saga/title/fandom: Identity chapter 12 (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 12 All Work And No Play
Trent walked around his apartment collecting up some genetics notes he’d printed off and stuffed them in his folder as he scoffed down the pizza slice in his other hand. Under a disk he found a business card with gold writing in laid into the thin black shiny metal. He read the name and company and then put it into his jacket pocket. He took his phone out from underneath a tattered textbook and dialled the number of one of his close friends.
“Carl, it’s me.”
“Trent! How’s it going?”
“Good. I’m about to go do a study session with Max…”
“You’re jokin’! Max Gibson? Have you told Omar yet?”
“Nah…if he has a crush on her that’s his problem.”
“I thought you did work for that test already.”
“Look, I hate to admit it, but she’s better than me in Genetics. I could do with some help to secure me an A.”
“If you need help to get an A, what hope is there for the rest of us!”
Trent smiled. “What are you doing tomorrow night?”
“Sounds like Trent has got some plans!”
“I’m gonna need a release after this test tomorrow. I need to ask you a favour.”
“Yeah? Name it.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow. Can you come over to my place, around 9pm?”
“Yeah. You ok? You sound kinda … I don’t know…”
“You know Carlito, I think we all need to go out sometime this week.”
“Hehehe, I’m always up for a good time! On a school night?”
“I’ve got this test and an English assignment due this week. I think I deserve a time out.”
“Hey, I’m not going to argue!”
“I’ll let you know the details tomorrow and then I’ll contact the others.”
“Ok Trent, catch you tomorrow.”
Trent put the phone into his bag and left his apartment.
Max had been at her computer for two hours, now feeling a slight headache after staring so intensely at the screen of names. This is taking too long. I have to work this out. Got to narrow this list down more. Come on Max, you can crack this. She was irritated by the sound of the door bell as she hated being interrupted during her research, which required full concentration. She opened the door with a scowl, which faded on seeing an uncharacteristically smiley Trent.
“Did you win the lottery?” Max asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Nope, but you might have just got some creds, well they were yours anyway.”
“Trent, enough of the riddles, my brain has been seriously overworked already.”
“Relax, Max. Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
“Sorry.” Max stepped aside to allow Trent in. “So are you going to tell me why you’re far too happy for someone who has a test tomorrow and an apocalyptic Shakespeare piece to plough through?”
“Futuristic Shakespeare piece,” Trent corrected as he looked at Max, who seemed like her mind was somewhere else.
“Huh? Oh, right, yeah, that’s what I meant. You have to be crazy to want to adapt something by that guy any way, it takes too much time to just understand and translate it!”
“The guy was a writing genius! My nanny used to read me stuff by him sometimes, she was really into his poetry and plays.”
“Most baby-sitters just put cartoons on, well mine did anyway.”
“It’s a nice place you have here Max. Must be great to have all this space.” Trent’s eyes wandered over the modern styled walls and furniture.
“Yeah…too much space.” Max motioned for him to take a seat on the sofa and then joined him.
“I’d love to have a big place like this!”
“Would you if you had to live here alone?”
“You live alone?” Trent looked back to where his eyes had caught sight of some photos of Max’s family. His vision was focused on a family portrait in an elegant silver frame with a young Max, her parents, and an older girl, whom Trent guessed was her older sister.
“Well, not exactly, but my family are never around. Coming back to an empty house can just be…” Max sighed, not wanting to open up that can of emotions right now.
Trent shook his head to say he understood what she was trying to articulate. He understood it well.
“Anyway, back to the happy thoughts. You were going to explain your good news.”
“Yeah. On my way to your place I was passing some bushes on the corner of the street and I found this.” Trent handed Max a black purse. Max’s eyes widened. “I was going to hand it into the police station. When I opened it I saw the photo and then I knew it was yours.”
“I’m lucky you found it before someone else did! I must have dropped it last night, when I was making my way home. I was…”
“No! Just really sleepy…I guess it must be all those late nights catching up with me.” Max looked at the purse in her hands. It was hers. The sedative that was in Mischief’s flower had made her out of her senses. Maybe he hadn’t stolen her purse. Maybe she had just dropped it on the way home. This only made Max wonder what Mischief could possibly have wanted from her if he hadn’t wanted her creds. It was no use. She couldn’t remember what had happened on her way home. She only remembered after she had arrived when Terry had come to her bedroom window.
“Thanks Trent, I owe you one. Your parents raised an honest boy!”
Trent mustered a very weak smile.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“My baby-sitter raised me.” Trent sounded bitter and his eyes were cast down to the floor.
“Hey, who hasn’t had family problems these days? Your parents were at work all the time, right? Your baby-sitter was your parental figure. My parents split up and well end of story.”
“What keeps you going Max?”
“I got used to having no one to congratulate me on getting an A grade or to give me a hug when I was down. I want to make it happen for me. I also have the support of good friends.”
Max hesitated in answering with the mention of Terry’s name catching her off guard.
“Not Terry?” Trent looked at her puzzled.
“Yes, Terry… and seeing people like you who have a good head on their shoulders motivates me. Keeps things in perspective.”
Trent looked at her blankly.
“Max, can we just stick to talking genetics?”
Max was a little surprised at the sharp tone in his voice.
Trent saw Max’s look of surprise and immediately started to apologise clumsily. “I’m sorry…I didn’t meant to…I just….”
Max could see the deep emotional pain in his eyes. She wanted to somehow make it better but she was too scared to pry further into his life. It was the first time she’d seen Trent less controlled emotionally, but she couldn’t blame him. Her own family life was far from what she wanted and she did value Terry far more than she valued a friend. He was her friend, family and had his own special place in her heart that no guy had come close to having, even if Terry was unaware of it. Max could sense a barrier that prevented Trent from voicing his emotions, and she knew he wasn’t ready to break it down. She wondered if the look Trent had in his eyes was the same look she had worn when her parents had just separated, the lost and bitter look.
“Max, are you always so understanding?” Trent looked her straight in the eyes.
“No…I have my moments, but I try.” Max smiled.
Trent got the feeling Max was being modest, enhancing his opinion of her. He found himself warming to her, without really realising it.
Max saw Trent doing his far away look and decided it was time to hit the books.
Terry was out on patrol a little earlier than usual by his own choice. His anger at Mischief was still simmering underneath the worries of the usual things like tests, making excuses to his mom and now what seemed to be his new rival for Max’s attention. All suited up and ready to find out if there were any leads in the area of abandoned buildings, Batman landed down on the site. He was desperate to find anything to put Mischief away. On finding that there were no signs of anyone being in the first two buildings for at least ten years, Batman moved onto the third building. Straight away, he knew people had been there within the last twenty-four hours. He saw old pizza boxes lying on the floor and also a few empty beer bottles, triggering Terry’s memory of the liquor store incident. He eyed the crates arranged around a small round table with a broken leg, propped up by another pizza box. There were some odd pieces of defective furniture and Terry also noticed some carefully piled crates covered in purple cloth to form some sort of chair.
One of the walls in the warehouse had a spray painted mural on it in shades of green, black and grey. The mural was somewhat abstract but on giving it a second look, Terry could make out a face hidden amongst the intricate patterns and shapes. As Terry examined the artwork, the changes in lighting back at The Web came to mind. Mischief was a screwed up delinquent causing trouble, but an artistic one. Terry was now in a strange mood but he brought back to mind the reason why he was there. Apart from dabbling in theft, Mischief also seemed to enjoy making Batman sweat. Terry knew Mischief had some personal problem with Batman, but couldn’t think why. The Jokerz were always creating havoc but this time the crime had been planned in such a way that it would specifically affect Batman. The Jokerz leader had put too much effort into making Batman look stupid.
The hoverbike was no longer at the location and the warehouse had been cleared of any possible leads. It was clear the Jokerz had no plans on returning for now. Terry started to ransack the warehouse, hoping to find anything of significance. He felt exasperated on seeing that there was nothing that could further his investigation. He took a seat on one of the crates and leaned his head down into his hands. I have to get this guy. I need to prove to Bruce that one day I may be deserving of the name Batman in his eyes. Batman, the great detective…I’m not doing a good job of living up to that. This Mischief is smarter than the average Jokerz leader, I’ll give him that. That’s ok, it will just take me a little longer than usual to catch him. He’s going to slip up at some point. Where do I go from here? There’s nothing here. Slag it!
Terry got up and kicked the crate in frustration and then looked down to see something half hidden under the crate. He stooped down and slid the disk from underneath the crate. ‘Property of Gotham Library’? Seems like one of the Jokerz is going to rack up a fine…. Terry stopped in his thoughts as it dawned on him how he could use the disk to discover who one of the Jokerz was. Terry took the disk, suspecting it was on loan to a student, maybe a student at Hill High. He smiled to himself, knowing Bruce would have no problems hacking into the public library system.
After two hours of genetics revision with Trent, Max was glad that she’d have some time to play video games with Matt before going into another study session with Terry. Once Trent had left, Max collected up her things and put them into her bag. She found herself thinking about Trent, having learnt more about his life. It was good to have someone to study with and just hang out with for a while.
Max had to admit that she really missed having Terry around lately. Terry was putting in so many hours at work and he was usually stressed out and sometimes uncommunicative. Terry’s body was there but his mind seemed somewhere else and Max could only spend so much time admiring his body before she wanted to actually interact with him like she used to. She was still concerned about Terry trying to handle everything on his own but she hoped that this evening she’d be able to talk to him properly. The trouble was Max just wanted to be closer to Terry but he seemed to be pushing her away.
She picked up the purse that Trent had returned to her earlier and opened it to see that the picture of her and Terry together was still there. She opened the other compartment to check if she had enough creds to buy snacks and found a Batman picture inside. She laughed as she remembered that her plan had been to get Terry to sign it and then send it to her sister Lisa, who was now doing a course at college. Lisa wasn’t good at keeping in contact, but Max was hoping that a signed picture of Batman might arouse her curiosity, being the Batman fan Max’s sister was or at least remind her that she had a kid sister. Since her sister had moved to a campus at a college out of Gotham City, Max saw that her sister had moved on and made new friends, wanting to forget about the Gibson family dramas. As much as Max related to her sister’s feelings, it saddened her that Lisa rarely called and seemed too busy to write emails. Max took the Batman picture out of her purse, screwed it up and threw it into the trash can. Max picked up her bag and made her way to a store to pick up some snacks for her study session.
Batman looked out from the building edge he was standing on. It still amazed him how Gotham could seem so quiet in some areas and then the next minute someone could be violently attacked. Some areas of Gotham were more depraved than others, but Bruce had informed Terry that there had been an improvement since he had been Batman. Barbara Gordon was doing an admirable job at trying to keep Gotham’s criminals under control but Terry, like Bruce, wondered if there would be a time when Gotham didn’t need Batman.
Terry knew that the job was one of a lifetime commitment and other things in his life would have to fit around that, but he still wanted those other things. Mischief was just the criminal of the moment, there would be others, and as long as there were others, Terry knew he had to be there to protect Gotham’s citizens from them. Terry also knew that as long as there were school tests, he’d have to pass them. He had only managed to get in half an hour of work before going out on patrol and was feeling apprehensive about the genetics test but he shoved those thoughts aside and switched back into his cool, calm and vigilant mode. Terry spotted a dishevelled teenage boy doing a transaction with an older, shady looking man, knowing straight away it was something illegal. He swooped down and flew off into the night to do the Dark Knight’s job.
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