saga/title/fandom: Identity chapter 1 (Batman Beyond)
rating/genre:(PG-13) - Drama/Romance
warnings: violence, language
summary: Terry hasn't had time for himself lately, things seem a bit of a mess. It's a T/M fanfic - but i don't hate D
comments/disclaimers: I don’t own any of the characters, they were the creation of DC comics. This is a fanfic inspired by the Batman of the Future series, credit to the creators.Author’s note: This is my first Batman fanfic, it’s quite a daunting task, but I look forward to any constructive criticism on improving my writing as I’m an amateur at this. I haven’t been watching the show that long but it made an impact on me enough to want to write something. I apologise for any mistakes.
Chapter 1 No Terry Time
He sat looking at the horizon from his vantage point, deep in thought. The hill within walking distance of Hamilton Hill High School made for a good place to sit and ponder the worries of the day and the events that would occur later that night. He hated being anywhere near school, but the amazing view and the tranquillity of the spot made it ideal for those moments when Terry McGinnis just needed to release some tension.
There had been a lot of those moments recently. His legs were pulled up to him, with his arms resting on his legs, his backpack was slung somewhere on the grass beside him. A summer breeze blew through his jet-black hair as he gazed at the sun beginning its descent and leaving behind the glory of a beautiful late summer day. It was times like this he missed having someone special to share life’s little pleasures with.
Soon it would be night and Terry McGinnis would be no more. The underachieving bad boy of Hamilton Hill High would be nowhere to be found. Nighttime was the time of the Dark Knight. The time that belonged to high school students, parties, socialising, going on dates with the person you cared about, was time Terry could never fully have. As he watched the sun setting, he focused on the responsibilities of being the protector of Gotham City, sure Bruce would soon call with news of some incident Batman would have to see to.
“Terry,” a familiar voice whispered, simultaneously he felt a hand on his shoulder, a touch that comforted him.
“Max, what are you doing here?”
“Nice to see you too McGinnis.” She grinned as she threw her backpack next to his and sat herself next to her best friend.
“Sorry, wasn’t expecting to see anyone.”
“Just finished some work in the lab, great view isn’t it?” She watched the warm oranges and pinks spreading across the sky.
Terry smiled in agreement. They sat in silence for a while, just enjoying each other’s presence in the remainder the day. He was glad Max was there, she always was. He wouldn’t have to worry about losing himself with Max there to remind him of who he was. The past few months hadn’t been easy, he was physically and emotionally exhausted but he was happy for those few minutes he got to spend with Max.
He sneaked a look at her. The fading sunlight on her face made her look almost angelic. He laughed to himself at the thought of Maxine Gibson being angelic, with that wild pink hair and a tongue that could be sharper than a knife…and yet she also had a gentle side. A look from those big brown eyes could somehow assure him things would be ok, often her smile was contagious, and those combined with the words of someone who knew him better than anyone else could somehow strengthen him after a gruelling night of fighting crime on the streets of Gotham.
He looked away quickly, aware he might be looking at her for too long and in a way that wasn’t platonic. Max was crazy sometimes, he appreciated her intelligence and her resourcefulness when it came to criminal research and yet she could be nuts, throwing herself into danger to prove herself capable of assisting him and watching his back. Even Batman wasn’t invulnerable but Max could do an award winning performance of someone who was. If she needed him though, he’d be there. If he wasn’t, who would be?
Lately he was feeling more and more protective of her, scared that she might get harmed in some way through being so closely associated with Batman. The thought of losing Max scared him more than losing his own life. He turned to look at her again as a wind blew towards them. He saw Max hugging herself, shivering slightly, although her face showed no sign of her being uncomfortable. He took off his jacket and put it around her shoulders. She looked up, smiling at him gratefully.
“How are you Terr?” she asked softly, well aware Terry hadn’t been himself lately.
“You know, same old…”
“You’ve been doing a great job.” She rested her head on his shoulder. He casually placed his arm around her, but stared into the sky.
“Thanks Max, I’m glad someone thinks so.”
“Hey, sometimes the old guy gets a bit cranky, he doesn’t mean anything by it.”
He enjoyed his closeness with Max. He was lucky to have a girl – well a friend like her, he’d be luckier to have a girlfriend like her. He wrapped his arm around her a bit tighter. Max was a little surprised but responded by moving in closer to him. The phone rang just as Terry was about to say something. He moved to get his backpack to get his phone.
“Great”. He picked up the phone and answered it, expecting it to be the Boss, not bothering to check the caller ID.
“Terry honey, where are you?”
“Hey, sorry, I won’t be home for dinner, I’m going to work soon.”
“You know Terry, I worry about you, Mr Wayne really is working you too hard.”
“Nothing I can’t handle Mom.”
“Hmm…well make sure you get something to eat. Matt will be at a friend’s house this evening so tell Max that she won’t have to baby-sit him tonight.”
“Ok, see you later Mom.”
“It was Mom, she said you have the night off babysitting the twip,” Terry said as he turned to Max.
“Great, so that means I’m available to help out tonight.”
“Don’t you ever quit Max?”
“Terr, there are some messed up people out there and - ”
“Tell me about it,” Terry muttered, glancing at Max, before sighing.
“Oh and what’s that supposed to mean?”
Max playfully pushed Terry, who let himself fall over. He let out a laugh at Max’s underlying seriousness. He tore out a clump of grass and threw it into Max’s hair to lighten her mood. This worked temporarily as she shook off the grass, throwing some back at Terry. She started to giggle as they pushed each other. The giggling stopped as Terry reached over and pulled some stray blades of grass out of her hair. Max stayed still, avoiding eye contact with Terry, liking that he was that close but also feeling slightly awkward.
“Terry I just want to help you, if that makes me messed up, then so be it.” Max looked at Terry, expecting the staying out of trouble speech. He lay back on the grass, his hands behind his head.
“Max, I don’t have a normal life, I don’t know when I might get called away to bag some psycho, I’m lucky if I get any sleep…why would you want to give up your time to do what I do? You know it’s not all fun and games out there.”
“What else do I have to do apart from lab work and assignments? If you hadn’t noticed Terr, I’m not exactly an A list socialite!”
“Don’t you want to go out more, hit the party scene…?”
“Do I look like a Blade Summer wannabe? I know it’s serious work but isn’t a problem shared a problem halved?”
He half smiled at her persistence. “Being Batman has come between me and the people I care about…”
“Your mom doesn’t know, Dana didn’t know, but I know what you go through, maybe I can help you Terr…”
“I don’t want you to have go through seeing what I see, feeling what I feel, live your life Max, you deserve to do things that normal people do…”
She frowned at what appeared to be a patronising speech. On not hearing a response from Max, Terry sat up, realising his tone might have sounded insulting.
“You know what, I think I should be the one to decide what I do.” She turned away from him, sounding mildly angry.
“Max, I just can’t afford to have anything happen to you…”
“I’m sorry you see me as a liability….”
“I didn’t mean it like that…”
“Hey, it’s ok, I can deal, if you don’t want me there tonight, I can find stuff to do.”
“It’s just safer for you to be at home… ” His tone was ‘matter of fact’, lacking the warmth to convince Max that she should stick around.
“Just remember you don’t have to be alone, just because you’re the new Batman, it doesn’t mean you have to be the new Bruce Wayne.”
Her words hit him hard. He stayed silent, not knowing how to react.
She got up and removed Terry’s jacket, placing it at his feet. As she knelt down to pick up her backpack, she lightly kissed him on the cheek.
“Terr, I know you’re going through something right now, I’m guessing you need some time to yourself, if you want me to step out, I can do that, but it doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop caring.”
She began to walk away. He watched Max do her sexy Max walk as she walked into the distance. He didn’t know why he was being such a jerk, all Max wanted to do was help, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Batman had been the reason for Dana leaving him and he didn’t want Batman to be the reason for Max leaving him, maybe in a more permanent fashion…endangering the life of someone he loved wasn’t an option.
Max wondered if her choice of words had been too harsh. She was hoping Terry would give in like he usually did and eventually laugh off her pleading and be swayed into letting her come out on the mission. Terry had become more withdrawn lately, too much time being Batman and not enough time being Terry McGinnis was starting to take its toll. She hoped it was just a rough patch, and Terry would pull through it. If you think I’m giving up on you McGinnis, you’ve got another thing coming! After all we’ve been through I’m not going to let you push me away now.
She pictured Terry’s face as she walked home, remembering the sadness in his icy blue eyes when Dana had called things off with him 4 months ago, not being able to take any more of the excuses. Their relationship hadn’t been perfect, but it had been hard on Terry, unexpected. Those icy blue eyes were enough to make any girl want to jump into Dana’s place. Max also had the added bonus of knowing what Terry looked like in a tight black suit. She laughed to herself as she thought about the kick Terry would get out of knowing that she was thinking about him in that way. He could sure charm a girl. Sometimes, like tonight, he got a bit edgy and overprotective, but she knew it came with the territory. Secretly she liked that he cared so much, it was refreshing for a girl who didn’t know what a functioning family was.
Terry looked at his watch. He figured he’d go get something to eat before he headed over to the Batcave to consult Bruce before his night patrol. Sometimes he just ached for time to do nothing…there had been so much activity the past few nights that he barely had time to breathe. He couldn’t help wondering if Max was right, if he was losing his identity. Maybe he hadn’t been the most easy person to be around lately, he didn’t know why Max put up with him. If she didn’t drag him along to Cheesy Dan’s to watch her rack up the scores on the latest arcade games, maybe he’d become a recluse. The partying had become difficult, it required a lot of energy and he knew he’d bump into Dana and her friends and it took even more effort to be in the same room and pretend not to hear them gossiping about him.
Even though he wasn’t partying much, he was hardly at home. He’d even started to miss Matt, which was definitely a sign that he hadn’t spent enough time with his family but at the same time, when he got home from work, the last thing he wanted was to hear Matt running around, screaming. At least his mom and Matt were ok, relatively safe. Max on the other hand, was a worry. The way things had been recently had made him even more concerned for her safety.
Something wasn’t right in Gotham. Gotham had never been Disney World, but it had its fair share of colourful characters. If Terry could just figure out why things were a little crazier than usual, maybe he could finally take a break…if Wayne allowed him to. The phone rang, interrupting Terry’s trail of thought.
“Terry, there seems to be an incident, down by the liquor store…”
“Hey Bruce, I’m fine thanks, how are you?”
Bruce let the sarcasm slide over him. “We have no time for small talk, our funny faced friends are at it again. Come over as soon as you can.”
“Ok, see you in a few minutes.”
Terry placed the phone in his jacket pocket and continued walking. Guess that means no time for dinner, slag it, it will have to be a candy bar and a soda. He made his way to the nearest convenience store, anticipating another interesting night for Batman.
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