Contains spoilers for the Justice League Unlimited episode “The Once and Future Thing” Part Two. However it deals with the Batman Beyond characters more than the Justice League. A One-shot of Bruce’s thoughts after Terry was attacked by the DeeDees in the episode. Rated PG. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bruce Wayne watched, horrified, as his protégé struggled against the DeeDees, their foreign future weapons wrapped around the new Batman’s limps, sending shock after unrelenting shock through his body. The boy’s screams and the sizzle of electricity were all Bruce could hear as the girls mercilessly attacked him. “TERRY!” he cried, as he usually did when the boy was in bad trouble. And then the screams stopped, with only the sound of the sizzle of electricity filling the cave. “Terry…” the old man mumbled, his head lowering. He knew without even looking at the monitor. Terry McGinnis was dead. A rage tried to fill Bruce, but it quickly turned to despair. His rage, his hope, his burning desire for justice, it seemed, had died with Terry. Yet even as this feeling began to consume him, a piece of his mind, the part that was always analyzing situations and coming up with plans, began to think of the necessary arrangements. He’d need to call Barbara Gordon, try to get the boy’s body out of there before the media could start their circus. At the very least, Terry deserved to have his identity protected from the public. And his family… For a moment, Bruce pondered the idea of having Barbara bring the bad news to Terry’s family. He ended that idea in an instant. No, Mary McGinnis deserved to know how her son died, who he really was, what a hero he had been, and she deserved to hear it from Bruce himself. The old man sighed, knowing that even with his own grief, telling the boy’s mother that her son was dead would be the hardest part. In his career as Batman, that had been the one thing he never had to do, and he wondered how Barbara and the people on her force managed to do it everyday in Gotham City. Bruce stared up at the monitor, through which he’d watched almost every moment of Terry’s rise as Batman, and saw his past self in the distance. That alternate version of himself that had come to stop Chronos. Chronos, the man who’d invented time travel and had made their time a living hell. Chronos, the man who’d provided the Jokerz, mere street punks, with frightening weapons from the future. The weapons which had killed Terry McGinnis. Bruce had been wrong. His rage hadn’t died yet and it consumed him now as he thought of the time traveling villain. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Most of the JLU wasn’t supposed to be dead, Static shouldn’t have fallen into some oblivion, Terry should still be making wisecracks over the COM Link. Once again Bruce stared at his younger self, the ultimate proof that this timeline was not meant to be like this. “Stop him, Bruce. Hunt him down, get that disk into his belt, and make him sorry he ever thought of that machine,” he said to his younger self, a snarl in his voice, even though the latter couldn’t hear him. The old man stood, his pale eyes watering as his rage led back to sadness, aware of all the things he had to do, even as his thoughts swarmed with memories of his protégé. The first time he’d met Terry, when they’d fought off the Jokerz and he’d seen the young man’s fighting skilled for the first time. His anger when Terry had stolen the Batsuit followed by the realization that the boy’s sense of justice was on par with his own. How Terry had been the only one of his trainees to constantly stand up to him, even argue, and somehow had been the only one not to run out in the end. There was a pain in his heart as he realized they’d never again have their joking and banter over the COM Link. It was hard to believe he’d never again hear the boy’s sarcastic remarks, and even harder to believe how much he already missed them. When the boy had taken up the mantle, of course Bruce had first opposed it, but over time he’d realized just how empty his life had been without Batman. Even if it was only through the computer and role of mentor that he’d participated, somehow it had made him feel alive again. Terry had given him a chance to be part of the one thing that made Bruce’s life; Batman. For one last time, Bruce looked up at the monitor which had showed him through Terry’s own eyes the boy’s career as Batman. Every new feat, every new experience, every lesson, every injury, every mistake, every life dangering situation. Yes, that monitor had served very well as the link between himself and McGinnis, himself and Batman. It had been on almost constantly that entire time, filling the previously darkened and shadow-filled cave with new light. “Good bye, dear friend.” he said softly, as he turned it off.