1. Some mornings (and afternoons, much to Alfred’s displeasure) Bruce lies in bed and thinks about Superman and what it would be like, living inside a comic book, where things are simple and come with carefully spelled-out exposition. To have bright colors and ridiculously-costumed villains and the hope of a happy ending through editorial fiat.
(The last time he’d been to church was in India, and he’d only stepped in to escape a monsoon.)
2. For years, Alfred has been Bruce’s confident, guardian, co-conspirator, shield and stay, the rock beneath his feet. Alfred kept Bruce bathed, fed, healthy, educated, sane and socialized. But for all that, he’s still Bruce’s butler, not father; there remains the divide of master and servant that’s made evident every time Alfred addresses him. (One that’s paper-thin, perhaps, formal rather than real, but it still exists.)
And he has no one who even approaches filling the hole left by his mother. (Superman’s mother–the second one, the one who wiped his nose and made his breakfasts and helped him turn into a primary-colored superhero–was named Martha. Bruce’s mother had been named Martha, too. Ironic, perhaps. Or fitting.)
3. He’d thought Rachel might have been his Lois Lane, she could have been Lois Lane, if he’d been Superman, but he wasn’t, and she hadn’t, and he’s not going to think about this any longer. Can’t think about it any longer. That’s a wound that’s still too fresh, too deep.
(She was going to choose him.)
4. Gordon is worth all the rest of the police force put together, and Lucius has turned Bruce’s crazy (and he can admit to himself in the privacy of his bedroom just how crazy it was, is) idea into terrifyingly effective reality, but there’s only two of them, and they’re only human (and Bruce is only human and tired and has cracked ribs from last night and scars from when a Really Big Dog bit him and a pain in his left knee that he’s not telling Alfred about) and it would be so nice to know that someone else was patrolling the rooftops for once. Even someone wearing what looks like red pajamas or a crazy hawk mask or a Cracker Jack ring.
5. A job and life outside of the costume that don’t make him sometimes consider chewing a limb off just to get out of them.