Alfred Pennyson gives himself a week to grieve. It's simultaneously too much and too little time to spend thinking about the boy, the man, he'd raised, who'd grappled for too long with the darkness. And like the last time he'd gone out to fight his demons, he'd been victorious. Of course he had; Bruce Wayne hadn't been a man who'd known how to lose, and neither had been Batman.
But a week after the funeral, Alfred packs his things and takes a plane to Florence. He has a nagging feeling that he should have been on that plane the day after they'd laid his charge to rest. He settles into a comfortable apartment a friend of his had found for him and finds a daily routine. Buys groceries from a nice lady with a shop on the corner of his street. Orders his regular from a bakery down the block every afternoon. Makes friends with his neighbors and their young daughter, who shows him her picture books and occasionally gifts him with a drawing.
And every morning, Alfred goes down to the cafe he detailed to Bruce what feels like a lifetime ago. He orders his coffee, sits at his favorite table, and waits.
It becomes easier to deal with the pain after awhile. He can think of Bruce, recall his rare smiles, random conversations they’ve had over the years. He can think of the child Bruce had been before he’d been steered into his dark path without the familiar twinge of guilt. The grief though, it doesn't ever fade. It's been etched into him for years, for far too long, and he's too tired and old to hide it any longer, so much so that when the neighbor's daughter shows him her new puppy, she tells it, "Gently, gently," as it goes to bounce around his legs, looking up at him with large, sad eyes for a moment before something else snags her attention.
But most days he doesn't even think of Gotham anymore. He'd cut off his old contacts there, but occasionally he hears bits and pieces. He hears that the city is slowly rebuilding. He hears that life there is returning to normal, or as normal as it could ever be after a terrorist had occupied it for weeks. He hears that they'd erected a statue in honor of the Batman.
Alfred puts his newspaper down and closes his eyes and thinks of the plain gravestone next to Thomas and Martha Wayne when he reads the article, and he wonders how there is no bitterness.
The days continue to pass, quietly and comfortably. Alfred continues to buy his groceries, his pastries from the bakery, to play with the neighbor's puppy. He hangs paintings on his walls, sticks crayon drawings on his refrigerator, and puts a picture of Bruce and him on the kitchen counter. He adopts a stray kitten he finds on the street one afternoon. And he continues to drink the excellent coffee they serve at the cafe every morning.
He continues to wait for his faith to be rewarded.