Kirk motioned with the gun to step back. Thursday complied, holding up his hand behind him to Morse, silently telling him to keep his distance. Nobody was speaking, and Thursday could only hope Win or the kids wouldn't come downstairs. He didn't know what would happen if they did.

Once inside, Kirk quietly closed the door behind him. He then motioned again with the gun to go into the sitting room.

"Morse," Kirk whispered. "Go upstairs. Pretend you didn't see this."

Morse stood his ground. "No, I am not going anywhere."

"I know you're scared, I know this man-" he rattled the gun at Thursday. "-brainwashed you, but you don't need to be afraid anymore."

"I am not brainwashed-"

"Morse," Thursday said, cutting him off. "Go upstairs."

Kirk suddenly raised his arm, and brought the gun down across Thursday's jaw. There was an audible crack, sending Thursday to his knees. He raised a hand to cup his mouth, feeling his hot blood spilling across his palm. His whole mouth was in horrible pain, and he prayed the blow didn't loosen any of his teeth.

"Don't you order him!" Kirk hissed. "You will never order anyone ever again!"

He said it loud enough to be heard by the rest of the house. From upstairs, one of the kids stirred, their feet padding across their room. Judging from where the noise was coming from, it was Sam. Oh god no.

The way Morse's gaze drew upwards for a split second, Thursday knew he heard the footsteps too. This was going to turn into a bloodbath. The room for negotiation went out the window the moment Kirk raised his arm.

In that single moment of time, both Thursday and Morse locked eyes, and came to a silent agreement.

Kirk, with his attention still on Thursday, Morse rushed forward from the stairs, raised his hands together in a fist, and brought it down upon Kirk's back.

At the same time, Thursday surged up, grabbed the end of the gun, pointing it away from him. The resulting actions caused Kirk to pull the trigger.

It felt like a grenade went off in Thursday's hand.

His vision went white with pain.

The whole world around him drowned out, his heartbeat pounding fiercely in his ear. He was briefly aware he was falling back, his body collapsing to the floor, but beyond that there was nothing. He didn't know how long he was gone, how long it took him to come back. As his vision cleared and his thoughts came back to him, he found himself being cradled by Win.

Kirk was on the ground, both Morse and Sam on top, holding him down. Morse was sporting a small cut across his forehead, and a trickle of blood dribbled down over his eyebrow. Sam was gritting his teeth, his arms shaking from effort. He was the one most visibly shaken.

From the hallway, Thursday could hear Joan calling for the police. Of everyone in the family, it should be Joan who should go into the army. She had nerves of steel; she would be great in emergency situations.

Thursday didn't want to see if his fingers had been blown off. (Like Adam Stricks, who stared at his mutilated hand for ten long seconds, screaming his head off, only to be silenced when a bullet entered his left lung-)

He pushed poor Adam from his mind, and with a grunt, lifted his arm up.

All his fingers were still present, thank god. But his hand, the back of it and his palm, was severely burned. Second degree, if he had to guess.

"I was trying to free you!" Kirk wheezed from the floor. The combined weight of Morse and Sam made it hard for him to speak. "You would have been free! Don't do this, Morse! Don't..."

()

His hand will heal, but the burn was going to leave a permanent, thick scar.

It wasn't the first major scar on Thursday's body. He had a long, white scar across his torso from a knife wound, and several others dotting his chest and arms from shrapnel. As long as he didn't lose movement or ability in his hand, he considered that a victory.

The pistol whipping had bruised him across the jaw, his teeth cutting into his cheek. No loose teeth. Also a victory.

When the police came, Thursday ordered Morse to go upstairs and to stay there. When Morse looked like he was going to protest- "I'm the reason he came!"- Thursday had hissed at him, "If you tell the police you were with Kirk, they will recycle you. Go upstairs and stay there. I'll handle this."

He feared Kirk might say something. But as the handcuffs were placed on him, he said nothing. He kept his mouth shut, his head down, refusing to meet anyone's eye. If this was to protect himself or to protect Morse, Thursday didn't know.

()

Over the course of the week they raided Kirk's house. Down in his basement there were names of the slaves he had liberated from their homes, all around the country. Thursday had thought Kirk simply took the slaves under the guise of night. Upon further investigation, it was found Kirk and his coconspirators had also been responsible for dozens of homicides.

He didn't just take the slaves, he also murdered their masters.

Kirk had not come back to free Morse, he came to murder Thursday. Possibly his whole family as well.

There were so many names involved with Kirk, it was going take months to get through it all. They didn't need his confession, they didn't need his help in any shape or form. He had damned himself and his entire organization.

So why did this feel like a hollow victory?

In the end there was no telling how many slaves Kirk had liberated. And yes, Thursday was choosing to say liberated instead of stole. Many of these slaves had been abused, starved, raped, humiliated beyond belief, and regardless how Thursday felt towards Kirk, it didn't change the fact Kirk had taken these individuals from these poisonous places and relocated them someplace where they could safe and free.

It was certainly a lot more than what Thursday had been doing.

I guess everyone has a price.

As much as Thursday spoke out against slavery, it still didn't change the fact he currently owned a human being. One day he was going to face God and explain to Him why he thought that was acceptable behaviour.

()

Due to having to trek across the country side with a thin jacket in the freezing cold, Morse caught the flu. He spent the next two weeks bed ridden, being doted on by Win. "I honestly don't mind," she cooed when Morse tried to apologize for the inconvenience. "You waited on me, so it's only proper I wait on you. Besides, it feels good to be mobile again."

She wiggled her hips, making the boy blush.

Win loved being able to move again without the assistance of another person. But she was overplaying that happiness to cover up the shock she was still feeling from having her home invaded. Everyone had their own way of coping. Win took up dancing, and Sam bowled.

Win gathered her things from Morse's bedside, and as she passed Thursday on her way out of the room, she reached out and pinched him on the bum.

She was definitely overplaying it. She would have never done that in front of another person.

Morse was politely looking the other way, pretending he didn't see.

Thursday quietly closed the door. He came to the bed, nudged over Morse's feet to make room, and sat down. "How do you feel, Morse?"

"Better, sir. How's your burn?"

Thursday held up his hand. The skin was a leathery, ugly thing. It restricted his movement, and he couldn't close a fist all the way without risking tearing. It was going to take months to heal fully. At least at this point, it wasn't hurting him too much. "Better. Morse... while you were sick, obviously there's been ...developments."

"Sir?"

"Because of the ongoing investigation with Kirk, I will have to push back your release of servitude about three months."

"Let me explain," Thursday said quickly, seeing the sudden pained look in Morse's eyes. "As of right now, my superiors are privately investigating everyone at the precinct. Kirk was a policeman, and yet he was running an unknown underground freedom fight. At this point, Kirk has been linked to at least fifteen murders, four of which were children under the age of fifteen. I have not been quiet about my views on slavery, Morse. Though I was the one attacked, I am still a suspect under their eyes. And if I let you go-"

"They might see you as a freedom fighter as well," Morse said quietly, drawing up his legs to his chest. "Just in a different form. I understand."

"I'm sorry."

A small tear leaked out of Morse's eye, which he quickly wiped away. "You know, he said this will happen."

"What?"

"Kirk," Morse said flatly. "He said you'll always find an excuse to keep me on, dangling freedom in front to keep me placid."

Thursday sucked in a harsh breath. "I-"

"I believe you sir," Morse said, looking up at him. "When you said you'll give me my freedom. I don't doubt that. It's just... been a rather emotional ride. First you offer me freedom, then Kirk offered- well, he forced freedom on me..."

I guess everyone has a price. Those words were going to haunt Thursday for the rest of his life.

"That's something I don't understand," Thursday said. "You had a chance to leave. Why didn't you take it?"

"Because," said Morse. "I have a sister."

"I didn't know you had a sister."

"I haven't seen her in nearly ten years. I don't even know if she's alive or... We were separated when we were kids. If I had gone with Kirk, I would never be allowed back. I would be killed as soon as I dared cross that border. I am not leaving until I find her again."

"Is... is that why you ran away so many times? To look for her?"

"Yes."

And to think I gave up on you so easily.

"Alright then," Thursday said, patting Morse's knee and standing up. "I guess that's what we have to do."

"Sir...?"

"Well, if I can't give you your freedom, the least I could do is help you look for your sister."

He held up his scared hand. "You did save my life."

()

It took nearly two months of investigation to find Joyce. She was shifted so often, it was a damn miracle they found out where she was.

In his hands Morse held a bouquet of flowers. On the ride over, he tried his best to hold in the tears. He was still fighting it now, his eyes red and wet. Thursday politely pretended he didn't see.

"Do you..." Morse began, his throat thick. "Do you think she looked for me too?"

"I have no doubt," Thursday said.

Morse took a step forward and kneeled down. With one hand, he reached out and gently touched the tombstone with his fingers.

"Hey, Joy-ce."

When the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be