Author’s Note: I wrote this story in response to a writing prompt in the WritingPrompts subreddit:
This story was first posted on Reddit. Also, I know who Batman is, but I’m not a fan of the series in general. I was impressed by The Dark Knight, though. I’ll probably watch the rest of the Dark Knight Trilogy as well sometime.
He hated criminals and crime, for they killed his parents.
But he wasn’t rich.
That didn’t stop Bruce Wayne, though.
In fact, money didn’t matter to him. Money was why his parents were killed. Money was what they lacked, and when they got more of it, they got into more trouble. Why would he need the thing that had a part in his family’s many misfortunes? Why would he need such a criminal thing?
But young Bruce knew that he had to get things to advance in life, and he didn’t want to steal. Stealing was criminal, see.
So he begged.
Many times, he failed. Many times, he was pushed away. Many times, he was mocked. Many times, he was beaten up. Streets of indifference and selfishness didn’t want needy people like him in the way of their goals.
But Bruce never gave up. His determination may have been broken at times, but the death of his parents and the desire to be a hero hardened that determination.
That determination led to some people giving him what he wanted. He took things that were given to him, all of them–food, clothes, books, etc.–all except for money. Bruce thanked all of those people, but he also noticed the frowns of the majority of the givers. They looked troubled, and Bruce, who had been observing people during his wanderings through the streets of Gotham City, had learned that heroes didn’t just do things like punch and kick and knock bad guys out.
So Bruce offered to do things for those frowning givers, up until they felt like the services he gave were enough compensation.
Fortunately for Bruce, the frowning givers smiled when he offered compensation.
But unfortunately, Bruce sent himself towards harsher times when he did that.
One employer beat Bruce up when the boy was found tired and sleeping on the job. Another tried to molest him, and Bruce narrowly escaped further sexual abuse thanks to the sharp mind that he had, that sharp mind that his beloved parents were proud of. And then another was too busy dealing with other annoying people in suits and dresses in a party, while Bruce was being insulted and injured by a bunch of those annoying people as well.
Young Bruce Wayne was driven into solitude because of those misfortunes. But despite thoughts of “Other people will only hurt you,” he longed for someone who would actually care, and he was sure that at least one person out there would actually care for him. After the third incident, he wept in a dark alley and stayed there during the night, because he found himself unsure about where he should go, and because begging had become dangerous to him.
And then he remembered those few kind people. The baker. The costume-maker. The gym instructor. The teacher.
He remembered those people, and he remembered things about them.
Other people made them happy. They helped him be happy.
And then Bruce understood.
Heroes never worked alone.
When the next day came, Bruce ran to the nearest kind person, the baker. He was warmly welcomed by that tan elderly man yet again in his bakery despite Bruce’s nervousness while talking with him. The boy ended up crying when he found kindness, and the old man let him cry and talk. When Bruce nervously asked for a place to stay, the kind old man didn’t hesitate in offering a room in his apartment unit.
That day became one of the happiest days in Bruce Wayne’s life. It also became the day when he was told about how money can be used for good, and although Bruce still considered heroes with money unbelievable, he decided to give it some thought for the sake of his surrogate father, Pedro. Pedro had money, but he wasn’t a criminal, and Bruce thought about why that was so while lying down on a kinda hard but really comfier bed. Such complex thoughts were too much for his young mind, though, which was why he slept it off after getting tired of thinking about it.
Fortunately, Pedro was there to guide young Bruce while he grew up.
And surprisingly, Pedro didn’t die because of a robber’s gun or any criminal weapon when Bruce became an adult. He and Bruce got into trouble with some criminals, sure, much to Bruce’s anger, but both of them survived, even though they got some scratches and scars here and there.
Still, Pedro died, and he died because of a heart attack. Bruce mourned, considering Pedro as precious as Bruce’s late biological parents. Still, there was joy in Bruce’s tears, because Bruce knew that he had wiped away the loneliness that Pedro and his late wife had because of being unable to bear children.
Now, Bruce, an adult with a Bachelor’s Degree, was alone in Pedro’s apartment unit.
He wasn’t alone in life, though.
Yes, looking for friends was difficult for the aloof man, and the many opportunists who wanted to take advantage of him didn’t help. Still, he had formed friendships with impoverished people whom he had helped, and then there were the friendships that he formed with the three other kind people who had helped him during his childhood.
And then there was Bruce’s dream of becoming a hero.
Yes, Bruce Wayne became a hero. He didn’t have superpowers, but he wore a bat-themed costume made by Mark, the funny costume-maker. He wasn’t like the Superman that he’d been hearing and reading about in the news, but he had a body that was made very fit, more fit than most people, with the help of Karen, the energetic gym instructor. He wasn’t good with people, but at least Lucia, the gentle teacher, was there when he needed to ask about how to socialize well. He wasn’t rich with money, but he was rich with friends.
And as the days passed, Gotham City became abuzz with stories about a costumed man, accompanied by similarly costumed children, who enthusiastically fought against crime during the night. Many of those stories were considered funny, and many of them were considered awesome too, although some people found some of their feats unbelievable, such as the time when they defeated a crazy guy called “Joker.”
Still, Batman and the Bat Colony became a legend in Gotham City.