1963-12-13 - Christmastime Coincidences
Summary: Merlin, Illyana and Marie meet by coincidence, recent developments are shared, and a quick jaunt is made to Paris for a Christmas present.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
illyana merlin marie-ange 

It's another afternoon in the city, and another afternoon that Marie finds herself out and about; today just as yesterday, the day before, and several days prior? She's on the hunt. It's a task close enough to her heart that she's willing to brave the cold and the streets, slippery with ice from the rain that fell earlier in the day.

Admittedly, that bravery didn't mean as much as it once did, as she's come into more clothing that actually fits her, and even a nice warm vintage coat that currently envelopes her form, cloaking her from neck to ankles within the obsidian-colored material. The french girl walks the sidewalks with a purpose, taking several steps and stopping to look in a window, shaking her head, and repeating the effort. She still doesn't know the city as well as some, but she's determined to find /just/ the right place to buy what she's looking for.


Illyana's almost, literally, floating down the sidewalk, with a serene expression bordering on a smile of whimsical delight. Her long coat hangs to midknee, the grey collar turned up around the peach scarf nestled under her chin— sensible snow boots that come to midankle emerge from under her calf-length skirt.

For a few moments than turn into several minutes, she stops on the middle of the walkway to observe several people whipping snowballs at each other in a park, her lips curled into a knowing smile.


A somewhat haggard looking old man, in robes and a pointy hat, with a sword hanging from a belt and a staff in one hand, finds himself walking down the streets of the city as well. The old wizard, Merlin, doesn't seem to mind the cold. Or perhaps his robes are thicker and warmer than he lets on. He lets his staff lightly tap the walkways in front of him, hoping to allow him the tiniest of warning of ice in his path.

"Snow. Frost. Giants. Asgardians." He murmurs softly to himself, shaking his head. As one foot steps forward, he frowns, looking down at it. "My sock's disappeared again. Where do they keep going?!"


For the most part, the shops have taken hold of Marie's attention; because she's on a mission and… well. Frankly she's more than a little bit single-minded when it comes to this sort of thing; but when she spies Merlin on the sidewalk also, her brain connects him easily /with/ the mission. "Monsieur Merlin!" No, not Monsieur Ofcamelot. She /did/ get corrected, afterall! However, the greeting is happy and cheerful and she's walking quickly — and as an icy path catches her pirouetting in order to keep herself upright — towards him. "I was wondering if—"


One of those people throwing snowballs might have a career ahead as a major leaguer, as an errant snowball goes flying far enough from the part to whallop Marie in the shoulder.

"Sorry lady!" calls out the fellow who threw it.

The Lyonnaise, however, seems more or less unphased — just a little surprised. One hand raises to wave it off as nothing… and that motion turns her just far enough to catch sight of Illyana, too. Math is easy. 3 is greater than 2. So a hand reaches out to tug gently at Merlin's sleeve, "Come with me, oui?" she asks, and without waiting for a response is making a beeline for the Russian girl.


Illyana's so blissfully seren that a small explosive device couldn't shake her reverie.

That said, Merlin's abrupt approach with Marie towing him along is enough to give her pause, and her hawklike blue eyes flicker and turn insctruable again, angular and flat. Still, Marie and Merlin get a smile, which is better than a Siberian greeting.

"Marie. Merlin," Illyana says, greeting the two of them. "What brings the two of you into town today?" she says.

She doesn't question the coincidences. Magicians learn better.


"Hmm. Oui?" Merlin gazes around to locate the source of the voice. "Ah, Mademoiselle. C'est bon de te revoir!" He frowns at the snowball that hits Marie's shoulder. "Careful, children! Be mindful! There are people walking!" He waves his staff at them. Yes, sometimes he really is an old man. However, when he's being pulled along, however lightly, he doesn't resist. He follows the French woman on her little mission.

He follows her gaze, noting their approach to Illyana. "Illyana." He bows his head slightly, though he gives your a rather questioning look. "How strange of you, young Illyana. Not but a moment ago, as we approached, you seemed rather…tranquil. Or perhaps, well, happy might be a word to use. But when you saw us, your expression changed to that of…" He waves a hand to her current expression. "Rather enigmatic." He narrows his gaze for a moment before shrugging. "But I'm sure you had good reason!" He says after a few seconds, a smile crossing his face.


"Mademoiselle Illyana!" is the cheery greeting Marie responds with. Clearly, it was a meeting of the M&Ms club. Magicians with the litter 'M' to start their name. Totally a convention in town this week. Why else would they be in the city together?

"I live nearby," Marie explains, chin lifting to scan the skyline before pointing a finger towards the Albert Chambers in the distance — yes, she lives /inside/ somewhere, now! Isn't it great? She could prattle on for hours on the wonderfulness of that fact, but now isn't the time. "…and with Christmas coming soon… I wanted to try and find a present. For a friend." The way her cheeks turn scarlet by themselves could be a matter of the cold… but the tone and cadence of her words, and the way she's Not Making Eye Contact imply that there's more to it than that.

"…but I am having trouble finding a place to buy it." There's a light frown to that but it's gone in an instant. "Given our… associations?" There's a look between them, trying to determine if she chose the right word. "Perhaps one or both of you would help me in this?"

Then, at Merlin's description of how Illyana changed upon seeing the pair, Marie's eyes widen a little. She's curious now, too.


"Am happy," Illyana confirms. "Am also suspicious of coincidence," she says. "Was not expecting to see either of you alone. Both at once? Very unlikely," she posits, flicking fingers into the air as she counts on her hand. "Means warp and weft is flexing. Also means, possibly going to be either monsters, aliens, alien monsters, or demons. In any case, am exercising most prudent philosophy of expecting to have good mood interrupted," she says, rather philosophically.

"Because my /girlfriend/ and I have another /date/ tonight, you see," she tells Marie, eyes suddenly full of bright, dancing energy, and a mischevious expression on her high, hawklike features. "So am in /very/ good mood."


"Oh, you've found a dwelling!" Merlin seems pleased to hear this news from Marie. "Very good. Very good indeed! Perhaps a pendaison de crmaill
e is in order!" He says cheerfully. He tilts his head at the mention of her problem. "Ah. Yes, well, i'd be happy to help you find a present for this…friend." The inflection of how he says 'friend' suggests he's curious as to their relationship, but that he won't push further unless she decides to say more.

Nodding to Illyana, Merlin sighs. "Do not worry. I've been taking care of some alien monsters. I think we'll be fine for now. But I agree, coincidence is oft more than coincidence. But perhaps the powers that be brought us together merely to help our friend Marie, hmm?"

He furrows his brow at the mention of a girlfriend, though just as suddenly, his expression becomes one of joy. "Oh, you've found a person who makes you happy! I am glad for you, Illyana. Now, when do we get to meet her? And does she know of the time I turned Arthur into a fish? If not, I'd ever so much like to tell her that tale. We should have her over to the Sanctum for tea! Perhaps you should offer her the invitation tonight, on your excursion of romance. She needn't come by tonight, of course, but the invitation shall remain open to her."


"Oui, I have!" Marie confirms to Merlin, smiling brightly. The suggestion of a housewarming party? … well. That would very likely be /wonderful, but there's a bit of a sedateness to her smile as she adds, "…I shall have to ask my.. how you say… roommate?" Technically, Marie's living there for free. She pitches in with her fair share of the chores — she /insists/ on it doing something to earn her keep, but it /is/ Scarlett's domicile in the end, and Marie's not going to throw a party without permission!

Marie's a believer in fate; all paths are predetermined, it's only up to those who travel to determine the speed of their journey; otherwise, all things are the same. So Illyana's suggestion that the three of them meeting means something bad's about to happen has her reaching for her cards.

That is. Until the seer raised by nuns in a convent hears something that makes her utterly freeze in place.

Did she say /girlfriend?/ Marie's familiar with that term. She's heard it used. It doesn't mean girl who is friend, it implies /romance./ Illyana's a girl, isn't she? Green eyes study for a moment to try and reassure herself; yup. She's a girl. And claims to have a girlfriend. Does this mean…

There's a speechless moment. Months ago, she would have judged. She was raised strictly, afterall. These days? The cards have her confused. Very confused. Then there's also the fact that Illyana's English doesn't sound entirely unlike Marie's… maybe she doesn't know what she said? Best to start there.

"Mademoiselle…" she starts — and then Merlin jumps right in line. With each word, Marie's blush seems to turn a deeper shade of red; scandalous! Her jaw even hangs open as he goes on with his speech… and at the conclusion, the redhead looks between her friends slowly. And again. And again. And finally speaks.

"…is that what you meant, Mademoiselle? 'Girlfriend'… in a romantic manner?" she asks hesitantly, watching the blonde.


"Will bring her to Christmas party at Sanctum," Illyana explains to Merlin, hands clasping behind her back. "If she will come along. Is very shy and magic is thing she does not uh, completely understand yet. Still very new to her," she offers.

She looks at Marie, and her smiles blossoms with radiant ignorance at Marie's question. "Da. Romance~," Illyana says, almost singing the word with a sigh. "And she is very kind. And very sweet. And very good kisser," Illyana says, with a happpy, heavy-lidded smile.

Her expression widens again, eyes flickering to Marie's look of confusion, and then the left side of her smile weakens, eyes fluttering in confusion. "Er… da, romance, is… something wrong?" she asks Marie, one brow lifting.


"Another reason to be at the Yule celebration, then!" Merlin says, smiling. "Worry not, however. I shan't frighten her off with the talk of magic. I'm sure we can find a common area of interest!" He then offers a nod to Marie. "Ah, of course. I wouldn't wish to impose such a thing where it was not desired. However, should your roommate be amenable, such events are always enjoyable. Or rather, they usually are." He may have attended one or two that ended rather unpleasantly, but those are not ones to talk about now.

"It does appear that you sincerely care for this woman, Illyana. I am glad for you. To care for someone deeply in such a way is a true gift." Merlin glances at Marie. He remains quiet, now, however, awaiting her response.


Inside, Marie's mind is a battlefield. Nuns and wizards fighting in bloody combat for control of the seer's feelings as the fog of war flows like steam from a coffee pot. Reaction coming in three… two… one…

The redhead launches herself at the blonde, arms wide and trying to envelope her in a hug. "I'm so happy!" she squeals, practically bouncing on her toes. There's a long moment that passes before she adds, "For you, I mean. For you!"

Oh, they have to /talk./ They're going to have to talk a /lot./ It takes quite a bit to stir the girl from her plans, but something like this? This is going to do the trick easily enough. She's as happy now as she was when she realized there were other people who had powers… and that those powers didn't necessarily mean they were the devil incarnate or anything like that.

…fortunately for Marie, she's seen Illyana /fighting/ demons, not hanging out in Limbo. Otherwise she'd be even more conflicted on the subject than before.


Oof! Illyana's at least a hell of a lot stronger than she looks, blinking in surprise that turns into a beaming smile as Marie tackles her in a hug. Improvement! A month ago, Illyana would have hit someone in the face for rushing her so quickly.

"Thank you Marie!" Illyana kisses Marie on the cheek, then sets her down, having lifted Marie off her toes by accident. She peers at Marie's face, seeing something /else/ there that her instincts twig to, and her smile expands again, and she nods more, firmly. "Da— talk. Come to Limbo, we talk there," she offers.

"You, old man" she says, jabbing Merlin in the breastbone with a pointy finger "are not allowed to scare her," she says, reassuming that falcon's glint in her eye. "No transformations, no scary illusions, no stories about that time you turned the fellow inside out. Can make small illusions and tell funny stories, is all. Da?" she says— but she smiles again, squeezing Marie despite herself and unable to really scold Merlin. Who can, with any real sincerity.


Chuckling a little at the sight of joy, Merlin smiles. Happy makes him happy, what can he say! But when Illyana starts to scold him, he raises an eyebrow and an amused look crosses his face. "But fine. No story about the gentleman I turned inside out, and no scary illusions, but I cannot make a promise of no transformations. I may not transform her, however, but I might transform myself. Or a plant. Or a table. And they'll be transformed into things that people like. Such as puppies and kittens and baby hydras." He waves a hand. "But do not worry. I'll be the perfect gentleman. Nothing to scare her off."


Illyana might be a lot stronger than she looks, but Marie? Marie's… honestly weaker than she looks, although that's mainly thanks to the coat hiding her slender frame. She /also/ doesn't weigh much, as Illyana finds out upon lifting Marie; more than she did a month or two ago, but she's still working towards gaining a healthy weight.

"Wherever is fine," she agrees, not realizing what she just agreed to — because honestly, she has /so/ many questions. Questions that Illyana may not even be able to answer, but gosh darn it, she's just happy to have someone she can /ask/ about these things now. "…but before that…" she trails for a moment, looking between the two. She's in a safe space to talk openly, she's with friends that won't hate her if they guess at things or speaks directly of others. Still, she lowers her voice just a little bit. "…my friend, she has an interest in the magical." Yup. She also said 'she'. Take from that what you will. "I wish to buy her a deck of the tarot and teach her to read, as well — for her Christmas present, that is." That blush is returning again. She's not good at hiding things. "…but I do not know where in the city I might find one." A pause, and she lowers her gaze a bit. "..and I dared not /ask/ anyone because…" she trails off again, deciding to scuff her toes against the sidewalk.

And then Illyana and Merlin are talking about scaring Illyana's girlfriend, and Marie looks back up, green eyes wide as she tries to comprehend it all. Turning people inside out?! ..Puppies and kittens are wonderful, but… "…qu'est-ce qu'une 'Hydra'?" she asks, totally dumbfounded. This girl's lived under a mythological rock, afterall.


"Many-headed monster. Ugly greek thing," Illyana explains to Marie— but she squeezes the girl's hand in a sudden expression of affectionate comprehension and understanding. Seems her new romantic entanglements have enabled Illyana to express a bit more empathy.

"Tarot deck? I know place! Went with friend not long ago!" Illyana exclaims. She grabs Marie's wrist in one hand, and Merlin's in the other, and charges four steps forward. Yellow light surges around the trio, there's a whiff of sharp ozone and a flicker of purple sky, and abruptly they're in France, staring at the unmistakeable profile of the Arc de Triomphe.

And it is nighttime.

"Wait, was daytime when left," Illyana says, looking confused. "Why is so dark out?"


Opening his mouth slightly to start explaining what a hydra is, Merlin immediately shuts it when Illyana explains. "Oui. Illyana is quite correct. Many-headed monster. I wouldn't actually create one. They're nasty creatures, and difficult to be rid of." He says softly. There's an explanation of Marie's need for a gift and Merlin smiles. "A special lady friend needs a gift? Tarot cards, hmm?"

When Illyana takes hold of them, explaining that she knows a place, the last thing that Merlin expected was to be brought to France. "Were we in Limbo for a moment?" He blink once and looks around. "Le Arc de Triomphe? Why, we're in Paris!" He smiles and gently places a hand on Illyana's shoulder. "The local time of Paris is six hours ahead of that of New York local time. It is later here than it is in New York." He explains.


"Oh my…" Marie replies to Illyana's explanation. "…and everyone likes it as a baby?" A glance over to Merlin — she's still confused, and maybe even moreso than before, but that's okay. The blonde gets a fond smile from Marie even if she's lost, and then she's grabbed, being pulled, and she has barely the time to gasp before…

"Mon dieu!" she gasps out, eyes wide as ever; the atmosphere is pretty evident. The sight of the Arc confirms it. She's seen that in pictures, though not in person. "Paris!" Pause. "But how?" The girl has a lot to learn, and is even poking at the ground with her foot to try and see if it's real, or if she might have had too much wine. Again. Nope, seems solid! Marie's face lights up again. Illyana just earned more points and Merlin's comments get a nod, "Oui! It was difficult to adjust to sleeping when I first came to America because of the difference… I would tire easily in the afternoons." …which actually worked out pretty well. Sleeping in the afternoon was safest when she was on the streets. "Oui, Monsieur Merlin; I have thought much, and decided there would be no better gift." She's not disputing the specialness of the person in question, nope! Then to Illyana, "The place you know… it is open now, or…?"


"Local time?" Illyana gives Merlin a blank look. "PAris is not in different dimension, why would time be different?" she asks, a bit stubbornly.

She grips Marie's hand and tugs her along down the road— it's late, but not past closing time, and many shops are still open.

"Er… was around here, somewhere," she mutters, trying to gain her bearings. It takes her about ten minutes to reorient herself and try to vaguely sound out street sign names before she's got them in tow towards a little occult and magic shop in a back alley— which she finds by sniffing the weak ley line under it, more than any real urban orienteering.

"That's right! Is here," she proclaims for Marie, pushing the door open and heading inside the little shop.


Shaking his head at Marie, Merlin says, "No. It's not quite a favourite of anyone. In fact, in many heroic adventures, brave people went to destroy hydras. Though they are notoriously difficult to defeat. For reasons which I'll explain another time, should you wish to know more." As for how they got here, he figures he'll try to explain that as well. "We were brought here through a form of magical transportation. A teleportation, of sorts. There are different routes one might take, but they essentially allow one who practices the mystic arts to travel from one place to another in a manner of seconds."

"I think it's a lovely gift, Marie. Thoughtful." And Merlin certainly doesn't discount the fact that it would allow her to spend more time with this person. However, that part of it doesn't need saying. "I believe you chose well in your decision of a gift."

To Illyana, he frowns. "Yes, we are in the same dimenion, the same realm, but that is not enough. The Earth is a planet, a globe, a round object floating in space around the star known as Sol, or simply 'the sun'. As the Earth floats around the sun, it rotates, and different regions of the planet face toward the sun while other regions face away. This also causes the sun to appear to rise in the morning and set in the afternoon or evening." He sighs. "You know, perhaps I shall just give you a book in Russian that explains." He's not a science teacher, after all.

Once Illyana gets to leading, he remains silent. He doesn't wish to disturb or distract Illyana, should such a distraction cause her to lose focus and need to reorient herself. He merely follows until they've found the shop.


Merlin's explanation's get a nod; the girl's a sponge for knowledge, and has a great many gaps in hers that need to be plugged over time; especially being a part of these worlds as she continues to find herself being. The compliments on the choice of gift, that gets a soft "Merci." and another blush; though whether she's thinking as he is, or it's just a matter of the compliments, that's anyone's guess.

Marie's a follower by nature, so when Illyana pulls her along by the hand she holds? She goes easily, occasionally skipping a step or two as she does so but maintaining her balance without too much trouble; those years of dance classes have paid off very well for the girl.

Meanwhile, she helps as she can by pronouncing the various street names for Illyana, and providing translation into English where appropriate. "The sun shines in different parts of the world at different times, hours were determined based on the light of the sun." she tries her hand at explaining, too. Science wasn't a topic skipped in her schooling, even if history had been scrubbed of a number of things.

Then, they arrive! Now, Marie's /been/ in places like this before. Granted, she was maybe four or five at the time… but she lets her eyes adjust to the change in lighting between the outdoors and the indoors, and scans the shop. A hunting she shall go!


Illyana gives Merlin and Marie a blank look. "I don't believe you," she says, clearly unable to wrap her brain around such a foreign concept. "That makes no sense." For Illyana, the concept of a dimensional shift or time manipulation is simpler than trying to visualize something as monstrous as the globe in motion rotating through the universe.

Once they're inside, she gives Marie her free reign to run around and try to find the tarot cards— like so many small occult shops, there's the usual distribution of faking 'healing crystals', old European powdered animal remedies, and in rare doses, small bits of actual magic here and there.


"As a sorceress supreme of your realm, while it it commendable and quite expected that you stay firm to your convictions, it is also required that you allow for the chance to learn and expand your knowledge." Merlin tells Illyana. "Being able to accept that there is new information to learn, whether you want to believe it or not, can only make you stronger as a sorceress supreme! I speak from experience as a former sorcerer supreme." He explains. "But if you do not wish to believe, ask of this from someone else. Perhaps Mister Doctor Strange."

But then Merlin's attention is drawn to the store. He wanders about, and he can be heard chortling, giggling at the little items that are passed off as being 'magical', but that are so obviously not. Or, rather, it's obvious to him that they're not. He holds up a finger to one of the so called 'healin crystals' and a bright light glows from the finger and transfers to the crystal, which glows for a moment before the light fades.


Maybe a book would be the easier way. Of course, maybe she'll eventually meet someone who can take them into outer space so that they can have a first-hand look at the situation themselves! That would certainly be more fun — and frightening — than a book, afterall.

Now that Marie's inside — and no longer being held by Illyana, she /does/ wander. Roaming long enough to find the boxes containing various decks and stopping there. Letting her fingers do the work, as the slender digits brush along box after box; she's not looking so much for design as she's looking to find which box calls to her; fate is everything, and everything is fate. Don't mind her, she'll be distracted over here for a moment~


Illyana sulks and looks properly chastened by Merlin's rebuke— inasmuch as he challenges her foolish pride as her unwillingness to consider new concepts. She slumps along behind him, scowling like a teenager, but her interest is piqued as he starts fiddling with a crystal on one of the shelves.

"What did you do?" she murmurs, peeking around his arm at the rock fading back into quite, opaque stillness.


"Hmm?" Merlin glances back at the sulking Illyana. "Oh, something I learned as well. Yes, one must be willing to learn, or at least entertain, new subjects. But, one must not be afraid to have a little fun as well." There's a little mischievous grin on his face. "The person who purchases this crystal will, well…" He clears his throat, "they'll grow tiny warts across their stomach that says 'Apprenez la vraie magie', which translates to 'learn real magic'."


Occasionally, Marie will pluck out a box or two. Open it up, splay cards along and flip one — then put the box back and go back to feeling her way. This has to be the /perfect/ gift. It will take time. She's completely oblivious to anything else going on at the moment, too. So perfect time to discuss the makings of mischief!


"Rose said 'pranking'," Illyana says, a smile crossing her slender, fine features. "I think I understand it better now. Is a fun idea," she admits, hugging Merlin. "Thank you for teaching me about the sun."

"Marie! Are you done yet?" Illyana calls to the other woman, watching her handling all the goods. "Did you find tarot deck for your friend?"


"Yes, quite right. Pranking." Merlin nods. That is the word he was looking for there. "It can be rather fun. The important part, as well, is that it does not actual damage. Or rather, it does no actual harm. Like the warts. They shall disappear after a short time, and they'll not hurt. They'll just be unseemly, while also getting a message across. A little fun, a little prank." He says with a smile.

The hug comes to Merlin as a complete surprise. He doesn't receive them often. Not any more. "Oh, well, you're quite welcome." He returns the hug, patting Illyana on the back softly. When she calls to Marie, he turns away for a quick moment and rubs his eyes quickly. He wasn't tearing up! Nope, not at all! He just got dust in his eyes! Why do magic shops have to be so full of dust?


Eventually, she /does/ find the right one… and she beams, putting it away back in its box very carefully, similar to the way she handles her own cards. With that certain reverance that others might view a holy text; she hardly thinks of her cards, or cards in general as divine, but what they are certainly deserves the respect she gives.

"Oui, I did! I think she will love them." she declares; it's a traditional Rider-Waite deck similar to her own… she had to dig a bit to find one that carried the same translations of the cards that her own has, though, as many of the cards here were in French.

With that declaration made, she almost hops to the counter to pay, conversing briefly with the proprietor in French while she digs out the correct amount of money, and once the purchase is made? Rejoins her friends. "Thank you both for your help." Beam! She's a happy girl. Happy for a number of reasons, really.


"Is my pleasure," Illyana says to Marie, not seeing Merlin wiping away the mist in his eyes. She hugs her friend quickly, then turns and offers a hand to Merlin as well. "Quick step home," she assures them— and with four long steps, Limbo ripples in and out of existence around them, and the trio appears outside the—

-Buckingham Palace?

Illyana looks around, confused. "Oh, am sorry. Missed the connecting line. Will try again." Four more swift steps, and they materialize on 5th street right where they'd departed from.


"I'm glad you've found the deck that you suits the gift, Marie. It can be important for gifts to be just right." Merlin nods, smiling. Taking Illyana's hand, he lets her guide them back again.

There's an audible gasp when they appear in front of Buckingham Palace, and then just as audible of a sigh when they are then taken back through to correct the mistake. "I was not prepared to be in London Town. I've been putting off tea with the Queen, and when we appeared in front of the palace, I was worried I'd have to explain, then and there, why I've been too busy to visit!"


Illyana's clearly a hugger. Which works for Marie; who returns the hug swiftly, proving the same to be true of herself. As if the near tackle earlier didn't do the trick! Then they're teleporting and…

"This is not…" she cuts herself off as Illyana realizes the mistake, and then they're home again. Hurrah!

Merlin gets a bright smile at his comment, and a nod. "Oui, and especially a gift for her. It had to be perfect." …and it's time for Merlin to get a hug, too. Because frankly, Marie's just in a joyous mood, and she's thankful to have friends like these.


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