"You know, at your age, I wasn't half as skilled with computers, let alone hiding from people for so long without being tracked." It was quiet, the voice at the apartment door.
He had known the old man was alone; had known when he was a few blocks away from the building, as a matter of fact. It didn't make the actuality of having another person there any easier. He looked away from the small window, his expression and tone neutral, "Mr. Wayne. Why have you decided to grace me with your presence? Shouldn't you be supervising my brother? If not, I would think you would be making sure your business is running smoothly. Both things are done in Gotham, not here in Bludhaven. And even if by some chance your company brought you to this city, it wouldn't bring you to this particular section or apartment."
Bruce stared at the younger man, unsure of what to think. Matthew McGinnis, from the first impression of the young adult and the young boy he remembered, was nothing like his older brother. He tried to push the thought that had compared the two aside. "I trust him to run the city by himself for one night." The apartment was... crowded with all kinds of things and shabby, to say the least. The neighborhood was worse than Gotham's Crime Alley. And yet, somehow, despite the younger man obviously living alone, Bruce knew that nobody bothered Matt McGinnis.
There were six monitors on the desk, and Bruce could see a few laptops on the floor--all top of the line, things that Bruce's own company didn't even have yet. He also saw different mechanical things, all sorts of machines, some moving, that he had never seen before. "You're not in school... you're not employed... and I believe you haven't actually been seen outside of your apartment in... quite some time." Was the younger one a criminal, despite all his brother stood for? How could he afford this stuff otherwise?
"I don't like it outside," Matt said, shrugging with a casualness he did not feel. "I've done some stuff on the stock market, it keeps the rent paid. I've done some work for different companies. The days I sleep, nights I'm working or playing games or watching a program or something. Got my degree in computer science from a school on the web, get things that I need like clothes and food through the internet. I don't need help with anything, money, shelter, computers, all that I'm fine."
"It was you," Bruce said, realizing something and he was impressed by the knowledge. "You were the person who hacked onto my system, the person who left that video feed, when Terry's suit camera broke, so I could direct him even though his suit view was broken."
"He's my brother. I'm in Bludhaven, that doesn't mean I can't keep watch." He indicated the monitor to the far left, directly under the window. Even there, Bruce could see a split screen of Batman--one in infrared, one in normal color. "I make sure Terry's safe. Technology can do wonders for things like that. Amazing huh?"
"He hasn't seen you since--"
"Since Mom died," Matt interrupted softly. "I don't know... something in me just broke. I wasn't really close to Dad, and Terry was always working, so for Mom to be killed..." The young man trailed off then continued, "I thought it was Terry's fault. I thought someone knew he was Batman and was trying to hurt him. I'd been kidnapped before, to get to Terry... so I left. Gotham needs a Batman, but Batman doesn't need a weight like me to hold him down."
"For a while before Mom's death, yes, I knew my brother's secret."
Bruce was unsure of what to say--a rare thing. He never had that problem with Terry... but perhaps he could try to make Matt contact his brother. "You're not a weight to him. He misses you--looks for you constantly."
"... Why are you here, Mr. Wayne? I know it's not just to try and get me back in Gotham. You think I want Terry to see me like this? A waste of life, a good-for-nothing loner who's doing nothing, going nowhere..." Matt glared at the man, angry. It made Bruce curious, the sudden change in emotion but not tone. "I should die, but I can't commit suicide because I'm too much of a coward. And I can't go outside because of the same reason. Why are you here, what do you want?"
"We recently... found out that Terry is my biological son..." Bruce stopped, unsure of how Matt would take this.
The younger man didn't even flinch, "I wondered where Terry and I got our looks from. Genetically, we never resembled either of them. I hope you won't be insulted if I continue to refer to Warren McGinnis as my father because to me he always will be, even though I didn't know him well." Matt forced himself to stop babbling. Not having social contact with anyone else in months... maybe years now... it had that effect. He had wondered if he had been forgetting English because of it. He really had to get a part time job, something, anything to get him out of the apartment...
"No... I don't mind. I've worked with Terry every day for the last few years, but I don't know you at all." Bruce looked at Matt and saw the boy's eyes were unfocused. He was miles away, mentally... "Matt."
"Huh?" Matt jumped and shook his head, "Sorry, I was just thinking. Did you say something?"
"... How long has it been since you talked to someone?"
"I don't know. A long time, months, years, I don't know anymore. I go out to the park sometimes, late at night or really early in the morning, when nobody's there. I don't like going outside, I told you that." Matt said, looking back at the small window. "They make fun of me outside, I hear them, whispering, talking about how odd I am... the old people and business people all of them... I hear it and I can't take it, so I don't go outside when people are there." Matt didn't turn around to look at the older man.
Bruce spoke, imploringly, "If you come to Gotham, we can get help--"
The soft sound of a laptop being closed and a sigh, "How can you help me when even I don't know what's wrong with me?" Matt slumped into his computer chair and looked back at the older man, "Just leave me alone. You did your duty as biological father. Your younger son is an anti-social freak. Go back to Terry."
Bruce stayed where he was, mind racing through various disorders and the like. Any particular disorders would have been picked up when he was a child. This... was something else. A disorder, yes, but he couldn't be sure what kind. "You said you go to the park sometimes."
"... May I go with you tonight?"
Matt shrugged, "I don't care what you do, Mr. Wayne." He looked out the window for a few moments, then stood up and left the apartment, Bruce Wayne right behind him.
It was a dark night, and the two strode on, silent. The city lights glittered, the police sirens were heard over the usual city noises. Finally, as they reached the park and walked, no people bothering them, Bruce said, "I won't live forever, you know."
Matt gave him an odd look and said with a shrug, "Everyone dies."
Bruce shook his head--the boy wasn't reacting like Terry, at least, who seemed to be clinging to Bruce and Dana, hunting for his brother every spare second. Terry had lost a lot, and he didn't want to lose any more. Bruce could understand that, though he wasn't young. He knew his time would come soon enough. "He needs someone to watch out for him. You know the truth about him... you can look out for him after I'm gone."
Matt looked at Bruce and laughed, shaking his head, and saying, "He has Max and Dana. He doesn't need me for that." He looked at his feet and said softly, "He doesn't need me, Mr. Wayne."
Finally, Bruce decided to go for broke, "Your apartment had different machines. Do you develop them for fun?"
"Yeah..." Matt looked at Bruce as if the man had grown a second head.
"You've played the stock market, you said?"
"Yes." Matt didn't understand where this was going.
"I've done some work for different companies, in research and financial advising," Matt said, wondering why the man cared about boring things like that. Why would the former Batman care about business matters? "They were fine with working by digital means."
Bruce nodded, "Strayer Pharmaceuticals, Greene Biomechanisms--companies like that... and all of them were failing, yet now they could be considered rivals to my company. You've got a good head for business and tinkering." Softly, Bruce continued, "Foxtech is an excellent company. Lucius Fox Jr. is a good man, like his father, but unlike his father, he can't help Terry." Bruce looked at Matt and said, "Max can help him, you're right. But Batman will need funding. Terry is a good Batman, but he needs other people... even I wasn't as alone."
Matt stared at Bruce and slowly, because he couldn't believe this, said "You... want me... to run Wayne Enterprises."
"Yes. I want someone trustworthy, someone who can keep the business running well, someone willing to develop new things as we need them... someone who can finance things. I won't live forever, but I know now that the legacy I began will. It cannot be only one person, though." Bruce looked at Matt and said, "I cannot develop things as fast, make sure Terry is safe, and keep my eye on the company... I can't do everything. Before, I could... but not now."
"I can't," Matt said, thinking about all of the people he would have to see... the cameras... everything... "I want to help, but I can't be what you need. I can't do it."
"You haven't even tried," Bruce snarled. "He risks his life every night, the least you can do is let me try to help your ailment and try your hand at running the company! You're family too."
Matt's hands clenched, but he said nothing, opting instead to continue walking. Bruce knew he had hit a nerve, though, and that allowed him to see another difference in the two brothers; Terry's anger was hot, fiery and he tended to get excited and shout. Matt was the opposite--cold anger, that didn't control him. He had noticed that back in the apartment as well.
He stayed inside, didn't really like people... This was acute social withdrawal. And usually, therapy helped with it, though Bruce wasn't exactly very social himself. "I can help you," Bruce said to the retreating figure, his voice soft. "But you have to trust me."
Matt stopped walking and finally he said, his voice just as soft and low as Bruce's had been, "If you can't... and if this doesn't work out... you'll leave me alone? If I try it for a bit and it doesn't work, I won't be bothered?"
"Then I'll try." Matt looked at Bruce and then the two walked again, silence reigning between them, Matt's thoughts chasing each other frantically, but one kept popping up: he had agreed to return to Gotham. Return to where he had seen his mother killed, to the city where his brother patrolled, the place where he had grown up. For the first time in a few years, Matt was going ... home.