All My Fault
I watch him as he enters the cave, walking with authority towards the massive quantum computer at the edge of catwalk. He sits at his chair and I walk to his side. He cycles through image after image before stopping on a video of a robbery occurring in a factory. The hoodlums wear white, red and green make-up, denoting their affiliation with the infamous Joker. Sitting his chair, he stares at the screen, narrowing his eyes before rising to his feet and heading to the center of his platform. He steps on a panel and the pressure causes his armory to rise with a hiss. He steps in and his black and smoky gray armor places itself perfectly on him. His cape drops from his shoulders and finally, he lifts his cowl and places it on his head.
He is Batman.
There is nary a night that he leaves the cave that I don't fear for him. It isn't that I believe Master Wayne to be incapable of handling himself and the scum of the criminal underworld, though any of his enemies could by chance find a weak point on his mortal body and take advantage. It is only that I love him.
I came to the Wayne family as an injured man, retired from the MI6 of my own accord. My father had served them for years and on his deathbed, he asked me to carry on the family tradition. I honored him. From the day that I met the young billionaire family, I loved them. I never intended to grow so attached to them. I didn't truly want to feel close to them as a family. But the Wayne family treated me as if I were one of their own.
I watched their young son Bruce from a baby onward and I took a special interest in him. He was always an inquisitive boy with a bright personality. He had a fascination with heroes, idolizing the masked man Zorro above all else. When a stage production of the play made its run in Gotham, I told Master Thomas and he and his wife took young Master Bruce to enjoy seeing his hero on stage.
And that was the night they died.
When I received the call, I stood in the bathroom mirror, staring blindly at my reflection in shock. I left the manor as soon as I could and headed to the city. Police cruisers were already whipping through the Gotham streets, I assumed on their search for the murderer of the Waynes. I made it to the police headquarters where I was led to Bruce. Comforting him was the then Lieutenant Gordon. I scooped Master Bruce up and placed him in the car. The ride to the manor was silent.
It rained on the day of the funeral as if God himself wept for the loss of life. Someone had to shed tears, because young Master Bruce did not. His face was frozen and his gaze seemed to be empty. He refused to eat until often the late hours of the night. Things began to grow even more peculiar as time went on. I would wake in the darkness and hear young Bruce talking. Even laughing. I would walk to his room and stand outside of the door and listen to his conversations with no one, only to find that he did talk to someone. Or rather someone he perceived to be there.
During the day, Bruce was quiet and didn't make a sound, unless he wanted something specific from me. But at night, he'd have full-blown conversations with his parents that weren't there. Eventually, his withdrawal from human interaction began to worry me and I made preparations to bring in a psychologist to analyze him. The young, enthusiastic psychologist that I brought in to speak with Bruce was a Dr. Hugo Strange. After two weeks of interviews and treatment, Dr. Strange wished to declare Bruce clinically insane and schizophrenic as well as admit him into the fledgling insane asylum, Arkham.
Initially, I believed that it was the correct thing to do and on the night before the announcement was to be made, Bruce came to me and pleaded that I change my mind. He said that he felt better and that he wouldn't speak with his parents again as long as he was allowed to stay with me. I saw the pain in his eyes and my heart couldn't bear it. I refused to see that look in his eyes again nor did I wish for anyone else to see Master Bruce as a lunatic. Thus, instead of declaring Bruce Wayne insane, I declared that Wayne Manor was closed to the public and I withdrew Bruce and myself from society.
Every night that I watch him leave the cave, I regret my decision.
Every wound that I have to patch, every bone that I have to mend and every minor surgery that I have to perform reminds me that Batman is my fault. Had I done what any reasonable guardian would've done and had Bruce receive that help he needed, all of this would never have happened. The damage to his psyche may have been mended and the young boy would've been repaired and returned to me.
However, every victory that Bruce achieves and every crime and death that he prevents reminds me why Batman is necessary. Why our sacrifice was necessary. Why my decision was necessary.
Bruce grew to find something within himself that drove him forward. His desire to wage war against crime as well as prevent the events that destroyed his life from happening to another boy helped him to become the man that he is now. A man that sacrifices his body and his life daily in order to save Gotham from the corruption and darkness that had plagued it before his arrival. The protector and guardian of this city, patrolling from the shadows.
My young Master Bruce grew up to become The Dark Knight.
And it is all my fault.
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