title: Logic
fandom: DC Comics
characters/pairings: Batman and/or Bruce Wayne, batfamily
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Contemplation on the nature of time and identity.
notes: for kneazles, for this request on fic on demand.
it's basically choose your own continuity. a rather pointless (and possibly pretentious) foray into the mind of the bat.
dedicated to my darling minion Sue, on the occasion of her birthyday. ^_^

There is no such thing as time.

Bruce Wayne trained his mind and body. He achieved a pinnacle of capacity for each, and he maximized his potential. He is a man of astute and rigorous logic. By conditioning himself to think rationally and calmly, he can see past the illusion of comprehension to the truth that lies beneath.

Things do not change; therefore, there is no such thing as time.

The people around him are all the same. Alfred is always there to offer assistance, help pick him up, or even just hold him as required. Gordon is doing his level best to negotiate through the red tape to keep the police honest. The butterflies and leeches of society are there to flutter and feed and offer nothing in the way of a meaningful, substantive contribution to the world. The poor are always in need. The rich are always purposefully blind and prone to corruption. The weak are always being preyed upon. The criminals are always committing crimes.

His parents are always in that alley, dying. There is always this horrible sound coming from their throats, from their chests. His father's eyes are always pleading with him, asking him for something he can't offer. His mother's pearls are always bouncing and rolling away. The killer is always running away, nothing more than a shadow that loomed larger than life and infernal clapping of heels against brick. His life is always there in that alley.

He can remember life before Always, but not like memory. More like photographs, faded, discolored, and discreet. They don't connect in the way that Always does. They don't breathe.

He watched them fall. At first, it was an Accident, and there was nothing he could do, again. Then he learned of the Child. That brought the burden of caring, because he knew all too well the shattering power of the creation of an Always. Then, there was a Crime. He could do something about that, and he had to, for the sake of the Child.

But he hadn't expected things to happen. The Child was not as he expected. The Child did not believe in Always. The Child expected things.

There was reason behind his choices. They were concrete; he could write them down and look at the words, and touch the paper, and make them solid. 'I wanted to help him.' The obviousness of the lie was blinding. If he couldn't help himself, how could he help someone else? If time did not pass, how could a wound heal? He had no ability or capacity to assist in this manner.

And yet, he took the Child in, regardless. The why became inconsequential, because there was a purpose that went beyond reason. He could not articulate the mechanics of what occurred, but he gained a partner.

This was a change.

Change implied the passage of time.

However, nothing had been altered. The wounds still hurt. His parents were still dying. Their killer was still getting away. But now, the lighting had changed. He could see them differently. There were distinctions he had never been able to make before. The blackness that he cloaked himself in had edges; it was defined.

Alfred would put a hand on his shoulder, and nod encouragingly. It still confounded him. He had become comfortable in the eternity of timelessness. A change, a shift, implied motion; it took him away, however minutely, from the point of origin, which took him closer to a place where they did not exist. His identity was constructed on the premise that there could not be a universe where they did not exist. Logic shook.

This blood on his hands now was different from any other blood. It was the blood of someone who was close to him in a way that no one had ever been close to him before. This blood was life, and it was dripping off of his fingers, and it would wash away from his glove, and leave no trace.

Doctor Thompkins assured him that everything was fine, but that was because she didn't understand. This was Dick's blood, and he was unconscious. Another shift.

Now, he could see his parents dying, and he could see the pearls bouncing away, and he could hear the killer escaping, but he could also comprehend the scene from his father's eyes, looking up at a son that was unharmed.

Change. And this time, it branded him a failure.

The solution was obvious, but it required more change. No longer to have a partner. No longer to have a son. A choice that was biblical in nature, to remove the offending appendage rather than sink with it. It was not supposed to be complicated.

Change, again, and time, again, and he was losing his identity, which was now wrapped up in the identity of someone else, someone who left. A new brand of pain, and just as eternal.

And yet, huddled over the streets, everything was as clear as that night. There were criminals. There were victims. And there was no one to help.

Unless he actually did something instead of just standing there and watching.

And so he acted, and he saved lives, and brought criminals closer to justice. And nothing ever changed.

Because there was no such thing as time. There was only perspective. And if he lost sight of who he was, he would lose everything.

He was nothing.

Therefore, it didn't matter what happened to him, as long as the people who were in need got help.

Logic, once faltering, stood firm again.