Partners: a Batman Beyond fanfic.

Summery: In the wake of a major jail break Batman goes missing. With Terry seemingly oblivious, Matt decides to take matters into his own hands.

Genre: Mystery/thriller.

section one:

Matt stayed up late that night, like most nights. It had been almost 5 months since he had discovered his brother's secret life. He had the stolen communicator tucked under his pillow and turned down low so that it couldn't be heard by anyone more then three feet away. His mom was asleep. His mom thought he was asleep. In truth he was listening. There had been a jail break. Blight had broken out of his high security cell and burned his way through half a cell block before cutting through the outer wall and making a b-line for the river. The police couldn't get close; he was giving off too much radiation even for the special unit. Commissioner Gordon had pulled her men back until they could get some better equipment. That had of course left the field free for Batman. Matt didn't know for sure, but he suspected the commissioner was in on the secret. Sometimes she did things that were a little too convenient. Of course that wasn't the only problem. When Blight had broken out a dozen others had fallowed in his wake. In one word: chaos. Matt was glued to the communicator. He wasn't going to miss a moment. Bruce Wayne asked if his brother could see Blight yet.

"Hard to miss him. He's leaving a trail a blind man could follow. I don't like it. All this random destruction isn't his style. Destruction maybe but not a rampage like this." Matt's brother always sounded different over the communicator. Maybe it was something in the mask but he could always tell it was Batman on the other end of the line, not just Terry.

"Think about it after he's back in maximum security." Mr. Wayne was different too, but in another way. Matt had only met him a few times. Each time it had seemed like he was acting. It was a very good act, but people didn't keep their guard up around kids as much. It didn't hurt that Matt knew what to look for. The looks between Mr. Wayne and his brother. The way he walked, even with the cane. The way he saw everything and said nothing. The way he could stand so still and seem to disappear even though you were looking right at him. It was creepy.

"Alright, I'm going in." Batman said over the communicator. For the umpteenth time Matt wished he could see what was happening as well as hear it. He had tried to rig up a screen once but the signal was encrypted.

"Remember the extra armor will protect you from the radiation, but restrict your movement." Mr. Wayne might be able to see what was happening. He seemed to see everything from his secret base.

Matt listened as his brother and Blight fought. He imagined each punch and kick as the sounds came through the speaker.

His brother won of course. Batman always won. The police finally got there Mr. Wayne pulled Terry out of the fray by reminding him of all the others who had escaped. His brother made a smart remark about not getting any sleep. Matt checked the clock. Sure enough, it was after 3. Matt turned off the receiver, and tucked it back into it's hiding spot inside one of the posts of his bed. He rolled over and was asleep in moments. It was a talent he had always had. Being able to fall asleep anywhere and wake up whenever he wanted to. His brother might be falling asleep in class but no one was going to find out he was missing sleep.

The next morning he ignored the paper as usual. He already knew the interesting stuff anyway. His mom on the other hand was frantic. Even with Blight back in police custody, several of the others were still on the loose. She fussed over him all morning making him promise to come straight home after school. He had to pretend to run off to the bathroom in order to slip into his brothers room. Terry hadn't come home. He had expected as much. He rumpled up the bed a bit as if it had been slept in and then clumsily made. His mom had the idea that Terry had came home late and left early for his job with Mr. Wayne. She had no idea how seldom he slept in his bed. Matt kept it that way. He grabbed his bag and ran for the bus.

At school he ignored the history lesson and hacked into his brothers computer instead. He checked the login record. His brother had logged in within 50 feet of the high school. He had probably gone straight there after a long night. That meant he was alright. Some of the bad guys had managed to go to ground, but they would get theirs eventually. For the moment his brother was safe. He went on ignoring the lecture and did his homework instead.

He came home right after school, just as his mom had told him to. She wasn't home yet. This was his favorite time of day. He made a sandwich, and carried it around with him. He went through his brother's room again; rearranging several little things to make it look lived in. he knew his mom wouldn't be home for another two hours. Even with Terry's 'part time job' she still had to work longer hours then she used to. Because of this she had signed Matt up for an after school program at the local center. Lucky for him, they were over crowded and under staffed. As long as he stuck around a few days a week he could slip out the rest of the time. Still, he couldn't be home when she got here, that would be out of character. He would come home half an hour after she did. She would tell him he should be more careful and maybe get angry. He would say that all his friends had gone to play soccer at the center. She would back off since the center was supposedly a safe place for kids and all that. He would get off with a warning. In the mean time, he took a nap.

He woke up when someone came in. he checked the clock. His mom was home early? That wasn't right. He heard the front door close and there was a soft thump as something was dropped onto the couch. Matt slipped out of his room and down the hall. He peeked through into the living room. It was Terry. He flopped down onto the couch running a hand through his hair. He looked tired. The nights had been quiet for the past week or so, but last night had been more then enough to make up for it. Terry just sat there for a minuet. Then he opened his eyes, straightened his shoulders and stood up. Even worn out as he was, he was strong. His phone rang and he pulled it out. He checked the number then answered.

"Hey." pause. "Slag it, they're not even waiting until dark." short pause. "Right, I know. I'm on it."

Matt ducked back into his room as his brother grabbed his bag and went to his room. He watched through the cracks in the door as Batman got ready. Batman slid the window open then touched something on his belt. A moment later he was invisible. Matt could hear him as he stepped out onto the windowsill. Then his booster rockets flared and Matt had to look away.

Matt waited until he was sure Batman was no where near. Then he went into his brother's room and shut the window. He didn't bother to latch it. They were five floors up. It wasn't as if anyone was going to be sneaking in.