Like to a Silver Bow

Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans.

Notes: FUTUTEFIC For JessKat, out of gratitude for her gorgeous Serenity Prayer fanart.

Edit 2007: Renamed! This fits better, I think. Yay for out-of-context fragments of Shakespearean quotes!


It's raining, and that's the first clue that he's not safe and snug in his bed at Titans Tower. The second clue is that he's tied to a utility post and everything really fucking hurts.

Nightwing makes these observations and then passes out again.

He dreams of green-eyed girls and a room with gears and angry voices, but when he comes to, he's alone with Slade and the moon. Either Slade's moving closer or the moon is retreating. If the latter, Nightwing sympathizes. In fact, he wishes he could follow suit, but there's half a decade of history keeping him from doing so, to say nothing of titanium handcuffs.

There are a million things Slade could do in this situation, too many to calculate the probabilities. Nightwing tries anyway, and is still trying when a gauntleted hand touches his cheek.

"Beautiful night," Slade says with a wistfulness that sounds almost real, and the moon's gone behind his shadow. A crazy part of him wants to nod. He doesn't, and Slade nods for him. "It's good to see you again, Robin."

A lot of being a hero has to do with pretending you have the upper hand even when you don't. "The name is Nightwing."

Slade's hand is still on his cheek. "Of course." His other hand slides over Nightwing's shoulder. "Nightwing."

The way Slade says his new name shouldn'tsound any different then the way anyone else says does. It shouldn't, but it does.

"What do you want?" He tries to ignore the fact that Slade's fingertips are tracing along his shoulder blade.

"You know what I want."

His face flushes. There's absolutely nothing he can say at this point that won't be playing into Slade's hands.

Then Slade's running a fingertip over the curve of his mask, and Nightwing loses his train of thought completely.

"I like it," Slade comments lightly. "But is it really necessary?"

Nightwing can't feel the rain, can't feel the cold or the pain or the cuffs or anything except Slade's fingers ghosting over his temples, digging inward past the edges of his mask for leverage. He screws his eyes shut and braces himself for the end of the universe.

It's almost a full minute before he realizes that Slade's fingers are digging painfully into his flesh and the mask is still very much on. It takes even longer for it to hit him that Slade is actually hesitating. The fabric of space-time must be tearing, because an eternity later, Slade relaxes his grip. He strokes Nightwings rain-drenched hair instead, curling a long lock around his finger, and changes the subject. "You grew it out."

"Yeah...?" His voice sounds as shaken as he feels.


That gets a growl, which abruptly turns into a gasp when he feels a hand is sliding up his thigh. "A lot of you has grown," says Slade with a warm chuckle. He's taken off his gauntlet. Nightwing can't quite fathom how or when, and doesn't particularly care. There's a more pressing question on his mind.

"Where have you been?" A question he really hadn't intended to actually ask. He bites his lip and wonders why he can't seem to control anything, even his own voice.

The hand pauses, warm against his leg. "I apologize for my extended absence." It's so hard to tell when Slade's being sincere and when he's mocking. Slade strokes his inner thigh with one thumb absently, almost contemplatively, and says no more.

"What did you come back for?" Nightwing presses stubbornly. "Why now?"

"You think too much of the past. It's the future now." In other words, wouldn't you like to know. "I had some…unfinished business."

And Nightwing doesn't ask. Doesn't need to, with Slade breathing warmly in his face and covering Nightwing's eyes with the other hand, moving so fluidly that Nightwing doesn't even hear the copper mask being discarded before Slade kisses him, teeth grazing his lower lip, his nose filled with the scent that shouldn't be familiar, but somehow is.

Several lifetimes later, Slade draws back, and Nightwing can see again. He isn't sure why it surprises him that Slade's wearing his mask again, as though nothing's happened, and looks the same as ever.

"Your friends will be worrying about you." The non sequitur hits him like a gut-punch as Slade strokes his mouth. "I wonder how you'll explain this." He sounds like he might be smiling--Nightwing suddenly feels like he has x-ray vision.

Slade reaches behind him and puts something in his hand. A key.

"For these," Slade explains, tapping the handcuffs. Nightwing's hand closes protectively over it, as though Slade might change his mind and snatch it away again.

For a moment there is silence but for the rain. Nightwing wonders what's going to happen next. Slade could stay in Jump and torment him for years. Or he could leave again and torment him just as well that way.

Knowing Slade, neither would surprise him.

Nightwing almost asks. Almost.

But that's not how it works, so he sets to work on the handcuffs, knowing without looking that Slade's gone.