This was going to be a drabble, but then realized it was too long when it cleared three pages. So, here ya go. Sap ahoy.
Disclaimer: Batman Beyond is propery of WB; I intend no infringement and am making no profit off of this.
The McGinnis loft was bursting with activity. Supposedly, adding new members to the family did that.
Bruce wouldn't know.
For his part, he felt terribly out of place in all of it; not only because of the amount of vibrant joy that hovered in the air like a mist, but because he was completely out of his element and had nothing worthwhile to do. Of course Terry would have liked to see him there, his wife was bringing home their child for the first time. He sat in a corner, pointedly out of the way, trying to give the facade of being the Pleasant Old Man, but not having the energy to maintain it among so many people who knew better than to believe it. He kept an eye on Terry, and in spite of old habits felt happy for the boy--man--as he lounged in a chair, wearing a stupid grin and slightly dazed expression. He had seen it on the faces of several men whom had recently had children; 'fatherly pride', they called it.
Again, he wouldn't know.
Startled, he cocked his head to the side, half-glancing at Mary McGinnis, her aging face creasing from the overjoyed smile she wore. "Yes?"
"I think Dana wants to see you," she chirped quietly, her hazel eyes dancing with mirth. Completely out of his element.
Immediately, his suspicions pricked up as to why. Nobody in the McGinnis family spoke to him if it wasn't important enough to warrant the potential backlash of his icy demeanor. He couldn't think of a reason why anyone--least of all Dana--would want to speak to him now; this was a happy occasion. Happy occasions only ever occurred when he wasn't a part of it. Still, he stood, reluctantly fleeing from the safety of his seat in the corner. Silently, he made his way through the small crowd of people--none of whom gave him more than a cursory glance, knowing better than to trifle in his affairs where it didn't concern them--and crossed the hallway to the master bedroom, stopping only long enough at the ajar door to knock twice before stepping inside.
Dana looked up from the bundle of cloth tucked safely in her arms, her heart-shaped face glowing. "Hi, Mr. Wayne. I'm glad you could make it."
He nodded in return, coming to a halt at the foot of her bed. "You wanted to see me?"
"No," she replied merrily, wearing a smile on her face that bore a great resemblance to the one on Terry's. "I wanted you to see her." She stared down at the sheets she held. His eyes followed hers, and it dawned on him far too belatedly that she was referring to the infant wrapped within them.
He couldn't stop himself from reflexively taking a step back. "I'd really rather not."
Her fine brows creased as she returned her gaze to him. "Oh, come on, Mr. Wayne! I've already shown her off to everyone else, and besides, Terry says you haven't had the chance to see her, yet."
McGinnis. Damn that boy. "I'm...not good with children."
Her pout became more pronounced. "Please, Mr. Wayne? You know I'll keep hassling you until you agree."
All the money and detective skills in the world could not prevent that from happening, he'd already learned. Bruce then resignedly reminded himself that it was, after all, a happy occasion. Who was he to ruin that?
Wordlessly, he strode to her side of the bed and waited. Dana's smile widened a bit, patting the empty side of the bed. "You can sit down, if you'd like."
His eyes narrowed a fraction and begrudgingly carried out her wishes, sitting on the very edge of the mattress; his hands folded across the top of his cane neatly. All who knew him, regardless of how much they knew of him, understood the gesture as, 'Get to the point'.
Dana shifted, positioning herself more upright, and then held the tucked infant out towards him. "Here."
He blinked. This was not part of the deal. "You said see her."
Defiant, he remained absolutely still, glaring from the deviously entertained young mother, to the infant, and back again. When it was apparent he wasn't going to move, Dana insisted, "I know your number. All of them."
Just barely, he refrained from growling. He could have argued that point, because no one knew all the different ways to reach him, save himself. It was imprudent should anyone be captured and tortured for information...and that was not something he should have been thinking of at the moment. Happy occasion. He glanced to the child Dana was holding out for him. Supposedly.
Stringently, he set his cane aside and met her outstretched arms, scooping the feather-light bundle from her grasp and into his own; analytically observing the newborn. She appeared to have inherited Dana's features primarily, from her slightly slanted almond eyes, to the honey complexion, to her thick black hair. With a slight frown, he idly wondered why it was that people always went so completely sentimental when staring upon such a small baby; he saw nothing spectacular about the little girl that would warrant a reaction from him.
The newborn rustled in her fleece cocoon, twitch her tiny pug nose, and lazily opened her eyes. Bruce, amazed, stared back.
They were blue. Stark colbalt blue; the kind that made your blood freeze in your veins, or could burn like an inferno.
The girl had Terry's eyes.
Suddenly, somehow, what he knew--had known for over a decade--had finally become more than just words on a screen; some numbers printed out from a DNA test. It was no longer some crazy genetic experiment that had held no real merit on his or Terry's life. It was real; tangible, and currently, wriggling in the crook of his left arm from beneath a mountain of pink fleece. Dazedly, he lightly brushed the blanket back from obscuring her slightly misshapen, oval face, his gnarled fingers lingering a hair's breadth from the newborn's cheek for a reason he wasn't sure of yet.
He was a father. A grandfather.
His harsh, craggy features softened inexplicably. "Hello," he whispered to mewling infant, a small, contented smile tugging at his lips as he continued to gaze at her. This was his granddaughter. How could he be a grandfather without being a father first? The smile widened a bit. He would have to give his regards to Waller again for her tenacity and ingenuity. He was aware that he was thinking like a drunken fool, but for the moment, it didn't matter.
The little girl writhed, clenched her eyes shut, and started to wail softly. Bruce blinked at the bothersome noise encroaching upon one of the rare moments of peace he'd been granted in his life, facing a dumbstruck Dana. Giggling, she reached forward and chimed, "Looks like she's awake now." Both saddened and grateful, he reciprocated the gesture to relinquish the child.
"Sounds like somebody's calling for Da..."
Bruce wheeled around as he passed the baby back to Dana, his eyes befalling Terry standing in the opened doorway with an expression he wasn't certain he wanted to read. His piercing blue eyes--his eyes--flickered between the three of them, first confused, then amazed, then amused. Bruce was going to be hearing about this for months. Maybe years. "Hey, Bruce, I didn't know you were in here. Getting to know my baby girl?"
He finished handing off the child back to Dana, then grabbed his cane and stood in one swift, curt motion. "On your wife's request, yes."
"Damn. Should've brought my vid-cam with me," Terry muttered, smirking deviously. Bruce's glare darkened, annoyed that he was caught while being sentimental. Now he was going to be ridiculed as a result of it. Happy occasion. Right.
"I'll leave you three alone. I have work to do back at the mansion, anyway," he stated, stalking to the door, only to stop when Terry's strong, young hand landed on his shoulder and squeezed lightly. His ire rising, he slowly pivoted his head to glower at the boy--man--and clenched his teeth.
Apologetically, Terry removed his hand, leaned in and quietly remarked, "You're welcome to stay, you know."
Bruce glanced about, resolutely shaking his head. "I'll only be intruding. I'll see you tonight."
Almost hiding his disappointment, Terry nodded. "Right. Oh, hey!" Bruce halted in mid-step, an eyebrow raised. Terry nudged his head in the direction of Dana and the baby, a wide grin creeping onto his face. "What do you think of her?"
He paused, contemplative. Eventually, he met Terry's inquisitive, sparkling gaze, and said simply, "She has your eyes."