Disclaimer: I don't own DC or any part of the Bruce Timm universe.

This takes place about 2-3 years before the 'Epilogue' episode.

Initiation by Alcohol

It was not quite the way that Matthew McGinnis had planned to spend his 21st birthday. Despite his often mischievous nature, he was not the social butterfly that his older brother was. A nice, quiet drink suited him just fine, thank you very much.

Unfortunately, one could not have a nice, quiet drink on his 21st birthday when you were the younger brother of Terry McGinnis.

"I'm telling you we should go to McMally's!"

"McGinnis, do you even remember what happened the last time you and Stewart went to McMally's?

"Random chaos and accidental property damage?"

"Took the words right out of my mouth."

The younger McGinnis brother watched in amusement as his esteemed older sibling, the current Batman, argued with Barda of all people on the virtues of going to McMally's Irish pub over the sports bar she liked so much.

Wait a…cripes! Was Barda going too!?

The current Nightwing hid a soft moan as he continued to listen to the exchange. This day was going from bad to worse.

"Okay, how about karaoke? Everyone loves karaoke!" Terry finally asked, trying to compromise.

"I don't like karaoke!" Barda yelled.

"Well it's not your birthday, is it?"

"I'm not doing karaoke," Matt finally said. A flash of annoyance appeared on his face as he glared at the older Leaguers. After all, it was his birthday. He should have at least some say in what they did.

"You're doing karaoke," Terry countered back.

"No I'm not."

"You are."

"And I'm telling you I'm not!"

"Why are you getting so pissy?" his older brother asked.

"Because it's my birthday! Why shouldn't I have a say in where we go!?"

"Because you're the little brother and I'm the older brother."

"Your logic is astounding Terry," Matt said dryly.

"Funny, Bruce says the same thing."


Three hours later, an irritated Matthew McGinnis was sitting in a room that included the likes of Kai-ro, Barda, Rex Stewart, Merina, Virgil Hawkins, and Donna Troy.

"Hey, he almost looks like Bruce when he does that!"

Matt glared at the source of the remark, who happened to be Rex Stewart. Then he crossed his arms and stayed obstinately in his seat as Terry and Donna flipped through the song list.

"Cheer up Matt, it'll be fun. We do this all the time," Virgil Hawkins said. Although now officially retired, the former Static still enjoyed hanging out with the younger Leaguers.

"Yeah, we have karaoke night at least twice a month," Merina added. "It helps to relieve the stress."

However, a streak of stubbornness wasn't allowing Matt to loosen up. They had dragged him to karaoke bar despite his quite vocal complaints. It was a matter of principle that he show his displeasure.

Despite his agitation though, he couldn't quite figure out why Kai-ro, the current Green Lantern, was present. Although only a couple of years older than Matt himself, the Tibetan didn't strike him as the type that enjoyed getting drunk in karaoke bars.

"Matt, you dumbass! Get out of the damned chair and pick out a song!" Terry finally yelled.

Nightwing almost responded with 'Make me', but it somehow didn't seem to be an intelligent reply when you were in a room with seven other Justice Leaguers. He instead chose to stalk over the song list and glare at everyone he passed by.

"He needs alcohol," Rex Stewart observed sagely. "I suggest brandy."

"No no, it's got to be a Bloody Mary," Barda said.

"For his first legal drink?" Virgil asked, aghast. "The kid needs a beer!" He slapped Matt's back in a friendly manner and the younger man sighed.

"Sake, it has to be sake!" Merina added.

"Umeshyuu, it's everyone's best friend," Donna Troy said. She and Diana were particularly fond of the Japanese plum wine.

Soon, everyone began to chime in their suggestions. The room was filled with the sounds of various alcoholic concoctions that soon left Nightwing with a slightly worse headache. Terry and Virgil loudly advocated the virtues of beer while the women faithfully supported their favorite drinks.

Rex Stewart could have cared less, as long as the younger man had alcohol. He was his mother's son in that regard.

"Hey, what about Kai-ro? He hasn't suggested anything yet," Merina finally pointed out.

"Oh yeah. Hey Kai, what do you think?" Terry asked. The Green Lantern stared impassively at his friends.

"You all are quite aware that I don't drink," he answered calmly. Matt felt his mood lighten slightly.

"Why come if you're not going to drink?" Barda asked.

"I'm here to make sure you morons stay out of trouble."

A chorus of complaints met the young Green Lantern's declaration, but no one attempted to force a drink on the Tibetan. As for Matt's first 'legal' drink, Terry finally took the initiative and claimed the right to choose since he was Matt's older brother.

He used the now patented Bat Glare to prevent any objections to his 'divine right.'

Not even a minute later, the second Batman placed a thick, German beer in front of his younger brother and smiled slyly. His blue eyes glinted with a cheerful gleam as he watched his baby brother examine the liquid with an almost Bruce-like skepticism.

Matt finally relented and took a sip of the frothy beer. A warm feeling trickled down his throat and into his stomach. He surprisingly found that the taste wasn't bad, but it was definitely one that would have to be an acquired taste.

"Good?" Terry asked. His blue eyes narrowed into characteristic Wayne intensity. The younger son of Bruce Wayne reluctantly admitted that it was 'okay'.

The older son of Bruce Wayne gloated in triumph as his brother took another drink.


"Is it my imagination or are things a little quieter around here today?" Superman asked. The Kryptonian wasn't sure if he should feel unsettled or thankful for the sudden peace that had descended on the Justice League Metrotower.

"It's Nightwing's twenty-first birthday," Zeta answered. The robot was currently filling out a mission report. "Batman, Warhawk, Barda, Aquawoman, Donna Troy and Static have currently taken him to an undisclosed location that includes alcohol and music."

"Which 'undisclosed location' is it this time?" Clark asked.

"I have been instructed not to tell," Zeta answered. "I can only tell you that Micron and your son are quite agitated that they are currently on a mission and unable to join."

"Is that so?" Clark asked dryly.

"Yes, however my sources tell me that the Question, Vigilante, and Shining Knight are plotting to link up with their comrades in a showdown of drunken glory."

Clark Kent groaned. The grandchildren of the original Question and Huntress, Vigilante, and Shining Knight were nearly as troublesome as Booster Gold and Blue Beetle had been. The combination of two McGinnises, a Hol-Stewart hybrid, a Hawkins, an Amazon, a New God, an Atlantean, and alcohol was already a bad enough combination.

"Please tell me that Kai-ro is there," Superman sighed.


"Does he need backup?" Clark asked.


"Call J'onn. We may need him for backup," he ordered.

"Isn't this the same Martian that Terry once succeeded in bribing with Oreos?" Zeta asked.

"Terry was hardly the first one to succeed in bribing him with Oreos," Clark said. In fact, the Kryptonian himself was guilty of occasionally resorting to it when J'onn didn't want to cooperate. Even so, Clark still got Zeta's point.

"Fine," Clark sighed. "If things get out of hand, I'll go down there."


"What the hell is this?" Matt asked, staring at the drink that Rex Stewart had shoved in his direction.

"It's gin," the half-Thanagarian answered.

"It smells like Pine-Sol."

"Just drink it," Rex ordered.

"It looks like Pine-Sol, are you trying to poison me?" Matt asked. He had no intention of consuming something that had the same scent and consistency of cleaning detergent.

"Perhaps if he just tries a sip," Kai-ro suggested, ever the mediator. Warhawk paused in thought and finally nodded his head in agreement. The younger McGinnis brother brought the foul drink to his lips and took a sip. As he expected, it was disgusting. Rex's face fell slightly when he saw the look on Matt's face.

"Well, people usually drink it in cocktails," Rex shrugged. "But I prefer to drink it straight." He took the glass of gin from Matt and downed it quickly. The older man then gave a burp, which simultaneously caused Kai-ro to sigh and Virgil to give him a look of admiration.

"You are truly your mother's son," the former Leaguer observed. Rex gave a proud smile. The infamous drinking exploits of Shayera Hol Stewart was known even to Matt, who was still relatively new to the superhero business. He'd been Nightwing for a little over a year now and had officially joined the Justice League seven months ago.

It was rumored that certain older members of the original seven had trembled from the thought of two McGinnises running around the Justice League. However, whenever questioned, the allegations were always denied.

"Hey, are we going to sing or not?" Donna finally asked. Terry immediately jumped up and volunteered to go first. Thus, they were all treated to a rendition of one of the latest Japanese pop songs. Matt listened to his brother with interest. He already knew that Terry actually had a good singing voice, but he wondered if that would change once his brother started getting drunk.

Everyone clapped when Terry finished. The current Batman grinned and flopped down on the chair next to his brother, reaching for another beer. Matt smiled to himself, glad that his brother was enjoying himself. His brother wasn't as carefree as he used to be and, although Terry hadn't admitted it to anyone other than Matt, he was starting to become jaded with the Batman legacy.

Matt wasn't sure, but he suspected why. It was true that being Batman involved a lot of stress. In his short time as Nightwing he had seen things he'd have rather not seen. However, Terry was more than capable of dealing with it.

No, he suspected that his brother kept looking at how Bruce Wayne's life had turned out and feared becoming a lonely, old, and embittered man. Matt wondered how Dana could have stayed with Terry for so long, when he continually refused to get married.

Now seeing Terry loosening up and laughing freely, the younger McGinnis brother decided that perhaps he wasn't as irritated as he had been by the karaoke idea.

"It's Matt's turn!" Someone suddenly shouted. "It's his birthday, he needs to sing!"

Matt groaned. Apparently no one other than Terry was aware that Matthew McGinnis had an abominable singing voice. However, that didn't stop his brother from grinning maniacally as he pushed Matt in front of the microphone.

Matt's face flushed, either from the alcohol or from embarrassment, as he watched the lyrics that appeared on the screen next to him. He wondered who it was that had decided to pick out an Elvis Presley song for him. Nightwing vowed to hunt down the culprit.

"The warden threw a party in the country jail," he started to sing. "The prison band was there and they began to wail." Oh God, was his voice really this off key? He could already see several smirks in the room.

"The band was jumpin' and the joint began to swing. You should have heard those knocked out jailbirds sing," he continued, trying not to horribly mangle the song. He could already tell that Terry was trying with all his might not to laugh.

Matt nearly paused in surprise as everyone else in the room began to sing along with him. He wasn't sure if it was because they had picked up on his unease or because they had all simply decided that it would be fun.

"Let's rock, everyone let's rock. Everyone in the whole cell block was dancin' to the Jailhouse Rock!"

As he continued to sing off key, with everyone joining in on the chorus, Matthew McGinnis decided that maybe karaoke wasn't so bad after all.


"Hey Merina, where's this karaoke place at?" Sally Saunders asked. She, Jason Szasz, and Arthur Baranek were currently wandering around Tokyo as they searched for their friends. The granddaughter of the original Vigilante held the cell phone up to her ear as the other woman answered.

"It's near Shibuya Station," the Atlantean answered. "There's a pachinko parlor next to it. You can't miss it."

As she clicked off her cell phone, Vigilante noticed that the blonde man next to her was ogling some pretty Japanese women. She elbowed him in the ribs and the grandson of Sir Justin gave a yelp.

"That's not very chivalrous," she said. Arthur rolled his eyes.

"How can I not look when they wear short skirts?" Shining Knight asked.

"Apparently he didn't get much from his grandpa's genes," the Question noted wryly. Jazon Szasz smirked as the would be knight sent him a glare.

"Are we going to find this karaoke parlor or not?" he asked icily. Shining Knight trailed off as another woman in a miniskirt passed through his line of sight.

Vigilante smacked the back of his head.


It so happened that Matthew McGinnis was partially responsible for the fight that broke out at the karaoke parlor. It hadn't been intentional, mind you, as he had simply been looking for the restroom. Because of this, he had left as the others were belting out Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at the top of their lungs.

It just so happened that a few Yakuza gangsters had decided to claim the men's room for their own and weren't letting anyone else in. Nightwing, however, wasn't overly impressed by the tattooed Japanese gangsters that were smoking in front of the restroom. Now Matt was blessed with a natural knack for learning foreign languages, something Terry didn't have, but his Japanese was sadly lacking.

However, he was reasonably sure that there was no legitimate reason for them to be blocking the only restroom that he so badly needed to use.

It took very little effort for even a slightly inebriated Justice Leaguer to take out several gangsters. However, as Matt was walking back out of the restroom, he found that the hall was now filled with angry Yakuza.

The twenty-one year old shrugged his shoulders and began to fight his way through the hall.


Every single Justice League member in the karaoke parlor stopped singing when they began to hear screaming and gun shots from inside the building. They all looked at each other and rushed out of their room.

Two Yakuza were thrown into a wall next to Terry McGinnis. Terry, clutching a bottle of sake in his left hand, watched as the two Japanese men fell to the floor in an unconscious heap.

"Yaaaargh!" Matt yelled. He leapt over a gangster and kicked another in the face. Batman took a swig of sake and chucked the bottle at the head of another gangster. Rex Stewart, Virgil Hawkins, and Barda grinned wildly at each other before they each joined the fight. Merina and Donna Troy both calmly ignored the fight and walked up to the bar. They ordered a new set of drinks and sat watching the fight.

Terry McGinnis cracked his knuckles and charged into the fray.

A table was thrown across the room and gun shots peppered several walls. Kai-ro gave a long suffering sigh as he trudged towards the scene of destruction.


"So how's the birthday party going?" Wonder Woman asked. She sipped on an iced mocha as she sat down in a chair next to a certain robot. Having heard the question, Clark quickly joined them in order to hear the response.

"Right now I believe they are currently engaged in a brawl with a group of Yakuza," Zeta answered, now flipping through a book that Amazo had given him.

"Really?" Diana asked, quite interested. Clark sighed.

"Who started it?" Superman asked wearily.

"McGinnis," Zeta answered. He closed the book and decided that Amazo had absolutely no taste in good fiction.

"Terry," Clark muttered, rubbing his forehead. The robot's hologram image gave a rare smile.

"Wrong McGinnis."


Vigilante, the Question, and Shining Knight stared curiously at the karaoke parlor. An outside wall had been ripped open and drunken men and women were rushing frantically out into the street. The three Leaguers, dressed in civilian clothes, rushed into the karaoke parlor.

Unconscious, heavily tattooed men lay around the inside of the karaoke bar. The other Leaguers sat calmly at the only still intact table, drinking sake.

"Dammit, I always miss the fun stuff!" Shining Knight yelled. Virgil Hawkins smirked as he poured three new cups of sake.

"Sake?" the old man asked.

"Wait, isn't Arthur underage?" Donna asked.

"I'm almost twenty," Shining Knight replied in a huff. Drunk, the other Leaguers went with it. Police sirens could be heard in the distance as the three new Leaguers downed their cups of sake.

"Time for us to go," Merina suggested. The others nodded and stood up, draining their cups.

"Wait, not yet!" Terry suddenly shouted. "We still have to sing 'Happy Birthday'!"

And thus, Matt sat and drank sake as he was serenaded by a drunken chorus of 'Happy Birthday'. Matthew McGinnis laughed and decided that this hadn't been a bad birthday after all.

Unfortunately, Superman wouldn't be of the same opinion. Everyone involved received a stern lecture and was put on probation.


Author's note:

The new Vigilante, Question, and Shining Knight are obviously my own characters. The new Vigilante and Shining Knight appeared briefly in my story, This Ain't the Golden Years, except that Arthur went by Valiant.