"But..." I started.
"There are no buts anymore, my friend," Liam said morosely.
"Rogue," I whispered.
Liam nodded slowly. "We are sorry to lose you, but you brought this upon yourself."
"You knew the consequences but you went through with it anyway. You could have asked to be transferred from her. You were going to keep her soul as well, weren't you?"
"She asked me to," I murmured.
"And if she asked you to jump into the fire?"
"I would do it."
"You are willing to give up everything for this one girl."
"It's not like it would kill me, anyway."
He smiled slightly. "That is true. You're on your own now though, Ryder."
"Goodbye, old friend," I said wistfully.
"Goodbye." He smiled and disappeared, easily passing back into Limbo.
I wasn't a reaper anymore. I was a rogue, something I had been taught to despise. And, strangely, the feeling was liberating. At least until I remembered that I had no one to help me get Mollie's soul back.
No... Alistair. I had Alistair. And I wasn't bound my a code, or a huge book of rules. I was free to do as I wished, keep whatever souls I wanted... Love whoever I wanted.
I smiled to my reflection in the mirror. I listened to the ambulance sirens disappearing into the distance. I watched myself as I disappeared, reappearing in the ambulance she was in, invisible. I saw Joe's eyes twitch over to me. I met his gaze. He could see me. Of course he could; he was a sorcerer.
I looked back to Mollie. I remembered the first day I'd been assigned to her. This was how I'd seen her that first time; lying in an ambulance, with an oxygen mask strapped to her face, her life in the balance.
The drive to the hospital was extremely short with the speed the paramedics were driving at.
Once the ambulance pulled into the bay in front of the hospital, I waited in the corner as Mollie was hurried out on a stretcher. Joe looked at me as he passed, following the paramedics. I walked after him.
"There will be no help," I said, knowing only he could hear me.
"What do you mean?" he whispered as quietly as he could.
"I've been fired, for want of a better word. I'm rogue now. I can do whatever the hell I want, but it means there is no one who will help, except perhaps one."
"Who?" he asked quietly.
"I think he means me," Alistair said.
"Who else would I be talking about?"
"I suppose that's a good point. Who's this?" he asked, looking at Joe.
It was only then that he looked to the stretcher on which Mollie was lying.
"Bit early to take her soul, isn't it, Ryder?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I didn't take it, idiot."
"I don't know."
"Then we'd better find out," he said.
"You'll help me?" I asked.
"You know I will."
"What about me?" Joe asked, at normal volume, causing rather a lot of eyes to be drawn his way. He blushed a little when he noticed.
"What about you?" I asked him.
He looked around the room, seeing people still staring at him.
"We'll continue this conversation later," I said.
He nodded once and hurried to catch up with the paramedics.
"So, rogue now, eh?" Alistair asked, looking across at me as we followed the stretcher that was being rushed along to the ICU.
I nodded, watching the doctors seeing to Mollie. They were clearly confused as to what was wrong with her. They seemed to come to the conclusion that she was in a coma, as her heart still beat and her lungs still worked as well as they could with her condition.
"You care for her a very great deal," Alistair commented, following my gaze.
I didn't reply, as I didn't think he actually needed an answer. The two of us walked into the room they'd taken Mollie into. Joe was made to leave and as he did so, he shot me a dirty look. I pretended not to notice.
It was a long time before the doctors left and by the time that they had, Mollie was hooked up to an intravenous feeding drip, a catheter and a tube to take fluid and blood out of her lungs. There was a machine on standby in case she stopped breathing, and one to regulate her heart if it crashed.
As the door shut behind the final doctor, I walked over to her silently.