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By popular request (n=2)

Here's the text of Batman's letter to Selina, as narrated during an issue-long Batman-fights-everybody scene in Batman #12. I took a wild guess at the paragraph structure, but who the hell knows.

ETA: Just to be safe, and without spoiling anything, consider this a generic trigger warning above and beyond it being about Bruce's psyche and life history (nothing sexual, though).



Selina. I am not one to write.

However, I was informed this morning that you are to be moved from Blackgate to Arkham. The authorities at the prison say that you have become problematic. Violent.

Visiting you in Arkham, in your current state, would undoubtedly be unproductive. We would not talk. We would fight. And it's not time to fight. It's time to acknowledge what we are.

Mother and Father. They would have laughed. To see me all dressed up. The Bat-Man. They would've laughed and laughed. My father was classically dignified, my mother classically kind. They were not people who laughed often. The world was a burden to them. A burden they bore with dignity and kindness.

But once in a while. If they saw something — something particularly ridiculous — When I remember them, I remember them laughing.

And they should laugh. Good and hard. Everyone should. It's funny. The whole world should laugh. Do you think I don't know? A grown man. Dressed as an animal. Sitting on a gargoyle. Waiting for crime to come. And when it comes, he's just going to punch crime in the face. And if that grown man just punches crime hard enough, then that'll just make everything all right.

It's funny.

And what makes it funnier, what would make the whole place scream, is that it's not really a grown man. That's just the mask under the mask. No. Way up there. Looking over us. Trying to save us. That's that kid. That's that little rich kid whose mommy and daddy got shot. And instead of mourning them properly, he got on his knees and made a vow.

"I swear by the spirits of my parents to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals."

A kid and a vow. The ears and the belt and the batarangs and the Batmobile and the gargoyle and the roof and the leather and the armor. How sad. How stupid. How immature. How hilarious. How hilarious all of it is. I want to laugh, too. Do you know how much I want to laugh?

But I don't. I think of you. All of them can laugh. Mother. Father. Him. The whole world. They can see me in this idiocy, and they can laugh and laugh and laugh. But you. Selina. Cat. You wouldn't. Because you know. You know what this is.

After the alley and the gun. And the pearls. What use was I? After the blood on her hand, what use was a little rich kid whose mommy and daddy got shot? I was pain. That's all I was. Everything else, every chance given to me, every promise I'd made, all of it was pain. And what use is pain? What use is being just pain? It's not dignified. It's not kind. And if it's not dignified and it's not kind, then maybe it's not worth anything. Maybe it's better off as nothing. Gone. Dead.

I was ten. I got one of my father's razor blades, and I got down on my knees. I put the metal on my wrist. The edge scratching cold. The blood on my hand. And I looked up. To Mother and Father. I told them I was sorry. I was so sorry. I was on my knees in Gotham. And I was praying, pushing my hands together now, the blood and the blade warm between them. I prayed.

And no one – no one answered. No one answered. No one answered.

I was alone. Like everyone else. Like everyone in Gotham. I saw everyone in Gotham, all of us. We're all on our knees, our hands together, the blood and the blade warm between them. We pray. And no one answers. I saw. And I understood. Finally. Kindness. Dignity. I let the razor fall, and I understood, it was done, I'd done it, I'd surrendered. My life was no longer my life, and I whispered –

"I swear by the spirits of my parents to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of my life warring on all criminals."

So that's what it is. The ears. The belt. The gargoyle. It's not funny. It's the choice of a boy. The choice to die. I'm Batman. I'm suicide.

And you, Cat. You know. Because if you've made that choice, you can see it in another. You can see it in me. I can see it in you. So you're right. When we kiss. The pain goes away. Because, for a moment, we share our deaths. And, for a moment, we don't die alone.

You say you killed 237 people. You say you did it out of vengeance. For the orphanage. You say you did it out of mercy. For the next orphanage.

And I say you're a fraud. I say you're me. You're like me. You're dead. And the dead know that death is a choice. And they don't take that choice from anyone. I locked you up because I had to. Because you told I lie and I couldn't find the truth. But I need you to know. As you become problematic. Violent. Someday. Soon. I'm going to free you. Because I have to. Because you told a lie, and I took a vow. And I will always find the truth.

And when we're free, Cat, we'll put on our masks. And together, finally, we'll laugh and laugh and laugh.



Holy crap. Remember, this isn't somebody else talking about Bruce. This is him talking about himself.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
tigerbright
Dec. 8th, 2016 04:47 pm (UTC)
Wow.
__marcelo
Dec. 8th, 2016 05:02 pm (UTC)
My reaction to a tee.
oflittlefaith
Dec. 9th, 2016 08:46 am (UTC)
What.
__marcelo
Dec. 9th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
I like some of the turns of phrase, but the psychological profile is almost orthogonal to what we know of Bruce. If nothing else, it's very hard to square with somebody who is one of history's greatest survivors of situations that should've been lethal. The man risks his life every fifteen minutes on average, but at the same time he just refuses to die. Training and duty can take you very far, but if here truly wanted to die, there's been dozens of situations in which it'd have been possible without guilt or shame.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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