Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters form Batman Beyond or Justice League Unlimited, they're the property of DC Comics and Warner Brothers Animation. I just like to play with them for a while; I promise to return them when I'm done. I just write my enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. Please don't sue me.
Authors Note: I'll admit that this just came to me one day and I just couldn't let it go. I was watching the last episode of Justice League Unlimited; I remembered that Dana's last name was Tan, so I think her family is Chinese in origin; and this little idea just formed, though you all may just label this as crack fiction.
Italics for Telepathic conversation.
When Dana Tan was ten, her teacher gave her class an assignment, "Who is your favorite hero and give 3 reasons why." The assignment was given on Thursday afternoon and due the next day. As the kids waited for their rides home either via bus or car, they began to discuss the assignment, while Dana just sat silently at the end of one of the benches wondering what she was going to say tomorrow.
"The Green Lantern is way better than Booster Gold, Howard," Jamal stated.
"Yeah, but which one, Jamal, there's like hundreds of them." Max reminded boy.
His smile faltered a bit her remark. "Oh, yeah," the boy began to list the ones he knew off his fingers before throwing up his hands. "They're all cool; I mean those rings of theirs are so schway."
"Whatever," a young Nelson rolled his eyes at the other's antics, "Superman is better than all of them combine, I mean he can move superfast, has x-ray vision, super strength, and he can do all this other stuff without a stupid green ring. Plus, he's still in charge of the Justice League."
Chelsea along with Terry and Max protested his reasoning. "Wonder Woman totally rules!" The blonde pixie proclaimed as she jumped from her seat and pretended to lasso an invisible enemy.
"Batman is better than all of them; he didn't have any super powers, but he defended Gotham all by himself, and he helped formed the League with the others." Terry explained. "Plus, he had all of those cool gadgets. I'd love to throw a couple of those batarangs at Matt."
"I don't know; didn't Batman have a couple of side-kicks for a while?" Max pointed out, and then noticed that Dana hadn't said a single world yet, "What about you, Dana? Who's your favorite hero?"
The Asian girl gave a small shrug and turned around, "I don't want to say; you guys will just make fun of me." She told them shyly then, as if bored with the conversation, she turned her head back towards the drive hoping her parents would come soon.
The other children only stared at each other unsure of how to respond to her remark. Dana tended to voice her opinions on everything whether they were welcomed or not. That, and if they did make fun of her, she'd usually just start hitting them until they'd stop teasing her, or threaten to tell on her. Terry was about to ask her if she was feeling all right when a vehicle came up the drive. An elderly Chinese gentleman step out of the driver seat, and Dana's face lit up, until Nelson spoke, "Hey, who's the old geezer?"
Dana's eyes flashed with anger before she smacked the redhead on the back side of his head. "That's my great-grandfather, you big meanie," she replied before running towards her relative to give him a big hug. Before she got into the car, she waved good-bye to her classmates, "I'll see you guys, tomorrow."
"Biāo-biāo, you were very quiet during dinner, is everything all right?" Her great-grandmother asked as the young girl sat her desk staring at a blank data pad.
"I have this assignment for class, and I'm not sure what I want to say, Zeng pó." She replied, "I have to tell the class who my favorite hero is and why."
The older woman nodded her head at Dana's remark, "I see why you may have trouble with this one. Would you like for me to see if your zēng gōng will come up and help you?"
"Oh, will you?"
Dana's great-grandmother chuckled at her eagerness; she knew that her husband always snuck Dana cookies before bed; and the sooner she left, the sooner her great-granddaughter and husband could continue their little tradition. Sure enough, within five minutes Dana and said gentleman were sitting on her bed with a tray holding two large glasses of milk and a plate full of cookies laid between them, her pad was now thrown off to the side half forgotten. As the pair munched on their snacks Dana once again explained the assignment, "and I want to talk about you, but I don't know how do that without you know, telling everyone about you."
The last emphasis really wasn't necessary for the old man, but only he nodded at her dilemma "You're uncomfortable about lying to your teacher and friends."
"Yeah," her tone told him how upset she has become. "Because Ma and Ba told me that it's wrong to lie, but I want to tell the class how great and cool you are, but if I don't lie, I might let something slip and what if some bad guy finds out? I don't know what to do, Zēng gōng." Dana mumbled.
Jiān watched her nibble on her lip for a couple of moments before speaking again. "Biāo-biāo, you know you can talk about me to your class, you'll just have to leave certain details out." He told her. "I'll help you, and I'll help you when you're talking to your class."
Dana lifted her head up so quickly, she almost hit him, except he expected it and dodged it at the last moment, "Really? Promise? Pinky swear?" She held out her right pinky towards him, her face a combination of uncertainty and hopefulness.
"Pinky swear," he responded with a grin of his own, before wrapping his larger pinking around her tiny one, then he retrieved her data pad. "So how do you want to start?"
Miss. Morgan was beginning to have a headache. In all fairness, she couldn't really blame the kids; she should have had the foresight to tell the children no superheroes, still, after hearing over 10 kids pick Superman, or Batman, or some other costumed freak because their powers were cool, or the gadgets were schway; she really wanted to just take some very strong medication. Oh well, hindsight really is 20/20. On the other hand, some of the students chose local law enforcement they knew or were related to, but their reasons were equally as shallow, since the students only talked about how awesome it would be to take out bad guy or carry a weapon. She let out a mental sigh as her last student finished listing off why Miss. Vreeland was her hero, if only for her awesome fashion sense, "Thank you, Summer, all right who's next?" As the teacher saw the 12 or so students left waving their hands, she noticed Dana Tan seemed oddly pale and nervous, "Dana?" She asked kindly, "did you want to go next?" For a moment, she honestly thought Dana would say no, she seemed so timid about presenting today, but instead the young girl slowly nodded her head and made her way to the front of the room.
Dana looked at her class before taking another look at the pad she was holding. What if she messed up, what if the class just started to laugh at her, what if-
Biāo-biāo, you'll do fine. I'm right here, remember? Just take a deep breath and go.
The petite girl nodded to the telepathic instruction and looked up at her class again, "I decided to talk about my zēng wài gōng, my great-grandfather. His name is Jiān, and he's not my real great-grandfather, he's my step-great grandfather, but my real one died a long time ago, but I'm getting ahead of myself." She said as she shook her head, "sorry.
Anyway, my zēng gōng had another wife and kids, but they were killed in a war a really long time ago, even before when my grandparents were born. After they died, he was really sad and alone for years, and then he found out the beings responsible for his family's deaths were coming here, and he knew he had to do something to try and stop them." She paused as if unsure how to go on, but took a glance at her pad and began again. "So even though he was an foreigner with a very different culture and government he came over here to try and find a way to stop an invasion; he was lucky and found some people who were willing to trust him, and with their help they were able to warn the Justice League and the league managed to save us all.
After that my zēng gōng wasn't so lonely anymore since he had friends again and together they decided that they'd try to help others, by finding information on bad buys for the league, and for a while he was happy. But it was still hard for him to adjust to a new culture and he still felt like an outsider, so he decided to leave his friends and try to find out where and how he belong out in this world. His friends were sad to see him go, but they understood why he needed to leave them, and my zēng gōng was lonely again, but this time he knew his friends would be waiting for him when he came back. Then he met my zēng wài pó, my great-grandmother, Míng, and they fell in love, and now neither of them are sad or lonely. So that part of the reason why my zēng gōng is my favorite hero, because even though he lost everything, instead of giving up, he continued living his life and now as long as he has his friends and family, like me, he'll never be sad or lonely again.
However, after everything he went through it's not the only reason why he's my hero. He's my hero because he sings me songs when I ask him to, because I know he'll always help me if I'm in trouble like the time I got lost in China, and he found me. He tells the best stories about the Justice League, and though I'm a kid, he doesn't treat me like one; he'll just listen to my problems. He helps me when I'm have difficulties with something, like this assignment, and that's why he's my hero," Dana let out a sigh as she finished her tale, and was about to leave, when she remembered something, "Oh, and he sneaks me Oreos with my milk before I go to bed every time he visits." She shared a large grin with her classmates and teacher with that statement.
Her teacher blinked for a moment realizing that one of her students actually understood that sometimes it was the small things that made a person heroic. "Um, that was very good Dana, now-" she was interrupted by the bell signaling lunch and recess. "All right, class, we'll continue this when you get back from recess."
As the students left the room to head towards the cafeteria, Dana's classmates re-started the debate they had the day before, but Dana wasn't paying attention to any of it. She was in the middle of another conversation, Did I do all right, Zēng gōng?
You were wonderful, Biāo-biao, though I don't remember you writing that last sentence in your pad.
Oh, well, I thought of it at the last second, are you mad? Because I know that's suppose to be our little secret. She wondered nervously.
She felt his amusement, No, though let's try to keep that one from your parents; I don't think they'd be happy that I'm supplying you with more sugar. I should go now; I have some work at the tower, Biāo-biao.
Wait, will you be home tonight? I was wondering if you'll sing a song before I go to sleep.
I'll be home to sing to you, what do you want to hear?
Will you sing me the song you sang the time you spend Christmas with Superman and his parents?
Yes, I will, now I must go, enjoy the rest of your day and I'll see you tonight. Wŏ aì ní, Biāo-biao. Though she knew he was far way, she felt his love for her through his words.
Wŏ aì ní, Zēng gōng. She responded happily. When she got to the table her friends were at, the focus of the attention had shifted to what game they'd play on the playground. When they all decided on playing Justice League, she was the first to call out who she wanted to play, "I call dibbs on Martian Manhunter!"
Jadeling's notes: I know; I know; I'll probably be stoned for this. Okay, so I just remember in the episode Epilogue, that Dana knew Terry's identity and she had fully accepted it and wondered how she found out. And that got me to wondering what if someone in her family had ties to superheroes and if how that would affect things and that kind of explains how I got to this fic. I may continue with some other one-shots along this vein, but I'm not sure. What do you all think?
Biāo – tiger cub.
Zēng pó – great-grandmother ( informal, formal is Zēng wài pó.).
Zēng gōng – great-grandfather (informal, formal is Zēng wài gōng).
Jiān- 1) Strong, durable. 2) calm, steady, stable, determined (I thought that describes J'onn pretty well.).
Míng – Light, brilliant
Wŏ aì ní – I love you
*In Chinese a common show of affection is to double the characters, such as saying "Mei-mei" for "little sister", or "Ling-ling" like the panda bear. Therefore, I thought it'd make sense for Míng and J'onn to give Dana cutsy nickname, and I figured if the Batman Beyond series started around 2039 then Dana was either born in 2021, 2022, or 2023. I decided I wanted to make her 17, so that makes Dana a tiger, and lets me get away with the nickname Biāo-biāo, though this makes her older than Terry since he was born in 2023 according to some DC fan database.