The alarm blared as the clock reached 6 am.

Grumbling a boy with raven hair and deep blue eyes rolled over and slammed the snooze button.

Without a word the boy reached for a remote and hit a single button; the whole apartment blared to life: light filled every room, music blasted from hidden speakers, and the shower started up. The boy got up and went to his front door to collect the mail.

He opened a small envelope with messy writing on it already anticipating what it would say.

Richard Grayson,

Our sources have informed us that you have been behind on your insurance payments. Our associates would hate to see something distasteful happen to you or your belongings.


Your humble protectors

Snorting Richard balled up the letter and threw it in the trash.

Ever since his parents had died he had been left a small fortune; but some people screwed him over and he lost most of it the year before. He had just turned 8 when they died; now he was 16 and barely able to keep himself fed. He was able to keep the apartment because his parents had owned it and then put a couple of generators in the back, so he was off the power grid. People knew his name well enough and did not know or care about the fact he was now poor.

With a heavy sigh he went to the shower. He smiled as the warm water washed over his naked body. He started thinking about the night his parents had died.

They were acrobats in a circus, but that was more of a hobby/cover story; they were really intelligence agents for the government. A mob boss had found out and immediately had a hit placed on them. He had watched as they were flying through the air and just as his dad leaped across from one of the swings to his mother's as part of the act the rope holding it up snapped and they both fell to their deaths. He ran up to them, but the ringmaster had grabbed him by the shoulders and hurried him away from the scene as fast as he could.

Gary, the ringmaster, worked with his parents and took him to the apartment and did his best to make sure that Richard had a decent enough life growing up, but the trauma of losing his parents had left the little boy broken and cold. Gary stopped visiting and would occasionally send a bit of money; but that was it. Richard stopped going to school, but kept himself educated via the internet. He was a genius to be honest. He figured out twelve years of math in a month, he learned how to take a computer apart and put it back together again in three days, and most impressively he figured out how to hack into high security government networks in one afternoon.

Turning off the water to his shower Richard stepped out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist. He got dressed in some sweats and headed for the door. He grabbed a water bottle and went on his way, setting the alarms behind him. He opened the door and walked out of the apartment complex, ready to take his run around the park. He would run for five miles and then start his workouts that kept him in shape; Richard performed these remedial tasks for three reasons: to stay in shape, to waste time, and to keep him safe if he were caught in a bad situation where he would have to knock a few heads.

Sighing he began his run, unaware of the pair of eyes trained on him from a building across the street.

"Target acquired." A man with a two-toned mask of orange and black said into a microphone attached to an earpiece.

"Very good Deathstroke. Don't forget make it clean, quick, and untraceable." A man on the other end said before cutting the communication.

Deathstroke sighed in annoyance, he had done jobs like this before some of his employers were even born and they still assumed he would make amateur mistakes. He watched the boy with a silent fascination as he did his workout. The boy couldn't have been more than 16 so why did his employers want him dead. It didn't matter he was given a job and he would see it through. Because when Deathstroke the Terminator was given a job he finished it, no matter the situation.

He closed his one eye and started to think about how to go about this latest assignment. All he knew for sure was that by the end of this week Richard Grayson would be dead.