Some days were harder than others.
It could be a struggle, navigating a world in which you do not truly belong, one that you barely understand. Some days it’s like being stuck down a well in the pouring rain; you try so hard to keep your head above the water, but it just keeps rising. Everyone else stands up above just watching, waiting for you to do something. They call out to you but you’re too far below, you can’t hear what they are saying. You’re all alone, trapped down in this tiny claustrophobic well, you can’t breathe and you just know that there is no way out. You are never getting out of there alive.
Other days aren’t so bleak, you can smile, laugh and sometimes even breathe easily. There are no land mines to navigate and things are so easy that you forget. Those are the worst days. The days you forget, the days when everything seems so natural. The days you start truly believing that this is who you truly are. Because it’s a lie – this isn’t your life, not really. This is someone else’s life, an alternate you – someone you don’t know. It’s the life of the boy you once were, the boy you don’t remember being.
They call it retrograde amnesia.
They say it’s temporary. They say that everything will be ok, that you’ll remember.
It’s been months since he lost his memory, his father said that they were in an accident. He claims that they were on their way home after visiting a friend, that they were caught in an explosion on the streets of Gotham. He was told that his name was Damian Wayne. A rich (They lived in a mansion and even had their own butler) fourteen year old socialite and the youngest of four with two older brothers, an older sister and a Jason (who was apparently the family bodyguard but something about that statement seemed off, especially since the man didn’t seem to do much except snark and make veiled comments that seemed somewhat pointed – Damian could tell by his smirk that he was being taunted about of his lack of knowledge, but couldn’t understand how, or why).
They told him all about his life; his hobbies, his friends, school. No question went unanswered and yet he had always had the distinct feeling he was being lied to, that they weren’t telling him everything, that he had forgotten something important – which was ironic because he knows he had in fact forgotten something important, he had forgotten his own life, what could be more important than that.
But the feeling wouldn’t leave him, so he questioned and prodded. He started pushing himself to remember, doing anything and everything to try and be who he used to but nothing worked. He worried them, he could tell by they looks they gave him, gave each other when they thought he wasn’t looking.
He was breaking them apart. He knew he had to stop.
It was easier than it should have been to pretend, to start moving forward and act like his past didn’t matter, like the person he used to be didn’t matter. He started smiling, laughing and tried to act as normal as possible – which was harder than one might think, considering he had no baseline for what normal even was. And eventually things started to change, his smiles became less fake, laughter less forced.
He could even forget that he wasn’t a complete person, sometimes he would forget for hours, and then someone would say something or do something and expect him to understand and the world would come crashing down around him. Logically he knows that something similar must happen for the people around him, his friends and family. He knows that they must forget too and that sometimes it’s the things he does and says that the old him wouldn’t that remind them that he isn’t the boy they once knew.
Sometimes he hates him, that boy he once was. Someone will say something or do something, react weirdly to something he says or does and Damian is able to fill in a little more of the picture he is trying to paint about who used to be. It’s not a good one. He isn’t an idiot, even though no one has outright said it he knows that he was arrogant, selfish, spoilt and mean. He was an entitled snarky brat. People are surprised when he is nice, they act like any sort of contact with him will end in physical violence. He inspired fear and resentment in people. There aren’t many who have nice things to say about him – they call him demon for fucks sake, not to his face but he still hears. He still knows, though he pretends not to, acts it doesn’t hurt, like he doesn’t hate everything about who he used to be. His family try. Richard more than the others, though sometimes Damian does wonder why anyone would bother, given how horrible he was. He figures that it’s because they are all so nice. That they pretend to like him because he doesn’t remember. Some nights he lays in bed and hopes never does.
His prayers are not answered. He does remember. Not everything, not even a lot and most of it leaves him shaken; scared, confused and disgusted by these memories he doesn’t truly understand. He doesn’t know how much the people around him know, he doesn’t understand how they could know and still treat him like a person. He is a killer. He is a monster. He doesn’t deserve their kindness. Forgetting doesn’t absolve him of his sins. Nothing ever will.
So he keeps pretending. He pretends he is normal, that he doesn’t live in fear at the darkness that may live inside him. He ignores the comments and the looks and even acts like he doesn’t notice the way people – people like his older brother Timothy, and if he hadn’t known how horrible he was, that would have raised so many alarm bells – flinched sometimes if he got too close. They hated him, they were scared of him. He pretended not to notice.
Over the past few months he had cultivated an image of carefree ignorance, he knows they hide things from him, he sees the bruises, hears the hushed conversations and the tiredness that never seems to go away. He lets them have their secrets, it’s only fair since he has his own – the dreams, the nightmares that haunt him, the monsters in his mind that never leave him alone. He doesn’t want them to know, scared that his worst fears will be confirmed – if he truly is a monster, if the things he sees are not fiction but indeed reality then he would not be able to go on. How can he? He is a monster but the things he dreams are scarier, more twisted and perverse then he could ever be. They frighten him. She frightens him.
He prays to live in blissful ignorance forever – regardless of how fake it may be.
However life is never that kind.