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A Matter of Faith

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Summary: BtVS/AtS/The Sentinel Crossover. Starring Faith. Warning: Graphic Torture Scene.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Sentinel, The > Faith-CenteredChryssalysFR1814,768031,62421 Jul 0321 Jul 03Yes
A Matter of Faith

By Chrys



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Warnings: Graphic torture scene. This is a crossover story between The Sentinel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel universes. This occurs after Faith wakes up from her coma.

Disclaimers: They’re not mine. I wish they were. They belong to their respective creators and I make no money from this.

Thank You: To Beth, who blurted out what I was thinking, and got this one rolling. And to DawnC for beta reading.



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She sits on the bench looking over the small park. In the background she sees the university complex, busy with the comings and goings of hundreds of students. "I could have been like that," she whispers to herself. "I could have!" But deep inside she knows it isn’t so. Her life could never be so...tame.

Suddenly her face twists as a wave of grief and fury washes over her. "I am nothing!" Her fury burns brightly for a moment, then fades to dying embers. "Nothing."

Curling her legs beneath her, she holds onto the back of the bench. Her eyes are unfocused, watching something only she can see. They close, and she bows her head, leaning it on her hands. Alone, like she wanted, like she always has been, Faith cries.



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"Hey, Chief, where are you?"

Blair jerked his head around. "Oh, hey, Jim." Immediately his gaze turned away again.

"I thought we were meeting for lunch, not for some Sandburg meditation in the park."

"We are," Blair replied absently.

"So?"

"Look at that, Jim. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look so sad and lost." Following Blair’s gaze, Jim saw a young woman huddled on the bench he and Blair preferred. Dark hair streamed to cover her face. Her body was still, but the Sentinel could see tiny tremors shaking her shoulders. Muffled sobs sounded loud in his ears.

"She’s pretty unhappy, that’s for sure. How long has she been there?"

"She was up there when I got here, about forty-five minutes ago. Miguel said she was there when he opened up the stand."

Jim frowned. "I wonder if she’s a runaway."

"That’s what I was worried about. Hey, Jim, I’m going to go talk to her. See if she needs some help."

"Be careful, Chief." For some reason, Jim had a bad feeling about this. Something about that girl was wrong.

"What, you think she’s gonna hurt me, Big Guy? She can’t be more than seventeen or eighteen." Blair’s face glowed in the sun as he grinned at the detective, then headed up the small hill.

Shaking his head, Jim watched Blair’s progress up the hill. Picking up strays again, he mused. Sandburg had a habit of that. He just hoped this one wouldn’t turn around and bite him. Deciding to make sure of that, he dialed up his hearing and sight.

"Can I sit here? This bench has the best view."

Faith jerked as the gentle voice hit her. Straightening, she kept her face turned away from the speaker. "Sure, why not? It’s a free country."

The sullen tone grated, but Blair was listening carefully. Wincing at the depth of the hidden pain, he settled slowly on the bench beside Faith. "It’s a pretty day today. We’re lucky if it’s not raining here most days. But this is beautiful."

"Yeah, I guess."

"Does it rain much where you’re from?"

Faith swung to face Blair, eyes narrowing. "How do you know I’m not from here?" she challenged. An inner voice yowled its appreciation of the man before her.

"I don’t," he said peaceably. "Are you?"

She shook her head.

"Well, does it rain much there?"

Faith snarled. "What does it matter? What is your deal, anyway? Just leave me alone!"

Blair rubbed his face. "If that’s what you want, I will." He gestured to where Jim stood, looking up at them. "But from down there, you looked like you’d been left alone too long." His face earnest, he met her challenging eyes. "I’ll help you, if you’ll let me."

She looked away. "Why?"

"Because everybody deserves help if they need it. Because I know what it’s like to be alone."

She shook her head in denial. "And what do you get out of it?"

Blair’s heart ached for the suspicion he heard. God, how this girl must have been hurt! Shrugging, he replied carefully. "I get to help you. Nothing more."

Faith laughed, its sharp sound like a knife. "A real saint, huh? Just like Buffy and the rest of them. I can always find’em!"

"Who’s Buffy?" Blair sighed as the girl just looked at him. "Look, I’m no saint, okay? But you need some help and I can give it. It’s up to you." Waiting for a moment, he stood and turned to walk down the hill.

"Wait," she called after him. Stopping, he flashed a grin at her as she came up beside him. She smiled back, a shy smile that warmed her eyes. He had the feeling that smile wasn’t seen very often. "I’m Faith," she offered. He took the offer gently.

"Blair Sandburg."



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"No way, Chief!"

"C’mon, Jim! It’ll only be for a few days, until she finds her feet."

"No. Absolutely not. You know nothing about this girl. She is not staying in the loft. We’ll take her to the youth hostel."

"Oh, yeah, Jim. Like she’ll stay there."

The Sentinel shrugged, avoiding Blair’s eyes.

"She’s lost and alone and she needs help. She won’t get it there and you know it." Blair glanced over at Faith, who stood staring at the university. His voice lowered. "I think I can help her, Jim. I’ve been there. She thinks she’s not worth anything, not even for someone to help her. All she needs is to be shown that that’s not true. I can do that, if you’ll let me." He moved around to face Jim. "Please, Jim. I promise, it’ll just be a few days."

Caught by the pleading look in his partner’s eyes, Jim sighed. "I don’t like it."

"But...?"

"Just a few days, Chief." Jim’s voice was implacable.

Blair’s smile lit his face. "That’s great, man! Thanks. You won’t regret it."

Jim frowned as he watched the younger man bounce (there was no other way to describe it) over to the girl. "I hope not, Chief."



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"So how’s the grand scheme coming, Chief?" Jim watched Blair stir eggs and cheese together, adding some green leafy spice. Jim sniffed. Lime basil. Breakfast was going to be interesting.

"Pretty well, I think." Blair glanced over at the bathroom door. The shower could be heard faintly. "Faith has been kicked around a lot. She doesn’t really trust anyone, but from what she’s told me I don’t blame her. She was abandoned by her parents at an early age, drifted around a lot. I guess some guy took her in last year, really treated her like a daughter. Then he got killed by someone she thought had been a friend."

"Rough," Jim commented, effortlessly reaching the seasoning Blair had been straining to grasp. Handing it to the younger man, he continued. "Still think you can help her?"

Blair looked over at him. "I think so." He shook his head sadly. "There’s so much pain in there. The past two days...I think she’s opening up a little, though." He brightened. "We’re going down to Mr. Abram’s shop today. He was advertising for a clerk, and he said there’s no reason it couldn’t be Faith."

"That’d be good. It’d give her something to do and a place to be."

"Yeah, and then we can find her a place to live. I promised you, Jim, only a few days."

"It’s okay, Sandburg. I still think there’s more to her than she’s letting on, but I’m not going to toss her back out on the streets when she’s done nothing wrong."

"I appreciate that." The husky voice startled Blair.

Jim smiled at the anthropologist’s jump. "You didn’t hear the shower stop?" he teased gently.

"Don’t those need to be stirred?" Faith nodded at the pan of eggs. With a start, Blair grabbed the spatula.

Watching in amusement, Jim sighed. "Something wrong, Big Guy?"

"I’m just not looking forward to today. With all the cases lately, I haven’t had a chance to finish the paperwork. Simon needs a bunch of reports filed by tomorrow morning, so I expect to be late getting home. And you know how much I like doing paperwork."

Blair looked stricken. "I’m sorry, Jim. I know I said I’d help you keep up with that, but the past few days..."

"S’okay, Chief. You’ve had other things to do. It won’t hurt me to do it myself. Hey, if Faith gets that job, we’ll celebrate when I get home, okay?"

Blair slid the fluffy eggs onto the waiting plates. "Sounds good to me."

"Faith?"

The dark-haired girl smiled. "I’m always up for a party."

Jim ate quickly, leaving as soon as he was done. Blair and Faith finished more leisurely, then Blair stood. "I’m really sorry about this, Faith, but I have to go in to my office at the university for a couple of hours this morning. When I get back we’ll head down to Mr. Abram’s, okay?"

Faith shrugged. "No big."

"Yes, it is. I told you we’d go there first thing this morning. But I had an e-mail late last night about some stuff that I have to deal with now."

"It’s okay, Blair. It’s not like I’m going anywhere."

"You are going places, Faith. You are a bright, attractive young lady and as soon as I can, we’ll get you started on the path you deserve." Blair’s voice forced Faith to look at him. "Right?" She nodded reluctantly. "Okay. I’ll be back as soon as I can."

Watching the door close behind him, Faith laughed bitterly. "The path I deserve, huh?" She paced around the loft. "Going places. Yeah, right."



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"Damn!" Blair looked at his watch again, hoping to see a different reading. "A couple of hours, I said." He pulled into his parking spot. "Why did I have to give that tour, anyway?" Grabbing his backpack, he raced into the building, climbing the stairs rather than wait for the elevator.

Turning the key, he pushed the door open, mouth already moving. "Faith, I am so sorry! I was just about to head back when my mentor showed up with a bunch of people he wanted me to give a tour to. I didn’t even have a chance to call."

Faith rose from the couch, her face smiling, but her eyes distant. "It’s cool. I did a lot of thinking."

Blair tossed the backpack in the direction of the French doors. Shrugging out of his heavy jacket and depositing it on the hook, he asked, "Thinking about what?"

Faith tilted her head consideringly, looking straight at Blair. For some reason that gaze made him uncomfortable. "Oh, about who I am and what I want. I think I’ve got some things figured out."

"That’s great," he enthused. "Care to share?"

"Mmmm. Maybe." Faith moved closer to Blair. Reaching out, she stroked his face, running her fingers into his hair. "You’ve been nice to me, Blair."

"Uh, Faith?" Blair began nervously. "I’m glad I could help, but..."

"But what?" Faith grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled him to her. "You still gonna be nice to me, Blair?"

Blair’s head shook back and forth as he stared at her. Fever-bright madness glowed from her eyes. He kept his voice as soothing as he could. "You don’t want to do this, Faith. I’m, like, way too old for you."

"I like older men," her voice was dreamy, then sharpened as her hand fisted in his hair. "So you don’t think I’m worth it, huh? All that fancy talk."

"That’s not it," Blair insisted, swallowing convulsively.

She smiled, sending a chill down his spine. "Oh, I think it is," her voice was caressing. "Well, then, if you don’t want to," she shrugged, releasing her grip on his hair, "then that’s it."

He sighed in relief as the punishing grasp let go, only to gasp in shock as her fist headed toward his face. The impact drove him into the door. He rolled as her foot neared his stomach, only to fall as her open hand lashed across his cheek. Feeling a trickle of blood start down his face, he touched a split over his cheekbone. "Faith," he choked out. "What are you doing?"

She smiled, shaking her head. "You just don’t get it, do you? You thought I was some lost, little runaway you could pick up and make yourself feel good by getting her a job waiting on a bunch of jerks in a Jewish bookstore. You got it wrong, love." Pulling him to his feet, she laughed into his dazed eyes. "I’m Faith!" she said. "And I am back!"

Breaking away from her hold, he dove for the phone. She watched him pick it up, then kicked it out of his hand once he’d heard the empty line. "You don’t think I’m that stupid, do you?"

He tumbled over the couch back, putting it between them. She leapt over it from a standstill, causing his eyes to widen. "Faith..."

"Don’t bother," she said. "The best in the business have tried to talk me out of being who I am. One of them even came close once. Too bad for you that he failed." Spinning, she landed a foot squarely on his chest, sending him sprawling backward over the table. "Then I met someone who accepted me, who loved me, just as I was." Her next punch landed him on the floor, gasping in pain. "I miss him."



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Blair moaned as he woke. Pain shot through him with every breath, cracked ribs protesting the motion. Breathing shallowly, he opened his eyes, feeling his face pull at the motion. He sat in a chair, hands tied behind him and feet lashed to the chair legs. Blood trickled down his face as he tried to moisten his lips.

"Oh, good. You’re awake. That means we can play some more." The bright voice came from behind him. He turned his head slowly, wincing.

"Faith..."

She came to stand in front of him. "Damn, I forgot the gag. He would be disappointed in me."

"Why?"

"Because he always told me to remember the gag." She smiled sweetly. "But that’s probably not what you were asking. You want to know why I’m doing this to you."

Roughly grabbing his face, she forced a wad of cloth into his mouth. He gagged as she bound it into place, choking back bile. "I’ll tell you a story," she said pleasantly. Turning to rummage through the kitchen drawers, she went on. "You see, once there was a girl, and she didn’t fit in anywhere. Not even with the people who should have been her friends. They were all too busy being friends with someone else." Slamming one drawer shut, she opened the next. "So the girl got angry and did something bad. Everyone treated her like she’d done it on purpose. So she decided maybe she had. Then she did a couple more things that they thought were bad. They thought she was bad. They stopped talking to her." She snarled and opened a third drawer. "Finally she found someone who didn’t think she was bad. He took her in and gave her a place. He taught her a lot of things. Then they killed him, and she was alone again."

Blair’s eyes widened and his heart raced as she turned around, a paring knife in each hand. "Want to learn a little of what he taught me?" She moved toward him. "He taught me that there were five ways to hurt someone." Her face was disappointed for a moment. "He never let me practice, though."

Reaching him, she smiled down at his panicked eyes. "But that’s okay. I get to play now."

Sliding the edge of one knife along his neck, she pushed just hard enough to cause blood to well to the surface. "We’ve already done the first. That was blunt. Now we get to try sharp." The knife point dug a little deeper. "Slowly, of course. There’s three more ways. Good thing Jim’s working late tonight, isn’t it?"

His attention focused on the burning knife cut at his neck, Blair jerked as she drove the other blade deep into his upper arm.

Faith shuddered in pleasure. "Not too slowly, though."



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Blood dripped slowly to join the puddle on the floor. If Blair looked down, he could see streaks running toward the kitchen. He could feel the sticky fluid collecting between his tied hands, then flooding out each time he jerked in pain. Each breath brought a sharp stab from his ribs. He gasped as Faith plunged the paring knife into his leg again, fire rushing through his over-stimulated nerves.

The blade burned as Faith drew it slowly from the latest cut on his thigh, twisting it slightly as she pulled. "I’m bored with this part now. I want to move on. How about you?"

She turned his head to look at her, blood from her hands matting his hair. "You want to try hot now?"

Moving into the kitchen, she returned holding an Aim and Flame. "These things are great," she said happily, pushing the lever to lengthen the flame. "Be better if you had an aerosol can around, but this’ll work."

She turned the lighter, bringing it closer to Blair’s face. He pulled his head as far back as he could, feeling the blistering flame lick across his cheek. She laughed at the fear in his eyes, then clicked the lighter off. "I don’t know," she mused. "With all the bundling up you do, cold might be more fun."

Tossing the lighter onto the table, Faith moved to the thermostat. "Let’s see. Off or A/C?" Looking at the grayness of the outside, she laughed again, turning the thermostat to Off. "I think it’s colder out there than the A/C will go."

Blair shivered as the wind whipped through the open windows. The blood wetting his clothes took on a new meaning as the liquid passed the air right through to his skin. Faith emerged from the bathroom carrying a basin. He stared at her dully. Pulling a sponge from the basin, she smiled at him.

"You’ve gotten yourself dirty, Blair. There’s blood all over you. Let’s wash some of it off."

Holding the dripping sponge over his shoulder, she squeezed it, pouring icy water over his shoulder and upper arm. The deluge continued until every dry bit of cloth was thoroughly soaked. Several of the gashes that had stopped bleeding started up again as the fragile scabs were washed away. Blair’s shivering worsened and became all-out tremors.

Faith looked at the thermostat again. "We’re down to fifty degrees. That’s probably cold enough." She walked over and swung the windows closed. "We wouldn’t want you to catch a cold, after all."

Blair looked at her, tremors racking his body. He could already feel his lungs tightening. ‘She was going to kill him,’ he thought, ‘and she didn’t want him to catch a cold?’

"Well, I hate to cut this short, I really do, but it’s almost seven and I can still catch my bus out of Cascade." Faith stood directly in front of Blair, lifting his head so that their eyes met. "Thanks for caring, sweetcheeks," she slid her hand down his face. "You helped me a lot."

Turning, she grabbed a bag that had been sitting next to the couch. "I really like your music, you know." Crossing the room, she switched on the stereo. "Especially all those drum rhythms, and the pipes. I wonder what they’d sound like together." Flipping a switch, she cocked her head as she listened to the weird jumble coming from the speakers. "Not so good."

She looked over at Blair. "Did I tell you that the fifth way is loud?"

Blair cringed at the sudden onslaught of sound that poured from the speakers, then relaxed as it stopped. Faith walked over to him carrying a set of headphones. Carefully she placed them over his ears. The ululating pipes contrasted with the drum beats that pounded into his skull. He shook his head wildly, trying to shake the headphones off. Faith watched for a minute, then smiled and left. Blair didn’t even notice the loft door closing as he writhed in agony.

Blair’s struggles grew weaker as time passed. The cacophony piped into his ears drove away all thought, his only wish to get away from it. His breathing grew more labored, the gag not helping at all. Blood still trickled from some of the deeper wounds, mingling with the pool of blood and water on the floor. He continued to shiver for a while, then the tremors stopped.

In one last effort, he tipped the chair further than he’d managed to before. The two legs still on the floor skidded a little, then lost their purchase as the gory liquid seeped underneath them. The chair plummeted sideways, pulling the headphone wire from the stereo jack. Blair lay in the puddle of his own blood, a numb relief filling him at the sudden quiet. His head still pounded to the rhythm he’d been subjected to, but now it was internal. And it was fading.



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Jim swore under his breath as he looked at his watch. Nine-thirty and he still had three reports to finish up. ‘I’m leaving at ten,’ he decided, ‘if they’re done or not.’ Sighing, he picked up the next file.

The shrill ring of the phone next to his hand made him jump. ‘I told Sandburg I’d be late.’ Picking it up, he growled into the receiver. "This better be good, Chief."

"Jim?" A quavering voice replied. "This is Mrs. Hennessey."

Jim frowned as he recognized his neighbors voice.

"Yeah, it’s Jim. What can I do for you?"

The voice was diffident. "Well, I know you boys are young and all, but the music from over at your place is keeping me awake. I tried to call and ask Blair to turn it down, but the phone doesn’t seem to be working. I was hoping that you could reach him."

Jim closed his eyes in exasperation. Sandburg knew better than that. "I’ll take care of it."

"Thank you. I hate to be a bother."

"You’re not. I’m sorry for the problem."

Jim hung up, then dialed the loft. He closed the connection when the phone squealed in his ear. Growling, he tossed the unfinished files back in his to-do pile, pulling on his coat. Striding to the elevator, he punched the down button.

Pulling into his spot, he could hear the pounding racket. Wincing, he dialed his hearing as low as he could. "That’s weird, even for Sandburg. His butt is in SO much trouble!" Climbing the stairs, he felt actual pain as he opened the door to the third floor. He turned the key savagely in the lock, throwing the door open.

"Sandburg, what the..."

Jim stared at the scene before him. Blair lay unconscious in a huge pool of blood, his body twisted to follow the contours of one of the kitchen chairs. His lips were blue, and a blistered burn was on the cheek that Jim could see. With the pounding noise, Jim didn’t dare listen for a heartbeat.

Shaking himself out of the sudden shock, Jim leapt to the stereo, shutting it off. With fearful relief, he heard the faint sound of Blair’s heart. Pulling his cell phone out, he hit 911, calling for an ambulance while he cut Blair free of the chair, pulling him out of the bloody puddle. Setting him gently on the couch, he panicked as the heart skipped. "Blair, don’t do this. Don’t die on me," he begged.

Suddenly he noticed the chill filling the loft. Glancing over, he snarled as he saw the heat set at Off. Listening to the faint heartbeat, he jacked the heat up, then ran into Blair’s bedroom, grabbing the comforter off the bed. Wrapping the unconscious body, he held Blair while he dialed Simon’s number. Then he sat, listening to his friend’s labored breathing and fluttering heart until the ambulance arrived.



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"Sit down, Jim!" Simon glared at the pacing detective.

"Why? I’ll only be up again in thirty seconds." Jim continued pacing. "What is taking them so long?"

"They’ll let us know as soon as they can."

"I know that! It’s just..." Jim ran his fingers through his hair.

"Just what?"

"I knew better, Simon. I knew there was something wrong with that girl the second I laid eyes on her. And I let Blair talk me into letting her stay at the loft."

"You couldn’t have known what she would do, Jim."

"No? Maybe not. But I sure as hell knew something! God, Simon, you know what Sandburg’s like. He can’t see bad in someone until they rub his face in it. I’m supposed to keep things like this from happening. I screwed up, Simon, and he’s paying the price. Like always."

"This is not your fault, Jim."

Jim just looked at Simon, then kept pacing.

Finally, a white-coated man approached them. "Captain. Detective."

"How is he?"

"Stable, for now."

"What do you mean, for now?"

"He was in shock, of course, from the blood loss and the hypothermia. That’s pretty much been taken care of. His eardrums are intact, but badly inflamed. He doesn’t seem to be hearing anything right now, but that should go back to normal in a few days. His lungs are weak, as you know. We’re worried about pneumonia. He’s on IV antibiotics and hopefully we can prevent it."

"Can I see him?"

The doctor hesitated, then relented at the look in Jim’s eyes. "Briefly."

Jim walked slowly into the quiet room. Blair lay still and pale, but turned his head slowly to look at Jim. "Hey, Chief."

Blair shook his head minutely. "I can’t hear you," he said a little too loudly. Jim dialed his hearing down a notch.

He spotted a notepad and pencil lying next to the bed and grabbed it. "That’ll come back," he wrote.

Blair nodded. "That’s what the doctor said."

Jim smiled, then wrote again. "Faith did this, right?"

Blair nodded again. "I’m sorry, Jim. I know you didn’t want to take her in and I talked you into it."

Jim shook his head, wishing he could just talk. "It’s okay, Chief," he scribbled. "I just wish she hadn’t hurt you."

That got a wan smile. "Me too."

"Where is she?"

"She was going to the bus station - seven o’clock. I don’t know where."

"Detective."

Jim glared at the nurse reminding him of the time limit, then turned back to Blair. "They’re kicking me out. I’ll be back early tomorrow."

Blair read the note, then looked at Jim. "Don’t have to."

"I’ll be back," Jim said, knowing that Blair would recognize those words. His friend smiled, then closed his eyes.



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Jim looked over at the bundled-up figure settled at the other end of the couch. It was Blair’s first night home, and the Sentinel wanted to be sure he wasn’t getting too tired. He relaxed as he heard the steady heartbeat and the easy breathing.

"I’m okay, Jim," came the amused voice.

"I just want to make sure of that, Chief."

"I know." Blair looked at him steadily. "Thanks."

"When I think..."

"Don’t, Jim."

"She could have killed you."

"Yeah, she could have. But you know something? Even while she was... hurting me, there was something in her that didn’t want to."

"Yeah. Right."

"No, I’m serious, Jim. I’m not saying that I’m not angry about it. I tried to help her, and I’ll bear scars from it forever. But there’s something in her that wants help, that needs help that I just couldn‘t give. I hope she gets it."

"Well, I hope she gets caught. She got on a bus to LA. I’ve called some contacts with the LAPD, but she’ll probably disappear there."

"She really needs help, Jim."

"I know, Chief. But I don’t think she deserves it. I guess I just don’t have as much faith in people as you do."

Blair winced as Jim’s statement came out. Realizing what he’d said, Jim stumbled over an apology.

"No, it’s okay," Blair said. "I guess everything comes down to faith, doesn’t it?"

~*~End~*~

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