So. This is not a story I’m writing, because I already have a bunch of other stories I’m actually (read: “trying to”) writing, but if I did write this story, here’s how it would go:
After the whole big mess with the Joker, Bruce takes a week or so to pull himself together. His injuries are mostly internal, insubstantial, but they’re enough to slow him down, and he can’t afford that now. Not with both sides of the law gunning for Batman and Gordon forced to play prosecutor.
(And justly so, as it was Batman’s failures that—
But no. Bruce failed, not Batman. Bruce was distracted, Bruce was selfish, Bruce blinked and the whole thing came tumbling down, and now people are dead who wouldn’t be otherwise. Harvey’s dead. Rachel’s dead. But Gordon’s son isn’t, and that’s something. Not enough, but something.)
And so Bruce is sitting in a uncomfortable mod armchair (he misses the giant wingbacks of his childhood), an over-priced and oh-so-stylish laptop balanced on his knees, surfing the ‘net, because it’s either that or go batshit crazy.
Alfred had tentatively suggested a night out on the town, but as they’d already agreed that Rachel’s death would serve as a catalyst for Brucie’s reformation, the suggestion had been withdrawn before Bruce had time to do more than open his mouth for a heart-sick refusal. Bruce and Brucie both are in mourning, even as Batman quietly makes plans to prevent anything like the Joker from happening ever again.
Which is why he’s currently scrolling through Gotham-related forums and message boards and online communities. Most of them are junk (one seems to contain nothing but ‘chat speak’; he spends all of forty-two seconds trying to decipher it before moving on to the next site), but a few have actual conversations going. The two most coherent are communities hosted by LiveJournal—which he tentatively takes as a good omen, or would, if he believed in such things.
Less encouraging are the names of the communities themselves: gotham_sucks and bat_in_belfry. The latter could possibly be construed as flattering, if he were one to subscribe to the theory of ‘any publicity is good publicity’, but the tone in which the members discuss his existence is . . . well. Some of them apparently need to have a talking-to from Alfred, though that’s as likely as the Joker showing up on Bruce’s doorstep selling Girl Scout cookies.
(Later, he’ll blame his actions during the next forty-eight hours on momentary derangement brought on by the mental image of the Joker in a Girl Scout uniform. At the moment, though, they seem perfectly logical.)
There’s a ‘reply’ button under every comment and anonymous commenting is enabled and the things these people have written are just wrong and this is something he can fix from the discomfort of his mod chair and—
And then it is two in the morning and Alfred is hovering over him, hollow-eyed from worry and lack of sleep.