Disclaimer: Not mine! I just loved Batman Beyond and the Epilogue in Justice League!
Authors Note: Here's an idea I had, Amanda Walker succeeds in killing the McGinnis's but Bruce gets to raise Terry.
SUMMARY: Neo-Gotham instituted a DNA database of all its citizens, including the illustrious Bruce Wayne in order to identify possible organ donors, abandoned children's parents and prove parentage for legal issues. When 4-year-old Terry McGinnis's parents are murdered after a family night out, the database is searched for relatives. To Barbara Gordon's shock, the DNA matches to Bruce Wayne. Now the retired Batman, at 60, finds he is the biological father of a boy he didn't know about, and must take custody of.
All in a day's work for Batman.
The call came early in the morning from dispatch, Barbara Gordon, Captain in the Neo-Gotham Police, couldn't believe her eyes when the match was made. Bruce had a son? One so young at that!
For someone who knew Bruce, looking at the child gave some definite clues. Terrence had the luscious jet black hair, strong little nose and jaw, and bright blue eyes of his father. The poor little thing was even refusing to cry, after what he had seen tonight any other child would be distraught. Terrence McGinnis was quiet, sat in a chair in her office with a few toys from the family waiting area. How this child existed she didn't know, but he did, and his father needed to know.
She would have to call Bruce for the first time in 10 years.
Bruce Wayne sat in the Rolls Royce contemplating what Barbara had just told him. He had never met the McGinnis's before, yet they had given birth to and raised his son. A background check on the computer revealed a disturbing similarity between them and the psychological profile of his parents. The circumstances of their death were even more so. Now there was a boy, his biological son, who mirrored his own childhood trauma.
There was no such thing as a coincidence, particularly one this profound.
This child's life had been orchestrated, almost as if someone who had known of his former identity had tried to replicate the creation of Batman.
There were only a select few who knew of his identity, Tim was gone, Dick hadn't spoken to him in 20 years, Barbara herself was out of the question and Jason was long dead. He'd told Kent to stay away, and the majority of the Justice League had either died, been replaced, or were too new to know who he was. There was only one person alive who could possibly have orchestrated something like this.
Amanda Walker and CADMUS.
She had the resources to obtain and synthesize his DNA. Perhaps obtained from a crime scene. He's been too naive about the blood he left behind, that was a rookie mistake. But that had been before the DNA database.
It had been a fatal error to believe someone else would not use this to their advantage and now an innocent child would pay for it.
Studying the photograph from Terrence McGinnis's Citizenship file there was no way to deny it. The DNA was practically a formality; he saw himself in Terrence, Terrence was practically a carbon copy.
Bruce was in no fit state to be a father, Tim, Jason and Dick had shown that. But this child had no one else, he wouldn't abandon him. Alfred hadn't abandoned him, and they were not blood.
If there was one thing Bruce was good at, it was taking responsibility. He'd given up on Batman 4 years ago, after the kidnapping incident. He was too old, too slow, too ill.
But maybe, in the future, there could still be a Batman.
Barbara watched as Bruce Wayne entered her office. He was still strong but slowing as he'd reached his 60's, the signs of the physical damage he had taken in his life showing. He was still handsome, though silvering, and although past his prime could probably still take someone in a fight.
But it hadn't been lack of will that had killed Batman, but a faulty heart.
Yet, he was no longer Batman, and she wasn't Batgirl. Bruce was a man here to see her about a child.
Bruce stood tall and proud, dignified as always. He looked at the child discreetly as he entered. Terrence McGinnis had moved from the chair and was sitting quietly on the floor with some toy trucks, the image of Bruce himself at that age. She'd seen the pictures.
The little boy didn't look up, fixated on moving the truck repetitively backward and forward.
Most would think he was focused on playing, Bruce knew differently; the child was in pain and didn't know how to express it.
He was screaming on the inside.
Bruce sat down as Barbara offered him a seat, their first time in the same room in 10 years.
Bruce inclined his head "Captain Gordon"
So it was like that then.
Barbara wasn't standing for that: "Bruce, how did this happen?"
Bruce looked at her, then at the boy, and said one word:
Barbara's eyebrows rose in recognition, so this wasn't an indiscretion on Bruce's part. Bruce was always careful. If he'd fathered a child he would have taken responsibility. The adoptive parents would have had protection. This child was a cuckoo in the McGinnis's nest, and if the similarities were correct this child had been orchestrated.
"So, what are you going to do?"
Bruce answered more personally, looking into her eyes.
"I'll take him. He's my responsibility."
Barbara nodded, expecting that answer, but having her doubts.
"Are you sure Bruce, after Tim, Jason and Dick? You can't do what you did to them; you can't use this child like that."
"You saying something like that is the reason you stopped being Batgirl."
Barbara felt a stab in an old wound.
"I don't need to make excuses to you Barbara. You know what I am. You know what had to be done. But I can't be him anymore. Tim is part of it, there are things you don't know, so don't presume to judge what I will or will not do. You no longer have that right."
Barbara was knocked out of contemplation by the sound of plastic clicking off plastic, as Terrence hit two trucks together.
"Terrence would you come here please, there is someone I'd like you to meet."
The boy glanced up, and sullenly got up. He was gangly but graceful, tall for his age, and slinked over to the desk, obviously uncomfortable with the surroundings, like a frightened rabbit.
"This is Mr Wayne, he's..."
There she was at a loss.
Bruce held out his hand to Terrence, and after a moment's hesitation he took it.
"My name's Bruce, I'm a close relative. I'm going to be taking you home with me today. Are you alright with that?"
Terrence looked up at the man, as if sizing him up, the calculating look was so familiar it made Bruce's lip twitch.
"You're really tall, you have black hair like me, and we have the same eyes. Are you really related to me? Mommy and Daddy...they never told me about you."
The child looked haunted at the pronouncement of his parents' monikers.
"Yes Terrence, we are, very closely. I didn't know about you until recently, we were...estranged."
Terrence didn't know what estranged meant, but he knew this man looked like him, a lot, and he wasn't looking at him like everyone else did. They were all looking at him funny.
He missed his Mum and Dad.
"When I was your age, I lost my Mother and Father too. I was lucky, Alfred, a family friend looked after me. I'd like to do that for you Terrence, if you'll let me."
This man looked like him, he had shiny shoes and a suit like his Daddy. He didn't have anyone else. Terry's little mind was made up.
Bruce waited for him to finish.
"My name's Terry, no one calls me Terrence, that's an old man's name."
Bruce's lip quirked.
"Terry then. Do you want to come with me?"
That being said Bruce marvelled at the trust of a child, a child who went back to playing with the trucks on the floor as Bruce thumb-printed the custody paperwork. The child who grabbed his hand for comfort as they walked out the door, who fell asleep in the new child seat in the back of the Rolls.
Bruce didn't wake Terry, who was emotionally exhausted, when they reached Wayne Manor. He undid the seat belt and picked him up, holding him close as Terry's head fell naturally into the crook of his neck. Bruce hadn't held a child this small in years; he slept like the dead but was no weight for the ex-Batman. Terry instinctively grabbed onto the lapels of his jacket, holding them for dear life as he dreamed.
When they got inside the house, they were greeted by his Doberman, Harvey, who sniffed at the boy's foot in interest as they entered. Bruce decided not to leave Terry on his own in a strange place. He took Terry to the living room and unable to extricate the child without waking him, sat on the couch. Harvey dutifully lay at Bruce's feet. After 15 minutes, the small rhythmic breaths of Terry lured Bruce into sleep.
When Clark Kent appeared outside Wayne Manor, he looked through the window to the sight of Bruce lying on the couch with a smaller version of himself held to his chest. Harvey the Doberman, saw Clark through the window, and lowered his head back down. He'd visited often enough without Bruce's knowledge for the dog to be familiar with him.
Looking on the last remaining Wayne's he was startled by how human Bruce looked. Not a battle weary ex-superhero, but a tired man with a child. Bruce instinctively shifted Terry closer, as if sensing his gaze.
It seems his help wasn't needed.
Batman had it under control.
Author's Note: What do you think? Good, bad? Please read and review!