“When did you fall in love with me?”
“I told you.”
“Tell me again.”
“I had a dream. I woke up. I was in love.”
“That's the truth.”
“You didn't love me a little before the dream?”
“Maybe a smidgen—”
“When did this miniscule love begin?” She asked, giving him her version of his smirk as he leaned back against the headboard of the bed and closed his eyes. “Wasn't it odd when all of a sudden, just like that, you stopped hating me and fell in—?”
“Never hated you, pet,” he interrupted.
“Okay—you just tried to kill me a hundred or so times because—”
“Sworn enemies don't hate.”
She rolled her eyes, and turning toward him, propped herself up on her elbows and stared into his face. Then she frowned. “So our epic battles were the high jinks of a mutual admiration society?”
“Something like that.”
“Yeah, something like that.” She smacked her lips. “Come on, Spike. When did you fall in love with me?”
“You tell me first.” His fingers touched her forehead, brushing a few strands of hair aside.
“Maybe it hasn't happened yet?” She took his hand from its resting place on top of his stomach and pulled it to her mouth, her tongue and lips dropping kisses into his palm.
“Oh, it's happened,” his voice was low. “You love me so much you can't even get out of this bed without grabbing my cock and begging me to bury it in your wet, hot pussy—”
“Eww, Spike. You're disgusting.”
He stretched his arms above his head, his biceps coiling and uncoiling, knotting then relaxing as his hands latched onto the steel rods of the headboard. “Figure that's when you fell in love with me, Buffy. That first time, when I was so disgusting.”
“No,” she shivered as he let go of the headboard and slid one hand under the rose-colored sheets, his fingertips covering her chest with feather-like caresses while his thumb traced tiny circles slowly over her nipples and breasts. “It was Willow,” she breathed. “The spell, when we were betrothed. You know—when—when we were engaged.”
“I know what betrothed means,” he whispered.
“We weren't supposed to be in love—just getting married,” she smiled before adding, “But I loved you, and it scared the shit out of me.”
Adjusting himself slightly, he leaned forward and pulled the sheet down so that both of their nude bodies were exposed. Placing his hands under her arms, he dragged her body slowly over his own. His hips rose to meet her flesh as her thigh gently brushed over his erection. Drawing her even closer, he pulled her higher so that her breasts were over his mouth, and he nuzzled his head between them. “The first night I wanted to kill you, really wanted to kill you, that's when I knew I'd love you forever.” He murmured, his lips blowing cool air over her nipples.
“You mean in that alley when I was sixteen?” she gasped softly as his lips lingered over one nipple before tugging it into his mouth. “Oh, Spike,” she groaned as he released her.
“No, not then,” his voice was heavy, but calm. “Happened when I walked into your backyard with a shotgun.”
“Oh, Spike,” she sighed.
“Oh, Buffy,” he mocked her tone, but she ignored him, even as his lips and mouth whispered sonnets over her chest.
“Spike, how much longer do we have?”
“In this dream, you wake up first.”
“Can we start at the beginning?” she pleaded. “Tell me, please before we wake up.” A tear fell from her eye onto her cheek. “When did you fall in love with me?”
“Can't remember,” he took his fingertip, touched the teardrop and brought his finger to his lips.
“Because I've always loved you.”
Conveniently, she was sitting on the steps of the back porch, holding her head between her hands, eyes cast down to the ground. He hadn't wanted to kill her in front of her mother or Dawn anyway. So he took her being outside and alone as a good omen.
He cocked the rifle with one hand, drew it up, aimed, and was ready to fire when she looked up at him. Tears were smeared all over her face. He'd never seen her look so lost, so afraid. He instantly knew her tears had nothing to do with him, though. Besides, he never wanted to cause her that much pain. Oh yes, he wanted to shoot her. But he'd never planned on seeing her cry.
“What do you want, Spike?” she asked.
“What's wrong?” he responded without hesitation, dropping the barrel to his side. He knew she'd seen the gun. But she wasn't afraid. Hadn't flinched at all. Just sat there, staring up at him.
She didn't answer his question, and when he sat next to her, she didn't ask him to leave, either.
After a while, he felt her breathing become less ragged and the tears had stopped.
Then she took a deep breath—and so did he.
Buffy was standing in the middle of Riverview Cemetery next to the tomb of Robert William Holzhauer. Spike scanned the headstone out of the corner of his eye. He'd died in 1949, father of and husband to, and once buried had stayed in the ground from what Spike could tell, never to rise again. He looked back at Buffy. She didn't pay attention to filled graves; those that weren't clawed open by the newly undead seeking their first kill didn't interest her. However, he was able to sense the undisturbed—the truly dead.
Spike couldn't devote much time to the details of Holzhauer's internment though. At that moment, Buffy was screeching at him about how ridiculous it was for a neutered vampire to traipse behind her half the night stupidly claiming he was in love.
“You can't love me,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Can to, and you can't stop me,” Spike smirked, his amusement apparent (at least to himself) with every word he uttered. Still, he kept his distance; cautiously moving opposite Buffy to the other side of Holzhauer's grave. She was twirling a stake in one hand while stomping her black high-heeled boots repeatedly into the ground, making little circles with her little feet as she spun back and forth. Watching her, Spike wondered if she might get dizzy and swoon. Okay, maybe not. She was bloody well pissed, though. He couldn't stop the corners of his mouth from curving into a grin.
“If you say one more word, I swear to God, I'll dust you right here and now.” Spoken between harsh breaths, her words were slow and deliberate. He was hurt and frankly, genuinely concerned about his well-being. Sod it all, she looked serious.
Buffy had stopped her whirling dervish routine and taken two menacing steps toward him, pointy end of the stake aimed at his heart. Spike quickly removed the self-satisfied look from his face and glanced down at her empty hand. He wasn't surprised to see a clenched fist, knuckles bleached from the strain.
Smashed nose or stake through the heart? He debated his options for an instant before deciding to back down all together. He raised his hands in mock surrender. Clearly exasperated, Buffy abruptly turned around, stepped over Holzhauer's grave and began to march away.
“Buffy. Watch out!” He'd been so busy worrying about the perils of his un-life he hadn't noticed the trio of vamps stumbling out from behind the row of bushes next to Marian Hogan's tomb. Two overly round male vamps, most likely former offensive linemen from their appearance and gait, let out a roar as they dropped into attack stance. Squat, no-necked, and balding, with hunched shoulders and obvious limps, they hobbled quickly right past Buffy, and headed straight for Spike.
“Fucking chauvinistic gits,” he cursed.
He rolled his eyes as the duo stormed toward him. He was still checking out the third vampire, a small female who was Buffy's height, although a little more noticeably muscled, with a halo of dark curly hair and diamond-bright eyes. A sudden two-fisted blow to his head brought Spike's attention back to his own battle as he spun to avoid being tackled by Moe (Spike liked to give soon-to-be-dusted vamps nicknames. Made their imminent demise less impersonal). Quickly, he dropped to one knee, sweeping his other leg through Larry's crippled limps. (As soon as he'd caught a glimpse of the girl, he'd named her Curly. So this piss-head was Larry by default). Moe was on his back now, trying to get his meaty hands around Spike's neck—a much more accessible target on him than on the no-neck twins.
Keeping his two foes at bay wasn't all that hard. He whirled, forcing Moe to release his clasp on his throat, while simultaneously ducking the slow fists launched at him by Larry. He glanced at Buffy just in time to see Curly jump into the air, a good four feet off the ground, and on her way back to earth, connect a scissor-kick to Buffy's head, knocking the Slayer flat on her back, smack on top of Hogan's grave. Curly was clearly strong, and had died young, too. Even vamped out, she didn't appear much older than Buffy. Spike could tell she was an experienced demon unlike the two barrel-chested blokes he was fighting. Perhaps, that's why they'd come after him, leaving Curly to go one-on-one against the Slayer.
He was about to dust the tiresome duo when he saw Buffy back on her feet. And instantly, she pitched her arm forward, throwing her stake through the air on a beeline track to Curly's heart.
But Curly caught the stake between her hands the way Spike had done a century before against the Chinese Slayer. Curly then flipped the weapon to her left hand and for a moment, time froze as Spike watched her draw back. He saw the opening the same instant Curly did. Both vampires sensed the kill.
“Buffy,” he screamed, knocking Larry and Moe aside, Spike leaped toward Curly, who looked away from Buffy and at Spike. She narrowed her eyes, a bewildered expression on her face. Then Spike saw something else in her stare he couldn't describe. She dropped the stake, turned and ran back into the bushes.
He landed inches in front of Buffy, who appeared stunned. But he didn't have time to ask if she was okay. “Ouch,” he winced as a heavy-handed blow caught him on the back of the head. He'd forgotten about his own little war. Moe was on the ground rolling toward him and Larry had launched his large body mid-air. The old high and low tackle—Spike shook his head. These two must have been dead since the forties if they were still using this maneuver. Raising his eyebrows, somewhat bemused, he weaved his way out of their paths at the last moment, then watched as his two assailants crashed onto the ground, one on top of the other.
A second later, they were dust and Spike was waving the ash from his eyes.
Buffy stood glaring at him, holding her stake. She then nestled it back into the pocket of her jacket.
“Well, thank you me lady,” he bowed.
“When will you learn to just kill ‘em, Spike?” she scolded. “I don't believe in toying with vampires, you know.”
Spike snickered. "Who you kidding, Slayer? You live to toy with vamps—but you're more than welcome to toy with this vampire any time you'd like." He rubbed his hand leisurely over his stomach, his tone dripping with naughtiness even as he was wearing one of his most charming smiles.
Buffy was breathing heavily. Spike kept his gaze fixed on her face. They stared at each other for several moments in silence.
Then Buffy turned her back on him. “When will you learn, Spike,” she said walking away while twirling her stake in her hand. “You and me—never gonna happen.”
“We'll see about that,” he said, not loud enough for Buffy to hear. He watched her walk out of the cemetery before he turned in the direction of his crypt. Then he paused, and inhaled, taking in the scents of the cemetery.
Curly was still nearby. She'd come awfully close to killing Buffy. His demon had felt her thrill when Buffy's own stake had nearly been the weapon Curly used to destroy the Slayer.
He'd have to find Curly. But Spike had had his fill of fighting for the night. This vamp would live to bite one more day. He'd come back for her another time, he decided, and continued his stroll toward home.
“It's hard. Being here, dreaming and not dreaming,” Buffy noticed that there was no breeze on top of the steel mountain. “I just want to live without worry. Without fear.”
“Why are you so afraid, Buffy?”
“Is Spike okay?”
“He is for now.”
“But what about later? What will happen to him later?”
“He'll be fine. He's bounces back. He survives. That's what he does.”
“What about me?” she asked. “Do I?”
“Do you what, dear?”
“Too soon to say.”
“Spike.” He heard a voice softly calling his name that sounded like Buffy. But that couldn't be right. She would burst into his crypt, yelling ultimatums. Telling him how little time he had left on this earth. She'd claim that as soon as she decided he was dust, he was gone. Then there was the whole how she'd never love him. Ever. Yada, yada, yada.
“Spike.” He was hearing it again. That voice. He groaned as he attempted to roll onto his side. It was still difficult for him to move. He wasn't healing as fast as he'd hoped since the pounding by Glory. The fucking insane God had kicked his ass. Actually, she'd broken all his ribs, gouged a gapping hole in his chest, and slashed open his face. So in fact, she'd left his ass pretty much alone. He struggled to get into an upright position. Didn't like the idea of being found, barely alive, or barely un-dead, lying about in his bed like a real corpse.
“Oh—hey there, Spike,” said Buffy, as she dropped down the ladder onto the dirt floor on the lower level of his crypt.
“Slayer,” he said, trying to sound bored.
“Lying about trying not to move,” he replied, sarcasm dotting every word. “Cause if I move, it hurts.”
“Brought you some blood.” She stepped further into the room. He could see her better now, and she looked, of all things, nervous. She was fidgeting from foot to foot and couldn't seem to stop her eyes from darting around the room. She wasn't focusing on anything in particular. He did notice that she hadn't looked directly at him yet either. He then saw the bag of blood in her hands.
“Thought you might be hungry,” she forced the words out of her mouth.
If this was Buffy being nice to him, it looked like it was killing her. He wasn't quite certain how to respond.
“Um—thanks,” he said and realized how lame that sounded. He just couldn't come up with any quick-witted comebacks. Not tonight. He hurt too much. He'd also been dreaming too much about her. Seeing her standing there in front of him, being kind to him, reminded him how much he wanted her. To have her lips touch his again.
“Well, newsflash, Spike is speechless,” she joked, suddenly appearing to be a little more relaxed. Perhaps, his silence made her more comfortable around him. He'd see how long he could keep it up.
“So, Spike, you think you can take me?”
Spike had to admit that because of Buffy and Dawn, he was doing quite a bit better. The two sisters had taken it upon themselves to nurse him back to his former self. They'd done a good job of it, too. It had been very easy for him to say, “Sure, okay”, without a second thought when Buffy had asked him to join her on patrol that night. Glory hadn't shown her mug in weeks, and Buffy said Dawn would be fine spending the evening with Willow and Tara . The witches packed a powerful punch, she'd said. Besides, the vampires in town were getting too restless. She needed to get them back to a place where they feared the thought of the “Slayer”.
Spike and Buffy had been in the Riverview Cemetery less than ten minutes when Spike sensed Curly. He hadn't forgotten about the high-kicking vamp, but Glory had been the villain of the week for the past month. Then he'd been all self-sacrificing and out of commission for days, plus Buffy had a lot more to deal with than a dark-haired vamp in Riverview Cemetery . Even if that vamp had almost killed her.
“Buffy,” Spike said his voice barely above a whisper.
“I sense her too.” Buffy was eyeing the bushes to the left and Spike had his eyes glued to the right. Then he noticed the tombstones. Robert William Holzhauer and Miriam Hogan were nearby—just like they'd been that night. Spike didn't like this. Didn't like it at all.
“Buffy, something odd, here, pet,” he warned. “We might want to ease back a bit, wait to see what she does first.”
“I'm good, Spike,” she said. “It's just her, that's all. I don't feel any other vamps.”
Spike still didn't like it.
He was only about six feet from Buffy when Curly dropped between them. She landed in such a position that her body blocked his view of Buffy. She seemed taller, he noticed, and her shoulders were spread defiantly wide. Spike recognized the desire that was driving her. She wanted to kill, and the Slayer was a prize target.
But again time seemed to slow down, even though Spike knew it was moving incredibly fast. The Slayer adjusted her stance, which took only a second or two for Buffy. He stepped forward, lighting quick, his demon mask full-on the instant Curly fell in front of him. The entire exchange wouldn't last longer than the blink of an eye. But it was longest blink he'd ever known.
Buffy's stake appeared suddenly in her hand. Curly hadn't thrown a punch or a kick or even looked at Spike directly. Her back faced him. Odd, he thought, she didn't seem to be concerned about old Spike.
He saw Buffy take a blow to the chest. She reeled backwards as Spike grabbed Curly by the shoulders, spun her around to face him, and slammed his fist into her ribcage. She didn't even flinch as he pulled back, ready to launch another blow. She just moved to the side and took hold of his throat with both hands, swiveled her hips sharply, knocking him off-balance and heaving his body at Buffy. He slammed into Buffy, pushing her back a step, but she recovered in an instant, stake still in hand. Buffy grabbed Spike by the lapel of his duster, shoved him to her right and leaned forward, poised for the death strike. But Curly was quicker, Spike realized too late, and she surprised them both. She was holding a stake of her own. Bloody hell, he thought he was the only vamp in town that carried a stake as a weapon of choice.
Curly was thrusting forward, but Buffy hesitated for the briefest instant.
Spike stepped into the path of Curly's stake, his body facing Buffy. He hadn't had time to turn toward Curly. He felt the stake enter his back and strike his heart as he stared into Buffy's eyes. She looked surprised, even sad, he thought, as his body crumpled to dust.
Buffy's stake struck the female vampire as Spike's dust swirled between them. He'd stepped in front of her in the nick of time, she guessed. He'd certainly given her the moment she needed to kill the black-haired girl that had fought so well against them.
“Spike,” she whispered, swallowing hard. She tried to catch her breath. She looked around, expecting to see someone. Something. But Buffy realized she was alone in the cemetery. No one else was there, only Buffy and the dust of Spike and the vampire that had killed him.
“Spike?” she said his name again, a question on her lips as her stomach began to hurt and her throat felt like it was closing shut.
Buffy was choking. Loud coughs and gagging hiccups spewed out from her mouth and echoed in her eardrums. She turned to look over her shoulder. Still no one was there. The muscles in her sternum started to constrict. The tightness, nearly unbearable as the pain in her gut pushed its way upward to her throat. She staggered a few steps away from the dust, wrapped her arms around her chest and squeezed so tightly her breasts began to ache. She was still coughing, too. Or was she screaming? Her arms suddenly felt too heavy to hold on to, and she dropped them to her sides. Even her eyes were too big for her head. She reached up to touch her face and felt the hot tears flowing over her cheeks. She hadn't realized she was crying.
“Too fast,” she mumbled her voice breaking. “It was too fast. How come they go so fast?” She was weeping loudly now, uncontrollably even. Her mind flashing to her Mother's dead body on the sofa in the living room on Revello Drive as her eyes fixed on the pile of dust disappearing into the dirt at her feet.
Why did this hurt so much? It was just Spike. A vampire with a chip in his head. A stupid vampire that she'd trusted with the lives of her mother and sister. A foolish vampire that had been beaten nearly to death or more to death he'd say, to keep her sister safe. A truly ignorant fool that had chosen to be dusted, right in front of her. Just like that. He wasn't even a man but he had chosen the manly thing to do.
The choking was going to kill her, she thought, if she didn't calm down. But she couldn't help it. He was gone. No foreshadowing, no hint, no idea when it was going to happen. There was no last smile, last joke or last anything for her to hold on to as her cries finally were trapped in her throat.
She turned, her feet barely touching the ground as she ran quickly away from the dust.
“When did you first fall in love with me?”
“The day you died.”
“See, told you, we were forever.”
“No, you told Drusilla, you were forever.”
“How'd you know that?”
“Been places, know things.”
“Sounds a little mystical to me,” Spike said under his would-be breath. “You been hanging out with the witches lately?”
“No more than usual,” said Buffy, innocently. “You know there are other powers in the universe besides witches.”
Spike jumped up in the bed onto his knees and pulled Buffy to him. “What are you up to Slayer?”
She smiled, touching his face softly. “Ever watched a feather falling from the sky, caught in a current invisible to eye and moving as if drawn by fingertips, touching the clouds and blowing in the wind?"
“Yeah, I know all about blowing in the wind. Kind of there right now.” The look of mischief in his eyes was magical as Buffy followed his gaze down to his erect cock pressing against her stomach.
“Oh, Spike,” she turned her lips up in a grin. “I'm serious.”
“So am I.” His smirk deepened as his eyebrow rose teasingly. “Anyway, why else are we always in bed in your dreams?”
“My dreams, my choice.”
“Bloody hell, glad you have such good taste.” Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her to him and pressed his lips against hers. “Any other reason we're here?”
“You're always honest in bed,” answered Buffy as she planted kisses on his chin and throat.“ Every caress, every kiss, every muscle in your body that moves against me and thrusts into my soul tells me the truth about how you feel.”
Spike stared at her, his expression filled with bewilderment. She laughed. “Speechless again, huh, Spike?”
She kissed him on the lips. “I've got to go, Willow 's here, in my head. I'm having a bad day, and she wants to talk to the little girl in me.”
“When will you come back?”
“Don't know,” said Buffy. “But will you do something for me?
“Anything,” he murmured. “Everything.”
Taking his face in her hands, she looked deeply into his eyes. “Please don't forget any of the things we've said to each other in my dreams.”
It was early evening on the night of the big battle. The sun had disappeared in the west leaving an orange streak of fading light, reflecting off the tombstones in Riverview Cemetery. Buffy walked slowly past the headstones toward the bench near the graves of Robert William Holzhauer and Miriam Hogan. She usually didn't notice filled graves, but in the past few days, she'd felt drawn to the spot. It was where Spike had tried to warn her the night he'd died. He'd wanted to ease back—sensing something he didn't like. But Buffy had said ‘she was good', and that was all that had mattered.
Tonight it was the best place she could think of to be to review the plan for defeating Glory. She, Giles and the Scoobies had worked out every detail. It was a good plan, but she knew it would work better if Spike could be a part of it. But he was gone. Shoving her hands into her pockets, she clutched the stake she found there in her fist as she continued to stroll along the now familiar path.
She reached the stone seat next to Marian Hogan's grave as a young dark-haired girl was emerging from the bushes. She wasn't a vampire. But Buffy didn't believe she was human either.
“She made a deal with a fairy the day she was turned fifty years ago.” The girl began talking immediately. Her voice sounded much older and grumpier than her looks. Buffy took a few cautious steps to her right and came to a standstill next to Miriam Hogan's tombstone. “She did it to save her child and the man she loved.”
“Who's she?” Buffy asked, eyeing the little girl's movements carefully. She was standing near the dirt where Spike had fallen.
“Miriam Hogan,” she spat out. “Her lover was Robert or William as she liked to call him. He's over there.” She nodded to Holzhauer's grave. “He was the father of her child. She never stopped loving him even after she was turned.”
“Vampires can't l—.” Buffy began to answer automatically, but then stopped, a small chuckle escaping her lips.
“Yes, just like your Spike loved you, she loved him. He was human, she was a vampire,” said the little girl, her voice a sing-song cadence of annoying tones. “Too much romance and no common sense, if you ask me.”
“Who are you?”
“Brielle. I'm a fairy. Pretty powerful one, too, and we both love the power,” Brielle said too glibly for Buffy's taste. “I'm the one that came up with this brilliant plan.”
“Spike sensed you, didn't he?”
“If he hadn't been so busy worrying about you, he would have figured it out,” she blurted. “But no, he was blind to his own peril.”
“You've been playing us for a while.”
“No, dear. I've been playing you. Only you.”
“What kind of fairy are you?”
“Some call me the transition fairy, which is, oh so practical. I prefer Spirit Guide. It has a nicer ring, don't you think?"
“Are you transitioning me?”
“Right now, you're falling from a tower, moments away from your death. Normally I wouldn't have paid any attention to you, being a slayer and all. You know, another dead slayer is what keeps the world on its axis, so to speak.” Brielle slapped her hands on her knees and rocked forward, apparently enjoying her own sense of humor.
“But your vampire, Spike—Miriam spotted a kindred spirit in him, and figured out how to rid herself of me.”
“What do you mean?”
“She made a deal when she was dying,” Brielle glanced at Miriam's grave. “To stay near her man forever until she found another un-souled saint like herself. A demon that could love. If she found it, she had to kill it, and I'd set her free.”
“You're not a good fairy, are you?”
“Have my good days, and have my bad,” Brielle exclaimed. “Most important thing about this mess is that I found you.”
“Yeah, you've been the most fun I've had in eons, and I mean, literally, eons.” “You say you're powerful,” Buffy had an idea. “This is all about me, right?” “True,” she answered. Buffy swallowed, took a deep breath and looked into the little girl's eyes. “Can you bring him back?”
“Who? Spike? Maybe,” she leered. “What kind of deal do you want to make?”
“Take something from me, only me. Whatever you want,” said Buffy. “Send me to hell, wherever. Just let him be alive. Make certain we defeat Glory, and my sister is safe and my friends are okay. And bring Spike back.”
“We started with Spike, now we've got a litany of requests, here.” The little girl, squinting her eyes, plopped down on the bench next to Buffy and crossed her legs. “Okay, this could be good. Let me see. ” she said thoughtfully, and paused. Then Brielle clapped her hands together enthusiastically. “I've got it!” She raised her hand to her mouth and rubbed it across her lips. “I'm going to take away your ability to love.”
“Okay,” Buffy said slowly, her suspicions increasing. She was dying according to this fairy, so taking away something she wouldn't need again seemed like a bad deal—at least for the fairy. But maybe she knew something Buffy didn't know. “No, that's too much. Just take away my memories of loving Spike.”
“So you admit you love him.”
“Yeah, we were in love,” she whispered. “But, it felt different. Like it was in the process of happening. Hadn't actually happened. At least not for me. But we'll never know, will we? Since I'm—.“ A breeze brushed against Buffy's cheek, and she felt herself falling through currents of wind and streams of light. “Is this a dream?” she asked Brielle suddenly.
“Not exactly. It's one of your choices. You're almost home, now. Saved the world, again. Saved your sister and your friends. And your vampire, Spike, he's back.”
“Just like that,” said Buffy.
“Just like that.”
“Got it,” Buffy paused. “How much longer?”
“Will it hurt?”
“Won't feel a thing.”
“One last question." She hesitated. “Will I see him again?”
Then Buffy could no longer see Brielle. She was falling way too fast. But she did manage to utter one more word.
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