“ … clara, “ he smiles, but in the way someone smiles
        through a memory once sweet, now bitter. ” I knew her.
        we were friends, back when she and hamtaro were still
        working together. “

he reaches for his phone, scrolling through hundreds of images before turning the screen to wrench. there’s james and clara, posing for a selfie. james has an arm wrapped around her, and clara’s hair ( it was long, then ) in his eyes. a certain rat mask is visible in the background.

        “ things were… simpler then. ”