Categories > Comics > Batman0 Reviews
Stephanie wants to make amends, if only she can get the chance.
Beep... beep... beep. Stupid heart monitor. The sound rings through my head, bring nothing but pain. But then, everything hurts. Trying to open my eyes hurts, actually succeeding hurts too when the light pours in. I flinch as it happens, and that triggers off all sorts of little aches and niggles making me cry out, and that in turn makes my throat hurt. In fact, everything hurts.
...stupid heart monitor.
Where am I? I'm really not too sure, to be honest. Heart monitor though. Medical facility. I scan my memory, trying to recall what I last saw before blacking out. Batman? I remember arms around me, pulling me close as I mumbled something. And then I was here, being woken up by that stupid heart monitor.
Leslie's. Has to be. If Batman found me, he wouldn't take me to a public hospital. So it has to be Leslie's clinic.
Huh, I remember talking to him. In a bed. This bed? God, everything hurts, everything's hazy. I don't know what's going on. I just know it hurts.
But I've been through worse than this. When I had my leg broken by that Johnny Warren freak, it hurt more than this. When I gave birth, it hurt more than this. When I had to give away my child, it hurt. More. Than. This. I'll be damned if I let that Black Mask freak win. I beat him. I. Beat. Him.
I hear the door click open, voices drifting in from whatever's outside. I try to turn to face the door, but it hurts so goddamn much. I can feel my back spasm before hands quickly reach out to catch me, hold me calm and still.
Leslie. I can see her out of the corner of my eye. I was right. It's good too, I trust Leslie. Batman trusts her, so I trust her. I mean, this is Batman, he doesn't trust anyone. But he trusts her.
And that's why I have to do it. It's weird, I mean, I'm not Catholic. Or Protestant. Or even Christian I guess. Though I suppose I wouldn't really call myself an Atheist either. Agnostic I guess, but that's not really right either. I guess it just doesn't matter. But yeah, uh... train of thought, totally derailed.
She's standing over me, staring down at me. Her eyes... I've seen them a thousand times. They're not those of a healer. It's the look of someone down on the street, sizing things up, working out just what exactly they should do next. Healer's diagnose and treat, real people act in their own benefit. I've seen more than my fair share of both over the years. No, I recognize the look in her eyes. She wants me to save myself. And I wonder if I really should.
It was a good run after all. I sorted dad out a good few times, before he finally cottoned on that I was why he kept getting caught. And that time when Black Canary kicked him and the Riddler out of our house, that was so awesome. I met and fought alongside some totally cool heroes, I busted some big time creeps, and I was even Robin for a short while!
But for all the good stuff, there's so many regrets too. Being an idiot and getting myself pregnant. Giving my child away for adoption. Not being there for my mom enough. Getting fired as Robin. Starting this stupid gang war.
And that's the kicker, isn't it? All the good I've done, all the lives I've saved, all of it wiped out because I was a stupid idiot who just couldn't get that one idea through my head. It was not a game.
See, to me, that's all it was, a game. I could just run around Gotham and do good. I couldn't do wrong because I was one of the good guys, the heroes, the capes. It was all just a stupid game. And when I was Robin, when I was there by his side, fighting the good fight with Batman, I was on top of the world. And then he tossed me away, just like that. But I knew I could do it. I just needed to prove to everyone just how good I was. And so I started this whole gang war. People are dying because I was too caught up in playing the game.
So I finally get it, I get why Batman fired me as Robin, why he tried for so long to get me to give up being a 'hero'. And if I'd understood that sooner, none of this would have happened.
And that's why I will save myself. That's why I will not let this beat me. I can't ever make things right, nothing will erase this, but I owe penance, and I will do my best to pay it back.
She's still stood over my bed, watching me. "Les..." I croak out, my voice raspy. I swallow before trying again. "Leslie."
"Hush, Stephanie. You shouldn't try talking," she says, her expression softening slightly.
"No, I need to. To you. You understand better than anyone. You hate this, hate what I am. Putting on the costume... I never understood what it meant. Until too late. All that responsibility, all that burden, and I never saw it. Never understood it. And now people are dying because I'm a stupid little girl. But you're still wrong. This is more than I ever would have been without it. Criminal dad, junkie mom, and what did I do that was so much better? I got pregnant and gave away my child. What else could I have done with her? But being a hero, a cape, one of the good-guys, it actually gave my life meaning. I bettered myself through it. Being here, in this city, doing this, I could be more than what was expected of me.
"And I threw it in everyone's faces because I was a total idiot. I owed Gotham City so much before this, and I owe her more than ever now. I need to get back out there, I need to pay this debt of mine. I need to make things as close to right as I can. I can't leave things the way they are, Leslie!" My throat hurts like hell and tears sting at my swollen eyes, but I sit up as best I can, grabbing a fistful of her shirt. "I need you to get me back out there! I can't..." I slump back to the bed, pain flaring all down my back. "I can't give up like this. Not now, not ever."
I feel weak, and it's like those times when he swoops over you, his cape blotting out all the light. I can't keep my eyes open as I drift into unconsciousness. "Got to... get back out... there..." And then the darkness consumes me.