more_than_revenge: (Bats are nocturnal!)
The evening's growing old and Bruce is on his way to the roof after a late dinner that was heavier on mushrooms than it seemed it should have been. He lingered over coffee and his evening paper, and now it's time for the night's work to begin in earnest.

When he starts hiccuping, the sound noisy and undignified in the confines of the elevator. When the doors open on the top floor, he grimaces and presses the button for his floor instead. It's a short ride, but by the time he's arrived at his room, there's an uneasy and unsettled feeling in his stomach. He pauses, settling himself on the edge of the bed to see if it will pass, but when the light in the ceiling of his room begins to pulse and dance though his head remains perfectly still, he begins to suspect that it's something far more than just an upset stomach.

Before long, he gives up even trying to understand and lets the light wash over him, the edges of his vision blurry with indistinct shapes and colors all muddled together. Even the bats dancing in the corners of the room seem more amusing than threatening, especially when the lights of the city visible outside the window start swirling around them and he lies back, unaware of anything much for a long time.

It's only when he wakens, thirsty and hungry and out-of-sorts, that he recognizes it for what it was, and that raises more questions than answers.
more_than_revenge: (Too much heat)
You know how to disappear. We can teach you to become truly invisible.

And the skills he needed to do just that were honed to perfection by intense training. It was that training that made him what he is today, inescapably so. He can't divorce himself of the League of Shadows' influence, and it would be foolish to try. That training was everything Bruce needed to find his true purpose. Right down to the moment when their ways irrevocably parted with the words Gotham must be destroyed. The words that reminded him where he truly belongs.

This is not that place, but it is one that can, perhaps, be of use to him in his mission to protect the people of Gotham. This place, too, has a problem with crime and corruption, a problem which, apparently, is as pervasive as Gotham's, if on a much smaller scale. And so Bruce has spent the day in the city, simply observing its residents. At times, he has made the utmost use of his skills to become, just as Ducard's words suggested, truly invisible, to melt into the background until it's as though there was nothing of him there in that way that seemed like magic when he first saw it.

For most of the afternoon, he has been ... not invisible, but unnoticed. That is easy enough to him; it was one of the first skills he learned when he ran from Gotham and disappeared. Bruce knows just how to select the right wardrobe, the right body language, the right attitude, so that people will simply ignore him. Even in Gotham, where he's a household name. Here, where no-one knows him, it's almost childishly easy to don jeans, hooded sweatshirt, and a slumped, subservient posture and simply disappear into the passers-by.

And his first day of intelligence-gathering in the city has been revealing, to say the least. He'd thought to learn something of the way the city works, of its soul, what drives it. Had thought that, were organised crime so pervasive a problem as Vincent suggested, he would learn more of it out in the city than from any number of news reports. He knows well enough the incompleteness of the picture one will obtain from the media. He expected the great amount of useless gossip he's heard, and the occasional interesting murmur. He's not surprised to occasionally glimpse a man in a suit whose attitude he recognises in an instant from his home sixty-six years in the past.

He even expected to hear the occasional muttering about the hotel. Vincent warned him that the hotel's residents are considered enemies by some. What he didn't expect was the whisper of the name Vincent Valentine and the fear in the voice that murmured it. Nor, when he paused to listen, did he expect the suggestion of a monster guarding the hotel, or of a red ghost or a tiger that came from nowhere.

In Bruce's experience, such rumours and legends are exaggerated. But as the source of a large number of the more superstitious and supernatural rumours in Gotham, he knows well enough that they often spring from a seed of truth. Just what the truth behind these is will, perhaps, reveal itself with careful investigation.
more_than_revenge: (Hero with a face)
It's been a good day.

Today, 549 members of Gotham's criminal underworld were brought before Judge Surrillo by Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes, were indicted, and were put behind bars awaiting trial. It took nerve, it took co-operation. Most of all, it took a man who's not afraid to stand up for what needs to be done, no matter how hard it will make life for him. In one move, Harvey Dent did more to damage organised crime in Gotham than Batman has done in nine months of campaigning. And he did it legitimately, in his legal capacity as Gotham City District Attorney. He did it with theatricality and flair - those things, he has in common with Batman - but he did it publicly and openly, and it was a brilliant move.

Bruce stands in front of the mirror and shrugs into a light, fine silk shirt. Only the best for Bruce Wayne, especially at something like tonight's event, a spectacular fundraiser hosted in his own penthouse. Impressions, after all, are an important part of any deception.

When he first conceived the notion of Batman, Bruce didn't know how long it would take to bring justice to Gotham. He was prepared to face a long, hard battle. He expected help from some quarters, from Alfred, from Rachel, whose words on the difference between justice and vengeance stunned him into seeing the reality of Gotham all those years ago. What he didn't expect was allies like Jim Gordon, like Harvey Dent.

When he said he'd host this fundraiser, it was both a mark of how impressed he was when he first met Dent, and a chance to get to watch him closer. And now, with all that's happened since the day he made that commitment, he's glad to be contributing to Dent's cause. Why shouldn't billionaire Bruce Wayne pitch in something for a charismatic and popular man he just happened to meet and like, a man who's the talk of Gotham? Especially when they have a mutual friend in Rachel. No, it won't do his cover any harm. He's earned rather a reputation for throwing his money behind causes on a whim.

But this isn't a whim, far from it. No, he's really wondering if perhaps Dent can do what he talked about the night Bruce met him, take up Batman's mantle and champion justice in Gotham using the law and the law alone and stand for the people's will to use the system to conquer the corruption.

If he can do that, then he can be the man that Gotham really needs to lead it forward. Bruce told himself when he started all this that he'd do it as long as it was needed, that he would be Batman until his mission was accomplished and Gotham was safe again, safe for the poor and underprivileged, no longer ruled by crooked cops and crime families. Maybe, just maybe, he thinks as he does up his buttons, that day Rachel mentioned is coming. The day when he can put aside Batman. The day she said she'd be there, waiting. He's wondered, at times, if he'd ever see that day. Today is not one of those days. Today, he can see it coming.

And he's going to tell her that. Tonight. So she knows that day is almost here.

He studies his reflection in the mirror. He's freshly shaven, hair neatly parted and brushed back. His shirt's pristine, and the fabric's got a slight sheen under the light.

Perfect. He selects a pair of silver cufflinks and begins fastening one as he steps out the door and out onto the stairs to the bottom floor of the penthouse.

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Bruce Wayne

November 2010

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