Despite the glaring sun, it was a dark day for Gotham and it would become darker as the time passed. His death was a week ago. Even now they couldn’t believe it. He was so cautious, so tenacious how could he have died? The family stood grim and solemn as the coffin lowered into the ground.
Damian had his fists clenched firm at his sides. Why the hell was it such a clear day? That coffin shouldn’t be going into the ground. His shoulders shook with fury; his nails dug into his palms.
Dick placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder in an attempt to consol him, but nothing could keep him from his grief. Dick had not expected this to happen, none of them had. He felt responsible for his death. He should’ve been there. He should’ve known… but now it was too late for these words. He was gone.
Tim stood silent as the dirt piled onto the coffin. There must be a logical explanation for this. There was no way he could’ve died that easily.
But none grieved as greatly as their butler Alfred. He was the one that found him. The one to carry his bullet littered body home. They couldn’t take him to the morgue. They couldn’t even report him dead. They had no believable story to tell to the press. The only thing they could do was to give him this small funeral and bury him at the manor. His grave was next to another unnamed grave, marked only by a bat statue. The grave of his father.
Here lied the graves of Bruce Wayne and his son Terrence Wayne.
Damian sat unmoving in front of the two bat statues, so small it could be passed off as garden decorations. He buried the lower half of his face into the bend of his arm that was propped up by his knee. His other arm nursed the gun injury he gotten from Jason earlier that week. The fight for Batman’s mantle was over. Dick was officially the new Batman and he would be the new Robin. He should be happy, but he wasn’t.
He felt… empty somehow.
Dick told him many times that he should be resting inside the manor, but he couldn’t. Every time he walked down those halls, those rooms, he could only think that the stupid deadweight was still alive. Just hiding from him, waiting for him to let his guard down to walk into another one of his traps… But that wasn’t true. Not anymore.
A week ago, his brother was still alive, attending their father’s funeral alongside the rest of the family and the remaining original founders of the Justice League. It was the last time they stood civilly alongside one another.
“Batman deserves a grand funeral…” Clark Kent murmured. He and the others had came in civilian wear to avoid suspicion.
“No.” His brother was the first to object. He stood vehement. “You will not insult him even after his death.”
“It’s not an insult kid. He just wants to give your dad the honor of being a hero.” Wally West defended the super, but he won’t have it.
“Batman is not a hero.” Terry said stern with his icy blue eyes. “He will not have agreed to a grand funeral as you have put it.”
“Of course he’s a hero!” Wonder Woman argued.
“No.” Terry glared. “He’s whatever Gotham needs him to be. Batman is an urban legend. He strikes fear in criminals for existing. To announce to the world he’s dead is to undo all his hard work and what he stood for. Don’t insult him by even suggesting such a funeral! You have no right to decide anything in Gotham!”
The woman cried that day. The rest of the Justice League founders said nothing after his outburst. The family agreed with his words, but their voices weren’t needed. He spoke for all of them. Damian didn’t recall much else of the funeral. Everything was a blur of emotions, but that was the last he spoke with his brother.
“Don’t get yourself killed.” The younger boy said.
At the time, it was an insult, but it wasn’t… it was a warning. His brother was warning him to be careful… Yet, he was the one that should’ve been careful.
“… Stupid deadweight.” Damian murmured, his free hand brushed against the bandages under his shirt reminding him that he was still alive.
Dick seated himself with his back to the bat-computer as he took in the cave. It was strange not see either Bruce or Terry wandering about doing their business. Last week it was painful to think his mentor would never walk these caves again, but this week he felt numb. He the former circus boy, the former Robin, the former Nightwing… was going to be the new Batman. Yet, not even into his first day as Batman, he already lost his dead mentor’s son.
He sighed, dragging a hand over his eyes and down to cover his mouth. A little more than a week ago, shortly after Bruce’s death, he found the boy in the back of the cave. The boy had found something Bruce left to all of them.
“There’s a recording for everyone… Though someone is going to have to find Jason and tell him he has one too. I’ll tell Alfred to tell Damian later.” The boy said as he stepped out of the construct.
“You saw yours already?” Dick asked. It was strange that this boy wasn’t grieving, but then again, this was Bruce’s son. He was probably grieving in his own way.
“It’s what I expected him to say. There’s nothing surprising or strange I would note about it.” He commented.
Dick couldn’t say he had much memories of Bruce’s youngest, but he could recall the first time he met the boy in the cave. He looked so helpless by Tim’s side, covered in Robin’s blood as he called out for help in fear. Of course, at the time he was acting. He never saw the boy scared of anything… but that was probably the reason why he forgot that the boy was still a defenseless child. He should’ve been there. He should’ve been more attentive. Maybe then Terry would still be alive.
He gave another sigh as he leaned back in the chair and stared up at the stalactites above. “I’m sorry Bruce.” He murmured with guilt. “I promise with Damian I’ll protect him the best I can.”
Tim packed away his things. With Damian the new Robin, he needed a new name, a name that wouldn’t involve the family with what he was about to do. Bruce was still alive, he was certain of it. All he needed to do was to find the man and he would go to any lengths to do so.
He wished there was something he could do about Terry’s death, but their hands were tied. There was nothing left for him in Gotham and even less with the Titans. Once he cleared out the lab beneath Conner’s room he would resign from the team. Neither places held fond memories for him any longer. Tim sighed as he slung his bag over his shoulder and walked out of his room.
Tim still remembered the week during Bruce’s funeral. Terry was quiet and solemn. It felt as if the boy reverted to his vegetated state. He was always in the library buried in books and rarely spoke with anyone. Not even Damian sharing the same roof as him fazed him.
“Terry, it’s almost time for the funeral. You should get changed.” Tim said softly at the door.
“I know.” Terry replied as he flipped another page. It seemed like all progress them made since his recovery was lost.
“You know… we’re still here for you even if Bruce is gone now…” Tim whispered sadly, he didn’t move from his spot as the boy turned yet another page.
“… I know.” Terry snapped the book shut and slid it back into its place in the bookshelf. “Let me ask you a question Tim.”
Tim remembered the change of tone and stance the boy took. “What?”
Terry glanced back with a frightfully familiar set of eyes. “If dad came back to life in me, would any of you have noticed? Would you have that trade?” He asked as he walked confidently towards him.
“I…” He trailed off weak and uncertain.
Terry paused in front of him. “You’re not going to attempt to clone him and bring him back to life like you tried with XIII right?”
“…” Tim looked down at the boy sadly. “…No, I won’t.”
Terry smiled sadly as he relaxed his stance. “I’ll go get ready. See you later Tim.” He tapped the older boy on the shoulder as he left.
Tim sighed as he grabbed his motorcycle and drove it out of the cave. As he rounded front, he spotted Ace and Krypto on the grounds. The dogs were just as sad as the rest of them. They both knew their masters were gone.
Tim gave the manor one last look before he sped off the grounds.
Alfred was in the kitchen polishing the silverware in hopes of distracting himself from the lost of not only a son, but a grandson as well. He has grown to love this family as if it was his own. To lose even one of them was painful to his old heart. Parents shouldn’t need to bury their children, much less their grandchildren. His hand slowed as he recalled that fateful day.
It was shortly after Bruce’s funeral. The Justice League had already left. Damian grieved at the grave as he done so now. Dick had gone back to New York to pack up his things from the Outsiders to return to Gotham, while Tim was down at the cave waiting for Jason to come and listen to his part of the will. He had lost sight of the youngest at some point during the grieving chaos.
He thought it was best to leave the young boy to his grief, but something unsettled him. His instincts told him to search for Terry. There was something wrong. When he searched for the boy, he could not found him anywhere in the manor. When he searched the lower caves, Tim stated he had not seen the boy either.
The old butler’s heart chilled, he doesn’t know why but he worried greatly for his young master. When he searched Terry’s room again he noted a letter left at the desk. A quick scan through the contents he realized the boy had gone off on his own. He couldn’t phantom why the boy would leave in such a manor. He dropped the letter at the kitchen before he rushed off the grounds in a car in search for the boy.
One would think to search at the docks or the stations, but he knew him well. He knew that Terry had grown fond of this small group of orphans and have visited them on multiple occasions when Bruce banned him from night work. He wouldn’t leave them without a word.
“Hi! You’re Terry’s grandfather right?” The girl name Rose asked when he approached the small group.
His heart warmed that Terry would introduce him as his grandfather to others. “Why yes young lady. Do you know where he has gone off to?”
“He was here a while ago with an armful of white roses.” She answered.
“Roses?” Alfred’s brows raised in surprise.
“Yeah.” The boy Michael interrupted. “He said he’s going to be leaving for a long while and won’t be coming back to visit. Are you guys going on vacation?”
“Yes.” Alfred lied. “And he should really be going home and getting ready. Do you know how long ago did he leave?”
“He left about thirty minutes ago. He said there was something he needed to do.” Rose answered.
“Thank you, I think I know where he’s gone off.” Alfred said.
“Tell him to have fun, okay? He’s too serious.” Michael added.
“I will.” Alfred said before he left the duo.
From the roses he carried, he knew where Terry planned to go next. The boy was heading for Crime Alley. He wanted to say farewell to Bruce’s late parents before he left. When he neared, he heard gunshots.
“No…” He whispered as he raced towards the sound.
Gunshots around these parts were not uncommon, but he sorely hoped whoever got shot was not Terry. As he neared, he heard three more shots. With how the gun sounded, it was from the same barrel. It wasn’t a gunfight.
As worried as he was, he stayed out of sight as he peered around the corner. To his surprise it was Jason that stood in the alleyway. He seemed furious over something muttering darkly under his breath. He wasn’t alone. There was another on the ground. Jason growled loudly as he sent violent kicks at the fallen body.
The old butler paled when he spotted blood pooling on the ground. The former Robin stayed only a moment longer before he fired a grappling hook and swung away. Alfred didn’t wait for another second as he rushed to the small body. Next to the body were a small duffel bag and a bundle of white roses, now red with the boy’s blood.
“… Oh my gracious… MASTER TERRY!” He cried out.
The puddle of blood grew by the second. He frantically tried to rouse the boy as gently as he could, but Terry’s body was littered with gunshots. It would be unwise to jostle him any further. The boy was barely breathing. He reached for his phone to call Tim for help, but before the call got through Terry was limp in his arms. His bullet-ridden chest stopped heaving for a single breath. Alfred quickly placed to fingers at the base of his neck and searched for a pulse, but there was none.
He was gone…
He remembered the miserable tears fall from his face as he held the little boy in his arms. He remembered the terrified faces of the family when he brought the bloody body out of the car. He remembered how Damian screamed in disbelief and denial that the other boy was dead.
“What the hell are you guys playing at?” Damian snapped furiously.
“Alfred, what happened?” Dick asked as he hurried over to check on the younger boy. “Is he all right? Is he…” He trailed off as Alfred laid Terry on the surgical table.
“No…” Tim shook his head in disbelief. “How did this happen?”
“… He was shot to death by Jason…” He replied sadly.
“Stop messing around!” Damian snapped. “He’s not dead! This is a fake!”
Alfred said nothing as the boy pushed them away and started pointing out how the body was a fake and how the other boy was just messing with them. Tim tried to stop him, but even he was pushed away as Damian started to search the body for clues that the boy might be a fake.
“Damian!” Dick snapped trying to get the boy to stop, but the other didn’t listen.
“He’s not dead! He can’t be dead!” He shouted as he continued his search, but it didn’t take long before he was silenced. His body stilled as his hand pulled away from his brother trembling. The others had no clue what made him stop, but the furious boy clenches him hand tightly before he fled. “DAMN IT!”
“Damian!” Tim called out to the boy, but the other was already up and out of the cave.
Alfred lowered his polishing cloth sadly. “I hope the boy is with you now Bruce…”
Batman was dead. Terry accepted the fact. He knew that there was one day his father would leave the world of the living. It hadn’t taken him long to find a recorded will. And being the first to find it, he was the first to listen to what the man had to say.
“Terry, by now you’ve already realized I’m dead and found the recording of my will to each and every one of you.” The hologram started, his father’s cowl was down. “I’m sorry that I haven’t been the best father. I haven’t been by your side before… and I won’t be at your side from now on.”
“… Dad…” He murmured quietly.
“But my grounding still stands. I don’t want you out on active duty at least until you’re over twenty.” The man stated firmly.
Terry gave an amused grin as he shook his head. He expected as much.
“I don’t know what advice I could give you at this point. Though, I do hope you’re willing to open up to Tim and Dick if you ever need anything. I may not be there now, but they will be and I hope you can trust them as much as you have trusted me.”
He really doubted he could trust them in the same manner.
“And at the same time, I would like to entrust you with a task. I know I might be asking too much from you, but I would like you to help them if they ever need it. I trust you when the time comes, you’ll make me proud… my son.” The hologram smiled sadly. “Take care Terry.”
“… Take care dad…” He whispered.
He needed to leave the manor, leave Gotham. There was a dark fight coming and he could not join nor could he help. With the grounding his dad placed him in, he wouldn’t be able to until he was at least twenty. And he was not one to stay stagnant. He would follow in his dad’s footsteps and get training.
Of course, he hadn’t left immediately. There were still loose ends to tie up before he could leave without a worry. He made a complete copy of his drive into the bat-computer and took the experimental invisible cloth his father kept alongside the new costumes he was testing. Terry had managed to get the fabric to non-toxic, but without a solid power source, it was close to useless. Nonetheless the material was durable and useable as a blanket or a tent.
At the funeral, he made certain the Justice League wouldn’t ruin his father’s hard work by telling the underworld the person they feared most was dead. It would plunge Gotham to hell and give the criminals a field day. He debated whether or not he should leave without a word, but after his last disappearance with Cadmus, it was best he left something so they wouldn’t worry. He wrote a short letter and left it in his room for Alfred to find. With what happened, it was not likely the old butler would search for him anytime soon.
Among the barest necessities, he packed the RSS. Once he was done, he stopped at Alfred’s rose garden and carefully snipped a dozen white roses before he left. If he were to leave, he’d at least need to give them a fair warning. He headed for the orphanage where the Ivies were.
“Hey Terry!” Rose greeted him happily when they spotted him.
“Terry! BUDDY!” Michael said brightly as he tried to hug the boy, but he was promptly pushed away.
“I’m leaving for a while and won’t be coming back.” Terry said bluntly.
“What? Where are you going?” Rose asked.
“Just away. Though, I have to give you guys the heads up. Something big is going to happen soon and I can’t be around to help you guys. Do whatever you can to protect yourself.” He said.
“… Where are you going with all those roses?” Michael asked.
Terry glanced over to the flowers briefly and answered. “There’s just one other place I have to go before I leave.”
Michael wiggled his brow. “A girlfriend?”
Terry rolled his eyes. “You’re the one that’s obsessed with the opposite sex.”
The other boy pouted. “You suck man.”
“I have to get going.” Terry continued. “You guys take care.”
Rose quickly gave him a hug. “Stay safe okay?”
“… Yeah.” He broke out of her gentle hug.
"Hey! How come Rose gets to hug you?” Michael whined.
Rose smirked. “Because I’m cuter!”
Terry shook his head in amusement. “Take care.”
There was one last place he needed to go before he could leave Gotham with a clear head.
The place where his grandparents died. With him going off on his trip, he won’t be able to continue the yearly tradition for his father. This was his apology and hopefully the roses he brought was enough.
“Hi grandma, grandpa… Sorry that dad can’t come anymore… and sorry that I won’t be able to come again for a few years at least. But I hope you don’t mind I brought roses to make up for the years that I won’t be able to come.” He said quietly and laid down the bundle of roses. “Well… good—”
His eyes widen as a bullet pierced through his back and into his heart. His knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground heaving for a breath.
“Got you, kid.” A dark voice said from behind him. He recognized the voice. It was Jason. “Surprised to see me?” The other laughed again as he crouched down to haul the boy’s head up by his hair.
Terry gave a weak laugh as he coughed up blood. “I’m telling dad.”
Jason growled furiously. “Is that all you’re going to say?”
Terry said nothing as he grinned brightly. He was going to die. Even if an ambulance came right now, he wouldn’t survive without a heart transplant and tons of blood. He won’t allow Jason the pleasure in seeing him suffer.
“Fuck you.” He growled and shot him three more times in the chest.
The boy gasped in pain as the former Robin kicked him furiously. His vision blurred as it slipped in and out of focus. His stomach ached and he was slowly drowning as his own blood filled his lungs. He wasn’t sure what would kill him first, his body going into shock, drowning in his own blood or the blood lost.
It was painful.
What a lousy death… Murdered by an angry ex-sidekick. At least he lasted longer than his fellow projects.
I wonder what did dad and XIII think of when they died? He mused until he felt nothing. I’m scared…