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Master by Aurora
Chapter Twenty-Three-Showdown
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Chapter Twenty-Three: Showdown

The suspense in the house was so thick that Spike could almost choke on it. It was a pitiful site if he’d ever seen one. Beside the pathetic vamp count he had going for his side, Spike could actually smell the putrid scent of fear coming off of the remainder of his clan. They were gathered before him in the immense downstairs foyer of the lair, anxiously waiting for the sun to set. Spike grumbled disapprovingly. This wasn’t an army. Hell, it was barely a militia. Other than maybe Vincent and Natasha, all the other vampires were pretty young, inexperienced fledglings, some not even a full decade old. Spike could only hope that the bloodlust, that inconsumable desire for violence, would be enough to fuel his ragged pack of minions to victory. If not, there was always a vampire’s ruthless survival instinct to depend upon. Spike pinched the bridge of his nose. At least he hoped there would be.

Vincent and Natasha stood on either side of him, their appraising eyes focused also on the group crowding the entrance hallway. Usually Spike would have reveled in the palpable fear that was surrounding him but instead it made him want to retch. If he had been the cause of the fear then maybe he could have enjoyed it. He was still a vampire after all. Yet his own vampires weren’t afraid of him at the moment. No, he was to be their savior from the danger that was heading their way. They were scared shitless of Damon. It made Spike hate the double-crossing vampire all the more.

The terror in the air increased with every passing minute, correlating with the progression of the setting sun. Spike wanted to scream at them to suck it up. They’re vampires for chrissakes! Act like it. But it wouldn’t do any good. This wretched lot of the undead was all he had going for him. Spike was going to have to make due. He didn’t have much of a choice either way.

Turning to Natasha, Spike gestured to the stairs with a flick of his head. “Get up there, Tash,” he ordered.

The vampiress nodded. When Spike had first told her what her role would be during the upcoming fight, Natasha’s first impulse had been to argue with him. If there was going to be any chance of Spike coming out of this battle still in one piece she needed to be there, fighting at his side, not playing bodyguard for Buffy. She had almost been offended when he hadn’t so much as asked but demanded that she watch the girl. Natasha had bit her tongue though. She knew Spike was going to need piece of mind during the mayhem and if that meant she had to protect his little human girlfriend, then she’d do it.

Before turning on her heel to leave, Natasha gave Spike one last poignant look. “After all this is through, you owe me big,” she stated. “If you’re not a big pile of dust, that is.” Feeling like she had made enough of a point, she moved toward the stairs.

Natasha was stopped short when Spike roughly grabbed her arm, spinning her around to face him. He wasn’t angry but his ferociously blue eyes bore into hers, threatening her with every conceivable type of pain if she failed to keep Buffy safe. “If I so much as see a scratch on her…”

Natasha brushed off the threat. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ll dust me and piss on my ashes. I get it. Now if you don’t mind,” she growled as she yanked her arm from out of his grasp. “I have a human to baby-sit.” With that said, Natasha marched up the stairs, her heeled boots stomping against the wooden steps.

Vincent chuckled slightly at her behavior, but quickly converted the laughter into mild coughing when Spike turned his head to glare at the older vampire. Clearing his throat, Vincent reverted back to his previous state of attentiveness. “Don’t think the clan will survive this,” he remarked, his eyes scanning the short expanse of restless bodies before him.

Spike let out a derisive snort. “Clan’s finished, mate. Been finished for quite some time now. This lil’ endeavor’s just to make sure Damon gets what’s comin’ to ‘im.”

“And after all this is through?” Vincent somberly asked, turning his head to look at his leader.

Spike shrugged indifferently. “Don’t know. Haven’t given it much thought really. Hard for a bloke to think in terms of ‘after’ when he’s just tryin’ to get through the night. ”

Vincent gave Spike a knowing grin. “So nothing else is bothering you?”

The platinum haired vampire grimaced. “Even if there was, s’none of your business.”

Spike’s sour disposition could not wipe the smile from Vincent’s face. Sighing, he patted the younger vampire on the back. “Don’t worry, mate. She’ll come around.”

Spike choked on his own astonishment. “What did you just say?!” he sputtered.

Vincent chose not to respond other than to give Spike one last smirk before turning his attention back to the piss poor excuse of an army they had going for them.

Utterly gobsmacked, Spike continued to stare at the apparently psychic Vincent for a few more minutes before turning his own gaze to the crowd. Though his eyes landed upon the group, his mind was elsewhere. How the bloody hell had Vincent known about his little tiff with Buffy?


Spike closed his eyes and shook his head, trying to push her from his thoughts. He didn’t want to think about her right now. He just might get depressed enough and let Damon stake him. Thoughts of the golden goddess imprisoned in the upstairs bedroom were going to have to play second fiddle to those concerning a certain dark and deranged vampire. If Spike dwelled on what was happening between him and Buffy, then he would surely be dust by sunrise. He was just going to have to ignore the dull ache in his chest.


Buffy sat quietly on the large, unmade bed. Like Spike had instructed, she had dressed herself in her jeans and one of Spike’s clean black cotton tees. Her hazel eyes slowly followed the moving figure before her, going back and forth in time with the other person in the room. Watching Natasha pace made Buffy more and more apprehensive with each passing second. It was like déjà vu. Memories of the visit from Vincent and Natasha from when Spike had disappeared began to resurface. Unfortunately for Buffy, Vincent’s soothing presence wasn’t there this time to accompany Natasha’s stinging harassment. Strangely, Buffy wished the vampiress would say something. Her nerves were on edge and a little bit of verbal distraction wouldn’t necessarily set her at ease but it wouldn’t hurt.

Stomps echoed throughout the quiet room. Buffy could tell that Natasha wasn’t happy about having to miss out on the fight so that she could guard ‘the human’. Her blatant displeasure made Buffy all the more uncomfortable. She would welcome another confrontation with Spike just to get Natasha to leave. The chick gave her the creeps.

“Ummm…so…I’m guessing things aren’t looking so good?” Buffy threw out, risking getting her head literally bitten off.

Natasha turned her head abruptly to glare at the blonde girl, never faltering or slowing down in her pacing. “Picked up on that all by yourself, Blondie?” she snapped, on the verge of snarling.

That was it. Buffy was getting sick and tired of vampire crankiness being sent her way. To hell with the danger of getting bit. “God, what is your damage?!”

Natasha nearly tripped over her own two feet at Buffy’s exclamation, doing a double take at the girl’s gutsy bravado. “Say what?”

Buffy exhaled dramatically. “What the hell is your problem?”

Natasha let out a contemptuous laugh. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me! Miss Buffy finally grew a pair!” She made her way over to Buffy, menacingly inching toward the bed the girl was sitting on. “I so don’t need this shit!”

Buffy got up and stood her ground. She wasn’t going to be intimidated. Crossing her arms, she waited until Natasha was just a few feet in front of her. “And you think I do?!”

Natasha returned Buffy’s glare. “Look, all I know is that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. I should be downstairs, duking it out with Vincent and Spike. Instead I’m here to watch out for your skinny ass!” she announced, her voice harsh with disdain.

Buffy took a firm step forward, purposefully getting in Natasha’s face. With a simmering hatred, she calmly began to speak. “You think I want to be locked up here while God knows what’s going on downstairs?! I could care less if Spike told you to protect me. If you wanna leave, then go ahead, if not, stop with the fucking pacing! It’s driving me nuts.”

It was Natasha’s turn to cross her arms. “You know I can’t just leave you here. Spike would…”

Buffy cut her off. “Of course, Spike! Gotta keep the Master happy. Gotta do as you’re told, like a good little minion,” she mocked, not having any patience for Natasha’s blind loyalty. “You know what? I don’t think you can even be that mad about having to baby-sit lil’ ole me. It’s your fault I’m here. It was your idea to bring me back to Spike that night the Bronze got sacked, am I right? It was you who ‘saved’ me from Damon.” She didn’t wait for the vampiress to respond, but Buffy could see she had hit a nerve. Placing her finger on her chin, she carried on. “Guess that makes you one pretty big hypocrite, doesn’t it? Whining and complaining about taking care of Spike’s pet human when you basically brought me home from the pound.” Buffy grinned proudly. ‘Take that!’

Natasha fought the urge to gawk at Buffy’s unabashed insolence. Instead she set her features into an unimpressed scowl. “We never expected him to actually keep you. I wasn’t bringing you home from the pound so much as from the meat market. You were supposed to be a midnight snack,” the vampiress bitterly retorted.

The news didn’t really shock Buffy. She’d heard it all before. “Guess he wasn’t hungry.”

Natasha scoffed indignantly. “Yeah, just horny.”

The vampire never saw the fist that flew at her.

Staggering back ungracefully, Natasha clutch at her cheek. When complete comprehension of what had just occurred settled in her mind, she instantly vamped out, snarling at Buffy. “You bitch!”

Ready to pounce on the girl, Natasha came to a screeching halt when a silver cross was dangled in front of her face. The vampiress instinctively cringed, jumping back a few feet. Amber eyes remained fixed upon unrelenting hazel as Buffy continued to hold up the palm sized crucifix. The blonde reached over to the bed, grabbing her stake from beneath her pillow with her free hand. Natasha didn’t react to the appearance of the weapon. A few moments of tense silence passed before Buffy spoke. “You don’t like me and I sure as hell don’t like you, but were stuck here whether we like it or not. So how’s about you take a seat, relax and play like the good little watchdog Spike wants you to be.”

Natasha knew that the cross wouldn’t really hurt if it burned her and she knew she could easily dodge the stake. She knew it but she wasn’t going to act on it. The vampiress couldn’t help but admire the spitfire before her. Natasha was beginning to see what Spike saw in the California girl. A smile tugged at her lips as she nodded. “Okay, Blondie. Whatever you say.”

Buffy didn’t let her guard down as she watched the dark vampiress sit on a chair that was close to the bed. Staying wary for any sign of deception, Buffy slowly lowered herself onto the bed, dropping the cross out of her hand to let the necklace hang from her neck. Her grip on the wooden stake became just a little tighter. She couldn’t understand the sudden change in Natasha’s attitude but she wasn’t really complaining.

“So…”Buffy said unnervingly. “What’s really going on downstairs?”

Natasha let out a distressed sigh. “You're right. It’s not looking good.”

As Natasha went on to explain what problems were being faced by the remainder of the broken clan, Buffy gradually became catatonically hysterical. Things turned out to be much worse than Spike had made them out to be. The all consuming fear was beginning to return. As she remained frozen in place on the large bed, all Buffy could think about was that there was a real chance that Spike could die. He could die tonight and never truly know just how she loved him. Buffy clung to the hope that he’d keep his word. That Spike would try to not get himself killed.


Spike could smell them coming. The sun had set at least twenty minutes ago, and he could sense the approaching mob of undead outside his door. Nodding to Vincent, the two vampires made their way through the thin crowd in the main hall, heading toward the front of the line to greet the soon to be unwelcomed guests. Neither one said a word to the other as the stood in front of the immense wooden doors, counting down the seconds until they burst open.

In those last moments, Spike couldn’t stop himself from thinking about Buffy. He knew he shouldn’t because it would get him killed but he was weak. She made him weak. He thought of how angry she was at him for keeping her locked up and how upset he was at her for not loving him back. It didn’t change how he felt about her though. Spike still loved her. Still love’s bitch and all that rot. Images of Buffy sprang forth in his mind. Some were of her peacefully sleeping, while others were of her tear stained face and even a few were of her writhing beneath him, her lips parted in a strangled moan, her hazel eyes glazed over with lust. Yet none of these affected him like the images of her smiling, lost in a single moment of happiness. So rare were the instances when she would completely let herself go and playfully laugh along with him as they talked about nothing. It was those moments he cherished the most and it was those moments that kept him going. Spike had to defeat Damon, even if just so that he could experience the pleasure of seeing Buffy smile again. He wasn’t about to let that pillock take that away from him.

The pounding on the door stirred Spike from his reverie. Turning to his right side, he gave Vincent a saddened smile. “Nice knowin’ you Vince. Hope to see you on the other side.”

Vincent’s stern expression didn’t change yet his eyes were soft as he stared at his friend. “Remember to be merciless, Spike,” he solemnly remarked, his body shifting into a stance that would enable him to spring into action the second the occasion called for it.

Spike gave him his most devilish grin. “Way ahead of you, mate.”

The doors flew open, revealing Damon’s dark form, leading his pack of traitorous vampires. Spike grew concerned, though refused to show it, when he saw that the double-crossing vampire’s horde of minions had packed the entire street in front of the old house while the remnants of his clan could barely fill the front hall. This wasn’t going to be a war. It was on the verge of becoming a massacre.

Growls echoed throughout the dead silence, emanating from both sides of the battle line. Damon tried to smugly stare down Spike and the vamps standing behind him but none of them even blinked. However as Spike’s icy cerulean eyes skimmed over the huge crowd behind Damon, his cold deathly gaze landed on a few unsuspecting fledglings, making them instantly recoil in fear. It made him smirk. ‘Yup, I still got it.’

Being the impatient one, Damon had just about enough of the stand off. “Nice to see you’re back to normal. Guess the Watcher didn’t do too much damage,” he remarked with an arrogant smile on his face.

“What can I say? ‘m a survivor,” Spike unenthusiastically responded, unaffected by the other vampire’s badgering.

“Guess we’ll just have to find out, won’t we?” Damon quipped as he gave Spike’s ragtag clan one last look over. “You’re gonna need as much luck as you can get if this is all you’ve got going for you.”

“‘S ‘bout quality, mate, not quantity. But you wouldn’t know much about that now would you?” Spike retorted, exhibiting a deceptive air of confidence. He didn’t want to give Damon the satisfaction of knowing that he was worried.

“Stand down, Spike,” Damon said, getting straight to business.


“Then you give me no choice,” the dark vampire stated calmly before abruptly turning on a dime and launching himself at Spike.

It was at that exact moment that everything broke out into utter chaos. The second Damon had crossed the line vamps from both sides flew at each other, colliding into a mess of bodies, nothing but fist and fangs. Damon’s advantage in numbers suddenly became a weakness as the majority of his vamps remained outside, unable to squeeze into the house. Not only that but every one of his vampires that did manage to enter was quickly slaughtered.

Spike had easily ducked Damon’s attack, sidestepping away from the hit as the rest of his clan raced past him, heading to the front of the line. The darker vampire spun on his heel, turning to face his old Master. They immediately began to circle one another, waiting for the other to make the next move. It was Spike who threw the first punch. Damon swiftly recovered and threw one of his own right hooks, but Spike easily blocked it and delivered a jaw crunching uppercut in return. They broke apart, circling each other once again.

“Where are your cocksure comebacks now, Damon?” Spike asked, smirking.

The other vampire growled, ignoring the blood that dribbled down his face. “Ask me again when I’m finished kicking your ass.”

Spike laughed. “I’d like to see you try. You’re bloody pathetic, you know that? Can’t ever face me on your own, can you? Always gotta have other vamps or even sodding humans at your back. It’s sad really,” he taunted as they continued to circle.

“Oh now I’m sad?” Damon bitter replied. “Well I’m not the one in love with a human.”

Spike snarled. “Don’t you dare speak of her. I should’ve ripped your head off for even touching Buffy!”

Damon’s lips twisted into a sinister grin. “Got it bad, don’t ya? Bet her blood tastes real sweet, especially after a good hot fuck. That’s what you kept her for, wasn’t it?”

“Watch it you git before I rip your heart out through your arse,” Spike threatened, his jaw clenching as he tried to control his hate. He couldn’t afford to lose his head. There was just too much at stake.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, Spike. Temper, temper. Wouldn’t want to let your anger get the best of you. You have the girl to consider. Wouldn’t want to leave her in the hands of a fiend like me. God knows what I’d do if I got my hands that little, tight body of hers,” Damon jeered, his smile spreading wide at the thought of Buffy under his control.

That was it. Spike had had enough with the talking. It was time for some violence, his demon craving vengeance for the betrayal that had yet to be avenged. Vamping out, Spike growled as he leapt into the air, crashing down upon Damon in a flurry of solid punches and roundhouse kicks. Spike wanted to beat the asshole into a bloody pulp for having the audacity to even utter Buffy’s name. He would make sure this Judas-with-fangs suffered. A malicious smirk tugged at Spike’s lips at the thought of tearing out Damon’s heart, just to show it to him before he pierced it with a stake.


Hours had passed. The air had become thick with the dust of the brutally slain. The heady scent of spilt blood was so intoxicating that it only added to the vicious frenzy that had seized the dueling creatures within old the house. Although Spike had feared that his vampires were too inexperienced to triumph in this unfair battle, Damon’s mutinous brood was much more wet behind the ears. There were casualties on both sides, yet it was the opposing team that began to falter, enabling Vincent and the remainder of the clan to push the enemy back out onto the street. The few older vampires tore through the groups of fledglings like wildfire, dusting two or three vamps at a time with their bare hands. A stalemate had been reached by early morning, neither side making any dents in the other’s advances. After an endless night of combat, two equal parties remained trapped on the asphalt battleground, continuing their violent dance, waiting until one side finally surrendered.

Spike and Damon were no different. The two had somehow stumbled out of the house and out onto the road, bringing their fight just behind the front lines of the mini-war which was consuming the small neighborhood. Neither vampire showed any sign of weakening, though their appearances were nothing if not completely thrashed. Spike had sustained minor injuries, a cut lip here and a bruised cheek there. Damon’s face on the other hand looked like a bloody bag of minced meat. Amongst many other cuts and lesions, one of his eyes was swollen and he was bleeding profusely from his broken nose. Both vampires had severe neck wounds, having found ways to get by one another’s defenses long enough to go for the throat. They were coated in thick, slick layers of their own and each other’s blood. It was like one of those gory scenes out of a Tarantino flick, blood just everywhere. And yet they were once again circling each other, stuck in an endless loop of pounces and pauses, unable trump the other with one final, deciding blow.

A trail of crimson dribbled down Spike’s chin as he gave Damon a toothy grin. “Getting tired mate?”

Damon snarled in response, baring his fangs. “You wish.”

Spike chuckled. “You know you don’t have it in you to keep it up,” he declared, his voice suddenly taking on an angered tone. “Look around, you ponce. This whole rebellion thing’s ‘bout to go down the crapper. Your lil’ wannabe clan’s ‘bout to get itself obliterated and you look like a bucket of shit.”

Damon came to a stand still at Spike’s criticism. With a questioning look and a quick lift of his brow, the dark vampire broke out into a fit of his menacing, blood chilling laughter. “You actually think I’d bring all my vamps with me here tonight? Boy, are you retarded.” Sobering from his momentary lapse of sanity, Damon’s golden eyes squinted into a glare. “No Spike, what you saw here tonight is only a third of what I have at my disposal. I always have a contingency plan. That’s where you and I differ. My clan’s always gonna come first.”

Spike let out an unimpressed snort. “Yeah, so long as it keeps on bein’ a means to an end at gettin’ at what’s mine.”

“You never deserved it. You stroll into town and get everything handed to you on a silver platter,” Damon hissed. “But not anymore. This clan and this town will be mine. I’m gonna take back all the things you’ve stolen from me,” he righteously remarked as his mouth twisted into another evil smile. “Including Buffy.”

Spike didn’t even reply, instantly flying at Damon with another hard assault of punches. His fury was giving him the upper hand, knocking Damon down again and again. Every move his opponent made, Spike blocked and immediately retaliated. It seemed as though it was finally going to end. Spike was at last going to be rid of Damon once and for all. Unfortunately, amongst all the blood and mayhem, neither of them noticed the imminent sunrise.

Spike pounded his fist into Damon’s bloodied face. “You will…” punch “never…” smack “have Buffy!”

Damon gurgled an incomprehensible response before Spike threw him across the street and into a hard brick wall of a nearby building. The defeated vampire slumped to the ground, no longer able to hold himself up.

Preparing himself for the kill, Spike took a few steps forward, wanting to draw out the wonderful moment of victory. It was after the fourth step that the sun decided to peak over the horizon, filling the street with bright morning sunlight. The vampires that were not instantaneously incinerated stopped fighting and threw their singeing bodies into the closest bit of shade. Damon forgot all about the threat that Spike posed when he caught sight of the day’s morning light crawling along the pavement towards him. Clumsily scurrying into the shadows, a battered Damon fled from light, following his vampires in retreat.

Spike watched all around him as the world became illuminated. Ironically the sun had become his greatest ally. The feud with Damon wasn’t anywhere near finished and the pillock would eventually return. Yet Spike was still standing, having survived to fight another day. And so long as he stayed fighting, Damon would never get his hands on Buffy. That was what mattered the most to Spike. For the moment, his golden girl was safe.

Spike’s inner musings were cut short when his face shifted back into its human guise as he involuntarily squinted. Something bright was shining in his eyes. Something like the sun! Instinctively Spike threw himself into a dark shadowed corner in an attempt to get away from the sun’s deathly rays.

Hold on a tic?!

Spike stared down at the unmarred skin of his hands. They were still pale, not even the slightest hint of a sunburn could be detected. Why wasn’t his skin smoking and why the bloody hell didn’t he burst into flames? Spike stared out at the brightly lit street from the shady corner he was standing in. Glancing down once again at his untarnished self, he took a step back into the light. Holding up a hand to shield his eyes from the intense sun, Spike let out a whopping laugh.

It was unbelievable. How could this possibly be? The sun wasn’t turning him into a big pile of dust. Spike suddenly clutched at his chest. No. No heartbeat. So he hadn’t been turned into a human. So then what the hell was going on? What had happened to make him completely impervious to the deadliest threat to a vampire? Spike’s mind raced for an explanation, running over the events of the past few tumultuous days. The Witch. It had to be. Something to do with the spell the Watcher had made her cast to turn Spike into a weak kitten. What other explanation could there possibly be?

With a spring in his step, Spike made his way across the sunlit street. “Well isn’t this just…” his smile faded as he stood before the open doors to the lair. “Neat.”

His good mood faltered at the sight of the house where his clan had once resided. The burnt ashes of those who had fallen lay scattered across its front steps. Obviously not every vamp got out of the sun in time. Spike could only pray they had been Damon’s as he stepped into the trashed house. The doorway and adjacent walls had been demolished and the main hall had been turned upside down. Broken glass, splintered wood, broken furniture, dried blood and even more ashes littered the floors of the lower level of the house. ‘What d’you expect mate? It was technically a war zone.’

As Spike scanned and surveyed his ruined lair, a feeling of unease took over him. It felt as though something wasn’t right, like something was missing. He didn’t like the feeling and it made him want to run up to check on Buffy. Turning to head to the stairway, Spike nearly stampeded over Vincent.

“Bloody hell! Don’t you know better than to sneak up on a bloke like that?” Spike yelped, jumping back in surprise.

“I would be more vigilant if I were you. Can’t be so careless with who you turn your back to. Especially since Damon’s escaped,” the older vampire reprimanded.

“It’s good to see you too, Vince,” Spike replied, giving his comrade a good-humored smile.

Vincent let out an amused yet slightly vexed sigh. Of course he was happy to see his leader had survived, but his British stodginess prevented him from showing it. “Have you checked in with Natasha? She must be tearing her hair out by now.”

Spike shook his head. “Just ‘bout to head up there before you snuck up on me,” he jibbed as the two made their way upstairs.

“You should have known I was there. Don’t let yourself get distracted Spike. You were lucky this time but who knows what will happen the next time you and Damon face off,” Vincent pointedly noted.

Spike sneered at the mention of the vampire he had nearly defeated, dismissing Vincent’s disapproval of his apathetic outlook. “D’you see any of our vamps out there?” he asked, deliberately changing the topic.

Vincent nodded. “A few. They’ll be making their way back soon. Not sure how many are still standing though. Probably should look into that.”

Spike shrugged as he reached the door to Buffy’s room. The feeling that something was gravely wrong returned, this time with much greater intensity. Without a second thought or moment to reflect, Spike broke through the door, tearing it off of its hinges in his haste to see Buffy. What he saw made his heart metaphorically stop.

The heavy dark curtains that usually covered the large bay window had disappeared, flooding the most of the room with deadly sunlight. The glass of the room’s only window was shattered to pieces on the tiled floor. Part of the room was on fire, small sparse flames licking at pieces of upturned furniture. The bed had been flipped and television had been smashed in. Spike could see Vincent rushing over to an unconscious form on the floor. He suspected it was Natasha, who had been lucky enough to have been knocked out of the sun’s direct path when the attack had occurred. Whatever had destroyed the room had spared the vampiress.

Spike remained unmoving as he stared out into the destroyed space before him. The only thing that played over again in his mind was a single sentence composed of three simple words.

Buffy was gone.

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