Africa represents peace for him. It's an irony not lost on him, that a continent of violent upheavals, internecine wars, man-eating animals, and unforgiving landscapes gives him time to breathe.
The ground beneath him is hard, solid. The fire is warm and brings with it the aroma of stew cooking. He methodically cleans his gun and listens to Wintergreen putter.
It's a good sound, a good feeling.
Unfortunately, Slade knows it won't last. It never does.
Something will draw him from the savannah, the jungles, his hunts for four legged game, the companionship of his closest friend, and the peace he craves.
Something always does.
He's tried to resist the siren lure of hunts through concrete jungles. He doesn't need the money those hunts bring, but there's something that always pulls him back to the cities where he aims his guns at men and women and not antelope and cheetahs.
There's a craving inside him for violence that safaris can't sate.
Still, he tries. He comes home to Africa and tries to put the assassinations behind him, but he knows the true problem isn't a simple desire to kill. If it was, killing animals would be enough. No, the problem is that animals are, for the most part, simple creatures with simple needs.
Humans are complex, puzzling. Hunting them, planning their deaths, challenges him.
He needs that challenge.
Over the last few years more and more of these jobs have been to take down so-called bad people. He's assassinated everyone from dictators to rapists, serial killers to mad scientists.
He barely remembers the last job he took to hunt someone who didn't deserve to die, but he knows why his modus operandi changed.
A pair of blue eyes haunt him. An amused baritone voice lingers in his ear telling him he can do good in this world.
He's not sure he believes the young man with the golden skin and the ability to make him reconsider his life by just giving him a look, but he knows he's changed because of him.
The deaths of his sons, losing his wife to her anger, those play a part as well.
But Dick Grayson has changed him.
Slade knows he'll always be a killer, but maybe he's not a villain.
Only time will tell.
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