Present day...

It was only just the beginning of what James could tell would be a mission that could only enhance his relationship with Scarlet. A professional one, of course. Or at least by the standards that James found himself following more and more every day.

She sounded genuinely happy on the other end of the phone, if a little wary. Scarlet knew how much this first kill meant to James, and appreciated his bravery accordingly.

'We should meet once more. You're learning to walk one step at a time, but by the time you can run, you won't need me any more. I feel that this day will come sooner rather than later.'

Scarlet wanted to meet with James... He was a little surprised, but he was glad to see her for the third time in so very long. She had been such an important part of his life for the last two years, and yet they hardly ever saw each other face to face.

Later that night, as the city came to life in lights and sirens shrieking of hollow promises to enforce the law, Scarlet and James spoke of their own law.

'I would never have been able to do this if it wasn't for you, you know that?' James said, as he did every single time they spoke to one another. But he wanted her to know how central to his life Scarlet was, and despite the likelihood that she would be leaving his life soon enough, he needed to show his appreciation, if only with words.

'If it wasn't for me, you'd be dead, let alone following this list of yours. It's a quirky thought, James, but it does its job well enough, I suppose. Personally, I would not be able to forget these men and women. Their crimes are already scorched into my mind. Their names and faces are a part of that.'

'It's more ritualistic, really. This list holds everything about my new philosophy. My whole life, the last two years have been building up to this moment, and besides you, this piece of paper has been the only constant in the whole thing.'

'I understand why it's important to you,' Scarlet said. 'But in the wrong hands, it could be dangerous. You must keep it with you at all times. A single slip up involving this list could jeopardize everything we're working for. Everything you're working for.'

'You're not still thinking  of leaving, are you?' James genuinely wanted Scarlet to stay, simply so that his list would not end up being the only thing he could be honest with. 'You're important to this city. You're important to my life. To what I'm doing here.'

'There are bigger problems in bigger cities. Besides, you'll have it under control here. Or so I hope. Today's exploit proved you as a level-headed and determined individual.'

James couldn't help but smile. A compliment from his mentor. He felt honoured.

The End

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