That's what has been repeating in his head since Saturday, ashamed at himself for not seeing the signs, for not realizing that there was no possible way that it could have been his home, that it could have been Gotham. Yes, things were quiet, but he equated that to a mess of what those odd gem things did, something he still didn't understand. Maybe everyone he knew was just sleeping somewhere, or hiding. He had run tests, he had done scans. He had done everything he could to search, to find, to locate.
Because the issue was, he had wanted it to be real so badly that he had lost sight of a lot of things. Things hadn't been the same for him for months, even talking to Barbara about just how lost things felt, and he was Bruce Wayne, he was Batman, he wasn't supposed to feel lost. He was the king of his city, his domain, but he had been struggling to find out what it was. He had wanted it to be real so badly that he ignored the red flags. He had gone blind to the truth, because of something he so desperately wanted.
Unlike others that he knew, Boston no longer felt like home to him. Not since he shifted in May and suddenly was both Bruce and Brian at the same time. He would never admit that he was not fine, he would never admit that he was struggling. That he was watching relationships he had drift away as he fought both sides of him for solitary control. That he felt a bit on the outside looking in, no longer involved in the lives of those he cared about, for fear of being a burden. That was not the man he was, at least, it hadn't been the man he was, but then again he had never been one to look for help or to even ask for it.
He had wanted the Gotham he had spent the week in to be so real, that he got angry at people and their reactions that things were not real, that injuries were not real, that accidents and explosions were not real. To try to find a way to make it real, he had lost sight. He had let himself get caught up in wanting something badly that he closed himself off. Pushed people away and put them at a distance, because of the growing frustration.
Then to have it all ripped away. To have what he had felt was right, to be wrong. To be shown that all the cynical comments people made, they were correct, even when he was trying his best not to be that cynic. To try to bring order back into his life. It felt a bit like a spiral he had similar to this time last year, but this time it wasn't struggling to figure out a relationship. It was struggling to figure out himself. To figure out where he belonged, where his home was.
Barbara had said that he was his own home, that someone had told her that, and he wasn't sure if it was a statement that he believed in. If that was the case, then he had been in a weird state of being 'homeless' for quite some time. Waking up in Gotham, things had been weird, but Gotham was never completely peaceful, it was why Batman had been needed in the first place. It was why his life had gone the path it had gone into. So waking up in Wayne Tower, being attacked by someone posing as his assistant, he had viewed that as a weird 'normal' because that was how his life had been for two years in Boston, how it had been for all his life in Gotham. Why would he had seen things differently? Though, the better question was, why didn't he see things differently? He knew Gotham better than anyone.
Sunday morning was a chance to try to center himself, to find himself again. He went into meditation. He worked out. He punched a punching bag in the Batcave so many times in anger and frustration that he broke it clear off the chain to which it was hanging on. For a while, he had thought that maybe if he could be Brian and Bruce all the time, it would have given him a sense of peace. To fill in the holes, blend together.
It was the complete opposite. He was frustrated, he was confused, he was angry, he felt like he was...well, it felt like he wasn't real.
When mediation and working out wasn't working, he started in on his missed work. His missed emails. Worked to confirm that yes, he was alive and well. Crafted up a lie to say he wasn't really missing, but he was on an impromptu vacation, one that he wanted to go off the grid on. To know these were all lies, it weighed heavily on him.
All he could do was an old coping mechanism that Brian was used to; throw himself into work, further shut himself off from everyone until there was possibly nothing left. Bruce fought back, and Brian could feel that, but it couldn't be helped right now.
He had wanted to go home so badly, that he didn't know where home was anymore.
He was struggling, still in denial refusing to be believe that...