A/n: I am sorry I keep coming up with random short stories. Don't hate me. R&R
I'm going to get him tonight. I am going to un-mask him, he will fall at my feet. He won't get away this time.
Robin jumped out of a window near the top of the main warehouse near peirce 41. A familiar location that often sent the young hero spiraling back through his memories to a time when he still had friends.
His fall propelled him forwards, landing him on the back of a man he despised with a passion; the two falling and tumbling off the cement dock into the icy waters of the bay.
This area was rocky and shallow; Robin knew he was going to be in a lot of pain tomorrow morning, that is, if he survived until tomorrow. The man he had just accosted was no common thug, and jack-knifing his elbow into the larger man's back was probably a stupid thing to do considering the temper held behind thin barriers of restraint.
Oh you will survive, you have to, and tonight is the night you take him down, the night you take back your freedom.
As his head broke the surface of the frigid water, his lungs gasping in the much needed air, he looked around but could not see the insideous man anywhere.
Robins ears were greated by silence and the soft swooshing and swirling of the water as it lapped against the cement edges of the docks.
Then, as if the gates of Hell had opened below his very feet, thick arms tore out of the water and wrapped around his waist from behind. Slade shot out of the water, his prize gasping in shock and surprise before the mercenary threw Robin into a much deeper and terrifyingly darker part of the bay.
Waiting for the young man's head to clear the surface, the boy having to trea)d water to stay afloat, Slade crossed his arms over his chest and started to mock him.
"Tacktless Robin, your're being a little more haphazard than I expected, and far too thoughtless. I will just put it down to you still being angry about the situation in which you've currently found yourself."
"Angry doesnt even come close to how I feel about our situation Slade. It doesn't matter how you make me dress, what you teach me or what you make me do, I will never be the apprentice you want me to be!" Robin snarled with contempt.
"On the contrary, you've been my apprentice for the last month and a half, your friends are still clueless about the probes and your training is coming along very swiftly. A few more nights of us running about the city and I may just let you go on your first mission."
"I don't run missions for you or for anyone else! I don't steal, lie or cheat. That's what makes us so different, why this situation isn't compatible for us."
"That's a very big mistake Robin, the only difference between us is-" Slade crouched in the water and then flip backwards onto the dock, "You haven't had the pleasure of killing anyone yet."
Robin growled and swam for the edge, crawling out he noticed Slade was waiting patiently, hands clasped behind his back with a sharp dominance that was near stifling in appearance. Robin, still on his hands and knees, water dripping from his sopping uniform and hair, took several deep breaths before he pushed himself up and turned to look at his unwanted mentor.
"I hate to disappoint you Slade, but I won't be killing anyone any time soon. If you want me to be honest with you, I don't have the stomach for it and I know I never will."
Slade seemed to contemplate this a moment, using his thumb and pointer finger to cup his chin in thought before he once again adjusted his stance and leaned forward, "Oh, I don't know- you might be surprised how well you could stomach a lot of things if the situation were to- warrent such an extreme."
Robin took up a defensive stance as Slade's hand reached for his belt but the boys assumptions weren't granted as Slade did nothing but pull a gleaming object from his belt and toss it towards Robin.
Skidding to a stop at his feet, the raven haired teen looked down to find a large hunting knife glinting in the moon light.
"Your move." Slade said.
Robin stood motionless; it was a bowie knife with a giant shimmering blade and a rather sizable handle.
"What do you want me to do with that? Stab you?" He asked with a sarcastic grunt.
"Yes, actually. Tonight's exercises are simple. If you can manage to stab me, that is to say, land a killing blow- I will allow you to take off my mask. How's your stomach now? Incentive enough?"
Insides running cold Robin looked between Slade and the knife before he licked his lips and felt sweat form on his brow, he bent down to pick up the weapon and noticed it weighed about as much as his bow staff did fully extended.
Robin stood frozen, had Slade really said that?
"I don't understnad." Robin's voice bit in confusion as his head jerked up to look at the man as he gripped the handle of the knife.
"You heard me little bird, stab me and you will get to see my face." The man cooed, a smirk resonating through his tone of voice.
There had to be more than that, Slade wasn't the type to give something so simple for something so complex, "what's the catch?" Robin asked.
"You know me to well little bird. First off, I give you no guarantee you will be satisfyed with what you find behind my mask. I'd hate to disappoint, after all you've waited so long- not living up to your expectations of me could be disheartening."
Robin snorted in sarcastic derision, surely Slade didn't think Robin was so obsessed with the face behind the mask that he would actually be willing to attempt to kill to see the man's face.
"And the second?"
Slade leaned forward again, his eye narrowing and Robin cocked his head to the side to eye the man carefully as he waited for his answer, "You only have 15 minutes."
Robin's jaw opened slightly as he digested Slade's words and the situation at hand, however, he had little time to ponder them as seconds later Slade charged him full on.
Robin's response was instantanious as he jumped over Slade in an attempt to avoid the on coming blow, but Slade spun quicker successfully clipping Robin in the side.
The ex-hero went stumbling to the right, desperatly trying not to lose his balance or his grip on the blade which could easily running him through if he wasn't careful.
When his equilibrium was stable Robin flipped the knife in his hand in hopes of gaining better control. If he could get a good downward swing at the man Robin could carve right into him.
Instantly Robin dropped the knife and a wave of sick nausea pooled like thick tar in his gut. An image of Slade's blood all over him and the imagined feeling of the knife sliceing through layers of bone and skin did not appeal to Robin in the slightest.
He felt his hand shaking and he knew he must look as scared and pathetic as he felt, "Robin, pick up the knife." Slade commanded softly, still holding his body tight and ready to engage.
"No way! I- I can't do this Slade- please don't make me-"
"Apprentice, pick up the knife." His voice sounded dangerous but Robin could not bring himself to care or comply, so he tried again to diswayed Slade away from this.
"No! I can't stab you…"
Slade choose to stand then, crossing his arms over his chest and his singular eye narrowing, "Can't stab me? Or you can't kill me? Perhaps you finally realized how important I am to you. Has the young boy wonder finally realized that all chances of escaping could possibly rely on one thing and one thing only- my death? Or perhaps Robin, you have finally come to terms with your feelings towards me. Your realize I am the father you always wanted and you accept me- as your master."
His temper flaring at the mocking words and the truth behind Robin's only means of escape sunk in, the boy felt his shoulders hunch and his fists clench in rage.
"You don't need to be afraid of death Robin. If it helps you, consider the fact that your own mother would have killed anyone who tried to hurt or kill you. Your loving, innocent mother- a killer by nature if it meant protecting her young pup."
"Don't you talk about my mother! You didn't know her, you don't deserve to even talk about her!"
Slade moved closer, his hands dropping to his sides, he spoke softly into Robin's ear as he moved to stand behind him, "You don't realize how often good people do horrible things to protect those they care about. Think of it- if a pedophile had tried to take you from her- don't even pretend she wouldn't have dug her petite little nails into his face. Baby Robin, not even aware that his own mother could be a killer and he'd not even know it."
"SHUT UP!" Robin nearly yelled as he kept his back to the man, a protective shell to try and block the soft words slithering like serpents into his brain and scrolling before his eyes.
"We probably shouldn't even get into how many people your old mentor has killed accidentally-"
"But let's be fair, 35 accidental deaths could have happened to anyone- especially someone who dresses up like a bat- whose idea of justice is locking people up in a place so dark and distorted the criminals wouldn't know whether they were alive or dead anyway."
With those final taunting words Robin grabbed the blade and swung around quickly, swinging the weapon at lightening speed up and under Slade's right arm.
Robin felt his jaw drop, all thoughts in his mind fading to nothing and a faint static buzz surrounding and deadening his senses. The blade had slid in-between two ribs; the sickening sound and thick smell of copper, shocking Robin into near dissociation, filled the air.
A warm liquid dribbled down the blade's handle onto his hand, seeming to come in spurts with the pumping of the larger man's heart.
Robin instantly released the blade and stumbled back, falling onto his butt and sitting before Slade with wide eyes and a gapping mouth, his anxiety etched like stone across his face.
Slade was on his knees now, having been pushed off balance by the force of the blow. He remained in that position and did not move. His eye, having momentarily gone wide in shock, had changed to a narrow slit and as the stillness of the man's body sunk in Robin thought him dead where he was.
"S-Slade?" Robin's voice was small and timid, like that of a terrifyed child unsure of what to do. To his own horror, seconds later, the man in question started to chuckle and then full out laugh- all thoughts of death upon the man vanished from Robin's head as a new tingle of terror rushed up the boys spin, "H-how?" Robin asked.
"Oh, you didn't kill me Robin, which is very lucky for you considering that was a fatal blow and the nanites are set to go off if my heart should stop pumping. However, your abrupt halt was poorly timed, you didn't even reach my heart. Such a pity. Now, come here apprentice."
Robin did not move at the command, though he jumped several seconds later when Slade yelled.
"Apprentice! To me, now!" though ever instinct he had told Robin to resist the order he slowly made to get up and moved over to stand as close to Slade as his shock would allow.
Slade, who was still on his knees, grabbed Robin's bloody hand and pulled it swiftly back towards the knife, when Robin tried to jerk away Slade gave a painful jerk and Robin dropped to his knees right in front of him.
"No Robin, you will finish the job. Now, hold the knife tightly, don't back down. Don't be afraid of killing me."
Robin whimpered as he felt the blood start to soak through his glove, he noticed more warm liquid slowly oozing down to mix with the colder blood already on his hand and he felt the stiffness of the blade, it wouldn't budge.
As if the man could see Robin's disturbed and reluctant state of mind he sighed and spoke softly, "You've done well so far. I think a little reward is in order before we continue. You may remove my mask."
Robin still had his eyes locked on to his right hand, which was now being held tightly around the blade's handle by Slade's left hand.
"Robin-" Slade cooed, "Look at me." Slowly Robin looked away from the wound he had caused and up to Slade. His heart was thudding with such forced against his chest, a panick attack not to far out of his reach. When he realized it was Slade's heart he felt beating so powerfully up through the blade and into his own body, he let out a high pitched blast of noise that sounded like the beginning of a sob.
"Please don't make me do this-"
"Reach up and remove my mask." Slade cut in, his lone eye watching the boy carefully as he saw all the signs of panic, dissociation and posttraumatic shock start to set in.
"Robin, my lovely little bird, you have to killed me- yet. don't be so afraid of the inevitable. After all, we all die eventually. One can not stop the inevitable, only prolong it. Let your fear sink into the farthest reaches of your mind and focus on the task at hand. there will be time enough later to think on your actions. For now, let's give your the answer you've been looking for since we first met. Go on and remove my mask."
he words did little to quell his guilt but they did sooth his fear, if only for a moment. So, with a shaky hand Robin slowly reached for the clasps of the mask and gritted his teeth in anticipation.
As his agile fingers wrapped around the edge where the mask ended Robin felt his curiosity over take him, as he pulled on the mask he almost forgot about his other hand and what it was holding.
Then, Robin heard a click, he watched as the mask of his nightmares fell from Slade's face in slow motion towards the cement dock resting between them.
Before him was a man he had waited years to see, and now he was simply too stunned for words. A black eye patch, white hair and a goatee to match. Probably one of the most handsome men Robin had ever seen yet even now he could not decipher the man's true age. The face was stoic with a strong jaw and perfectly cut nose. The lips were thin but masculine and in his face Robin could see what could have been a very good man and father, if only he had chosen a different path.
There was something raw about him, a coldness that didn't quiet fit and the faded laugh lines were proof of it. It were as if he had smiled and laughed often in his youth, yet, he was now only made up of the ghostly shadows that remained when those happy times had come to some abrupt end.
Robin continued to stare at him; he couldn't look away as it were, for he felt mystified or hypnotized. Finally something happened, Slade spoke, and Robin saw the lips actually move. "Now you have a face to put in your nightmares."
Robin tightened his grip on the knife and tried an experimental tug, still it would not give to him, "you're-"
"Not what you expected." Slade offered with a grunt as his hand tightened on Robin's in an attempt to still his unskilled movements.
Robin shook his head, "You're human."
Slade chuckled at that and said, "Of course I am, what else would I be?"
"You said this stab wound was fatal to-"
"I am human, just a different kind of human. A human with enough chemicals mutating his blood he won't die right away. My body can heal itself if the wound isn't too critical."
You're a meta-human. Do you not feel pain either?" Robin said with shock as he looked up to Slade and his brow rose in confusion.
"For now, meta-human will do. We can leave the semantics for a later time. As for not feeling the pain- let's just say I'm used to it and have been well trained to have a high pain tolerance."
Robin, his curiosity now more peeked than ever, attempted to give the blade handle a little twist, Slade instantly grabbed the boy's hand and winced, "Not that high-"
Robin gave a weak half smile that faded just as quickly as it had come and he tried to let go of the blade. Slade gritted his teeth and held Robin's hand firmly to the handle, "pull it out." Slade said into Robin's ear, the boy shivered and tried again to let go.
"Apprentice, you will pull out the knife or you will watch me die. Either way, you won't be walking away from this with out fault. If I die you're a murderer, if I live you've still used an illegal weapon."
"This knife is a hunting knife, it isn't illegal, besides I'd claim self-defense." Robin countered.
"Trust me Robin, this knife is very, very illegal. And as for the self-defense plea, most would probably believe you, but you seemed to have forgotten that if my heart stops your friends die."
Robin knew Slade would not lie about something like this, either way Robin chose he would lose and go against his code. But better to save a life than kill Slade and his friends in the process.
Yanking at the knife, Robin's hand lost its grip and slipped from the handle. He heard Slade grunt and the man toke hold of his hand once again, guiding it back to the blood smeared handle, "This time apprentice, pull hard, pull quickly and don't hesitate."
He tried to get a better grip on the blade and Robin for an instant thought of pushing it back in and twisting, but this was not how he wanted to see Slade go down, he wanted to see the man alive, behind bars, suffering. No, a quick and painless death was not an option. Robin quickly pulled out the blade and dropped it onto the dock, then he stood and backed away from Slade. The older man reached for his mask and clicked it back onto his face.
"Now apprentice I believe it is time to go home." Robin hung his head in shame.
"What were you thinking! You could have died! Leaving that god damn metal blade in your skin! It still has the poison on it from the last assassination!" Wintergreen bellowed.
"No need to lecture Wintergreen, I had everything under control." Slade said as he popped two pills in his mouth and drank some water.
"Just two minutes longer and that poison would have worked it's way to your heart! I can't believe you gave him THAT blade to use!"
"Wintergreen, I had everything…"
"What? Under control? Slade, you showed him your face! You can't even say for sure if he is loyal yet! He hardly does what you say! He could escape any day, now that he knows you are leaving the doors unlocked. Why in gods name are you risking everything on a boy who hates you!"
"Considering the situation I've put him in its only natural the boy should hate me. And as it were, I don't believe I asked for your opinion in the first place."
Wintergreen walked over and took the bloody dagger off the operating table in the med lab. "No you didn't- but I wish you would have."
"You should have seen it Wintergreen, timid, shaking, so afraid. He felt everything, and he knew what he was doing was wrong. But he twisted the blade, he flexed it, he was curious- nearly in trudged. He is well on his way to becoming everything I want him to be."
"Timid? That young fire head of an apprentice?" Wintergreen mused.
"His previous mentor has put some sort of backhanded morality into the boys brain. There is a fear of death, something rooted deep- not just morals or laws but something nearly intrinsic. He will tell me in time but for now I just wish to savor this moment. He is becoming a killer, whether he wants to admit it or not."
Wintergreen shook his head and left the room carrying the bloody dagger. Slade looked at the bruise on his side where the knife had been only a half hour ago.
"Perfect." Slade said.