This story is the seventh in my series of vignettes called "Under The Shadows Of A Portrait" found at my website and here. The stories include: Alfred's Prayer, Dinner, Dinner Date, Family Introductions, & Legacies
By DC Lady
When the first rays of the morning sun grandly illuminated his bed, he awoke refreshed. He was seldom grateful for Alfred's insistence on drawing the curtains back the same time every morning. But, since rest hadn't eluded him this night, the bright morning light was not as foreboding.
He walked into the breakfast nook and picked up the newspaper set on the table. As Alfred placed a plate before him, he scanned through various topics of news before finally settling on the business section. He finished reading a particular column of interest about rumors of a possible merger between rival firms of Wayne Tech, then turned his attention to his breakfast. As he folded the paper, he noticed a small white box atop the plate supposed to be holding his scrambled eggs. He looked at the man he had come to know as a second father with an unspoken question. Alfred stood rigidly at the side of the table, head held high. His eyes were fixed directly ahead, a rare display of servitude that allowed him to betray nothing.
Bruce reached for the box and glanced at Alfred again, but the stoic butler displayed no hint as to the contents of the small container. Shrugging with interest, he grudgingly took off the lid and looked at the items with immediate recognition.
It'd been a long time since he had seen these. The last time was as a child and they were worn by his parents. He stood quickly, his chair falling behind him with a crash as he absently made his way to the window. Various emotions flooded through him at once – love, despair, hate, vengeance….
A firm hand gently squeezed his shoulder. He hadn't realized Alfred had moved closer.
"Do I dare?" Tears spilled freely from his eyes and his voice cracked with emotion. He couldn't help but remember their loss and the losses he'd suffered since them.
Alfred cupped Bruce's hand in his and placed the rings in it, closing it with his other hand. He held him in this manner as he spoke.
"Yes, my boy. Yes." Bruce felt Alfred squeeze his hand in reassurance, then watched as he walked out of the room.