He couldn’t love her. No one had to tell him that, in the White City. But that was the deal, the oldest bargain in all the worlds that were: you bring them back, you leave a soul behind. And you could take nothing there save what was within you.
Most people don’t have extra souls. He didn’t. And she came back, from the White City to the world, from death into life, as if it was a matter of bureaucracy as much as will, destiny as much as chance. He smiled — he could fake that, at least — and she laughed, and kissed him, and talked.
When she left, two months later, only she was surprised. He wasn’t surprised by anything anymore. he let her go, despite her pleading for him to change, trying to move him with words, and love, and human things. He just waited, watched her go, and made himself a sandwich.
They never talked about his lost soul, not then or ever.