The flames reflected off the scarred back, turning those marks shiny in their light. He resisted touching them, letting the kid sleep, but he liked the way his skin turned gold, hinting at his not quite Caucasian blood.
Dick shifted, revealing a newer scar, pink and rough high on his bicep, and Slade knew he should feel regret for the bullet, but couldn't.
He enjoyed the marks he'd given Dick over the years. Marks of possession that had, in part, led him here to Slade's bed.
The fire on the hearth crackled, sending sparks up the chimney, and Slade felt Dick shift again, onto his side facing him, and watched as the younger man opened his eyes.
For an instant there was bewilderment in them, then knowledge returned, and the eyes went cold and empty. Over the weeks of turning Nightwing into Renegade Slade had watched the passion--already muted--slowly fade from the kid's eyes. Passion for life, for the life he'd had as a hero--all gone due to one act that had sent him spiraling into these depths.
And Slade had become the kind of man to take advantage of that kind of confusion and loss, especially where this young man was concerned, so when Dick had offered, he'd taken him in, partly to see how far he would fall.
Earlier tonight Renegade took his first life, and Slade took Dick to his bed, stirring a new kind of fire among the dead embers inside him.
There was no going back now. Like the scars on their bodies, the label of killer would never leave them.
Slade could and had lived with it. Whether or not Dick could remained to be seen, but the older man hoped there were still enough sparks of life in him to keep him going. There was certainly sexual passion, evidenced in Dick's hand around his neck, drawing him down for a hungry, hard and needy kiss.
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