Chapter 10

"Relax, Bruce," Selina said with a small smile. "Kid's right. Take the win for tonight. There's always tomorrow to sort out the details."

Bruce made a small grunt before turning off the monitor for the computer screen. Selina couldn't help but notice that he left the kid's audio feed on, though she made no comment on it. She found his quiet concern for the teen rather sweet.

"I don't suppose the kid will be up for giving me a lift back to my place?" Selina asked.

"We'll see how he is when he comes back, but ultimately, it's still up to him," Bruce replied.

"You know, Bruce, once someone knows or figures out one of your identities, it's not hard to figure out the other."

"Doesn't matter," the former Dark Knight cut her off. "It's still up to him whether he chooses to reveal himself to you or not."

"Understandable," Selina replied amicably, "But you know, not everyone's going to give him that opportunity."

"Don't I know it," Bruce answered with a sigh.

The two sat in a comfortable silence until the sounds of the airborne Batmobile filled the cave. The kid parked it, and then gingerly hopped out, his normally smooth and confident gait interrupted by a pronounced limp. Bruce met the kid at an examination bench next to a table where a number of first aid supplies were already set up. Without a word, the kid hopped up on the bench, and Bruce got to work tending the leg injury.

"Not bad for your first stealth mission, kid." Selina broke the silence with a smirk as Bruce was finishing wrapping up the injured leg. "Although I don't think you quite stuck the landing."

The kid snickered at that, and then grimaced as Bruce tightened the bandage. "Don't see why you couldn't have moved the Batmobile closer once the police arrived."

"And give away your first stealth mission to the police? Wouldn't dream of it," Bruce replied, straightening up.

"Well, now that Tiger's Claw has been dealt with, I don't suppose I could get a ride home," Selina asked, wheeling her chair up to the two of them. "These old bones just aren't used to keeping these late hours anymore."

"Of course, let me go get changed." The kid replied, carefully getting down from the bench and heading to another part of the cave. Bruce gave Selina a kind smile.

"Guess that answers that." He stated.

"Indeed."

The kid returned a few minutes later, a set of car keys in his hand. Selina took in his appearance. Plain shoes, gray pants, black shirt with a collar in that style teenagers liked these days, brown jacket with some white bars on the sleeve—another popular style choice that Selina didn't quite understand the aesthetic appeal of—

"Ready to go?" the kid asked and Selina's eyes met his and widened in surprise. She barely suppressed the gasp that threatened to leave her lips. Quickly, she got her surprise under control and calmly settled her hands on her lap.

"My apologies, kid. At my age, I tend to feel the cold much more than I used to. Would you mind warming up the car first? I'll be up in just a few minutes," Selina asked.

If the kid caught her shocked expression, he didn't mention it.

"Okay," the kid said as he turned, then paused. He turned back around and offered out his hand. "The name's Terry McGinnis, by the way."

Selina smiled and offered hers in return. "Nice to finally meet you, Terry."

As soon as Terry left the cave, Selina gently elbowed Bruce's leg and glared at him, her green eyes and voice like ice, "Something you want to share?"

"About…?"

"Don't play games with me, Bruce. Who is he?"

"He told you. His name is Terry Mc—"

""You know what I mean! Those were Helena's eyes, Bruce. Those were your eyes!" Selina shouted. "That kid looks way too much like you and not enough like his parents."

Bruce raised an eyebrow. Selina sighed and admitted, "I did my research on him. Read the articles about his 'father,' even scoped out his home and greeted his mom and younger brother as they were leaving one day. But tonight was the first time I got a good look at him. He looks very little like his parents, Bruce. He and his brother both. I didn't catch it with the younger one at first, but Terry looks a lot like you did when you were younger. There's no way you haven't noticed."

Bruce let out a deep breath, his grip on his cane tightening. "I had noticed. And I've been looking into the details. Particularly with Cadmus. "

"Ah, Cadmus. Waller still in charge of them?"

"No, she retired a few years back. But I wouldn't be entirely surprised if she was involved. They're the only group with the technology to do something like this." Bruce shook his head. "The one thing I can't figure out is why."

"Really? I think the answer's perfectly obvious." Selina said. Bruce looked at her, waiting for her explanation. "Look at us, Bruce. We got old. That guy from Metropolis can keep going, so can a lot of those super powered friends of yours. But you? You disappeared for twenty years. And Gotham suffered for it. And for all that Waller disagreed with you, Bruce, she also respected you. And she was paranoid enough to come up with scenarios as to what would happen if you were to suddenly be gone. The why, Bruce? That kid is the why. He may not have your brains and God knows he talks too much, but he's got your compassion, your strength of character. And through very tragic circumstances, he has your reason."

Bruce was silent a long moment, turning over in his mind what Selina had told him.

"The real question here is, Bruce, are you going to tell Terry?" Selina said suddenly.

"No." Bruce answered just as quickly. Selina's eyes widened.

"No?"

"Absolutely not."

"Why not, Bruce?"

"Because no matter the circumstances, genetics, or what have you, I am not that boy's father, Selina. Warren McGinnis is." Bruce answered. "That man raised Terry, taught him his values and morals and none of what we discussed changes that. To tell Terry otherwise would be an act of disrespect to his real father.

"Besides, Terry chose this path. It's his choice whether he wants to continue to be Batman. I will not add undue pressure for him to do so."

Selina wiped her hand over her face. "He's not stupid, Bruce. He'll figure it out one day. And when he does, I expect he'll hate you for it. Might even think you had something to do with it."

"If or when he does figure it out, the evidence will point him in the same direction it did me. It'll be his choice what he does with that information." Bruce replied. "But it will be his choice."

"I hope you don't regret this someday."

"So do I."

Half a mile from the former warehouse currently being swept over by the Gotham PD, a circular handle on a hatch began turning. Once it audibly clicked into place, the hatch began rising, creaking as the hinges, after years of disuse, were suddenly forced into service. Finally, the hatch gave and landed with a solid thud of the forest floor. A man with long, unkempt hair and a long, dirty lab coat climbed out, then stood and looked around, getting his bearings.

"Well, well," Harken stated, looking up as a Gotham police helicopter flew above the trees above him. He could see flashing lights lighting up the sky in the direction the helicopter had headed. Not that way then. If he headed the other way, he'd eventually reach a highway and from there he could get a ride into town.

Hefting his bag on his shoulder, the former member of Tiger's Claw began walking in the direction opposite the chaos behind him, glancing once over his shoulder where his former comrades were no doubt currently being apprehended. He sighed. While he was glad to be finally rid of an incompetent man like Three, no doubt the organization he had called home and dedicated years of his life to was finished. With an entire cell arrested by the authorities, it wouldn't take long until the men, especially Three, would begin singing like canaries. And other cells would soon follow.

Harken could always go back to what his name had been before he joined the organization. He paused to think. He had been Harken now for so long that no other name came to him. No matter. Harken would continue to work as his identity, Tiger's Claw or no. Especially with what he knew now.

"Terry McGinnis, the current Batman," he muttered to himself, a harsh smile on his face as he adjusted the radio equipment in the bag currently hanging off his shoulder. "Currently working with Bruce Wayne, likely the former Batman. Let's see what we can learn about you."

The End