By Jessica Hudson
Disclaimer: The following characters are property of Universal Studios and Renaissance Pictures, No copyright infringement intended. This is for entertainment purposes only.
Subtext: Yeah there is subtext in this. I would not have it any other way. So if you don't like the thought of two women being totally in love, then don't read this. Cause this is a story for adults, if you are under age or are living some where this is illegal, either wait until you are of age or you have moved to another area.
Dedication: To my good friend Kim. Thanks for chatting with me while I am at work, keeping me awake in the wee hours of the morning. Especially, since I have not had a day off in forever. It is only through my complete exhaustion that this story is possible.
This is my first time writing a mild romantic comedy.. So please, "BE NICE." Let me know what you think. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
"Hey, Xena?" Gabrielle was feeling really tired from this past several days they had spent on the dusty roads through Greece.
She looked over to see the Warrior so caught up in her own thoughts she missed the rock in the road in front of her. Nearly tripping she caught her self by grabbing onto the Bard. With her face turning red, she straightened up and continued walking.
"Xena?" Gabrielle suppressed the laugh and continued to follow in fear of seeing Xena's dark side.
"Yesss," she tried hard to regain her stoic and bored expression.
"Are we going to stop at the next town. I have dirt in places I never thought possible."
Xena chuckled, 'I can imagine what places you mean.' "Yeah, sure. A few days off wouldn't hurt."
"Hey, why don't we just head for Amazon lands. We are not that far away. Besides I have not seen Ephiny in a long time."
Xena cringed at the thought of all those women fawning over Gabrielle. She rolled her eyes. Not wanting to give in but knowing she could not keep the Bard away forever. "Alright, I guess it would be good to see Eponin and get some serious sparring in."
"Great." They made the detour and headed from the village. Just before sun down they arrived at the border. Stopping long enough to give the sign of peace. They continued into camp as a small contingent of guards followed them. Ephiny was summoned ahead of time and stood at the first row of huts and waited anxiously for the Bard and the Warrior. Soon as she saw them she rushed and pulled Gabrielle in a bone crushing hug. "Hey! It is so good to see you." Letting go of the young Bard. "Hi, Xena." She gave the Warrior and the Bard a once over to make sure they were the same as they left. Satisfied they were still in one piece she led them to the Queen's hut. Xena went ahead and settled in while Gabrielle joined Ephiny in the dining hut.
"How have you been? It has been forever since you were here last?" The regent had many questions running through her mind but knowing how private Gabrielle could be she decided to take a more cautious approach to each subject.
"Good..." Gabrielle seemed to be letting her attention float to different things.
"Oh, nothing. I mean things have been great. Xena and I have been all over. I have so many new stories to share. It is just...well...Ephiny you are my friend right?" The Bard had a fearful look in her eyes.
"Always, what's wrong? Has Xena done something to you? I swear to Artemis if she has, I'll...." The regent felt a wave of rage settle over her. She began to stand and go and find Xena. Feeling the Bard's strong arm catch hers and pull her back down.
"It is not like that, Ephiny. She has never hurt me. You know that." Ephiny began to blush when she realized how she acted. "Well, I mean she has done something, but it is not bad. At least I don't think it is bad. But she can never know."
"What is it?" The regent locked eyes with Gabrielle trying to see her emotions. Noting how well she had them hidden. 'Hmm, she's been spending too much time with Xena. She is starting to learn her facial expressions.'
"Well, what she did was take my heart. Ephiny, I am so in love with her it hurts. I know she can never love me back. Except for as a friend and I am willing to live with that but I want more. I want to meet someone that can take my mind off her."
Ephiny thought for a moment. She knew the young girl was acting differently. 'Wow, talk, dark, and lethal has stolen her heart. Well, that is not the only heart she has stolen. I know about 20 Amazons that have confessed the same.' Suddenly it hit her. The single's scrolls.
"Hey, Gabrielle are you serious about meeting someone?"
"Yeah, do you have someone in mind? Some one who can be discreet?"
"Well, sort of. You see we have this board at the back of Common Hut. It has pieces of parchment on it and each one has an ad of aa Amazon looking to meet another Amazon." Seeing the disappointment on the Bard's face she quickly continued. "Just hear me out. It is open in that We just started it and I have been wanting to post one there myself so I will do it with you."
"How can it be discreet. I don't want the whole village knowing I am looking to meet some one."
"That is the good part. See what you do is you give yourself a code name and write a small summary about yourself and what you are looking for. You hang it up and then we each have boxes underneath for those that reply. We all have a secret code name that we have chosen. So if someone writes to you, and you like them, you can write back. Leave it in there box and wait for the next one."
Gabrielle thought for a moment and decided it was safe enough. "Okay, but I swear. If word gets out, I am gonna hurt you. I don't want everyone to know the Queen is desperate." She began to blush.
"Great! After we eat we can go to my hut and prepare our parchment and then later I will take them and hang them up. I will also add a your secret name to a box. They finished the rest of their meals in silence, then headed to the regents's hut. Grabbing parchment, two quills, and some ink they began to write. Being careful to disguise their writing. Several candle marks passed before they were done. Gabrielle was satisfied with what she put. Assured by Ephiny that you could not read it and figure it out. "Okay, I better head to my hut and go find Xena. She is probably wondering where I have been all this time. Night."
"Good night, my Queen." Ephiny waited until Gabrielle had been gone for some time and then headed for the Common Hut and posted the pieces she and the Bard had worked so hard on.'I hope this works. She deserves to be happy. Even if it is not with Xena. I don't know how she can have such a brilliant mind and yet be some numb. You think she was a blonde.'
"Hmm..Maybe I should keep the healer on stand by. Cause if this don't work and she gets hurt. I am gonna need one." She smiled at the now posted pieces of parchment.
Gabrielle arrived at the hut to find Xena sitting in front a roaring fire, deep in thought. The sounds on a her sharpening stone on metal being the only sounds coming from the room. She did not even notice the Bard standing in the door way watching her. 'She has been doing that a lot lately. I wonder what is bothering her? Oh well, not she will tell me. Maybe she will tell Eponin. She is always able to talk warrior stuff with her.' She cleared her throat to announce her presence. Xena looked up from her work, acknowledging her and then returned to her sword.
"You gonna spend some time with Pony tomorrow?"
"Yeah, she stopped by and asked me to stop by the practice yard in the morning and help her work with some of the young lings. She has been teaching them sword techniques and is going out of her mind because some of them just can not get it." She smiled. "You?"
Gabrielle thought quick. "Oh well, Eph wants me to help her with some Queen stuff. You know the usual. I need to get caught up. Will you have dinner with me tomorrow though?" She hoped the warrior would be in a better mood after a day of sparring.
"Sure, dinner it is." She went back to her sharpening and once again was lost in her own thoughts.
Morning found Gabrielle waking after dawn to find the Warrior already gone. She sighed and allowed herself to fall back to sleep for a while longer.
Mean while Xena was busy on the practice yard kicking Eponin's butt all over place. Trying her best to maintain her stoic and calm manner she repeatedly showed the young women each move. The majority picked up and did great but the other half spent more time picking them selves off the ground then actually learning.
"I see what you mean Pony. Damn, you Amazons must be breeding from a poor stock." She chuckled.
Eponin had to agree the new ones where too soft. "I keep telling them that Xena but they won't listen." They worked some more and then finally decided to give them a few hours to rest. "Meet back here after lunch and we will continue."
After every one had departed the two sat down under a near by tree to cool in the shade. Passing a wine skin Eponin finally broke the silence. "So, what is up with you lately? You don't seem like your usual self?"
"Well, I can't believe I am gonna tell you this Pony but I have fallen in love." Pony burst out laughing, looking at Xena she noticed the angry dark stare she often gave before she killed.
"Artemis, you are serious. Who?!"
Xena put her head in her hands. Not wanting Pony to see the blush creeping up her neck. "Gabrielle."
"My Queen! Your kidding! When did you realize it?"
"A while ago but I have been hiding it until now. I know I can't tell her. She could never feel the same way. I don't want to loose her Pony. I dunno."
"Anything I can do. You know I am here for you." Eponin could tell how much the warrior hurt. She herself had feeling for someone and had been holding back for years to maintain their friendship.
"Xena, I know what you are going through. I have loved some one for a long time. But she is such a good friend I don't want loose her so I have kept silent all these years." Eponin hung her head in shame.
"Really, wow. I mean that makes sense. You do blush a lot around her." The warrior smiled a brilliant smile knowing she was not the only one to deal with unrequited love.
"I had hoped no one would ever notice. I've gotten good at hiding it."
"I guess we both have a serious problem on our hands." The both
slumped their shoulders in defeat.
Pony suddenly got an idea. "Hey, I know. Why don't we do something to take our minds off of them. I mean there are several healthy young women in this village. We could do a double date type thing." she looked at the warrior hopefully.
"What? How? I mean what if Gabrielle finds out? Besides it is not like we can just walk up to everyone and go, 'hey who wants to date an old warlord and weapons master?' Not my idea of meeting some one."
"We got this new method of meeting people. It is totally anonymous."
Xena raised a questioning eye brow. "I am listening..."
"Well we have this board were eligible Amazons post a parchment about them selves. Then other Amazons read it and ask them out. I have been wanting to try it but I have been to scared to."
"Eponin, since when are you scared?" Xena laughed.
"Never mind that. Anyway, now that you are hear we can go check them out and find us a couple of girls to spend some time with. You know a double date. Please!" Pony pleaded and gave Xena the puppy look she was soo good at. 'Some day I gave to tell her that makes her look like a turkey.'
"Alright, but I mean it if word gets out and we get caught. I am gonna scatter pieces of you from here to Athens. Got it?"
Eponin swallowed hard at the menacing look Xena was giving her. In a voice two octaves higher then normal she squeaked, "sure."
Xena took a deep breath, "great. Now lets go and get back here by lunch."
They walked covertly to the Common Hut and began to browse the board. Keeping an eye out for other Amazons.
"Hey Xena look at this one: WILD AND CRAZY! LOOKING FOR WARRIOR OF MY DREAMS." Pony laughed.
Xena read the next one, "LOOKING FOR ROUGH AND WILD WOMEN." 'Hey she sounds like my kinda girl but she I don't think she will know the meaning of the word discreet.'
They continued to look and laugh. Making fun of several of the posts. "I cant believe some of these. They are NUTS!" Pony was laughing hard enough to have tears in her eyes.
Finally Xena spotted one that got her attention.
'SOFT AND SWEET, LOOKING FOR STRONG ARMS TO HOLD ME'
Looking for a someone to help clear the lonely ache in my heart. You must be gentle and charming, and enjoy going for long walks and star gazing. Making me laugh is a plus. I am a blonde with small, muscular build. I also require absolute discretion.
"Hey Pony, I found one for me. Says she is looking for some one to have fun with. Oh, it says here, she wants to be VERY discreet."
Pony stepped over and read it. "Yeah though I never thought you would go for someone like that. You always struck me as the wild type." Eponin spotted the one next to it. 'BE MINE' she began to read it. Xena noticed it too and read along.
Looking for a warrior to fill my heart. Some one to share my life and build a family. I appreciate someone who is funny and kind. You have to be able to let me be my self and give me space. But understand that at the end of the day I want some one to hold me. I have blonde hair and an athletic body. Long Term Only.
"Well, she wants long term but she sounds great. My kinda gal." Eponin found some parchment. She and Xena replied to the posts making sure no one would recognize their hand. The suggested that they make a double date and meet by the river the next day at Dusk. Finishing up, they put the parchments in their proper boxes. Noticing that they already had competition.
"Xena, look both boxes are already filled. I want to meet her. I hope she reads this." Eponin looked disappointed. Xena thought for a minute before reaching into both boxes and grabbing the other replies and tearing them. She walked over to the fire and added them in. Pony just stared in wonder. 'Wow, I would have never thought of that.' They both laughed as they exited the hut and headed for the dining hall for lunch. "We have to get ready for tomorrow. I hope this works. What are you gonna tell Gabrielle so you can sneak away?"
Xena had already been forming a plan. "Don't worry I will just tell her that you and I are going to go hunting and we will be back in the next day. You know a camp out kinda thing." She smiled, the bard would never suspect a thing.
"Alright sounds good. So I guess we can pack some gear and our things like we are going to. I will meet you tomorrow at noon near the Queen's Hut. To make it look convincing." They ate their lunch and headed back for the practice yards and continued their day.
Gabrielle and Ephiny went to the Common Hut before dinner. Checking their boxes they each found a parchment. "Thought we would get more then this. Hmm...." Ephiny said as she read the parchment.
I read your post. I am looking for same. I am wanting to start a family as well. I want someone to hold and love. Some one to laugh and cry with. I have dark hair and muscular build. If you are interested. I plan to be at the lake tomorrow at dusk. I will have a friend there with me. She will be waiting for someone as well. I would love to meet you and make you mine.
Gabrielle listened as she read aloud. Sighing, "she sounds sweet." She opened hers and read it. Her eyes going wide. "Hey Eph look, I think her friend wrote to me. Listen:
I am not much for words, but I like what you wrote. I enjoy long walks, watching the stars and holding some one. I would love to meet you. I will be at the lake with a friend tomorrow at dusk. She is expecting someone as well. I too need absolute discretion.
Hope to see you there.
She did not say what she looked like. Hmm. I hope she is at least some what good looking. I know I am not much to look at but...Oh Ephiny, I am really nervous. What if she is too freaked out that I am the Queen?" The Bard began to fidget and pace. She just wanted to spend time with someone who saw her for who she was.
"Look, we have the same problem. One of the reasons I have remained single after Phantes is because no one wants to date the Regent of the Amazons. So calm down if they don't like us we can just tell them to keep their mouths shut and move on. Alright?"
Gabrielle stopped pacing. "Okay, I just hope we are not making a huge mistake, Eph."
"We will be fine just don't worry. Come on we need to figure out what we are going to wear. What are you going to say to Xena?"
"I will tell her you and I are doing a girls night kinda thing. You know hanging out at your place. Sound good?"
"You sure she will buy it?"
"Oh yeah, I will tell her it has to do with treaties regarding a few near by villages. She will make sure she stays away. She hates politics." Her nose crinkled as she smiled a deviously. They burned the parchment they received and headed for dinner.
Xena sat quietly in the hut with a large tray of food. She heard Gabrielle's footsteps got up to greet her. Seeing her smile as she entered the hut made Xena smile as well. Gabrielle thought, 'looks like she has had a good day.'
"Oh, you already have our food. I'm glad. Man I am starving." She
walked over to the tray and noticed many of her favorite foods. Filling a plate
and handing it to Xena. Feeling a jolt of electricity shoot through her as her
hand gently brushed the Warrior's. She shrugged it off and made her own
plate sitting next to Xena in front of the fire. Several moments passed before
both women spoke at once.
Xena smiled once more feeling the butterflies in her stomach do back flips. 'She is going to e the death of me, I just know it.' "You go first."
"Okay," Gabrielle swallowed hard suddenly feeling guilty for lying to her friend. "I have a girl's night planned with Ephiny tomorrow. She asked to hang out and work on some different treaties and do, you know, girl stuff." 'Man that sounds really lame.'
Xena felt relieved she knew now that her friend would not mind her taking off for the night either. She also felt a twinge of guilt. 'I hate lying to her. Well here goes.' "I am glad you had something planned. I was going to go hunting with Eponin tomorrow. Camp out in the woods, that sort of thing." She tried to sounds convincing, sure that the young women could hear her heart pounding.
"Alright, then I guess it is settled. I was afraid you would be bored. Thank the Gods for Pony." She unconsciously placed a hand on Xena's. "Just promise me the two of you won't get into any trouble. I know how you can be. Especially when you get bored."
Xena froze at the contact of Gabrielle's hand on hers. She fought to regain her composer. "We do not get into trouble. We just find stuff to entertain us. That's all." She found her self caught in a sea of deep green. Wanting so much to pull Gabrielle into her arms. She sighed and got up. "I am gonna go for a walk and let Pony know what time to meet me." With that she left the hut. Gabrielle was frozen in place. She could swear she'd seen longing in those deep baby blues.
She allowed her mind to wonder. Thinking of who in the village these women where. Wondering if they had met anyone else. 'Aphrodite, I would give anything to have it be Xena. Even if she did not know it was me she was replying to.'
She heard a knock at the door of her hut. "Come in." Ephiny entered looking wound to make sure tall dark and deadly was gone.
"I thought I saw Xena leave. I wanted to make sure. Did you tell her about tomorrow?"
"Yeah she already had something planned with Pony anyways."
"Oh, I see. Well that works." Ephiny could not hide the disappointment on her face.
"Eph, what's wrong?" The Bard was deeply concerned.
"Well, since you have told me your heart I guess I should tell you mine. I was kinda hoping against hope that the one that answered my post was going to be Eponin. I know it is just childish fantasizing but well I want more then anything for it to be her." She hung her head as she sat in the nearest chair. Gabrielle came over and hugged her.
"You and me are too much alike some times." She sighed taking herself back to her previous thoughts of Xena. "Before you came in I was thinking how much I wanted Xena to be the one that was waiting or me as well."
They both laughed and talked for a while longer before she left. Sometime later Xena returned to find Gabrielle dozing in a chair near the fire place. She watched the young women intently. Feeling the strong pull she always had. Wanting to hold her. To love her completely. Knowing that she would never have the chance, she would have to forever be content to ave only her friendship. 'Who knows, if this goes date goes well tomorrow. I might ask her to stay here a while. Maybe I can find some peace with some one. Oh Gods, I wish it could be her.'
She walked over to the sleeping form, reaching down she cradled her in her arms. Moving for the bed.
"Xena?" Gabrielle began to shift at the feeling of being in Xena's arms.
"Shh. Go back to sleep." The Bard did not want to argue. Instead she wrapped her arms around the tall women as she moved her about. When Xena reached the bed she laid her down and wrapped the covers around her. Standing up again she turned around. A small hand grabbed her bigger one.
"Come to bed, please?" Xena felt her heart break. She wanted to sleep next to her. But she knew the want was too much. It was beginning to consume her, even though she fought against it she knew it was one battle she would never win. She sighed, reaching down she unlocked Gabrielle's hand.
"Let me change first." She quickly dawned a sleeping shift and crawled into bed beside the Bard. After her hunting trip she would request her own quarters for the remainder of her stay. Not sure how she would convince her but she knew she could not stay another night so close to her friend. Laying on her back she felt the bard move close to her. Snaking an arm around her stomach. Xena squirmed. 'This is too much. Oh well, better enjoy it one last time. Aphrodite, when I see you again I am gonna give you a piece of my mind.'
She pulled the Bard close and allowed herself the rare feeling of happiness. The only happiness she ever felt was with this woman in her arms. Soon she slipped into Morpheus realm with a small smile playing on her lips.
As Apollo first appeared in the eastern sky. Xena awoke to find the Bard just as before. Nestled comfortably into her favorite spot and using her favorite Warrior for a pillow. Xena smiled once more and planted a feather lite kiss on her head. Slowly she extracted herself from Gabrielle's iron grip. The young women could be incredibly strong when she wanted to be. More times then not amazing Xena at just how strong. She quietly got up and headed for the Bathing Hut. She found Eponin on her way there and caught up to her.
"Morning Xena. Sleep well?"
"If you could call being used for a royal pillow sleeping well then
I guess I did." Xena allowed a smile as she recalled the way the Bard felt
in her arms.
"Oh, I see. Well depends on who you are talking too. I bet she did not mind one bit, eh?" Eponin laughed. Elbowing Xena lightly in the ribs. Causing the once scowling warrior to laugh, as well.
As the day went on Xena and Eponin got ready for the "trip." Eponin showed up at the Queen's Hut just in time. Gabrielle sat leisurely outside on its porch as Xena readied Argo with the last of what she needed for the trip. Waving good bye she mounted and followed Eponin out of the village.
"Does she suspect anything?"
"Nope. In fact she seems glad to be rid of me." Xena shrugged. They rode for a while just enjoying the day trying to kill time before they made there camp. Catching two large rabbits to have for dinner.
"Hey, I brought a wine skin and some other things. You can cook right?" Pony gave Xena a sheepish look and blushed. "Great, Pony, we are gonna meet them, like them, then kill them with our cooking." Xena covered her eyes with her hand. It took no time at all to set up camp, they sat around the talked and polished there armor.
Gabrielle and Ephiny got ready early, heading to the river to wait for the other two women. Neither could hide their nervousness. They approached the water the smell of meat roasting filled the air. They paused for a moment a breathed deeply. "Mmm. How sweet they are cooking for us." Gabrielle and Ephiny followed the smell. It led to a small clearing not far from the water's edge. As they reached it both women felt butterflies in their stomachs. Ephiny froze and pulled Gabrielle back when she recognized the vioce coming from the fire.
"Shh, listen, its Xena and Eponin." Gabrielle listened and turned pale as she recognized the deep sensual laugh of her best friend.
"Oh no, what are we going to do. Our dates will be along any minute!" They retreated back far enough so no one would hear.
Ephiny put her hands on her hips. "Just when we are about to have a good time those two always find a way to ruin it."
"Hey we can get into the trees, when we see them coming, we can signal to them and lead them away." Gabrielle formulated a plan. "In the mean time it would not hurt for us to do a little spying."
"Oh yeah!" They found a near by tree and climbed it swiftly. Ephiny being the better climber of the two helped Gabrielle along. Sitting a safe distance away the two of them eased dropped on the two Warriors.
"You think this is a good idea?" Xena was getting really nervous. Berating herself for letting her emotions take hold so easily.
"Yeah I mean what is the worst that can happen. They go flappen their jaws then we will just deny the whole thing." Eponin crossed her arms over her chest and took on her best stern look. "Not having second thoughts, are we Warrior Princess?"
Xena shrugged and gave her best stoic impression. "No, I just wish it were Gabrielle. I wonder what she is doing now?"
Eponin sighed, "Yeah, I wonder what Ephiny is up to?"
Gabrielle and Ephiny looked at each other. Unable to believe what they were hearing. Ephiny signaled to Gabrielle to move back. They exited the trees.
"Oh Gods, Ephiny do you realize what they were saying?" The Bard was pale and grabbing her stomach. Forcing herself not to vomit.
Ephiny swallowed hard, "they're the ones that wrote those posts. They have no idea either."
"We have to go to them Ephiny. I want to tell Xena the truth." Gabrielle felt her heart being ripped out as her stomach did back flips.
"Okay, but lets have a little fun first." Ephiny had a mischievous gleam in her eyes. "Follow my lead." Gabrielle nodded. Following the regent into the clearing.
"Hey! What are you two doing here." Xena ans Eponin both stood up. Looking like dears caught ina torch light.
"Hey we are just camping." Xena thought quick. Knowing that her reply sounded like she was defending them more then anything.
"Oh well we just decided to take a stroll and see the stars." Gabrielle cut in with a smile. "Mind if we join you for a few. Both warriors looked at each other. As Ephiny and the Bard watched. "We won't stay long."
"Sure." They looked relieved as they sat down.
"I see your hunt was successful. Catch anything else?" Ephiny new she was making Eponin nervous. Scooting closer as she spoke. Gabrielle doing the same to Xena. Causing both to shift and squirm. As both pairs sat across the camp fire from each other Ephiny and Gabrielle started to chat. Gabrielle leaned her head on Xena's shoulder wrapping her arm around her. Xena felt a wave of guilt crash over her and sat stunned. Eponin began to get impatient and tried to give a subtle hint for the women to leave but both ignored it. Smiling sweetly.
"Xena are you alright you look like you have seen a ghost? You getting sick? Maybe you guys should come home with us. I mean Xena you don't look so well." Xena felt like hurling. She looked into the fire.
Ephiny took the hint and joined in. Yeah come on guys, Xena needs to see the healer.
"NO!" Both women yelled out at once.
"I mean Gabrielle, I feel fine you are over reacting." Xena forced herself to look well.
"Gods you guys are on edge. You would think you are waiting for someone and you did not want us to know about it." Both warriors paled this time. Ephiny slapped Eponin on the back with a laugh. Glancing over at Gabrielle, she winked.
"Say Xena you look like you got nice strong arms. Would you like to take a walk in the moon light and hold me as we look at the stars?" Gabrielle reached up and kissed Xena's cheek. The Warrior stared wide eyed at her Bard.
"Yeah Pony, if they go for a walk, you think you might wanna stay here and Be Mine?" She kissed the Weapons Master on the cheek as well. Pony paled even more.
As Xena and Gabrielle looked into each other's eyes they heard a thud from the other side of the fire. Breaking their gaze, they looked over to see Pony had passed out and fallen off the log she and Ephiny sat on.
"Xena, how about that walk? We have a few minutes before Pony comes too." Gabrielle looked at Xena with such love and devotion. Xena wondered why she had not seen it there before.
"Sure." She took her Bard's hand and led her to the waters edge away from the camp. In the moon light two souls merged as they shared their first kiss. A kiss that would forever cement the love they shared for one another.
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