A/N: Well, here is story number 4, called "What Do You Fear Most?"
This story was inspired by the scene in Green Lantern where a Sinestro Corps ring had bonded with Bruce Wayne for all of a page and a half. My thoughts were, "What if Bruce did not fight the ring, but instead bonded with it and ended up as a major player in the Sinestro Corps?" This story is what happens after, though there may be either a spin-off story or several flashback chapters that shows what Bruce did while in the Sinestro Corps.
Once again, I own no DC characters. I wish I did, then we wouldn't be having this reboot of 52 different books.
Remember, I like reviews.
Prologue: Beware Your Fears
Terry McGinnis was not having a good evening. It started out as mediocre, when the five foot ten-inch black haired teenager had to postpone his date with an already irritated girlfriend, but at least his job with Bruce Wayne had finally gotten him into a party with Gotham's socialites, rather than Gotham's criminals.
But of course, things had to take a turn for the worst. As the old man named Bruce Wayne, had limped to the podium, and began to speak, there came chilling laughter from all the speakers. As people began to panic, Terry ran to his employer's side.
"Go to work," was all that the gray haired and hunched man had said to him. Terry quickly ran to find somewhere private so that he could suit up in the highly advanced batsuit. Upon his return, he found that the party had been overrun by a small cell of the Jokerz, a large gang that dressed up as clowns and used weapons designed to look like comedic props. One such instance, Terry recalled, was one cell had a box full of chattering joke teeth that were razor sharp and could eat through most anything. Apparently, the gang was created in memoriam of a historic villain, from Bruce's past. That villain was the Joker, also known as the Clown Prince of Crime, and oddly, Bruce almost never spoke of him.
As Terry watched the twins, Dee-Dee and Dee-Dee knock Bruce to the ground, a purple mist rose from the ground, as did the Joker himself, despite the fact that the man was supposed to be dead. He could still remember the man's words in that chillingly high voice, tainted with sadistic glee.
"Hello Gotham! Joker's back in town!"
From that point, the entire evening had become a qualified disaster, what with the Joker and his Jokerz cell getting away by destroying the balcony right out from under the feet of civilians, and escaping while Terry had jumped after the falling people to save them.
But now, driving Bruce home after the incident, Terry could tell that the old man was deep in thought. He hadn't said a word since they left the event. Deciding to try to get Bruce to open up, Terry attempted to engage him in conversation.
"So… the Joker huh?" started Terry. "Pretty spry for a guy who's supposed to be, what? 80? Any theories on that? Frozen in cryostasis? A clone? A robot?"
"Shut up and drive," replied Bruce, his tone colder than usual.
"Yes sir," sighed Terry as the two approached stately Wayne Manor.
After they had reached the manor, Terry had then made some dinner for Bruce, and while Bruce was eating, Terry went down into the Batcave for some research.
Sitting at the massive monitor in the Batcave, Terry managed to pull up the files on the Joker. Deciding to see if there was any chance at all of the Joker he saw earlier being a copycat, Terry pulled up the recording of the nights event and put it side by side with a previous recording of one of the Joker's televised threats.
"… A countdown of victims that will end at midnight, unless our dear Dark Knight stops me first! Aahahahaha!" came from the first recording.
"Hello Gotham! Joker's back in town! Aaaahahahahaha!" was the second one. And to Terry's surprise, three words popped up on the screen.
"Voice match identical?" read Terry. "What the hell does that mean?"
"It means that the Joker has come back from the dead," said Bruce, as he descended the stairs with his dog, Ace.
"You know, it's funny," said Terry as he got up from the chair to let Bruce sit down. "I know about all your other major enemies, but you never mentioned him… He was the biggest, wasn't he?"
"It wasn't a popularity contest," replied Bruce, as he leaned onto the console, clasping his hands together. "He was a psychopath… A monster."
"So how is it possible that he could still be around after all this time?"
"Normally, I would say that it's not possible. After all… he died years ago. That said though, many of my old allies and enemies had died and then come back in some way. While I wasn't around for it at the time, the Blackest Night, and the Brightest Day proved that Death is something that isn't always permanent. Superman found that out, as did Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, the Flash and Green Lantern," answered Bruce.
"So it is possible he came back from the dead?" asked an astonished Terry. "And how did he die in the first place?"
Bruce's only response was to stand up and walk away.
"My God… You did it, didn't you?"
"That's it, isn't it? He was going to do something so terrible, you had no other choice," said Terry. Inwardly, Terry was shaken. It was well known throughout the world that the Batman never killed.
After a few minutes of silence, Bruce spoke again. "I want you to give back the Batman suit."
"What? Why?" asked Terry.
"There is no reason for you to continue being Batman. You brought your fathers killer pay for his murder, the put your own needs aside to help the city when it most needed a hero. You've honored the reputation of Batman many times over, and for that, I thank you."
"I had no right to force this life on you, or anyone else…"
"Hey, I was the one who broke in and swiped the suit, remember? Yes, there was my dad's murder, but we come from two different worlds, Mr. Wayne. I wasn't like you, or the kids you took in. I was a pretty bad kid once… Ran with the rough crowds and broke a lot of laws to say nothin' to my folks hearts. The kind of punk you wouldn't have wasted a second punch on," At this point, Terry locked eyes with Bruce, Terry's young blue eyes filled with regret and hurt.
And though it hurt Bruce to act this way, Terry could not be put in harm's way. So he continued on in a terribly cold voice. "Your point?"
"I'm trying to make amends! The state says that my three months in juvie wiped me clean, but my soul says differently. Every time I put on that suit, it's my chance to help people who are in trouble. I guess on a personal level, it's a chance to look like a worthwhile human being again. In my eyes if no one else's… It's what I want, Bruce."
Steeling himself for the eruption to come, Bruce turned his back on Terry. "Stupid kid… You don't know what you want. None of you ever did," whispered Bruce to himself as he walked away. But Terry heard every word.
In his anger, Terry threw down his pack with the Bat suit inside and began to stomp away. As Terry made it to the first of the steps, Bruce was overcome by a coughing fit. Turning to see Bruce fall over in agony, Terry's conscious got the best of him. Sighing, Terry walked back over to Bruce and placed the old man's arm over his shoulder. Lifting Bruce to his feet, Terry supported them as they went up the stairs to one of the many sitting rooms. With each step, Bruce's breathing came harder and more ragged. Eventually, the two of them managed to walk through the grandfather clock that hid the entrance to the Batcave.
Escorting Bruce to one of the main sitting rooms, Terry gently helped the old man into a large and comfy chair. It was then that Terry got a good look at Bruce. From the few minutes that Terry had unofficially quit, and coming to rest in the chair, Bruce's forehead was beaded with sweat, and his complexion even paler than normal. His skin also seemed to sag. Bruce looked like he had aged another 10 years in 10 minutes!
"Hang on Bruce, I'm going to go get your meds," said Terry, almost panicking. Bruce could only nod as he tried to catch his breath.
Terry ran to the kitchen, over to Bruce's medicine cabinet. Bruce, after fighting for so many years, and having endured fights with many people who were much stronger than him and had many odd powers, as well as always carrying around a radioactive shard of kryptonite for years, had really taken its toll on his body. Not to mention having a weak heart! Bruce had special medicine that was created by the League, and was supplied to him periodically from said League.
Terry dug around, searching for the special green plastic bottle that the desired medicine came from. After a moment or so, Terry found the bottle, but huffed in frustration as he saw that the bottle was empty.
"McGinnis, you idiot… forgot to refill the prescription… stupid…"
Berating himself, Terry ran up the stairs to Bruce's room to check the medicine cabinet behind his bathroom mirror. As Terry entered the master bedroom, he was once again amazed at how big it was. Terry had been in here a few times when Bruce had collapsed before, but only to make sure he was tucked into bed and comfortable before one of the staff doctors would work on him.
The bathroom, which Terry had never been in, was incredibly spacious. As Terry made to turn on the light, nothing happened, though a loud POP was heard from downstairs.
Great, a blown fuse.
Pulling out his motorcycle keys from his pants pocket, Terry quickly located the tiny flashlight attached to the key ring. Using the small but bright light provided by the LED, Terry managed to open the medicine cabinet and began his search for Bruce's backup medicine. After removing several bottles in order to see better, Terry finally found the correct bottle, luckily, it was nearly full.
Terry held onto the bottle as he began putting bottles back. Finishing his task, Terry was about to close up the cabinet when he saw a sparkle from inside the cabinet. Pausing, Terry opened it back up and shined his flashlight in once again, making sure to go over every little bit of the interior.
Huh… thought I saw something, but I guess no- wait, that's it!
Terry focused on the shining object as he carefully moved more bottles around to see what it was. Hidden way back in the corner, and covered under what appeared to be thirty years worth of dust, was a little golden ring. Turning on the faucet, Terry washed the ring off to get a better look at it. After washing it, Terry moved to grab a towel so he could dry it, but at that moment, Bruce had another coughing fit, one that Terry could hear all the way from downstairs. Forgetting his intrigue with the ring, Terry subconsciously slipped the ring into his jacket pocket, and made his way downstairs with the medicine.
The next morning, Max McGinnis walked into a most unusual sight as he went to get his breakfast. Sitting there at the table in his moms kitchen in a blue bathrobe and eating a bowl of cereal was his older brother. Terry glanced at him, gave a cheery "Morning!" and went back to his cereal, as if it was normal that Max and his mother even SEE Terry anymore. Max stared in shock for a few more moments…
"MOM! There's a stranger in our kitchen! And he's eating our cereal!" yelled Max.
"Ha ha," retorted Terry, mirthlessly.
"That's your brother," chuckled Mary McGinnis, making her own way into the kitchen.
"Great. Just when I was getting used to being an only child", muttered Max, sitting down across from Terry, huffing and crossing his arms over his chest.
Terry's only response to flick a piece of cereal at his baby brother, which of course earned another:
"Hush Max," said Mary as she laid his breakfast before him. "Though he does have a point Terry, it's rare that we ever see you up before noon since you got your job with Mr. Wayne."
"I'm not working for Mr. Wayne anymore mom," cringed Terry, deciding not to go into detail.
Sensing that Terry didn't really want to talk about it, Mary started leading the conversation a bit more. "Well, it will be nice having you home for a change. By the way Terry, does this mean that we can start seeing you at dinner again?"
"Well, not tonight, I need to make it up to a pretty upset girlfriend," replied Terry, scratching the back of his head as he pondered what he could do to make it up to Dana.
Lights flashed and music blared at one of the local dance clubs, where older teenagers and college kids would go to hang out and dance. There was always lots of people on all of the floors and in the booths of the multi-floor building.
Descending the stairs from the entrance floor to the basement floor was a young black haired woman and her blonde haired best friends.
"Every once in a while, we have to do it Dane," said Chelsea, a blonde-haired bombshell in a slinky black dress. "Ditch the guys and have a night out to ourselves."
"It may be a change for you, Chels," replied Dana Tan, the black-haired beauty in a skimpy light blue dress. "But I don't see enough of Terry to know the difference."
Sighing, Chelsea placed her arms on Dana's shoulder and looked square into her eyes.
"Dana… Terry's sweet and all, but who says you can't make friends with someone new?" asked Chelsea, tilting her head and gesturing up to a group of whistling guys one floor up. Dana looked towards where Chelsea had indicated when a young an stepped into her vision.
"Not a chance," said Terry, back in his regular clothes, but looking more well rested and relaxed than he had in quite a while.
"Terry !" exclaimed Dana, completely taken by surprise by the unexpected arrival of her boyfriend.
Taking her hand, Terry escorted her down the steps, leading to the dance floor. Dana took this chance to express her displeasure with him.
"I thought you would be working, as usual," said Dana in a frosty tone.
"Uh uh. The bad news is, that for the time being, I'm not gonna have much money coming in. The good news, you have me all to yourself now," replied Terry, giving her a charming smile. Seeing that smile, all of Dana's annoyance instantly evaporated.
"I can live with that," said Dana in a somewhat husky voice as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders and he laid his hands on her waist. The two danced together for who knows how long, just staring into each other's eyes.
Eventually though, two identical girls with knee length hair, and bangs covering the right side of their faces came walking up to the couple.
"Cutting in!" said the one closest to Dana as the two women pulled Terry away from Dana, one wrapping her arms under his from behind, and the other putting her hands on his waist and shoulder from the front. The two spun Terry around, distracting him, while one of them knocked Dana several feet away by slamming her hips into Dana's.
"Hey!" cried Dana. As Dana began to march toward the two tramps who were trying to steal here man, another young man wearing a skull shirt and brown burlap pants, as well as a witch's hat placed one arm around her waist and his other hand over her mouth. As Dana tried to scream, she could see the man's arms were covered in tattoos that looked like stitching. He quickly pulled her off the dance floor without her being able to alert Terry.
Terry, finally having regained his bearings, pushed himself away from the identical twins and ran to look for Dana. While he had his back turned, he felt a sharp kick to his back, and was knocked into several people, who gave an undignified "Hey, watch it!"
Turning back to the girls, they both smiled coyly at him, and the one on his left pointed to the other and playfully said "It was her!"
Before he knew it, the two women rushed him, flanking him from both sides as they viciously kicked at him, but with his experience as the Batman, he was able to block them with his arms, until one of them dropped to the ground for a leg sweep. As he fell to the ground, people started forming a circle around the two-on-one fight. Terry quickly got back to his feet, and not a moment too soon as the other woman's feet came smashing down where his face was just a second before.
The two women went back to kicking at him, but Terry caught one of the women's legs, and he spun with her in his grip and threw her into the other one. But as soon as they were down, they got back up. Terry found himself having to block an axe kick from one, and shoving her away. The other took that chance to kick him in the back again.
Terry found himself on the ground again and looking up as a feral Woof from the Jokerz leapt at him. Operating on pure instinct, Terry threw his legs up, catching Woof at the stomach, and used Woofs momentum to send him flying into a vending machine.
"Terry!" came a scared cry from Dana as he looked up to the entrance floor and saw Goon holding her arm and hair as she slapped at him and tried to get away.
"Dana!" yelled Terry, jumping to his feet and making his way to the stairs. In his path though were the two identical women, who Terry could only assume were the Dede's. As they both went for another kick, Terry flipped over them, and placed his hands on their heads, and knocked them into each other before continuing on his path. Terry could only watch in horror as Goon pushed Dana off of the next floor up and she fell into several large lights, passing out before Terry caught her in mid-air. Sadly, the only place for them to land was an occupied table, though the occupants were quick to move. Terry twisted in mid-air so that he would cushion Dana's fall. As they landed, Terry felt the table shatter underneath their combined weight and momentum.
Rolling to a stop, Terry took a moment to look at the unconscious Dana, but it was too dark to tell what kind of injuries she had. People around them though finally realized something was wrong and began to scream and make for the exits.
"Fear" came a feeble voice, though Terry did not have time to figure out who said it. Laser shots hurtled toward him and Dana as he heard a male voice yell "Slag 'em!"
Terry dived behind a booth, still holding the unconscious Dana as the Dede's and Fatso unloaded on their position with laser guns. Civilians screamed in terror as they heard the shots and saw the beams. They all began to run in earnest now.
"Collecting Fear energy. Power levels rising," came the same unknown voice from before, only this time it sounded much stronger.
Terry took the opportunity to sprint from his hiding spot, still holding Dana. As he ran, he saw the beams narrowly missing him. Then he saw an obstacle that would make them a harder target, if only he could make it.
Dodging the beams, Terry leapt into the air to hurdle over the furniture, only to be clipped in the right leg by a lucky shot. As he and Dana went down, Terry noticed that he no longer had any feeling in his right leg, and so used his left leg to try and push them away from the enemy. People were trying hard to evacuate, and while they were getting to safety, it drastically improved the chances of the Jokerz finally doing them in.
"Collecting Fear energy. Power levels 12%. Running diagnostics. Last use on 5/20/2022, Earth time. All systems operational. Scanning for Fear."
Terry was finally starting to regain the feeling in his right leg when he heard the cocking of several guns and the insane animal laughter coming from the Dede's, Fatso and Woof. Terry did notice that all four of them did stay back about twenty feet, as if scared of getting any closer. As the Jokerz lowered their guns right at Terry, Fatso spoke.
"Any last words, dreg?"
"Sentient located,"cam the mysterious voice once again. And Terry felt something move in his pocket, and a small object wrapped in yellow light shot out and flew erratically around Terry and Dana. All conscious people present looked on in wonder as the yellow object stopped in mid-air, showing itself to be a little yellow ring. The same one that Terry had found in Bruce's medicine cabinet, but forgot to put back.
Somehow, Terry knew things would be alright now, and he smirked at Fatso and glared at the Jokerz with cold blue eyes for threatening him, and his girlfriend. The Jokerz shivered as Terry seemed to have a glint of yellow in his eyes. But surely that just must have been the reflection from the glowing ring, right?
"Yeah, I actually do have something to say," replied Terry.
The yellow ring then swooped around, and they heard it say: "Terrance McGinnis of Earth. You possess the ability to instill great Fear."
The ring then placed itself onto the middle finger on Terry's right hand, and yellow light blasted forth and lifted Terry off the ground. The light was so bright, the Jokerz had to shield their eyes. When they could look again, they saw the Batman floating a few inches off the floor, except the costume was different now. The previously red bat insignia on the suit had grown to the point where it covered most of his torso, with the outer most part of the wings covering his shoulders, about three inches from the base of his neck. The first fold of the wings were now placed right below his pecs and the bottom point of the insignia now ended at about where the naval would be. The head of the bat was now slightly higher, now only four inches down from his neck. In the center of the bat insignia was a new symbol. It was black, and was a circle with what appeared to be two handles jutting out and wrapping up the sides of the circle before turning sharply outward and extending all the way to the very tip of the wing on bat symbol. On top of the circle were also two small lines that intersected perpendicularly with another curving line, curving exactly as much as the circle. The most dramatic differences were that the bat insignia was now a bright yellow, and the previously white eyes which constantly analyzed everything emotionlessly were now changed to a terrifying yellow hue. Terry, under the generated bat-suit placed himself in front of Dana, and gave a chillingly satisfied smirk to the Jokerz when the same voice rang out.
"Welcome to the Yellow Lantern Corps."
"Well Fatso, you asked for my last words," asked Terry as the golden aura surrounded him, and the Jokerz looked about ready to wet themselves, especially seeing the new and improved Batman raise his right hand toward them were the yellow ring pulsed with power.
"What do you fear most?"