Hey guys, great news! I now have an editor for this piece! We have recently gone back and edited this 1st chapter and will be continuing on through all the posted chapters and onto the very end. I give major props to all the wonderful changes to Scarlett Kingston who has added some much needed improvement. Thus far the plot itself has not changed and no major chunks have been removed or changed either. If you wish to go back and reread all the chapters I would be glad to hear what you think of the improvements and can't wait to continue on with this story as I progress with Scarlett. Please give her major props for all her hard work and the time she has put into this! I will keep you updated if anything in chapters 1-5 change and need to be reread. I plan to allow Scarlett free range on plot bunnies so who knows where this will end up! Can't wait to see, let me know what you think!
Slade walked down the ramp of his private jet and admired the beautiful mountains in the distance. China was exquisite this time of year. It was too bad he wasn't here for pleasure. He looked around the small airport until his eyes came to rest on a limo that was five or six yards away.
"I'll be back in a few days Will. Keep the engine hot," Slade said as an after thought. The old servant nodded and headed back into the plane.
The un-masked villain strode towards the limo with confidence and strength in each step. He had to establish his dominance now while he knew they were watching.
Oh yes, they were watching. They had cameras everywhere. Slade had dealt with the Triad before but never had they requested his assistance personally for anything. He had his guns on him as he usually would in this type of situation and he carried with him a briefcase that held his extra ammo and miniature explosives.
Slade adjusted his shoulders, the blazer of his business suit feeling tight and restrictive, decidedly different from his uniform.If anyone had saw him he would look like a regular man…with an eye patch. He reached the limo and rapped his knuckles on the window. The driver side door opened and the driver came around to open the door for him. No words were exchanged as they were not needed.
When the door closed Slade realized he was alone. Normally a lesser member of the Triad would be there to brief him but apparently this briefing was meant for behind closed doors.
The ride to the Triad's haunt lasted close to three hours, at least Slade was able to admire the countryside. His last visit to China had taken him deep into the countryside and he had never managed to come back until now.
After a while longer the windows tinted and Slade was in complete darkness. He waited for a word from the driver to speak but nothing happened.
Obviously, the Triad does not trust me enough to allow me to see the rest of the way to their haunt. Good, I like a challenge, he thought smugly.
After another hour, totaling his trip at four hours and twenty-three minutes, Slade was allowed to step from the halted limo and the driver handed Slade a manila envelope. Once again, no words were spoken and once the driver left, Slade set down his case and opened the folder.
Still no one to meet him? This was indeed odd, not just for the Triad but for anyone who would want to hire a person to do their business. It was expected of them to inform the associate they have hired about the job, about dangers that may occur, issues the person might have to deal with. Something seemed a little off about this whole mission but Slade would just have to remain alert.
After looking at the information inside, Slade pulled a lighter from his blazer pocket and set the information aflame. He waited for the burnt pieces to disintegrate before he started his final stretch of the journey.
Slade was beside himself with annoyance, he was being treated like a child during a scavenger hunt. Something as childish and ridiculous as this was tolerable for a second rate mercenary, but for someone like himself, it was not only an insult to his abilities, but also to his sense of honor. He took great lengths to make sure his professionalism in these type of dealings was absolute. His honorability was complete and the Triad were testing the limits of his patience.
Finally, Slade slowed to a stop, looking out over the bluff just beneath him. Slade had felt the dirt caked entry point below his feet the instant he had stepped onto it. It was a waiting game now and though Slade was reaching his limits his curiosity was peaked.After a few seconds, Slade felt a jerk and looked down to see the door beginning to open.
Interesting, Slade thought casually as he was lowered below the Earth's crust. The platform sloped down steeply and the further he kept walking, the darker it got until he was so far down that the sunlight from the entrance was only a mere glimmer behind him. Until finally Slade's ride came to a stop and he stood on the floor at the bottom. He looked up to see the light from the hole above and saw a metal panel slide in place.
Slade was plunged into to darkness yet again, and as he waited, he listened, his eyes closed. No noise came from the surrounding gloom. But after a while, his ears twitched. There was something. Footsteps. And a door opening. Suddenly, a light pierced the dark in front of him and someone shone a flashlight in his face.
"State your name, objective, and employer!"
"Wilson, Slade. I have been asked to report to the Triad for a mutual business agreement, and I work for myself." Slade said flatly.
The singular light switched off but before Slade's eyes could try to adjust to the darkness again the ceiling lights were brought up to reveal the large space he was in. Slade carefully looked around, taking in the entire space. He had not reacted when he saw the circle of men that surround him, all in suits and sunglasses. They had been as loud as rats on their way in and Slade had smirked at their failed attempt at surprise.
No wonder they need me...
Slade felt like he was surrounded by some second-rate FBI agency. He showed no sign of alarm and simply waited for someone to approach him.
Like obedient dogs, they won't move without their master's hand, but who is the master, I wonder who holds the bone?
A small man made his way through the circle and came to stand in front of Slade. He had dark brown hair and a rather average face that looked dulled from years of seeing blood shed.
"My sincerest apologies to your honor, Mr. Deathstroke," said the man with a nervous bow. Slade bowed stiffly back. "Our prisoner is one of great importance and we cannot allow him even the smallest opportunity to escape. I am sure you understand." Slade did not answer, merely stared down at the smaller man. "I am to be your escort while you are on base. You may call me Four." Four turned around. "Right this way, Sir."
And still no big dog, just the little pups, this had better not be a waste of my time.
Slade followed Four and kept his eyes peeled for anything that might warrant further investigation. He was led from the entrance down a long and rather narrow hall, which was lit from the sides by bright white lights.
Blinding lights to keep prisoners confused… who ever they have captured must be a larger threat then they let on.
"You've increased your security measures because of one prisoner."
Four turned his face away and Slade could tell he was a little taken aback by Slade's sudden accusation.
There was a pause before Four answered and Slade smirked. "Yes, Sir. Only one person is allowed to leave the compound per day. No one else in or out unless they have an appointment."
"Who is this talented escape artist?" Slade inquired, his eyebrow raising ever so slightly.
Four's answer was terse and clipped. "I am unable to release that information at this time. I am taking you to someone who can give you the information you require."
Slade didn't like that answer, he wanted more information, it was so much easier to get information out of a man like Four. He was just a monkey, a lap dog for the higher ups. Slade just had to bait the man with the right questions.
"So I assume the heightened security means that the prisoner has given you some trouble?"
"No doubt Sir. He has escaped twice and came close to killing several of the guards."
"Close?" Slade questioned as his head turned slightly with curiosity.
"He is weak. No honor. He strangles them till they pass out or he knocks them unconscious. He never picks up a gun or tries to stab the guards, just makes a run for it."
"Interesting." Slade said, mostly to himself.
There was finally a turn in the corridor and Slade was led towards the right until they reached a room that was on the left. Four unlocked the door and then held it open, he bowed to Slade as he crossed the threshold.
"This will be your room for the duration of your stay. I hope you find the accommodations pleasing. My master will be with you shortly." Slade stepped into the room and began to unpack. If he was lucky this assignment would be over with quickly, it was becoming far too much of a hassle. He took his case and laid it on the bed, all there was left to do now was wait.
Five days later….
Slade barged into the meeting room and ignored the looks of shock and awe on the small group of faces.
"Slade… to what do we owe the pleasure of this interruption?" the man at the head of the table asked.
"You have kept me here for five days telling me to wait and be patient, you've given me no information and offered me little else to go off of. If I don't start getting some answers I am going to make my own. And you know I can Brickyard. The reason you hired me is because you know no one can stop me, but so help me if you don't tell me what my mission is I will break all your toes and work my way up to your throat..."
There was silence in the room as the leader considered Slade's words, finally he smiled and nodded, "Actually, that is why I have called you here Mr. Deathstroke. We were mainly waiting for the right time to... bring you into the light. Now that I am aware of how you feel about the situation it shouldn't be a problem. Please have a seat."
Slade eyed the men around the table; every single one of them had been about to shit their pants when he had walked in. All of them except for the grinning man at the head of the table. He didn't feel threatened at all by Slade's words which meant that he was one of the more dangerous men in the compound.
You keep yourself cool in a tough spot Brickyard, but your ego has produced an inflated sense of security. I will not be as patient as your little lap dogs . . . or as kind.
If he didn't fear Slade it meant that he thought he had a way of controlling Slade and that was not something Slade would allow. Slowly the giant of a man sat down at the table and waited.
"We have given you minimal information on the off chance you changed your mind and wanted to leave before we came into need of your services Slade. You see the true problem is we are not sure exactly when we will need your special and capable hands. Which is why you've been waiting around for five days."
"What exactly is the job?" Slade asked hoping to finally get an answer.
"We have crucial information that needs to be extracted and we believe that your skills will improve our chances of getting it."
"What kind of information? Files, computer hacking, you need to be a little more specific." Slade asked.
"Information that can't be taken off a hard drive," came the sly voice of Brickyard.
Slade slowly put his elbows on the table, bringing his fingers to a steeple before his lips as he began to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Before Brickyard could even confirm his suspicions, Slade knew they reason they had waited. Obtaining information of this type was dangerous.
No one ever wanted to get their hands dirty, no one wanted to hold someone else's life in their grasp and listen to the person scream as you ripped their fingernails from their body. Not many people were mentally stable enough to do it the right way.
"You don't want me to assassinate someone, you want me to torture someone." Slade said eyeing the man up and down.
"Yes, therein lies the problem. As of yet we aren't sure that more torture will work."
"More torture?" Slade hid the surprise in his voice well.
"We have had this prisoner for months, we've tried every method we can think of. From many different cultures, many different forms and styles… the only two choices we have are either you or…" Brickyard trailed off and Slade's eye narrowed.
"You will have to enlighten me, Brickyard, contrary to popular belief I cannot read minds."
"Rape." It was a statement, not of just how twisted this man's mind was but of the length he was willing to go to get what he wanted.
"It has been a proven method. It works better on women, it is true… but this particular captive may break under something as… perverse as that, especially with his background."
Slade leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. Slade was just as disturbed as the next twisted individual he would not deny it. He had tortured and killed many people, but Slade did have some rules and morals and sexual torture was not one of the cards he had ever yet played.
A deafening silence filled the room and Slade could almost hear the restless heartbeats of the men standing around. "There must be another reason why you selected me expressly," said Slade, shattering the silence, "I am the best assassin on the market without question. But my torture skills are almost never exclusively requested. What do you have to gain from me specifically?"
Brickyard smiled an evil smile, peaking Slades curiosity as he eyed him. "Perhaps you should follow me."
The man stood and Slade followed his example. The rest of the men at the table remained seated, secretly glad that they did not have to show the mercenary about the base. Slade followed Brickyard out of the room and down a narrow hall.
"In here." Brickyard motioned to the open door, taking Slade into a room. It was dark inside the room. Do these people ever use lights? he thought. Slade once again crossed his arms over his chest and looked to the only thing in the room. A two way mirror. On the other side was darkness until, that is, Brickyard flipped a switch.
Slade looked into the room and his eyebrow went up almost infinitesimally. He revealed no emotion as the whisper escaped his lips. "Robin."
The boy that was tied to the chair in the opposite room wasn't even a shadow of the boy wonder. But Slade could tell, the hair, the body, and the posture. The torn bloody uniform, the determined masked face; it was Robin.
"You see you have history with this particular prisoner. And from our examination of the tower he was, for a time, rather obsessed with you. We have also learned he was once your apprentice. We monitor him while he sleeps. He dreams of you Slade. He wakes up screaming for mercy, he screams about his friends. You must have really traumatized the boy," he smirked. "We think that if your mere presence doesn't unnerve him into talking then the threat of you being left alone with him will. Two million dollars and all you have to do is play along, and if seeing you isn't incentive enough then you get to slice up an old friend."
The whole time Brickyard had been talking, Slade had not removed his eye from the boy who had weakly raised his head and was looking around. Obviously, they left him in the dark whenever they were not torturing him.
"Tell me Brickyard. What information could the boy have that would warrant such a lengthy and cruel investigation?" asked Slade as he turned to face the man.
" That information is strictly classified. We will inform you if we deem it necessary." He paused to look at Slade. "Well, do you accept or not?" Brickyard asked.
Slade turned back to watch Robin. The boy screamed something he could not hear, but from the anger and pain that lined Robin's face, he knew it was threats that sprouted from the boy's lips not pleas for mercy. In that moment, seeing the boy's spirit, Slade knew what had to be done.
"Yes. I accept."
"Good, I believe it is time for you to pay bird boy a little visit."
After the lights had turned on, Robin began to struggle at his bonds. When they wouldn't give, he resorted to screaming and shouting. Even if he couldn't see the Triad, he was sure they could hear him. "Hey! Come in here you bastards! Don't keep me waiting!"
Suddenly the lone door in the room opened and the executive officer walked in. "Hey Junkyard how are you today?" Robin asked in a weak but venomous tone.
"My dear boy, when are you going to understand the concept of not biting the hand that feeds you?"
"You don't feed me, you bastard." Robin growled. "I've been eating my own head in here." Robin's body swayed from side to side.
"I must admit Robin you lasted a lot longer than I thought. Months in fact."
Robin's eyes opened in shock. "Months?"
"Oh yes… hard to believe we've been able to hold you here for six months. Honestly, I'm amazed you haven't gone crazy. Being tortured for a lengthy amount of time usually has that effect on people."
"I told you from the beginning, I won't break! You will never get the information you want!" Robin glared up at him, spitting at the man's feet, though the effort was pointless. Robin had almost no saliva left.
Brickyard merely looked down at the small speck of liquid on the ground. He grunted, unimpressed, and looked back at the boy.
"You see Robin, with an attitude like that you have left me no choice but to bring in a specialist."
"Hope he isn't like the last specialist," Robin retorted, "That man's nose is still broken from what I heard."
"This specialist won't have any such problems. If anything you will be the one with broken bones." Brickyard stepped aside and Robin could see the shadows beginning to shift beyond the door. His masked eyes widened as a very familiar silhouette stepped through the doorway.
"I believe you two have met once or twice?" Brickyard said in a sickly sweet tone.
Robin couldn't bring himself to say anything, his entire insides frozen from terror, he couldn't blink. His mind went blank, his heart stopped and he felt every muscle in his body tense.
"Hello, Robin." said Slade calmly, looking at the boy through his mask.
"Speechless are you… not a single word? Not a smartass comment, or even a jibe." Brickyard almost seemed gleeful about Robin's new predicament. "You really must not like each other." He looked back and forth between the two warriors, but neither showed any sign of willingness to talk. "Slade said he would be more than glad to loosen that tongue of yours. Starting tomorrow Slade is your new extractor."
Slade didn't say anything and Robin just stared at him like a deer in the headlights. He was beyond shocked that they knew enough about himself to be able to pull Slade into this. Somehow they had figured out that he and Slade had a history… Then it clicked.
"You've been in the tower!" Robin suddenly yelled at Brickyard.
"Clever boy how did you know? It wasn't as easy to get in as we thought but after making a few modifications to your system that precious Tower of yours ended up fighting our battle for us."
"What did you do!" Robin exclaimed at him, panic beginning to bleed through in every word he spoke.
Brickyard smiled. What a joyful feeling it was to be able to finally get under this brat's skin.
"I am sure you won't believe me when I say it. In fact, you will probably hold on to the belief that I'm lying until you see their dead mangled bodies for yourself, but I guess I can tell you anyway." He paused a moment before speaking, but when he did it was full of mockery and twisted delight. "Your pathetic little family is dead... The tower is destroyed and of course… the Batman has been MIA since Paris. Resisting us isn't doing you any good or buying you anytime because as far as the world is concerned you blew up with your precious tower. You are once again all alone, no family, no friends… everyone you've ever loved is dead. And just like last time it was all your fault." Brickyard turned and walked out of the room without waiting to see what Robin had to say.
Slade stood to the side and watched the boy's reaction. Robin looked up at the retreating Brickyard, "You sick son of a bitch, I am going to fucking kill you! Do you hear me! I am going to slice you open and let the seagulls eat out your entrails!"
"You can try Robin. But I highly doubt you will be leaving this compound alive." Brickyard called from the hall as he started to laugh.
"Just watch me," Robin muttered.
His head sank down, he didn't even bother to look at Slade. The man was about to turn and leave when he heard Robin sigh with a new sense of awareness. "I won't break Slade. You can try… but no matter what has happened in our past. I won't break." Slade stood in the doorway a moment but didn't look back. After a collected silence, Slade continued out the door.
Early the next morning Slade readied himself; he had been planning what he was going to do and how this was all going to work out. He wasn't sure if there was much he could do at this point.
Robin had been beaten within an inch of his life, the fact the boy was still alive was impressive.
Slade had talked to Brickyard after having left Robin alone in that room and managed to convince the man to give him a one on one session with Robin without being watched, just to get his point across to the kid that he wasn't joking around.
Slade grabbed his supplies and headed for the room. It didn't take him long to locate the right door and he entered into darkness. The lights flickered on and he stopped in his tracks. The chair lay shattered on the floor, the ropes having looked like they'd been chewed through.
Slade knelt down and set his equipment to the side. Picking up the rope, he looked at the chewed and gnarled bits. There was blood on the rope right where it had been shredded. A noise came from the corner and Slade looked to see two or three rats scurrying around.
"Clever." A smirk spread across his lips.
The shriek of an alarm cut through Slades thoughts, and in an instant he had left the room. He needed to find Robin before …
"Shoot him!" came a cry from down the hall and around the corner.
Slade picked up speed and as he rounded the hall he felt his body jerk to a halt, his usually calm heart rate was slightly elevated as he drank in the scene before him.
Five men held their guns at the ready, and would've already shot Robin had Brickyard not been an idiot and gotten himself caught by the angry bird. Slade could see the boy wonder holding a sharp razor against Brickyard's carotid, moving it dangerously back and forth.
"Do. Not. Move. Junk heap or I will rip out your throat," Robin hissed into the man's ear.
"How did you escape!" Brickyard grunted, wincing at the blade nicked his fine skin.
"I had some help from some friends. They have a particular fondness for blood."
"You really have lost it kid." said Brickyard, smiling ever-so-slightly before grimacing as the blade began to bite into the flesh of his neck.
"If I have then you pushed me to it," Robin said through gritted teeth.
"What are you going to do kid? Kill me? You don't have the guts to do it."
"I don't have much of anything thanks to you. You took away everything… if I really have been here six months then I have also lost six months of my life to sitting in a chair, being beaten. I figure I owe you at least one sliced throat to pay you back for all the favors you've done for me."
"Talk all you want but you don't have the gu-…" Robin slid the knife quickly across Brickyards throat and blood exploded from the man's esophagus, pouring down his body and onto the floor, staining his white shirt red. Slade was a hard man to shock but this was more than unexpected. This was stunning, beautiful; it was the loveliest thing he'd ever seen.
Robin, the boy wonder, had just slit the throat of one of the highest chairs of the Triad. The boy closed his eyes and simply released Brickyard, who slid the rest of the way to the ground, and just stood there. No one fired, no one spoke, no one breathed. They were all too shocked to believe what had just taken place. Then Robin opened his eyes. There was a sudden cacophony of noise as the men fired their weapons and Robin jumped like never before. He snapped all their necks and in mere seconds the men were on the ground.
The boy, still allowing the adrenaline, shock, fear and trauma to control him, dropped to the ground, picked up a gun and started aimlessly firing on the already dead men. He let out a scream as he did and when the gun was empty, he turned and jumped onto Brickyard and started beating his dead face.
Slade stood and watched allowing the boy's anger and aggression to seep from him like sweat. When he had finally exhausted himself he tossed the gun to the side and slowly stood on shaky legs.
He looked at his bloody hands and then at the men lying around him. All dead, their lifeless eyes staring at him. Robin couldn't believe what he had just done… but he wanted out. He had to… it was them or him. He still had a lot of work to do… a lot of people to save. He had to assume the Titans were dead, but that didn't mean had to leave their death's unavenged.
It came suddenly then and it sent a shiver up Slade's spin though the man would never admit it. Robin started to laugh, softly at first but it eventually grew and soon he was laughing so hard he fell to his knees. He crawled to the nearest man and took his gun.
The boy stared at it and just as suddenly as the laughing had started it had died and he quickly turned the gun on Slade.
"Sorry you had to see that Slade."
"The pleasure was all mine." replied Slade as calmly as ever.
"Well I am glad you enjoyed the show… now… I am going to leave and you aren't going to stop me. If you try, I swear to God I will rip you open and leave you for the rats." Robin reached up and ripped off his mask leaving raw skin behind. Brilliant blue eyes greeted him and Slade saw in them the insanity that had consumed Robin.
Six months of torture had worn the boy thin. He needed help, quickly.
"Robin… before you do anything too rash… I suggest that you allow me to help you sort out your current emotional state."
"I don't need or want your help. I know how my emotional state is. I have fucking lost it! I need to escape this place! I need-..."
"Robin I don't know if you are aware of your current location, but at the moment you are in the middle of nowheresville China."
Robin stared at him in shock, "You are lying!" he shouted.
"I'm not… it took me four and a half hours to get here from the only airport within two hundred and twenty miles of this base. If you run out of here, in your condition, you would die in less than twenty-four hours. However, I have a plane."
Instantly Robin's sagging body went rigid again, "Take me to it! Now!"
"Only if you put down the gun."
Robin's hand started to shake. "We have a lot to talk about Robin," continued Slade in a coaxing tone, "but I can't do that if you have a gun pointed at my head."
"I just want to go home," Robin said as tears began to trickle and then pour from his eyes, "I never told them what they wanted to know. I deserve to go home." His voice shook and he sounded like a child but Slade had to admire the fact that Robin had made it this far.
"You do Robin. You deserve more than anyone to go home and rest. Don't you want to rest? I can get you out of here but you have to trust me."
"Trust you? I can't trust you! You were about to come into that room and torture me!"
"I was going to help you escape Robin. Only you beat me to it."
"Glad I did. That proves I don't need your help."
"To get out of this country you do," Slade said bluntly, "but we must leave now."
Robin growled in frustration. As much has he hated to admit it, Slade was right. He couldn't make it out alive by himself.
Robin was about to say something when he felt a slight pain in his neck as a dart sunk into his flesh. He tried to turn and fire at who ever had just injected him but before he could he was on the ground laying lifeless among the dead bodies.
Slade instantly acted, lunging forward to pick up the boy and throw him over his shoulder. "Hey! You! Bring the prisoner to us!" called the guard who had fired the dart at Robin.
Upon turning to look down the hall, Slade saw eight guards all with dart guns… "Fun." Slade said slowly. A grin started to spread across his lips as he began to walk towards the guards. He would have to calculate this just right to make sure that he didn't get hit with a dart.
"Okay boys…. Let's play."
Slade burst through the door that lead into the garage, leaving the guards from the hallway dead behind him. He look around where the limos were stored. There had to be something smaller than a damn limo. The solution presented itself as Slade saw a small object covered by a sheet. He quickly crossed to it and pulled the sheet away.
As if sent by God, a very fine motorcycle, one that could probably jump from zero to one hundred and eighty in five seconds, greeted Slade. Slade got on and his smirk widened when he saw that some idiot had left the key in the ignition.
Obviously, no escapee had ever gotten this far. Slade was glad to be the first. He started the bike and pressed the only button labeled 'Front Access'. A door started to open and Slade squealed his tires as guards burst into the room. Slade saluted and shot out of the garage and into the forest.
Robin was vaguely aware of his situation as wind crashed into his face and across his body. He wasn't in the compound anymore, but it was obvious he wasn't the one doing all the moving and shuffling.
Suddenly it was like he was flying, he wished he could open his eyes, and then a jolt racked his body as what ever he was on came back into contact with the ground. Robin wished it were a horse. How cool would that be to wake up riding on a horse like in the old west… FOCUS! Robin's mind screamed.
It had become his personal pastime in the last six months to imagine what would be really cool. It was one of the ways he had coped with the torture. They would break his jaw and Robin would think it would be awesome if instead of breaking his jaw they gave him a jawbreaker.
At some point he couldn't feel the pain they were inflicting on him because his mind was in overdrive trying to imagine what would be better than where he was. Everything they did to him tickled or felt like soft kisses or made him laugh.
At one point they were wiping him and Robin had imagined it was Starfire sensually rubbing his back down with oils.
Robin managed a moan and he felt a hand tilt his head back. He just barely opened an eye and saw that damn mask staring down at him.
"S-Slade?" Robin asked.
"Rest Robin… we are almost free!" called Slade over the loud roar of a motor.
Robin knew where he was; he was cradled in front of Slade on a motorcycle. How he didn't fall from the bike, Robin wasn't sure. But if the man was getting him out of that hell-hole, Robin wasn't going to try and fight. It didn't take long for his eyes to close and Robin sank back into darkness.
A/N: Fantastic improvement isn't it? Keep reading to see more fantastical edits and updates!