WARNING: this chapter is like a man-hug. It gets you uncomfortably close to some potentially deep feelings that need to be addressed, and then backs away quickly with a few pats on the back and a clearing of the throat.

Chapter 24

The Titan awoke on his back, covered in cum and dazed out of his skull. He body had a delightful ache to it as it lay against the wooden table.

He could hear movement around him, the sound of shuffling pages being closed into books and broken glass collecting into a pile. He thought about moving to look, but his head was turned to the other direction and he really didn't feel much like making an effort to change that because it might somehow disrupt the amazing sensation that he was floating in a different dimension where things like lying mentors and broken trust just didn't matter.

He didn't stir until he heard the sound of materials falling down the ash drop of the fireplace, clanking and scraping the cast-iron sides of the chute as the pieces tumbled into the belly of the mansion where they would mix with piles of ash and broken bits of wood. It was a very convenient trick the hero had used as a child, only once or twice when he broke something really important that he didn't want to be caught with. Dick smirked mischievously at the memory, feeling incredibly sly and stupid at the same time.

The twilight was lifting, or at least it seemed to be, because the teen felt compelled to move and ran his hand over his stomach, smiling wider at the sticky feeling that greeted his fingers. It was an oddly content numbness. There was no rush of blood through his system, no emotions, no logic, just an eerie calm that seemed to be fading faster and faster.

"You're awake?" Slade asked, floating into the teen's view and looking him over. Robin noticed a slight difference in the glare of the real and fake eye, mesmerized by it for just a moment before his brain could take in the full features of his face.

"Yeah," the Titan said, smiling up at the man before him. He knew in the back of his mind that he wasn't supposed to act like some stupid Slade-worshipping dumbass, but the numbness slinking through his body quickly shut out that thought.

Slade smirked down at him. "Still dazed, I see. It won't last much longer. Can you stand?"

"No," the teen responded honestly, though rather airily.

"Do it anyway," Slade commanded in that icy tone that made the boy shiver and frown. He wrapped a thick hand around the teen's wrist and pulled him off the wooden surface. "I can't hold you and clean your cum off the table."

Dick moaned slightly, his voice faltering as Slade pulled him from the sticky table-top and directed him to the fireplace.

"You are to remain standing. Do you understand?" the villain said coldly, smirking when his little masochist nodded and clung to the ornate carvings for support.

Slade made short work of the cleaning, using bits of Dick's torn clothing and his own saliva to remove most of the mess. The rest of it, though, the broken bookshelf and the spotted imperfections in the fine polished lacquer of the table… well, those would have to stay. He'd hide it under the books for now. The carpet had already been addressed and taken care of, mostly with the help of some very potent brandy. Thankfully it was only a decorative rug, a heavily patterned one at that, so a few drops and splotches were easy to overlook.

He turned his attention to the hero and smiled at the naked form that leaned against the fireplace, back streaked with heavy lines and legs sticky with the drying cum. Poor lamb, Slade grinned. Robin had always been a victim of circumstance; most heroes were, but those sky blue eyes which looked beautiful behind tears and that stubborn, foolhardy soul made him less of a victim and more of a sacrifice, easily reaped and exploited.

He walked to the teen and wrapped his hands around the boy's chest, thumbing at the piercings and roughly drawing the smaller body closer into a domineering kiss that was answered with a long moan as Robin wrapped his arms around the man, using him for support. The hero drew in a fast breath as they parted and leaned against his body, panting and clinging.

"Which way is your room?" Slade asked.

"Down two floors and about seven rooms over," Dick replied breathlessly. "There's a secret passage by the third suit of armor in the hallway, the one with the broadsword, it'll take us most of the way there."

The villain gave a light sound of understanding and lifted the hero in his arms. It was slightly surprising that Robin didn't protest at the bridal-style treatment, but even more surprising that he leaned in closer to Slade's chest and cautiously ran a set of fingertips over the surface. The man debated in his mind whether it was the booze or the aftershock of total submission that made his little hero so amiable. He soon decided that it was likely a combined side-effect, the result of two unusual circumstances acting together to create something that the hero was never meant to be: smitten.

Dick nuzzled against Slade's chest and inhaled, taking in his scent before lifting his head and kissing the man's collar bone. The gesture was slow and with much conviction, not the usual rush of passion and fire that left both men panting and sweaty. The lust was still there, very much so, but it was measured, more deliberate.

Slade wondered idly if their little game had scrambled the poor boy's brain, but walked on without comment. The hallways were unsurprisingly empty as the guestrooms were all located on the northern-most side of the mansion, very near the grand ballroom where the birthday party was still raging on, despite the guest of honor's absence.

The hidden passageway was not hard to find, at least for a trained eye, and it led to a winding staircase, a narrow hallway, and then a short door that was hidden behind a South American tapestry in the hallway. No one around on this floor, either… Slade smirked, liking the idea that Batman's house was not as heavily guarded as he would have expected. Although, that was a front, wasn't it? Too many priceless treasures were placed just within reach, easy enough to snatch if someone had the gumption and the skill. No, no. The shiny trinkets and invaluable items that adorned Wayne Manor did far more than decorate, they distracted. His smirk widened. That meant the Bat's headquarters was nearby, likely on the premises, perhaps under the very dance-floor he had treaded earlier.

"Here," Dick said softly and Slade stopped before a large, dark-stained cherry door that pushed open easily and without a sound, save for the gentle tap of the villain's polished black shoes pushing it into motion.

"Nice room," the older man said as they entered, he pushed the door closed with the same foot he used to open it. "Very… interesting décor."

Dick glanced around as well, feeling a light blush coat his cheeks. "I… haven't really lived here since…"

"Since you were still a kid, yes I see that," Slade finished for him, eyeing the posters that hung rather haphazardly on the wall and a skateboard that was leaning against a desk that had obviously been scribbled on once or twice. "It certainly has more personality to it than your current room… and the kunai holes on that wall are a nice touch." His attention turned to a smaller doorway, which was left open to a white-tiled bathroom. Just the thing he was looking for.

"I was practicing," the hero murmured and frowned, remembering the multiple scoldings he received for those holes. His frown deepened as he realized that the fog had lifted even further. He was starting to feel things again, more than just the welts on his back; the emotions were rising to the surface also… betrayal and mistrust towards Bruce… and the sense of doom that came with trusting Slade. And he did trust him, Robin realized. Maybe even more than Bruce, and that thought alone was depressing if not completely terrifying. He bit his lip in the hopes that fresh bit of pain would drown out his memories. It didn't work. Then again, it didn't really need to work. There were other, better distractions out there, namely the big distraction holding him.

"I want more," Robin breathed, licking the shell of Slade's ear and letting a hand crawl over his chest.

Slade set the teen on the bathroom counter before shaking his head. "Another night. I have some business to take care of before sunrise."

"You're leaving?" Robin asked, his heart beginning to beat faster inside his chest. He grabbed onto the man's arms, clinging to them. "Don't go. Not yet."

"You've had enough for one night, I think," Slade said almost delicately as he pried the hero's hands away from his clothing and tried to move the teen back into place. "I'm late as it is."

"No!" Robin pleaded. His arms locked around the man as he shivered, panicked at the thought of being alone with nothing but his own thoughts. "Please. I… need more." He gasped for air, mind swimming as the thoughts he wanted to drown out… The impending falling out with Bruce… Batman's betrayal in keeping information from him… League members babysitting him… He didn't want to think of those things. He wanted the nothingness, the pain, the simplicity of hate, the purity of physical pleasure. "Stay. Fuck me."

"Grayson," Slade warned, trying to shake the teen off but settling to wrench his smaller body away, pushing the hero against the mirror and leering down at him.

"Please? I'll beg, if that's what you want. I'll call you master…" Dick's eyes were a bleary blue, frantic and pleading. "That's what you want, isn't it?" The alcohol lingered on his breath as he begged. "Please, Slade, I need it." Tears slid down his cheek and he drew in a quivering gulp of air before bowing his head and sniveling. "Please…"

"You're going to hate yourself in the morning. You know that, right?" Slade deadpanned. "You'll be hung-over, sore, and thoroughly disappointed in yourself. And now you want to add to that list?"

Dick shook his head, not raising his gaze to meet the man's eye. How did it happen? One minute he was a heaven's gate, the next he'd fallen into hell. Everything hurt. The fog was gone and a thick smoke had taken its place, polluting him with a dull throbbing ache that felt like acid in his lungs and brain. What he needed and what he wanted suddenly blended together, leaving him only with a desperate longing. "I just… don't want to be alone…"

Slade sighed. He should have expected it, really. The rush of pleasure and pain that the teen experienced in the library was spent, leaving him with a void that was filling with his pent-up anguish. He was wrong to assume that the hero was accustomed to such spikes and drops in adrenaline and that he would be able to handle it on his own. Robin, like any lover, especially a submissive one, needed some sort of reassurance after a particularly trying scene. It was irresponsible to assume otherwise.

What Robin wanted now, what he needed, was compassion. And it was the unfortunate truth that Slade was the only one there to give it. It was different than before, when his affection had been teasing, playful little pushes past the hero's comfort zone. It was part of the plan that Robin would form some sort of attachment, but nothing close to this, nothing like actually needing a lover or companion.

"I'll stay," Slade told him, his voice low and void of emotion. "But I expect you to remember that it was only because you asked me to." The hero nodded in response, but did not speak. He kept his head low and a firm grasp on Slade's shirt, his breath a slow and steady quivering.

Slade frowned. No, this was certainly not in his agenda. He looked at his watch once again, pressing several buttons and looking closely. At least some things were going as planned.

A curiously painted Slade-bot dangled precariously on the side of the Wayne-tech building. Its fingers were embedded inches-deep into the concrete, but its feet dangled freely, toes pointing down to the nearly 100-foot drop.

"Shit…" it said in a low and rather frustrated manner before it began climbing, careful not to lose its grip once again. The plan had been to use Xenothium to break into the building, melt the walls and simply walk right through, but the stash was all but exhausted during a previous fight. Worse yet, the supply back in Jump was gone as well, not even a single container to be found at the district's Wayne-Tech. It had all been moved, as the bot hoped, to Gotham. It ran an internal-tank check and growled. It had an hour, at most, before its Xenothium container was depleted and it was game over.

Slade blotted the hot cloth against the teen's back, collecting the mess that was left in dried streaks and smears. Robin hissed slightly at the pain, disappointed that it did not distract him from his own thoughts.

"Did it bleed?" Robin asked, his hands planted firmly on the counter, as were his instructions.

"A little," Slade responded, his voice cold but oddly soothing as he gently wiped away at a dried line of cum.

The teen hesitated for a moment, seemingly struggling with himself before he quietly asked, "Can I see?" Slade paused, quirked a brow, and reached around the smaller body, to present a slightly reddened cloth. Robin looked at it tentatively before running his fingers over the surface. "Are you proud of me… Master?"

"I prefer Slade, given the circumstances," Slade said, his comment nothing more than a simple, suggestive command, but Robin flinched all the same. "And yes... I'm very proud of you." The teen nodded half-heartedly, staring still at the cloth. "You think I'm lying?" the villain asked in a low voice as he gently pulled the cloth away and continued to clean the pale back. Robin didn't stir, staying perfectly still as if he felt his answer would not be the right one. "I'm not lying. I've seen every part of you, Robin. Your mind and your strength… not to mention every inch of your body… I'm very proud of what you have become."

"It feels like… I'm broken…" the hero rasped, letting hot, heavy tears drop to his bathroom counter.

"All humans are damaged," Slade said plainly.

"It hurts," Robin clenched his teeth as he sobbed, hands pressed back against the counter as his body shook.

The villain stared listlessly at the teen for a moment, taking in the sight of struggle and pain, before he gently turned the smaller body to face him. "Did I go too far?" Slade asked.

It was a question he did not particularly want to know the answer to. He never intended to create any sort of emotional dependency- physical, yes, but the hero could live without sex if he needed to. Without strength, however, the hero did not exist at all. By rendering the boy powerless, by taking all control, Slade had broken the hero that he meant to save.

Robin shook his head, "No… I know that I asked for it… and that you wouldn't have done it without my consent… I… I trust you…"

Slade chuckled at the look of bewilderment and disappointment in the hero's voice as he spoke those last words. Robin was in there after all, questioning why he dared to trust a villain and finding that he hated himself for it. It was a subtle, almost invisible change in the boy's demeanor, but it was there just the same. Under the pain and the hazy need, Robin was there, fighting himself, as usual.

"You shouldn't," the villain said softly, lifting the teen's jaw and looking him straight in the eye. "Every part of you is screaming not to trust me, Robin. I advise you to listen to it."

"Just promise you won't lie to me…" The younger pleaded as he leaned against Slade's chest, grasping at his clothes once again. "Not like Bruce…"

"I won't make deals that I don't intend to keep," Slade replied, placing a hand on the teen's head and running it over his slightly tangled hair.

"I know…" Robin replied softly. "That's why I trust you…"

Stealing the key-card from the security booth was easy; after all, the person inside was now dead. That, however, presented a new problem: the retina scanner. The robot quivered slightly, it would need to find a living host if it wanted to get inside. An internal diagnostic report told it exactly what it didn't want to know. Time was running out.

"It's useless…" the bot whispered, sinking to the floor. If it could cry, it might have, but that ability had been lost for years. It chuckled shortly, and then growled, fighting to maintain behavioral control. It had been that way since the merger. Despite the human motivations, the programming of the machine always seemed to intrude, leaking into his decisions, silently guiding his actions with such stealth that it was impossible to determine if the actions were the result of personal motivation or the influence of programmed design. It was an absolute melding of metaphysical willpower and artificial intelligence. Both were there, locked in a silent battle for control, and yet both were gone, nothing but an empty shell of metal and wires.

The perfect paradox.

The bot lifted its head at the sound of titanium doors sliding open, catching the first echo of a three-sided conversation. It readied its weapons. It only needed one hostage.

Slade had decided not to comment on the cartoon bed sheets, but damned if it didn't seem especially fucked up to be spooning the hero under tiny little caricatures. Robin himself seemed to have chosen to ignore the fact entirely, but the rosy hue that had appeared on his cheeks when the covers were first lifted completely gave him away.

"Can't sleep?" Slade asked when Robin shifted against him, not for the first time since they had settled in. Maybe he wasn't used to sleeping in actual pajamas... Or clothes. The villain's mind reeled at tiny little memories he allowed himself to revisit, namely waking up next to the naked teen. He stopped himself, however, as it was certainly not time to think about such things.

"No," he replied softly, moving once again until he was turned to face Slade. His face was flushed slightly in the darkness, but his eyes delivered a pleading, come-hither look. "I keep thinking about the library…"

Slade frowned and cupped the hero's cheek in hand. He opened his mouth for an apology that he wasn't sure he meant, pausing when the teen pressed closer to him, letting a hard length slide against his beefy thigh. Ohh… Slade smirked. That's what he meant by thinking.

"Can I kiss you?" Robin asked meekly, his eyes looking up at the man almost fearfully.

"Of course," Slade purred, tilting his head down and pressing his lips against the teen's mouth. It was chaste at first, a gentle and soothing pressure of skin on skin, but when the young man opened his mouth, the villain did not reject the invitation. Robin made a soft sound, both a keen and a whimper, as Slade's tongue slid against his own and a large hand roamed down his back. The sound turned into a little gasp and Robin's body trembled as a tingling pain roamed over his back. "Does it hurt?" the villain asked, breaking the kiss and nuzzling the teen, carefully monitoring his reaction in the hopes that he could manipulate the hero into a more stable mindset.

"Only a little," he answered, fiddling with the buttons of the stolen shirt that Slade was still wearing. "But it feels good when you touch it... it stings… but it's warm." His eyes turned sad. "I guess I forgot how cold Gotham is."

"If you're cold, you should ask me to warm you," Slade offered rather benevolently, or at least he thought so. Robin's face wrinkled slightly and he made a small sound as he tried not to cry. Slade, sensing the tensing of the smaller body and seeing a pair of watery eyes shine in the darkness, fought the urge to groan. Robin wasn't going to cry again, was he? The villain took a deep breath and spoke as soothingly as he could. "Your body is tense. Why don't you tell me what you're upset about?"

"No," Robin murmured, brushing the tears out of his eyes and pressing his forehead against the broad chest. "It's stupid."

Yeah. Probably. The villain's mind was all too happy to provide internal commentary which Slade wisely did not repeat. In his current state, Robin was fragile. Despite the little signs that abated Slade's concern, such as the hints of frustration and anger in the teen's tone, the villain knew he was walking a tightrope. If he was too cold, the boy might do something reckless, that would jeopardize his plans; however, if he was too caring, then he might mistake their relationship as something it was clearly not, which would damage his plans for the future. He needed to tread carefully.

"Tell me," Slade soothed, his voice gentle and authoritative.

The silence lasted for a long moment before a small voice finally replied, "I don't want to ask… for sex…"

Slade cocked a brow before smirking as he finally understood. Of course Robin didn't want to ask, he wanted to be asked. In their relationship, Robin's power was in his ability to manipulate through sex; as far as he knew, it was his greatest weapon against Slade.

"Then don't," the villain replied very simply. "You think I only want it if you beg? Trust me Grayson, that is not the case." He shifted the teen to lie on his back before leaning over him with a steely look in his disguised eyes. "It's you I want, regardless of the games, the fixations; you make me every bit as hard when you demand sex as when you beg for it."

Slade did not wait long before pressing his lips against the teen's mouth, slowly but confidently exploring as Robin timidly returned the effort. The teen took in a shallow gasp as the man moved down, laying kisses and tiny little flicks of his tongue against the pale skin as he slowly unbuttoned the sleeping shirt.

"You really want me?" Robin asked, his voice still timid but laced with an inquisitive teasing.

"Yes," Slade answered, finishing off the buttons on the night shirt and pulling the fabric to either side. The hero arched under his touch and moaned as Slade caressed and kissed his bare chest, moving down to his stomach and pausing just above his pajama pants.

"M…Maybe you should ask me, then…" he said rather sheepishly. The villain looked up at him, sporting a wide smirk. Robin was playing the game once again, but he obviously lacked his usual confidence.

Slade only chuckled. "Alright, Grayson. I'll ask... How many squares can you find on a chess board?"

Robin blinked down at the man, noting the pair of thick hands that hovered over the top of his pants, dangerously close to the tented mound between his legs. And just like before, he recognized a distraction when he saw one. "Another brain teaser? You're playing with me…"

"So play back," Slade responded easily, very pleased that Robin had recognized his attempt to keep his mind preoccupied. "Tell me the right answer and I'll follow your command."

Robin seemed to think about it for a moment before giving a half-hearted smirk. "Alright..." He paused again, counting in his head and mumbling a few numbers as he multiplied. "Two hundred and four."

"Very good," Slade hummed. "Your command, then?"

Robin's eyes brightened as they narrowed very slightly. "Suck me."

Slade's eyes mimicked the gesture before he bent his neck forward and closed his mouth around the teen's hard, but still very clothed erection. Robin growled at the realization that Slade was still toying with him by expecting his command to be extremely precise.

"Oh, I'm sorry, did you mean something else?" Slade asked innocently before returning to his task, detecting the faint taste of precum through the cotton material which was slightly wet from his own saliva. "You'll have to try again. Let me see… What is strange about the phrase 'sex at noon taxes?' "

"You've never turned down sex, regardless of the time?" Robin tried. His tone was rather sarcastic, which Slade secretly found relieving, but did not make note of. To the hero's dismay, Slade removed his mouth from the pajamas and slowly began edging up again, tickling the teen's skin with his tongue. "Hey!"

"You'll have to guess correctly…" Slade teased, his mouth ghosting over a shapely abdomen and harassing the belly button with a small breath of air.

Robin grunted but decided to play along. The game was nothing more than a distraction, and he knew it, but he also knew that it was working. He wanted the distraction even more than he wanted Slade."Fine then… Sex at noon-time taxes…"

"Sex at noon taxes," Slade corrected, kissing the pale chest and moving steadily upward. "There is a difference."

"Ah… So it's the words, not the meaning, which are strange…" Robin whispered, speaking aloud to keep his focus. "Sex at noon taxes…" he rolled the words around in his mouth as Slade's tongue grazed his neck. "Sex at noon taxes…" The man inched his body upward, nibbling at the hero's ear. "Sex at-ahh!-ta-xes…" Robin's voice hitched in his throat as Slade's hardened length pressed against his own, rubbing their lengths together slightly as the man leaned in for a kiss. "Se-mmph!" Robin began but was cut short by Slade's tongue. The kiss lasted only for a moment before a pair of hands pressed on the sides of Slade's face, pushing his head away and smirking. "Se-sexattaxes! Sexatnoontaxes! It's a palindrome!" Robin quickly said, a smile and a sigh escaping him in a momentary rush of accomplishment that did not go unnoticed by either man.

"Very good," Slade purred, brushing a strand of hair away from Robin's head and gazing down at him with the familiar look of a hunter. "Your next command is…?"

Robin moved quickly, pushing down his pajamas just enough to let his erection bounce free. "Put your mouth over my cock and suck it… slowly."

Slade gave an arrogant kind of smirk before moving down the hero's body and pressing his lips to the shaft of the teen's very hard cock and sucking lightly. Robin let out a little moan arching at the surprising sensitivity and fullness of his testes. He'd all but cum himself to death in the library, how was it that he had anything left? Of course, he didn't waste much thought on that question, not when Slade was busy down below.

"Aah! Deeper…" Robin breathed, arching into the man's mouth but finding that he pulled away with each movement.

"Of course," Slade replied with a little smile. "Right after you answer this question…"

The Slade-Bot stood before a massive bank of tubes and vials, watching them with a certain fondness as they lit up the darkened storeroom.

No time to waste, however, because the supply was minutes from empty and there was very little doubt that Gotham's Dark Knight was soon to arrive.

"Easy come," the robot said as it took a tube in hand and absorbed the Xenothium right through the clear container, "easy go."

The game lasted almost as long as an hour, drawn out by increasingly elaborate questions and more complicated solutions. When Robin answered successfully, Slade followed his commands; when he failed, the villain pulled back, teasing him with distracting kisses and caresses that never seemed to hit the right spot. Luckily, the teen was able to focus his energy, all the anxiety and pain, into the same kind of logic he used when fighting, allowing both men a reprieve from the thralls of the Boy Wonder's problems.

"Slade, I-ahh!" Robin announced only a moment before the villain's mouth filled with jets of hot, white liquid.

The hero panted, smiling down at his lover as his hands caressed his own stomach with light fluttering touches. He watched as the man swallowed, opening his mouth once again to clean the remains of cum from the slackening length.

"Kiss me?" Robin whispered through a panting breath. It was neither a plea nor a command, only a simple request from one companion to the other. Slade was only too happy to oblige, this time without teasing questions and distracting touches. The time for games, for tactics and plans, was over. It was just them again, left to enjoy the feeling of their bodies intertwined. Slade crawled up the length of the teen's body and slowly let his tongue slide into Robin's mouth.

The younger boy moaned gently, arching against Slade's chest as he craved skin-to-skin contact, frowning when his fingers fumbled against the stolen trousers and his arms were confined by his own sleeping shirt. He groaned slightly into the villain's mouth, tasting the smirk on the man's features and finding the warmth hidden behind it as he struggled out of his pajamas.

Slade chuckled when he felt a pair of hands struggling to undo his fly. The teen was naked at that point, eyes lidded as his bare chest rose and fell quickly with each breath.

"Thought you'd be tired out by now," the villain gave a scoundrel's smile as he sat up and pulled the stolen shirt off his back, tossing it over the side of the bed and leering down at the teen he was straddling.

"I work best at night," the hero smiled back, finding that his task was much easier when he could actually see the zipper… and even easier when Slade helped by pulling his length out, already dripping wet. Robin shuddered at the sight, anticipation building as he ran his hands over the villain's thighs. The darkness in his mind and his heart beckoned with each breath and movement, but Robin pushed them away, focusing on the feeling of the man's shaft as his fingers danced against it.

"I assume you have some sort of lube?" Slade asked, glancing at the bedside table and seeing the teen's travel case. He snatched the bag with a distracted grin, shortly pulling out a small bottle of lotion. "This will do, I think." Robin blinked as Slade set the bottle on his chest and purred, "why don't you prepare us?"

The blue eyes glanced between Slade and the bottle before Robin took the container in hand and popped the lid, pausing to look back at the smirking villain before he squeezed the lotion on to the man's cock and closed his hand around the shaft once again.

"Prepare yourself as well," the man suggested in a dulcet tone which the teen couldn't help but follow.

He switched hands, stroking Slade with his left and slowly maneuvering the right hand between his legs. Slade watched with his eyes half-lidded, keenly focused on the hero's expression as he slipped a pair of fingers inside. He flinched and let out a sharp but quiet sound as he moved deeper, spreading the lotion against the small cuts left by their previous game. Slade was happy to provide a distraction from the stinging pain, leaning forward for a soft but explorative kiss that lasted until the smaller body relaxed under him and he was able to pull back with that damn familiar smirk.

"Are you ready?" The villain asked in a low tone that sent a shiver through the teen's gut and fire in his veins. "I'll be gentle."

Robin nodded, watching the bronzed eyes as they studied him. Slade took in every little twitch of the hero's lips as he pushed himself inside. As promised, he entered slowly, giving the teen room to stop him, if needed; but Robin only bit his lip and kept his eyes locked on the man until his body was flush against him, fully inside and twitching. The movements then were still as slow, almost torturous as Slade moved unhurriedly, pulling back and then gently pushing until he was completely inside once again.

Robin's breath was made of soft, tiny gasps that almost evaporated into the darkness. His expression was strange; it looked vaguely painful, or perhaps almost sad with an apologetic tilt of his eyes. His lips were wet and slightly parted, shining in the dim light as he gritted his teeth behind them every so often. Slade was on the verge of pulling back, of ending it, when the teen wrapped his hands around the man's neck and carefully pulled him down into a curious sort of kiss that was neither soft nor demanding. He wound his fingers through the man's peppered hair, moaning into the lip-lock as Slade continued to move slowly inside him. When the kiss broke, Slade did not pull away, only hovered there a moment, letting his forehead press against his lover's as they breathed, warm air mingling together until a dizzying wave of memory caused Robin to stir.

The hero's hand on Slade's shoulder alerted him to the fact that his partner wanted to change positions. He followed the guiding touches, allowing himself to lie back against the mattress as the boy climbed on top, straddling him with the same gentle but melancholy expression. He positioned himself carefully, rubbing himself slowly on the length of the man's shaft, and then sliding his body over it and sinking down to the man's hips.

Robin's body was lit faintly by the light from the window, casting a half-silhouette across his form and highlighting the edges of his muscles with a pale, almost unearthly glow. He placed his hands on Slade's stomach, fingers brushing lightly against the thin track of hair that tapered from his belly button to his groin, and took a deep breath before pushing off. He lifted himself slowly, back arching and creating dynamic shadows across his features. His eyes, which had been downcast and almost closed, lifted as his head tilted back. The shadows moved gracefully on his neck as he breathed, a soft moan escaping while his body reached the peak of its thrust and began to slowly descend.

Slade placed his hands at the base of the hero's waist, fingers pressing tightly against the skin, but not demanding faster or harder movement. It was a level of intimacy that both were unaccustomed to and certainly unprepared for; but the slow-paced passion felt right and, in a strange sense, enriching. It was more than a fever of thirst and hunger, it was a basic human connection, so complicated and yet so divinely simple. For a brief moment in time, as Slade and Robin moved slowly together, they forgot their own motivations and became lost in the unity of their bodies.

"That's some pretty dangerous material," Batman said as he stepped into the storeroom, empty and broken bottles clinking underfoot.

The bot turned to him and let out a low and growling cackle. "You're a little late to stop me, Batman, and you came without backup… where is that pretty little red-head you've been running around with?"

The hero's face was stoic, calculating his next move. The villain was a talker, he could tell. A conversationalist even, if prodded correctly. His voice was electronically altered, but the paint-job on his armor looked hand-crafted with thick dripping lines. This was a being who wanted to be seen and heard, not necessarily for what it stood for, but for what it really was. A monologue wasn't likely, so it was best if he kept the banter light but probing.

"She has the night off. Looks like you'll have to rely on me to entertain you."

"Really?" The android touted. "No little bird-boys going to pop in to say hello?"

"You haven't been to Gotham in a while, have you?"

"Neither has your sidekick. How is your defiant little Dickey, anyway?"

The words hit Batman like a splash of icy water. His gaze turned from calculating to deadly stoic. "What is it you're really after?"

"Why don't you ask the little bird to tell you?" the robot sniggered as it lifted one of the few remaining vials from the shelves and twirled it between its metal fingers.

"Are you after him?" Batman asked, coldly staring the man down. He tensed ever so slightly, prepared for the inevitable fight.

"After him?" The bot chortled, "Oh, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce… I'm far too busy looking after number one."

Batman didn't have the time to react before the vile of Xenothium was thrown to the ground, billowing up a flash of light and thick, rusty smoke. By the time it cleared, a large chunk of the wall and the robot were both gone from the room.

The air around them was growing hotter.

Robin gazed down at the villain; his melancholy smile had melted some time ago, leaving a slight quirk in the teen's lips as he studied Slade. The man had his back to the bed, hands caressing the toned sides of the hero as his body moved fluidly with each up and down push. Their voices were silent, reflected only in tiny little sounds that escaped them as they moved.

Robin dared a smirk at the tightness in Slade's jaw, which was faintly highlighted in the ambient glow of the room. He was building up for release, it seemed, and Robin was right along with him. He leaned back, placing his hands on the pair of thick muscled legs and rolled his hips as he moved, picking up just a tiny bit of speed.

"Close, are you?" Slade grunted, his grasp shifting as the hero moved.

"Yeah… Tell me when," Robin breathed. "Let's go together."

Slade let out a low sound and a smirk, watching the shadows shift across the teen's stomach and listening to the pace of his breath. He dared a glance at his watch when Robin tilted his head back and let out a long, hot blooded moan, but his gaze moved quickly back to the hero's body, taking in the beauty and transcendence of the light gliding over his skin.

"Aaangh!" The teen whimpered and wrapped a hand around the base of his cock, squeezing tightly. He flexed the muscles inside his body as well, milking the villain and delighting in the tight-jawed smirk that his actions produced. He could feel Slade's gaze upon him, watching as he bucked his hips slowly, slipping over the man's cock as he purposefully tightened and relaxed his body.

The lopsided smile on the villain's features deepened. His movements were not hurried, but very precise as he lifted the teen's body off his length and set it on his legs. Robin looked curiously at the man, his expression almost hurt before he felt his erection brush against Slade's and he figured out the man's intentions.

"Now," The villain spoke with a low, sex-rugged tone as his hand closed around both of their shafts and pumped gently. Robin exhaled with a sex-laden grin as he released the grip over his cock. A thick white line erupted from his tip and spattered over their groins in viscous puddles that dripped onto the sheets. Slade allowed his head to dip back as he came as well; groaning lightly when he heard Robin's gasps and hushed cries of passion.

"How many others?" Batman asked as he stood over the sheet-covered bodies.

"From what we can find, just one" the commissioner answered. We've tried to contact Wayne, but it seems like there's a big party at his mansion. Fool's probably drunk off his ass by now."

"Give me ten minutes before you send your men in," the Dark Knight said quietly. "I want another look at the containers."

"Gordon," The commissioner's radio crackled to life. "Got possible two-eleven in the Diamond District. Alarms going off like crazy."

"Be out of there in twenty." Gordon nodded to Batman before turning to his radio. "Ten-twenty-three. I'm heading over."

The room was quiet once again, the only indication of life coming from the gentle breathing of a sleeping hero and a slightly more awake villain. In the distance, there were sirens, faint and short-lived in the sky which was transforming into a muddled light blue.

Slade's eyes broke away from his wrist and he stirred as gently as he could. No doubt most of the party members were gone, but parties like that always had stragglers too drunk to drive themselves home and there were plenty of the butler's guests who would be staying. Getting away from the mansion would be easy enough, getting away from Robin, however…

"You're leaving?" Dick asked just as Slade's foot touched the floor. The hero turned and stared at the man's back, watching the tenseness in his shoulders as he tried to make the right moves, say the right things.

"Yes," he answered soon enough. "The sun is coming up and I'm not certain I have the balls to saunter out of your room in broad daylight."

"I've seen your balls, Slade; and believe me, you have them." Robin gave a little smirk and tried to stretch, but quickly found that his body didn't want to join him.

"Looks like you're feeling better," the villain smiled lightly, pulling on his trousers.

"Yeah, mostly…" the teen breathed, sitting up to hug his knees.

"I was against it at first," Slade began as he slid a thin belt into place and buckled it, "but if you want to come with me, you can. My offer of working together still stands."

Robin shook his head lightly, resting his chin on his knees and giving a faint smile. "Thanks, but I've got to sort out some things before I leave Gotham."

"You intend to confront him about it?" Slade raised an eyebrow. "That's risky."

"I know."

The villain shrugged. "Do what you've got to do. I'll be in town for a bit longer if you want help beating the truth out of him."

"How generous," Robin chuckled, laying back against the bed and deciding to try and stretch again. His actions met with success and his lips curled upward as his body trembled slightly in the orgasmic mid-stretch rush of blood. He smirked as he saw the villain, who had obviously stopped dressing so that he could ogle the naked teen, quickly return to buttoning his shirt.

"You'll be alright then?" Slade asked as he pulled the necktie into place and began to tie it.

"Yeah," Robin answered. "About last night… thank you."

"No need to thank me," he straightened the tie against his neck. "I think we both got what we wanted."

"You could have gotten a lot more if you had pushed. I don't think I was in the right mind to deny you anything."

"Hmm. Perhaps I should have made some demands for information. I must be losing my edge."

Robin grinned lightly at the joke before his features became slightly more serious. "I mean it, though. Thank you."

"Oh, stop, you're making me blush," Slade deadpanned as he walked to the window, opening it and peering outside. "Mind turning on the scrambler for a bit?"

"Sure," the teen stood and walked to his bag, digging out the small device and fiddling with it. "I'll keep it on for five minutes. There's a downspout about three rooms over, might be difficult to get there in that suit, but it's a much friendlier track than jumping down."

"Much obliged," Slade turned back to give the teen a smirk. "Give me a call later and tell me how it went with the Bat."

"Yes, dear. Dinner will be ready at six," Robin said flatly as he crossed his arms over his chest; he was smiling, however, enjoying the sarcastic banter to the fullest extent. It was the perfect opposite of what they'd gone through just hours before. The teen still felt a twinge of guilt and need, but it felt smaller, more controllable. Maybe it was the booze wearing off, or perhaps it was because Slade had stayed with him, protected him from his own thoughts and memories. The man had shown him a great deal of kindness, a trait that he was often suspected to lack entirely. Robin would not forget what he saw.

"What? No goodbye kisses?" Slade mocked, carefully testing the waters.

"Sure, plant a wet one right here," Robin taunted back, motioning to his crotch.

"Oh, but what will the neighbors think?" The villain smirked. It was nice to have the little smart-ass up and running. Still, he would need to tread carefully during their next few encounters. Nothing had changed between them, at least not really, but Robin might not understand that yet.

"That I'm fucking the milkman when you leave," Robin quipped back.

"That old drunk?" Slade leaned out the window, his eyes locking on to the rainspout.

"Ugh. Please don't use the "D" word, or any variations of it. Please?"

"A little tender this morning, are we?" the villain cooed. "Drink a cup of pickle juice and plenty of water."

Robin made a gagging sound.

"Oh, cut the crap, you don't feel that badly."

"No, but pickle juice? I knew you were a sick man, but…"

Slade chuckled, dangling one foot over the side of the window and catching the ledge on the next. "Good luck, Grayson."

"I would say the same," Robin sighed, "but, I don't really know what you're up to, so…."

"Oh, you know me, same old working stiff," the man smirked before disappearing.

The hero listened to the faint sounds of the man as he moved, polished shoes lightly scraping against the stone ledges, before the man grabbed hold of the pipe and slid down with hardly any sound at all. He walked to his window and watched as Slade made his way across the grounds, not really waltzing to the exit but nothing close to running for it. Robin laughed softly at the nonchalant feeling of it all. When Slade made it to the hedge safely, he turned and gave the hero a small wave before departing from view.

Robin sighed and turned back to his room, noting the few puddles of evidence left by their activities. Laundry could wait, a cold shower was needed first. He walked into the bathroom, flicking on the lights only to look instantly to the blood-dirtied cloth left carelessly on the countertop. He wasn't sure if he should smile or frown at it. He picked it up and turned it lightly in his hands. There it was, that was really all there was left of their round of rough sex… except for the memories and the scars on his back.

He turned his back to the mirror, twirling his head as far as he could to get a good look at the lashes left by the man… only they were hardly there at all… He frowned and twisted his arm behind him, fingers smoothing clumsily over slightly welted skin and finding that there was no trace of the wounds. He felt again, craning his neck and searching for the source of the blood. It took him a moment to realize that he wouldn't find it.

He let out a breathy chuckle. "That bastard cut his fingers and bled on the cloth…. Son of a…" He closed his eyes and laughed through his nose, recounting the previous night and everything that Slade could have manipulated to make it look as though he was being rougher than he actually was. Certainly, they had taken things farther than before, but Slade must have held back a great deal. After all, the man was a killer, if he wanted to torture someone, he definitely knew how to. Robin smiled, eyes watching softly as set the cloth on the counter, but soon his expression melted to a frown.

He did not like the feeling inside him. It was warm… too warm. It almost felt like burning. And it was painfully soft as well. He bit his lip and closed his eyes, trying to will away the sentiments that welled up in his brain. The trust he felt with Slade was misguided; and although he knew it, he couldn't seem to make himself feel it.

Robin let out a long, tired sigh. So, he had trust issues with Slade. Ha. Add it to the list.

Having already cleaned up the mess in his room, emptied his laundry into one of the large machines that was busy washing table linens, and avoiding several guests who were wandering lazily about, Robin was able to sneak into the billionaire's private office and down into the belly of his hideout. The Batcave matched Robin's mood. Cold. Dark. Echoing. He frowned as he stood before the grand computer, fingers gnashing against keys as he entered into the database. He wanted everything to be a mistake. He wanted to prove himself wrong. He searched the database with the hope that he wouldn't find anything.

They were the same records they kept at the Tower… or at least… they were supposed to be.

Finding hidden files was actually a very easy task for Robin. Batman had been the one to teach him, and Slade had refined his skills during the brief apprenticeship. The passcode involved little more than a simple hack, something that was especially easy for the teen because he was able to use Barry Allen's access code… It was a low route to take, considering the man was dead, but not even a sliver of guilt entered his brain. Everything was open and easily accessible to anyone who knew where and how to look.

And there it was. The file of Slade Wilson.



The list went on, but Robin focused his attention to a picture of the man that followed the text. It wasn't a terribly good picture, but it was clear enough to tell that it was him, and that it was taken in the lobby of Wayne Industries. Robin's eyes narrowed. Had that been the very day that he and Slade had first met? Had Batman known for that long? Robin pressed on the keys, typing furiously as he accessed more information, more pictures, more betrayal.

It wasn't until he saw himself in the pictures that he lost it, smashing his fist into the screen with an angry cry.

"My APPRENTICESHIP?" He screamed, sending long, creaking breaks though the screen. "You were WATCHING? And you didn't DO ANYTHING?" he kicked the large chair across the room, sending it crashing against the table he used to occupy as a child.

A deadly calm flushed over his features, echoing the numbness inside his body. He returned to the broken screen, thankful that the cracks did not disrupt the picture too badly, and began searching through the data.

Just how much Batman knew had already been underestimated. He couldn't afford to make assumptions any longer. He had to know.

An hour's worth of searching through the files left Dick with peace of mind and a rock in his stomach. Batman didn't know about their relationship. But he did know about a good many other things. Slade's hideouts, for example, were not nearly as secret as the man liked to think. There were little to no visual evidence of what they looked like on the inside, that was a small comfort, but even the apartment where they had met so frequently was listed as a "Common traffic" area.

There were more records as well. Files from the government, notes regarding crimes and activities that the man was possibly involved in, detailed blue-prints of the man's robots, all things that Robin didn't hesitate to download to his communicator until the thing finally beeped, indicating that it had run out of storage space.

"A whole disk worth of information, Bruce…" He hissed quietly. "So glad I made the choice to work with you again…"

He laughed through his nose with an angry sort of breath as he went deeper into the records, noticing a trend in the notes left by the Dark Knight. Batman was suspicious of Slade's latest activities, particularly the cases regarding the Slade-bots. Robin found his own notes in there, transferred over from the tower, but now flooding with the Batman's notes on the side, comments about the likelihood that the crimes were Slade's work, or perhaps an outside criminal.

The Xenothium explosion and all items from the Red X suit were called into question, and there were notes from the day before, suggesting that Bruce planned to relocate the Xenothium located at Wayne-Tech to the League's Watch-Tower. The belt was scheduled for screening that afternoon.

"Why wait?" Robin muttered, standing from the console and making his way over to the storage locker before punching in the code. There was no hesitation this time as he plucked the encased Xenothium belt from the shelf and brought it with him, ignoring the sound of the security system noting that evidence was being removed from storage.

He set the white box on the table, twisting the dials until the lock clicked and the lid swung open. Robin lifted the belt inside the clear case, and calmly smashed the container against the floor. Shards of glass-like material flew around his shoes, but were ignored completely as the hero bent down and retrieved the belt. He turned it over in his hands, eyes narrowing as he walked to the scanner and set it under the lens and sensors.

With the press of a few simple buttons, the screen lit up. ITEM NUMBER X0523- XENOTHIUM -POWERED BELT. The computer pulled up the documents already on file, but the teen ignored them in favor of the composition report, which began the scanner automatically. The process took longer than Cyborg's work, but soon the machine chimed and the screen lit up with positive results for Xenothium traces.

"Positive, huh?" Dick pulled the belt from the sensors and sneered. "Glad to know something from Gotham isn't a fake…"

His bag was easy enough to pack, just a matter of shoving clothes and a toiletry bag back inside what had once been a tidy cloth container. Without Alfred's book inside, there was plenty of room for the Xenothium belt, which had set off quite a few alarms within the Batcave as he began to leave with it. Were it not for his superior agility, and a bit of knowledge as to where and when the cave would seal itself off, he would have been shut in. In reality, it was a bit of a surprise that he wasn't caught in the traps. He'd tried it multiple times in his youth and never once met with success.

"Master Dick!" Alfred appeared at his bedroom door, just as he zipped his bag shut and slung it over his shoulder. "There has been-"

"An intruder? I know," the teen pushed past the man and began walking down the hallway. "Tell Bruce I left him a message in the cave."

"What? What do you mean?" The butler looked confused and for the first time in ages, a bit frazzled. His tie was slightly crooked, a sure sign that he hadn't taken the time for his usual routine to prepare him for the day and the fact that his eyes were a tad blood-shot and his expression bordered on nauseous only added to the point that Alfred Pennywort was not at the top of his game.

"It means I'm leaving. Happy Birthday. It's been fun," the teen called behind him, not willing to accept the man's expression of kindness and worry. Alfred knew everything that went on in the mansion, which meant that he had known about Slade as well.

"Got your message," Bruce said as he rounded the corner, adjusting a cufflink to the suit that smelled lightly of earth. He must have come straight from the cave only moments after Robin had left it, finding Slade's data glowing behind a broken screen. "We should talk."

"No, we should have talked," Dick corrected viciously, glaring at the man and trying to decide if he should go around him, through him, or just turn the other way. "I think it's a little too late for it now."

"What message?" Alfred raised a hand to his head, rubbing the side as if trying to iron out a stubborn wrinkle. "What's going on?"

"I found out about Slade Wilson," Robin said quietly, still glaring at his mentor, eyes narrow and volatile.

"Oh, dear…" Alfred breathed quietly, freezing on the spot and moving his weary eyes back and forth between the two heroes. "Master Dick, I-"

"Save it, Al," Robin growled, suspicions confirmed that the butler was in the know. "I don't want explanations, or excuses. I just want to leave."

"I understand," Bruce said quietly, making eye contact with the butler as Robin passed him by. "But you're not leaving with that belt."

"Watch me," Dick hissed brazenly. He sneered when a heavy hand landed on his bag and jerked it back.

"I said you're not leaving with that belt."

"And I said watch me."

The kick was easy enough for Bruce to dodge, as was the jab that followed it. Somewhere in the background, Alfred let out a cry of surprise, stumbling backwards into a vase that crashed to the floor, right as the teen delivered a solid left-hook to the Dark Knight's cheek.

"Stop this, this instant!" the butler shouted, watching in terror as the two dragged each other to the floor and continued their scuffle. "Masters Dick and Bruce! Stop!"

Dick growled as his arms and legs wrapped around the man from behind, forcing the older hero's neck into the crux of his arm and squeezing hard. Bruce let out his own strangled growl and threw himself against the ground, ramming the teen against the floor with each pass. He tossed his head back, smashing the back of his head into the teen's nose.

"You're choking him!" Alfred cried out as the two struggled.

"Don't make me break it," Dick whispered into his guardian's ears, spraying tiny little droplets of blood that dripped down from his nose. His grip on the man's neck tightened, "I don't know that I can stop myself right now."

"Master Dick!"

"Was…try-ing…pro-tec… you…." Bruce managed through the strangle-hold, his face turning an ugly shade.

"I don't need your protection."

"Enough!" Alfred rushed forward, his hands closing around Dick's wrist and pulling. "Let go!"

The teen seemed to ponder for a moment, eyes darting between the butler's expression and his interfering hands. His blue eyes narrowed before he finally let go and forced the two bodies away, knocking the butler to the ground in the process. Bruce gasped and shot out a hand that the teen promptly crushed underfoot.

"Do not make me do that again," he glared, grinding the sole hard against the man's skin.

Batman did not retaliate as the teen picked up his bag and left the mansion.

Dick took a deep breath and rubbed the dry blood away from his nose, doing a rather poor job of cleaning as it did little more than smear it. He glared as he leaned over the side of the building and held his breath at the hundreds of feet that separated him from the ground. Some air to clear his head, he'd told himself.

He wasn't entirely sure how he got there. He vaguely remembered taking a bike from the garage… swerving between lanes of traffic… looking at the building he was currently situated on… climbing it was a bit of a blur, the scaffolding was rickety… He remembered thinking that it must be under construction… No one was there to watch him… to see if he would fall.

He closed his eyes and contemplated jumping off, just for shits and giggles, mostly to see if he could grab a secure handle in time. It was the stupid, restless idea of an angry mind, which is precisely what made it so appealing. The hero pushed aside the stupid thoughts, knowing that he had to calm himself down. He wasn't thinking rationally. Dick forced himself to sit, legs dangling over the side before he took in a long, steady breath.

"What next?" he said to himself, a hand falling on his bag and the belt inside it.

Only silence answered him, so he waited, breathing in the thin and dirty air of the city he used to call his own. A cold burst of wind rattled the scaffolding and Dick frowned. What next, indeed.

An hour, or two, or three, or maybe only a few minutes might have passed before the sound of creaking wood and metal interrupted the teen's both vacant and chaotic mindset.

He turned just in time to see a man crawl up from the other side. For a split second, the teen felt his heart race, thinking Slade had come to him. That thought was dashed the moment that he studied the form closely. It could have been Slade, the build and the movements were very similar, not to mention the shape and wear of the armor, but Robin somethow knew that it wasn't him.

The second the man on the other side stood taller, Robin felt his heart beat faster. He jumped to his feet, arms in a defensive stance as his widened eyes stared the painted faceplate. "You…" he whispered, taking in the sight of what was certainly once a Slade bot.

The bot cocked its head to the side, studying the teen for a brief moment as if it was deciding its next move, struggling through it, apparently. The skull painted over the faceplate looked even more menacing than ever before, almost sickly with the thick and dripping lines of paint and jagged streaks that formed a fallen cross over his right eye.

"Red.. Red X?" the hero breathed.

The bot shook its head just slightly, a move almost akin to a human twitch before it let out a mechanical chuckle of a sigh.

"Long time no see, kid. And please… call me ParadoX."

A/N: Remember when you guys were all thinking that the villain was Red X? Congrats, you were right! Well... kind of ^,~. You'll learn more in the next chapter. Big thanks to LindenMae and Kayz0rBeam for their help in this chapter!

Until next time, stay lovely, my loves!