A/N: This fic is entirely in response to a challenge made by dlsky. The challenge is to write a fic where Slade is nice! Well, I kicked around a few ideas, and finally settled on this one. The character trait I'm aiming for here will be revealed gradually, so don't expect many tear-jerking monologues from Slade in this chapter. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy, and that I've set up an interesting story in my first chapter.
For safety, seeing as mid-terms are beginning soon, I'll plan to update every three Sundays.
So, enjoy and be sure to slip me a review.
Disclaimer: I in no claim to own any of the characters portrayed in this story. I do however, stake claim to the plot and the fic itself.
Doing the Right Thing
By: Sarah Shima
Chapter 1: Why Today?
Robin raced through the building, his bo staff out, and eyes searching for the thieves. Why was he not surprised to see a few dozen Slade-bots standing in the room?
"Damn," he muttered under his breath as he saw the criminal himself slipping through a blasted-open door at the other end of the room. The Slade-bots turned their attention to the vigilante, and let loose their attack.
Robin was not in the mood today.
He was the only one to respond to the call, Starfire and Raven were shopping, (and spending god-knows-how-much of his money) and in that mall their communicators do not always get a signal. Cyborg and Beast Boy had gone off for the weekend to have some fun.
That left him to deal with this.
And it just had to be Slade.
He brought his staff down on one Slade-bot, and then kicked off it, flipping backwards. He somersaulted once in the air and then landed on the next Slade-bot, kicking it into another. He landed on the ground, just in time to sweep his staff under the legs of two of the robots. He leapt into the air, landing on the shoulders of a robot. He hooked his ankles around the head-piece, and then twisted sideways, breaking it off. He kicked off the robot, and smashed his legs into another one, bringing it down on two others. He continued in kind, moving as quickly as he could, all the while straining his neck in hopes of glimpsing Slade in the next room.
When the last robot was smoking in pieces on the ground, Robin ran towards the room Slade was in.
He saw the criminal facing a case of experimental devices. Robin skulked in, not wishing Slade to notice him, though Robin did not know how much of the skirmish in the hall he may have witnessed. He paused behind a large cylindrical device. It took up the entire center of the room and was about four feet in diameter. Power coils spun through the floor and into the lower levels. A glass covered portion of the chamber five feet above the floor, gave view to the center, which contained a sort of glowing, ethereal liquid. Robin peered around the machine at Slade, waiting for the right moment. He was preparing an attack when Slade's voice stopped him.
"Robin," he announced, turning around. Robin slipped behind the machine again, keeping location to his advantage. "Why are you hiding? Where are all of your little friends?" Slade questioned.
His voice was becoming closer, along with the steady footfalls. Robin reached into his belt and pulled out two birdarangs. "Come out little Robin," Slade called. "Come out!"
"If you insist!" Robin shouted as he jumped out from behind the machine and launched his attack. Slade had anticipated the move, and so blocked all of the swings he made with his bo staff. Robin knocked his feet into Slade's chest and vaulted himself backwards. He somersaulted once in the air, and mid-flip, he threw an exploding birdarang at the villain. Slade knocked the birdarang out of the air with his own bo staff, and it collided with the cylindrical device beside them. Robin pulled his cape up to shield himself from the explosion. It seemed to have not affected the outer device at all, but the liquid in it began to destabilize.
Now Slade was on the offensive. He launched a roundhouse kick at Robin's head, which the young hero ducked to avoid. Slade landed on his feet and leapt at Robin, staff aimed for Robin's throat. Robin stopped the staff with his own, holding it suspended over his shoulder. Slade took advantage of his position, and swung the staff downward. Robin's momentum was used against him as he fell forward, and Slade's staff connected with his knee. Robin fell, teeth clenched in pain. At the same time he swung his staff at Slade's feet, knocking him over.
They both jumped to their feet, and continued the routine of attacking and defending. Slade managed to back Robin into the wall, landing a solid blow to his side. Robin aimed a kick at Slade's legs, and caused him to lose his balance just long enough for Robin to get away from him.
The fight continued to intensify as both parties refused to give the other the advantage. Behind them the liquid boiled and bubbled in the chamber. Robin dodged, and attacked, while Slade attacked with his staff and defended. For the moment they were evenly matched. However, Slade was bound to gain the upper hand.
And he did.
With a strong kick, he threw the Boy Wonder across the room. Robin, still clutching his bo staff, careened into the machine in the center of the room. His back struck the controls, and the bo staff connected with the glass chamber in a shattering of glass.
Robin regained his footing long enough to see the liquid now released from the inner chamber expand into a brilliant mass of gold. It suddenly shrunk in size as if imploding, and then expanded outwards once again.
The explosion overwhelmed Robin and Slade in a brilliant flash of light. The pair of fighters were thrown back from the device, their bodies hitting the walls and then sinking to the floor with a sickening thud. As Robin lost consciousness, he thought he saw a sort of blackness form in the epicenter of the explosion.
Slade awoke slowly. He was face-down on the floor of the lab, and could only vaguely recall how he had ended up there. A piece of metal was lying on his back. He easily pushed it off, and then slid to his knees, taking note of how dusty the floor was beneath him. He turned and glanced to his side, and saw Robin lying a few feet away. The boy stirred, slowly pulling himself to his knees as well. He glanced suspiciously at Slade, as if expecting him to attack at any moment. Slade however, had bigger things to worry about than a teenaged vigilante.
The lab was in ruins, and if Slade was seeing correctly, it was not just the lab. Through a broken window, he viewed the city, and was not pleased with what he saw. As Robin rose to his feet, Slade did the same. The two instinctively backed towards the machine that had exploded, staring around at the ruins.
The building looked as if a bomb had gone off in it, and Robin and Slade stood in the epicenter. Robin did not look twice at Slade as he hurried out of the room, searching for people who may have been injured, and hoping to escape the fumes and smoke. Slade was right on his heels, which was disconcerting for the young hero, but then again, maybe he knew something Robin did not.
As Robin entered the remains of the halls, he found them to be covered old grime and dust. Shaking off his confusion – the walls had been perfectly clean when he came in – he continued towards the exit.
He pushed the large metal door, which was hanging off its hinges, but still partially latched in place (funny, he never closed it when he came in), and stepped out into the sunlight.
He would never forget what he saw.
The city was in complete ruins. Buildings half-destroyed stood crookedly on the ground. Homes has been wiped out, cars lay haphazardly as if they had been abandoned. Plumes of smoke rose from decaying structures, and flames licked at the ground, the buildings, and the sky. The sky was dark with hanging ash and soot.
Robin stumbled forward onto the uneven concrete, disbelieving in all that he saw. A harsh wind blew by, bringing with it scraps of metal, stones, and other debris.
He was standing in the tech sector of Jump City. There should be skyscrapers, labs, office buildings, roads, alleys, traffic, and people. Instead, he was in a barren wasteland, devoid of life. Crumbled buildings surrounded him, and the rest was just nothing. The city was everyone's vision of the end of the world.
But he had been there at the end of the world, and this was not what it looked like.
What the Hell was going on?
He continued on his journey into the city, vaguely registering the sound of Slade's cautious footsteps following him.
As he entered the residential section, the first thing he noticed was the stench. The smell of death and rotting flesh consumed the entire area. Robin screwed up his face as he ventured further. He walked by homes that were on fire, and witnessed the sight of the decaying corpses. They were everywhere, the remains of mothers, fathers, and children, their bodies half covered in rubble, expressions of panic and fear forever on their faces.
Robin had seen death before; it was no stranger to him. He had witnessed the death of both of his parents when he was a child. But something about the absolute carnage before his eyes made him sick to his stomach. He turned away from the remains, only to find more. Corpses lined the road, death permeated the whole area. All of these people killed. Who knew how much they may have suffered?
He closed his eyes, but the images would not go away. His knees gave way and he collapsed to the ground. He reached forward to steady himself, and felt his hand on something soft. His fingers sunk through it and then reached something solid. He opened his eyes, and saw that his hand was half-submerged in the rotting flesh of a dead child.
He scrambled backward, tripping over his feet as he did. He turned to his side, and retched.
As he regained control of himself, a shadow passed over him. He looked up to see Slade coldly surveying the scene. "What happened here?" Robin whispered, his struggle to keep his composure waning. "It looks like a… a war zone," he added.
"You have no idea how right you are," Slade responded.
"All of this could not have occurred since we were in the labs," Slade said, his voice still chillingly normal. They might have been discussing the weather for all the emotional inflection in Slade's tone.
"You're right," Robin said, standing shakily. He reflected back on the emotional control he learned from Batman, and distanced himself from the scene. It was just another crime to investigate, it could not be personal. "The bodies are already decomposing. There's no way we were out that long."
"Which begs the question: Where are we?"
A/N: Very astute question Slade, where are you two? Who knows? So, I know,strange first chapter, but what did you think?
See youin three weeks,