The shinning red hood of the ex-batmobile perfectly reflected the sky of an absolutely dreary day. The car purred down the winding dirt road reminding its owner that even though it was less frequently used it still had some power under the hood. Many of the batmobile's applications still remained implemented but were rarely used or just flat out ignored. That stage was in the past. Even though giving up his role as the hooded vigilante was immensely difficult it was worth it to keep the one and only family that he had. If not for Alfred he would've gone insane years ago and have became exactly what he was fighting against in the first place. He would do anything for that man, he was a like a father to him. With everything that he had put Alfred through he still stood by his side, now it was his turn to stand by the butler's.
Bruce let out a remorseful sigh and readjusted his grip on the steering wheel. His eyes jumped from tree to tree running along the roadside and eventually wandered up to the rearview mirror. A tiny Gotham reflected itself and its towering buildings on the mirror's flawless surface.
Crime in Gotham had simmered down after the whole "Joker" incident when the villains involved were either imprisoned by the asylum or by the agency. Ever since then the cowl has never been dawned which invoked some interesting thoughts from the citizens about their beloved hero. Had he turned insane and had been imprisoned too? Maybe the Joker killed him with a surprise bomb hidden somewhere in his equipment? Perhaps he was just looking for a little break in the action and took a vacation? Everyone thought but never said a word. When Batman disappeared so did the crime rate. Large threats moved out of the city to find a real challenge while the smaller ones tended to be snuffed out by the newly funded GCPD. Alfred was right about helping the city in other ways besides being Batman.
The CEO gazed at the time on the car's radio which read '1:32' in a bright blue digital font. Bruce gave a small frown and stared straight ahead as he approached the rusted gates to Arkham Asylum. He reached up and rubbed his temple as he stopped at the entrance. He was suppose to be there for 1:15 but ended up getting caught up in traffic because some moron with an eighteen wheeler took too sharp of a right turn and spilled his load.
Hopefully John would understand and not make such a big fuss out of it and threaten to kill the driver. He still tended to be protective over Bruce even with all of the beef that's gone on between them.
Bruce rolled down his window giving his charming 'Bruce Wayne' smile and waved at the guard booth.
"Here again, Mr. Wayne?" A husky looking guard directed his attention from a comic that he had been reading and rolled his chair over towards the gate controls.
"It's Wednesday isn't it?"
"Ya know I don't know why you come visit that piece of scum." Wrapping his chunky fingers around the gate key the guard turned it making the metal bars lurch backward and open a path for the vehicle.
"It makes Wayne Enterprises look more...appealing...in the public's eyes if we 'care' for the well being of the patients." His voice was laced with sarcasm when he spoke about caring.
"Ah, I getcha now. Don't have too much fun." The guard rolled his eyes and returned to his comic book as Bruce gave him a wave and drove through the gate.
Once out of view of the booth Bruce scrunched up his face and gave a sneer. He hated people like that who just turn away from the needy and think of them as garbage. He wished he didn't have to act like he was one of them but what would the media think? They wouldn't understand his relationship with John.
Ever since his first visit with the re-incarcerated John 7 months ago Bruce had decided to return once a week in which both had decided Wednesday was the best day. Being in the middle of the week Bruce would be able to relax from his non-stop CEO position and John would have a little pick me up during the most boring time of his schedule.
They would hang out as friends just as they used to rather it be an activity or just sitting down and talking about their week so far.
Taking a right turn Bruce pulled into the asylum's visitor parking and stopped in an open spot. Aside from 5 other cars and his the parking lot was barren. Stepping out of the ex-batmobile he began to walk towards the large doors that functioned as the visitor entrance.
He thought back to his first visit and how he'd told John that he'd given up being batman.
~Oooooo flashback ~
"I'm giving it up." Bruce could finally breath with the weight that's been taken off of his chest.
"He he...I'm sorry, giving up what exactly?" The pale man knitted his brows, giving the CEO a confused stare while still keeping a smile on his face.
"The crusade. The vigilante lifestyle. Being..." He leaned closer to John and lowered his voice to a whisper. "Being Batman."
John recoiled at the statement, hurt visible in his eyes.
"You're giving up fighting crime? Fighting evil? You're just gunna let the bad guys win?!" He rose from the bed he was currently sitting on, fists balled up at his sides as his one stubborn lock of hair fell in front of his eyes.
"No, John!" Bruce held his hands up in defence trying to calm the man down so as the guards wouldn't make him leave early. "It's nothing like that. I do want to fight crime but I can't."
The brunette looked John in the eyes which made him return to the bed.
"Why. Not?" He asked through gritted teeth, trying to contain his anger by doing some breathing exercises. He didn't want Bruce to leave early either.
"It's Alfred. He couldn't take the stress of the job anymore and me made me choose. Him or Batman. I chose him." Bruce's gaze wandered to the floor as he continued. "You already know my backstory...Alfred is all I have left. I couldn't lose him."
John stayed quite for quite awhile until Bruce felt a reassuring squeeze on his shoulder. The CEO turned his head and was met with a look of understanding and a gentle smile.
"Alfred's a pretty special guy. Ha ha! I should know, I met him. Possible one of the best days of my life. Too bad I didn't get a picture though. He he."
The green haired man burst into one of his giggling fits. That's what Bruce though was the most interesting quality about John. His random fits of laughter and the fact that he could be optimistic in nearly any situation. He always seemed to make Bruce feel a little brighter.
"But what about the mission? About bringing evil doers to justice? You can't let them win!" The man gripped his knees, bunching his thin pants up which creating many ceases in the material.
"I'll never stop fighting the fight but I can help in other ways. I've already given a generous donation to the GCPD and Bruce Wayne is now a civilian consultant who wishes to remain anonymous. It's not much but at least I'm doing something." Bruce rubber the back of his neck trying to make the awkwardness fade away.
"Well you're doing more than I ever did. He he. All I did was end up becoming a villain myself."
"Well I became one too. I used you and your trust to my advantage to help a dirty higher-up like Waller. You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain." Bruce looked at the ceiling.
"Maybe it's a good thing that Joker and Batman are hanging it up for good."
Bruce whipped his head down to face John. "You're giving up...being the Joker?"
John waved a hand. "The world can live without us two nut cases causing trouble besides...you wouldn't be there to make it worth it. Ha ha. I've missed Arkham and having a visit from you has been a blast. Really made my week there, buddy."
The pale man smiled and wrung his hands. "I missed how things used to be. Before we got caught up in all of this, Bruce. Ya think it could be like that again?"
"Of course it could. I enjoy spending time with my friends, you most of all."
"Oh that's great! I'm glad we could get past that." John clapped his hands together and bounced a bit on the bed causing it to squeak.
"How about this, I'll visit you every week and we'll just do what we used to do. Just talk or play cards or..."
"Yes! Cards! Ha ha ha! I am the prince at card games." The green haired man interjected, following it with another fit of giggles.
Bruce shook his head and chuckled a bit. He never lied about being John's friend, he'd truly enjoyed it.
~Oooooo flashback ~
Ever since that visit Bruce had continued to come back on that same day at the same time, 1:15.
Strolling up to the reception desk he gave a nod at the woman seated in the chair.
"Hello, I'm here to see John Doe."
The woman leaned toward a speaker and held down the button to turn it on. "Would security please escort Mr. Wayne to his visitation session with John Doe?" Taking her finger off the button she looked up at the CEO. "Just give them a minute."
Her attention left Bruce and she proceeded to type some kind of note on the computer on her desk.
The asylum had allowed Bruce to spend up to two hours with the patient during his visitation sessions. When they first began the doctors were very sceptical and limited the visits to forty five minutes. But when the sessions were actually showing some positive results in John they decided to extend them.
"Mr. Wayne, would you please follow us?"
The brunette was pulled out of his thoughts as three security guards walked into the lobby and gestured to him to follow. The group walked for awhile to the medium security wing and stopped in front of John's cell.
"You know the drill. Let us know if anything goes wrong."
"Alright, thank you."
Opening up the food flap on the door the guard hollered in. "Hey Doe, you got a visitor."
The door was unlocked and Bruce walked in with a light smile on his face.
"Heya, Bruce." He was greeted with the excited grinning face of John as he took a seat in the metal chair in the corner.
"John." The CEO smiled back as the door was pushed shut.
"Are you ready to be beaten yet again by the reigning poker king, hehe?"
Bruce pulled the deck of cards out of his dress pants' pocket and held it out in front of them. "I don't know. I've been practicing my game with Alfred. Maybe you'll be surprised."
Taking the deck from his hands John began bridge shuffling the cards skillfully.
A huge grin spread across his face as he began dealing their hands.