Even In Death...

by Lara Wilson

When he finds her, he drops to his knees as if pole-axed. His heart stutters, his breath catches in a throat suddenly too tight.

Horror and sorrow flood through him and wants to scream and rend his clothes, but Deathstroke doesn't do that.

Death is what he does, after all. He should be used to seeing what it leaves behind. He is, but...

It wasn't supposed to take her. Not yet. Not so...young.

Heartbreakingly young and so beautiful. The only blood he can see is dried at the corner of her pale purple lips. Her skin is white, paper-thin and fragile. He can see the blue veins and the gray shadows. Rigor has passed and she is limp, soft.

Broken.

Reaching out a trembling hand, he closes her one eye, unable to bear seeing its cloudy emptiness. His hand inadvertently brushes down her cheek, feeling the prominent bone, one of the few legacies from her mother.

Also gone from him too soon.

He sinks back to his heels, forcing himself to breathe, to concentrate. He shouldn't mourn, not yet. Her killer is out there and every second takes him farther from him.

But...he can't just leave her. Can't just examine her with rational science. Can't treat her as anything but his only daughter.

Not yet.

Clenching his hands into fists on his thighs, he trails his eye over her, wanting to imprint her on his mind one last time. Slender and muscular, yet feminine and so lovely as to take his breath away.

Lily had been the same, and he'd never truly mourned her.

He won't do that to their child.

Rose deserves his grief.

And as Slade Wilson lets memories slip into his mind, both good and bad--images of Rose laughing, fighting, cursing him, teasing him--they are joined by memories of her mother, Lily, all passion and fire, spirit and strength. A princess who'd fallen yet fought her way to civilization and power. He'd always respected her, cared for her.

He'd never had a chance to thank her for his daughter.

And, now, he'll never have the chance to thank Rose for being that daughter, either.

Both taken from him too soon.

Rose had avenged Lily's murder.

He will do the same for their beautiful child.

And he swears their memories will never leave him.

End

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