BROTHERS OF THE BIRD:::::::
...lol. that got your attention, right?
ANYWAYS! A/N about BoTB! I will be rewriting BoTB due to the fact that I am VERY unhappy with it as it is now. I'll leave the four/five chapters up I have posted, but I'm going to create a new BoTB story starting some time in September-October. It will have more characters, but the same plotline: Tony Zucco breaks out of jail and angst ensues.
For now, please accept my consolation gift.
Alfred Pennyworth: 50-ish
Bruce Wayne: 25-ish
Terry McGinnis-Wayne: 18
Damian Wayne: 16
Tim Drake-Wayne: 12
Jason Todd-Wayne: 9
Dick Grayson: 6 (for plot purposes)
Bruce couldn't help but smirk when he heard the boys giggling.
The Dark Knight was sitting at his supercomputer with his suit on, cowl off, waiting for his eldest sons to get ready for patrol. As he went over his notes about a recent case involving Poison Ivy and some annoyed business manufacturers, Bruce heard another giggle lift into the air from the training mats. With a sigh of resign, the man stood from his chair and walked over to the mats, his long cape sweeping the floor behind him.
The sight he was greeted with was adorable, to say the least. He watched as the six-year-old new addition to the Bat family was pinned to the floor and tickled mercilessly by his nine-year-old foster brother. ″J-JASON!″ squealed the younger, a raven-haired boy with baby blue eyes, as he attempted to push the older boy off. Jason, his dark auburn hair falling into his dark blue eyes, giggled and hooked his legs around the younger boy's in order to trap him. He lifted up the little boy's Green Lantern tee-shirt, tickling his too-skinny tummy mercilessly.
″No way, Dickie-bird!″ Jason shouted, blowing raspberries on the six-year-old's belly. Dick squealed and giggled, and Bruce sighed. In three short movements, Bruce was holding Jason up by the scruff of his skull-adorned shirt, Dick resting on his hip as the child struggled to catch his breath.
″Alright, you two, that's enough. If you're not going to train, you're going to bed.″
″NO!″ Jason exclaimed just as Dick began to pout. Bruce sighed as the youngest boy nuzzled his neck, batting his big baby blues. Dammit... You've only been here three months and you're already worming your way into my heart... Just like your brothers, huh? And the way you're so happy, albeit terribly shy at best, is amazing after what you've been through... As Bruce hefted Jason onto his other hip, he shifted Dick to where the child was pressing into his side. Damn... I can still feel your bones... I'll have to talk to Alfred about your eating habits... You need to put on some weight, Dickie...
Jason began protesting profusely about going to bed, while Dick just kept batting his abnormally large eyes at his foster father. It ended up that they were interrupted before Bruce could make his ruling. Coming into the main part of the Cave from the changing rooms were two boys- one taller and more muscular wearing a black costume with a red bird across the chest and shoulders, the other shorter wearing a black costume with midnight blue and silver accents and a hood over his face. ″We're ready, Father,″ spoke the sixteen-year-old as he crossed his arms.
The twelve-year-old rolled his eyes at his older brother and said, ″Bruce, are you ready?″
″Tim, Damian,″ Bruce spoke in greeting, nodding his head to either boy. They nodded in reply, and Bruce set Jason and Dick down. The latter looked up at Bruce with a pitiful expression while Jason ran off to 'train' on the acrobatic rings.
″B-Bwuce?″ Dick asked, sniffling. Bruce swore inwardly when he saw the child's tears welling up. ″You'we weaving now?″
Dick had been at the Manor for three months, but he still had a trying time when it came to Bruce going on patrol and leaving him at the Manor. The boy experienced excruciating night terrors and often woke up in a cold sweat. He would go and sleep in the doorway of Bruce's room until the man arrived back home from patrol. Bruce would sigh, kiss Dick's sleeping head, then take him back to his room and tuck him in. It was a continuous cycle, one that Bruce found to be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, for the both of them.
Bruce nodded, ruffling the child's hair. ″I'll be back before you know it, Dickie.″
Dick nodded, stifling his quivering lip and puffing out his tiny chest. ″O-Otay...″
There was a click clack that carried through the Cave and announced Alfred's arrival. The five turned to look at the old man who was carrying a silver platter. It was covered, but Bruce knew from previous knowledge that it contained two cold glasses of chocolate milk, one of tea, another glass of ice cold water, and a mug of piping hot black coffee with a courtesy splash of whiskey.
The butler paused on the last step and nodded to the family watching him. ″Masters. Your evening drinks.″
Bruce watched with a smirk as Jason and Dick accepted their drinks with glee. Tim tried to hide his excitement at Alfred's special raspberry lemon tea as he sipped it slowly, somehow still managing to down the drink quickly. Damian gave no response to his water, but eyed his father's coffee with a disapproving glance. Bruce gave his son a glance that said 'shut-up-I-need-it-you'll-understand-one-day' as he drank from the Batman-themed mug, a gag gift from his oldest son.
″Oh, and, Master Bruce,″ Alfred spoke as he stood back up from handing Dick his drink. Bruce turned to address the man face-to-face. ″You have a visitor- well, pardon me, but our entire gathering a a visitor. A particularly exuberant one, at that.″
Bruce cocked an eyebrow, wondering who it could possibly be.
There was a flash of black and brown and then- there, at the bottom step, stood a tall, large-chested young man wearing a black shirt and a tan leather jacket. He had clear blue eyes and black hair, a grin over his features as he smirked at Bruce. The young man held a cardboard box that Bruce assumed was full of gifts. Despite himself, Bruce allowed a soft smirk to adorn his lips.
″TERRY!″ screamed Jason and Tim in unison. The two charged over to their eldest brother, hugging his waist and back tightly. Terry laughed, lifting the box above his head as he greeted the two.
″Hey, Jase! Hiya, Timmy! How're you guys doin'?″
Jason grinned and offered his older sibling a fist-bump. ″I'm awesome, like usual!″
Tim rolled his eyes, elbowing Jason in the ribs. ″We're doing great, Terry. How're you? How was Asia?″
Terry shrugged, beaming. ″Oh, China was nice. Crowded, but nice. Got a lot of cool gadgets from Japan. And Singapore was...″ he groped for words, ″...clean.″
Damian greeted his brother with a '-tt-' and a curt, ″McGinnis.″
Terry rolled his eyes and pulled the younger boy into a horsecollar, ruffling his hair with a loud laugh. Damian snarled and kicked Terry's shin, pulling away and fixing his uniform as he glared at the young man. Terry stuck his tongue out in reply.
″Anyways...″ the oldest Bat-boy began with a smile, ″I bring gifts!″
Terry set the box down, rifling through it and taking mental note of the tiny body hiding in Bruce's cape. He pulled out a manilla envelope, tossing it to Damian. The sixteen-year-old caught it and opened it curiously, peering inside. ″Picked that up in Japan. Magazine.″
-tt- ″And you felt I needed a magazine because?″
Terry gave Damian a glance that said 'just-look-at-it'. Bruce didn't see the magazine cover, but from the furious red flush that painted Damian's cheeks and the laugh that Terry emitted, he supposed it wasn't something Alfred would approve of.
Terry reached back into the box, pulling out a box with Mandarin writing on the sides. There was a picture of a cherry red electronic car on each side of the cardboard, and Terry grinned as he read the foreign language aloud. He quickly translated, ″Remote-control car. Build-it-yourself!″ as he handed it to Tim. The twelve-year-old's eyes widened, and he grinned, trying not to jump from foot to foot in glee as he inspected the Mandarin instructions.
″Cool! Thanks, Terry!″
Terry replied with an offer to help Tim build it, to which the preteen gladly accepted. Then, Terry reached into the box and pulled out a sheath about the length of his forearm. Bruce's eyebrows furrowed as he handed it to Jason. Jason's breath hitched as he took the leather from his oldest brother's hands. Slowly, he placed his hand on the metal hilt and pulled out a small sword. Bruce felt relief wash over him when he saw that it was just a training blade, the sides and tip dulled to soft, round edges. Jason didn't seem to mind, though. He started raving about how 'awesome' and 'amazing' the sword was, stabbing invisible foes as he danced around the group. Finally, he stopped next to Terry and punched his arm in thanks, a grin plastered on his face.
Terrence grabbed out a small, wooden box labeled FRAGILE and handed it to Alfred, who undid the wrappings to reveal a small, antique pipe with gold trimmings and rubies along it. He smiled and thanked Terry by patting the crouching man's head. ″I shall put it on my hearth,″ he said with a smile, referencing the hearth above the tiny fireplace in Alfred's quarters where he placed nick-nacks from his visits around the world.
Finally, Terry turned to Bruce. His eyes flitted for a moment to the big, baby blue eyes peering out from behind the Dark Knight's cape. There was a tiny gasp, and the eyes disappeared. Terry chuckled, eager to meet his youngest and newest brother. He waited, though, and presented his gift to Bruce. It was a collection of metal shruiken, all polished and sharpened expertly. Bruce's eyebrows went up a bit, but he nodded, taking the three pieces into his hand and inspecting them. ″I got them because of the metal,″ Terry said with a firm nod. ″It's lighter and more durable than the stuff you use. Thought you might like to investigate.″ Bruce's eyes brightened up, and he smirked, reaching out to ruffle Terry's bangs. The eighteen-year-old laughed and batted his father's hand away.
There was a sudden silence as Terrence crouched near the Dark Knight's feet, peering into the cape. Bruce smirked and pulled the material back a bit to reveal a narrow face with bright eyes and shaggy black hair. Dick gasped and ducked behind Bruce's calf, making the billionaire groan. ″Dick, come out. You have to meet him eventually,″ the man encouraged quietly.
Slowly, painfully slowly, Dick leaned away from Bruce's legs, but stayed in the shadow of the man's cape. Terry took this as a win in his direction and held out his hand. ″I'm Terrence McGinnis, but you can call me Terry,″ he said in a soft voice as to not startle the obviously nervous child. ″I'm your oldest brother. Sorry I haven't been around for you to meet recently, but I'm kind of... a free bird,″ he finished off, glancing towards Bruce for approval. The man nodded, and Terry returned his eyes to his new brother.
Dick shuffled his feet, biting his lips, but reached out and shook Terry's hand, trying to smile through his nerves. Boy... he's big... not as big as Bruce, but still... He's not scary, but he's... what's that word Alfred used to describe Bruce again?... Oh, yeah! Intimidating. He's intimidating... Maybe it's just because he's so big... I mean, he seems nice and Jason and Tim seem to like him a lot... He's kinda funny, too, and he's... warm... warm like- like J-J-John was...
″Hi...″ Dick said quietly, offering a tiny smile. Terry almost squealed.
Oh my God... I know Alfred said he was adorable, but... he's adorable! Oh, damn, I'm so gonna spoil him... God knows that Damian is once he's got a stable job, and Bruce already seems like he's wrapped around the kid's finger! Damn...
Terry pulled away from the boy and went back to the box, reaching down and grabbing hold of something. He grinned up at Dick. ″Alright, Dickie- can I call you that?- I've got a gift for ya', but you have to come over here, 'K?″
Dick's eyes widened, and he took a step towards Terry, though his hand stayed firmly latched onto Bruce's cape. ″F-For me?″ he asked, blushing. ″B-but you don't even know me!″
Terry chuckled, shaking his head. ″That doesn't matter, Dickie. You're my little brother, now! I get to give you gifts all I want!″
Dick looked up to Bruce, who gently nudged the boy forward. ″Go on, now,″ the man said in a warm voice. ″Go see what he got you.″ I have to admit I'm a little interested, too...
″Yeah, Dick!″ Jason exclaimed, still playing with his 'sword'. ″Terry brings the best gifts!″
Bruce frowned at that.
Dick looked to Tim and Damian, both of which nodded encouragingly. Slowly, the boy let go of Bruce's cape and made his way over to the box. Terry held out his hand, and Dick took three of the young man's fingers in his own much smaller hand. Terry gushed at how tiny and adorable the boy was. ″Alright, then.″ Almost slowly as Dick had approached him, Terry brought out the toy.
It was an eight-inch stuffed animal shaped like Batman.
The Bat-plushie was complete with a black felt cowl and a cape with triangles cut from the bottom. It had a tiny yellow utility belt with two pockets that opened to reveal a tiny cloth bat-a-rang and a small, circular 'communicator' that said 'JLA' across the fabric in red, white, and blue. The plushie was finished off with a big, black bat symbol across the chest and little black combat boots, all made of a soft and silky cloth.
Dick's eyes lit up and he gasped, taking the plushie from Terry slowly. Bruce smirked, sending his son a glance. Terry returned it with a cheeky grin.
As he was inspecting the toy, Dick was well aware of everyone's eyes upon him. Even Jason had stopped stabbing invisible foes for a minute to loom over Dick's shoulder and see what he got. Suddenly, the six-year-old hugged the Bat-plushie to his chest tightly, giggling happily and nuzzling his face against it. ″Thank you, Terry!″ he said quietly, eyes still focused on the toy.
Terry ruffled the boy's hair, saying nothing as he walked over to his father.
The 'festivities' now over, Bruce was ready to get down to business. He barked out, ″Damian. Tim. Start patrol. I'll be there in a minute. Jason. Dick. Time for bed.″
Jason let out a groan of protest, but Alfred had already scooped up the boy's sword and was leading him up the stairs. Dick was about to trail after, but Bruce stopped him. ″Dickie...″ he began gently, ″come here a second.″
Dick paled. Did I do something bad? I'm sorry, Bruce! I'm sorry, Alfred! Please don't be mad... I don't know what I did...
Realizing that the child was startled, Bruce interrupted his thoughts. ″No, Dick, you're not in trouble. I just want to ask you a question...″ His voice trailed off, and Bruce crouched next to the nervous child. Resting his hands on Dick's shoulders, Bruce asked him quietly, ″Do you think you'll have nightmares tonight?″
Dick looked down at his new toy, then back up at his foster father. ″Nuh-uh. I've got Batman with me! He'll scare away all the monsters and bad dreams...″ the little boy said with a sky smile. Terry, who was leaning up against the supercomputer, pretending to be interested in Bruce's files while his ears were really turned towards the child, smirked to himself. Dick kissed Bruce goodnight and then darted after Alfred and Jason.
Bruce sighed as he turned to Terry. The two were the only ones left in the Cave, Damian and Tim having taken their father's permission to patrol by themselves- if for only a short while- as a gift from God. ″Nice thinking, a plush toy. He's still young enough to enjoy them, and it's a broad spectrum for when you don't know the kid well enough.″
Terry nodded at his father's approval. ″Thanks... And about that...″ He scratched the back of his neck nervously. ″Y'think I could... stay here for a couple of weeks? I mean, I know I'm kind of intruding and all, but I miss the boys, and I want to get to know Dickie-″
Bruce held up a hand. ″Terry. This is your home. You don't need to ask for permission to stay here...″ The Dark Knight smirked. ″Besides. Alfred will want to get at least three good meals into you before he lets you off to roam the world again.″
Terry laughed. ″Thanks, Dad.″
Bruce startled, but stilled with ease. ″Patrol?″
Terry stretched, yawning. ″Naw. I'm gonna hit the hay. Been a while since I got a good night's sleep.″
Bruce nodded, then lifted his cowl up. The Dark Knight stalked over to the Batmobile and pulled down the top, ready to jump inside. Before he did, though, Batman turned to look at his oldest son. ″Oh, and Terry?″
″Yeah?″ the young man asked just before he mounted the steps to the Manor.
″A Batman plushie?″
Terry laughed heartily. ″Well, it was that or Superman.″
Batman paused, eyes narrowed on the young man. A smirk lifted the corner of his lips, and her mumbled to Terry, ″Good choice,″ before he ran off into the night.
I FREAKING LOVE TERRY!