If Bastian tried to find the words to explain why it bothered him, he couldn't.

Maybe because it was bad enough that a fourth of any month was out of his hands, a dark spot that never got filled except with whatever pieces parts were left in notes, emails, clues that didn't exactly fit together. Missing days, it was remniscent of time in his past, complete with the hangover headache that was waiting whenever he regained control of his own body, hoping that Bruce hadn't fucked around too much and left him bruised and battered. Again.

Or maybe it was the Bruce of it all. Bruce Wayne. He couldn't have found himself with some sidekick or minor character kicking around in his head, no, it had to be goddamn Batman. Just one more giant responsibility foisted onto his shoulders that he hadn't asked for or wanted. It seemed like that was all his life was turning out to be — and why not? Wasn't like he'd been doing anything with it in the first place. Why not shove him into the CEO chair when he was barely twenty, with no clue what he was doing or how any of it worked? He'd managed not to burn the place down for seventeen years, but that was more because of everyone around him putting out fires rather than him not starting any. Had things been a little too calm, so the universe decided to throw another curveball his way?

It was bad enough to deal with it going on a week out of the month. Bastian knew it didn't go away if he ignored it the rest of the time, but that was easier to do than let it rule his life. What was he supposed to do, sit around waiting for the batsignal to show up in the sky or something? He hadn't asked for this. He didn't want it. So having a conversation about alter egos or whatever hadn't been on the agenda for his Thursday. Or ever, honestly. So sue him for being a bit testy about it.

Seven months of this so far and he had nothing to show for it except being in better shape - like, much better - and a falling down manor house in his name. Thanks, Bruce. The least the guy could've done was leave the Batmobile in the garage or something, that would've been a perk amongst all the downsides that came along with this situation. Could've left a suit in the closet, give Bastian a baller Halloween costume, but nope. Because why would there be an upside when there could just... not be one instead?

The manor house was a legitimate wreck. Bastian knew, from what he'd been able to put together, that Bruce was wanting to fix it up. Why not spend his one week of time being a contractor? Sure, that made sense. Bastian went out to visit it every so often, partially to make sure no one had snuck in and was staying there but also because he didn't really get it. He got it in the sense that of course he knew about Wayne Manor and all that, but this wasn't some big grand house where Bruce had grown up, full of memories of his parents...

And fuck, that was another thing. How long had this been in the works, this whole issue of other people invading their lives, taking over? Why was he the one picked for this? Was it because his own parents were dead? Was it the reason they were? He couldn't think about it too much, too long, or he felt like he might come unhinged.

Maybe he already was — it felt like it sometimes. Like he was teetering on the edge and one misstep would send him careening down further, faster, like a little red wagon going down a steep hill with no way to steer, brake, nothing to avoid bumps, holes, anything, his fate completely out of his hands. Wasn't it already, in a way? A fourth of his life wasn't in his control, he had no way of knowing what was happening until it was over, and even then it was dependent on someone else telling him — and him believing them.

He had to get out of the car to open and close the heavy gates blocking the drive to the manor, but the gate seemed like small potatoes to upgrade compared to the house itself. Bastian had been there often enough to know what floorboards were secure underfoot, where to avoid stepping, and he always felt a bit like Indiana Jones trying to avoid booby traps as he made his way through any room. Bottle of whiskey in one hand, Louisville Slugger in the other, he walked from room to room, carving out familiar paths and then going further, rooms he hadn't bothered with before, like he was trying to find something. Maybe he was. A reason for it all? Some indication of a method to the madness? Nothing.

There was a brief flicker of guilt at the first light fixture he shattered with the bat. This was clearly someplace Bruce cared about, cared enough to buy it early on in their joint sharing of his body. The guilt was quickly replaced with resolve, a hardened determination of not giving a shit. Bruce didn't care enough to take care of his body during the brief time he had control of it, so Bastian didn't see how he was supposed to care about Bruce's decrepit house that was already falling apart. Besides, it felt good.

The bottle of whiskey hadn't been anywhere close to full to begin with, but it was empty by the time he tossed it up to take a swing at, glass splintering and flying over the bannister at the top of the stairs and raining down below. His feet still stayed on safe spots, no imaginary booby traps set off or floorboards stepped through, as he retraced his way downstairs, kicking off a loose piece of the railing and sending it clattering to the floor. Glass crunched under his shoes as he moved with newfound purpose, leaving a wake of destruction behind until he found himself in the study, face to face with a grandfather clock.

Bastian stood still, a bit out of breath and a lot keyed up, staring at that damn clock. He wasn't stupid, he knew enough to know what it did and what it was for. Which is why he meant it when he cocked the bat back, muttered a 'fuck you' under his breath, and swung for the fences.