Terry stood in front of a gravestone, read the words again. He couldn't believe it, didn't want to.

Matt McGinnis, adoring son, loving brother.

"Matt…" he whispered. He ran his fingers over the object's plastic surface and blunt edges. Kneeling, he gently set down the toy airplane. Matt's favorite toy. He held back tears threatening to run free. He stood up again.

"Matt…" he repeated heartbrokenly. Terry clenched his fists. He hung his head.

"No! It should have been me!" he yelled. He looked up again, at the sky.

"It should've been me," he whispered, his voice broken.



"Terry? I'm going out for a while. Could you please help me get a carton of milk before I return?" Terry's mother asked. Terry rolled over on the couch.

"Uh" he muttered. He heard the door click shut and sighed. He put his hands behind his head and completely relaxed. A perfect day with no Mr. Wayne to bother him…

Terry dozed peacefully for half an hour when he suddenly felt a weight on him.

"Hey twip, Mom told you to get milk," Matt reminded, pounding on his arm. Terry easily rolled and shoved his little brother off. He moaned and closed his eyes.

"Wake up!" Matt bellowed.

"Scram twip" Terry groaned. Matt stared at his big brother. Daring to open an eyelid, Terry saw his little brother giving him the puppy eyes. He sighed and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a card.

"Here, buy the milk…" he said, tossing the card to Matt. The boy stared at it.

"Don't I get a reward?" he asked cheekily.

"Fine, fine, you can spend ten creds on yourself, alright?" Terry asked. By the slam of the door and silence of the room Terry knew it was all right. He sighed in content and closed his eyes for some well-deserved sleep.



"Why had I been so lazy?" Terry asked himself softly.



His phone rang. In exasperation Terry got off the sofa and opened his phone.

"Yes?" he snapped.

"Terry" the voice said. Terry could have crushed the phone in his hand.

"Suit up. There's a robbery at the Gotham Mall" Bruce ordered.

"Can't I have just one day off? The GCPD can handle it…" Terry wheedled.

"Terry…" Bruce warned. Terry rubbed his temples and sighed.

"Yes sir" he said, clicking the phone shut.



Terry shook his head, wiped his arm across his eyes, remembering the incident that would forever be burned into his memory.



The Batman soared across the sunny sky, landing on the roof of the Gotham Mall. He smashed his way in through the glass roof to find himself in the middle of gunshots.

"Slag him!" one of the firers shouted. By the teen's make-up and clothes Terry instantly recognized him as a Joker. He jetted up, just missing a shot. He threw a Batarang at the Joker, knocking him on the head. The clown dropped to the floor like a stone. Batman looked around. All seemed quiet… He frowned. It wasn't normal for the Jokerz to be working solo. He caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. He whirled around; saw a small boy, scared, crouching behind a seat.

"Matt?" he whispered. What's Matt doing here? I thought he'd be at the video arcade, he thought. He looked up and frowned. The electronics shop? He wondered. The shop was his favorite in the whole mall, but he knew Matt hated it with a passion.

'Borrrring' he would yawn as Terry dragged him in to gawp at the newest equipment. It was almost a ritual, Terry grinned. Suddenly he heard a slight sound behind him. Too late, he saw the other Joker. He saw the shining gun, the finger pulling the trigger. Too late, he realized what was going to happen. Before he could move, the orange beam struck his brother in the chest. Screaming in rage, he ran to the grinning gang member. He punched he teen hard before he could even react. The Joker fell to the floor, a thin line of blood trickling from his mouth. Terry ran to his fallen brother, lifted his head. Matt looked up at him, his eyes glazing over.

"Matt! No, please, you can't die…" he said desperately, shaking the boy. Matt looked at his face without recognition.

"B…Batman?" he asked. He coughed blood.

"Come on Matt, we gotta get you to a hospital, somewhere… Oh God, you can't die…" Terry looked around anxiously. Matt stared at the masked face then smiled slightly.

"T…Terry" he said. Terry looked into Matt's eyes, worry and concern shown in his eyes.

"Matt… It's gonna be OK…" he said, more to himself than to his brother. The young boy reached his hand out gingerly, touched the black Kevlar mask gently. He fumbled in the plastic bag he was holding and pulled out a rectangular object. He placed it firmly in his brother's hands. Terry looked at it. It was the video game he had been pining for. His eyes filled with tears.

"Terry… I finally got it… for you…" Matt said, his voice barely a whisper. His hand went limp and fell to his side. His eyes closed in a peaceful smile. Terry clutched his brother's head to his chest and cried.



"If only I had gotten there sooner… if only I hadn't been so lazy…" he said regretfully. He turned around and took out his Batman mask from his backpack. He stared at the black face in front of him, the eyeholes cut so even if the wearer was smiling, he would still look sinister and scary. He looked at the large, sharp, pointy ears and sighed.

"I've seen a lot of death before" he murmured. He ran his fingers over the mask.

"Saved a lot of people," he said. He frowned.

"But I couldn't save you" he said, his voice filled with emotion. He gazed at the gravestone.

"I never told you, did I?" he asked. "Never told you I was Batman". He smiled darkly.

"Some brother I am" he muttered. "Brothers tell brothers everything. No secrets" He looked at the toy airplane lying near Matt's buried body.

"Matt… I just wanted to say…" he gulped and hung his head. He clenched his fists.

"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm sorry for every mean thing I ever said to you. I'm sorry for every time I told you that you were a nuisance. And… I'm sorry… I'm sorry…" he brushed his arm across his eyes angrily.

"Why is this so hard for me to say?" he asked himself furiously. He sighed and knelt next to his little brother's grave.

"Matt, I know we've not had the best relationship. The times when we were actually having fun together were few," he remembered back a few days earlier. Matt had come running into his room, begging for help on a Math question that he couldn't answer. Terry blinked hard as he remembered his response. He had shooed his brother out of the room, irritated. When Matt had pleaded for help he had exploded and yelled at him, about how irritating he was and that he had better things to do. A tear trickled from his eye and fell onto the soft ground as he remembered Matt's hurt look as he walked, crestfallen, out of the room.

"I yelled at you a lot, more than I really wanted to" Terry said, shaking now to control the flow of tears.

"You always hid it. You always tried to look like you didn't care. But sometimes, I could tell. Your dejected face, the slump in your back, the tone in your voice. But yet you always put on an 'I-don't-care' attitude and was always happy. It was simply a protective outer layer, wasn't it? Trying to hide your true feelings"

"From who Matt? Who were you hiding your feelings from? Was it me? Because… because you thought I would laugh at you?"

Terry felt the hot tears running down his face. This time he didn't wipe them away.

"I remember one night. I was hungry, went for a bite to eat. I passed your room, heard sobs. I opened the door slightly. Saw you crying, huddled in a ball. Do you remember that night?"

"I sat down beside you, comforted you. You were frightened, from some weird nightmare. That was the closest we ever were as brothers. The next day, everything was back to normal. It was like that night hadn't happened. You see Matt? I haven't forgotten. That moment is here, locked up tight in my heart"

Tears rolled off Terry's face onto Matt's grave.

"If only…" he sighed.

"If only… I wish you were still alive. I miss your optimistic smile, the sound of your laughter. Come back Matt. We miss you, Mom and I. The house is quiet without you"

"If only I hadn't been so lazy, that day" he bowed his head and hit the ground furiously.

"If only I had been the one to go… then you would still be alive…" he clenched his teeth. He could taste the salt of his tears in his mouth but ignored it.

"It's all my fault. You're gone because of me". Terry lifted his head to the sky.

"It's all my fault!" he yelled tearfully. He scooped a small handful of soil into his hand and let it drain out slowly.

"I'm so sorry Matt," he said.

"I never said this in all the time you were here with me. I guess it's better late than never" Terry looked out of tear brimmed eyes at the sky.

"Matt… I know I wasn't the best of the best. I know I kept secrets from you, secrets I couldn't tell. But now, my greatest wish is that you were still here so you could hear me say this"

Terry took a deep breath and sighed. He smiled lovingly at his brother's grave.

"I love you," he said. He bent his head.

"I wish I could say more, of how much I really miss you… but words can't express my true feelings". Terry stood up and brushed himself off. He started to walk away then turned back, noticing something that wasn't there before. On the ground, next to Matt's grave was a single white rose. He picked it up and cradled it to his heart, eyes closed. He looked up into the sky again, looked at a cloud that resembled a face he knew and loved. Matt McGinnis looked down and smiled at his older brother. Those three small words were all that he needed to hear.







Opalgirlz: OK, that was utter rubbish. Writing stuff from older siblings seems soooo much harder!!!! If you want to read some really fluffy stuff, read my other Batman Beyond fanfic, which is what Matt would say if the tables were turned and it was Terry who was dead.