A/n: I suck… I'm sorry. I've been hard core battling depression and just now starting to feel better. Happy New Year! Hope you enjoy. Things are really going to start picking up now, as we have reached the crux of the story. As always, leave some love and let me know if you have any ideas, theories, or things you want to see.
The boy was tiring. Wintergreen could see it easily. With each passing mission, each passing day, the light in his eyes grew dimmer and dimmer. The first few days after his encounter with his former mentor, the boy had been stubborn, insolent, and downright cocky. It would seem that his brief meeting with the Dark Knight had given him some hope, some drive, but it was fading fast.
He had to act soon. The child couldn't hold out much longer, and if he gave in, it was all for nothing. Wintergreen saw it clear as day now: that boy was the crux. Regardless of their differences in the past, Dick kept the Batman going. His brief conferences with the man had proven that without a doubt. Their conversations were always short and curt, filled with threats and a sense of danger. Wintergreen had accepted that his life was, at this point, almost entirely forfeit. If he failed, and the boy fell to Slade, the Dark Knight would certainly rip his throat out with his own two hands. If he succeeded…
He must succeed. If they lost the teen to Slade, the Justice League would fall. The safety of the world would be in jeopardy. Wintergreen allowed himself a sardonic chuckle. He had never thought that one boy could be so crucial.
He finished preparing the Titans' meals, reaching into his inner lining pocket and, glancing around, carefully added a few drops of the opaque blue liquid to the sorceress' plate.
Yes, he thought, as he hefted the trays into his arms, I must act. Tonight.
Slade's patience with the boy was all but worn out. He had tried every approach he could think of, and nothing would get through to the boy. Nothing was working. He threw back his tumbler of scotch, the last amber drops glistening in the glass as he toyed with his thoughts.
Threatening the brat's friends with their own enemies didn't seem to be working as effectively as he had hoped. He did not seem to fear so much for those on the outside as for those that were here, under Slade's watch…
Of course! Why had he thought of it before? There was nothing the boy seemed to fear more than what he would do to his friends.
Slade allowed himself a wry chuckle. Perhaps stronger measures were called for, after all. He was drawn out of his musings by a knock on the door.
"This was just sent in," Wintergreen said, entering upon Slade's bidding. "Marked confidential."
Slade took the document silently. Wintergreen understood that as his cue to take his leave, and left the room, quietly shutting the door behind him.
Slade perused the document, a smirk growing behind his mask. Stronger measures, indeed.
It had been nearly three months since the mission where he had run into Bruce. Three months since his ribs had healed and his back had scarred over. Three months of waiting, hoping, training, and, as he had expected from the moment he opened his mouth and Romanji had spilled out, surviving beatings and lectures and whatever Slade threw at him
He had been summoned to the control room for a new mission debriefing. He sighed heavily, making his way through the long winding hallways. He was just so tired. So tired of waiting, of fighting… just tired.
He entered the room quietly, but Slade, ever alert, heard him none the less and turned to watch his approach.
"Robin," the man greeted coldly. Robin gave a slight nod to Slade, and to Wintergreen, standing off to the side, coming to stand before Slade and dropping to his knees, as he knew Slade wished him to do.
"Mission?" he asked quietly. He did not want to pick a fight with Slade today. He simply wanted to know what he was expected to do now, and return to his room to nurse his growing headache. But that dream was shattered the moment Slade replied,
Wintergreen's eyes narrowed slightly in the shadows.
"Cont—" Robin's eyes flew to Wintergreen, wide in alarm. "But…"
"I'm through having this conversation with you, Robin." Slade said calmly, turning away from him and making his way to a nearby table stocked with weapons. "You will do this job, and you will succeed. You will take this," Slade held up one of the large rifles, and Robin noticed through the shock clouding his mind that it was a sniper rifle, "and you will go to Gotham, and you will put a bullet through the police commissioner's head."
Robin had begun protesting before Slade was finished speaking. "No, I won't! You can't make me, Slade there is no way—"
All at once, Slade's patience ran out. He threw the rifle down, whirling in the same moment and towering over Robin, reaching down and grabbing a fistful of his dark hair, tilting his head up. "Listen carefully, boy. You will put a bullet through Gordon's head, or I will put one into your little goth girl's instead." His voice grew lower with each word, until he was hissing a threatening whispered, "Do you understand?" He threw the boy's head out of his grasp, watching as Robin made no attempt to rise, falling to the left slightly as he let the momentum from Slade's hand carry him. "We'll see what your little foster home thinks of that." The boy flinched slightly, as he always did when Slade mentioned the Batman nowadays.
Slade made his way out of the room, calling back over his shoulder, "Two days, Robin."
Raven was startled from her meditation when the door to the common area hissed open. Wintergreen came in, looking rather more hurried than usual as he shuffled in with his usual box of books to replenish the shelves. He went about his work, replacing the books and placing the older ones into his box to take away.
"How did you like that book I recommended?" he asked with a pointed look.
"It was good. Very informative," she replied, keeping her answers vague. They were being watched, they both knew.
"Good, good," he muttered distractedly. He placed the final book on the shelf. "This one is rather a good read also," he said. "I hope you find it as instructive as I did." He turned to her then, and she was overcome with a sense of sadness that she could not place.
"Thank you," she said, "I'll be sure to give it a read." He didn't say anything more, just nodded and made his way out of the room, clearing his throat a bit before he left.
It was only after he'd gone that Raven realized she had never seen him so out of sorts. She walked towards the bookshelf, retrieving the last one he had taken out of the box. Not knowing what she would find, she went into her room, where she knew she wasn't watched, to peruse it.
It didn't take long. Opening the book, a note immediately fell from between the first pages and the cover.
It's time. The key is good balanced meals. You'll know what to do. –WW
Unnerved, and unsettled for reasons she could not explain, Raven set about chanting the now familiar phrase to herself.
"Audi et fecisti malum non recordaberis ampliu… audi et fecisti malum non recordaberis ampliu."
Wintergreen had known they were running out of time, but he had no idea just how quickly. The moment Slade had said the word contract, his heart and plummeted through his stomach to the floor. The boy would not last after something like that. His resolve would crumble to dust, and they would be lost. And he and the boy knew full well that Slade meant what he said about putting a bullet into the enchantresses' head should he fail.
He steeled himself. The message had been delivered to the girl, and he could only hope she was as clever as she seemed, and would catch his meaning easily enough.
It was well after three in the morning when he made his way to the control room. Glancing around carefully, he made his way to the console and punched in the code he now knew so well. The familiar cowl appeared on screen.
Will didn't allow the Dark Knight to speak, he merely said, "It's time," punched in the code to transfer the file, and ended the transmission. As the screen went dark, he let out a sigh, just as he felt the barrel of a pistol pressed into the base of his neck.
"Did you think I didn't know, Will?" Slade asked quietly. Wintergreen felt a sardonic smile creep onto his face.
"I suppose," he said, "it was only a matter of time."
In the dark, still night, a single shot rang out.
A/n: I am so sorry… but I had this planned from the beginning. Fun fact, it is comic canon that Slade shoots Will and his last words are "I suppose it was only a matter of time." Gahhhh so sad… anyway. Leave a review if you liked it… or didn't… or whatever.