Bastian had spent so much time running from Los Angeles, it felt wrong to run to it — but that was exactly what he’d done.
It was where he’d only ever been himself, after all. No Bruce Wayne, no Batman, no double life. He was just Bastian Wildes and all the baggage that came with that, nothing from anyone else. Considering he’d only traveled to LA for business since he moved to San Francisco, the shortest trips he could manage and with very little time to himself, word that he was around got out quickly in his old circles. He didn’t discourage it, quite the opposite. First night there and his house was packed with plenty of people he knew and even more he’d never met.
Not that he was in the thick of it, or even in the house. He doubted anyone noticed — at least half of them didn’t know who he was or whose house they were in, and it didn’t matter. They could enjoy themselves in the chaos, he would take the beach.
He’d always lived near the water. Not so close in the house where he’d grown up, but with an hour give or take with traffic he could get there. Sitting out there, staring out into the vast expanse of dark water, the raucous state of the party at his house was simply background noise. A couple more drinks of whiskey from the bottle propped up next to him in the sand and he tried to turn down the volume of it even more, all while turning up the rhythmic way the waves rolled in, breaking and rushing up to the shore, stretching as far as they could onto the sand.
If only that was possible. Bastian so wished he could pick and choose, control what came to the forefront and what he could push behind. If only he could turn down everything that had started as irritating and since moved into maddening, chaotic. How was anyone supposed to live like this? Memories tangling together, difficult to distinguish what was his and what wasn’t — how could he when they all felt the same amount of real? Give him a dial, let him turn down the Bruce Wayne in his head and crank up the him.
That was how desperate he was, willing to dive into himself and his life and actually give it thought. If it meant having clarity, less to deal with, he’d take it.
Bastian pushed up to his feet, only wobbling slightly before taking a step forward, then another, and another until he was standing where cold water rushed up over his feet with every wave that came to shore.
A third option. He could walk out into the ocean, let the water take him out into the darkness, sink down to where he wouldn’t have to worry about whose thoughts were in his head. To where he wouldn’t have to worry about anything at all, ever again. The party would rage on and he would simply slip away. No one would even notice. It would be so easy. It would make all this stop.
His head was hazy enough with liquor that he stood there a long while, thinking on the possibilities. The water lapped up onto his feet, over and over, he lost count of how many times. He’d never tried to count in the first place. Maybe he should have, given himself something to focus on — like counting sheep to fall asleep, a trivial mind game that served a purpose. Too late now.
He sat, shoving the nearly empty bottle over and pulling his knees to his chest, arms wrapping around them as he rest his chin on his knees, still staring out at the ocean through unfocused eyes. The whole world felt fuzzy around the edges, unsettled and wobbly inside him. Wrong, it felt wrong, everything did. He’d been through those feelings before and come out the other side, all by keeping himself numb. It’d worked once, it could work again, and he’d already gotten started.