Here's Your Letter

Author's Note: Look. I appreciate the JLU writer's kindness in writing us a beautiful ending to the Batman Beyond series, but geez, him ending up with Dana? (Referring to Justice League Unlimited's "Epilogue") That just chaps my Bat-briefs. I understand I am eighty billion years late with this fic, but I beg your forgiveness. I already know 2/3 of my fanfic friends are pissed at me but I hope this can come as a peace offering. I've been on Writer's Block for this fic since after "Epilogue" premiered and just got the feel for it back at the beginning of last month. I'm on Spring Break so hopefully I can renovate some of my other fics too. Enjoy this one, though. It picks up a week after the events of "Epilogue".

Kyoko

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He was going to do it.

The lights illuminating the darkened street cast shadows over the sleek, black hover car as it glided smoothly through a traffic light. He was actually going to do it.

He took a deep breath through his nose and breathed it out from his mouth, his hands tightening on the steering wheel as if he were trying to squeeze all of the tension from his body into the car. It didn't work.

"Get it together, McGinnis," he muttered to himself, eyes glued to the road as he spied the restaurant up ahead to his left.

Stalker? No problem. Curaré? A breeze. He could take down any villain in the Rogue's Gallery at any time but the thought of proposing to his long-time girlfriend made him as nervous as a twelve-year old girl going to her first dance? That was absurd. He was vengeance. He was the Night. He was…afraid?

Terry shook his head for what seemed like the zillionth time that evening, pulling into the parking lot a little less than a block from the restaurant. Bruce had provided him with reservations to a five-star Italian place but of course made him pay for the meal. Stubborn compromise, anyone?

He killed the engine and just sat there for a moment, laying his head back to stare at the ceiling of the car. It didn't do him much good; his heart was still beating in irregular patterns. He'd never thought this night would come, not in a million years.

"Marriage? Kids? I'm not the white-picket-fence kinda guy," he'd told Max once in his youth. His eyes softened a bit as nostalgia rolled around. Max was married with two sons and lived in California. She worked as a computer engineer and robotics advisor for a big company. They were still close friends even now but he did miss her. She'd known about his plans to marry Dana before he'd even told her. Women's intuition and all that.

As for Wayne, Terry knew his father wouldn't approve, but there was no way he'd disapprove either. Despite his cold exterior, Bruce didn't want Terry to end up as alone as he was. So much regret, Terry thought sadly, and all from such a great man. It had taken him a while, but he finally accepted that Bruce Wayne's blood flowed through his veins, but a lot of the pain was still there, hidden inside him. He hadn't told anyone and didn't intend to any time soon.

Adjusting the rearview mirror, Terry checked his hair and sighed.

"Showtime."

He opened the door, unfolding his muscular, 6'2'' frame, and stepped out into the cool, breezy night air. The parking lot was empty of people except for himself and was dappled with pale yellow lights from streetlamps. He shut the car door and hit the button to lock it on his keys, shoving one hand into his suit pocket and checking his watch. 8:59. Not bad.

He strolled calmly down the sidewalk, fingering the velvet box in his pocket and tried to turn his mind off from the worried thoughts that plagued it. Was he doing the right thing? Should he let her into his life all the way even though it was dangerous? Did he really love her as much as he thought he did?

As he walked past an alleyway, the sound of masculine laughter caught his ears. He hesitated, turning his head to look. A group of Jokerz—about six of them, he noted—had gathered at the end of the alley. Yeah, those bums were still around, but they were more of a cult or clan nowadays. Once you were in, you were in and you had to do whatever the lead Joker said. One of those bastards had stumbled onto some Joker gas and started a black market production of it. Terry had spent months tracking them, trying to find its source.

"How's about me and you go make a little ha-ha later on tonight, sweetheart?" One of them sneered. Terry's eyes narrowed. He could see a pair of flawless, bare legs and a cloud of blonde hair from behind them but the rest of the woman was hidden by the pack of violent morons.

"No thanks. I don't date interspecies." She snapped back icily. Something about that voice sounded familiar…

The other Jokerz cackled wickedly and the speaker seemed emboldened by their jeering.

"Cute. Won't have much of a choice after I do this--!" He charged at her. Terry swore under his breath and ran down the alley. To his surprise, the woman roundhouse kicked the Joker's face into the brick wall next to them. He slid down it with a bloody nose and a mouthful of broken teeth. She set her legs solidly and raised her delicate fists in a tae-kwon-do stance, beckoning the remainder of the shocked gang.

"Teach her some manners," one of them growled, motioning for the other four to surround her. Terry, still unnoticed, slipped into a shadow behind a dumpster and watched in faint amusement as the woman laid the smackdown on all but one of them. Her form was solid and lethal, her fists whirling with skill and accuracy, but unfortunately, the last, largest African-American Joker knew tae-kwon-do as well. No matter how skilled she was, his sheer size would overpower her.

He was easily 6'4'' and muscles stretched veins like cords against his dark skin. The ridiculous clown paint did make him look less scary but the sadistic frown on his face did not. He'd driven her back into a corner so all she could do was defend. A vicious right kick caught her in the stomach, winding her and breaking her defense, and a backhand rocked her head back, beads of blood splashing from the corner of her mouth. She stumbled and fell, conscious enough to catch herself on her palms, moaning in pain. The first Joker she'd floored whipped out a scythe blade, brandishing it devilishly as he knelt and grabbed a handful of her curled locks.

"Game over, bitch."

"I don't think so."

Terry charged from the darkness, his head down, and slammed his shoulder into the Joker's chest, cracking several of the thug's ribs and making him drop the blade and crumple against the wall, shrieking in agony.

The big black Joker glared at him as he dragged the fallen woman up by the collar of her short, black dress, raising a fist threateningly.

"Beat it, hero. This ain't got nuthin' to do with you. The whore is mine to deal with."

"Back off and I'll let you off easy. Or you could join your pals over here on the ground. Put—her—down." Terry growled, clenching his fists. Smirking darkly, the black Joker tossed the woman aside, where she hit the wall with a yelp and slid down to her knees, barely conscious.

"Fine. I guess I'll take it out on you." The big man ran forward, his enormous fist raised. Terry sidestepped and faked a low kick, whirling and kicking the man in the side of the head at the temple. From there, he punched him in the solar plexus, winding him, and upper-cutted him backwards. The big thug stumbled but didn't fall, breathing heavily, and roared, kicking at his elusive opponent with agility unheard of for a man his size. Terry winced as he blocked the high kick aimed at his face, sliding a few feet from its sheer force. He caught the Joker's foot and jerked it, causing him to lose his balance, and drove his elbow down into his knee, breaking it. The Joker howled in pain, crashing to the ground with an agonized yell and letting out a stream of unintelligible curse words.

"Find a better hobby, pal." Terry quipped coldly, turning to attend to the woman. She leaned against the wall, still on her knees, breathing in shallow pants with a bruise rising on her graceful cheekbone. He knelt in front of her, turning her face towards his and gasped.

"Melanie!"

She blinked, her wintry eyes full of painful tears, and touched his face gently, whispering,

"Terry?"

The strength drained from her body and she fell into his arms, her head resting limply on his shoulder and spilling golden locks across his neck. He moved her back from where she'd collapsed against him slowly, cradling her lower back and gazing at her with conflicted eyes, torn between disbelief and a flood of buried emotions. His cell phone rang and it was Dana.

"Terry, where are you? I thought you said you wanted to meet me at the restaurant at eight?"

He hesitated. "I…I'm sorry, Dana. Something's come up. Go ahead and eat. I'll catch up with you. I promise."

He hung up and slowly rose with the fallen woman in his arms, walking back down the scummy alley and disappearing around the corner.

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Kyoko: (whimpers) Don't kill me. This was originally going to be a one-shot, but considering that as of now it has 46 pages, I'll just split it up into chapters. The fic's probably not going to be that long, though. Tell me what you think: REVIEW!