The first meeting was awkward to say the least, not that there is a preferred way to introduce yourself to a pony you've never met and tell them you’re their sibling. Still Diamond Tiara was taking the news well... repetitively speaking. "What do you mean he's going to live with us?!"
"I mean just that princess," Filthy was trying to remain calm as he defended his impulsive decision. "Bruce has no home or family to go back to, it's only right that we do all we can to help him."
"Then send him to an orphanage! That's what there for!" Diamond Tiara was getting more and more worked up.
"Now Diamond, sweetie, I was hoping you'd be a little bit more accepting than that. He is going to be your brother after all," said Filthy.
"Like Tartarus he is! I'm not going to be related to some street rat blank flank!" With her ultimatum stated Diamond Tiara ran upstairs to her room, the sound of her door violently slamming could be heard even from the living room.
Feeling awkward and a little bit hurt Bruce decided to break the silence, "What did she mean by 'blank flank'?"
Filthy knelt down and gave Bruce a hug, "Don't get hung up on what she's saying. Diamond's just upset, and that's mostly my fault. And don't worry Bruce you'll get your cutie mark someday."
Once again Bruce was left more confused by the answers to his questions, rather than ask again he decided to let the matter slide. After all you don't learn every detail about a new culture in one night. Thankfully the reinstated silence didn't last much longer, Randolph returned with prized possessions in tow.
"I believe these are the objects you were speaking of Master Rich." Balanced deftly on his back was a soggy cardboard box.
"Yes that's the one Randolph, thank you very much for retrieving it. Tell me are the contents damaged greatly?" asked Filthy.
Randolph set the box on the ground and peered inside, "One would not presume to comment on the quality of the young master's possessions. But it wouldn't be out of turn for me to say they greatly resemble the refuse filling the cans I found them by."
Taking his snide remark in stride Filthy dismissed Randolph and instructed him to make up a bed in the servant's quarters for Bruce. "Well m'boy I think we ought to go through these and see what can be salvaged." Bruce only nodded in agreement, he hadn't any idea of what could be in that box.
As the two opened it up and poured out it's contents Filthy was confused by the alien nature of them, Bruce at least recognized one of the objects. "What's all this green stuff? Looks like you were practically swimming in it Bruce." Filthy was referring to the hundreds of small rectangular slips of green paper, all bearing denominations and pictures.
"It's money, allot of money!" Bruce said in awe, he was hoofing through the pile trying to estimate just how much there was. He couldn't tell for sure but there must have been at least five thousand dollars in there! "Where did all this come from? You could live like a king off this much money."
"Where did you say you were from Bruce? We don't have any money like this in Equestria." He was eyeing one of the bills, staring at the portrait of Benjamin Franklin, confused by the shape of his head.
"I'm from Gotham, it's a city in America." Bruce replied, he didn't expect Filthy to know where that was, after all he had never heard of Equestria before tonight.
"Hrmm, I doubt anypony would accept this as legal currency. Here in Ponyville we use the Bit almost exclusively, occasionally we might use gems in trades but they are so hard to regulate it's almost not worth it." Filthy turned over the bill again, something about it was intriguing to him. "Odd, it is paper but it's not falling apart even though it's soaking wet. I wonder how they managed that?"
Bruce tried to think back to what his teacher had said about what money is made of. He thought it might have been denim, but he wasn't sure so he stayed quiet.
"Eh, it's no matter. But if it's worth as much as you say it is we can hold on to them, we've got plenty of room up in the attic. Let's see what else is in here." Father and adopted son began sifting through the mass of worthless money, looking for other treasures. Filthy came across a bright yellow belt, covered in cylinders and little compartments. He tried in vain to open them up, it seemed they were made for something more nimble than hooves.
Near the bottom of the pile Bruce unearthed something which struck at the very core of his being, and he didn't know why. Clutched in his little hooves was a mask, clearly made for an adult. It was dark blue and was made to conceal the top half of the face. Around the eyes was a solid plate of a black material, harder than the rest of the mask.
At the top of the mask protruded two long spikes, horns maybe, or ears. Bruce became lost in its image, staring at the mask seemed to stir up emotion and a sense that he was supposed to do something with the mask. He went to put it on but found his new head shape would not allow it.
"It looks like something you'd find in the Nightmare Nights aisle of my store. But-" Filthy took the mask and examined it himself, "-see look here Bruce, they must not have had much quality control, the darn thing collapsed during the molding process. Well that's a shame, it's a nice design. But there's no point in holding on to a mask you can't even wear-"
"No! Please can we keep it? It's important..." Bruce was unsure why he was being so protective, but it was something he needed to do.
"Well I don't see why not, we're storing this 'Money' of yours, might as well keep everything else. It has some sentimental value doesn't it Bruce?" asked Filthy. Bruce nodded yes, "Alright then, I’ll have Randolph move it into the attic in the morning. *Yawn* My I forgot how late it was getting, I’ll lead you to the servant's quarters. Randolph should have a bed set up for you already."
The two walked through the darkened hallways of Rich manor, turning corners and past oak doors till they reached the rear of the house. Just past the kitchen was the quarters, a small room with several beds close together. The room was devoid of decoration except for a small bookcase beside where Randolph slept. Randolph was just finishing putting on a set of plain white sheets on the bed across from his.
"Ah Master Rich, Master Bruce, will these accommodations be satisfactory for the night?" Randolph waved a hoof extenuating the expertly made bed. Bruce trotted over to the bedside, his diminished stature only allowed his eyes to peek over the covers. With a little boost up from Filthy, Bruce got on top and stretched out. His body ached from having slept on uneven surfaces and the bed was beyond plush.
"It's perfect! Thank you Randolph!" Bruce said as he tested out the springs.
"It brings me pleasure to hear you say that Master Bruce. Will you require anything else before I retire for the night Master Rich?" asked Randolph.
"Nothing else tonight, I’ll let you get back to your Trotstoy." said Filthy. The Butler settled into his own bed, donned an old pair of reading glasses and cracked open the enormous novel once more. Leaning over to the young foal, Filthy tucked him in and straightened out some wayward hairs in Bruce's mane. "Goodnight son," said Filthy.
"Goodnight dad," replied Bruce. When he heard this Filthy smiled, he then softly closed the door behind him and went upstairs to his bedroom.
The overhead was off but the room was still illuminated by Randolph's reading light. Not feeling like going to sleep yet Bruce decided to get to know Randolph some more. "Um Randolph, is it all right if I ask you some questions?"
"Not to belay your inquiry but you did just that." said Randolph.
"Oh..." Bruce was unsure if that was a yes or no, but he went on ahead anyway. "So how old are you?" His manner was blunt, but innocent.
Randolph took the prying question in stride, "Let me see, if we just had the Summer Sun Celebration then that would put me at... seventy three."
"Whoa you’re really old! *Ahem* I mean you must be really good to be still working after all these years." Bruce fumbled, he knew it was impolite to make fun of old people, and ponies for that matter.
"Indeed I am Master Bruce, not to be a braggart, but I have been refining my skills for the majority of my adult life." Randolph said with notable pride. "There is much involved in being a gentleman's gentleman. Somethings that only experience can give."
"Huh, so what can you tell me about Mr. Rich- er dad?" Bruce corrected himself.
"What do you wish to know?" asked Randolph.
"Well, everything! What does he do for fun? What food does he like? Why did he ... take me in?" His last question was half tinged with sorrow.
Randolph set down the book and turned to Bruce, "If I may make a suggestion, why not ask your father if you may spend the day with him tomorrow. I'd wager you'll learn more about him that way, than from listening to the ramblings of an old pony like me."
"That's a great idea, thank you Randolph!" Bruce said with glee, the butler smiled but was inwardly cringing at the pitch and volume of his young ward.
"I am glad to be of service, do you need anything before you go to sleep? A glass of water perhaps?" Bruce nodded no, he was quite comfortable. So comfortable he was getting quite drowsy. "Then I bid you a good nights rest Master Wayne." With his duty fulfilled Randolph settled in and turned out the light.
As the claws of night latched on to Bruce and he drifted off into sleep he let slip out, "Good night *Yawn* Alfred."
It was the same dream, once again Bruce Wayne was human. Once again he was in the alley with his recently murdered parents. Only this time the vague figure that stood behind him was clearer, more defined. Bruce could tell he was a man, and a very tall one. Still clad in dark blue, but now he also had the yellow belt on that they found before.
When Bruce tried to see the specter's face, he couldn't. The figure was wearing the same mask, but his eyes were obscured, hiding behind bright white. Then the sirens came again, everything proceeded the same way. As the dream came to it's end Bruce was left alone in the darkness of Gotham, waiting for the night to end.
From above, another figure watched, silently observing everything. This one was not a part of Bruce, it was an invader with unknown agenda. It stayed in Bruce's dream throughout the night, disappearing with the advent of the sun.
It was time for Bruce's first day in Ponyville.