AN: See previous disclaimers—I own nothing but the gang members (excluding Terry and Charlie). If I owned Batman Beyond, it would still be running on our tv's and life would be wonderful...
When Terry passed by the restrained Astin and Mercedes, Nash slammed a hand roughly on his shoulder in congratulations. "Way to go, freak! I didn't know you had it in you to do anything like that. It was actually almost impressive."
Terry smiled tightly, trying to ignore the fact that his shoulder now hurt a lot worse than it had moments ago.
"Do I even want to know why you carry handcuffs on you at all times?" Nash joked rudely.
"Shut up," Terry said, not in the mood. He could feel his adrenaline falling, and his legs were shaking. "A friend of mine is a cop, and she left them at my house on accident."
Not exactly a lie. Commissioner Gordon had been at Wayne's mansion a few days ago to discuss one of Batman's latest busts in the crime world, and her handcuffs had somehow ended up being left behind in the cave. Terry had put them in his backpack to return the next time he swung by her office.
"Terry," Dana's soft voice called from the doorway.
He turned quickly, but hazy vision caused him to sway slightly on his feet. Max and the returning Dana were quickly by his side, asking him if he was okay. Max pulled out a seat for him, and he gladly took it, feeling lightheaded.
"I'll be fine," he told both of the girls. "I was just..."
"Shot," Samuel Garrison finished for him.
"What!?" both Max and Dana yelled at the same time.
Terry sent Samuel a dirty look. "I'm fine. It's not that bad." But his wince belied the words of comfort.
Tommy Barlow shook his head in an exasperated fashion. "McGinnis, you've really got to get over your hero-complex. Let me have a look at you."
Sliding the knife into his pocket with practiced ease, Tommy came over to Terry's side. He waved a hand at the young man's chest. "Come on. Off with the shirt and let me see what I'm dealing with."
Terry glared at him, not really wanting Dana to see all of the damage he knew was hidden by his shirt. "You know you're not really a doctor, right Barlow?"
Tommy grinned at him. "So you think you're the only one who grew up. Five years is a long time, kid."
Terry was surprised, but thrilled. "You really did it, Barlow?"
The young man couldn't hide his pride. "Been officially licensed for about six months. I'm a doctor now." His eyes grew more serious as he crossed his arms. "So let's get on with this, Terrence. I can't help you without seeing how much damage there is."
Dana took a step closer to him. "Terry, if he can help..."
Terry let out a sigh as he knew he would lose this battle. He held up his burned hands for Tommy to see. "I might need a bit of help." He didn't really want to admit it, but his hands were aching from the flash-burns he had gotten while grabbing Vic's gun earlier.
With Tommy's help, the shirt came off to reveal the mass of bruises and cuts covering Terry's chest and arms. Nash mumbled something in surprise. Max let out a gasp, and tears rose in Dana's eyes.
Terry smiled weakly. "I'll be okay. It doesn't hurt as bad as it looks."
Tommy, who was already kneeling in front of him to inspect the bullet wound, shot him a look of doubt, knowing that he was lying through his teeth. But he said nothing, much to Terry's relief.
"It just winged you," he announced a moment later. "You're one lucky kid. It will only take a few stitches to fix this up. The slice on your stomach too."
Terry nodded, too tired to say anything. He had known already that neither wound was life-endangering. Still, at least now Dana could stop looking quite so worried.
In the silence, a shrill ringtone cut through the moment. Nash pulled a phone from Vic's unconscious form, tossing it to Terry with a shrug.
Terry flipped it open, holding it carefully with his injured hand. "Yeah?"
"I'm here," a deep voice said over the phone.
"You can just come to the classroom, old man. Room #324. Things are under control."
There was a slight pause as Wayne digested all that Terry meant. "Are you all right?"
Terry winced as Tommy's hand probed his bruised ribs. "Uh, yeah. I'm fine."
"You're fine!?" Dana all but yelled. "You look like you got hit by a bus!"
There was silence on the phone for a long moment. "Terry...? Is there something you want to tell me?"
"I'll be fine," Terry answered darkly. "I'm just gonna need a day to recoup."
"I'm on my way," Bruce growled, not bothering to argue with him just yet.
Terry grimaced as he hung up the phone. "Mind helping me get dressed again, Barlow? My boss will kill me if he sees this damage."
Dana made a rude comment about what his boss should do, but Max shushed her.
Tommy stood to his full height so that he could glare down at the younger man. He was only slightly surprised that his glare didn't even faze Terry. The teen only stared back at him impassively.
Tommy couldn't hold back his grin. "You've grown up, Terr. You're looking good, aside from the bullet wound there. But no, I'm not going to help you hide your scars, dude. I'm calling a doctor instead. I don't have any equipment with me."
Terry waved him away. "No, no, that's fine. Trust me, my boss will take me somewhere, I'm sure." He didn't bother to explain that his boss would take him back to Wayne Manor and patch him up on his own.
"By the way guys, thanks for sticking up for me," Terry said, addressing the four gang members still standing of their own free-will.
Samuel immediately stopped him there. "We didn't do anything, McGinnis."
"Exactly. You didn't fight me, and you didn't shoot my girlfriend." He cast a pointed look towards the Haggin twins. "So thank you, guys. It's nice to know loyalty doesn't always disappear with time."
Tommy clapped him on the shoulder, making sure to miss all serious injuries. "You would have done it for us. And besides, we really have to give you our thanks. None of the four of us wanted back in the group, but Vic wouldn't hear of it. We were too scared for our own families to stand up to him. And you just took him down."
Samuel and the Haggin brothers nodded in full agreement, repeating their own appreciation.
Terry was too surprised to say anything.
Tommy's eyes darkened as he glanced back at Vic's unconscious body. "He threatened my daughter, Terr. She's only two years old, and he threatened her. Said he would get the gang back together no matter what. He had some grand idea about getting us back to the height of our last run. He was putting out word on the street too, saying we were going to make a comeback. Charlie hinted that you might not want back in, but Vic said he would make use of you one way or another. Then...man, the plans he was cooking up—you should have heard him talking!"
Terry froze when he realized what Tommy had just said.
The man shook his head, turning back to Terry. "It's a good thing you stopped it from getting any further."
"Yeah," Terry said, still searching for words—and for air. "Uh, sure. Just...doing my job. Protecting my crew..."
Tommy noticed that something was wrong. "Terr? What are you thinking about?"
"You said Charlie's name. He uh, he and Vic were planning this months ago? I wouldn't have thought Vic could wait so long to make a move."
He shrugged. "I suppose they could have been planning this for months. Vic did get to all of us one by one before coming down to see you. But he'd been planning today for less than forty-eight hours. Charlie was the one to suggest we use the school."
Terry wasn't sure if it was the possible concussion, the blood loss, or the falling adrenaline rush, but he felt lightheaded. Tommy's hand on his shoulder was the only thing that kept him from sliding off the chair.
"Woah, Terr. You okay? How many fingers am I holding up?"
Terry shook his head. "Charlie's alive..."
Max took a step closer. "Terry."
Tommy looked between them. "Something I should know?"
His eyes caught sight of the clock on the wall and he realized that Bruce would arrive at any second. "You'd better get out of here, you guys. As far as I remember, there were only six armed assailants in this hostage situation." He glanced at the Nash, Deke and the girls. "Right, guys?"
The girls nodded quickly, but Nash and Deke glanced at each other nervously before agreeing.
Tommy eyed him for a moment. Then, knowing he wasn't going to get an answer to what he was wondering, he smiled and clapped Terry on the shoulder again. He made a signal to the other three members, and they began to follow him out of the classroom, each pausing only long enough to pat Terry's shoulder and say goodbye.
"Hold up, guys," Terry called before they could leave.
He grinned at the four. "I'll see you at the next reunion."
Tommy laughed. "Yeah, and maybe at the next one we could do without the attempted murder and hostage situation."
"And maybe with more food," Sammy added. "We were a bit lacking as it was."
Terry smiled. "We'll do that. I'll call you guys sometime."
Joel frowned in confusion. "You don't have any of our numbers, McGinnis."
"Don't you worry about that," he replied easily. "I'll find you when it's time."
The four grinned as they waved goodbye and made their escape from the classroom. It wasn't a moment too soon because Wayne came barreling into the room less than a minute later. Unfortunately, Terry was still shirtless.
"What happened?" he asked roughly when he caught sight of him.
Terry grimaced. He was so getting a lecture for this. He had endangered his classmates' lives by starting a fight with Drake. He hadn't followed Bruce's plan. He had gotten hurt. Suffice to say, Bruce did not look happy.
"There was little I could do," Terry began. "The situation escalated quickly, and I had no choice but to fight Drake."
"There's always a choice, McGinnis," his boss growled.
Terry pretended to ignore it. "Once I took down Drake, the others just started coming at me. Before I knew it, I had all of them down on the ground."
Wayne glanced at Max and Dana before focusing back on Terry. "How bad?"
"Pretty bad," Max answered for him.
Terry knew it would be futile to lie, especially with Max and Dana right there, but that didn't stop him from downplaying the pain. "Nothing broken. Just a bullet wound that needs some stitches, some bruised ribs, and a few nicks here and there."
Wayne nodded, pulling out his phone already. "A possible concussion from the look in your eyes, and a clean knife wound across your stomach. Don't think you can hide those flash-burns on your hands, either." He pressed a button on the phone. "Barbara? Yeah, I've got a trash pick-up for you at Terry's school. From the looks of it, five men and a woman. Yes. Call me when you get here."
For a second he eyed Terry. "Six?" He asked, letting Terry know that he had realized the amount of unconscious bodies was less than originally planned.
Terry only shrugged. "Sometimes people aren't what you expect."
Wayne sent him a warning look that they would be having a long discussion once they had some privacy.
Well, at least it looked like the gang wouldn't be getting back together after all. And just think of it—Tommy "The Slicer" Barlow was a doctor now, with a two year-old daughter. Time definitely changed things.
"Which one was the leader?" Wayne asked, surveying the unconscious bodies.
"Vic Martin," Terry said, pointing him out. "And that guy's his brother, Astin."
Wayne smirked. "Astin Martin?"
He shook his head. "Before your time."
Hope that was some fun for someone! I'm thinking this could be the prequel to a larger story in which Terry has to go after Charlie (who, as you now see, is apparently still alive... *dun dun dunnnnn!*)
If I write it, Terry will probably join up with Tommy, Samuel, and the Haggin twins for some backup. ;] Mostly just because I had fun writing them.