Summary & Setting: Takes place sometime after the Apprentice and Aftershock Episodes, and is an AU of all the rest of things which occur from the TT TV series.
For Slade the game was in the challenge, for Robin his solace was in the fact he not Slade who was immortal, would eventually grow old and die but Slade's new plan just might make this game of cat and mouse last forever.
Disclaimer: Ok, I renounce any claims of owning the Characters portrayed in this, that are direct Creations of D.C. Comic's, Marv Wolfman, Bob Kane, George Perez, or any affiliates now licensed to share in a part of those creations. I do however, take credit for the stories flow and direction, half of the Plot; some again I must give credit to the above creators and Affiliates, taking credit though for the new characters I introduce here (I am not unwilling to share them with others however, meaning if you want to use them later on go ahead and do so just be sure and mention them somehow as being picked up from my story.)
Last thing to add to this: "I will only be stating this Disclaimer only once; on the first page of the 1st Chapter. All other Chapters to come will simply refer back to this page."
I have planned something for everyone's tastes. As an author I have the right to create whatever I feel fits into the world I'm creating. With that in mind "Please only send; Constructive Criticism and kind questioning reminders if I throw something from either the T.V series or the comic book's world out of sync. "Some-times I might have done it on purpose."
(I will state this upfront: "I will not be dealing with Slade's family background, by passing it completely by because I do not want to attempt an area I know little about, and am not very good at writing. It would only cheat you the readers by doing so, so let's just pretend he didn't have one and was always just in the military, ok?")
This will be a reasonably clean story, some hints towards crushes, some kisses, but nothing Slash or related. This will be rated PG-13 for Adult theme, more towards the comic books look and feel. Language and violent content…may rise to "R" in later Chapters for more graphic detailing.
So I hope you like what I have in stall for you; I'm enjoying writing it and you can all thank Alexander Van Gordan for this Ladies and Gentlemen. He threatened to hunt me down if I didn't post it and we settled on; by the end of the month. So here it is…"Cat and Mouse."
Chapter 1 (Robin or Slade)
In his room in Titan Tower a single lamp's light cast shadows across a boy of many wonders, reflective of his attitude and sometimes his actions he was a Hero of Justice, a protector of all things good; yet a teenager in constant struggle along that invisible line between good and evil actions, where his actions crossed that line just enough for a job to be accomplished he wondered because without his reputation or title as a Hero there were a few times he might have become tarnished. "Funny" he thought "how the mind defines where that line lies, where how far is too much and how much he could cross that line before actually becoming labeled a "bad person." It actually surprised him how much he'd been allowed to get away with already. Robin had crossed several lines in his career, crossed them only a little; and once he'd crossed them a lot, and yet he still stayed good, but what if he made one huge mistake? Could he ever come back from it then, and how about if he ever fell into Slade's grasp again, would even his own boundary, or labels he'd since that last incident, he'd drawn up, what then, would his title and reputation keep him from being labeled a doer of wrong. "How much poison in a glass of water is too much before it kills you?' he wondered.
Because Slade he was relentless; Robin's rival did not give up, and they're rivalry had no boundary line. Robin knew Slade, knew how the criminal mind it sough through the data and he knew that Slade hadn't even begun to punish him yet with that Slade was truly capable of dishing out.
There game of Cat and Mouse seemed as though it would last forever, Robin knew patience only went so far though, even Batman's Joker went and pulled an all or nothing card, from out of his sleeve every now and again. The boy wonders only consoling thought was that some day he, not Slade; who was immortal, but he himself would eventually grow old and die. Leaving behind a man obsessed with possessing something that Robin out rightly refused to give him. 'My soul'
Slade wanted his submissive obedience; demanded absolute loyalty from him, and to a master who was bent on molding him into what Slade called "great potential" Slade had nothing more in mind then to strip him down to his most deadly elements and then turn him loose against those that Robin loved. 'I will not be the catalyst for your plans Slade'
He wanted to turn Robin into a weapon of mass destruction. To force him to choose between the lives of his friends or the death of his morals; and Robin had crossed that line once before, so he would not do it again. Stubborn as he was, Robin had decided many years ago he would never think of crossing that line again, not even if he was blackmailed into believing there was no other choice.
'Because there is always a choice Robin' Batman's words echoed true like the mantra they had become.
Sitting there in his room deep in thought, Robin contemplated it all. Many nights he'd done this. His friends didn't agree or understand his choice for being anti social with them. Why he locked himself away in what they considered his shrine 'to all things Slade' but they at least gave in and left him alone to work in peace.
He just sat there, not just obsessing over finding out who Slade was, or what he was up to, but Richard he searched to answer a question that had been bothering him most of his superhero career. A question that seemed to hold no answer truly acceptable, and one neither Slade; in Robin's shot time as his apprentice, or Batman, in all the years Robin had been tucked safely under his black wings there in Gotham had been able to supply an answer to him for.
'What did grownups want from him?'
Frustration etched on Robin's face, he hated to admit it but sometimes Slade's words they held true. As much as Robin and Slade were similar Slade and Batman were very similar. Similar in how they looked at or treated him; both demanded nothing but the best from him, and both held him back. It made him crazy at times. Not a maddening craze but a more frustrated kind of crazy. What did he do that made him less worthy at times and overly worthy other, Robin was just well Robin, he didn't act any different from one moment to the next, he just acted like anyone should in a moment's situation.
Just because his brain was quick witted; thinking up plans and solutions faster then normal standards, it meant nothing to him (who everyone called a genius) but for him it was just the training he'd received, the circus living, and Batman's code of life. Even to some extent Slade's forced upon him way of thought.
When didn't acted out of emotional anger or stress because he was throwing a tantrum; though they called him childish, but look at what adults did, didn't they act logically one minute and emotional the next? Bruce certainly did, and anytime Robin found a way to get under Slade's skin, he certainly did. Robin had the bruise marks to prove it too.
Sighing, Robin placed his head down on his desk, arms folded to support his weight, Yes the difference was in the power, in his age.
'The perception that they were right and he was wrong'
Wrong, that was until they felt it was the moment to praise; usually when it benefits them, even Batman was often like that. It was part of the reason Robin had left him. Why he could do whatever he wanted, stay equal to the Dark Knight in all things; except when his first mentor as Slade called him, his "First Master" felt he was being observed as being outdone by a child, then it was:
"Robin you being reckless'
'Robin you just don't see things yet'
'Robin you never grow up do you'
Robin hated to admit it, but again, Slade was right some times. Batman only let Robin be when it didn't interfere with his own goals or image. When it seemed Robin might get in the way or be vulnerable in Batman's mind, then that was the time he was shoved into the shadows, hidden from the challenge; not even allowed to even attempt to prove Batman wrong, 'I want to prove to you that I can do it'
"No Robin" "I said enough and that's the last we' are going to discuss this'
"I quite then…" Robin's voice did not carry as he repeated the words that conversation had ended in, he regretted now how they had come out, yet he could not regret that he had been forced into speaking them.
Robin rose up his head, wiping a stray strand of hair, which his hair jell applied this morning before the day's events had gotten long and hard, he signed, Robin could handle any situation same as his father could. Robin proved everyday he could each time Slade threw something his way.
"I'm just never good enough for you to see me"
Slade was no better through rationalized Robin, sure he saw the potential, Slade saw the man Robin was, the man he was becoming but all Slade wanted was; how he might molded him into whatever Slade's thoughts were, he pushed too hard, Slade wanted too much, and for crying out loud…
Robin pushed away from his desk, fist hitting the wall behind him as he stood up. "I'm just a teenager after all! Damit, I don't want to have to go around proving to everyone what type of adult I can be."
"I just want to leave it to the universe to decide"
Sighing Robin hung his head again, arms out extended and his whole body leaning against one wall "why can't I just turn out as every other normal teenager, why must things already be known, does everything always have to be so planned out."
"Dame it I just want to live my life the way I can and do what I want and when choose as things they come along." Robin's fists impacted the edge of the desk, this time all his frustration and all his anger resounded in the impact; he hoped the others didn't hear that, Robin held his breath and listened. At this hour everyone should have been asleep but one could never tell around the Tower.
Several times he'd woken up from dreaming; he'd been dealing with a nightmare, usually about Slade or another issue he didn't want to recall, especially he didn't want to discuss, and upon waking he'd been confronted by his friends faces staring worriedly down at him.
Surprise as much as the alarm and worry of his adrinalin had made him ask: "What's wrong what happened?"
'We were wondering that dude'
'You were speaking in you sleep Robin'
'Yeah man, thought you might have been wrestling with an intruder the way we could hear you out side'
'Robin you don't look fine,' Raven's mother hen voice it got to him 'what's going on?"
'I said I'm fine'
They're intentions were genuine, Robin knew that, but they just didn't get it sometimes; he was the leader, everyone had expectations of him to live up too, some spoken some unspoken, yet a constant weight always upon his shoulders. Robin felt exhausted. It was hard holding back, he sometimes struggled to hold down those urges to just get out there and get the job done himself. He just couldn't be treated like a child that was missing the true conversation points either.
Robin was not a control freak as Beast Boy liked to snicker jokingly behind his back either. Just because he asked for all the details and wanted to know every ounce of information, did not mean he was overly obsessive either; they were hints, clues, pieces of the puzzle, clues or answers to the riddle which he needed. Robin saw things as Batman had trained him to think, he saw everything as overlapping pieces; points which when string together made up the bigger picture, he didn't like it when someone treated him like a nosy child, especially when you'd just fought your own nightmares to stay alive, and you were trying to stay sane.
Again the Titans leader he sighed, his fist hurting as he unclenched it, wrapping his other hand around it Robin absentmindedly began to massage his hand. 'I need to find a way of getting Slade off my back'
The pressure was just becoming too much, even Robin could see that if things kept progressing as they were, that eventually Slade would kill them.
Robin locked his gaze on one of Slade's masks that hung from his wall. A collection of newspapers, clippings, and articles; all bits and pieces of a puzzle that surrounded a man he virtually knew nothing personal about, and yet, he knew Slade better then he knew Batman. A villain he could relate to and yet someone he hated more than life itself.
'Does that mean I loath myself' pondered Robin, he was tired, yet he was unable to drop the subject and sleep.
"How do you kill someone that no matter what you dish out or however many times, any ways they die they can always come back to haunt you."
Robin had spent many nights late into the morning hours pondering this question of late. It was in fact the exact same question he was fixated on as this morning's early hours and clock turned to state 2:45 am and he was gaining no more insight into that question tonight then he had any other evening.
The answers seemed just not available…save the one answer he knew he could not give 'make a deal with Slade and just give in. "Dose Slade spend night after night obsessing about me as much as I do about him?" Robin smirked the question he'd asked himself a hundred times before at least still brought pleasure to him The thought of Slade as extremely stressed over his side of trying to find a way to get Robin to join him as he himself spent trying to get Slade away from him, made the Boy Wonder calmer.
His smirk of happy pleasure, turned into a laugh, then again a sigh, crossing over his arms overtop his chest the tired Boy Wonders face showed serious thought. 'Was the cat as unhappy; if not as tiered, as he made the mouse most of the time?'
"Deathstroke the Terminator" not really known to too many as Slade Wilson stood in his secret base within the deserted warehouse district of Jump City. His latest attempts at encouraging Robin to resume the role as his apprentice had failed and his anger was blazing.
It was rare to see Slade this out of character, the criminal mastermind was a master of controlling himself as well as others, and he prided himself on showing only those emotions that were necessary to manipulate his enemies.
Robin was one of only a very small few who could get under Slade's skin and make him loose control like this; but who was awake at this hour to notice that Slade was not acting like himself, at this late into the morning hour only perhaps Robin would be still up.
The thought of Robin again made Slade's blood boil, anger flared out and he began pacing his hideout in reflection; every attempt, every plan, every command, every calculation, or futuristic plan Slade had ever thought up or made, every one of them involved Robin at his side. And for the best of intentions and the worst of deeds, he had not been able to sway the boy over to his way of thinking. Forever was a long time to live and Slade refused to keep going on without having someone to share it with.
Slade's latest attempt at changing the boys mind had ended disappointingly. His apprentice had once again proved how much trouble he was to steal away from his friends; he had proven too, just how much the boy was becoming a challenge to keep up with. Slade was a patient man, why not he had all the time in the world, he was immortal after all but it angered him; testing those patience of his, that Robin's time spent avoiding Slade's offers…were beginning to take there tole.
Too long and too much time was being wasted now. Robin was currently limited and Slade's own life did not offer him endless time for playing around with a group of bratty teenagers. He had other things to attend to. He actually had an Empire to run.
Wintergreen had call, things were starting to fall apart without him and he knew that he had been gone a lot longer then he'd originally said this would take him.
Robin's and His Game of Cat and Mouse was fun, but it was second to much more important things to him; and this might well continue into many more years; if he did not do something about it, it had already reached three years now and the boy had aged much since then.
Stress thought Slade, had aged Robin nicely but just plane growing up had been related to much more of what Slade had seen Robin to mature into, he now desired more from the boy then he'd wanted his apprentice for before these years had gone by, and when he'd first stated his desire to posses him had been so he could take Robin and then mold him into the path.
Robin had become a very powerful young man during their struggles and Slade realized that Robin had not been mature enough back then for what Slade actually had held in mind, but now he was perfect, 'He's ready' and yet his place was not yet at his master's side yet.
The thoughts again of what Slade was unable to attain rose up his anger to the surface. Slade's fist impacted a nearby table, breaking it into two pieces. All of the tables contents feel to the floor with a crash and the sound echoed on down the hallway and throughout the room, but there was no one to hear it except Slade, and the fact that Slade was alone neither woke or affected anyone.
'If this keep up Robin will be well past his prime' thought Slade, 'I'm going to loosed him,' this was Slade's last chance to possess the perfect and only person he'd ever wanted for an apprentice.
Slade hated to loose
The plan had been simple if not flawless. Recruit an apprentice, his unrelenting choice being Robin now; no one else would do, Slade had tried others after Robin escaped his grasp, but the boys will his determination, and attitude…drove Slade mad, it drove him to use the word "perfect" as well.
Robin Richard John Grayson was perfect. And that at least was truth. Robin made everyone else look inferior and at the same time was; he himself, unobtainable.
Slade rolled his shoulder and tried and relax, figuring after several years of training, a few preparations and some tough love; 'maybe if I force the boy into submission' that Robin would be ready for his final challenge.
The survival of the same procedural treatment that Slade had undergone; the one that had made him immortal, Robin surviving the treatment, there was no doubt in Slade's mind he wouldn't survive, Robin had endured much and was Slade mused an exceptional exception (miring Slade in many ways that way) every test Slade had thrown his way the boy had past with exceptional skill and at times even surprising Slade with methods and means which Robin came up with for meeting such tricky challenges.
Tests long ago designed for preparing him for the stress of surviving the procedure.
After Robin survived the process Slade would have his successor. His apprentice; an heir by his side for all eternity, and nothing would stand in his way then! But none of that was going to happen if the boy died before Slade could get his chance to mold Robin into that perfect apprentice.
Slade grabbed for the pieces of his broken table and tossed one across the room. Reaching for the remaining piece when suddenly Slade stopped "That's it"
A cunning and evil smile crossed Slade's unmasked face. "He'd been going about this all wrong!" If he made Robin immortal first, then there would be no more reason for Slade to worry. "Yes," it was so simple Slade wondered why he hadn't thought of it before. Slade's hand ran under his chin as he pondered this new conclusive decision.
His eye relaxed, reflective in the dim light, "It just might be the answer to everything,"
'but if Robin found out…' that he would never die, never age; well one year per decade, but that was nothing. Just a moment in time for an immortal; long enough that eventually Robin would see how futile it all was, how bound they both were, and perhaps, more than just perhaps, he would cease resisting.
He'd known the boy was holding on to some small hope for death. "Yes," scoffed Slade, reflecting on the foolish conclusion his apprentice held. That he could escape Slade in death. A comfort Slade had not allowed festering; suicide was prone in the boys thinking, Slade had made sure to push only so hard. Pulling back before the boy could hurt himself or going on to do something stupid and foolish, but so far Slade only hurt the boy to his liking, never doing any permanent damage. Robin was valuable after all, a real treasure of a find he was unique; rare in a world where things come and went but very little stood out any different from the rest.
'Yes, it was perfect'
Eventually the boy's friends, his family would die off and then Robin; still young, immortal, and far stronger, would have no choice but to join Slade. Loneliness would force him to Slade if nothing else had before that time.
Slade flexed his arms behind his back, he was calmer now, more relaxed as he resumed walking. Thoughtful about this new idea; contemplating the details to a plan as he Slade journeyed himself down a hallway, he would have to be cautious; no way could the boy know what was happening to him till it was over and done with, that would pose another concern. The treatment would have to be broken down into doses. Incremental, and masked to look like Robin was merely sick; perhaps with a cold or the flu, that way his friends, especially that metal tin man Cyborg, would overlook the chemical drugs that would be working in Robin's system.
Yes, and all the time Slade would be as if he still sought after Robin, relentlessly other wise the boy would worry and overly stress himself. Despite being sick, Slade had seen Robin keep going; the kid pushed himself sometimes too much for a mortal his age, pushed his body dangerously close to dyeing.
It was one of the qualities that made Robin so perfect but also one of the qualities which made Robin's ability to survive tough at times, still Slade loved a challenge.
Doing that during the treatment could be pushing his luck however. Many had died from the treatment; none as strong as Robin, but even Robin was just mortal and it could possibly kill him. No, Robin would have to be pushed just so much and then made to calm down, made to rest. Slade would have to design a plan which his attacks were very carefully designed. He'd have to plan for possible ways of overcorrecting the boy when he got too obsessed or too out of control, 'when Robin gets out of hand'
"Still trying to figure out who I am, aren't you Robin." Yes….. Slade again stopped walking and smiled, thinking about his apprentice. Robin truly did belong with him; even if the boy didn't realize his actions spoke of him; words he himself refused to admit openly or to speak of, they spoke anyway paragraphs to Slade.
Walking off into the darkness Slade smiled 'you will be my apprentice Robin' Slade thinking more of the perfect plan that he'd just come up with. It was the Cat's move and the mouse was in for a really rough game ahead of him this time.
At 5 am Robin had finally given up his thoughts on Slade, he had changed into a pair of guy sweets, a T-top and had headed for the gym. An early morning workout before watching the sun rise with Starfire usually helped prepare him for the day. This time though it seemed not to help at all.
Robin punched the punching bag; kicking and hitting it with no more or less force than normal, when it broke. Robin just stood there, fist clenched just starring at it and something was wrong, he just knew; something he couldn't quite place was about to happen, a cold shiver kept running up his spine. What was Slade planning?
It was Starfire's voice that finally brought Robin around. "Good morning Robin do you wish to watch the sun rise with me this lovely morning?"
Starfire was staring at the back of Robin's shirtless form but she could tell he was distracted; he was just standing there over a broken and torn punching bag. 'Not usually a good sign' she'd too noticed how he'd slightly jumped when she'd called out his name. 'Guess I will have to make more noise when I enter a room' Beast Boy had been telling her she was way too quiet at times. Her thoughts stopped as Robin turned around and gave her a worm smile.
"Morning Starfire,' fake smile not fooling her in the least anymore, 'yes, I'd love to watch the sun rise with you I just need to go and take a quick shower, how about I meet you on the roof in just a few minutes ok?"
Robin was standing there smiling at her yet Starfire had an odd feeling that something was troubling him. Perhaps it was Slade, the mad man hand been pretty active lately. Robin did obsess and she knew he had not been sleeping again, wasn't sleeping, the fisted hands and missing energy drinks from the cupboards were proof enough of that.
"Lovely," smiled Starfire trying not to upset or provoke Robin "then I shall see you on the roof?" He nodded, perhaps she thought, in a calmer setting she could get him to confide in her.
With that Robin and Starfire parted ways; each headed to their separate destinations, planning to meet on the roof in just a short while; too bad, that would have been more fun than hearing the alarm go off before the sun had even had its chance to rise.
A/N: So what do you think? Should we keep going? My first couple chapters will just set the ground work for the larger picture to come. I've also got hints within for chapter's way down the road, but you won't understand that until you read those chapters. Later on though you can interact with my author's notes nothing too fancy I plan to take it at a pace nice for all readers.
See you, D.