"Once this is over I expect a fruit basket." Slade came to stand next to the bed and he stared down at the boy who had just started to shift and turn.
"No… no!" Robin started to mumble.
Here we go. Slade thought knowing this was going to take more of his patience then he wanted to give. Slade reached out a hand to try and wake Robin up but the instant his hand touched the boy's shoulder Robin struck out with his fist.
Slade caught it just before it connected with his nose, "Cute." Slade said in an annoyed voice. He crawled up into the bed trying to get a better hold of the boy. Robin's feet kicked out and shoved against the wall nearly knocking Slade from the bed.
Slade grunted as the impact of the boy's small frame connected with his chest. Slade quickly pulled the boy up, he was holding Robin by his wrists as the boy struggled and cried out. Slade was on his knees trying to get the boy under control.
"Wake up you fool!" Slade snapped.
"STOP PLEASE!" Robin screamed.
Slade grunted once more as Robin's head shot back and got him in the face. Slade gritted his teeth as the pain exploded in his nose.
"Fine you want to do this the hard way… we can do this the hard way." Slade instantly fell to the side and pulled Robin with him. He wrapped his legs around Robin's to hold him still and pulled the boy's arms to his chest to restrain the flailing appendages from lashing out. He had the boy in a bear hug and couldn't release him.
The boy started to scream and as he screamed his body tried to thrash. Slade's eye popped open in shock as Robin started to grind himself against the man. Slade wanted to push the boy away but he wasn't sure what would happen if he let Robin go.
"How did Adie do this!" Slade grunted as Robin continued to thrash.
Slade searched the furthest corners of his mind, he tried to remember further back then he had in a long time. Removing mental blocks that he hadn't touched in years. And suddenly Slade remembered a night Grant was having a night terror.
What did Adie do! Slade's mind shouted. Something crept into the back of his head and suddenly Slade knew what to do even though he really really REALLY did not want to do it.
"You better make this worth my while kid." Slade cleared his throat and kept a tight hold of the thrashing Robin.
"River of dreams take me with you tonight. Lying in your arms we'll drift off to Islands of wonder that gleam and glow under the stars as we glide through the dark to the heart of the night."
Slade was shocked when Robin started to calm down. Slade didn't want to but he kept singing in hopes Robin would continue to peacefully slumber.
"River of dreams gently hold me again, I remember all you told me. All of the secrets you whispered as we crept away from the daylight and melted back into the night. Was I awake or did I dream. The kiss of waves that silver slipstream. That tumbles as it turns, again towards the sea."
Robin lay motionless, his breathing slow and even, his entire body relaxed.
"Thank you, Adie." Slade said breathing a sigh of relief. Slade suddenly was over come with exhaustion. Who knew Robin had so much strength coiled up in that tiny body. When was the last time Slade actually slept longer then a few hours? Power naps seemed to usually work but Slade needed at least one full night of sleep every few weeks.
Slade let his head come to rest on the pillow nearest him as he continued to hold Robin to his chest. The boy was freezing. Slade pulled the blanket up over them and closed his eye.
"Let us never speak of this again, a Robin?" Slade sighed and the next thing he knew….
Robin woke up and found himself warm and relaxed in a bed that was very comfortable. He had never felt so completely at ease and well rested.
He went to stretch and his hand hit something, so he slowly rolled over.
"JESUS!" Robin said backing up and suddenly falling over the edge of the bed. Just before his head hit the floor Robin felt a large hand wrap around his wrist. Robin was yanked back onto the bed.
Robin sat up and pulled the blanket to him, "What the fuck are you doing in my bed!" Robin yelled at Slade. The man was lying on his side lazily staring at the boy before him.
"It's my bed you brat and you kept having nightmares, I came over to try and see if there was something I could do. You started to thrash around and I thought you might hurt yourself."
"So you got into bed with me!" Robin said with anxiety. Slade pulled Robin close at that moment, and Robin gasped, his stomach exploded with a feeling that was foreign to him. Slade stared down at him as he pulled the boy's body against his.
"A little appreciation would be in order at this point, besides I only meant to restrain you until the nightmare passed. Unfortunately I must have been more tired then I thought. I actually managed to sleep a little, which is odd. But never you mind, it's time for breakfast so get up." Slade moved passed Robin quickly and slid off the bed. Robin stared after the man who was beginning to seem less and less like himself.
Robin wondered what really happened last night, how Slade, the man of a steel mind could have allowed himself to fall asleep and be so easily led away from his normal habits.
Robin remembered his previous times with the man as his apprentice; Slade did not require much sleep. He had gone close to a month with out it. How the man did it Robin wasn't sure.
Robin got out of the bed and then looked down at himself, "Uh Slade… any chance you have some extra clothes?"
Slade glanced at the boy and noticed he was only wearing his green uniform pants. The rest of his uniform had been ripped away when Slade had been cleaning him on the plane and as of yet Slade had not given him anything new.
"I suppose that can be taken care of. Here." Slade crossed to his dresser and pulled out a black suit. He tossed it to Robin and the boy waited for Slade to turn his back before he changed.
When he put it on Robin made a noise of distaste, "Why would you keep this?" Robin peered down at an old apprentice uniform. The orange stood out in the dark room and Slade smirked at the sight of Robin wearing it.
"I always keep one of every suit I design, just incase I ever need it again."
Robin shook his head, "It was a waste to keep this. You knew I wasn't ever going to be coming back to the apprenticeship."
"I did know, but had I thrown it away you would have nothing to wear now. So don't complain." Slade turned and headed for the door, "Come on, first food then some exercise."
Robin followed reluctantly, he would much rather skip all that and look at the video footage of his team and the battle in the tower. But trying to tell Slade that would only waste time. Even with his team on his mind, however, Robin's mind still lingered back to only a few moments ago. Slade had been so warm… Robin remembered the feel of the heat the man emitted and he couldn't help but wonder if the man was that warm all the time. And how could a man, who was usually so cold and calculated, ever be that warm at all.
They reached the kitchen in good time and Robin looked around hungrily, "Please tell me you have something a little richer then that bull shit health food you used to make me eat." Robin said.
"How about, steak and eggs."
Robin's eyes lit up, "Yes!" Robin said running to the fridge and looking around for the food. He grabbed four eggs and a small stick of butter and headed for the stove.
A large skillet was already waiting; Robin turned on the burner and looked around for a knife. He finally found one about three drawers down. He pulled out a butter knife and threw some of the butter into the skillet. It hissed and sputtered as Robin waited for it to get hotter.
Robin didn't realize how hungry he was until he smelled the scent of the melted butter. His mouth started to water, "I must really be half starved if my mouth is watering over butter." Robin said to Slade.
Robin felt the man's large presence come to stand next to him, "Like I said before you shouldn't be able to stand but I suppose that healing serum may have helped to regenerate some of your muscles and other things."
Robin glanced to Slade who had two large steaks on a plate which he held as he stood next to Robin. "About that healing serum." Robin started.
"Another time dear boy. Today we focus on your team and getting you back into shape." Slade was expecting some sort of argument but the boy just nodded and looked down at the boiling butter.
Robin quickly, and with much one handed skill, cracked the eggs and then looked to Slade, "How do you like your eggs?"
"Sunny side up." Slade said watching Robin go through the motions.
"Me too." The boy almost whispered.
"Robin… what did you dream about last night?" Slade asked hoping to find out why he had had to nearly straddle the boy to control him.
Robin sighed, "What I normally dream about now. That damn white room." Robin said.
Slade knew what room Robin was thinking of, the torture room back in china. Stark white, small and confined, only one door and a mirror that showed you how pathetic you looked.
"Some days, the amount of blood I saw on those white walls, I didn't think it could possibly be all mine. That amount of blood loss would kill a person. I had told myself that… thinking maybe I was really dead and that the torture room was just my own personal hell. The things I thought about… the things I thought about doing. I never knew how insane I could feel until that damn room. The pounding of my own heart almost made me go crazy, the silence was deafening. And the smell after they were done and they came and sanitized the room… they electrocuted me once and left me sitting in my own piss for a week…" Robin trailed off and started to mutter something inaudible.
Slade gently took Robin by the shoulder and the boy's big blue orbs looked up at him. "Don't think about it now… I plan to teach you a special technique to help keep those emotions and images away. It will help you regain a lot of your sanity. But until I can teach you how to deal with these traumatic experiences you need to try and ignore what you can. No go sit down and rest, I will cook the rest of breakfast."
Robin nodded and as he turned to walk to the table Slade patted his butt to make sure he kept moving. It didn't take to long for Slade to finish the steaks and soon had them seasoned and on the plates with the eggs. He walked them over to the table and set a plate before Robin who was staring off.
"Eat." Slade said, as Robin was pulled from his thoughts. Robin looked down at the meat and didn't hesitate. He grabbed his fork and knife and started to eat… viscously.
At this point Slade made his first mistake, "Slow down or your will make yourself sick." The man had reached his hand out towards the food and Robin saw it out of the corner of his eye and of course Robin's first instinct was to protect his food. After going so long with out Robin allowed his more animalistic instincts take control of him.
Robin growled and, with his streak knife grasped tightly in his fist, slammed it point down through Slade's hand, which then was impaled onto the table.
Robin instantly released his hold and covered his mouth, he stared at the knife which was sticking out of Slade's had. His eyes glanced up at Slade's face and the man stared at the knife with a mildly surprised look on his face…. there was suddenly a knife in his hand.
"Slade…. Slade…. I am so sorry… I don't know why I did that." Robin said standing up, his chair toppled over he was getting ready to run incase the large man next to him planned to retaliate.
Slade simply sighed and reached up, he took hold of the knife and with a mighty yank pulled the knife free. He then raised his hand from the small puddle of blood that had been forming and looked at the slice that went all the way through.
"Interesting. Robin, please have a seat." Slade said standing to retrieve a new steak knife for the boy who was know shakily picking up his chair.
When both where at the table again Slade held up his hand and showed Robin that the mark was gone.
Robin's eyes grew wide but he didn't say anything and Slade was grateful for that. "Now, what were you thinking when you stabbed me?"
Robin eyed the man carefully not sure what Slade was expecting him to say, "I uh… I wasn't really thinking. All I know is that for a split second my mind seemed to come to the conclusion that you were going to take my food away. I just reacted; I didn't want you to take it away so I reacted. A little bit more then I had planned to."
"That is a very natural reaction for you to have. After having been denied food for so long. And I am sure the food they did give you they either never let you finish or never let you actually eat."
"They would set it down in front of me, I tried not to give them what they wanted but it was so hard after the first few weeks to not stare at it and debate about begging. I tried not to beg, but sometimes I was so close to giving in."
"Did you ever beg for food?" Slade asked.
Robin smirked, "Only once and that was because I was trying to manipulate my torturer. He had been teasing me with the food for days; I finally acted like I gave in. I told him if he just let me have a little I would tell him whatever he wanted. This guy wasn't the brightest and instead of feeding me himself he untied me and that is when I kicked him in the nose and ran from the room. My third escape attempt."
"Did you enjoy hurting him?" Slade asked.
Robin fell silent, "If I say yes am I a monster?"
Slade smirked, "If you say yes you are human."
Robin gave the smallest hint of a smirk before he looked down ashamed, "Yes… I loved the feeling of his nose crunching under my bare foot. I felt like all the cruel things he had done to me had been repaid in that one kick. It felt fabulous."
"At least now you are aware of the relations between pain and pleasure. To a degree I should say."
Robin and Slade finished their food in silence and when they were done Robin stood on his own accord picked up the plates and took them to the sink. Slade watched making notes on how much more obedient Robin was. He was at the point where manipulation was going to be the easy part. It was getting Robin to connect with him on a deeper level that may prove much harder. But if anyone could get those walls around his deeper emotions to crumble it would be Slade. He just had to wait, be patient, and when the moment was right he would strike.
"Can I please stop now?" Robin asked as he looked at Slade. He was currently doing a handstand and had been doing this particular "exercise" for several minutes.
"Is the blood rushing to your head to quickly?" Slade asked.
"No, it's just kind of boring standing here like this while you stare at me." Robin said starting to walk around on his hands like he was born to do it.
Slade watched him move and couldn't help but smirk behind his mask. "Very well, there are only a few more exercises I want to see you perform for me. I want you to give me a cartwheel into a front flip and end with a spin kick. Land on your toes and crotch as if avoiding a projectile. I need to see how well your brain is sending signals to your nervous system. The faster you can perform these three moves the better."
Robin nodded once but couldn't help feeling like all of this was a waste of time. He could be looking for Batgirl or for his team. He needed to find Bruce. So much needed to be done and here he was performing random acrobatics for a man whom seemed to have little interest in helping him locate his family and friends.
He performed the three moves quickly and with out flaw and when he stood and turned to look at Slade he realized the man was gone.
Robin spun around in time to dodge the fist that was coming at him. "Slade, what the…" Robin couldn't finish.
Slade kicked his leg out and Robin dodged by only a quarter inch. "Slade stop!" Robin cried out as the man's onslaught of attacks rained down on him like mad. The smaller of the two managed to either block or dodge but he never tried to strike back.
"Attack me Robin! Defend yourself!" Slade ordered.
"I can't!" Robin protested as he blocked his face from being mutilated by a metal clad boot.
"I doubt that. You have never had problems trying to strike me before. Do as I say and defend yourself!"
Robin knew he wanted to defend himself, he wanted to throw a fist, but at the same time he knew that he didn't want to hurt Slade. Not that he could in all reality. But part of Robin's brain screamed that if he attacked he could possibly kill the man.
"I CAN'T!" Robin said dropping to his knees and lowering his arms. Slade had been about to perform a roundhouse kick to Robin's neck. The man managed to move his leg just enough to just swipe the boy's hair.
Slade stood before the boy, his fists clenched, his stance threatening, "Robin! You know better then to lower your defenses in the middle of a fight. Had I been about to kick you at full force I wouldn't have been able to avoid you! I could have snapped your neck!"
Robin remained silent as he kneeled on the floor before Slade whose disapproving eye burned into the top of his head. "I can't fight back. I tried, I did, but my body wouldn't listen to me." Robin said.
The large man stayed put, towering over the now defenseless boy. "It would seem they did far more to you then just torture you in that little white room of yours. They broke you. You can't attack me because you don't want to attack me. You've lost your desire to protect yourself, which means on some level you've lost your desire to live."
Robin looked up at Slade and sighed, "It's not that, granted I wish I could take back what I did. But the truth is… I am afraid of attacking you."
Slade tilted his head and crossed his arms over his chest, his posture said enough, explain.
"I don't want to attack you because I don't want to hurt you."
Slade gave a grunted that almost sounded like a doubtful chuckle but Robin didn't let him speak, "I know how crazy that sounds, you being you and me being me after all. But when you came at me like that I felt like I was back in that hallway and it was all I could do to keep from trying to rip your head off. I wanted to strike to kill. Batman trained me to disarm; to never strike harder then needed; to leave the person immobile but alive. This new idea in my head, the idea of kill or be killed… it's unsettling… I don't like the feeling I get when my mind tells me to strike areas that are meant to kill."
"I see, you don't want more blood on your hands." The tone Slade gave was that of repulsion.
Robin looked up at him and sneered, "It isn't a bad thing that I don't want to kill. It's not a crime to value all life! I would rather save people then hurt them. That will always be the difference between you and me."
Slade simply gave a soft, "Is that so?"
Robin said nothing, "Come with me Robin. I have to show you something."
The boy stared after the man who turned from the sparing mat and started to leave the room.
"What now?" Robin said under his breath with a sigh.
Slade was standing at his super computer pulling up article after article, paper after paper and then finally he pulled up a video screen. "I need you to understand that no matter what you may see in this video keep an open mind." Slade said.
Robin nodded and waited for Slade to play the feed, "While you were sleeping the first few hours I brought you here I did some research. I realized I still had some hidden cameras inside your tower. The Triad didn't look for foreign technology. They simply tried to find the archaic technology that your Cyborg friend likes to use. So I managed to get one of my cameras from the day of the attack on the Tower up and running. I've found some rather interesting developments."
Slade pressed play and they watched together. The battle was epic and Robin had never been more proud of his team. They fought until they couldn't anymore and yet they kept trying. Somehow the Triad had known their weaknesses, and it had taken only about an hour to take out his team. The damage to the Tower was minimal at best. It was odd since one of the articles next to the video screen had a picture of the Tower and the building looked like it had just come out of a massive bombing.
Robin watched as his friends were dragged from the room unconscious. A man came into the room and looked around, he then pointed at three men, "You three, rig the bombs, this place needs to look like the battle was that of Gods! You two follow 34 and 89 down to the basement. Got those rebellious teens locked up and inert! This entire plan must go off with out a hitch! No one must know that the Titans survived this attack. Until we see if they know anything about the scrolls we can't afford to have someone try to rescue them."
The video feed was cut then and switched to the basement where Robin saw four holding takes. They appeared to be the same type of tanks that held Plasmas. However, Robin could see the amount of individual precautions and restraints taken to ensure that none of the four remaining Titans would wake up. They were helpless and unable to escape.
"How long ago was this video?" Robin asked.
"It's been awhile, maybe four months. Not sure, the feed information was garbled in the retrieval. But the point of showing you this is that you said the difference between you and I is that you value life and I do not. The truth is I do value life, but when someone stands in the way of my goal their life loses that value. I tell you this because you may need to start exploring these same ideas. If you want to try and free your friends from the same torture that was given to you then you need to go into battle knowing that you will be spilling blood. Because if you run in thinking you can simply knock these people out and move on you are dead wrong. The more you kill the less will stand in the way."
Robin stared at him in shock, "How can you say that?"
Slade smirked behind his mask and replied with, "Because dear boy, in all honestly I don't even think you are scared of taking a life, you don't like knowing that sometimes, when lives are on the line… especially the life of people that do matter more then those who are in your way, you don't care if you kill them. All you care about is your friends, and if people die on the way to you getting to them, then you know it's just to damn bad."
Robin didn't know what to say, he didn't know how he felt. Did he really believe everything Slade had just said? Was he simply denying the realization he came to so long ago? Had he always know that his would kill to protect his family and friends? That he didn't care who stood in his way, he would take out anyone who stood between him and the people he loved?
"Take a night to digest, I will send all of this to my laptop and I will let you go through it all. Getting those detective skills of yours back on track and finely tuned is important."
Robin nodded and turned to walk out, he needed to be alone for a little bit to try and make sense of all his feelings. "I expect you in that bed in three hours." Slade said not even bothering to lock the compound down. Robin wouldn't leave, not now, not after everything Slade had just said.
"Okay, thanks." Robin said not even realizing he thanked the man. Slade stared after him and smirked, the first time Robin ever gave him a sincere thank you. Things were definitely taking a turn for the better.
Sorry about the delay! You wouldn't believe what my life has been like! R&R I will try to post again soon if school doesn't get in the way! Thank you!