Cat: page 1

Author's note: New and improved for '09'. I went back and watched all my BB DVD's and just had to do my old fic justice. Revamped and better than ever. Enjoy.

Terry's footsteps faltered as he entered the cave. He was so used to trotting down there and only seeing Bruce and Ace - sitting in front of the computer. But joining them tonight and perhaps every night was the newest member of the bat family, Tac. Bruce's grandson. Terry didn't believe it at first, and to some degree he still doesn't. There were always questions buzzing through Terry's head about the boy.

If he knew he was Bruce's grandson why wait so long to find him? Why now? Where's he been for sixteen years? If he was the descendant of a long line of people with dark hair and blue eyes why did he have naturally platinum hair and green eyes? Who were his parents?

That question had been answered almost immediately by Tac. His parents were Adrian and Jude Kyle. Adrian's mother had been none other than Selina Kyle. And he had been Bruce's son. Tac didn't know the exact timeline of events but his grandmother had told him of his lineage and advised him after his parents death to seek out his grandfather should he ever need help. And that's what Tac did but not before causing trouble around Gotham for a few weeks. Maybe that was the reason Terry was so unwilling to accept Tac into the fold. Just two weeks ago he was a criminal. A criminal that spliced himself. He stole anything and everything he wanted. Regularly cutting gashes into Batman with those claws of his before darting away on his motorcycle. Terry was almost hoping he'd relapse into his old ways just so they could have a rematch.

"It's pill time." Tac informed Bruce with a forced smile. He held out his hand and Bruce just looked at it. "It's the valium or my splicing serum."

"Try neither. You're turning into a junkie." Bruce said.

"Gee, who's fault do you think that is? Hmm....maybe it's the guy that took away my splicing serum and makes sure I can't get anymore."

"You had been over dosing on it. A few more months on the amount you were taking and you'd have done permanent damage to your body. You wouldn't be able to receive regular blood transfusions if you were badly injured. Organ transplants wouldn't be an option for you if you needed one. Plus the splicing serum makes you irrational and careless." Bruce said as he typed away on the computer. Tac sighed as he crossed his arms. He looked at Terry when he walked up.

"Can I at least go out on patrol with Terry tonight?" Tac asked.

"No." Bruce answered point blank. "You haven't finished detoxing, training, or your homework. So if you ever want to go out I suggest you start working on all three of those." Tac growled loudly as he turned around. Ace hopped up and barked at him and Tac hissed at the dog through his teeth as he walked away.

"He's in a funk today, isn't he." Terry said as he watched Tac walk upstairs. He stopped at the top and pushed hard on the clock door when it didn't open the first time.


"Your homework is on the lab table along with a knife-throwing book I want you to read. I need you to stay down here so I can keep an eye on you." Bruce said. Tac let out another growl as he descended the stairs.

"I am literally going to go 'bat-shit crazy' if you keep me cooped up in this dank, rat infested tunnel!" Tac screamed. His high pitched voice making some of the bats wake up and do their best impersonation of his screeching. Bruce just sighed when Tac's echo finally died down.

"It's not dank down here, there's no humidity. Bats are not part of the rodent family, they are chiropterans. And it's a cave, not a tunnel. You'd know that if you did your homework." Bruce said, matter of fact. Tac glared at Bruce and Terry shivered from the cold look Bruce gave him back. It would be a miracle if they didn't kill each other in the next few days.

Bruce had been keeping Tac on an unusually short leash. He wouldn't even enroll Tac at the high school yet. When asked why, Bruce simply stated that he had his reasons. It was true that Tac was still detoxing from the serum, Terry knew all too well that an overdose of that stuff was not easy to shake off. And he had only had one overdose, Tac had been doing it for months now. Besides the drugs, Tac had missed a lot of school while he was living his criminal life. Three grades worth if Terry wasn't mistaken. Bruce was catching him up on everything he would need to know for the grade placement exam but there was only so much the elderly man could do.

As for training, Tac was supposed to be learning the principals of the bat family and what it meant to be part of the team. That they never killed and never used guns. That they had their own lives to protect along with the lives of the innocent. That was another thing Tac had to learn, that there were in fact still innocent people in the world - in Gotham. Bruce would show him everything but he had to be patient. Patience was not one of Tac's attributes. Nor was listening to and obeying the commands of someone else. He had been living by his own rules for a long time. And for a teenager to go from having all the freedom he could want, to having none was definitely grating on Tac's nerves. Terry knew that 'stir crazy' feeling all too well.

"You're doing it again." Tac said as he snapped his fingers in front of Terry's face.

"What? Doing what?" Terry asked catching Tac's little wrist in his hand.

"Staring." Tac said. "You are staring at me."

"What makes you think I'm looking at you?"

"Cause you can't possibly be 'lost in thought'." Tac said and snorted like the sheer consideration of Terry having thoughts was absurd. Terry just rolled his eyes and let go of the smaller boy.

"Get suited up. The sun went down two hours ago and there are already six things you have to check up on tonight." Bruce said. Terry ran to do what he was told, sparing a glance at the old man. To anyone else Bruce was using his regular bossy tone. But Terry could hear the undertones in his last sentence. Tones that told Terry Bruce did not want him getting too close to Tac, or vice versa. But that just made Terry want to do it all the more. As he pulled on the cowl he looked at Tac - sitting at the work table, growling into his books. The boy was wrapped in mystery, so many things Bruce didn't tell him, and he wanted to know why.

Terry underestimated how hard it would be to get Tac to talk to him. It was just as hard to get information out of Bruce. Harder even. Bruce trusted him to some extent. But asking him about Tac was like reading a government document. Every other word was blanked out. And when he asked about it, the information was classified. Bruce's best answer was: go ask Tac.

"How am I supposed to do that when he can't stand to be near me?" Terry asked as he put his head back. Max looked at him for a minute.

"You said he's only skittish around you and Bruce? Have you ever seen the way he acts around a woman?" she asked.

"No. Bruce hasn't let him out of the house since he came to our side. Why do you ask?"

"Well, he seems to be cowering when he comes into contact with males." Max said. "Did his father abuse him?"

"No, from what he told Bruce and what Bruce tells me, Adrian loved him. But Tac was like two years old when they died in a car crash. All he really knew of his father were stories." Terry said. "He did spend about eight years on the street after Selina died."

"This kid...." Max asked as she looked at a picture of Tac, Terry had taken with his cell phone. "This kid spent eight years on the street? He looks like he's never stepped a foot out of his Armani loafers."

"Something isn't fitting here." Terry said taking his cell phone. "You're right. He's in too good of condition for a street kid. He didn't test positive for any drugs except for his splicing serum. He doesn't have any STD's. No nutritional deficiencies. Hell, he's never even had lice. He was in better condition than me when he came to live with Bruce."

"You think someone was taking care of him before he turned to a life of crime?" Max asked.

"Or keeping him as some sort of trophy. Do you know of any....splicer fighting rings." Terry said as he glanced at her.

"Ah, finally something to do." Max said as she took out her laptop. "It's been so quiet here ever since you caught him. What else do you want me to dig up while I'm diving."

"Splicer fighting and anything on him before three years ago." Terry said as he stood up. "Thanks, Max."

Tac looked at Terry. It was hard not to when the older boy went to town on his ice cream cone. Tac tried not to laugh seeing Terry, a full seventeen years old, eating an ice cream cone with as much enthusiasm as a five year old. Tac was just glad he was able to leave the cave. Even if it meant having Terry as a baby sitter. Tac had noticed the sudden interest the older boy had in him. It made Tac uncomfortable. The last time another man took an interest in him he ended up chained to a bed and drugged.

"Terry, why are you hanging out with me all of a sudden?" he asked. He decided to call Terry on his odd behavior. It might scare him off.

"I--" Terry swallowed so he didn't end up spitting ice cream all over himself. "I told you, I don't have any guy friends. And you seem so...lonely. I mean there's only so much you can talk to Bruce about it." Terry explained.

"He told me you have a girlfriend. I'm pretty sure she's lonely too, while you're wasting time with me."

"I don't think we're wasting--

"Look, Terry I'm sure you're the nicest guy in the world and I'd love to get my hopes up and fall for your charms but there's this...dark place in my head that remembers where these come from...." Tac lifted his overly long sleeves and showed Terry the rough scars that marred the pale skin on his thin wrists. "And it's telling me to not accept your offers of friendship. Not to get close because my trust in the mercy of other people...other men, has been so severely shattered that I don't even have pieces. I have sand, that sticks to the gears in my head, making them grind together until the memories are so raw and open that I can never....never forget any of it." He snapped. Terry just stared at Tac for a moment. One thing running through his mind as he did.

'What the hell?' But instead of saying that out loud he only asked. "What do I have to do to gain your trust?" he asked. Tac wasn't expecting that. His thin brows shot up for a moment before he an idea formed in his head.

"Follow me. But remember - you asked for it." Tac said.

"No." Terry said flatly and moved to leave the tattoo parlor Tac had led him to. Tac grabbed his arm and kept him from getting to the door.

"You said--

"Yes, let's get a tattoo and bask in the rebellious teen glory. It'll be bitchin' until I go home, my mom sees it, and she kills me by skinning me alive with a rusty knife." Terry interrupted.

"You're so poetic." Tac said sarcastically. "I wouldn't dream of adding a blemish to that perfect peachy skin of yours." Terry jumped when the man that worked there approached him with a long thick needle. "Pick a part of you that dangles. Dante here is going to let me pierce it for you." Tac said. Before Terry could react Tac held up one finger. "Your ears are excluded."

"Seriously kid, what ever you are on, I want some." 'Dante' said as he played with the needle. He looked like he had spent some quality time with the thing. There were two piercing in his bottom lip, one in his left nostril nose, four per eye brow, at least six in each ear and God knows what ever else Terry couldn't see because of his clothing. "This guy is too....straight laced. It's like you bought him at the 'goody two shoes store'." Terry glared at the guy when he got in his face. Terry was about to let him have a taste of his fist when Tac sighed heavily.

"Fine." He shrugged as he looked at a case full of barbell rings. "I guess you'll be giving me one then, Terry."

"What?" Both Terry and Dante asked.

"I'll be able to trust you if you don't hurt me....too much." Tac said as he tapped on the glass case with his nails.

"No way. Bruce would kill me. It could get infected and--

"Geez, did you keep your receipt." Dante muttered. "If the kid wants it, I say, give it to 'em." Terry eyed the man once again. Lifting an eye brow when he presented Terry with the piercing needle. "God knows I would." Tac laughed a little.

"You're funny." He said as he smiled at Dante. He turned his gaze to Terry. "Look, Terry if you don't want to do it, I'm sure Dante will." They both laughed at their little game of innuendo. Dante was about to walk to him when Terry grabbed the needle.

"Ok, I'll do it." Terry said. "What do you want done?" Tac smiled and Dante clapped his hands. Tac turned and looked at himself in a full length mirror.

"Nothing on the face." He said as he touched the tip of his nose. "I'm not letting you anywhere near my taint."

"Yet." Dante snorted. Terry blushed a little. For what reason he really didn't know. He was used to the way guys talk when there were no girls around. Nelson always regaled anyone who would listen with the tales of his latest sexual conquest. And those stories were always disgustingly dirty. Tac smiled as he lifted his shirt just enough to see his navel.

"Perfect." He said. "What do you think?" He asked. Terry just shrugged but Dante gave him a thumbs up. "Let's do it."

Before Terry knew it he was standing between Tac's legs as the younger boy laid flat on a table. According to Dante, navels were one of the easiest to do. He marked where Terry was supposed to push the needle through Tac's skin with a little black dot on either side of the top of Tac's belly button. Everything was sterilized, Tac's skin, the needle, Terry's hands before Dante had him put on a pair of latex gloves. Dante donned a pair himself and they poised themselves around Tac's little inny. Terry studied it for a minute before he listened to Dante's instructions.

"Hold his skin with your index and thumb....good, now listen to his breathing. When he exhales, push it through firmly until you reach the other side. Blondie, just keep breathing no matter how much it hurts." Dante said. Terry looked up at Tac's face for a minute. He was almost unnervingly calm about the process. His green eyes half lid as he looked down at Terry - his thin lips parted slightly to let out his breath. Having your friend or lover pierce you was something of a new fad. Before, you needed a license and two years practice on cadavers before they let you near a living being. Terry leaned closer and concentrated on that tiny black dot. He could feel Tac exhale and rather than deliberate he shoved the little needle through Tac's flesh.

"Ah!" Tac let out a high pitched gasp, his legs curled up around Terry's for a moment. He balled his hands into fists so tight his knuckles went white and his nails left an indent in his palm. "Oh...." he sighed out. He looked down as Terry completed the job - using the needle to guide a slightly curved, light blue barbell into place. He slowly screwed on the other end and looked at his handy work for a minute.

"Was it good for you?" Terry asked as he smiled up at Tac.