The Grave

by Lara Wilson

He came there to say 'goodbye', but he didn't plan to feel the pain that hit at the sight of the grave and the simple headstone.

"Richard John Grayson, beloved son and friend, a true hero."

No 'beloved husband or father'.

He'd never been that.

Slade knew why--two decades before Dick had told him. He could never commit to a woman, start a family, because his heart belonged to the man who'd tried too many times to destroy him to ever earn forgiveness.

Dick refused to be with him, refused to let himself share his life with Deathstroke.

And Slade couldn't separate himself from the mercenary.

From the killer.

A couple of nights a year were all they had, all that Dick would allow, and Slade had learned to live with that.

He wasn't sure he could live with Dick's death--too soon, but not surprising. Dead at forty-six, the last of the Batmen because Tim refused to take up the mantle, Jason would never dare, and Damien had forged his own path.

Slade couldn't care less how the world took the disappearance of the Bat, but he couldn't help but wonder how it would survive without Dick Grayson.

He wasn't sure he would, either, and maybe this 'goodbye' would quickly turn into his own.

End

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