master_bruce: (Young - Thief/Eating)

The boat stays in dock for only another two hours before it leaves for the South China Seas. The time is spent trying to get the captain to understand that yes, he has money, but no, no passport. No passport, no name. Eventually, the man takes the cash and gets a dirty sailor who smells of oil to take him below.

China. It'll do.

---

He shares a cabin with four sailors who look at him suspiciously for two weeks, discussing between themselves what crimes he's committed to be running away. Bruce doesn't speak Chinese but he gets the drift. It's exactly what he'd think if he were in their position. Or maybe they're not. Maybe they're wondering why he spents six hours a day in a seemingly futile race with himself through the cargo decks, climbing the containers, jumping between them, running endless miles in circles, over and over. When he's not running and jumping and climbing, there are always sit-ups, press-ups, chin-ups, squats, lunges, shadow boxing...

...even he's not sure why. But he can't sit still. At night, when he should be sleeping, he thinks of Chill and the desperate look in his eyes as his father handed him his wallet, dropped it, ("It's fine, it's fine..."), the expression afterwards when his mother lay dead and his father dying, ("Bruce, don't cry..."), the words in the courthouse and the way the man couldn't turn to look at him...did he feel guilty? Did Joe Chill, double murderer, feel bad for what he had done?

                                                                                                                                                                                                 (If I hadn't got scared, they'd still be alive.)

He comes to the conclusion it doesn't matter, as he rises from his bunk and goes to run some more. Because it's not just Chill he's mad at any more. It's the system that released him, the politics that made it necessary, the crime that ruins lives like his. Falcone, for robbing him of his chance to be free.

Bruce doesn't sleep much these days.

---
 
 
He learns some words in Chinese. Then a sentence or two. His cabinmates decide that, for a man who is obviously a murderer or rapist or something, he's not so bad. At least he keeps to himself and doesn't get in the way. As stowaways go, he's not so bad.
 

---

For three weeks, he doesn't think of anything except what happened he night he left. Then practicality asserts itself - what exactly is he doing? This isn't some existential angst borne from an impulsive decision, though it was impulsive...no, this is the methodical thinking of a man who started down a path he has no desire, or ability, to veer from.

So, what is he doing? Falcone was right. People from his world, they never understand. Bruce thought he did and then he discovered he knew nothing. And (why do we fall, Bruce?) what do people do when they know nothing?

They learn.

He'll learn. He'll teach himself and when he can't, he'll get others to do it. He'll discover what makes a criminal, he'll live among them, he'll show Falcone that if you fear what you don't understand, then understanding will bring fearlessness. And then...well, that part he hasn't worked out yet.

But he knows one thing. He won't be Bruce Wayne any more. If he has to go a thousand miles to find someone who doesn't know his name, then he'll go six thousand to not have to have one at all.
 
master_bruce: (Young - Petulant)

We don’t need to see this.

I do.

Chill’s dead. He supposes he should be glad. But Chill’s dead and he didn’t kill him.

He doesn’t feel glad. He feels robbed.
 

---

Bruce was Prom King, of course. He didn’t want to be but knew it would happen about two years before it actually did. He was dutiful. He took the right girl. He acted surprised and pleased when they called his name. Inside, he just felt like asking whether he would have got it if his name wasn’t Wayne or if his parents hadn’t been murdered.

The day after graduation, he took up bungee jumping. He was only sorry when the band returned him to the applause of his friends and the girls telling him how brave he was. For a moment there, he forgot what it was like to be rich and popular.

---

In the car, he’s quiet. He ruminates on why Falcone should have done what he’s wanted to do all these years. How dare he? For Chill to die for something as stupid and petty as keeping his mouth shut – doesn’t Falcone know how killing that man was supposed to free him? How it was supposed to cleanse his soul of guilt. How he’d now, finally, be able to go to his parents graves and say, look Mom, Dad. I did it. He paid. And then it would all be alright. Finally, mercifully, it would all be alright.
 

I’m not one of your good people, Rachel.

What’s he supposed to do now?
 

Your father would be ashamed of you.

She’s right. He would.

---

He made sure to graduate top of his class. At least that was something that could never be attributed to his name. Nobody seemed surprised though. He’s Bruce Wayne. Of course he’d be the smartest kid in school.
 

---

No gun. I’m insulted.

His father would be ashamed of him.
 

He wishes he could be proud of himself. He’s walked into Falcone’s den with nothing but words. He hopes his father would approve. He wishes he could be proud of himself but really, he just knows he’s got nothing to lose.

---

He had hoped it would be different at Princeton. It isn’t. He’s popular before he’s even got there. Everyone knew he was going. Everyone was waiting. Ready-made friends, endless parties, never short of an invitation, never a chance to get bored. Some of them are even nice. He makes friends. He studies hard. He plays lacrosse and soccer and rugby. He skis. Summers on the water, at beach houses, abroad.
 

Christmas with Alfred. He’ll suffer Wayne Manor, for Alfred, at Christmas.
 

And all the time, they laugh around him and he smiles and shares the jokes and dates endless beautiful girls and in the back of his mind; I’m going to kill him.

                                                                                                                  (Your father would be ashamed of you.)

---

You’ve never tasted desperate. You’re Bruce Wayne, the prince of Gotham. You’d have to go a thousand miles to meet someone who didn’t know your name.

Bruce has spent a lot of years, thinking he knew a lot of things. All those friends who looked at him and he could see them thinking two things; one was billionaire and the other was orphan. And he would pretend to ignore it and feel stoic and feel strong and feel good that in this privileged world, he knew what Bad was. He knew about crime. He knew what it could do to you.

Today, he realises he knows nothing and all it took was being told. By Falcone, of all people.
 

This is a world that you’ll never understand - and you always fear what you don’t understand.

But he does know what fear can do to you.

                                                                                                                                     (If I hadn’t got scared, they’d still be alive.)

If he has to go a thousand miles to find a place where no one knows his name, then that’s what he’ll do. It’ll be a relief. He doesn’t want to be Bruce Wayne anymore.



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Bruce Wayne

July 2015

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