This story was originally started over a year ago, and published in the yj_anon_meme on Livejournal. The story was written in response to the following prompt:
"While investigating a cult, Terry McGinnis gets transported to YJ!Era. Getting to see young!Bruce and hanging out with the team? Awesome. Falling in love the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor who's destined to die at the hands of Superboy Prime? Not so awesome."
The original piece was never completed but (after a recent bout of unemployment) I found the fill, remembered why I wrote this thing in the first place and decided to have another go at it. What you're reading now is the polished, mobile-friendly version. I hope you enjoy!
Nestled atop one of the tallest skyscrapers in Neo Gotham city, the Chross Webcasting Station was nothing special to look at. The office itself spanned only three floors, while the rest of the building was occupied by other tenants, most of them larger businesses that could afford to rent more accessible spaces closer to the ground. Although the Chross Foundation itself was in the early stages of its development, it had already gained a small and dedicated fan base, mainly for its online, faith-based web programming. It had also attracted the Batman's attention, for very different reasons.
Terry McGinnis sat perched upon one of the high terraces of an adjacent building, crouching low to avoid detection. He felt extremely visible in his black and red uniform – a dark blot against an otherwise sunny sky – but he refrained from activating his suit's camouflage option. It would drain his suit of a lot of power and he had a feeling that there was a long day ahead of him yet.
Using his visor's enhanced vision, the teen vigilante had no difficulty spying through the windows on the northern side of the building. He kept his eye on the "executive lounge" on the station's second floor. The room itself was surprisingly plush, decorated with old fashioned, wooden furniture and equipped with several high-end holo-sceens and other video equipment. There were six people inside, all of them men, all dressed in black suits of similar cut and colour, save for the company's CEO, Angela Chross. She was easily the youngest person in the room; a plain-faced woman dressed in a red pencil skirt and a deadly-looking set of high heels. She held herself with poise and she spoke with charisma; traits that had made her one of the most influential women in Gotham city even before her broadcasting station was constructed. Despite that, she lacked the notoriety of the room's final occupant, Gotham's very own Bruce Wayne.
Chross and her associates were all understandably flustered by the famous billionaire's visit. From his position, Terry could practically see them salivating at opportunity to add Wayne to their flock and (more importantly) recruit him as one of their sponsors. After all, as a wealthy senior with a reputation for frivolous spending, Wayne appeared to be exactly the kind of man that kept the Chross Foundation on the web.
With no major advertising relationships to speak of, the Chross Foundation subsisted mainly on viewer donations. Even so, it was remarkably profitable. Most of its most dedicated supporters were, like Bruce Wayne, members of the elite upper class. Or they had been until recently. Most had already signed the better part of their fortune over to the Chross Foundation through one charitable initiative or another.
After a few strange dinner conversations with his peers, Wayne had decided to investigate the matter personally. And he had done so in the way that only the richest man in Gotham could: by walking in the front door.
The old man had opted to wear a microphone, to allow Terry to better follow the progress of his infiltration. Although Terry had not been particularly keen the idea of sending Wayne in on his own, he had to concede that entering the building with him (in the guise of an assistant) would present a number of logistical difficulties. Especially if the Batman was needed.
They'd already given Wayne a full tour of the facility. Now, the company's pretty CEO offered her aged guest a glass of scotch. Terry touched the small control interface on the side of his mask, zooming in, wishing he could compensate for the glare of the window. Much to his annoyance, Wayne accepted the drink and then downed nearly half of it, without so much as a cautionary sniff.
Chross stepped away, gesturing for the rest of her employees to help themselves. Over the receiver in his earpiece, Terry heard her heels snap sharply against the wooden floor.
"I must admit," said Wayne, eyeballing the contents his glass for the first time, "I was hardly expecting such a… generous welcome."
Chross nodded, apparently missing the scrutiny in Wayne's voice.
"We have been unusually blessed since we arrived here in Gotham, Mr. Wayne," she said, pouring another glass for herself as he spoke. With his visor zoomed in as much as it would go, he could tell that she left out the ice. "As a matter of fact, everything you see in this room was kindly donated to us by our supporters. I believe you are acquainted with more than one?"
"As a matter of fact, it was an old family friend that brought me here," said Wayne. He didn't mention which one. "He seemed very convinced that your organization is going to bring big change to Gotham City."
"That's always nice to hear."
"I'm sure. Personally, I've always thought that our city needs more in the way of religious education. This visit has given me a lot to think about, in terms of what I can do to achieve that."
Terry couldn't see Chross's expression from his position, but the woman's incredulity was clear in her voice.
"Is that so? I must admit, I never expected a man like you to say so, Mr. Wayne."
The old man laughed and took another drink. Time had diminished his good looks, but when he put his mind to it, he still had charm to spare. It was easy to imagine the sort of man he might have been, back in his youth.
"You're thinking of a much younger man," he told Chross. "You'll find that I've mellowed considerably, in my old age."
Terry snorted and immediately regretted it afterwards. Wayne was wearing an earpiece of his own and the sound had probably not gone past him. Distracted by the sound of his own voice, he missed some of Chross's next words.
"…together. So, in that case, I hope you'll consider-
"I'm going to stop you there."
Wayne set down his empty glass, his usual frown back in place.
"Ms. Chross," he said, his words slow and deliberate, "I have been waiting all afternoon to find out what separates your organization from others like it. To find out what you can do to for this city. Instead, you show me web programs for senior citizens. My demographic is dying out. Unless you have plans to appeal to Gotham's youth, then this company has no future and I see no reason to invest in it."
Terry listened to the heavy silence on the other end of the line. Chross only drew a thin, plastic stylus from her pocket and made a small note in the digital notepad she'd been carrying around all day.
"I'm sorry you feel that way, Mr. Wayne," she said at last, without looking up.
"Well then, if that's all you have to show me," said Wayne, "then I'm afraid I should be on my way."
Wayne took his cane in hand, and began the long and arduous task of lifting himself up into a standing position. Terry knew he was exaggerating the motion, giving Chross and her associates a chance to try and stop him. One man, a weedy looking fellow with glasses, took the bait.
"We might show him the special project," he said, looking to his employer for approval.
Chross turned her head his way, but Terry had no way of gauging the look she gave him. Instead he sat in suspense, waiting for her to give an answer. Special projects. That couldn't mean anything good.
"Yes," she said finally, pushing her chair back from the table. She tucked the notepad into the front pocket of her jacket as she spoke. "That's just what I was thinking. Mr. Wayne?"
The elderly CEO regarded the younger woman with consideration, making a great show of resistance to the idea. "You realize," he said, "that I have my own company to run."
Chross drew up alongside him, turning enough that Terry could finally get a proper look at her through the window. She had confidence written all over her, and the way she looked at Wayne almost seemed fond. She looked, for all the world, like an indulgent granddaughter.
"Believe me, Mr. Wayne," she said. "The last thing I intend to do is waste your time."