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SIYE Time:20:59 on 5th December 2021


Sunrise
By Summer Potter

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Category: Post-DH/AB
Characters:None
Genres: Angst, Romance
Warnings: None
Story is Complete
Rating: PG
Reviews: 10
Summary: The war is over and the morning sun brings hope, happiness and light to rid the darkness that Voldemort inflicted on the wizarding world. With the sunrise warming up the grounds, a certain someone is ready to find Harry and start her happily ever after.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3651



Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.



Author's Notes:
This is a random one-shot that I wrote last week. I'm not quite sure what inspired this little piece, but here it is. Also, there's a paraphrased line from Taylor Swift's song "Your Anything." I take no credit for this line, but am grateful for its inclusion as it phrases this sentiment nicely.

Please review!! I'd love to hear your thoughts!




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Sunrise

I’ve never seen a more beautiful sunrise than the morning after we won the Battle at Hogwarts. That morning was horrible for so many reasons, but it was also historic, perfect and beautiful. Many people had lost a loved one, myself included, but despite how crushing the loss of a family member was, we won the war. We won a future without Voldemort–we won hope and the chance to live our lives without the fear of death and destruction.

“Have some toast,” my friend Emily encouraged me as she pushed toward me a plate stacked high with warm, buttered toast. My plate was already loaded with food, of which I had no appetite for, but I accepted it anyway with a murmur of thanks to my friend. Today was a day for feasting and for enjoying anything and everything life had to offer.

After the all-night battle, Emily was in better shape than I was, and for this I was grateful. I hadn’t seen her for several hours and up until half an hour ago, neither of us knew if the other survived. I’d known Emily since my first year and despite being in different houses (Emily was a Hufflepuff), I was grateful that she, along with many of my other good friends had made it through. Aside from a gash to her cheek and two broken fingers on her left hand, Emily seemed in good shape and in good spirits. Her cheek was already bandaged and her swollen purple fingers were taped together, but her injuries could not dampen her mood.

“Good spread,” she said cheerily, digging into her breakfast.

“It is,” I agreed, spreading peanut butter across my toast before taking a hearty bite.

As I chewed, I noticed other students were mixing themselves up among different house tables. McGonagall was even sitting at the Ravenclaw table with Madame Pomfrey and some Aurors. It was nice to see us all united. I suppose we’d been united for months under the reign of Snape and the Carrows, but still… this was different. Parents, kids, teachers, students, friends and classmates all sat together, regardless of age, house or any other factor that divided us.

And yet, while I was looking around, expressing silent thanks as I spotted people that I knew, I was really looking for him. I hadn’t seen him for a while and this made me a little anxious. I knew he had survived, of course, but still… I was desperate to see him, to talk to him. I was desperate to tell him how grateful I was for everything he’d sacrificed. I wanted to tell him how brave he’d been and how proud of him I was. I wanted to tell him everything I’d felt over these last few months while he’d been away.

“Stop it,” Emily said quietly, studying my face. “I know what you’re planning. Give it time–he’ll be back.”

“What?” I replied in a surprised tone.

Emily raised a skeptical eyebrow at me. Emily wasn’t stupid and I knew she knew what I was thinking about. “Stop looking for him. He’ll be back– he’s probably with Ron and Hermione. You’ll get your moment.”

“It just makes me nervous to lose sight of him again,” I murmured sadly, stirring my eggs distractedly around my plate. Feeling Emily’s eyes on me, I scooped up some eggs on my fork and chewed slowly.

Emily gave me a sympathetic smile and nodded. “I know, but he probably has a lot of people he has to talk to and a lot more people he hasn’t seen for months. Don’t rush it.”

I knew Emily was right, but it was hard not want to rush off to go find him. I’d waited for months and I wasn’t sure I could wait much longer. “Do you think he got the messages I sent him?”

Emily shrugged. “I dunno, but you’ll find out, won’t you? Just be honest with him–and don’t be weird or get too emotional. Just be yourself.”

“Be myself, right.” I chuckled sadly and took a long drink of pumpkin juice. “Let’s see if I can remember my name if all goes well.”

Emily laughed. “Typical. Don’t trip over your own feet when you go see him.”

I groaned, hoping that I didn’t revert to my stupid, clumsy self. “Em, don’t jinx it. I haven’t seen him in months. I’m a wreck–we’ll be lucky if I don’t throw myself at him before I get three words out.”

Emily groaned and rolled her eyes. “He needs to see that you feel more than just an attraction, you know. He needs to know you want something real. I doubt that the person who dedicated himself to defeating you-know-who is looking for anything casual.”

I looked her seriously so she’d know that after all our little jokes about seeing Harry again after being separated for so long, that I really was going to take this seriously. “I love him. You know that. It’s not my fault I used to act like a stupid lovesick schoolgirl around him. When I see him, I’ll be serious. I don’t want to mess this up.”

Emily smiled and gave me a one-armed hug. “I know. I just want to see you happy, you know that? This is your big moment and I want it to be perfect for you. You deserve this–you both do.”

I nodded, totally agreeing with this sentiment. I did deserve this, to be happy, to finally, truly be able to tell him how much I worried about him and how much I cared for him. I realized I’d been an idiot up to this point, but this was my second chance. I could show Harry how much I’ve thought about him and how serious I am about wanting to be with him. I didn’t want some short-lived relationship that would fizzle out because he was worried for my safety and I didn’t want to worry about the little issues like long-distance or our careers that would normally put a strain on relationships; not us, not after we both could have died. I wanted him. Forever.

“Where’s your family?” Emily asked curiously.

“Out in the courtyard,” I replied, my expression falling. I couldn’t deal with what I’d lost right now. I’d already spent the first hour of our victory crying my heart out over losing a family member and the only thing keeping me from falling to pieces was my reunion with Harry.

“I’m sorry about your brother,” Emily whispered miserably. “Really.”

I put on a brave smile and murmured thanks before taking a long drink of pumpkin juice to distract myself. I couldn’t think about going home without him. Not yet. I needed to remember that the world wasn’t completely terrible and that there was hope for happiness. Voldemort was gone and this fact needed to be celebrated. Moreover, my brother and so many people I’d known and loved had died so that we could be happy and have lives after the war so I couldn’t let that sacrifice be in vain.

Emily was peering out the doors of the Great Hall, watching as bodies were carried past the doors, followed by crying family and friends. “There’s so many people out there,” Emily was saying now, her expression grim. “Did you see Lavender Brown’s family? Ugh, it’s just awful…”

My voice caught in my throat as I thought about Lavender. I’d seen her dueling Greyback when I was running past. I didn’t want to think about my having had a chance to help her, if I’d only noticed that she wasn’t doing well in her duel. “I know,” I murmured.

I spotted my parents who stood with their arms wrapped around each other as they spoke to McGonagall. McGonagall was standing now and their conversation clearly wasn’t a happy one. They stood up very straight, as if they were fighting the weight of their sadness. They were both dirty, pale and their clothes showed the signs of the struggle at the castle, but they had sustained no serious injury. Watching them, I felt very, very proud to be their daughter. They were such strong people; my inspiration, and their existence in the world gave me something to be very grateful for. I’d never appreciated life as much as I did this morning.

Emily noticed the direction of my gaze and asked, “How’s your mum?”

I smiled, my eyes still on my parents. “I think she’s okay. One day at a time, right?” I said, reassuring myself while I said this. We would get through the loss of my brother one day at a time.

I was sure I would have nightmares about the battle and about all the terrible things I saw and heard last night, but I would just take it one day at a time. The pain wouldn’t last forever…

And that recovery would start with doing the thing I’d dreamt of doing for months.

“I see Harry,” I whispered nervously, setting my utensils down on my plate and staring past my parents at the dark-haired boy at the doors of the Great Hall. Just seeing him made my heart race and my breath catch.

Ron and Hermione followed him into the Great Hall, holding hands and looking quite content and my heart squeezed for them. I was glad that they were happy and I was even happier that they’d finally worked out their feelings for each other.

I frequently imagined a future where we’d all hang out together, just the four of us. We’d never have to talk about school or Voldemort or any of the terrible things of our childhood, ever again. We’d talk about family and adult stuff. Hermione and I would gush over our men and we’d wonder who was going to have a baby first or we’d debate whose husband was more romantic.

“Are you going? Go! What are you waiting for?” Emily whispered excitedly, giving me a light shove. “Go on! Go to him!”

I glanced at my friend with a nervous smile as I stood on shaking legs. “Now?” I whispered, amazed at how scared I felt. Why was I nervous? Harry was all I’d ever wanted. If I didn’t go to him and tell him how I felt and what I wanted, I’d regret it for the rest of my life; this was the moment to tell him.

Regardless of how hard my heart was beating in my chest, I straightened my battle-weary clothes and started to walk toward him. Emily gave me a big smile and wished me “good luck” before I left, which made me feel better. Still, how had I not anticipated how nervous I would feel? Harry had been away for months and so much could have changed between us. We had had no contact in the time he’d been away. What if his feelings toward me had changed? What if he didn’t want to be with me?

Stop it, I reprimanded myself firmly. You love him. Just tell him.

Mum and Dad saw me coming just as McGonagall was walking away from them, their grim conversation obviously having ended. Mum smiled wearily at me and pulled me into a hug when I reached her. I felt a little guilty for the urge I felt to tear myself from my mother and go after Harry.

However, my mum had no idea what I was about to do. “Oh, there you are, dear. Where are you going?”

“I just wanted to talk to Harry for a second,” I told her as calmly as I could, trying my best to keep my eagerness in check. I didn’t want my parents to see how important this conversation was to me, but apparently, I couldn’t hide it from my mother. Mum took one look at my face and smiled knowingly, glancing at Dad.

“I’ll be right back,” I told them apologetically.

“We’ll be here,” Mum said with a smile, waving me off.

Great, so my parents know where I’m going…

To my relief, Harry seemed to be heading toward the Gryffindor common room. I was glad that we’d have some privacy away from the all the eyes in the Great Hall. I especially didn’t need my parents witnessing this moment where Harry and I finally got a moment alone.

I set off after Harry at a steady pace, very aware of my parents watching my progress. As much as I wanted to hurry after him, it was better to take it slow. I had an awful feeling that if I chased him down, I’d probably trip over my own two feet and ruin this moment.

When I finally caught up to Harry, he wasn’t far from the empty portrait of the Fat Lady. Her absence didn’t worry me as all the occupants of the Hogwarts portraits seemed to be celebrating the victory with each other. It was probably better this way, I thought with a smile. The Fat Lady didn’t like it when couples snogged right in front of her and I wasn’t sure I could control myself around Harry. It was terribly improper of young ladies to behave so recklessly, the Fat Lady usually would say in a very affronted tone.

I could see him now, just at the end of the hall. He slowed to a stop as he neared the portrait hole and he turned sideways and I could see his conflicted expression, as if he was hesitating to go any farther. I stopped, too, suddenly scared out of my mind. What did you say at moments like this? Did you hug first? Kiss first? Talk first? Should I ask him to go somewhere more private? Should I give him my most charming smile and go for it?

I took a few steps backward to hide behind a pillar and catch my breath. I closed my eyes to help compose myself so I could remember what I’d been rehearsing for months. Why was my heart pounding so fast? I pressed my hand against my chest, feeling my heart beat out a nervous rhythm.

A few seconds into my mild panic attack, the portrait swung open and I heard Harry greet someone. Taking a breath, I decided I had to do this now before I lost my courage. More importantly, I needed to do this now before lots of students started going in and out of the common room to gather their belongings.

Breathe. It’s now or never.

“There you are,” came a female voice that stopped me from moving out from behind the pillar. The voice sounded breathless and was so soft that I could barely hear her speak. I listened hard, flattening myself against the pillar and glaring at the wall opposite me. Who was this person who was ruining my moment?

“I was on a walk with Ron and Hermione,” Harry said to the girl conversationally. “How are you?”

There was a soft chuckle and a pause before she answered him. I could hear in her voice how she, like me, was okay, all things considered. “Alright. And you?”

“I’ve better now… I’ve got my wand back.”

“It suits you much better.” The way the girl said it… –playful and yet friendly– I definitely knew that voice. “So.”

My heart began to pound faster and I frowned at the empty space in front of me. The pause sounded very loud to me and I knew that whatever wasn’t being said was much more important than what was being said.

There was a very pregnant pause in the conversation and I frowned, thinking very hard. Who was this? Who had the nerve to talk to Harry right now after he’d been through so much? Everyone knew I’d intended to do if he ever made it out alive… or at least, I thought they did. I had told a lot of people…

Calm down, I reprimanded myself angrily. She’s just being friendly.

The girl was speaking again. I could hear the change in her voice and oddly enough, it was the same tone that I’d imagined that I would have when I finally got to talk to Harry. “I was really worried about you. Actually, a part of me thinks I should hex you for that stunt you pulled when Hagrid brought you out of the forest.”

My thoughts exactly, I thought bitterly. If I wasn’t so desperately grateful that he was alive, I’d like to have my revenge for his making me think my world had ended. A world without Harry in it was like a world without sunshine.

“I know… I’m sorry. It’s just something I had to do.” He sounded like he really felt bad for this so I had to forgive him. It wasn’t important, anyway. Harry was alive and that was all that mattered.

Another pause. My breathing began to quicken as it dawned on me who had come out of the portrait hole. Was this really happening after everything that had happened? He was talking to her? He was giving her the time of day? He wanted her?!

She sounded like she was crying when she spoke again. “I know.” There was a soft sob, a few footsteps and the faint rustle of robes. I could just imagine her standing there, crying, and Harry taking pity on her. “I’m really glad you’re okay.”

“Me too. I missed you.” The scene I was imagining of Harry only hugging her out of pity was interrupted when I realized he sounded just as sincere about missing her.

It was the sincerity of his words that made me finally gather the courage to peer around the pillar. I had to see this for myself. My breath came in on a soft, sharp gasp and my chest felt tight as I saw him holding her, his arms around her as he pressed his face into her hair.

The sight of Harry letting her bury her face in his chest and crying in his arms made me feel sick. I knew I probably shouldn’t watch this and I knew I should walk away, but my legs wouldn’t move and my heart needed to know why I couldn’t have him. I wanted to demand an explanation and I wanted to make her feel bad.

When she pulled back, she was smiling widely. She ran her hands through his hair and then kissed him enthusiastically. “Not as much as I missed you.”

Ginny Weasley.

She was crying as she kissed him desperately, totally unaware that I was standing in the middle of the hall and watching this private, intimate moment, my heart breaking as she kissed the man I loved. His arms were wrapped around her, holding her to him like he would never let her go–just as I had expected him to hold me.

After what seemed like forever, their kiss ended and they beamed at each other. Harry’s back was to me, but I could see her face and I could see how happy she was. I could see the tears of joy streaming down her face as she looked up at his face memorizing it, remembering her moment with Harry–the moment that I wanted more than anything.

She laughed a little hysterically and touched his face again. “I’m just…” she shook her head in wonder. “You did it. You saved us all. You nearly d-…” she trailed off, unable to finish that sentence and then she buried her face into his neck again, holding him like he was holding her.

While they hugged each other, I held myself tightly, trying to keep the broken pieces of my heart together. Why had I ever expected he’d ever consider me? Why had I expected he would get over her? I’d underestimated Harry as I’d done for so many years.

Sadly, I’d silently celebrated the day Harry broke up with her. I’d thought for sure that I would have my chance and I swore to myself that if he made it back alive, I’d tell him how much I loved him. I never got the chance to tell him how sorry I was that I’d been such an idiot by trying to use a love potion on him and acting so stupid around him. I’d regretted the love potion, especially, after Harry had kissed Ginny in the common room in front of everyone–I’d realized that you didn’t win Harry Potter by cheating. You had to earn his trust and his love. He loved Ginny because she was pretty and because she was fun and honest, and she didn’t act like a blundering idiot around him. He trusted her–and he didn’t trust a lot of people.

But never, never had I taken a moment to think why he’d ever let a girl like Ginny Weasley go. Seeing them together now, I knew that they’d never stopped loving each other. If I were to guess why he’d dumped her, I’d say it was so that he could protect her.

She was lucky. Not many boyfriends would be brave enough to do that…

As I let the tears fall, I silently backed away, hiding again behind the pillar. Slowly, I dropped to the ground and let myself cry, my whole body shaking with silent sobs. I never stopped to think that he’d want her back the moment the war was over–I thought he would go look for something or someone that made him happy. I thought he would want a fresh start and I was sure that I could be part of his new life. I would have done anything to make sure he felt normal and happy and safe. I would be anything for him if it meant I could be his everything.

I also thought that even if he didn’t move on, I figured Ginny would have. Everyone knows how independent Ginny is–that she doesn’t let boys get her down. She’s popular with the boys because she’s pretty, she’s good at Quidditch and she smiles a lot. Ginny has had one steady boyfriend after another–I’d only assumed that a popular, beautiful, sweet girl like her would find someone else when Harry Potter had broken her heart.

I’d seen how broken up she’d been at school. Everyone had. Why would she take Harry back when he’d made her hurt so badly? But now that I saw her, hugging him, crying on his shoulder and kissing him, I knew that I’ve been stupid and silly and selfish. Harry is in love with Ginny and I didn’t have a chance in hell.

I sighed and angrily wiped away my tears, feeling humiliated and terrible among other things.

“Romilda!”

The sound of my name startled me and I awkwardly got to my feet, praying that my friend Greg wouldn’t realize that my heart was now in a million pieces because of the boy not ten feet from me. Greg waved and hurried toward me, limping as he walked on a heavily bandaged foot.

“I’m so glad to see you!” Greg exclaimed excitedly. He looked so happy which made me feel worse that I couldn’t be happy like everyone else about today. “We did it!”

“We did it!” I repeated, nearly managing to seem sincere as I quickly did a final moping up of my face with my dirty sleeve. I was vaguely aware that my sleeve was already covered in dirt and dried blood and I hoped that I didn’t just wipe that on my face. “What happened to your foot?”

Greg shrugged, completely unconcerned about his injury. “I dunno… some sort of curse hit me, but whatever. Nothing else matters. We won!” He suddenly threw his arms around me in a tight hug and I hugged him back, feeling awkward and hollow.

Pull yourself together, I told myself sternly. Do not ruin his good mood.

Greg slowly released me and studied my face. I guess I looked a wreck because he immediately looked worried. “What’s up? What are you doing here?”

Lie, my mind was screaming. Just as I opened my mouth to fib an excuse as to why I’d just been sitting alone in the hall outside the common room, Harry and Ginny were walking by, hand-in-hand and looking incredibly happy.

Did they really have to rub my face in it? Anger and jealousy welled up inside me, threatening to drown me in it. My heart ached painfully and so I bit my tongue to ensure I didn’t let them have it.

“Hey,” Harry said, probably sounding happier than I’d ever heard him sound at Hogwarts. I nearly burst right there and I’m not even sure what would have come out–anger, jealousy, sadness, or a mixture of all three. I opened my mouth to say something unnecessarily snappish and rude, but then looking at Ginny changed my mind.

My eyes met Ginny’s and I closed my open mouth, instantly killing my mean-spirited words that were about to spill out. Ginny had been missing since Easter, but you’d think she’d been in hiding for much, much longer. Dark circles framed her normally pretty brown eyes and she looked like she’d lost weight. She had a cut on her head that hadn’t been bandaged, her clothes were singed on the left side and her free hand’s wrist was messily bandaged with what looked like a ripped T-shirt.

Looking her over, it occurred to me that Ginny’s life wasn’t glorious or perfect by any standard. Her brother was dead and I saw the evidence of all the pain she’d gone through in her eyes. While she looked incredibly happy, I could tell that she’d lived with worry and stress for the last year as I recognized a similar haunted look from my reflection in a mirror. We’d both lost a brother last night and I knew that after her moment for Harry, (the one that I’d dreamt of for months) she’d have to face the same tragedy that I had to. Here she was, a survivor like me, who deserved happiness and deserved Harry–probably more than I did. I didn’t want to think of all the reasons that Ginny was better for him than I was, but I bet that without really trying, I could come up with at least five.

Ginny made him happy and this was, after all, all I wanted for Harry. He deserved to be happy after everything he’d ever gone through and after everything he’d given up.

Greg greeted Harry and Ginny and thanked Harry. I only managed to get out a “hello,” and Greg was obviously more cheerful and friendly than I was. Still, I didn’t feel angry anymore, and that was something.

“Beautiful morning, isn’t it?” Ginny asked wryly, pointing up at the ceiling. I glanced up and noticed for the first time that there was a large hole blasted through the roof. The sight of the sky right outside the common room was disturbing, and yet, there was something pleasant about the sunshine coming through. As terrible as the castle looked right now, the beautiful sun was shining its rays through the cracks and filling the castle with warmth and light.

“Yeah,” I agreed, staring up at the destruction. I lowered my gaze to look at both Harry and Ginny, feeling slightly humbled. As it turned out, I would get to say at least one thing from my rehearsed speech and sound totally sincere about it.

“It’s good to have you back, Harry.”

Harry smiled my favorite smile. “Thank you. I’ll see you guys around.”

“See you,” Ginny added with a friendly wave goodbye.

I watched them walk down the hall and out of sight. Greg nudged my arm, smiling sadly. “You okay?” He asked.

Tears immediately made my vision swim but I smiled bravely and nodded. It hurt, but it was really hard to be as angry and hurt as I’d been a few minutes earlier. I glanced up at the destroyed ceiling, letting the warmth of the sunrise shine on my face. I hated to admit that it did fill me with a bit of hope when I felt so cold and empty.

“Yes.” I hated that my voice was squeaky. I hated that I’d lost my brother and Harry and so many other people all in one day. I wished it was pouring rain through the ceiling of Hogwarts–it would fit the moment better.

Greg regarded me for a long moment before he hugged me again with a sympathetic look on his face. “I can probably guess why you were up here. Some things aren’t meant to be. You shouldn’t waste your time on someone who can’t give you what you deserve, Romilda.”

“I know,” I whispered, hoping I didn’t sound as pathetic as I felt. I did know that, I really did… It’s just hard to suddenly give up something I’d been feeling for two years.

“Give it time.” He smiled at me reassuringly, but his eyes were sad. Patting my shoulder awkwardly, he left me and walked toward the portrait hole.

I straightened determinedly and decided to go find my family. I needed to do something before I started crying over this again. I’d expected to return to the Great Hall feeling happy and having the support of someone who cared about me. Returning alone and feeling rejected was depressing, but I’d find strength in my family.

“Hey, Romilda?” Greg called, his voice gentle. “I’ve fancied you since first year. We’ve been friends since we met on the train… you’ve never given much thought about who the men in your life who actually like you.”

These words startled me as I stared at Greg, considering this. Greg liked me? Really? I’d never, ever gotten any feeling that he might have feelings for me.

I frowned at him. “You never said anything…”

Greg smiled his sad smile again. “Why would I? You’ve had your eye on Harry for so long that I knew you weren’t ready to ever give me a real chance.”

What he said wasn’t meant to be mean or make me feel bad. I stared at him, struggling to accept what he was telling me. All this time my best friend was in love with me? And while Greg was in love with me, I was hurting him by being in love with Harry, who would never love me back?

“Greg–”

“Romilda, send me an owl this summer,” he said, gently interrupting me. I understood that this was neither the time or place, but still, I wanted to talk about it a little. This was a big deal! However, Greg only smiled and raised a hand in farewell.

He was about to climb through the portrait hole when he stopped and looked back at me. “Glad I could finally tell you that you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met.”

With that, he left me alone in the corridor. Was it crazy? We’d been friends for years and I didn’t know if I felt the same way about him. I guess that’s how love works, though. It’s not simple and you can’t predict if love will be returned or whether it will last. You can’t force someone be in love with you and you don’t always know who is thinking you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.

I’d been wrong about Harry and who he was meant to be with. I could see now that no matter how much it hurt, he loved Ginny and it was Ginny who deserved him.

Turning back the way I’d come, I realized that I’d come up here to find happiness and I wondered if I would find it after all. Until then, I would have time to get over Harry and to mourn my brother and the others that I’d lost. And then, maybe, I’d find what I’d wanted all along…

Suddenly, the sunlight didn’t seem so out of place.

*~*

A/N: "I would be anything for him if it meant I could be his everything." My paraphrased line.
Taylor Swift: "Your Anything. "I'd give everything to be your anything." I realize that this line is a bit of a cliche, but this song came on my itunes as I was editing and I love T-Swift, so I'm giving her the credit!
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