Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans.

"Get back freak, I've got mace," Vanessa Gould snarled, backing up until she felt the alley's rough brick wall scratch her back.

The shorter man continued walking toward her, his brown trench coat dragging through the mud as he advanced upon Vanessa. She looked for a way out but found herself trapped by the alley's

"You've got mace, but I've got this," he said, pulling out a silver gun that winked in the moonlight as he swung it tauntingly in her face.

Vanessa's breath hitched and she froze with her hand tight around the container of pepper spray. She was so stupid—she should have sprayed him in the face the first chance she had.

"I don't have time for this. I'm looking for Slade," the young woman snapped, her voice quavering as she stalled for time.

He laughed—an ugly, guttural sound.

"Maybe I'm Slade, honey."


Vanessa flinched and looked upward, the blood draining from her face as she locked eyes with Slade himself, crouched catlike on the fire escape. His single orb narrowed to a slit.

"Get back or I'll kill her," Vanessa's captor said frantically, holding the gun to her head.

"Be my guest. She has the potential to become a great nuisance to me."

She glared at him angrily.

"Thank you."

"Don't mention it," Slade replied smoothly, leaping off of the stairwell and delivering a crushing roundhouse kick to the man's head while shoving Vanessa out of the way.

She fell to the ground with a thud almost at the exact instant as her would-be attacker did. Opening her eyes, Vanessa stared at Slade's armored legs as he held out his hand and helped her to her feet.

"You dropped this?" He asked, holding out her silver voice recorder, no bigger than a matchbox.

Vanessa looked at it stupidly for a moment, mesmerized by the sound of his voice, before nodding.

"Yeah—yes, that's mine."

She reached out to take it with shaking fingers. They tingled when she brushed his cloth gloves.

"He's dead, isn't he?"

"If you're sick on this uniform it'll be the last move you ever make."

"I've seen dead bodies before."

Slade silently turned around and started walking.

"Where are you going?" Vanessa asked, widening her stride to keep up with him as he left the dark alcove.

"Home. Hear the sirens?"

Nodding mutely, Vanessa listened to the faint wail of the police in the background.

"They're looking for you, aren't they?"

"You should stop crawling into dark alleyways."

She smiled sadly at him.

"I can't. I'm a reporter."

Author's Note: Well, I suppose you can see where this story is going. This is just sort of a prologue-thing to introduce it. I'm looking for a BETA READER for this story if you're interested. I need a somewhat experienced writer with a couple things on who I can send the chapters to in advance for them to edit. (Since my poor beta Artemis is overworked working on "The Ties That Bind" and everything.)