The Once and Future Thing
Disclaimer: I don't own Batman Beyond nor do I own Justice League.
Chapter 1: Ancient History
"Mr. McGinnis? A word please," Terry's Western Civilization professor requested. He was a frail looking older gentleman who lectured onward whether the snoring was obscuring his hour and a half monotone diatribe or not.
Inwardly wincing, Terry waited for the rest of his class to vacate the lecture hall. What had he done? He'd turned in his midterm essay on time. It had been about Alexander the Great's contribution to society in furthering the spread of Greek culture and ideas. Or at least that was what Max had told him when he'd asked her what she'd written for him.
And yea, that sounded kind of terrible, allowing his best friend to do his paper for him, but really, she'd asked to. Told him that the purple bruising under his eyes was making her sick or something and that if doing a few of his easier assignments let him save lives and retain a GPA high enough to stay in college another semester, she'd gladly do it. Who was Terry to stand in her way?
Oh yea, Batman. The Tomorrow Knight, the unCaped Crusader, the New Dark Knight, Co-leader of the Justice League, Gotham's Savior, and so on and so on. Not like it curried him any leverage over Max...the assignments she helped him with because SHE wanted to.
As the last student filtered out, Terry rose from his seat with a grimace (He'd both wailed and been wailed upon last night by a gang of Jokerz. The tech those clowns were starting to get their grubby gloved hands on these days was no laughing matter.
"Professor Ickbod?" Terry asked uncertainly once he was standing before the aged scholar.
"Yes, Mr. McGinnis," Professor Ickbod began, shuffling around his satchel and producing, to Terry's horror, the said essay over Alexander the Great. "It's come to my attention that your writing in this midterm is not consistent with the tone of your first paper over the Peloponnesian War. Do you have anything to say for the discrepancies?"
Terry knew a thing or two about fishing… being the protégé of the world's greatest detective and all but still, something about Professor Ickbod's calm inquest had Terry blurting out, "I'm sorry, Professor," before he could stop himself.
At Ickbod's nod of approval, Terry continued, "I've been a bit swamped and had some help writing it from a friend. But I'll completely do it over again if you'll let me…you know, without any help."
Professor Ickbod scratched his chin for a moment. "No, I'm afraid that would not be fair to the other students that turned their essays in on time without additional help."
Terry's fist clenched in frustration but before he could utter a word, the Professor continued, "However, I'm willing to work with you on this. Before you take your final in December, I want you to hand in an essay twice as long that details a Greek Mythology we've discussed this past week in class. It should not only give the story of the myth, but offer further insight into the origins of the myth and its lasting impact on Greek and later Western Societies. Do you think you can do that?"
"Yes sir. And thank you for this," Terry added as he slung his backpack over his shoulder. "I think I know just the myth…"
"What's brought on all these questions?" the old man said gruffly, swiveling his chair around to fix Terry with a penetrating stare. They were in the cave and Terry had just pulled his cowl on.
Terry blinked a few times, making sure all systems were functioning before he replied carefully, knowing that something about the subject had rubbed Wayne the wrong way. "It's for an essay in Western civ I have to do to make up for my less than stellar midterm performance… I just figured with you being ancient and a former associate of hers that you'd have some insight…"
"Ha ha," Bruce sarcastically intoned, "Wonder Woman's type of ancient and my ancient differ quite a bit and our relationship was… is private. You can research what you need on the net."
The new batman, his voice lowered, smirked. "You and Wonder Woman, huh? That must have been something."
Bruce smirked back. "Don't you have a patrol and then a meeting on the watchtower to attend to?"
Aside from nearly having his head ripped off by a pair of Dee Dee's who were a little too whip happy, patrol had been uneventful.
The meeting on the Watchtower was anything but.
As soon as Batman had materialized on deck, Kai-Ro, the new Monastery-raised Green Lantern, approached him. "Superman is in from Quadrant five and he has brought a guest."
Kai-Ro grinned, his bald head gleaming under the bright lights of Watchtower. "You will have to see to believe."
The last son of Krypton had aged well. He sported only a few gray hairs and the barest hint of a frown line. Said line was becoming deeper as Batman made his way into the Meeting chamber room. "You're late, Batman," he said as the Tomorrow Knight took his seat.
The new Batman didn't say anything but instead surveyed the others with a bored expression upon his masked face. He lounged back and folded his arms. Batman hated when Superman made his appearances. The man in black and white with the fat S on his chest was way too lordy over the rest of them, even if he didn't mean to be. Plus, he always left shortly after to disappear on missions halfway across the universe- each time taking a few more Leaguers to assist and each time leaving fewer behind to defend his adopted planet.
If Superman really had brought back someone, Batman didn't see them at present.
Superman looked to the aged Static Shock, his dreadlocks a deep gray but his electric eyes flashing as brilliantly as ever. "Report."
"We've seen increased activity near Kosnia, also reports of tech disruptions over the Aegean. Pyongyang is still in friendly negotiations with Seoul over the union but dismantling the DMZ has brought increased tensions."
"What else is new?" Superman urged, his broad frame filling the seat to its capacity as he pulled his rolling chair closer to the meeting's circular table.
Static went on, "Since you were last here, we've also been experiencing increased gang violence in Bludhaven, Star, and Central City."
"We saw this first when Arrow and Canary retired. I told Wally this would happen," Superman muttered.
Batman finally spoke up. "Nightwing was in stable condition last I checked, but he's done."
Rex Stewart, Warhawk, banged his steely fist against the table. "Who are we going to send to cover? This is getting ridiculous."
Batman arched a brow pointedly at Superman. "Agreed. We're stretched too thin as it is. We need some new blood."
Instead of looking surlier than usual, Superman smiled. "Actually, I might have just the thing for that."
As he said this, the automatic doors swooshed open. There, standing poised in the doorway was Wonder Woman. Batman could hear the hushed silence on the other end of his transmitter where Bruce sat in front of his large computer. The old man had seen her too.
Terry had seen dozens of pictures of her on Bruce's League database and on the net but nothing could quite have prepared him for the actual Wonder Woman. She was strikingly beautiful of course, with glossy black hair delicately framing the sharp features of her face. With her chiseled cheeks and icy blue eyes, she looked the part of a Greek Goddess, which wasn't too far off base actually.
Her figure was lean and muscular, her bustier not as large as the new Batman had envisioned. She was tall however; probably even a little taller than himself if only a little shorter than Barda.
What caught him off guard though was her expression. She wasn't the female version of Superman that he had assumed. She was all warrior, and in her icy eyes belied a cunning Terry had only ever before perceived in Bruce himself. She was powerful and not to be messed with.
Superman rose from his seat, the other leaguers following his lead. "Wonder Woman came back with me when we heard the reports of the Kosnian power struggle."
Wonder Woman entered, and Batman noticed the elegance with which she carried herself. Her red-heeled boots made no noise on the polished floor. When she spoke, it was with the air of royalty. "Queen Audrey was a good friend of mine. Her death and the resulting struggle it's caused has left the nation she built in a mess. I fear Hades is using the opportunity."
Static recovered first. "You think that's why we're getting the news of the bizarre behavior and attacks from the Aegean?"
Wonder Woman lifted her chin and gazed around at the new Leaguers, her eyes widening ever so slightly as she took in the red bat symbol emblazoned on Terry's chest. She focused on Virgil. "I'm almost positive. Hades can't resist a power vacuum."
"You probably know the area best, Diana," Superman began with just the hint of a smile. The big guy obviously enjoyed having the Amazon with them once more if his impassiveness could be moved to near humor. "What do you say? Want to go visit your mom and kick Hades back to you know where again?"
If Terry was anyone but Batman, he might not have noticed the way Diana's nose crinkled ever so slightly at the mention of her mother. "I will investigate. It's been a long time since I've been back home…" she trailed off, looking a little less sure of herself.
It was Barda who asked, "Do you require any backup? I would consider it an honor to accompany you."
Wonder Woman shook her head. "I appreciate the offer, but I feel this is something I need to do on my own."
Later, as Terry was exiting the meeting room, he was startled when Wonder Woman came up behind him and rather forcefully ushered him into a secluded alcove near the cafeteria. When he tried to yank his arm out of her grasp, he found that her grip was too powerful, even for his suit. He raised a brow questioningly but she refused to say anything until they were in the alcove.
"Yes?" Batman asked coldly, not liking the way she was pushing him around.
Her ice blue eyes, similar to his own, narrowed dangerously at his gravely tone. "Where is the old Batman?"
Terry was about to walk away, but Bruce's voice crackled in his ear, "Tell her I'm in the cave." The old man's voice was very low and if Terry wasn't mistaken, sounded more than a bit choked.
"He says he's in the cave. I take it you know the way?"
"Good, I'll leave the two of you to it then," he said, preparing to push past her but she blocked his way.
"Wait, how many…." she hesitated, surprising Terry before she shook her head and determinedly finished, "how old is he? With years passing differently where I was, I don't know how long I've been gone…"
"He's…" Terry considered her knitted brows and her expectant eyes before finishing, "Let me re-introduce you."