Spoilers for the end of Blackwell Epiphany. If you haven't played it, go do it.
For a few minutes, he thinks everything is going to be okay.
Sure, there weren't any spooks to be saved, but they would turn up and he really does think a vacation wouldn't be so bad. After all, they deserve it, especially now. Then Rosa falls to her knees in the snow.
It doesn't register at first. He doesn't realize what's happening. Then she speaks, her voice laced with pain and regret, and a weight drops into his stomach like lead. He pleads with her, begs her to hold on because he refuses to believe that this is where it would end, not now. She'd saved the city. Hell, she'd saved the whole world and everyone in it, living and dead. It couldn't end like this.
But then she looks at him, eyes filled with unshed tears and pain, so much pain.
"It was worth it. Wasn't it?"
No, he wants to yell, not at the cost of your life, nothing is worth that. But he can't say it because once upon a time, he also give his life to save another and what she did was so much bigger. "Sure. Of course it was."
She sees her parents and he knows he's losing her. It hurts more than anything he's ever experienced and he begs her to stay with him because his desperate denials are the only thing keeping him from falling apart.
Two words, filled with longing and pain. Two simple words and an unspoken plea behind them. She hadn't wanted him to see this. She had known what was happening and was willing to face it alone if it meant he could be free. And now she was asking the same of him, to let her go, to let her find her own peace in the light.
"Ok," he says and feels himself unraveling. "But before you . . . go. I'll make you one promise. No matter how long I'm around, no matter how many hosts I see die, I'm not going to turn into Madeline. Ever. Not if I'm a spook for a million years. I'll be a good spirit guide. Do what needs to be done. Forever, if need be."
He means it. It's the one thing he can do for her now. But Rosa looks at him, a strange expression of calm determination on her face.
"No, Joey, you won't."
Before he can ask what she means, there's blinding light all around him and pain, like he's been charged with electricity. Blackness swallows him whole.
He's lying in the snow. He feels heavy, his body aching, and he groans. Against his cheeks and hands, the snow is wet and cold and it hits him then that he can feel it. His skin is warm flesh tones instead of ghostly blue and he can feel again. He breathes in the chilly night air, sees the hat that hasn't left his head since he died lying on the pavement, feels his heart beating in his chest. He's alive. How can he be alive?
He asks the question, but there is no answer.
She's lying in the snow, still and unmoving.
Her name, her real name, rises up, like somehow it can call her back from where she's gone.
He pulls off his tie, dangling it by her hand, brokenly pleading with her to take it, to let him save her, but it's only fabric now. Useless. Sinking to his knees, he reaches out, feels the soft material of her coat. Tears rise in his throat as he pulls her into his arms, cradling her head against his chest. Her hair is soft against his cheek. Alone in the cold, he holds her and weeps.