"My Counterpart Does
Duo woke up slowly, with a vague awareness that he was somehow hemmed in. Not unpleasantly-- he had no desire to escape, and was actually feeling warm and fuzzy about the firm whatever-that-was pressing close against him on both sides-- but it definitely seemed like moving would not be an option until he woke up properly and worked out how to get loose.
Then, after floating half-conscious for a few minutes, he did wake up properly, and discovered the identities of the warm, breathing presences in bed with him, and forgot all about moving.
Why should I move? he thought, eyes moving from the back of Heero's head in front of his nose, down to the warm bronze skin of Wufei's arm draped over his ribs. I'm right where I've wanted to be for ages!
...Well, actually, no. I never thought I had a snowball's chance in hell of getting into this situation with either of them, let alone both at once, so I can't say I've ever considered waking up like this. But if I'd had an idea it was possible, I would have wanted it.
Wow. I thought they were both completely straight! Guess I was wrong about that, he mused, thinking back to the previous evening and slowly becoming aware of some minor aches and pains. Hope I didn't pop any stitches in my leg, or Dot'll skin me.
Duo just lay there for a while, absorbed in the feeling of their skin against his, the sound of their soft breathing as they slept on, the faint vibrations of their heartbeats... until a nagging doubt finally made itself felt.
We didn't exactly do much talking last night... just 'hey, guys, what's up?', 'Duo, we've been trying to tell you something', and then it was straight into the wild monkey sex. Damn good sex, but I have no idea if they want anything more or not! I didn't even know they were together. What if they decided between themselves that a threesome would be a nice change, and when they wake up it's 'That was fun, Duo, maybe we can do it again sometime'?
That would not be good. That would definitely not be good. In fact, I think that would pretty well suck.
Wufei shifted slightly behind him, pulling his arm back to rub blearily at his face, and Duo automatically feigned sleep, shutting his eyes and breathing slowly. A moment later, he was asking himself why he'd done it, but by then it was too late to change his mind. Wufei had pushed himself up on one elbow and leaned over him, gently brushing his hair back out of his face, and Duo didn't think he could 'wake up' convincingly enough to avoid awkwardness.
"It wasn't a dream," the Chinese pilot said softly, nuzzling into Duo's hair and taking a deep breath; then he sat up again, moving carefully so as not to fall off the edge of the bed, and tapped Heero's shoulder.
"Congratulations," Wufei murmured, voice barely above a whisper. "We got Duo to notice us, but I think we forgot the part about 'explaining things'."
"...We did, didn't we?" The sleepy blurriness was quickly clearing out of Heero's voice, replaced by a sort of quiet wonder as he shifted, awkwardly turning his head back to look at Duo and Wufei. "So much for being careful in case we scared him off."
"Mm. Hormones have a lot to answer for," Wufei chuckled, slowly running a strand of Duo's hair through his fingers. "We skipped right over the talking and drawing pictures, straight to a practical demonstration... not to mention that last night it seemed completely logical for all three of us to sleep in a bed that would be an awkward fit for two. Some of my joints may never forgive me."
"Same here," Heero grunted, trying to work out how far he could stretch without disturbing Duo. "I never liked having to come up with an explanation, anyway. I'm not that good with words."
"I think we still should," Wufei said seriously, and Heero grimaced.
"Do we have to?"
"Yes," Duo and Wufei said simultaneously.
Suddenly faced with proof that Duo was not still asleep, Heero and Wufei both jumped. Unfortunately, they didn't have much room, so Heero smacked one elbow into the wall hard enough to scuff the paint, and Wufei fell backwards off the bed, narrowly missing the bedside table on the way down.
"I mean, an explanation would be good, yeah," Duo continued, sitting bolt upright as the words tumbled out nervously. "I got the part about you wanting to sleep with me, sure, that was kind of obvious really, but I want to know if there's an 'and' involved. Like, 'and they all lived happily ever after' or 'and two of them rode off into the sunset, leaving number three behind', or what. Is this heading for a threesome or am I the temporary spice you wanted in your sex life? I mean, I know we should've worked all of this out before we jumped into bed, not that I had a problem with the whole sex thing, 'cause I didn't, but I really need to find out now if there's any sort of future in this--" Hearing his own voice starting to rise, trembling, he clamped one hand over his mouth and took a deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut against the prickle of approaching tears. I will not cry. I will not cry. No matter what they say, I am not going to cry!
Warm arms went around Duo as Heero pulled him into a hug, and he felt the bed shake as Wufei scrambled back up to hold him from the other side. "Chang was right," Heero said shakily, awkwardly rubbing the braided teen's back. "We should have explained first."
"You done?" Wufei asked softly, and Duo nodded jerkily, hand still over his mouth.
"We love you," the Chinese pilot went on, arms squeezing tighter. "We care about you. We both wanted you before we ever wanted each other--"
"Long before," Heero snorted.
"--but, um..." Duo could almost feel Wufei blush. "We, er, both thought you were straight until very recently."
"I thought you were both straight," Duo said in a tiny voice, opening his eyes.
"Well, Wufei thought I was straight, and I thought he was about as interested in any form of sex as his Gundam would be," Heero put in dryly. "I don't think any of us were putting out signals."
"Thank you so much for that evaluation of my sexuality, Heero," Wufei growled half-heartedly.
"I said it was my perception, not reality," Heero muttered, briefly unwinding one arm from around Duo to apologetically caress Wufei's cheek. "Sorry. I know better, now."
"You should!" Wufei grumbled, but he was smiling. "Anyway... we wanted to let you know we were interested, but we didn't want to scare you off, so we tried to show you instead of telling you. Obviously, we're no good at putting out the right signals even when trying to," he sighed.
"I thought you were just being extra nice to me because I'd gotten hurt," Duo sniffed, rubbing his eyes and managing a shaky smile in return. "Geez, and I thought I had good gaydar..."
"'Gaydar'?" Heero asked, puzzled.
"Radar for gay people," Duo shrugged. "I never got a twitch from either of you, but I'm starting to wonder about Dot."
There was a short, startled pause as Heero and Wufei thought that one through, and Wufei shrugged. "I can see it."
"Same here," Heero agreed. "So... did we do a good enough explanation? We aren't just going to get up and leave. We want you to be happy. Hopefully, happy with us," he added hastily. "We'd like that. The 'us-two' thing is actually kind of secondary to the 'with-you' part."
"...I think we could try that," Duo said nervously, looking back and forth between them and seeing nothing but sincerity and hope. "The 'happy-with-you-two' bit. I think it could work."
Heero let out a relieved breath and hugged him close, burying his face in Duo's loose hair, and Wufei laughed. "You're so eloquent, Yui," he said, hugging Duo from the other side and wrapping one arm around Heero's shoulder. "You managed to explain a complicated, vitally important emotional matter better than I could have, largely using words of one and two syllables."
"I just started learning how to think about this sort of thing," Heero growled, reaching out and pulling the Chinese pilot tighter into the three-way hug. "It's a bit early for me to be comfortable talking about it!"
"Maybe you should stick to 'show and then tell'," Duo suggested, abruptly recovering some of his carefree mask and scrubbing the last tearstains away. "It seems to work out OK, and the showing part is a great icebreaker. What time is it, guys? I'm hungry as hell and it's way too bright out there."
Wufei twisted around to look at the small alarm clock on the table and raised an eyebrow. "Ah. We seem to have missed breakfast. We can either walk across the base to that small mess that serves everyone whose schedules interfere with normal mealtimes, or we can raid the cupboards in the common room and hope to find something marginally nutritious."
"I'm walking," Heero stated flatly, starting to disentangle himself from the blankets and his bedmates' limbs.
"I dunno... Jay might let me swipe some of her cereal," Duo mused.
"Have you looked at the box? The first two ingredients are sugar and corn syrup," Wufei informed him. "Breakfast cereal is usually called that because it involves some sort of cereal grains as a main ingredient. I don't think hers qualifies."
"It's the little green marshmallow aliens that worry me," Heero muttered. "Mel's stash qualifies as cereal, but I wouldn't be able to eat it without thinking of what she normally puts on it."
"Ew. True." Duo made a face, then quickly kissed both Heero and Wufei before scrambling out of bed. "I think I'll walk with you after all--OW!"
"Are you OK?!"
The other two pilots almost exploded from the bed as Duo's first step became a lurching stagger, leaping to support him from either side. "Did I-- did we-- are you hurt?!"
"Nothing serious, guys," Duo sighed, looking down at the fresh blood staining the bandage on his thigh. "Um, Heero? Could you fix my stitches? I really don't want to go to Dot with this, considering the way she made sure Christy couldn't mess up her broken arm. She might put me in a full body cast to make sure I can't do it again!"
* * * * *
I was right. He does look almost innocent when he isn't glaring, Dan thought, smiling to himself as he watched Asuka's sleeping face. Maybe that's why he does his best to look homicidal all the time?
Or it could just be that he is homicidal, he admitted wryly. Dieu... there were certainly a few moments last night when I was sure I was a dead man! Yes; mon cher Asuka is an anti-social, violent, maladjusted little bundle of Grievous Bodily Harm just waiting to happen to someone... and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Of course, all that means that he almost never does anything good for himself, Dan mused, starting to frown slightly. It was fairly obvious that he enjoyed sleeping with me, so his knee-jerk response, once he wakes up, will probably be to decide it's a weakness he can't afford to continue, and break this off as just a one-night stand.
I would not appreciate that. Not at all. So... how can I distract him from doing that?
Asuka woke up from a dream of being given a blow job by Dan, only to discover it wasn't a dream.
"Ahhh... what... Dan?! What the hell are yooooooh... oh... nnnhh!"
"Bonjour, mon cher sexy-and-dangerous," Dan said sweetly, licking his lips as he crawled up the length of the bed to kiss the Glacin pilot. "Did you sleep well?"
"Ng," Asuka commented intelligently, still trying to uncross his eyes.
"Good! So did I, after I managed to get my hands untied. Are you hungry?"
"Then we should go do something about it!" Dan bounced off the bed, snatching up Asuka's clothes and tossing them at him. "Vite, vite, let's get out there before Christy eats it all!"
Asuka frowned and managed to get his scrambled thoughts into a state that would allow speech. He had a nagging feeling that he was missing something here... "She wouldn't dare eat mine."
"Well, no, not everyone wants salted fish for breakfast," Dan admitted. "But she might eat mine, and Duo seems willing to try anything once, so let's go!"
* * * * *
Limping carefully out into the common room with one arm slung over Heero's shoulder for support, Duo came to an abrupt halt as he saw Christy slouched at the table, glaring.
Normally, seeing someone glare wouldn't have bothered him. After all, he had survived regular exposure not only to Heero and Wufei-- both world-class glarers, even if Wufei didn't do it as often as Heero-- but also Lady Une, and a wide selection of OZ officers, who might not be in the top league but were working on it. His normal response to a glare was a laugh, frequently accompanied by a flippant remark. But this... this was a dark, smouldering, give-me-an-excuse-and-the-nearest-sapien
"Whoa," he muttered, wide-eyed. "Er... Christy... what's up?"
Dark circles under her eyes were suddenly more obvious as the glare intensified a notch, and Duo realised that the purplish discoloration along her jaw was actually a bruise, not a shadow.
"Move, gentlemen; in front of the door to the corridor is not the best place to abruptly play statues," Dan snorted, pushing past Wufei into the room. "Who slept on the couch?" he asked, grinning wickedly and glancing from the rumpled blanket and pillow on the sofa to Heero and Wufei, obviously thinking of all sorts of things to imply. Before he could pick which remark to make, however, he caught sight of Christy and did a double take. "Alors... Christy, ma cherie, who clocked you one?"
It was a good thing (from Dan's point of view) that Asuka picked that moment to stalk into the room; it meant he had somebody to hide behind as the full force of the glare was focused onto him.
"Morning guys!" Mel called cheerfully, kicking the front door open and walking in with a couple of shopping bags. "A word of advice; never attempt to share a bed with Jay when there's enough emotional 'background radiation' cluttering up the ether to give her a restless night. Kung-Fu masters at the height of their abilities can't do as much damage as one Vaterean fruitcake feeling twitchy in her sleep."
"While I don't mind you occasionally commandeering our room for your little ménage à trois," Christy told Duo dryly, breaking her silence at last, "I would appreciate it if you could warn me first. Or at least put a pillow and blankets out on the sofa. I do not want to go through that again. I feel like I've been ghetto stomped by a Gundam."
"Where is Jay?" Dan asked, peering cautiously around Asuka's shoulder. "Did you kill her, or is she just in traction?"
"She's still asleep," Mel said calmly, ignoring Christy's irritated growl as she dug into one of the anonymous brown shopping bags. "She slept just fine. Christy and I were the ones who didn't, because Christy was being beaten up and I was listening to the yelps of pain. And speaking of listening... we could also hear you two, despite having a room in between us. Specifically, we could hear you, Dan." Smiling sweetly at the Gaulish pilot as he began to blush, she reached across the table and handed Asuka a ball gag. "You might want to consider using this in the future." Her calm smile didn't even waver as Asuka threw it back and the ball gag bounced off her forehead.
"I say, chaps, what's causing the traffic jam in the doorway?" a sleepy voice piped up from the corridor. "Can't a lady get to her morning ration of sugared space slugs without having to bounce off muscly male bodies? --On second thought, don't get out of my way," she added, starting to wriggle through the clustered pilots, copping feels as she went.
"Such a well-developed instinct for self-preservation," Mel sighed, observing her slower-than-necessary progress. "She didn't grope Asuka, and gave only a minimal pat to Heero and Wufei--"
"Nice butt," Christy muttered quietly. "He needs to wear tighter pants."
"--and yet it didn't put any brakes on her actions last night," Mel finished as Jay sat down at the table, yawning and opening her box of cereal. "Obviously it's an intermittent instinct, not operating all of the time."
"Last night?" Jay asked, squinting at Mel with a puzzled expression. "What did I do last night? If you're implying that I sneaked out to play voyeuring-Tom on our barracks full of babes, you're way out, wot. It was Christy that got looks in, don'tcher know, and she didn't even do it on purpose."
"'Looks'?" Trowa murmured, raising an eyebrow and exchanging glances with Quatre.
"It was like a pornographic nightmare last night," Christy growled, "or wet dream. I still haven't decided which. People bonking like rabid bunnies everywhere I turned! All I was after was a peaceful place to sleep, dammit, and I didn't even get that!"
"Ah. Er. Did, um, did I do that?" Jay stuttered, finally noticing Christy's hostile glare and bruise.
"That and more," Mel said cheerfully, reaching into her second bag. "I counted half a dozen yelps of pain and one death threat before Christy gave up and moved out here, and she was muttering something about her ribs when she left. I offered to let her in with me, but by that stage I think she'd decided not to chance it."
"Damn straight," Christy snarled, slumping down to rest her head on her cast.
"Oops. Um. Sorry..."
"Never mind, Jay," Mel smiled, pulling a bundle of cloth and buckled straps out of the bag. "I bought you your very own 'I Love Me' jacket, so people will be willing to sleep within six feet of you!"
"Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks she needs a straightjacket," Heero said blandly.
* * * * *
Later that afternoon, after declaring that she didn't care whether or not it was an official 'Free Fire Day', she was damn well going to shoot some people and release a little tension, Christy was beginning to mellow into a less homicidal frame of mind. All of the pilots had relocated to the roof of the barracks building, and she and Duo were set up behind the low parapet, taking potshots at passing vehicles with a couple of her paintball weapons. Christy was using one of her pistols, bracing it on her cast, and Duo had borrowed one of her sniper rifles.
"I suppose I should ask, since I've already redecorated half a dozen trucks," Duo mused, lowering the rifle after splashing green paint across a passing jeep's hood. "What are the rules governing this sort of thing, and do they actually get obeyed?"
"There's only one real rule, and it's sensible, so we follow it," Mel said lazily, sprawled on her back reading a book. "Nothing that will harm or debilitate anyone on our side is permitted. So... no shooting at the windscreens of moving vehicles, 'cause they might crash. No deliberate face shots and no tear gas rounds, not even on Valeri. Stuff like that."
"You keep mentioning this 'Valeri' person," Quatre said curiously, "but I don't think we've ever met him."
"Give thanks," Mel and Christy said in unison.
"The chap's a bit of a pill," Jay drawled, scanning the surrounding area through binoculars. "I think someone's put out the word that we've gone active, fellows; they seem to be avoiding this area... Valeri's very emphatic about the whole chain-of-command, spit and polish, ass-kiss your way to the top style of military life. We don't get on, wot."
"I can't imagine why," Wufei said sarcastically.
Dan snickered. "He tried to put us all on a charge, our first day on base. I think we weren't acting 'military' enough to suit him."
"You'll meet him sooner or later," Mel answered Quatre. "Valeri is a cross that, eventually, everyone must bear. Oh, and that reminds me! Christy, are you still OK to help me with those lollipops?"
"The 'Lieutenant-on-a-stick' project?" Christy asked absently, taking aim at a truck some distance away, at almost the limit of her pistol's accurate range. "Sure, we can do that... Duo, blue half-ton truck thataway. I'll hit the back door."
"I've got the side window," Duo grinned.
As they squeezed the triggers, the truck moved off, vanishing behind a building. Despite all that had been done to make Christy's paint guns behave as much like real weapons as possible, paint pellets still travelled slower than ordinary bullets, so they didn't arrive until after the truck had moved... revealing the two people who had just climbed out of it.
"Hey, accidental heart-shot!" Duo snickered, observing the distant figures through his rifle scope. "Not bad for a fluke hit. Yours would take longer to die, though, Christyyyyy-ooooh boy, that is definitely not our Relena Peacecraft!"
"Stepanopolous, you are a dead woman!" a distant, yet familiar voice called, half-laughing, half-threatening.
"Wasn't me!" Christy yelled back. "Hi, Mil!"
"I dare you to say this 'wasn't you'," another familiar voice retorted.
"No, I got you all right. Ooops! We were aiming at the truck, honest!"
"Me and my sidekick-- er, assistant-- er, subcontractor," Christy yelled. "Come up and meet our new friends!"
Heero hadn't moved, but his knuckles were white. "Duo... that's this world's equivalent of Relena and Zechs, isn't it?"
"Yep," the braided pilot confirmed, still watching the approaching couple through his scope. "No mistake. At least this means the genuine article can't come after you, right?"
"I'm not sure that's reassuring," Heero muttered, slowly beginning to inch away from the roof door. "With my luck, any version of Relena will take one look at me and fixate like a baby vulture."
"I'm not so sure," Duo muttered under his breath, quietly enough that only Christy heard him. "Gaydar, Will Robinson, gaydar!"
Christy's snickers were concealed by Dan's loud greeting.
"Hey, Mil! How's it hanging, Highness? You really should look around for a steady girlfriend, you know. Blue balls aren't meant to be that literal!"
"Are you offering?" came the taunting answer, followed by Asuka's wordless snarl.
"We saw you on the cover of Valeri's copy of 'Mercenary Chic'," Mel called, hanging over the parapet to look down at the visitors as they came closer. "Verrrry nice. When do we get a centerfold shot?"
"We entered you in Playgirl's 'Hunk of the Year' competition, don'tcher know," Jay chirped happily. "You should be hearing from them soon!"
"Jay... we weren't going to tell him about that, yet," Christy pointed out patiently.
"Ooo-er, yes. Slipped my mind. Ignore that last bit, Mil old bean!"
"I don't know why I haven't hired assassins to go after you lot," Mil's deep voice said in long-suffering tones.
"Because we're essential to the war effort?" Dan suggested.
"Because no self-respecting assassin would take the contract," Lena's laughing voice corrected him. The door to the barracks banged open as they walked inside, and everyone settled back to wait for them to emerge from the roof door.
"You're never going to get willing visitors if you keep this up, you know," Relena/Lena said, pointing to the vivid splash of fluorescent green paint on her shirt as she walked out onto the roof. The Firman pilots all waved, chirped greetings, or grunted, depending on individual preference, and the 'imported' five all stared.
Just as Madame Garnier and General Petrenkovich were physically exactly like their OZ counterparts, but older and different, she was Relena... and at the same time, she wasn't anything like her. The blonde hair, blue eyes, slender build and pretty face were all the same, but this Relena was slightly older, had her hair pulled back into a ponytail, wore a neat desert camouflage uniform and field boots, and had a matched pair of pistols holstered low on her hips.
"Do they get willing visitors?" Zechs/Mil asked wryly, stepping out behind her. Bright blue paint was splashed all over the front of his pants. "I certainly wouldn't have set foot on this base if you hadn't made me."
"Admit it, Mil, you're just miffed 'cause Christy ruined the crease in your pants," Mel grinned. "Lena, Mil, these are the other five pilots; guys, this is Lena Warcraft, ruler of the Sanque Queendom -- currently in exile, along with ninety percent of her subjects, but working to kick the Theos back where they belong-- and her big brother, current heir and second-in-command Mil Warcraft. They're cleared up the wazoo and have been told all about you, so you don't have to watch what you say around them. Play nice."
"Hi!" Duo said, holding his hand out to Lena. "I'm Duo Maxwell, the one who shot you. You'll have to excuse me for not getting up to greet your Royal Blondnesses, but I'm temporarily mildly handicapped and don't want to piss Dot off by making it worse. --Oh, and if you could excuse Heero, too, I'd appreciate it; he's just scared of someone who looks exactly like you."
"Duo!" Heero growled, blushing bright red and seriously considering hiding behind Wufei.
"I can see you're going to fit in with these lunatics just fine," Lena snorted, leaning over to shake Duo's hand. "Were you like this when you arrived, or did you develop insanity as a defense mechanism?"
"Oh, he's always been like that," Wufei muttered, surreptitiously patting Heero's hand. "If you have a high fever, it seems endearing."
"I'm Quatre Winner," Quatre said, standing up and politely ignoring his teammates as he shook hands with the two visitors. "Pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty--"
"Just Lena, thanks," she cut in quickly. "It's a bit difficult to play ruler when your Queendom is defunct."
"It's not defunct," Mil objected mildly. "It's just temporarily nomadic."
"And we may not give them back," Christy snickered. "Some of your people like living in countries that have something worth calling 'summer'."
Quatre quickly introduced the rest of the pilots, and Lena looked curiously at Heero. "I take it you've had a bad experience with my counterpart on your world? What's wrong with her?"
"She's fixated on Heero as her one true love," Trowa said flatly, saving Heero from trying to explain and cutting Duo off before he could elaborate.
"To the point of obsession," Wufei confirmed.
Duo snickered. "'Heeeeeero! Come and kiiiill me!'" he falsettoed, batting his eyelashes. "She thinks 'I'll kill you' is a declaration of undying love."
Lena blinked, startled. "She sounds certifiable! I think 'I'll kill you' is an invitation to shoot back! And as for fixating on you," she told Heero kindly, "I don't think my lover would appreciate it if I started running after strange men."
"Dot would take it badly, wouldn't she?" Christy mused. "Somebody would end up in a full body cast."
"...Dot?" Heero asked slowly. At Lena's nod, he sighed thankfully and relaxed. "Well, there's one major difference between you and Relena that I'm definitely grateful for."
"I don't know whether I should be insulted by that or not," Lena laughed. "How else are we different? Apart from me being rather more sane than her, that is?"
"Her name is Peacecraft, not Warcraft," Wufei put in, "and she lives up to it. She's a pacifist."
"So are we," Mil and Lena chorused, straight-faced.
"Ummmm... you sure about that?" Duo asked, looking pointedly at their weapons.
"Just because we're pacifists, doesn't mean we have to be pushovers," Lena said reasonably, and Mil nodded.
"Exactly. The Sanque Queendom has always been nonaggressive, but willing to blow any invaders to hell and back. You've got to give the Theos credit for that at least," he snorted. "They're the first people to successfully invade Sanque in nearly two thousand years."
"I got my 'Peace Through Superior Firepower' t-shirt from Lena," Mel grinned.
"See?" Jay dimpled, scanning the area through her binoculars again. "We told you some nice counterparts of people you knew would show up eventually."
"I don't know if this counts," Duo said cautiously. "Yes, in our world Relena is at least nominally on our side, but we can't stand her. Lena seems rational, and isn't making my teeth ache with sugary platitudes, so I think we can say there's a definite attitude switch from bad to good. And Mil's counterpart works for our bad guys, so he's switched, too."
"My counterpart does what?!" Mil demanded, looking horrified. "Talk. Now. Explain!"
"He stalks Heero, too, come to think of it, only he wants to fight him, not get married," Duo said, grinning as he started explaining Zechs Merquise.
End 'Warped Mirrors'
Sanque Queendom: In our insanity, we've made the real Switzerland into the Sanque Queendom. And it is a 'Queendom' because the succession is matriarchal unless there are no women in the generation. Then, there would be a king, and if he had a daughter, she would automatically become heir.
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