Hm, so updates are probably going to move to once a month. I am sad about this, because I am anxious to get certain scenes posted, but I have far too many responsibilities and not enough time in my day.
But, hey, think of it this way: You have to wait once a month for comic books to come out. Did that make it better? ...Yeah, I really hate waiting a whole month for the next issue too :/
Well, here's the next chapter. I hope you enjoy it! Things get a little awkward ;)
Robin followed Slade outside into the jungle while he munched on his trail mix. The sun was low, hidden behind the trees, but it was still quite warm and humid outside.
Slade held a large branch aside for Robin and motioned for the teen to step ahead.
Robin emerged from the cluster of branches and his jaw fell open at the sight before him. There was a cascade of water spilling over the side of mossy green boulders down into a huge turquoise colored pool. It was all surrounded by giant leaves and flowers with twisting roots. The tree branches intertwined to form a tangled canopy above the large pool.
"It's beautiful," Robin whispered.
"Yes, drink it in," Slade stepped up beside Robin. "You won't have too many of these moments when you just feel happy to be alive... Hold on to it."
Robin glanced at Slade, caught off guard by the somewhat somber statement.
The man turned his head to meet Robin's gaze and he smirked through all the dried blood caked on his face. "And it feels even better than it looks," he said while lifting his hands to remove his armor.
Robin grinned and followed suit, unbuckling his armor and pulling his shirt off. They both dropped their pants at the same time and stepped right to the edge of the water. Slade dove in head first while Robin sprung up into the air to do a flip and then plunged into the pool feet first.
Slade emerged out in the center of the pool and ran his hand over his face, wiping away the remnants of his dried blood.
Robin popped up next to him with a wide grin. "This water is amazing!" the teen spoke while he swam in a wide circle around Slade. "I can't remember the last time I went swimming. If you would have told me we were going to do this, I would have called you Master a lot sooner... Wait, no, that's a lie. I really hate calling you that."
Slade chuckled. "I don't want you to be miserable all the time, Robin. If you are a good boy, I will reward you and I think you will find that the benefits far outweigh the negatives."
Robin's eyes narrowed. "I'm not a dog, Slade. You can't condition me to accept all of this by rewarding me when I obey you. You want some advice? Just show me a little respect. Treat me like an equal instead of a subordinate. Ask me to do something instead of demanding it and you and I will make it through this deal with a hell of a lot less conflict."
"Oh?" Slade tilted his head, his broad shoulders flexing while he moved to tread water. "Let me give it a try... Robin, will you keep in mind that when I want your opinion I will ask for it? ...How was that?" the man deadpanned.
"You suck," Robin scowled. "I can't even get a 'please'?"
"Actually, you should be trying harder to please me. Remember to address me properly, apprentice," Slade smirked and moved to float on his back.
"Fine. You suck, Master," Robin glared.
"Well, how about that. It's working," Slade chuckled and closed his eye, letting the warm water support his weight while he relaxed. "Now, why don't you go swim a few laps to reacquaint yourself with the way your body is capable of moving... Maybe next time I kick your ass you will provide more of a challenge."
Robin glared at Slade for a moment then with a growl he dunked down under the surface and swam below Slade's floating body. He looked up at the silhouette of the unsuspecting man, planning his attack. For a moment he hesitated, not sure how the man would respond, but then he realized he didn't care and swiftly lunged up towards his target.
Slade's eye popped open just as an arm sprung up out of the water to wrap around his throat and pull him down under the water.
Robin swam with all of his strength, dragging Slade down into the deeper end of the pool before he could gain the upper hand, which happened all too soon when Robin felt the man's grip tighten around his wrist.
Robin made a quick get-a-way by spinning and somersaulting in the water to twist out of Slade's hold. Grinning, he kicked as hard as he could to avoid Slade's hands and was soon swimming away with everything he had.
Slade was close behind him, nearly grasping an ankle occasionally, but Robin was a strong little swimmer, twisting his lithe body in the water like a seal trying to evade the deadly teeth of a shark.
Robin swam towards the shore, deciding that he needed air and land seemed to be the safest place to ensure he would continue breathing for a little while at least. He dug his hands into the sand and lunged forward to get his legs out of the water, gasping in a lung full of air in the process, but a hand closed around his ankle stopping him short. He landed on his chest in the sand with a pained "umph."
Robin turned over and looked up to see Slade's very large and naked figure standing over him.
The man's eye narrowed. "If you had even the slightest advantage in the water, you shouldn't have given that up," Slade lectured. He leaned down to grab Robin's arm and leg and then he pulled Robin up while he spun around, sending the boy flying through the air towards the middle of the large pool.
"Aaah!" Robin yelled and managed to straighten out so he sliced into the water feet first. He quickly scrambled to the surface and gulped in air, choking on the water that had gone up his nose.
Slade popped up next to him and he yelped in surprise, but the man was smirking so the teen dropped his guard and scowled at him instead.
"I'm impressed, Robin. If you hadn't made the mistake of leading the hunt to dry land, I might not have been able to catch you."
Robin snorted. "Maybe I'm not the one who needs to work on his moves," he smirked.
Slade reached a hand out for Robin's head and shoved him under water. "Don't push it," he warned when the teen resurfaced. "Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Robin brushed his hair back out of his face. "What?" he smirked. "You told me to go swim laps, and I did. I just got you to swim them with me."
Slade's eye narrowed. "Clever, boy," the man said with an otherwise blank expression.
Robin eyed the man skeptically. "Well, get on with it then," he demanded with a bitter tone.
Slade raised a questioning brow. "Get on with what?" he looked the teen up and down with a slight leer.
"My punishment. Aren't you going to drown me or something?"
Slade chuckled. "Drown you? For what? Did you do something you think you should be punished for? Perhaps, you were trying to drown me?"
"No... I just... I thought you would be more mad about me pulling you under?" Robin asked, not sure if he should have reminded the man. "I mean, in the old days I probably would have gotten a lecture on how vicious, dishonorable, and ruthless I was for sneaking up on you like that and then you would have held me under water until I apologized."
"Back then, that was what you needed. But we're not in the old days anymore, Robin. You have grown up. You have changed, and so have I."
"Or maybe you are still the same evil bastard you always were and you have just changed your strategy," Robin glared. "Master," he added sardonically.
"Perhaps... But, if it will make you feel better, I can still force you to apologize," Slade moved his arms out to swim towards the teen.
Robin backed away in the water, swimming at Slade's pace to stay out of the man's reach. "I don't want to apologize," he scowled at the approaching man.
"Oh, I think you should," Slade quickened his pace. "Any disrespect or insubordination should be met with a punishment, or at least an apology. It will help you establish your place, and define your boundaries."
Robin's feet touched the sand at the shallow end of the pool and he stepped backwards up onto the shore. "What if I refuse to apologize to you?"
"Oh, I have ways of making you comply, Robin," Slade smirked, stepping out of the water to follow Robin onto the shore.
Robin backed up into a tree just as Slade closed in on him. Instinctively, he took a swing at the man, but Slade caught his wrist and pinned it against the tree above his head.
Slade leaned down closer to the boy's ear. "Unless," his voice dropped to an icy whisper, "you would prefer to be punished."
Slade's breath made Robin shiver and his own breathing quickened. Every nerve in his body seemed to come alive and the teen was suddenly, acutely aware of the change in the very air around them. Time seemed to slow as he inhaled the scent of the man. He could hear the rhythmic pounding of Slade's heartbeat and felt the warmth radiating off of the larger male's body.
"Stop," Robin gasped the word out, closing his eyes with the effort to regain control of himself.
Slade lifted a hand to Robin's chin and tilted the boy's face up. "But Robin, I'm not even doing anything... Yet."
Slade's warm breath danced over Robin's lips and his eyes popped open at the long-forgotten sensations that began to stir within him.
"You look confused, dear boy. What's the matter, you don't recognize the fight-or-flight response? The threat of imminent danger? The thrill of an impending attack? Or... is it something else that's got your blood pumping?" Slade smiled knowingly.
Robin's face flushed and he suddenly felt too hot. His body wanted him to do something; to fight, or run, or... something else. He wasn't quite sure what was happening, but when he felt heat beginning to pool low in his belly he knew he needed it to stop. Now.
"I'm sorry," Robin blurted out. "I apologize, just... stop, please," he looked up at the man pleadingly.
"Hmm," Slade hummed his amusement, smirking down at the flushed face of his apprentice. "Changed my strategy indeed," the man smirked, releasing Robin and stepping away.
Robin sank to his knees, feeling a little too exposed at the moment, while he watched Slade walk over to his discarded pile of clothes. The man pulled his pants and boots on, leaving his belt undone, and then gathered his shirt and armor under an arm. Then he turned to look over at Robin.
"You might want to wash the blood off of your uniform, seeing as to how it is the only set of clothes you have to wear out of here tomorrow. You can hang them inside to dry overnight." Slade turned away, heading back towards the cave. "Just don't stay out after dark. There is a female jaguar nearby who would love to take you home to meet her cubs," the man chuckled as he walked off.
Robin frowned in confusion, watching Slade leave, and wondered how the evil bastard could switch gears so fast. One minute he was doing... whatever it was he was doing, and the next he's acting like nothing even happened. Did he even know what he was putting Robin through?
Robin's frown twisted into a glare. Of course Slade knew. "He's using my heightened senses against me," he muttered to himself as he got to his feet. He looked down at his hands and clenched his fists. "I'm going to have to get my body under control if I want to stop him from being able to take advantage of me... In more ways than one," Robin shot a glare in the direction of the cave.
He stepped over to his pile of clothes and pulled his pants on, but he took Slade's advice and washed everything else in the pool. He gathered the wet bundle in his arms and headed back towards the cave.
Slade had left the main doors open and after Robin passed through them they slid shut behind him, making him jump in surprise. He glanced around the cave, but didn't see Slade anywhere. Shrugging, Robin walked over to the railing next to the Lazerus Pit and draped his wet clothes over it, figuring that the warmth from the pit would dry the material by morning.
Robin yawned and made his way to the bedroom, deciding that he would rather avoid Slade entirely and just go to bed, however when he pushed the bedroom door open, his eyes widened at the sight of the shirtless man sitting up in bed reading through a file of papers.
"Ready for bed?" Slade glanced at Robin and returned to reading, although a small smirk had tugged at his lips.
Robin's shoulders slumped and he walked over to his side of the bed. "There's no way around this is there?" he sighed.
"Not unless you want to sleep on the floor," Slade answered without looking up from his papers.
"Are you sure you can't stay up one more night so I can have the bed to myself?"
"I've been up for almost an entire week already, preparing everything for your big day, Robin."
"All that preparation and you didn't think to at least grab an air mattress?" Robin retorted, his tone laced with irritation.
Slade looked up with an annoyed glare. "Careful, boy. Keep up that disrespectful tone and you'll find yourself sleeping outside with the predators."
Robin opened his mouth to snap back at the man about which predators he would rather be sleeping with, but the man arched a brow in warning and Robin decided to let out a sigh instead. Good thing too, because Robin realized his "sleeping with predators" comment might not have sounded the way he had intended it to. His cheeks reddened and he turned to the side, hoping Slade didn't notice.
He looked around the room for his shirt and sweat pants he had worn to bed the night before. "Where's those other clothes I slept in?"
"Gone. We can't leave behind any evidence that we were here."
"Great. Well, do you have anything else I can sleep in?" Robin asked, not happy with the idea of having to sleep in his uniform pants and even less happy with the idea of sleeping naked.
"There's a shirt in one of the drawers," Slade answered absentmindedly while he finished his reading.
Robin opened the dresser drawers until he found the large white shirt. He put it on and then took his pants off before he pulled the covers back and climbed into bed. He laid on his side with his back to Slade, trying to ignore the sense of danger that wouldn't stop running up and down his spine.
Slade set his papers down on the table next to the bed and turned the lamp off. He stretched out on his side with his back to Robin as well and closed his eye.
"So, did you let your shady helicopter people know that we'll be ready to leave tomorrow?"
Slade sighed and opened his eye. "No, there was no need. The pick-up time was already established before you and I even boarded my jet to fly out here," the man smirked, knowing very well that his words were going to make Robin bristle.
And bristle Robin did. "Next time you want me to do something, I am going to take a whole extra week to comply, just to throw you off."
"I will account for that as well," Slade shrugged. "But honestly Robin, even you knew that it wasn't going to take more than a day for you to give in. You're too anxious to return to civilization and see what your younger body can do."
"Hmph," Robin snorted bitterly. "Doesn't mean I like knowing that you've already planned out everything I'm going to do."
"You don't like that you've become predictable in your old age?"
"I don't like that your evil schemes are unfolding just as you planned."
"You don't know that everything is unfolding according to plan. I certainly wasn't planning on getting my face smashed into a wall today."
Robin snorted again, but this time in amusement. "Were you recording that on a hidden camera by the way? I would really like to have a copy of that footage."
"No," Slade stated simply.
"No it wasn't recorded, or no I can't have a copy?"
"Either, or both. Pick one."
Robin let out a heavy sigh and for a moment he stayed quiet, breathing slow and even. Slade closed his eye, thinking that the boy was starting to doze off, but then he spoke.
"Slade," Robin said, quietly.
"Hm?" Slade opened his eye again, staring into the darkness.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"I suppose so, although I may not feel inclined to answer it."
"Ok, well I know what you're going to say, but I'm going to ask it anyway... Bruce just recently passed away, but you had clothes here for me, in this size..."
Slade's eye shifted in Robin's direction. "That's not a question."
"How long have these clothes been here?"
"That's an odd way of asking how long I've been planning this," Slade pointed out in a flat tone.
"The clothes have been here for quite sometime. Waiting for the right moment. But don't worry, they're clean. I switch them out for fresh ones from time to time."
"How many years, Slade?"
"Oh, about twelve years now."
Robin was quiet for a moment. "All of this preparation and time must have cost you."
"It paid off in the end," the man chuckled darkly.
"But what if I would have refused you? What would you have done if I said no?"
"Ah, now we're getting somewhere. I am curious, though, what it is you think I am going to say."
"I asked you first."
"And I am your Master, so you will answer me first."
"Never mind then. Forget I said anything."
"No, clearly this has been on your mind and if you won't admit to what you are thinking, then I will tell you what you are thinking. You think that I wouldn't have accepted your refusal. You are doubting that you ever really had any choice in the matter."
"Well, did I?"
"Yes, Robin. The choice was yours to make. I would not have forced you to come here if you chose to follow Bruce's path to the grave. I would have respected your decision."
"But, all your preparation, your time and money. I don't believe you would have just thrown it all away if I had chosen death instead."
"What is time and money to someone who has a never ending supply of it? However, you are failing to see the bigger picture here, so I'm going to let you in on a little secret: You wouldn't have denied me forever, my boy. If you would have refused my offer this time, I would have waited until you were ready. Eventually you would have agreed to come with me. You would have signed your life over to me just as eagerly as you did aboard my jet. I would have owned your ass sooner or later, Robin. It was just a matter of time."
Robin's eyes had widened, staring out at nothing in the darkness. He didn't know what to say. His first thought was to be angry, but he realized he wasn't mad at Slade. He was mad at himself, because Slade was right. Robin had the free will to choose his own fate, but both he and Slade knew that there really was no other option for him. The choice had been his to make, but his decision was already made the day Slade procured the Lazerus Pit.
"Goodnight, Robin. Sleep tight," Slade said through a sinister smirk and closed his eye.
Four hours later, Slade was laying on his back with his hands behind his head and a knee raised up, tenting the blankets. He stared up at the ceiling through the darkness. He was tired, but he couldn't sleep. It had been too many years since he shared a bed with anyone (for the purpose of sleeping, anyway) and every movement Robin made, every twitch, every breath, and every moan distracted the man and kept him from falling asleep.
It wasn't entirely Robin's fault, although Slade wanted to blame his inability to relax in the boy's presence on that pheromone problem of his. However, Slade knew his body had changed even more over the years and he didn't require as much sleep anymore. He could go weeks without food, or water, or rest, and even longer without human contact.
One year, he had gotten so bored that he decided to immerse himself in the wilds of Africa until he felt something again; anything, he didn't care what, whether it was the thrill of the hunt, fear, sorrow, joy, regret... it didn't matter. But, he had stayed until his clothes had been worn to shreds and he never once felt a thing. Not even when he lead a poacher into a den of lions and watched them rip him apart. He felt nothing.
Slade knew then that he was more like a machine than a human. The perfect soldier. Exactly what the government wanted. Methodical, mechanical, indifferent, and content with being alone.
Robin mumbled something and Slade's eye shifted in the boy's direction. He smirked to himself. Well, there was always Robin... The last link he had to his past, back when he used to feel things like pride, purpose, and desire. The long lost piece of his humanity. Something he thought was dead and gone, but the boy was able to bring it out of him. And oddly enough, Slade had missed it.
"Mmph... nnoo," Robin groaned in his sleep and rolled onto his side, facing Slade.
Slade closed his eye, resting quietly while he listened to Robin's mumbled words. The boy had been talking in his sleep off and on for the past few hours.
"Ugh... nnnoo... Slade."
The man's eye popped open and he turned his head in Robin's direction.
"No... mmmore... please," the teen moaned.
The boy started gasping quietly, almost as if he were panting. Slade arched a brow. Was Robin running from him in his dream?
"Don't... Stop... ughnn," Robin panted the words out.
"Oh, I won't," Slade chuckled quietly.
"Please... Master," Robin whimpered.
"If only you would beg like that when you're awake."
"Can't... hold... onn, ugh." Robin mumbled, but Slade was able to make the words out.
"Then don't," Slade spoke with a sinister whisper. "Let go," he chuckled darkly.
"Mmm... Ahh... Yes!... SLADE!" Robin shouted, waking himself up just as his dream reached its climax, which also happened to manifest itself into a physical climax that left Slade with something rather sticky and wet running down his side.
Robin sat up with a gasp and frantically looked around in the darkness, forgetting where he was. "What the hell?" he blurted out.
"Indeed," Slade agreed.
"Slade?" Robin asked, still a little confused about what had just happened. Then his eyes widened with the sudden realization. "Holy shit, did...? Did I just...?"
"Well, at least it was good for you," Slade said in a rather bored tone from where he was still laying on his side of the bed.
Robin felt his face flush in embarrassment and he was thankful the room was dark enough to hide it. "Damn it, I can't believe this. Hell, why did I let you do this to me?" he groaned, covering his face with a hand.
"I'm not sure why, but you seemed to like it. It would appear my reputation precedes me, even in sleep." Slade tossed the blankets aside and swung his feet over the edge of the bed.
"No, I mean making me a teenager again and... Wait, what do you mean your "reputation"? What did you hear? Did I say anything?"
"Besides begging me not to stop and then yelling my name when you came all over me? No, nothing important," the man stood up and walked to the door.
Robin flopped back in bed and covered his face with his hands. "God, if you exist, please just take me now," he groaned.
"Tempting, but I could really use a shower first," Slade pulled the door open. "Go back to sleep, Robin. We'll discuss this later."
"Do we really need to bring this up ever again?" Robin asked, still hiding behind his hands.
"No, we don't need to, Robin... but that doesn't mean I won't," Slade chuckled as he left, closing the door behind him.
To be continued...
Poor Robin. I felt bad for him a little bit. It must suck being a teenage boy with enhanced senses and an abnormally high amount of hormones.
Please review really quick and let me know what you think. Did you like it, hate it, or have no opinion? Please let me know. And thank you so much for stopping by :)
Oh, and here's a little synopsis of the next chapter, because I feel bad about making you guys wait so long for an update.
Next Chapter: Will Robin and Slade finally leave the cave and return to the city? Yes, they will. And Robin couldn't be happier about getting out there and enjoying a little free time. But, he might be disappointed to find out that just because he's not stuck in a cave with Slade anymore, that doesn't mean he isn't still trapped with the man.