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In for a Penny, in for a Pound

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The White Knight Romances". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Penny Brown is on her first mission to save Uncle Gadget after the death of Brain. As Gadget’s investigation into Dr. Claw’s latest plot delves into the supernatural, Penny must rely on the assistance of a mysterious man if she is to save him. XH/PB

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Cartoons > Inspector GadgetBarefootXOFR1814,8762172,6037 May 117 May 11Yes
I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Inspector Gadget. They belong to Joss Whedon and Jean Chalopin respectively.

This fic uses elements from the cartoon and the first live action movie. Please keep that in mind.

~~

In for a Penny, in for a Pound

**

Brown Residence
Riverton, Ohio
March 7th 2005


Inspector John Brown glanced down at the piece of paper that had been delivered to him by Chief Quimby and sighed faintly. Dr. Claw was planning something new and he was being asked to investigate the matter. John glanced at his beloved niece, Penny. He knew full well that she shouldn’t have to be alone at a time like this was. Brain had died of old age and Penny was taking it very hard. She just sat there, tapping away at her heavily modified computer notepad and shutting out the world. The girl was a genius, John knew, but he also suspected that the now twenty-year-old woman was going to destroy herself if she didn’t stop her descent inward.

John winced at the thought. His romance with Brenda Bradford had been wonderful, but painfully short-lived. John’s face hardened with resolve and he grabbed his trusty trench coat. Chief Quimby had given him a mission and now was not the time to sit there, moping about the past. “I’m always on duty,” he muttered softly, his silent encouragement to himself that he was doing the right thing. “I’m on a mission, Penny. Don’t forget to do your homework while I’m gone.”

Penny’s disinterested acknowledgement followed him out the door like a malevolent spirit. John hardened his heart again. Inspector Gadget was needed and needed now. Penny could use this time to herself to grieve properly. It would do her good. Somehow it just didn’t sound right in John’s heart. It didn’t matter. He was always on duty.

**

Brown Residence
Riverton, Ohio
March 7th 2005


Penny Brown glanced up secretively as her uncle left their house. It was time to go to work. A few rapid taps on the nearest confirmed that her college assignments, already long since complete, would be e-mailed to her professors as they came due. Meanwhile, Penny had a job to do.

Penny had spent the past decade working very hard, with Brain’s able assistance, to keep her beloved Uncle Gadget from winding up dead as he faced off against Claw’s varying nefarious plots. She’d done this while still keeping up some fairly superior grades in school, though her attendance was somewhat spotty. This time, she suspected, would be the hardest one yet. This time she was without Brain. She sighed softly at the thought of her beloved companion and then stood up straight. Her uncle still needed her. She would just have to work extra hard to make up for Brain’s absence.

Penny consulted her computer notebook, following the path of the tracking beacon she’d placed in Uncle John’s trench coat. She smirked faintly. “All right, let’s do this…”

**

M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 7th 2005


Dr. Claw sat in his office, his mechanical claw flexing in anticipation. He knew from his sources in law enforcement that Chief Quimby had once again sent Inspector Gadget to attempt to foil his latest scheme. But this time, this time he had far more dangerous minions then Gadget could ever dream of.

Claw glanced to his side where the Immortal stood, smirking confidently. “Have you ordered the vampires you brought to my cause to intercept Gadget?”

The Immortal nodded firmly, his smirk still in place. “Minions, a dozen strong. They are led by Vlad Dracula. He’s a bit showy, as vamps go, but still a respected master nonetheless.”

“How did you gain the allegiance of a master?”

“He owes me one. I saved his precious unlife a time or to. For that he’s willing to help with your scheme to kill Gadget.”

Claw grinned. “I’m glad to hear that he’s on board. Do make sure he doesn’t survive after Gadget is dead. It wouldn’t do for anyone so fickle to know my face.”

The Immortal bowed low. “It will not be a problem.”

“Good.”

**

Close to the M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 8th 2005


Inspector Gadget, fully into his work persona now, searched the streets of Cleveland for a clue that might lead him to find Dr. Claw’s latest secret base. “Go go Gadget Magnifying Glass!” Gadget’s hat opened up to reveal his magnifying glass and he looked closely at a discarded twinkie wrapper, half-suspecting it had been discarded by a M.A.D. agent. Goodness knew that only a M.A.D. agent would eat something so unhealthy.

“Can I help you with something?”

Gadget spun about to see a young man in outdated clothes looking at him innocently. The poor lad was probably homeless and couldn’t afford better. “Perhaps you can, young man. I’m wondering if you’d seen any suspicious types around this area before.”

Ed smirked. The Dark Master had placed him on guard duty and disallowed him from scavenging for food. But surely somebody looking for their base could be eaten, right? “I think I saw someone in the alleyway over there.” Ed pointed Gadget in the direction of a secluded alley, a faint smile gracing his lips as he did his best to look helpful.

Gadget smiled thankfully. “Your assistance is more then helpful, citizen. I’ll make note of it my report.” He took the lead and allowed the concerned citizen to follow as he entered the alley. Heaven only knew what surprises Dr. Claw might have stored in there.

Ed licked his lips as he followed his victim into the alley. This guy was a real moron. Mentally he whispered, I’d like a happy meal on legs, hold the brains. Thank you.

Gadget’s eyes searched every corner of the alley. He turned back to Ed, becoming curious now that he saw no one was there. “Are you quite sure you saw someone enter this alley?”

Before he could answer, Ed gasped as he felt a wooden crossbow bolt penetrate his heart. He dissolved to dust in moments.

Gadget did not spare a glance at the citizen who had just been shot. The placement of the shot had been fatal and so he immediately moved to pursue the murderer. His sharp eyes picked up a guy in an eye-patch that was carrying a crossbow. Gadget’s eyes narrowed. “Stop in the name of the law!”

The man, obviously evil considering that eye-patch, immediately turned and ran. Gadget thought for a moment and then called out, “Go go Gadget Roller Skates!” As the skates popped out, Gadget immediately launched into pursuit of his suspect.

**

City Streets
Cleveland, Ohio
March 8th 2005


Xander Harris grinned as the bumbling detective with funky gadgets pursued him across the streets of Cleveland. Those ridiculous toys of his might have helped him with regular crims, but Xander was a veteran of two hellmouths and had spent a fair bit of time in Africa too. One bungler in a trench coat wasn’t going to catch him. Certainly not in a place where he possessed the home field advantage.

In all fairness to his pursuer, Xander had to give the man his due credit. He had actually managed to keep up for a while before Xander had taken to the Cleveland sewers. Xander ascended topside again, slowing to a walk. It was time for him to return to home base.

**

Nikki Wood School for Gifted Young Women
Cleveland, Ohio
March 8th 2005


Penny Brown was not a stupid girl. She had not survived as her Uncle Gadget’s primary backup for a decade now without a sharp mind. Unlike Uncle Gadget, she had seen the supposedly murdered citizen dissolve into dust. She had also seen how that citizen had been manoeuvring her uncle into a corner. And so she had used facial images of her uncle’s rescuer that she had captured off of a hack into the local security cameras in order to begin her search for the mystery man’s home base.

The security around the man’s identity told her much more than the actual information she had been able to find. Her hack into the military files associated with him had quickly turned up a long file that was almost entirely blacked out. That meant he had been involved in some sort of black ops. The fearsome, nigh-impenetrable firewalls around the place he was employed told her that it was far more then a simple school. The fact that information on his childhood was sketchy at best told her that something had been odd about Sunnydale, California, something that had nothing to do with the sinkhole. The lack of information on the destruction of his old town suggested that the sinkhole story was just that, a story.

Penny was left with only one option: the direct approach. She knocked on the door of the Nikki Wood School, desperately quashing her worry. The door opened to reveal her target. The long-distance photos hadn’t done him justice. She swallowed heavily and forged ahead. “Xander Harris?”

The man in the eye-patch arched a brow faintly. “Who wants to know?”

Penny smiled broadly, trying desperately to project confidence that she did not feel. “I’m Penny Brown. We have a lot to talk about, Mr. Harris.”

**

Nikki Wood School for Gifted Young Women
Cleveland, Ohio
March 8th 2005


“I’m Penny Brown. We have a lot to talk about, Mr. Harris.” The girl at their door was a real beauty and now she wanted to talk to him. There was only one explanation. She had to be a demon.

Xander stepped back motioning her to enter the front door. She stepped through without any difficulty. She was not a vampire. Xander nodded mentally. Next test. Xander motioned to an empty parlour. “If you would please wait there for a moment, there is something I need to check on.”

The younger-looking girl looked curious, but obediently followed his directions. Xander immediately left the area, detailing a slayer to guard the parlour and to restrain Penny if she left. His hand dipped into his pocket and plucked out a cell phone, his fingers flicking it open easily and dialling the number he needed from memory.

Three rings later, the phone picked up. “Wizard’s Tower, Andrew speaking.”

Xander barely restrained himself from rolling his eyes at the absurd name. That was what they got for letting Andrew name things. “This is Xander. Who is monitoring the wards on Cleveland House at the moment?”

The geek’s tinny voice practically echoed with pride. “I’m on it, Xander. What do you need?”

“What species was the girl who just entered the house?”

A glance at the ward records confirmed what Andrew remembered. “Human. Pure as new driven snow, human. I doubt if she’s had anything more then vague experience with the supernatural, Xander. Even you register more strongly, because of the residue from all those possessions you’ve had and those spells you’ve participated in.”

Xander nodded slowly. “You’re sure?”

“You bet, Xander. If you want I can have Willow triple-check my…”

“That’s okay, Andrew. No need to bother Willow with this. The last thing he needed was Willow to hear about a woman asking for him. It wouldn’t matter how ordinary she seemed, Willow and Buffy would go medieval on her.

**

Nikki Wood School for Gifted Young Women
Cleveland, Ohio
March 8th 2005


“Xander.”

Penny glanced up to see that Xander had entered the parlour he had previously directed her into. “Pardon me?”

“My name is Xander, Miss Brown. Mr. Harris is my father.”

Penny nodded in silent agreement. “I’m Penny then.”

The man grinned at her. “What can I do for you, Penny?”

Penny stared sharply at Xander for a long moment, projecting all the willpower she could behind the stare. “I want to know why you saved my uncle earlier today. I also want to know what it is you saved him from.”

Xander’s eyes widened slightly. “How did you track me down? I was pretty sure I’d lost your uncle in the sewers and I hadn’t noticed any other pursuers.”

Penny thought about insisting that her question be answered first, but she deemed that childish. Besides, she was on his turf at the moment. She patted her beloved computer notebook. “Let’s just say that I’m very good with computers and getting into other computers. What I found led me here. What I didn’t find left me very curious.”

Xander was silent for a long moment before apparently deciding to tell the truth. “I saved your uncle because his life was in danger. It’s really that simple. As for what I saved him from… That was a vampire.”

Penny worked her jaw for a moment, trying to figure out how to respond to that audacious statement. Finally she managed to regain her wits. “I’ll admit that what I saw fits into the legends well enough, but surely there’s another, more rational, explanation?”

Xander shrugged carelessly. “I’m sure there are many more rational explanations. There are not, however, any more truthful ones. Vampires have existed for millennia, ever since the last of the greater demons was banished by our ancestors. They were reputedly created by one demon mixing his blood with that of a mortal man. These days they are like a plague on humanity, killing and turning those who they can. This organisation is one responsible for culling their ranks.”

“So all of these… vampires are bad? How can that be?”

A vampire lacks a soul of its own. The soul is what allows a living being to distinguish between right and wrong. A soul does not guarantee a good person, obviously, but a lack of one leaves an amoral being that can only be controlled via the soul that created them. Vampires are created by the same evil demon that was banished so long ago. Since it is evil, all of its soulless children are evil.

Penny was having a lot of trouble with the ideas being presented. “But how is all of this possible. Science would tell me that this is all a crock.”

Xander grinned. “Science is incomplete, as it always has been. Vampires and demons are not beyond the reach of science. Science simply hasn’t gotten to a level where it can understand them properly.”

Penny nodded reluctantly. Science had a long and distinguished history of having old, incorrect theories getting proven wrong or superseded by a more modern theory. The idea that science wasn’t perfect was certainly not new. “So what now?”

Xander shrugged. “I presume you’ll go on with your life.”

Penny shook her head fiercely. “I can’t do that. My uncle is investigating in this area and he might come into contact with more of those things. I need to be here to watch his back.”

“I can watch over him for you. I’ll make sure he gets home safe.”

“Like hell, Xander. He’s my uncle. I’ve spent a lot of ears keeping him alive on investigations. I’m not about to abdicate my responsibility to him just because you might be better qualified.”

Xander grinned winningly. “Then what’re we gonna do, Pen?”

Penny grinned ferally at Xander, making him wonder if she had ever been primal-possessed too. “You’ve just gotten yourself a new partner. Congratulations.”

Xander smirked faintly. “You’re certainly better looking then my last hunting partner.”

Penny fought a blush and attempted to glare at him.

**

M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 9th 2005


Xander stared at the formerly secret base of Dr. Claw, noting the three vampires standing guard outside. He also sensed a certain malevolent presence he hadn’t felt in a very long time. He turned to his new hunting partner. “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

The young woman smiled winningly, projecting a confidence she did not entirely feel. “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

Xander pinched the bridge of his nose in mock pain. “And people say my jokes are bad. I should offer fair warning. There is a master vampire of my acquaintance in the area. He’s a nasty type and I’m not sure that I can overcome him. Now are you still in?”

Penny frowned faintly, but clamped down on her determination. Her uncle would likely be returning to the area later in the night. If she didn’t help Xander clear the path, Uncle Gadget would be eaten live, literally. “What’s the plan, Xander?”

Xander grinned. “A little game of bait and switch, with you playing the bait.”

**

M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 9th 2005


Piotr was a high-level minion and a leader of a small group of vampires that were assigned to guard the current M.A.D. compound. The Dark Master had commanded and so it was fact. He grinned maniacally as a pretty little brunette walked into the area, quite obviously lost.

“Excuse me? I’m really hungry and looking for a nice place to have dinner tonight. Do you have any suggestions?”

Piotr, Bob and Hector exchanged glances. This was just too good to be true they couldn’t pass it up. “I’m sure that we can find dinner right here. You certainly look good enough to eat.”

The brunette began to look frightened, though her scent didn’t quite match her face. “I’m not really looking for that kind of relationship.”

Piotr’s senses were screaming that this was a trap. She obviously wasn’t a slayer, he would’ve sensed that, but it was also obvious from her scent that she wasn’t afraid.

Unfortunately Bob was too stupid and young to pick up on that. “Who said anything about a relationship!?” And with that the vampire roared forward, even as the girl tripped and fell to the ground, crying out in terror. Bob’s violent charge was intercepted by a well placed crossbow bolt. The vampire was dust in the wind.

Piotr turned to Hector, his game face out and a snarl on his lips. “Grab her, quick. She’s got backup.”

Hector grabbed the girl swiftly, using her as a human shield. “Come out now, human. We’ve got your little friend. Come out and we might let her live and you can take her place.”

Piotr stood out front of the brunette and Hector, keeping his eyes peeled for any incoming crossbow bolts. He was a vampire, with all that entailed. If he could see the crossbow bolt coming, he could catch it. Then the hunter would become the hunted.

Piotr heard hector screech in pain and spun about to see Hector was clutching his eyes, even as the seemingly harmless brunette was slamming her foot into his crotch. Piotr snarled in fury and was about to charge her when he realized his error. He had turned his back to the archer. That would be Piotr’s last mistake. Ever.

**

M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 9th 2005


Xander smiled at Penny, handing her a new stake to replace the one that had dissolved in Hector’s heart. “Filling that pepper spray bottle with holy water was a work of genius. I’m going to have to make that standard gear for patrols.”

Penny grinned in response to the compliment. “Thanks. I thought it would be effective. At least once you assured me that all the movie classics except garlic work.”

“One of these days I’m going to set up an institute in a castle, just to see if a holy water moat works.”

Penny snorted at the rather entertaining image. “That I would pay to see. But we still have to keep moving.”

Xander nodded in agreement. “Yes, the Dark Master awaits.”

“The who?”

“No, not the Who. Last I heard they’re scheduled to play in London sometime in July. They’re certainly not here.”

Penny glared fiercely at Xander, making it quite clear that she was not amused.

Xander sighed. “Vlad Dracula is who I was referring to. I was his servant once. I’m sure you’ve heard of Renfield from the book. That was my existence for a very short time. I’m just grateful that it was short.”

“Really, Xander? I find myself hurt by that statement.” Penny turned to see a frighteningly beautiful man sweep into the antechamber they currently occupied. “I thought to expect more loyalty from you, young man. You are famous for it.”

A fierce snarl welled up in Xander’s throat, especially as he saw Penny beginning to succumb, as Buffy had before her, to Dracula’s presence. “I’m loyal to my friends, Vlad. You were never my friend and only ever my master because I wasn’t strong enough to overcome your power.”

The ancient vampire chuckled disgustedly. “Come now, Alexander. Surely you don’t think to pit your pitiful soul against me again. I conquered your spirit once before and made you my servant. I can do it again.”

The one-eyed man stood still and unmoved. “I am my own man now, Vlad. I’ve long since put my insecurities to rest. There is no weakness left for you to use against me.”

The vampire smiled at Penny. “You wouldn’t call her a weakness, Xander?”

Unfortunately for Vlad, he had forgotten one of the most important facets of Xander’s personality. While it was true that his girls were Xander’s largest weakness, a threat against them was not a way to make him capitulate. A threat against Xander’s girls provoked fury and violence, not surrender.

Xander’s axe cut the air so fast that Vlad barely got his sword in place in time to block it. The two were actually fairly evenly matched at this point in their lives. Vlad was stronger and had more practice with a blade, but had been using hypnosis and relying on his regeneration for so long that he was incredibly rusty. Xander was only a regular human with the speed of a normal man and the strength of a construction worker used to dealing with heavy objects. He was also a man that had spent a long time using his body and weapons to fight creatures and girls that outclassed him on every level, making him uniquely suited for this type of battle.

The battle was too even, neither able to get a real advantage. Xander knew full well that he wouldn’t be able to outlast a vampire and so he pulled a gambit and hoped for the best. He drew Dracula’s sword arm away from the vamp’s body and then slammed a harsh side kick into his hardier opponent. Vlad was taken by surprise and knocked back almost a metre. Interestingly enough though, Xander didn’t pursue him. Vlad raised a brow. “You had me at a disadvantage and you failed to follow up. That will cost you.”

Xander smirked. “Ever seen Batman Begins?”

Vlad’s face was a picture of confusion. “What?”

Xander’s smirk broadened. “Always mind your surroundings.”

Dracula’s eyes bulged as he felt a stake slamming into his heart from behind him. So much had he concentrated on battling Xander that he had not spared any concentration to keep Penny hypnotised. He managed to keep his bodily cohesion long enough to lock eyes on the girl.

Penny smirked at the vampire’s shocked expression. “Go to hell, Drac!” And Dracula dissolved to dust.

Suddenly Penny was spinning about in Xander’s arms as the older man laughed lightly. “Way to go, Pen. You really took him to the cleaners.”

As Xander set her back on the ground, she realised how painfully close they were. “Well then.”

“Yeah. Ummmm…”

It was then that Penny noticed the dust was reforming. “Xander!?”

Xander spun about and shook his head in exasperation. “I’d almost forgotten about this. Thanks for the reminder, Pen.” With that Xander began to chant loudly in another language even as the dust continued to get more and more coherent. For a long time whatever Xander was trying to do didn’t seem to be working. Finally the dust dissolved and scattered to the four winds.

Penny stared at Xander in confusion. “I thought you couldn’t do magic? And what language was that, anyway?”

Xander smirked faintly. “As a rule I can’t do magic. That one was one that I had Willow teach me a long time ago, just in case I ever came upon my old master again. It’s a Romany spell in their native tongue. It’s meant to counteract all of Dracula’s old gypsy tricks. Congrats, Pen. You and I have put an end to Dracula. All he is now is a story and so much history.”

Penny smiled. “I guess we’d better deal with the rest of the vampires. Uncle Gadget could be here any minute.”

**

M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 9th 2005


“Immortal, what is going on here? The alarms are all going off.”

The Immortal swallowed his fear. “Dracula is dust, Master. Several of his minions are as well. And Inspector Gadget is in the base. I don’t know how he did it.”

“Curses. Go and hold him off, Immortal. Kill him if you can. Do not fail me.”

The Immortal bowed. “Yes, Dr. Claw.”

**

M.A.D. Secret Base
Cleveland, Ohio
March 9th 2005


Inspector Gadget walked into the M.A.D. base, unimpressed by the security. He’d never understand how Claw remained at large with such shoddy security.

“Die Gadget!”

“Wowsers!” Approaching him was a tall man with a battle axe. No one could mistake his deadly intent. “Go go Gadget Legs.” The powerful spring legs allowed gadget to leap over the incoming brute, allowing the poor man to slam headlong into the brick wall behind him. Landing easily, Gadget winced at the bruised and bleeding man that now lay unconscious on the floor. “This must certainly be a M.A.D. Agent,” Gadget spoke to himself, for once getting it right. “Go go Gadget Cuffs.”

Hooked to the unconscious Immortal, Gadget glanced about the room, only to hear the sonic boom of Claw’s escape vehicle taking off. Claw’s voice echoed in the distance. “I’ll get you, Gadget. Next time!”

Gadget sighed as he dragged the M.A.D. agent to the nearest police station. Late again it seemed. At least he had one prisoner to show for it, even if that one-eyed chap had managed to escape him.

**

Jenny Calendar School for Gifted Young Women
London, England
March 10th 2005


Spike was curious. That much was true. It wasn’t often that Droopy sent him anything more then an e-mail. A letter via post? That was unheard of. He dumped it out on the counter and found a short note and eleven pounds. Why was the whelp sending him money? He finally opened the letter.

Spike

I seem to recall that you were once owed eleven pounds by a vampire of our mutual acquaintance. Alas, it appears that the vamp in question is deceased and so he will not be able to honour his debts. Luckily, I managed to find this when I went through the old creep’s things. Enjoy it in good health.

Xander



Spike laughed aloud for the rest of the day and made sure to raise a cup of blood in Xander’s honour that night. Buffy had been totally confounded.

**

Brown Residence
Riverton, Ohio
March 11th 2005


Xander and Penny sat on the Brown family balcony, enjoying the sunrise. “So, I guess this is goodbye.”

Penny felt a pang at that pronouncement. She had enjoyed the company. The kids at college were boring, Brain was gone and Uncle Gadget was, as he himself so often stated, always on duty. “Does it have to be?”

Xander turned back, pleased to find that she apparently liked him too. “I don’t see why it would. I just figured you’d want to put my world behind you.”

Penny shrugged. “It’s my world too, isn’t it? I like you a lot, Xander, and I don’t want to never see you again.”

Xander smiled. “You know I bet I could get tickets to that Who concert I mentioned. My job has some serious connections.”

Penny arched a brow faintly. “Don’t you think we should have a date before you whisk me off to England?”

Xander chuckled a bit at that. “True. We’ve got months before that anyway. How about Friday night?”

Penny smiled softly. “That’ll be perfect.” And she pressed her lips to his softly, trying to convey how she felt, even after such a short time.

“Penny!” Penny and Xander spun to see Inspector John Brown walking up the driveway.

Gadget’s eyes turned to look at the boy who’s been kissing his niece and they narrowed in suspicion. “Wowsers! It’s you!”

Xander looked about. “Who?”

“You! You’re the one who killed that young man!”

Xander sighed faintly and planted a quick kiss on Penny’s lips. “See you Friday, Pen!” Then he turned to Gadget and offered a smirk. “You’ll never catch me alive, copper!” And he began booting it for the nearest escape route.

Gadget growled fiercely, “Go go Gadget Copter,” and he took off in pursuit.

Penny just sighed and opened her computer notepad and hoped that Xander escaped her uncle and remembered to call her. It was tough being the secret brains behind the famous Inspector Gadget. Her uncle had a lot of heart, just not much brains to go with it.”

*cue Inspector Gadget theme*

~~

It's days like this when I can't believe I wrote something like this... :p

Jasper

The End

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