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FIC: What They Deserve 1/4 (Scott, Mystique, others)

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  • Katarina Hjärpe
    WHAT THEY DESERVE SUMMARY: Scott and Mystique may be enemies, but they find that their goals can actually be combined. DISCLAIMER: The X-people belong to Stan
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2000
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      WHAT THEY DESERVE

      SUMMARY: Scott and Mystique may be enemies, but they find that their goals
      can actually be combined.
      DISCLAIMER: The X-people belong to Stan Lee, Bryan Singer and a bunch of
      other righteous dudes. The cops and doctors belong to me, although the names
      of the doctors belong to Michael Lehmann. �Arsenic and Old Lace� belongs to
      Frank Capra. The poem belongs to Bo Setterlind. An so on. (Does anyone
      really care?) All the events belong to me, though.
      DISTRIBUTION: If you have any of my others, you can have this. Otherwise,
      ask first.
      THIS IS A SEQUEL TO �GOOD INTENTIONS�. For those of you who haven�t read
      that story, or have forgotten: Scott and Rogue were kidnapped by doctors who
      experimented on them to �cure� their powers. As a result of these
      experiments, Scott was blinded. The two of them managed to escape, but they
      had a hard time dealing with the physical and emotional trauma.
      NOTE 1: This is extremely out of canon. Even more extreme for those of you
      who are comic fans.
      NOTE 2: The film didn�t say much about Mystique�s personality, so I made one
      up. Also, I know that her affair with Sabretooth was over a long time ago,
      but since the film didn�t care much for comic continuity I don�t see why I
      should.


      �Please don�t lie to me.�
      Scott tried to keep his voice calm, but under the circumstances he had to
      settle for keeping it from breaking. He was glad Jean had left the room.
      Nothing but breaths, for almost a minute. Slow, deep breaths. Did doctors
      always breathe like that when they had something difficult to say?
      �I�m not lying, Scott. Until the swelling is down, we can�t tell exactly
      what the damage is. But you�re right. There are no chances of full
      recovery.�
      �Partial?� Scott asked, trying to cling to some kind of hope.
      Hesitation before the answer. �Slim.�
      Funny, that was supposed to be his nickname, not his chances of ever seeing
      the sun again. His head spun a little, and he got this crazy notion he was
      in an amusement park with a big sign: *Welcome to the world of the visually
      impaired.* Not that he could read signs anymore.
      His link with Jean grew stronger and he knew she was coming back before she
      opened the door. He also knew that she knew, and when she leant down beside
      him, he noticed her attempt to not show her grief. Well, why shouldn�t she
      grieve? He pictured himself at their upcoming wedding, walking with her down
      the aisle with his cane tapping the way. It was grotesque, impossible, but
      it was the way of things. All his hopes that it wouldn�t come to that had
      proved futile. For a moment, he wished he had never had this operation at
      all. Every way he had learned to adapt, everything he had won back during
      the past six months, they suddenly seemed like so very little things,
      compared to the lifetime of darkness stretching out in front of him. One
      step forward, two steps back.
      Tears slid down his cheeks, but his jaw set. Odds were there to be beaten,
      not to beat you. He couldn�t do anything about being blind, but he certainly
      wouldn�t accept being helpless. Scott Summers was a fighter. Always had
      been, always would be.

      **********

      Scott was relieved when he found a bench to sit down on. Although going out
      among people was actually more fun than he had thought, it was also
      exhausting, because there were so many things around him and so little to
      help him orientate. San Francisco was *big*.
      It was also located in a state that had recently come up with some pretty
      nasty anti-mutant laws, which had made him eager to get Jean out of there
      and her unwilling to leave. Eventually, his stubbornness had proved greater
      than hers, and she had folded to his arguments. She was needed at the
      school, the professor had specifically called and told her that. Just
      because he needed to stay for observation a week or two didn�t mean she had
      to be there too. She could always come back and pick him up later. Nobody
      was going to find out he was a mutant. The only way they could do that was
      by DNA tests, and they only tested people they arrested. All he had to do
      was not get arrested. Surely she trusted him not to get arrested?
      She did, and she reluctantly agreed to go home, leaving her cellphone with
      him so that she could always get in touch.
      All of his arguments had been true, but there was something he hadn�t told
      her. On the news there had been lots of discussions about the new mutant
      laws and the committee of politicians, scientists and others who were
      assigned to plan what to do with the captured mutants. One of the members of
      that committee was a Doctor Jason Dean. The name meant nothing to her, and
      he didn�t tell her what it meant to him. He didn�t know what to do about it,
      or if he could do anything to stop it.
      Scott reached for his portable CD player, trying to get his mind off the
      laws. The kids had given him a home-made CD with personal greetings to �keep
      him company�. Some of them were so optimistic they were painful to listen to
      now, but others were a real comfort. He counted quietly to himself as he
      fastforwarded to 15, and Sarah�s voice reading a translation of a European
      poem.

      *Never again a mean word about broken violins!
      Once, I heard the Master himself play
      having only two strings to use.
      He stood among the trees
      playing his favourite instrument
      hymn after hymn, song after song
      crystallized pain
      and I knew:
      That violin was me!
      Others wouldn�t have considered me worth playing,
      but in His hands I was good enough.*

      He leaned back, listening to the words while trying to maintain a poker
      face. He refused to cry in public. Sympathy from strangers was one of the
      things he didn�t think he could ever learn to accept. All he wanted to do
      was fight them off, scream at them to leave him alone, to not make him more
      of an outcast than he already was. Real support was different, like the one
      he was getting from the kids. That helped him. Pity just made things worse.
      One of the people walking by stopped in front of his bench and turned to
      him.
      �Scott, honey, fancy meeting you here!� an affected female voice said.
      He frowned, knowing for certain he had never heard that voice before.
      �I�m sorry, I...� he started, but didn�t get any further before the woman
      slid her arm around his shoulders and something very cold touched his neck.
      �Come with me,� she said in a low voice. �No tricks, or I�ll blow your
      brains out. Is that clear, Cyclops?�
      He did as she told him, fumbling for his cane without finding it. �Who the
      hell are you?�
      She laughed, pushing him gently forward. �Oh, that�s right, you have never
      seen me in this shape before.�
      Shape? Oh no. �Mystique.�
      She pushed him to the ground and sat down on his chest. That action alone
      told him that they were now out of public sight. He could probably wrestle
      her down, but first he had to get that gun away from his neck.
      ��What do you want?� he asked.
      �Victor was arrested this morning,� she said, and her voice shivered a
      little for the first time. �You�re going to blast him out for me.�
      Sabretooth arrested? Any other time, he would have considered this good
      news. But with the laws running now... poor bastard.
      �I can�t.�
      The gun pressed down harder. �Aren�t you supposed to be smart, Cyclops?
      Now, these people know I exist, so they�re not letting anyone in. With your
      help, that won�t be a problem, but I have to admit, I�m pretty desperate.
      Refusing to help me would not be a smart move.�
      �I�m not refusing. I can�t help you. I was caught myself six months ago by
      some doctors who destroyed my optic nerve. I don�t have my powers anymore.�
      He could feel the uncertainty running through her body. �Destroyed? But
      then how can you...� Silence. �You�re...�
      �Blind. Yeah.�
      In astonishment at this revelation, she lost concentration just enough for
      Scott to kick her off and rip the gun from her hand before she had time to
      shoot. They both rose, facing each others, waiting for the next move.
      It was Scott that finally made it, by slowly taking off his glasses. Even
      though he couldn�t see her, he guessed what Mystique�s thoughts must be.
      �I was telling you the truth. My beams are gone and I can�t see. But if
      there�s any other way I can help, I�m willing to do it. Not because you held
      a gun to my face, but because even though I think Sabretooth belongs in
      jail, he certainly doesn�t belong in a California one.�
      A short silence, and then her voice, low. �Okay. I could use an
      accomplice.�
      He was surprised at her willingness to trust him. She didn�t ask any
      questions, didn�t treat it like a trap. This must really have gotten her off
      balance. For some reason, it had never occurred to him that the members of
      the Brotherhood could care as much about each other as the X-men did. If it
      had been Jean in that jail... he felt sick at the thought, and reached out a
      hand to Mystique.
      �I�m really sorry,� he said.
      She pulled back, offended. �What are you, feeling sorry for me? I�m getting
      pity from a *powerless* mutant? What kind of pathetic wimp do you take me
      for?�
      She started to walk off, fast and annoyed, and he called after her.
      �Could you please help me out of here?�
      �Oh.� She stopped and returned, taking his arm in a rather harsh way.
      �Shouldn�t you have one of those canes or something?�
      �I do. It�s over by the bench where you attacked me.�
      �Oh,� she said again, her voice sullenly irritated the way it is when you
      feel stupid. �Okay, we�ll go get it, and then we�ll plan something. I hope
      you�re as good a tactic as you claim.�
      It struck him that Mystique seemed to be a rather troublesome ally. But
      then again, he thought ironically, what had he expected?

      **********

      �Why are you slowing down?�
      Mystique�s impatience was refreshening in a way, but he had a feeling he
      would tire of it real soon. It wasn�t *his* fault Sabretooth had been
      arrested, and he didn�t much care for her way of behaving as if he was
      stalling on purpose.
      �This area is unknown to me, I need to locate.�
      �There�s nothing in front of you.�
      �That�s not the point.� If he moved too quickly, he would miss most of the
      sounds, the smells, the way the ground felt below his feet, in short,
      everything that told him what this street looked like. Not even his friends
      understood that need completely. To Mystique he couldn�t explain it at all.
      She sighed deeply. �The motel is only a block away, can�t we just get
      there?�
      �If it�s that close, you have time to wait.�
      When they had reached the motel and she lead him inside, he deliberately
      slowed down even more, even though there was actually no need for it.
      Childish, certainly, but he wasn�t going to let this murderous wench boss
      him.
      �Oh for crying out loud,� she started, �won�t you...�
      He couldn�t hold back a grin, and she stopped midsentence, letting go of
      his arm.
      �Are you fucking with me?� she asked. Strangely enough, and for the first
      time, he detected a trace of laughter in her voice.
      �A little.�
      There was no other reply to that than a brief snort, but when she grabbed
      his arm again, her grip was softer, and she stopped harassing him.
      The room had a humid smell, but seemed okay for a motel room. Mystique
      directed Scott to a chair and then sat down on the bed, which complained
      loudly through rusty springs. There was a long silence. Considering
      Mystique�s eagerness to get here, that was unexpected. Finally, Scott asked:
      �So, who�s body are you using now?�
      �I don�t know her name,� she answered. �Remember how your shaggy friend
      stabbed me? There was a Jane Doe in the same hospital room as me, who died
      while I was there. She�s about the same size as me, so her shape is easy to
      use.�
      �What name are you using then?�
      �My own. Raven Darkholme.� A sharper tone in her voice. �Why are you asking
      so much?�
      �I just wanted to know what to call you.�
      �Oh.� She thought for a second. �Well, you can call me Raven and I�ll call
      you Scott.�
      �Sounds good to me.�
      Silence again. It wasn�t so strange they didn�t know what to say to each
      other, Scott thought. Last time they had met, they had tried to kill each
      other. But then again, a lot had been different last time they met, and even
      though they had separate ideas on how to treat humans, there were no
      differences when it came to atrocities committed to mutants.
      �How much do you know about Sabretooth?� Scott asked.
      �He�s kept in state prison,� she said, mimicking his neutral tone of voice.
      �I was in senator Kelly�s shape when they caught him, and, unfortunately, I
      blew that cover. Stupid thing to do.�
      He flinched at the bitterness in her voice. �Listen, My... Raven, you can�t
      blame yourself...�
      �Oh, can�t I?� she said, biting voice. �They know I exist! I can�t get
      through to him! If only I had kept the cover, maybe the senator�s influence
      could have helped him somehow... although I doubt it.� Quick breaths, almost
      sobs. He prayed that she wouldn�t cry. He was lousy at dealing with his own
      emotions and worse at dealing with other people�s, especially some ally that
      had recently been an enemy. Fortunately, her voice soon stabilised again.
      �Do you know what they do to mutants in this state? A positive DNA test is
      enough to put you away. With a record like Victor�s, he�s lucky if he gets a
      trial before they kill him or lock him up forever. I don�t know which would
      be worse. Victor can�t stand being caged, he�ll go nuts in a cell.�
      Scott noticed that she had used the word �caged�, fitting to Sabretooth�s
      feral tendencies. At another time, he might have looked down on the man for
      those. Now he didn�t. In Raven�s voice, there was something that reminded
      him that animals of prey have pride and grandeur, and that a cage is always
      too small for them. An animal is not less than a man, it could be more.
      �We�ll get him out,� he said, trying to sound comforting.
      �How?� she asked.
      �I don�t know.�
      �Not much of help, then.�
      He realised that when he had offered his help, that was what she had
      accepted. Sympathy was never part of the deal. That was something he could
      completely respect -- but it would have been easier if he had actually known
      how to help her.

      **********

      He had gotten used to the examinations by now and was no longer stuck in
      dreadful memories every time he approached a doctor. At first there had been
      a jolt of panic every time, but now there was none. Not until this day, when
      a somber doctor told him it was time to go home.
      �There is really nothing else we can do for you.�
      He couldn�t go home. First of all, he had promised Raven to help her, and
      he was a man of his word. Second, and more important, he couldn�t just walk
      away when people were capturing mutants. Next time it could be New York
      State, and himself.
      �Shouldn�t I stay for a little longer? The gym sessions have really been
      useful.�
      That wasn�t a lie, either. Since he had been blinded, he had taken great
      effort in keeping up his physical standard, but it was easier here, where he
      was helped in his training by people who had dealt with blind athletes
      before.
      �You don�t actually need professional help to uphold those. You know the
      routine, you can ask anyone. Listen, I understand that this is frightening
      to you, but sooner or later...�
      When Scott realised the misunderstanding, it startled him so much he missed
      the rest. He supposed he would have been frightened, had there not been too
      many other things on his mind.
      �We�ll call someone to come pick you up.�
      �No. I�ll do that.�
      In the thoughts chasing through his mind, he had found something useful.
      Obviously, if he was picked up by Jean or one of his other colleagues, none
      of the staff would bother to make sure he was actually on the plane. If he
      could only convince him to let him leave alone, he could sneak away and stay
      in town. He would have to tell Jean some plausible lie about why he wouldn�t
      come home for a while, and lying wasn�t his strongest side, but he could
      always ask Raven.
      Of course. That was it. He wouldn�t have to go alone after all.
      �I�ll call... Jean, right away,� he said, standing up.
      He was glad that he wasn�t offered help. It would have been hard to explain
      the local call. Raven had given him the number to her motel room and he had
      tried to memorize it. He could only hope he remembered it correctly. Since
      he was using his cellphone, there was really no risk anyone would notice the
      number was incorrect, but he still thought the sound of each button pressed
      down was so loud someone would soon come and say: �Hey, that�s not a New
      York number!�
      The voice in the other end of the line. �Raven Darkholme.�
      Please, don�t let anybody have heard that.
      �Hi, Jean,� he said, in an attempt to sound normal. �It�s me. There sending
      me home now.� He had to say more, they expected more. �There hasn�t been any
      change... but we didn�t expect that either.�
      �No, I guess we didn�t.� She was playing along, which was good, but her
      voice told him she didn�t quite understand what was going on.
      �So, Jean, could you fly over and pick me up?�
      �Yeah,� she said. �I�ll be there first thing tomorrow.�
      �Great! Can�t wait to see you again.� It wasn�t until he hung up that he
      realised how very ironic those words were. He had begun to use words like
      �see� in his vocabulary again, but right now his lifelong and complete
      blindness had been confirmed, it should be too painful.
      The reason it wasn�t had something to do with the fact that he had been
      expecting and fearing this moment for the past six months, but it had a lot
      more to do with something else. He was involved in a dangerous, illegal and
      almost hopeless plan to save mutants in trouble. For the first time since
      what had felt like a lifetime, he felt like Cyclops again.

      **********

      He knew Raven was good, but he hadn�t quite realised that she was *that*
      good. When she walked in that door with Jean�s way of walking, voice like
      Jean�s, the hand that took his exactly like Jean�s, it was hard even for him
      to remember that it wasn�t really Jean. The only thing that stopped his
      heart from beating faster was that there was no link, an absence as
      intrusive as if she had suddenly spoken with a bass voice.
      She didn�t kiss like Jean, either. It shocked him when her lips brushed
      against his, but then he realised that it made perfect sense. If it had been
      Jean, they would certainly have kissed, and so he pressed closer instead of
      pulling away, giving it every bit of passion he could. It must have been
      enough, because she gasped a little. Maybe he had overdone it. He had a
      feeling it was more of a private kiss than a public one.
      A man�s hand taking his. �Goodbye, Scott. It�s been good to have you here.�
      No apologies for the lack of results. None were needed. He knew they had
      given it their best shot, and it wasn�t hard for him to smile at the unseen
      face.
      �It�s been good to be here.�
      Then he followed Raven outside, and by now the lack of linking was so
      fierce he was amazed nobody else noticed it. He had to learn optimistic
      thinking -- but you didn�t become a good leader by making half-hearted plans
      and rely on hope.
      They hadn�t walked long before Raven stopped.
      �What?� he asked. He knew they hadn�t reached her motel yet.
      �I should change. I can�t very well leave my room as a brunette and come
      back a redhead, can I? Cover for me.�
      She gently pushed him aside to hide her from view, and it struck him how
      much her way of treating him had changed over the past few days. They hadn�t
      come up with something really useful yet, but she knew his helpfulness was
      for real, and she treated him as an ally instead of a temporarily useful
      enemy.
      �Okay,� she said after a minute or so, her voice back to what it had
      sounded like for the past couple of days. �I�m done, let�s go.�
      By now he knew the way to the motel and no longer had to slow her down.
      Bakery -- fountain -- rusty vane -- and here we are. He sat down in her worn
      old armchair and took a deep breath.
      �Time for the hard part. What am I going to tell Jean?�
      �Hm.� Raven moved around in the room, and he heard the snap of his suitcase
      opening. �I guess the truth is out of the question?�
      �Definitely. Do you mind not messing with my stuff?�
      She didn�t listen. �Yeah, Victor�s not going to like it when he realises
      you�re helping me out, I guess your people feel the same way. You could
      always say you met a woman.�
      �Funny. Please get out of my stuff, I need to keep them in order.�
      Something was thrown into his lap. �What book is this?�
      He sighed and let his fingers move over it. �Oliver Twist.�
      �Good one. You can actually read that stuff?�
      �Slowly, but yeah. What�s all this about?� he asked, indicating her
      restlessness.
      �I think better when I�m doing something. Okay, here it is. You simply tell
      Jean you need to stay in town a little longer, talk to a few people, get
      some stuff... tell her you�re getting a dog. Are you getting a dog?�
      �No. But it�s not a bad idea, that kind of thing could work. Thanks.� He
      picked up the phone, but before he dialed the number, he said: �One more
      thing.�
      �Yes?�
      �Next time you need to think, use your own stuff.�

      **********

      He didn�t know if Jean believed a word he said. It was too far away for
      their link to work, and he hoped he had sounded believable. Raven claimed he
      had, and Raven was a great liar, so she ought to know. That didn�t stop his
      body from tensing every time the phone called. It could be Jean, demanding
      the truth, and then what would he say? This was none of his business anyway,
      it ought to be Magneto... but Magneto was in a prison even more secure than
      Sabretooth�s.
      A phone signal made him jerk immediately, and he had to force his breaths
      to slow down before he took it. �Hello?�
      �Hi.� Nothing else, but with those vowels, he didn�t need anything else.
      �Rogue! Hi! What�s up?�
      �Not much.� Pause. �I miss you. We all do.�
      He bit his lip. �I miss you too, but there are some things I have to do.�
      It was even harder to lie to Rogue than to lie to Jean, and so he stayed at
      this half-truth.
      �Yeah, I know, I...� Her voice broke, and he heard muffled sobs. Oh, shit.
      Even if he had been there for her, he would have felt awful to hear her cry.
      Now, knowing that there was nothing he could do, it was even worse.
      �Are you okay?�
      �Am *I* okay!?� Now the sobs weren�t even muffled anymore. �You�re the one
      in a house full of doctors... and they couldn�t even help you...�
      �Rogue, please,� he said helplessly. The last thing he wanted was the girl
      to cry for him.
      Attempts to quiet down. �I�m sorry. I just wish there was something I could
      do. You�ve done so much for me.�
      That simple statement, that warmth in her voice. *Oh, Rogue, how could you
      ever think you�re not doing anything for me?* His thoughts just wouldn�t
      become words. �Just don�t cry. I�m...� He couldn�t say that he was okay.
      Considering the circumstances, he was fine, but it was pretty crappy
      circumstances. �We knew this could happen.�
      The door opened, and Raven�s rushed steps came over the floor. �Scott, this
      is getting serious.�
      He hushed her and told Rogue: �I have to get off.�
      �Who was that?�
      �Just a nurse. Take care, okay?� He turned off the phone and then turned to
      Raven. Even though he heard her better with his side to her face, habit was
      hard to break. �What is it?�
      She read out loud from what must be a newspaper. ��Prized MD on the
      �wildman� case. Although the work of the California Committee of Mutant
      Control (CCMC) has shown great result, the case with the captured mutant
      wildman still puzzles police and scientists. Medical expert Elizabeth Finn
      has been called in from New York State...��
      �Hold it,� Scott interrupted, feeling strangely cold. �What was that name?�
      �Elizabeth Finn,� Raven repeated.
      �Betty Finn.� He stood up, too distressed to sit. �We have to stop them. We
      have to get him out of there.�
      �That�s what I�ve been saying all along.�
      He shook his head. �You don�t understand. Betty Finn designed the crystal
      that ruined my eyesight. There�s no telling what damage she can do to him.�
      Shocked silence filled the room for a while, but then there was a
      thoughtful question from Raven:
      �So you know the woman?�
      What kind of a question was that? Scott had to bite his lip so he wouldn�t
      start yelling at her. His voice was cold when he replied. �Every day, I wake
      up to the effects of her work. Every night I can still hear the voices of
      those doctors, feel them touching me... So, yeah, I know her.�
      Raven�s voice was still calm, if anything a little milder. �Do you know her
      enough to teach me to be her?�

      **********

      Scott paced back and forward in the motel room, waiting for Raven to call.
      Everything in his life seemed to circle around that cellphone. He shouldn�t
      have let her go through with this. If anything went wrong he would never
      find out. He wasn�t good at staying behind while other people acted, but he
      couldn�t very well come along. Raven was an excellent shapeshifter and a
      fine liar, but if he was with her, Betty Finn would most certainly have been
      suspicious anyway.
      Why did it take so long? She was supposed to call as soon as she had gone
      through with the kidnapping. Something must have happened. Maybe she ran in
      to someone who knew the reporter whose features she had borrowed, someone
      who could tell the difference.
      That was ridiculous. When Mystique was in a good shape, no one could tell
      the difference, not unless she let her tongue slip, and she was really good
      at avoiding that.
      Finally, the awaited signal came, and he threw himself at the phone.
      �Hello?�
      He had expected the man�s voice she had when leaving, but instead he got a
      slow, husky, cultivated, feminine one that made his spine chill. �I�m done.�
      His mouth was dry, and even though he knew it had to be Raven, he couldn�t
      help asking: �Who is this?�
      �It�s me, stupid. I did as you said and kept her alive, so I had to wait
      until we got to her hotel before I could take over. It�s the Palace Hotel.
      Take a cab and meet me here. Oh, and your name is Mr. Rochester.�
      �*What*!?� Scott had to laugh. �You�re kidding me.�
      �Well, it�s the first thing I came up with! I had to rearrange the
      reservation to get a double room, and they asked what my �friend� was
      called.�
      �Double room.� Scott hadn�t thought that far. It made more sense than two
      singles, but the only thing that made him more tense than the thought of
      sharing a bed with Mystique was the thought of sharing it with the doctor.
      �Hey, you�re the one who didn�t want me to kill her, you have to help me
      keep watch. So to speak. Besides, it�s a whole suite, you could sleep in a
      chair.�
      �I guess. I�ll be right over then.�
      �Do that. Bye!�
      After a quick call for a cab, he shut off the phone and grabbed their
      belongings, grateful that they were already packed. *That* had been less
      than hilarious. Raven had become rather put off when she had packed his
      things and he had repacked them, allowing her only to pile them. He could
      understand her reaction. Not only was it a waste of time to do it twice, but
      this was the first time she had tried to do him a favour, and he had
      rejected it. Even though their behaviour now was most definitely friendly,
      they still didn�t understand each other. Maybe they never would.

      **********

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