Nolan Drake walked through the stairwell of the old, almost abandoned apartment building. It had been so long since he last came back to Gotham City. All those years ago, when he killed the Mayor, along with Cobblepot and attacked the rest of the city with the nerve toxin, the troubles led to his arrest. After being sent to Blackgate, he had almost nothing left. Nolan lost all that he built from Oswald's empire, and after the arrest, he was left with no monetary stability. He had no more funding, no Underground to help sustain his own black market business. Nolan was now lost.
Nolan sighed as he glanced up at the door leading up to the dark, empty hallway. The dim moonlight lit up the mold stained carpet, leading to the apartment that he recalled owning for a brief period of time. It was the only other place he could think of staying. The Underground was gone. Hell was no longer his home. But he could build something up again, couldn't he? Nolan glanced at the apartment door that he believed to be his old apartment.
Nolan considered the last time he used it. He was preparing for the State of the City Address, where he initiated his attack. He was with that guy...what was his name? James? Jacob? Nolan shrugged to himself. He had been sleeping with some guy. He really didn't remember his name. It had been years, plus, he wasn't exactly tied down to the guy. The sex was fine, but, that's not what he cared about the most. He just wanted someone to let him take out his rage. His lover at the time wasn't cutting it.
Nolan remembered kidnapping the kid. The kid was vulnerable. The kid was just a kid, sure, but...it didn't matter. Nolan didn't regret what he did. He never killed him. That was a line he couldn't cross. Kids were off the limits when it came to murder. After a certain age, boys became men. That's when they were responsible for their actions, and that's when Nolan found his own responsibility to kill those who deserved it. It made the city a better place, to an extent. It made sense to him. Nolan didn't regret attempting to cleansing the city all those years ago.
Nolan stepped up to the door and bit his lip. Someone very well could have moved into the apartment. Someone may have been living in there. Nolan thought about that possibility for a moment, then disregarded it. The neighborhood was disgusting, and the building was roughly empty. No one would live there, let alone move into his old apartment specifically. Nolan reached for the doorknob and opened the door. He gasped at the sight before him.
There, sitting on the chair by his computer desktop he used from all those years ago, was a man in a black military grade uniform of armor, with metallic padding and straps of knives and ammunition attached all around him. On his lap, he held a small helmet that was half orange and half black, leaving one eye-hole open and the other closed. The man had a scruffy gray beard, long dark hair tied back in a ponytail and grayish sideburns. Nolan couldn't help but stare at the man's eyepatch covering his right eye. Behind him, stood a more slender man in a black suit of armor, but his mask was gray, resembling a skull. The only distinguishing feature was the red X marking across the gray mask.
Nolan glanced between the two strangers in his apartment, sighing. "What the hell is this?" he asked out loud.
The man in the skull mask turned to the one with the eyepatch. The one in the eyepatch cleared his throat, adjusting himself in his seat. "Nolan Drake, I presume?" he asked. His voice was low and hoarse, but, Nolan could detect some sort of accent. British, maybe? Australian? It was strange.
Nolan nodded. "Who's asking?"
The man in the eyepatch placed a gloved hand over his chest. "I am Slade Wilson. I have come with a proposition for you."
Nolan arched his eyebrow suspiciously, then glanced back at the man in the skull mask. He wasn't too muscular under the suit, and he was short than Nolan. The man made Nolan uneasy. "And your buddy, here?"
Slade Wilson turned to the man standing beside him and sighed. "He is here in case you are less than cooperative."
Nolan rolled his eyes. "Okay, fine," he said. "I'll play your game." Nolan shut the door behind him and made his way to the bed in the middle of the one room apartment. It was small, but, it worked for Nolan at the time. Quite frankly, he would've liked to have moved into a larger place at some point. Maybe a nicer apartment. Or...penthouse? Big jump, sure, but, Nolan felt he was a man of class underneath his raw rage. Nolan sat down on the edge of the bed and turned to the two strangers. "What do you want, Mr. Wilson?"
Slade nodded with a soft smile on his face. "Mr. Wilson," he repeated. "It has been so long since someone has addressed me with such...respect."
Nolan stared at the mercenary with a confused look. "Right," he muttered.
Slade cleared his throat. "I am here because I believe you and I have something in common. Or, rather, someone in common."
Nolan sighed. He rubbed his face with his hands, groaning softly. "Oh my god, who do you want me to kill?"
Slade tilted his head in confusion. "Beg your pardon?"
Nolan shrugged. "I mean, you want me to kill someone for you, right?" He turned to the skull masked man, who made no slight movement. Nolan then turned back to Slade, rolling his eyes at the strange masked figure. "Isn't that what this is?" Nolan asked. "You figure I'm one of the best men to call up for a hit. I've got connections in a lot of corners in Gotham's criminal rings. I can make anybody you want dead within a matter of minutes with just a single phone call. Or, if you'd like, I can take them out myself. I can use stealth and precision, or, I could make it messy to send a message. I can stage it, or make it look like an accident. You want someone framed for the murder? I got you, man." Nolan smiled at the two men, exhibiting his devilish charm. "I mean, I've got you...for a small price."
Slade let out a deep breath, then shook his head. "This isn't a job...in the sense that you believe it to be, Mr. Drake."
Nolan arched his eyebrow. "Okay, now you've lost me."
Slade nodded. "I understand you worked alongside Oswald Cobblepot in murdering the Mayor of Gotham City a few years ago," Slade started. "You also murdered Cobblepot, alongside a doctor going by the name of Jonathon Crane."
Nolan thought back to that night. He had attempted to release fear toxin onto the city, creating a state of panic that only he could control. If Nolan was in control of the city, he could wipe away the true scum of Gotham, making the city a better place. But, in order to do that, he needed to instil fear in the people of Gotham. He needed to make them see the monsters they had become. It made sense at the time, but, when Tim saw him that night...when his little brother saw Nolan up there, on that stage, watching what he had done, it made Nolan question everything he had done for a moment.
It didn't matter. He made his choice that night. He lost everything, including Tim. Richard had him, which was probably for the best, as much as Nolan hated to admit it. There was nothing he could do now.
"I dunno what you're getting," Nolan muttered.
Slade inched forward in his seat, staring dead into Nolan's eyes. "A young man ruined me, Mr. Drake. A young man who lied to me and betrayed me. The young man posed as an apprentice of mine, making me believe I was a mentor to him, and him a son to me. I fell for his facade, and he exposed me to the League and A.R.G.U.S." Slade sighed. "This man also wronged you, if I am not mistaken."
Nolan eyed Slade Wilson carefully, taking in every detail of the man's face as he spoke. The way his lips hardly shifted as he spoke, along with his intense glare, making Nolan feel as though he was looking straight into his soul, it all felt...surreal. But the things he was saying...the man who betrayed Wilson and wronged Nolan, it couldn't be...there was no way. It was impossible.
"Grayson?" Nolan breathed.
Slade Wilson's lips curled to a smile. "You've got it." Slade glanced over at the masked man beside him, then let out a soft chuckle, turning back to Nolan. "Dick Grayson. That kid is a little pain in the arse, isn't he?" Slade let out a deep sigh, shaking his head. "Killing the bastard would be too easy. I want to torture him, son. Make him suffer. I want to destroy Dick Grayson."
Nolan let the words sink in. Destroy...Dick Grayson. The last time Nolan saw Dick, he was donning the new suit, fighting off aliens outside of Blackgate. Nolan had been just doing his duty as a convicted felon when he was caught off guard by the monsters in the woods during his breakout. In all truth and fairness, Dick had saved Nolan's life. After Dick gave himself up to the aliens, Nolan had done the one thing that Dick had asked him to do. He found a machine destroyed it. Nolan had no idea what the device was, or what destroying it had done, but it was the heroic man's last wish before disappearing. Nolan didn't think what he did made any impact as he escaped the prison that night...until he saw the damaged done in Gotham. The aliens had almost destroyed the city, but Nolan arrived in time to find the corpses of the monsters scattered across the streets of Gotham. The monsters were dead. The aliens were defeated. Nolan had no idea how it had happened, but somehow, Dick saved Gotham.
Part of Nolan knew that Dick was a good man. Another part of Nolan, however, saw that day of heroism as merely a moment of necessary unity between the two. Under any other circumstances, Nolan would have killed Dick Grayson. That day, the world had been invaded. Nolan's dispute with the former Boy Wonder had to be put to a halt to ensure the safety of mankind. Nothing about his relationship with Dick Grayson had changed. They worked together to face a common enemy, and that enemy was now gone. Now, Slade Wilson's proposition brought him and Nolan together for their own common enemy.
The prospect of Dick Grayson, the man who ruined Nolan's vision for Gotham and having ruined another man's life, being destroyed by the two was almost too delectable to pass up. In no way could Nolan ever reject this sort of offer. Nolan believed in many things, but one thing was certain. Dick Grayson deserved to truly suffer.
Nolan smiled. "Where do we begin?"