Terrence McGinnis (AKA: CADMUS PROJECT NUMBER BB-3.0) has been watched his whole life.
In his beginning years of infancy and childhood, it was the covert eyes of Cadmus, carefully monitoring and planning for that day someday soon…
Strategically placed agents had personally watched and interacted with the boy and his family, from neighbors, work acquaintances, and new friends to even the Cross Walk guard that held Terry's hand everyday afterschool and always had some piece of advice to share or hypothetical stories that always made the little boy think (as much as one could, anyway). Everything was carefully and meticulously monitored, from the answers he gave in class, to his behavioral patterns within his family, all to ensure that he would grow into his expected qualifications for the mantle of the Batman.
With time and one indigent sleeper agent (Andrea takes one look at those baby blue eyes and thinks, 'This could have been mine,' and suddenly she cannot breathe, cannot see, cannot feel her heart beat and e?) the whole project was scrapped, and the world continued on as it always had.
The next person to take an unusual interest of Terry was Charlie 'Bigtime' Bigelow, who took one good look at the sulky preteen and knew, knew that he had found all that he was looking for.
In a few short months, r remolded him, taught him the tools of the underground trade, from how to fight dirty and to knowing when to keep your nose clean.
Terry became Tiny, and for a while, the world was a little bit of a better place (for him).
In Juvie, the eyes were everywhere. Black lens cameras watching your every moment, every breathe, every thought (it's enough to drive you crazy somedays). Impassive wardens with sometimes sadistic glee in their jobs, armed with Tasers and sharp tongues, and kids with nothing to lose but the hope of using you.
If his childhood was devoted the psychological molding of a Batman, his preteens to the underhand and sly techniques to survive, then Juvie taught him self-preservation and how to be mean.
After Juvie is a lot like In Juvie, the eyes were everywhere, just waiting for him to make one wrong move, one excuse to throw him away again.
His parents are either ignoring him or accusing him, the probation officer apathetic and unconcerned (I've seen it all before,' he tells Terry, 'Text book case. I'll see you behind bars again real soon').
His peers and teachers either fear him or treat him like he still belongs behind bars, waiting, expecting, wanting him to mess up (again).
Terry almost wishes he was.
Then, Terry meets Bruce, and the world changes again.
He's back out on the streets after dark, and even though sometimes it's debatable about which side of the law he's on this time, he's doing it for all the good it brings (It's what he tells himself, and sometimes he believes it.)
With the suit comes Bruce, a constant crabby voice in his ear that barks orders, clues, battle strategies and the occasional bad joke. Sometimes Terry thinks that the suit listens solely to that old craggy voice and he's only along for the ride (occasionally he thinks he should look for thin, gossamer strings attached to Wayne's fingers, just in case).
He does know that the old man see's what he sees, what he hears, and has a big shiny red button, just in case.
Some days, he even remembers to be intimidated by it.
Months pass, Terry becomes Batman more and more everyday (and Bruce grows weaker and weaker in his own head, but not his lessons. Never his lessons.), and with every high profile meta, assassin, android and significant property damage, the new Batman's infamy raises.
Scores and legions of superheroes and villains watch him now, some in derision (a rookie, some claim), others in a cold sweat (those that remember The Batman well), none so hard or as interested as The League.
Maybe its time, Superman thinks, for a Batman on the roster again.
They watch him too, when he declines the membership and Superman's hand, for a different reason this time.
Then the Joker happens soon after, and now the reclusive Batfamily cannot (willfully) ignore what is happening in Gotham.
It starts with Tim Drake, quietly observing him from his hospital bed when Terry brings Bruce in for his visits, and extends from there.
He has a black and blue shadow now, following him around Gothem but staying a good distance away, and never joins him on his stakeouts or help him take down criminals when in a good fight. But, Terry has got most (not all, he doesn't thing the Old Man is capable of it) of the story, and permits it.
He just wishes the Red Hood would be more subtle when he's dodging bullets and cleaning up dead mobsters and drug cartels.
There are others though, so subtle and unobtrusive that Terry never noticed their prying eyes.
The new Hamilton High school councilor is a quiet, stern Asian woman slightly aged by a few lines and somber dark clothing, but Ms. Cain is polite, practical and not much of a talker, and Terry likes her almost instantly (when not feeling uncomfortable under her diamond stare).
Another Ms. Kane, older and almost reminds Terry of Bruce when he's introduced to her (by Barbra), as an old friend and informant of the Gotham PD, and would they like to meet over coffee and talk shop?
Of course, the other doesn't ever bother with the capes or subtly at all, and Terry almost wishes they would.
A Stephanie Brown-Drake-Wayne shows up at his home one day, chatting and eating cupcakes with his mother and younger brother when he came home from school and before he had to go to 'work.'
She tells his family about how Terry here helped save her Timmy's life and how he got him to the hospital and how he's a hero to the whole Wayne family.
During the whole time, Terry has to sit through her manic grin and twinkling blue eyes, and thinks to himself, 'This is probably the most dangerous person in the whole damn family.'
Later on, on a rare date with Dana to their regular club, a young woman with a serious case of feline splicing slithers up to them in line, swings an arm over Terry's shoulder and pecks a kiss onto his cheek as she snaps a quick picture of a two of them with a small, sleek vid-cam held in her other hand.
A moment later, she's shaking his hand saying, 'Welcome to the family Little Brother, and then disappears into the crowd, and only the sound of her laughter over the din convinces him this just happened.
(The framed picture on Bruce's fireplace mantle drives the memory home, unfortunately.)
The last (he hopes, he has no idea just how big this crime fighting family spreads) is waiting for him at the mansion, sitting in the dark, a habit he must have picked up from his father.
"Mr. McGinnis." He says, and steps towards him, a hand outstretched.
Terry takes it, reluctantly.
"Thank you, for watching over my father."
"My pleasure, Mr. Wayne."
"You have much to learn."
"…I'm aware of that."
"Come with me."
And this time, Terry knowingly him into the darkness.
The World has Changed.