Harry breathed easily, as he leant against the wall of this… place. Compound. The terrorists, and he was no longer hesitant to label them such, were preparing a grand attack to get their point across. That the public place they were going to attack, using several suicide bombers, was frequented by their own religion almost as much as their perceived enemy did not seem to matter to Kh'Walana.

Religious nutjobs were nutjobs first and religious second.

However, everything told him that there were a few hours until they set off. From the details in the minds of the now-dead terrorists he had captured, to the location of their people.

They were all armed, and their forces made up a small army. Harry would have trouble getting inside without alerting them. Clouds of dust would be disturbed should he take to the air, even invisible, and on the ground someone might come barrelling into him.

Which would be an issue, if he intended to go inside.

Harry was only this close to check he had not missed anything. Their minds blurred together when he was far away, and the disturbing contents of most of them would, feasibly, overshadow any innocent persons inside.

He hadn't been mistaken, and crouched down at the corner of the outermost wall. Harry laid his left hand on the ground, and the Ouroborus glowed a soft blue as he imprinted a spell on the wall.

Harry closed his eyes, and his magic spread over his own skin with the feeling of cool water washing him. When he opened his eyes, his body was transparent; turning the corner, Harry walked swiftly past the guard standing immediately before him.

He placed a hand on the side of the man's head, and then his other on his shoulder. The man's light faded, but he was anchored to stand upright. Of course, he would not respond were someone to approach, but he would pass a cursory glance.

Harry reached the second of the four points he needed, and knelt next to it. The snake biting its own tail shone blue, and Harry moved on.

He left three more standing dead men, by the time he left the terrorists to their fate.

The compound collapsed, and the explosives contained within blew them to hell.


'Will you shut up?!' Dick Grayson, Nightwing, exclaimed.

'That depends,' Dick heard the grin in Jason's voice as he spoke, 'do you wanna make me?'

'Usually I'd kick your ass to teach you a lesson, but we're already running late. Who knows if he's gone by now?!'

'Who gives a shit if he's gone? He ain't doing any harm.'

'Trust you to say that,' Dick scoffed.

'Trust you to think "the nasty man's killing people, he has to be stopped!" Never mind that they're fuckin' pedos and murderers he's killing! Because you see the world as cotton candy and kittens and kittens made of cotton candy! Boy Wonder; a bigger boyscout than Superman,' Jason returned. This was an argument they had had before.

'Knowing that there are scumbags, and deciding to kill all those scumbags are very different things, Hood.'

'Not all. Just some.'

'Why do you get to decide which of them die?'

'Easily. The fuckers who make me sick to my stomach get a bullet.'

Dick didn't say anything, just scowling behind the mask he wore. There was no way that Jason could have seen it, but he chuckled to himself when Dick didn't reiterate his argument that it wasn't their place to take lives or even to judge who deserved to be punished, that life mattered no matter who it belonged to, and that they were hardly any better than the criminals they fought if they descended to that level.

'Oh, right… life's sacred, isn't it?'

'I'm not particularly religious. But if there isn't an afterlife, doesn't that make life even more important to preserve? If they don't go to Heaven or Hell, you're just ending them.'

'And they deserve to be ended. Some of them deserve to be tortured before, but all the people I kill deserve death.'

'How can you know that?' Dick asked, still frowning deeply, 'You don't know them; some of them have families and friends who'll be devastated by their loss. You're orphaning kids when you kill.'

'And their kids will be better off without scum raising them. We've both seen it first hand; children raised by crooks grow up to be crooks. Most of the time.'

'And if their parents are in prison, how will they be influenced by that?'

'By visiting their parents in prison. By their parents' scumbag friends. By the fact that the cycle doesn't ever end, and they get left in the gutter by the shitty things their fathers and mothers did, and have to turn to crime to help support themselves and their family.' Jason didn't say it, but Dick's mind went back to the way the younger man had been living when Bruce found him. 'End the cycle, and they can actually be helped; crime's the only thing people have time to focus on, the way the world is now.'

'The way Gotham is now.'

'Not just Gotham. Gotham's in a worse state than most, but corruption and crime exist everywhere. You can't deal with it if you don't take off the kiddy gloves.'

'And kill people?'

'And show them that their crimes have consequences. Those who exploit street-level thugs, who you say deserve a second chance, roam the streets of Gotham and New York like they're kings. And what is there to stop them? They can buy their way out of trouble with the loose change in their pockets, and getting underlings out of prison costs even less; they don't have to fear the cops when they own the cops. Superheroes put them away, and then they "escape" months later, if that.

'Even Batman, whose entire purpose is to inspire fear in his enemies, doesn't scare them any more. Not the big players, anyway. It's the same pattern; they kill a dozen or so people, then Batman steps in and stops them, maybe breaking a few bones in the process. They get thrown into Blackgate, or Arkham, then buy their way out, or break out, and the process begins again.'

Dick didn't speak yet. Batman put them in body-casts, or shattered their network of criminal activity, but none of his nemeses stayed locked up for long. Nightwing noticed a similar pattern forming with his own gallery of rogues, even if his were not quite so extensive or colourful as Bruce's.

'Just look at what Joker did last time he got free.'

And, with that, Jason won their argument. What could Dick say against him? That he wouldn't have killed Joker for what he did to Barbara?

The fact of the matter was, that would be a lie. If he had gotten his hands on Joker, he would have killed the clown. Just as any of them would have, with the exception of Bruce. Maybe.

Batman's discipline was incredible, it was something Dick had never seen in another, but even he had his limits. And the Joker may have finally pushed him past them. With the accumulation of the pain and suffering he had caused Bruce, personally, since their back and forth began, Batman's strength-of-will would eventually be overcome by Bruce Wayne's emotion.

That was the day on which the Joker would have won. His mission in life was… had been to make Batman kill him, to force his archenemy, the law to his chaos, the good to his bad, to break his one rule. In the Clown's deluded mind, that equated to a win on his side more than killing Batman ever would.

'He's on the move, Master Richard,' Alfred's voice, with a mechanical edge, spoke into Dick's ear, 'on Fifth Street and Morgan. He is heading south, towards your position.'

'Time to get going,' Dick told Jason, and they set off in silence.

Bouncing from rooftop to rooftop, Dick shot more than one suspicious glance at Jason. Nightwing couldn't say based on the information Bruce had given him whether Harry Potter, the WIzard they were heading towards, was an ally or an enemy. He was assuming he was an ally, of sorts, but what did they know about him? Did he save Barbara out of the goodness of his own heart? If he had, why did he go about it the way he had, by hiding his involvement from everyone?

It was suspicious as Hell, and Dick didn't want either of them to go into this with the impression that Harry Potter was a friend.

Unfortunately, Jason felt a kinship to the man. They both killed, and in Jason's mind both fought for the betterment of the world, even if the Red Hood was not classed as a hero by the rest of the world; people did not trust a man who had tried to fight crime by taking control of the criminals themselves, even if he had now righted his ways. Red Hood had, once, reigned over all the drug trade in Gotham.

That kinship made Dick wince. They wouldn't… would they?

No. Jason Todd did not play well with others, no matter how much he had in common with them. Dick couldn't imagine Harry Potter did, either.

'There.' Jason said, beside Dick, as they continued through the night sky of Gotham city. He stopped suddenly, with that word, and fell into a crouch as he looked over the rooftop's lip to the street below.

Dick approached, keeping himself low, and followed Jason's gaze. He was careful to move slowly and carefully in order to avoid the target spotting them, and was glad to see that Jason had done the same. Neither was wearing their usual attire; Jason's helmet was a dark red and he had forgone his brown leather jacket, and Dick wore a fully-black suit, without the blue bird emblazoned on his chest or the extended wings of the same colour that spread over his shoulders and arms.

Their costumes were more noticeable than Batman's, but far less than when each had been dressed as Robin. When Dick had asked Batman the reason for giving them such brightly coloured costumes, Bruce had told him that "if you can avoid detection dressed in bright red and yellow, you can avoid detection in anything," which made some sense. It was best to learn the ropes while with Batman than when they no longer had a safety net.

Harry Potter was dressed in black, a leather jacket, black cargo pants, boots also made of leather, and gloves. Dick couldn't see any of the symbols tattooed on Harry Potter, given that they were covered, and also couldn't see his face. As the man stopped walking, and turned his head to apparently peer into a shop window, Dick frowned.

It was approaching midnight. The shop was shut, and the insides were dark, so why was he looking inside?

Had he spotted them?

The pop reached Dick's ears milliseconds after Harry Potter vanished, and both Dick and Jason were already at full height and scanning the rooftops. Dick's eyes scanned those on the right, and Jason's those on the left. Therefore, Nightwing spotted the Wizard's retreating form first, as Harry Potter leapt between two buildings.

Dick elbowed Jason, then took off running with the younger man trailing behind.

He didn't miss a step as he vaulted the lip and the small gap between their building and the next, and kept his speed as Jason's landing footstep reached his ears; the landing step was louder than the others, of course, and Jason favoured combat boots that had steel toecaps. Dick knew that first hand, considering they had broken his fibula once upon a time.

Dick ran through the night air, favouring speed and forgoing any stealth, and leapt over the next building at a full sprint without any idea what he would do once they caught up to the magician. He'd escaped his bonds in the Batcave once before, and Dick didn't know a better way to subdue him; he'd just have to improvise, then. Between he and Jason, they should be able to drag the magician to the League, at least, and they would be able to take it from there.

Dick landed in a roll, having leapt the width of an alleyway, and came up to see, three buildings ahead of him, Harry Potter had stumbled and had caught himself by throwing his hands out in an effort to prevent his face meeting concrete.

Dick had covered another building by the time Harry potter was on his feet, and when the Wizard glanced over his shoulder with wide eyes Nightwing was nearly at the next gap. Two buildings between them.

The wizard vanished, and appeared a building further away. Dick redoubled his efforts, feet pounding the rooftops. He pushed himself into the air, and onto the next rooftop, landing full speed and hearing Jason just a few steps behind.

Dick pulled his Escrima Sticks from their sheathes on each hip, and leapt onto the second-to-last building between he and Harry Potter.

The magician wasn't running any more, like he had deduced that they would catch him, and now faced them with an expectant look on his face.

Nightwing landed, and Red Hood hit the rooftop next to him, heavy and with a pistol in his right hand. Maybe he liked the magician, but Jason was more willing to fight than most anyone Dick had ever met. And less trusting, even, than Batman.

Dick's eyes locked onto the brilliant green of Harry Potter's and he brought his right hand back, about to throw the fighting stick at the stranger.

And then the rooftop exploded.

Dick's vision went red, then black, as the concrete blasting upwards slammed into him and knocked the wind clean from his body. He didn't process the grunt of pain from Jason, or the gasps he himself made, or even the fact that the world spun and turned upside down. His mind swam and he lay limp on something as hard as concrete, with something heavy pressing on his ribs from all directions.

Dick's legs hung free, as his head lolled back unsupported. He gasped, and felt sharp pain emanate from his torso. Broken ribs; at least three of them.

Dick did not move further, as his mind went to the green eyes of Harry Potter. He had seen eyes like that before… but not quite. Green Lantern's light came from the ring on his finger, and the energy that was all around his body was not his own; this magician's eyes were alight with energy from inside himself.

And… he wasn't the same as Starfire. Her eyes were a beautiful green- he shouldn't be thinking of her like that anymore- but when they glowed the light was throughout them. She had no whites to her eyes when her powers began, but Harry Potter did.

'Nice… Jacket…' Jason groaned out, from… somewhere. To Dick's left, still? Why did he sound different?

Nightwing slowly opened his eyes, having trouble focussing on anything as the world spun, he grew confused. He was suspended above the rooftop they had leapt onto, and was staring down at Harry Potter, where he stood before Jason. And Jason… was clutched in a massive, grey fist. His arms were captured between the fingers of the hand, legs dangling freely, just inside Dick's view, and his head was craned back to get a look at the magician who had captured them.

Harry Potter spoke without inflection, 'Thanks. It's new.' he had a pile of items at his feet that, one by one, jumped into his waiting hands. The magician turned them over a few times, examining them, and then let them float back to the floor. In his hands at the moment, Dick saw, was one of the handguns Jason carried.

His eyes went to the pile, and Nightwing groaned when he saw his utility belt and Escrima Sticks in the small collection of things.

'Batman sent you, presumably,' Harry Potter said, seemingly just thinking out loud.

'Tha's right…' Jason agreed, unnecessarily. It wasn't all that difficult to figure out that they'd been sent by their previous mentor, considering the correspondence between Batman and this magician only a few hours before.

'To trail me back to my home?'

'T' keep an eye on you and make sure… you weren't causing trouble.' Jason had to pause midway through to regain his breath, telling Dick that he, too, had bruised or broken ribs or, if luck was against him, even a punctured lung. Not likely, though; Red Hood was still talking.

'Because he's not able to come out on patrol?' Harry Potter asked, as he pulled back the slide on the gun and a bullet floated out. He lifted it to his eye and peered inside the firearm. Then he let the slide close, and spun the empty gun in his hand. The magician was turned away from him, so Dick could only see a fraction of his face, but he wasn't looking at either of the captured Heroes.

'No… he's working with the League on something. Whatever it was that you told him about, I think… the pretty boy over there will know better than me.'

'Nice weapon,' Harry Potter commented, 'is it custom made?'

'Good eye,' Jason sounded mildly surprised, 'I didn't peg you for someone who'd like guns…' was he fishing for information, or just interested in another crime-fighter who liked the deadly weapons? And not old-time revolvers, like Vigilante.

'They're useful. I prefer fighting with magic, but having alternatives is always a good thing.'

As his gun floated to the floor, Jason seemed to follow it's progress, like he was making sure it was safe. As a result, he did not see the red light shine on Harry Potter's palm. The light formed a bolt of energy that shot at Jason and struck him in the throat. Red Hood went limp, and Dick struggled, hoping to get free.

Harry Potter turned to face Dick, and still there wasn't any emotion clear in his eyes.

'What's Batman working on?' Harry Potter asked him, as Dick's movements stilled. Nightwing considered his options, decided he wasn't going to be able to get free and that Jason's chest was moving up and down in rhythm as he breathed shallowly and quickly thanks to the broken ribs.

'Something for Superman… involving Supergirl.' Bruce had seemed genuine when he told Dick why he could not be more specific, and Dick hadn't had much trouble deducing what it meant; he was not the World's Greatest Detective, but he had learned from the man. Batman would be worried about the information getting to Barbara for what had happened to her so recently, of course, but for it to be something he wouldn't trust Dick with on the off chance that he would let it slip showed that it was something that would specifically hurt her fragile mental state.

Richard Grayson wasn't in the habit of telling secrets, but he was currently travelling with someone who was. Particularly to Barbara. Jason had had a serious crush on her when Batman inducted him as Robin, she'd only been a year older and was too attractive to not capture a teenage boy's attention, and cared more about her now than he was willing to show. Dick saw it, and that meant Batman did, too; if Jason found out that someone was plotting against Supergirl he'd be perfectly willing to tell Barbara about it. He'd know what would happen, and would be perfectly happy to give her the needed push.

Barbara had thrown a rapist out of a window last week. She'd demanded that they let her get back into the swing of things before she went insane, and on the second night she had shown that she was far from recovered. And it hadn't been a low window, either; the office manager would have died from the seven-story drop had Batman not caught him. If she found out someone was trying to hurt… to rape her best friend, now, Barbara would actually take a life.

Dick didn't think that she could survive that. Maybe he was just being protective of the girl he thought of as a little sister, but…

'Good. He shouldn't have trouble tracking someone over the internet, should he?'

'No… he won't have any trouble with that… Why do you care?' Dick asked, his voice quiet as he tried not to breathe too much.

The magician crime-fighter didn't answer his question, 'Feel free to try again some time,' he said. There was a hint of amusement in his tone, now, and as Dick opened his mouth to ask what was funny the red light shone again and his world went dark.

When they woke up, the two were in perfect health but incredibly confused.


Nightwing was what Harry had expected from Batman's first protege. Intelligent and perfectly able to fight crime, slightly distrusting but not, from what Harry could gather, to the extent of his adoptive father.

It wasn't difficult to deduce that Richard Grayson and Robin-turned-Nightwing were one and the same, once Harry knew that Bruce Wayne was Batman. Nor was it especially tricky to deduce who filled Richard's shoes once he'd left his colourful costume behind.

Jason Todd. Red Hood was more interesting than Nightwing, in Harry's eyes; Jason Todd had died abroad, shortly after Joker was spotted in Ukraine, and his body was flown back to the States. The second Robin had vanished, and was only recently replaced.

Red Hood had shown up only a few months after the event. Harry didn't know how he had come back from the dead, but the mean-streak of the second Robin was amplified quite a bit; maybe that was because he had been murdered, maybe it was due to his method of return, Harry didn't know. He had fought Batman for a time, and waged war on Black Mask to take down the drug kingpin and a significant portion of the crime in Gotham city.

He had done more, in the time before Batman stopped him, than the Dark Knight. Because his methods were of the permanent variety, people had become afraid and crime had dropped. Marginally, but it had dropped and the drug dealers Red Hood commanded had shaped up their behaviour somewhat; pregnant women, and children, were no longer dealt drugs. If he had been allowed to continue, Harry was willing to bet that Jason Todd's plan had been more extensive and that the young man himself was more ambitious than just tackling narcotics.

It was tricky to say for sure, though, since Red Hood had never stayed in one city for long. He wasn't accepted by the people who lived there, because he had a habit of delving deep into the criminal world in order to stop it.

The two hadn't been attacking Harry, and hadn't stood a chance, really. If they had known his abilities, and had time to plan, maybe things would have been different, but he had sensed them easily enough on an empty street. They'd been on the rooftops, and that had screamed suspicious.

Had he not been heading home with his loot, Harry might have tried to think of a way to kill two birds with one stone. Maybe he could have shown them to criminal hideout and gotten to see their abilities from a first person perspective. Or he could have used them to get the attention of a bigger fish.

But Harry didn't feel like carrying a chunk of Kryptonite around with him. It was unlikely that he would run into Supergirl tonight, but it was near-certain that he would meet her someday soon. As her lover recovered, the Kryptonian would want to find the stranger who had ripped her prize, the Joker, out from under her.

Harry would be able to survive the encounter without the rock no matter how angry she was, and he heard that it was torturous to Kryptonians to be around its radiation.

Harry placed the chunk of green rock on a newly-conjured workbench, next to a shard of glass, a shard of metal, a bullet, and a small diamond. He held his left hand over it, and closed his eyes as he cast a spell.

Harry turned around, and walked over to his desk. He took a seat, and let the spell get to work. If the energy could seep into any of the materials, he would know in the morning. Until then, he had other things on his mind.

Perhaps he should have asked the two about the expansion of the Justice League, but at the time it had seemed unwise to divulge his knowledge to that extent. Not that he really knew anything… just that the heroes were moving about much more than they usually seemed to.

Other than that, it was all guesswork on Harry's part.

The League's space station, for example, was plenty big enough to house a few hundred heroes, so it was safe to say that they would be staying in the same base of operations. There were benefits to being in space, in that it allowed them to intercept any threats before they reached the planet's surface, that the League seemed to think outweighed the negative of being in space and therefore unable to survive should the satellite be destroyed.

There were certain heroes that had worked closely with League members in the past. Green Lantern and Green Arrow; Batman and all his allies; the entire League and Metamorpho. They, presumably, would be inducted along with the Question, who seemed to be included in their extended roster. Harry assumed that the high profile heroes would also be offered the chance, to help people remain comfortable with the League's strength. Captain Atom was key amongst that list, along with such heroes as the Plastic Man.

And the power of some heroes couldn't be ignored. Doctor Fate's magic was strong, without doubt, and the League would benefit from having it there. The hero called Orion was strong, also, even if his strength was the physical rather than the mystical. They would be useful when it came to fighting world-ending threats, which made it important for the League to try to recruit them in Harry's mind.

Harry wondered if they had considered asking him to join. They'd seen him stand toe-to-toe with Superman, so his power wasn't in doubt, but it would likely depend on their main motive with the Justice League. If they wanted to promote peace and goodness above all, rather than amass the best possible force to defend the planet, having him killing villains would not work for them.

Either way, Harry expected them to extend an olive branch to him soon. They were paying attention, that had been shown by Nightwing and Red Hood trailing him, but it was possible that they would view him as a villain rather than a hero. Fighting Superman had proven his ability in a fight, but it had also demonstrated that… well, that he was willing to fight Superman. And to hurt Superman's loved ones in the process.

Harry couldn't figure out the League's stance on violence, though. Two were wholly unwilling to kill, Superman and Batman, and Harry was willing to bet that the Flash was equally pacifistic, but at least two of the current members seemed to have moral codes that were… open to interpretation. Half the time Wonder Woman carried a sword and was willing to use it, and Jon Stewart was a soldier before a hero. He didn't seem to go out of his way to kill, but didn't appear to have a problem with it, either.

Harry shook his head. This was uncharted territory, and it made everything less clear. He had never before been left without any clue as to what he was supposed to do, and he had made a few mistakes as a result.

Chasing vague hints was no way to conduct whatever they wanted from him. Whatever she wanted from him. It was… strange.