whydowefall: (bruce me and my mask)
The trip to London had been successful. On both fronts--the Wayne Industries business dealings, which had been the cover story, and in locating the informant from whom Batman needed to collect evidence. Batman had come away with a hard drive full of incriminating documents that would bring down a weapons cartel using Gotham's ports; Wayne Industries--with Ianto's brilliant assistance in conducting some of the negotiations--came away poised to buy into some lucrative new biotech offerings.

All in all, things had gone well.

Right up until they were walking across the tarmac at three in the morning, to the jet, to fly home. They'd been jumped--four men, exceptionally skilled in hand-to-hand in a manner that was all too familiar to Bruce. League of Shadows ninjas. Ra's al Ghul's men, a few stragglers still loyal to him after all this time and after their master's death.

It was unfortunate that Bruce wasn't alone, but he couldn't allow that fact to stop him defending himself, and his assistant, who was a mere innocent bystander in all of this. It was possibly even more unfortunate for their attackers than it was for Bruce; the fact that they'd dared to come after him while he had an uninvolved party in tow infuriated him.

He made quick work of half the attackers, though at one point in the scuffle, he felt a knife blade tear through his coat, jacket, and shirt sleeve, gouging into his arm. With two men down, he spun on his heel, prepared to deal with the remaining two.

...Only to find them laid out on the pavement, neatly dealt with, at the feet of his inscrutable personal assistant.

The two of them stood there for a few long moments, gaping at one another.

"We should go," Bruce finally said. "Before someone gets here and finds this. I'd like to... avoid difficult questions, if at all possible."

Though he was sure there was going to be no avoiding the questions Ianto would have. Ianto, however, already was tugging at the back of Bruce's coat, peeling it off. "You're injured, sir, I need to see."

"It's fine."

Ianto stripped off Bruce's jacket and then tore the slash in his shirt sleeve open wider, to inspect the wound. "You need stitches, sir. But taking you to hospital... Well, sir, like you said--let's avoid difficult questions, shall we?"

Ianto stitched the gash himself, on the plane, in silence. He asked for no explanations, for which Bruce was grateful.

But he also offered none.

They'd both dozed off and on the rest of the way home, and endured an awkward drive back to the Tower in the back of the Bentley, neither of them sure what to say in front of Alfred. Or even what to say to one another.

Ianto hadn't asked for an explanation, but by now, Bruce felt he owed him one. And perhaps, he also held out the hope that if he offered one, Ianto might offer one in return. He at least needed to be sure he could rely on Ianto's discretion about what he'd seen, what the two of them had done.

Bruce had dismissed Alfred for the evening, and waited in the penthouse's living room, alone, ready to answer the door himself when Ianto arrived.
whydowefall: (alfred at shoulder)
Wayne Manor was still in the process of being rebuilt. Bruce couldn't risk being found out while that was going on, so while he was living in the penthouse atop Wayne Tower, he'd built a makeshift cave deep under a mostly-empty construction site not far away. The huge room was clean, and brightly-lit, a sharp contrast to the cavern under his estate. This room had a large workstation, outfitted with multiple computer and video screens, a state-of-the-art computer system, and a satellite feed.

But its owner was instead seated cross-legged on the floor, files and reports and photographs in neat piles, circling him. Bruce had shed Batman's armor, leaving a haphazard heap up on the workstation. The cape was carelessly tossed over a chair; the cowl perched in front of one of the screens. Bruce was in track pants and a black t-shirt, his hair a bit dishevelled, a pad of paper balanced on his knee. He was marking a passage in a report with a blue highlighter. A pen was in his other hand, and he was switching back and forth between the two of them, concentrating intently.

And he had a makeshift ice pack balanced on his left shoulder. It was a large Ziploc bag full of ice, wrapped in a bath towel. Every so often it shifted, and he had to reach up and reposition it.

This backup cave was reached by way of an elevated platform inside a dumpster at street level. Bruce heard it descending, but he didn't turn away from his work, instead shifting to reach for a photograph.

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Bruce Wayne

May 2014

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