by Susan P
Author: Susan P
DisclaimerThey ain't mine; if they were, they'd bloody well get laid once in a while, and not with a holo-character… Alas, Paramount owns 'em.
Author's note: Written for the International Day of Femslash, July 19, 2008, and finished the day of--just under the wire. :) All hail to ErinBree for the last-minute beta-read of...well, most of this. The last 2-3 pages were finished after she sent me notes on what I had finished as of the 17th. Any errors in that last part are all mine, but feel free to point them out if you spot any. Also, Janeway seemed to use different authorization codes for different things on the show, so I just made one up. :)
Summary: A long-overdue response to the Janeway ‘sauna challenge’ posted on the J7_Faction list back in the day. Janeway, sauna, towel… Seven enters the picture and, well, you know… Set some time after "Hope and Fear."
Archiving: Only with the permission of the author.
"Aaaahhh…" Kathryn Janeway leaned back against the bench and let the heat seep into her overused muscles. The velocity match against Seven had been especially difficult. She had managed to win, as usual, but the young woman had been steadily gaining on her over the past few months. Seven had been developing into a more instinctive player and that, coupled with her greater strength and visual acuity, made her a formidable opponent--not to mention her fierce competitive streak.
It was Kathryn's own competitive nature that had driven her to push herself farther and harder in order to continue her winning streak. She liked winning, and she had to admit that she enjoyed Seven's frustration, just a little. So, she pushed herself to her limits and beyond, and now her body was paying the price for the abuse.
She didn't think Seven had noticed her discomfort after the match. The young woman had been obviously frustrated and preoccupied by her loss. She had even left her bag behind in the holodeck. When Janeway had bent over to grab it, along with her own, the protesting of her back and shoulder muscles convinced her that it would be worth using some of her extra holodeck rations to spend some time in the sauna program. She had been surprised to find that no one had scheduled the next block of time, but was happy to take full advantage of the unexpected bounty.
She stretched her arms along the back of the bench and rotated her head a few times to stretch out her neck muscles before letting her head fall back against the wall. She closed her eyes and felt the heat permeate her body. A few moments later, she heard the holodeck doors slide open. Before she could muster a reaction to the intrusion, however, she heard Seven's voice.
"Excuse me, Captain, but I…"
"Forgot your bag. I was going to return it to you later." Her voice sounded hoarse to her own ears, as if she had just awakened. Could she have possibly dozed off? If so, it could only have been for a few moments; Seven was still in her exercise clothes. Janeway raised her head and opened her eyes to look at Seven, only to find the young woman looking at her and her surroundings with undisguised curiosity. She suspected she was in for another of their 'discussions' regarding human behavior.
"This is a simulation of a sauna--a steam room. The heat and the humidity are part of the package."
"And this environment is…comfortable for you?"
She smiled at that. "Not entirely, no."
Seven quirked her cortical implant at that. "Then why endure it? For what purpose?"
"Well, people spend time in saunas for various reasons, Seven. It can help you relax. The steam opens up the pores. Some people believe that spending time in such an environment can help rid the body of impurities through perspiration. In fact, some native tribes on Earth had a custom of spending time in what they called a 'sweat lodge'…"
Seven brushed her explanations aside, "Thank you, Captain, but I am more curious as to why you chose this particular simulation?"
The young woman was looking at her closely, and for some reason, she had the urge to pull the towel more snugly around her body. She felt exposed, but Seven tended to have that effect on her. Janeway sighed and decided to just admit it. "Well, for relaxation, among other things. The heat can do wonders for sore muscles."
Seven looked concerned, "You are damaged?"
She smiled, "Not really. Just a little more battered than usual from our match today."
She seemed to accept that. "And, this…sauna is helping?"
"Yes it is." And it was--with a few exceptions she neglected to mention.
"Perhaps I should try it myself, some time."
"Don't tell me you overdid it, too?" Janeway smiled.
The young woman seemed almost offended by the question, but after a moment she admitted, "A little."
"You can join me, if you like," Kathryn shrugged.
"Thank you, Captain." Seven had been hoping for just such an invitation. Despite her curiosity about the sauna, it was the sight of her Captain, and friend, dressed in nothing but an oversized white towel and glistening with sweat that was far more intriguing. Even the way Janeway smelled now held a certain appeal for her. If asked, she couldn't say why, exactly, but, she was aware that she had begun to pay more and more attention to Captain Janeway. Not just to her words and actions, but to the smaller things: how she held herself; the way she moved; the timbre of her voice, and how all of those things tended to change with her moods. Then there was the color of her eyes, and the way the shade seemed to change under certain conditions…
She wasn't sure what her fascination with Kathryn Janeway meant, yet; she knew only that she craved more information about the woman as a person, not just as her Captain. There was something especially compelling about the vision before her now. She had inquired about the purpose of the sauna program primarily as an excuse to stay longer and study the Captain more closely.
Janeway had leaned back against the wall again and closed her eyes. Seven took the opportunity to observe without being observed. She was fascinated by the slack muscles in the other woman's face. Although she had seen the Captain in moments of relative ease before, it was a rare occurrence. She had yet to see Janeway look this relaxed, even on those evenings when they had engaged in 'philosophical discussions' in the Captain's quarters. She reveled in the momentary freedom to 'stare' at her Captain in repose.
Janeway's hair was tousled from their exertions, though it looked like it often did after the Captain had run her fingers through it to restore some semblance of order. She had a habit of doing that after, and sometimes during, their matches, though Seven wondered whether Janeway herself were aware of it. Seven knew only that she was fascinated by the sight of those fingers sifting through the auburn strands of hair. It made her want to do the same, for reasons she could not name. She let her eyes drift across the Captain's face and down to study the lines of her exposed neck, and the perspiration running down it. She forced herself to look away then, for fear the Captain would feel her attention, somehow, and catch her watching.
What is she doing? Janeway wondered. She had expected Seven to accept her invitation and take a seat, but she had yet to hear the young woman make a move. Surely she would have heard it--the room was so quiet she could hear her own breathing. She found herself listening for Seven's, as well. She did hear something then: a small, indistinguishable sound. It was followed by other sounds--like something brushing against cloth. Clothing. Her eyes flew open then, only to be confronted with six feet of almost-half-naked Borg. Seven had opened her workout suit and was in the process of pulling the upper portion back off her shoulders and down her arms.
Janeway sat mesmerized for a moment that seemed far longer than it actually could have been as she watched the young woman unconsciously display her more obvious…charms. I can't do this, she thought. She finally managed to tear her eyes away.
"Computer, engage privacy lock," she rasped.
"Privacy lock engaged." She knew better, but somehow the computer voice still sounded like the verbal equivalent of a smirk.
"I'm sorry, Seven. I…" She looked back at Seven. Big mistake. She was just in time to see Seven slide her suit off her hips and lean over to push it down her legs. Janeway looked at the floor to keep from staring. "…should have told you that this program includes a private changing room."
"Into what should I change, Captain?" Seven had been aware of Janeway's stunned and, she hoped, appreciative glance a moment before. Although she hadn't anticipated any particular reaction from the Captain, she found she liked the one she had gotten. Her question had been calculated to bring Janeway's eyes back to her, since the Captain often looked directly at her when they spoke. The strategy was successful.
"Uh…" Oh God, she's gorgeous. No, damn it. Her face. Focus on her face. That's it. "Uh, a towel would suffice. I've got an extra one in my bag." She got up and slipped past Seven to retrieve her bag, hoping to avoid any further temptation to gaze at the beautiful young woman, and hoping to quell her body's reaction before Seven took notice of it.
Her respiration has increased seventeen percent, Seven noted. Her pupils have dilated, and her skin is more flushed than can be accounted for by the effects of this environment alone. My own respiration has increased, as well. Seven half-turned to watch the Captain.
"Ow," Janeway winced as she lifted the bag, and quickly shifted it to her other hand before retrieving the fresh towel from it.
"You are damaged," Seven managed to sound both concerned and indignant, at once.
Janeway set the bag down and, as she turned back to the young woman, she noticed something herself. "So are you." Before she realized what she was doing, she reached out to touch the spot on Seven's right hip. "Looks like a nasty bruise there."
When her fingers brushed against the discolored flesh at Seven's hip, it shocked her into awareness. She could almost feel her caring instincts twisting into something considerably less noble. She let her hand fall away and unfolded the towel. She stepped behind Seven and held the towel until Seven took it from her hands. She drew in a deep breath as Seven's hands brushed hers. She spoke more to cover it than from necessity. "That from when you fell?"
Seven hesitated before responding. Janeway's touch had affected her, as well. Her temperature had increased significantly, and her breathing was becoming more erratic. She mourned the loss of the Captain's fingers on her flesh, yet she was almost grateful when those fingers dropped away, because it made it possible to concentrate again. As she fastened the towel around herself, she turned back to the Captain. "Yes. My nanoprobes are already compensating. I will recover."
Janeway smiled back at Seven. "As will I. I just strained a muscle in my shoulder, I think."
"And that activity helps?"
It took Janeway a moment to realize that she had been rubbing her right shoulder. Seven had noticed, of course. "Oh. Massage. It does help a little."
"Then I can be of assistance."
Janeway tried to wave her off. "That won't be necessary, Seven. I'll be fine." As appealing as the idea was, she wasn't sure she could handle having Seven's hands on her for any length of time and still maintain her customary distance from her protégé.
"Please, Captain." Let me touch you, Seven thought. Let me... "I would like to…help."
Janeway should have refused. She wanted to refuse, but she couldn't think of a way to do so that would keep Seven from asking for further explanations, nor could she think of any explanations that wouldn't invite even more questions. Saying something like, 'I'm sorry, Seven, I don't think that would be a good idea. You see, you're turning me on, and I…' would hardly be the right approach, and for the life of her she couldn't think of any better way to put it. She shrugged and felt that twinge in her shoulder again.
So, she gave in. "All right." She turned her back to Seven to allow her access.
"It would be easier, and more effective, if you were to lie down, Captain."
Oh, Lord. I'm an adult, Janeway thought. I can control myself. She could have called for a massage table, but decided against it. She turned to look back at the bench. "Computer, increase the width of the bench by 40 centimeters." That should allow enough room for her to lie down and for Seven to sit next to her, but hopefully not too close.
She lay down on the bench, cushioning her head on her left arm and stretching her right along her side--allowing Seven full access to the injured shoulder. She tried to relax as she waited for Seven to begin.
She almost flinched when she felt Seven's hands on her shoulders. She had expected Seven's technique to be rough and unpracticed, but her touch was surprisingly gentle. Even her Borg-enhanced left hand. She found herself wondering whether Seven had to consciously control the pressure to avoid causing harm. At first, the metal of that hand was cool against her heated skin, but after a few moments the only difference in the feel of that hand was one of texture alone. It was Seven's right hand that was doing the most work, though--and the most good for her strained muscles.
Seven was very careful. She had been afraid she might harm the Captain, either by exerting too much pressure or by further aggravating her injury. So, she had been very cautious in her initial efforts. She had then let the Captain's reactions guide her--the tension in the muscles under her hands, and the small sounds the other woman made. Seven soon learned to differentiate between touches that caused pain, and those that seemed to cause pleasure.
She also learned when painful touches were necessary in order to work through the tension in the muscles. She regretted having to cause pain, but she knew it was necessary to elicit the pleasure-reactions that she was beginning to crave. The Captain's respiration had slowed and Seven's enhanced hearing picked up--and cataloged--every small sigh and moan the Captain made. She soon realized that she found pleasure in listening to the Captain's vocalizations.
"Mmm. How did you get so good at this?"
The Captain's voice was husky--almost a growl--and Seven closed her eyes at the sensations it caused within her. "I…have never performed this activity before. It is sufficient?"
"Oh, more than sufficient. It's wonderful," Janeway purred.
That sensation again. It reminded her of something. The Queen. Her voice had that…'sensual'…quality at times. Seven found that she much preferred that quality in Janeway's voice, and what she felt when she heard it. She wanted to hear more of it. And she was glad it was her actions--her touch--that brought the Captain such relief. And pleasure.
"I'm glad, Captain. It is you who have 'taught' me. Your reactions to my touch: the tension in your muscles, your respiration patterns, your…vocalizations…" Her own voice sounded hoarse to her ears suddenly. "They have guided me. Led me to the…"
"…techniques that would be most…"
"…beneficial for you."
Janeway desperately tried not to think about the implications of Seven's statements. With that kind of attention to detail, Seven would make an incredible… Lover. Face it, Kathryn: that's what you're thinking. It's what you've been thinking since she offered to do this, and with every touch since then. It's not the first time you've thought of her in this way, if you'll just admit it. But you don't have the right to think it, and you certainly don't have the right to act on it.
She tried to cover what she was feeling with a joke. "Well, it's nice to know that I can teach you something, at least."
"You can, Captain." You can teach me more, if only you would. What else could I learn from your body? What could you teach me about mine? The warmth and the tingling Seven had been feeling in her hands seemed to spread throughout her body at that thought. Suddenly, she felt that she could begin to categorize a lot of feelings and impulses she had been experiencing for some time now while in the presence of this woman. Even if she couldn't quite put a name to it, or wasn't sure which name best fit, she knew she wanted more from the Captain than mere guidance. More than simple friendship.
Seven's hands had migrated downward and were now massaging the muscles in her upper back--through the towel. Janeway missed the feel of skin on skin, but this was a bit safer, at least. She could allow Seven to continue for some minutes--long enough for her to calm her physical reaction, at least. Then she'd thank Seven for her efforts, and convince her that she was fully recovered. After that, she would be able to excuse herself and go back to her quarters to…relieve an ache of a different sort.
Seven had plans of her own, however. She moved her hands back up to the bare skin of Janeway's shoulders. At first, she just spread her palms out flat, enjoying the feel of the skin beneath them. No longer caring whether her touch could be considered therapeutic, she let her hands roam freely--feeling the skin, not the musculature. Savoring it. Learning it. Her fingers brushed lightly over Janeway's shoulders, and at the base of her neck. She slid her right hand down along Janeway's right arm, brushing her fingers past the wrist to tickle the palm a moment before re-tracing its journey back up to the shoulder, and then on to her neck.
She heard the Captain's soft, "Oh," and felt the older woman shudder. She knew instinctively that the Captain's reaction was one of pleasure, and she allowed her fingers to continue their journey upward. She brushed her fingers under Janeway's chin, while stroking the jaw-line with her thumb.
She had wanted to say, 'We can't,' and knew she should have said it moments before, but she couldn't make her mouth form the words. She wasn't sure whether Seven was fully aware of what she was doing, but she knew well enough where it was leading. Or would lead, if she let it go much further.
Seven's touch sent waves of warmth throughout her body, and she felt the surge of liquid heat between her legs. When Seven's fingers touched her hand, it had taken all of her control not to grasp those fingers and hold on.
She tried to speak again. Tried to move. But then she felt Seven's lips and she couldn't think, could barely breathe. The gentle press of Seven's lips against her shoulder had set her nerve endings on fire. She couldn't stop the groan that rumbled in her throat when she felt Seven's fingers threading through her hair.
She struggled to find the will to push the young woman away. Seven couldn't be ready for this. Couldn't know what she might start by tempting her lonely, deprived Captain this way. When she felt Seven's full lips press tenderly against her temple, it was finally too much. She managed to push herself up and slide around behind Seven into a sitting position that left her staring at the young woman's back, but since Seven's backside had been roughly even with her waist while she had been lying on the bench, she was still too damned close to the young woman for comfort. Or restraint, for that matter. The sight of Seven's bare shoulders was driving her to distraction.
"Seven…" She clutched at her towel to secure it as though that would shield her from what was happening.
Seven turned around to face her, and the open, hungry look on her face almost made Janeway forget to breathe.
"Seven. We can't..."
"Can't what?" Seven asked quickly, scooting closer and reaching out to slide a hand behind Janeway's neck and tug her closer--all moves meant to keep the smaller woman off-balance.
The tactic was remarkably successful. Janeway couldn't speak--couldn't think. Her world was reduced to pure sensation. Seven's thigh pressing against hers, Seven's hand on her neck, Seven's eyes boring into hers, pulling her even deeper into dangerous waters.
When Seven's thumb caressed along her jaw-line, she closed her eyes and unconsciously arched into the touch. It was just the opportunity Seven needed, and she rose up and moved swiftly to climb onto the bench, straddling Janeway's thighs, facing the smaller woman and supporting herself on her knees, one hand resting on the bench's backrest for balance.
Kathryn's eyes flew open almost immediately, and she found herself staring into Seven's cleavage. She tore her eyes away, with some effort, and looked up in time to see Seven leaning in to breathe into her ear, "Can't what, Captain?"
"Oh God," Kathryn groaned, unable to stop herself. She was beginning to lose her resolve, in spite of her best intentions. She was sure there had to be several compelling reasons to stop this and walk away, but she was having a difficult time remembering any of them at the moment, given that she had a very beautiful, and apparently very willing, woman in her lap.
Seven pulled back slightly, until her face was hovering just inches from the Captain's. "You desire this," she stated with absolute conviction. "I desire this. I desire you."
"I..." 'She desires me' was Kathryn's only coherent thought for a moment, and in the absence of any further protest from her, Seven again took the initiative.
Seven kept a firm grip on the other woman's neck and reached up with her left hand to cup her face as she leaned down to press her lips against Kathryn's in a tentative kiss.
Kathryn was too stunned to react, at first, but she soon gave in with a whimper, responding gently to the kiss even as her baser instincts cried out for more. She was shaking when they parted, not just from what Seven was making her feel, but also from the effort of trying to control herself and let things happen at Seven's pace.
They stared at each other in wonder for several seconds before coming together again. This time the kisses were a little more desperate, and a lot more demanding. Mouths opened, tongues seeking and gaining entry, tasting and exploring until they were breathless.
When they pulled apart, even Seven was panting slightly. Janeway reached up to play with a few strands of Seven's hair that had come loose during their game, earlier. She resisted the impulse to dive in with both hands and take the pins out of Seven's hair, but she did give in to the urge to trace her fingers along the implant above Seven's eye.
Seven's eyes slid closed at the contact, and she made a small sound in the back of her throat.
Janeway drew her hand back slightly, but her fingers still hovered just above the metal. "Does that hurt?"
Seven shook her head once and whispered, "No."
"Is it especially sensitive to touch?"
Seven shook her head again, but said nothing. Janeway looked at her carefully and noticed the moisture in the young woman's eyes. She began to suspect what the real issue was.
"Would you like me to stop?"
Seven's only answer was to raise a trembling hand up to guide Janeway's fingers back to the metallic implant. Janeway watched Seven's reactions carefully while she gently explored every inch of the metallic surface with her fingers, then traced the skin along the outer edge of it. Seven watched her closely, as well, for a few seconds before giving into the sensations. Her eyes slid closed as Janeway tugged her head down to place a gentle kiss along the upper corner of the implant, at the juncture of metal and flesh.
As she pulled back, she spoke softly. "It's a part of you Seven. I may hate what the Borg did to you, but none of that diminishes you in my eyes. There is nothing about you that is wrong. Nothing."
Seven blinked rapidly a few times, obviously struggling with her emotions, before leaning down to capture Janeway's lips in a desperate, fevered kiss.
It was more. Every time it was so much more that Janeway knew she was falling, and falling hard. She forced herself to break the kiss and pull back.
"Captain, please..." Seven spoke at once. "I want to touch you..."
Oh, God. Kathryn was on the brink of begging for just that, but she needed to try and make one thing clear to Seven before things went much further.
"Seven, wait. I... There's something I need you to try to understand. This isn't just about..." God, where was the collected and articulate Kathryn Janeway when she needed her? She shook her head in frustration, then decided to just cut right to the heart of it.
"I have feelings for you, Seven. Feelings that go beyond what a Captain feels for a crew member, what a mentor feels for a protégé--beyond friendship. Maybe I shouldn't have these feelings for you, but...I do. And that means that what I want from you is so much more than just sex. It's…"
"I want…" Janeway had looked away a moment, trying to gather her thoughts, but then her eyes snapped back to Seven's. She knew what she thought she heard, but surely… "Wait. What did you just say?"
"Good?" Not 'agreed.' Not 'acceptable.' Good.
"Good." Seven nodded before leaning in for a short, sweet kiss. "Acceptable." And another. "Agreed." And another. "Proceed." And still another, this one longer and a little more intense.
Seven was messing with her, she realized. The little half-smile on the blonde's face when she pulled back after the last kiss confirmed it. Still, she couldn't exactly argue with the fringe benefits of Seven's teasing.
"'Good?' Been saving that one up, have you?"
"It seemed an appropriate response, Captain."
Janeway smiled up at her, reaching out to caress Seven's cheek. "Oh, I'm not complaining. And, for the record: anyone who makes me feel...the way you make me feel gets to call me 'Kathryn.' In private, at least," she smiled.
"Kathryn," Seven repeated softly.
Her name on Seven's lips was the most beautiful sound in the world.
"So, where do we go from here?"
"My quarters?" She had known that was where they were headed from the moment Seven's lips had touched hers, but hearing it stated so plainly gave her pause, for some reason. She was absolutely certain that she was ready for the next step, but she was less sure that Seven was, regardless of her apparent eagerness.
"Or here," Seven continued, reaching up to unfasten her own towel.
"No!" Janeway reacted quickly, reaching out to cover Seven's hands with her own and still their movements. "Definitely not here."
She realized that it might not be possible to convince Seven that they should take things slowly. She would just have to hope that Seven was as ready as she appeared to be.
"We'll have to set some ground rules, you know...."
"Later. Afterward." Seven was clearly frustrated.
"Hey, what's wrong? Are you afraid I'll change my mind?"
Her hand was still resting on Seven's, but she moved it to rest her palm against the warm skin just above the towel. "You don't need to worry about that, Seven. I probably should change my mind. There are at least a half-dozen reasons why I shouldn't do this, but there is one very good reason why I should, and I suspect she will remind me of that--often."
Seven seemed to relax a little hearing that, but she still asked softly, "You will not change your mind?"
"I won't." She thought about suggesting they re-dress and walk to her quarters, but then Seven leaned down and initiated a kiss that again left her breathless and throbbing in places that would make walking any distance uncomfortable, not to mention how difficult it would be to maintain a Captain-like demeanor during the ordeal. Once she had regained her breath, she decided that their dilithium stores were plentiful enough, for the moment, that she could afford one indulgence.
"My quarters, definitely. If you'll stand, I need to take care of something first." As she watched Seven maneuver herself off the bench, she thought to ask, "How are your shins? That can't have been a very comfortable position for you."
"Close proximity was necessary to...discourage you from making further attempts to escape. I am undamaged."
It must be love, Janeway thought to herself. Coming from anyone else, that admission would have infuriated her, but from Seven, it was just...cute.
"You're going to keep me on my toes, aren't you?" Janeway pushed herself off the bench.
Seven canted her head to one side and looked at her. "Why would I wish to do that?"
Janeway snorted in amusement. "It's a human expression, Seven. It means that I'll need to be at my best, mentally and physically, if I want to keep up with you."
"But, you are always 'at your best.'"
Janeway reached out briefly to grasp Seven's arm a moment. "That's a very...kind assessment. Now, if you'll grab our things, I'll work on getting us out of here." She walked over toward the holodeck's computer interface terminal. "Computer, locate Commander Tuvok."
"Commander Tuvok is on the Bridge."
"Is he currently logged in to the security console?"
"Perfect," Janeway muttered to herself just as she reached the console. She composed a text message coded for Tuvok's authorization only informing him of her intent to initiate a site-to-site transport for the both of them to her quarters and asking for his 'utmost discretion' in the matter, which was her way of asking him to keep it out of the logs, if at all possible. She felt Seven come up behind her, reading the message over her shoulder.
She sent the message to Tuvok's console and waited for a response, turning her head to look at the blonde. "Call it a half-truth, Seven. I have fallen, and I do need your assistance," she grinned and winked at her soon-to-be lover.
It was only a few seconds before the holodeck terminal beeped indicating a response from Tuvok, coded for her eyes only: 'You may proceed when ready, Captain. Please contact me if you need further assistance.'
Janeway took a moment to close the sauna program before addressing the computer again. "Computer, prepare to initiate the following command sequence on my authorization: Janeway, alpha, pi, omega. First, initiate a site-to-site transport: two to beam from Holodeck Two to Captain Janeway's quarters. Once the transport is complete, disengage the privacy lock on Holodeck Two."
Janeway turned to face Seven, who nodded to signal her readiness.
"Computer, initiate command sequence."
Janeway blinked several times when she realized that they had materialized in her bedroom, rather than in the main room. She wondered for a moment whether the computer had malfunctioned, or whether Tuvok had somehow had a hand in it. If so, it would mean he suspected far more than he should about the real reasons she had requested the transport.
She only had a moment to wonder about it, however, as Seven was quick to take advantage of their close proximity to the bed. Seven then proceeded to keep her happily distracted for the next few hours, until the exhaustion finally took its toll and she fell asleep in Seven's arms.
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