Teacher And Student

by Lara Wilson

"You were a better teacher than you realized," came the soft, silky whisper, pushing into him past the hideous agony.

He tried to turn towards the sound of the voice, but bones were shattered, muscles and tendons shredded, blood flowing from too many holes, and he couldn't move without screaming, and he wouldn't scream.

He opened his one eye--could feel it open, breaking the dried crust of blood and pus--but he couldn't see.

Blind.

The irony was too much and he laughed, a harsh, guttural sound accompanied by a wet bubbling that informed his still working mind that his lungs were filling with liquid. Blood from the taste of it in his throat and mouth.

He tried to spit and choked instead.

Pain coursed through him and he was helpless to do anything but let it.

Finally, it subsided enough for him to think again, and the memories slipped back.

Ambush.

A figure in red and black.

Black hair winged with silver.

Ice blue eyes in an unmasked face.

And twin swords on a back that should never have carried them.

And should always have.

The air shifted next to him. A soft sound of a knee striking the earth. A puff of dust on his face. When the hand touched his cheek, he wasn't surprised. There would be kindness and mercy now--there was no reason for there to be anything else.

He was dying, not for the first time, but this time his death would be final.

His most brilliant student would make sure of it.

The madness would finally end. He just prayed it hadn't infected Dick, that this was a one time thing--putting down the rabid dog Deathstroke had become.

Dick's words wiped out any hope.

"I know you're insane, Slade, but what else could I do but learn from you as you took everything from me? As you took my life and twisted it to your purposes? As you made me, finally, truthfully, Renegade? Twenty years ago I let someone else stop the hound at my back, but this time only I could do it."

"You taught me too well."

Slade felt the air displace again, then firm lips touch his in an oddly tender kiss, and the pain faded into peaceful acceptance, and he only wished he could tell Dick he understood, tell him to do it, that he was sorry.

The sword severing his head from his neck prevented that as much as the agony that only allowed him to moan and not speak.

End

A/N2: If Slade can actually die, which I'm not totally sure he can, decapitation should do it.

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