Disclaimer: I don't own Batman Beyond or any of the characters from that series. They are the property of DC comics and WB animation, Bob Kane is the original creator of Batman and Bruce Wayne. I'm not making any money off of this work; I write for the enjoyment of others and for myself.
Author's Notes: All right, last chapter! Wow, I actually completed a multi-chapter fic on this site? Shocking. Anyway...Thanks to all of you who reviewed including new reviewers Kairan1979 and Maid of the Mer. I've gotten some questions about how Dana would react to Terry and Ten, or Merina, to be honest, while I thought about her reaction to those too; I've always wondered how she'd react to finding out Terry took the eggbaby out on a case and that's how he passed family studies.....hmmmm....crap, I sense another fanfic in the works. A special shout out to juhfreak (J'Freak) on youtube for making that awesome Terry and Dana music vid done to Skillet's Will You Be There? It's the main inspiration of this fic.
Second, the title comes is from a quote from the show Andromeda made by Kevin Sorbo's character to Lexa Doig's in the episode "Day of Judgement, Day of Wrath." A brief explanation of the quote, Dylan (Kevin), is a captain of a warship; and Rommie (Lexa) is the ship's AI (she controls the ship's functions); and she has a physical android body as well. In the episode, Rommie has to be replaced by another avatar, and when she gets back she asks Dylan how he liked working with the other AI. Dylan stars saying how great he is until he notices Rommie looking upset and then tells her that the other avatar wasn't like her, because she, "Is the air that I breathe." Once again, you can youtube that too.
Third, I figure that in the DC Animated Future; medical advances make it possible for people with broken bones to be healed faster. Heck, they make clones in the present, healing some bones should be easy. Fourth, the catcus lily called the "Queen of the Night," is one of my favorite flowers, and is a huge white bloom, which only blooms for one night. If you google it, you can find some great photos of it. It also is a very fragrant bloom.
I have more notes, but they'd give away the rest of the chapter, so I'll tell you at the end.
Coming Full Circle.
She gets to leave the hospital tomorrow.
Three weeks ago, she's waiting for Terry at one of their favorite restaurants when he calls her telling her he won't be able to make it. He just tells her he'll meet her later. She knows better than to argue, especially when he tells her to go to the Manor. She's half way to her car when all hell breaks loose. Big Time, no, Charlie, escaped from prison and his first thoughts were about revenge. Revenge on the Batman, whom he blames for his problems instead of taking responsibility for his choices, not Terry. However, seeing her was just too good of an opportunity to waste. Turns out Charlie isn't above tormenting old acquaintances.
He knocks her unconscious before she can scream for help, and she wakes up some time later with both a headache and an ache in her arms. She realizes she's aboard an antiquated and abandoned oil rig; her body suspended high above the Atlantic. She doesn't remember much from high school physics, but even she knows if she's falls, it doesn't matter that she'll fall into the water. The force of impact will kill her unless she can find some way or something to slow her descent. Dana remembers Charlie bragging about something as the equipment holding her moves her higher, but to be honest she was more worried about Terry's state of mind to pay much attention to his words. She remembers hearing a high whining noise, before seeing Batman launching himself at Charlie. The rest is extremely fuzzy, and she thinks that's probably a good thing.
She wakes up three days later to find out she broke both her right arm and leg, cracked two ribs, had a concussion, and various other internal injuries. She's told by the university that her grades are good enough so she doesn't have to worry about taking her finals in order to graduate; which isn't quite how she wanted to get her degree, but she'll take it. Her parents are just grateful that she's alive and she'll fully recover from her injuries, while Chelsea and Blade come over to gush over how Batman saved her. When Max comes to visit; they talk about other things except why Terry hasn't come to see her. Mrs. McGinnis and Matt come to see her, each time very apologetic for not being able to convince another family member to come.
What none of them know is that he does visit. Dana suspects he comes every night; he just does it when she's not awake. She first realizes it when she recognizes the scent of an Epiphyllum Oxypetalum, commonly known as the "Queen of the Night," in her room. The flower blooms at night, for one night only, before closing in the morning. It's also her favorite; and she sees a new closed bloom every morning. The first week she's always too tired to be awake when he comes. It isn't until the second week when she's finally able to stay semi-conscious long enough to feel his hand in hers; to hear him whisper her name. By this week he must be monitoring her vitals, because he definitely only comes once she's dead to the world, since it's only the lingering scent of the flower that tells her he's come to see her. She knows better than to believe he doesn't care for her, but these nightly visits aren't really cutting it anymore.
She's contemplating different ways to confront him once she leaves the hospital when she receives a new visitor, Bruce Wayne. It does not surprise her that he comes when visiting hours are officially over, nor does it surprise her to learn that Terry is unaware he's there either. He doesn't try to explain or excuse the younger man's actions; instead, he tells her what exactly occurred during her rescue.
After realizing Charlie kidnapped her, Terry quickly activated the locating chip embedded in the batarang charm he gave her two years ago; something she suspected, but never asked about. Terry actually made it to her location in less than an hour after her abduction before going against his former friend. At some point Terry incapacitated Charlie, and was in the process of lowering her slowly back to solid ground when the mutated human attempted to sneak up on him. According to the older man, her shriek gave Terry enough time to counter Charlie's attack against him, but he couldn't prevent Charlie from breaking the controls causing her descent speed to increase to dangerous levels. Bruce calmly tells her Terry had less than a minute to figure out how to slow her descent before she crashed into the water. He used a couple of batarangs to cut her from the cable while using a couple of the grappling ones to grab her body which did manage to slow her down, but couldn't stop her from hitting the ocean causing the majority of her injuries. In addition, Charlie managed to use the time to get away.
Bruce explains that Terry made an error in judgment; he didn't fully check up on Charlie before attempting to help her. His mistake nearly caused her death and allowed a dangerous man to elude him. It doesn't matter that she survived, or Terry managed to catch up and capture Charlie some nights later. Terry won't stop focusing on his error, and Dana can tell his behavior worries Bruce more than he's willing to say. She asks the older man why he's telling her all of these things. Bruce remains silent for a while before getting up to leave, and she honestly thinks he won't answer her. He's halfway to the door and speaks so softly she almost doesn't hear him, "Terry brought you to the hospital, not Batman, and for the first two days he wouldn't leave your side. He only left because I found information about Big Time's whereabouts. You have a decision to make, Dana; you need to know the facts. He usually begins his patrols around midnight."
The casts come off before she gets to leave the hospital, but her leg is still too weak to support her weight, so she gets Max to drive her to the Manor at 12:30. Bruce's dog, Ace, greets her at the door before leading her to the older man. It's very dark so she's not sure, but she thinks his eyes become a little softer than normal, before he tells her he's going to the cave to check in with Terry. Though on crutches, she manages to get to Terry's room, but the trek is more tiring than expected, and she ends up falling asleep on his bed with Ace sitting by it as if standing guard.
For a person trained to be stealthy, he still makes too much noise for Ace not to notice. She wakes to see Terry attempting to stop Ace from nuzzling her hand to get her up. She'd smile if he didn't look so grim. Once the canine realizes Dana is awake, he trots his way out of the room, as if sensing the tension in the room. Terry isn't happy she's there and plainly tells her she should go. She tells him to make her. He only looks at her like she's grown another head, before he tells her he's not joking, stating that being with him is too dangerous, and he was a fool for thinking their relationship would work. Terry starts going on about how she'd be better off, happier without him, citing the fact Charlie abducted her because he knew how much she meant to Terry. He asks her to imagine what would happen if someone like Inque found out her connection to Batman. He keeps talking, but at that point she's not really listening anymore.
Dana knows what he's doing. He's trying to push her out of his life because he thinks it'll be best for her. As if she could be happier without him. He's making that clichéd gesture of sacrificing his happiness to protect her, and if she was 12 she'd mistake it as grand, romantic, and noble, but she's old enough to recognize it for what it is presumptuous, arrogant, and idiotic. She so furious at him she yells out the first thing that comes to her mind, "You stupid jackass!"
She doesn't remember when she started to cry, but she becomes aware of the wetness on her cheeks when she stands to confront him. She begins to pound on his chest. "Don't you understand, don't you get what you mean to me? Don't you think I need you too, why can't you see?" She cries, her tears a mixture of anger and sadness. Dana can tell from his reaction, he really has no clue. "You're the air that I breathe too, damn it;" she finishes desperately, sinking to her knees. He doesn't say anything to her words and she finds herself realizing he may never say anything. She's beginning to think that maybe she should just leave, because maybe it's just not worth trying to fight for their relationship if he won't fight for them either.
Dana begins to grope for her crutches, but Terry's by her side before she gets finds them. It's the first time she sees how exhausted he is; how red and bloodshot his eyes are, and she realizes he's been crying too. She reaches up to touch his face, and he turns his head slightly so he's kissing the palm of her hand before pulling her against him to kiss her shoulder, her neck, then her lips. His kisses are gentle, a little tentative; but there is an underlying passion to them. When he begins to move them to his bed, she finds herself responding to his ardor just as passionately.
Later, when they can both see the moon from his window; he asks her if she still has that valentine he gave her so many years ago.
Her smile is the only answer he needs.
Jadeling's Notes: And it's done! Once again, thanks to all of you for reading and reviewing and putting up with my writing.
I hope that Bruce didn't come off to out of character. I figured by this point he knows that Terry is his son; and he recognizes what Terry is doing because he did it himself years ago. I think Bruce is the type of person who won't admit to regrets even if he has them and I do think he regrets being so old and alone. I don't think he wants that for his son; but he's not willing to just say that either. By going to Dana and telling her the details of her kidnapping, he's giving her a choice. If she didn't come to the manor, then Terry is better off without her, but since she did, Bruce knows that maybe his son won't turn out like him.
Also, I was wondering if any one noticed that neither Dana or Terry ever say "I love you," to each other? That was on purpose, and that was the other reason for the title The Air that I Breathe, I wanted a to see if I could write a romantic fic, where you can tell that the two main characters love each other without saying the those exact words. Granted at the beginning of the fic, they a little too young to use those words in a romantic sense, but in the later chapters they could have. I think the phrase "the air that I breathe," worked because it conveys the so much, like the words "I love you" can and a little more.
Well, that's it! Hope you all liked the ending, and if this fic inspires some more Dana/Terry fics, then mission accomplished. I'll see you around the site!