Martha is aware that she should communicate her worries, her fears, to Thomas. She has hinted at them to Leslie, but how can she tell Thomas that she worries for their bright, brilliant son?
Their bright, brilliant son who prefers to sit crouched over an anthill that somehow escaped the gardener, watching them move for hours, and his only explanation had been that he wished to understand how they communicated.
He is hardly silent and solemn all the time -- somehow, that makes it worse. As though the moments that Bruce is laughing with her are stolen from something, and sooner or later it will want them back.
Martha prefers to dismiss these thoughts, and she hoards Bruce's laughter like pearls, keeping track of what makes his eyes light, ensuring that his interest in the Grey Ghost remains strong (he is a children's hero, and Martha prefers to keep the reminder that Bruce is still only five), scattering small trinkets to keep Bruce active throughout the manor.
She does not know how much of her reasons Alfred guesses, but she knows that he is at least an ally in her determination -- she has heard him, in his own fashion, attempting to coax a smile out of Bruce. Going so far as to let him help make cookies, once, before the resulting mess had Alfred banning him from the kitchen.
It is not that she is afraid of Bruce. Even at his most quiet, his most... there are moments he reminds Martha of the more esoteric portions of Gotham architecture, sitting silent and monkeyish on a chair in the dark, his eyes gleaming up at her when she asked what he had been doing.
But he always takes her hand when she leads him back into the light of the other rooms, and he has never failed to give her a smile when she looked at him and wondered, with a flash of fear from the stories her nanny told her in her girlhood, if some fairy has stolen her son and left a block of wood in his place.
Martha is not afraid of her son. She only fears for him. It is not good to be so alone, not so young, and she works quietly to arrange friends for him. She even permits the friendship growing up between Bruce and the gardener's son. Anything, for the way Bruce runs back in beaming, dirt on his hands.
Something Martha can scold him for, laughing, and send him away to wash it off. Something as real as she is.
The thought that still comes unbidden, that she is stealing Bruce's laughter and the flush on his cheeks, that she is *trespassing*, she brushes away sternly. Bruce is her son. Who could she be stealing him from?
Martha does not have an answer to that question. That, perhaps, is what she is truly afraid of.