saga/title/fandom: Identity chapter 13 (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 13 Connections
Mischief stood in his room, looking thoughtfully at his reflection in the mirror. Out of his make-up he seemed so ordinary and he hated ordinary. The ordinary look however was his cover. It allowed him to have the normal life during the day and then at night he could relieve his problems as Mischief. It seemed it was too late now to play the straight good boy. He could never go back. His past had already moulded him into who he was. He didn’t want to change, he didn’t see a reason to. He had always been a genius in most academic subjects and had benefited from his later street knowledge and the new tricks he’d learnt from other inmates during his year in juvi. He learnt fast.
In creating his alter ego though, he had never planned to make friends or earn the respect of anyone. Reverting back to a pre-out of control person was an idea that got him out of juvi on time. It was somehow fake and yet somewhat true to what he was really like. The Mr Ordinary character was a shadow of someone he used to be and the Mischief character was the person he was becoming more like each day.
Mischief was confronted with an unexpected hindrance though, now that Mr Ordinary had found a kindred spirit in someone who knew what it was like to have no family, who was a smart person and who didn’t hang with the popular people. It was strange that he felt that he was making a connection with someone, and through being Mr. Ordinary. The Jokerz did respect him, and they were the closest thing he had to family, but he wondered if they would have been so welcoming if they had seen the average guy he was before he let his anger dictate his actions. When he never seemed to fit in anywhere. Before he became so consumed with bitterness over his years of abandonment. As much as that feeling of someone, especially a girl, being genuinely interested in him, had made an impression on his hardened heart, it didn’t seem quite enough.
Batman would always have more attention. At least being a Jokerz leader gave him more status, plus he could get more gratification through seeing the press coverage. His loathing for Batman was increasing. He was sick of hearing the stories of how Batman had saved the people in The Web, which seemed to be overshadowing the event itself and the robberies that the Jokerz had committed. He just always seemed to steal the limelight.
“Flying around dressed like a bat, pathetic!”
Mischief picked up the phone and dialled his mom’s work number.
“Chez Femmes, Lady Madonna speaking, what untold pleasures can I help you experience?”
Mischief rolled his eyes. “Yes, I’d like to make a booking for Tuesday night.”
“Did you have anything particular in mind?” The lady’s voice oozed sensuality across the line but he was unaffected.
“The er usual. I don’t mind what she looks like, as long as she is pretty and looks the part. I want her to look like what she is. I don’t want her to meet me at my house though.”
“Ok. Can I take a name, or a description so she will recognise you.”
The woman let out a girlish giggle. “And I’m Catwoman!”
Mischief became irritated by her.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I understand, role play, sure we can do that.” The woman composed herself.
“I have some directions I want followed….”
Max looked at Matt, who still seemed to have bundles of energy after playing three rounds of his favourite video game.
Mary McGinnis came into Matt’s room and gave him the look, which he recognised as the one that meant he had to go to bed.
“Don’t worry Mrs McGinnis, we’ve finished here, haven’t we Matt?”
“Oh Max! One more game, just one!”
“Matt, it’s almost nine, remember our agreement?”
“Yes.” Matt got up and went to turn off his game console reluctantly.
Mary smiled at Max who returned her smile.
“Ok, time to get ready for bed, and brush your teeth, it’s not an option if you want to have all your teeth.” Mary looked at her son squirming,
“Yes Mom.” Matt went to get his pyjamas and went off into the bathroom.
“Do you want some coffee Max? I know you’re going to have a long night.”
“Thanks, I’ve been living on the stuff recently!”
“I don’t know how you kids do it! Who knows what time Terry will get in tonight!”
“He’ll be ok, I’ve got an abridged revision plan for him tonight.”
“I’m sure my little model student will love that,” joked Mary. “I do appreciate you helping Terry out Max. He’s been struggling with his school work. I told him I’d speak to Mr. Wayne about reducing his hours but Terry keeps telling me he can manage just fine. When I was his age, I had a job while I was in high school but I don’t remember it being such a burden. I don’t know, since the Dana thing and these late nights at work, Terry hasn’t been the same.”
Max didn’t like being reminded of the ‘Dana thing’. She didn’t really know if Terry did still harbour feelings for Dana, after all he had been with her for over a year and then there was the kiss she had witnessed at The Web. Terry had been on a low but Max had put that down to stress from the job.
“Don’t worry Mrs McGinnis, I’m looking out for him.”
“Sometimes Terry likes to pretend he has everything under control, but I’m his mother, I know when something’s bothering him. We talk but it feels like he’s holding out on me sometimes, I don’t know if that’s a mother’s instinct or me just worrying too much. I know Terry can take care of himself, but I’m still glad that he has you. At least when you’re around he smiles more.”
Max received the compliment graciously. Max felt happy that she was the one to put a smile on Terry’s face. Mary didn’t know just how much Terry was holding out on her, but it was something that had to be done, Mary could never know the ins and outs of Terry’s mood changes brought about by his job.
“You’re a great influence in Terry’s life, he needs a good friend. Terry has had some unsavoury acquaintances in the past, but he’s obviously picking better friends these days.” Mary gave Max a look of warm approval.
It touched her that Mary saw her as someone who was good for Terry but it did make her wonder if her role had become the best friend who would pick up the pieces. Max didn’t mind being the one to watch Terry’s back, it felt like her natural place but Max wanted more. She wanted to be there with Terry, as his partner and as more than a friend.
Max went to Terry’s room with her bag after reading a bedtime story for Matt. Matt had insisted that Max read the story, having become accustomed to Max’s lively way of telling stories to him on the nights she was baby-sitting. Mary had now gone to sleep and the McGinnis household was quiet. Max walked around Terry’s room, trying to keep herself awake. She saw Terry’s printed genetics notes on his desk with his doodling at the corners when he’d obviously got bored with revising. She placed her revision notes, which had been especially prepared for Terry on top of his own notes. She saw that the picture of her and Terry together was still on his desk, unlike the picture of Dana, which had been long removed from his bedside table. The observation reassured Max as she stared out of Terry’s window, wondering where he was right now. She didn’t like the waiting because it made her anxious. She made herself busy with getting out her revision notes and her laptop.
Max didn’t know if Terry was any closer to catching Mischief but she hoped so. When Mischief had attacked her on Saturday night, it had seemed like a blur. She was starting to remember feeling angry at allowing herself to be trapped by her assailant but it did seem like his attack had been second nature to him. Max made a mental note to step up her self-defence classes and her training sessions at home. The self –defence classes had been an idea after her last encounter with the Jokerz, plus being in the house alone also made her feel unsafe.
She remembered that when she was younger, her dad had sent her and Lisa to karate classes. Having two daughters had made her dad concerned for their safety and it was also a way for him to bond with them in a macho way, which he had missed by not having a son. Max had given up the classes after her dad had left home, and she threw herself into her school work. Her studying was still her priority, but Max wondered if some more karate classes would help her stay in shape for when she came across creeps in the future. She hated to think that she was vulnerable. If Mischief had targeted her for a reason, Max wanted to make sure that she was equipped to be a worthy opponent.
Max also had another motive. She also wanted to step up her training, just in case at some point in the future Bruce might actually allow her to take a more active part in helping Terry. She felt uncomfortable with knowing that Terry went to face whatever was out there alone, after all, Bruce had Robin and Batgirl in the old days. She sat down on Terry’s bed. She gave up trying to fight the sleep and decided to take a short nap before Terry got back.
Max stirred in her sleep. The bed was comfortable but the realisation that it wasn’t her bed made her suddenly wake up. Terry’s distinctive scent on the sheets reminded her she was only meant to be taking a nap until Terry got back. When she looked around the room, she saw Terry sitting at his desk, studiously flicking through the revision notes.
“Terry, how long have I been asleep for?”
Terry turned round smiling, Max’s voice providing a relief from the cramming of information.
“Maybe an hour since I arrived.”
“Why didn’t you wake me? We’re in this studying thing together!”
“You did your part by giving me these great notes. You know Max, you really are a life saver, thanks!”
“What’s preparing a few notes compared to what you do.”
“All the same Max, it means just as much to me.”
“So how is the revision going?”
“I’ve got a lot to get through still.”
“You didn’t eat without me did you?”
“I had to eat when I came in, I was starved, sorry.”
Max was disappointed that they wouldn’t do what was their usual snacking and deep conversation during revision breaks but couldn’t fault him for wanting to eat after coming in from a night crime fighting.
“I saved you some pizza.”
Terry came over and sat next to her on the bed.
They sat in silence for a little while.
“You haven’t had any weird side effects from that drugged flower from Mischief, have you Max?”
“No, just tired from assignments. How’s the leg?”
“Bruce took a look at it, it was nothing major.”
“So…how did things go with the old guy last night?”
“Well, not so great at first but when I explained, I think he calmed down. I think he’s going to be watching me like a hawk from now on though, or worse, like a Bat.”
Max had definitely come to appreciate how sharp Bruce was for someone of his age due to his training and experience during his years as Batman.
“Have you managed to find any more dirt on this Mischief guy?”
“Not sure yet, Bruce is doing some work on a possible lead.”
“Terry…do you want to talk?”
“Isn’t that what we’re doing?”
“Cut the sarcasm Terry, things are weird. Your mom thinks you might still be upset about the Dana thing.”
“And what do you think?” Terry looked at Max, seeing something was bothering her.
“I don’t know Terr, you’ve just been so distant lately. At first I thought it was work but then I thought about the incident at The Web …”
“The kiss.” Max had given up trying to dance around the subject.
“Oh…it was nothing.”
“It didn’t look like nothing.” Max wished that she hadn’t let her thoughts slip out. Terry now eyed her carefully.
“Just how did you know about that anyway. Were you spying on me?” Terry’s serious expression turned to one of amusement.
“Why would I be spying on you!”
“Because you find me irresistibly sexy.” Terry’s grin widened at her look of horror after his arrogant words.
“Get over yourself McGinnis.” Max picked up a pillow and hit him over the head.
Terry laughed. “I’ve told you a million times that there is nothing with Dana and never will be. Besides, she was the one who kissed me.”
“And you tried so hard to stop her!”
“She kissed me, I didn’t have enough time to react. It was weird but the whole thing just reaffirmed it’s over.” Terry spaced out for a second as he thought over the fact that he finally had closure.
“So she threw herself at you?” Max said, more jokingly, feeling more assured by Terry’s words.
“Hey, it’s hard being this beautiful!” Terry ran a hand through his hair in mock vanity.
Max had to admit that Terry did look cute when he did that, but she wasn’t going to let him know that, although she didn’t know why she couldn’t just tell him. Instead she reacted in the expected Max way of hitting him with a pillow again. Terry struggled with her to get the pillow out of her hand before she could hit him again. She tried hard not to giggle too loud so she wouldn’t wake Mary and Matt up. Terry pinned one of her hands down to the bed as he wrenched the pillow out of the other. Max was no match for his strength, especially when she wasn’t trying very hard to push him away. His form was balanced just above hers. He looked down with a smug look, as he continued to pin down both of her hands.
“Is that the best you got Max?”
“No! I could fight you off if I wanted to!”
“So why don’t you?” Terry asked, waiting for Max to retaliate.
She was trying to think of a witty put down but it was hard to think over the voice in her head telling her to seize the moment. Terry was confused by Max’s unusual silence to his playful teasing. The longer she took to reply, the more time Terry had to admire her curves and think about the fact that he had Max right where he wanted, if she wanted him. They could both sense what would inevitably occur if they let their attraction to each other overrule their rationality. Terry’s eyes were now looking into Max’s as he searched for permission to kiss her.
“Terr…” Before Max could finish her sentence, she was startled by the sudden opening of Terry’s bedroom door. They both moved their bodies away from each other in a matter of seconds, in fear of Terry’s mom seeing what looked like a not so innocent scene.
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