Summary: Sacrifices are a necessary evil, every soldier worth their title know this. AU set after invasion features an emotional vulnerable Nightwing, heroes to concerned with their own grieve and a manipulative Deathstroke.

Disclaimer: don't own

Nightwing was tired, it was becoming harder and harder to get up in the morning and face the world. On an objective level he knew what was going on, his friends were hurting from the pain of the loose they suffered. It was natural to make him into the scapegoat and turn their grieve into anger directed at him. So he smiled acted as if everything was alright, as if their looks and words had no effect on him, because that was what they needed. Even though it was destroying him slowly, he was still a hero and being a hero meant making sacrifices.

Emotional exhausted he entered his apartment, the pictures with his family and friends on the walls seemed to be mocking him with their cheerfulness. The sudden urge to destroy them cursed through his veins, yet he simply turned around, changing the once warmth atmosphere into a sterile coldness, if it hadn't been for the half eaten apple on the table the room could have passed as being for rent. He undressed and lied down, falling into a restless sleep.

"You did the right thing you know." said a smooth voice from the shadows, destroying the pleasant numbness of being half awake. Turning the little lamp on his desk on the speaker turned out to be Deathstroke the Terminator dressed as a normal civilian. Yet he didn't make a move to defend himself. Somehow he couldn't bring himself to care about his own well-being...

"Yes coming from a high function sociopath this means so much to me", he said sarcastical, but instead of angering the older male he only got an amused smirk in return.

"Would you prefer my old sergeants words? 'sacrifices are a necessary evil, one life is nothing compared to the lives of your fellow soldiers, or the more poetic version the police 'Making an unpopular decision for the common good is the mark of a good police officer.

Dick froze, those words sounded good, he whole heartily agreed with them. Yet why of all the people had it do be Slade to understand him? "What is it to you?" he asked instead in a demanding tone, trying to ignore his own slightly confused feelings.

"Do you know what I think of heroes?" asked Slade in return, making Dick rather curious so he simply shook his head. " They are civilians playing dress up, none of them really understand the world out there. But you acted like a real soldier during the inversion, to be honest I've gained a certain amount of respect for you because of it while the others lost what little I had for them."

That was unexpected to say the least, "they are not weak", Dick started a bit weakly as Slade sharply cut in," they can't handle their own emotions so they punish the man who saved billions of lives, those ignorant backstabbing civilians are weak."

He winced not only because of the harsh words, but because a small part of him agreed, didn't the billions of lives he saved matter at all?

"Answer me one thing, do you regret your actions, actions which saved billions of lives fo the price of a few heroes who willing risked their lives everyday for their cause?"

Dick paused, he mourned what his actions had done for his social life, but no he didn't regret that he saved the world...
The answer must have been written all over his face, because gave him a small pride filled smile.

"You are a soldier at heart boy, civilians shouldn't order you around or make you feel bad about yourself," the voice dropped into an almost hypnotic whisper," let me guide you and you will become great."

"I won't kill for you", he stated trying to sound much more convinced than he felt, this was the kindest conversation he had in weeks...

"I am not here because I agree with your ideals, I'm here because of your strength and I will be damned if I let the heroes destroy you."

Dick wanted to deny Slade's words, that the heroes weren't destroying him, that he was fine on his own, yet he couldn't form the words, couldn't convince his own mind to believe such lies.

"Can I think about your offer?", he asked instead. Slade nodded and left his apartment, leaving him alone to his thoughts.

Later that day he was in the tower, looking at the cold faces of his so-called friends, the words 'weak civilians' repeated themselves in his mind over and over...