feel free to totally delete my commentary if you reblog. i’m gonna have feelings all over the place.
this is literally the most painful page of new 52 that i’ve read so far. oh. my. god. this is horrific. i was wondering why on earth jason would wipe his memories after RHATO #18’s amazing development, and…now i totally get it, fuck.
they were going to make amends! they were going to trust each other! jason was going to fight by bruce’s side again, as his son! jason was apologizing and trying to do his best and acknowledging that he really loved his friends and needed to be honest with them and and and. he was moving forward.
and now it doesn’t matter, because bruce betrayed him again. bruce lied to him. bruce forced him to revisit his worst memory. the memory of watching the timer hit 0:00. the memory of his mother betraying him, leaving him at the hands (and crowbar) of the joker. the memory of being hit and hit and hit and hit with that crowbar. the memory of that sickening laugh, the painted face, the red lips, the cruel smile. the memory of whispering, in vain, “I’ll save you, mom.” the memory of knowing, in that last moment, that he would die. the memory that batman could not save him. the memory that he had failed.
and after he’s already given up his best! and that memory happened to be JUST SITTING ON THE COUCH WITH BRUCE. this reminder, for a son whom he believes is more important to bruce than he is or was, and for whom he accepts that falsehood without complaint. for a boy that jason misses, even though they barely knew each other and the little fucker stole his helmet.
so why not just forget everything? if this was all that bruce wanted from him—a chance to save the better son, the true son—then fuck it, erase it all, good and bad. half of those good memories are tainted beyond repair anyway—because bruce doesn’t care now, never cared in the past, will never care again. even this memory, fighting the mercenaries, is tainted, because bruce didn’t actually want to fight at his side. he just wanted information. so forget it. jason won’t torture himself to help someone who doesn’t care about him. if that’s all he’s good for, then he’d rather be good for nothing at all.
but bruce! jesus christ, bruce. you see how fucking agonized he is. the telltale facial hair, the ruthless patrols, the close encounters with death by common thugs, the sheer desperation in his every action. i know that a while back, he mentioned that jason would’ve been 18 that year, i also know that he so desperately wanted to see that. and just the same, he wanted to see damian grow up to be—to be whatever the hell he wanted. maybe even an actor, who knows, but if that was what made damian happy…
but bruce was robbed of that chance yet again. and he’s tried with that Frankenstein creature. he knows that it’s possible, somehow—it’s happened before! jason is staring at him, and he saw jason’s dead body! he held that dead boy, cradled him in his arms, and he knew that jason was dead, that his son was dead, that he had failed. that jason would never be caught smoking again, or talk about girls, or make a snarky comeback, or smile with abandon whenever he put on his uniform.
but jason came back. jason came back, and even though it was fucked up for a long time, it’s okay now. so damian can come back, if jason could just suffer through some painful memories. then bruce might get his son back. can’t jason just endure a little bit, to make bruce’s life so much happier? bruce needs damian to come home. he needs damian to play with titus again. he needs to go into damian’s room and see his boy sleeping peacefully. he needs damian. he cannot accept another dead son.
it kills me, because i understand jason and i understand bruce and i just. I JUST.
/collapses into tears
from Batman and Robin #20