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I want to fill this shape with a gradient, but because it's divided it won't fill it completely, leaving a gap between subshapes.

How can I join these subshapes? I can't use pathfinder because it will just create another stroke between subshapes, but won't fill the gap.

Fill tool doesn't really work here: It fills the gap, but if I try to divide this shape once again, the fill color will just vanish.

Without fill color With fill color

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You need to create a separate object of the same size and approximate shape, apply the gradient you need, then push that new object behind the black outline shape via 'Send to Back' or CTRL+SHIFT+[.

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