Author's Notes: This little ficcy is for the Live Journals Fanfic100 challenge and is #2 Middles on The Big Damn Table

Thank you Heybats and Djinn for the beta.

By DC Lady

He didn't remember how his life had become so complicated. He'd embarked on this mission alone and he would end it alone. He believed that in the beginning. When Gotham's dark, haze-filled nights beckoned to him like a long lost lover. He claimed the hardened, lawless city as his own – as Batman's. But, he wasn't so sure anymore. He didn't remember when it changed – when he changed. Or, he had remembered - just refused to acknowledge it.

A memory of a night under a colorful tent flashed across his mind and he nodded absently. "Dick. It changed with Dick."

A circus and a mob boss whose protection was rebuffed. Dick's parents had paid the price for the refusal of Zucco's offer to protect the small circus family.

That night was seared into his memory – not unlike the night his own parents were killed in front of him. The sense of loss and loneliness were almost unbearable for a then eight-year-old Bruce Wayne. And upon seeing another child confront the same anguish, he determined to help make Dick's path better than his own.

Taking Dick into his home, however, had complicated his mission. Had clouded his judgment on more occasions that he'd care to admit. And had started him down the path of opening his life to others who would fight for the same cause – Barbara, Tim, Cass... There were now more reasons for criminals to quake with fear. But, he also longed for the beginning. Longed for a time where his emotions were contained and focused. For a time when the incredible fear of losing those he loved was not an issue.

But, those were the longings of Batman. Bruce Wayne now had a family and friends that embraced him and his secrets. Bruce Wayne would never be alone again.

The end.