A/N: Prequel story coming soon ;)
Several hours later, Rosa Valentin and her gang had been arrested for the murder of Linda Nichols as well as numerous counts of smuggling. Peter Nichols was similarly arrested, but a deal was being struck on his having a reduced sentence. His brother, Scott, was released from the hospital but he had to go for counselling. He suffered through nightmares for days, possibly for years, Harry had said.
Peter swore never to use his 'powers' again.
"So," I watched Harry renew the wards he'd put up on my apartment when last he was here.
"You told me about your Seven Laws. But you didn't tell me about the punishment for breaking them."
The wizard paused in his work to look at me. "Are you sure you want to know?"
Harry turned to stare out the window. "Execution. By beheading."
I felt the blood drain from my face. "W-What?"
"There are...isolated cases. But usually when you're caught breaking one of the Laws, it's off with your head." He looked back at me. "There are two paths to a strong practitioner: being a wizard or a warlock.
"Usually, you start out to be a wizard. But the power manifests during puberty – the age where people aren't known for control – so there's a lot of tendency to do things, good or bad. And once you've done bad," he shrugged. "It gets easier the next time. That's when you start going down the dark side.
"That's the reason for execution. When you go the warlock path, break enough Laws, there's no turning back."
Silence reigned as I remembered what I knew of Harry's life, of how he had been forced to kill his first mentor in self-defence.
"It almost happened to you, right?" I was stunned at the horror he had to face and the horror of what he narrowly escaped from.
Harry smiled. "I was lucky. Someone stood up for me and took me in. Like you were lucky."
I answered him with a smile of my own. Yeah, I was lucky alright. Bruce found me and took me in at a time when nobody wanted me. If it wasn't for him, I'd probably be dead. Harry and I shared that.
Speaking of sharing...
"Wait, what about Peter Nichols?" I demanded. "Is he going to be executed too?"
To my surprise, Harry laughed. "Peter's a part of the Paranet; which means he's too weak a practitioner to join the White Council, which is my league. So to the White Council – the ones who enforces the Laws – he's small fry and not worth the attention."
"So he'll be alright?"
"If he completely swears off magic, he will. He'll live life as a vanilla mortal."
I smiled in relief. "Thanks, Harry."
"You're still paying me, right? No thanks necessary."
"Don't worry. I included a bonus."
Harry blinked. "Uh, you didn't have to."
"You helped solve this case in a few hours. I'd say you deserved it."
"Oh. Uhm. Thanks." He turned back to the ward he was re-painting. "So what's the deal with you and elephants?"
I grinned as I replied, "My childhood best friend is an elephant."
"Oh. From the circus?"
"I've never been to the circus."
My jaw dropped. "Never?"
"Haven't had time to. And my childhood wasn't exactly normal."
"Neither was mine." I grinned widely as an idea struck me. "So, when are you planning to return to Chicago?"