A/N: My muse has created a blockade on all my other projects and has demanded that I post this, so here goes. Enjoy.
And remember to review, I always love to hear what you guys think of my work and any writing advice or critiques would be most appreciated. And before I forget entirely, this fic is rated for language and violence and shout not be viewed by those with faint hearts or easily offended sensibilities.
Disclaimer: I am merely playing in someone elses sand box with someone elses toys. I will in no way recieve financial gains from this fic and am only writing for fun and feedback.
07 March 2042
Gone was the time when Terry McGinnis would enter the secluded mansion and go straight to the grandfather clock in the office that sat just off the main entrance. Now his new ritual was to turn left and go up the winding staircase and step into Bruce's bedroom. He walked past the slightly opened doors to empty rooms and wondered for perhaps the millionth time why the old codger didn't spring and have someone come in to take care of the place. It was no wonder the old man was becoming sicker by the day; seeing the beautiful home he grew up in decay into a dark and depressing mausoleum would make anyone lose the will to live.
"Where the hell did he go?" he asked as he walked into the room and saw that Bruce's bed sheets were mussed but the man was nowhere to be found.
"Aren't you supposed to be on bed rest?" Terry asked as he descended the stairs that wound into the cave beneath the old mansion. He didn't bother to hide his presence; no matter what he did or how hard he tried he could never hide from Bruce. Even pushing a hundred the man was still too good.
"Do you know how many times I've been put on bed rest?" The gruff old man asked from where he sat slumped in the chair in front of the computer terminal.
"More than your fair share?"
"Right. Now guess how many times I listened."
"Right. Even after you flew your jet into that kryptonite missile you didn't stay down long."
"They decided Clark should keep me on bed rest because he was too strong, fast and impervious for me to pull one over on. One glare and he folded like a lawn chair in a hurricane."
"Yeah, good times." Terry deadpanned, "so are you going to tell me why you're down here or do you wanna play twenty questions?"
"I'm adding the finishing touches to your new assistant."
"Excuse me?" Terry asked, "Since when do I have an assistant?"
"Since you couldn't maintain this place if you're life depended on it."
"So where is it?" Terry sighed; he didn't feel like arguing with the old man. He could technically win now because Bruce would get all worked up an either his heart or lungs would start acting up, but he just wasn't desperate enough to win an argument that he would stoop to that level."
"Over there." Bruce raised his hand from scratching behind Ace's ears to point to a collection of small robots, none bigger than a small child, "Alfred controls them."
"I do sir." A British accent filtered through the disused speakers.
"Who the hell is that?" Terry asked Bruce.
"Alfred. He's and AI I made to help you out around here. Once he finishes interfacing with the drones he will be able to do everything from simple maintenance to major surgeries."
"Right. And I suppose to had the R&D guys bring these down here?" the only response he got was a raised eyebrow, "so why did you do this? I've been flying solo since you got sick and before then you did little more than watch the video feed to fend off boredom. I don't need help."
"Yet." Bruce corrected, "You don't need help yet. But one day you will. Or maybe you won't. One day you'll be long gone and someone else will find this place and want to be Batman. They'll need a mentor. Someone to show them the ropes."
"How is it supposed to do that? It hasn't had a whole lot of time to learn anything from you."
"I've been working on it for a while now, Alfred has been learning for nearly a year."
"You're planning for a legacy?" Terry asked from behind the partition where he was changing out of his street clothes and into the iconic Bat-suit, "I thought you wanted the legend to die with you."
"A very wise woman once told me that the world will always need Batman. I'm just making sure it has a good one."
"Jeez Bruce, you must have been something back in your prime." Terry mused as he came out from behind the partition with the bottom half of the suit already in place.
"Why do you say that?"
"You're almost a hundred and you're still planning for every eventuality."
"When you're one of the only humans in a league full of aliens and metas, you learn to have plans for everything. Because you can't beat them in a straight out brawl, you have to out think them."
"I'm just saying." Terry held up his hands in defence, "One day soon they're going to pin down time travel and I'm gonna go back just to see how good you were. Maybe convince young you to have a go at Wonder Woman." He barely ducked under Bruce's cane as it flew across the cave at him.
"There's a reason I never pursued anything with Diana." Bruce growled.
"And what reason could that be?" Terry asked as he pulled on the top half of the suit and started up the Bat-mobile's engines and software, "She wanted you like a drowning man wants air, and she wasn't too hard to look at either."
"She is an immortal Princess from a race that has never known disease, death or aging. Sure we could have been happy then but as I aged and became crippled by past injuries she would have either begun to fall for Clark, another nearly immortal being, and I would have grown to hate both of them. Or she would suffer in emotional agony while I withered away and died. Or maybe-"
"Ok I get it." Terry said as he pulled the mask on, "As an immortal goddess she doesn't have to know about the finer points of the human condition."
"Then stop nattering at me and go do your rounds."
"On it." Batman said as he leapt into the Bat-mobile and punched the engines, streaking out of the cave with a roar and blast of heat.
He ejected from the Bat-mobile as they entered the airspace over Downtown Gotham and had the high tech machine run a patrol using it's highly advanced sensors to find sounds of trouble while he ran a separate patrol to cover more ground.
His earpiece crackled to life, "Sir there is a hostage situation at the Simons office complex. SWAT and negotiators have been trying to diffuse the situation all day but things have just escalated."
"I'm only a few blocks away; I'll see what I can do."
"Very good sir."
"Don't call me sir."
"Very good sir." He could be mistaken but did he just hear Bruce laugh in the background?
"Alright Bruce," Terry said as he leapt out of the jet and glided off the landing pad and towards the main computer, "If I'm going to be working with the new AI you need to modify its programming." Bruce didn't stir from where he sat in the chair. "Bruce?" he went over, fearing the worse but his worries were relieved when he saw the rise and fall and heard the rattle in Bruce's chest.
"Wake up old man." He said as he shook him gently.
"What did the doctor say about waking me?" he growled.
"What would the doctor say if I showed up with a cane wrapped around my head because I tried to carry you to your bed?" Terry didn't growl but he held eye contact with Bruce, not budging an inch.
17 June 2042
Bruce's health deteriorated and he passed away. Contrary to the old man's wishes, people came to his funeral. Lots of people. At first people thought it was weird that Justice Leaguers, both past and present, were in attendance. But ultimately they assumed that, being as rich as he was, Bruce simply donated a lot of money to the League. Somehow no one was able to find the very public Wayne Enterprises financial records that showed how Bruce had personally financed the first Watch Tower Orbital Space Station back when there were just six members and Batman, and Superman still wore his iconic red and blue costume. Speaking of the iconic red and blues, Superman had just arrived and he was wearing his old duds.
"Terry, It's a pleasure to see you again." Superman strode forward and offered his hand, "It's a shame that it couldn't be under happier circumstances."
"Likewise, sir." Terry took Superman's hand and shook it politely, as far as the public knew, they were only acquainted through Bruce.
"Mr. Wayne did a lot of good work in his lifetime. I hope it won't end with his funeral?" Superman not-so-subtly asked about the future of Batman.
"Bruce's work will live on." Terry assured, "He told me a few months ago that when he died he would leave it all to me.
21 September 2044
Batman walked past the display case of costumes on his way out for patrol when he stopped right in front of the original Bat-suit. There was something he'd always wanted to try, but had been afraid to with the old man around.
"New costume?" Superman asked, as he flew down the launch way and landed by the main computer.
"You're not the only one reminiscing about old times." Terry commented from beneath Bruce's old cowl as he reached up and pulled it away from his throat.
"Hunch your shoulders and slouch a little." Clark told him. And Terry did, punching and kicking several times to get a feel for how the cowl would affect him while on patrol.
"You know you don't have to go out tonight." Superman said, "You're getting married tomorrow, I can take over for a few days if you want."
"Keep you company on patrol?"
"Alright, I'll just cut to the chase then." Superman told him, looking somewhat nervous, "I'm here to offer you full membership into the league. I know you wanted to in the past but Bruce wouldn't let you."
Terry glared at him, "No."
"I didn't think so." Superman sighed, "The offer still stands."
"I'm not joining the League."
Terry walked to the landing pad, not wanting to find out how the cape would affect his flight in so tight a space. He climbed into the car and activated the controls.
"But if you need me, give me a call." He said as the canopy slid shut and he rocketed out of the cave with the deafening roar of the engines pushed to the max.
Clark let out a sad chuckle, "It's almost like talking to Bruce."
Terry dropped out of the bottom of the Bat-mobile and landed lightly on the rooftop of an office building in the outskirts of downtown Gotham. The car's advanced computers could not only fly a patrol pattern, but its sensors could detect what was happening at ground level and determine if it was a crime or not. So Terry set about testing the limits of the cape.
Could he still fly or would it screw up his aerodynamics? But that didn't really matter; in this day and age there were any number of ways to make that a non issue. The real issues were rather easy to figure out. First was; did it look cool? And second was did it frighten criminals? And both had been answered almost seventy years ago, when Bruce Wayne first donned the persona of Batman and began cleaning up the streets of Gotham.
"Alfred?" he asked as he activated the cowls dated communication system.
"Yes sir?" the AI asked.
Terry sighed; nothing he did could make the computer stop calling him 'sir', "I want you to draw up plans to incorporate the aesthetic appeal of the original Bat-suit into an updated model."
"Yes sir," the British sounding AI answered dutifully, "Renderings will be ready for your perusal when you return."
There was a scream from below and he went to investigate, peering over the ledge of the building he was currently standing on. One would think that he could simply jump in but he had learned the hard way that the acoustics at this height sometimes played tricks on your ears, making you think something was right there when it was in fact several blocks over. He saw a girl running, and then an ominous green glow enveloped one of the steel doors that acted as an emergency exit into the alley. The door exploded off its hinges and Blight stepped into the alley. Terry paused just long enough to send an apology message to Dana; technically he wasn't even supposed to be wearing the bat-suit tonight. With that being done he wasted no time in leaping off the building and hurling a barrage of cryogenic batarrangs at the radioactive monster. All of the batarrangs found their mark and shrouded Blight in a casing of thick arctic ice, still growing and hardening even as Batman landed gracefully in the alley a few dozen feet away.
Blight's eyes glowed brighter and then his whole body began to glow, cracking the ice and exploding outwards when it could no longer contain the intense heat that Blight was generating. Terry leapt sideways into a series of flips and somersaults before taking shelter behind a large trash bin.
"Ahhh Batman. New suit?" Blight asked as Terry launched another barrage of batarrangs only to have Blight harmlessly detonate them before they reached their mark.
Terry barely had time to react as a ball of explosive green radiation hurled at him. He twisted to the side and leapt onto the wall, another ball came at him and he leapt off the wall and flipped gracefully through the air, not even noticing if the cape was hindering his movements. Another ball hurtled at him and he twisted in midair to avoid it, throwing a third barrage of cryogenic batarrangs as he did. The odd movement flipped the cape into his face and he collided painfully with the wall, a few seconds later he hit the ground and only the cowls armour plating kept him from losing consciousness when his head bounced off the pavement. He fought briefly to get the cape out of his face and when he was finally able to see again, his field of view was dominated by a rapidly approaching ball of green energy.
A/N2: Well there that is. I hope you enjoyed it. I already have the next chapter done, so keep your eyes peeled for that sometime in the near future. This is only going to be five chapters at the most, so hopefully it won't take too long to finish.