Disclaimer: I am not awesome enough to own this.
The rain slammed hard against the windows of the house. Far away, thunder echoed, but he did not notice. He was looking at the old photographs, smiling softly at the young boy smiling at the camera, despite having seen his parents drew their final breath right in front of him.
Now he was gone. Dead. The thought broke Alfred's heart whenever it hit him. Whenever he looked at the young boy's innocent smile. The innocence had quickly faded after that, just like the smile.
He wished, he could have been there, stayed by his side until the end. Hold his hand as his eyes closed, his breath ceased and his heart stopped beating. Now it was too late. Now, he could only put flowers on his grave and keep the memories close to his heart.
The knock on the door brought him back to his senses. With a final glance at the smiling boy on the photograph, he closed the album and slowly walked towards the door, his mind never leaving the man he had failed.
He opened the door, and what he saw almost made him faint. The man before him had not changed one bit, still the same dark hair, the same muscular building, but his eyes had a newfound spark. This was a man, who was not burdened by the fate of an entire city, of thousands of lives. This was a man who was completely alive, despite that he should not be.
It is funny, what you observe as you slowly fall to the floor. He didn't even notice as he was caught and gently helped into the living room and onto the sofa. It was not until they were sitting in front of each other he started to notice his surroundings again. He could feel the tears build up in his eyes. The relief, the complete happiness he felt again, overwhelmed him.
"M-master Wayne?" he stuttered, his voice shaking a little.
Bruce smiled broadly. "Hi Alfred."
His voice pushed away the tears and brought a smile back on Alfred's face. "Next time, could you please call before, or else you might give me a heart attack."
Bruce laughed. "Well, hopefully there won't be a next time. I'm retired. For good. Being dead is not as much fun as I thought it would be."
"How did you survive? Inspector Gordon told me that you died, saving Gotham again."
"As you can see, it's not exactly true. I managed to fix the autopilot, and I jumped out just in time. I tried to get back to the shore, but unfortunately, I passed out from blood loss. And when I woke up, Selina Kyle was standing before me. She saved my life."
"Tell her I said thank you." Alfred sighed. "Master Wayne, I am sorry for those things I said about Rachel. It shows that even us, who are old enough to be considered wise make mistakes."
"It's okay, Alfred. I'm over it, and now all I want to do is to live and enjoy life. I was even thinking of going to Florens." They both smiled.
"Just what I was hoping for. But, please, promise me not to drink and drive, Sir. It would be terrible to survive a nuclear bomb, only to be killed for being bombed."
Bruce laughed loudly. "You're right about that." He glanced at his watch. "I have to go now. My plane leaves soon. I'm sorry I couldn't stay for much longer."
"Of course, Master Wayne, my door will always be open to your family." Alfred reached out to shake Bruce's hand, and was surprised when the young man pulled him into a hug. He smiled as he wrapped his arms around him, knowing that this was where he belonged. By Bruce's side, taking care of him, making sure that he was happy.
Soon Bruce pulled away. "I'll see you soon, Alfred, I promise."
"I'll see you then... Bruce," Alfred said. The old man turned around, when he suddenly remembered. "Oh, and Master Wayne..." he stopped when he realized he was talking to thin air. He could not hide his smile. Old habits really did die hard, but as long as the man stayed alive, that was okay with him.