'It is not your fault your parents died.
It was your father's.'
The rage is so strong, you think you could kill him.
It's taken seven years to come this far and what have you learned? You thought you wanted to understand the criminal mind but that didn't take seven years to figure out. You know how they steal to put food on the table or simply for gain. You know how they kill for revenge or profit or fun. You know how some feel bad about the drugs they sell but simply can't feed their families without it. You know that some really don't give a shit.
What else do you know?
You understand that you want to be different. You still don't want to be yourself.
It's still your fault.
Maybe all this has really been about trying not to make it your fault.
Joe Chill was a drug addict and he was desperate and he killed your parents when he didn't have to. You understand. You've seen it a hundred times by now. But nothing changes the fact that if you weren't scared, you would have stayed in the theatre and seen the opera and left with everyone else and no one would have died. Or maybe some people would have died but it wouldn't be your mom and dad. Their deaths...that's still all on you. But no one else's has to be.
You're faced with a criminal you're supposed to want to rid the world of, and handed a sword.
And it's then you know, you know, that despite all the stealing you've done, despite these seven years of running and being nameless and escaping and desperately trying to get away...you're still your father's son. You'll never be anything else.
The place burns and you're glad. You make sure your mentor (maybe you didn't learn what he wanted you to, but you still learned) has help. The dojo crumbles off the mountain and you're free, and yourself and for the first time, you see a way forward from this.
It feels strange to wear a suit again. It's oddly confining but not in a bad way. There's something to be said for fine tailoring and well-made materials against your skin for a change. But that's all the thought you give it, and just about all the thought you give to being home again. To being Bruce Wayne again, who everyone thought was dead. To being the fucking Prince of Gotham, risen from oblivion to be welcomed back with open arms into the spotlight and the weight of expectation of a city looking to you for...what? Guidance? Wealth? Entertainment?
You don't care. You'll play the part beause you have to. Maybe if you learned one thing while you were away, it's that you're not Bruce Wayne. You haven't come home to wear that name, haven't come this far to simply sit in a mansion and donate your money to victims of the street gangs that run the city.
But you're still your father's son. That's another thing you learned and you'll hang on to it, no matter what comes next. You're still your father's son.