This is a very very dark Xander.
Assuming you've read Listening & Lies, you know why. If you haven't read it, go there now.

Pairings: Spike/Xander, Xander/various
Setting: Season 2, after the events of Listening & Lies
Rating: R
Feedback: Please, please, please
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me; all belongs to Joss and Mutant Enemy and anybody else who actually makes money off this stuff - certainly not me.
Warnings: Minor M/M, het, non-con het, vamp!Xander
Summary: Spike tries to start his new life with his newly risen childe, while the Scooby gang search frantically for their friend.




Fledglings and Family


by
Daedreams



1
Scooby Search

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Harris…I'm really worried, too…Well, keep in touch with the police, and we'll keep searching all the places we know he may go…Yes…Talk with you again soon." Willow placed the receiver gently back in its cradle.

She had been staring at the same spot on the counter during the entire conversation. The spot was a small hole in the lacquer caused by the corner of an axe that Xander had been swinging carelessly. She couldn't remember when it had happened. All the times that she and Buffy and Xander had geared up to go patrolling had run together in her mind. She remembered the actual incident (and Giles' anger at the defacement of school property), but couldn't remember exactly when it happened. A month ago? Six months? Last year? But she knew that it was important that she remember.

Giles came out of his office to stand next to Willow. He placed a hand on her shoulder. "I take it the authorities have no news?"

"A virtual fountain of nothing," Willow responded quietly and leaned against Giles' chest. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer for a much needed hug.

After a few moments, they separated and Willow sat back down at the computer to finish the flyers. Giles opened a telephone book on the counter and began making more phone calls.

The rest of the gang made their appearances in the library shortly after the final bell. Willow had skipped all her classes that day. When everyone had arrived, she handed out the flyers she had been creating and gave out the assignments.

"Okay, Giles and Miss Calendar, you two take the south and east ends of town. Buffy and Cordelia, you're on the north and west. Oz and I will go downtown. Put the flyers up in every storefront you can find. I don't care if you get permission or not. Come tomorrow, I want to see this picture of Xander on every square inch of this town. Telephone poles, abandoned buildings, mailboxes. Every - square - inch. Any questions?"

Everyone shook their heads and followed a determined Willow out the library doors.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Oz finished securing the flyer to the window, then left the shop and found Willow leaning against the side of the building. She had run out when the man with the blood-soaked apron had told them what he knew. His Willow was crying. Oz stood in front of her, holding her right hand and gently stroking her left arm. She needed words right now, but he was never very good with words. Were these tears of joy or tears of sadness? It was the best lead they had gotten so far (well, it was the only lead, actually).

"This is goodness, Will," he ventured. "It's a start."

She looked up at him with eyes the color of her hair. "How is this good? What part of this is good? There is so much badness in this. Too many secrets. He keeps keeping secrets from me. All bad, Oz, all bad."

An hour later, they all met up again at Buffy's house; Mrs. Summers was out of town again on a gallery-buying trip. Willow had not been able to pull herself together, yet, so Oz had to report on what they had found out from the butcher.

"He looked at the picture and recognized him instantly. Said he had been coming in for the last couple of weeks. Buying pig's blood. At least a couple pints each time. He hadn't seen him in a few days, though." Oz hung his head down. "Same as us," he added quietly.

Cordelia started visibly shaking and Giles stepped up next to her to hold her steady.

Still, though…no one said it. No one had dared say it. It had been four days. Everyone was thinking it. Now this new info about the blood. It tied together, but still didn't make any sense.

"I'll go back there tomorrow," Buffy said in Slayer-mode. "There's got to be more he's not telling us. I'll beat it out of him if I have to." She rested a hand on Willow's knee and tried to look in her downcast eyes. "He's around. He's okay."

Willow raised her head to meet Buffy's eyes. "Do you remember the time when Xander was waving that axe around in the library and smacked the corner of it on the counter and it made that little hole?" She turned to look at Giles. "And, Giles, you yelled at him for being careless and damaging property and he skulked around for about three minutes then was swinging the axe around again?" She looked back at Buffy. "Do you remember?"

Buffy smiled. "Yeah, I remember that."

"When was that? When did that happen?"

"I don't know. Three…four months ago, maybe. Why?"

"I have to remember. I have to remember everything. There are no more memories left to make. I have to remember everything that was something so it won't be nothing. Everything matters."

"Stop it, just stop it," Cordelia was crying. Miss Calendar pulled her away from Giles and held her.

Buffy looked mad. "We'll find him, Will. We will."

"He's gone, Buffy," Willow told her. "But I'm not going to let him fade away. I miss Jesse so much, but I stopped thinking about him because all my thoughts kept ending with him as a vampire. I won't let that happen with Xander. I won't lose the memory of him. Even when it ends bad."

"Now, Willow," Giles said, "to be fair, we really don't know for sure-"

"No, Giles, we don't know for sure. But no one has seen or heard from him in four days. We just found out he's been keeping a secret, and that secret involves blood. Lots of blood. We live on a Hellmouth. You're the smartest guy I know, Giles. Tell me what to think."

Buffy and Giles both started to say something at once, but Willow cut them off by standing up from her seat on the couch and heading toward the door. Oz got up to follow her, but stopped when she turned around to face the group again.

The sadness was gone from her face. The sadness that had been plastered there for the last several days. It was gone. Her cheeks were still stained from tears and her eyes were still puffy and swollen, but the look behind those eyes had turned. In just the last minute, she had made a decision.

"When it comes down to it," Willow told her friends…her family, "it will be me. I'll be the one. Xander staked Jesse. I'll stake Xander."

Oz followed as she left the house.





2
Midnight and the Future

Two days earlier…

Blood. Smells warm. How is it that I can smell warmth? He ran his new sharp teeth across the vein and heard a small voice coming from somewhere. He remembered the lesson from earlier that evening. Want. Take. Have. Mine. He pushed his fangs hard into the skin and the small voice became a scream.

The warmth rushed into his body. He was hot, burning. Then he pulsated and tingled. Then it was pins and needles. Everywhere. But inside. And it hurt. And it was good. And he wanted more. Needed more.

There was another voice. This one deeper. More playful. Familiar. "Xaaan-der," the voice sing-songed. "Xaan-der."

Go away. Need more now. More.

"Xander!" The voice was sharp this time, so he took his fangs out of the girl and let go. He watched her drop to the ground with a hard thump, then turned to look at the voice. Xander smiled. It was a beautiful sight. His Sire was grinning at him with joy and pride.

"Now that's what I call a fine first meal," Spike praised. "Good thing we've got this other tasty treat, cause there's nothing left of that girl for me. Gotta teach you to share, boy." But there was fun in his voice.

Spike removed his hand from the terrified young man's mouth and ran his fingers across Xander's lips, capturing the blood that lay there. He let out a deep moan when he tasted the blood on his fingers. The elder vampire leaned close to the man's ear and whispered, "You're little girlfriend was a virgin, wasn't she?"

Xander's newly borrowed blood was pumping hard through his body as he admired the scene in front of him. His Sire, in full vamp face, was pressing the man's back against his chest. The arms were pinned to his sides by just one of Spike's strong arms wrapped around the man's waist. The terror was not only evident on his face, but also in the whimpers that were escaping his mouth, now that Spike's hand wasn't covering it. But mostly Xander could feel and smell the terror pouring off of him in waves. His pulse was beating faster than even the girl's had been, and who knew that fear could smell so sweet. It smelled like the blood had tasted. Like iron and salt and chocolate chip cookies.

The man was staring wide-eyed at the girl on the ground. Spike slapped his hand onto the man's forehead, forcing his head back to lay on the vampire's shoulder and exposing his neck.

"I asked you a question," Spike was growling into the man's ear. "Did you know your girl was a virgin?"

Xander watched as the man's adam's apple moved dramatically up and down. "No," was the hoarse answer that finally escaped his lips. "First d-date."

Spike laughed at that, and a joyful shiver creeped up Xander's spine at the sound.

"That's bloody priceless! Tell me," Spike ran his tongue along the man's neck from shoulder to ear, ignoring the increased whimpering, "what were you two crazy kids doing wandering about this late at night, huh?"

"M-m-midnight movie."

"I love this town! All manner of beasties running 'round after dark and they still have midnight showings. Hope they never learn." Spike leaned even closer to the man's ear and continued his casual conversation in a delicate whisper. "Now, something else I would love to know before you're done. What were you doing walking through this dark lonely alley 'stead of the brightly lit street?"

"Shortcut," was the soft reply.

"Really? And whose idea was that, then? Taking a shortcut?"

The man spoke his last word, "M-mine."

"So, then how does it feel," Spike asked, his voice dripping with concern and sympathy, "to know that you were the one who murdered your new girlfriend?" The man's eyes got wide and he started screaming just before Spike sunk his teeth in.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Six hours earlier…

Spike lay on the bed, propped up on one elbow, trying to recall the precise moment he had decided to do it. He knew that he had wanted the boy with him. But he had wanted both the boy and the heartbeat. Now all that was there, spread out beside him, was a body. A still body going through unimaginable internal changes.

He had been watching it for many hours now, with his palm resting where the heartbeat used to be. He thought of the boy's friends and a sense of joy spread through his own body. He had been looking for a way to get even with the Slayer for stealing four months of his unlife. Four months that saw him in a wheelchair and starving. Included in that were the months he had to put up with his pompous and annoying Grandsire. During those same months his Dru was so close yet never touching. All the Slayer's fault. One simple, and probably clumsy, shag and there's Angelus, screwing his love and his world up.

So here lies the Slayer's White Knight. Dead. Was this revenge? Having a minion around again could be useful. But really, what good was a minion unless you were plotting world demolition or had a large household to run? No. Whether Spike wanted to admit it or not, this was companionship.

It wouldn't be too much longer. All fledglings rose in their own time. Sometimes it took twelve hours, sometimes three days. But it was soon. Spike could begin to sense the changes. Xander was more demon than human now. So Spike waited. Missing the heartbeat. But anxious to find out who his new boy would become. Waiting to talk. Waiting to teach. And ready to start a new family.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


When he had his fill, Spike flung the man to the ground and looked up at Xander. The fledge was bouncing on his toes, a move that Spike remembered the boy making when he was human, but it was usually when he was nervous about something. This bouncing was all about joy.

"Hey, Tigger," the elder acknowledged the hyper boy who had moved closer in front of him. "Feeling pretty good, yeah?"

"There's just so much." the boy's eyes were darting wildly around at the bodies on the ground, down the alley, at the sky, then focused on the blood dripping from Spike's mouth. Xander licked his lips.

Spike ran his tongue along the outside of his own mouth to capture some of the blood. He began to wipe up the rest with his fingers, intending on feeding it to Xander, when the boy made a quick move forward and planted a deep probing kiss on Spike's lips. The move was a tad surprising until Spike realized that the boy was just sucking up the rest of the blood.

When the sweet saltiness was gone from both their mouths, Xander didn't pull back. Spike placed a hand on the small of his boy's back and pulled him even closer. He felt Xander's erection immediately and gently thrust his own into the boy's hips. Xander finally stopped bouncing and moaned while clamping down lightly on Spike's bottom lip. Feeling dull teeth, Spike broke the kiss and pulled away slightly to look at Xander's face.

The fledge had been in vamp face since just before he had woken up. Marveling at the familiar features of smooth skin in front of him now, Spike gazed into the dark eyes of the demon wearing Xander's skin and smiled wildly.

The eyes were dead. Cold. Filled with a frozen fire that had burned as golden flames just minutes ago. They had a meanness in them that Spike recalled seeing only once, before the demon. The meanness had sparked for just a moment when he had told the human boy about Angelus' plan to kill the teacher. Now it was permanent. Spike knew that he hadn't just created a demon - he had released one.

And yet, behind the mean, Spike was still able to see a little boy. A teenager with big chocolate brown eyes filled with curiosity, wonderment, a trickle of smarts, and, at the moment, a fountain of lust. Not only was his boy new, but he had just had his first meal, kill. And she was virgin, no less! Xander needed some serious release. Now.

Resuming the kiss, Spike ground his body roughly into Xander's. The younger vampire's pulsating blood was beginning to slow down, but Spike used it to recall his memory of the ex-human's calm and steady heartbeat that had won him over just a few weeks ago.

Heartbeat. Blood. Pumping. Xander. Childe. Kill. Blood. Family. Blood. Spike pulled his boy closer to him, spun them both around and slammed Xander's back into the brick wall of the alley. Xander didn't even flinch from the move. Spike pressed his palms against the wall and thrust his jeans-covered hardness into Xander’s. His Childe thrust back with even greater need. It didn't take Xander long to come. He was ready. Had been since the moment his demon had awoken him just hours before. The younger let out a roar as his eyes glowed gold, throwing his head back to smash into the brick.

Spike didn't come, but he had his own satisfaction watching his boy's face morph into vampire at the moment of release. Xander was his. His own. His family. His Childe. Spike ran his tongue lightly along Xander's lips, parting them slightly to lick the sharp fangs hidden behind them. He continued the tongue bath up the boy's cheek, past a golden eye to the ridges on his forehead.

It was a fascinating thing he had made. This demon. Filled with Xander blood, dead girl blood, and just a touch of Spike's own blood. And, even better, not an ounce of formaldehyde. All the minions that Spike had made over the past several decades had reeked of the nasty smell. It would take at least a dozen feedings to replace the embalming chemical with enough borrowed blood to make a fledgling smell tolerable.

That was part of the reason Spike had kept the boy with him during the change. He wanted his Childe to start clean. A pure blood demon, like himself so many years ago. No human interference. No stainless steel morgue, no autopsy, no news report claiming neck trauma, no funeral, and certainly no burial (unlike the horror that Dru had put him through).

No, his boy was really all his. The beginning of a family, with Spike at the head. The top of the line, not the bottom. This boy was his fresh start.

Spike backed away from Xander and stood amused as the boy caught his breath (a habit that really does take many years to break). The fledgling smiled back at him with a look of gratitude and respect. Oh yeah, Spike thought, this is gonna work out just fine. The younger started bouncing again.

"Right then, Tigger. Let's get you cleaned up. Then we can see what else this beautiful night has to offer us." Spike put his arm around his boy as they walked out of the alley. "The night is definitely young."





3
Fine Friends

Xander stood gazing at the tattered flyer stapled to the telephone pole. What silly Scoobies. So worried. Spike came up beside him, wiping fresh blood from his mouth. He rested a hand on Xander's shoulder.

"Well, now. Look at you. Red's work, no doubt." Spike reached forward and traced a finger along the cheekbone of the boy in the picture.

"Was taken at Buffy's house. We didn't have any money to go do anything that night, so we were sitting around watching Indian television. I remember. It was…fun."

Spike leaned closer to the photograph and squinted. "What are you wearing?" It was really just a cropped head shot, but you could see the top of some patterned orange fabric under Xander's chin.

"It's a sari," Xander answered quietly. Spike turned to give him a raised eyebrow. "What?” he continued defensively. “We were playing around and there was obviously tainted betel nuts involved." Spike was laughing. Xander shrugged the hand off his shoulder. "Hey, at least I didn't let Buffy braid my hair," he moped.

Xander tried to change the subject. "You know, these are all over town. I've seen, like, a dozen or more this last week."

"So," Spike shrugged, getting his laughter under control.

"So… I'm not sure I really like my face plastered above a phone number telling people to call my friends if they see me. Hello! Creature of the night, here. Trying to, you know, creature."

“Right, then!” Spike ripped the flyer off the pole and handed it Xander. “We just need to go pay your friends a little visit. Tell ‘em to stop worrying. You’re fine.”

Xander grinned. “Yeah. I’m just fine.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Oz was trying to recall the precise moment his life got strange. And oddly enough, he could. The random decision to tickle his cousin Jordy. That spur of the moment action had triggered a chain of events that had included becoming a werewolf, falling for a girl who didn’t care he was a werewolf, and helping her and her friends research and fight all manner of demons and horror. Weird.

This particular research party involved trying to figure out why some members of the swim team were suddenly turning into fish demons. Our lives are different from other people's.

"Look at the medical records on these guys," Willow was saying, "Torn tendons, fractures, depression, headaches. How does the school nurse not associate these incidents and symptoms with steroid use?"

"So maybe there's something more than steroids in the steroids," Buffy theorized.

"Quite right," Giles agreed. "We need to talk to both Nurse Greenleigh and Coach Marin."

"What we really need," Cordelia chimed in from her perch on the library steps, "is somebody on the inside. You know, somebody the team can confide in. Someone needs to join the swim team. There's obviously a couple openings."

"Well, yes, Cordelia. That is actually a good idea." Giles said, causing Cordelia to raise her eyebrows at him as if to say, 'duh!'

With terror, Oz realized they had all turned to look at him. Willow was giving him her sweet inquisitive-puppy-look that could melt his heart. But there was no way even that look would get him to join a group sports activity. Not to mention a sport that you had to be more than half naked. He had to get out this quick. "Can't swim."

"I'd look hot in a Speedo." All eyes darted toward the front door of the library to discover the new voice in the conversation.

The air left the room.

For some reason, Oz found himself pointedly counting in his head. One. Two. Three. Cordy was the first to move.

"Xander!" She flew off the stairs and ran to the grinning figure of Xander. At that moment the rest of them saw the second new visitor.

"Cordelia, no!" Buffy shouted as Spike walked through the double doors.

Seeing Spike, Cordy stopped short right in front of Xander, but he reached forward and wrapped his arm around her waist quickly and pulled her up against him. He laid what looked like a very hard kiss on her lips. Cordy was trying to pull away. She pushed and pounded on Xander's shoulders until he finally let her go. She fell down hard on her ass and crawled backwards away from him. Giles stepped forward and helped her up, keeping his arm around her.

"What’s the matter, baby?" Xander was trying to act hurt. "Didn't ya miss me?"

Cordelia was wiping the back of her hand across her lips. The tears were already flowing fast down her face. She turned to look at Giles, "Not Xander. Too cold."

Oz took a quick look around the room to size up the situation. Spike, vampire, standing just inside the library doors, looking amused. Xander, vampire (no doubt - Oz could smell the demon), standing near the checkout counter, looking confident - an odd look on Xander. Cordelia, cheerleader, crying against Giles, Watcher/librarian/mentor. He had pulled her away to stand near his office door. Buffy, Slayer, standing in front of her chair at the table, stake in hand, looking pissed off. Willow, love (love?…really? huh.), standing behind her computer at the far end of the table, looking…can't read that look. Self, Oz, werewolf, still sitting, opposite Buffy, being worried about Willow (love?) and feeling a raw anger start to boil inside him that is usually only felt at the full moon. Our lives are definitely different from other people's.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Buffy was not going to make the same mistake twice. She couldn't kill Angelus because he had looked like Angel. This isn’t Xander, she told herself. Xander is dead, and I‘ll cry over that later. This is the demon who stole Xander's body. And, jeepers, what has he done with it? All incased in leather. Xander in leather. This is just…creepy. And wrong. And sexy. And ew! Erase that disturbing thought!

But she couldn't kill him. This was Willow's call. When it came to Xander, Willow was in charge. It's just the way it was. Willow had decided, she was Xander's Slayer. Buffy didn't know if Willow would be able to do the actual slaying part, but whenever the subject came up, Willow's eyes went dark, and Buffy could feel a small wave of power flow from Will that frightened her a little. She didn't know where that power came from. It was something that needed to channeled, focused. It was a conversation she was going to have to have with Willow some time soon. But first - Xander.

Buffy turned to look at Willow, but she wasn't moving. And there was the power. It was practically a heat wave coming off of her. She didn't know if anybody else could sense it. Maybe Oz. Definitely the two vampires in the room. She could tell Willow's mind was working, but couldn't read the expression. It’s too soon for her. If they didn't kill Xander right now, though, more people were going to die. Buffy honestly didn't know what to do.

She turned to Xander again, then looked behind him at Spike. She could kill Spike. With Slayer speed, Buffy threw the stake.

Everyone gasped. Spike caught the stake as the point touched his t-shirt. "Well, now, Slayer. That was rude." He tossed the piece of wood to Xander.

"Come on, Buff," Xander said while spinning the stake in his hand, "I haven't tried to kill your family. Yet."

Buffy felt bile start to rise from her stomach. Family. Xander just called Spike family. Then the threat hit. "You stay away from my mother," she hissed at him through gritted teeth.

"Hey, enough already with the fear and the anger. I just stopped by to say 'hey.' Let you guys know that there's no need to worry about me. Nothing wrong here. Got a new place to live, new things to do. A fabulous new taste for blood and power and…you know what? Go ahead with the fear and the anger. Smells amazing." Xander started bouncing on his toes, and Buffy noticed Spike's grin got wider and more…sensual. Ew. Again.

"Leave here now," Giles demanded while still holding Cordy. "You are not our Xander, and you are not welcome here."

"You know, Rupert, that it really doesn't matter if I'm welcome or not, does it? Public building. And, hey, handy key to the outside door." Xander dangled a key chain with several keys on it. "Thanks for that, by the way. Good luck getting all the locks changed. I'm sure Snyder will want to fork out the money for that with no questions asked. He's decent that way. Then again, a locked door won‘t really stand in my way, either. Breaking things is fun." Xander shifted his gaze to Willow.

"Will," he said sweetly. Oz stood up, but Xander took no notice. "That's some power ya got there. Do you have any idea what you're gonna do with it?" He took a couple steps forward, and Buffy took a step out toward him. Still he kept focused on Willow. "You don't do you? Don't even know the kind of energy that you have pouring out of you right now. Let me tell you," he sniffed the air deeply, "it's intoxicating."

A low growling could then be heard coming from somewhere in the room. Xander looked sharply at Oz. "Down, Dogboy. No need to get testy." But he took a few steps back anyway.

Just then the library door banged open and before anyone could warn her, Spike had his hand around Miss Calendar's throat, her back to his chest.

"Jenny, oh God," Giles whimpered.

"Well, well, if it isn’t the teacher," Spike slid into game face. "I’d wager you’d consider this a bit of bad timing." Spike walked Miss Calendar forward so that the two of them were standing next to Xander.

Buffy watched with fascination as an extraordinary change come over Xander. Suddenly his face became softer and there was a sparkle in his previously dead eyes. His posture shifted from ramrod straight with confidence to a slight slouch signifying Xander’s signature insecurity. He was her friend again.

“Miss Calendar,” he said to the frightened teacher in Spike’s grip, “I’m so sorry I haven’t been to our tutoring sessions for the past couple of weeks.” Xander started patting the pockets of his leather coat and pants. “I can explain my absences, really. Have a note here somewhere. Oh!” Xander’s friend-face disappeared as quickly as it had surfaced. He took a step closer until he was just a few inches from Miss Calendar’s face. She gasped. “Here it is.” Xander vamped out, Miss Calendar screamed, and Buffy lunged forward.

“Stop, Slayer!” Spike shouted and squeezed hard on her teacher’s throat. Buffy froze as Miss Calendar started gasping for breath. “Take one step closer and I’ll pop her head off.”

“Jenny,” Giles called again while Cordelia still desperately clung to him.

Buffy took a reluctant step back. Spike loosened his grip slightly on Miss Calendar so she could breathe again. She was staring into Xander’s demon eyes which had not left her during Spike’s threat.

“Jenny, Jenny, Jenny,” Xander was saying. “Did I ever tell you how much I loved our time together after school? Just you and me. Alone in your classroom. You leaning over my shoulder from behind. Breath on my neck. You can’t tell me you didn’t want me as much as I wanted you.”

Xander closed the gap between them and kissed Miss Calendar hard. Harder than he had kissed Cordy. Buffy could tell that Xander had forced her mouth open. She was whimpering and trying to push away from him, but that only pressed her further into Spike.

When Xander finally pulled away, both their mouths were covered in blood. The vampire had sliced her lips and tongue with his fangs. Miss Calendar was making soft cries and trying to slip down Spike’s chest to the ground. Spike managed to keep her standing by the constant grip on her neck.

Xander licked his lips. “That is one tasty woman you got there, Rupert.”

“You evil bastard,” Giles answered with hurt and anger in his voice.

“You’re half right. Don’t worry, though, Rupe. I don’t want your girl. I want mine.” Xander threw the stake and it sunk deep into Giles’ shoulder. He screamed and fell back, taking Cordy with him to the ground.

Buffy sprang forward toward Xander again, but at that moment Spike tossed Miss Calendar at her. The teacher collided into Buffy before she could reach Xander, and they fell back against the table.

By the time Buffy rolled out from under Miss Calendar, both vampires were gone. Oz moved quickly to Willow’s side to catch her as she fainted, and Buffy turned to help Giles only to discover that Cordelia was gone, too.



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