Notes: fuck my life, there might be a regular update schedule

Disclaimer: I don't own

Summary: A eight year old Robin gets saved by a mercenary. Deathstroke has a less than charitable opinion about children fighting criminals.

Child soldier

The bitter taste of bile rose in his mouth as he watched the display below him. Dressed in different shades of black instead of his 'official' uniform in order to avoid any confrontations, except with his chosen target, stood the mercenary in his hiding spot on top of the rooftop. The dim light of the moon illuminated the dirty alley below him in which a boy fought against five grown men. He moved like a bouncy ball in the the small space of the dirty alley and the men were unable to properly hit the petite quickly moving enemy.

It was wrong, just plain wrong.

The green shorts revealed far too much skin as the child kicked an attacker and the blueberry red raisin top was too tight on his chest, leaving little to imagination. A bright yellow cape fluttered behind him as he moved and the men attacked him thoughtlessly like a pack of rabbit dogs chasing a ball.

Gotham had always been a distasteful city, a hero dressed as a Bat, villains with an equally messed up scene of fashion, but this went too far.

Slade Wilson, father or three children, felt sick

All children wanted to fight fire or cure animals and humans, however a responsible adult didn't give them a surgical knife or allowed them to walk into a burning building.
Obviously Gotham's dark knight wasn't one.
At least the people responded in outrage didn't they?
Of course not.
They cheered as a child fought against scum the police was either scared of or simply tired of fighting.
A child fighting in a grown man's war against the crime of Gotham.

A child soldier loved by the masses.
The man, also known as Deathstroke the Terminator, felt drained by the display before him.

Normally he avoided cities with heroes, not that he feared for his own skin, but the heroes nemesis could be rather possessive.
For example an attack on Superman could make Lex Luthor really angry, he had claimed the hero for his own, no need to mess with possible business partners.
The former soldier was only in Gotham because a diplomat had sired a bastard heir about twenty years ago and the 'true' heir wanted to avoid the legal trouble once he turned 21.
A nice quick job he hadn't meant to linger, hadn't meant to stay and yet...there was a barley dressed child fighting henchmen of a minor drug lord and everybody seemed perfectly fine with it.

And he lived in such a world?

Yes, he had agreed to he experiments which made him nearly immortal. His natural healing ability was drastically improved, his ageing process had stopped, his years of training and gained reflexes through it made him a rather difficult man to kill.
However moments like these, or realising he would have to watch his children die of old age, made him almost regret his decision.

A world where so called honourable men and women allowed children to fight for them?

The one-eyed man felt old beyond his years and as punch hit the child, strong enough to draw blood, he had enough.
Even though the boy could defend himself which was a rather impressive accomplishment in itself, he couldn't just stand there and watch like the others...

Robin panted heavily as the men kept attacking him, yet the communicator in his belt remained untouched. He shouldn't be fighting alone to begin with, he was supposed to learn the pattern the drug dealers were moving in and give the information to his mentor later.
But he couldn't just let them continue could he?
On an impulse he had stepped in and the fight had started out so well, too. The small space in the alley had been perfect for him. Their bulky figures had given him a huge advantage in the beginning, but now he was starting to lose speed and received one hit after the other.
The young boy knew that he should call Batman, yet if he could maybe last a little longer and win on his own, just how impressed would his guardian be? Determined he wanted to continue even with the taste of blood in his mouth.

A dark grey shadow suddenly moved before him and with a few moves knocked his five opponents out. As the newcomer turned around he noticed the lack of a mask, which revealed white hair, a grey eye, an eye patch covering the other and hard facial features.
How odd, didn't heroes were masks?

The man looked directly at him and the hero felt for the first time during the night fear rise in him, but he told himself to relax, the man had saved him hadn't he?
"Thank you", are you fri... an ally of Batman?", he asked in a little too high voice, his mentor didn't have friends, expect him of course, and the reminder couldn't hurt either. Robin was his own hero and didn't need the protection of his mentor, yet it was nice to have it.

He got an amused ,"not really", as answer from the imposing man, "Are you all right?", he inquired and Robin relaxed despite his confusion.

Uncle Clark, or as most knew him Superman, had joked about being an alien under supervision before concerning his relationship with Bruce, too. It was most likely another joke he wouldn't understand until he was older, which was really unfair he was eight for crying out loud, furthermore the stranger had saved him and asked about his health, so he was an ally wasn't he?

"I had worse", the child said proudly, he didn't mean to brag but couldn't help himself. He was a real hero like his mentor and could take a hit like him, too.

The man's cold gaze grew even colder and the little hero knew that he had made a big mistake, but he just didn't understand why. Everything was fine wasn't it?

"I heal quickly," he added in a light voice meant to comfort the obvious worried stranger while taking a closer look at him. Despite his white hair the man didn't look older than Bruce and yet he seemed far older, how curious.

For a moment there was silence, as if the man needed a moment to process the information and he stared to shake. Did he suffer a seizure?

Worried for his health the boy stepped closer as the man threw his head back and a deep, hallow laughter escaped his lips. It unsettled the hero in ways he couldn't grasp. A few more moments passed as the stranger regained his composure, "as long as you heal it doesn't matter does it?", he asked rhetorically is a shallow voice.

Confused and a little scared the young hero didn't know what else to say.

As long as the wounds heal, why would you care about the pain he suffered?
You can't dull the nerves which are able to feel to pain without dulling the fighting reflexes, too.
The scientists who had created the serum hadn't said the first part out loud, yet it had been more than obvious to everyone.

And now a small child told him essentially the same thing.

The mercenary had to laugh, it wasn't a happy laugh, yet he couldn't help himself, there were times when one could either laugh or go insane.

This world...

"Are you fine?", the boy inquired in a worried tone and he, the supposed to be responsible adult, wanted to take the comfort the boy offered him so readily.
This was wrong on so many levels and yet Slade went down on his left knee in order to speak with the hero eye to eye.

"What about the pain?", he replied to the question with one of his own, the despair thick in his voice, hoping despite better knowledge the colourful creature before him might have an answer.

"We can handle the pain, protect them", the child replied entirely convicted and stepped closer to the older man.

"I'm horrible at protecting others", he confessed.

Seven years ago he had lost his oldest son, made his younger one lose his voice, his eye and his wife.

Tiny arms suddenly enclosed his neck, he could barley control his instincts to strike out, the hero was hugging him.
"Don't blame yourself we can't always protect the once we love", was whispered comfortingly in his ear and he leaned into the innocent touch.
He refused to think about the assassination he had planed and allowed himself to soak in the rare emotional warmth.