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Wil rattles the pill bottle and shakes out a nostalgesic, but these things don’t take effect right away. He’s been working out of the library all week and it smells like slow evenings to him, a decade ago, spine glue and onionskin and hushed ventilation while she labored at her thesis. Steel stacks. Scuffed corners. The weight of years, and waiting.

You can’t miss what you never had. Wil stares at carrel woodgrain going in and out of blur and tries to calculate how much time he’s wasted missing wasted time, but then the drug kicks in and it’s fine actually.


Kat pops a Nostalgia and a Hatred and leans back in the chair, feeling it well inside her: old, old rage, titanic and black and red. She’s twenty-six and she feels ten thousand. Over there Wil has just taken a Fear, and he scrabbles back toward the wall when she stalks toward him, delirious with hate.

Her fists are bloody soon, knuckles bruised, and Wil’s slumped and shuddering. They’re both loving this, but she needs something else: shaking hands find the bottle of Remorse, and she dry-swallows two.

Remorse is small and blue. Dropping to her knees, Kat understands exactly why.