Title: A Christmas Wish
Author: DC Luder
Summary: Alfred comes upon an interesting letter.
Infringements: All recognizable characters belong to DC Comics, not DC Luder.
Author's Note: Bludhaven's Dear Santa challenge. Tearjerker, ye be warned.
"Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children."
The young master kept a tidy bedroom.
Despite being ten years old, there was nary a single stray sock on the floor, half-full glass of water on his bureau or even a book out of place. It certainly made my task of cleaning the room a great deal easier, requiring not much more than a daily collection of the laundry hamper. alternate daily vacuuming and weekly dustings. Given the number of other duties throughout the quiet manor, it provided me more time to tend to them in attempt to keep one step ahead.
Although it pained me to think that he was unable to exhibit the most basic child-like behavior of having a messy abode.
Then again, having his world abruptly turned upside down had forever changed him, shortcutting him from innocent youth to something dark and sad. Despite my valiant efforts, there seemed to be no change in his demeanor, spending much of his time in his clean bedroom or touring the halls alone. With Christmas approaching, I had even tried to invite him to join my efforts in decorating the halls in addition to the brilliant Douglas fir I had selected to stand tall in the main den.
"No thanks, Alfred," he had religiously replied to any invitation. When I had finally confronted him on the matter, he had explained quietly, "I... I just don't feel like it this year."
"Understood, young master… However, if you do change your mind, I will be battling with Christmas lights on the front hedges."
Dinners were always the worst, seeing him sit at the dining table alone, looking out the window expectantly. Beneath the defenses he had raised and painfully sad blue eyes, I couldn't help but hope that there was still a bright little boy hidden inside. Time mended all wounds, but I was fairly a lifetime could not heal those that had struck him so deeply.
Parents weren't supposed to bury their children, they're children were supposed to bury their parents. The words were true, but not for children as young as he.
Fourteen days before the close of the year, I had been going through the unnecessary motions of cleaning the master's room as he sat outside, throwing snowballs at white covered pine trees, watching on as the boughs shuddered, letting the snow fall to the ground. I had suggested he go outside for some fresh air, but it appeared that he was just as miserable whether indoors or out.
As I arranged the books on his desk and papers from our tutoring sessions, I came upon something that had seemed out of place. A letter, handwritten in small black print, dated the tenth of November. It had been partially covered by the edge of a science text and after moving it, had been revealed in its entirety. Having no other way getting through to the young master in order to understand him, I read it. At first, I hated myself for the intrusion of his privacy.
Putting it back where I found it, tears brimming in my eyes, I hated myself for not finding the letter earlier.
Dear Santa Claus:
Although I am old enough to know better, I am writing this letter to you.
Since I first learned to write at the age of three, my mother had me write to you every December. At first, I believed in the miracle of Christmas as everything I ever asked for was magically under the tree on that special morning. I was seven when I found out it wasn't real, finding gifts addressed to me and from you with other gifts addressed to me and from my parents. I pretended that I still thought they were from you, which made my mother smile and my father laugh.
As you are aware, my parents are dead and I have no reason to pretend anymore because she won't be there smiling on Christmas morning and my father won't be there to laugh. I don't even feel like celebrating the holiday but Alfred seems to take joy in the season of giving so for him, I will pretend.
I will open gifts, I will thank him, I will eat Christmas dinner and eat the candy from my stocking. I know he will put cookies and milk out for you Christmas Eve but will only remove them after I go to bed. My father used to eat the cookies save for half of one and would drink the milk. I only know that because I caught him one year with milk in his moustache when I came to open presents.
I know you have millions and millions of children and even adults that believe in you and religiously write letters this time of year. I know that I am only one boy amidst countless others, one boy who doesn't even believe in you but is still writing to you. Just because I don't believe doesn't mean I don't have a wish to make this Christmas. It is the same wish I will make every Christmas and every time I blow out the candles on a birthday cake for the rest of my life.
I wish that I could have my parents back, if only for one day.
I wish I could hug my mother and smell her perfume.
I wish Dad was here to give me a piggy back ride or make a snowman with me.
I wish they could tuck me in one more time and kiss me goodnight.
I wish I could tell them that I love them very much and that I always will.
Bruce Thomas Wayne