Heart of a Wayne
In the morning light, Bruce can finally see the true extent and damage the inferno had on Wayne Manor. The building that sheltered six generations of his family. The building that his family built. The building that his father also help build. Its all gone now, with nothing left, nothing saved.
It is a painful walk, as his eyes flicker between rubble and ashes. His mind fills out memories of rooms and items that are no longer there. And he keeps telling himself, that what he lost is just a building. Just a building made of bricks and mortar... as Alfred said. Bruce tries to hide in numbness. He tells himself that it is just a building, in the same way Dr. Frederick's parting words to him at his birthday party meant nothing to him.
"The apple has fallen very far from the tree, Mr. Wayne."
Dr. Frederick is an old colleague and dear friend of his father. If Thomas Wayne were still alive they would be of the same age.
Bruce sighs and walks on, he does not want to remember the look in Dr. Frederick's eyes.
He finds himself in the area where the master suite used to be - it used to be his parents' room. There is nothing that tells him where he is exactly, just the charred remains of his father's antique stethoscope. A family heirloom, a once prized possession of the last of the true Waynes.
Something deep and dark rebels in his heart. His mind catalogs all his actions that brought him to this place in time. Poisonous, volatile anger did all this, and in a flash of flickering flame, engulfed everything in its vengeful path. He cannot bring back what he lost. No matter how well they can recreate Wayne Manor, the truth is it is all ashes. He cannot undo the past, he cannot bring back the dead – not even the currency of rage, blood or pain can do that.
The apple has fallen very far from the tree...
He can feel the weight of his shame.
Bruce walks on further still and approaches the well he fell through in his youth. The fire has eaten away too the wooden planks that covered it. The blaze stripped everything bare, wounds and secrets of old. He looks down the well, not really knowing what he hopes to see except the darkness within.
He sets out to find wooden planks, a hammer and a few nails. It is time to rebuild Wayne Manor, and start anew. Rebuild it. Just the way it was, brick for brick.
He wants the ghosts of his ancestors to know that he will bring back dignity to his name – their name. He hasn't forgotten, at least he tries not to. Its just that sometimes the pain of remembering is so black – there isn't room for anything else. And the darkness swallows him whole and there is nothing left of Bruce Wayne.
Rachel finds him, closing up the old well. He still has one more plank to fit in, and it will be shut and hopefully no one else will have to fall in. He looks at her, and to him in her simplicity she is a radiant angel. She smiles at him, he cannot remember all her words save for these...
"Your father would be proud."
The sound of her words is absolution washing over his parched and tortured soul.
He smiles back and asks her politely to please go find a few more nails, he does not want her to see how her words affect him. He tries to hide the tears those simple words bring to his eyes.
Bruce understands now the true meaning of Alfred's words.
The Wayne legacy is more than bricks and mortar, sir.
The metal upon metal sound of hammer meeting nail, mutes, and softens and blurs into the memory of a beating heart. He can still recall the wonderment of his eight year old self, upon hearing his father's heart through the earpieces of the antique stethoscope. And as he listens to that strong, steady rhythm of his father's heart beat, he knows he is Thomas Wayne's son. All that is good and honorable in the heart of the man is his true inheritance, his birthright, his to rightfully claim.
They are of one blood, and one heart.
They are after all Waynes.