A/N: literally thought this up today and it refused to leave my brain. This is post episode "Bloodsport" when Stalker kidnapped Matt as bait for Batman to rescue him. I know Matt put on a brave face and seemed unfazed at the end of that episode, but i can't imagine him going through all that without being affected by it in the least. So, here's what i thought of that... hope you like. Thanks for reviewing!
He doesn't remember his room creaking and groaning this much before, the unrelenting sounds originating from the dark hallway making him more nervous every passing minute. He pulls the blanket over his head, the logic of his eight year-old mind convincing him that being buried under it will protect him from another kidnapping. But the darkness only takes him back to that night last week when a sack was forced over his head before he was hauled out of Cheezy Dan's; the vivid memory is enough to drive him out of bed and rush out in search of his mother's reassurance. He peaks into her room and takes a few quiet steps forward, but stops short when he remembers the reason he made himself seem fearless when he recounted the story of his kidnapping was because he didn't want her to worry. She's been so busy lately with her work and real estate exams, and it's hard not to notice the growing dark circles under her eyes. So if he creeps into her bed tonight, she'll only have one more thing to be concerned about; not to mention she might even be mad about the fact that he lied when he said he was okay.
He turns around and tiptoes out of her room, quietly closing the door behind him before braving the shadows of the hallway and reluctantly making his way back to his room. Before he reaches it though, he discovers a light shining through the crack in Terry's door, giving him an excuse to bypass his room and head to his brother's instead. Sure he can't count on Terry making him feel any better, but he can at least distract him from the anxiety weighing his chest. He pushes the door open slightly, first peering in to see if Terry's back is turned so he could startle him as a prank; what he doesn't expect to find though, is his brother lying facedown over the covers on his bed. Frowning with disappointment, he realizes Terry must have fallen asleep with the light still on. However, the sound of another mysterious creak down the hallway prompts Matt to quickly sneak into his big brother's messy room instead of turning back.
He maneuvers his way between the strewn clothes and abandoned homework on the floor to stop at the edge of the bed. He thinks about stealing Terry's phone to play a few games as a way to pass the time until sunrise, but if he can be honest with himself for a moment, that's not what he really wants right now. He'd rather have someone make the nightmares stop, to tell him he's not as vulnerable as he feels. He wants a comforting embrace and someone to convince him that he's safe again.
"Hey, Terry?" He whispers in a tiny voice. He sees his brother's brow twitch for a second. "Ter?" He tries again, poking his arm with a short finger.
A bloodshot blue eye opens to meet Matt's large brown eyes. "What?" Terry croaks, never bothering to lift his head.
"Um… Can… Can I…" He timidly stutters, turning his gaze down with shame.
Recognizing the fear on his little brother's face though, prompts Terry to scoot back a bit and lift the covers. "Get in," he sighs. Matt doesn't hesitate to climb in, relieved he won't spend the night alone. "You want the light off?" Terry asks, closing his eyes.
"Uh-uh," Matt shakes his head, turning over and getting comfortable. This time when he hears the creaking, his anxiety isn't as gripping as the first time, but it hasn't dissipated either. "Terry?"
"Mmm?" He hums, tapping into the little bit of patience he has left after a painfully long night.
"Why do people do bad things?" He quietly asks. He doesn't see Terry's eyes open again and frown as they scrutinize a face that seems far older than its years.
"I don't know," he replies, his tone honest. "But I know why people do good things," he continues a moment later.
"To make the world a little less scary," Terry says, watching his brother turn to look at him.
"What if it doesn't work?" Matt asks.
"Were you still scared when Batman showed up last week?" Terry instead asks.
Matt takes a moment to think about the question before finally shaking his head. "But I'm scared it'll happen again," he confesses.
"But what if-"
"It won't, Matt," Terry interrupts him. "I promise," he adds, the conviction in his gaze returning safety to Matt's world.
"Okay," he nods, turning away from Terry and pulling the sheet over his shoulder to hide his relief. "Ter, you think Batman gets scared?" Matt suddenly asks.
"All the time," Terry replies without hesitation.
"You think he's scared of zombies?"
"No way," Terry scoffs, knowing Matt must be smiling by now.
"What about sharks?"
"Brain-eating slugs?" Matt giggles.
"I bet he's scared of penguins, though," Matt says with a yawn.
"Maybe," Terry grins as he flips over and closes his eyes for only a moment before the sound of a click brings him to open them again. It seems Matt has found the courage to reach over and turn out the light, causing a small but proud smirk to draw Terry's lips before he gently ruffles his brother's raven head.
"Night, twip," he sighs, glad he could still be there for his family.