Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chapter Thirty-Three: Just Make It Stop

Warning: This chapter contains a violent fight sequence and psychological trauma. What goes on within the fight is very important though, so my recommendation is to just read the dialogue if you don't want to read the fight. You should get about the same understanding of the events of the chapter. Just wanted to put that out there. You have been warned.


Chapter Thirty-Three: Just Make It Stop

The only really good thing about having an internal digital clock was that you always knew what time it was. Even then, that could always be so easily turned against him. Like this morning, for example. Cyborg had been up all night, working on the Titans' database information hub center. The subject? Jump City criminals. He was starting to understand a little bit as to why Robin had never gotten any sleep.

Currently, two others on the Titans roster were awake. Raven was off to the side reading while Beast Boy was busy making tofu French toast. It was probably partially because that sounded like such a disgusting combination of food in his head and partially because he was massively tired, but somehow, Beast Boy's antics this morning had done nearly everything to set him off. It was practically a miracle (or maybe Raven's doing) that he hadn't sucker-punched the little booger through the front windows straight towards China.

But being the oblivious one that he was, Beast Boy never got the warning signs that Cyborg had sent. So instead of dissolving the relatively calm situation into a fight, the temporary head of the Titans got up and decided to give himself a break. He really did need one anyway... He began heading towards his room when he saw Starfire down the hall opening a door that led to the roof. While he normally wouldn't have bothered asking what she was doing, curiosity got the best of him when he saw a pink backpack strapped to her back.

"Hey, Starfire!" He called down to her.

Starfire turned to see him, "Oh, hello, friend Cyborg. Uh, nice day, isn't it?"

He walked over to her, forcing a peasant smile on his face, "Uh, yeah, I guess..."

He eyed her bag, "So what's that you got there?"

"Oh, uh, this?" Starfire said, clearly feeling uncomfortable, "Uh, well, you see, I..."

"Looks heavy," Cyborg noted.

"Well, relatively speaking, yes, but with my enhanced strength on this planet it is..." Starfire trailed off as she saw Cyborg cross his arms and look down at her. There was no way she could skit around the subject, "I... uh... I am sorry friend. I..."

"You're worried, aren't ya?" Cyborg asked.

Starfire nodded, "I do not understand why friend Robin has not called us or why he has not come home and nothing I do can put my mind at ease..."

"We're all worried, Star, but what were you going to do? Go to Gotham and find him?" Cyborg asked.

"It is not..." Starfire sighed, "I... I can respect Robin's orders. I did not expect to find him there. But that is not... I was not planning on going there..."

"Huh?" Cyborg asked, surprised, "Where you going to go?"

"I... do not know," She confessed, "I... I just do not understand why people behave certain ways on Earth. And I do not mean to offend you or the others, but I do not feel like I can simply wait here. It makes me... nervous..."

Cyborg nodded and sighed. He looked at Star, who's head was bent low. Of all the Titans, the changes in Robin's life worried her the most. They all knew how close she was to him – how much she had been thinking about him. He was her best friend and the lack of communication, after a month... realizing it now, he could see why she was fretting so much. Perhaps it would be good if she left for a little while. Get her mind off things in Jump or even maybe work a little to find out what was going on with him (and Cyborg was almost certain that she would).

"Alright then," He said, "Why don't you just go take a break, a vacation or whatever, alright?"

"Huh?" Starfire looked up at him.

"You were just about to leave, weren't you?" Cyborg asked, his smile now softer, "Go on, take some time off. I'd get the rest of the Titans to go with you, but I think it's best if the rest of us stay here. That cool?"

"Oh..." Starfire's face instantly brightened. She flew up and gave Cyborg the biggest hug in the world, making him glad that he was half robot, because man did her hugs hurt. "Thank you, friend Cyborg! Thank you! I apologize for not planning to say goodbye, but I did not think... Oh thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

"Yeah..." Cyborg managed, "Uh, Starfire? Can you, uh, let me go now? You're denting my... steel-plated armor."

"Oh," She released him, "I am sorry. Forgive me. But oh, thank you!"

She flew to the door, her bag at hand, "Thank you. I will contact you soon. I promise."

"No problem, Star," Cyborg said, rubbing his shoulder, "Take care, alright?"

"I will," Starfire said, "See you the soon!"

With that, the Tamaranian flew up and out of sight. Cyborg rolled his eyes and began walking to his room once again. Upon reaching his room, he went straight for his bed, collapsing on the hard metal like it was a meadow of pillows. He plugged himself into his charger and laid back. As his sleep mode kicked in, he figured that he'd tell the others about Starfire's departure later. It might not have been the best idea to let her go and leave only three Titans present in Jump, but they'd deal with it.

Besides, it could always be worse.


The long hours within the meat house had remained mostly cold and quiet ones. Lonely ones too, if Robin didn't count all of the dead animals around him, which were ever so hard not to notice. At some point, he had just shut his eyes and tried to rest, shut everything else out, hoping that somehow, he could ignore the insanity that was his life. When Slade had finally come to let him out, there had been no words exchanged. Only a bitter glare from Robin and of course, an uninterested expression from his captor.

The few days that followed were quiet ones, too. When given an order, Robin did what he was told to do quickly and did so without a word. It wasn't because he had given in. It was more like his mind was too preoccupied with everything that had happened in the recent months. Everything kept building, like a tower, a precariously perched tower. When it would fall over was anyone's guess.

The silence of the estate had reached everyone, including Slade and Adeline. Everyone just got what needed to be done, done. No questions asked. Perhaps Slade, though, was the only one who didn't seem disturbed or stressed by this. Adeline couldn't believe her own behavior. She hadn't fought Slade since that night and she somehow felt nervous to even remind him. She wasn't afraid of him. No, it was never that. She was afraid of what she would do. It was like being in the same room with him... would she slip back like she had before? She couldn't bear the thought.

When she finally saw Robin for the first time after the incident, she got tongue-tied. She knew that he deserved an explanation. Of all things to see a friend or even a confident flirting, okay, kissing the enemy, the betrayal of trust that Robin must have been feeling... She couldn't imagine. She had to tell him...

"Dick..." She started.

Dick stopped cleaning one of the dishes in his hands.


Slade walked in, "Are you done?"

Dick looked over at him and back at the sink, working once again. That was it though, she had been shot down. For the ten minutes that it had taken her to build up the confidence to tell him, she lost it within the few seconds that Slade had entered the room. She couldn't take it and walked out of the room, her heals making a clicking sound against the tiles. She hated him.

And Robin ignored her. He remembered what it was like to be betrayed before, with Terra and what she did to the Titans because of Slade's influence... And Robin was pretty much certain that there wasn't anything more influential than getting kissed by someone you were head over heals for. From what he had seen, Ms. Kane fit that description. After everything that she had told him, he should have figured that having her on his side was too good to be true. She was still alive because she was in cahoots with Slade. It was the only logical reason and now it was all too plain and clear for him not to see it.

The only downside to the silence in the puppeteer's mind (as he wasn't all that concerned with Robin finding out about his and Adeline's past relationship), was that the focus, the progress, was at a standstill. The boy was clinging to the shock, which prevented him from getting closer to accepting his new position. He needed something to get Robin to react. He could wait, as always... It was just a question as to whether he really wanted to. Besides, there really wouldn't be any real harm in edging Robin's progress along and wasn't his goal to have Robin progress? Perhaps a change in pace was all Robin needed...

As Adeline walked out of the room, Robin continued washing the dishes. Slade knew Robin was paying attention to him, though he made no signs of it. What that meant to him though was that it was as good a time as ever to talk to him.

"We'll be having dinner in the main room, casual, tonight," Slade said.

Robin glanced up and over to him, meeting his gaze before nodding once and returning to his work, a passive expression covering his face. Slade put his hand on Robin's shoulder and instantly felt Robin attempt to control the tightening of his muscles.

"I expect good behavior out of you, as always," Slade said, before releasing him and exiting the room.

When he was alone, save for the cameras of course, Robin finished his work and looked up at the clock. It was six thirty, meaning that dinner would be soon. He walked back to his room to change, thinking how sad it was that he actually knew his way around his prison so well. It had never really gotten to this point in previous detainments when they had battled in Jump...

He changed into dark leans and a loose, but decent white t-shirt. He didn't bother using hair gel much anymore and this time merely combed it with a slight part at the front. It was half an inch longer than normal since he hadn't gotten the chance to cut it. Looking at his reflection in the mirror, he paused briefly. Despite his body feeling sluggish, his mind felt semi-alert. The only thing really slowing him down was the reality of just how long he had actually been here. He was tired of it, sick and tired of it, and annoyed at himself because of it. He shouldn't be here. He should be in Gotham where he needed... to... be... The clock changed to six fifty eight. Dinner was near ready. He left to go to the main room.

It took him a minute to get there, so he waited thirty seconds before he opened the door to see both Slade and Ms. Kane standing in opposite corners of the room. Slade, as always, remained in his uniform, the mask off this time while Ms. Kane took up a skirt and blouse. Slade looked over and smiled, making Robin's eyes widen slightly. It was just an instinct, a reaction that he had developed over the weeks he had been there so that he could be ready whenever Slade might have the upper hand. But of course this time, it was nothing.

He thought.

"Well, let's sit down. Wintergreen has already left out an appetizer," Slade said, gesturing towards the table.

Adeline eyed it and Robin before making his way over to pull out the seat to the left of Slade. Robin pretended to take no note of her and sat down across the table from her. Slade pulled out his own chair and casually took to dinner quicker than the others did. However, they all finished within ten minutes, without a word spoken.

Wintergreen took their dishes and they waited for him to return with the main course. 'So much for casual,' Robin thought. He failed to notice Slade's eye ignoring him. It had settled on Adeline instead. He knew that she felt an urge to explain the other night to Robin. He was also willing to bet that Robin wouldn't hear it. The timing couldn't be better.

"Adeline, you haven't persisted in having our daily spar," Slade said, and sure enough, they both looked up, "Have you conceded, then?"

Adeline ignored the question and looked over at Robin, who had gone back to looking down at his lap as Wintergreen brought in three steaks and placed them in front of the three diners.

"Dick, don't think that..." Adeline started.

Robin glared up at her, waiting, and Slade could almost see the tension the comment had sparked in the room. Adeline silenced herself before gulping down a hard breath and continuing.

"It wasn't like that. I haven't been..."

"Are you serious?!" Robin demanded, standing up, "That's your explanation?! 'It wasn't like that'?!"

"Sit down, Robin," Slade said calmly.

"Shut up!" Robin spat, and Slade's eyes narrowed. Come on...

"You're both... both..." Robin struggled to find the words, his hands up in the air as though trying to grasp the phrase, "Argh, it's so... I can't believe I was so stupid to trust you! You're sick and I'm disgusted to even know you!"

"Dick..." Adeline pleaded.

"No!" Robin yelled, his chest pounding, as weeks of anger and frustration began to tumble out of his mouth, "I hate you! I hate you both! You're cruel and demented and you can't think of anyone but yourselves!"

"That's enough," Slade said, hinting at the possible trouble Robin was about to get himself into.

"No! You're not the boss of me! I'm almost seventeen! Neither of you are and I don't have to take orders from either of you! Ever!" Robin told him.

At this point, Slade stood up as well, towering over both of them. Adeline looked over at Slade, a sudden worry reaching down into her gut. What was he... Slade's eye kept Robin's gaze, but the Boy Wonder didn't move.

"You don't have any right to tell me to do anything. I'm going back to Gotham and there's nothing you can do about it," Robin whispered, each word trembling just enough...

To both of Robin's and Adeline's surprised, a deep rich chuckle began to make it's way out of Slade's mouth, until it became a roar. Adeline stepped back and suddenly, Robin didn't feel as confident as he had been moments earlier.

"The right?" Slade asked, "I have every right."

Robin kept his teeth together and shook his head, "No... no, you don't, you don't!"

He swung his arm out to reinforce his point, when Slade grabbed his wrist and swung it around, forcing Robin onto the table with a hard 'Slam!'

"Slade!" Adeline yelled, but before she could do anything, Slade threw Robin against the chinaware cabinet, littering the ground with shards of broken glass.

"Slade, what are you doing?!" Adeline asked, panicked.

Slade looked and coolly walked over to her, gesturing, or rather guiding her towards the exit. While holding her arms as she stumbled backwards trying to force her way over to Robin. The word gesture was being used extremely loosely in this regard.

"Forgive me, Addie, but I think Robin and I need some time alone," Slade said.

"Slade, wait, stop..." She pushed against him, but that's when he reached the exit and gave her a final shove and slammed the door.

She almost tripped and fell over, but she caught herself. Not in time, however, to reach the door before Slade locked it. Adeline jingled the handle. No. No...!

"Slade!" She yelled, "Slade!"

Slade could hear her muffled yells on the other side, but ignored them as he heard glass rustling around. He turned his attention to see Robin on his knees, blood streaking down the side of his face from the right side of his forehead, his jaw aching from the previous impact with the table. His shirt was slightly red, too... The headache was splitting, but Robin forced himself to get back up. For Gotham...

"I'm not going down that easily," Robin said, standing up.

He leapt forward, kicking out, though missing Slade completely. He swung his arm out and landed a fist on Slade's side, but that only allowed Slade to take advantage of his motion and swing him straight into the corner of the kitchen window. He could feel a bruise already forming by his stomach and the loose fabric that had torn from his shirt. Whether the bruise had split open, he couldn't tell as he gasped and attempted to dodge Slade's next attack that sent him spiraling to the floor.

He attempted to roll away, but felt himself being lifted up by his hair, "This isn't easy?"

Slade was taunting him. He head butted Slade's chin away and flipped over to the other side of the room, near the centerpiece. Slade smiled, and walked around the table, ignoring the banging on the door and the yells coming from behind it.

"What's the matter, not going to hit me?"

He was getting to him. He could see it.

"Argh!" Robin lunged forward but was instantly slammed into the armrest of the sofa, falling to the ground, though he skidded along to the windows.

"You claim to be so unhappy," Slade said, walking over.

"And I am!" Robin yelled.

He wasn't being taken seriously and he hated it. He was never taken seriously. Never...

"Hey," Slade said, holding his arms open, "I'm not saying that you're not."

Robin's jaw dropped, but before he knew what was happening, Slade had him in a tight headlock.

"But do you want to know why you're not happy?" Slade said, holding the teen's neck tightly.

Robin gasped and choked, struggling to pull Slade's arm off, but at the same time, he was becoming disoriented from the lack of oxygen. The headache became a migraine.

"It's because you won't accept your new life," Slade whispered.

New life? Robin panicked, he elbowed Slade in the gut and tumbled away, coughing a bit to relieve his bruised throat.

"As what?" He yelled, backing away.

Slade merely took out his staff and swatted it at the Boy Wonder, who did a backwards somersault to land out of the way. Robin dodged out of the way again as Slade attacked and used it to slide out towards the kitchen door, hoping that it would be open. It was locked. He barely managed to knock himself out of the way.

"As my apprentice," Slade coolly answered.

Just like all of those times before. Robin jumped to one of the mounted fixtures and held himself there, despite feeling bits of glass digging into his hand. He wished that Slade would just let this apprentice thing go...

"No! You killed Bruce! You took everything from me!" Robin argued, "I'm not going to be your apprentice! Not now, not ever!"

Slade chuckled and merely tossed one of the many jars at Robin's hand. The boy dodged it, but tumbled to the floor. He shook his head, but couldn't get his thoughts aligned before he felt Slade pick him up and drag him over to the dinner table, miraculously still as though it hadn't been touched. Robin struggled against Slade's grip, but it was hopeless.

"I'm interested," Slade said, picking up a steak knife left at Adeline's dish, "I took everything from you?"

He couldn't be intimidated.

Bang! Bang!

The door kept twitching.

"You killed Bruce! You took me away from my friends!" Robin cried out.

Slade chuckled, "What friends?"

Robin didn't have time to process it as he felt the cool metal being pressed against the side of his arm and chest, just before it would tear the skin.

"Those Titans, that used you?" Slade asked, "Those 'friends' that saw you as pathetic and weak?"

"They didn..." Robin gasped as he felt the knife threaten to push through.

Slade held it there ever so carefully, without lifting a finger.

"You know they did, Robin," Slade whispered, "I think you were smart to send them away..."

Robin shook his head at the 'compliment', "You killed Bruce, you killed Bruce..."

"And why should you care?" Slade asked.

As the banging and screaming from outside the room continued, he added, "When he never did?"

Robin struggled instinctively, accidentally drawing blood through scratches made by the teeth of the knife, which dripped down the metal. He sucked in his breath, the stinging almost like being shocked by an electric plug. And suddenly, Robin heard his own logic killing every bit of hope inside of him.

"You think I don't care about your well being?" Bruce whispered and looked down at Dick.


"And why would that be?" Bruce asked, leaning in and challenging the statement.

"How about 'you'd take everything I ever had away'?" Dick asked, finding a silent road blocker.

No. He was wrong. He had been wrong. Bruce had protected him. He had...

"You could never argue with him," Slade whispered, "His word was law."

Slade tossed Robin to the floor and the Boy Wonder quickly moved out towards the kitchen window sill. He had to fight this. He needed to win... for Bruce... But this time was different. Slade wasn't holding back. It was... scary. And for whatever reason, the shock, not making the first strike, the disorientation... Robin didn't know which was the cause, maybe they all were, but Slade was like something shooting through the wind at him. He moved quickly and with enough force to make a good dent in a car at the very least. As soon as he was fully conscious of it, Robin attempted to keep himself from shaking.

"What was his excuse for his orders?" Slade asked, curious, "To protect you? Why didn't he teach you to be able to protect yourself?"

Robin leapt out of the way, avoiding a punch coming his way, and clung to one of the wall decorations.

"I'll answer that one," Slade said, looking up, watching Robin's terrified expression.

For that moment, he really thought that this man was actually going to kill him.

"Because he wanted to control you."

Robin shook his head. No. No...


Slade found the bo-staff that had been leaning to the side, twisting his fingers around it. He knew that Robin could take this. After all, the boy was incredibly resistant to pain and of course, Robin needed to be brought face to face with everything. Everything that he had been avoiding since he arrived...

"No? Break free from those ridiculous lies, Robin," Slade said, "You have such great potential. I can see it now, just by watching you."

Robin's grip on the wall piece tightened, his fingers going numb.

"He just never gave you the right training," Slade said, before tossing the bo-staff up at the piece, causing Robin to dodge out of the way. However, his shoe lace caught hold of one of the antlers he had been holding onto, ripping his shoe off and throwing him off balance.

He landed under the dinner table, a few shards of glass digging into his back. He felt woozy...

"I don't care!" Robin yelled, scooting away from Slade's feet.

"Why?" Slade tossed a chair away, making Robin back away further.

"Because he gave you a life after your parents passing?" Slade demanded, "Did he give you a family?"

Robin paused as did Slade. Ye...

Slade laughed and Robin recoiled, backing towards the opposite side of the table, "What kind of family uses people, each other?"

Robin turned. He had to make a run for it. He had to get out of here. He had... Suddenly, he heard the sound of something being tossed at him, splitting the still air and instantly, sharp pains reached his back and he screamed, falling to the floor. It was like several leaches had spread their reach through out his whole back and were sucking the blood out of him. The bruises thickening from a brown to a deep purple-blue.

As he looked up, he saw a broken chair in front of him, a few of the legs slightly ripped out of place. He gasped as he felt Slade lift him up by the shirt.

"I know it hurts," Slade cooed to him softly.

Robin shook his head, spreading the migraine towards the front of his forehead from the back of his neck.

"To think that you haven't had a family..." Slade commented.

Then Slade's eye met Robin's, "I can give you that, Robin."

Robin's mouth opened slightly as Slade continued, "I can give you what your parents wanted for you. I can help you succeed, be a teacher to you."

"No," Robin said, "They wouldn't want me to..."

"Be happy?" Slade asked.

Robin stopped, before Slade threw him back towards the fireplace. He hit the other sofa.

"I can give you a life again," Slade said, the sinister edge back in his voice.

"I don't want that kind of life!" Robin yelled, crawling away.

Slade ignored him, "Something Batman never did."

"No!" Robin felt his eyes becoming wet.

He loved his life before. He wanted to keep it. He wanted to laugh and joke with his friends and he wanted to drive through the streets of Gotham, flying past skyscrapers... Even if Bruce was dead. Even if... He had to keep his promise, become his successor... What kind of life would it be to live in terror? The kind of terror he was feeling now. He instinctively felt Slade reaching down to grab him by the collar again. He leapt out of the way to one of the wall hangings again, but this time, he didn't stop there and leapt up to the ceiling chandelier above the dinner table, holding on for dear life, hoping that it would hold him.

"Think of yourself for once," Slade said, "Live so that you can be happy!"

"I won't be happy!" Robin yelled, "I'm not going to follow you! I'm not! And I never will!"

Slade walked over to the table and picked up the bloody steak knife. Robin looked down and was able to duck the spinning blade...

But it hit the chandelier's hold instead.

It came crashing down and somehow, by the skin of his teeth, Robin forced himself over to the sofa next to the table, falling to the floor with his momentum. He felt his right foot twist awkwardly and he cried out, his nerves all sending the same painful messages to his brain. He shook his head and slowly forced his way up, standing blearily, before he heard it, from behind. The Boy Wonder spun around to see Slade coming straight at him. Slade caught hold of his two wrists and slammed the boy into the coffee table, and Robin heard it cracking beneath him. He struggled to get free, to get out as Slade hovered over him from the side.

"Stop," Slade ordered.

Robin looked up at him instantly, their eyes never moving, "Just accept it."

Robin couldn't move, like his brain wasn't functioning. Slade was mere inches away from him.

"I did this for your benefit Robin," Slade told him, "Just look at you."

Robin shook his head; strands of hair held together by sweat fell from to the sides of his head or clung to his neck. As Slade's grip on his left arm loosened, he tried to free himself, only to feel Slade grab him harder and within a second's notice, pull his arm out of the shoulder socket. Robin gasped several times, the pain reaching down his arm, parallelizing him for the moment and making it difficult to remember to breathe.

"Look at what you can become," Slade said, gesturing down to Robin's toned arm and then to his chest, which was exposed in places where his shirt had torn, bringing Robin's focus to just how much he had trained himself already.

But he hated Slade being in his face. He hated Slade even pointing at him. It made him struggle further and it became harder to think straight as he frantically, desperately wanted...

Make it stop...

"They never let you," Slade whispered, "And never would..."

"Please..." Robin begged.

He had to get out. He had to keep his promise, to Bruce. The banging and the faint yells from the door wouldn't stop and it only mad his headache worse...

"How very sad... That you were in a position like that for so long..."


Slade smacked Robin in the face and brought his hand up to grab Robin's chin again, a few of his fingers grasping at the boy's neck as well, forcing the boy to look at him. Robin struggled to free himself, an ever fading fight as Slade held his wrist while his fingers and palm twisted frantically... though that too began to die.

"You do not give me orders," Slade whispered sinisterly.

Robin felt mute, unable to say anything, any words to defend himself, his eyes wetter than they had ever been in the last few weeks.

Slade laughed amused, "Has it finally gotten through to you?"

Robin remained frozen as Slade continued, "What am I to you?"

Robin gasped and swallowed, trying desperately in his mind to not answer... He just wanted it to stop.

"I'm waiting," Slade whispered, to the torn and bleeding boy looking up at him.

"...master..." Robin's lips finally muttered, trembling.

"What was that?" Slade edged on.

"Master!" Robin yelled, terror taking over his will to remain silent.

Slade smiled, "That's right, Robin... But what else?"

What else?

Robin's mind rewound everything. Everything that Slade had ever said, done. Wasn't 'Master' good enough... Slade saw Robin's masked eyes freeze. He had found 'what else'. Robin looked up at him like he was crazy. He couldn't say that. He could never say that. How could... He couldn't do that! The constant banging on the door didn't even register anymore.

"I said 'what else'?" Slade repeated, leaning forward so that Robin could feel Slade's hot breath tickling his neck and cheek, causing him to shiver because... he really was afraid.

"No... no, no... please, don't make me..."

Slade lifted Robin up briefly and slammed him back into the table, making Robin feel as though he had cracked his skull, the rest of his body, losing any form of sense. The boy yelped.

"What else!?" Slade demanded.

Robin gasped, the tears finally recognizing their place, purpose, as he felt like he was dieing inside.

I'm sorry.

Robin muttered something that barely qualified as a word, not even able to look at Slade

"What was that?" Slade asked him.

Robin looked up at him, submissively, "... father..."

"I couldn't quite hear that," He egged.

"FATHER!" Robin screamed, "Father! You're, you're a father... to me... a father..."

And with that, Robin felt the tears, flowing past his eyes, the mask and he felt his chest heave up and down as he sobbed. What kind of person was he...

I'm sorry.

Slade leaned back, to his own surprise, finally satisfied. The boy kept sobbing even after he let him go, all the while, the boy's lips moved back and forth as though repeating the same inaudible line. Robin cried on the table, unable to take it. His head was killing him; his body was numb except for pin points where the pain was overwhelming. And all the while, the worst thing about it was the absolute hate for himself, which washed over him, like he couldn't feel it, however much he wanted to. Slade patted Robin's cheek twice, before holding it which, each time to Robin felt like he was being stung with a venomous poison.

"That's my boy."

Just outside, Adeline continued to bang on the door, her throat beginning to become horse and sore from yelling so much, "Slade! Slade! Let me in! Slade, come on! Slade!"

She was cut short as the door pulled open and the sight in front of her made her stomach heave. His pants had a few holes in them as though they had been caught on a corner. His shirt held the same lackluster, though parts also looked as though the fabric had been severely stretched and he was missing a shoe... She stepped back as Slade walked past her, carrying a boy in his arms. A bruised, bloody, tear stained, crying boy, who didn't even seem to care what was going on around him. She only caught a few words coming from Dick that both startled and alarmed her.

"I'm sorry... I'm, I'm sorry, please... I'm sorry..." He continued, barely uttering the words from his mouth as he rested against Slade's chest as Slade held him up by his back and the backs of his knees, the boy's feet and arms dangling limply down towards the ground.

"...Slade?" Adeline finally managed, "What... what happened?"

Slade could hear the scared tone in her voice, but as he was prone to do, solemnly answered, "He'll be alright."

And he walked off without so much as stopping, leaving her to stand in shock in the empty hallway. The whole way there, Slade continued to hear Robin apologizing. To who or for what, he really didn't feel like it mattered. He opened the door to Robin's room and carefully, placed the boy on the bed.

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."

He walked over to a small chest in the corner and opened it up to reveal a small syringe. Robin didn't even seem to notice. This would help him, for now, to calm down. Slade cleaned a patch of skin on Robin's arm and carefully slipped the needle underneath it. Gently, he pushed it in allowing it to take hold of Robin's conscious.

"... i'm sorry... i'm sorry..."

"Shhh..." Slade whispered, "There's nothing to be sorry for."

Robin gasped weakly and shook his head barely... "... i'm... sorry..."


Slade watched as Robin fell asleep and the tears begin to cake on his face and under his mask as the last thing Robin saw was a faint green glow from a fading memory... It was amazing really. After months of planning, a month of working with the boy, weakening his mental walls guarding whatever the Bat had told him were worthy of such protection... He had done it. Robin knew who he was now. Robin was his Apprentice and he was Robin's Master. He looked away, the last piece of what he had done finally catching up to him.

How extraordinary it was... the thing that he had created. From a successor, he had somehow managed to gain a son as well. It was a feeling that he hadn't felt in ages. The pride one haves from being... a father. While perhaps, he realized that he had never been fully adept to recognizing or acknowledging that desire of being a father, the feeling, to have it fulfilled... It really was extraordinary...

He glanced back at the sleeping boy, who now knew how fully dependent he was on him. Slade got up and left, knowing that the boy would need medical attention far beyond that of a simple anesthesia. He moved past the door and before he closed it, he looked back at Robin. The teen, no matter how old he had gotten, he still held that youthful face, almost like a child's. Slade slowly, passively shut the door and walked off, his work, his goal, finally done.

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