saga/title/fandom: Identity chapter 8 (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 8 Secrets Of The Heart
Terry looked into Max’s room, watching her rubbing her tired eyes as she sat on her bed, still dressed in her costume. He raised his hand, to tap on Max’s bedroom window but Max had already caught sight of him at the window, and walked over to the open it. He climbed in almost not noticing the pain in his leg as he still wondered if it was his imagination. Now smelling the familiar perfumed air in Max’s room, he pulled off his cowl to reveal an expression of fatigue and confusion. He placed a hand on Max’s face, looking into her eyes.
“Max, is it really you?”
She was feeling a little drowsy, not quite herself, but she wasn’t sure what Terry meant by his strange question.
“What are you talking about McGinnis?”
His look softened on hearing her voice. He closed his watery blue eyes as he pulled Max into him, holding her tighter than he’d ever done. She didn’t speak, not wanting to ruin the moment, even though she had no idea as to why Terry was being so emotional. He breathed in Max’s scent, allowing it to fill his senses, now he could accept that she was real. She began to hug him back, knowing that something was wrong and that Terry would talk about it in due course.
“I missed you Max.” His statement was filled with emotion, which seemed odd to Max, considering she’d seen him earlier that night.
“I’m sorry I had to leave, but with that test on Monday, I thought I should rest.”
Terry pulled back to give her a puzzled look.
“Max you don’t look good, tell me what happened to you?”
“That’s why I told Dana to tell you that I was going home, I felt ill.” She felt glad that her earlier excuse for leaving would provide a cover.
“Dana? I haven’t spoken to her…about you being ill.”
Max looked around the room, as she remembered the kiss she had seen Dana give Terry at The Web.
“Max, why didn’t you tell me you were ill?”
“Well, I thought Dana would see you again and I didn’t want you to worry, I knew you’d only try and take me home.”
“See me again? You saw me and Dana together…”
“Hey, if you guys can work things out, then that’s great.” Max tried her best ‘happy for her friend’ voice.
“Max…you know how things are with Dana, you know that it was just one problem after another. I can’t be with Dana. Things are different now.”
She wasn’t fully convinced. The image of Dana kissing him and him permitting it seemed to say otherwise. She changed the subject.
“So what made you come over?”
“Max, when were you planning on telling me you were attacked on the way home?”
Her guilty silence was enough to let Terry know she hadn’t planned on telling him.
“Max, you have no idea what I’ve been through tonight. I was so worried about you. I thought something had happened to you, something that I might not have been able to fix.”
“I’m sorry Terr, I really am.” She felt regret, seeing that she had somehow caused a greater problem.
“What happened to you Max?” He braced himself, hoping it wouldn’t be as terrible as the things he’d imagined.
“I’m sort of hazy. I was walking along the street, I remember some guy, but I didn’t see his face, he was wearing a hat. He kind of jumped out of the alley, I was fighting him off … I thought he was going to kill me, but he didn’t really do anything. I was expecting a gun or something but he when he let go of me all he had in his hand was a flower. It totally threw me. He disappeared after that… I just remember him holding this flower … it had a really strong scent…I can’t remember too much after that.”
“Did he hurt you?”
“I don’t remember him hurting me. I do remember feeling really drowsy after he left, something in the flower…when I got home, I realised my purse was gone.”
“The guy attacks you and gives you a flower?”
“A crook with a romantic side…I don’t know. I made it back home ok I guess.”
“The guy fits the description of Mischief… he did attack you, stole your purse… but you’re ok?”
“I’m fine Terr.”
Terry pulled completely away from her, and sat on the edge of her bed. The realisation of being duped came over Terry. The things he’d said, the way he’d made Terry believe that Max was in danger, on the point of death … it had all been a psychological ploy to distract Batman. The only reason it had worked so well was because of Terry’s feelings for Max. Terry had allowed Mischief to mess with his mind because he’d been too caught up in his personal feelings, a sign of weakness? Bruce’s words came back to him “Don’t let your personal feelings get in the way.” Does Bruce know I feel this way about Max? He drooped his head, feeling empty. He’d let Mischief get away. How did I not call his bluff? I’ve screwed up…Bruce is going to kill me…
Max, tentatively came over to Terry and sat beside him. She waited for Terry to talk, not wanting to push him. His head remained down.
“I messed up tonight Max. I feel like a complete idiot. I wonder sometimes if I’m cut out to be Batman.”
“Being Batman is no piece of cake, you do the best that you can. Gotham needs you as Batman. There’s no one out there who can do it better.” She placed her hand over his.
“You have so much faith in me. Tonight I lost it. I really wanted to hurt someone.”
“He said some things, things that really got to me. I let him get away…”
“I know you’ll work it out, you’ll find a way to get him.”
“I have to clear my head, and then I need to see Bruce.”
Max was anxious, Terry usually opened up to her more.
“Terry, if I can help in any way, let me know.”
“Max, I’m just glad you’re ok.” Terry looked up and moved to kiss her forehead. He got up and started walking over to the window.
“Terry, you’re leg, you’re hurt!” Max got up in a panic but before she got any closer Terry brushed it off.
“It’s nothing. I better go.”
He turned around, as she walked over to him. She looked cute with that half sleepy look on her face, but lethal at the same time in that tight outfit she was wearing. That face of an angel look with that body to die for is a killer combination, thought Terry as he watched her approach him. Max looked into his eyes, focusing her eyes on his as she reached around his neck. Terry could feel his heart pounding faster as she moved in closer. He glanced down to her lips, the sensuous lips that he’d dreamed about kissing, now not too far from his. He saw those lips move to form a smile.
“You forgot something,” she said as she moved some of Terry’s hair out of his face. She reached up, tip toeing slightly, before taking the cowl in her fingers and gently pulling it over Terry’s head. Terry exhaled. He hid his disappointment and smiled back at her, acknowledging that Max had just saved him a whole lot of explaining.
She pulled the last quarter of the mask down more slowly, taking a few seconds to make sure it was on properly, unaware that Terry had been sharing her own thoughts about kissing him, right there and then.
“Terr, I don’t know all the details about this Mischief guy but I do know one thing, you’re not a quitter. This guy won’t know what hit him. Just make sure you take care of yourself ok?”
He smiled again, not saying anything. He gave her a quick hug and then climbed out of the window.
“Terry, I just wish you’d let me know what’s going on. Why won’t you let me help you? Mischief…the guy who wears a hat…haven’t heard anything about him in the news…he didn’t hurt me… he could have hurt me if he’d wanted to. He didn’t seem very aggressive for someone trying to rob me…I can think of much worse ways to persuade someone to give up her purse! Of course I’m going to have to sort out cred card replacements now and that will be a hassle but I’m lucky that’s all I have to worry about. Terry wouldn’t be after him unless he’s done something else already, he only just found out about my attack. Terry seemed to know about him…but I haven’t heard anything about him, until now. So maybe this Mischief guy made a very recent appearance…”
Max went into the living room to switch on the TV to see the latest news. The story just in was several break ins and theft by Jokerz at some stores. The newsreader was also mentioning an incident at The Web that coincided with the time the robberies had taken place. “Looks like the party got a lot more interesting after I left…Jokerz…could Mischief be linked to the Jokerz?” Max turned off the TV and went back to her room, feeling too tired to develop her theory further.
She put on some music, and pressed the button for the blinds to come down. She started undressing, feeling liberated after spending so much time in her tight black outfit. The thought of what it would be like to be getting changed out of the Batgirl suit crossed her mind, as she threw her clothes onto the floor. She glanced into the mirror to check out her reflection, proud of her toned form in the full-length mirror. She was sure that she could really work that Batgirl suit. As she went to search for her nightclothes, the more interesting thought of Terry getting changed out of his Batman suit crossed her mind. “Mmm….” She shook her head to get the fantasy out of her mind. “Is it really over with Dana?”
It seemed selfish to be thinking about her feelings for Terry at a time when Terry seemed like he really needed his best friend. The only thing she knew she could do was to be the friend that Terry needed, and somehow help him. Seeing Terry so cut up over whatever happened that night had made her determined to do whatever was needed to make sure Terry would be ok. It didn’t matter that Terry was trying to keep her out of the case. She could do some detective work without him knowing. If she could find out who this Mischief character was, maybe she could help catch him. She put on her navy silk nightshirt and went to brush her teeth. As she got into bed, she turned the music down low, but so it was still audible and listened to the lyrics, thinking of Terry as she felt the gravity of sleep on her eyes.
Batman was now perched on the top of a building, looking down at the streets below and the lights in the distance. There were very few cars around now and the streets were almost deserted. He held his face up to the wind, closing his eyes as it hit him. He opened them again once the wind had passed and looked up into the clear blue-black sky lit by scattered stars. He stayed there as he tried to process his thoughts, not wanting to talk to Bruce just yet. Terry knew that he needed to find a way of dealing with the way he felt about Max. When it came to telling her how he felt, the moment just never seemed right, or he would back out at the last minute. He could see keeping his feelings inside wasn’t helping much either. Bruce seemed to be void of emotion. Terry had sworn to himself that he’d never let being Batman do that to him but he knew that being Batman came with complications.
Max was the person he talked to about the trials of being Batman but he had kept her at a distance recently, wanting to keep her safe. Tonight had made him see that anything could happen to her, and there was no way he could make sure he was there to prevent it from happening. He asked himself whether it was risky to open that part of his heart to Max, the part that had been shut off since he broke up with Dana. He could handle being Max’s friend, it was easy. Crossing over the boundary into something more than friendship with Max would require more emotional investment and Terry felt a little apprehensive, considering his past track record with women. It seemed to be a choice of confronting his feelings or just suppressing them, becoming a rock, constant and solid but detached. Again, the image of Bruce Wayne, an old man, alone in Wayne Manor came to mind. Terry envisioned himself in the same predicament, around fifty years from the present.
“That’s not going to be me. I won’t let it be. Mischief better enjoy tonight because when I’m through with him, he’s going to juvi where the only person he’ll be playing with will be himself.”
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