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Fic: Mobius Paths (PG13, DC AU)

From an earlier post: By the way, I'm still not writing the fic where there was never an Alfred until J'onn happened to walk by the wrong alley during the right night, took Bruce in and telepathically retconned Alfred Pennyworth into everybody's mind.

This isn't that fic, but what came out when I tried to write it.

Title: Mobius Paths
Fandom: DC AU
Rating: PG13
Summary: Sometimes there are many ways to save somebody. And sometimes there are none.


You walked away. The boy was provided for; he only needed family and time. Neither was in your power to give, so you walked away.

But you kept vigilance over his nights from wherever you went. That much you could do. You shared his single, recurrent nightmare, his all-too familiar loneliness. You watched from afar -and sometimes from up close- as he turned pain into purpose and himself into a tool. It was both an awful and an inspiring thing to see, as so much of what humans did.

You went back to Gotham City the night after he did, just in time to see him bleeding in his father's studio, all alone in his dusty home. His body dying of shock, his mind closing upon itself in grief.

Just in time. You flew through a window, saw yourself through his eyes in the shape death and salvation took in his mind.

Something happened inside him and he decided to live. You hoped it was the right decision.

"Who?," he asked weakly.

"It's me, sir." Alfred Pennyworth had died in an undeclared war years before, but he had been a good man, all things considered. Taking his name and form was an homage, and modifying Bruce's memories so he had always been there was perhaps a way to grant Pennyworth the respite his deadly profession had denied him.

"I thought... I thought I was alone in the Manor." His extraordinary mind still resisted yours, but the lack of blood made it a losing battle.

"You are not alone, sir," you said as you began to clean and bandage his wounds.

"I saw a bat."

There was an ending in his words, and a beginning, and many other things you weren't sure you understood.

But you didn't walk away.

.finis.



Author Notes
The funny thing about this is that it explains a bit one of the little mysteries of Bruce's pre-Batman period, namely "what the hell was Alfred thinking?"

There was no Alfred, and to J'onn the thing made as much sense as anything else humans did.

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
huzzlewhat
Aug. 24th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
::adores::


__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
ratcreature
Aug. 24th, 2007 07:15 pm (UTC)
This was cool, if kind of creepy with the mind-modification. And yeah, it does make a strange kind of sense.
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
*nods* Retroactive mind modification creeps the hell out of me. And considering Bruce's reaction to the last mindwipe, I wonder what his reaction to learning this would be... (and although I don't think it's likely, I don't put past DC doing away with Alfred making him retroactively evil or at least alien, so they can make Batman more grim 'n gritty).
rubynye
Aug. 24th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, my freaking God. I just missed my bus, reading this piece of marvelousness.

I LOVE how you think.
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
God. Um. Sorry? And I'm so, so glad you liked it!
arch_schatten
Aug. 24th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
skdfjlksfjls

It makes so much sense my brain huuuurts!! JLI takes upon a whole new light, J'onn was so looking over him 24/7...

You=awesome!

*has been lurking due to school*
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
JLI takes upon a whole new light, J'onn was so looking over him 24/7... Yikes! I hadn't thought about that, but, yeah, it does make the JLI a whole different affair.
caiusmajor
Aug. 24th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
Awesome. Just what I wanted.

(And it makes meta-sense, too! Since in canon Alfred *was* retconned into Bruce's childhood.)
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

(And it makes meta-sense, too! Since in canon Alfred *was* retconned into Bruce's childhood.) Didn't know that. Cool.
vespa331
Aug. 25th, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
This does make perfect sense, and I especially love the use of the original bat idea. That never really worked for me before, the "I'll be Batman because I saw a bat" thing, but your way fits.
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks!
amarin_rose
Aug. 25th, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
Oh. My. God.

J'onn looking like a Bat made Bruce who he was. *gasp, shock*

You're amazing as always.
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thanks!
onfireforhigher
Aug. 25th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
Fantastic. Brilliant. Oh, and I love the title!
__marcelo
Aug. 25th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks! I'm fond of it, too.
razorsmile
Aug. 26th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
There was no Alfred, and to J'onn the thing made as much sense as anything else humans did.

That says it all, really.
__marcelo
Aug. 26th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I probably should have left it alone as proto-fic.

I'm getting lazier every month...
vespa331
Aug. 26th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
[Bad username: arch_schatten"] and I were Skyping, and talking about not wanting babies, and naturally the conversation turned to having babies with superheroes...

[10:15:55 PM] Mina says: Actually, Tim had a vasectomy already
[10:16:22 PM] Mina says: (so did Bruce, btw. What kind of idiot doesn't??)
[10:16:52 PM] Mina says: freaking Bruce Paranoia Wayne still has sperm to make devil-children?? no-no.
[10:20:46 PM] Rachel says: You know, I kinda hope the Bats didn't get fixed. Those are some excellent genes.
[10:21:16 PM] Mina says: I would rather have them fixed, though. It seems like.. Bruce would, you know? at least himself.
[10:21:55 PM] Rachel says: But I want Tim's babies!
[10:22:03 PM] Rachel says: Nobody else's babies, just Tim's.
[10:22:08 PM] Rachel says: Well, maybe Dick's.
[10:22:31 PM] Mina says: maybe dick/tim babies?
[10:22:50 PM] Rachel says: BEST BABIES EVER
[10:23:00 PM] Rachel says: Bruce totally has the tech for that too
[10:23:22 PM] Rachel says: You know he's been brewing the ultimate Robin in some secret cave corner
[10:23:51 PM] Rachel says: That seems like something Marcelo would write
[10:24:04 PM] Mina says: lol, it is! we should throw it his way
__marcelo
Aug. 26th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
Well, I already sort of -but not really- wrote it.

Only, you know, not. And it's tempting. *g*
__marcelo
Aug. 26th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
Rereading my answer to your comment, I'm not making that much sense... Sorry, I'm still poorly caffeinated.

A Dick/Tim baby is perhaps the most terrifying wonderful concept ever.
sockich
Aug. 30th, 2007 08:32 pm (UTC)
OK, seriously, there are NOT ENOUGH HEARTS IN THE WORLD! *loves this like crazy*

And yes, it does make things make SO MUCH MORE sense. And well, it's not like J'onn would never do something like that. Which reminds me, is it time for Checkmate #19, yet?
__marcelo
Aug. 30th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
*hearts both you and J'onn*
genre_savvy
Aug. 31st, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
I know this is an older post but I just saw it rec'd at Through the Looking Glass and realized I hadn't read it before. And, wow. I hate Alfred Pennyworth with a freaking vengeance, but J'onn! Lovely, wonderful, alien J'onn! I like this explanation a lot better than the non-explanation ("What the hell was Alfred thinking?") given in canon.
__marcelo
Aug. 31st, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
:D Thanks so much!

I don't know what was Alfred thinking, either. There's no non-scary answer.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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