Handful

Chapter 17

Handful

-chapter 17-

rated for language / adult themes

Sakura's seemingly everlasting joy for her old team mate's approaching fatherhood dwindled away from a simple glance at a plastic stick. She relished the memories of her pregnancy with Asami ever since her miscarriage around seven months ago, tricking her heartbroken self into thinking that it would be the last time she'd ever be with child. With that mind set, she had dotted over Hinata's every pregnant need since Naruto was like a brother to her, telling herself that if she wasn't going to have another baby then it was her goal to help others. When Ino had announced her own pregnancy almost two weeks ago with Shikamaru, she had squealed with joy for her longest best female friend and rival, and dished out information for her worried mind while waving off the fact that the big green monster grew just a little bit bigger with each day that passed. But with all of that joy that was constantly pouring out her her system and with the information she tricked herself into believing, that being that she was somehow magically infertile, she failed to notice the cease of her monthly present from mother nature.

It was only when she was idling standing with both Ino and Haru in the foyer of the hospital with droopy eyelids and a tea in her hands, that Haru mentioned that their 'mensie cycle' would be messed up now that Ino was knocked up. It struck a cord in her brain, as if her subconscious' stored away reminders that her period was missed hit her all at once. Her eyes widened as she just barely gulped down a swig of her lukewarm tea, almost choking it back up as she grew slightly embarrassed and dashed away from the two.

Hurriedly she skid down the hallway to face the locked storage room and fumbled around with her work key ring, throwing the ones she didn't need off to the side as she found the match with a yellow rubber topping to it. She stuffed the key into it's appropriate lock and pushed the large door open, revealing the darkened closet with slightly glimmering storage shelves stacked against the walls. "Oh God." She muttered to herself as she slammed her hand against the wall to her left and slid her hand up and down until she felt the switch poking against her fingers, immediately pushing it up to shine the florescent lights down upon her. She shuffled over to the right side of the room and stuck her hand into a translucent plastic box sitting upon the shelf, feeling around until her fingers wrapped themselves around a small box. "There it is..." She stuffed it into her pocket and sneakily stalked out of the room like she was never in there.

She had a surgery in about an hour and she knew she had to make this quick so she could begin to read and prepare for her patient. She lurked into the private, singular staff washroom and dropped her scrubs, fumbling around with the pregnancy test packaging until she had the stick placed firmly in her hands. When finished, she gently laid it upon the counter and waited on the opposite side of the room, anxiously gnawing at her fingernails. When that began to grow too nerve wracking, she tapped her nails against the tiled walls, then tapped her foot, then ran her fingers through her pink tresses until her mental timer rang it's loud and quite alarming noise through her brain.

Dragging her feet through the washroom, she begged herself not to look at the stick, reminding herself that whatever life was within her wouldn't last because her body would simply rid of it. She wasn't that type of person to ignore such a huge thing, so she swiped the stick from the counter and squinted at the small screen.

"No no no no no..." She groaned to herself as softly as she could as she dropped the plastic pregnancy test back onto the counter, burying her face into the palms of her hands, gently shaking her head as she did so. "I don't want to go through with this right now, I don't want to go through with it at all..." She retracted her hands from her face and stared at the mirror blankly, mentally preparing herself to go back out in the hospital and get to work. "I have patients to tend to, I need to get it together.." She picked up the test, wrapped it in toilet paper and tossed it into the small trash can before shuffling out of the room.

She unlocked her office and promptly sat down at her desk, her beige patient folder ready and waiting for her eyes. She flipped it open and began to scan the words, age, sex, medical conditions, allergies, previous treatment, all of it. With half a mind, she flipped through the sleek printed pages with her nimble fingers, scanning the inked on words carefully with her skilled memorizing techniques. She was completely engulfed by her work and when the clock struck the time, she was out of her office to greet her patient in the checkup room.

She happily greeted the woman and proceeded to give her the 'surgery talk,' and as she did that she handed her the appropriate hospital gowns for the procedure. For the next three and a half hours Sakura skillfully cut and removed small cancerous tumors littered throughout the woman's chest area, making sure by double checking multiple times, that every visible tumor was eradicated and plastic into the plastic bowl by her side.

Sakura sighed behind her surgical mask, placing the bloodied tools on the tray beside her and pulling down her mask, nodding to the nurses in the room. "I'll leave the suture's to you three." They nodded in affirmation and she promptly left the room to clean herself up.

She once again found herself in her office, staring at the opposite wall with a blank expression, not even her eyes wavering nor hinting at any emotion she was currently feeling. Although she knew it was completely ordinary for a woman to get pregnant after a failed pregnancy, something in the back of her mind kept convincing her otherwise, the motherly, overprotective part. She knew about Sasuke's strong emotions that plagued him after the loss of the child, so she calmly made the decision that she would endure through this next 'most-likely-miscarriage' to save him the heart ache.

She decided she'd make an appointment for a weeks time.

...

She had made the appointment with her non-regular obstetrician, no she was already going into this appointment with slight apprehension. The young woman began to start up the ultrasound machine with a few buzzes and beeping as Sakura got comfortable in the reclined pleather chair, beginning to roll up her tank top to reveal her flat abdomen.

"So.. Sakura, can you tell me about your previous pregnancies?" The woman spoke softly as she squirt some jelly onto Sakura's abdomen, placing the tip of the transducer to her belly and began rubbing it around.

"My first pregnancy went fine.. My second pregnancy was fine, although my daughter was born at thirty six weeks.. Then my last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage."

"Hm, I sense a little bit of uneasiness?"

"Yeah.. I'm not sure if this pregnancy will end the same way."

"Well..." The woman began as she cocked her head at the screen, slowing the transducer until it was completely still on Sakura's skin. "By the looks of it, the embryo is completely fine!"

"Ah! Y-yeah? You're sure?" Sakura craned her neck to look at the screen and much to her surprise, there was the hardly visible little embryo, still present in her uterus. The slight twitch of a smile faded to an almost sour expression when she clearly remembered this is how it began last time. She licked her dry lips as she locked her eyes onto the sight of the blank wall. "So let's say a few weeks until our next appointment?"

The woman nodded gingerly with a large friendly smile, removing the cold transducer from her skin. "Yes, that sounds fair."

When she finished cleaning herself up she left the room.

When she arrived home she acted like nothing had ever happened, just like she had in the past week. She'd walk in, be bombarded by her children who should have either been in bed or napping, greet them happily and kiss their heads, usher them back upstairs to see a semi-guilty looking Sasuke who'd make up a lame excuse for them not being in their rooms, roll her eyes playfully and force the kids into their beds with a goodnight kiss. She made her way into her bedroom and as she changed Sasuke would ask her how her day was.

She replied with a, "Nothing out of the ordinary, how were the kids today?"

She knew he hated when she wouldn't go into detail. "Nothing out of the ordinary, brats like usual."

Sakura crawled into her side of the bed and curled up into a ball beneath the sheets, wrapping up the duvet around her figure. She was scared Sasuke would pick up on something. She was always so much more livelier, but with this nervousness and fear of miscarriage wracking her entire being it was hard to pay attention to his and the children's needs. Usually he never asked due to his prior knowledge of her wrath, but she knew if he ever did question it she'd blame it on something he'd fall for without further questioning.

She hated keeping something this large and important from him but she knew it was definitely for the better.

...

Around two weeks later on her way to the hospital and secret visit to the obstetrician, Sakura ran into the most nit-picking, curious, sleuth like person she knew. Ino waved her down from the side of the street with a big flashy smile on her face. Oh great.. Sakura sighed as she carefully rifled through the bodies in the crowded main street until she found her space beside Ino, who was standing outside of a small tea cafe.

"Ino!" The two girls greeted each other with a dainty little hug with big smiles. "How are you feeling?"

Ino rolled her eyes dramatically as she flit her fingers around. "Ehh, not so good. I feel like crap Sakura! I can't believe you've done this twice!"

"Yeah, well it's easy to get used to. If you'd like I can drop by later with some things from the hospital."

"Oh my God Sakura, that would be so amazing!" Ino looked as if Sakura was her saving angel and hugged her tightly and lovingly. "What time does your shift end?"

"Depends on what I'm scheduled for, but regularly six."

"Great!" Ino clapped happily, hugged her once more before letting her go. "I'll let you get to work, I'll see you later!"

As the obstetrician lathered on the cold jelly on Sakura's still flat abdomen, Sakura began her rant. "I'm only here to check if the pregnancy is still progressing at it's normal rate, not anything else."

"Okay." The woman flashed her a knowing smile and looked upon the monitor, beginning to scan the screen with her big brown eyes. "Just like last time, Sakura, everything seems fine!"

Once again, Sakura craned her neck over her shoulder and fixated her baffled green eyes on the screen. She was once again proved wrong. There was the tiny little embryo within her, existing, not gone. She pursed her lips together with a slight tinge of red embarrassment on her cheeks. "O-oh, okay.." When she was all cleaned up, she looked back at the woman. "I'll make another appointment."

The rest of her day she was running around the hospital on her breaks gathering whatever Ino would need for the future problems in her pregnancy. She had the different sized hot water bags, prenatal vitamins, list of nutrient high foods she should be eating, plus more junk Ino wouldn't be interested in but she should take. When she clocked out she went straight for Ino's place with her brown paper bag of goodies for her friend and when she appeared at Ino's door, she looked absolutely ecstatic.

"So I was going to say, I have THE worst morning sickness!" She announced as she stepped aside to let her friend into her apartment, dramatically putting the back of her hand to her forehead to add emphasis. "Do you have anything for that?!"

"Well..." The pinkette began as she took a seat on Ino's couch, beginning to rifle through her bag. "There's no actual medicine for morning sickness. I have a list of foods here that should stimulate thirst, drinking water and tea will make things so much easier for you." She placed a sheet of paper on the coffee table in front of the couch for Ino to read later.

"Is it normal that every morning I'm heaving everything up?! I'm not even exaggerating on the every morning thing!" She complained with that famous whiny tone of hers as she lounged on the couch beside Sakura, squinting at the paper she swiped off the table.

"Some people have it worse than others." She rummaged through her bag again and pulled out a few dark colored bottles. "Now it's recommended to take these vitamins, seriously Ino, they can help your baby in the long run." She placed them on the coffee table. "And I also brought you hot water bags for when you get aches, these pads you wear in your bra if you start lactating, ointment for stretch marks-"

"NO. I wont get stretchmarks Sakura, you're ridiculous!" Ino tittered nervously with her big, scared blue eyes. "Right?"

"Most women do, I'm sorry to say. Even I have stretchmarks."

"B-but.." Her eyes watered.

"Yes, that means if you don't use that ointment and help those stretchmarks, then you can't wear your exposing outfits." She laughed heartily. "I mean you can, but I doubt you'd want to."

"Aweh.."

"So like I said, just use this ointment at first sight and when they're itchy and hopefully it will make a difference."

"Oh Sakura, what would I do without you!? My own personal doctor that I don't have to pay for!" She engulfed her in a huge hug and snuggled her happily before picking up the small bottle of vitamin and began to study them. "How's Hinata's pregnancy going?"

"She's doing pretty good actually, nothing compared to your morning sickness. Though Naruto's been badgering her every waking moment so she's being well taken care of."

"Damn, lucky her. Shikamaru knows what's good for him so he's been out of the house as much as he can, what with these awful mood swings I get. Anything to help that?"

Sakura chuckled lightly, reclining back on the couch. "I'm afraid not. It's funny, Sasuke was the absolute same way when I had my mood swings. It gets so bad I think he's memorized when I get my period so he can book a week long mission."

"Oh God, men are funny."

The two girls continued to chit-chat until Sakura knew she better get home to put the children to bed.

...

Sakura had waited around a month to book her next appointment. "This has to be it.." She murmured to herself as she toweled her sopping wet hair off as she stepped out of the shower, staring into the mirror as she did so. She rubbed her face in the towels softness, dried her body off, and changed into her fresh clothes, still eyeing the mirror. "It's been a month.. This appointment is it.."

She had been mentally preparing herself for a while for this moment, and she was sure that this appointment was the one that would tell her that her little embryo did not survive. As the month had flew by she decided she was on the fence about telling Sasuke solely for the fact that if he somehow found out through medical files or someone running their mouth he'd never forgive her. Plus this child wasn't just hers to hide away, it was half his as well and he had just as much right to it has she did.

She shook it off and slowly blow dried her hair, earning the curious attention of her little babies, who flocked to the entrance of her bathroom and stared at her curiously. "Mommy what is that thing?!" Mako asked curious as he stepped into the bathroom, folding his arms behind his back, cocking his head at the machine in her hands. Asami soon followed suit after her brother, standing right behind him, poking her head out from the side to get a glimpse of it was well, raising a little brow at the thing.

"It's a hairdryer, see?" She proceeded to blow the hot air at her hair, making strands of pink fly around everywhere, Mako and Asami's faces lighting up instantly.

"I wanna see!" Asami piped up innocently and reached her little hands out, her big green eyes glistening happily when Sakura placed the machine in her hands. She giggled as she pointed it in Mako's face, sending his hair everywhere behind him, causing him to laugh uncontrollably and wave his hands around. She handed it to Mako who instantly pointed it in her face, blowing her little pigtails behind her as she laughed maniacally.

"Okay, Asami, I'm going out for a bit then I'm going to pick you up to see Auntie Hinata, okay?"

"What?! Mommy why can't I go with you?!"

"Because you're going to train with your father today Mako, you know that. Now give me a kiss." Sakura knelt beside Mako, gently grabbed both sides of his face with her hands, squished his cheeks and gave him a big kiss on the forehead. She ruffled his hair before standing back up. "And Asami, try not to get too dirty before I come back." It was partly that he was to train with Sasuke this afternoon, but also because with Mako's energy hitting new records, she didn't want Hinata to be frightened. Asami was much more toned down than him.

As she was closing the front door she could see the two immediately jump up on Sasuke's lap and begin to bug him, causing her to laugh. Since she'd been taking shifts at the hospital Sasuke had had more time to bond with the children and the more he did that, the more the children weren't dependent on just her. She smiled to herself as she left and as she progressed toward the hospital, the smile vanished.

She settled back into the pleather chair in the obstetricians blank room, staring off into the distance, waiting for her to enter. She read every poster within reading distance. She reread the miscarriage poster on the far right of the room with it's big colorful words and statistics, pie charts and graphs. It was one thing to read it but it was a completely different thing to experience it.

"Shall we begin?" The woman asked as she sat down on her stool, looking at Sakura with a sweet smile, tilting her head slightly. When Sakura nodded as a response, she returned to the machine that was situated in front of her, already beginning to push the necessary buttons to turn the thing on. "So we're almost nearing the end of the second month, am I right?"

"Yes."

"When your miscarriage had happened, it was around the end of the second month, right?"

"Yes, it was."

"Alright." She set down a glob of jelly once more and re-applied the transducer to the still-flat abdomen like she had done every other time Sakura visited, squinting at the monitor as she did so. It took her a few brief moment before glancing over at Sakura. "When this pregnancy passes the end of the second month, do you think you'll give up on calling it a soon-to-be miscarriage?"

"Well, it's month four that really affirms that the pregnancy will proceed according to plans, right? I think if it's not terminated by now I'll wait until then to pass judgement.."

"Well, here we have a still healthy embryo. And in a week we can officially call it a fetus!"

She didn't bother looking over her shoulder at the screen this time. "Okay.."

"Are you sure you don't want to take a peek, Sakura?" She nodded in affirmation.

"Alright, well, too many frequent ultrasound appointments shouldn't be that harmful, but let's schedule your next appointment for another month, maybe?"

"We can just wait until the four month mark, I think."

The woman just nodded and gave her a slight shrug. "Okay, I'll see you then."

She was actually quite surprised. She had a slight shred of hope that this child could make it but the darkness that was present after her first miscarriage loomed over her head and told her that last time it was the two month marker that she learned she lost her child. So in an instant that shred of hope slipped away and she was yet again tricking herself into thinking she wasn't going to have a baby in her arms.

She didn't tell Sasuke what was going on when she returned home to pick up Asami. He knew something was wrong with her, what with the looks he gives her, the side glances of unknowing, slightly worried looks. She knew the time was coming where he was going to hold her down until she told him. So she left the house quickly with Asami in her arms, who was slightly whining because she wanted to continue playing with Mako and the hairdryer. "Sweetie don't fret, you like Uncle Naruto and Auntie Hinata!"

"Yeh b-but.." She inhaled a very big amount of air and dramatically let it go, giving up on wanting to bring Mako along and decided to sight see on the way to the Hokage manse. She liked to scope out the other children that lived by, ever since Sasuke told both her and Mako that they may be team mates with them one day. Ever since she'd been silently judging and rating the other children she'd pass by. She was also quite the socialite among the children she'd stop by, not afraid in the least bit of putting herself out there to make friends. She was excited for when her best friends would have their children so they all could be friends.

Slowly, she wrapped her hand around the knob on the door and timidly took a step in, seeing Naruto lounging around in his chair with Hinata giggling at the sidelines. "Hey you two." She greeted with a large smile as she fully entered the room with a squirmy little Asami in her arms, watching as Naruto's eyes widened at the sight, jumping up frantically.

"Hey!" Naruto cheered happily as he bounded over, immediately stealing Asami away who was completely ridden with giggles. "I was wondering when you'd get here!" He sat his butt back down on his chair and did what he did best, completely disregard his work and play with Asami.

"Sorry, I had to check a few thing at the hospital before I came here." She explained as she took a seat in front of his desk, cross one leg over the other and readjusting her skirt. "Hey Hinata, how are you doing?"

"Hey Sakura." Hinata greeted warmly as she too took a seat in front of Naruto desk, slightly turning her chair to face both Naruto and Sakura. "I'm doing fine, a little bit of nausea in the mornings, nothing as bad as Ino though." She glanced over at Asami for a moment and the corners of her lips turned upwards, looking fondly at the little girl in Naruto's arms, looking as if she was imaging that child was their own.

"Soon enough, Hinata." Sakura chuckled lightly as she smiled. She had to admit, she was constantly imaging them as parents. She just couldn't wait! "You're almost at four months, right? Are you two going to keep the gender a surprise?"

"We've been debating that." Hinata chuckled lightly as she continued to proudly watch Naruto and Asami. "I think we will keep it a surprise."

"It's so fun keeping it as a surprise!" Sakura reminisced happily with her first odd pregnancy and the eagerness to learn the gender when Mako was born. "Do you have any names decided?"

"We're still undecided about that one Sakura, we just can't agree on anything!" Naruto pouted from behind Asami's fake punches to his face, pretending to have actually felt pain from her balled up little fist.

"If it's a boy, Naruto wanted to name him Neji and I suggested Minato. The hard part is we love each name and can't pick one! For a girl we are stuck between Kushina and Yoko."

"Oh those are great names!" She cooed gently as her mothering surged forward. "I love naming babies, but it is so hard to pick just one!"

"Hehe, that's why you have more than one kid, plus, you got to choose both of the names for Mako and Asami, so I don't see how it's so hard!"

"Well I don't want to choose a name that wouldn't suit an Uchiha, you know."

"Ah, did Sasuke not want to name the children?"

"He stated that he didn't want to choose a name when he wasn't face to face with the child. He has names but he's keeping them for the 'right' kid I suppose."

"Wow, those names are totally not obvious at all." Naruto droned on from behind his desk as he continued to playfully fight the toddler. "Not at all.. Ooowwwowoow, that hurt!"

"Either way it will be special when he does choose to name a baby."

"So does that mean you're planning for more children?" Hinata smiled daintily as she absentmindedly laid her hands upon her abdomen.

Sakura was surprised Naruto had not told her about her previous miscarriage, seeing as how Hinata probably wouldn't have brought that up if she did know. Out of the corner of her eye she witnessed Naruto flinch, ceasing all activity with Asami. "We'll see what happens." She gave him a small half glance along with a small wink, just to let him know that everything was fine.

...

"Sakura, this is it." Her obstetrician began as she entered the room with her clipboard clutched between her fingers, her big brown eyes rearing to go and her smile as flashy as ever. She paced over calmly to the stool beside Sakura's pleather chair, pursing her lips in an excited manner. "The four month mark. You promised me that this would be it. You still going to stay true to that?"

Sakura tittered nervously, rolling up her white tank top till they reached just underneath her bra. "I guess so, but it's been almost a month. Anything can happen."

"What about the usual spotting?"

"It's a tad more than usual."

"Well, we'll see in a matter of moments." The jelly was lathered onto her slightly swollen abdomen. Who knows, that could just be the placenta. She shivered underneath the jelly's coldness as it spread across her skin with the cold metal tip of the transducer. She sucked in a big breath of air. This is it, the moment I've been preparing for for three months. Of course she wanted nothing more than this child to be there, to be existing within her, to have a chance at life. Yet the unshakable feeling of emptiness still plagued her and her nightmares, taunting her, reminding her that her body had gotten rid of a life.

"You think that if I had a miscarriage, a second in a row, then there is something wrong with my body?"

"There's a possibility, yes." She continued to roll the transducer around, reading the monitor carefully. "Or your environment could be playing a key factor in it."

"Hm, I doubt that." Nervously, her shaking hand traced the shape of her lips as she stared down the posters on the wall, absentmindedly beginning to chew her nails in the process. "Body it is."

"Sakura..." The woman turned in her chair to face her with a serious face, not even a hint of emotion on any of her sharp features.

Her breath hitched in her throat. She didn't dare blink because it would lead to the eventual down poor of ugly tears and sobs, which she had been mentally teaching herself to control. In the heat of the moment she knew she couldn't stop the tears. Their stare down only lasted a few moments before the woman's heart shaped lips curled upwards and her perfectly straight and white teeth were showing.

"Everything is fine! Healthy as can be!"

"..." Her jaw dropped and her hands immediately found their way to her small swell that she had been neglecting to acknowledge. "There's a baby still in there...?"

"Yes! Look at the monitor!"

"N-no! I have to wait for my husband! I can't look without him!" Sakura gasped as she sat up with tears already streaking down her face, hands already covered in jelly. "I.. I'm gonna make an appointment soon, alright?"

"Of course Sakura, but are you sure you don't want to look at the monitor?"

"Mhm!" Quickly she cleaned herself off and made her way home as fast as she could, all the while trying to hide the evidence of her crying with the sleeve of her coat. "A baby..! Oh my goodness! It's still alive!" She was absolutely thrilled. No, not thrilled. The feeling of immense joy, unconditional love, anger at herself for ever neglecting to accept it's presence within her. She felt it was comparable to the feeling of when the war was finally ended. She had fought through the fourth shinobi war, but now she felt like she fought through another one. It was almost indescribable!

She just had to fight through one last battle. Telling Sasuke about the biggest secret she'd ever kept from him.

When she returned home she was fascinated by the simple revelation that Sasuke had actually gotten the children to bed on time for their nap. She only knew this because when she entered she wasn't completely engulfed by hands and hugs. When she closed the front door as quietly as she could, she noticed Sasuke hearing her arrival and slightly turning in his desk chair to face her.

"You're home early. I thought you were working today."

She licked her dry lips. "Yeah, about that..." She paced into the living room and sat down on the couch nearest his desk, eyeing him as he eyed her, cautiously at that. Can he see my tear stained cheeks? He was no idiot, she knew that, and she knew by his facial expression that he could see her nerves and those blotchy cheeks that resembled the children's when they cried.

He was about to open his mouth to question what kind of day she had, but she quickly cut him off. "There's something I need to tell you."

Another long chapter, woot woot! Opinions?

Okay, VOTING TIME! For Naruto and Hinata's first child, I've narrowed down the names! From (Rose Adry) Kushina and Minato are pretty self explanatory! I think Naruto would definitely want to name his children after his parents, because hey, his parents are awesome people, right?! For Neji, I wouldn't have even thought of it until somebody had suggested it, and the more I think about it, the more I love it! Neji meant something special to both Hinata and Naruto, and naming somebody after someone special (like Minato and Kushina) is the greatest honor! From (Rosebunse) I'm named after my grandmother who died ten days before I was born, she was fighting to stay alive to meet me but unfortunately, succumbed to her illness'. Yoko is a name I didn't even like until I got the definitions from the lovely xXRosexScorpiusXx. "It means foreign/ocean child or sunny child. Which fits Hinata and Naruto perfectly and therefore any child they have. Naruto has blue eyes, foreign roots and a sunny personality and don't forget his yellow hair." Now I really like that name based on that really great description!

OMG. Okay, so to tell you guys the truth, I do not ship Ino and Shikamaru, I was just going with the most popular ship I know of for Ino. I like her a ton better with Sai and Shikamaru a lot better with Temari. I just wanted to keep the fic clean of any wars, but if you guys really don't want Ino and Shika, I can simply edit this chapter and one a few back so it's Sai instead of Shikamaru! Just tell me! (happy face)

I love you guys, seriously! THREE MORE REVIEWS TILL 100! WOW! Here's a pre-thank you! THANK YOU!

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto!

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