Disclaimer: This story is based on characters created and owned by J.K. Rowling and distributed by various publishers and media companies including Warner Brothers, Bloomsbury books, Scholastic Books, and Raincoast books. No money is made from this and no copyright infringement is intended. Also, at certain points throughout the story there will be some quotes and ideas that are borrowed from other sources, and I hereby disclaim those as well. Let us make it a game, shall we? :-) Call 'em if you see 'em.

Author's Note: The writing of this fic is progressing reasonably well, so I decided to post it early. Chapters may be expected every ten days, though there may be a hiatus in July.

Wolfe's Bane

Chapter 1

The Road of Revenge

It felt like he had no blood left in his body. Though broken, his heart still pumped. But now, it pumped cold hatred instead of warm blood.

There had been blood everywhere. It had poured out of three bodies onto the white stone floor, mingling to form one large pool. That's how he'd found her, with her beautiful lapis lazuli eyes wide open, staring unseeingly into space, devoid of all life. Her long white hair had been spread out over the floor like a blood-soaked silver and red halo. Her belly had been cut open in a crude caesarean section, and her child had been ripped out. Inside the mangled abdomen there had been a purple-flowered herb. The perpetrator's calling card, Aconite … also known as Wolf's Bane.

He'd never laugh again. If there was a benevolent deity, it had to have a sick sense of humour. Sunshine streamed through the crematorium's skylight. It was April Fool's, and the weather was mild and sunny. The emergence of new life went completely against his feelings, mocking his pain … mocking her death.

The elder boy was crying, upsetting the younger by doing so. He kept asking his aunt what had happened to his mother. He didn't understand that she'd never be coming back. He didn't understand that he'd been deprived of his last remaining grandparent, as well as his mother.

It shouldn't have happened, but it had happened anyway, because he had strayed from the path destiny had shown him. Master Lei had always told him that the battle had chosen him, and that allowing others into his life would be to endanger them. In spite of that warning, he'd settled down with the woman who had shown him the meaning of love, and had taught him that it wasn't always easy to understand. A benevolent deity would have considered that to be a good thing, but instead he'd taken her away.

He glanced at the redhead holding his sons' hands. She too was suffering because he'd allowed himself to be caught off guard. Her mother had simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time, but she'd been killed along with her husband and stepdaughter anyway.

Wolfe had waved their killer's threats and curses away with contempt, disregarding the caution Master Lei had instilled in him over the years. That was probably why Master Lei's lessons had been haunting his dreams for the past week, particularly those concerning Machiavelli's wisdom. Machiavelli considered it a mark of great prudence in a man to abstain from threats or any contemptuous expressions, for neither of those weakened the enemy. Instead, threats made the enemy more cautious, while contempt excited the enemy's hatred and stoked a desire to exact revenge. He'd done it to himself. He hadn't taken his foe seriously, and he'd dismissed her as a threat to him.

Medea Aconit must have had outside help with breaking out of Azkaban unnoticed, and there was only one wizard alive who had the means of accomplishing such a task. Leaving Yamato as a loose end had been a mistake.

Wolfe balled his fists. He knew why they had targeted Galatea, aside from the fact that she'd been vulnerable, away from Concordia. They had tried to break him—and they had succeeded. They had broken Max, the father and husband. But in doing so they had revived Wolfe, avenger of their innocent victims. They too should have minded Machiavelli's wisdom. If an injury had to be done to a man, it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. But those who had wronged him had plenty to fear.

"Wolfe?" the question echoed in his mind as well as in his ears. Harry was worried, because he was being kept out.

He stared at the tiny box Harry was holding in front of him. Galatea had always wanted to be cremated. Her ashes had been magically crushed and compacted until they formed a glittering crystal. Sunlight reflected off it, taunting his eyes. But at least there was no body for Yamato to dig up and use for his own fiendish ends.

Reaching over, he relieved Harry of his precious burden and closed the box. He hadn't thought about what he ought to do with the crystal. She'd often told him how much she had loved the place where Harry and Ginny had got married. Maybe he could ask the centaurs for permission to bury her there. They probably wouldn't refuse, since they had known her well. She'd instructed them in the many uses of Miraculum Weed, and forged a close bond with the centaur Healer.

He looked through the skylight at the cloudless sky above. Though they weren't visible, the sky held the stars that Galatea had loved so much, and the moon, which had often rekindled memories of her childhood in New Caledonia, mostly of her mother singing lullabies to her as the celestial body shone upon them. He could ask permission to take one of the Cruisers into space and place her on the face of the moon, where she'd have a special place to watch the stars. That would be his last act as Max.

The soil, or the sky? He lowered his gaze and observed his reflection in the polished gray marble floor, asking himself whether his children would like to visit the clearing to see their mother, or would it be better for them to remember her by looking at the moon?

"I would like to thank everyone for having come here," a voice with a noticeable French accent said. It was Tiresias, the elder of Galatea's two brothers. Having gone to school in Ogygia, where Greek was the common language, but most students had mentors who spoke their native tongue, his English wasn't as polished as that of his siblings, who had gone to English-speaking schools. His irises were barely visible against the white sclera, and he had no discernible pupils. To Muggles he would be blind, but he had a very special gift, namely, he could see magical energy. While he risked bumping into Muggles and non-magical plants, animals, and inanimate objects, everything containing magical energy was as visible to him as it was to anyone. "I really appreciate it, and my sister, father, and stepmother would have also. She would not have wanted you to mourn too much for her and let your grief stop your from living. She would want you to enjoy every day."

Wolfe picked the hem of Heidi's long skirt as a focal point, trying not to think about…anything.

Henry began to wail. "I want mama!"

Thetis, Galatea's plump sister, who was known for being a bit too prone to 'taste' her culinary creations excessively, tried to console his son. But though Henry had seen her a few times, she was a virtual stranger to him. Heidi quickly took the toddler over and rocked him, calming him almost instantly. He had his mama. Heidi would be a good mother to his children after he was gone.

Then Heidi stepped forward to say some words on her mother's behalf.

Harry ought to have been angry about it. The happiness brought by the previous day's arrival of his daughter, Holly Hermione Potter, had been dampened by the Angelous' brutal murder a week earlier. Ginny had felt terrible about not being able to attend the funeral. Though she had recovered from the birth as quickly as some of the hardier African herd herbivores did—courtesy of Holly's older sister, after whom she'd been named—she had felt that the mother-daughter bonding process shouldn't be interrupted. And bringing a day-old infant to such a gloomy event wouldn't have been the right way to start her life.

He heard Robert's sniffling sounds and turned to check if he needed some words of comfort. His heart nearly broke at the sight of the boy, and he counted himself fortunate that he'd been too young to be aware of his parents' deaths. Not being three yet, Henry wasn't quite as badly affected as his older brother was. Though the grief would return, he'd momentarily forgotten it, and was playing with Nathaniel Kelly and the Faust brothers in a corner of the courtyard.

But Robert was being taken care of. He lay curled up on a bench with his head in little Rachel Kelly's lap. She'd shed some tears too, while sharing her best friend's grief. Now she stroked his hair as she softly hummed a song to him. At only four and a half, she was already a rock. It was beginning to look like Ginny had had a true vision of the future after all.

More adults poured into the courtyard from the Wolfe residence. Neville was present too, since Armand Angelou had been a friend as well as a business partner. He was speaking to Calypso, the youngest of the remaining Angelou children. She'd been excused from school to attend the funeral, and granted special consideration, since her father and sister's deaths preceded the equivalent of her N.E.W.T.s by a very short time, and thus would likely affect her performance in a negative way. She had a knack for working with plants, and had been planning to follow in her father's footsteps.

Claire Montoya-Cruz, now a Lieutenant and Heidi's immediate superior in the Diplomatic Division, entered the courtyard, pushing a pram in front of her. Her nine-month-old son Inigo tried to right himself to see what was going on around him, while his sister Isabel went off to play. The little girl, who was about three months shy of her second birthday, pattered off to join the two children who were her regular playmates at Jasmine's unofficial Ranger children day-care. These three children had been born within two months of one another. His son's green eyes lit up as he recognised the girl. He nudged his cousin Raina, Ron's daughter, signalling that they had company.

"All right there, Harry?" Bill's voice said. Harry followed the sound and spotted Bill leaning out of the Wolfe's kitchen window. Fleur, Gabrielle, and their mother had also travelled to Concordia to grieve with the next of kin, bringing their in-laws with them. Fortunately, Armand Angelou had been an only child of already deceased parents, rendering the complication of Concordia's 'No Muggles' rule irrelevant.

"Can't really expect me to be, under these circumstances."

"I suppose not," Bill acknowledged. "What about Wolfe?"

"I don't know. He closed himself off completely."

"Make a guess."

Harry sighed. "I'd say he's not okay—definitely not." He knew Wolfe was planning something. He couldn't discount the possibility of attempted time-travel. He'd have to warn Faust about that possibility.

Bill looked over his shoulder. "Yeah, he's just sitting there, brooding. He hardly responded when Charlie and I tried to talk to him earlier. That look he gave us was a bit unsettling too. He won't even talk to Jasmine."

The door on the Kelly's side of the courtyard swung open. A very pregnant Gudrun, wearing sober black robes, walked into the courtyard followed by Matt. He carried his fourteen-month-old son Alexander over to the corner where Isabel Montoya was playing with Richard and Raina, and put him down. The boy immediately made a grab for the Harry Potter action figure in the toy chest.

Gudrun and Matt went inside to offer their condolences to the next of kin. Then, after a few minutes, Matt came back outside, followed by Charlie.

"Get the day off, then?" Harry asked Charlie.

"Just an hour to pay my respects to the family. Things are a bit hectic right now. A female Re'em has given birth to a silver-furred calf. Two males have courted her, so we're not sure who the father is. I've got to go find out." He looked at Bill, who was leaning out of the kitchen window. "How about a cup of coffee?"

"I don't know where Wolfe keeps his coffee, and you wouldn't want to drink anything I conjure up."

Charlie grimaced. "My taste buds remember. Yuck!"

"We could have a coffee at my house," Matt said.

"I thought you didn't have any, to shield Gudrun from temptation," Charlie said, as he and Harry followed Matt to the Kelly's pocket mansion.

"How do you know about that?" Matt asked, surprised.

"Because your wife complained about it to—" Charlie caught himself before actually saying the name. "Well, women talk. Damn, this is awkward."

"Galatea wouldn't have wanted us to avoid mentioning her," Harry said.

Matt nodded. "You're right."

"So where do you hide your coffee?"

"Upstairs, in a cavity behind Nathan's portrait. I drink it while she's away." He glanced out of the window, peeking at the house at the other side of the courtyard.

"Gudrun's occupied," Harry assured him. "If she comes back, we'll just tell her it's my coffee."

"I'll be right back," Matt said, before he raced up the stairs.

Harry took a moment to look around while Matt was still upstairs. There were several wizarding photographs of the family, as well as recent individual photos of the children lined up on the fireplace, going from the eldest to the youngest.

The one in the far left showed Mary in school robes, standing in the snow. In the background, Harry saw the valley where the school was located. Though both the Wizards' Academy and the Witches' Institute had their roots in the old Salem Village—what was now Danvers, in Massachusetts—the schools had been relocated to a sparsely populated area in the hills near the Canadian border about a century and a half ago. The schools were now located in another state, even further in the north. Then there was Rachel, flashing Harry a cheeky grin that strongly reminded Harry of her mother's. Nathaniel, having more robust facial features, clearly favoured Matt's father and brother with regards to looks. However, his blue eyes were the same pale shade as Gudrun's, telling Harry that they might not change like Mary's eyes had. Finally there was Alexander, whose face showed traces of his father's features. But it was still too baby-like to resemble any adult relative's too much.

Bill walked into the house just as Matt came thundering down the stairs, clutching a coffee bag. Harry followed them to the kitchen, where they found Charlie holding a framed picture. When he noticed them coming in, he smiled and flipped the picture around to show it to Matt. "I'm no Seer, but I'd bet a thousand Galleons that he's your future son-in-law."

Matt returned a wry smile. "Yeah, we got that picture on Saturday. It was taken a week earlier, at the Spring Equinox dance. I hope everything works out, because Mary would be crushed beyond recovery if Nicolai were to break up with her."

"Why would he do that?" Bill asked.

Matt began counting off the facts on his fingers. "He finished his first three years in one year, and took his Basic Wizarding Skill tests last year. I heard that he easily could have taken his advanced tests later this year and earn top marks, but he's chosen not to rush his school years too much. Still, he'll finish seven years of school in four! And I've seen him at the Japanese court. He's something else.

"Then there's the fact that she's the only girl he's ever been involved with, romantically. He might not be willing to leave his scorecard at one. I know I would have wondered about the other fish in the sea, if I'd been in his situation."

"You think he'll grow tired of her because she won't stimulate his intellect?" Harry asked. He'd been looking at the picture with Mary in dress robes, gazing up at Nicolai as they danced to what seemed to be a slow song.

"Mary's decently gifted, but she's nowhere near his level," Matt said conversationally, while he threw the beans in the magical grinder. It started to work as soon as the first beans clattered in the top. "No one is, actually."

"I can't say anything about Nicolai's curiosity for other girls, though I think he'll stick with Mary. And he doesn't care about Mary's brains," Harry began, but when Bill and Charlie laughed out loud—the sadness over Galatea's death momentarily forgotten—he realised that it came out completely wrong. "What I meant to say is, he's not always Nicolai the Professor. That's only one state of mind. You needn't worry about him ever getting frustrated because she doesn't understand him. He loves her because, when they first met, she accepted him in spite of his idiosyncrasies."

Matt tipped the ground coffee into a filter and placed it in a wizarding coffee maker. With a flick of the wand, hot water dripped into ground beans, soaking through to the bottom and leaking into a transparent pot. The fragrance filled the room and lifted Harry's spirits. While magic could substitute lots of things, it always seemed to fall a bit short of the real thing.

"So when is Ginny coming home?" Charlie asked, while they patiently waited for the coffee.

"Noon, tomorrow," Harry said. "Oh, bloody hell, tomorrow! I've got to take over a training session this evening. Wolfe was scheduled to do it, but he's hardly up to it now. I reckon I could take Richard with me so Ginny could spend some time with him, but I just know he'll be bored. Besides, he'd probably wreck Montoya's lab. Charlie, could you take him in for a couple of hours?"

"Of course. One more won't matter," Charlie said. By 'one more' he had meant Raina, who had been staying with Charlie and Jasmine for the past week, since Ron and Hermione had both been scheduled to go on a two-week patrol, each on a different Cruiser.

"Does that happen often, that both Ron and Hermione are away on field missions?" Bill, sounding a bit concerned.

Since things were relatively peaceful, only two Cruisers were out on patrol at any given time. At first, Harry had shared Bill's concern about Hermione's workload. But Hermione had explained the arrangement to him, and Harry realised that it wasn't too bad. There were eleven Rangers in the Medical Division. Nine of those rotated for two-week patrols on the Cruisers, since Sharif and Serafina Esposito had offered their continued service on the condition that they would have no Cruiser duty. In return, they happily worked ten-hour lab-shifts during the day, aided by assistants from the Concordian House of Healing. Two teams of two or three Rangers, alternating on the seven-hour evening and graveyard shifts until it was their turn for Cruiser Duty, would fill the remainder of the twenty-four hours. The ones returning from a mission had the weekdays off for two whole weeks, working only in the weekends, which Serafina and Sharif had off.

"Actually, it wasn't supposed to happen, and it'll probably never happen again. Command didn't have any choice this time. And after her mission, Hermione will have ten whole days to spend with Raina. It isn't all that bad. Right now there are one hundred and three—no—two, Rangers," he said, amending the numbers for Galatea's loss. "In the early days there were no more then eighty of us, and we didn't get any time off. Even thinking about children was out of the question. At least we have that option now, though Faust suggested that perhaps we ought to breed less aggressively," Harry added with a chuckle. "With Ginny and Gudrun's maternity leave, and Lilia following them in seven or eight weeks, he's having trouble filling the schedule. Good thing we're getting new recruits again in June."

"Are there any Artificers among them?" Matt asked. "I hear I'm pretty hated in the maintenance bay for having kept Gudrun almost perpetually pregnant these last three years."

Harry laughed as something occurred to him. "That reminds me—I thought you planned to stop after two boys. What's the reason for this last pregnancy?"

"Food poisoning," Matt said ruefully. "Gudrun threw up shortly after drinking the Birth-Control Potion, so it didn't properly take effect."

"Is it a boy or a girl?" Bill asked.

"A girl. I saw it on the tapestry. We're going to name her Buttercup."

"Buttercup?" Bill, Charlie and Harry chorused.

"Gudrun won't consider any other names. Good thing this is our last kid, because Gudrun gets crazier with every pregnancy."

"Could I see that tapestry some time?" Bill asked. "I've heard vague stories about it from Ron and Hermione. It sounds fascinating."

"It's full of surprises," Matt said darkly.

"What's wrong?" Harry asked, picking up on Matt's mood.

"I went to Caer Sidi today to place some items in the vault, and while there I walked by the tapestry. Wolfe's son is alive, and by the looks of it, Galatea must have been alive and conscious when they cut the baby out of her, because he has a name."

Harry knew that Alexander hadn't had a name until two days after his birth, because Matt and Gudrun hadn't agreed on one. It was then that they had found out that the name would only appear if one of the parents gave the child its name.

"She must have kept her head clear, and named him before she died," Matt continued, growling. "His name is Westley."

That was the name Galatea and Wolfe had intended to give the child. Harry wasn't in the mood for coffee anymore. The mere thought that Galatea had been conscious when Medea Aconit had performed her butchery was revolting. Harry had no idea how Wolfe would react to this news, but for better or worse, he had a right to know.

He looked out of the kitchen window and saw little Inigo Montoya crawling valiantly to where his sister was playing with Richie and Raina. He wondered if Westley would ever play with them.

The smell of paint lingering on the nursery's walls brutally invaded his nostrils. He'd repainted it with fresh new colours when Galatea had been at her parents', hoping to surprise her upon her return. No other person would have been able to smell the paint, unless they pressed their noses to the wall. But owing to the changes he'd undergone due to the absorption of some of the powers Novoridu's pendants had contained, to him the smell was as prominent as paint that was still wet.

Westley had been due a day before Harry and Ginny's baby. He could have been snoozing in his crib. Instead, the crib was empty, and the pyjamas Wolfe had bought lay unused on the mattress. He picked the long pyjama shirt off the bed, rubbing the soft cotton between his fingers. Emotion threatened to overwhelm him.

He threw the shirt back into the crib and hastily left the nursery for the adjacent master bedroom. He sank onto the bed, drained, touching it for the first time since her death. At times he'd returned to the master bedroom, hoping that it had all been a bad dream and that he'd find Galatea sleeping peacefully on the bed. The empty bed had reinforced the cold reality.

His gaze fell on Galatea's dressing gown. It floated off a hook on the wall next to Galatea's side of the bed and into his outstretched hand. It was suffused with her scent, and it brought back unbidden memories of their final morning together, when he'd felt his son moving in her belly.

Thudding footsteps on the stairs told him that his flight to the first floor hadn't been enough to keep the visitors away. He didn't want to hear how sorry they were. He didn't want to hear that life would go on. Galatea had made that kind of life possible, and without her, he had no life. Heidi had conquered a spot of her own in his heart, but she couldn't fill the hole Galatea's death had left.

"Maximilian?" a voice called.

"Wolfe?" Harry's more familiar voice followed.

Wolfe sighed. He wanted to be alone, but Harry had never had the sense to know when to quit. To make matters worse, Tiresias had accompanied him upstairs. The brief contemplation to put a locking charm on the door was rejected when he remembered that Harry would probably float through the door.

The door was slowly pushed open, and Harry's head poked through the aperture. "I know you're hurting, but that's no excuse to hide from the people who've come to support you through your pain."

"I don't need any support," Wolfe replied flatly.

"You don't want any, but you most certainly need it," Harry said boldly.

Normally Wolfe admired that trait in him, but now it was incredibly annoying. "What do you want?"

At this, Harry seemed to hesitate. That rapid change in Harry's attitude piqued his interest. He tried to link his mind to Harry's, but he was being blocked. Harry wanted to tell him verbally, but was unsure on how to approach the subject.

"Don't beat about the bush. Just tell me."

"Westley is alive."

It took several seconds for Harry's words to make sense, and for Wolfe's grief-stricken mind to link the name to the child. But when the information filtered through, a new sense of urgency took possession of his thoughts. His son's survival meant that the enemy had other plans. No doubt they intended to mould his son into their own evil image, and perhaps they wanted to use him as bait, hoping to lure Wolfe into a trap. Even so, he had no choice but to walk into it. "I have to find him."

"We'll find him," Harry said.

Wolfe shook his head. "It has to be a priority. I'm going to find him as soon as I've arranged for Robert and Henry's future care. I'm leaving the Order."

"You can't!" Harry exclaimed. "Galatea wouldn't have wanted—"

"I'm beyond emotional blackmail," Wolfe cut him off. "Time is running out for Westley. Every day that he's exposed to those bastards pushes him further along the path of corruption. I'm not going to find him in time if I have to play by the Order's rules. That limitation played a part in my failure to protect Galatea. I can't allow the same thing to happen to my son."

"You could not 'ave protected 'er, for 'er death was prophesised, "Tiresias said. "More specifically, I Saw it, four years ago."

"You knew!" Wolfe erupted, unable to control the rage that emerged upon the revelation. The windows, glass picture frames and mirrors shattered as the emotion drove a wave of raw magical power through the house. He was barely aware of the tremors that shook the foundation, and the panic it caused among the mourners on the floor below and outside. Someone had known all along, and they hadn't told him. "You knew, and you didn't tell me?"

Tiresias' stared at him unflinchingly. "Prophecies are always fulfilled, regardless of one's knowledge of them. I told Galatea about it, and she lived her life accordingly, enjoying it to the fullest and giving all the love she could give."

"But they often have several possible outcomes!" Wolfe screamed. Four years! Galatea's resignation about his feelings for Heidi suddenly made sense. All those times she had left him and Heidi alone together, practically hinting that they ought to have the proverbial candle-lit dinner, followed by the stroll under the full moon. Why hadn't she told him? If she had, maybe…

"This one has several possible outcomes, too," Tiresias said quietly. "Her death was a given. Your fate is the one hanging in the balance. Love will set you free, but revenge will lead to oblivion."

"Oblivion is better than anguish," Wolfe said bitterly. "It doesn't worry me. My son's fate does."

"Don't do anything rash," Harry warned. "Your hatred is clouding your judgement."

"Unlike you, Harry, I don't believe that waiting is the right course of action. These scumbags need to be made into an example. You of all people should understand that, because nearly every headline regarding the apprehension or destruction of the world's scum had our names on it, side by side. We're almost seen as a single wizard, just like when we were Phoenix. How long do you think it will be before your remaining enemies will interpret this as a weakness in your defences? There is a good chance that some people are working out ways to harm the Weasleys in England."

Wolfe felt grim satisfaction as his comment struck a nerve, sending the blood draining out of Harry's face. "They wouldn't dare. You said so yourself!"

Wolfe remembered the boasts he'd made, almost three years ago. "Evidently, I was wrong. They've drilled the first hole in the dyke. If I don't plug the leak right now, the crack will widen and eventually it will collapse. None of the Rangers' families would be safe."

"You're rationalising the flaws in your plan. Don't you realise that they're probably expecting you to go after Westley? It's a trap!"

"That's the first thing I deduced. Don't lecture me about traps. I taught you a great deal about them."

Harry bristled. "I knew a thing or two about them before I joined the Order."

"So did I," Wolfe growled. "You're wasting my time, kid. I'm going after Aconit and Yamato, and I'll use any means necessary to bring them to justice."

"What kind of justice? Eye for an eye?"

"Oh, no. Merely taking their lives would be far too charitable," Wolfe said slowly. "That wouldn't set much of an example to the others."

Harry shook his head. "You said that you'll no longer play by the Order's rules. Does that mean you won't care about collateral damage? You and I both know that they'll use innocent people to shield themselves. Would you jeopardise the lives of innocents to get your revenge?"

"Nothing I can do will be as bad as what happened in Agua Caliente and Laketown. If the loss of life is acceptable, the answer would be yes."

"Who the hell are you to decide who lives and dies?"

"The world is a twisted place, and Galatea's dead because of it. Many more died before her, because the Order didn't destroy him when they had the chance. I'm talking about the time when Master Lei was commander. He had Yamato cornered, but he wasn't allowed to finish the job, because it would have endangered three innocent people. From that time until the day he was sent to Azkaban, he either killed or was responsible for the deaths of seventy-five more people. Add that to the number of people who died five years ago, and those three who were spared are truly insignificant."

"I've been taught that I can't disregard what is right in favour of what is easy. I can't let you go through with it."

Wolfe locked his gaze with Harry's. "I can't beat you, but if you try to stop me, I'll hit you with everything I've got. Many innocent people will get hurt in the process." It was not a bluff. He meant every word of it, and he threw his mind wide open to allow Harry to see that. "There is no right, here," he continued. "There's a greater evil, which would be your choice to fight me under the guise of morality, wrecking Nomad Island in the process. Then there is the lesser one, which would be to allow me to take the fight to the enemy and wipe a whole bunch of them off the face of the Earth."

"Nothing could justify that. In case you've forgotten, I lost my daughter," Harry growled. "But I didn't go on a mindless rampage, did I?"

"There's nothing mindless about my mission. I have a few aces up my sleeve… allies he doesn't know about. I won't cut my way through a wall of innocent flesh if I have other options."

"And if you don't?"

"Pray that it doesn't come to that. But if it does, rest assured that Yamato will also be killed, and be made to suffer for forcing me to do that."

Harry's expression darkened. "You've been warned. I won't stand in your way now, and I hope that you'll come to your senses later. However, if you slay even one innocent person to get to your enemies, our friendship will be over."

Wolfe nodded. "I know."

"There won't be anything left for you here. Do you think your children will want you back after they inevitably find out someday, that you willingly abandoned them?"

"I wasn't planning on coming back. My children will be better off without me anyway. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some arrangements to make for them."

Harry exhaled and seemed to deflate as he did so. He gave Wolfe one last weary look before turning around and shuffling out of the room.

Tiresias remained for a moment, scrutinising him with those seeing yet unseeing eyes. "May you find yourself before you find your enemies," he finally said, before he too left the room.




A/N Reviews are very much appreciated, and always answered.

Don't hesitate to mention your likes or dislikes, even if another reviewer has already mentioned something similar. (If you're someone who reads the other reviews before reviewing yourself.) Similar feedback from several reviewers tells an author how readers react to certain plot devices, thus enabling him to learn something from it.