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Malcolm Gallagher

Democratie & Magie
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Malcolm Gallagher last won the day on June 13

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About Malcolm Gallagher

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  1. [1839] 15+ I feel a little bit funny

    Mal was lichtelijk verbaasd geweest om Jake’s uitnodiging te ontvangen. Ten eerste omdat hij nog reageerde met verbazing op de meeste van zijn kennissen en huidige gebeurtenissen in het leven – hij was er een tijdje uit geweest en het grappige was dat je het dus gewoon oprecht kon verleren – en ten tweede omdat hij zijn oude afdelingsgenoot ietwat uit het oog verloren was over de tijd, en niet alleen zijn afwezige tijd. Bovendien, sinds wanneer vierde Chadwick zijn verjaardag? Hij kon zich hoogstens herinneren dat hij soms misschien het eerste Boterbiertje voor hem had gekocht ter gelegenheid. Mal, uit een huis met drie jongere kinderen waar verjaardagen een heilig goed waren voor iedereen, zijn ouders overigens ook, had zich niet gerealiseerd dat dat optioneel was tot hij op Zweinstein kwam en toen had hij die discrepantie eigenlijk wel weer prettig gevonden. Een beetje er een dingetje van maken deed hij graag voor de ukjes, maar voor zichzelf op de zeer volwassen leeftijd van elf had hij het al niet meer per se nodig gevonden. Ahem. Nu echter was hij wel gekomen – hij wilde iedereen wel weer eens zien – en met een cadeautje, mogelijk een beetje een standaard cadeautje maar het ging om de gedachte, twee goede flessen elfenwijn, thee en noten. De Schouwervriendelijke versie van ‘heb een fijne avond’, met andere woorden. Dat cadeautje zette hij maar op het aquarium, dat daarvoor de bestemde plek leek, en hij zwaaide naar Jake, kwam hem en zijn gesprekspartner groeten. “Hey. Alles goed?” Heb je alle spullen voor je effecten legaal verkregen? Ah, er was geen baan zo funest voor jeugdvriendschappen. Mal zette de knop maar gewoon af. “Hoi, ik ben Mal – ik ken Jake van Zweinstein,” stelde hij zich aan de... kleurige... jongeman voor. “Leuk huis, zeg! Zal ik zo nog even naar de deurbel kijken?” Na een stukje taart, natuurlijk.
  2. [1838/1839][EN] What to do when you're not saving the world?

    Ah yes. What made people tick. “Tons of ways to help someone, of course,” Mal happily admitted. He was not so perturbed that the other had been in Slytherin, as might perhaps have been expected. The Houses did not customarily have many friendships between them. It had something to do with most Slytherins thinking that most Hufflepuffs were stupid, tiresome, naive, or easy victims. But Malcolm had never been very bothered by that. He’d never been an easy victim, and he enjoyed being naive. If you attacked him for a joke, he’d probably take you out laughing. It was all good fun, wasn’t it? “Just listening probably often does a lot of good for a person. They’re rarely very lucky, if they’ve ended up with you.” He had some experience with that, all job-related, with the girls and boys and creatures that would go on to find their solace with Phoenix and his jar of pills, and they tended to need someone to listen, someone to be quiet, someone to be safe. He moved away some of the furniture and grinned. “No time like the present, is there? And yeah, I use them quite a bit. For about half of all arrests - it’s slightly less aggressive than just knocking someone out and you tend to still need information to boot. Unconscious people aren’t so chatty.” He ran a hand through his hair and took off his glasses. “Restringo’s best done non-verbally, I’ll show you that one later, but in the meantime, why don’t you try an Impedimenta. And for effect...” He got up out of his chair and lunged at Phoenix. What? Impedimenta wouldn’t work on him sitting in his chair. And he was aiming to miss, so if the therapist to be couldn’t manage, there would be no harm done whatsoever.
  3. [1838/1839][EN] What to do when you're not saving the world?

    It was true, and Mal would happily cop to it, that Aurors in general liked to maintain as much of a bubble around their minds as they did around their bodies, perhaps sometimes even more - scuffles and handshakes were a part of the job, right, but letting people see your innermost self was nowhere in the description you signed up for. The ways in which they maintained that space differed: some, by and large the most cliche group of private people, would just freeze you out or threaten to arrest you even if you asked them a question more personal than a juice preference. Others were more subtle. You could have an hour’s worth of conversation with them without really finding out very much about them at all, and the realization might never strike you or at least not until they were once again beyond your reach. He himself... well, he was closer to the second approach, certainly but he also wasn’t too private. There wasn’t a lot he was embarrassed about in his life. He just didn’t particularly enjoy talking about himself, because it was a bit dull, but he had no problem engaging in a conversation. Or so he hoped and thought, anyway. Who knew what lay hidden beneath his smiling surface, right? He shook his head. “No, not really. Hufflepuff, you know. We tend to tough things out.” See? Your Hogwarts house, that was surely a disclosure of very personal information? “Which were you in? And why’d you pick this topic to study?” He grinned again, when Phoenix asked the question he might have accidentally talked himself into. “Ehm. I am not sure what they’d recommend in the medical profession,” he said, running a hand through his hair. “What with the whole ‘do no harm’ thing. But ‘Impedimenta’ is brilliant if you just want to stop something from happening right now, wears off by itself after a bit, people remain conscious, they just can’t move and punch you. We use that on the mild nutters and the drunks - ah, pardon my French - unless they’ve been very rude and very drunk and then I may occasionally revert to Aguamenti. Guilty pleasure. Other than that, the heavier work’s Restringo... that makes ropes bind them. But you’ve got to be pretty careful with that, because if you don’t know what you’re doing you can accidentally cause all kinds of mishaps. I can teach you if you’d like? Both, if you want.” He grinned. “After all, we’ve the best part of an hour still to go. And how many follow-ups were mandatory... was it four? We can turn them into tutoring.” He could teach the guy an arsenal with that amount of time allotted.
  4. [1838/1839][EN] What to do when you're not saving the world?

    “Of course, we’re adorable,” Mal said with a smile. “And very low-maintenance, we only require coffee and lots and lots of personal space.” He was a devout believer in ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ and ‘the only way is up’, incidentally, he wasn’t just trying to pacify Phoenix. Optimism was inherent to every pore of his existence. It was how he managed to deal with his work, which was typically pretty dreadful at times. The firm belief that yes, things were bad now, but it was possible to make things better. It was possible, and he could help. Without that core certainty, he would’ve been a mushy puddle of never drying tears two weeks in on the job. Now, whenever he felt hopeless, he knew already that eventually it would pass. He didn’t know how his more cynical colleagues managed. He suspected they regularly were puddley. And other than that, they got by on crass humour. “Ah. Good class.” Do no harm. Did that really take all that much effort? “Are you happy with the lectures so far? With the Aurors we started with a bunch of really dull safety trainings and physicals, and it only picked up about a month into the programme. I think it’s purposefully done, they want to weed out the people who won’t stick at it early.” He would not put that past Nicholas Eversly, and the guy had a heavy hand in the Auror educational programme. Which was good, by the way. It meant that anyone who got in and passed got hired and that the expectations from the programme were quite a match with those from the real world. Except there was no class on ‘how to handle a year-plus coma’. But he couldn’t really fault them for that. “And, gosh, I bet it’s different, but I’m sure there’s a lot of similarities too.” He sipped his coffee. “What you mentioned, for example. Even if the other person doesn’t want to talk, it’s still your job to get them to, and even if they don’t want help, it’s still your job to do it. Ha. We might even both occasionally end up having to use magic.” Not to interrogate, but to restrain definitely. “And you talk about a lot of stuff that’s tangential to the stuff you want to be discussing because it’s easier, and you try to read between the lines to get to the conclusions you need.”
  5. Ah, she saw right through him. He couldn’t help but laugh, and wonder if she had been as perceptive those nearly two years ago. “What, I need an ulterior motive to go to a pub with my sister?” he protested, quasi-injured, although of course he did have one. Not so much dodging his mother as filling his days, even these still in part on medical leave days. Having something to look forward to if he was once more immersed in paperwork because they couldn’t yet put him out in the field twenty-four seven. Something else to do than to go to his parents’ home, or the empty house that would never hold him and Annie and the little family she’d had in mind. She more than him, he knew that. He’d had her in mind mostly. She had always been a sure thing and he’d liked that. Liked the simple way she loved him, even though all others had told him to cast his net wider. Now, he wasn’t certain he’d read it right. Yeah, he was recovering. She still seemed worried even though she spoke bravely. “I’ll be fine, sis. Really. Couple of months and it’ll be…” Not like it never happened. He couldn’t say that to the people whom his little bout of unconsciousness had hurt the most. “Just a blip.” That meant nothing, but it was easy enough to say. “And er. She couldn’t visit when I was in hospital. You know that.” Not that he felt much like defending his now married erstwhile fiancée. He wanted her happy. Right? Okay, she could have waited a little bit longer. “And thanks. For helping her out. No, I don’t think I want to see her. Not right now, anyway. I mean, I go and either she no longer likes me, which will hurt my ego, or she still does, which will be a mess.” Not ever a good idea. “Mom’ll be pleased, she never did like her.” It wasn’t like there was still damage to limit. She was married. “With you guys and my work, I’ve enough to keep me entertained for now.” Especially since morning strolls were still fatiguing. “Anyhoo. What about you? Seeing anyone?”
  6. [1838/1839][EN] What to do when you're not saving the world?

    Mal smiled, took another couple of sips from his coffee. “Well… look at it this way, at least from now on, everything else is up for you? It’s good to get that out of the way so early in your career, don’t you think.” He grinned, as he imagined other things Phoenix might run into when once he was actually done with studying, and reflected that Aurors might not even be so bad. He certainly would rather deal with his colleagues than with people with marital troubles or burnouts. Oh, you know, it was probably uncomfortable how often those categories were very much overlapping. Being an Auror did not preclude you from a work-life balance but it certainly wasn’t as appealing as a doughnut and six espresso’s on the night shift. And it didn’t prevent you from having a healthy relationship, just so long as your significant other had an equally busy and not corresponding schedule, because you couldn’t have marital problems if you never spoke. Ahem. “I don’t know? Well, I mean, all of us have tons of secrecy obligations, of course.” He waved his free hand dismissively. “And you know, in an interrogation, the less you say yourself, the more the other person will. Ha. You’d know all about that, I’m sure.” He grinned. “It’s probably among the first lessons they teach you, too. Right? What are the first lessons you guys get, anyway?"
  7. [1838/1839][EN] What to do when you're not saving the world?

    Storms and herbalists and threats to life. These were probably not things that usually came up in therapy. “Well, I can’t say I’ve ever been particularly occupied with storms before, but it’s always good to broaden your horizons, isn’t it? It sounds exciting,” he smiled, taking a sip from his coffee. “I’d love to give it a try. I mostly just can’t find the patience for books where the main character sits around musing and pondering and finding more synonyms for that behaviour... those are typically considered very good, but I just get antsy and start wanting to go for a walk.” Or a chase. Or a duel. Or skydiving off a mountain. Admittedly, he had mostly read those kinds of books over the past months and it probably didn’t help with his feelings about them that he had been entirely powerless to go for said walks, duels or adventures. Maybe he should give the books a reread when he wasn’t on medical leave. But then, when would he find the time? “Oh, I’m not on the side where I’m going to throw anything at you, I promise,” he chuckled, with possibly a slight sense of pity in his voice. The guy just looked so very nervous; it made him look even younger. “Relax, we’re just having a chat.” That was probably the thing that Phoenix should have said, but Malcolm was only too comfortable turning this session around and interviewing him instead. It seemed like more fun. He already knew everything about himself, anyway. “So, how’d you get the gig? Professor with a grudge? Or underestimating my colleagues a little?”
  8. [1838/1839][EN] What to do when you're not saving the world?

    Good news, Phoenix: the answer to the question ‘how much of a pyromaniac is he’ in the case of Malcolm Gallagher was essentially not, not at all. At least, not insofar as Mal himself was aware. I mean, he’d set the occasional fire, but those had always been pertinently justified and necessary and only ever after getting everybody out. And he didn’t think he’d enjoyed the actual fire part, either. Well, you know. A little bit maybe. Who wouldn’t? It was warm and impressive and all of those things. But anyway. His first thought when he walked in on Phoenix was ‘young’, by the way. He probably wasn’t that much younger than Mal himself, but he was a lot younger than Malcolm’s notion of a therapist. He generally thought that those were gray-haired wise wizards possibly with some kind of drug addiction. And hey, the benefit of their job was that they could prescribe those for themselves! Look at that, Mal, you’re only half wrong. “Eh, not really. I guess I like reading really crappy books that definitely don’t qualify,” he grinned. “But if you have any recommendations? I’m Mal, by the way. Malcolm.” He took the chair and the coffee, smiled in surprise. “Thanks - damn, this is great service,” he said, chuckling, and had a sip. “What, did some of my colleagues yell at you before? I’m sorry if they’ve been impossible. Therapy for Aurors, you know, they don’t really see the point of interaction with someone they can’t arrest.” Neither did he, he supposed, but then again he had been stuck in physical therapy since the summer and he was kind of okay with it. It beat being comatose. Or not being able to move.
  9. Ah, those OWLs. They took over your entire fifth year. Malcolm remembered. He’d been in Hufflepuff house, of course, one of the most studious (Ravenclaws studied as well but less obviously, less directed, too, applying their minds to wherever their minds took them rather than working hard at things) and the fifth year it had turned into one dogged little community of books and parchments and practice. He’d actually had fun with it. He’d never been very worried about his OWLs, he’d never been very worried about acing them, and he’d always rather enjoyed working hard. Elide, she was a bit less… focused, than he had used to be as a student. But also, she probably was even less focused now than she had used to be. Because of the whole coma thing. “I’ll drop in at Hogsmeade sometime maybe,” he offered with a grin. “Quiz your Transfiguration and buy you drinks you’re too young for. It’s a date?” He wouldn’t, of course, buy her many. He was a responsible older brother. When he didn’t have a curved blade in his guts, that was. That had probably been a little less than responsible. He nodded with a smile, following her gaze. “And yes, I can manage. One assumes the fussing will diminish over time. I probably owe all of you a bit of fussing after the past months, don’t I?” He didn’t mind so very much. His parents were both busy people, so their fussing was limited by necessity and his sister was young, so her fussing was limited by the intrinsic selfishness of children. Indeed, Elide fussed plenty. But he owed her that, too. His face fell as she continued, and he made an effort of cracking it back up. “Yes. She wrote me a letter.” He hummed. “Said she got married. Like, half a year after I…” He shrugged. “Does the guy seem nice?”
  10. Yes, Mal had been able to come home very quickly, for which he was grateful; he figured he’d spent enough time in the hospital by now to last him a lifetime, even if indeed he had been unconscious for the most part. His mother was of the same opinion and since she was both a nurse and a fiery force of nature, the doctors had come round to seeing it from her point of view pretty quickly. Nothing irresponsible about it, he was just fine, physically, they’d tested everything: he needed to restore his health, do his exercises, and mostly just to begin the slow process of existing again. His mom was taking some time off, alternating nights, so she could aid him with that, his dad was more than happy to help out, and most of it he could manage by himself. He had his magic after all, and the spells came back to him as easily as anything. It was better to be home. It still felt like home, even though he’d moved out before the coma. Now he didn’t know if he would soon move out again. Because he knew. He’d gone through his letters and he knew by now. What Elide had been trying to hide. He knew, but he didn’t know what to think of it yet. Maybe he didn’t have enough energy yet to get appropriately mad. “A walk would be great,” he smiled, agreed with her. “It’ll have to be very short…” He was having to let go of his pride every moment of every day, as he waited around to be once more in shape. “Otherwise you’re going to have to catch me.” He chuckled. “But… for now, let’s have a picnic before they get crumbs all over the bed.” He got up slowly, but managed quite well, navigated the stairs with the aid of a charm. “You looking forward to heading back to Hogwarts?”
  11. "Dragons are easier to appease,” Mal laughed, and it didn’t sound so distant this time, didn’t have to come from so far away. These were memories that were still close to him, still bright and ready to access in his mind, of sitting with the kids, playing with Kevin and Ina, of teaching them to read, him and Elide alternating the voices between them, she doing the girls and he the guys usually, unless they felt like being silly and making the children laugh and then they did it the other way around, him squeaking, she as low as she could go. Very insensitive, definitely not proper stereotyping for an Auror, he’d get in trouble with the media if they’d ever notice that and oh, his poor sensitivity training. Still, it had been so much fun, it had always been a laugh, he’d do it all over again. They’d all loved it. “But yeah, I’ll be back home soon, help you out with it again.” He smiled half-heartedly, even though he was really looking forward to that. “I’ll probably have to stay with mom and dad for a bit to get back on my feet, so Ina won’t suffer all by her lonesome for a little while yet.” See? Acceptance. There it was. He was realising that he wasn’t going to be able to get up and out of here and straight back to his cubicle in the office, and he was making the best of it. He remembered how it had felt to move out, he had enjoyed it, it had been said but also new and refreshing… Exciting. Going back seemed very literally to be going backwards. But such was life. He had lost. But he would get better. Things would be fine. Or would they? Because Elide was rambling, and Elide rambled only when there was something she didn’t want to tell you. Such as, why there was cherry juice all over your clothes. Normally, he would be relentless about it, because normally that would be half the fun. Now, however, he couldn’t force himself, and he let her get away with it. For now. She’d had a tough enough time. “Eh… yeah… a nurse might be good and you could go tell the rest? Then mom can bully them into bundling me back home and I’ll catch the last of the month with you guys still at home. I better not risk the coffee yet. Although, you know, then I'm sure I'll stay awake." He hummed. "Have you thought about what courses you want to do after the OWLs, already?"
  12. The glass stayed upright, possibly with a bit of magical aid, the spells coming to him more naturally than muscle movement did at this exact moment and he was glad of it, for he was embarrassed to admit that he had needed his little sister’s help even to drink. He sipped a couple of times, as he listened quietly to Elide’s chattering. “Always crazy,” he opined about the Hogwarts teachers. “It seems like they’re getting worse every year. Eh…” Well, it had seemed like they had been worse every year, obviously this past year he didn’t exactly know the current state. He’d looked into Hogwarts every now and again, professionally speaking, out of curiosity and concern for his siblings probably. There was nothing like his specialisation going on there but there were definitely, well, so-called ‘troubled people’ on the staff. He always wondered how the hell they had gotten employed. And a new Minister for magic. Oh, well. That was politics and that he didn’t get too involved with. It probably wasn’t anyone good. “A conservative as usual?” He chuckled wryly. It sounded dry, it sounded off, but damn it he was going to do it until it no longer seemed weird at all. He was going to do everything until it didn’t seem weird at all. He was going to get his life back and miss nothing more… He was going to miss a couple of more things from sheer exhaustion. He knew that. He’d make his peace with it soon enough. “That’s great… Merlin, Kevin. Of course.” He pulled a face. “Little monster. I expect mom will be thoroughly enjoying that punishment. Ina too. I remember her glee whenever I had that job.” Questions. He needed questions. Okay. “Are they all okay? Mom, dad, Kev and Ina? And Annie? Pfft, you guys must have had a hell of a time explaining this to her.” His glass was empty. It was an immense relief to be able to put it down.
  13. One and a half years. The words, and especially her expression as she said them, was a punch in the gut just about where he could still feel the shadow of the memory of the curved sword, even though it now made sense that he could no longer actually feel the pain of that. One and a half years. It would be healed. It might actually be gone. It had not been a magical blade, it would not leave a scar that would resist magical cures. That was ridiculous, wasn’t it? That it had cost him one and a half years, but wouldn’t even leave a mark? Not physically speaking. Not even mentally speaking. Not directly. It had left more marks on his family than it would on him, because he’d been completely out of it. For one and a half years. He’d spent longer in a coma than he had on the job. If you were talking about what defined him, he’d probably gone from ‘Auror’ to ‘coma guy’… Yes, he was an optimist, but right now, it was not exactly easy, was it. “El, I’m so sorry.” That was probably a stupid thing to say, it wasn’t like he’d done it on purpose, quite, but then again, he didn’t know what else to say either, and she was just going to have to put up with it. She’d told him that she thought he was going to die, that everyone thought he was going to die. How was he supposed to respond? Except for ‘I’m sorry’ he had nothing and so he just made an effort to scoot over as much as he could with the barely functional muscles he had. Merlin, and mum, the kids… they’d been here. Horrible. Although he didn’t know if it was worse for them or for dad and Annie who couldn’t have come if they’d wanted to. Oh, dear. Those were a lot of exhausting, painful conversations in front of him. You’d almost go right back to sleep again. He frowned. Had he heard her? “I don’t know… maybe sometimes…” Mostly because he didn’t want to deny it, didn’t want to make everything she’d done, the others had done throughout this time sound pointless and maybe it hadn’t been. He’d been dreaming sometimes. He hadn’t felt alone. He couldn’t remember any nightmares. Maybe that had been it. “And yes, sis, you can bother me with OWL questions always. I am the expert…” He had aced his OWLs. OWLs. Fifteen, she was fifteen already. The kids… “Could I have some water? What… is it summer holidays, now? Tell me you’re not spending them in here.”
  14. Yes, you know what, Eli had a point. It hadn’t really sunk in before, just the sheer extent to which he felt like crap. His mouth was dry, his voice low and a little frail, frail as he felt himself, more with every muscle that was turning out to be slow to respond to his body’s calls. And maybe he shouldn’t have wasted a question on her hair, because maybe there were more important things going on, more things he needed to know. But he hadn’t known that, had he. How should he have known? He was barely coming around to the fact that he was waking up in hospital, it had the telltale signs of mauve and taupe and white linen, of windows that you couldn’t quite see out of, of beds that were made not necessarily to sleep in but also to lie in comfortably for a really long time when you couldn’t sleep at all. Hospital, that was to be expected. That tallied with the memories he had, the end point of his conscious thoughts. The one and a half year in between... that didn’t. That couldn’t. How was he supposed to know how many questions he should ask? How could he fathom the extent of things he’d missed out on? He never would. “A year...” His voice was a whisper, as the implications sunk in, his Auror brain just not willing to deny them entry and give him comfort: Aurors as a rule weren’t good at denying uncomfortable facts, as they spent their entire professional life looking for them. “El, I...” It wasn’t just her hair, it was her everything, the way she carried herself, a subtle difference in her smile. Oh, Merlin, Morgana, and their anger issues... how long had it been? What was going on? But she asked how he was and he answered, almost automatically. “Just tired.” So bloody exhausted. And if he remembered what happened. Ehm, yes, possibly maybe somewhere in the midst of the panic of all the things he didn’t remember... but it was his job, so he didn’t want to disclose much. At the same time, he felt that, whatever was going on, ‘it’s classified’ wasn’t going to cut it as an explanation he owed his sister. A year... “Eh... it was a raid... there was a dog,” he mumbled sheepishly, and he forced a smile, the muscles in his face burning up and screaming at the effort. “You know how I am with dogs.” He scrambled round in his dazed panicked mind. “How, how are you, sis?”
  15. The nice thing about being in a coma for an extended period of time was that really, all you needed to do in order to impress and cheer was to wake up. Aside from when you were a baby, people were unlikely to ever again be so overwhelmingly positive about such an insignificant little feat. Of course, when you had been in a coma for such a long time, that was an indication that it was not in fact easy to wake up at all. But look here, there wasn’t anything else nice about being in a coma, was there? Most things were shit. Your life moving on without you, that was shit. Your fiancée marrying another guy, that wasn’t better. The fact that it turned you from a strong, lively in shape Auror into a wasted pasty plant was shit, too. And the pain and the dread and the worry you inflicted on your colleagues, your friends, and especially your family, well, that was just the absolute worst. So Malcolm being Malcolm, he would be damned if he wouldn’t go looking for that silver lining with all the vim and vigour that he ordinarily put to use over the course of a much more satisfying existence. But not now. Now he was just waking up to a sleeping El. He had the feeling she had been talking to him, had the feeling she’d been reading to him maybe? Had of course not the feeling that she’d been doing that for more than a year. Nah, he felt like he’d just gone under. Maybe a couple of hours. Possibly surgery had happened. He remembered the sharp stabbing pain of the blade, hot, the definite knowledge that it wasn’t good, that he was actually in serious trouble this time. Stumbling along the riverbank, leaving it in because he dimly remembered pulling it out wouldn’t improve things, and he was close to the hospital and he probably needed the emergency room. And then the fight and the yelling and falling... But something wasn’t right. Elide looked different. “El! Did you change your hair?” Who said guys weren’t perceptive about these things.
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