Synopsis: Terry and Max make a major decision: to tell Chelsea about Terry's biggest secret. They consult Bruce, Basem, and Sally about that before speaking with Chelsea. How will she react? Takes place post-Good Life.
The Trust We Give
As Terry and Max flipped through their wedding album, they arrived at the portion of the pictures from the reception.
"That was a really great night," Max said.
"Yeah." Terry got to a picture of Max, Sally, and Chelsea dancing. "And here we have the new three musketeers."
"I can't believe Chelsea danced like that. I'm used to me and Sally being stupid but Chels is usually so… cool."
"High school was a while back, Max."
"Wow. It really was, wasn't it?"
Terry stared at the picture, Chelsea in particular.
Max noticed his gaze, "What?"
"You better not be in love with Chelsea all of a sudden!"
Terry glared at her. Max just smiled.
Terry rolled his eyes, "I can't believe I have to say this, but no, I'm not in love with Chelsea."
"I know, I know," Max reassured. "But seriously, what's on your mind?"
"Something I've been thinking about for a while." He stopped. "I've been thinking about telling Chelsea about… everything."
Max stared at him. "Everything?"
She exhaled, "Oh, thank God! It's been going through my mind, too!"
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Because I didn't want you to think I was crazy!"
He narrowed his eyes. "Max. You married me. You are crazy!"
"But, seriously, what do you think?"
"I think… we should. Since… out of everyone… she's stuck with us the longest. We always cancel plans or reschedule on her. Hell, we hardly ever see her at all. She doesn't complain or make a big deal about it. And the second we call her, she always answers. I almost feel like we owe her."
"Same," he agreed. "But… I feel like this should be a family decision."
She sat back. "Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that."
"Okay." He thought about it. "Let's tell Bruce last."
"Yeah, that's probably for the best."
The following day, Sally and Basem walked into Terry and Max's house, finding Terry and Max in their kitchen.
"Hey," Sally greeted.
They looked up. "Hey, future mama," Max said.
"And future married people," Terry added.
Sally tried not to blush, as did Basem. Both failed.
"How you guys doing?" Terry asked.
"Pretty good," Basem said. "Mom keeps threatening to move to Gotham to plan the wedding and help take care of the baby."
"Why is that a threat?" Max asked.
"Yeah, Adeline's awesome," Terry added.
Basem gave them a dry stare, "It's my… mother."
Terry and Max laughed.
"Well, I love her!" Sally declared.
"Of course, you do, my love," Basem said, exasperatedly.
"So, anyway," Sally looked at Max, "what are we doin' here?"
Max took a deep breath and exhaled, "We… wanted to talk to you both about something."
"That sounded serious," Basem said.
"Not as serious as you think," Terry reassured.
"Okay. That makes me feel a little better."
"So, we were talking last night," Max began.
"About Chelsea," Terry added.
Basem threw his head back, "Please, tell me you're not in love with her all of a sudden!"
"I am not!" Terry said, irritably.
Sally looked at Max, "So, are you?"
Max glared at Sally. "What the f-no!"
Sally shrugged, "Just checking."
Terry groaned. "Anyway! We were talking about Chelsea and… we were thinking about telling her about… us. This. Our lives."
Basem and Sally were surprised to hear that. They looked at each other then at Max and Terry.
"You sure you wanna tell her?" Sally asked. "Like… everything?"
"What?" Max asked. "You're my only female friend who gets to know this?"
Max rolled her eyes.
Basem shrugged, "It's a big risk. How do you think she'll react?"
"We…" Terry said, "hope… she'll take it well."
"You sure she will?" Sally asked. "Don't get me wrong, Chelsea is great! But this is a big thing to find out."
"You reacted just fine," Max reminded.
"Well, yeah, but I figured it out beforehand." Sally shrugged, "I mean… Chelsea's been your friend for so long and you never told her this. There's a chance she could totally not take it well. She could be like…"
"Are you serious?!" Chelsea shouted.
"Well," Terry rubbed the back of his head, "…yeah."
Chelsea looked around in shock, "You're Batman! All these years, it's been you!" She looked at Max. "And you knew too?! You kept that from me?! Everything I've told you and you didn't tell me this!"
Max looked down, then back at her.
"So, you've both been lying to me. For years!"
Max nodded, slowly.
"And that other chick? Sally? She knew?!"
They both nodded.
Chelsea looked away and shook her head. "So, everyone gets to know but me? You can't tell me! Why? Because you didn't trust me?! Because you thought I was such a horrible person that I would tell someone? But you suddenly trust me now?!"
"Chels…" Terry started to say.
"You know what?" Chelsea interrupted. "It's fine. I didn't care before and I don't care now! This just proves how much we aren't friends. Keep your secrets. I don't even care anymore. Good-bye to both of you!"
Basem stared at Sally. "That's… a bit extreme, love."
"Yeah," Terry agreed. "I don't think Chelsea's that bad. I mean… maybe she'll be mad but I don't think she'll be all that mad."
"I'm naturally overly dramatic and now I'm pregnant," Sally said, matter-of-factly. "What'd any of you expect?"
"Okay, good point," Terry conceded.
"But, as dramatized as that was, Sally has another good point," Basem pointed out. "What if she takes it badly?"
Terry looked at Max then at Basem and Sally, "I still think we owe it to her."
"Can you walk me through why?"
"We have a lot of friends who've left Gotham," Max said. "Dana, Jerrod, Howard, even Nelson Nash moved away."
"Thank God," Terry whispered.
Max giggled. "But… Chelsea's still here."
"And we know she didn't stay for us," Terry admitted.
"Right. But… this is a big city. People could live here and we never see them."
"Chelsea goes out of her way to stay in contact with us. Even we don't do that for her, all the time. We just feel like… she's earned some trust and deserves to know why people who call her their best friend and vice versa always flake on her."
Basem folded his arms. "When you put it like that… I really do get it."
"Yeah," Sally nodded. "Okay. Yeah, go for it. Tell her."
"I just hope it turns out well."
Max sighed. "Us, too."
Sally leaned her head to the side. "Uhhh, I have a question."
"How do you think Bruce is gonna take this?"
"Have you lost your mind?!" Bruce shouted, rising to his feet quickly.
Terry jerked his head back and rubbed his temple. "Wow. That was really loud."
"As it should be!"
Terry, Max, Basem, and Sally were in Bruce's study that evening, with Max holding baby Grace. Bruce walked around the desk and got in Terry's face.
"You want to do what?!" Bruce asked, forcefully.
"You heard me," Terry said, without fear.
"I told 'em it was a bad idea, Bruce!" Sally said, swiftly.
"Turncoat," Max whispered to her.
"What makes you think you should do this?" Bruce asked Terry.
"It's a matter of trust, Bruce," Terry replied, calmly.
"And what makes you think she's earned it?"
"You already heard my reasoning. You just want to see if I'm second-guessing myself. Let me confirm it for you: of course, I'm worried about it." Terry looked at Max, who nodded. He looked back at Bruce, "We both are."
Bruce held his glare then turned and walked back over to his desk. He sat down, "But you've made up your mind."
"This might be a bad idea."
"It worked out when Sally found out," Terry reminded.
Bruce just sat back, pressing his fingers together.
"Stop bringing me into this!" Sally said.
"Bruce, we'll never tell her that you were the original, if that's what you're worried about," Max reassured. "But… we just feel like we owe Chelsea."
"I'm not concerned about her learning about me. I'm concerned about her reaction in general."
"What do you think she'll do?" Basem asked.
"People can unpredictable sometimes," Bruce admitted. "She could have a normal reaction of anger at a secret being kept from her."
"That's what I said," Sally admitted.
"Or," Bruce said, "she could have another dangerous reaction. Such as…"
"YOU'RE WHAT?!" Chelsea screamed. She smiled dangerously, "You're Batman?!"
"Yeah," Terry admitted.
Chelsea started to pace, excitedly, "I know Batman! This is so crazy!"
"Chelsea!" Max shouted. "You can't tell anyone!"
"Why not?! This is gold! You know much money could be made off this!"
"Money?! Are you serious?!"
"Of course!" Chelsea shouted. "Interviews! Business deals! I could be set for life! I could be…"
"Bruce?" Terry interrupted as he stared at him, confusedly. "You have met Chelsea. You know that, right?"
"Fine," Bruce grumbled. "Maybe I exaggerated. A tad. But my point remains the same."
Terry sighed. "Yeah. This could be bad."
"But we still believe we should tell her," Max said.
"And honestly…" Terry said, "I dunno. I just… feel like this is the right call."
Bruce sat back. He could see it in Terry and Max. They really had thought this through and were sure this was the right thing to do. And, at this point, it was impossible tell Terry he was wrong about something.
He'd proven himself time and time again, as had Max.
"Just be careful," Bruce warned. "I trust you both but… all the same…"
"We understand," Max said. "We'll be careful."
Terry nodded, "We promise."
The next night, Terry and Max invited Chelsea over for dinner, under the guise of just wanting to catch up since Grace was born. The couple was still agonizing about their decision as they remembered the conversations from yesterday. Terry even called Hayate but Hayate told Terry that he would support whatever decision Terry made. The positive response from everyone did make Terry and Max feel like they were making the right decision.
But it didn't ease their stress. That would only come when they finally had this talk out.
After an hour and a half of talking, Terry and Max were putting a few dishes away, nodded at each other, then looked at Chelsea.
"Hey, Chels?" Terry asked.
"Yeah?" Chelsea replied.
"We really invited you over to talk about something. Something… really important."
"Oh," Chelsea said, a touch of worry in her voice. "Okay. Is… everything okay?"
"Yeah, yeah," Terry reassured. "We just wanted to tell you something."
"Okay, what's up?"
Max sat down, "We've been friends for a long time, right?"
"Absolutely," Chelsea agreed.
"So, for all that time… we've always wanted to share more with you. I mean, you earned it."
Chelsea shrugged, "You guys don't have to tell me anything, if you're not comfortable. It's really okay."
"Yeah," Terry said. "But we want to. You've always been there for us."
"Always will be. But you guys have the right to privacy, ya know."
Max smiled, "Yeah. But… some things you can trust… family with."
Chelsea smiled, warmly. "Okay, if I cry and mess up this make-up, you're both pitching in for more. 'Cause it was not cheap."
Terry paced, "But… seriously… it's been something that… I've been dealing with for a very long time and not everyone knows."
"Wow," Chelsea said. "Sounds… big."
"Yeah. It is."
"We should probably just come right out with it," Max said.
"Right," Terry agreed. "What I'm about to say, it's not a joke, I'm not kidding, and I can absolutely prove it to you, if you need me to."
"Okay," Chelsea nodded.
Terry stared at Chelsea, "Basically…" he sighed. "…I'm Batman."
Terry and Max felt like time stopped the second the admission left his mouth. All of the previous scenarios they discussed with Bruce, Basem, and Sally came to their mind. And they had no idea which prediction would come true.
But, nothing, absolutely nothing could've prepared them for Chelsea's response.
"Oh!" Chelsea blinked, relief in her voice and mind. "That! Yeah, I knew that! Woo! I still thought something big was wrong, like Terry was sick or something. But, it's just that! What a relief."
Terry and Max stared at Chelsea, blankly, then looked at each other. They looked back at her.
"I beg your pardon," Max said in disbelief.
"Terry's Batman," Chelsea shrugged. "Yeah, I figured that out, like… 3, maybe 4 years ago. Might've been 5, now that I think about it."
Terry blinked. "Come again?"
"Terry. You've been disappearing and Batman's been showing up for the past 10 years. I'm more shocked that it took me so long to figure it out."
"All this time," Max said. "And you knew?"
"Not the whole time," Chelsea admitted. "But, there were some hints. Once Basem moved to Gotham, it was way too obvious. I mean, he's Nightrunner, Terry's Batman. It's like figuring out the square root of something. Yeah, it'll take you a while to figure it out but you can do it. But… since math was never my best subject, maybe that's why it took me so long to figure it out."
Max sat back, shaking her head. She let out a hard breath, "Girl! Do you know how much we've been stressing about this?!"
Chelsea laughed, "You guys stressed about this?"
"YES!" Terry and Max shouted.
"Oh." Chelsea smirked. "My bad. Wait, why were stressing? What? Were you expecting some huge, over-the-top reaction?"
When they didn't reply, Chelsea laughed.
"Oh, my God! You were, weren't you?!" Chelsea grinned and laughed, mischievously. "Well, let me try this." She cleared her throat then put on her best sarcastic tone, "What?! Terry's Batman! Oh, dear!" She pressed her hand to her forehead. "Oh my! The lies! The deceit! How can I ever forgive you both for not telling me sooner! I thought you were my friends! The shame! The betrayal! Betrayal!"
Terry laughed while Max looked off, smiling and shaking her head.
Chelsea smiled, "Oh! No, wait! Wait, wait, wait! Or did you want me to do this instead?" She put her sarcastic tone back on, "GASP! Terry's Batman! I cannot believe it! Wow! No one will believe this when I tell absolutely everyone I know! It's not like I care about keeping you guys safe at all! And Grace? Pfft! Who cares?! She's all of five-minutes-years-old! It's time she learned how hard the world is! All I care about is my popularity! I just want everyone to know that I know Batman! That matters more to me than anything else in the entire world!"
"Oh, shut your blonde-haired, blue-eyed, gorgeous ass up!" Max shouted.
Chelsea laughed as Max rolled her eyes.
Terry shook his head then studied Chelsea. "You've kept that secret for me. All this time."
Chelsea looked at him, "Well, yeah. You're my best friend. You both are. The fact you're a superhero is just a plus. I mean… you've saved this city, me, and even the world tons of times."
"Maybe one ton," Terry shrugged.
"And you were there for me when that whacked-out cult leader tried to brainwash me." Chelsea looked at Max, "And you've been there for me through a lot of stuff." She regarded them both, "I didn't need you tell me your biggest secret for you guys to stay my friends. I'm always gonna be there for you two. Because I know for a fact, at the end of the day, you'll always be there for me."
"Without question," Terry said.
"Anytime," Max added.
"But, that being said, it means a lot that you guys trust me this much," Chelsea said. "Thank you."
Chelsea sat back. "Bruce Wayne was the first Batman, wasn't he?"
"HOW DOES EVERYONE FIGURE THAT OUT AFTER THEY LEARN ABOUT ME?!" Terry shouted.
"Dude. Timing. As in Wayne hiring you and Batman came back."
Terry just dropped his face in his hands.
Max laughed. "I still feel bad. Maybe we could've… should've… trusted you with way more, long before now."
"You don't need to," Chelsea said. "I mean, you didn't need to. You guys were doing what you thought was best. Nothing wrong with that."
"When'd you get so wise?"
Chelsea shrugged. "I don't think I am. I know that's a big secret to keep. And Batman's got a lot of enemies. You wanna keep the people you love safe. Who the hell could find something wrong with that?"
Terry chuckled, softly. "I don't think we gave you near enough credit, Chelsea."
"Forget about it. You had every right to worry about how I would react. I remember the prima donna I was in high school. I've just learned a lot since then. Like I know who I should be loyal to." She smiled. "Because those people have always been there for me."
"If you only knew how much we love you," Max said.
Chelsea smiled. "I have a clue." She sighed. "So! Now that is all out in the open… can I please ask some questions I've been dying to ask?!"
"I'd be sad if you didn't," Terry answered.
"It's a lot of questions."
"For you?" Max said. "We've got all night."
Chelsea smiled. "Okay. First and foremost," she looked at Terry, "how and when and why the heck did you get to be Batman?!"
Terry and Max laughed.
"Well," Terry said, "it starts like this…"
A/N: I have mentioned how much I love Chelsea, right? This idea came to me out of nowhere but, honestly, this might've been one of my favorite things to write. I think it just fits with the whole "Unpack Your Heart" universe I've come up with. What did you guys think? Let me know!