up on the mantle
measure of a man's decisions · 07/29

He lived in the garage. Deciding there was a place to be when running inside, in their home wasn't favorable in the moment. His late nights and then early morning as sleep was evaded, plotted his steps in pulling down a sanding tool, and dusting off the refurbished ready furniture that would suit another person's home. He spent entire nights there doing what was best of not succumbing to any dying and reviving his body created. Dying and regenerating. Of all matters, he was immortal the easiest way put and never thought of the consequences of being expendable to any cause except the one that claimed protecting what was his. Be it his children, his woman, or the old man that raised him to be somewhat of a decent asshole when he still remained to be that on his good day.

One eye looked up at the wall of tools. Some were displayed from the trade of killing and the other in the trade of fixing and rebuilding. He became his father in a way. Not the man from Slade's life but the man in Nate's. Prickly, sometimes mild, but a hard pressed motherfucker who expected the most in everyone. Only his pops wasn't plagued with living a double, or triple the life. He searched for answers that satiated a curiosity of whether cheating death in his twenties and mid thirties had meant to be. If it did, what sort of number did it pull over his psyche like the armored mask that sat locked in an secure box just across from him? All of the weapons, considerably used when needed, weren't. Not the specialized katana, nor the rest of his suit. It couldn't fit in this picture when the threats these days were men looking down from a particular castle running the gamut on the land they lived. Nathan went back a ways, thinking of all the events he was involved in. The chaotic resounding in his skull and where his place had been in the melee, all were up for questioning.

His shit was together for most of it but it took a certain skilled maestro to lead the way. To take him in as the useless and broken student, who was close to seeing his way out the door. The upper room was made for him and he was close to meeting that final stay or the lower room had been more suitable. He made Nate bathe in the pain. In all the physical manifestations that could persuade someone to bring a blade to their own wrist or throat. In all, the psychological scarring opened him up like a flayed carcass. He was exposed for his own good. To prepare him for what was to come including the days of being the rightful guide for his children. And Nathan realized the quicker he recognized both kids of the past that reflected in the future, sans any deceit that occurred along the way, the easier it would be to have to sit them down for a hard dose of too many truth pills or serums. Their reality was wrapped up within another again and he accepted it. Replaying like a video of things done in the past, especially to those that were their friends.

His bitterness was non-existent now because had only two to worry about while he kept out of sight as someone of his caliber was supposed to do. That is until he wanted to be seen or heard. His game of choice required preparation for the long haul and as simple as playing up the sometimes hard as nails but enlightened yogi was concerned, he'll do so until he could not any longer. His lives were one facet of one existence. The cover that continued to create more covers as long as dollar signs was in the reachable distance. He did so for a future. A possible one made in the image of not only himself, but the partner in crime he had shared a helluva life with in the past couple of years. He wanted his legacy to be filled with other bits besides the battles fought or kills that added to his belt.

For what it was worth, it needed to mean something. To eclipse the decisions he's made as a man, as a soldier, as the mercenary for hire, and as the guy that just never gave close to a fuck about anything other than himself. He lost what selfishness meant and the people who were once victims to his ways. He understood what had to be done but also questioned if it would be finite had not Deathstroke became as prominent as he did. Morbid ideas and thoughts entered and then released when he held these conversations against the one he trusted. The one he loved. He asked her would a difference be made if Slade never existed but acknowledged he helped push him to his limits, coming out in the end as a force to be reckoned with if slept on. In the height of any element of surprise, he schooled himself on to behave where it counted and emerge to defend where it counted.

As he glanced over with the sigh singular to a seemingly invalid individual, he landed on the selection of firearms then back to the other tools as a sign of where his life seemed to split. A questionable family man, and the reaper. They symbolized quiet, the standard of life, and then greed, and snuffing out life. His challenges were presented as they were, only nuanced with others that were in his line of sight. He saw his means of manipulation exposed once again not too long ago as he reintroduced the knot of killing to his daughter. Ignored and pretended that his son was turning into a dim wit basket case when his gut was saying otherwise. Both fragile in their own states and he slowly sheared the thin thread of fucking things up for the two on this side. He had to be careful and not wrap the bullshit up as a teachable lesson or preparing them for the worst when it all smelled the same as a lifetime's supply of manure.

His mitt grabbed the power sander from its mount, with the goggles to throw over his head. He'll use his hands for the few hours boxed into the closed garage. Choosing to be the other guy and not the one committed to the contracts that were on short supply. He did not want it coming to his door, nor breaking it down as enemies would drown what was built from scratch. He paid and continue to do so in his placement of redemption but redemption could be taken away. It could dissolve. Scrambling to be someone else that was a task to recognize. Slate made an easy decision that night.