Spoilers: Batman Annual #25
Word Count: 329
Summary: ...but this doesn't happen to Bruce...
Prompt/Fill: "coma" for my hc_bingo card
Word of the Day: remit, verb:
1. To slacken or relax.
2. To transmit money, a check, etc., as in payment.
3. To abate for a time or at intervals, as a fever.
4. To refrain from exacting, as a payment or service.
5. To pardon or forgive a sin, offense, etc.
Note: A sequel to Listen, and not understandable without reading the first part.
He has become something of a fixture to the hospital's routine. He arrives at seven o'clock in the evening and spends anywhere from two to three hours at the boy's bedside. He sits quietly, watching the boy breathe -- watching the machines help him breathe -- and says nothing at all to the hospital staff.
Bruce sometimes touches Jason's hand -- he traces the faintly raised, faintly blue vein that snakes across the bones of his hand, and he feels the warmth of the boy's skin. He rests two fingers against Jason's wrist and holds his breath as he counts out ten seconds worth of the boy's pulse. It's honestly the only thing that chases away the memory of Jason's body -- bloodstained and cold and still -- and he longs to free Jason from all the machinery and hold him.
He knows he can't -- his son was returned to him, miraculously and mysteriously, but at a terrible price. Jason lives, but he lives damaged and in a coma, dependent on medical machines to support him as he heals.
Superman -- Clark -- says that Jason was aware and coherent when he was removed from the grave. Bruce almost hates Clark for those moments with Jason, perhaps the last and only moments that his returned son would ever have as his old self. But he can't hate Clark. He has nightmares of how Jason could have suffocated in the earth, died trying to escape his grave, and he cannot hate Clark.
He touches Jason's hair, taking extra care when the hair goes short and bristly, because that's where it's growing back from the emergency surgery. And at nine o'clock -- though usually closer to ten o'clock, unless other circumstances force him away -- he kisses Jason's forehead and whispers to his sleeping son. It is the same thing every night, and it is the only thing he says on these visits:
"Please wake up, Jason. I'm so sorry."