Disclaimer: All the characters in this story are property of WB and DC Comics. I own nothing, nor am I using this for personal profit. Just fun. :D

Fandom: Batman Beyond (with a hint of Comicverse)

Prompt: All Damien wants is Bruce's approval – and his mantle. All Terry wants is for Damien to shut up.

IX. The Heir Apparent


Terry rolled his eyes skyward. Slag it, not this dreg again. "Yes, me. What do you want?"

The thirty-something's footfalls were unnecessarily loud as he stalked down the Batcave stairwell, blue eyes bright with indignant rage. He almost snorted – as if the pompous jerk could do anything but. "Where is my father?"

Terry shrugged noncommittally, fingers working over the keyboard with a practiced ease. "Around." He glanced in the elder man's direction, full lips tugging into a devious smirk. "I'm sure you'll find him before I would, you being the master assassin and all."

Damien sniffed in disdain. "I'm here on an important matter. Tell me where he is at once."

"You're not the only one here doing something important," Terry riposted, nodding toward the computer. Sure, he was doing Chem homework when he said he was researching the latest Methlab busts for any apparent patterns – that was kind of the same thing, right? The old man would probably understand. Key word: probably. "So, get in line or find him yourself."

Damien's glare intensified. "Listen here, boy, don't seek to delay me, or – "

Terry swiveled the chair around suddenly, elbows planted firmly against the armrests, and head tilted to the side in challenge. "Yeah, or what? Last time you picked a fight, you wound up having to run away with your tail between your legs." His smirk widened, hints of white, sharp canines glinting dangerously. "Was a lot of fun."

The self-proclaimed 'Son of the Bat' puffed his chest out proudly, chin up. It really was a bit disturbing how much he looked like Mr. Wayne, but without any of his redeeming qualities. He didn't even think Wayne had redeeming qualities until he met this dreg. "Insolent child, you had the advantage of a strength-enhancing suit!" he argued. "A suit which, incidentally, belongs to me."

"Technically, it still belongs to me." Bruce Wayne melted from the shadows, backstick in hand and craggy features hard. Right on schedule. "And until I say otherwise, I get the final say on who wears it."

"Father!" Damien exclaimed, whirling around. "I've come to – "

Bruce lifted a wrinkled hand. "Save it. I already know of your 'credentials' – the answer is still no."

The younger man's face twisted in utter incomprehension. "But, Father, I am your son. I rejected my grandfather's cause to join yours! I've spent years training with Grayson, learning your ways! How is it that this...this..." Damien held an arm in his direction; it felt like an accusation of wrong-doing. Terry had certainly seen the pose enough at his trial. "This street urchin has taken what was rightfully mine? I've earned the mantle of the Bat, I deserve it – it's my birthright."

Wayne shook his head. "If you really think that, then you'll never understand." The old man turned away, waving his hand once as he ascended the stairwell. "Go home, Damien. Be whoever you want to be – as long as it isn't Batman."

Damien stood silently in his father's wake, head hanging and shoulders slumped. He appeared downright hurt. Terry almost felt sympathy for him – something like sympathy, anyway. He rubbed at the back of his neck as the awkward silence dragged on. "He's right, y'know. Batman isn't a birthright; it's a burden."

Damien Wayne turned upon him, glower cranked up full blast. "And what do you know?"

"I know helping people is more important than my taste in clothes," he said bluntly, rising to his feet. Screw the homework, it could wait – Damien showing up always frazzled Wayne's nerves. He reached the landing, finger poised on the lights as he gave the taller man one final, dismissive comment. "You want a status symbol? Get a Ferarri."

The Cave plunged into darkness.

A/N: This was for TheNewCatwoman. Stupid prompt. Stupid Damien. Stupid plot bunnies. ;