measure on my mortification meter.
Get a grip Albus.
Merlin. I need help.
I spot Lucy passing our desk. Yes. She will do.
“Hey Luce” I greet her. My voice sounds hoarse from being so silent. And freaky sounding cheery, when I feel the total opposite.
“Hey Luce? That’s what you going with?” She proposes from the other side of the bench menacingly.
Oh Shit. Is Lucy mad at me? Judging from the devil glint flashing in her eyes, I’m going to say yes. Lucy and Lily are downright frightening when pissed off. All I wanted was a saviour from the hell I’m in. Now I’m in a different kind of hell.
“I take it, I’m not currently your favourite person?” I begin tentatively. Chase tenses beside me. He knows what Lucy can be like. And is probably thinking that he is currently my least favourite person.
Her eyes narrow.
“Um…” I respond intelligently. I have no idea what’s awakened the raging bull sleeping inside her. I have this strange inkling it was Rosie’s fault. Damn Rose. First, she’s left me alone with Chase and now I’ve got to deal with Lucy. I just love my family. So kind and considerate.
“Do you want a piece of fudge?” Chase tries from beside me. I tense at the sound of his voice. And narrow my eyes at him. He had fudge this whole time and didn’t offer any to me? I need it. We could have used it to break the tension. Had a laugh. Looked into each other’s eyes. Had a moment. Abruptly left the classroom, and made up behind greenhouse 1. But instead he decides to waste it on Lucy. Sheesh. He obviously isn’t thinking straight.
Her eyes light up. “No thank you. But be sure to offer Rose some when she gets here” her smile turns to this scary, evil, dark, freaky, teeth flashing grin. I shuddered. I swear a cold wind just flew straight through me. How does someone so small, inflict so much fear?
Then she flounces off. Chase and I look down at the offending fudge in his outstretched hand… what has she done to it?
We slowly look up at each other.
Burst out laughing.
Lucy Weasley. She might be a fuming bull when poked, but she breaks the tension with her terrifying ways.
Finally the green houses were in sight. Thank Merlin. It only took, a wet coat, lost textbook, tumble down the stairs, a traumatic insight into the relationship of Filch and his cat, muddy shoes, a scraped knee, psychotic best friend and the constant noise of Scorpius’ nervous chatter. The trek to Herbology – definitely dangerous territory.
I swung the door open. A sea of beady eyes swarmed on us. They actually weren’t as surprised as one might think, until they doubled backed and looked closer. Scorpius and I arriving to class together, Is unfortunately a fairly common occurrence. And Scorpius and I making a late entrance to class, Is unfortunately as predictable as pumpkin juice at breakfast. I swear I am actually a good student. However me sporting a black eye, in the company of Scorpius Malfoy and late to class, is actually rather juicy gossip.
“Follow my lead” I muttered to Scorpius.
I catch Lucy’s eye and give her a glare, she just turns her head. But then I smile when I catch Al and Chase sitting close – looking completely uncomfortable, but with a small smile on their lips. Rose Weasley saving relationships everywhere. See I really am brilliant.
“Miss Weasley, late again are we?” Oh shit. I forgot Professor Addington was subbing for uncle Neville whilst he was off investigating some unknown growth in the African rainforest. He had to pick now to go and save the world? I swear some people have absolutely no consideration.
“Yes. I hope I’m not pregnant” Sarcasm. Best way to handle a situation right? Lorelai Gilmore would think so.
Well considering you’re arriving late with a person of the male persuasion, your hair looks like a blast ended skewt has burrowed itself in there and the professor already hates your guts – probably not.
Most people laughed. The professor however did not.
“That was your brilliant plan” Scorpius muttered angrily as we took our seats.
“Um…Ooh Look Fudge” I snatched it off Albus’ desk and into my mouth.
“No wait” Chase exclaims.
I swallow it down. There is no waiting with me and fudge.
“So considerate. See Scorpius this is how it’s done” I added to his already pissed off face. Well we can’t all be happy. All the time.
Al and Chase shared a nervous look. I ignored it, the fudge was delicious. We received two days’ worth of detention, which I actually think was rather tame for Professor Addington. Class resumed as normal, Symons fortunately is not in this class. Max and Jordan were sending me questioning looks regarding my latest eye feature. Lucy was completely ignoring me. And Alex was furiously scribbling notes beside her. Scorpius was half-heartedly listening beside me. Al and Chase were pretending to be completely engaged in Professor Addington’s lecture, but were actually sneaking looks at each other when the other wasn’t looking. Aren’t they adorable? I slumped on my desk and was mentally trying to make the time go faster. I wonder if anyone would notice if I fell asleep.
The benches are actually a new addition in the greenhouses. Well Professor Longbottom (My uncle well sort of) decided us students got a little too distracted with the temptation of the plants right at our fingertips and decided it would be best to hear the instructions and dangers in a neutral area. I think we have the Fred and James Fanged Geranium Fiasco to thank for this new teaching method.
Maybe James and Fred noticed the questionable academic system, and decided to do something about it? We will never know I guess.
One more minute and the rest of the afternoon will be my own. Of course I still have the Lucy debacle to deal with. Al and Chase are still trying to navigate their new relationship status, with a lot of nervous and awkward interactions. Lunch break was a challenge and extremely entertaining, who knew a bowl of potatoes could be so hyperactive. They both reached for it, their hands touched, they fumbled, and the bowl landed on Scorpius’ head. It was the best.
The end of classes’ bell tolls, signalling my much awaited freedom.
I make a run for it. Scorpius was thankfully occupied with Penelope Flit and her constant chatter. Al was making way to save him and Chase was talking with the professor. I saw my moment and I took it.
I scramble through the hallways. And run into a head on collision.
Lily and Hugo. Grumble grumble.
“Rose” they both begin. “We’ve been looking for you” Well obviously, with their grounded posture and obviously frantic state, I’m surprised they didn’t find me sooner. I really do hate the Marauders Map sometimes. Well not as much as last year with the broom closet on the fifth floor, me with Jared Hanson (A very fit seventh year Slytherin Chaser) caught by an extremely angry Fred and James. I got much sneakier after that.
“Rose” Oh woops I should really try paying attention when your cousin and brother are trying to coerce you into exposing privileged information regarding a certain break-up. I never really understood how people would relate the Weasley/Potter clan with ‘Intimidating’ I mean, we are just people after all. But here I am faced with the frightening reality, that I am wrong again. I really am losing my touch.
“We need to talk about Albus” Lily states, in that serious tone, that you wouldn’t dare disagree with, unless you want a broken nose, bright blue hair and be walking funny for a week.
I was afraid that was going be the hot topic that cautioned my freedom yet again. Damn Al and his complicated love life. I really do love him though. Which is why I’m going to cover for him. I thought he would have told Lily, well I at least thought James would. He isn’t exactly known for having a tight lipped mouth.
“Um. You want to talk about Albus? I actually don’t condone idle conversation which has no purpose but to demean or forge a fabricated truth, subsequently contributing or even the birthplace of the distribution of fare for Hogwarts big eared, fast mouthed and small minded” I eloquently replied.
Lily was quirking her eyebrow and Hugo has an amused smirk on his face “Did you really think that would work?” Lily asked, her tone serious but her face betrayed her.
“What would work? I’m confused, you two are speaking in riddles. Find me later when you have worked it out” I conclude with a quick exit. Moving about 5 feet before I was stopped.
“Look. I’m worried. I don’t know what’s going on. James won’t tell me anything. You’re sporting a black eye. Scorpius is walking around like a Zombie. Albus is struggling to even handle a bowl of potatoes and Chase is acting weird as well” Lily pleaded.
Do. Not. Turn. Around. Rose. Weasley. You won’t being able to resist those eyes!
“You know weird is just a side effect of being awesome” I really don’t know when to shut up.
“Rosie!” Lily warned.
I turned and inevitably spilled my guts, well not completely.
“All those explanations don’t exactly coincide. But something happened last night.”
“Yes...” Lily urged me to continue.
“But it’s not my story to tell. Well apart from the fact that Symons had a psychotic break and attacked me, but that’s only a side note”
“Why did she attack you?” Hugo questioned.
“Well I think the traumatic experience of having her hair jinxed off (Suffering a bald head) might have been at the forefront of her mind” I pondered. Hoping that was the full justification for her actions. And not that there is actually truth to her accusations of myself and a certain insufferable prat.
“It’s bad though, Al and Chase. Like third year bad?” Lily concluded. Damn her and her inquisitive brains.
“I… yes” I replied hesitantly.
When her face fell. I added “But they’re talking and trying to sort things out. So don’t lose hope”
She smiled. After a few hugs and promises to keep her posted and a promise on her and Hugo’s part for no matchmaking, we went our separate ways.
My mind was a lot more clouded as I continued up the staircase. I couldn’t help my own fears and insecurities rise to the surface. What if they don’t work things out? What if this is the end? Is love really so fragile? And what about Scorpius? I can’t just hide and deny. It hurt so much before. I don’t know if I can go through it all again. I may pretend I have everything worked out. But I’m actually just as lost as everyone else.
Dinner did nothing to improve my brooding state. Chase hardly ate anything. Al and James didn’t even show up, but I have a feeling they’re tickling a pear. Max and Jordan did nothing but argue about the Puddlemore game on the weekend. Lucy ate at the Ravenclaw table. Lily looked as solemn as I felt. And Hugo and Fred kept causing a ruckus by flinging food at each other.
And Malfoy well he has been nothing but silent since he plonked down next to me.
I noticed Lucy excuse herself from the Ravenclaw table and head for the doors. I should at least try and make peace.
“Luce” I cornered her in the entrance hall. She stopped like she’d been stupefied or something. Then turned to face me. Her eyes like stone.
“Got around to me then? It only took you what 12 hours? I can’t wait to hear this” she responded spitefully. When had she become such a bitch?
“Yes well I didn’t want to ruin your fun” Together with my coat from this morning, my tumble down the stairs, my missing text book, Lucy also managed to jinx my chair in Potions, make me sound like an idiot every time I answered a question, Possessed my rabbit in transfiguration and got Alex to give me a detention for poor school uniform. My top button was undone. Hers is right now. Argh! she infuriates me sometimes. And we aren’t ever going to talk about what she did to the fudge. Fudge is sacred. No. I can’t even think about it.
She actually managed to look a little shameful at that. “I just don’t like being left behind” she admitted softly.
“Well that’s good because I hate going anywhere without you. You’re my best friend. We’re like sisters” I tell her sincerely. I step closer.
Her mouth twitched. “I really should punch your other eye”
“Well that wouldn’t be very sisterly. And I think I can pull off one, but I would look hideous with two” I frowned. I really had been neglecting her. Don’t get me wrong she has been a bitch, but so have I.
“I’m sure there would be one person still falling at your feet” she admitted with a knowing look.
“Yes. Hugo, but I have him trained and he knows the repercussions of his actions” I responded.
She laughed. “I hate it when we’re fighting, I only have the claws for solace. And they may have sharp minds but have absolutely no nerve for adventure”
“Alex again?” I guessed. We linked arms and started for Gryffindor tower.
“Argh. He wouldn’t even go to the kitchens. Like seriously the kitchens? And apparently I shouldn’t even have the sweets anyway because they’re bad for…”
And the Alex rant continued for the rest of the night. I vaguely remember why I may have become distant in the first place.
And I still haven’t slept a wink. I’m exhausted. But restless. I just can’t stop thinking, worrying, and everything else. I need to breathe. I just need to escape.
I turn over. The sleeping sounds of the boy’s dormitory is doing nothing to relax me. I fling back the covers and make way to the window.
The fresh and ice cold air hits me. My nerves begin to ease, my breathing begins to slower, but my heart still feels like it’s going to burst from my chest. I just hate this. I hate the darkness that clouds me and the shadows that fight for control. I’m just so tired.
The snowy grounds and smoke from Hargrid’s Hut, comfort me like an old friend. Hogwarts has always been a sanctuary, a home where I was welcomed and accepted. Sure, the students still have opinions and can’t help but voice them. But the stone walls, high ceilings and never ending architecture have always been warm and kind. A luxury I could never afford.
“Chase?” A sleepy voice pulls me from my thoughts. I don’t respond or turn, but I feel a hand on my shoulder. We stand silent and listen to the voices of the night. Alone, but still comforted by a friend being close by if needed.
“He will wait for you” Scorpius voiced my darkest fear. “He may not fully understand, but he will never give up trying too”
I don’t respond. And I don’t doubt he wasn’t speaking the truth. But I just can’t help but doubt, what makes me so special to warrant Albus Potter? I’m damaged and broken and I have no idea how I’m going to face tomorrow. I don’t know who I am anymore. I’m just so lost and I don’t know whether I’ll ever find my way home again.
Eventually Scorpius went back to bed. I felt a little lighter, not much different. Just warmer. I’m not alone. And after the first light of sun began to seep through the trees, I decided to go for a run, and then try and stomach some breakfast. That’s my plan. Just simple.
With the little courage I had left. I got up and ran like hell to find some more.
Just one step at a time. Be brave. You can do this.
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