Rememberances and Reflections of the man behind the mask-Prologue
Notes: This came to me after reading the whole fugitive story line. Feedback would be appreciated. Cause I want to know if it sucks.
Summary: Bruce does some thinking.
Bruce Wayne sat in his darkened study. He wanted time alone to think, everything had been happening so fast around him. He felt as if he were a spectator in his own life. In fact he probably was. He had allowed the Batman to take over. He needed him to, otherwise he would have never been able to survive his time in Blackgate. However, in doing so he'd lost so much. He had managed to do even more damage to his relationship with Dick.
This thought brought on a flood of memories. Most of which he fought hard to forget. Yet they always seemed to come back to haunt him. Tonight was no exception.
Rememberances and Reflections of the Man behind the mask-Chapter 1
Chapter 1-In the Beginning.
When he was little he was a happy child. At least that's what Alfred tells him. He loved both his parents greatly. That much he remembers. The only thing he remembers from his young life is the tragedy that changed everything. He can still hear the bullet being fired. He can still hear his mother's scream, when he sleeps that is. He supposes that's why he doesn't sleep very often. To keep the nightmares at bay.
When he was a teen at the best boarding school money could buy, he remembers being a loner. He remembers not having many friends. He remembers the kids looking at him with pity in their eyes, and wishing they'd stop. Though he does remember one good thing about those years of imposed exile, he was a hit with the girls.
He remembers vividly the night he made the vow. The night he vowed to protect Gotham and all her citizens so that no child would have to go through what he did. He also remembers telling Alfred. That inital look of horror on his face then finally the acceptance. He remembers finding the cave, with all it's glorious bats. He fondly remembers the first night he put the costume on and went into the streets of Gotham at her Dark Knight: The Batman. He remembers the rush he got, because he felt he'd made a difference.
The memories after that aren't all that important to him. And if one were to ask him when he stopped being Bruce and became solely the Batman he would say it was sometime very early on. Well that is until that fateful night at the circus. The night that changed his life forever. It was the night a very special little boy came into his life and taught him how to live again
Rememberances and Reflections of the man behind the mask-Chapter 2
His memories of DIck Grayson are probably his most happiest. At the very least they are the ones he is most proud of. Dick is the one who taught him how to smile again. He remembers Dick's homecoming like it was yesterday. Alfred had made tons of food, not knowing what the young boy would want. That in itself was enough to make Bruce smile, even if it was only a small one.
He remembers Dick looking around Wayne Manor, eyes wide in awe. He remembers Dick asking shyly, "Is this really my new home?" He remembers the grin on Dick's face when he said yes. He also remembers the first time he caught Dick sliding down the banister. He smiled while Dick's back was turned. However, by the time Dick had reached the bottom he the "stare" firmly in place. He remembers telling Dick to NEVER let Alfred catching him doing that; and that it would be their little secret. Afterall, what Alfred didn't know wouldn't hurt him, right? Bruce had smiled conspiratorily with the boy then.
He remembers their first Christmas. He remembers buying the biggest tree he could find. Then going to the toy store and practically buying out the whole thing. He remembers trying to wrap all those gifts and wondering how it was possible Alfred could do it in half the time he could. He still has the gift Dick gave him. It was supposed to be a picture of the circus. It turned out to be a bunch of different colored blobs. But Bruce loved it just the same.
He remembers those first years, before Dick became Robin, with the most fondness. When it was just Dick and Bruce. Why these are his favorite memories he isn't sure. Maybe it's because he feels that by allowing Dick to become Robin, he somehow corrupted him. Brought a darkness into his life he had no right to.
He remembers the first night Dick made a mistake as Robin and finds himself cringing; oh he knows it was necessary. But he often wonders if in those early years he was too rough on him. Alfred used to tell him he was at times. He remembers the day Dick quit being Robin and became Nightwing. He remembers how proud of him he was. Not that he ever told him. He wanted to, well Bruce wanted to anyway.
He remembers swearing to himself there would never be another Robin. He should have known better. God he should have known. He realizes now he should have kept that vow.
Rememberances and Reflections of the man behind the mask-Chapter 3
He remembers the night he met Jason Todd and has to smile slightly. The boy was trying to steal the hubcaps off the Batmobile. Bruce had gone home that night and told Alfred he had to find a way to help Jason.
He had done so by allowing the boy to move iinto Wayne Manor, then slowly revealing his secret. At the time there was no way Bruce could have known things would turn out as badly as they did. How could he have known?
True, had Bruce really thought about it he'd have realized Dick and Jason were as different as night and day. Where Dick had Bruce and Alfred to help him with his grief, Jason had no one. He supposed that was why Jason was unwilling to play by the Batman's rules. He'd been living on his own for so long, that by the time Bruce came into his life it was too late. Jason had his own set of rules and own way of doing things.
Jason's lack of discipline wasn't the only difference between the two young men. Jason seemed angrier than Dick and was more willing to show his emotions. Bruce, or rather Batman, had tried to show him how to use his anger for the purpose of fighting crime. He had tried to teach him to lock his emotions away. But none of that had worked in the end.
That's not to say that there weren't happy times while Jason was living at the Manor. There was that one birthday of Bruce's when Jason had gotten him a gift certificate to a strip club. Bruce still had the unused certificate. He'd often asked Jason how he'd gotten it. Jason had always said he had his ways. The why he had done it was much more interesting. He had told Bruce he needed to seriously get laid. Jason had figured one of the stripers would take a liking to Bruce and offer her services for a night. Bruce just shrugged. The kid had definitely been on the streets for too long.
The other good memory that stood out in Bruce's mind about Jason was the first time the two Robins had come face to face. Jason had tried to piss Dick off. Dick, for his part, had taken it in stride. He later told Bruce, "there is no way I'm gonna let some snot nosed punk push my buttons." Luckily, Bruce had the cowl down and he was able to laugh and say "oh really?" That was all it had taken to get Dick laughing. From then on, for a little while at least, Dick had shown Jason the ropes. Even if it was done somewhat reluctantly.
The day Jason was killed by the Joker will be forever burned in Bruce's mind. He remembers getting there too late to save Jason. He remembers wanting to kill Joker, then reminding himself that's not the way he does things. he wonders if he will ever be able to forgive himself. Probably not.
On the day of Jason's funeral he made the same vow he had when Dick became Nightwing. He was going to go it alone from then on. When was he going to learn that was a pointless vow to make?
Rememberances and Reflections of the man behind the mask-Chapter 4
He remembers the day Dick came and told him Tim Drake, the young boy who lived next door, had discovered their secret. He was livid at first. Then he started to wonder how it was possible. Dick went on to explain Tim had seen Dick do a move at the circus, then use the same move as Robin to save Batman. So from there he figured out Dick was Robin, and if Dick was Robin then Bruce Wayne had to be Batman. It was all so simple. Dick also told Bruce Tim felt Batman needed a Robin, and was offering to do it.
Out of the question, Bruce had protested. Jason had only recently died. He wasn't about to risk another boy's life. No. The answer was NO. He still didn't know how or when it had happened. Dick had refused to tell him. But one day Tim had shown up in the cave proclaiming himself the new Robin. What surprised Bruce was that he had the costume already. Bruce had protested. Told him no.
Tim proved to be a worthy partner, however. Afterall, as Tim was quick to point out, he was an excellent detective. He'd found out Bruce's secret hadn't he? And he'd kept it until he couldn't take the fact that Batman no longer had a Robin when he obviously needed one. God the kid knew how to be persuasive; and he was stubborn as hell. Just like Bruce, as Alfred was quick to point out numerous times. And that in a nutshell was how Tim had joined the fold.
Oh in hindsight it had seemed so simple. There wasn't any of the fighting with Dick as there had been with the choice of Jason. In fact, Dick approved of Tim wholeheartedly. He'd even helped train him when he could get away from his work with the Titans and later in Bludhaven. The two were very close. It had helped bring Bruce and Dick close again. How could Bruce not approve of his new partner?
Tim was young, to be sure, but he was dedicated to the job. He could somehow find clues Batman had missed at times. His opinions and computer skills were invaluable. He seemed to fit Batman so well. For that Bruce was thankful.
Bruce suddenly realizes something. He has very few memories of Tim and Bruce. Most of his memories are of Batman and Robin. He supposes it is because Tim has never lived at Wayne Manor the way Dick and Jason have. And when he comes to visit it is usually to see Alfred. So Bruce has had little time to spend as Bruce Wayne with the boy.
Does he regret it? Well yes, he guesses he does. Is there anything he can do to change it? More than likely, but Tim already has a father. And their relationship is already on shaky ground. Bruce has no desire to make it worse. Sudden interest in spending quality time with Tim might upset Jack Drake. Which is not something he wishes to do. He knows the man has a nasty temper, he has no desire to see that rage turned on Tim. Even though Tim could defend himself, Bruce doubts he would against his own father. So for now Bruce has to let Batman be the one close to Tim.
Though Bruce must admit he wonders why Tim has never come to him for advice about women. Afterall, Bruce has a new woman in his life often. Whereas Dick has limited experience where the ladies are concerned. Yet Tim seems more comfortable talking to Dick than him. If there was anything he'd like to change that would be it. He wishes Tim would talk to him the way he does Dick.
He knows that with Tim he's made a terrible mistake. One of his biggest, if he is completely honest with himself. Batman let it slip to Stephanie that he was Robin. It's amazing to Bruce that Tim has somehow managed to forgive him. That's not to say that it was overnight. And he's sure Tim will throw it in his face every chance he gets. But for the most part, on the surface, Tim appears to have forgiven him.
He has come to a decision. One he has come to before. Though this time he intends for it to stick. After Tim there will never be another Robin. Tim fits too well. That's it, no more Batman and Robin once Tim gets tired of doing this. Besides, he doubts Dick or Tim would let him give the mantle to someone else. Which is fine with him.
Rememberances and Reflections of the man behind the mask-Chapter 5
Chapter 5-Jean Paul
Jean Paul was probably his biggest mistake. As Batman or as Bruce Wayne, take your pick. He wasn't ever really part of the family. That's not to say Bruce didn't try. He did. God, did he try. He thought he could somehow help Jean Paul fight the training of St. Dumas by teaching him Bruce's own philosphy. True it was vigilantism, but he made a point to protect the innocent.
In the end, Dumas had won and Jean Paul had lost the battle. Bruce had failed. The worst part of it was that he couldn't say he didn't know where he'd gone wrong. He knew exactly where it was. It was when he'd offered Jean Paul the mantle of the Batman. With that one action Bruce had destroyed so much. This wasn't exactly something he could blame on Batman. No matter how much he may have wanted to.
Tim had asked him why he hadn't given it to Dick. Bruce had taken the cowards way out, and told Tim it was because Dick had his own with the Titans as Nightwing. He couldn't and wouldn't ask him to be in Batman's and Bruce's shadow. The truth of the matter was Bruce wouldn't have been able to handle it if anything had happened to Dick while he was wearing the Batsuit.
So he'd given it to Jean Paul and watched the image he'd so carefully created be destroyed. Jean Paul as Batman had killed. This had destroyed his relationship with Commissoner James Gordon. If there was one thing he blamed Jean Paul for it was this. It took him so long to rebuild their relationship. He wasn't even sure it was the same after that.
Of course he couldn't blame Jean Paul for much of anything else. Afterall, in the end Bruce had failed him. By the time Bruce had stripped him of the mantle of the Batman Jean Paul's mind was destroyed as well. When he'd recived word that Jean Paul had gone on a rampage recently he decided he alone would stop him. He'd stopped feeling sorry for the man.
Does he regret that things have gotten this out of hand? Yes. He knows he should have taken care of Jean Paul years ago. He probably should have gotten him a good therapist. He should have know he couldn't help Jean Paul alone. He also should have known better then to give the mantle to an outsider. God, he wishes he could go back and do things differently. He suddenly finds his thoughts turning again to Dick .....