Author's Notes: Because we all love good, old-fashion angst.
Keep an eye out for Terri (Opalish) and my new musical, entitled: ZP and the Undead Smiley Spawn.
On Broadway this June!
Nails in the Coffin
You've always had a thing for lost causes, and he was more lost than anything you'd ever met. He was angry, confused, and inside out but that was what you loved about him, because he'd suffered so much and it made you feel like maybe everything was going to be all right.
He closed up after his parents died, and though you wrote him letters he never wrote back. You weren't hurt by it – it seemed fitting, that the two of you shouldn't speak. Years passed, and he stayed in the back of your mind. You went to community college; he went to Princeton. Alfred thought he was "learning to move on from his childhood experiences" at college, making friends and throwing himself into education.
You knew better. You had friends at school with him, friends who watched him deteriorate and slide further down the endless pit of partying and failure. You wanted to reach out, to help him, but he was lost to the world and maybe you knew it.
When he came back for the trial he scared you, because his eyes weren't like you remembered – full of life. Sorrow and fear, maybe, but life nonetheless. This new Bruce's eyes were empty; gray and null and void.
And then he showed you the gun …
You said terrible things because you felt terrible things, and how dare he act so – so anti-Tom Wayne? His dad had been there for you when no one else was, and now Bruce was just throwing all that away.
You went home that night and cried, because his suffering didn't make you feel whole anymore. Now it left you empty and broken, and if Bruce couldn't save you – who could?
They told you he was dead, and somehow you found it inside to feel sad, because although he was probably happier, wherever he was, he was still your friend and your brother and – your Bruce.
You missed his laugh, most of all.
But somehow, his death sealed it for you. Gotham was hopeless, lost, forgotten, so you threw yourself into your work, because after all – you always had a thing for lost causes. You didn't do anything of great importance, and you didn't expect to. Bruce was gone, hope was gone, and all you were doing was standing in front of an oncoming train, hoping to stop it.
Death didn't frighten you, but life did.
And then he came back, in all his Bruce Wayne glory, with girls on his arms and the world in his pocket. He looked healthier, more alive, and it broke your heart because here he was, standing right in front of you and promising that he was still the little Bruce Wayne he once was, and you – stupid, stupid you – believed him.
Still, you sent him away because it was too much. He was here again, gone again, and you didn't think you could take it anymore. And when he walked away, still smiling but with dead eyes, and you realized that maybe his suffering wasn't what made you whole – it was the fact that his suffering was more than yours.
And now – you weren't so sure.
And then the whole 'Batman' fiasco. Who was he? More importantly, why was he? Was it just some rich man, looking for kicks? Or was it someone sincere, someone with heart, who wanted to good for the people of Gotham?
You dreamed that Batman came and swept you off your feet; you dreamed that he kissed you, but when you pulled away it was not Batman you were kissing, but Bruce.
Days rolled into nights rolled into days, and you went to investigate Crane. The memories are still a little hazy, but an overwhelming sense of fear permeates your mind. Crane – Scarecrow – Crane – they all blend together in one, vague dream of an existence. All you know is that Batman was there, his hand on your head screaming, "Rachel!"
How did he know your name was Rachel?
When you woke, you were in some sort of cave, and he was gazing at you with a sort of longing in his eyes. I don't have the luxury of friends, he told you, and you wanted to say, Me either.
When you woke, you were in bed and Gotham was in pieces. You did what you could – but Swat Team was really an evil organization and all that you trusted was the little boy by your side. Batman will come, he promised you, and you wanted so badly to believe him.
He did come, though, and it broke your heart to see him ready to launch. I don't have the luxury of friends, he had told you – but you were his friend and you wanted to say so. You could die, you informed him, stupidly you thought, and begged, At least tell me your name?
He hesitated, and you were reminded that he was just some man in a bat costume. It's not who I am beneath, but what I do that defines me.
Your heart skipped a beat and suddenly the fog below seemed unreal and far away. Bruce…and you wanted to love him for it, wanted to love him for being so self-sacrificing and kind. But at the same time, you knew that you could never love Batman, could never love the kind of man who Bruce had become.
You could never be just another part of his alter-ego. In a way, Batman wasn't Bruce Wayne's nighttime persona – Bruce Wayne was Batman's daytime cover-story. And you could never allow yourself to be a part of his life that was just a show for the world.
You cried the day Gotham was saved, because Bruce had saved it and you would break Bruce. You knew he loved you, and you loved him, but some things aren't meant to be – and this was one of them.
Maybe, when Gotham doesn't need Batman anymore, I'll see that boy again.
It was hopeless, and you both knew it, but then again … you always had a thing for lost causes.