Disclaimer: I don't own DC nor am I really Bruce Timm. A damn shame.
The secret was out and Bruce Wayne blamed Clark Kent.
It had begun innocently enough. Terry McGinnis had been injured on a recent mission and Clark had accidentally discovered that the young man had half of Bruce's DNA. Confronted, the aging billionaire had reluctantly told the Kryptonian about Amanda Waller's 'project.'
Bruce had sworn him to secrecy. Clark blabbed to John. (Actually, it was unclear if it was Clark who told John, or in fact Clark who told Lois, who then told Shayera, who then told John.)
Fortunately, both John and Shayera claimed that they hadn't told their son yet. Bruce, trying to limit the damage, had talked them into keeping the truth from Rex for now.
Shayera, however, couldn't resist letting Diana and Wally in on the secret.
Once Wally found out, all hell broke lose.
J'onn paid him a little visit that very night. Oliver Queen decided to just 'drop by' on his way through Gotham. (Which, coincidentally, was far out of the way to where he claimed to be going.)
It was only a matter of time before Vic Sage found out. Either Ollie would tell him, or Dinah would tell Helena, who would tell Vic. At least, if the man hadn't figured it out already.
Hell, he'd probably hacked into Waller's Project Batman Beyond years ago and never bothered to tell Bruce.
Bruce resolved to strangle Clark Kent, whom he blamed for this turn of events. Even though the former Batman hadn't exactly aged as gracefully as the Boyscout, Clark still had a healthy fear of the now wrinkled old man with a cane.
Hmm, now that was an idea. Attaching his piece of kryptonite to his cane and beating Kent over the head with it had a strong appeal.
The twenty-one year old Terry remained blissfully unaware. For now.
The thirteen year old Matt McGinnis, now privy to Terry's 'job', also remained unaware. This was fine, as far as Bruce was concerned. The teenager was dead set on joining the Teen Titans, which both Bruce and Terry worked constantly to foil.
They claimed he was too young and inexperienced. Matt ignored them. Having inherited the now infamous Wayne gene that controlled stubbornness, the boy had not only talked his mother into letting him take karate, but he had also somehow sweet talked Virgil Hawkins into giving him an occasional lesson.
Damn Brat. The boy at times displayed a cleverness that surpassed his older brother, which infuriated Bruce to no end. (He had only his genes to blame of course, as Matt was also blessed with the twin curses of being a Wayne and being a male one at that.)
Bruce rubbed at his migraine, which he also blamed on Clark. Hell, right now, he blamed everything on Clark.
This might perhaps be why Kal-El of Krypton was coincidentally no where near any present location Bruce Wayne happened to be at.
All of this, unfortunately, brought him to his present dilemma.
"Come on Bruce, it'll be fun…"
Shayera had a 'plan.'
"So…why are we doing this?" Terry asked. He reached reluctantly over the chess board and picked up a knight. Briefly studying the board, he shrugged his shoulders and placed the game piece on a random square. The two superheroes were currently sitting in one of the Metrotower breakrooms.
"It was my mom's idea," Rex Stewart sighed. "She claims that we need 'male bonding time' so that we can work more effectively as a team."
"Screw male bonding time."
"I dare you to tell her that," the older man smirked. The younger man grimaced. Rex looked at where Terry had placed his chess piece.
"You can't put a knight there."
"Why not?" Terry asked.
"It's against the rules."
"But it's an open space," the younger man protested. Rex sighed and smacked his forehead.
"You've never played chess before, have you?" he groaned.
"I have too," Terry said defensively. "It's just been awhile."
"Uh huh," Rex said dryly. "I can't believe that Mr. Wayne never made you play."
"Shut up and move Stewart."
"Prepare to get your ass kicked, McGinnis. I predict your defeat in less than two minutes."
Terry brandished his middle finger at the other man.
"Isn't this great?" Shayera sighed, watching covertly from across the room. "Our sons playing chess together?"
"Wonderful," Bruce muttered.
"Oh come on Bruce, we played chess together all the time. I think it's only right that since all of us were so close, our sons can at least be good friends."
Not wanting to burst Shayera's self delusional fantasy, Bruce decided that the best course of action was to keep his mouth shut.
Their sons were more than capable of doing that job themselves.
Rex Stewart stared in shock as Terry successfully placed his king in checkmate. Having haphazardly placed his chess pieces for the first part of the game; the younger man had secretly placed a few pieces in several strategic areas on the board.
Warhawk was now paying the price of having fallen for the younger man's subterfuge.
"Bastard," Rex growled. "You lied! You do know how to play!"
"Who? Me?" Terry replied innocently. "I said that it had been a while since I'd played. It was your fault for not asking how long ago that was."
Rex picked up his king and moved the piece temporarily out of harm's way. He slammed it down on the table.
"You're always underestimating me, Stewart," the younger Batman smirked.
"There's nothing to underestimate," Rex shot back, knowing full well that this wasn't true.
Terry's smirk widened.
"Looks like things are heating up," Bruce observed. He inwardly gloated as Shayera scowled.
"That wasn't fair," she complained.
"Not fair?" Bruce asked, raising an eyebrow. "Terry just laid the trap. It was Rex's fault for falling into it."
"He's losing his temper," Shayera sighed. She watched as her son slammed his fist down on the table and pointed an accusing finger at Terry, causing him to laugh.
"Can't imagine where he got that from," Bruce muttered softly.
"What was that?" Shayera asked sharply.
"Hmm?" Bruce asked innocently. The Thanagarian glared at him a moment before smirking.
"I think Terry's rubbing off on you," she observed. She crossed her arms and smiled slyly at him.
"I highly doubt that," Bruce denied. Shayera's smile only widened.
Thirteen year old Matthew McGinnis watched curiously as his brother and Rex Stewart both hunched over a chess board and glared daggers at each other. The boy had just finished a lesson from Static. Virgil had tried to drill into him the virtues of team work, which he had then backed up with one of his many stories.
Virgil Hawkins was a story teller. He liked nothing better than to sit back and expel some 'earthly wisdom' to the younger generation. Matt had listened intently, entranced by the elderly man's tales for nearly an hour.
Like a cat to milk, the younger McGinnis brother had then followed the angry shouting of his esteemed older sibling to its present location.
"Chess? How boooring," the teenager drawled. He watched in self satisfaction as both Terry and Rex nearly jumped out of their seats.
"Matt!? What're you doing here!?"
"Another one!? I swear, you McGinnises just pop up out of no where!"
"Don't EVER sneak up on me!" Terry yelled. "I might accidentally hurt you without meaning to!"
"Heaven forbid that a twelve year old sneak up on the great Batman," Rex snickered. Both brothers turned to glare at him.
"I'm thirteen," Matt stated icily. "And you jumped even higher than Terry did."
Rex sputtered, quickly denying that any such thing had happened. The half-Thanagarian then forced himself to take a deep breath and calm down. After all, he was the oldest one here. As the adult, he should take the lead and be a proper role model for the next generation.
"Your turn McGinnis," Rex said with forced civility.
"But of course," Terry replied innocently. He picked up a rook and moved it.
"Can I ref?" Matt asked.
"You don't ref in chess," Rex replied tiredly. "It's an ancient game of strategy and battle tactics, not football or soccer." The younger McGinnis rolled his eyes.
"Pleeeease. If chess had red cards, you and Terry would have probably gotten them already. Besides, you use tactics in sports too."
Rex nearly turned around to glare at the boy, but he again reminded himself that he was the adult. As irritating as the younger McGinnis could be, he wasn't as bad as his brother.
Rex might change his mind.
"Just ignore him," Terry advised. "It's not like there's complete silence on a battlefield anyway. His annoyingness only makes the game more realistic."
"I love you too Terry."
Bruce's lips gave an amused twitch as the three younger males sat around the chess board. Matt continued to antagonize the two men, who in turn continued to insult and shout the occasional dire threat at the other.
"That's got to be the rowdiest chess game I've ever seen," Clark observed. The Kryptonian had joined his two friends in watching the game from across the room. Bruce sent him a glare, but decided that he wouldn't kill Clark. Yet. He'd wait for the opportune moment.
"You're not disappointed?" Bruce asked her. After all, just minutes ago she had been complaining about how the game wasn't going how she had thought it would. Bruce had of course expected it, as both Rex and Terry had short tempers.
"Are you kidding?" she laughed. "This is great."
Of course she would think it was great. Thanagarians weren't known for playing 'nice.'
"They remind me of John and Wally," Clark said.
"Really?" Shayera asked. "They do kind of act…"
Clark slapped his hands over his mouth to cover a snort of laughter. Before Shayera could finish her sentence, Rex had reached up and smacked the back of Terry's head in response to the younger man's sarcasm.
"Exactly like John and Wally," Clark chuckled.
They watched as Terry twisted around in his seat and threw the chess board at Rex. Chess pieces flew across the room, causing the youngest McGinnis to duck behind his chair for protection.
"Not like John and Wally," Bruce observed dryly. Clark's shoulders began to shake from holding in his laughter. The Kryptonian was torn between laughing at the spectacle and breaking it up. Matt's younger voice rose above Terry and Rex's shouting.
"RED CARD! RED CARD!"
As the older Leaguers watched, Terry and Rex exchanged a few punches before knocking over the table they had been playing on. The younger Batman locked his arms around Rex's neck in a wrestling move and forced the bigger man to the ground.
Rex, who had also wrested in high school, escaped the hold and circled quickly behind Terry and grabbed his arms.
"Okay! OKAY! BREAK IT UP!" Clark finally yelled.
Terry slipped out of Rex's hold and threw the older man over his shoulder. Rex rolled to his feet and punched the younger superhero with an undercut to his jaw.
Shayera watched the fight with delight, as a Thanagarian mother would.
Matt was laughing too, coincidentally. Bruce came to the conclusion that both of his sons were insane.
Clark charged in, determined to stop the fight. The fight came to the quick end. However, both of the younger men were now complaining about the fact that Superman had interfered. Bruce shook his head. However, his blue eyes displayed the hidden humor that was playing below his impassive face.
Clark hustled Rex and Terry out of the room. In his best 'fatherly voice', the Kryptonian began to chastise the two men. Matthew McGinnis prepared to follow after them.
"Matt, come here a second," Shayera called out. The boy gave her a curious looking, casting a suspicious look at both her and Bruce. Finally, shrugging his shoulders, he walked over to them.
"What?" he asked. Shayera smiled as she studied the young teenager. He looked much like his older brother and father and she had no doubts that he would greatly resemble Bruce when he grew up.
"How would you like to watch a real chess game?" she asked slyly.
"Chess is boring," the boy replied.
"Oh…and I suppose that the last game was boring?" Shayera asked.
"You just said the last game wasn't a real game," Matt pointed out. Shayera chuckled to herself, instantly liking the boy.
"I was thinking about a real game between two masters," she replied, eyeing Bruce. Bruce raised an eyebrow. It had been years since they had played.
"You'll lose," he warned.
"You're delusional," Shayera shot back. While smirking, she leaned forward to peer into Bruce's eyes. She subtly indicated the young boy standing by them and shot Bruce a warning look.
You have another son, those eyes warned. Get to know him. Teach him.
"Matthew, sit down," Bruce ordered. "You're going to learn how to play chess."
Matthew McGinnis groaned.
Terry and Rex watched as Clark finally strode off, his lecture now over. They cast each other a quizzical look.
"So…did we bond?" Terry asked.
"Naw…I still hate you," Rex replied.
There was a pause.
"Want to go play basketball?" Rex asked.
"Only if you want to lose," Terry smirked.
"A Stewart? Lose at basketball!?" Warhawk asked with mock surprise. "You're delusional Batman."
"I've got nearly half an hour before I have to get ready for class," Terry said. "Let's go." With that, the two men set off for the basketball court.
To those curious readers who are wondering:
So did Shayera.
As for Clark, Bruce didn't forget about him. The aging billionaire talked J'onn (bribed him) into making the Boyscout think that Barda was Lois. Clark had tried to hug and kiss the woman before he realized that she wasn't his wife.
As a side note, both Bruce and J'onn were now staying far away from the New God.