Continuing Tales

Leverage: A Christmas Tale

A Harry Potter Story
by Fragilereality

Part 3 of 4

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In some Western cultures, it is a custom for people to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve. Some hold the superstition that failing to kiss someone ensures a year of loneliness.

~ New Years Traditions ~

"What's it like when you kiss Harry?" Hermione tried to keep her voice casual and avoided looking at Ginny by taking a sip of her mulled wine.

"Sticky usually." Ginny's voice was slightly muffled as she spoke around several kirby grips she had wedged between her lips for safe keeping.


"Mmhmm. James like to get in between us as much as possible." Ginny shoved a kirby none to gently into the updo she was currently creating in Hermione's birds nest hair.

"Oh, right. I see." This was not really the information Hermione was looking for. "But when James isn't around...or when you were first together, what was it like then?" She watched in the vanity mirror as Ginny's gaze grew far away.

"When we were teenagers it was amazing. At first it was like every kiss was stolen and might be our last. It was incredible." She shoves another grip into Hermione's curls. "It wasn't just the kissing though. Back then, just the sight of Harry made me feel like I'd been punched in the stomach." She smiled and took a sip of her own drink. "Those feelings don't last forever, not in my experience anyway, but kissing is still pretty wonderful." She gave a goofy grin and looked away a slight blush colouring her cheeks. "Why do you ask anyway?"

"Oh, I just wondered." Hermione fiddled with the box of pins on the table. "It wasn't really like that when I kissed Ron."

"Eugh, I can imagine." Ginny shuddered. "Please don't talk about kissing my brother, you know it creeps me out."

"Sorry." Hermione grinned and lapsed into silence trying not to to wince as Ginny continued to torture her with a comb.

They were close she and Ginny. Really close. Their failed relationship had, of course, driven a wedge between herself and Ron and her friendship with Harry had inevitably changed now that he was a husband and father, but things had only gone from strength to strength with Ginny. The redheaded witch was Hermione's closest female friend. She would have unhesitatingly said she could tell her anything. Right up until the point when Lucius Malfoy had unexpectedly set her world on fire.

"There's a lot of mistletoe around the ministry this year," Hermione volunteered. Ginny rolled her eyes.

"That's a bit inappropriate for a work environment, don't you think?"

"I suppose." Hermione hadn't really thought about it, which was, in itself, indicative of something fairly major going on. She was always thinking about her work environment. "Anyway I got stuck under it on Christmas Eve."

"You didn't!" Ginny paused in her ministrations to stare at Hermione in the mirror. "How awful. Why didn't you send us a patronus? I'd have sent Harry off to save you...or maybe Percy," she added mischievously.

"Don't laugh, but I'd left my wand in my office. Honestly, I thought I'd be there until Boxing Day."

"You probably would have been." Ginny laughed too. "So I'm guessing somebody found you?"


"Who?" Ginny's expression became more intent as if she realised that they were reaching the crux of whatever it was Hermione wasn't entirely sure she wanted to talk about.

"Mr Malfoy," Hermione said very quietly.

"Draco? I bet he loved that, you know he had a terrible crush on you at school? I can just imagine him swooping in as your knight in shining arm— oh…You didn't say Draco, did you?"

Hermione shook her head.

"Lucius...Lucius Malfoy found you?"

Hermione nodded.

"What did he do?"

"He was very accomodating." Hermione decided not to mention the previous week when she had found him in a similar predicament.

"Very accommodating in a kissing sort of way?"

Hermione nodded again almost dislodging the still precarious pile of curls on top of her head.

"Careful!" Ginny stabbed wildly with a pin as if trying to impale a rabid animal. "I can't believe you kissed Lucius Malfoy a week ago and you're only just telling me now."

"I'm sorry, I wasn't sure how you'd feel about it." She wasn't sure how she felt about it either.

"Intrigued mainly." Ginny took another sip of her drink. "I can't believe he actually kissed you. No offence, of course, you're beautiful, but he's a complete snob."

"I know." Hermione frowned. "He didn't seem concerned about my filthy blood at all."

"I have heard he's mellowed." Ginny returned to her self appointed task as hairdresser.

"Who did you hear that from?"

"Well, Draco mainly." Draco was the seeker on Ginny's quidditch team. "He still talks about his father as much as he ever did. But a few other people too. Dad's been very impressed with the work he's been doing at the Ministry since he was appointed."

"Really?" Hermione fought the urge to turn around. "All I've seen him do is cut people's budgets."

"And by people you mean you?"


"I don't think it's a personal vendetta. From what Dad says the ministry's finances were in a pretty bad way before he took them in hand."

Hermione tilted her head back in an attempt to look at Ginny's face rather than her reflection.

"Why are you of all people defending Lucius Malfoy?"

A tinge of colour appeared in Ginny's cheeks.

"I'm not defending him." She attacked a snarl in Hermione's hair with unnecessary vigour. "I'm just saying he's changed so if you were to be stuck under the mistletoe with him again it wouldn't be such a bad thing as far as I'm concerned."


"Yes really. Hermione, it's been nearly two years since you and Ron broke up and I know you haven't been with anyone else. For all you know your hymen might have grown back!"

Hermione choked on her mulled wine.

"Ginny!" she finally managed to gasp. "If he encounters my hymen during kissing then things have gone dramatically wrong." She took a deep breath. "I'm actually going out with him tonight. Ouch!" Ginny had just smacked her shoulder, hard.

"You sly dog. I thought you were going to a work thing."

"Well he does work with me." Hermione rubbed her arm and tried to look wounded.

"You know what I meant.'re going out with Lucius Malfoy," Ginny started ripping pins out of the nearly finished hairstyle. "This just isn't going to cut it."

She had elected to meet Lucius at the ministry. He may be genuinely reformed, or at least less of a threat than he had been, but she still didn't want him knowing her address. Or Maybe she just didn't trust herself with him in the confined space of her flat. He had accepted her instructions with a disdainful sniff which served to convey exactly what he thought of her outlandish Muggle ideas.

In an effort to further aggravate her nemesis she had elected to dress in a distinctly Muggle style in skinny satin tuxedo trousers and a grey silk blouse. Ginny had raised an eyebrow at the ensemble.

"You look gorgeous, of course, but I'm not sure Lucius actually knows that witches aren't triangular beneath the waist. He might not cope."

"He can cope or I'll leave." Hermione wished that she could recapture that sense of bravado now as she waited for Lucius on the Ministry steps.

He appeared suddenly next to her while she was looking in the opposite direction.

"Miss Granger."

She shrieked, actually shrieked. So much for suave sophistication.

"Is something the matter?" Malfoy smirked at her.

"No,no." She shook her head exaggeratedly. "I'm just excited."

"Really?" He extended his arm for her. "Would That Narcissa's parties had such an effect on me."

Hermione cautiously placed her hand on his arm. Warm tingles ran up her fingers as she touched him. She frowned. Why on earth did he have to stimulate that sort of response? Other men didn't. Why did bloody Malfoy make her feel all warm and tingly?

"Where are we going?" She looked up at him.

"A private home. It's not far; I had thought we could walk although I'm happy to apparate if you prefer."

"Walking is fine...hang on a minute." She gave him an accusatory stare. "You can't apparate."

"Can't I? Fortunately, I was not informed of this limitation prior to my apparating here a few moments ago."

"But...but...your wand."

"What about it?" He raised his cane and pulled his wand out just far enough for her to see the shaft.

"I thought?"


She squared her shoulders. "I thought it had been confiscated as per the terms of your probation."

"The Minister saw fit to alter those terms as compensation for what did he say...exemplary behaviour and sterling effort in the role as Minister for finance." He looked indescribably smug.

Hermione snorted. "You clearly haven't cut any budgets which prevent him from doing his job."

"Well that would be counterproductive, wouldn't it?" Lucius gave her a supercilious look. "I only cut the budgets of those without enough power to retaliate."


"Yes, I quite understand the sentiment," Lucius interrupted her enraged stuttering. "Now, might you consider chastising me as we walk? We do want to reach the party before midnight after all."

Lost for words, Hermione allowed him to lead her through the streets. Trust Malfoy to come out on top, she thought. His probation had years left to run and yet, he had easily circumnavigated one of the most punitive clauses. The man would be running the country before his sentence was over at this rate.

They walked in silence save for the sound of Hermione's heels and the tip of Lucius' cane against the cobblestones. It wasn't long before they entered a residential district. The brick townhouses towered above them. Hermione didn't know the area well. Her salary wouldn't even stretch to a one bedroom flat here.

"Is this where Mrs Malfoy lives now?"

"It is." Lucius' face was expressionless. "She won the house in our divorce settlement."

"I hadn't realised you were divorced...before." She gestured helplessly. "I didn't bring your wife up in order to hurt you, I wouldn't do that. I'm sorry…"

Lucius looked down at her as if she were a particularly fascinating exhibit in a museum.

"Why would you be sorry?"

"For your divorce."

"But why would you be sorry? You don't know me at all or my ex-wife. I have no intention to apologise for the demise of your relationship with Weasley junior."

"I was just being polite." Hermione felt her hackles rise. "Of course I don't really care - you could be crying into your spreadsheets every night and I wouldn't give a nifflers pouch. And what do you know about my relationships anyway?"

"Enough," Lucius said succinctly. He lowered his head a little so his breath brushed her ear.

"If all were well between you and Weasley you would hardly be here with me on New Years Eve, would you?"

The question was rhetorical and she couldn't answer anyway because she was so breathless from his almost touch. Lust pooled in her belly and she fought it down, horror struck that this man should inspire such a feeling.

"We're here." Lucius stopped outside a huge townhouse with an enormous Christmas tree lighting up the bay window. They made their way up the flight of steps to the double fronted doors which were guarded by a fierce looking wizard with a foot long guest list.

"Mr Malfoy." He bowed his head as soon as he saw Lucius and didn't bother to consult the list before he ushered them through the doors into the warmth and bustle of a massive entrance hall. Hermione tried not to gape although all she really wanted to do was spin around in a slow circle and take in everything around her. The house was a perfect example of Georgian architecture with the faux classical touches suiting the ostentatious Malfoys perfectly. She craned her neck uncomfortably as she admired the intricate cornice work high above her.

A house elf clad in a gleaming white pillow case materialised beside them and Lucius handed it his cloak gesturing for Hermione to do this same. As she revealed her outfit he did an exaggerated double take.

"How charming, you've come as one of the waiting staff."

She was about to deliver a really acerbic and witty put down when a bell like voice rang out,

"Lucius, you came." Narcissa Malfoy was every bit as tall, pale and icily beautiful as Hermione remembered. Her hair was intricately pulled away from her face and the style was accentuated with huge glittering diamonds. She had chosen to wear white; a slinky glittering affair with a plunging neckline. She reminded Hermione a little of the white witch in Narnia. But, for all her beauty, Narcissa looked brittle. She was just on the wrong side of skinny and radiated a restless nervous energy which set Hermione's teeth on edge. She kissed Lucius soundly on both cheeks depositing a smear of lipstick, and her palm rested briefly yet possessively on his chest. Hermione might have been jealous, but she couldn't help but notice the way Lucius had stiffened at Narcissa's greeting and did not reciprocate either her kisses or her embrace.

"And who have you brought, Lucius?" She turned to Hermione her smile dying on her lips in a manner that might have been comical had it not been so offensive.

"I believe you and Miss Granger are acquainted?" Lucius placed his hand solicitously at Hermione's elbow, she fought the urge to pull away from the blazing heat of his touch.

"Miss Granger, charmed I'm sure." she looked anything but. "What an interesting outfit."

"Good evening, Mrs Malfoy." Hermione looked around. "You have a lovely home."

"Thank you." Narcissa's eyes flicked to Lucius. "It's actually Ms Black, now."

"Oh, I do apologise." Hermione looked back and forth from Lucius to Narcissa. She had no idea what was going on between the divorced couple and she assured herself she had no desire to know, but Lucius radiated displeasure from every orifice and Narcissa pressed her blood red lips together as if she has scored some sort of point. Before Hermione had time to really consider what she was doing and how it might be construed she reached up and wiped the smear of red lipstick from Lucius' cheek with her thumb. His mouth twitched as if he almost just not quite smiled. Narcissa breathed in sharply.

"Well, I should get back to my other guests. Enjoy your evening." she swept away in a swirl of glittering white.

Her mind made up, Hermione grabbed hold of Lucius' sleeve and dragged him into as unobtrusive a corner as she could find

"What the hell is going on?" she demanded in an angry whisper.

Lucius looked pointedly at where her small hand crumpled the fabric of his sleeve. She released him and absentmindedly smoothed out the worst of the creases. "Answer me," she added."

"I am not obliged to explain myself to you."

"No, you're not." She straightened her spine. "But if you don't then I shall leave. I agreed to accompany you here and I've done it. I don't want to be some sort of pawn in whatever game you and your ex-wife are playing."

To her surprise a look of confusion flitted across his marble countenance. It was gone as quickly as it appeared.

"I thought I had made myself quite clear." He frowned and Hermione took a nervous step back from him.

"Clear about what?" She had lost the thread of their conversation somewhere along the way and it was making her tetchy.

"Never mind." He had gone all cold and aristocratic again. "You are free to leave, Miss Granger. Would you like me to escort you home?"

"What? No!" Hermione looked around the massive hallway which was decked out for the festive season with oversized holly wreaths and piles of real snow at the feet of several lavishly decorated trees. Glittering guests mingled in the enchanted woodland and Hermione secretly mourned the loss of the opportunity to witness such a spectacle. She hadn't even made it to the ballroom. She wasn't sure what Lucius' game was. Perhaps he was simply using her to score points off Narcissa. Whilst she would prefer not to be used in such a manner the truth was she would much rather be here amongst the glittering wizarding elite than at home with Crookshanks and the cheap bottle of supermarket prosecco she had put in the fridge in case the evening went wrong.

"No I don't want to leave." She gazed up at him, willing him to understand. I want you to convince me to stay.

"Oh." He brightened a little at her words before he narrowed his eyes and gave her a calculating look. "Why do you want to stay?"

"So I can watch the beautiful people enjoying themselves," she answered promptly.

"You do not count yourself amongst the beautiful people?"

She laughed in his face.

"It's alright, Mr Malfoy, you don't have to pretend not to think you're better than me. These people," she gestured vaguely around the hallway "have nothing in common with me. As you would have it we're barely even the same species. I'm fascinated to have the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat."

"You mean to gawk at us as if we were exhibits in a Muggle zoo?"

"Pretty much." She looked up at him through her eyelashes wondering if she were really trying to flirt with Lucius Malfoy. "Do you have a problem with that?"

He didn't even hesitate. "Absolutely not." He extended his arm once more. "Perhaps I could play the role of zookeeper?"

She couldn't stop the bark of surprised laughter which erupted from her lips as she took his arm once more.

Throughout their acquaintance Lucius had been many things: cruel, scathing, arrogant, and austere to name a few. She had never known him to be funny. But, she had to admit when his sharp wit was turned elsewhere it was extremely diverting. He was also incredibly indiscreet.

"That's my cousin Cecil." He indicated in the direction of a slim weak chinned wizard whose blond hair was his only similarity to Lucius. "He's married to an American heiress." He inclined his head politely at the couple as they swept past. "But he never sleeps with her because he prefers fucking his sister."

"Lucius!" Hermione felt a blush colour her cheeks. There was something delightfully debauched at the way he said fucking in those rich plummy tones of his. It made her stomach flip. "How do you know?" she asked when he seemed unrepentant.

"He's not the only one who enjoys fucking his sister. She told me all about it."

"Hold on." He was moving through the crowd so swiftly she had to grasp his arm in order to keep up with him. He stopped and she ended up plastered against him her fists against his chest. His hand automatically clasped her hip in order to steady her. "I'm confused. Whose sister do you enjoy fucking?"

Lucius looked down at her frowning. "Do keep up, my dear. I'm not currently fucking anyone's sister and if you are accusing me of sharing Cecil's proclivities I can assure you that I am an only child." He paused for a second and tapped his fingers against his lips. "Although if I were to have an identical twin then I cannot guarantee I would be able to resist her!"

He set off again across the ballroom with Hermione trailing in his wake the unwelcome thought of two Lucius' engaged in all sorts of lascivious acts firmly wedged in her mind.

"Do you dance, Miss Granger?" They were on the edge of the dance floor where numerous couples whirled in a fast waltz. Hermione nodded nervously and Lucius seemed to take that as her acquiescence as he pulled her into his arms and drew her out onto the floor.

If kissing Lucius had been spectacular then dancing with him was something else. Hermione thought it might actually be better than sex. His body was so big and hard against hers and he smelt so sinfully good. She had to restrain herself from rubbing up against him like an animal hoping to be scent marked. Oh God, she was infatuated. The thought was utterly horrifying. She absolutely must not let him know. She could imagine having those cold grey eyes and scathing intellect turned back on herself once more and she didn't relish the thought one bit. She would just enjoy the dancing and not think about the warmth between her thighs or the tumble of nerves in her chest every time he bent his head to whisper more poisonous asides in her ear.

She was a competent dancer at best, but in Lucius' arms she felt capable of anything. She executed steps she didn't even know she knew. She felt like a princess and he looked at her as if she were one. The warm candlelight somehow softened his austere features and more than a ghost of a smile hovered over his lips as he kept up a running commentary on every couple that set foot on the floor. Hermione's head spun with information. He told her who was sleeping with who, who had been sleeping with who and no longer was, who was involved in insider trading, who was not involved in insider trading, but wished they were, who Lucius considered trustworthy and who he did not, who was dangerously over stretched at Gringotts and who had money to burn. It was dizzying.

"How do you have room for all of this in your head?"

Lucius paused in his dissertation on the history of the emerald tiara the witch across the dance floor was wearing.

"I don't know," he said after a moment. "Generally if somebody tells me something I remember it." Hermione nodded, that she could understand.

"But how do you cope with all that information rattling around inside your brain? I'm filled to the gunwales. I can't talk to any of these people for fear something terribly inappropriate will overflow."

Lucius managed to give a nonchalant shrug whilst still dancing. "I can say whatever I like. Before the war I was so important nobody dared trifle with me, and now I'm so disgraced that nobody cares either way. It's terribly freeing."

Hermione regarded him closely. "You're telling the truth, aren't you?"

"It does not come naturally, I assure you. I'm going to a great deal of effort to be honest with you, Miss Granger."

"Why would you do that?"

His mouth was against her ear again and she trembled as she waited for his response. She didn't really care what he was going to say. She just wanted to feel his hot breath against her skin once more.

It never came. Instead, an irritatingly melodious voice said, "Do you mind if I cut in? I haven't see you all evening, Lucius darling."

"I'm pretty sure cutting in is a gentleman's prerogative," Hermione muttered under her breath as Lucius was expertly extracted from her arms and borne away to dance with Narcissa. She was slightly mollified by the apologetic look he cast in her direction. It was rather cold comfort though and she retired to the edge of the dancefloor to lick her wounds.

There wasn't a single other person in the room that she knew well enough to talk to. Even Draco would be a welcome distraction, but he was conspicuous in his absence. Instead, she was forced to watch the Malfoys circle the floor. They were beautiful together. They reminded her of the two by two animals in a Noah's ark set with their flowing golden manes and perfectly matched long limbed bodies. Narcissa's smaller and more delicate frame a perfect foil to Lucius' elegant height. The were engaged in an intense conversation and Hermione watched with interest as Narcissa scowled in displeasure at whatever Lucius was saying. Her red nails dug briefly into his back as if to emphasize her point and he pulled away a little. Hermione didn't have to be able to lip read to interpret his reprimand. Then he is pulled away from his ex-wife and headed straight across the dance floor in her direction, apparently unconscious of the couples whose dancing his trajectory interrupted.

Hermione quickly began to admire the pot plant behind which she was half hidden and was engaged in intense scrutiny of its roots when Lucius appeared at her side with two glasses of champagne.

"It's nearly midnight," he said softly.

"Is it?" Hermione was surprised. The evening had passed incredibly quickly and she was sorry it would soon be over. She still wasn't sure why Malfoy had invited her.

"I apologise for that interruption."

"She's not an interruption, she's your wife—"


Hermione shrugged and took a gulp of her champagne. "She doesn't look very ex to me."

Narcissa was glaring at them from across the room.

"I assure you the feelings are entirely one sided. She proposed a reconciliation and I rejected her proposal."

"Oh." Hermione stared up at him, wondering why on earth he was telling her this. "Are you sure that's the right decision? I mean, you two were together a long time."

"I am absolutely sure." Lucius' tone is emphatic. "Perhaps six months ago I might have felt differently, but now…"

"Now what? You know maybe you should go to couples counselling, I've heard that can be very useful, especially for couples who have been through a traumatic shared experience—"

"This is quite the most peculiar date I have ever been on."

Hermione stared up at him wide-eyed as her overtired brain struggled to process his words.

This is a date? "This is a date?" She hadn't meant to sound quite so incredulous.


The large grandfather clock in the hallway let out a chime to rival that of Big Ben and the room went still with expectation.

"Of course it is. What did you think it was?"

"Some sort of nefarious plan engineered to maneuver me into doing something I didn't want to?"

"Well I did plan on maneuvering you into doing something, but I was rather hopeful we might both want to do it."


"I sought advice from several half-blood acquaintances. Apparently the procedure is no different in Muggle culture. I ascertained your sexual interest, then issued an invitation which you accepted. How could you have thought it was anything other than a date?"

"Because you hate me."

"Whatever gave you that idea?"


"I don't know, maybe because of that time you tried to kill me?"

"Oh please, that was years ago. And besides I wasn't really trying. If I had really been trying to kill you you would be dead already."


"What about all the times you cut my budget?"

"I've made fewer cuts to your budget than any other department."

"But you said my reports were overlong, tedious and filled with unnecessary extraneous detail."

"They are, but that's hardly a reason to hate you."


"Why did you agree to come if you thought I was up to no good?"

"I really don't want to say." Think of a lie, think of a lie… "I really wanted you to kiss me." Fuck! Not a lie.

"To get away from the mistletoe?"

"Yes...and...other reasons."


"What other reasons?"

Because up until that point, kissing you was the most erotic experience of my entire life. "I'd really rather not say."


"I don't understand why you would want to go out with me."

"Don't you?"



"You don't think I might have noticed how hard you work, that you're always first to arrive at work and the last to leave?"

"You would have to work even longer hours in order to notice those things. Besides, a strong work ethic is hardly an alluring trait."


"You don't think I admire you for being the only witch, Muggle born or otherwise, who dares to stand up to me?"

"I thought I infuriated you."


"And do you think me so blind that I would have completely failed to notice how beautiful you've become and just how delicious your backside looks in those decidedly odd trousers?"

"It's perfectly normal for a woman to wear trousers in this day and age."

"Are you always going to wilfully misunderstand everything I say?"



"Would you have said yes if you'd known I was asking you on a date?"

I don't know.


"Happy New Year!" the assembled crowd shouted uproariously. All around them couples locked lips in New Year kisses both chaste and explicit.

Hermione stared up at Lucius aware that the ball was now situated firmly in her court. She hadn't answered his question and he, in a distinctly unslytherin fashion, had laid all his cards on the table. She still found it hard to believe that he was genuinely interested in her, but he had certainly gone to great lengths to convince her that he was, and who was she to argue with Lucius Malfoy? Yet, he appeared unmoving and she realised that if she wanted things to proceed she would have to be the one to take the initiative this time.

Her eyes traced the sensual line of his slightly parted lips. She took a single tentative step, which brought her body flush up against his, and placed her hands on either side of his face. He didn't resist as she stood on tiptoe and pulled his face towards hers and she caught a hint of his satisfied smile before their lips met once more.

And it was even better than it had been before. This time Torvill and Dean danced the final sequence of Bolero and Pavarotti held the last note of Nessun Dorma and Superman blasted his way into outer space and… she was kissing Lucius Malfoy. And it felt as if this was what was always meant to happen. As if every star in the cosmoverse had aligned and somebody had written The End across her life in gold swirly writing and the Big Bang was happening right in front of her eyes. He pinned her against a conveniently situated Greco-Roman pillar. His hands were in her hair,no doubt ruining all of Ginny's hard work, and then one was on her backside kneading and squeezing her flesh through her much maligned trousers and she was scrabbling at his robes because she wanted to touch him too. She started to feel dizzy and a little faint, but still she refused to pull away because once this kiss was over there might not be another. Finally, when black spots were blooming behind her eyes, Lucius released her. He was breathing heavily and she could feel the rapid staccato beat of his heart against her own chest as he stared down at her. The blaze of triumph in his grey eyes was unmistakable.

"So, Miss Granger." There was a faint tremor in his voice which she could tell he was trying hard to conceal. "What happens now?"

Leverage: A Christmas Tale

A Harry Potter Story
by Fragilereality

Part 3 of 4

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