Dick had been traveling for four months and the large forests and mountains around him never seemed to grow old. The morning mist was swirling about him in an almost hypnotic fashion as he hiked through the isolated area.
He had only been in the Rocky Mountains for two months, the trek to the mountains had taken longer then Dick had expected. Especially with the Titans and Batman trying to find him. He had deserted Batman that night over four months ago and the man had relentlessly pursued him.
His team had tried to get into contact with him, had tried to apologize for their brash and hurtful actions, but Dick wouldn't hear them. However Beast Boy had managed to corner him on the border of California when he had first started his travels. That conversation had been pretty rough.
"I can forgive you for everything… but you have to help us catch Slade."
"Garfield, I can't help you catch him."
"God Damn it Dick! Why not!"
"Things have changed between him and I… he isn't my enemy anymore."
"How could he be anything BUT your enemy… he killed Terra, imprisoned you, manipulated Raven!"
"Yes he did…but he…"
"A man can not make up for years upon years of murder and crime in two months Robin. I don't care what you say."
"This isn't about him Beast Boy…. It's about me. I need some time for myself. To figure out what I want to do with my life. To figure out who I want to be and how I am going to get there."
"You're Robin the Boy Wonder! What more do you need! Everyone loves you!"
"And why is that?"
"I am no good as a hero not anymore. Now that I have killed I see a world of possibilities. Possibilities that no true hero should ever think about. I have disgraced Batman and I have destroyed my team."
"There is still time to fix it all Robin… let us help you. We have the antidote… we could still…"
"This has nothing to do with the drug… Seraph injected me yes but the side effects wore off… I don't even have any withdrawal symptoms. You can't blame my new view of the world on some stupid drug that isn't even in my system anymore."
"You don't know that."
"If it was still in my system I would be killing you right now."
"If it wasn't in your system you never would have hurt me or killed Seraph."
"Hurting you was an accident… Seraph was not. I am done with this conversation Beast Boy. Good Bye."
"You really think I am just going to let you go? Everyone is looking for you."
"You can try and stop me… but you won't get far."
Dick sighed, something's just had to be difficult.
He hiked most of the day and into the night and eventually found a place to rest. He built a fire and cooked some of the left over rabbit meat he had. After the first few weeks his food had run out and he had been attempting to live off the land. He had lost more weight then he knew was good for him but once he located his destination he would be well feed.
It was late into the night when Dick was woken by the sound of a large stick snapping in the woods. He put out the few embers that were left and waited in silence. Another snap and then another, perhaps it was a deer.
Dick looked around and then saw the flash of a shadow race across his campsite. The moon's light bounced off the trees and the rocks around him and cast shadows that were big and thick.
He stood with out thought and chased after the shadow that was now in front of him and very slowly distancing itself.
Dick dare not call out less he should frighten the spook. He jumped high and grabbed a tree branch and swung up landing above in the trees. He jumped from branch to branch in an attempt to silently follow but eventually the shadow disappeared and Dick was left wondering if it had really been a person or if it had really been a ghost.
The next morning he packed up and hiked in the direction that the shadow had ran. For five hours he never strayed from the path of broken branches and ripped up soul. Dick had only had one or two basic tracking courses with Batman but he was smart enough to know that these were the footprints of a large man, with a big stride.
Dick's hope was brought to the surface; perhaps he would be up here. Robin followed the path until it suddenly disappeared. He searched for the pick up trail but never found anything. He sighed and sat down in defeat. It was exhausted, hungry, confused and annoyed.
It took a lot of patients and effort to stay calm on Dick's end but eventually he stood up and continued walking.
His endeavor was worth it for after another few hours of hiking he heard the sound of something that was not natural. He followed it despite the fact that he should be more wary of the situation.
He entered a clearing to reveal a medium sized hut with a small water mill on the side turning the water. His eyes followed the piping down to a trough where it poured out. The trough then emptied into four or five different pipes that ran through a rather large garden.
"It's an irrigation system." Dick said in total shock.
"Built it myself last winter… it needs some repairs but it works decent enough right now." Robin felt the chilling voice run up his spine and he slowly turned. There he stood, Dick's old friend.
He came forward and clasped the man by his elbow and Slade did the same. It was the sign of comrades, friends.
"I am glad to see you managed to escape your mentor." Slade said grabbing a white cotton shirt and pulling it over his bare chest.
"Glad to see you actually listened to me when I told you to run." Dick said.
"I learned awhile ago that listening to you often times makes a dumb man smarter." Slade said with a casual smirk.
"You know that's funny because listening to you makes a blind man see."
"Hungry?" Slade asked.
"Starving… rabbit isn't very filling."
Slade stared at him in surprise, "I didn't say it wasn't good… it's just not filling." Dick added.
The man still said nothing and Dick grew defensive, "What? It isn't like I can take an irrigation system and garden with me in my pocket!"
"Remember that conversation we once had about planning ahead?" Slade asked as they walked inside.
"Fuck you." Dick said with a smirk.
"So what has been going on in the normal world?" Slade asked as he filled Dick's plate.
"Beast Boy survived the accident…." Robin started.
"Oh well… that is never good." Slade said.
"Are you kidding me? I am thrilled he survived. I would have blamed myself for his death for the rest of my life."
"As you should have, be proud of the men you kill. Keep track too."
"Not funny Slade."
"My apologizes… how did you manage to get away?" Slade asked trying to change the subject.
"After you ran off the team turned their backs to me. Batman wanted me to go back to Gotham with him. I don't know if it was to arrest me or to lecture me or to figure out if I was still under the effects of that damn drug. Whatever the reason, I don't know why, I just ran. I hid out in the woods outside of Gotham for a week before I managed to get back to California. I got into the tower, grabbed what I needed and headed for here. I honestly never expected to find this place. And even if I did I never expected you to still be here. You said you'd only be here a few weeks."
"I decided to extend my vacation." Slade said.
"Slade Wilson? On Vacation?"
"Even I need them on occasion… and so do you. How have you felt not fighting crime for the past four months?" Slade inquired as he took a spoon full of vegetable soup and stuck it in his mouth.
"Actually a lot better then I thought I would. I mean I did help a few people on the way here. But mostly I laid low and haven't done much but hike."
"Interesting. So what are your plans now that you have located this place and found me?"
"Honestly, I want to do some training." Robin said.
"Training?" Slade seemed genuinely surprised.
"Yeah. And I want you to be the one to train me."
"What on Earth could you possibly want me to train you in?" Slade asked as his interest was slowly growing.
"I want you to teach me how to kill… clean and honorably. I want to be able to do no pain kills, quickly and silently."
Slade stared at him and his eye narrowed, "Why the change of heart?"
"More like a change of mind. I agree with what you said. If there ever were a right way to do things it would be Batman's way, lock them up and try to help them. But if there was ever an efficient way to do things, it would be to kill the villains before they can hurt anyone else. If I can learn how to kill with mercy, I could get rid of all the villains I wanted… and I wouldn't have to worry about them popping up again."
"But doesn't that go against Batman's code?"
"I am making my own code and the first rule is this, a threat to society or the social decorum of any city, town, state or country needs to be neutralized no matter the cost. Villains don't value the life of others… why should we value their life when they contribute nothing to the social structure of the place they are attacking?"
"Interesting way of thinking. I do agree… if they value no one why should anyone value them in return."
"It's all so simple. I just need to learn the things that Batman won't teach me."
Slade sat back and looked at the boy who had come to him of his own volition. He studied the face and the eyes and the hair and the clothes and noticed the boy had grown. He wanted Slade to teach him, though it was still for hero work it was dark and not exactly what Slade had expected.
"It is a very interesting preposition, but if I do remember correctly Dick last time I tried to take you on as my student you kicked and fought all the way."
"Not this time Slade… this time… I am all ears."
"We shall see. You may still come to find you don't have the stomach for this type of work."
"Oh I have stomach enough for it… the question is… do you think I am capable still?"
"You have always been capable Dick… or should I still call you Robin the boy wonder."
"No, I don't go by Robin anymore. Just Dick is fine… unless of course you prefer something a little more catchy."
"How about Tyro… after all you are my student."
"Tyro it is." Robin said bowing to his new teacher.
"How long do you think it will take to train me?" Tyro asked.
"If you want honesty, which I assume you do, most types of killing can take up to four years to learn if you want to do it right."
Tyro did not respond at first but then nodded, "Four years it is then."
Slade smirked and stood, "You can show yourself to your room once you have finished eating, and I expect you to meditate an hour before you sleep. And you may want to turn in early, I also expect you outside and ready to go at five A.M." He walked out of the hut and into the evening light.
Tyro stared after him, "Yes teacher."
This was going to be the most interesting four years of his life.
A/n: Well Faux Batman is finally come to a conclusion. I had no idea that it was going to end like this. I may go back and re-write but I kind of like where it is now. Let me know what you think. R&R