He was asleep, finally, and Slade lowered the book he'd been reading aloud and set it aside. Leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands, he silently counted the shallow, labored breaths.
The man in the bed, tucked beneath a mound of blankets, looked too small to his eyes. Too shrunken, too shriveled, too...wrong.
He was dying, as they all did.
All but Slade.
The man who seemed to be living forever had lost so many over the years--friends, lovers, both his children--but this impending loss was hitting him hard. Cutting him to the core.
Between them had stretched too many wasted years, too much anger and betrayal, and Slade had only been able to repair the damage when it was nearly too late.
They'd had one year together.
And it hadn't been enough.
He'd already been struggling with the cancer when he'd forgiven Slade, and the year had few happy moments.
So, Slade looked back, before everything had gone so wrong, to that sweet moment when the dying man in the bed had become his.
His lover, his protege, his heir.
For one brief moment in time, Dick Grayson had been happy with Slade Wilson, and Slade would regret for the eternity he faced alone that one moment was really all they'd had.
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