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"Last Dance. Last Chance... for Death!": Jason Todd has never been big on sleeping, given the horrors that haunted his night life in both his birth family and his adoptive Bat-Family. Now, though, he has drifted into sleep as a result of the recent
- But guys like us? The life we lead? We're never truly alone. Every day is a fresh horror. Every memory a nightmare. Even when it is just the two of us... there's a pasty-faced clown sitting in the corner of the room, just laughing. At us.
- -- Jason Todd
Appearing in "Last Dance. Last Chance... for Death!"
- Joker (Nightmare)
- Starfire (Nightmare)
- Arsenal (Nightmare)
- Robin (Nightmare)
- Nightwing (Nightmare)
- Batgirl (Nightmare)
- Red Robin (Nightmare)
- Ducra (Nightmare)
Synopsis for "Last Dance. Last Chance... for Death!"
Jason Todd has never been big on sleeping, given the horrors that haunted his night life in both his birth family and his adoptive Bat-Family. Now, though, he has drifted into sleep as a result of the recent acid attack by the Joker that disfigured his face, and to his surprise, he has found himself in a nightmare version of the home of the All-Caste. That nightmare shifts, and while he initially thinks he is being greeted by Ducra, he is in fact plagued with nightmares of the Joker.
Meanwhile, Alfred looks after Jason's real body, worrying that the boy needs real medical attention, rather than his rudimentary first-aid. Bruce Wayne, however, insists that this should remain a family matter, and will not allow Alfred to even call Dr. Thompkins for help. Grumpily, Alfred explains that Jason will soon wake up, and reminds Bruce that what happened has was not his fault. Bruce won't believe it, and Alfred responds that were it not for Bruce's influence, Jason would have died long before he actually did - and even then, no matter how the Joker might have tried, Jason has survived death at his hands twice now.
After Alfred leaves, Bruce speaks aloud to Jason, explaining how there came a day when he knew that he didn't have to keep worrying about the boy's future. They had been sparring early on in their relationship, and Jason had taken a kick to the face. Bruce had apologized, and Jason had responded that if he was going to learn anything, he would have to take credit for his own mistakes.
Still running from the Joker in his nightmares, Jason manages to defeat the mad clown by stuffing a bundle of dynamite into his grinning mouth. Afterwards, Ducra appears, warning that despite what he may think, Jason's life since leaving the All-Caste has been defined by the Joker, even still. He became a killer, and eventually, he will bring pain to everyone he has cared about. She claims that it is not enough to merely have friends and lovers, if he wants to be different from the Joker. He cannot live in both past and present at once - not without one reaching out to destroy the other. If he doesn't choose to live in the present, the rage of his past will destroy those he loves and those who love him.
Hoping that he can live in the present by destroying his past, Jason soon realizes that this is the wrong approach, and is dragged down by those he loved and killed. It is only Batman who can pull him free, as Bruce takes Jason's hand in the real world, calling him back. In his dream, Jason experiences it as Wingman, with Batman asking him to stay at home, to live by the rules, for good. Jason could not be the good soldier for his surrogate father, even as part of Batman Incorporated. Bruce calms him, explaining that while both of them have done things they regret when it comes to one another, Bruce himself has never apologized for taking a chance on the boy.
Jason wakes, and attempts to apologize for his behaviour, but Bruce hushes him and takes him into his arms.
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