Alliances, Threats, and.....
AN: I've finally got over my nasty case of writer's block.
It was difficult for Slade to come up with a proper plan when he had learned about the illustrious Mayor of Sunnydale's plan for power, but it had come to him in the end. Personally, he didn't care about the dozens of people who would die upon the Mayor's Ascension and he could get Dawn out of harm's way easily enough. No, it was the power that the Wilkins would wield when the transformation was complete that interested him. The Mayor's plan had been easy enough to learn and was fairly straight forward: snack upon the graduating class to consolidate his power and use his enormous magical power to open up a portal to some Hell Dimension thus ensuring the PTB's didn't fry him, from there Wilkins would enjoy power and prestige eventually overthrowing the Senor Partners and taking control of the various worlds under their control while protecting Faith and sponsoring her from his position. They had similar goals of protecting their respective 'daughters' and, naturally, the accumulation of power.
So, it was only natural that he would work with the man. The Mayor's money wasn't very interesting to Xander as he could easily make more doing much simpler contracts, no, it was certain favors that, once transformed, would be only too easy for the Mayor to fulfill. So easy in fact that there was no chance of the man refusing a few small things for one who had helped him to get where he would be. The favors that Slade requested were quite simple: reanimation should he somehow be harmed beyond what his healing factor could fix and a copy of his regenerative ability transferred to Dawn. That was all. The Mayor had quickly agreed to his demands in return for a small amount of training for Faith which Xander had agreed to.
The spell for his plan needed more than just Willow as a power source and he doubted the Devon Coven would agree to help, no matter how much he would pay them. Zatanna was out as he doubted that he could manipulate her into it in the time frame that he was working with, there was also the danger of her getting the Justice League involved. That left two candidates, as he seriously doubted that he could get Cyrus Vail to the Hellmouth, Jinx and Raven. Jinx would be easy enough to recruit, but Raven would be more difficult as he didn't believe she would be interested in money. He needed a way to recruit her, one that would ensure that she didn't betray him during her employment. That meant he either had to have something she wanted, her gratitude, or good old fashioned blackmail. It looked as though he had a trip to take care of.
"Good evening Titans." Slade's voice purred from the monitor. The Teen Titans were all gathered inside the living room, each one wondering what the madman wanted this time. "It's been too long."
"Slade." Robin gritted out between clenched teeth. The hatred that he put into that one word was astonishing, but the hatred that Robin held for the mercenary was rivaled only by his obsession of him. Slade was powerful, highly intelligent, and extremely skilled in many martial arts. He was everything that Robin wanted to be, everything that he trained to be. That admiration along with the fact that Slade was a villain led to Robin's obsession. "What do you want this time?"
"You really do need to learn patience Robin." Slade tsked, his voice mockingly paternal. He really did love angering the young hero, it was almost like taunting Angel. "You have a team to look out for and you can't think of just your benefit anymore but their's as well. The weakness of friendship is that you care about them. It is this weakness that I will use against you time and time again until you learn that they are just holding you back. Every time that you could catch me, every time that you could put an end to my plans, I will put them in danger and you will choose them over catching me. Every time I blow up a building there will be a child asking 'where is my mother' and you will have to tell him that I was able to murder them because you're friends meant more to you than his parents did. You can't just pretend that you don't care either as deep down you know that you do. Your friends are just acceptable losses Robin. It is time that you learn that." A map was pulled up with blinking red dots in certain places.
"To help with your education I have placed twenty bombs in apartment complexes all over the city. Some buildings have only fifty people while others have hundreds. There is not enough time to save them all, so will you go after the ones with the most people or the ones closest to you? You have fifteen minutes until they explode. Tick tock, Robin." With that terrifying note Slade ended the message.
"What are we going to do?" Starfire asked, tears starting to gather in her green eyes at the callous way that Slade treated life and the choice he left them with.
"The only thing that we can do. Save who we can." It wasn't Robin who answered, but Beastboy. He was grimmer than any of them had ever seen before. The light of laughter that usually sparkled in his eyes was gone, showing only a calculating and defeated look, yet they were filled with a determination to do the right thing. "Sometimes we have to make decisions that will cost people their lives because more lives will be destroyed if we don't."
"He's right." Robin said, his face showing his dislike of the situation and his anger at not being able do more. "We'll split up. I'll go North, Raven will go South, Cyborg East, Starfire and Beastboy you take the west. Concentrate on the larger apartment areas, but be ready to do damage control. I'll call the Bomb Squad and give them the coordinates. Maybe they can defuse some of the bombs that we can't get. TITANS GO!"
Raven made to the first apartment complex as fast as she could. Once there she asked the manager if anyone suspicious has been around. He pointed her to Room 17 saying that some strange guys had rented it but never showed up again. That definitively rated as suspicious in her book. Abandoning running for flight she reached the room in question at a speed that The Flash would have been proud of. Entering, she paled as she saw what was without a doubt a bomb. It was large and had to weigh at least eighty pounds. A red timer beeped down the seconds mercilessly. She ran toward it, the memories of the lessons Robin gave the entire team on how to defuse a bomb flashing in her mind and for the first time in a long while she was glad that her leader was an extremely paranoid and meticulous individual.
She used her powers to unscrew the covering of the bomb causing hundreds of wires to become visible. Raven cursed Slade in her mind as she saw all the wires were a uniform black. It couldn't be easy could it? No, he had to render most of her knowledge obsolete by taking away color coordination. Then again, Slade *was* a genius. So, he probably didn't even need colored wires to know which wire did what. Using the training that Robin had taught her, Raven was able to figure out which wire was connected to the countdown and cut it. She held her breath subconsciously as she looked at the clock and exhaled when she saw the clock was blank.
The bomb then shot a black substance onto her eyes which hardened quickly. Raven thrashed around trying to use her powers to remove the mysterious substance that had effectively rendered her blind, but it was no use. She needed two things in order to use her powers. One, she needed to be able to say the words as it helped her focus and worked as a mental trigger. Two, she needed to be able to see in order to use her telekinesis effectively. So, her powers were useless in her situation. Raven tried to calm herself down and focus her mind. Innocent people would die unless she disabled the other bombs. Well, technically people were going to die regardless but she could still save some of them if she could get this stuff off of her.
That's when everything went black.
"Good morning, my dear." A disgustingly familiar voice greeted Raven as she came back to consciousness. The half demon girl glanced around in confusion at the blackness that surrounded her for a few moments before her memories returned to her. Slade, bombs, being knocked out. She couldn't believe that she had been captured this easily, but then again this was Slade. If he wanted something, he got it. His voice continued but this time with a mocking lilt to it. "Sleep well?"
"No." She deadpanned, glaring at the two toned mask. What was the question Robin obsessed over? Who was Slade? Well, Raven knew who and what Slade was. A murderer who possessed a genius that was twisted by madness. A monster who used living being as his toys, as his pawns. Nothing was sacred to such a man. Oh God, the bombs! "The bombs-!"
"Have been neutralized by either your teammates or the Police." Slade stated calmly, leaning against the black wall and crossing his arms over his broad chest as the single light on the ceiling danced on his mask. His one cold, gray eye looked around the black room in boredom while somehow managing to convey a sense of awareness and danger. "The bombs were a smoke screen for kidnapping you as I'm sure you have already figured out. The apartment building you entered has been abandoned for about a week due to an increase in mold, along with several others in place in different parts of the city. After the evacuation, it was easy to put my more human looking androids in place to look as if the apartment was still conducting business as usual."
"And we didn't suspect a thing." Raven sighed, feeling depressed that they had been outsmarted so easily. There was always a trick to whatever Slade did, a hidden agenda or something. The man never did anything without having several reasons for doing it, this much Raven knew from experiance and yet they had all fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. "So, what am I worth?"
"My daughter's life." Slade responded irritably, his gray eye snapping toward her. Raven fell silent as shock filled her. Daughter? Slade has a daughter? Wow and Raven thought she had it bad with having Trigon for a father. Well, Raven and this daughter had something in common: both of their fathers were monsters. Still, it appeared that Slade did have heart if he was willing to go threw all this trouble for his daughter. Wait a second...all this trouble? This was Slade, he kidnaps people all the time. Well, he did *appear* to care, but he was a master of deception so she couldn't take him at face value. "Does it surprise you that I have a daughter?"
"Not really, even a demon has kids." Raven remarked blandly, pretending that she wasn't caught off guard. If she had learned anything about the man then it was that you never gave him anything to use, the man would manipulate your emotions until you were doing exactly what he wanted. "I'm more surprised that someone would touch you. Did you pay her? It must have been in the millions."
"I'll have you know that many women consider me to be devastatingly handsome." Slade almost sounded offended, something that almost made Raven smirk. She might as well make the most out of her position and get as much information on Slade as she possibly could. "I have never paid a woman to sleep with me and, no, I have never forced a woman to have sex. I do have some morals, well, I have two morals: I never rape and I never molest children. Everything else I can and will do if I haven't done it already."
"Oh yeah, the one eye thing is real big hit with girls nowadays." Raven said sarcastically, not believing a single word that the mercenary said. Slade was a liar, it was a fact. He may be handsome behind his mask, but his soul was hideous. There was also no way that she was going to feed his ego. "It's right up there with beer guts and small penises on the attractive scale. Now, are you going to tell me where we are?"
"I shouldn't after your mouth, but I'll forgive you this time. However, if you say something like that again and I'll pull out the cat of nine tails. Am I understood?" Slade asked pleasantly, as he gripped her chin painfully and raised it so her violet eyes were looking into his one gray eye. There was no mercy in that cold eye and it caused Raven to shiver slightly. Slowly and painfully she nodded to show that she understood. "Good girl. We are on my plane and are currently flying over California. Now, if you'll excuse me, I don't trust the pilots very much."
With that said, Slade turned and walked toward the wall, opening a door somehow and slipping through the doorway while making sure close behind him. Naturally, he made one last act of cruelty by starting to pull off his helmet just as the door shut, leaving Raven alone with her thoughts. The first thing she did was try to get free of her bonds, which is to say the ropes that tied her to the wall or at least she assumed it was a wall, it didn't work. She knew better than to try and use her powers, Slade would have thought of that and she really didn't want to know what nasty surprise he had in store for her should she try, plus she could accidentally rip off part of the plane and they'd all die then. After exhausting herself trying to get free, Raven slumped back against the wall.
Well, she learned that Slade must have some sort of split personality. One second he was bantering with her quite cheerfully almost like a normal guy and the next second he was the Slade she knew and hated. For a moment she thought there may have been something more to him than just the mask but then he was back to being a sadistic bastard. She knew that she saw his gray eye warm while they were talking and no matter how good he was at acting and deceiving, she wasn't fooled. The eyes, or rather eye in this case, never lie and there was warmth in them for a brief moment. Whoever Slade was, he wasn't always the cold killer that he is now. What happened? There was no excuse for what he did, he was evil, but if she knew more about him then maybe, just maybe, they could help rehabilitate him when he was finally put in prison. Not that he would ever get out of prison if, no, when he was caught, but maybe they could redeem him somewhat while he was there. More information could also lead to his capture, which was motivation enough for her.
Slade could burn in Hell for all she cared, no, that was wrong. He could burn in Hell while she watched and enjoyed the sight. Yep, that sounded better to her. The masked man burning in eternal flames, begging her for mercy while she had demons with pitchforks stab him over and over again. The thought gave her a shiver of pleasure and a nice tingling feeling.
"How are things going, boys?" Xander asked his two pilots, Dane and James Daniels. Both were quite young, around his real age and looked close to nothing like the brothers they really were. Dane was a handsome young man about six foot three and was slightly muscular with extremely curly reddish blond hair that was cropped close to his head and steel blue eyes. He normally was found with a smile on his, a joint in his mouth or in the process of being rolled, or with a beer in his hand. James was of the same build as Dane except with short dark brown hair and brown eyes, he normally right with Dane drinking beer or smoking the aforementioned joint, but lately had decided to slow down his smoking. Apparently, it was costing him too much money so he was on a dry spell for one month to green up his lungs a bit. "And may I ask where in the hell did you two dig up a flying license?"
"What license?" Dane smirked as he took a toke. Xander slapped his face in exasperation. How in the hell did these two work their way into his life? Oh yes, they were leeches who were likable enough not to kill and would work for considerably less than just about anybody else. "Don't worry, we've done some flight simulations before and we did our homework on flying. Thank you Wikipedia."
"Do I want to know how you two acquired this plane?" Xander asked, not really expecting an answer from the two 'Appalachian Americans'. Honestly, why did he trust these two? If he survived this flight it would be a miracle, even with his healing factor. Dane grinned mischievously, but it was James who spoke up.
"You offered us ten grand to fly a plane from Jump City to Sunnydale, which is less than four hundred miles, and you expect us to not get our hands on one? For ten grand we'd have sold our soul." James smirked, readjusting his backward baseball cap that showed an orange dragon on the front. "I mean, hello, we work landscaping five days a week. Do you have any idea what that pays? The answer is a three ounces of herb and four cases of beer, plus what we make with the occasional 'business' deal. If it wasn't for our granny we'd have starved this year. God bless that woman."
"Yep, but we have a plan to get rich." Dane stated proudly, his pink face slightly flushed...or sun burnt, Slade could never really tell with Dane. He groaned as Dane said this and just knew what was going to happen next. "In one year we'll be twenty and we'll be able to join big leagues: The Tennessee State Beer Pong Tournament."
"We're gonna be the very best, like no one ever was. To hit the cups is our real test, the money and beer is our cause." James sang the modified Poke'mon theme song that he and Dane had come up with. Dane grinned as he joined in with his brother. "We will travel across the land, drinking far and wide. Teaching our opponents to drink the beer that is inside. Ooohhooo Beer Pong gotta nail 'em all, it's you and me, we know it's our destiny. Oh your my best friend and we'll drink until the end! Our hearts so true, our tolerance will pull us through, this cups for and that one is for you. Be-er Po-ong! Every game along the way, with courage we will face. We will play every day, to claim our rightful place! Come watch us on our way to fame, there's no better team, cup by cup we'll win the game, it's always been our dream! Be-er Po-ong!"
"When will we land!" Xander practically bellowed in annoyance. Dear lord, that song was worst than the song that never ends. Ha, and Giles thought he was annoying. Xander had nothing on these two and their song. James fell silent in shock while Dane took a hit and stared at his sometime employer.
"Dude, you need to quiet down." Dane advised sagely while grinning, taking another toke. "We'll be there in an hour or so, this thing don't fly fast but it'll make it." The power flickered off and on causing Dane to stomp the floor which made the light work properly again. "We might need another roll of duck tape from the back. Ya think?"
"Yep." James agreed, popping open a can of beer.
END OF CHAPTER
AN: Well, there is what I've been working on. My comp was totally destroyed along with all my work a bout a month ago and I've trying to get caught up. Review.