• Published 11th Jun 2015
  • 3,201 Views, 346 Comments

Bruce Wayne, welcome to Ponyville - ultronquake



On his way back from work Filthy Rich finds an abandoned child and decides to take him. One odd thing is the child doesn't have a pony name, Bruce Wayne, the other thing is he says he's not even a pony at all.

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Chapter ten

Bruce had already formed an impression of the Ponyville mental ward within a few moments of leaving the elevator. It was quite possibly the worst place he had ever been. They were assaulted by a harmony of agonizing moans and mad screams. In an attempt to drown it out or possibly bring order, classical music was blaring out of the P.A. speaker. Before they could get into the ward proper there was a security check.

Two walls with safety glass created a buffer in between the asylum and the outside world. When they passed the check they entered into a very sad place. Broken ponies littered the halls, shambling aimlessly, muttering to nopony, fervently scribbling things on paper that mean nothing except to their own warped minds. Bruce stuck as close to his father and sister as he could, they for their part didn't seem too bothered by the patients.

Filthy noticed his son's nervousness, so he stopped midway down the hall to speak with an elderly mare, she was engrossed with a novel. "Hello Book Smarts, how are you doing today?"

"Why Filthy Rich, I didn't know you were here! I'm doing very good thank you." said Book Smarts.

"Are the nurses keeping you busy?" asked Filthy.

She smiled warmly, "Do you even need to ask? They’re always coming up with something new for us to do. I can hardly keep up sometimes."

"Well that's good to hear, I'd like you to meet my boy Bruce." said Filthy.

"Spruce? That's a lovely name." Book Smarts smiled again and picked up her novel once more, then she put it down again. "Why Filthy Rich, I didn't know you were here!"

This time Filthy didn't attempt to engage her in conversation, he only acknowledged her and led them away. "Poor Book Smarts has short term memory loss. It's truly sad but she can’t retain anything for more than a couple of minutes, you'll find most ponies here have similar problems. There's really nothing to be afraid of Bruce, these are just good ponies whose senses took leave of them."

Filthy's assurance was enough to set Bruce's mind at ease, if they could be calm around them then so could he. "Is that what happened to your wife?" asked Bruce.

Filthy and Diamond shared a glance, "Mommy's, well her case is different." Diamond said apprehensively.

"Perhaps it would be best if her doctor explained it, I've never quite fully understood it myself." said Filthy.

They continued on through the halls, passing by the locked quarters, therapy rooms, research labs, the dispensary, all the way down to the end room. A giant metal bar stretched across the door, from inside a unicorn doctor levitated the bar up and let them inside, quickly replacing it.

The inside of the cell was something to behold, it was painted like some deranged fever dream. All across the walls were upside down houses and polka dot trees. The ceiling was covered in something pink and fuzzy, like cotton candy, and the floor was a horrendous blue checkerboard print. Sitting in the center of the room, idly playing with a doll house, there she was.

Right away Bruce could see the resemblance, the mare had nearly identical coloration to Diamond Tiara. From what he could tell, she seemed to be around thirty five or somewhere around that. On top she wore a green propeller beanie, not unlike the one worn by one of Bruce's classmates. Perhaps her most striking feature was her eyes, even by pony standards they were quite unnatural. It was if her iris' had swallowed her pupils, it was just a mass of white and purple with a spiral pattern on top.

When the mare looked up from her toys and she noticed the visitors to her domain a giant toothy grin spread across her muzzle, "Die Tie!" Shouted the mare, on instinct Filthy took a few steps away from his daughter, Bruce regretted his lack of foreknowledge. At Mach speed the mare barreled into Diamond and knocked Bruce to the ground. "I didn't know you were coming!"

"We decided to surprise you Screwball." Diamond said as she wriggled out from underneath her. "We had such an awful day that we just had to come see you, you always cheer us up."

"Daw your just saying that," Screwball was fidgeting with her mane, "Hey you even brought Mr. Suit with you!"

"Screwball you shouldn't be surprised by that. I come here every time, and please try to remember, my name is Filthy." he said with masked sadness in his voice.

"Wait, Die Tie, where's your princess crown?" Screwball asked frantically.

"Oh sorry, daddy said not to wear it today." said Diamond, Screwball turned to Filthy and stuck her tongue out at him. "It's alright we can play something else." This seemed to satisfy her Screwball then dragged Diamond over to her toy box and started pulling things out at random.

Filthy helped pick Bruce up off the padded floor, "Sorry about that m'boy. Screwball has a bit more energy than she knows what to do with."

"So that's your wife?" Bruce asked in disbelief.

Filthy nodded, "I know what your probably thinking, but she hasn't always been that way. She used to be the cleverest pony I'd ever known, she was also my closest companion. Then almost overnight something changed in her. Why don't you ask her doctor, he knows more than I do."

The same unicorn who had lifted the door bar before looked up from his clipboard, "I wouldn't say that Mr. Rich, the truth is we don't understand her condition in the slightest." He sighed and pushed his glasses back up to his eyes, "Outside of this controlled environment we've created for her, Screwball's symptoms seem to come and go at random. We've documented everything from precognition, schizophrenic hallucinations, obsessive behavior and even violent tenancies."

"But she seems fine in here." commented Bruce.

"Yes, within the confines of this room she's somewhat stable, she's not herself but she is passive. This is the result of our one and only breakthrough we've had on this case. You no doubt remember when Discord instigated his rule over Equestria." Bruce had no idea what the doctor was talking about, but he decided to keep listening. "During his brief rule before being returned to stone, Discord used his powers to reshape Ponyville to his liking. Gravity held no meaning, the sky rained chocolate milk and the terrain looked something like this."

"It was during this brief time period that we saw all of Screwball's symptoms disappear, it seemed like her mind was perfectly suited to living in Discord's chaotic world. Since that day we've redecorated her room to reflect those surroundings. We obviously cant remove gravity, but we occasionally have a troupe of ballet performing bison dance through, that seems to improve her mood quite considerably." the doctor said with total professionalism.

"More importantly this change has allowed the Rich's the ability to connect with her. We hope that they might be able to bring her back to sanity where our modern medicine cannot." Bruce looked over at the patient and daughter, Screwball was laying on her back and balancing Diamond Tiara on her hooves. They both looked like they were having a blast.

"So why doesn't she know your name dad?" asked Bruce. He regretted asking that question when he saw how pained Filthy was.

The doctor stepped in and answered for him, "In the state she's in now Screwball seems to have the mind of a child. As such she doesn't remember being a wife or a mother. Right now the Rich's are nothing more than her playmates."

"Oh father, that's so awful." said Bruce.

"I know son, but I keep hopeful, one day I'll have my Screwball back." Filthy said with tears in his eyes.

The doctor quickly added, "It's not as if the situation is hopeless, the research Mr. Rich has funded has already led to new treatments for ponies with Lycanthropy."

"You mean werewolves?" Bruce asked in disbelief.

"No no, in medical terms Lycanthropy means a pony has deluded themselves into thinking that they are a wolf. One of our long term patients suffered from that condition for quite some time, but after her treatment now she's living a normal life in the outside world." The doctor said with pride, "It of course isn't limited to ponies thinking their wolves, we've had ponies thinking they are bulls, refrigerators. Even one time we had one thinking she was a human, can you believe that?"

A chill ran down Bruce's spine, "What kind of treatment do you use?"

"I'm glad you asked, I use a concoction of drugs to trigger the primal fear centers of the brain. Once they wear off it tricks the mind back into it's proper state. In the meantime though, it's quite the show." The doctor smiled a twisted smile, almost as if he enjoyed what he was describing.

A sickening thought entered Bruce's mind, if other ponies found out he was human, would he get shipped off to the mental ward too? Before he could continue this train of thought, a voice crackled over the speaker. "*Doctor Crane, you are needed in the dispensary.*"

"Sorry I have to leave you, no rest for the wicked they say." On his way out he turned back, "Eh, just knock on the door when you’re ready to leave, one of the nurses will let you out."

Once the door shut and was barred once more Screwball stopped her playtime. "Finally the scary crow man is gone."

"You mean Doctor Crane?" asked Filthy.

"If I misbehave he gives me nightmares." said Screwball.

"Dear- Screwball, I believe that's just the treatment, he's only trying to make you get better, just like all of us." Filthy assured her.

Diamond wrapped her hooves around her, as if to say its all fine. "You should talk to my brother, he gets nightmares too." She motioned for Bruce to come over. "Screwball I want you to meet my little brother."

With Diamond still attached, Screwball ran up to Bruce. "Howdy doody, Brucey Wucie!"

"Um hello, Screwy Wewwy." Bruce said with uncertainty.

"Oh please, there's no need to be formal, just call me Screwball." she said without batting an eye.

Something clicked inside Bruce, "How did you know my name is Bruce?"

"I dunno, I just know." Screwball said with a shrug.

"It's one of the odd things about her condition, she knows things she can't possibly know. Try not to be too freaked out by it," said Filthy.

"Anyway it's nice to meet you Screwball." Bruce said while extending a hoof for a shake. She took it without thought, but the moment they touched something snapped.

"Aaaaugh! Get it away! Get it away!" screamed Screwball as she backed away from Bruce.

"What's wrong?!" asked Diamond.

"Can't you see? Inside him! A giant bat!" Screwball shook Diamond off of her, and went for the toy chest. "Fine then I'll crush it myself!" she said, responding to a voice in her head.

"Bruce... get the nurse to open the door." said Filthy, as he placed himself in between his son and wife.

As if it weighed nothing at all Screwball lifted the oak chest over her head. Bruce saw this and started pounding on the door, "Could someone open the door? Please!"

*****

Outside the hospital the family was walking home silently. Bruce and Diamond were unharmed, Filthy was sporting a new stitched up gash across his forehead. He hadn't heeded Screwball's command to get out of the way, so she brandished the chest against him. Thankfully the nurses came to their rescue just in time, restraining her and locking her in a straitjacket.

'One day my love, one day.' Filthy thought. "I'm sorry you had to go through that m'boy. I haven't the foggiest why she went off like that."

"Why are you apologizing? You’re the one who got hit." said Bruce.

"That's what a dad's supposed to do, take the hits for his kids." He ruffled Bruce's mane, then he turned to Diamond. "I think you'll understand princess, but her doctors are restricting visits, at least until they're certain she's not a threat."

"But she's going to completely lose it if nopony visits her." said Diamond.

"I know princess, I know." Filthy said with marked sadness.

*****

It was another week before Dirty Rich finally met his maker, Filthy didn't waste any time, the next day he had the funeral arranged. It was a somber occasion, most of Ponyville's old guard were arranged graveside in the small cemetery behind the hospital. Granny Smith and the Apple family were there to pay their respects, Mayor Mare as well, and some other ponies Bruce didn't recognize.

One such stallion was dressed in uniform blue, and had hat that almost looked like a pith helmet. He looked to be on the cusp of middle age, his burly mustache was just starting to show signs of graying. The police pony walked up to Filthy and the others, "Terribly sorry for your loss Mr. Rich."

"Thank you for the sentiment Constable Oats. Though I'm surprised you showed up, Dirty never once attended the Policeman's Ball." said Filthy.

Oats took off his helmet, "True, but you've been a friend to the police since you took over your father's properties. And you're always the highest bidder at the benefit auctions. It was only right that I attended."

Filthy thanked him once more, "Speaking about the police, don't you feel Ponyville needs a larger presence? Right now it's just you and your second, what's his name, Bollocks?"

Oats snorted, "It's Bulrush. And I think were fine as is, Ponyville's fairly crime free."

"But think about it Oats, it seems each year were hit with some new cataclysmic threat. And if Ponyville is ever going to grow, we're definitely going to need a strong backbone of the law." said Filthy, he then wrapped a hoof around his shoulder. "This probably isn't the best place to talk, why don't you come by the house tonight and I'll show you what I'm thinking about."

Bruce lost interest in the conversation so he wandered off by himself. At least the graveyard seemed to be a more interesting place, it was like getting a snapshot of Ponyville history. There were clusters of graves sorted by families, Turnips, Riches, Apples had the oldest, these were the homesteaders. One tombstone in particular caught Bruce's eye, standing alone on the top of the hill was a tall monument.

It truly was something to behold, the tombstone stood ten feet tall, and as Bruce neared it the engraving became clearer. Etched into the stone in huge letters was the name Wayne. "What the hell!?" said Bruce, he looked it over again. below the name was 'In loving memory.' and two headstones labeled 'Thomas' and 'Martha.'

Bruce fell to his knees, tears began welling up inside, "Why are you here? Why are you following me?" He asked the monument, but it had no answer. "Is it because I'm happy here? Is it because I'm not alone?"

'It's because you've forgotten.' said a voice in Bruce's head.

"What did I forget?" asked Bruce.

'You forgot the oath you swore.' said the voice. Fog started to pour into the graveyard, in the swirling mists Bruce could swear he saw a figure, the same one from his nightmares.

"Who are you? Can't you leave me alone? I just want to be happy!" Bruce screamed at the apparition.

Thankfully this caught the attention of a pony from the funeral, out from the fog came a welcome figure, "Bruce? What are you screaming at?" asked Diamond.

He turned to his sister tears streaming down his face, "It's my parents."

"Oh," she hadn't even thought about how being in a cemetery might affect her brother. "If you need an ear to listen, your sister is always here."

Bruce shook his head, "No you don't understand! It's my parents, they’re here. They can't be here!" he said while pointing to the tombstone.

"Bro you're kind of being a weirdo, that's just a boulder." When Bruce looked back, where once stood the memorial to the Wayne family, now only lay an unshaped rock.

"But I saw them, I-I-" Bruce stammered.

"Look Bruce, you probably just need some sleep. That or you’re going nuts like my mom," Diamond said in jest, then a worried look spread across her face. "You are fine, right?"

To be brutally honest with himself, Bruce didn't feel fine. He felt like he still had a firm grasp on what was real, but even so, that whole ordeal had been unsettling. "I'll be fine, you're right I just need some sleep." He hoped that was true, as he walked away with his sister he turned around one last time. It still was just a rock, 'I only want to be happy.'

Author's Note:

The piece of art I linked to in the story is part of why I decided to use Screwball as Diamond's mother.

Obviously I know nothing about real psychology, so take everything said in this chapter with a grain of salt.

I recently rewatched 'Mask of the Phantasm' so if the graveyard scene seemed familiar at all that's why.