Fic: A Bat And His Little Bird (Year One) I: Harbinger (1/1)
Title: A Bat And His Little Bird (Year One) I: Harbinger (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth
Series Notes: I'll be writing a lot of Bruce and Wee!Dick stories, but the stories of their first year together will be gathered together under this series title found here.
Summary: Early in his career as Batman, Bruce Wayne reflects on his successes, but something still seems to be missing.
Date Of Completion: June 26, 2007
Date Of Posting: June 26, 2007
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1559
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: I remembered my dad having to catch a frightened little bird that flew into our garage one summer’s day and this fluffy piece of fic came to me. While it’s kinda sappy in places with a shade of serious undertones, I couldn’t help myself! ;) Please enjoy.
NOTE: For whatever reason, I can't fix this text! Hopefully you can still enjoy the story. :)
n. One that indicates or foreshadows what is to come; a forerunner.
Bruce Wayne sat in the womb-like chair before the computer console. The chair matched the console: sleek, black, and state-of-the-art, just like all of his equipment, especially his pride-and-joy, the Batmobile.
He surveyed his little kingdom with satisfaction, pleased at how well things were going. It was still early in his career, past a year now and well into his second. He had established himself as a scourge to the criminals of Gotham, and his reputation was preceding him now. He had forged a good working relationship with Jim Gordon, and while many officials and even some police still distrusted him, he could live with that. He wasn’t in this to win a popularity contest.
He frowned slightly. His image was what he wanted among the criminal population: striking fear into their superstitious, cowardly hearts, but he seemed to be getting the same reaction from the innocent as well.
Well, of course, that was a hazard of his choice of costume and persona. A grim Bat who lived in the shadows would be a fearsome symbol. ‘Softening’ his image would be contrary to what he was trying to accomplish.
Still, it disturbed him just a little when he saw good people afraid of him, especially children.
He shook his head. Well, the price of doing business, as his businessman uncle would say. And he was rather content, pleased with the success of his Mission so far.
He was enjoying the culmination of years of hard work, though he had no illusions that the intensity of the work was over. In fact, it would grow more intense as he tangled with more and more villains and petty crooks out there. He would have to be at the top of his game. He was alone out there. One slip and it would all be over.
He sat back in the chair, gazing up at the high Cave ceiling. His playboy persona was a gift here. He could keep going out with all sorts of women and never settle down. How could he expect any woman to share his life? First of all, he needed to trust someone to let them know his secret and make sure they would never betray him, as Alfred never would, but that limited his choice of partners for life. He did have a few friends among the superhero community now that he trusted with his secret, Clark being the closest so far, but a man with his powers couldn’t understand the risks that a very human Bruce had to take night after night.
Bruce sighed. Well, he had committed himself to this path. He closed his eyes.
There was no one else to share it with, anyway.
Alfred had mourned his parents’ passing, for more than just his employers but his friends, and Bruce was not sure if he would have survived without his old friend’s help during those awful days.
Clark had lost his parents without even knowing them, he’d been so young when Krypton had exploded, but he had enjoyed the good fortune of growing up with Jonathan and Martha Kent as his adoptive parents.
No one that he knew quite understood what it was like to lose one’s parents to violence and at a young age.
He didn’t need a partner, anyway. He had Alfred, who helped him by staying here at the Cave, and he could always call on Clark or the other heroes out there when necessary.
No, the night and Gotham belonged to him, and him alone.
A swishing sound brought Bruce’s eyes open. He saw a flash of color fly erratically around the Cave, and he quickly looked for the bats. They were all quiet for now, but this newcomer could set them off. He got up from the chair, grabbed the net he kept handy in case a stray bat had a broken wing and needed tending, and followed the bird’s frantic flights around the Cave. He just hoped that the bird wouldn’t fly up into the sleeping bats.
He tracked it, sweeping the net on its pole to grab the bird, but it eluded the net and became more frantic. Bruce bit his lip and concentrated. Surely a Bat could catch a bird! He smiled at his own joke and waited patiently until the bird swooped close again, and then he slipped the net over it and closed it.
The birds’ wings flapped wildly and its chest beat rapidly. Bruce was afraid the poor thing’s heart would burst with fear. He wanted to pet it but feared that his touch would scare it even more.
He took a close look. A robin! The little bird must have lost its way, coming in through the Cave entrance.
“It’s okay, Little Bird,” he soothed. “I’m going to bring you back to freedom. No one’s going to hurt you.”
He kept up his soft words, climbing up the steps to the clock and coming out into the library. The robin’s struggles grew less, almost as if the bird heard the lack of threat in his voice.
Bruce chanced touching it, and the robin’s wings fluttered, but his tiny chest no longer was heaving. Satisfied, Bruce stepped out into the hall.
“Goodness, Master Bruce, what do you have there?”
“A robin, Alfred. The poor thing flew by mistake into the Cave.” He continued stroking the little bird.
Alfred followed Bruce to the kitchen and then out the back door. Bruce looked fondly at the robin and said softly, “Goodbye, Little Bird.” He released the robin from the net and it flew up, soaring high into the bright blue sky. Bruce and Alfred watched it until it eventually disappeared into the trees surrounding the Manor.
“Well, my good deed done for the day,” Bruce said lightly.
Alfred chuckled. “Yes, sir. And appropriate that a robin should appear as a harbinger to spring a few days away.”
Bruce nodded absently, watching the trees, then he turned and went back into the house.
& & & & & &
The next morning Bruce walked out the kitchen door to head for the seawall with his morning coffee.
“Wha..?” He ducked and straightened up, bursting into laughter. “Alfred! Come here!”
“What is it, Master Bruce…?” Alfred saw what Bruce was looking at. “Oh, my! It seems we have a houseguest.”
Amusement shone in Bruce’s blue eyes. “It does.”
The robin flew around, busily making a nest above the lantern-shaped light above the door.
“Well, I’d say that’s good luck.”
“I wonder if it’s the same robin that you rescued yesterday?”
“I think so,” Bruce said softly. Sentimental goof, he thought. What would the Bat think?
“Hmm, that reminds me,” Alfred said. “I have to get the bird feeder repaired so that it will be ready to be filled when fall comes around.”
For the rest of the day, Bruce worked outside at the table with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic and laughing at the antics of the robin, which seemed more than happy to take up residence at Wayne Manor. Its clear, bright song cheered him up, and once it hopped on the table, Bruce stilling his movements as the bird looked directly at him with bright eyes before hopping off, a bundle of avian energy.
& & & & & &
The next morning he took his coffee outside again and he and Alfred discussed the day’s plans while the robin swooped from the stately maple trees and back to its nest.
“So tonight’s the night to gather at theRose ‘N’ Crown, Alfred?”
“Yes.” The butler smiled in anticipation. “Our annual gathering will be like a little piece of Britain right here in Gotham.”
“Excellent.” Bruce knew that Alfred looked forward to the gathering of his English society, leading to an evening of discussing all things English from politics to entertainment to literature, and eating steak-and-kidney pie, plum pudding, and a whole bunch of other British food that only an Englishman could love.
But then there was the English beer, so that helped.
“And your plans, sir?”
“Ah.” Bruce fished a ticket out of his pocket. “Jim had to cancel on me, but I’m still going to Haly’s Circus. I want to catch the Flying Graysons’ act. I always enjoy seeing true professionals at work, and flying is a craft that I could always use pointers on.”
Amusement tinged Alfred’s face. “Always looking for improvement, sir?”
“Of course, Alfred.” Bruce smiled.
“Very well. I shall lay out your clothes for tomorrow’s board meeting, sir, before I leave this evening.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
Bruce strolled over to the seawall as Alfred returned to the kitchen. He was looking forward to the circus tonight. He liked the change-of-pace, and he would still have plenty of time for patrol. He’d eat a box of popcorn, watch the circus acts, and as he’d told Alfred, pick up some pointers watching the aerialists. He was good at flying but people who did it as the aerialists did were naturals at it.
Tomorrow his life would resume its normal cycle: business during the day, crimefighting at night.
Bruce turned and headed back inside the house, smiling as he ducked the robin flying around his head before the little bird took off for the trees.