Disclaimer: Don't own ^^

Concept: "Blockbuster" is ignored; set one day before chemo is dropped on Buldhaven.

Persephone not Helen

Nightwing gave a soft sigh; another night of fighting crime with no end in sight. And he loved it. He was never one who could rest until he felt near exhaustion. In a way, he thought, Buldhaven was his own little land of milk and honey. Finally, he reached the point where he was tired enough to rest and he headed home. Once he got there he stopped at the door, someone had entered his apartment...

Taking a defensive stance, the hero entered. All of the curtains were shut, leaving him in total darkness. His hand, that was moving towards the light switch, was suddenly caught in a very strong grip and an all-too-familiar voice drawled out: "Good morning, apprentice."

"Slade," acknowledged Nightwing, speaking the name like a vile curse. "What do you want?"

An amused chuckle was his reply before the man spoke. "Ah, dear boy, haven't we already had this conversation?"

"You mean the one about your failure?" Provoking the older man was a stupid idea, but he preferred it to talking to him. Better a beating than having to endure a monolog. Instead of becoming angry, the man seemed smug. Shifting uncomfortably Nightwing tried again. "You know, this is the part where the villain goads the hero with his foolproof plan." He said mockingly.

"I was hired to drop chemo on Buldhaven." The statement was voiced with calm professionalism, as if the man wasn't talking about his plan to destroy a whole city. "And I intend to fulfill the contract."

Nightwing took a deep breath. There had to be a reason why Slade was telling him this.A horrible thought struck him, but it couldn't be, it just couldn't... "Why are you telling me this?"

Slade let go of his wrist and lifted it up to his face. Suddenly Nightwing found himself looking upon a mask-less face. The now exposed lips curled into a smug grin. "You are quite important to this plan; you are my payment."

"I'm your what?" The hero didn't care that he had a rather dumb look on his face, the conversation was just to surreal.

"My payment. Do you plan on making me repeat everything I say?" Slade jibed in response.

"I'm not a possession that you, or anybody else, can claim!" Nightwing was furious. He wasn't some sort of money that could be exchanged, he was a human being, dammit!

"And who would come and save you when everybody except me and my employer would assume that you had died?"

He looked at the man, aghast. He hadn't really thought about it, but now that he did he could tell the man was really serious. "You can't honestly destroy a whole city just to get me?" His statement came out sounding more like a question.

"If Menelaus could destroy a thousand cities to get Helen, why shouldn't I be able to do the same?" The man asked, curious. His former smile turned into a smirk. Nightwing closed his eyes, there had to be a way out...
Then an idea struck him.

"You know I won't be willing. And I will outright hate you for burdening me with the deaths of thousands."

"And whose fault is that? I've spent nearly ten years waiting. Since you haven't grown out of your heroism yet, I'll just have to force you." Slade snarled.

"And if I go with you?" There, Nightwing thought, this had to work.

"Only to escape once you find out who planned the destruction of Buldhaven? I don't think so." Damn, the man was right. But if willingly joining Slade couldn't change the man's mind, what could? "You know, I see myself as more of a Persephone than a Helen. " Nightwing said, holding his breath, hoping the man would take the bait.

"Oh really?" That single gray eye seemed to bore into his soul as two arms wrapped around his waist. "You'd become my Queen of the Underworld?"

"I'd agree to eat the pomegranate, to become yours forever."

"There will be no going back for you, my dear daughter of spring." Purred the deep voice into his ear, the hot breath tickling his sensitive skin.

"I won't as long as you fulfill my requests." Nightwing knew that if he didn't want to regret his decision, he had to think of everything. The man replied with a "do tell", seeming honestly curious. "I wont' ask you to stop killing because I won't stop being a hero," he began. "You won't drop a bomb on any city or use any other forms of mass killing. As for the sexual part of our agreement, you won't sleep with anybody else but me." The man laughed lightly and massaged his hip.

"I assure one of the few things that I honor is monogamy. Which means that nobody else but me will be allowed to touch you in such a manner." Nightwing nodded, expecting nothing less of that. "However, you will only continue being a hero if you respect me as your teacher."

Said hero gave a slight groan, he could never escape the apprenticeship, could he? "You may teach me, but I won't steal or kill."

"You won't be forced to steal or kill." The man corrected, as if that would never happen. Nightwing resisted the urge to roll his eyes.

"I want you to swear it on your son's grave."

"And you will swear on your parents'."

Now neither of them would be able to break the contract.

"I, Richard Grayson, agree to those terms. I swear it on my parent's grave."

"I, Slade Wislon, agree to those terms. I swear it on my son's grave." Taking a syringe full of clear liquid from his belt, Slade moved the needle to Nightwing's right arm. "And now, my dear Persephone, I hope you enjoy your pomegranate seeds."

Falling unconscious as the chemicals started coursing through his body, the hero's last thoughts were that the only reason Slade would carry that particular chemical on his would be that he had planned this...