Family

by Lara Wilson

He hears the news through the grapevine and drops the assignment he's on to track down the truth.

He quickly discovers they're one and the same.

As he reads the report from a trusted source, Slade's hand trembles and he sinks down in a chair in the corner of Heathrow's First Class lounge. In his pocket is a ticket to New York. Even it had been a lie, he has to see for himself. New York is dangerous for him.

But this is family.

Family is everything to him, despite the twin ironies that no one else believes that including his own children, and all he does is bring his family pain and death.

He hears a cracking and glances down. He's crushed his Blackberry, and shaking his head, he opens his fingers and watches the bits of plastic and circuitry fall to the floor between his feet.

A bitter thought fills him--the next thing he'll crush will be that fake Vigilante's neck--but first he's going to make a stop in Gotham.

There's a new Batman in town and one glimpse at a fuzzy youtube video showed him the truth of that Batman's identity. He might not be a Titan any longer but Grayson will explain to him how they failed Joseph, how they let Rose leave them. Slade had entrusted his children to the Titans, to his Robin. That had been a mistake.

After Grayson gives him the answers he desires and the Vigilante lays dead at his feet, he'll free Joseph, get him the help he needs, money being no object, and finally find Rose and bring her home.

If those he thought he could trust can't care for his family, he'll finally take that responsibility on himself. It's something he should have done from the beginning but he was selfish and angry and, he can admit, hating himself for all he'd done wrong. It was easier to continue down that path away from his family than turn from it completely.

As Slade kicks the remnants of the phone beneath his chair, he takes out his laptop and begins to cancel appointments and assignments.

It's time to take that new path.

Deathstroke will make one last appearance to avenge his son, and then Slade Wilson will take his family home to Africa.

End

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