|Scene Title||Unnecessary Aphrodisiac|
|Synopsis||Snape snags Siobhan to help him work on an experimental brew during the noon break. Minerva tracks them down with Questions. Things get … interesting.|
|Date||January 16, 1996|
|Watch For||McGonagall makes a funny!|
|Logger||The Bad Wolf|
Morning classes are over, and having slept so well, Snape's mind has been alight with ideas for the fresh leaves. Not one to leave a cauldron burning for longer than it needs, he grabs a passing Siobhan and pulls her into the classroom. His magic reaches out to touch her skin, conveying an excitement, creativity and contentment rare for him. "I have an idea. Jasmine is a natural anti-depressant. Would the fresh leaves do well in a cheering potion? Would they improve the shelf life?" He lets go of her arm and strides to his desk, scribbling down his notes. "I wished to test the theory before the leaves get any older." He twirls, turning to find the 'bag' of leaves on the shelf. "The bag seems to still be solid. I am surprised." And amazed, but eh. Snape doesn't use language like that. "And," he sniffs at the leaves. "They appear to be nearly as fresh as when we picked them." Excellent. He moves to grab a cauldron. "Grab me…" and he rattles off the names of three ingredients on his shelf, near enough each other (and low enough) that Sio should have no trouble whatsoever getting them for him.
A good night's sleep will do absolute wonders. Siobhan, too, has been enjoying its effects. Sharp and alert - though always just on the verge of being a little light-headed - she's gotten through her morning classes with surprising ease. So when she's snatched up on her way to her quarters, her magic flares up with a bright and energetic response. She'll follow without complaint, listening as attentively as she can while dealing with the distraction of the magicks saying 'hello' and all that. "I'm not. Spells done like that tend to hold their own power for an unholy amount of time." Which, now that she thinks about it, might explain some of the old tombs and things Jack ends up stuck in. Ingredients are grabbed without question and brought to the work table to be laid out in order as she rolls up her sleeves. "How are we preparing these? Dried and crushed or steeped?"
McGonagall is on an errand from the Headmaster, her lips pursed in dismay for having to indulge his pique in such a fashion. Which means her footsteps click extra loud against the dungeon's floor. "Hnph!" she scoffs, giving a twitch at the chill and pulling her cloak a little more closely around her shoulders before she raps sharply on the potions classroom door. Once, twice. "Professors Snape and Noble. -Finally-. Dumbledore has me looking all over creation for you. Dinner is skipped, and breakfast is skipped.." Her displeasure is clear. "Really, I don't see whose concern it is, but here we are."
Severus considers the various ways of preparing them, and shakes his head. "Not dried." He reaches out and a small bottle of oil floats into his hand. "Use this, and set up an infusion. If you mash it into the oil, it should be potent enough." He sets to work boiling water, adding the ingredients she's laid out, already tweaking amounts and preparations to make up for the addition of the new ingredient. His movements pause when he hears the voice of his fellow professor. "Minerva." The crackling in the air seems to slowly disappear, much as water pulls back from the shore at low tide. "I had gathered a few rare ingredients over winter break and wanted to use them before their usefulness passed. Professor Noble graciously agreed to help me."
Siobhan reaches up to take the bottle as it floats without even thinking about it. Since he does the same, it gives her a jolt of familiar magic at the brief contact. "Right, because the oil should help to draw out the fats and oils naturally stored in the blossoms as they're crushed." Herbology and the practical side of brewing she does know well. It's all the fiddly theory bits she leaves up to him. She too, is startled at the unexpected addition of Minerva's familiar brogue, but she's not quite so … rude about it. "Afternoon, Minerva." She offers a genuine smile to go with it. "You know how he is about his ingredients. I don't think even the best of his seventh years could help out without shaking so badly they'd break more than their lives were worth." So even though she's probably not the most skilled assistant, she's still First Choice. Mention of Dumbledore's interference, however, makes her mouth press into a thin line. "I thought attendance at daily meals was a professor's prerogative? After all, there are several elements of the job that interfere with the regularly scheduled meal times…"
"Graciously, of course." Minerva's unerring gaze rests firsts on Siobhan. And then on Severus. And while she doesn't stare, she is obviously taking a measure of something. As if perhaps there's something in the air she can't quite pin down yet. It cases her head to tilt in that sharply intelligent sort of curiosity that can only spell trouble. "Oh, of course it is, my dear. A Professor's prerogative, that is." she agrees, finally deciding to pin down the younger of the snakes with her eyes. "It always becomes an item of interest however, when two of the Professors both happen to be gone at the same times, and when they're seen.. their spells are just a little more powerful! I'm an -old- witch for a reason, you know. There's not many things that cause that."
"Precisely," Severus intones to Siobhan on the reason for using oil instead of another method. "It will allow the intensity of the jasmine to work throughout the liquid even more quickly. What remains to be seen," he continues, slipping into 'lecture mode' for a brief moment, "is whether the other side effects will be more potent. If they are, we will either have to mitigate them, or make the potion for an entirely new purpose." He snorts, fairly certain neither witch will catch the inference. "There are a few reasons, Minerva, and certain branches of magic, until one has gained at least a little mastery in them, are among them." To prove his point, and because it certainly makes things easier, a quiet wisp of magic twirls toward the 'magic-bag', grabbing another jasmine leaf and laying it flat on the table in front of him.
Siobhan snorts, amused and rolling her eyes at the same time. "Right, because that's exactly what we need with all the randy fifth-through-seventh years running amok as it is." She shudders. "The Amortentia lesson they get with you is enough, believe me." Jasmine blossoms being a powerful aphrodisiac and all. Minerva's comment catches her attention, but it's to Severus she looks first. "You didn't go to breakfast?" She skipped out to get a head-start on some lesson plans while she still had the advantage of that extra energy, but obviously she thought she'd been alone in that endeavor. As for the more powerful nature of the spells… "It's part of the project he's working on. A potentially helpful side-effect, that's all." See? Not totally a lie.
McGonagall just stands there, hands clasped in front of her looking for all the world like a mother hen inspecting her chicks. "Mmm-hmm-!" Yep, that's the entirety of her first response. Because she's letting all the talk about the minutiae of potions go right in one ear and out the other. She's far more interested in the undercurrents of the conversation, her own magic unfurling little tendrils into the room as if feeling around for something. "Siobhan. It's been quite awhile since we had tea. We'll remedy that this evening, at my quarters. she decides, and then pauses. "And for goodness sake, do -not- encourage that painting's ego by giving in to his demands to call him 'sexy'." Huff. "And present yourselves, separately… to dinner today if you please. I think you know what I mean."
"Not one of my thoughts had anything to do with the miscreants getting ahold of it, Siobhan," Severus shudders slightly, the idea throwing him off for a moment. He returns to the rhythm of brewing, partially to erase the thought of teenagers with the potion from his mind, and partially because once he's started, he needs to keep at it. When the air fills with the touch of heat more like a hearth fire than a sunshine, he blinks, looks up at the older professor, and tilts his head, silence falling as he contemplates the new development. "Minerva…" He frowns, unsure how to continue. There is a moment of panic for him, though it only appears as a flash of a glance toward Siobhan. Perhaps it is enough to give the game away, but he worries about Albus (or others) finding out about any of this. "When I assisted Professor Noble in coming back from her … imprisonment, she discovered that she had a new predilection for magic. She shared her findings with me." He's trusting her with a portion of the truth to keep the other close for as long as possible. "I shall attend Dinner. Have no worries on that score."
Siobhan's reaction is not nearly so controlled. Then again, that's to be expected - she's never had Snape's control. The smell of burning wood runs like smoke against her skin and it takes her only a fraction of a moment to trace it to its source. Bracing both hands against the wooden table on which their ingredients sit, she narrows her eyes toward McGonagall, lip curling in an almost snarl. The air between the Deputy Headmistress and the two serpentine professors will seem to shimmer like hot air over a desert afternoon. Severus might recognize it as the same shield that came to life during their treatment of Gaius' curse. "Minerva, I have a great deal of respect and affection for you, but it's not polite to cast an unannounced spell among friends." There's a line of tension up her spine. "What are you doing?" She doesn't respond to the summons for tea - far too similar to the Headmaster's invitations for her liking - nor the demand for appearance at dinner. This doesn't seem like very Minnie-esque behavior at all, and it's putting Sio on edge.
McGonagall remains stolidly unafraid, despite the snarl and shimmer in the air. In fact, her expression doesn't change at /all/. "Nor is it polite to keep secrets, and yet people do so all the time. A simple charm to warm my cloak ought not cause such a reaction. Severus, you will see to her health I hope? Perhaps a visit to the infirmary is in order." Minerva makes the suggestion mildly, and gives him a slight nod of understanding for his incomplete but far better explanation of events.
"I believe I will be able to deal with the situation adequately without the need for intervention, Minerva." Severus doesn't snarl his words, but there is a sharp bite to them. With the addition of the twining magics, it is so much easier for Severus to catch Siobhan's eye and fall right into the sunshine. He doesn't remain there long, but it's clear a message is sent. Behind the shield, a soft, shimmering wall of magic begins, centered at first on his frame, then expanding out to mix with the shield itself. It's not intended to reinforce, but to communicate. Its secondary purpose is to serve as an example of solidarity with Siobhan.
Severus sends a tendril into the flare, not overtly calming, merely a solid presence within her mind. Siobhan. He speaks her name as he had before, or perhaps even sends the echo of himself speaking it. The tendril remains, present, friendly, supportive, but unwilling to press too much further.
Siobhan is a maelstrom of intense heat and light, all funneled back to and fueled forward by the same fear. Even so, it recognizes that questing tendril and twines around it, pulling it further into a warm and protective embrace. I won't let them use you. I can't.
Severus allows his tendril to surge a little larger, a geyser of emotion seen only by her, and only in the depths of their minds. And I cannot let you be — not again — taken away. It's something he didn't even know he felt, but acted on anyway. He protects her because he cares for her. The reverse is also true, it appears. We will do what we must. For him, it's like a mantra, over and over in his mind. Together It seems the wisest course, the waters sorting and measuring other options. We will have to do this together.
And gradually, very gradually, Siobhan settles. Tense muscles relax and her face loses its feral expression. The shield is then dissolved by the second magic that courses through it, and when Siobhan looks up into McGonagall's face, it's with the haunted shadows that darkened her gaze for weeks after first leaving the portrait-realm. "I told you once before that more important lives than mine depended on the secrets I keep," she answers quietly. "You agreed. You said you understood." So why bring it up now? The question lies unspoken in the thick atmosphere of the cloistered classroom, shut off from the rest of the world and yet precariously close to tipping over the edge. "Why did Albus send you down here, really?"
"Then do so." Minnie isn't one on long speeches when a short phrase will do. And it's obvious that she doesn't miss much when her eyes settle on the two of them. One has to wonder what she will say to Dumbledore when she reports back. She even lets it hang there for a moment, the reason why she went looking for them like a chain weighing all three of them down. "I'll be reporting to the Headmaster that you were working on improving some potions. Make it on time to dinner, as I'm sure he'll have questions on what you've been able to do.." is warned dryly, in an exasperated tone. "I didn't ask for your secrets. And I do understand. But there also comes a time when others obviously start to understand there is something being kept from them, and they start to ask questions. Or make others ask it for them. And I am as kept in the dark by Albus as the both of you are. He asked me to find you both, and so I did." When she spins on her heel to leave, muttered words can be heard down the hall. "As if I'm some sort of house elf, running after people. I -never-. And the sheer /gall/ of…."
Bereft of certainty on how to respond to either woman, he lowers his head, slicing the jasmine leaf into long, thin strips, handing them to Siobhan to put into the oil and compress. When Minerva exits the room, he sighs, turning to face Siobhan. "Do you think it is the knowing or lack of knowing that irritates him more?" It's meant to cheer them both up, but whether it works for either of them remains to be seen.
Siobhan is kind of … stunned. Speechless, she watches McGonagall spin on her heel and march right on out of there! Heaving a sigh, she flicks her wrist toward the door, only speaking once it's quite firmly shut. "One of us needs to talk to her." She's having a hard time keeping a straight face about the house-elf muttering coming from the straight-laced old professor, but the actual topic at hand is a serious one. Reaching over, she'll accept the strips of jasmine leaf and lay them flat in a bone bowl of clear oil. "The not-knowing. It'd have to be for someone like that."
Severus sighs, stirring the cauldron. "I shall go talk to her this evening. Take some of my scotch." He pours another ingredient in, stirring it a few times widdershins, and looks up. "I agree. So, perhaps he senses that something has changed, and not knowing precisely what has changed is making him nervous. I rather like that thought." He smirks at her, looking up from the cauldron. "Compress those as the others, and pour them in slowly when I arrive at that point." He'll tell her when that is, but he's tweaking and changing the potion, and mentally calculating all that, on top of wondering what his superiors are up to. Yes, even the Deputy Headmistress, too.
Siobhan eyes him sideways, even as she slots and presses down on the curved piece of stone that just fits into the bowl. "Scotch? Sure that's a good idea?" She's pretty enamored of his mead, but the scotch he has is no pushover, either. "Get enough in her and she might make a move on you. Feisty old wildcat." She's looking down at the stone and bowl she's leaning on, but it's not quite enough to hide that wickedly teasing grin. She knows the oils are mixing; the heady scent of jasmine is starting to waft through the air enough to make her sigh. "Not my favorite - " as evidenced by the white tea and ginger oils she uses herself " - but definitely a nicer smell than most of the brews I've had to down." So there's a possible plus. "These should be ready in just a mo'."
"Well, perhaps I shall have to inform her that I am unavailable." Severus really wouldn't, but it'd be nice. "I have seen her imbibe, and it is amusing. She normally knows the line between pleasantly affected, and 'taken leave of your senses.'" He snorts. "There has been a time or two when she blatantly disregarded said line, however." His smirk widens a bit. "It does have a very distinct scent, which tends to have a certain effect. I shall have to spray the air with something foul to prepare for my next lesson…" He pauses, looking up at her again. "..unfortunately." He nods, and looks down at the potion. "I believe I am ready for them, if you have finished the infusion. Merely slowly pour the oil into the cauldron. It may be enough without the leaf itself." Clearly, this is still an experiment.
Siobhan laughs outright at that, a soft and pleasant sound. "You could, too, and no one would even blink twice." Because too many people hear only what suits their reality. The laughter fades, but the grin remains, even as she hefts the heavy bowl and stone to hold it over the cauldron, pouring the light lavender liquid slowly into the heated mixture, using a clockwise figure-eight pattern to distribute the oil into the brew. "Must you, really? Something this light couldn't really stir anyone up. Least of all first and second years." Which is who she's pretty sure he has next. If it doesn't stir them up, as full-blown adults, surely the adolescent children will survive.
"It is not the class immediately due which causes me worry." Severus thinks for a moment. "You may be right. Rockwell is in that class. There is not much chance of the room smelling of anything other than Eau de Failure." He snorts. "Would you care for me to make the attempt?" The serious question is couched among the banter, nervousness showing only slightly through. When she steps close to pour the tincture in, he looks straight at her. "Thank you." For the leaves? Yes. For more than that? Probably.
Such simple words from him always seem to have power. This time it's the power to stir up pleasant butterflies in her stomach, bringing with them a softer, almost sheepish smile. She's careful to un-tip the bowl in the dipping motion that will catch the last drops as they spill over the edge. Only after she turns and leaves it safe on the table will she answer his question. "Are you asking what I want to do or what I must do?" Weighing pixie dust on a tiny set of crystal scales, she looks over her shoulder at him, eyes warm and smile soft. "Because I think you should know those are very, very different things." Her eyes go back to her work, but her attention remains on him. "I wouldn't be researching vows without a bond, otherwise." It's a soft admission, almost to herself, but he's always been too observant by half.
Severus Snape is a Potions Master. Which is a good thing at the moment. His hands continue to do what they are doing with minimal input from the conscious portion of his brain. While his hands are busy brewing, his mind has completely stalled. However, he knows a response is merited, and it takes a moment for him to give it. "My library is at your disposal." That's the first matter taken care of, an acquiescence to her research, if not his wish for the same. "You are correct. I shall continue as I have." He'll take the subtle reminder of the difference between what they wish and what can be. His hands pause, casting a light stasis charm. "Would that I could." He moves around the cauldron and lifts her chin to press a quick, stolen kiss to her lips.
Siobhan is quiet for a moment, off-balance by his almost clipped reply. "You don't think I should? They do things more like Muggles in America, I don't think he'd know that our families still use many of the old rituals - some of them in blood. And I …" Don't want that. Not for a business transaction. "… need to find something without the binding magic." His affirmation of her correctness makes her feel a little sick, which it shouldn't, but if he acquiesces to the hopelessness of their situation now, after … Siobhan opens her mouth to say something - something quite witty and convincing to be sure - but is cut off by gentle fingertips on her jaw and a warm mouth stealing her breath in the lightest and quickest of kisses. "Oh…" So he's not backing out. One hand lifts to grasp his own, fingers pushing between fingers to send a strong pulse of sunlight up his arm before releasing him again to his work.
Apparently, 'acquiescence' doesn't always translate well. "No, I think you are correct for researching…" He pauses his words as her magic touches him almost as quickly and gently as their kiss. "…researching bonds. I merely had overlooked that fact." He sighs, realizing she's picking up all the wrong signals. "I am merely reminding myself of the delineation between public and private, and of who resides in which sphere. There are a few things I have confided to Minerva about. This, unfortunately, may not be one of them." There is an unspoken regret: that he cannot even share with those he calls close allies.
Lifting her free hand to brush soft knuckles against the side of his face, Siobhan's smile up to him is equal parts affectionate and sad. "At least you can confide in Eileen. My mother is the first person this has to fool or it'll never make it out of the gate." Lady Edana is rather infamous for throwing wrenches into plans of which she disapproves. "To say nothing of the rest of them." She shudders. The idea of lying to her family for two years straight isn't sitting well with her. As for Minerva … "You're the one who read the contracts. How is 'believable' defined? Who has to believe and who can know?" Because if it's not explicitly forbidden in the fine print, she'd much prefer he be able to ease his mind than to be once more restrained to only his own counsel. Making to step back and let him have his personal space again, Siobhan reaches for the delicate tray of dust from the scales and holds it in her palm for him to take from for the brew as needed. Suddenly her eyes widen and light up. "The Felix, Sev…" What he gave her for Christmas. "If I take a dose before negotiating and signing, would it … ?" Be enough?
"There is that," Severus comments on his mother being a good sounding board. "However, she will be insufferable for a while." There's a wry snort, and then he considers. "The contract states that it must be believable to the public. I am uncertain as to how that is defined in individual relationships. Perhaps that may need clarification. If it is too much, I will console myself with speaking to my mother. It has eased my mind before." The mention of the Felix Felicis makes him think. "I do not see how it could not at least assist you in finding every advantage. There may be precautions against it if Morgan himself does not know and remove them. If there can be an agreement on that point, it would definitely be beneficial."
Siobhan laughs at that - she very much likes Eileen. "Small price to pay," she quips back. Small price for him, but she also just might get a teensy amount of enjoyment out of Eileen's ability to make him squirm without being anything but affectionate. Taking one of his hands and placing the pixie dust into it, she turns him around and gives him a gentle nudge toward the cauldron under stasis, her fingers lingering just a little longer than strictly necessary. Satisfied, she returns to ingredient preparations. The more she thinks about it, the less comfortable she is with the idea of using the Felix here. "In a contract between myself and the Headmaster or Tom, I'd take that advantage and gladly, but … " She's not ready to label Jake an enemy. "He's a friend of Jethro's." And though Severus may not like her USMMC friend, Siobhan does, and trusts his judgement - mostly. "You may have to say something to Minerva, anyway - or one of us will. She's too smart by half and if we don't, it's quite likely she'll be led to the wrong conclusion."
The fact that Morgan is a friend to Jethro doesn't really endear him to Severus, except that he can understand Sio has a much wider range of 'friendships' than he. He gives a slight scowl at the mention of the Auror's name, and sprinkles the dust into the cauldron, removing the stasis charm at the same time. "That man is a menace." It's a mild aspersion, but for the moment, it stands. "He seems to be as nosy as Albus and as stubborn as any Lion." He stirs the potion, then focuses his magic to lower the heat, making sure that he knows exactly how much he lowers it. The change in his magic would probably affect that as well. He shrugs. "Perhaps others may be convinced of lack of need for more binding rites by his traditions and his impending demise." It is an idea that occurred to him, but he is unsure if it has any merit at all.
Severus pauses, slightly confused. He looks up at her, and tilts his head. "Then, I shall." The confusion remains on his face for a moment as he adds another ingredient. "Does this look magenta or fuchsia to you?" He lifts the rod, allowing the thin liquid to drip back in, checking color and consistency.
Siobhan rolls her eyes, but there's an upward tug to her lips that speaks of an indulgent smile. "Jet's not so bad." Okay, maybe she's riling. Just an eensy bit. "Actually … " That's pretty genius. "Take that train of thought a bit further, though. Why not just do the entire thing overseas? Take lots of pretty photos and give the Daily Prophet a nice centerfold story to run, and flood them with so many details they forget to even wonder about the ritual." Misdirection, hooray! As for ascertaining the color of the potion, of course Siobhan has to step closer to do it. To make sure she's got an accurate view of the exact shade, it obviously merits leaning against him to peer directly down at the thing. "That's definitely magenta." Says the expert on pink.
Severus shakes his head, lowering the stirring rod back into the potion. "I believe you are correct. Now we shall let it cool." He doesn't elucidate just how he will test it. Perhaps, like his red-headed-terror-students, he'll test it on himself. "The only challenge would be if Lady Noble would be satisfied, I wager." This in reference to her comment about throwing the party overseas. "However, if there is enough attention and glamour, she may miss the simple truth." It's worked for others before. He steps back, extinguishes the fire, and lifts a brow. "Jet, is it?" He gazes at her for a moment, and waits for her response.
Since the potion is set to cool, now, Siobhan makes herself comfortable hopping up to sit on an open corner of his desk - well away from the ingredient table. "Maybe. Mum's funny that way. Sometimes she's sharp as anything and other times it's like she doesn't notice anything short of the room being on fire." As for his query, Siobhan isn't bothered, but playful. Her head is tilted so that waves of soft golden hair fall across part of her face and obscure half her grin. "It is, yeah. Payback for his obsession with landing me on my arse." And suddenly there's a wicked sort of gleam to her warm brown eyes. "Honestly, it's like he's trying to give me a complex about bein' on my back."
It takes a very short moment for Severus to realize he's being jibed, and before he does, his lip curls in a snarl. "Indeed." When the realization hits him, his lips thin, and he stalks toward her, leaning near, but not completely in her space. He's attempting to preserve some modicum of space right now. "He may not be the only one to give you such a complex." His eyes flash with something hot, and then, control slams back into place. "We have classes very soon." It's a reminder, an excuse, a complaint, all.
Preserving that space would be the safe thing to do. It might even be the right thing to do. He's still close enough that she can smell the sandalwood and cedar that she always associates with his rooms and robes and that combined with the heat in words and gaze make her feel like being anything but safe. "Still have ten minutes," she murmurs, arching her back so she can murmur the words against his jaw. "And who in their right mind shows up early for your Gryffindor/Hufflepuff potions?" Leaning further forward so that her mouth brushes the skin of his ear, she lowers her voice to the barest of whispers. "And here I thought you'd want me on my back."
Severus won't speak this aloud. So, instead, he gazes directly into her eyes, slipping in and swirling around with the warming water as a sensuous touch to her mind. I will have you on your back, and any other way we can imagine, Siobhan, the images of them twined together seem to form from the waters, shadows of an extremely healthy imagination and an equally healthy libido. However, for the moment, I have a class to teach, as do you. The images seem to want to remain behind, but he stills the waters, stepping away mentally as quickly as he'd entered. "Never doubt." He hisses quiet words in her ear, and steps completely away. It may make things difficult for the two of them this afternoon, but it must be borne. "When there are more wards than my classroom, I will prove your theory correct."
When he slips into her mind again, this time in the space of only a breath, Siobhan is overwhelmed. Is that just her imagination or have the edges of her sun taken on a ring of clear azure water? The images he forms from his own ocean are just barely tinged with gold, and Sio can't figure out if she's seeing things before she's distracted entirely by the subject. The heat and power in his promises is intoxicating. This is going to be the longest class ever, she whispers as he withdraws, her physical body as shaken and heated as her mind. Never one to be passive, however, Siobhan pushes off her corner of the desk, determined to make sure she's not the only one with this … electricity dancing over her nervous system. Pushing right into his personal space without any apology, she stands on tiptoe and grabs the sides of his face, pulling his head down far enough that she can kiss him - hard. Pulling back only when the combination of proximity and lack of air create the very real danger of lost consciousness, she searches his eyes for the power she can feel building in the sun at the base of her skull and then makes to turn, to leave, to go - to get out before the two of them do irreparable damage.
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