In The Beginning

If Master Bruce had his way, all of the old manor would be left in darkness. Though he was young, I think he remembers enough of life when the master and mistress were here to want to keep those memories in shadow. Other things, too - for he has had more than one era of happiness - he wants to keep in the dark.

But I have been here far too long not to know when Master Bruce's wishes conflict with what is good for him.

I keep the lights on.

He used to be full of life, Master Bruce. A busy, happy child, running about this great place with his toys and books, singing and chattering away. He was a bit out of touch with the world, as one would expect the heir to however many hundreds of millions his parents had had, but he was a wonderful and open boy.

His mother, of course, doted on him. Madam Mary had wanted to have a large family - she had so loved children - but had had such difficulty with Master Bruce that the doctors said it would be unwise to try again. It made her sad, sometimes, but I believe it eased the pain every time she wrote grants to build schools or threw charity dinners to support foster children or donated to local community centers, as she did frequently and with passion.

Master Thomas worked often and tirelessly, but was religious in the way he reserved Sundays for young Master Bruce. They would play chess or go fishing or watch old movies, and for the rest of the week I would hear countless stories from Master Bruce of what had been done that Sunday - it was always the highlight of his week. Master Thomas loved that boy dearly. I can't recall a single Sunday that wasn't devoted to him.

He was only a boy, when Master Wayne's world was torn apart. He never sang through the corridors, or played with his toys, or read his books anymore. I had been declared the boy's guardian a few years prior - without the dream that that role would ever be necessary, of course - and as per his parents' will, we were allowed to remain in Wayne Manor.

Now I sometimes wonder if that was the right decision. If perhaps Master Wayne would have been better off growing up away from the shadows of the tragedy, if I had tried harder to have him lead a normal life, would he have been happier for it?

But he'd always had a strong will, and when I'd asked him if he wanted to live elsewhere, he'd said:

"No, Alfred. This house was their home, and it will always be mine."