Will You Remember Me?
Marion D Tuttle
Disclaimer: This is a revised edition of a story I had written a little over a year ago. For those of you that may have already read it I have written some new scenes. If you haven't read it before I hope that you enjoy it. More importantly, the original story was written before Ephiny and Solari's untimely deaths. So they will make an appearance in this story as well, as if they had not been killed.
As you all know I do not own Xena, Gabrielle or any of the Amazons. With the exception of Serta, she was my creation. The rest belongs to Universal. The story however is mine, but I am more than happy to share it with all of you.
There is a depiction of two women here that are very much in love with each other. If that sort of thing offends you, you may want to choose another story to read. *********************************************************************
The night sky seemed to be filled to overflowing with stars, a warm breeze blew in from the ocean. The warm air, at least for the moment seemed to warm the coldness that was closing in on the young woman's heart. Coldness may not have been the right way to describe it, it was more of a feeling of impending dread. There was nothing to indicate that there was a problem. Nothing other then the fact that so much time had passed with no word. Sea green eyes scanned the horizon for any sign of her companion's return. It had been nearly two weeks since Xena had left on a mission to help with an uprising in one of King Gregors more far flung territories.
Two weeks would not normally seem like a long time. But there were things that made this span of time stand out, and feel like an eternity. Gabrielle well remembered the night Xena had left. They had come to the Amazon village to take a break from the pace they had been keeping. And even more importantly, to deal with the changing feelings both women seemed to be having about their relationship. They were close friends, that was true enough. Each one had proven time and time again that they would be willing to lie down their lives for the other if need be. But lately there seemed to be more then just friendship passing between them. They had alternated between being closer then they ever had before and feeling like there was an insurmountable space between them. They had tried to approach the subject on a very broad scale, both of them wanting to get to the root of what was going on. But every time they started to talk about it something always got in the way.
After the latest events of their trip to Rome, their death and return to life they both agreed that they needed to time to explore what was happening and decide what the next step, if any they should take in moving their relationship to the next level. It was all very methodical and well thought out, it was also destined to failure.
As soon as they arrived in the village they were met by a very distraught Ephiny. The fragile peace between the Centaurs and the Amazons was being threatened by a small band of rebels that thought they should have they right to any land they desired, no matter who owned it. These rebels had convinced the Centaurs that the Amazons were taking advantage of them by using their army to protect Amazon borders. They had told the council leaders that if Centaur lives were going to be dedicated to protecting these lands that the Centaurs should demand ownership of them. The Centaurs were upset by the idea that they were being taken advantage of and had started to make demands. They needed Gabrielle's negotiating skills to end the stand off that the peace talks had reached.
Gabrielle had quickly agreed, after all she was the Amazon Queen it was her place to make sure that the safety of the Amazon nation was protected. Later that night in their hut Xena and Gabrielle had tried to find the time to talk. But just as they were starting, a messenger appeared at the door asking to see Xena. He was carrying a scroll with the Royal seal from Gregor, asking for Xena's help. Normally Xena had very little use for royalty in any way shape or form. But Gregor had saved Xena's life when his head lieutenant had ordered her execution, so she did owe him. They had agreed that Gabrielle would stay in the village and help deal with the Amazon's problems, while Xena put an end to the uprising.
The bard had been close to tears in her frustration at their apparent inability to get enough time to deal with the changes they had been feeling. "Xena I...." Her voice failed her.
Seeing the look on her friends face tore at the warrior's heart, she acted on impulse and reached out, pulling Gabrielle into the comforting circle of her arms. "I know Gabrielle, I want to get this out in the open too. But I don't think it is something we should rush through, do you?"
Holding on to Xena seemed to give her back some of the strength she had been lacking. "Your right, I know, it's just so damn frustrating to not be able to find the time to talk about this."
Xena almost gave into the impulse she was having to kiss Gabrielle, but she stopped herself. She was sure the bard was feeling the same things that she was, she desperately wanted to believe that. But to rush things and then find out she was wrong would have been too much for her to take. "I hate to leave you now, but if I wait until morning I could lose valuable time."
Looking into crystal blue eyes, Gabrielle managed to find a smile to send the warrior princes on her way. "I understand, besides the sooner you go the sooner you'll get back. Just please promise me you'll be careful."
"I will." And then she playfully added. "As long as you promise me the same thing. You know how trouble tends to find you."
Taking a light swat at Xena's arm Gabrielle replied. "Look who's talking miss 'I'll take on the world'." They parted then, each knowing that when all this was over they needed to make time to talk. Xena mounted Argo and rode of in the direction of Gregor's kingdom. Gabrielle had stood and watched until long after horse and rider had disappeared from sight.
That had been two weeks ago and there had been no word from Xena. Word had come back to the village that the rebellion in Gregor's Kingdom had been put down, but no one seemed to know what had happened to Xena. Gabrielle had presided over a successful peace treaty that had exposed the small band of renegades for the thieves they were. They had been brought to justice that had met with the satisfaction of everyone, Amazon and Centaur alike. And peace had been restored between the two factions. Now her mind was consumed with thoughts of what had happened to her friend.
Ephiny found her Queen pacing impatiently in the meeting hall. "I'm going out to look for Xena." Gabrielle announced without preamble. Ephiny knew that letting Gabrielle leave the village in her current state of mind, with no particular destination in mind would be a hugh mistake. She had to find a way to change her mind. "Gabrielle when Xena comes back she is going to expect to find you here. Why not let me organize a few search parties if that will make you feel better. They will be able to cover more ground then you could alone.
Gabrielle considered what her Regent and friend was saying to her. "I think the search parties would be a good idea. But I want to see King Gregor and see if he has any news."
"We can send a messenger for that, I really think you should wait here for Xena." She tried to make light of it by saying. "Besides, I don't want to be the one to have to face Xena's wrath when she gets here and finds out she has to traipse all over the countryside looking for you if your not here."
That was what had led her to be sitting here, staring out over the horizon, praying to whatever God would listen for the safe return of the woman that had become such an important part of her life. All manner of thoughts had run through her mind, was Xena hurt or worse? Had she been captured by the enemy? She dismissed that thought as quickly as it had come. Any soldier that had captured or killed the warrior princess would be sure that news of this had been spread far and wide in the hopes of making a name for themselves. No if something like that had happened Gabrielle would have heard something by now, so where was she? A sudden fear griped her, what if she had just left her? Was it possible that she had misread everything that had been happening? Was Xena feeling trapped by having her around now? Did she want to just disappear? Were the feelings that had been unfolding between them just to overwhelming for Xena? Had she choosen to just disappear rather than face everything? No, that wasn't like Xena, she wasn't the type of woman to run from a problem. Whenever there was an issue or a problem, Xena liked to deal with it head on. Knowing this did nothing to make the bard feel better though.
It was here that Ephiny found her, she approached slowly. She was not looking forward to the news she had to deliver. She knew in her heart the best way to deal with this would be to get it out quickly, but she couldn't find the words.
Gabrielle sensed movement behind her, she turned to see Ephiny standing there, the expression on her face spoke volumes. "What's wrong Ephiny?"
There was no easy way to do this. "Solari's search party has just returned, they found Xena."
The joy she felt at this news was short lived. "Is there a problem?"
"Xena was injured."
"We're not sure, it could have been, but no one knows for sure."
"But she's going to be alright...."
Ephiny shifted uncomfortably, this was not going to be easy at all. "Physically she's fine, the injury was to her head Gabrielle. The outer wound had healed. But Xena doesn't know who she is, or who any of us are."
Gabrielle felt her legs grow weak and threaten to buckle under her. She feared for a moment she would faint from the shock of what she had been told. "Do you know what happened to her?"
"She was found by some local villagers not to far from here, she was dazed and bleeding badly. They took her in and dressed her wounds, after a few days she was able to get up and move around a little. She offered to help out with some light chores in form of payment for the help they had given her. They did not recognize her, they told Solari that she didn't seem like she knew anything about herself. She took a deep breath and continued on. "When Solari asked to see her Xena looked at her like she had never seen her before in her life. Solari told her who she was but she said that this Xena person she was talking about meant nothing to her and she just wanted to make a simple life for herself and help the villagers that had tended to her wounds."
The bard was feeling a tightness in her chest and breathing was becoming increasingly more difficult. "Where is she now? She managed to ask.
"Solari convinced her that she owed it to herself to at least find out who she was and not just accept living a life that didn't belong to her. She is in your hut."
"I want to see her now."
Ephiny knew it was futile to argue, but she wanted to spare Gabrielle the pain of seeing Xena right now until she had some time to digest everything she had just been told. "She won't know you Gabrielle."
"I don't care, take me to her!"
Both the Queen and the Regent headed back towards the royal hut. When they reached the door Ephiny moved to go inside with her but Gabrielle stopped her. "No Ephiny, I want to see her alone. If anyone can get through to her it will be me."
Ephiny thought about protesting this. She knew that it was going to be extremely difficult for Gabrielle to see Xena and have the warrior register no sign of recognition at all. But the determined look on her friend's face told her that if she tried to argue this point she would find herself on the end of a royal command to leave her here. As a general rule Gabrielle did not throw her royal weight around, but something told the Regent that this would be one of those times.
Gabrielle entered the dimness of the hut that she shared with Xena on so many other occasions, the same one where they had planned to talk about their feelings. What was she to be left with if Xena never regained her memory? She couldn't allow herself to think like that Xena would regain her memory, they had already overcome too may obstacles, even death itself to give up now. Xena turned when she heard Gabrielle enter the hut. "Hello, are you the Amazon Queen Solari told me about?"
She fought back the tears that were welling in her eyes, she couldn't break down now. She needed to help Xena get through this and that wasn't going to happen if she fell apart. "Yes Xena I am the Queen, my name is Gabrielle. And even though you don't remember it right now, you and I are friends."
A look of surprise crossed Xena's face. "I'm friends with Amazon royalty?"
"Yes as a matter of fact we are best friends, we travel together helping many people. That is how you were injured, you were on a mission for King Gregor.
"I know Kings too?"
"You know a lot of people Xena, you have done a lot of good for many people." Gabrielle did not think this would be the right time to bring up some of the darker aspects of Xena's past. But she realized she was unaware of what Solari might have told her. Before she could ask Xena asked her another question. "How is it that you are able to travel with me if you are the Amazon Queen?"
"Ephiny, you haven't seen her yet, is our friend and my Regent. She rules in my name when we aren't here." Wanting to be very careful not to upset the warrior Gabrielle asked. "Did Solari tell you anything about yourself?"
"Just that I was supposed to be some kind of hero, according to her. I don't know if I can believe it or not. She told me that you would be the best one to answer any questions I had." The two women spent the next few candle marks talking. Xena had more questions then she would have thought, and Gabrielle was very careful to answer them in such a way that they would not upset Xena. Finally the warrior seemed to slump in her chair and hang her head down. She had begun to feel very tired. Gabrielle, I'm sorry none of this sounds even vaguely familiar to me. I accept it as truth if you say it, I can see no reason why you should lie to me. I just don't remember any of it."
Placing a gentle hand on the warrior's shoulder Gabrielle suggested. "Why don't you try and get some rest, maybe being back in familiar surroundings will help things to start to come back to you." She was struggling to hold herself together, her heart felt as though it had been shattered into a million peices. Sitting before her was her friend, in truth at this point it was more like someone that looked like her friend. It was almost as if Xena had ceased to exist. Gabrielle led Xena over to the bed and helped her down onto the mattress. "Sleep now, give your body some time to rest. I'm going to see the village healer and see if there is anything else that can be done."
Xena reached out a hand, stopping Gabrielle before she rose from the bed. She looked into the bard's eyes and told her "Gabrielle, I don't know you....I mean I don't remember knowing you. I don't know who you are or why you are trying so hard to remind me of who I am. But I have an inexplicable feeling that I can trust you."
A single tear slid down her cheek as she felt the warmth of the warrior's smile. "You can trust me Xena, and I promise you that we will get through this. Just like we do everything else, together."
When she left the hut she finally let the tears flow unchecked down her face. Ephiny was there to offer her support. "Did she remember anything at all?"
"No." Gabrielle choked out. "But she did say she had the feeling she could trust me."
"Well at least that's someplace to start."
The young Queen could only nod her agreement. " I need to talk to Serta, maybe she has some ideas that could help Xena."
"I thought you might want to talk to her, so I sent a runner to find her with instructions to meet you in the main hall."
"Thank you Ephiny." With that Gabrielle set off for the main meeting hall with a clear purpose in mind. The only person in the village that came close to having close to the knowledge of healing that Xena herself had was Serta. If anyone could help her find a way to restore Xena's memory it would be her. Entering the main hall Gabrielle was immediately struck by the presence of this woman. She was small in stature, even shorter then Gabrielle. But her eyes held something... It was almost as if she was an ancient spirit inhabiting a young body. She arose to meet her Queen and started to bow at the waist in a show of respect. Gabrielle stopped her. "This is not the time to stand on ceremony Serta. I'm not here as your Queen now, but as someone that is very concerned for the welfare of a friend. Solari told me you examined Xena when she brought her in. You've seen her injuries, be honest with me is there any hope of Xena regaining her memory?"
The healer shifted uncomfortably under the intense gaze of her Queen. There was a small chance that Xena could make a full recovery. But more often than not in the injuries Serta had seen of this nature, the injured party might eventually remember bits and peices of their past. They even went on to live full lives. But as a rule they never fully recovered and were never the person they were before the injury. She knew she had to answer though, and she also knew the Queen would accept nothing less than the full truth.
"My Queen, in cases like this it is very rare for the patient to regain full memory, but it does happen and Xena is strong. The best thing you can do for Xena right now is talk to her. Try to remind her of the things you have done, the places you have been, the love you share..."
The look that passed Gabrielle's face was one of complete shock "The love we share?"
"I'm sorry if I spoke out of turn.. I just thought..."
"No Serta, you said nothing wrong. In fact that was the reason Xena and I had come here in the first place. To talk about the feelings between us. How did you know?"
With any other Queen Serta would never have dared to speak as freely as she already had. After all she was merely a healer and sometimes royalty could be a little strange. But she sensed something different in the young woman before her. "It's clear by looking at you that you love her. But you haven't told her this yet?"
"No I haven't and it's breaking my heart to think that the Xena I love may be gone forever and she never knew..."
"Something tells me she knew, your highness. Maybe deep inside she still does." She moved closer to Gabrielle "I wish I could be more encouraging my Queen."
No Serta, I asked for the truth and you gave it to me, I appreciate that. I can't help Xena unless I face the facts, thank you." Going back out into the bright sunlight, Gabrielle asked Ephiny to assemble all the members of the royal guard and the village elders for a meeting. She wanted to tell the council that she would be staying for as long as it took Xena to regain her strength, not everyone knew the entire truth. They just thought that the warrior princess was in need of rest due to battle fatigue, and she was not ready for the entire village to know the truth. She wanted to give Xena and herself some time to deal with a few things before they had to answer to the village at large.
After the meeting she headed back to check on Xena. The warrior was sitting on the edge of the bed reading one of Gabrielle's scrolls that she had left out in the hopes that Xena might pick it up and recognize some of the events depicted. She looked up to see Gabrielle watching her. "I hope you don't mind." She said, indicating the parchment. "I just thought that maybe I could shake lose a memory or two."
"I don't mind at all. That's why I left them out for you. Did you see anything that you remember? Do you have any questions?"
She shook her head. "Not really.. It all just seems so...impossible. Did I really do all the things you wrote here?"
"All that and so much more." Then a thought occurred to Gabrielle "You know that I wrote these? I didn't tell you that did I?"
"No." Xena considered "I just had the feeling that you did. You do a lot of writing don't you?"
Gabrielle threw herself into Xena's arms, the warrior was knocked slightly off balance by the impact. But she bought her arms around the bard and returned the embrace. "Oh Xena it's starting to come back I can feel it! If you can remember that I write you are going to remember other things to until you are yourself again, I just know it!"
"I hope so Gabrielle." For the first time since that party of strange women had bought her to this place she started to feel like she had a reason to remember who she was.
They spent the next several weeks walking and talking with Xena doing most of the listening as Gabrielle related stories to her of the adventures they had shared together. Her physical strength had returned and bit by bit little peices of information began to filter their way into the warrior princess' mind. Nothing major, but enough to offer them hope. She remembered the day she had gotten Argo, although she could not remember the events surrounding that transaction. She remembered how to throw and catch her chakram, she also remembered how to use her sword and it seemed like she could fight as well as she ever had. But the important memories still seemed a distant haze, just out of her grasp.
Gabrielle decided that it was time for another consultation with Serta. She went to the healer's hut and proceeded to tell her, in a very matter of fact way the things that had been happening. "It seems so frustrating at times, Xena will remember something small and insignificant, but when I try to expand on that and bring out more details. Well, it's almost like she is putting up a wall to keep me from helping her."
Serta thought for a moment, there seemed to be no reason she could think of why Xena had not fully recovered. She had to admit at first she did not have a lot of hope that Xena would be much more than a familiar stranger in the village. But as Xena had begun to recall more and more details of her past, Serta had begun to have more faith that Xena would recover her full memory. She had thought that it would have happened by now, but something seemed to be standing in the way. I have examined Xena your highness, and I must tell you that I can find no physical reason why her memory has not returned. Is it possible that there is something in her mind that is blocking her from coming back to you fully? Where there any problems or unresolved issues between you before Xena left the village?"
Gabrielle felt as though her heart was stuck in her throat, could that be what was holding Xena back from making a full recovery? Had her feelings changed? Did she even remember what her feelings had been? What if she did remember, and for whatever reason she no longer felt that way and just didn't know how to deal with having to tell Gabrielle so she shut it out of her mind. Gabrielle had not prepared herself for that possibility, she had just assumed that when Xena regained her memory everything would be the same and they would pick up where they had left off. "By the Gods Serta, I hadn't thought of that. There is one thing we were meaning to discuss..."
"You're feelings for each other?" The healer asked.
"Yes, as I told you before that was our whole reason for coming here in the first place, so we could set aside some time to talk. But when we arrived things happened so fast that we never got the chance. We always thought there would be time..."
Understanding that her Queen was very upset, she decided to talk to her like a friend and not her ruler. "Then you need to do it now Gabrielle, that may be the only thing that will trigger Xena's memory to come back fully."
Gabrielle approached the hut she and Xena shared with knots in her stomach. She was taking a huge risk and she knew it, but she also knew that Serta was right this might be the only way. Entering the hut Xena greeted her enthusiastically. "Gabrielle, I have something I want to tell you..."
"Can it wait Xena? I need to talk to you about something very important and it can't wait."
Xena looked into the eyes of the woman that had once been her best friend and had become so again through patience and understanding. She sensed that Gabrielle really needed to get something off her chest, her news could wait a little while longer. And when Gabrielle was finished telling her whatever she had on her mind, Xena was certain what she had to say was going to put the radiant smile she had come to love back on the bard's face. Gabrielle began "Xena before you left on your mission to help King Gregor and had your accident...We were planning on spending some time here, talking about our feelings."
Xena raised a quizzical brow at her friend "Our feelings?" She asked. Swallowing hard Gabrielle pushed on, Gods this was not going to be easy. "For each other, we have been friends for a long time. But lately we have been feeling...."
The warrior came to stand in front of the bard. "Gabrielle I..."
"Xena please let me finish, this is going to be hard enough to get through without interruptions. I can't speak for you because we never got the chance to to talk about it. But for my part I had fallen in love with you. I felt like the love I had for you was deeper than any love I had ever felt for anyone in my entire life." There, she had said it, she found herself holding her breath awaiting the warrior's response.
"And now?" Was all that Xena said
Now I love you even more than I did before and I'm terrified that you will never remember. Or that if you do you, won't feel the same way."
Xena stepped closer and enfolded Gabrielle into a powerful embrace. "Gabrielle...."
"Xena I just don't know if I can handel it if you never come back to me."
Holding the bard close she whispered into her ear in soothing tones. "Can I tell you now what I was trying to tell you when you came in here?"
Gabrielle raised her tear stained face to see the clear blue of the warrior's eyes. "Gabrielle, I remember everything, all of it. All the hopes and dreams we had together, everything we have been through. Everything we still wanted to do, the places we wanted to go together. Oh and Gabrielle, most importantly of all I remembered that I do love you. I think, to tell you the truth I was starting to fall in love with you all over again. That may be what triggered my memory."
"Xena are you saying...."
"I'm saying that I have it all back now."
Standing back a bit so that she was able to take in the sight before her, Gabrielle sent up a silent prayer of thanks to Artimiss that Xena had been restored. Not only had she been restored but she had just stood there and told Gabrielle the words she had wanted to hear for so long now, that she was in love with her. Before she even realized what she was doing she had thrown her arms around Xena's neck and pulled the taller woman close to her. She was rewarded for her efforts with a scorching kiss.
"Believe it." Xena growled as she picked Gabrielle up and carried her over to the bed. She laid the bard down on her back, joining her on the mattress she covered her smaller body with her own. "I do love you Gabrielle, and I want you so much. But I don't want to rush anything. I am going to tell you what I am going to do to you, if anything makes you uncomfortable I want you to promise to tell me, okay?"
"The only way I'll be uncomfortable Xena is if you don't do anything."
The warmth of the bard's words reached into her heart, at last they were going to fulfill the desire they had both had for so long. "I'm going to start right here." She said, indicating the pulse point right at the base of the bard's throat with her finger. Then trailing it lower, putting her lips where her fingers had been moments before. "Then I'm going to run my tongue down your breasts and over your nipples..." Again her lips followed the trail of fire being blazed by her hands. "And then I'm going to..."
"Don't tell me Xena, for Zeus' sake show me!"
Xena proceeded to do just that, her hands worked at releasing the bard's breasts from the confines of the shirt she was wearing. Her wrap around skirt was quick to follow. Xena was not wearing her leathers, since she had just emerged from a bath before Gabrielle had come in, she was wearing a soft robe. A robe that very quickly found it's way to the floor with the help of some eager bardly hands.
Moving back over Gabrielle's body, Xena drew an already hard nipple into her mouth and began to suck. This caused Gabrielle's head to thrash from side to side, lost in the pleasure she was feeling. The warrior moved her attention to the other breast. "Can't have one feeling neglected now can we?" she teased. Her hand worked slowly down the bard's body until it came to rest between her thighs. The wet heat she found waiting for her there threatened to steal the air from her lungs. Gabrielle felt like wet silk on her fingertips, she had never dared to hope that this could happen and now that it had it was more then she ever thought it would be.
"Xena please take me, I need to feel you inside of me, right now."
Xena was fighting for control, a battle she was rapidly losing. She wanted to be as gentle as her raging passions would allow. She knew that Gabrielle was not a virgin, but she also knew that she had only had one night with her husband before Callisto had dispatched him to Hades. Sensing her warriors hesitation and what it was about, Gabrielle thrust her hips forward. "Please Xena I need you, and I trust you. I know you won't hurt me."
With an invitation like that Xena could not refuse, she took the bard with such force that it rocked both women.
Gabrielle was already so close to the point of release that she arched her back and shuddered in sweet surrender to her passions shortly after Xena had entered her. Xena had wanted to bring her to those heights again, but Gabrielle had other thoughts in mind. With a move that surprised them both she flipped Xena over onto her back and proceeded to make slow sweet love to her until Xena was screaming her name and begging her for release.
Laying in each other's arms after several more bouts of bring each other to the highest peaks of pleasure they let their hearts and breathing slowly return to normal. Gabrielle felt a tear slip down her cheek, Xena immediately brushed it away saying "Hey what's that all about?" Worry taking over her voice "I didn't hurt you did I?" She had a hollow feeling of dread that Gabrielle was regretting what had just passed between them.
"No Xena, I'm not hurt... I'm just so happy. I thought I had lost you forever. That you would never remember me or the life we had together."
The feelings she had for the woman in her arms were overwhelming to her. She would never have believed that another human being could have become such a part of her. "Gabrielle, I could never have forgotten you forever, our bond is to strong. We are destined to be together... alway." They drifted off to sleep, content in the knowledge that their world was finally complete.
The next morning when they awoke Gabrielle sent a messenger to find Ephiny. When the Regent appeared at thee hut Xena and Gabrielle told her that the warrior had regained her memory. As well as telling her, although they left out the graphic details about what had happened last night. They asked her to notify the village of Xena's recovery as well as the fact that there would be a joining ceremony at the next festival. They also directed her to let the rest of the village know that for the next week, the Queens quarters were off limits.
Ephiny stepped out into the fresh crisp morning air, a huge smile on her face. She would personally see to it that Xena and Gabrielle were not disturbed. The only people in the village that might have been wearing smiles wider than Ephiny's were Xena and Gabrielle themselves. As the sounds of their love drifted out into the air each Amazon that heard it sent up a prayer of thanks for their Queen and her warrior that they had finally come home to each other.
The end: There it is folks, hope you liked it. As always I look forward to your opinions and feed back. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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