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"The Archetype Association"

The Archetype Association

Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49


 "Where will you be going now?" Kurt asked.

They had all returned to the research center to relax and debrief. Moira had examined Archetype again, pronouncing him fully healthy, although he did complain of feeling "different."

"Well, this young lady," he replied, nodding at Rogue, "wanted to see Paris. Since I have some business interests there, we'll leave this afternoon. We'll make one last stop in Brussels, then it's back to New York."

"What's there to see in Brussels?" Kitty inquired.

"The best chocolate in the world," he said with a dreamy smile. He stood up, pulling a calling card out of his wallet. "May I use your phone for a moment? I'd like to make some hotel reservations."

Moria waved her hand imperiously. "Put that thing away. If we can afford neutronium barbells for Brian, we can pay for a phone call to Paris. The phone's over there."

Archetype tilted his head in acknowledgment and started dialing, then stopped. "Uh oh."

"What?" Rogue asked.

"I just remembered that I don't speak French."

"Let me," she said, taking the phone. "Do you want a double suite again?"

He nodded. "Tell them we'll be there in three hours or so. I'll just teleport us over."

"Why not take the Chunnel?" Meggan asked.

"Because I'm wanted for questioning by British authorities," he replied calmly.

Braddock's head shot up at that. "For what?"

"I'm considered a suspected Sinn Fein member. I'm not," he said hastily, seeing how Braddock was tensing up, "but I have made statements, on record, critical of Britain's Ulster policy."

"And your feelings on the Irish Republican Army?"

"Those are my own business, Mister Braddock," Archetype said flatly, "and they have no bearing on my association with the X-Men." He stood up. "I believe that I've just worn out my welcome. Rogue, if you have no objections, we'll leave immediately. I'll go get my coat." He left the room.

"That could have gone better," Rahne muttered.

"I warned you about his political views, Brian," Rogue said, hurt. "Why did you even bring it up?"

Braddock found that he didn't have an answer for her.

A few minutes later, after Rogue had finished stuffing her things into the large suitcase that Kitty had given her, she met Archetype at the main door to the center. "All set," she said. "We're going straight to Paris?"

"Yes. Our reservations at the George V are set."

Her jaw dropped. "We're staying at the George V? That place costs a fortune!"

"Yes," he agreed, "lucky for us, I've got a fortune."

"What about food?"

He shrugged. "We'll find something." He turned to the members of Excalibur, who had filtered into the room to see them off. "Thank you for your hospitality," he said, nodding curtly.

"Mister Riley," Meggan said, "Brian has something that he'd like to say to you." She turned to Braddock with a hard look. "Don't you, Brian?"

Braddock looked uncomfortable for a moment. "I want to apologize for my attitude earlier. I've been on the wrong side of the government myself, so I really didn't have any cause to be short with you."

"That's all right, Mister Braddock." Archetype said magnanimously. "I'm used to rubbing people the wrong way. If I can get used to Cyclops, I can get used to you... even if you are symbolic of a corrupt, morally bankrupt imperialist policy."

"Gee, thanks," Braddock said dryly.

"No charge. Honestly, Braddock, I've nothing against you personally, but I lived in Belfast for a few years, and that tends to harden one's heart. If it makes you feel any better, I'm equal opportunity: I also support the Scottish National Party."

"Really?" Moria asked, "How so?"

"I've made a few donations over the years. To be honest, what I'd like to see is a breakup of the Commonwealth into its component parts: Erie, Cymru, Alba, Cornwall, and England."

"Unlikely," Kurt remarked.

"Hey, I can dream, can't I? You all set?" he asked Rogue.

"Ready. Let's go to Paris. Bye, guys!" she said brightly as they winked out.

"An immortal billionaire with Celtic nationalist ambitions," Wisdom mused. "Well, I know what I'm doing next time I take a vacation."

"What's that?" Kitty asked.

"Looking into dual citizenship."

"Do you want to go anywhere in particular? I was going to place us by the Arc d'Triumphe." They stood in the black, featureless terrain which lay within Archetype's Doors.

"Not really. Let's just walk for a while. I haven't been to Paris in a while, and I've always had something or other distracting me every other time I've been here. Do you have a lot to do with your business contacts?"

He shook his head. "Not really. Actually, Rogue, I'll let you in on a little secret: I made my money by being lazy."

She frowned. "I don't get it."

"I'm a silent partner in most of my businesses. If I find somebody who wants to start a business, I lend them the starting capital, then let them run it their own way. They have an option of buying me out if they want, but most don't because I can come in and help out if things get bad. This way, I can make a profit and not have to do anything. It's a nice little system that fits in well with my personal philosophy."

"What's that?"

"There are two forces which get things done in life: self-interest and laziness."

"Isn't that just a bit cynical?"

"Not really. Think about it: why do most people drive to places they could easily walk to?"

"Because it's easier to drive."

"Exactly. They're too lazy to expend the effort to walk. And why do most people get up and go to work every day?"

"Personal satisfaction?"

"Very good. Now, can we have a realistic answer?"

"To get the money they need to survive," she said glumly.

"Or the things that they want. My first rule of business is to appeal to my client's base nature, then work my way up."

"If you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow?" she asked with a smile.

"You are a quick study."

"Thank you."

They made the rounds of a few art galleries, then went to a rather posh outdoor café, where, although Rogue found the food delicious, Archetype found it somewhat lacking. "I can do better," he disclosed, "and at better prices than they're asking."

"Oh, stop complaining," Rogue said cheerfully. "At least you're not the one sweating behind the stove."

"Good point. We'll stop at the hotel and check in once we're done here. After that, our itinerary is up to you."

"Great." Her face became a bit more serious. "Will, can I ask you a question?"


"Exactly what happened to you last night?"

He sat for a few moments, eyes distant. "Before I can explain that, I think I may have to tell you something about what happened to me when I recovered from my accident. I wandered all over the world for the better part of two years, feeling drawn to specific places."

"Like where?"

"Stonehenge, for one. Also Maccu Picchu, Ur, Luxor, Rome, Istanbul, Beijing, Knossos, Jerusalem, Mali, and Tibet, for starters. Notice any connections?"

"They're all ancient sites. But why Mali?"

"It was the center of an empire in the 1400s. Essentially, I went to places that had massive psychic energy associated with them." His eyes became sad for a moment. "I was also drawn to places that had negative associations attached to them."

"Like where?"

"We're only a few hours drive away from one of them. Omaha Beach."


"Also, there was the Coliseum, the Bastille, the Appian Way..."


"The road along which Spartacus and his army were crucified. There was also Transylvania..."

"What? You went to see Dracula?"

"No, his historical counterpart, Vlad Tsepes. And of course, there was what I refer to as the Grand Tour."

"What was that?"

"Dachau. Bergen-Belsen. Treblinka. Auschwitz-Berkanow. I'm sure you get the idea."

"How can you be so flippant about that?"

"It's either that or go into hysterics. As bad as it sounds just to hear about it, imagine feeling the psychic imprints left by those places. To hear the echoes, however faint, of each dying child..."

"Will!" Rogue said sharply, seeing that he was drifting off. "Snap out of it!"

His head snapped up. He blinked, then inhaled sharply. "Thanks. You have no idea how easy it is to get lost in those collective memories. I almost collapsed at Auschwitz. Anyway, what happened last night was, as far as my experiences with those places go, one of the better ones."

"You see, the Celts believed that the king was bound to the land, and that the crops were dependent on the health of the king. For centuries, the kings underwent a ceremony that tied them to the land. Because the deer were a major food source for the people, the king was also considered the master of the hunt, and was given power over the herds by the gods. But in order to claim that power, the king had to conquer the old king of the herd, the King Stag. Now, whether that battle took place on a physical or psychic level, I have no idea. Anyway, what I went through was a concentrated form of the psychic events that bound the Celtic kings to the land."

"So now you're a king?"

"On a psychic level, sure. I wouldn't make any bets on my finding a throne, though."

"Well, your Majesty," she said, standing up, "shall we get to our hotel?"

"Okay, but if I stay here, does that make you a lady in waiting?" He ducked to avoid the baguette she threw at him.

Their suite at the George V was divided by a set of sliding doors, which the bellhop opened as they entered. "[Will you require anything, madam?]"

"[No, that will be all, thank you,]" Rogue replied, handing him a generous tip. She and Archetype had decided that, since she was fluent in French, she would be 'in charge' while they were in France.

As the door shut, she leaned back, falling onto the bed, and sighed. "I could get used to this."

"Should I start serving you breakfast in bed every day when we get back to Salem Center?"

"Let me get back to you on that."

"I await with bated breath." He yawned. "I think a nap is in order."

"Are you okay?" she asked with some concern.

"I'm fine. Last night drained me a little, that's all. I just need a few hours sleep."

"I could stand a nap, myself. Here's an idea: we get two or three hours sleep, then go out on the town."

"I can live with that. Actually, this way I can mix with business with pleasure."

"Really? How?"

"You'll see. Do you want to factor in some shopping time?"

"With a blank check? Are you kidding? Of course." She waved him away. "Now scoot. I'm scheduled for a coma, and you're making me late."

"Yes, ma'am," he replied, shooting her a two-fingered salute. He shut the doors behind him as he left.

Rogue called the front desk for a wake-up call to be made three hours later, then shut the curtains, stripped down to her underwear, and settled underneath the covers with a contented sigh.

The ring of the telephone jarred her awake, and she fumbled for the receiver. "H'lo?" she mumbled.

"[Hello, Miss O'Hara!]" a female voice answered. The voice had the bright, cheerful quality that makes most sleepy people want to reach through the phone line and strangle the speaker. "[This is the wake-up call which you requested!]"

"[Thank you,]" Rogue said as she put the receiver back into the cradle. After thinking about the wisdom of the whole thing for a few moments, she slid out of bed and stood up, stretching.

She started to reach for a bathrobe, but then decided that if she could handle seeing Will nude, then he could handle her in her underwear. She strode up to the doors, sliding them open.

Archetype lay on his stomach, his breathing deep and regular. His face was expressionless, and Rogue was amazed by how much younger he looked when in repose.

"Archetype?" she asked softly. "Will? Are you asleep?"

"Now that's a question that simply can't be answered yes," he replied. He opened his eyes as he turned over, and cocked one eyebrow as he saw her. "My, my, aren't we casual today."

"Hey, I saw you naked. I thought you deserved a free show."

"Did you hear me complaining? What time is it?"

"About four, local time. What's on the program?"

"That's up to you. You know Paris better than I do, so you're calling the shots. Any idea if we're running too late for the Louvre?"

She frowned. "I don't know. Like I said before, I haven't been here in a while. Why don't we set that for tomorrow, just to be safe?"

"Makes sense. Okay then, we let you bankrupt me for a while, then we go eat. One hour?"

"I'll be ready in less than that."

He nodded. "Just let me shower and change."

As she showered, Rogue realized that she had undergone a shift in her perceptions of Will. One of the idiosyncrasies of the life which she chose to lead was that one often spent months, or sometimes even years, being acquainted with people whose real names you never knew, or never considered. She had worked beside, and against, Pietro Maximoff many times, for example, but she still thought of that name as the 'other' name of Quicksilver. She, of course, had, for her own reasons, gone by the name Rogue for almost as long as she could remember. Her life before that name was a dim memory, one that she had left behind her.

But the code names acted as a barrier, and the dropping of them in casual conversation was often considered, in the rather esoteric community that she and the other X-Men belonged to, a form of intimacy, a willingness to avoid pretense. When one thought of an individual by their real name first, it meant that you had bonded with them in a special way. It was a process, she remembered Kurt had once told her, similar to the duzen process in German society, where one stopped using the formal mode of address and shifted to the familiar one. As she considered this, Rogue decided that she was glad that this had happened in her relationship with Will, and smiled.

Forty-five minutes later, they were walking the streets of Paris. Rogue was dressed in jeans and a blouse, since she was planning on wearing what she brought out of the store. Archetype was dressed in his usual grey tweed jacket and slacks, with a white turtleneck and a black vest, to which he had added a silver pocket watch. He had donned his hat as they left the hotel.

"Do you have anywhere particular in mind?" he asked her.

"Not really. I'll just look in the windows. If I see something that catches my eye, I'll go in."

"Let me see if I can find an English language local paper."

"I'll get it," she offered as they passed by a news stand. After she paid for the paper and handed it to him, she asked, "is that to read while you're waiting for me?"

"It's either this or twiddle my thumbs. I'm not built right for doing nothing. Does any of that clothing appeal to you?" he asked, gesturing at a nearby window.

She looked for a moment. The clothing was stylish, but not the ridiculously outrageous stuff that you saw on the runway floor. "It's got potential," she admitted. "Let's go in."

He opened the door for her as they entered. "Old-fashioned gentleman, remember?" he commented as she looked at him.

She enjoyed herself for an hour or so, but decided to stay conservative for the night, as he had mentioned that they might be visiting some of his businesses. She saw no reason to make Will undergo embarrassment among people whose respect was essential. She finally settled on a velour evening gown in a shade that matched the color of her hair, her black evening gloves, and a choker with a green stone. "Well?" she asked him. "How do I look?"

"Exquisite," he assured her. "Are you done?"

"I think I've done enough damage for one day. Let's get going."

He nodded and handed a credit card to the attendant. After he signed the receipt, they left and hailed a taxi. He gave their destination to the driver, and fifteen minutes later, they stepped out in front of the restaurant.

"'The Green Willow'?" Rogue asked, translating the sign in the front.

"An Irish reference that most people wouldn't get."

The restaurant was designed in an open manner, and a small fountain in the center bubbled pleasantly. Hanging plants and trellises of ivy gave the impression of being in a garden, and a large fireplace against one wall gave the place a homey feel.

"Will!" a beefy man in a white tuxedo cried. He was grinning, and embraced Will warmly. "How are you doing, you scoundrel?"

"I'm great, Robby. May," he said, looking at Rogue to indicate that he meant her, "This is Robert Brennan. He and I went to the Culinary Academy together. Robby, Miss May O'Hara."

"Charmed, Miss," he greeted her, shaking her gloved hand warmly. "My condolences that you have to be saddled with this old lump."

"Now don't start spreading tales, Robby," Will chided him.

"Oh, no Robby, do spread them, do!" she gushed. "I like him!" she told Will.

"You would. How's business, Robby?" Will asked.

"Fantastic! I've had to expand the kitchen somewhat, but other than that, it's been smooth as silk."

"How are the books?"

"We're up twenty percent over last year."

"When does the crowd come in?"

"Not for another two hours. Come on, sit down, both of you!" He guided them to a table.

"What's the special tonight?" Will asked.

"Duck l'orange with stuffing and double-baked potatoes."

"Sounds good to me."

"Me too," Rogue added.

"Just give me a few minutes to warm up some bread, and we'll get you started," Robby offered. "And yes, Will, I know, olive oil for you, not butter."

"I'm surprised you remember," Will said with a smile. "It has been three years, after all."

Robby shrugged. "You have a knack with money, I have a good memory."

"And a talent for cooking," Will pointed out. "Why do you think I hired you?"

"Because I have the blackmail photos. Back in a few." He walked off to the kitchen.

"Blackmail photos?" Rogue asked.

"They'll never prove it. The girl was a professional model, and we were doing an artistic rendering of the rites of Pan. That's not what makes it a scandalous photo, though. The details of the photo could ruin my culinary reputation."

"Why?" she asked, not believing a word.

"Because I'm eating a Quarter Pounder."

Robby waved Will's money aside as he tried to pay for the meal. "Forget it. I owe you enough favors over the years that I can spare you a free meal. How was it, by the way? I want your professional opinion."

"It was delicious, Robby. But I have to admit, it was a bit heavier than what I'm used to. The people I cook for now are all health nuts, so I make my meals a bit lighter."

Robby nodded. "I can see that. The French like their meals heavy. Just thank God we're not in Germany."

Archetype shuddered in mock horror. "By the way, how's Jean-Paul?"

"He finishes his dissertation this semester. I'll tell him you asked."

"Thanks. I'll give you a call in a few weeks. If you need anything, let Jeff know. Ready, May?"

"All set. Thanks for the meal, Robby. Good luck!"

"Thanks, miss. Keep this wretch out of trouble."

"I'll try. Who's Jean-Paul?" she asked after they had left.

"His lover. He's working on a sociology degree, as I recall."


"You took that a lot better than I expected. Most people would have done a double take, at least."

"That's right, you wouldn't know. My momma, Mystique, is bi."

"Really?" he said, raising an eyebrow. "I guess that makes sense, in a way."

"What do you mean?"

"That's just my psychology background talking. I was just thinking. Most mutant abilities manifest themselves in adolescence, right?"


"Well, what would the ability to be either male or female at will do to someone's sexual identity? Which way would they go, AC or DC? I think being bisexual would be the only rational choice that biology could give someone who was a shapeshifter."

Rogue thought about it for a moment. "I never thought about it that way. I'll avoid telling her that you said that."

"Why's that?"

She sighed. "Her lover, Destiny, died about two years ago. She's been a bit sensitive on the subject since, and if she heard that you'd said that, she might try to see just how effective your healing abilities are."

Rogue dragged him into the nearest dance club that she could find, and tried to get him to join her on the floor. "Come on! I want to see how well you can dance!" she told him over the din of the music.

"Rogue," he said falteringly, "I'm not very comfortable with this... I'd like to go back outside, please..." He was suddenly nervous, his eyes darting around the room, hesitant and wary.

"Oh, no," she replied, not noticing his distress in her enthusiasm. "I'm getting at least one dance out of you this trip!" She continued to drag him into the crowd, holding the sleeve of his jacket.

"I said no!" he half shouted, slipping out of his jacket and moving back outside as fast he could without actually pushing people out of the way.

Rogue looked at him for a moment, holding the jacket in one hand, then folded it over one arm and followed him.

She found him outside the club, leaning against the wall. He was breathing heavily, and his face was covered in sweat. "What the hell is wrong with you?" she asked him.

He regained his composure and looked at her. "Ororo is a claustrophobe, right?"

"Yeah. What does that have to do with you?"

"I'm an ocolophobe. Being in a crowd sends me into a panic attack."


"Add to that the fact that I get psychic backwash from all the people in there, and you can see why I was a little uncomfortable. I'm sorry. I should have warned you."

"That's okay. Are you all right?"

He nodded. "I just have to catch my breath. You wanted to dance, right?"

"Look, we don't have to if it makes you uncomfortable..."

"I've got a compromise."

They found a small pawnshop a few blocks away, where Will bought a portable stereo with a CD player. A quick trip to an all-night store produced a largish stack of CDs that they could agree upon. They hailed another taxi and returned to the hotel.

"Any preferences for the first album?" he asked her as they entered their suite.

"How about the 10,000 Maniacs one?" she suggested as she kicked off her shoes.

"Your wish is my command." He popped the disc into the player, then fiddled with the volume a bit. In a moment, "Noah's Dove" emanated from the speakers. "That too loud?"

"Actually, it's a little quiet. Your hearing is sharp, isn't it?"

He nodded. "That's another reason I had to leave the club early. The sound was hurting my ears." He turned to her. "May I have the honor of this dance, miss?"

"Well, since you asked nicely..."

They were both wearing gloves, and the fact that Will was wearing a long-sleeved shirt with a high collar made Rogue a little daring, resting her head against his shoulder. "You smell good," she noted.

"Thank you. So do you. What's that perfume, by the way?"

"Erin Mist. I got it while we were in Dublin."

"They misnamed it. It should be called Criminal Assault."

"I take it you like it."

"You could say that."

They slow danced through Natalie Merchant's low voice. As the final notes of "I'm Not the Man" faded away, Rogue sighed.

"Do you want me to change the disc?" Will asked.

"No," she said softly. "Let's just stay like this for a while, okay?"

"Whatever you say."

Just how long they stood, there, silent, Rogue wasn't sure, but after a time, she stepped back from Will, looking at him with affection. "Thanks. You have no idea how much I needed that."

"No problem."

"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asked him seriously.

"What do you mean?"

"Let's sit down," she said. After they had planted themselves in the large couch, she looked at him thoughtfully for a few moments. "I hope I'm not about to insult you with what I'm about to ask."

"What's that?" he asked.

"As old-fashioned as the question seems, what are your intentions towards me?"

He raised an eyebrow. "Well, that's direct enough, isn't it?" He pursed his lips for a moment, lost in thought.

"I like you, Rogue," he said. "I like you a lot. I'm very glad that you came along. If I'd made this trip on my own, I probably would have just stayed in Ireland for a week, gone crazy from boredom, then headed back to New York, and would be in even worse shape than I was when I left. Being around you is good for me."

"Why?" she asked curiously.

"You help me find a focus for my energy. Without a focus, I tend to be off in all directions at once, never settling down. I couldn't have asked for a more pleasant traveling companion.

"Would I be interested in making our relationship something more... intense? Yes, I would. That is, if you're not opposed," he added hastily.

"If you're asking me if I'm opposed to our becoming boyfriend and girlfriend," Rogue, said, trying to stifle a laugh, "then the answer's no. You really picked a roundabout way of getting there, though."

"Blame it on my literary background," he said, smiling. "I can say absolutely nothing in a hundred words or more."

They spent the next three days making the rounds of the usual Parisian landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre. They also visited the Rodin Museum at Will's insistence. Rogue spent quite a bit of time looking at The Kiss. "You like this one?" Will asked her.

She nodded. "I've always liked this one. I've never been one for modern art, but this is an exception."

"Rodin worked in the period back when modern art was striving to mean something, before it went totally gaga. We'll get a folio on the way out."

"Thanks. What's next?"

"I think we'll settle our bill at the hotel and get going for Brussells. We really have been gone a while, and we ought to get back to the mansion."

"Yeah," she sighed, "you're right. Shouldn't we get some more souvenirs for the others?"

"Good idea. Any suggestions?"

"I don't know. Let's just window shop and see what we find."

After two or three hours, they decided that they had gathered enough trinkets to give the other X-Men, and went back to the hotel to pack and check out. "Can you ask the manager to call our bellhop over?" he asked as they descended to the lobby.


A few minutes later, the young man was hurrying to the front desk. "[Yes, Madam?]"

"[We wanted to thank you for your excellent service,]" Rogue told him, as Will handed him a large tip.

"[Thank you, sir!]" he replied.

Will nodded, smiling, and he and Rogue went outside to hail a taxi to the airport.

They spent less than a day in Belgium. Most of their time was spent in confectionery shops, where Will spent ridiculous amounts of money on candy. "I give some of this to my business contacts," he explained.

"Thank God. We'd have to roll you around the mansion if you ate all of this."

"Be nice. Our flight back's in four hours. Would you rather see the town or get some rest?"

"Why don't we find a café and eat up? I'm not looking forward to more airline food."

"I can't argue with that. By the way, what do you want to tell the others when we get back?"

"About what?"


"Let's just tell them the truth: that we've decided to become an item."

"Cyclops might have some problems with that," he pointed out. "He still doesn't trust me, you know."

"We'll deal with Scott when we get to him. Now let's go eat."

As they walked around, looking for a restaurant, Will stopped at a florist's street cart and purchased a white rose, which he handed to Rogue. "For you, my dear," he said with a florid bow as he handed it to her, "because I like you." Rogue just smiled and took it with a curtsey, bringing it to her nose and holding it close to her face.

"Could you get me a pillow again?" Rogue asked as they boarded the plane.

"Sure. You going to sleep all the way back?"

"I just might. I want to shift my body clock back to New York time. How about you?"

"I'll just read. I'll sleep when we get back home."

"I was wondering when you'd slip up," she said, smiling.

"Excuse me?"

"You just called the mansion 'home'. You really are one of us now."

He smiled slowly. "I guess I am now, aren't I? Get to sleep, beautiful. I'll wake you when we're there."

Rogue closed her eyes and nodded off, still smiling.

A few hours later, she moved in her sleep, resting her head against Will's shoulder. He looked at her, smiled, closed his book, and turned off the light.


Continued in Chapter 17


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