A/N: Okay so here is the prologue for "Love Hurts". It's my first real fanficition so be gentle folks! If you like the story I might continue working on it. I already have a few chapters written and I want to see if anymore are worth writing. Anyway! Enjoy!

Prologue: Bets worth playing for.

Red nails drummed slowly against the wooden surface of the table as green eyes studied the clock hanging on the wall. He was late, go figure, men were rarely ever on time. A small sigh escaped from ruby red lips before they pursed together in an agitated pout. Did he think she had no where to be? That her time was nothing more than to be played with by any given whim? Eyes drew once more to the clock as the little red hand roamed about for another seven seconds.

A man twitched by the table beside her with every long digit that tapped away, nearly on the fringe of convulsing. Finally not able to take it anymore he turned towards her and glared at the woman beside him.

"Do you mind I'm trying to… to..." His words caught in his throat as eyes the color of new grown leaves landed on him with a hint of annoyance. She was breath taking to say the least. The way her red hair sprawled down her shoulders to frame the delicate shape of her face. Her skin smooth and flawless seemed to radiant with a soft glow along her cheeks. The pout among her ruby red lips made his very heart seem to speed up. "I… I'm sorry I... I mean, let me make it up to you how about I buy you a cup of coffee?"

His heart leaped as a smile curled at the corners of her lips and he swore his heart sore as the melody that she called a voice fall from her lips.

"No thank you, I'm already waiting for someone, so if you could be a dear and just sit there quietly I would be very appreciative. Thank you." With that she turned around and his heart plunged at the clear sign of rejection.

She paid no mind as the man behind her gathered his things and made his way for the door, however the small clapping sound caused green eyes to glance at the new man sitting across from her.

"Impressive, do you take a class on breaking hearts or does that come from a lifetime of bad choices?" She grunted underneath her breath as she raised her glass of tea to her lips, drinking slowly. He watched her as she tried to think of the proper response to his little greeting, arching an eyebrow when she set the glass down.

"You're late, out chasing children again? What's the matter couldn't run with the big boys?" She sipped her tea again and watched as he forced a smile across his lips.

"You underestimate the children that I chase dear woman and it's only by three minutes." She laughed and set the tea cup back down, crossing a leg over her left. Leave it to a man to think that what he chased was always a bigger threat than it really was.

"Children are children, no matter how many toys they may have, they can always be broken. You dear sir, just lack the ability to do so."

"I see… are you saying that you could do better?"

"Without so much as lifting a hand to fight them."

"Is that a bet I hear?" She started at the question and eyed the man. He couldn't be serious, her waste her time with children? Was that what this was all about? Slowly green eyes began to move over the man's form, taking in the way he presented himself. He was taller than her, with a head full of white hair combed back. The black patch hung over his right eye as the other eye watched her intently. The green suit hide nothing of a lean yet well muscular body that had years of training. He presented himself as one with both wisdom and dignity of a job well done and a lifetime of hardships he had overcome for the better. It was however, the confident smile that crossed his lips that caused her to snarl and glance away.

"Why should I ever reduce myself to the level of chasing around children when the people they dress up as are running around chasing me?" He laughed and it caused her to glance his way. Covering his face with one hand he tried to calm down the laughter as on lookers watched the two. Shrugging the people figured it was a lover's conversation and turned back to their drinks.

Snorting slightly he cleared his throat as he regained his composure. Waving a hand as to dismiss the air of humor he tried to conjure up his most serious of expressions. The dagger she sent quickly helped him to recover as he coughed and sat up a bit straighter.

" I do not mean to laugh at you, on the contrary it was more of a compliment as I can see, it is not only cape heroes that chase you, but men just in general." She snarled and he continued, never letting his eye leave her.

"Why are you even here?"

"Ah we come to the business of things. I heard that when there is a potion that you want to work quickly and deadly there is only one woman to come and see. That her beauty only matches her intelligence, however in the light of things I'm beginning to wonder if you could succeed where you believe I have failed."

"So I'm nothing but amusement to you now?" He shook his head and leaned back in his chair.

"Once more my dear, you have it wrong. You say that I waste my time and I wish to see if you and that pretty mouth can back up those words." She eyed him closely as he seemed to measure her up at the same time. There was silence between the two of them for awhile as the bet seemed to hang in the air. Finally she spoke.

"Once more I ask… if I... I mean when I do succeed with cleaning up your failure, what do I receive?" He seemed to smile at this question. Bringing his hand up in front of his face he examined his white gloves, seeming to pick off invisible lent.

"I heard you were looking into purchasing some land in the reign of Africa… an African rain forest that the government was going to tear down... am I correct?" She tried to keep the light of hope from fluttering through her chest and at the same time seem nonchalant at the exchange.

"You think you could afford it when I could not? A man who use to be somebody that now does nothing but runs around chasing children?" She chuckled and run a finger along the rim of her glass, leaning in to whisper seductively. "Don't make me laugh. You probably couldn't afford a cup of coffee, more or less a rain forest" Once more he laughed, though softer this time. Leaning in he placed a large gloved hand over the delicate smaller hand.

"My darling, you do not know what I could and can afford. The money that I have earned in this lifetime from previous jobs could last me into this lifetime, the next, and afford to pay for all your silly little endeavors to save the plants." She narrowed her eyes and had to remind herself that killing the man that could possibly help her save her precious trees was not a good idea.

Snatching her hand away from his she sat up straight and crossed her arms over her chest. He watched her seem to weigh the truth of his words and smiled. Pulling a piece of paper from the pocket of his dark green jacket he slid it across the table at her.

Eyeing the document it took a few seconds before her eyes widen and she picked up the paper.

"You have to be kidding… you already brought it?!" He smiled as she hissed out a whisper of disbelief and returned his attention to the invisible lint on his glove.

"I'm quite fond of Africa you see… so I thought why not buy the land why I could… you take the bet and succeed, I give you the real document... you do not, I auction it off. It makes no difference to me what happens to the land. Of course you could not take the bet and we could simply get back to the original plan at hand."

Delicate fingers ran over the print on the copy of the documents she yearned to hold. How could he possibly have known about her inquiries, known that this conversation would even take place in fact. Green eyes watched the older man in front of her as he waved over a waitress and ordered a cup of coffee. Was he serious? Was this even real or a simply game? Still, it all seemed so well planned. The sudden movement of his eye locked with hers startled her for a moment, hands gripping the paper a bit tighter.

"… How did you know this conversation would even happen?"

He smiled and eyed the beauty across the table at him and only winked.

"Are you in, my dear?" She glanced at the paper and slowly nodded her head. "Wonderful! Come let us celebrate this little bet with lunch, shall we?" The waitress set down his cup of coffee and he flashed her a whole hearted smile that could of passed for charming years earlier, at the prime of his youth (not that it still wasn't.). She turned her attention to the waitress and started to place an order.

Wonderful, things were going according to plan but again they always did. Some might have called him washed up and a has been but those closest to him knew it was anything but. He chased the Titans for his own selfish reasons. Ever since the loss of his family he needed to feel alive, needed to feel like a father. He had found that in the titans, found that need to teach them in his own strange way. With the help of this woman they could get a glimpse into what could really happen, the deaths they might one day behold by someone who would not hold back. However, if she did not succeed and she did fail there would still be a lesson learned and the villains of Gotham might even learn that looks can be deceiving.

Smirking he raised the glass of his coffee up and she responded by lifting her glass of tea, clinking them together softly.

"Here's to our bet and I wish you luck, my dear."

"I won't be needing it. I'll finish this before the ink dries on the new ownership papers." He chuckled and sipped his coffee.

"We shall see, oh, shall we see."