Tuesday, December 27, 2005

223. Gustavus

Christmas came and went without much notice around Wayne Manor. Bruce continues to train with ever-increasing intensity, and I cannot say that I much missed the holiday myself. On the one occasion that the subject came up--two days ago, during a break, as he sat sipping water in his sweat-soaked tights--he admitted what I'd long suspected: that the season is a painful one for him, reminding him not only of the death of his parents but, more recently, the personal downfall that began around this time last year.

I could see it was hard for him to talk about--so many things are, though the ice has melted significantly since I first met him--so I wrapped my arm around him and held him tight for a long, quiet moment. I could feel and smell the perspiration gather around his neck and armpits, and I brushed my spare hand through the moisture to smooth some of it away. I kissed the top of his head and each of his ears, nuzzling the lobes against my lips and wishing like hell there was some other life in store for the two of us.

Then it was back to work.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

222. Dick

Slidell, Louisiana

If you'd told me a year ago I'd be spending Christmas Eve in a place like this, doing what I've been doing, I would have told you you were out of your mind.

Come to think of it, I was out of my mind--literally--this time last year. So maybe I should change the subject.

Today I did pretty much what I've been doing for the last few months, which is pretty much whatever the volunteer coordinator of the moment tells me. This time that meant we distributed toys, clothes and other gifts to families in the area for hours, along with hot meals, which was both exhausting and totally exhilirating. It doesn't look much like Christmas around here--few homes are decorated in any way--but people are doing what they can to rebuild their lives.

After the sun went down, Oliver and I had dinner at a little place that just recently reopened. Nothing fancy, but it was exactly right. We didn't exchange gifts of any kind, unless you count some incredibly hot blow jobs. (God knows I counted those.)

And then, as he does almost every night, he left without a word of warning. At first that routine was kind of intriguing--where was he going? what was he doing?--but tonight it just kind of sucked. In all the weeks we've known each other, I don't think he's spent a full evening with me more than four times.

But I'm not about to complain. When he is aound, he's the warmest, gentlest, most attractive man on the planet.

Or one of them, at least. (Okay, so Bruce was never that warm or gentle, even on his best days. But you know what I mean.)

I wish I could give this entry some kind of Christmas Magic-y ending, and all would be right with the world and my little place in it. But that would be a lie. Things are hard, very hard, unbelievably hard, for the people of this area right now, and I'm spending my remaining energy with a guy who vanishes every night at midnight. Still, things could be worse, as recent events have taught me.

So, ho ho ho. Ho ho fucking ho.

Friday, December 02, 2005

221. Gustavus

The changes in Bruce over the last few days are remarkable. As he continues to train his body, he grows ever more confident, ever stronger. He is literally a new man, or perhaps an improved version of the one he was long before I met him. I look at him in wonder; I cannot help thinking how far he has come since we first began working together.

On a related note, he has brought me further and further into his very unique training process. I had always thought that my own physical conditioning was rigorous, but his dedication in that department puts mine to shame. I work out alongside him, spot him on equipment, and spar with him during combat drills. During rest breaks, I continue to coach him in more esoteric realms, furthering the exercises we began months ago.

I cannot hide my excitement as I grapple with him in his sweats--aptly named, for he is frequently drenched in perspiration within minutes of beginning one of his gruelling sessions. Soon, he says, he will start to wear a stripped-down version of his costume during these routines, since its weight and bulk affect his stamina and balance significantly. Having seen him in the full outfit earlier, I must say I look forward to that transition.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

220. Dick

Gulfport, Mississippi

Writing the occasional letter to Bruce has reminded me what it was like to keep a journal, and makes me think that perhaps it's time to try that again.

Of course, the whole idea stirs up some very bad memories--cloudy though they may be. After all, it was Dr. Tanhoger who encouraged me to write down my most private thoughts, only to use them to bring down B. It's hard for me to write a word without wondering who's going to read it and what they will do with the information they discover.

And yet, I just feel the need to keep some kind of record of everything I've been going through since I came down here. I feel like a witness to history, and I'm not even sure I could find the words to express all that I've seen. Perhaps I should leave that to actual historians and journalists and write what cannot be said out loud. I've worked hard to put my past behind me, to find some way to undo the awful things I did not so very long ago. That job will occupy me for the rest of my days, but at least I feel, in some incremental way, like I am doing good.

And, if I may say so myself, I am having some pretty damn hot sex in the process. Oliver is an unbelievable lover--so confident and direct, and unabashedly masculine. He's a lot like Bruce, I admit, if Bruce were about a hundred times more secure in his sexuality. (He's also a lot hairier than Bruce--that goatee just drives me crazy! And let's not even get into that fur on his chest and forearms...)

On the other hand, he's every bit as eccentric as B; maybe even more so. It's hard as hell to get him to spend the night, since he's always getting up and heading out at the strangest hours. That part is a little too familiar, but I'm thankful for any time I get to spend with him.

He's used to life on the road--he hasn't told me much about his past, but I do know that he's got a long history of travelling from town to town. Years of it now, I'd bet. I think he might have been married at some point, and there may be a kid in the picture, but that's just a hunch. On the other hand, I'm convinced he spent some time as a priest or monk of some kind, judging from the books he carries around and the frequent references to various religious traditions he peppers his speech with.

One thing is certain: his politics are a hell of a lot closer to mine than Bruce's. But what am I doing, anyway, constantly comparing him to B? I guess it just shows I still feel something--okay, a lot--for the guy who changed my life forever.

Who am I kidding? Of course I'm still in love with Bruce--it's just all screwed up. Maybe forever. Oliver is here, and he's amazing, and neither of us has any illusions about the future. In this kind of setting, amidst this kind of devastation, illusions are impossible to maintain, anyway.

So I do the work I'm here to do, and I sleep with this hot man almost every night (or most of the night), and then I get up and begin all over again. The work is hard, and the romance is easy, and there's nothing else to occupy my mind in between. It's not the life I imagined for myself, and I know this period won't last forever, but while it's here I'm going to make the most of it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

219. Bruce

It has not been easy to return to my old regimen. In fact, it seems absurd--and that is why I have worked to create a new one with G's help, making use of his fields of expertise and the rather gaping deficiencies in my current physical and mental state. It might have been wise to ease my way back into training, but instead I have devoted most of my waking hours to it for the last five days. My body aches as I exercise muscles which have not been attended to in close to a year. And yet I continue, well aware that my days are as numbered as any other man's--surely more so.

I approach the work at hand with a sense of sadness and sacrifice. When I first assumed this role many years ago, I felt I had no other options: no family, no private life, nothing to put on hold. I had money, I had drive, I had the clearness of vision that can only come with youth and privilege. My life revolved around my mission.

That is no longer the case, for better and for worse. Things have changed, and changed significantly. As I reintroduce myself to strength training, combat technique, and all the other dimensions of my new routine, mindful of the uses to which I will soon be putting this preparation, I cannot help thinking about all that I will be leaving behind when I don the uniform once more. Every moment with G at my side--every rest break, every night of sleep--now seems precious, for I know that it is all coming to an end. I am thankful that I had a few short weeks of uninterrupted happiness with him. There are times, I confess, when I doubt whether I am up to the task--or even whether I want to do what I am about to do.

... and yet I realize I can no longer turn my back on the work I was born to do. It was never my lot in life to be an ordinary man with ordinary concerns and ordinary joy. Fate has given me a calling, and I am compelled to pursue it. Hugo Strange may have broken my spirit, and Gustavus may have opened my heart, but at the very core of my being one inescapable fact stares me in the face each time I look in the mirror:

I am Batman. That is who I was, who I am, and who I will continue to be until the end of my days--come what may.

Friday, November 25, 2005

218. Bruce

I do not think I ever expected my life would turn out quite like this. Heir to a family fortune, clearly. Businessman, certainly. Caped crimefighter, perhaps. But spending a quiet holiday with a male lover, devoid of masks or assumed identities? Not a chance.

G and I have spent many long days together lately, reflecting on the paths that brought us to this point. I have begun to tell him more and more about my history, and he has done his best to understand. The old dynamic that brought us together is a thing of the past. We are equals now, or heading in that direction. At the very least, there is a balance between us, which is to say that he sees something in me that he looks up to, and I see the same in him.

I can honestly say I have never been happier in my life. As we sat down to a Thanksgiving meal (Alfred's doing, prepared with his usual aplomb) I literally counted my blessings, beginning with the fact that I am alive. Everything beyond that is luxury, and the luxury is overflowing. Surrounded by material possessions, oblivious to need or want, I understood, as never before, how easy it would be to stop here, to be thankful for all that I have, and to do everything in my power to hold on to all of it. To live my life in comfort, peace, and safety. What would be the harm in that?

And then that afternoon we made love once again. The radio was on in the background, and I could not shut out the news of Gotham's latest fatalities any longer. I took it as a sign, one I have done my best to ignore for a very long time. The crime wave of the last several months continues to escalate. People far less fortunate than myself are suffering; they are dying. Try as I may to pretend that the world is a wonderful place because I am happy at last, I cannot run from the ugly truth.

To be a man in my position, with the resources I possess, and not to use them to the best of my abilities is unconscionable.

Rgardless of the consequences, I must take action.

The time has come to begin again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

217. Bruce

Dick's letter hit me with unexpected force. I am proud of him for the work he is doing, but I cannot hide the hurt I feel upon learning that he is with someone else. I have not told G about it, or even about Dick beyond the briefest of mentions. For that matter, I have not told him enough about what happened in those days with Hugo Strange for anything to truly make sense to him. Perhaps now is the time to do that.

He needs to understand what I went through if he is to help me move on. As for what "moving on" entails, I cannot say for certain yet, although I am beginning to formulate a plan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

216. Gustavus

The last few days have been ... interesting, to put it mildly. None of this is what I would have expected when I first answered Bruce's call earlier this year. On the one hand, he and I have been growing ever closer, exploring new realms of connection that build on our previous relationship while freed of the old boundaries that professional treatment required. I still feel like a mentor to him on some level, but we are working at establishing an equal footing in our play. No longer do I play an exclusively dominant role; if anything, I have been showing him my vulnerable side just as he has begun to regain what I assume was his old self-confidence. For the first time, it can truly be said that we make love when we are together. And we have been together a great deal lately.

On the other hand, it is harder and harder to ignore the outside world. The press and television are full of accounts of the crime wave gripping Gotham City ever since the disappearance "and presumed demise" of the Batman. Only I know better, and yet I have been unable so far to convince him that he must assume that role once again. The threats seem to come from all sides: costumed criminals with colorful names, everyday street thugs, random acts of violence. Most disturbing of all is an escalation in the rate of violent hate crimes in the metropolitan area--over three dozen attacks since the first of the month.

Gotham desperately needs its Batman to return. But is he ready to begin again?

Monday, November 14, 2005

215. Dick Grayson (letter from Baton Rouge, LA)

Dear Bruce,

Time again to write and let you know how things are going down here. Since my last note, I've been all over the Gulf Coast, working on a variety of projects. For a couple of weeks I did nothing but string cable through little tiny holes in an equally tiny town outside Biloxi. Not very glamorous, I assure you, but it seems to be what is needed most right now--and I can say with certainty that I never would have done anything remotely like this if I hadn't met you. I know this isn't the kind of work you had in mind for me, but it just seems to fit. I think both of us are trying hard to put our pasts behind us even as we find new ways to make the world a better place. I don't feel any more like a hero than I did when you and I were working together, but at least I can live with myself. There are still nights when I wake up gasping for air after dreaming about ... those bad times we had at the end. I did things I can't ever forgive myself for, and I know that it will take a lifetime of good deeds to make up for the damage I caused.

I feel kind of weird telling you this, but I've met someone out here on the road. Like me, he's been travelling around, trying to lend a hand however he can, wherever he can, and for the last six weeks we've been making sure we end up in the same place as often as possible. We generally work different assignments during the day but end up together at night--usually in a work tent, although sometimes someone in town offers us a place to stay. He's about your age (I guess I have a thing for older men, after all) and seems to do things like this fairly often--it's a new experience for me, but he's been on the road for several years now. His name is Oliver. I don't have any illusions that we're building anything permanent--given the nature of our lives, that doesn't seem possible--but it's nice while it lasts.

I honestly don't have a clue where to go from here, or how much longer I can keep this up; I'm just trying to stay open to whatever possibilities present themselves. I hope to return to Gotham sooner or later, for a visit if not for good. When I do, you can be sure I'll give you a call.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

214. The omniscient narrator

It's now or never, Gustavus thought to himself. "Bruce, do you remember a bank robbery at one of the First Gotham branches about a year and a half ago?" he asked.

Better than you could ever imagine, Bruce Wayne thought to himself. "Of course," he replied. "Joker and his men. That was a rough one." His voice trailed off slightly as he replayed the carnage of that day in his head--as well as his first encounter with Dick. "Why do you ask?"

"My... sister was in that bank. Joker nearly had her killed. You saved her life."

"Oh, god, I... I didn't know."

"And I didn't know you were... who you are... until you showed me. I couldn't believe it. Didn't want to believe it, on some level. But I can't help thinking that fate has brought us together. And I know, better than I've known anything else in my life, that you must find it in yourself to be the Batman again. For her sake--and yours."

Neither man had anticpated what would come next. If you'd asked them, they would have said it was gravity, or some magnetic force, that pulled them into each other's arms. They did not speak.

Their embrace was strong and passionate, and it led them into the master bedroom. No roles, no rules, no top, no bottom--just two men fully immersed in each other's bodies, limbs entwined, cocks jutting and thrusting, tongues exploring all available holes, fingers reaching in every direction. They came, and slept, and started again. The rain outside stopped, but they did not notice. They opened the bedroom door for a moment, saw that Alfred had left them food and drink, scarfed it all down, then continued once more. There was no telling how much time had passed, and they did not care.

At some unspecified moment in the darkness, one of them--it didn't matter which--let out a mighty groan, followed by yet another spurt of cum. He felt back onto the bed and the two of them lay there, quiet at last.

"Ohhhhhkay," Gustavus said after a while. "NOW what?"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

213. The omniscient narrator

They met at Wayne Manor. It was pouring rain when Gustavus arrived.

"You're soaking wet," Bruce said. "Let me take your coat."

"Here," Gustavus replied, handing it over. They didn't touch, and their eyes did not meet. That's how it went for the first several minutes: curt, stiff, and awkward as hell. Alfred brought tea, and they drank it in near silence, each man stealing every opportunity to gaze at the other when he wasn't looking.

It was Gustavus who broke the ice. "I guess we're both good at the silent treatment," he joked. "For professional purposes, that is."

Bruce cracked a smile.

"Listen," Gustavus continued after a moment. "We both know I can no longer accept money from you for treatment. I've crossed a line that can never be--"

"I understand why you see it that way," Bruce interrupted, "but I ... I hope this doesn't mean the end of our ..."

Neither man finished the sentence. The thought of putting a name to this latest phase of their connection was too daunting, and there was always the risk that putting it into words might alter it in some horrible way.

"There's a lot on the table, Bruce," Gustavus said. "Too much. It's all getting too tangled up. Let me see if I can straighten it out. There's this... program I've had you on. That has to come to an end. I think we've done all the work we can do together, under the circumstances."

Bruce looked worried by this pronouncement, but he held his tongue while the other man continued.

"Then there's ,,. the two of us. And I honestly don't know yet what ..." Gustavus stopped speaking, in the middle of his sentence, hoping the silence would flesh out what he did not want to say.

They stared directly into each other's eyes at last, then looked away, down at the floor, then anywhere else they could find to hide.

"And, Bruce, there's ... the whole issue of your other life. That was important work you were doing--more important than you may ever know. I realize you want to put it all behind you, but--"

"I can't do it anymore," Bruce said. "I can't be that role. I tried, and I failed. I made a terrible mistake. And it's over."

Gustavus was quiet. He became aware of his own breathing as he sat and contemplated his next words. Do I tell him? he asked himself.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

212. Bruce

I had a troubling dream last night.

That is not a new development, of course, but the content of this one was unfamiliar.

I dreamed that Gustavus took the secrets he has learned about me and turned them against me. He became my greatest enemy--and because he has access to both sides of my life, the damage he inflicted was mammoth and irreversible. He set about to destroy me on every level: my career, my psyche, my physical being. At the climax, he had me stretched out on a device modeled on a rack, intended to pull my body completely apart.

I woke up in wet bedsheets like an adolescent.

And I knew that it was time, at last to call him. To arrange a meeting.

I cannot hide from him any longer. Cannot hide from myself.

Cannot hide from our destiny.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

211. The Gotham Gazette


By Thomas Drury
Staff Reporter

It's been a long, hot summer in Gotham City--and the fall is looking even worse.

Throughout the last quarter, crime rates continued their escalation to unprecedented heights, GCPD analysts say, citing parallel trends in homicide, assault, and robbery cases. "We haven't seen this many unsolved crimes in Gotham since we started keeping records," observed harried Police Commissioner James Gordon, who cut short yesterday's interview to handle a late-breaking crisis.

Gordon's problems are not limited to the streets; his own department has been rocked by one internal scandal after another, along with a wave of resignations at every level. "The cops are as bad as the crooks," complained Hadley Martin, a convenience store worker who was shot by a patrolman in one highly publicized August incident.

Tensions between citizens and law enforcement exploded shortly after sundown on Monday night. Halloween activities were suspended and an immediate curfew was declared when riots broke out in several parts of the city simultaneously. Outbreaks of gang violence and apparently unrelated shootings and stabbings added to the volatility of the situation, inspiring some observers to describe the situation as "hell on earth."

[Story continues on page 2A.]

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

210. Gustavus

Removing Bruce from his restraints was a matter of reaching into Batman's belt to access his knife and keys, an act I found extremely erotic.

(The strangeness of that sentence only mirrors the confusion of the situation. The more I think about it, the less I am sure where I stand: is the man I have been describing "Bruce Wayne," or is he "Batman"? I suspect he is both at once, whether he wants to be or not--but as I shall point out below, the difference matters greatly from my own perspective.)

As I freed each one of his limbs, it drooped downward after hours and hours of abuse. Soon his trunk was draped over mine, and he clung to me for support. I held him upright for a long moment, then pulled him in close for a kiss. I could still feel the moisture--water, and otherwise--on his suit.

We were both silent as we stared into each other's eyes. This was not what I had planned--and in fact it meant that my entire course of training for him was no longer possible--but it felt too powerful to resist.

As we embraced, a new plan took shape. I let him rest for a moment, and then we began moving. This time it was he who led me--out of the basement room and up to my quarters. As I stood watching, he began to undress: gloves first, then belt. He began to unfasten his cape, and then I grabbed his hand to stop him.

"No. Wait. I... I wish you'd leave it on. All of it. It's easier that way."

I'd told myself that all of this completely unacceptable behavior of mine was the slightest bit justifiable as long as he remained in disguise. It was out of the question that I do any of this with Bruce Wayne, who after all was paying me, and handsomely. But Batman was another matter altogether. If I could relate to him as another man, a different man, then perhaps there was some way I could live with my actions.

We eased ourselves onto the bed, our limbs already beginning to find new means of interlocking as we landed. Our kisses were deep and passionate, and in time I was mounting him from behind with a fury that surprised even me. I pulled the lower sections of his costume down just far enough to plant my shaft in his ass.

"H--hold me down," he murmured, and I took hold of his wrists and pressed them into the mattress as I pumped away. The full weight of my legs served to pin his boots in place, too. The two of us grunted like animals. We both worked up quite a sweat, and our perspiration blended with the other fluids marking his suit.

There was something dreamlike and unbelievable about this entire scenario; I think now that it was the sight of the Batman squirming and moaning beneath me, as much as the sheer physical sensation of my thrusts, that caused me to produce a second load of spunk with such speed. Once I'd shot my wad, I fell onto him, my chest pressing into his back, and I lay there panting until I fell asleep.

When I woke up, he was gone. I haven't seen him since then, either. It's been more than two weeks now. I keep hoping that writing about what happened will help me work through it, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

I've used silence as part of my treatment strategy often and effectively--but this is the first time I've been on the receiving end.

I hate it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

209. Anonymous

I declare today to be my birthday. On this night traditionally devoted to the celebration of fear, my eyes are open wide and I take my first breath. I welcome myself into the world, and prepare myself to cleanse it of all impurity. I am but an infant now. I am ravenous, and with each passing day I shall grow in power and in wisdom. My training begins tonight. Soon I shall blaze a path of glory across the sky, and all of Gotham City shall speak my name with trembling tongue.

I must remember to thank the good doctor who eased me into being. In all that I do, I endeavor to bring him great pride as I rise to my rightful place in the universe.

Behold me, Gotham: I am your future.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

208. Gustavus

I knew my behavior by this point was completely unprofessional, to say the least, and I honestly didn't care.

What mattered far more to me was the new choice I found myself confronting: Batman was groaning from a powerful combination of pain and pleasure, and I had to make a move. I could ignore him and let the experience lift him into a new realm. I could set him free to find for himself. Or I could do what I did next:

I left him hanging there, immobilized and excited to the point of physical agony, his costume stained with my spunk. I cupped his cock in my hand and stroked it as it jutted through his tights.

"Please..." he moaned. "F-finish me off." From the way he said it, I wasn't quite sure whether he was begging for release or something more permanent.

I reached under his belt and grabbed hold of his outer briefs, yanking them down till they fell to his ankles. I worked on his tights after that; they didn't go quite as far down, but they left an athletic supporter visible, and I had that out of the way in no time. His shaft was in plain view now, and I could see just how distended it had become. I noticed, too, how aptly the term "blueballs" described his condition. I knew I was directly responsible for all of this, and that thought turned me on once again.

I took off my shirt as slowly as I possibly could. I knew he found me an attractive man, and I decided to let him get an eyeful of what he wanted. His cock twitched as he did. When I'd had enough of this game, I let the shirt fall to the ground, then bent down and picked it up. I wrapped the tail of it around his shaft and began to jerk him off through it.

It did not take long at all for him to soak the cloth with his juice. When he was done, I applied the wet mess to select parts of his body--a dab on his cheeks, and the top of his cowl, followed by a swipe across his chest. I traced the bat emblem on his costume with my finger while he nearly howled.

There was one more thing I wanted to do to him that night. It occured to me that if I'd truly overstepped a boundary, I might never see him again. That only gave me further incentive to keep going.

Friday, October 28, 2005

207. Gustavus

I stared at Batman hanging there, his still-wet costume clinging even more closely to his flesh. Even though he was no longer in fighting shape, his muscles were prominently displayed and quiet impressive. I could only imagine what he might look like at the top of his form. He was silent, his eyes following me as I approached him. I stood so close that I could hear his quiet breathing, watch his chest rise and fall as air filled and left his lungs. I could smell the moisture on his clothes, even the faintest trace of soap.

I knew this man--knew his secrets, his weaknesses, knew them better than anyone else on earth. Better far than he knew himself. And yet I saw him now as a stranger: a strong, beautiful stranger, one who had placed his life in my hands.

I was near enough to touch him, and then ... I did. I reached out and felt the tautness of his costume over his outstretched arm. I knew then, and I know now, that that was my biggest mistake. That I had turned a corner which would forever change the nature of our relationship. I had touched him before, but only sparingly, and only in the service of treatment. Never, ever for my own selfish purposes. But this brief encounter--I withdrew my hand almost as quickly as I had advanced it--was different, and I knew it. I was doing this for my sake, for the pleasure it would bring me, not for any conceivable benefit it might bring him. What was happening now had nothing to do with therapy and everything to do with ...

Almost without thinking, I reached down, unzipped my pants, and pulled out my cock. Now that I'd turned a corner, there was no going back, no undoing what had begun. I started to stroke myself, scanning his body as I did. I imagined the two of us making love--or perhaps I should say I acknowledged for the first time that what we were doing was making love, the purest kind either of us knew. That thought--the sheer fact that this was as exciting to him as it was to me--made me even harder. We were twin spirits, united by countless unbreakable threads, this one the strongest of all. I wanted him, and I had him.

I grunted as I masturbated, and he began to respond to my gutteral sounds by writhing a bit, ever so sensuously, within his bonds. "Take me," he whispered, pleading so quietly that I wondered whether he'd said a word or not.

In a matter of moments I shot a deeply satisfying, gut-emptying load, aiming so it would land on one of his boots. I reached down, wiped my right hand in my warm spunk, and then wiped it off on his briefs,using them as if they were a towel. His shaft was so hard and so immobile it felt like it could not possibly be a living piece of flesh.

It was only then that I remembered what I had put him through earlier, forbidding him to cum for the last several days. Suddenly my action felt cruel in a way I had not intended--cruel because I had forgotten his situation, had been lost in my own desires.

"P-please..." he said gently. "Please..."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

206. Gustavus

I've been thinking about what happened that moment 10 days ago; I still can't quite believe I did what I did, or that the stituation has taken its current direction.

Walking into that room and seeing Batman hanging there--not Bruce Wayne, not a client, but the actual Batman--I ... I simply lost control of myself. There is no other explanation. All my years of experience and training in my craft simply vanished, and I found myself face to face with .. with this man. I knew who he was under the disguise, but it did not matter. (In subsequent days, it has occured to me that whatever happened that brought him to this point in his life--whatever it was that reduced a legendary vigilante to the level of a simpering bottom--I could surely empathize, whether I wanted to or not.)

I think it was the sight of his erection that pushed me over the edge. I'd seen Wayne in states of arousal many times during our sessions and had been able to tell myself this was all part of the treatment, but--again--this was different. I'd been trying to come to terms with my growing feelings for Wayne already; I am all too familiar with the process of transference, but I...

I suppose I finally acknowledged that this was an extraordinary situation, one for which no amount of education or experience could prepare me. More was at stake here than in any of my previous cases. I decided to follow my instincts into uncharted territory, come what may.

That is the best--the only--possible explanation for why I allowed myself to do what I did next.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

205. The omniscient narrator

He could feel the jet of water hitting the outside of his suit for several minutes before it registered as warm or wet. He stood and watched as it landed: first as individual beads, most of them bouncing off and landing on the floor of the shower, then beginning to soak the costume, gradually saturating every inch of the surface. It was like an invasion, this process of moving from dry to wet.

He looked down and noticed that his uniform had grown darker from the moisture. The belt and boots were waterproofed, so there was no need for concern that they would be damaged or destroyed, but he was also feeling several pounds heavier.

That's when it dawned on him: the suit had become a kind of prison, weighing him down instead of giving him the freedom it once promised.

He began to wonder, too, just who he was at this point. Costume or not, he did not feel like Batman, just an everyday civilian trapped in clothes that did not belong to him.

He turned off the water, then stepped out of the shower, toweled himself off--no thought of removing the soaking wet attire--and headed downstairs. A trail of water followed him. It squished out of his boots, dripped off his cape and gloves, leaked from his bodysuit. He was like a child leaving his bath, messing up the floor as he left the room.

He knew exactly what to do next, having been led through the ritual Gustavus had taught him many times in recent weeks. This time, however, instead of locating chains and other items to bind himself, he reached into his utility belt and produced his own batcuffs and rope, then began threading them through the mechanism that would hold him suspended in place for the next several hours, hands and feet outstretched. He hung there, a cross between a puppet and a captured speciment, until further notice. What a perfect prize he would make for his master, he thought, his cock stiffening once more.

Friday, October 14, 2005

204. B.

Earlier tonight Gustavus beckoned me to join him in the main room. "Mask on," he said, and I obeyed.

He pointed at a spot on the floor. "Kneel."

I did as I was told. He walked closer, and I could see that he was freshly showered and wearing newly laundered clothes. They still smelled slightly of detergent, which mixed with a light scent of cologne.

I, on the other hand, was filthy, having worn the same outfit for a week. I was unwashed, unshaven, a stinking mess of a man. I felt ashamed of myself once again, and let my head sink to my chest.

I saw his shoes--polished and immaculate--and felt him standing so close to me we were almost touching. I could feel his breath, hear his watch ticking, smell his wonderful aroma. I... I wanted to lose myself in him completely. I do not know exactly what that means, but I am certain it is not the impulse of a so-called hero.

"Have you followed my instructions?" he asked. The erection jutting from below the buckle of my utility belt was clear evidence that I had.

"What was that?" he said, leaning in even closer. "I didn't hear you."

"Y... yes, sir," I whispered. It was all I could do to keep from tearing the suit off and squeezing my shaft until it exploded.

"Good," he said. "Very good."

He remained at my side for the next hour, not saying a word, not moving. I was in tremendous pain, wanting more than anything to release the pressure building up inside me.

Finally he spoke once more. "That's all for tonight. Go to your room and take a shower. IN your suit. Let the water soak it thoroughly. Lather it up and rinse it off--but don't remove it. When you're done, go downstairs and tie yourself to the overhead beams, as we have done before. You know the room I mean. Stay there until you're completely dry, and then return here. If I'm not here, wait for me. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir," I replied.

"Good night... Batman," he said.

I've come here to the room to make these notes before stepping into the shower. The water is already hot, and there is steam building up. I long to be clean again, although I doubt that is the purpose of this particular exercise.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

203. B.

It has been six days now since Gustavus told me to put the suit on again, time I have spent in training sessions with him punctuated by long periods of solitude. I have worn it ever since, removing only the mask on occasion, and only on his command. The entire thing reeks of my sweat and precum, and I long to remove it, but he will not let me. Not yet, at least.
Nor has he let allowed me to reach an orgasm, despite my near-perpetual state of arousal. I do not regret that I shared this part of myself with him--I do not regret anything that has happened during these sessions--but I feel foolish. The constant presence of tenting in my tights only adds to my sense of embarrassment.

I cannot deny that the suit is now and perhaps forever linked in my mind with shame and failure: my shame, my failure. Sometimes I am embarrassed by the thought that I ever believed that wearing this ... this costume would make the city a better place, would accomplish anything whatsoever. Other times I reflect on the absurdity and futility of my original quest, and admit to myself that it was doomed from the start. I cannot look at myself in this outfit without remembering the horrible things Strange made me do the last time I wore one like it--things that, I confess, made me feel more alive than I had ever felt before.

I do not know if this was Gustavus' intention, but I have come to realize that wearing the costume once more is simply another form of humiliation akin to the many others to which he has subjected me during our time together. With the mask clinging tightly to my skull and the suit gripping me like a second skin, I feel more naked than on those days when he stripped me of my street clothes and made me stand before him. I feel as though I have no place to hide, no more secrets to conceal.

I realize, too, that I am at last fulfilled. It is not necessary for me to pretend any longer that my purpose in wearing the costume is to fight crime or improve the world--I wear it only to satisfy myself, and I cannot say for sure whether that has anything to do with "improvement" or not. It is simply something I must do.

The costume is a part of me. I can no longer deny that. What I must do instead is learn what lessons it has to teach me. For that, Gustavus is my guide.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

202. The omniscient narrator

"PUT IT ON," Gustavus barked. Bruce stood stock still for another moment, then reached into the case. The athletic supporter came first. It would be easy: just a simple piece of fabric, albeit reinforced in highly specific fashion. Wearing it, he could be anyone. He could still be himself, whoever that was.

Extending the elastic over the protrusion at his midsection and working his erection into its confines was not quite so easy, but he managed it. He looked down at himself and then glanced back at Gustavus as if waiting for approval. "Keep going," his mentor demanded.

The bodysuit was next. This was the point from which there could be no turning back, and Bruce swallowed hard as he stared at it, then lifted it out of the case. To distract himself, he tried to calculate precisely how long it had been since he had last worn this particular garment, but the challenge proved futile. Time was too slippery these days. All that mattered was that this uniform had become for him a symbol of broken promises, abject failure, lies embraced. He hated the suit now, hated everything it stood for--

and then he put it on. As he did, he recalled with crystal clarity the ordeals he had endured the last time he'd worn it: the drugs, the cage, the conditioning... everything. And it occured to him that all these things he'd just told himself were untrue. Planted in his head by a man bent on his destruction. He was under no obligation to believe them anymore. Hugo Strange was dead and gone--nothing but a horrible memory. The suit remained, and the revulsion he felt as he zipped it up began to fade away.

The rest came easily: the outer briefs, the boots, the gloves, the belt. Each a piece in his armor, a component of his true self. His shadow self. A reality from which he could no longer hide.

He fastened the cape around his neck. It occured to him that he'd been acting on autopilot for the last several minutes, no longer turning to Gustavus for direction. He knew what he was doing without being told for a change. This was familiar. This was his life.

Only one item remained: the mask that would complete his transformation from Bruce Wayne to Batman.

"What are you waiting for?" Gustavus said.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

201. Bruce Wayne

I have endured many torments in my lifetime, but the last several days have been almost unbearable. Revealing my true self to Gustavus felt like a major step in this current process, only it was followed by ... nothing. Nothing but silence and solitude. Waiting for him to make the next move. Waiting for him to tell me what to do. Waiting for him to help me press forward. Waiting... and waiting... and waiting...

And then, last night, it happened: the phone call. "The time is here. Meet me in Room 7 in 3 minutes. And bring ... it." He didn't have to explain; I knew better than I know my own name.

I scrambled, well aware of the consequences if I were late. It felt great to be following his orders once again.

He was waiting for me when I arrived. He sat in a chair and stared as I approached him, case in hand. "Put it on the table," he said quietly. "Open it." I did so, and then looked up for his next instruction, as I have been trained to do. When he's in a good mood, he calls me an "obedient puppy" when I do this. When he is in a bad mood, there are no words.

This time, he said nothing but raised his right hand. I knew this signal very well and began to remove my clothes, my shaft stiffening as I did. This, too, has become part of the routine now: part memory of past ordeals, part anticipation of what might lie ahead. He uses my excitement as a reminder of his mastery over me. "You like this, don't you?" he teased. "You can't help yourself..."

I nodded, trying hard not to reveal what I was feeling. That was easy, since I was not even sure what that feeling was.

"Put it on," he said next, and ... I hesitated. I have put this part of my life behind me for months, and I don't want to bring it back. Honestly, I don't. I am ashamed by what I did in those days--what I tried to do, and failed to do, and the damage I brought to others as a result. I hate what I was, and I vowed never to be it again.

And yet I had no choice.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

200. Gustavus

It's been almost a week since the Client opened that case of his, and it's safe to say that things have changed significantly.

I know I've changed. Changed the way I think of him--I'm only calling him "the Client" here in an attempt to restore some focus to my thoughts, to remind myself that this is still a job, that I still have a task to perform, one which is far from complete.

I suspected long ago what Wayne's secret was, but I ... I couldn't believe it. The man who came to me for help was weak, timid, shattered. Possibly the biggest bottom I've ever seen. He had the tough exterior of a businessman, or the remnants of one, but he melted in my presence. He wanted to melt. He'd been fighting the demons inside himself for years, and he was ready to unleash them.

He's been an excellent pupil. Every time we meet I have seen the gleam in his eye--the longing to explore ever deeper and darker realms, to push himself to places he's never been.

Only now I'm not so sure about that. About not having seen these places before; a man in his shoes has seen more than most. But there was something holding him back from experiencing it all.

So: I suspected, but I did not know. Now that I do, so much about him makes sense.

After he opened the case last Friday, I said almost nothing. Tried hard not to reveal any response whatsoever. I thought for a moment that I still had it wrong: that this ... this thing he held in his hands represented who he wanted to be, not who he was. We stood there together in silence for what must have been half an hour, our eyes barely blinking, and when I was convinced this wasn't simply a fantasy on his part I sent him back to his quarters. I left that night and returned here to Gotham. I gave him written instructions to spend the time alone in quiet study as before; informed him I would be coming for him soon to continue our work.

That time has almost arrived.

Eventually, I will share something of myself with him--it must be said; there is no other way. But for now, we have other tasks to accomplish. This job is unlike any I have other done--but I have faith that I have been called to do it for a reason.

Friday, September 23, 2005

199. The omniscient narrator

The moment he was untied, Bruce Wayne left the main room and headed for his quarters. Along the way, he reviewed the events of the past summer: the time he'd invested in these sessions, and the intense sensations they had provoked within him. He remembered mornings he'd been ordered to crawl to Gustavus's side and remain there, on all fours, until his mentor reached down and mussed his hair. He recalled afternoons suspended in a sling while Gustavus conducted a series of "experiments" on his orifices with objects black and smooth... evenings bent doubled over a board until his legs went numb... midnight sessions with hot wax and cold ice. He heard once more the snap of a rubber glove over one of Gustavus's large hands, the crack of a whip as it headed for his bare back, the buzz of an electrical device attached to his flesh. He smelled leather and wood and sweat and oil and a host of chemicals intended to manipulate his body and mind, each in a different way.

He hadn't loved it all equally, but he had learned from each new exploration. His earlier training had given him practice dealing with all manner of abuse, but this time around he was taking stock of which treatments brought him ... pleasure, and how that pleasure could be used to lift his consciousness to another plane. This was not about making the world a better place, not about avenging his parents' death: this was about something entirely different. This internal quest, he was now convinced, was his true calling.

He knew, too, that his feelings for Gustavus were growing ever more powerful. He knew this was strictly a business transaction, and he knew, too, that this ever-growing emotional response was a necessary component of the "treatment," but neither of those facts diminished the intensity of what was happening.

It wasn't just Gustavus, either. There was Richard, and the Riddler, even Hugo Strange, and so many other men. A few of them he considered friends, most enemies--but he realized now those were simply categories intended to smooth over deeper concerns. There would be time, he knew, to revisit all these things--but for now, he had a mission. An assignment.

He headed straight for a slim black suitcase tucked away in the closet of his chambers, then returned to the room where Gustavus stood in waiting. He put the case down on a table and looked to his mentor for guidance.

"Open it," Gustavus said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

198. The omniscient narrator

Bruce Wayne sat alone in the enormous room, naked, bound to a chair at the wrists and ankles. He'd been here for at least twelve hours, and he'd spent most of that period stiff as a board.

Solitary confinement gave him plenty of time to reflect back on the past month. The sessions with Gustavus had been put on hold for a week and a half when word hit that a massive storm had decimated much of the nation's southern coast. Wayne had sent two trucks of supplies to New Orleans days after the hurricane, only to find them turned away by confused and overly territorial officials. Outraged that no federal relief had yet arrived, he'd stormed into his senator's Gotham office and demanded that action be taken--but nothing came of it.

He felt powerless, a perception that only grew stronger as the days passed. Each day brought fresh reports of law enforcement officers walking off the job in a state of shock, sometimes even killing themselves. Lawlessness had gripped the land--and he, as Batman, was one man who could do something about it. Only he'd abandoned that job, a failure. It was too big, and he was too small. What use is a lone, broken being reduced to the level of "Object X" in the face of such a global catastrophe, he asked himself.

The Wayne Foundation seemed the best and only way that he could help, and he made relief efforts the organization's top priority for the immediate future. Then Richard contacted him--via Alfred--with a plan to head down South as a volunteer in the reconstruction. Bruce insisted on covering all of Grayson's expenses on the trip.

All of this made it hard to think about the dark path of self-exploration with Gustavus. The sessions seemed like an obscene luxury in the face of so much suffering. What right did he, millionaire Bruce Wayne, have to pay outrageous sums to have himself tormented and abused when, elsewhere in the nation, men, women, and children were desperate for a drink of water?

It was Alfred who convinced him otherwise. "Innocent people will suffer no matter what you do or don't do, Master Bruce," he'd said. "They have done so throughout history, and will most likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But at the moment you are suffering, too, sir--and you are unable to help them, or anyone else, until you first get help for yourself."

And so Bruce found himself here, bound to this chair, in a state of high arousal--merely the latest in another extended round of activities devised by Gustavus. He'd been caged, collared, shocked, whipped, suspended upside down, forced to drink and eat the foulest of substances, and otherwise treated like the lowest form of life. And he'd admitted, first to himself and then out loud, that this treatment brought him unspeakable satisfaction. Not pleasure, mind you: more a sense of calm, of tranquility, of empowerment. These were the things, he whispered ony to himself, that had first driven him to don a cowl and assume the life of a "caped crusader" of the kind he'd imagined as a child. Only now he knew he did not need to pretend that he was a hero, a crimefighter, anything but an explorer of private realms.

Gustavus entered the room silently and forcefully. His presence was, as always, unmistakable. He began untying Bruce.

"Before we began this latest session, I told you to bring something with you to the retreat center. Do you remember what it was?" Gustavus asked.

"Yes, sir," Bruce said meekly.

"Tell me."

"You told me to pack something that was the outward embodiment of my innermost self. An expression of all my hidden secrets. The one side of myself I have not yet shown you."

"And did you obey me?" Gustavus asked.

"Yes, sir."

"Then go get it and bring it to me. The time has come."

"I will, sir."

Sunday, September 18, 2005

197. Dick Grayson (letter from the coast of Mississippi)

Dear Bruce,
I know it's been a while, but ever since I got here I haven't had a second to sit down and write you a thank-you letter. It's way overdue, but given the circumstances I trust you can cut me some slack.

Everything has been moving so fast these last few weeks--not unlike the storm itself. It's kind of funny, because my life had slowed to a crawl over the spring and the summer, ever since I left you and the Manor.

I guess this isn't really the place to talk about that. I just hope you can somehow understand what it was like for me: knowing that a huge, unforgiveable mistake on my part nearly brought your life and my own to an end. There were times, when I got back to my own place and had to face the prospect of starting all over again from scratch, that I just wanted to destroy myself once and for all--to wipe out whatever remained of my identity after Dr. Strange had his way with me.

I want you to know that I missed you more than I can ever say. I just couldn't face you--and by "you" I mean both Bruce Wayne and Batman. I loved both sides of you, even if there were times I thought what I felt was something much darker.

It seems crass to bring up finances under the circumstances, but I'm going to anyway. I don't know how to thank you enough for your generosity. Even after I left the job of Robin, even after it seemed like you'd never see me again, you continued to send me those monthly checks, which meant that I didn't have to think about a job while I was trying to rebuild my shattered psyche.

And now you are paying for this extended trip down to the Gulf Coast! If I did have a steady job, there is no way I could afford to leave it for weeks, months, maybe a year, to do this work I am now engaged in, helping to rebuild this place. Alfred tells me that in addition to covering the cost of my travels, you have donated an immense amount to a host of relief-related charities. That doesn't surprise me, but it moves me deeply.

I wish you could see the things I have seen since I came down here. These people have lost everything. Crime is rampant, but much of it is driven by abject poverty. I spent several days in New Orleans battling roving gangs exactly like the ones we had to confront in Gotham, only these have been pushed to the point of sheer insanity. (That town needs a Batman even more than our own--I wish to god it could be you, but I know that I of all people can't ask that of you.) The kind of work I'm doing now does not involve a mask or a costume--but I know that I would not be able to do it without the training and the confidence you gave me.

I honestly don't know how long I'm going to stay. I feel like, in some small way, I am doing this in order to atone for the great damage I caused when I tried to play the role of your sidekick. Or maybe I'm trying to rebuild a community as a way of trying to rebuild my own battered coast. It sounds selfish when I put it that way, and I guess there's no getting around that. But I look at it, also, as a way to continue what I was doing as Robin, only in a different setting. Lord knows it calls for many of the same skills--skills I only possess because of your faith in me.

I hope you are well. I know we haven't spoken except through Alfred for ages now, and maybe one day that will change. But I sense that each of us has something we need to do for the time being, something we must do alone. Perhaps a time will come when ...

I don't know. I don't even want to speculate about what the future may bring. All I want to do right now is finish this letter, take a cold sponge bath (we still don't have any safe hot water), and get some sleep. Tomorrow's going to be another long, long day.

We don't have much access to technology, so I don't know when I'll be able to write again. But please know that I am thinking of you. In more ways than one, I wouldn't be here now if it weren't for you.

Love always,

Thursday, August 25, 2005

196. Gustavus

Met with the Client in my office yesterday. I made clear in advance that this was merely a meeting, not a formal session, and thus our interactions were quite different than they have been of late. The discussion was necessary and valuable as a chance for both of us to check in regarding the progress of the program. Wayne seems pleased so far, and is more than willing to proceed. I have arranged for him to join me at the retreat center again this weekend.

I must note here that I am beginning to develop an emotional bond with the Client. This transference is an inevitable step in the process, as I well know, and for both our sakes it is essential that I observe certain boundaries as we press on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

195. Alfred

Master Bruce is home again, though he says he may be called away again at any moment. He has not talked about what he has been doing, and I of course do not ask, but I can see that it has affected him on some deep level. I only hope the change is for the best.

I continue to manage the financial affairs of Master Richard as well, although I have not spoken to him since his departure from the Manor.

I never dreamed I would say this during my lifetime, but It looks as though the era of Batman--and Robin--is now over. While I initially disapproved of Master Bruce's decision to assume the role and am on some level relieved that both men are now safe, I grieve the loss of their contributions to the city, and I pray that someone or something will change, and soon.

Monday, August 22, 2005

194. Bruce

Back home now. The place feels slightly alien after my time away, and I do not know how long I will be here before Gustavus calls for me once more. Alfred has done his usual excellent job maintaining the residence and most of my business affairs in my absence.

The sessions are going remarkably well. One image is still fresh in my mind: my final night at the compound, just a few short days ago. After many hours in bondage, G. released me sometime Friday afternoon (I could only figure that out in retrospect, as I began to piece together the fragments of my experience and match them to something resembling conventional measurements of time). My limbs were so weak at first I could do little more than prop myself up on the ground. He removed the blindfold and gag and I saw that the room was flooded with harsh red light.

He gave me a pair of hiking boots and told me to put them on. They were the only clothes on my body. He handed me the stinking, crusted sweatpants and shirt I'd been wearing for so long and had me hold them in my hands as we walked out the rear door of the house and down a trail into the woods out back. The sun was just beginning to set as we began our journey.

I had no idea what was in store for me at the end of the trail. Naked and ordered by a fully clothed man, I felt like a prisoner of war being led to his execution. I feared--perhaps hoped, on some level?--that all my trust had been mislaid, and that this was indeed my doom.

He took me to a clearing and ordered me to gather branches for a bonfire. When I was done, he directed me to a large old tree and bound me to its trunk. I remained there, immobile and silent, until the sky was pitch black. He lit the fire and waited for it to grow to its full potential before untying me.

The sweatpants and shirt were at my feet. "Cast them in," he said, and I did. We both watched as they burned into ash, and then saw the ash carried upward into the sky and out of sight.

"We are at a point of transition, Wayne," he told me. "Your old self is gone now. We shall rest a while, and then begin the process of creating your new skin."

We sat and watched the fire until it had burned itself out, a process which took hours. It seemed to me that the Gustavus I had come to know--ferocious, intimidating, larger than life--was softening a bit. I remembered I sometimes wanted to forget: that I had sought this man out. That he was not an enemy but a helper. A teacher. I looked him and realized that I ... wanted him. Wanted him to like me. To love me. He already knew more about me than almost anyone else I'd ever met.

And I realized then and there that, should the proper opportunity arise, I wanted to show him even more.

Friday, August 19, 2005

193. Gustavus

Wayne's chest and upper arms are pocked with cuts, bruises, and every manner of abuse. Some of the scars appear to be several years old. I knew he was interested in extreme states of various kinds, but I honestly had no idea the depth of his commitment. Whether these marks are self-inflicted or imposed by others by request--or against his will--I cannot say. Clearly, something is going on that he has not told me about.

I released him from the closet last night and led him to the formal dungeon, where I bound him to a post. I blindfolded and gagged him, much to his evident delight. He is there now, still naked and presumably wide awake.

Tonight I will lead him into the woods behind the compound for the final stage of the current phase of therapy. He will be instructed to bring the clothes I made him wear during the last several days, and to burn them in a bonfire as a signal that he is ready to move on.

Tomorrow he will be released. We will reconvene in my office back in Gotham. There are a few things I need to investigate before we go any farther.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

192. The omniscient narrator

A skilled locksmith, Batman could have made his way out of the closet in seconds. But that side of Bruce Wayne was long gone now, and he chose to wait in silence and darkness until Gustavus returned for him.

That took more than twelve hours. When Gustavus opened the door at last, he found Wayne slumped against the wall of the tiny room, sleeping. The pants were still on his head. This one really is a true bottom, the standing man thought.

"Get out here," he commanded. "Crawl."

If Wayne had a shred of dignity left, it was buried so deep inside him that neither man could find it.

"Take those goddam pants off your head, fool," Gustavus said. "The shirt, too."

Bruce pulled the sweatshirt over his head and tossed it to the ground.

Gustavus got a good look at his pupil's naked body for the first time. Holy shit, he thought to himself. Holy fucking shit.

191. The omniscient narrator

Of course, Bruce did not have to be told where to aim his spunk; it added a fresh coat to the inside of his sweatpants, and he gave thanks that it was there instead of trapped inside him.

"Take them off," Gustavus ordered, and Bruce stepped out of the sweats he'd been wearing for a week and a half. "Behold your past," the Master said. "Embrace it, so that we can put it behind you."

Bruce looked confused.

"Jesus Christ, do I have to explain everything to you, boy?" Gustavus snapped. He pointed at the spot on the floor where the discarded pants lay. "Get down there. NOW." Bruce lowered himself to the ground once more. "Smell them. Press your head in nice and close."

Once again, Bruce did as he was told, rubbing his face into the warm, wet patch at the crotch. As close as he was, he could distinguish between the fresh moistness of the most recent spurt and the earlier layers of crust.

"Hmmm. Not good enough," Gustavus said. "Put them on. Over your head."

Without even a second's misgivings, Bruce Wayne rose to a squatting position, picked up the filthy sweatpants, and wore them on his head. He felt ridiculous. In the darkness, he heard the door close and lock shut.

190. The omniscient narrator

As Wayne slept on the hard cold kitchen floor, he dreamed of life back in Strange's cage. He dreamed he'd never left, that weeks--months--years had passed, and he was still the captive Object X. The time he'd spent in Strange's possession now far outweighed the relatively brief period he'd spent as Batman, and he understood at last that his entire career as "Caped Crusader" had only served to prepare him for his true purpose: to cater to Strange's every whim. He would grow old--he had grown older, in fact, and weaker and thinner and more pathetic every day--in this living hell. There was no way out.

He knew beyond a doubt that Bruce Wayne had been declared dead long ago. Alfred, following Wayne's own orders, would surely have constructed a tragic tale by now to explain his extended disappearance. He mattered to no one anymore except this one man, who treated him like a clump of dirt at best. He had no life except this meager caged existence. He was a laughingstock to himself and to the only two other men who even knew he was still alive: Hugo Strange and Robin, the former Dick Grayson.

Yes, Robin--or rather, Object Y. He was there, too, only his fate was rather different. Strange had taught him to hate his one-time mentor--and for good reason, too, since Batman was solely and directly responsible for Robin's presence in the mad doctor's clutches. "You destroyed me," the younger man would say as he stood outside Batman's cage, pointing at him. "But He saved me. He remade me. I am his now. All because of you." Bruce turned and saw Strange embrace Robin. The two men kissed and laughed and gazed affectionately into each other's eyes. The two of them mocked the prisoner ruthlessly. He was nothing but a joke to them. A joke which had grown old and would soon pass into nothingness...

"GET UP," a voice said. It belonged not to Robin or Strange but... Gustavus. Bruce wearily returned to consciousness. Opening his eyes one at a time, he saw a pair of black dress shoes and dress pants standing before him. Gustavus had changed into something more formal than his earlier attire. "For god's sake. Have you smelled yourself lately?" Bruce took a whiff of the air around himself as he rose to his feet: he hadn't bathed or removed his clothes since Gustavus' arrival over a week before, and he reeked of sweat, cum, dirt, and food.

"Come with me," his Master demanded, and Bruce followed into another room. This one--a closet of some kind?--was empty and dark. The floor was concrete, and in time Bruce was directed to kneel for a familiar routine. Gustavus snapped his fingers, and Wayne--like a trained animal--began to jerk himself off again. There was no conventional pleasure in this act anymore, only physical pain and a vague awareness of how humiliating it was to be reduced to this state, day after day, at another man's command. Even if he had chosen all of this for himself: what did that say about him, anyway?

Wayne had no trouble selecting an image to reflect on while he did his duty: he replayed the material from the dream he'd just have, one element at a time... The cage. Robin/Y scolding and berating him. Strange's utter and irreversible victory. His own unthinkable failure...

He was on the verge of shooting and then stopped himself, knowing this was surely just the beginning of another punishing ban on erotic release.

"Keep going," Gustavus barked. "I didn't tell you to stop, did I?"

"N-no sir," Wayne replied, resuming his assignment. He pictured himself at the very end of his life, having spent decades in that damned cage, forgotten by the rest of the world, his entire existence a complete waste of...

"Let it out," Gustavus prodded. "NOW."

189. Gustavus

Yesterday's session explained much about the Client's behavior--or did it? The story Wayne tells is so outrageous it can only be a fantasy. If he had indeed been kidnapped and assaulted against his will, why didn't he go to the police? (Embarrassment, maybe?) For that matter, he never revealed to me how he managed to escape, or what became of his friend.

On the other hand, perhaps there really is something to his tale. I've had my suspicions that he was involved in something particularly dark and deep, and this would certainly fit the bill. Whatever happened to him--either this incident or something he hasn't told me--it has taken a toll. I must handle his treatment with great care. This cannot mean pulling back--I need to press forward, but with safeguards in place.

I remind myself that I am being paid to help him. Given how much he has evidently been through, or at least how high his tolerance for the services I offer, I am obliged to push further. To break whatever wall he has built to protect himself from what he wants.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

188. The omniscient narrator

Cum began to shoot from Bruce Wayne's swollen shaft. He wept, embarassed and exhausted, as it flowed out of him.

Gustavus was not pleased. "At least pull your fucking pants up and catch it in there like I fucking told you," he snapped.

Bruce obeyed, relieved to feel the sweats absorb the fluid from his flesh. When the last of it was gone, he sprawled out face down on the floor, absolutely drained.

"Get up," Gustavus said. "You disobeyed me. I don't give a shit about this Tanhoger. He doesn't own you. Not anymore. I do. That's what you want, isn't it?"

Bruce took his time rising. He could not look Gustavus in the eye. "Y--yes, sir."

"Your name isn't 'Object X' anymore, is it?"

Bruce's voice was quiet and low. "No sir."


"N-no sir."

"I think you're lying. I think you want that name more than anything. I think you want to be that miserable, despicable thing, forever. At least that's what you think you want. Isn't it?"

Bruce was silent.

"Speak to me, boy. Tell me what your name is. Tell me what it is you want to be."

Wayne was sobbing again. "I... I don't know. I can't think right now..."

"The outside world knows you as a rich and powerful man. They know you as Bruce Wayne. Some men probably even fear you. But that's not who you are, is it?"

Instinctively, Bruce's hands went up to his face, as if he could disappear behind them. "I don't... I don't kn..."

"Oh, you KNOW all right, don't you? You've known it all your life. You know what drives you. You know what you want to be. You know what you are. Say it. Say it out loud. Say it to me. Now."

For the first time in the sessions, Bruce refused to do as he was told. He said nothing.

"Do you want to spend another week like the last one, boy? How about two weeks? A month?"

"Stop," Bruce pleaded. "Just ... stop. I can't do this."

If Gustavus was upset, he did not show it. Instead he was quiet and firm. "All right. If that's the way you want it, that's the way we'll play it. I've got all the time in the world. You're the one who's paying for all this. Paying for the privilege of being torn apart from the inside. This session is over. We will have no contact again until I say so. You'll sleep in the kitchen tonight. On the floor, of course. And you will leave those sweats on until I say so. Let them be a reminder of your disobedience. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sir," Bruce answered. "Thank you, sir."

187. The omniscient narrator

Eight long days into the cum ban, Gustavus snapped his fingers and Bruce knealt before him. There was no longer any need for words between them to initiate this ritual; Wayne simply began fondling himself through the sweatpants. These had grown crusty with precum, at Gustavus' orders.

At a nod of his new master's head, Bruce was permitted to slide the elastic waist of the sweats down onto his thighs and grab his cock directly. It was sore from days of abuse with no lubrication beyond spit.

As Bruce went at it, Gustavus began to grill him. "Tell me his name," he demanded. This was the first time in eight days that he had brought up the man who had clearly done something to Wayne.

"T-t-Tanhoger," Bruce replied with only the slightest hesitation. It was not the whole truth, but it was not a lie, either.

"Tell me what he did to you," Gustavus said. "Just don't stop jerking yourself off while you do."

Bruce had given up dreading this inevitable moment. It was too hard to hide anymore. Better to offer a vague yet true explanation, leaving out one or two significant details involving a certain now-discarded secret identity.

"H-he took me ... by surprise, and --"

Gustavus looked confused. "He 'took' you? As in, he kidnapped you?"

"Something like that. It's a long story. It built up for a long time. He had a plan and... he carried it out."

"Did you want this?"

"No. And... yes. There was someone else involved. I had no choice."

Gustavus noticed that Wayne had slowed down on his assigned task. "I didn't tell you to stop stroking it, did I?"

"No sir," Bruce answered. He turned his attention to his shaft a minute and then continued his story. "He had taken... a friend of mine, too. Threatened to kill us both if I didn't ... obey. When he had me, he ... drugged me."

Gustavus grew concerned. For a brief flash, he wondered if he hadn't gotten in over his head. Was this some fantasy Wayne had cooked up, or could it really have happened? No matter: it was too late to turn back.

Wayne kept going. With each new revelation, he felt less inclined to mask the truth of the story. Now that the ice was broken, it was getting easier to talk. "He beat me ... every day. For days. Weeks. I don't know how long. He kept me in a ... in a cage, and ... kept both of us in cages... my friend and me... Kept me so high I didn't know where I was or how... long I'd been there."

Wayne realized just how turned on he was by telling the tale. "He took away everything I'd ever had. Eventually I just broke down. I couldn't fight back anymore. To mark his ... mastery over me, he gave me a new name."

Gustavus was entranced by now, and more than a little excited himself. "What was it? What did he call you?"

Bruce was masturbating with such ferocity now that he was on the point of no return. "Ob--Object X." As he spoke, he reared back to let the cum fly.

"HOLD IT IN," Gustavus ordered. "I didn't give you permission to let it out yet."

Bruce felt like he was going to explode any second. For the first time in his encounters with Gustavus, he was begging. "Please... sir... I can't keep it in any longer. Please let me get it over with. I'll do anything you say..."

"You already do," the other man replied.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

186. Bruce

Been a week since G imposed the ban. He's been exploiting it ever since, bringing me ever closer to the point of explosion and then pulling back. Can't think. Can barely move sometimes, the pain is so great. Pressure building up inside me. Want to let it out. Need to let it out.

i know i don't sound like myself. i'm not myself anymore. i'm not who i was.

i can't hold it in much longer.

There were times when i thought i could do anything, fight anyone, be anything i wanted to be. i thought i had power. i thought i had purpose. But i know better. i know better now.

Monday, August 15, 2005

185. Gustavus

Six days have passed since the current phase of treatment began, and all is going according to plan. The Client has proved most compliant--his willingness to perform the role of submissive confirms my suspicion that he has much experience in this area and an openness to go farther.

I have begun to establish a daily routine for Wayne which consists primarily of various exercises he is obliged to do at my command. He spends five to six hours a day in restraints of one kind or another and takes all of his meals on the floor. I leave a bowl of water for him to drink (no hands allowed) between regimens. Each night he and I share the same bedroom: I take the bed, and he sleeps on the floor at my side.

He is in a state of near-constant arousal, but I have still forbidden him to reach an orgasm. Many times while he is tightly bound I tease him by placing my hand near his erect penis, although I make a point of not touching him. I want to be certain that the moment of his release is a turning point for him, that it marks his true obedience to me and his rejection of the man or men who came before me.

Throughout his training I have been impressed by his bravery and his willingness to push himself to extremes. However, his behavior indicates that there are things holding him back. He assumed the role of submissive without a struggle, which suggests to me that such a struggle has already occurred and that it scarred him in some way. From the beginning he has been evasive about his true motivations for doing this work. He has spoken openly about childhood tragedy, but I am convinced there is something more. Something he may not be ready to tell me.

As of today, I have lifted the earlier ban on written communication and am allowing him to maintain a journal. (I will not tell him whether I intend to read it or not, which should heighten its effectiveness as a training tool.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

184. The omniscient narrator

Bruce knew beyond a doubt he was about to shoot at any second. He was sweating now, and his face showed signs of strain. Any sec--

"Not now," Gustavus said. "Hold it."

Exasperated, Bruce released his grip on his cock.

"Pull up your pants," his Master said. "The lesson is over."

Bruce looked confused.

"DO AS I SAY," Gustavus ordered. "You're going to hold it in until I say so. Until I think you're ready. Right now your thinking is clouded by this other man, these other men who came before. You still think you serve them. You're WRONG. They're not here, boy. I am. You answer to ME now. Me, and me only. Do you understand?"

"... Yes ... sir."

"Go to the kitchen. A meal is waiting for you there."

Cock still throbbing, Bruce walked the familiar path to the kitchen. He surveyed the counter and found nothing. The table nearby was empty as well. At last he cast his eyes downward and found a plate of food on the floor. The plate itself was china of the highest caliber. There were no serving utensils in sight.

"Eat it," Gustavus said. The Master seated himself at the table and watched as millionaire Bruce Wayne lowered himself to the floor and picked up the food with his bare hands.

"Good boy," he said when Wayne was done. "Good boy."

183. The omniscient narrator

When Bruce stood up, his erection was painfully obvious.

"This excite you, boy?" Gustavus snarled.

Wayne nodded.

"Answer me, boy," Gustavus demanded. "Say it."

"Yes, sir."

Gustavus took a step toward him. "What's got you so turned on, boy? This situation, right now, or the memory of those other men who came before?"

Bruce glanced at a spot just past his new Master's head and spoke softly. "Both."

"LOOK AT ME, BOY," the other man yelled.

Bruce's cock twitched beneath the sweatpants. Wayne stared straight into the other man's eyes and thought he would melt from the intensity he found there.

"All right, Wayne," his mentor said, softening his voice but maintaining its commanding tone. "Since you're so goddam hot right now, let's see you do something about it. Pull down those pants... That's it. Drop them to your ankles... Attaboy. Now. Take your dick in your hand--that's it--and start stroking it. NOW, boy. Let me see you get into it."

Bruce Wayne now found himself jerking off in front of a man he barely knew: a handsome man, one about whom he'd already fantasized many times. He was doing it willingly. This man wasn't a criminal, he was--beneath all the trappings of aggression and hostility--on the same side, and this entire scenario was unfolding at Wayne's request. On his dime, even.

The lengthy consent forms Gustavus had made Wayne sign during their preliminary meetings contained detailed sections on sexual activity. It was impossible, Bruce knew, to do the work he wanted--needed--to do without some sort of physical interaction between the two men. After much consideration, he'd checked off the boxes permitting touch, oral and anal stimulation, ejaculation, everything. I must be open to every possibility, he'd told himself.

Now that it was here, now that it was beginning, he hesitated for a moment, seized by doubt and self-awareness. Where is this going to take me? he asked himself. What will I find when I get there?

He remembered everything that had brought him to this place: the murder of his parents, the years he'd spent attempting with little success to avenge that crime, the tortures he'd suffered at the hands of maniacs, the damage he'd done to Dick Grayson by bringing him into the game... all of it.

As he did, he felt the warmth of his hand pumping his shaft, back and forth, back and forth, while Gustavus watched. It felt good. It felt great. Back and forth. Back and...

182. The omniscient narrator

"Look at me, Wayne," Gustavus ordered. "Look into my eyes when I address you."

Bruce raised his head slightly and stared at the man who towered over him, beautiful and strong.

"You paid me to dominate you," the Master continued. "To work you into submission. But I see from your behavior that you have already been broken. Someone's been here before me. He's already made you his bitch. That's true, isn't it? ISN'T IT?!?!"

Bruce felt a lump in his throat. He wasn't sure he'd be able to answer. "Y-yes... sir."

"What was his name, boy? The man who came before me? Tell me!"

Bruce had spent part of his "retreat" trying to prepare for this moment. He knew he'd need a cover story in case something like this happened. He was only surprised that Gustavus had figured out this facet of his psyche so quickly.

Somehow, in the heat of the moment, the explanation he'd devised didn't seem adequate, so he abandoned it and decided to go evasive: "Just ... a man."

Gustavus would have none of it. "You told me you'd never had a male lover."

This one was easy. "He ... he wasn't a lover," Bruce replied. "None of them were."

"'Them'?" Gustavus snapped. "There were others?"

"I told you when we first spoke that I've wanted this all my life, ... sir. And I... I found ways to ..."

"YOU FUCKING LIED TO ME," Gustavus replied, cutting him off. "And we can't have that shit. I WILL NOT TOLERATE ANY BULLSHIT FROM YOU, boy. Stand up. I think it's time for your first lesson."

181. The omniscient narrator

Wayne hung up the phone and headed for the closet. Before he got there, however, he noticed a complete set of clothes laid out for him at the foot of the bed. Someone must have placed them there while he was sleeping, but how--

There was no time to tease out an answer. He examined the ensemble--loose-fitting grey pants and shirt, rather like a sweatsuit crossed with a uniform of some sort, accompanied by a pair of black running shoes--and began to put it on.

He'd been waiting for this moment for weeks, and the anticipation made his pulse quicken. He barely noticed the fact that he was already taking orders from this unseen man, so ready was he to submit. It was almost as if the voice on the phone belonged not to Gustavus but to Hugo Strange, and this entire exercise were merely the latest phase in his treatment at the hands of that monster.

Once dressed, he turned the doorknob and walked out of the bedroom. He took a step into the hallway and found himself face to face with Gustavus, who was dressed in a somewhat more formal, all-black version of the same outfit.

"Are you ready, Wayne?" Gustavus barked.

"Yes... sir," Bruce replied, averting his eyes from the other man's penetrating gaze. A few months ago, Wayne thought to himself, I wouldn't have reacted this way. I would have stood my ground. I would have faced this man, ready to counter his every move, fully prepared to destroy him. I would have been The Bat. But those days are over.

Now I am free. Free to respond another way. Free to admit fear instead of pretending I was impervious to it. Free to ...

"Kneel," Gustavus ordered.

Without a second's hesitation, Wayne did as he was told. As he lowered himself to the ground, he felt ... relieved. Refreshed. Satisfied. Whole.

180. The omniscient narrator

Bruce Wayne lay in bed, half awake and half asleep. The sheets felt like silk against his naked body. Indeed, everything about his temporary quarters displayed a level of opulence and luxury he had denied himself ever since he'd assumed the identity of Batman several years earlier. To be sure, he'd kept up the appearance of upper-crust splendor in his own home, but that was all an act; in reality, in his Bat-days he'd spent many an evening sleeping just an hour or two in the Cave, or not sleeping at all.

In the weeks he'd been staying here, he'd had ample time to reflect on his past--his failings as a vigilante, the hollowness of his quest, the emptiness of his present existence--and just as much time to enjoy the delights of Gustavus' compound. The aesthetic of the place was high minimalism; there was very little furniture, but all of it was of the greatest possible caliber. The pool and gym facilities were first-rate; a fully stocked library beckoned. (Wayne took note of the volumes laid out for him, and reach each one from cover to cover.) The walls of each room were painted in restful colors. It was a resort fit for a king. Each day, three times a day, food appeared for him, already prepared. He never saw anyone else enter or leave the space, but someone was clearly looking out for his every need.

That meant, of course, that someone was looking in on him, too, watching his every move. In this regard, the confinement period felt a bit like his time in the office of Dr. Strange--only this time he was here by choice, and not a victim but a guest. A client, in fact, paying dearly for the pampered treatment.

He saw right through the strategy: spend a while in the palace, then relocate to the dungeon. He knew all of this was designed so that he would miss it when he was deprived of it all. (That thought invariably excited him.)

There were times, though, when he began to doubt that was the motive. It was too obvious, too textbook. There were times when he doubted everything about himself: his detective skills, his years of training, even his own motivation. He felt more and more like a fraud: a rich man dressing up like his childhood fantasies for no reason other than to get his rocks off. He'd been accused of it many times, sometimes by his enemies and sometimes in the pages of the local press. Now, at last, he was beginning to believe it himself. If that's really what I am, he'd thought to himself, then I may as well be it. Pay this man to do to me what I once relied on criminals to do...

He felt his dick harden. Heard the phone ring, too. Which came first? It was impossible to say. The phone calls were coming several times a day now, teasing him, toying with him--and turning him on.

He picked up the receiver, as he always did, sooner or later, expecting to hear a click on the other end.

Instead, for the first time in weeks, he heard the voice of another human being. A man.

Get dressed, Wayne, the voice demanded. I'm coming over.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

179. Gustavus

Just a few short days, and the Client will be ready for his first true session.

In the meantime, he sits in my Retreat Center and waits... marinating in a thick soup of anticipation, fear, and excitement. He does not know what is coming next or when it is coming. He is left to his own thoughts, unable to express or externalize them.

I have left a library of reading materials for him to peruse: The Book of Job. Ecclesiastes. The teachings of various Eastern mystics. The Leatherman's Handbook. Gay Soul. Ties That Bind. An edifying collection of works both sacred and profane--only it is for me to decide which is which. Magazines depicting men engaged in acts he has only dreamed of. Testimonials written by former clients, singing the praises of my techniques. Fictional accounts of Masters and the slaves who serve them.

And I call him. Every day or two, at all hours. The first few times, he let the phone ring and ring, only to answer at last--and hear the click as I hung up, not speaking a word. Now he answers quickly, though he still has heard no voice on the other end.

He is learning already. And, in observing his behavior from a distance, I learn more and more about him. Things he would never imagine that I know.

This is going to be most interesting.

Friday, July 29, 2005

178. Alfred

Master Bruce has been gone for almost two weeks now and has given me no indication of how long it will be before he returns. (The usual safeguards, cover stories, and contingency plans apply, as always.) Naturally I worry about him, even though he has assured me his current mission is a safe one, intended to heal the wounds incurred at the hands of Dr. Strange. He has not told me much about his specific purpose or the man he says he has gone to meet. I convinced him to bring his batcommunicator.

He winced when I brought up the device, as if any reminder of his career as Batman was still too painful to acknowledge.

I very much hope this current rejection of that aspect of his life's work is a phase which shall pass. For my sake, and for the sake of Gotham City, I pray that we have not seen the last of the Batman.

Friday, July 22, 2005



By Thomas Drury
Staff Reporter

Police officials confirmed yesterday what Gotham City residents have known for months: that the metropolitan area is currently enduring a major spike in violent crime. Homicide, assault, armed robbery, and other major crimes are at their highest rates since 1974, according to Commissioner James Gordon.

Gordon and his associates refused to reply to the widely held belief that the spike is directly tied to the disappearance and presumed death of the masked vigilante known only as "the Batman," last seen over six months ago.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

176. Dick

Still trying to adjust to life post-Bruce, post-Tanhoger, which has been very, very hard. Sometimes I miss them (or their alter egos) so much I feel like I'm losing my mind--which may just mean admitting I already lost it and will never get it back.

I've gone nowhere, I've done nothing, I've seen no one. I go out for groceries or takeout and I'm convinced everyone recognizes me as Robin, the Failed Superhero. The fuckup who brought Batman's brilliant career to a crashing halt.

I'm still on the Wayne payroll for some reason--it just feels wrong. It's great that Alfred paid my bills and kept up the apartment while I was ... away, but now that I've turned in my mask I should really be looking after myself like a big boy.

I never thought of myself ashaving such a major Daddy thing, but I realize now how big a role that played in drawing me to both men. That's nice: their lives are destroyed, and Little Dickie gains valuable insight into his psyche.

I don't have a clue what I'm going to do from here. I haven't spoken to Janice in months, mainly because I haven't been able to come up with a believable story to explain my dropping off the face of the earth.

That's what I need: a big lie to make everything else make sense.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

175. Bruce

I have met with Gustavus three times now, during which we have begun to map out the specifics of my "condition," as he puts it, and to discuss the "treatment."

He is a most peculiar man--charismatic in almost repellent fashion. An absolute cypher. He demands, and seems to receive, the upper hand in every exchange. I cannot say how I might have reacted to him at an earlier point in my life; as Batman, I faced many villains who used intimidation as a weapon, but I always knew I could hold my own. Indeed, I was the one who projected the confident facade. Ever since my final encounters with Hugo Strange, however, I seem to lack such resources altogether. My will has been broken, my nerves shattered, and I ... I confess I am no longer any match for a man like Gustavus. And that is precisely the reason I want to work with him: because it is time for me to relinquish the barriers I have placed around myself from an early age, to bring to light some of the secrets I have kept even from myself.

We have discussed fees. His are steep--$360 an hour for conventional sessions, more as the situation demands. I am willing to pay the price, because something tells me this is my best and only option at the moment.

I have made clear to him that confidentiality is essential. Alfred has drawn up legal documents which spell out the consequences of any breach of trust.

For the moment, I have of course not told Gustavus the full story behind what has brought me to him. He does not know of my past as Batman, and for the moment I feel it would be wisest not to reveal that secret to him. However, it is difficult for me to concoct a believable cover to explain what it is I have gone through and why I am seeking his help. In time, if the situation calls for it, I may need to tell him more, but for now, I am simply Bruce Wayne, wrestling with dark impulses of a sort not uncommon to other men in my position.

He has given me a most unusual assignment: I am to report this Saturday morning to a remote location an hour south of Gotham and remain there in total solitude until he summons me. (He has warned me that several days, if not weeks, may pass before I hear from him.) I have been told to speak to no one, to conduct no business of any kind, to sever all ties to the outside world. I will not be allowed to write anything down, here or elsewhere, or read a word of any publication. Gustavus describes this as a "meditation retreat" to empty my mind of all distraction, so that we may begin the next phrase of treatment with a clean slate.

I am intrigued, to say the least. This should prove interesting.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

174. Bruce

"Batman" is, for now at least, a thing of the past.

It has been almost a week since my first contact with Gustavus. We meet tomorrow at Wayne Manor to discuss my "case"--not an easy task given that I can tell him virtually nothing of my history or my motivations for associating with him.

As for the latter, I am not entirely sure I can express even to myself what it is that has driven me to this step, beyond a need to explore who I am and what it is I want from this life. My feelings for Richard have led me to acknowledge the desires I hold for other men as well. For years now I have placed myself in dangerous situations, telling myself it was a quest to avenge injustice. An impossible mission, I now realize--and what if its very impossibility is what has kept me going? Batman was doomed to fail, and fail I did. So now what?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

173. Batcomputer database entry excerpts

NAME: Gustavus, Carl
ALIASES: Unknown
CURRENT WHEREABOUTS: Piedmont Terrace, Gotham City
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: height/6'2" weight 195 lbs eyes/light blue hair/black (balding)
HISTORY: Gustavus has kept a low profile since moving to Gotham in 1984. A Yale graduate with advanced degrees in psychology and religious studies, he is independently wealthy. He operates a private business with highly exclusive clientele, the exact purpose of which remains a closely guarded secret.

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE: Gustavus possesses imposing powers of intimidation and manipulation.


RISK ASSESSMENT: There is no evidence to suggest that Gustavus is a criminal or in any way dangerous, but something about him remains off-putting.

NOTES: Worthy of closer study.

Monday, June 27, 2005

172. The omniscient narrator

Three and a half years had passed since that brief encounter, but Bruce had often revisited the memory--and the business card he'd been handed.

Master of Men
Explorer of the Unknown
Safe * Sane * Consensual
All encounters discreet.

These words were followed by a phone number. He'd initially surmised, once he finally read the text, that this man must be a prostitute of some sort, even if nothing about Gustavus's behavior in person had suggested as much. Early on, he'd briefly toyed with the idea of investigating the case as Batman, but something held him back--most likely an unstated fear of his true motivation. Still, he had begun a file on Gustavus, carefully filling in whatever details he was able to glean over the next several years. Working on the file had intrigued him in a way most of his cases did not. He had never been able to identify what was so different about this one, but that was changing fast.

Everything was changing, it seemed, in this new phase of his life. Freed of the burden of being Batman, Bruce was beginning to see things in a different light. Two truths began to assert themselves as undeniable: that he had strong feelings, sexual feelings, for other men, and that what he wanted from these men was something dark. Something unmentionable. Something unimaginable.

Or perhaps he had imagined it--had experienced it, even, at the hands of Dr. Strange. He remembered the cage, the collar, the unending torment. And--to his great embarassment--he found himself growing erect every time he'd attempted to reconstruct what had happened during those awful weeks of confinement.

In his mind, the face and voice of Carl Gustavus took the place of those of Hugo Strange. Perhaps this man held some sort of key to the transformations Bruce had undergone. There was no logical connection between the two--one was a demented psychiatrist, the other a brief encounter at a party years before--but there was something about that encounter that convinced Bruce to follow his instincts.

There had been times during his crimefighting career that Batman had conducted missions as Bruce Wayne: the guise came in handy when investigating certain situations and individuals. But this was different. "Batman" was gone now, perhaps for good. All he had left was the shell of an identity. He could no longer pretend to himself that his actions had anything to do with fighting crime. He was pursuing demons, all right, but he was beginning to realize that they were demons of his own design.

He found himself punching at the keys on his phone, dialing a number he had learned by heart although he'd never used it. He heard a dial tone, and then a man's voice saying, "Hello."

"Gustavus? Bruce Wayne here."

"About fucking TIME, boy."