If you light a candle in the Hall of Remembrance, Master, I will try and find the light."

-Mac, "An Affirming Hand:" (archived at the Master-Apprentice website)

The audience was silent and respectful as master and padawan climbed the stairs at opposite ends of the dias only to meet in the middle. Sunlight glinted off of the golden head, and Anakin's blue eyes twinkled in good humor. He even winked Obi-Wan before offering a formal bow, and kneeling. Obi-Wan looked stern, but Anakin was having none of it; they'd both worked too hard for this day, discussed it too often, and unashamedly looked forward to it. It had been as much a goal for Obi-Wan as it had been a dream for his padawan. Now that the day of Anakin's knighting was upon them, neither Jedi had any regrets, or any illusions.

Obi-Wan's hand did not falter as he gathered the padawan braid and cut cleanly through it with a ceremonial dagger. And so, both men gained their freedom, and the journey begun thirteen years before on Tatooine was completed, against all odds. Rising to his feet, the young knight grinned. Obi-Wan frowned and shook his head slightly; this moment was traditionally solemn and Anakin knew it, but the knight's grin only grew wider.

/The next thing you know, he'll hug me and shock everyone in the garden./ He spiked a warning though the training bond.

Anakin chuckled then--a full, rich sound that began deep in his broad chest and rumbled forth like the growl of a werekat. Towering over his Master, he wrapped him up in a fearsome hug. Obi-Wan groaned at the irrepressible enthusiasm, but nonetheless returned the hug and blinked at the warmth flooding the bond.

"Thank you," Anakin murmured. "For everything. I know that I never made it easy."

"No, you didn't. But I'd still not trade a moment of it, Padawan." Obi-Wan drew back to press the severed golden braid into Anakin's hand. "I'm sure that your mother will want this relic, even if you don't."

Backing away, Obi-Wan gestured to focus the crowd's attention on Anakin, and surrendered the moment. "I give you Jedi Knight Skywalker."

Anakin made the usual bow to the assembly, and Obi-Wan was certain that he winked at his mother. Standing in the front row, Shmi was weeping for the Jedi her son had become, but still laughed through her tears.

The crowd roared its approval and surged forward to congratulate the new-made knight as Anakin leaped off of the dias. Retracing his steps in a more dignified manner, Obi-Wan avoided the enthusiastic crowd. Skirting its edges, he heaved a deep sigh of relief that his part in this day was officially over, regardless Anakin's celebration was just beginning. He was contented to watch from a distance as Amidala and her handmaidens descended on the knight who had asked her to marry him when he had been little more than ten years old.

"Ask me again when you're older," had been her amused reply.

Anakin was older now, and their wedding was planned for early fall on Naboo, when the planet was at its most radiant, and the Queen's schedule allowed for a week-long wedding celebration.

Taking shelter beneath the shade of a dakonda tree, Obi-Wan leaned against its trunk and took another deep breath to ground himself. Stepping up beside the knight, Mace Windu crossed his arms and stared across at Anakin, who towered over every guest.

"Congratulations, Master Kenobi."

"Master?" Obi-Wan arched an eyebrow in surprise, and shivered slightly to hear the honorific applied to himself. "Not quite yet, sir. I've not even considered petitioning Council for a change in title."

"You should." He clapped a hand on Obi-Wan's shoulder. "Despite all of the odds, you did it. The darkness and the anger we saw in Anakin all of those years ago is gone. If he's dangerous now, it's only to the enemies of the Republic and through those monster hugs he enjoys terrorizing everyone with."

"I certainly hope so," Obi-Wan murmured. "I'd not have recommended him for his trials if there had been any question about that."

The band Anakin had wheedled for the occasion began playing, and Anakin immediately snagged Amidala's hand to drag her off to the center of the garden. /How many times have I seen him do that over the years?/ Obi-Wan pondered. /Does he ever ask her to go with him, or does he simply... take charge?/

She didn't seem to mind, whenever his hand enfolded hers like a beast's might enfold a maiden's. Looking at his padawan in Coruscant's afternoon light, Obi-Wan saw a huge, broad-shouldered warrior whose energy and enthusiam was endless. Over the last few months, their relationship had changed until Anakin had become more friend than padawan. Obi-Wan wondered if such was the case with all masters and their padawan.

"I predict that Anakin and the Queen are standing on the brink of a life of which legends will be made," Mace murmured. "Your padawan's training was a miracle all by itself. I've been meaning to ask how you did it."

"I beg your pardon?"

"You brought an angry, dangerous young man from the edge of the Dark and guided him into a total commitment to the Light. How did you do it?"

Obi-Wan frowned upward and folded his arms in his robes. "I'm not certain what you're asking, Master. With the Council's guidance, I followed the basic curriculum for all padawan training."

"Of course you did. But from the moment of Qui-Gon Jinn's death, you know that the Council kept a close eye on you. All of us watched you, and some of us feared that you'd fall to the Dark yourself." He turned to stare down at the knight. "You returned from Naboo a broken young man, Obi-Wan. Your grief was so deep that several of us, including Yoda, despaired of your finding yourself again. Within days, however, you had regained your peace, focused totally on Anakin, and commenced guiding your irrepressible and irresponsible padawan through thirteen years of training as easily and completely as if you'd done it before. As far as any of us could tell, you no longer grieved for your master. After those first few days, you never looked back. How did you do it?"

"Does it matter?" Obi-Wan murmured, his gaze skirting away from Windu's. "Anakin has been knighted today, and my promise to Qui-Gon is finally fulfilled. The Order has received one of the strongest in the Unifying Force, and--"

"It matters, Knight Kenobi, because I do not understand how a raw, inexperienced knight can possibly have trained a boy with as much potential power for destruction--Anakin's own as well as ours--and never put a foot wrong. Yes, your Padawan got into trouble, but what Padawan doesn't? He did his share of late-night commissary duty and extra lessons, as did all of us. That's not what I'm talking about. I want to know how, by all the Sith hells, you managed to teach him, train him, serve countless missions with him, and effortlessly impart to him things that you never should have known. Things you should have asked a number of masters for help regarding."


"Anakin was taught techniques for battle and diplomacy that you didn't know." Windu's voice softened to a growl. "Things learned only in the field. Things only seasoned masters know. How is that?"

Obi-Wan Kenobi put his hands behind his back and studied the tips of his boots for a long moment. "You're not going to let this go until you're satisfied by my answers, are you?"


"Will there be an official Council interrogation on the matter if I refuse to answer?"

"I hope you'll tell me Jedi to Jedi, rather than force me to involved the Council, Knight Kenobi."

Obi-Wan nodded and pondered a moment. "Alright, Master. I had help."

"Of course you had help!" Windu snapped. "Anakin trained with the best the Temple has to offer. But that doesn't explain--"

"That's not quite what I mean."

"Then what do you mean?"

"You're right in saying that, when I came back from Naboo, I was in no shape to teach anyone anything. If someone had suggested then that I follow my master into death, I would have done so with alacrity. I missed him more than any of you can possibly know, I felt totally unprepared to be a knight--never mind a master to Anakin--and I was terrified at the prospect of trying to teach him anything. I agreed with you; the boy was dangerous."

"And?" Windu prodded when Obi-Wan stopped talking to watch Anakin begin another dance with Amidala. Catcalls and protestations from a number of padawans and a few other guests from Naboo and the Temple intruded over the music.

"If my pada--if Anakin doesn't remember his manners and start dancing with his other friends soon, there will probably be a revolt."


Calm gray-green eyes looked up at him. "I told you, I had help." Obi-Wan smiled softly, remembering.

* * *

Obi-Wan made his way slowly down the spiraling stone staircase, deep into the bowels of the catacombs housing the bodies and ashes of the Jedi dead. Water dripped endlessly on stone here, patiently carving grooves into the obsidian steps. It was silent and it was dark, save for the glow from new lightsaber he'd constructed, and the scraping of his boots on the unforgiving rock. Obi-Wan knew not to slip, not to fall. If he did, no one would ever find him, for no one would ever know to look for him. It was deep into Coruscant's night, and the rest of the Temple slept. The training bond he shared with Anakin was all but non-existent in these early days, and Qui-Gon was gone, unable to rescue him if he fell. Qui-Gon being gone was the reason Obi-Wan was down here in the first place, where most Jedi never went, never would want to go.

He'd been here once before, descending into the darkness alone with a small stone box that contained Qui-Gon's ashes. Wandering through the catacombs with his master's saber held like beacon before him, he'd finally selected an isolated ledge covered with pale green lichen and a peaceful aura. Leaning against the cold stone, he had scraped the box back as far as his arm would reach, so that it disappeared in the shadows. What was left of Qui-Gon Jinn would rest, undisturbed, through the ages, until another Jedi came and placed another box to be companion to his. That might happen next week, or it might take a millennium.

"Rest in the Force, my Master."

His words had slid over the rocks, a sibilant whisper lost in the darkness with no one but Obi-Wan to hear them. With a deep sigh, he'd given up talking to the silence before he'd even begun. Retracing his steps back up the stone stairway, he'd returned to the light of the maze-like Temple corridors to gather the young boy he now called padawan, and visit Stores to get him a set of robes and other supplies. He'd not looked back--not then. It had hurt far too much to try looking back.

It still hurt, and even bigger than Obi-Wan's pain was his fear. Tonight, the task Qui-Gon had left him seemed far too daunting, too terrifying. He wasn't experienced enough, knowledgeable enough to teach the boy. Surely Qui-Gon had known that? Why, then, had he asked his padawan--not even a knight at the time--to train Anakin Skywalker?

Obi-Wan had known impatience and anger in his youth, but Anakin's erratic fury was deeper and more chaotic than any Obi-Wan had experienced. For a Jedi who had been raised in peace and serenity, it was difficult at times for Obi-Wan to even be near Anakin, and the emotional bleed-over through the bond made those times even worse, as there was no escape. The boy's spiked emotions clawed at Obi-Wan until he felt as though he were drowning in darkness. He couldn't think or breathe, couldn't ground or instruct in the face of such dark emotions. How, then, could he be expected to form a training bond with the child? And how could he continue keeping these terrors from the Council?

Reaching the bottom of the stairway this night, Obi-Wan turned and followed a narrow corridor leading to a small chapel. A box of white candles draped in cobwebs sat at the entrance. Brushing aside the cobwebs, he took a candle and scraped its wick against the stone. It flared to life, and he doused his lightsaber before stepping across the chapel's threshold. Tilting the candle, he dripped wax onto a rough stone outcropping and set the candle in its center. Going down on one knee, he braced his hands on his thigh and centered on the flame. Steadying his breath, he gradually became one with the soft orange light to let it fill his mind as well as his vision. Around him, the darkness edged closer, cocooning him.

"Master, I'm scared," he whispered. He shivered, but did not move closer to the candle. No external heat source could help the coldness he felt--the soul-deep loneliness and despair that had claimed him since Qui-Gon had died.

"You trained me well to face so many things, but I don't know what I'm doing with Anakin. I'm doing my best, Master, but it's not good enough," he confessed to the light, choking the words out past the tightness in his throat. "How could I? I haven't your wisdom, your experience, or your patience. Anakin is just a boy, but he's willful and obstinate and disobedient, and Yoda was right--there is much anger in him."

Shifting his weight back, Obi-Wan sat down hard on the rock and crossed his legs. Above him, the candle flickered, but did not go out.

"I don't know how to temper that anger, how to transform it," he muttered. "I only know that it *must* be transformed. His anger *must* be purged by the Light, or I'll lose him. We'll lose him. He's capable of wielding so much power in the Force now, what will happen if I can't teach him to dissolve the rage he feels at having been enslaved? At having to leave his mother behind? What if that rage consumes him, and he turns it against us one day?"

Obi-Wan gazed around the chapel and peered at the tiny little boxes crowded on the ledges at the edge of his wan circle of light. Each one represented a Jedi's life, wisdom gained in peace. None of the little boxes offered any answers, nor could Obi-Wan feel anything of them in the Force. Not even his own master's aura. That, perhaps, was the most frightening thing of all--to think that perhaps he was confessing his terror and his need with no one there to hear, no one to care, and no one to help.

"What does it mean, Master: 'There is no death, there is only the Force'?" he whispered. "Are you there? Can you hear me and do you still care, or am I totally on my own now?"

Bowing his head, he closed his eyes and listened for a long time. The candle's flame stirred; its flickering teased through his eyelids. Opening his eyes, he watched the flame sputter as if some breeze passed over it. But there were no breezes here, this deep into Coruscant.

Coming up on both knees, he spoke to the flame as though it were a doorway to where his master was now. "I miss you so much, and I need you so much. If there's any way you can hear me, if there's any way I can reach you.... Help me, Master. *Please.*"

The candle guttered fully, leaving him in total darkness. He reached for it, only to draw his hand back when it re-ignited itself and changed its light from orange to green. His breath caught on a sob, he blinked through tears. Deliberately blowing out the candle, he laughed when it flared again, insistent, refusing to be denied or ignored.

"Yes!" Obi-Wan leaped to his feet, his shout joyous. Advancing on the candle, he cupped the flame between his hands, closed his eyes and tilted back his head. The hair on the back of his neck prickled at the presence of someone standing so close, their breath could have stirred his hair - if they had been capable of breathing. His trembling fingers were cupped round--whisper-touched--and then surrounded by warmth--a warmth independent of wax and wick.

"You're here."

The flame danced and it was enough, and yet... it wasn't.

"I still can't hear you," Obi-Wan whispered.

The whisper-touch grew firmer, entwining his fingers before falling away. He shivered when that touch found his cheek. It was heat, it was pressure, and it was calloused in ways so familiar that it hurt.

"Don't misunderstand me, please, Qui-Gon," he whispered. "I appreciate the effort and I know that you're here, now. But... it's not nearly enough for the task you've set before me. You're so close and yet, so far away. So impossibly far away."

Turning in the circle of that touch, he shook his head when it moved away, leaving him bereft of its warmth. "I can't be the first padawan to lose his master, or the first padawan to need to talk to his master after death. If I could hear you, what would you tell me to do in order for me to hear you?"

He looked back at the flame and watched it change again--ever so slowly and with deliberate intent--from orange to green.

"What do I need to do if I'm to hear you, Master?"

* * *

Obi-Wan ignored the Jedi archives of the past 1,000 years or so that were totally accessible to everyone from initiates to masters on the comp-consoles located throughout the Temple. He ignored them to smile and charm his way past the library cubicles and the knights assigned as custodians to those archives. A wink and a grin, a bit of wheedling and three appointments with the head archivist gave him total and independent access to the long-ignored Temple tower that housed the real books--the handwritten tomes and Books of Light penned by Masters long dead.

/Total access,/ he thought smugly to himself, laying his hand over the door sensor and feeling satisfied when it recognized him and slid open. /And all I had to do is recall six hours' worth of memories of being your padawan, Master. Were you aware of how much the archivist loves our adventures?/

"We've incorporated everything into the current treatises and dissertations," he was assured curtly in the beginning of his quest.

"Still..." He pretended to ponder. "It would be nice to hold the actual books in my hands."

"Eh? Pining for the leather and parchment, are you? Just like your old Master."

The archivist had smirked; she felt she was getting the better part of this deal, while he would soon be bored with dusty old books. Obi-Wan knew better. Somewhere in that dust was the information he needed to hear Qui-Gon.

The stairway wound up the center of the tower, fed off into myriad rooms containing myriad books that the Jedi now considered archaic. "Ancient esoteric writings of no interest," proclaimed the archivist, and so they were neglected in their rooms, stacked in utter chaos. No index could help Obi-Wan; from the beginning, he let the Force guide him.

He blew the dust of five hundred years off of the books and carefully opened them, only to discover that the ink upon their parchment was long faded and mostly invisible to his eyes. And so he learned a new way of seeing because he needed to read the words. When he came to read the words, he found that he was learning how to enter a whole new world. Living and unifying Force, light and dark, it was all here for him to ponder, to study through the night and often half into the next morning. When he wasn't studying, he was training Anakin or meditating on what he'd learned.

He had no way of knowing that his demeanor was slowly changing as he absorbed what he read; his eyes grew less sad and more serious, his grounding in the Force gave him a deep peace, a silence, and a focused purpose. He looked older and carried himself with a new maturity. As his fears settled, so did Anakin's anger. As Obi-Wan's studies grew, so did his knowledge.

Making his way into the tower each night, he slowly and painstakingly learned to walk what modern Jedi scholars scoffingly called the path of the Jedi-Mage; he stood physically in a Jedi tower on Coruscant while grounded spiritually in his Master's teachings, and learned how to cast out his heart and his imagination, to walk between the seen and the unseen worlds and gather the knowledge that he needed so desperately.

Once he learned how to open his heart and imagination at will, without having to be in the tower, he came to hear a voice in his mind. Kind and deep, calming and familiar, it helped guide his lessons with Anakin, gave him the words and the patience, the knowledge and the insight to teach the boy almost without effort. Almost. But no effort would have meant no learning for the Knight made Master before his time, and so he was encouraged to keep learning--to reach, to question, to grow.

He was no longer alone, and so many were the lessons that, for a time, he forgot to be lonely. And so, he learned to hear his Master's voice. But still, it was not enough.

* * *

Kneeling in his quarters on the meditation mat once used by his Master, Obi-Wan closed his eyes and grounded in the Force. It was a living presence in his mind now, an energy field that he could not only sense but actually see. It was a mental plane to walk upon in confidence, accessed through his imagination and given solidity by his concentration. Even now, he was learning to take its power and use it as a shield in battle. The Force was no longer just a word; it had become another world for Obi-Wan.

/Let us have a quiet garden tonight,/ he commanded the energy, and it obeyed, bending itself to his will and his whim. /Let us have grass and talaban trees, with a quarter moon balanced in the trees and a subtle scent of chorjal in the air. Let the path be easy through the trees, and the pond be still, as still as the soul./

The Force wove Obi-Wan's vision until, with the boots of his toes being licked by the lapping water and teased by the reflection of the silvered moon, he drew a deep breath and gave a final command.

/Let my Master be here with me./


He turned, only to find his shoulders grasped, himself clasped and held close to a heart he could feel beating strong in its barrel chest. He burrowed into the big man's shoulder, nuzzled into the long, soft hair to let its familiar scent surround him. Large hands spread over his back, strong arms enfolded him until he could not breathe, did not care if he ever breathed again. He was held fast against a solid wall of muscle, so known and so beloved that a sob caught in his throat when he tried to speak. Instead, he just held on.

His hands came up to tangle in Qui-Gon's hair; he finger-combed it and smoothed it back, smiled to see the beloved laugh lines crinkled at the corners of his eyes, and wept to see the crooked smile the big man gave.

"I've missed you so much, Master," he managed to whisper.

Long fingers caressed his cheek. He felt traces of sorrow in the gesture, remembered as the last time they had touched. Leaning into the touch, he instinctively reached through the bond they had shared, and found it intact once again. He gasped as Qui-Gon dropped his shields, entwined his presence through Obi-Wan's heart and mind.

"I've been right here all along. I'd never leave you."

"Yes, but--" Turning his cheek, he nuzzled Qui-Gon's palm. "I couldn't hear you, couldn't see you."

"You seem to have learned how, now." Tilting Obi-Wan's head up, Qui-Gon wiped away his tears. "Padawan, please listen to me. When I asked you to promise to train Anakin, I didn't mean that you'd have to do it alone."

"How else should I do it?"

"You can see me, now. You can hear me, now. Let me help, any way that I can."

Leaning back, Obi-Wan stroked the grizzled beard with the backs of his hands. His fingers traveled on to trace his Master's eyebrows, his crooked nose, his lips.

"What are you doing, Obi-Wan?" came the question with much affection.

"Remembering you. Loving you. Satisfying myself that you're real. Memorizing small details so that I can take them out and look at them when you're not there."

"Obi-Wan--" Qui-Gon began, only to break off and shake his head with a slight smile.

"What is it? What were you going to say?"

"If you wish it, there will never be a time when I am not there."

It took a moment for the words to sink in. When they did, Obi-Wan grinned a wolfish grin that made Qui-Gon laugh.

"You may regret that you ever told me that, Master. And so, when do you move in?"

* * *

Obi-Wan spread his hands. "And so... my Master moved in. A few months later, and I could see him on this physical level. We both trained Anakin, and in time Anakin learned to hear and see Qui-Gon, too."

Mace Windu narrowed his eyes. "And you never told the Council."

"We all thought it best not to. I'm sure that you and the others would have thought of a few reasons as to why a master who has passed into the Force isn't allowed to help train his former padawan's padawan."

Windu snorted. "After what you've told me, Obi-Wan, I seriously doubt that we'd have been able to stop you."

Obi-Wan shrugged. "I still think it was best not to risk it. What we did worked."

The Councilman's arm stole around Obi-Wan's shoulders. "You'll teach the rest of us how you did it, won't you?"

Gray-green eyes widened. "I don't think very many of the Jedi are ready to go walking through the worlds like that, Master. Besides which, I have plans."


Nodding, Obi-Wan took a few steps forward, out of the shadows of the tree and into the light. Coincidentally, it also removed him from Windu's touch. "My promise to Qui-Gon is fulfilled. I'm free to choose where I want to be."

"And where is that?"

Obi-Wan offered a small, secretive smile. "I've not yet made up my mind. You'll be one of the first to know, when I do. But shall we join the festivities, Master? Anakin is waiting."

* * *

Kneeling in his quarters on the meditation mat once used by his Master, Obi-Wan closed his eyes and grounded in the Force. As always, Qui-Gon was just over there, a constant and sparkling presence in his mind. If he narrowed his focus just a little, he could open his eyes and turn his head and see his Master, kneeling before him.

"It's done."

"Thank you, Obi-Wan. I know that it's not been easy. Is Council letting you select your next mission?"

"I don't want another mission," came the calm announcement. "I want to be with you."

An eyebrow arched in surprise. "There's a certain difficulty inherent in that desire, don't you think, my Padawan?"

"No. I'm done in this world, Qui-Gon. No, hear me out before you protest that I'm destined to train two more padawans and be a great Jedi Master. That's not what I want."

Frowning slightly, Qui-Gon listened. In fact, Obi-Wan got the impression that if he had tried to deflect this conversation, such deflection would not have been allowed.

"When I was twelve, I wanted to be your padawan... and I was. The years we shared together were the happiest of my life. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a Jedi knight, and I am. But I had another dream--a dream interrupted on Naboo and by Anakin--and that was to be with you."

"I'm not sure I understand."

Rising from the meditation mat, Obi-Wan offered his hand. "You will, Master. For now, would you just show me your world, and let me be with you? Everything else will work out if you'll just do that for me, Qui-Gon."

Gaining his feet, and looming over Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon took his hand. "Of course."

In leading Obi-Wan from the room, Qui-Gon also led him out of the physical world. He'd done it many times before, as they'd gone to the space between worlds to discuss this or that portion of Anakin's training, or a problem on a mission to which Obi-Wan had been assigned. It was only as he looked back that the Jedi Master truly understood the decision and the request that Obi-Wan had made. There, on the Master's old meditation mat so recently vacated by his former Padawan, lay an empty set of Jedi robes.

Worried blue eyes met gray-green. "Obi-Wan... Are you sure that you have no regrets? This is what you want to do?"

"It's all that I've worked for, all that I've wanted for a very long time. Longer than you can possibly know."

"I don't know about that, Obi-Wan." Memories flooded the bond between them when Qui-Gon touched his former Padawan's cheek.

- a slender boy on Bandomeer, offering to die so that others might live, already Jedi in his unselfish compassion. "Live, and be my Padawan," said the tall man that Obi-Wan desperately wanted to save.

- a slender braid held between long, thick fingers as another bead of accomplishment was added and his Master's heart swelled with pride. Reaching out, he hugged the boy to him. /Great!/ Obi-Wan had thought. /When he hugged me last year, I only came up to his sternum. I just mashed my nose on his chest, so I'm getting taller!/

-the boy grown to manhood, watching his Master fight, speak, negotiate, sleep, walk, shower, heal, bleed. Just living with Qui-Gon, day in and day out, until the realization hit one morning as Obi-Wan set a cup of tea before the big Jedi: /I'm in love with him./

-the Master who felt the jolt through the bond as the realization hit, whose hand trembled as he thanked his Padawan and drank the tea, knowing that his own love and need was mirrored in the beautiful man sitting beside him, yet could not be acted upon as long as Obi-Wan was a Padawan.

"I meant to tell you, when you were knighted," Qui-Gon whispered. "But...."

"But Naboo happened, and there was no time." His smile was sad, but contained no bitterness. "There's time now, Master. In fact, there's all eternity, if we want it. If you still want me."

Qui-Gon touched Obi-Wan's cheek with the tips of his fingers, just as he had before, in benediction for a life that was ending too soon. "I can say now what I couldn't say then. I love you, my Obi-Wan."

Sliding his arms around Qui-Gon, he leaned into the touch. "I love you, too, Master. Let's go home."



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