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“Why do you even drink that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you drunk,” Dick murmured, sliding on the bar stool next to Slade with the grace of a tomcat. Both were dressed casually, Dick in a Henley and denim and Slade in a leather jacket with a black eyepatch to match. Slade ignored him, like he had for at least a month now, and took another, dramatically long sip of his whiskey. So maybe he wasn’t ignoring him, but goading Dick was too tempting when the kid was leaning in so close.

When Slade set his glass down on the dark washed bar, Dick snatched it and took a sip himself. Dick gagged, replacing the glass. Slade disguised his amusement in nonchalance as he kept his gaze steady on the top shelf.

“Slade, c’mon,” Dick murmured, sliding as close as the bar stools would allow without him falling. Dick never did fall, regardless of what he claimed. “You can’t ignore me all night.”

Slade disagreed. He could ignore Dick for hours, days, weeks. It was a pleasure to ignore Dick, to watch him squirm from the corner of Slade’s eye. To drive him to a desperation that would make Batman frown deeper than usual.

“I think you just like how you look,” Dick continued, smacking his lips, “sipping whiskey. It’s a part of your aesthetic. It’s like my insignia or Red Hood’s domino mask. It’s all dramatic flair. Branding. You want the Big Bad Deathstroke to look tough, even in civvies.”

Dick didn’t drink. At least not often. That was a note in Slade’s file on him. But it must have been one of the Titans’ birthdays; Slade could smell the evidence on Dick’s breath. How Dick ended up at the same bar as Slade, alone, was still uncertain.

“I like the flavor, kid,” Slade murmured, acknowledging Dick for the first time. He glanced Dick’s way, and Dick practically glowed in excitement.

“Yeah?” Dick murmured, leaning bodily against Slade. “You want me to believe you? Convince me.”

Slade took another drag from his glass and then shouldered Dick loose. Only to turn to Dick, snag the back of Dick’s neck in a vice-like grip, and kiss him hard and deep. Dick’s eyes went wide and then half lidded and then they closed as Dick reciprocated, enthusiastically. When they finally broke, it was because Slade gripped Dick’s neck and pulled back, leaving a trail of spit between them that broke when Dick licked his lips.

“Convinced?” Slade challenged. “You seem to like the taste well enough.”

Dick blinked at him dumbly. “Fuck,” Dick muttered. “Fuck, can we do that again? I mean, the whiskey is still gross, but fuck.”

Slade rolled his eye but pulled Dick back into a kiss.

The kiss led them outside, where Slade shoved Dick against an alley wall.

“You want this, kid?” Slade growled, grabbing between Dick’s legs for emphasis. Dick yelped.

“Yeah, yes, hell yeah, please,” Dick gasped, lunging for Slade again. But Slade pulled back and the same time that he wrapped a hand around Dick’s throat, forcing Dick still.

“Why’re you here, kid?” Slade growled, leaning away to put distance between Dick and himself. Dick nearly whimpered. “This isn’t your scene. You’re not usually drunk, this isn’t Bludhaven. Daddy’s afoot and we’re wide open. Is that it? You want to get caught?”

Dick licked his lips and stared, eyes clear and focused, into Slade’s. “Maybe,” he murmured. “What’s it to you?”

Slade growled. “I don’t like picking batarangs out of my back. Don’t drag me into whatever youthful rebellion you’re pulling.” For all of Slade’s big words, he kept Dick pressed against the alley, hand tightening around Dick’s throat. Dick only blinked.

They stayed like that for what must have been several minutes; Slade was unsure, his enhancements occasionally muddled time for him.

Finally, Dick rasped. “I always thought you had a taste for youthful rebellion, old man.” In the distance, there was a flash of a shadow. Perhaps Slade was being paranoid, but it looked like the tell-tale threat of a cape. Slade cursed, made a decision, and released Dick, who drew his hands to his throat almost immediately.

“You got an apartment nearby?” Slade asked. Dick smiled wickedly, absently rubbing where Slade’s hand had been.

“Yeah. And it’s dripping with B’s bugs,” he cooed. “But,” Dick dug in his pocket, “I’ve got a key to Ms. Kyle’s secondary apartment, which is refreshingly free of surveillance.”

Slade’s eyebrows rose. “What did he do to you this time, kid? This isn’t like you.”

Dick scowled. “You sound like Jason. I’m not his soldier, I’m his partner. We fight together, I’m not beneath him and I’m not out to get him. I just need some stress relief, are you here for that, or not?” Dick’s turned lips and crossed arms were… adorable. Youthful. Childish. Slade didn’t meet Dick until Dick was eighteen, but he could imagine Dick much younger when he behaved like this. Before the Bat groomed him. Dick flitted from the nest often enough to call into question the efficacy of the Bat’s influence, and it was in that crack in Nightwing’s armor that Slade saw potential for a lethal creature. Potential that his own children couldn’t fulfill.

“Of course,” Slade murmured, holding his palms out. “Lead the way. I’ll follow.”

Slade did follow, and Dick led him to a spacious studio in a wealthy neighborhood that screamed New Money. Slade whistled when they entered, through the front door rather than a window.

“I didn’t realize Kyle needed an apartment. She won’t be around?” Slade asked, even while Dick tugged impatiently tugged at his jacket.

“No,” Dick murmured into Slade’s neck. “B bought it for her, so she barely uses it.”

“Huh,” Slade grunted, lifting Dick and slinging him bodily onto the four-poster bed. Dick bounced once and then began kicking and wiggling out of his jeans. Slade slid off his jacket, abandoning it to the floor, and pulled off his shirt while watching Dick writhe and muss up the comforter. Finally, Dick kicked off his pants, interrupting Slade’s reverie.

“This is hardly romantic,” Slade murmured. “Also, not your style.”

Dick smirked and rolled over to stretch like a cat, poking his ass in the air. “I’m not always romantic. I just always care about my partners. It’s why people like me.”

Slade strode over and smacked Dick’s ass, causing Dick to yelp. Dick flopped down and rolled over into a seated position to glare up at Slade. Slade blinked down at him. “Yeah. That’s why,” Slade offered. Dick huffed but wrapped his arms around Slade’s neck and laid back, unfurling his legs and tugging Slade down on top of himself. Slade slid between his legs obligingly.

“No spanking without a safe word,” Dick murmured in Slade’s ear, before nipping the lobe. “Behave.”

Slade hummed, resting a hand on Dick’s side, under his Henley, and rubbing circles on Dick’s firm abdomen with his thumb. “You’re too easy to be making rules up now, little bird,” Slade cooed, sweetly. “All it’d take to have you crawling back is to ignore you for another few weeks.”

Slade laughed at Dick’s wide eyes and parted mouth. “Slade,” Dick whined, detangling from Slade to recoil into the bed.

“Sh, sh, sh,” Slade murmured, kissing Dick’s neck so that his beard scratched the sensitive skin there. Just how he knew Dick liked. Slade could prod and push Dick, but he could never carry his games too far, lest Dick fly from his hand to rejoin the bush. “I won’t violate your safe word, I never do. Nothing without your explicit consent tonight. Tell me what you need, pretty bird.”

Like that, Dick melted and became pliant underneath Slade again. Molding Dick was easy, the issue was setting him so that he didn’t backslide into that bullish, unnuanced morality that guided his heroism. Slade had plenty of work ahead. Dick was too responsive, Slade needed him to be this compliant without coaxing.

Dick sprawled on the silk bedding and bit his lip. The scent of expensive perfume, likely Kyle’s or at least a scent picked for Kyle, clouded Slade’s senses. Slade’s cock stirred. “Fuck me? Just like this?” Dick requested, wiggling in that way he did whenever Slade asked him what he needed. Slade like to watch him squirm, it was a shame that the opportunity presented itself so rarely.

“Of course,” Slade cooed. He reached into his back pocket for his wallet, where he had a condom and a packet of lube, but Dick was already twisting towards the nightstand. From the drawer there, Dick procured a mostly full bottle of lube and a box of assorted condoms. Slade raised his eyebrows and Dick turned pink.

“It’s not hers,” Dick said hurriedly. “She’s not here often. I keep these here.”

“You do this often?” Slade asked, reaching for the lube and drenching two fingers. Dick wouldn’t look him in the eyes.

“You’d know if you answered my calls every so often,” Dick muttered bitterly. Slade hummed and patted Dick’s hip with his dry hand before sliding out between Dick’s legs to lay down next to him instead. Dick laid down on his back and lifted his legs and removed his briefs, kicking them to the floor once they hung from a single ankle.  Slade skirted his dry ring and pinky fingers across the inside of Dick’s thigh, prompting Dick to hook his leg on Slade’s hip, before sliding the two lubricated digits inside him. Dick let out a faint sigh and twisted his torso to face Slade while using his grip on Slade to keep his legs open enough to be accommodating. He buried his head against Slade’s chest while Slade leisurely fingered him.

“You know that’s not how this works,” Slade murmured into Dick’s hair. “Even if I could always answer your calls, which I can’t, you’d hate it if I did.”

Dick let out hitched moans when Slade grew distracted with Dick’s prostate, massaging it as soon as he brushed against it and heard Dick’s breath hitch. Slade couldn’t help but spoil Dick when Dick was so suggestable and sweet.

“Wouldn’t,” Dick sighed. “I hate what you do, I can’t-uhn-can’t hate you.”            

“I know,” Slade assured him. “I know you can’t. You can’t hate anyone, you see too much worth in other people. But they’re not like you, they’re not always worthwhile.”

“Mm-mm,” Dick grunted his disapproval. Slade kissed the top of his head to soothe him.

Dick’s shirt rode up his torso and bunched in a manner that couldn’t have been comfortable, but Slade wasn’t willing to upset Dick’s position by removing it. Instead, Slade slid in a third finger and focused on the task at hand rather than on goading Dick further. He was rewarded by more breathy noises and choked moans from Dick, and eventually Slade removed his fingers and his own pants. He kept his briefs on, but pulled out his cock and slid on a condom. He spread lubricant across his length and rubbed it a few times while Dick watched with half lidded eyes. Dick didn’t remove his shirt, and Slade didn’t ask him to.

Finally, Dick wiggled up and laid back, propping his head on one of the several pillows and Slade hooked Dick’s legs over his shoulders before slowly, achingly slowly, pressing inside of Dick.

Dick breathed deeply and evenly, and it wasn’t long before Slade was rocking in and out of him, at the same leisurely pace he’d set in the beginning. Dick claimed he wasn’t always romantic, but he did crave the intimacy of romance and occasionally Slade was willing to offer his stunted imitation.

With another wiggle and a groan, Dick protested his position and Slade let Dick’s legs slide from his shoulders so that they could wrap around Slade’s middle, pulling Slade more fully on top of Dick.

“B’s gonna be so mad,” Dick murmured, eyes closed and brows furrowed. Slade thrust steadily as ever.“So, m-mad.”

Slade kissed his forehead. “Why? You said you do this frequently, you’ve left behind paraphernalia.”

“Y-yeah, but not with you,” Dick shuddered and opened his eyes. “Not yet with you. Where do you get off, ignoring me?”

Slade rocked into him a little deeper than he had been, and Dick sucked in a breath and tilted his head back, exposing the vulnerable column of his throat. Slade wanted to bite it, but he didn’t.

“You’d never fly to my hand if I kept it open,” Slade growled, unable to hide his own pleasure. “I don’t ignore you, little bird. You’re young, you need space.” That was a lie. Slade did ignore Dick, to cultivate the same kind of neediness that led Dick to spread his legs so quickly and easily. He needed Dick to crave Slade’s validation and affection, and so he’d starve him of it for weeks and months at a time. Right now, the result was Dick’s wet eyes and increasingly loud groans, but eventually it could result in Dick seeking to please Slade in his actions outside of his bed. Slade could have his Renegade yet.

“F-faster, Slade,” Dick hissed. “C’mon. I can take it. Wan’ it.”

Slade obliged him, if only to keep soliciting those moans that Dick sang as he was taken, against the mattress of Bruce's lover. 

Slade continued to oblige him, even when they both climaxed and Dick dozed in Slade’s arms in a post-coital haze. Slade stroked Dick’s head and traced the knobs of Dick’s spine, occasionally peppering Dick's relaxing form with kisses. But when Dick finally fell asleep, Slade untangled himself, dressed, and took his leave.

Best to leave the kid wanting if Slade wanted to mold him. The Bat had done it for years, through paternal affection, and the model was startlingly effective if imperfect. Slade should thank Bruce, for leaving Dick vulnerable and reaching. Because although he was reaping shallow results now, Slade had carefully sown a path that would hopefully garner him a legacy.

And if not? Slade was nevertheless enjoying the fruits of his preparations.