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.