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

-well I started the story because I got a little bored of Dick becoming a danger to himself after the inversion and the other heroes only thinking of him after he harms himself, not really sure where this story is going...

-sorry if the short chapters annoy you, but I don't really write fight scenes, or watch them for that matter, so the focus will be on the emotional and mental developement

-bromance and father/son relationships, writing romance and plot is still a little too much for me to handle

-here we go what do you think are both Luthor and Slade in character? Writing this was a nightmare^^

Lex Luthor leaned back in his chair, the day promised to be interesting...

Under normal circumstance an appointment with Slade Wilson was a rather simple matter. The man was one of the best in his field, a more than competent employee, one to be hired when needed for a rather delicate situation. He wasn't cheap, but quality came with a price that was not the problem. Yet it wasn't him, Lex Luthor, who wanted the meeting but Deathstroke, which created the question why? Men like Wilson, men like himself, fought their own battles, asking for help was like admitting defeat to them, so a fight should be out of question. As for his technology it was brilliant, yes, but there was little one couldn't buy and he really couldn't image Deathstroke having financial problems. The thought alone seemed absurd. Of course someone wanting him dead and getting Wilson for the job was a possibility, yet he had enough money to make the man reconsider and kill his first employer, it wouldn't be the first time something like this happened with the mercenary involved. A certain royal family was proof for that.
In conclusion he couldn't think of anything Wilson might want of him or his help for a rather disorienting feeling, how some people claimed that ignorance was bliss was beyond him.

"Mr. Wilson has arrived", sounded the voice from his secretary, a sweet looking asian woman who could kill a man within 5 seconds, a man had to keep standards hadn't he? He dismissed the idea of letting Wilson wait, until he had reason to act otherwise it was the best to keep the man in his good graces. Straightening his spin he sat with a perfect posture in his chair, that he didn't believe the man was about to become an enemy didn't mean he could show weakness either.

Slade entered, dressed in an expensive suit and a fake matching grey eye where normally sat the black eye patch. He could have easily slipped in a crowed of businessman and wouldn't leave a lasting impression, it also told Luthor that whatever was to be discussed valued secrecy while making the possibility of an assassination attempt less likely. Deathstroke had a certain honour, attacking without giving his prey a chance just wasn't his style.

They nodded in greeting and Slade sat down, "if you don't mind my schedule his rather full these days, so lets skip the pleasantries," started the mercenary smoothly. Lex's mind was racing what event could value so much of the mercenary's time? The lack of answers was infuriating, so he forced a polite smile and nodded.

"Inofficial official the city Buldhaven is my territory," stated the man, explaining nothing to Luthor. It wasn't like he would challenge his claim, the city was hatchery for criminals nothing more. And even this aspect was weakening, the former partner of Batman was making the place less welcoming and even motivated a few of the cops to become honest, leading to an interesting question.

"I do believe the oldest son of the Bat has already staked a claim," he replied, Deathstroke wasn't about to kill Nightwing was he? It would be a declaration of war to the older heroes, no matter what childish little dispute they had currently about which methods were okay to safe the world. How anyone could admire people who fought about such a thing, mindless sheep. Yet if he was, he would become the enemy number one, giving people like him a golden opportunity to plot, maybe even to destroy the heroes completely...

"My claim includes the live and well-being of Nightwing, his actions have shown an intelligence and willingness to fight superior to the other heroes. The young man has potential I believe to be wasted in his current social circle," Slade's voice was didn't leave room to question the claim. Yet Luthor wasn't convinced. Sacrificing a few pawns to win a game was hardly a sign for intelligence in his eyes. Wars had been fought like this for centuries, it had been slightly surprising that a hero would do such a thing, yet the smartest child in class for children with special needs was still no future Noble laureate. Furthermore as much information as the young hero had, he really couldn't see him betraying his family and friends.

"You want to turn him into a mercenary?", he asked to clarify, saying it out loud made it sound more like something the Joker would do, was Deathstroke loosing his edge? Or worse, was the high function sociopath becoming a simple psychopath? Who could he hire to terminate the Terminator?

"I'm taking an interest in his skills, he already to agreed to train with me", was the smug reply. His careful posture of polite interest was lost for a moment, this couldn't be true could it? Yet why would Wilson lie about such a thing?

A smirk hushed over Slade's lips, causing him to reach instinctively for the emergency alarm. "The necessary sacrifice he made isn't something the heroes seem to understand, making him question the adults he had come to worship since a very early age. No matter which decisions he is going to make, the path is more than interesting to me, honestly he reminds me a little of myself." No there was nothing insane in Slade's words or actions as far as he could discern. Had the young hero really so much potential? Could the young male become more than a multicoloured copy of the Bat with bad jokes?

"What exactly is my place in your plans?", he asked instead, his mind starting to reëxamine every fact he had about Nightwing.

"I would appreciate if the word spread that any villain of a certain caliber deciding to visit Buldhaven will die a very painful death. Nightwing has still strong bonds to the other heroes and it wouldn't do for them to reconnect during a battle." This sounded like a very careful thought of plan, no delusions just plain facts, lord if Deathstroke really could get Nightwing to betray his friends and family? Was there any hero the golden child didn't have a connection and knowledge of? Image Superman being sold out by his beloved nephew...

"I assure you will get time for your experiment", he said in his best charming politician voice. It seemed as if he just gained a new source of entertainment, either watching a hero fall from grace or seeing the almighty Deathstroke fail...