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Sage ([personal profile] shobogan) wrote2012-11-18 09:29 am

(no subject)

Title: Reminiscent
Rating: G
Characters: Bruce and Steph. Bruce’s POV.
Timeline: Robin 124
Summary: Bruce said he’d visit Spoiler in the hospital. This is that visit.

It's evening when he arrives at the hospital. He makes sure he isn't seen as he traverses the grounds.

The window is open. He wonders if Stephanie had insisted.

He expected her to look frail, laying there, pale and bruised and covered in bandages.

She doesn't, really. The Spoiler looks like fallen warrior aching to get back up again, even as she sleeps.

He reaches forward slowly, silently, and brushes the damp strands of hair from her face. He sees the potential in her, but it would be selfish to utilize it. (It's bad enough, a part of him says, that he needs Tim.) It would be better set to something else; something that won't snuff that light out forever.

He's half way out the window when he hears her voice, hoarse but strong.

"Stop right there, Buster." He freezes, and something like an irritated smile crosses his lips before he pulls himself back in, staring down at her.

With her eyes open, bright and bold, she looks anything but helpless. They remind him of –

"This is why I tell you to quit, you know."

Stephanie looks about as unimpressed as she always does. It's impressive, considering. "What, none of your Robins ever got beat this bad?"

He pauses. He considers just leaving. But he supposes – no, he knows he owes her more than that. So he sits beside her, the paltry chair vanishing beneath his cape as his hands rest in his lap.

"My first did, once. When he only just started. I considered ending it then and there."

Her eyes widen, but she doesn't say anything. Doesn't ask him why he didn't. Perhaps she does have more patience than when she started, and he simply hasn't cared to notice.

It wouldn't be the first time.

"Seeing him like that – battered and broken – was…difficult." It was one of the worst times of his life. When he's rational, at least, he can safely say his parents' deaths were not his fault. He'd put Dick (put his son) squarely in the line of fire.

"It made me question what I was doing. And I've done it repeatedly since."

Even before Jason. And that's where he hesitates. Does he want to talk to Spoiler about his dead son?

Would it save her life?

"You know there was a Robin before Tim."

Slowly, carefully, Stephanie nods. "He talks about him, sometimes." Of course he does. "And Barbara – after that Joker thing." He inclines his head, a sad smile ghosting his lips. Sometimes he forgets that other people mourn Jason just as he does.

When he speaks again, his voice is very quiet. "He was, in some ways, very much like you. Brash. Passionate. Angry – " And he holds up his hand. "For all the right reasons." He recognised that, even when it bothered him. Jason could never separate himself from their work. His rage was a thing born of compassion, born of empathy.

Sometimes, Bruce had even envied him that.

"He had plenty of – potential. He was strong, clever, resourceful. Good instincts. Endlessly brave."

He leans forward.

"That didn't save him, Stephanie."

Stephanie meets his gaze squarely. "Who did it save?"

He didn't expect that. "What?"

Stephanie raises herself on her arms. "He was Robin. He defended Gotham every night. How many people would be maimed or dead or orphaned, without him?"

He doesn't have the answer to that. She doesn't expect him to. She forges ahead, eyes blazing.

"I know I might die doing this, Batman. This isn't some game to me, I know the stakes. I still think it's worth doing. There are tons of people out there who fall through the cracks and somebody needs to be there to catch them. If that's how I die, then that's okay with me. That's my decision to make."

She's panting, now, and slowly lowers herself back into bed. She's not done, though, and her next words are soft.

"It's worth it. And it must have been worth it for him, too."

He stares at her for a long moment, before he nods. He stands with the same silence he entered with, his goodbye a low murmur as he turns away.

"Be well, Spoiler."

She's more like Jason than he thought, really.

Perhaps that isn't a bad thing.