Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters pertaining to "The New Batman Adventures" or "Batman Beyond." All characters are owned by Warner Bros. I just happen to be taking some liberties with it. ;) All information about the characters and for this fic belongs strictly to their respected websites.
A/N:This my first fic delving into these cartoons. I have always loved Batman and the new Batman Beyond series was awesome. I couldn't help but want to make a story about all my favorite characters in these cartoons. So I hatched a lovely little idea and here it is just for you all. I spent many months writing and preparing this story so I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have writing. Without any further ado here it is!
A Future Apart
"Since lately in class we have been working on behavior patterns and human motivation, I have taken the pleasure of putting together a project for you all. You will be working in pairs. Since I have already paired most of you off at the beginning of the year I will just give you the assignment," Mrs. Whitman, the psychology teacher, declared to a class full of senior high school students early on a Thursday morning.
There were the usually groans and heavy sighs expected from the students. No one wanted a project to do so close to the end of the year. Everyone had plans, who wanted to waste their weekends and free time with a stupid project. Yet, Mrs. Whitman was notorious for giving students last minute projects and such.
"I wonder what she has in mind," Terry McGinnis muttered to his best friend and seat partner, Maxine Gibson.
Max shrugged and replied, softly. "Something you wouldn't have time to do anyway."
Terry shot her a dirty look. Terry "worked" for Bruce Wayne, who had once been Batman. Wayne had retired the cowl and passed it on to Terry. It was his job now to rid Gotham of its many villains and keep the city safe. It took up a lot of his time, ok, almost all of his time. He was lucky if he got any of his school work done. He was not happy that Max had made even a remote suggestion to his "job." Max and Bruce were the only ones who knew about his "secret life" and he meant to keep it that way.
"The project will be on the motives that drive law enforcers to take up such strenuous jobs such as a lawyer, cop, or-," Mrs. Whitman was cut off by someone in the back.
The student asked, "Or someone like Batman?"
"Yes, that is a good example," Mrs. Whitman replied. "I will give each pair a subject to work on. You must find out about this person's motives and behavior that drove him or her to do what they did. And since our city seems to be well known for our heroes, we will be using them as our subjects. Some of these people may go back as far as thirty years or more, so a few of you may have to do a little more research."
The usually groans filled the room again.
"I'd like you to write at least a 7 page research paper as well as give a presentation. They are both required to get a passing grade so no slacking off. The project is due in three weeks. If it is late...," she smiled, "well, you don't want it to be late."
She went around passing out the data cards with the assignments for each pair on them. Max took the card for her and Terry then slipped it into her computer. She scanned it slowly and her jaw slackened in surprise.
"You'll never believe this. Guess who she gave us," Max whispered.
"Who?" Terry asked, curiously.
She looked at him with an amazed expression. "Nightwing. One of Batman's old partners."
Dick Grayson stood in a long line at the bank. He had only wanted to get some money out of his account to buy a few gadgets that needed replacing in his utility belt. He lived a double life as the black masked hero, Nightwing, by night and Dick Grayson by day. He had broken and used several of his more useful gadgets in the last few nights. He certainly could not go with out them. He had hoped this would be quick. Yet, here he was standing in a long line of people trying to cash in, take out, or borrow money so they could go on there spring vacations. He should have known better than to come now. He could track down villains and kick their butts, but he didn't know to stay away from the bank on a day like this. It was pathetic.
Suddenly, his cell phone rang in his pocket, making several of the people around him jump in surprise and turn to stare at him. He shook his head at them. He didn't think there was any other city that had citizens as paranoid as Gotham's-- well maybe Metropolis. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and flipped it open. He growled softly when he saw who the caller I.D. identified it as. Should I really bother? he sighed to himself. He glanced up at the ceiling in resignation and answered it.
"Yeah?" he answered, with an irritated tone.
"Dick, it's me," Bruce Wayne's gruff voice replied.
"I know," he said, coolly.
Bruce was silent for a moment. "I need you to do something for me."
Dick wondered how much pain that had caused Bruce to say. The thought made him smirk in amusement. It was gone in less than a second. "Really, why can't Barbara?"
"She's on vacation with her father."
Dick sighed. "Right, what do you want?"
"I need you to go to Metropolis for me."
"What!" A few curious people turned in his direction. He immediately lowered his voice. "Why?"
"I got word that Scarecrow snuck over there. Apparently there are chemicals being shipped over to Metropolis that he needs for his newest fear drug. I guess he wanted to pick them up first hand," Bruce told him with a hint of sarcasm.
"Why can't you go?"
Dick could almost see Bruce rolling his eyes at him in annoyance and explained to him with a calm voice. "Because I also got word that a certain Mad Hatter is also on the loose here. I think the two are in league together, which requires further investigation. And I can't be in two places at once."
Dick sighed, frustrated. He really was in no mood to go Metropolis. Telling Bruce to get Superman on it was pointless. Bruce did not like to ask for Superman's help and apparently he felt strongly enough about those feelings to call Dick instead. Lord, what was the world coming to these days?
"Alright, Bruce," he gave in.
"Good. Take Tim with you," Bruce said. Dick could almost see the smug smile on his former mentor's face.
Dick made a choking sound. "Wait a minute! Why do I have to take the kid?" his voice had gotten loud again.
"He needs the experience," Bruce hung up before he could protest further.
Dick growled angrily and slammed the cell phone shut. He shoved the cell phone into his pocket, ignoring the looks of the people around him. They probably thought he'd just had a fight with his wife or girlfriend and most likely thought him some irresponsible jerk who did not care enough to look after his own child. He shook his head and glanced at his watch. He wasn't leaving until he got this money. He wasn't too thrilled about having to bring Tim along. It was not that he didn't like the kid. He did a lot, but he liked to work alone. Bruce was right though. Tim needed some more experience. The kid was still pretty green andliked to bite off more than he could chew in a fight. Still why did he have to be stuck with Tim?
It will certainly be more interesting, he thought with a sigh to himself.
"I can hardly believe this," Terry muttered.
Max shrugged. "It is a little freaky."
They were sitting in the cafeteria at their regular table, discussing their assignment for Psychology.
"Nightwing," sighed Terry. "All I know about him is the suit I see hanging in the Batcave. Bruce never says anything about him."
"I wonder why," Max thought out loud.
Terry shook his head. "He and Bruce weren't exactly on good terms. He was sort of the black sheep from what Barbara Gordon told me."
"Commissioner Gordon?" Max looked surprised.
"Yeah, she and the Nightwing guy used to go out a long time ago," he replied.
Max's mouth dropped open. "Schway!"
"Do you think the old guy might help us out a little on this assignment?" Max asked.
Terry gave her an "are you out of your mind" look. "The day Bruce tells me anything is the day hell freezes over."
Max rolled her eyes. "Don't you think you're over doing it a bit?"
"Look, I'll try to talk to him. I probably won't get anything from him though. He's really touchy on those subjects," Terry warned her.
"I'll start digging around in the library's data banks for info," Max grinned. The internet was her domain. She could find anything if she had access to a computer.
"Hi, Terry," Dana Tan walked over to their table.
Terry turned in his seat and smiled at her. "Hey, Dana." Dana was his girlfriend but as of late their relationship had been a little... shaky from the time his "job" with Bruce had started. He had stood her up one too many times and she was starting to lose her patience with him.
"Guess who I got as my subject for the Psychology project," Dana grinned.
Terry glanced over at Max and they both shrugged. "Who?"Terry asked.
"The old Batman," She looked smug. "Chelsea and I are going to be doing the project together."
Terry blinked in surprise and forced himself to keep a blank expression. "That's schway, Dana. We got Nightwing, one of Batman's partners."
Dana waved her hand dismissing it. "He wasn't as good as Batman."
"Whatever you say, Dana," Max smiled, sweetly.
Dana gave her an irritated look. She was not to happy about Terry always eating lunch with Max. Dana usually sat with her friends, and kept trying to get Terry to sit with her. Terry always got out of it somehow. Most of the time by saying he just couldn't stand the girls' chatter about make up and clothes. Dana had her doubts about why Terry didn't want to sit with her and was always with Max.
"Are we still on for tonight?" Dana asked, with a 'you better not lie to me' tone.
Terry nodded a little too quickly. "Yeah, everything's schway."
"Good. Pick me up at 8?" Dana inquired, but it was more of an order.
"Yeah, I'll be there," Terry smiled, trying to pretend he hadn't noticed the nasty look she had given Max.
She smiled. "See you then." With that she turned and walked away.
Terry sighed and played with the food on his tray. Life was just getting to complicated. He needed a vacation.
"Hey, Nightwing, are we gonna stand here and stare at the stars all night?" Robin asked for what felt like the hundredth time.
Nightwing rolled his eyes and tried to ignore his 15 year-old partner. It was not exactly easy to do with Robin bugging him every minute or so. "Now, I know why Bruce stuck me with you. You're a pain in the butt!"
"Well, I'd like to see a little action sometime tonight!" Robin exclaimed in an exasperated tone.
"Didn't he ever teach you what patience was?"
Robin shrugged. "It's not one of my strong points."
"I couldn't tell," Nightwing muttered to himself.
There was a moment of silence.
"So are we going?" Robin asked, hopefully.
"Look!" Nightwing snapped, giving him a death glare, "Hunting for Scarecrow isn't like hunting for a McDonalds, especially in a city like Metropolis!"
Robin sighed heavily and dropped his chin into his hand, leaning on the building's edge. "I'm surprised Superman hasn't shown up to pay us a visit. We've been here long enough."
Nightwing ignored him and stared out at the vast city of Metropolis. His brow creased as he frowned thoughtfully. How was he to find one insane maniac in a city this huge? It was much larger than Gotham and had about twice as many people. Where would Scarecrow go in a city like this? The possibilities were endless. It would have been nice if Bruce had give him a hint or two.
"Let's see, if you were Scarecrow where would you go?" Robin wondered aloud, as though he was reading his mind.
"Somewhere with the kind of chemicals and things I need in easy reach. A place I could make my new fear drug," Nightwing thought out loud.
This was something he and Robin did often when they were stumped. If both voiced their thoughts and opinions they were more likely to find a solution faster than with just one working on the puzzle alone. It had become sort of a game for them.
"Exactly," Robin grinned, then looked puzzled. "What place would fit that description?"
"I've got it!" Nightwing snapped his fingers and smiled. "Star Labs. It's got everything he needs and more. Why didn't I think of it before?"
Robin straightened up and grinned in excitement. At last they could go somewhere. He'd waited long enough for a little action. "Let's go!" he exclaimed in enthusiastically.
Nightwing blew out his breath and shook his head. "Bruce, I hate you," he murmured to himself.
At two in the morning, Star Labs was deserted of all scientists that normally occupied its gleaming white halls. The building was locked down with maximum security. No one could get in or out…at least that was what the security guards thought. One guard sat in front of a desk with several TV monitors, which were hooked to the security cams, in front of him. He had fallen asleep to the drone of the radio in the background and a newspaper crossword lay abandoned on his chest. He did not see one of the screens go to static suddenly.
Down on the north side, several halls away, a gloved hand touched a window experimentally. There was no response from the alarms. The system on that end of the building was down. The window was quickly pried open and there was a clatter as something was knocked over. It went unnoticed by anyone who might have been nearby.
A door opened slowly and a masked face peered out cautiously. Nothing stirred as the black shadow slid out into the halls, poised for danger. A smaller version followed, white eyes darting about swiftly. The halls were silent, almost to the point of being eerily so. As dark and shapeless as phantoms, the two moved down the halls. They scrutinized each room they passed thoroughly, not missing a thing.
"He's not here, Nightwing!" the smaller shadow grumbled quietly.
An almost inaudible voice answered. "He's here."
Robin looked around with a confused expression as he opened his mouth to say something. Nightwing had vanished from sight. He jumped when Nightwing seemed to materialize in front of him. He got a toothy grin in response for his skittish reaction. He growled quietly. He hated it when Nightwing did that to him!
The came finally to the south end of Star Labs, and found the main laboratory. The double doors were standing partially open, swinging on their hinges. Nightwing paused in front of the door, listening intently. Robin nervously pulled out a baterang, ready for anything. If Scarecrow was at Star Labs he would have to be in there. Nightwing, gingerly, pushed the door open and slunk in. To the left was a door leading to the main offices for the scientists. To the right were a line of doors that contained several smaller laboratories. What was in the main room, though, was what interested Nightwing the most. Towards the back of the large room were two ominous looking pillars with bulbs on top buzzing with electricity. Nightwing stared hard between the pillars and thought he saw a hazy image of another place. Off to the side, a control panel was set up for the pillars, a few beeps and blinking lights came from it.
Nightwing walked in a little further, looking around warily. Robin followed close on his heels, not wanting to be left behind. Suddenly, the familiar click of a gun being cocked came from behind them, freezing them in their tracks.
"That's far enough," a low, raspy voice growled.
They turned slowly around, hands raised, to face their adversary. Robin hid his baterang in his half fisted hand, as he turned, hiding it from view. Nightwing's hands twitched as if he wanted to throw himself at the tall, lanky figure in the doorway and strangle him. Scarecrow moved further into the room with a satisfied smile on his grotesque face. Robin shifted anxiously, beside Nightwing, with anticipation.
"I have been waiting," Scarecrow remarked. "I had expected you much sooner."
Neither of the maskedvigilantes said anything. Nightwing was mentally cursing himself for not having seen this coming. He must be losing his touch. He moved, obediently, as Scarecrow herded them toward the pillars. They stopped in front of the pillars and watched Scarecrow move over to the control panel. Scarecrow pressed several of the blinking buttons and the pillars began to glow. Nightwing felt a tingle race down his spin, as the buzzing from the pillars increased.
Robin took advantage of Scarecrow's momentary distraction to snap open his baterang. He glanced over at Nightwing, who nodded the go-ahead signal and got ready to spring. Robin flung the baterang as hard as could. It spun through the air, straight for Scarecrow's gun hand. Scarecrow caught the flicker of black metal flying at him and dodged sideways. The baterang imbedded itself into the control panel, sending sparks flying in bright flash. Scarecrow stumbled back, blinded for a brief moment. That was all the time Nightwing needed. Scarecrow never saw him coming untilNightwing hit him like an avenging panther.
Nightwing grabbed Scarecrow by the front of his costume and slammed him into the control panel sending more sparks into the air. They fought wildly, one trying to knock the gun free and the other trying to keep it. Robin stood back, afraid to jump in for fear of being hit by his partner in the fury of the fight. Scarecrow threw Nightwing back and swung the gun up to bear on him. He managed to get off a quick shot before Nightwing came flying back at him. The vigilante faltered in mid-leap as the bullet took him high in the shoulder. He stumbled back as a wave of dizziness swept through him, overriding even the pain. Scarecrow swung around his cane, clubbing him over the head and following it up with a sweeping kick that flung Nightwing towards the pillars. He managed to skid to a stop just before he hit the hazy image between the pillars.
Robin sprang forward at Scarecrow, but he was no match for the lanky man. Robin hardly slowed Scarecrow down before he was sent spinning into the wall. Scarecrow whirled on Nightwing and with one swift swing of his cane, he sent the stunned combatant sailing between the pillars. There was a sharp crackle of electricity before Nightwing disappeared from view. The last thing he heard was Robin shouting his name.
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