Fandom: Batman Begins
Characters: Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox
Word Count: 1241
Prompt: Anything Alfred & Lucius-focused. Can be slash or gen, present, past, future, as long as it's focused on these two. I get the feeling watching the film that they've known each other for a long time. Maybe something exploring their history during the seven years Bruce was gone.
Author's Notes/Summary: After the funeral of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Alfred and Lucius have a quiet talk.
Alfred stood behind young Master Bruce as the funeral guests shuffled past the coffins, one at a time. There was no close family, so the board members of Wayne Enterprises were first in line, headed by Earle, the chief executive officer. He was respectful enough, but Alfred didn’t know him and it ruffled his feathers that a relative stranger led the procession. The
The rest of the day was much the same, a parade of strangers blurring into another, all come to be seen more than to mourn. Master Bruce was exhausted, cold, and as miserable looking by the end of it as any time Alfred could remember—and that included the immediate aftermath of his parents’ murder. Alfred tried to support him as much as he could.
Most didn’t care to talk to the young orphan, but Earle approached them as people were leaving.
“You’re in excellent hands,” he said, reaching out to shake the child’s hand. “We’ll be watching the empire. When you grow up, it’ll be waiting for you.” He let go and walked off without a backwards glance.
Alfred frowned. As if Master Bruce was worried about business at a time like this!
“Can … can I go inside, Alfred?” the boy asked. “I’m kind of cold.”
“Of course, Master Bruce.” Alfred patted him on the shoulder. The boy trudged towards the house, Alfred half a step behind him, umbrella held to shield them both. After a few steps, Master Bruce burst into a run; Alfred stood, torn between letting him have his privacy and following to comfort him. It had never been his decision to make, before. He’d never cared for a child beyond managing the household staff whose responsibility it had been and assisting his master and mistress as necessary.
Alfred turned. It was Lucius Fox, a young executive whom Master Wayne had recently made head of research and development. He’d been with the company a while, and had been invited to the house for consultations many times.
“Mister Fox,” he said courteously.
“How’s young Bruce doing?” Fox asked. There was warmth and concern in his voice, beyond the standard courtesies of public grief.
Alfred was startled into giving an honest answer. “His world is shaken. I’ve never seen him so silent. I don’t know as it’s settled in that his parents are truly never coming back. But he’s a strong boy, and he’ll come through this.” He gave a firm nod, as if saying it would make it so.
“That’s good to hear.” Fox shook his head. “Thomas Wayne was a good man. A good father. And Mrs. Wayne was a very classy woman. I can’t imagine what you all must be going through right now, or maybe I just don’t want to. But if you need anything, you just let me know.”
“That’s a very kind offer, sir,” Alfred said, “though I think we can manage all right here.” He paused. “I don’t know Mister Earle at all well. Master Wayne was never much for the business side of things, and what he did do he didn’t discuss at home.”
Fox paused. “Earle’s a good hand on the business side of things,” he said. “He did good work with Arizonaco, turning them around in just a few years. I’m not sure he’s much interested in the philanthropic side of things, or the community responsibilities that have always been Wayne Enterprise’s hallmark. But he’s an excellent businessman, and Mister Wayne took care of the philanthropy, anyway.” He shared a significant look with Alfred. Whatever role Thomas Wayne had fulfilled within the company, it was now vacant.
“If you’re worried about money, Earle’s scrupulously honest that way,” Fox continued. “He’ll make sure the company prospers, and that the company’s owner gets his share.”
Alfred shook his head. “The
Fox shrugged. “There’s enough of us on the board who shared Mister Wayne’s ideas on Wayne Enterprise’s role in the community that we’ll continue on in his ways for the time being. I can’t give you any better answer than that.” He pulled out a business card. “But if you have any concerns, or there’s anything I can do to help you or Bruce—or if you want to know what’s going on at Wayne Enterprises, beyond what you’ll get in board minutes and notes from Earle—you just give me a call and I’ll see what I can do.”
“I appreciate that, Mister Fox,” Alfred said, taking the card. He held out his hand. “If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.”
“I’ll do that,” Fox said.
Alfred glanced up at the house. “Thank you for your time, Mister Fox. I should go see to Master Bruce.”
Alfred heard the phone ringing as he came to the kitchen from a walk in the garden. Now that the house was shut down except for his personal quarters and the kitchen, he spent as much time as possible outside. The inside had too many echoes. The phone rang again. He grabbed the extension by the door.
“Hello?” he said.
“Hello, Alfred. It’s Lucius.”
“It’s good to hear from you, sir. And how are things at the company?” Lucius still called regularly to update him on proceedings at Wayne Enterprises, though as Earle cut Applied Sciences more and more out of the corporation’s day-to-day business, his knowledge grew ever less complete.
“Oh, same old, same old. Earle’s shutting down research on the cheap water-purification systems—no market in charity, he says, particularly not charity in the third-world market where Wayne Enterprises doesn’t sell much product. How’s Bruce doing at
Alfred sighed, glancing around the empty kitchen. “I don’t think business is where Master Bruce’s interest lies, given how unhappy he’s seemed this semester with mostly business classes. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have any better idea what to do with himself.”
Fox paused. “Well, sometimes it takes a while to figure that out.”
“If he switches majors again, he may have to stay an extra year to finish his degree.” Alfred shook his head. “Given what Mister Earle’s been doing to Wayne Industries so far, I hate to give him that extra time.”
“Alfred, he’s not Thomas Wayne. That’s a heavy load to put on his shoulders. You and I may mourn the loss of Mister Wayne’s direction for this company, but that doesn’t mean Bruce has to take it the same direction his father would have. Doesn’t mean he has to take it any direction at all. We’ll get by without him, even if he never takes over the reigns.”
“I know,” Alfred said. “I try not to push him towards it. I just hope he finds his own way to make the