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Safest Place in the World

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“This one,” Dick makes himself grunt, through his carefully measured breathing.

Tiger, half-supporting him with an arm around his waist, gives a very colorful curse in a language that he doesn’t think Dick understands, and steers them both towards the almost surprisingly plain, nearly top-floor apartment door of the highrise they're currently hiding in. Taking down international spy agencies comes with some drawbacks after all, one of them being very good trackers. Hiding has become a bit of a challenge, recently.

Dick fumbles in his pocket with the hand that hasn’t been hastily splinted, pulling out the key that he does his best to always carry around with him. Small, plain, and silver-colored. Like a million others in the world, except for what it unlocks. The door opens, and Tiger makes it all the way through shutting it, locking it, and half-carrying him through the entry hall and into the living room before freezing in place.

Dick lifts his head, looking over at the couch and the man on it. Plain clothes (sweatpants and a white t-shirt), sure, but that doesn’t detract from the heavy sword laid across Slade’s lap, though it does contrast pretty heavily — and in Dick’s mind, hilariously — with the delicate cup he’s sipping tea from. He wasn’t actually expecting Slade to be home.

It occurs to him a second later, as Slade’s gaze turns to him instead of Tiger, that his Spyral tech is still very much active and if Slade thinks they’re real intruders

“Wait,” he starts quickly, raising his non-injured hand. “Slade, it’s me. I—”

“Kid,” Slade interrupts, with a raised eyebrow and a look, “if you think I can’t recognize you just because your face is obscured, we should probably have some sort of a talk. I clocked you on the way up.” Slade sets the cup down on the coffee table before him, fingers curling easily around the hilt of the bared sword and lifting it as he stands. Tall, focused on Tiger. “Who’s your friend?”

Tiger makes a small, abortive noise, but Dick ignores it to answer, “His name’s Tiger. I could use some help, if you don’t mind?”

Slade’s gaze doesn’t waver, but at least the sword is set down so it doesn’t look quite so much like there’s about to be a violent, brutal murder. “Nice to meet you, ‘Tiger.’ Bring him here.”

Dick’s pretty sure he’s not imagining that the way that Slade takes him from Tiger and helps him sit down on the couch is more than a little possessive. Or that the glance at Tiger, before Slade leaves for the bathroom, is all cool threat. Tiger, for his part, has chosen to stay on the other side of the table. Maybe smart, come to think of it.

“Grayson,” Tiger grinds out, after Slade’s been gone a few moments, “I would have appreciated a warning that your ‘safe place’ was Deathstroke’s apartment.”

“It’s fine,” Dick dismisses. “Slade’s not a threat, and no one’s going to look for me here. We can lay low for a couple hours.”

Slade reappears, first aid kit in hand, before Tiger can do any more than hiss, “Not a threat to you, perhaps.” He seems unwilling to say anything else once Slade is back in the room.

“You just can’t stay out of trouble, can you, kid?” Slade says, as he sets the kit on the table and sits down on the couch beside Dick.

“It’s a talent,” is his flippant response. Dick even manages a charming grin to go along with the words. Slade’s smile is very nearly fond, though the moment dies when Slade glances over at Tiger and the smile fades to another cool look. If it wasn’t a little entertaining to his slightly pain-high perception to see Tiger actually look threatened for once, Dick might stop him.

“Take these.” Dick blinks down at the pills in his hand, but swallows them as ordered. Slade hums idle approval, and takes his splinted wrist in hand.

Letting Slade patch him up is a familiar, easy thing. Painful, but nothing he can’t handle. Slade prods both him and Tiger for information while it’s happening; he answers easily, Tiger answers reluctantly but does answer. Albeit in small, short sentences that barely qualify as ‘answers’ at all. (It’s still very amusing, though not quite amusing enough that he doesn’t feel just a bit of pity for Tiger’s clear discomfort.)

“We need to get going soon,” he finally says, once Slade’s finished re-wrapping his wrist and seeing to all the other more minor injuries on him (and once the painkillers have kicked in). “Lots more work to do; all over the world.”

Slade shakes his head, gives a huff of breath, and drawls, “Try to come back a little bit less bloody next time, hm?”

The hand that presses to Dick’s back helps him up, not that he needs it anymore. A good night’s rest and a few more painkillers, later, and he’ll be good to go. “I’ll do my best,” is the only answer he’ll give, because promising anything else… There are just too many variables in their world for anything more; he’s learned that. “Ready to go, Tiger?”

The look that Tiger gives him is both seething and incredulous, but there only comes a clipped nod.

“Hey, kid.”

He turns partially back towards Slade, and a hand closes around his good wrist and pulls him forward. Before he knows it, before he understands the motion, Slade’s tugged him into a good, hard kiss. He inhales sharply, but Slade’s always known how to shatter all his defenses and he can’t help but melt into it, letting a hand slide through his hair and angle him as Slade likes.

Dick’s dizzy by the time Slade lets him ease back, breath coming a little faster, and it takes him a good couple seconds to open his eyes again and look up. Enough time for Slade’s hand to slip free of his hair and stroke the curve of his cheek instead. He smiles, and Slade gives a smaller one back, leaning in to press a kiss to his temple.

He leans into it, and Slade says, “How about next time you leave behind the chaperone?” more than loud enough for Tiger to hear. Dick blinks, looks up, which is all the time it takes for Slade to turn his head, look directly over at where Tiger must be, and add on, “You know I don’t share.”

“I am not interested,” Tiger snaps, drawing up straight.

Slade raises an eyebrow with a decidedly disbelieving look, but doesn’t actually answer. Instead, he looks back down at Dick — who is resigning himself to this competition — and kisses him again. Briefer this time.

“You going to threaten everyone I hang around with?” Dick asks, with a bit of a sigh.

Slade’s mouth curls into a smirk, and when he leans in till his lips brush Dick’s ear and says, “Only the ones that are your type,” it’s in a low murmur that’s probably private.

“And what’s that?”

Slade laughs, still low and relatively quiet. “Tall, good-looking, killers, apparently.” The teeth that graze over the shell of his ear prompt Dick to take a sharp breath, and Slade pulls back then to meet his gaze, lifting a hand to brush a thumb across the ridge of his cheekbone. “Come back soon, kid, alright?”

Dick has to swallow once before he can answer, “Yeah, I will.”