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Birdie

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Bruce Wayne had, after losing his parents at a young age, subsequently learned that what comes after losing your primary caregivers is a lot more complex than television and movies would have you believe. He was convinced that due to his parents’ wills stating that in both of their absence he was to be left with their trusted employee Alfred Pennyworth, he would simply be able to stay at his family home and continue to exist – albeit in a different and much more hollow way.

Instead, he and Alfred had both been subjected to monthly appointments where they were required to let the social workers know how they were both doing, how they were coping with the changes, and how they planned to operate in the future. Both he and Alfred were adamant that Alfred would not be adopting Bruce officially. It meant that there was more hassle than they wanted in their lives (where they would both prefer to live quietly, with as few interruptions as possible, it forced them to confront the public frequently), but both felt it was more respectful to Martha and Thomas.

This may have led to more trouble in the long-run, with rumours about young Bruce’s relationship with the butler being called into question at every turn, but the two of them dealt with it admirably. There was never once a time in Bruce’s childhood where he felt that he and Alfred would need to throw in the towel and just go through with the adoption.

It may have only been eight years, but in that relatively short space, between Bruce’s required media appearances (to satisfy the public’s usually well-intentioned curiosities about his well-being), the monthly meetings with a dedicated team of social workers (who Bruce honestly believed could be better-utilised elsewhere), and attending his schooling (along with extra lessons, intended to prepare him for inheriting Wayne Industries upon his eighteenth birthday), Bruce found himself living less the life of a child, and more the life of a small and over-burdened, emotionally turbulent adult.

And even then, once he reached eighteen and was officially “grown up”, Bruce still had too much to balance. He no longer had his monthly appointments, for which he thanked every deity he’d been forced to study in preparation for international business – but now he was suddenly balancing the company’s needs with his college degree, as well as fighting off would-be suitors that suddenly came out of the woodwork. He was good-looking, just like his father, and was quickly proclaimed “Gotham’s Most Eligible Bachelor”, which brought with it its own fair share of rumours and speculation. He hadn’t even had the time in his teenage years to determine whether or not he liked men or women, let alone decide on a future suitable partner with which to raise heirs.

Eventually non-sexual rumours about the Wayne heir began surfacing – along with rumours about another rich child he’d encountered before, Oliver Queen, who lived on the West Coast and obviously could not be actively involved with Bruce’s daily life (not that the media seemed to care). Something about masked vigilantism? But with rumours that ridiculous, Bruce just had to laugh and wave them off. “I mean,” he’d laughed at one reporter’s question, “who on earth has the time for that?”