Somewhere along the way, I've gotten old. It never used to bother me, at least not much. It frustrated me that I could no longer do what I'd spent my life doing, that the Bat had to retire, but I'd
known it was coming. I'd had to build better and more intricate suits to compensate for my own weaknesses. I'd never expected to live this long, I'd never really expected to live. I adjusted to my life. I watched the city, I tried to do what little I could. I sent anything I found out to Barbara and hoped that she would be able to take care of it now that I couldn't. I thought about what the loss of the Bat meant to Gotham, but I never really thought of it in terms of my life.
I never really thought about how big the old place is, how I rattle around in it. I never thought about how truly alone I was. Though I still missed him, Alfred had passed away years ago. All of my partners over the years were gone. Some were dead and some just chose to leave, to put their time working with the Bat behind them and me with it. I haven't seen Dick in years but I still keep track of his life from a distance.
Then something happened that turned my life upside down -- Terry McGinnis came stumbling into my life.
At first I thought Terry reminded me of Dick. I'd met them both when they were young and hurting -- Dick from the deaths of his family, Terry from the death of his father. I helped them train. I provided them each with suits and set them loose to clean up the streets of Gotham. It wasn't long before I began to see that Terry wasn't another Dick. For one thing, Terry was the Bat.
Dick had tried to understand, had understood his own reasons for our work, but it was something he chose to do. For Terry and I, it was something we HAD to do. There was no choice, we are the Bat. There is something irresistible about that, to know someone who can understand what you are at such a basic level. How do you resist that? All I know is that I have to do just that.
Terry's a kid, but he's managing something I never could, to have a life beyond being the Bat. He even has a friend who knows -- Max. She doesn't know that I know about her, but Terry couldn't keep that from me. I hope her friendship and support do for him what Alfred's constant presence did for me. I know that she is the one that he turns to when things get too much for him, the one who helps him hide the Bat.
There are more people in his life though. He not only has friends, he has family. He has a mother and a brother that he loves. I will do whatever is necessary to see that they are safe, that they aren't used to get at the Bat. Between Max and her computer abilities and my money and connections, Terry's identity and his family are safe.
There is one other person in Terry's life -- Dayna. She reminds me of all the pretty faces I dated when I was younger. She doesn't know. I doubt she'd understand. It isn't part of her world.
There's no future in it but there would be no point in telling Terry that. He's young and in love. It'll pass. And yet, I find myself jealous of the time they spend together. I try not to do it, but sometimes I call him and interrupt their dates. I tell myself I don't do it intentionally but part of me ... part of me thinks of Terry as mine. But he's not mine and he never will be. I'm an old man.
There's nothing for him here.