This is for Kawaii-Kuro for winning the 2011 Halloween contest on DA. Yay! Congratulations! Halloween you ask? Yes, I know that was a really long time ago, but there has been a lot going on and insert a long list of excuses here :/ But, better late than never, right? Right!? I hope you like it, Kawaii-Kuro! I'm sorry I took so long, but hopefully the wait was kind of worth it.
Well, Kawaii-Kuro wanted me to continue "Old Men" so, here it is! You can find the first part of "Old Men" over in my drabble collection (it is story 4). You can read this without reading the drabble and you'll be just fine, but it would help if you read it first since it sets up this whole story.
This turned into a chaptered story. The chapters are short at first, but I will be updating once a week to make up for it.
Warnings: No. Yes. Well, sort of. This is mostly just angsty and serious, but there are heavy innuendos here and there, but no smex. Ok, so warnings for the innuendos... and for some other stuff :P
Richard stared out of the window, watching the rainwater run in rivulets across the glass as the car sped down the road. He had followed Slade into the back of the small, but luxurious, limousine without any hesitation.
He made his decision.
He had watched Bruce deteriorate. He was there, holding the man's hand when he died. Now there was no one left. He was the last of his friends, family, and mentors. Hell, there weren't even any villains left to miss him when he dies. Bruce's death had left him with no one else to mourn his passing.
No one except Slade, that is.
Bruce begged Richard not to accept the mercenary's offer. The Lazerus Pits were dangerous and the super serum that coursed through Slade's veins was even more unpredictable. But what did Richard have to lose? He had lived his whole life by Bruce's morals and values. This time, he was going to play by his own rules. He was being offered a second chance at life and he wasn't going to pass on the opportunity to start over, even if the offer came from the devil himself.
Richard turned his head to look at Slade. The man was sitting across from him with an ankle resting on his knee and an arm stretched out along the back of his seat. He was staring out of the opposite window, but he turned his head to meet Richard's gaze when he felt the old hero's attention on him.
"Nice suit," Richard commented casually as his blue eyes scanned down the expensive black material that made his own black suit look like something from a second hand store. It gave Slade the appearance of being a refined, distinguished, wealthy businessman, even though he was actually a rugged, merciless, brutal murderer.
Slade smirked and gave a slight nod of his head in thanks. "It belonged to Bruce. I stole it years ago when I crashed one of his soirées. It seemed only appropriate that I should wear it to his funeral."
Richard's eyes narrowed, creating deeper wrinkles. "You evil bastard," he seethed, his voice sounding gravelly with age. "Take off the suit, before I tear it off of you myself."
Slade chuckled. "Patience, Grayson. There will be plenty of time for that once you have regained your youth."
"I don't know if I'll be able to wait that long," Richard growled, clenching the handle of his cane tighter.
"I know it's hard to suppress certain urges when you're in my presence, but we wouldn't want you to break a hip if I got a little too rough."
"I'm sure it would be worth it," Richard glared.
"What were we talking about again?" Slade asked with a leer.
"Kicking your ass," Richard retorted, angrily.
"Ah, yes... Well if you insist on getting me out of this suit, I promise to hand it over once we board my jet, but until then, you'll just have to imagine I'm naked," the man smirked.
"Fine. But I'm imagining your head on... on... Oh, what's the name?" Richard frowned in thought and lowered his gaze to stare at the floor, causing a few strands of his gray hair to fall across his eyes.
Slade's eye narrowed slightly, studying Richard's old, wrinkled face, but he remained silent.
"Well I had something really insulting, but it's gone now," Richard let out a sigh. "I'm too old for these games, Slade," he said tiredly, and leaned back in his seat.
"You're too old for a lot of things right now, Grayson. But you'll be back to being able to keep up with me soon enough," Slade smiled.
"Don't look so damn smug about it," Richard shot Slade a glare and then turned his face away to stare out of the window again.
Slade frowned and let out a sigh. "Richard, I understand that you think I am somehow winning and you are feeling a little angry with me because of that, but just so we're clear, I'm not forcing you to do this. I could, but I won't. This is your choice and you are free to change your mind at anytime. I'll have my driver drop you off wherever you'd like," Slade waved a hand.
Richard shook his head. "No, I haven't changed my mind. Even if you were somehow winning... I still want this. But I don't appreciate the 'I could make you if I wanted to' comments, so shove those up your ass, ok?" Richard smiled pleasantly.
"At your age I would have thought you grew out of that smart-assed, disrespectful mentality."
"Nope. I just perfected it, like aging a fine wine," Richard smirked.
Slade only chuckled, though Richard thought he caught a sinister gleam in the man's eye.
They arrived at the airport a short while later. Richard followed Slade up the stairs and into his private jet where the old hero sunk down into a squishy recliner, breathing rather heavily.
Slade stopped next to Richard's chair, staring down at his wrinkly face with a raised brow. "After everything you have survived over the years, it's funny that a few stairs could be the death of you."
Richard opened an eye to look up at Slade. "I'm," huff-pant, "fine. Just need to... catch my breath."
Slade smirked and reached a hand down towards the lapel of Richard's jacket. "Would you like me to help you catch it?" the man asked while he slipped his fingers under the edge of Richard's suit.
Richard was momentarily stunned and his breath did indeed catch in his throat. On instinct, his hand shot up to grip Slade's wrist and he quickly came to his senses, giving the man a dark glare.
Slade, still smirking, pulled his hand out from inside Richard's suit, bringing a small orange pill bottle out of the inner pocket. "You should probably take one of these now if you want to avoid receiving mouth-to-mouth later."
Richard released Slade's wrist and took the bottle from the man's hand. "Can you not stand over me like that? You're giving me flashbacks," Richard tapped the man's leg with his cane, urging him to move aside.
Suddenly, Richard felt a slight whoosh of air and he found himself blinking down at the point of a thin blade from where it was sticking out of the end of his cane. His eyes followed the length of his cane up to the handle that was now in Slade's hand.
"Sorry about that," Slade smirked. "Flashbacks," He lowered the cane, pressing the hidden button that retracted the secret blade, then he held it out to Richard.
Richard took his cane and watched Slade walk over to a narrow doorway that led into a small bedroom. "You may be superior in strength and speed, Slade, but I'm not a kid anymore. You don't scare me." He popped open the lid to the pill bottle and tipped it up to his mouth, swallowing one of the pills.
Slade chuckled from inside the bedroom. "Perhaps I don't want to scare you anymore," Slade called out loudly, so Richard could still hear him while he changed clothes. "Perhaps I no longer need you to be afraid of me. Perhaps I lost the desire to use fear to obtain your submission," Slade laughed quietly. "Perhaps you and I can forget about all the threats, the forced obedience, the... domination. Perhaps we can move past all that."
Richard heard a few faint clicks of metal on metal and then Slade emerged from the bedroom dressed in his full uniform with his hands clasped behind his back. Richard's eyes widened as the masked mercenary walked up to tower over him.
Slade tilted his head, staring down into Richard's wide blue eyes. The mercenary smirked behind his mask. "Or perhaps not."
Richard blinked, tearing his gaze away from the steely blue eye that stared down at him from the black and copper mask, and then he realized that Slade was holding Bruce's suit out for him, but he hadn't even noticed. He cleared his throat and reached for the clothes, taking them from Slade's gloved hand.
"Hmph," Slade snorted quietly, amused, and then he turned to sit in the chair across from Richard. He settled into the chair lazily, with his armored thighs spread slightly and both elbows resting on the chair arms. He laced his fingers together in his lap and returned his gaze to Richard's bright blue eyes.
"You haven't changed," Slade said, amusement laced in his tone.
"Just because your mask caught me off guard, doesn't mean-"
"No, no, I'm not talking about that. I was talking about your eyes. The rest of you is deteriorating, wasting away, but your eyes haven't faded at all. They're still the same sharp, intelligent, and clever eyes that matched glares with me all those years ago when you were a mere child."
Richard raised his bushy gray brows. "You sound infatuated, Slade."
"It's not infatuation, dear boy. It's admiration. I have a great deal of respect for you, Richard."
"You really know how to make an old man blush." Richard dead panned. "Please stop before one thing leads to another and we end up hugging it out. Really. Please. Stop."
Slade chuckled. "I know I had an odd way of showing it. You have every right to be bitter, Richard. I hope to set everything straight between us after I restore your youth."
"One act of selflessness won't erase years of selfish acts, Slade."
"Ooh, clever. Did you just make that up all by yourself?"
"No, it was something Bruce used to say during his charity speeches," a small smile touched the old man's lips.
"That reminds me," Slade got up and opened a drawer. He pulled out a stack of papers and a pen and walked over to hand them to Richard.
"What's this?" he asked, taking the papers and pen.
Slade settled down in his chair again and met Richards gaze. "It's a contract, naming me as your sole beneficiary. It will give me control of your entire estate, finances, inheritance, stocks, and even your debts."
Richard stared at Slade blankly for a moment, unmoving, before he finally spoke. "How the hell did Bruce and his charity speeches remind you of this?!"
"Because assuming all of your financial responsibilities is a very charitable thing for me to do."
Richard frowned and tilted his head slightly in confusion.
Slade chuckled. "Think about it... Everyone knows who you are. Richard Grayson is Bruce Wayne's ward, a wrinkly old man. What do you think will happen when a healthy young male walks into the bank to make a withdrawal using Richard Grayson's fingerprints and identification?"
Richard's eyebrows shot up.
"Exactly," Slade hissed. "The world will want to know how you regained your youth. Governments will demand answers and things could get rather messy. It will be easier if you just have access to the accounts I create for you and you maintain a low profile for a few years."
Richard's eyes narrowed in thought while he mulled over Slade's words for a few moments before he finally spoke. "I suppose people might become suspicious if Richard Grayson never stops making withdrawals."
"But, if Richard Grayson were to suddenly die without a beneficiary, the government would seize your accounts and you would be left with nothing. Of course, you could always start your new life at the bottom. I would be more than happy to assist you in adjusting to your new... position. You might even learn to enjoy the experience," Slade smirked.
Richard arched a bushy gray brow. "So what, exactly, was the plan?"
"The plan is for you to sign everything over to me, then I produce a death certificate for the old you and once your youth is restored we create an updated birth year for the younger Richard Grayson. Then, I will give you access to everything that was yours and you move on with your existence. Your identity and accounts will be protected, kept hidden within several of my companies, all untraceable, I might add."
Richard looked down at the papers. He quickly browsed through the legal jargon and then he looked back up at Slade. "Is this a ploy to take my money, Slade?"
Slade's eye narrowed. "Richard, I have more money than I know what to do with. You know that. I promise I won't touch one cent of yours. I am merely holding it for you, keeping it safe until I can return it to you. Someone has to look out for your... assets."
"You thought of everything, haven't you?" Richard's tone sounded more accusing than appreciative.
"I don't have much of a choice, do I?" he asked in the same accusing tone.
"None that will work out in your favor."
"Hmm, risk losing everything to the government, or losing everything to you."
"Decisions, decisions," Slade purred, amusement laced heavily in his tone.
Richard sighed and touched the pen to the paper. "Well, out with the old and in with the new, I suppose," he said as he scribbled his signature across the bottom of the document.
No sooner had Richard lifted the pen from the paper than Slade's hand suddenly snatched them from his grasp. Richard hadn't even heard Slade move. He looked up to see the man walking over to a counter lined with various electronic devices. Slade punched some numbers into a fax machine and slipped the papers into the scanner, then he folded the papers and placed them in a pouch at his belt.
"There," Slade gave the pouch a gentle pat and returned to his chair. "Nice and safe."
Richard smiled at the man, trying to shake the feeling that everything was anything but nice and safe.
To be continued...
I have plans for this story :) I hope you all like it. Well, I'm writing it anyway, even if you hate it, but it would make me happy if you liked it ;)
I have to thank Kawaii-Kuro for winning the contest and prompting me to write this for her prize. She just asked for a part two and I started writing and went crazy and ended up with a bunch of chapters. It's going to be a prize that lasts a long while :)
If you have questions, comments, or concerns now is the time to bring them up. Please review! I don't always have time to reply to every review, but I read them all and they help keep me going.