"A good question, Raven."

His vile words sprung along with his body as he leapt into the air, roaring as he pounded his powerful fist into the ground. Jumping over the limp Robin and Beast Boy alike, she dodged such an attack and landed expertly on her feet a foot away from where he still crouched.

Giving her a glare, he started a dance of kicks, twirling uniformly in the air and swiping his foot. Putting up black shields, her forearms and hands sparkling with black, she blocked him at every attempt. They were getting nowhere, until he knocked her legs out from under her.

Falling with a defeated crash, she squirmed away before he could reach her, and as his hand attempted a grip, she cried and a massive black claw shattered him into the roof, a mess of little rocks marking the hit.

Pushing her hood up, she stood and brushed off, keeping her eyes peeled for any movement. It came from the right, and delivered a devastatingly hit to her side. Sliding far enough to hit a wall, she gasped with pain, the adrenaline proving to be far less effective.

She didn't have much time.

Within seconds he emerged from the shadows with a charge, and she narrowly avoided having her head cracked in two. She sent a punch, a light one, but strong enough to send him off balance. Quickly, she engulfed his chest in her unbreakable energy, and gave him a throw around.

Flinging him against the ground, the ceiling, anything cement-related, she used both her arms and finally let him go, chucking him back into the dark.

Thoroughly drained, she came down to all fours, breathing heavily. That had to be the last of him. She had spared nothing, hesitated minimally, and all signs pointed to his knockout or even his demise.

Slade was never so easy.

A sharp crack across his mask along with a multitude of splintering marked his vulnerability, along with rips in the uniform, but he sauntered back to her. He wasn't one to give up quite so easily.

"Dear child, you're going to be begging for the end when I'm done with you."

"Wanna bet?" she snapped, collecting any vigor she had left, and with a flicker her powers responded, but the tank was on low.

"Getting tired, are we?" he noticed wickedly. "That's funny, I'm just getting started."

He ran forward and knocked her down with a powerful fist, and she hit the cement hard. Still hanging onto consciousness, she saw his metal boot before her.

"Maybe healing the dog wasn't in your best interest after all."

"Don't call him that!" she defended, tossing a rope of obsidian at his head, she yanked his skull down to her level ruthlessly.

Shakily standing she placed her hands in position, holding onto him steadily.

His mask was withering away at her touch by the second, grinding away slowly. She would shed his flesh, rip his skin from his bones, and would enjoy every minute of it. Finally, she was going to get her revenge.

Her palm rose in the air, signaling a beginning to his pain, but she couldn't bring herself to do it.

His eye remained fixed on hers, goading her to follow the same path he did, and she glared all the more, pressed her teeth together in a tearful snarl.

He killed your friends. He hurt you, them, and everyone he ever came into contact with. He deserves the worst. The red cloak whispered in her ear. Kill him.

He's a sad man, doing so would only make things worse. The white cloak countered. Leave him to his own pain.

We can't trust him to stop. It should end here.

Let the justice system handle him, let him pay fairly for what he's done.

He deserves death. That is his punishment, here, and in the courts.

That's not for us to decide.

"What are you waiting for, Raven?" he weighed in, his voice faltering in the restriction of her power. "Kill me. It's what you want to do."

His tactics, his schemes, and her ultimate defiance against all of them seemed useless. Everything boiled down to this moment. It didn't take a thorough trick or well devised plan to make her his apprentice. Living or dead, he was going to corrupt her, somehow, someway.

"It should end here," she debated, her vicious glower enhancing as she looked upon this monstrous creature. "You killed Cyborg, Starfire…Terra. You are probably going to do away with Robin and Beast Boy, too... It's all your fault! Everything!"

His eye narrowed classically.

"Will killing me bring your precious friends back?"

Her palm curled, the prison around his head tightened.

"I. Didn't. Think. So," he struggled to say against the crushing of his cranium.

"It may not bring them back, but I don't think any of them would mind it!"

"Don't be so sure…" he growled.

"I should kill you," she cut in.

Not even acknowledging her, he simply rolled his one good eye, still able to act sarcastically evil even in his predicament.

"Really, Raven, we don't have all day. Decide."

"I can take as long as I damn well please!"

"No, you can't."

So caught up in her morality, she hadn't noticed that he had sneakily opened his forearm, and easily pressed a trigger before she could wrap him up in more magic.

In anguish, she snapped his legs behind his back and demented his figure.

"Not a bright idea, Slade."

Out of the corner of her eye, a bloodied, but in a healthy state, Beast Boy walked briskly forward upon the pair, awakened by his owner's call.

Caught in a quandary, she was using all her force to keep the struggling Slade occupied, the boy could easily take her out with a tackle or a well executed punch.

"Beast. Attack." Slade managed to spit out even as his head was bent back, his legs in two different directions, his arms crackling abnormally.

Instinctively he stepped forward to carry out his master's will.

"No, Beast Boy! Stop, you don't have to listen to him. It can all end, right now."

His foot came back into place.

"Didn't you hear me dog? Attack. Now!"

"Quiet." Raven hissed, focusing the squeeze of her power on his throat.

"Stop hurting master," the boy snarled, his body sprouting fur.

"He deserves it!" she retorted, not even looking at the boy, a tear falling down her face.

"Stop hurting master!" he repeated angrily, the fangs in his jaw growing, sharpening.


Growling ferociously, he charged as a lion and swiped her aside, breaking her connection to Slade. She flew against the wall with a crunch and dizzily fell to the ground.

Lifting her head, she saw Slade's freedom and his struggle to stand again.

"No…what have you done?" she breathed out. "It was all going to be over…"

"Impressive feat you did there, Raven, but you lack the guts," Slade critiqued, his chest barely heaving into life as Beast Boy helped him stand. "I, on the other hand, do not."

Limping to her, he grabbed onto her cloak easily, she was exhausted, no fight left and a gash marking her side. He lifted her against the wall, his hand holding up her wilted form as he prepared to snap her neck in half. Beast Boy approached timidly, taping Slade on the shoulder.

"Master…maybe she could still be—"

"Silence, pet. She defied me, and must pay the price."

Furrowing his brow, he poked the man again.

"What if…?"

"Quiet, dog, or you can be in her place."

Gulping, he remembered her idealistic words.

"Can't we just-"

Dropping her to the ground, he flipped around and struck out brutally, sending the gray teen flying.

"Where did you get such insolence?" Slade cried out, sauntering rigidly after the boy. "I gave you an order. Why do you disobey me?"

"I-I only wish to see…"

"You wish?" he interrupted yet again quickly coming up to where the boy now lay.

Pressing a foot into the boy's chest as he spat up blood, he continued his tirade:

"You have no say in anything. Your opinions are worthless. I am the master here. I am the one who controls your fate. I allow you to live only because I tolerate your presence. You live to serve me."

"You allow me to live because you're afraid!" the apprentice yelled back, new power rising.

"Afraid? Of what? You? Preposterous, child. I could have killed you before, and done it easily, too. Where are you getting these foolish ideas of free will?"

His black eyes flicked to the girl who remained still upon the rusty floor and back to the man threatening him, Slade followed his gaze and glared cruelly.

"I see."

He whisked away from Beast Boy, who was pleading with an outstretched hand as he left.

"No, wait, master! Wait! I didn't mean it!"

"After she dies, it will be all over," Slade spoke as he strode.

"No! No! Please, stop! I'll be good, I'll stop defying you, I swear!"

"The fact you ask for anything is a testament to your lack of respect. It ends here, don't worry, pet. Once she's dead, everything will return to what it was before."

Flicking a knife out, he would watch the blood drain and her eyes glaze over quickly. As much as he wanted to torture the girl, every second she spent near his slave was only corrupting him further.

"Please…no!" Beast Boy screamed as Slade lifted her against the wall, his arm swinging up as he intended to stab.

"Quoth the raven…"


Beast Boy ran up, in the form of desperate cheetah, and before the blade could come upon her throat he intercepted it, the knife running in between his shoulder blades. With a yelp he hobbled away, whimpering as he went.

"Idiot boy! Look what you did…" Slade snarled, clearly unhappy that all the hard work on breaking the child was now ruined.

Slade came next to the swaying cheetah and removed the knife from his back with a squeeze.

"I guess I'll just have to take the girl instead," he sighed out, flicking liquid off the blade. "Too bad, for I was really starting to enjoy myself."

Eyes wide, the cat roared and swiped behind him, knocking the man back. Not wasting time, for his master taught him well, he thrashed his grizzly bear claws into him over and over again. Slade threatened a pierce with his knife, but Beast Boy knocked it away and dug his overgrown nails into the man again.

Forcing him to the ground, he switched to a variety of animals, each one having their fill of destroying the demented owner. When he was done, his paws, talons, fingers were covered in blood and he stood, observing his kill.

The thick, scarlet liquid certainly seeped, but it didn't look as damaging as he thought, yet Slade's eye was firmly closed.

Giving one last glance, he turned to check on the girl…Raven.

Hearing the shuffle of his feet, Slade rose to a crouch, prepared to start the fighting again.

His ears pricked at the sound and he shed his skin and replaced it with intimidating stripes. He charged back and tore the mask off the surprised man and dug his massive, sharpened, crazed teeth in, tearing his façade apart.

The eye never left though, Slade's dead pupil still observed him even as he left the corpse in bloody tethers, the brain oozing blood out through the left side of his face.