It dripped down onto the street like the quiet tapping of rain drops.

Drip.

Drip.

She lay on the fire escape, cold and dead. A stream of blood poured sluggishly out of her head and spilled off the metal platform and down into the street below.

Drip.

Drop.

Drip.

It was red and warm, but starting to cool and harden. Red blood turning black and hard and crusty. When it became daytime and the sun reached it's highest point, the body would steam.

Then, the flies would buzz and gorge themselves, turning her body into a black writhing cloud. It would look like she was alive and trying to shake the flies off, but it was only maggots moving up and out of her throat to feast on the soft, pink, flesh of the tongue.

Her wide, green, sightless eyes reflected the city lights on top of the fire escape.

She had been killed by her pimp.

Another bead of blood fell from the fire escape like a crimson tear drop. It splashed into the pool of blood at the bottom.

Drip.

Drip.

Drop.


Mia Dearden awoke, panicked and sweaty, and struggled to get out of the sheets of her bed.

She took two deep breathes and stood up. Mia didn't know why she kept having this dream, maybe it was just a warning of what could have happened to her if she had continued her life on the streets.

It wasn't like it was strange to happen to some girl. Too many friends had been killed.

Mia stared out her window for a moment longer. She pulled on her Speedy costume and ran down through the halls of Titan's Tower, if she couldn't sleep she might as well do some target practice.

But, she felt her aim was a bit off, as her hands kept shaking.

"Oh, hey Speedy!" Kid Flash called. He had appeared suddenly at her side and surprised her. Mia managed to keep a grip on her bow, though.

"I just made breakfast! Do you want some?" he asked, grinning. She smiled back and understood why Ollie liked him. Yes, he was a good, incorruptible hero, but he also kept upbeat in a dangerous world.

"Yeah, sure. Thanks." Mia replied.

Breakfast was a loud, friendly affair. It was becoming easier for Mia to act like a normal teenager with normal problems. But, the pills for HIV she had to take were always a jolt back to reality.

There would be complications from her disease. She knew it would happen eventually. Red lesions on her skin or mouth. Swelling of lymph nodes. Cancer or a tumor.

Even the treatment was awful, she had to run out of several training sessions to throw up. She had a painful skin rash and at times she couldn't get enough air.

Of course, she did not want to have sex again, but still it was one of those teenage things denied to her now, unless it was with another positive. (But, still sex was not a thing she wanted.)

She was glad Ollie didn't deny her the mantle of Speedy after she told him. He could of done that. He actually made an effort to cook healthy foods, instead of his usual chili and corndogs.

Ollie even bought special supplements for her health.

Mia knew it would be difficult. But, she would'nt have become Speedy if she was willing to lay down and die.

She had Roy to talk to, who admitted he was lucky to have not gotten any disease from the shared needles he used.

She now had the Teen Titans to help her, and she had herself.

It was more than enough.