He No Longer Cares

by Lara Wilson

"They're going to catch you."

Deathstroke didn't look up, simply continued to clean his nine millimeter with efficient, practiced strokes of the cloth.

"They're the League."

That made him smirk and he raised the gun to his good eye, sighting down the barrel. "Yes, and we all know how infallible they are."

"It's different this time." The voice hardened, joined by the sound of an approaching footstep.

"You think I don't know Markov's luring me into a trap?"

"It doesn't matter. They're still going to win this time."

"If it was a game, maybe." He blew gently on the hilt, then returned to polishing it. "But, it's not." He shrugged and set down the gun. "But, you're right, it doesn't matter." Finally he looked up and watched the other man come nearly silently out of the shadows of his weapon's closet in a house he'd believed no one knew about.

"Then why not just stop?"

Slade smiled and shook his head. "I can never stop. Every time I try, something drags me back."

Dick glared from behind closed lenses and snarled, "So you won't even try?"

"Not anymore. I've decided that going with the flow and not against the odds is the only way to live."

"Your flow is taking you to places you should never go, Slade. You're not that man."

Snorting, Slade rose to his feet and circled the table to stop a foot from his former protegee. "I know you haven't forgotten everything I've done."

Tipping up his head and continuing to glare, Dick refused to take a step back. "No. A hell of a lot good things."

"Living in the far distant past, boy?"

"Trying to figure you out."

"Good luck on that." Turning his back without fear, Slade walked to the wall holding his swords and removed one, examining it before slipping it into the sheath on his back. "I have a job. I suggest you don't try to stop me."

"I have to."

Rolling his eye, Slade turned back, a serrated knife in one hand, the other curled up, almost beckoning. As Nightwing tensed, the knife flew almost too fast to be seen, and the hilt cracked against his temple, sending him to the floor unconscious.

Deathstroke scooped up the knife, sheathed it, and shook his head. "Sorry, kid, but you never have managed to stop me. Be glad I still care about something enough to leave you alive."

Luthor's communicator chirped and he took it from his belt pouch, raising it to his lips as he reached for his hood with the other hand.

An hour later when he stood over a cooling corpse, examining the computer disk he'd been carrying, wondering if this was worth a man's life, Deathstroke's mind's eye pictured Dick at his feet, bleeding from a slit throat, dying at his hand.

And despite not caring about much of anything any more, Slade Wilson was relieved to feel a hint of remorse and concern at the thought of the kid dead.


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