From (917) 352-0921: Hey, Cat! It’s Magnus - I lost my phone during my date last night. Long story, tell you later
To (917) 352-0921: Sorry I think you have the wrong number I don’t know anyone named Cat
From (917) 352-0921: Really? Damn, I thought I’d finally memorized her number. Sorry to bother you, stranger
To (917) 352-0921: Well hold on now you can’t just leave me hanging
From (917) 352-0921: Excuse me?
To (917) 352-0921: How does one lose a cell phone on a date?
From (917) 352-0921: Oh! Well, she kinda sorta maybe threw it in the river when I told her I thought we should see other people
To (917) 352-0921: Ouch that’s rough my last boyfriend threw half my clothes and my laptop out a window when I ended things
From (917) 352-0921: Clothes and a laptop? Wow what’d you do to piss him off?
To (917) 352-0921: Long story
To (917) 352-0921: Well my class is starting and I actually need to pay attention in this one. Thank you for the laugh
From (917) 352-0921: This is definitely the most fun I’ve had with a wrong number. And trust me, I’ve texted a lot of wrong numbers - I’m terrible at memorizing them. Goodbye, kind stranger
To (917) 352-0921: Goodbye Magnus
Alec slipped his phone into his bag as the professor walked in to start class. He really detested taking chemistry - he’d thought he’d escaped science and math classes when he’d finished high school, but a damn gen ed requirement had snuck up on him. He was an English lit major for God’s sake, why did he need to take chemistry ? He wasn’t going to need this stuff later in his life - he wasn’t Izzy or Maia. But he needed it to graduate, so he contained his eyerolls and tried to take as detailed notes as he could so Izzy could help him understand it later.
This day, though, he had a stupid smile on his face all through the class he hated the most. And all because of a wrong number he was never going to talk to again.
i have another chapter written but i'm gonna hold off on posting that until next week. my hope is update weekly until it is complete
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The next day, Alec woke to the sound of his phone going off with a text message. He groaned and rolled over, reaching out his hand to search for his phone without opening his eyes. It was Friday and he didn’t have classes on Fridays, so he typically liked to sleep in. Usually, he was up bright and early, even on weekends, because between school and work, early mornings were the only time he had to himself. But, after having a mental break down the year before, Alec had decided to take one day a week to decompress and relax.
And now someone was texting him and interrupting that decompression and relaxation.
From (917) 352-0921: Sorry to bother you again, stranger, but are you absolutely sure that you don’t know anyone named Catarina Loss?
To (917) 352-0921: No I really don’t sorry
From (917) 352-0921: Damn, you were my last hope
To (917) 352-0921: Still can’t remember her number?
From (917) 352-0921: No. And she’s been working nonstop and is never home and isn’t answering me on Facebook. I’m starting to worry about her
From (917) 352-0921: Plus, she’s my gossip buddy and I’m dying here
From (917) 352-0921: Sorry, that was weird. Cat’s always telling me I’m too forward
Alec felt himself smiling. This guy kind of reminded him of Izzy. A little overbearing, but endearing.
To (917) 352-0921: No no you’re fine don’t worry
To (917) 352-0921: But you know...if you wanted to you could talk to me. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to strangers
He didn’t know why he said that.
From (917) 352-0921: You sound like a therapist. Oh, God, please don’t tell me you’re a therapist. I hate therapists.
To (917) 352-0921: No I’m just an English lit major who sometimes works at his dad’s gym
From (917) 352-0921: Ugh English lit. That’s like Shakespeare and stuff right? I hated that stuff when I was an undergrad.
To (917) 352-0921: You seem to hate a lot of stuff. Is there anything you actually like?
From (917) 352-0921: Yeah, normal human things that aren’t books written by a bunch of dead white guys
To (917) 352-0921: Hey, they’re not all dead white guys. Some are dead white women
From (917) 352-0921: Yeah, because that makes it better
Alec laughed. This guy was definitely like Izzy.
Speaking of Izzy, it was at that exact moment she decided to call him. He was half tempted to reject the call so he could keep talking to the mysterious Magnus, which was completely crazy. He had spoken to this guy twice and all he knew about him was that he had a friend named Catarina, an ex-girlfriend who liked throwing phones into rivers, and vaguely reminded him of his sister.
Whose phone call he couldn’t reject. If he ignored her calls, she wouldn’t stop calling until he answered. It was better for both of them if he just answered the first time she called.
“Hey, Iz. What’s up?”
“Dad called me and asked me to ask you if you could come into work today. Apparently Jeff is sick or something. I don’t know, he wasn’t specific, he just asked me to call you.”
Alec groaned and rolled his eyes. There wasn’t many things Alec actively despised in this world, but his father was one of them. “If Robert wants to talk to me, he can call me himself like an adult.”
“No, Iz. I’m tired of his bullshit. The only time he ever talks to me is to put me down and ask why I’m not more like Jace. He clearly cares more about his star employee than he does his own son and I’m sick of it.”
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. We won’t talk about Dad anymore. But, there was another reason I called you. We’re all going out tonight and you’re coming with us.”
“Iz, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Why not? It’s just gonna be me, Simon, Maia, and Clary. It’s not going to get crazy.”
“Oh, you mean like last time when Luke and Ollie barely let Simon off with a warning for running naked through Central Park?” Izzy laughed. “It’s not funny, Iz. I know you and your friends mean well -”
“They’re your friends, too, whether you like it or not,” Izzy interjected.
Alec didn’t argue with her because sometimes arguing with Izzy was like arguing with a wall - it got you nowhere but frustrated. But he had a hard time believing that people he only saw a few times a month when Izzy dragged him out with them were his friends. Alec didn’t have time for friends. “Whatever. I know you guys mean well, but I have a lot of work to do.”
“Alec. All you do is homework or work at the gym or write your novel. When was the last time you actually went out and had some fun?” Alec was silent. He couldn’t actually remember the last time he left his apartment for something that wasn’t school or work related. It had definitely been a while. “Your silence speaks volumes. Be ready by eight thirty. And don’t try and get out of it - I’ve already enlisted Michael to drag you out of your apartment whether you’re dressed or not.”
“I know. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
When they hung up, Alec hesitated, thumb hovering over his wrong number conversation. He felt drawn to this person, had an inexplicable need to keep talking to them, but that would have to wait. Because, right now, Alec had a bone to pick with someone else.
Michael Underhill, Alec’s best friend and current traitor.
From Alec: I hate you
Underhill’s response was immediate and irritating. All he sent was a shrug emoji and Alec sucked in a sharp breath before firing back with a middle finger emoji.
From Underhill: See you at 8:30!
Alec groaned and clicked back over to his wrong number conversation, pointedly ignoring his former best friend.
From (917) 352-0921: Sorry if my last text offended you. Sometimes I try to make jokes but they don’t always translate well to text
To (917) 352-0921: No no you’re fine. I’m used to people saying stuff like that. I just got a call from my sister. She’s dragging me out to god knows where tonight
From (917) 352-0921: Yeah sisters can be a pain sometimes
To (917) 352-0921: You have a sister too?
From (917) 352-0921: Adopted but yes
From (917) 352-0921: So, stranger whose name I don’t know. Tell me about yourself
To (917) 352-0921: Alec
From (917) 352-0921: ?
To (917) 352-0921: My name is Alec
From (917) 352-0921: Nice to meet you, Alec. I’m Magnus.
To (917) 352-0921: I know
From (917) 352-0921: Are you a psychic as well as an English lit major?
To (917) 352-0921: No lol you said your name in the first text you sent me
From (917) 352-0921: Oh.
From (917) 352-0921: Well, Catarina just barged into my apartment wondering why the hell I wasn’t answering my phone so I guess I have to go. Until next time, Alec.
To (917) 352-0921: There’s going to be a next time?
He didn’t get a reply, but went and changed the contact info from “(917) 352-0921” to “Magnus” all the same.
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Izzy forces Alec out of the house for the night. It ends exactly as he thinks it will.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Later that night, around eight o’clock, Alec was just getting up to get ready to do God knows what God knows where with Izzy and the others when he heard a knock on the door. “I still have half an hour, Underhill!” he yelled, ignoring the knocking. Underhill could wait out in the hall for all he cared. But when the knocking continued, getting louder and more persistent, Alec groaned and went to open it, not caring that his shirt was only half buttoned. He opened the door, ready to scold Underhill for being an ass, but what met with his father instead.
“Hello, Father.” His voice was full of a disdain that he didn’t bother trying to hide - it was no secret that he didn’t like Robert Lightwood.
“Why haven’t you answered my calls or texts all day?” Robert demanded in lieu of a greeting. “I could have really used your help today, Alec.”
“I was busy.” Which wasn’t a lie - it just so happened that what Alec considered busy, Robert considered a waste of time. And Alec was tired of having the same argument over and over.
“Too busy to help your father?”
“Why don’t you ask Jace to help you?”
“Alec, I’m not having this discussion again.”
“Then I guess we don’t have anything to talk about.” After he closed the door his his father’s face, Alec smirked and went back to his room to finish getting ready, though he didn’t have much to do besides buttoning his shirt and grabbing the first pair of shoes he could find. Izzy hated it that Alec wasn’t into fashion like she was (she always said he was too pretty to hide behind such awful clothes) but Alec just felt like it was a waste of time. Why spend hours picking out an outfit when you could spend that time doing something that was actually useful?
Once he was dressed and ready to go, Alec grabbed his his phone off the nightside where he had left it to charge and went to sit in the living room, after having unlocked the door, knowing that Underhill had a penchant for just walking into his apartment. One of these days Alec was really going to need to make him a key.
He scrolled through his various social media accounts, willing Underhill to get there soon so he could get this night over with. Every so often, he would switch to his messages and hover over Magnus’s name, but every time he convinced himself that he was being foolish and that he shouldn’t keep bothering this stranger.
Though Magnus had said that there would be a next time…
But no. Alec shook his head. It would be best to just delete the conversation and the number. It was fun for a day or two, but he didn’t know this person and it was probably best to just forget he - or she or they, he really knew nothing about the mysterious Magnus - even existed.
And, yet, he couldn’t bring himself to delete it.
“Hey, man. Whatcha looking at?”
Alec damn near jumped out of his skin. “Damn it, Underhill. You can’t sneak up on me like that.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t leave your door unlocked. Very unsafe, you know.” He plopped himself down on the couch next to Alec and put his feet up in Alec’s lap.
“If I didn’t leave it unlocked, you would just break the door down. Or climb the fire escape and into my bedroom again.”
“That was one time and I was very drunk. But I do see your point.” Then, “You never answered my question. Whatcha looking at?”
“Nothing that concerns you.”
“Alec Lightwood! Are you watching porn?”
“Yes, I’m watching porn on my phone in the my living room with my front door unlocked. You caught me,” Alec replied dryly. “And get your feet off of me, your shoes are filthy.”
“Says the guy who will literally faceplant on my bed while he is dripping in sweat after his runs.”
“Oh, yeah? Why’s that?”
“Because I’m better than you in every conceivable way.” That earned him a shove from Underhill, but even as he toppled over sideways, Alec couldn’t help but laugh.
Michael Underhill had been Alec’s best friend since their first day of high school. They were both nervous, shy freshman who had been partnered together for a science project that they got a D on because both of them were shit at science. But the experience bonded them and when Alec came out when he was seventeen, Michael was right there supporting him, having come out the year before himself. And, as cliche as it sounds, they did try dating but they were young and stupid and it lasted all of two weeks and they never spoke of it again.
Alec always said that he was too busy for friends, but Michael Underhill always seemed to be the exception to every rule.
“Earth to Lightwood.” Underhill waved his hand in front of Alec’s face and when that didn’t elicit whatever response he was looking for, he slapped his hand on Alec’s cheek. Not hard enough to leave a mark, but hard enough to sting. “See, that’s the problem with you writer types - you’re always lost in your own heads.” He stood and dragged Alec up with him. “Now, let’s go. If I don’t show up with you at Pandemonium by nine, your sister will have both our asses.”
Alec groaned. Of all the clubs Izzy liked to frequent, Pandemonium was the worst. The music was too loud, the people were always too touchy, the lights were enough to give anyone a headache.
“Don’t give me that, grandpa. Pandemonium is fun.”
“We have very different definitions of fun.” Izzy always said that Alec was an old man - maybe there was some truth to that.
“Come on, Lightwood. We’ll find you a nice guy to grind up against.”
“That’s literally the last thing I want.”
“Ah, yes, but it’s what you need . And what we need and what we want are always vastly different things. Like for example, what I want is a best friend who isn’t actually an eighty year old man but what I need is -”
“A brain transplant.”
“Very funny, old man. Now, come on. I was serious about Izzy killing us.”
Alec allowed himself to be dragged out of the apartment, though he was half hoping someone would see them and think that Alec was being held hostage. His best friend being arrested for kidnapping was a price Alec was willing to pay. But, by the time they got on the subway, he assumed that no one in New York cared about a grown man being held against his will and resigned himself to a long night.
- - - -
“Finally! I thought you died !” Izzy shouted at them, both out of anger and because the music was at a glass shattering decibel.
“Iz, we’re three minutes late,” Underhill reminded her, giving her a hug before stepping aside to let Alec do the same.
“Yeah, three minutes of absolute torture wondering when you were going to show up.”
“I bet you were so worried.” Alec rolled his eyes, but there was a smirk on his lips. “I’ll also bet that that isn’t your first drink in your hand.”
“It’s her second,” Simon chimed in from where he sat in the booth with his arm around his girlfriend Maia.
Izzy whirled on him and pointed an accusing finger in his direction. “Simon Lewis, you are a traitor.”
“And two drink Izzy is mean.”
“Yeah, let’s get another one in you. Three drink Izzy is the most fun,” Maia added. Alec smiled - of all of Isabelle’s friends, he liked Maia the most. “And any alcohol we get into that one,” she lifted her glass and tipped it towards Alec, “will be a marked improvement.”
“Maia, be nice. You know Alec doesn’t drink. Don’t worry, Alec, I won’t let any of them force you to drink.” Alec had grown up with Clary always around as Izzy’s best friend and partner in crime and sometimes it annoyed him because she knew horrible childhood stories. But other times, like now, he was grateful that at least one person would stick up for him and his hatred of alcohol.
“Thank you, Clary.”
“But,” she added and Alec should have known better than to trust Clary Fairchild, “we are going to find you a date tonight. Izzy said that was our mission for the night.”
“Nope. No. Absolutely not.” Alec didn’t have time to date and, besides, after the disaster that was his last relationship (the one that ended with his clothes and laptop on the sidewalks of Brooklyn), he wasn’t sure he was ready to get back out there. “I’ll just sit here and watch you guys to make sure you don’t go streaking again.”
“That was one time!” Simon protested.
“One time too many.”
Alec settled into the booth, scooting over to let Underhill in next to him and pulled his phone out of his jacket pocket. When he noticed that he had a text from his wrong number Magnus, he hated the flutter he felt in his chest. He cleared the notification off of his screen and told himself that he would look at it later, when there wasn’t drunk, prying eyes around.
That moment came when the entire group, including Underhill who was supposed to be his best friend, ditched him to dance.
From Magnus: So what do guys who text wrong numbers do on a Friday night?
From Alec: Go out to clubs with their sisters and her friends
From Magnus: Oh no. That doesn’t sound like a happy text
From Magnus: Trust me, I have a phd in texting
From Alec: It’s nothing I’m more of a glorified babysitter
From Alec: Oh my sister is coming back. Talk to you later.
He felt another text come in as he put his phone in his pocket, but he resisted the urge to check it as Izzy pulled him to his feet and dragged him towards the bar, insisting that he talk to this guy that she just met that would be perfect for Alec.
Turns out that the guy she met was straight and had been trying to hit on Izzy , so while Alec looked around for wherever his sister had run off to, he checked his phone again.
From Magnus: Go have fun Kristy
From Alec: Kristy?
While he waited for a reply, Alec looked around the club. Everything was a dizzying, pulsating mass but when his attention turned back to the bar, something caught his eye.
Or, rather, someone.
That someone was an incredibly handsome man (Alec would have ventured to say gorgeous, even under Pandemonium’s terrible lighting) with very well styled hair and clothes that screamed designer who was looking down at his phone. Alec stared at him for longer than was probably socially acceptable and the guy looked up and in Alec’s direction. Thankfully, his phone vibrated in his hand, giving him an excuse to look away from the man while also sending off a silent thank you to whatever god may exist that no one could see him blush.
From Magnus: You know. Kristy? President of the babysitter’s club?
From Magnus: Sorry it was an obscure reference
From Magnus: I may be a little drunk right now
From Alec: I think the first rule of texting should be not to text strangers when you’re drunk
From Magnus: Very wise call Alec
From Magnus: Until next time :)
"Oh, there you are!” Alec felt a familiar hand on his shoulder and turned to face Underhill. “Come on, we gotta take Simon to the hospital.”
“ Why? ”
“He fell off a table and hit his head. There’s a lot of blood and you know how he is about blood.”
Alec shoved his phone back in his pocket with a groan. “There’s a lot of blood because he’s drunk. But, all right, let’s go.”
There was a hospital only a few blocks away from the club, so Alec made his merry band of drunkards walk, hoping the crisp fall air would sober them up at least a little bit. Once they got to the emergency room, the nurse at the front desk took one look at the gash on Simon’s forehead and the blood on his shirt and rushed them back.
It wasn’t long for a nurse to come back to see them. “What happened?” she - Alec noted that her name tag read Catarina - asked as she examined Simon’s forehead.
“I fell. There’s a lot of blood. I don’t like blood. I would be a terrible vampire,” Simon rambled.
“Anyone who’s not drunk?” nurse Catarina asked, looking around. Izzy and Clary were slumped against each other, fast asleep, and Underhill and Maia (who were considerably less drunk than everyone else, but still useless) were scrolling through Maia’s Instagram feed, rating the guys they saw.
“Guess that would be me. But I don’t know what happened. From what I heard though he was dancing on a table and fell. I think he hit his head pretty hard.”
“Okay, well, he definitely needs stitches on that cut and he might have a concussion but I’ll let the doctor determine that. Just make sure he stays awake,” she added, right as Simon announced that he was sleepy.
It must have been a busy night in the ER because it took almost an hour for the doctor to see them, though nurse Catarina did come back to sew Simon’s head closed. After a quick examination, the doctor declared that Simon did indeed have a concussion and that the best remedy for it was rest and lots of sleep. Alec had always found that odd - that they didn’t want you sleeping if they didn’t know you had a concussion, but if you did then all they wanted you to do was sleep.
Alec decided that it was best to let everyone sleep the alcohol off at his apartment, so he led them all back there. He sacrificed his bed for the injured party and took the reclining chair for himself after Underhill and the girls had claimed the pull out bed.
It wasn’t the most comfortable position to sleep in, but Alec was exhausted, so he fell asleep fairly quickly and had a dreamless sleep.
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Magnus makes breakfast for Madzie and Catarina. Catarina is nosy
Originally, I wasn't going to include a Magnus POV, but something possessed me and this happened, so I guess it's a split POV story now
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Magnus woke up to a small finger poking him in the cheek. His head was pounding from the few drinks he’d had at the club last night and from his insomnia keeping him up to an ungodly hour and, normally, he would snap whoever dared wake him - and on a Saturday, no less. But, it was impossible for him to get mad at Madzie.
“Uncle Magnus, I’m hungry.”
“Where’s your mom?” Technically and biologically, Catarina was Madzie’s aunt. But Cat had adopted her when she was only a few months old after her sister and brother in law were killed in a car accident. Madzie knew that Catarina wasn’t her biological mother, but Cat was the only parent she had ever known, so she didn’t care.
“Asleep on the couch.” Magnus nodded. It wasn’t uncommon for Catarina to work late and just crash on Magnus’s couch after picking Madzie up from the babysitter's since his apartment was closer than Catarina's was. Catarina and Magnus had been best friends since they were little and Catarina’s family had taken Magnus in as a foster child - she was his sister in every way but blood so he would never begrudge her a place to sleep if she needed it. “I’m hungry,” she repeated, in that way that six year olds did.
Magnus stood and stretched, ignoring the burning of exhaustion behind his eyes as he scooped Madzie into his arms. “Let’s go get you some breakfast, then.” He carried her into the kitchen, careful to not wake Catarina as they passed through the living room. “What do you want, sweet pea?”
“Waffles!” Magnus chuckled. He shouldn’t have even asked - Madzie always asked for waffles.
Magnus had always wanted to be a chef. Ever since he was eight years old and Catarina’s mother had taught him the joys of cooking, he knew that that was where his heart was. He’d toyed with going to culinary school after high school, but knew that professional chefs worked long hours and usually for little pay. So, he put his dreams aside and went to a traditional college and then law school after that. Now he was a just-only-passed-the-bar lawyer with a love of food.
After Madzie had eaten and was happily playing in the spare room that Magnus had converted into a bedroom for her, Catarina stumbled into the kitchen, bleary eyed and barely coherent. She mumbled something that vaguely sounded like “coffee” but Magnus was way ahead of her, already handing her a cup made just how she liked it (black, two sugars. Magnus would never understand).
Magnus waited until Cat had drained her cup before speaking. “Bad shift?”
Catarina nodded. “Sixteen year old girl got shot in the stomach by her twenty year old boyfriend. She bled out before we could do anything.” She put her head in her hands and Magnus walked around to her side of the island and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. He kissed the top of her head and didn’t say a word.
Sometimes there was nothing he could say. Nothing could bring back the people who Cat couldn’t save - no magic spell or potion or prayer. All he could do was hold her and let her mourn a person whose life she watched leave their body.
After a long silence that was filled with the ghosts that would never leave Cat, she raised her head and Magnus stepped back. “Better?”
“Does it ever really get better?” she mused, echoing the words Magnus always said whenever someone asked him about the pain of losing his mother back to him.
“Wiser words have never been spoken.”
“They’re your words.”
“Exactly.” Magnus winked at her and she smiled weakly, but it was a start. Before Magnus could ask if she wanted breakfast, his phone started ringing. He picked it up and groaned when he saw who was calling.
Magnus shook his head - Camille didn’t have his new number. “Ragnor.”
“Why are you groaning? He’s your best friend.”
“So are you,” Cat teased with a genuine smile. Magnus flipped her off with a laugh and answered the phone.
“Why is Camille Belcourt calling me?”
“Well, hello to you, too.”
“Answer me, Bane.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s because I broke up with her and she doesn’t have my new number.”
“You broke up with her? Fucking finally. So, if she calls again, can I tell her to fuck off?”
“Be my guest.”
“This is the best day of my life. Thanks, Bane.”
The call ended and Magnus put his phone down on the counter. “Camille bothering Ragnor, too? She’s left me at least ten voicemails over the past few days.” Magnus groaned. “Give me your phone.”
“I’m gonna call her and give her a piece of my mind. But I deleted all of her voicemails and I don’t have her number saved.” She reached for the phone and Magnus snatched it up. “Magnus.”
“What makes you think I saved her number? You know I’m terrible at remembering phone numbers.”
“Because I know you. You never delete her number because you can’t bring yourself to and I also know for a fact that you still have that napkin she wrote her number on the first time you met her. So, hand it over.” Magnus hated that Catarina knew him so well, but he gave her the phone all the same. “Thank you, baby brother.”
“I’m a month younger than you.”
“Practically an infant.” Catarina scrolled then, instead of typing Camille’s number into her own phone like Magnus assumed she would, looked up at him. “Who’s “Wrong Number Guy” and why are you texting him?”
Oh, shit. “Um, I accidentally texted him when I was trying to remember your number and we’ve texted a few times since then. But, more importantly, why are you going through my texts?”
“Because I’m nosy.” Magnus rolled his eyes - sometimes she was as insufferable as Ragnor. “Don’t you know how dangerous this is, Magnus? You don’t know this guy. Do you even know his name?”
“Alec.” Magnus could feel himself getting defensive which was completely irrational given the fact that he knew nothing about this guy that he’d texted all of three times.
“Just Alec? Oh, good, that narrows it down. Do you know how many guys there are named Alec in New York alone?” Actually, Magnus did because he had done a Facebook search to see if he could find this guy but looking for one English lit major named Alec in New York City was like trying to find a piece of hay in a haystack. “Sorry to go all Mom Mode on you, but. Just be careful, okay?”
“When am I not careful?” Catarina gave him a pointed look. “Okay, okay, fine. I promise not to let myself be killed by a random wrong number. I probably won’t even talk to him again.” Catarina nodded and they went about their day, Wrong Number Alec all but forgotten.
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