The Things You Leave Behind


Tracey Claybon


Disclaimers: They are DC's and not mine.

The main portion of the vignette takes place right after Cataclysm and the conclusion happens during the last scene of NML.

Yes, yes, I _know_ g - it's ANOTHER vignette! But, I figure that it's best to say less if after the first page or two it is plain that nothing more NEEDS to be said . . . ::smiles broadly::

To new beginnings!


Journal entry, 1.15.2000

I never imagined that I would ever feel anything remotely resembling the pain I felt when my parents were murdered in front of me.

Then, as an adult, I watched my now-foster son Dick Grayson lose his parents in similar fashion to the way I lost my own family - and a chamber opened in my heart that has made me a better man for all time, because I empathized with Dick, and felt his pain as my own.

Later, when Bane broke my back, I felt different but just as intense pains - the multiple pains of ultimate defeat, the despair of possibly never completing my quest for justice, and worst of all, the fear that my city would now be overrun with the madness of the monstrous villains that I endlessly battled to keep safely away from the innocents in residence here - and that I would not be able to aid my companions in that potentially apocalyptic struggle.

Today, however, is in some ways the ultimate pain. I lost everything physical I had to remind me of what I was and why I am the Batman today when Wayne Manor collapsed into the abyss during the quake. Everything that had belonged to my parents and the ancestors of my family back to family patriarch Judge Solomon Wayne is now scattered and buried in the chasm that opened under the Manor. I still don't know for certain if Alfred or Harold got out alive; I'm injured but will live.

Right now, I feel as though all the work I've done is all buried in that rift and there will be no recovering from this. I know that is an irrational thought - *everything* is replaceable as long as you're still breathing - but I have never felt so small and powerless as I do now against the power of the natural world - even more than I did as a child watching the spreading pool of red that crept out beyond my parents' rapidly cooling bodies.

End Journal Entry, 1.15.2000

12.01 am, 1.1.2001

I stand next to my parents' tombstone, watching the fireworks over the skyline as my city comes back to life almost one year after the Cataclysm earthquake that put Gotham in a coma, but did not destroy it.

Wayne Manor is rebuilt - like Gotham - like a phoenix from the ashes - better than before, with retrofitting beneath so that the Manor's collapse into the breach will hopefully never occur again. I've recovered what I could of the replaceable possessions and effects lost to the quake, but I've come to realize that sometimes, it is the things you leave behind that enables you to grow and change.

I would never have imagined a year ago that I had gotten philosophically so far away from the fundamental things - and inspirations -that made me both into the Bat and also the "world's greatest detective" - I can't help but chuckle at that moniker, there are those out there that are more perceptive than I - but the quake helped me go back to the essence of self and mission - and build anew, better and stronger. I hope that next time a cataclysmic event in life happens, I will remember the lessons learned here and go on, stronger and better adapted to change because of my experiences during the NML.

I will, regardless, take what I have learned from all this and try to treasure the "non-replaceable" treasures in my life - Alfred, Leslie, Dick, Barbara, Cassandra, Jean-Paul, Harold, and Tim - because they too came through the Cataclysm transformed for the better.

I will also try not to lose sight of the fact that the things you leave behind are often outgrown, worn out or just plain not needed anymore. As such, they can be sacrificed so that one can move on with life.

And, I have - and will continue to - move on and survive. After all, that is what I'm truly best at . . .!