a bird in the hand
“Hey uh, can I speak to Commissioner Gordon?” Officer Patricia Nolan looked up from what she’d been doing and stared. “It’s important,” the teen leaned forward conspiratorially, “Bat business, y’know?” The bullpen was always loud but right now it was silent, everyone stopping to watch their visitor. Just her luck Pat’s desk was the first one when you entered.
“Yes, I can see if he’s available,” she said faintly, glancing quickly over at what the boy was carrying in his arm but not sure how to broach the subject. She wasn’t as familiar with the capes as some of the others. “I’ll see if he’s available,” she continued as she picked up the phone on her desk. Her hands did not shake, her voice did not quiver. She was a Gotham City girl through and through, not much rattled her these days. But that’s not to say that the situation in itself wasn’t strange. Matt from from Vice speed walked by and was staring so hard he walked straight into the wall.
“Gordon,” the Commissioner answered with a sigh.
“Hey, It’s Pat Nolan,” Pat began. “You’re needed down in the bullpen, there’s a uh hero who wants to talk to you.” She glanced at the teen who was looking around the bullpen curiously. “It’s not a Bat.”
“Christ,” Gordon groaned. “Well who is it? Nevermind, I’m on my way. Too damn late for this; I thought Batman told all the other capes to stay out of the city?”
“He did, sir but I don’t exactly take orders from Batman,” the boy grinned. Pat gripped the phone a little tighter realizing he could hear Gordon through the phone. “And you probably guessed from the symbol that I’m Superboy,” he lowered his colored sunglasses with one hand. “The Suberboy.”
“Superboy will be waiting for you,” She said dutifully before replacing the phone. “The Commissioner will be down in a moment, do you want to sit?” Pat wasn’t entirely sure how to handle the situation so she just automatically defaulted to polite. It’s the reason her desk was so close to the front.
“Nah, I’m good plus I gotta hold onto my precious cargo,” Superboy said, giving ‘his cargo’ a light bounce in his arm. Being able to hold that kind of weight singlehandedly without any sort of strain, that kind of alien power you only saw once you crossed the river to Metropolis.
“Alright, I’m here, what do you- Christ on a Bike is that Robin?” Gordon jolted as he rounded the corner in his rumpled trench coat. “Is he alright?” He said but his tone was calm. Because while it was worrisome that the Boy Wonder was in the station at all, much less being held at Superboy’s hip like a toddler, the kid looked okay. His tights were a bit scuffed and he smelled vaguely of smoke but he looked entirely at ease in the other’s arm. His cheek was resting comfortably in the crook of Superboy’s neck looking, for all intents and purposes, deeply asleep.
“Oh yeah, he’s fine,” Superboy shrugged. “Rob’s just been working this arms dealing case for like, a week straight. No one is exactly sure when’s the last time he slept so once he got everything sorted, he just crashed. So anyway,” he reached into his jacket and didn’t seem phased by half of the bullpen reaching for their weapons.
He pulled out a USB and dangled it in front of Gordon. “Before he was forcibly put on the Dreamland Express, Robin wanted you to have this. It’s all his notes on the guns, who’s supplying them and evidence leading back to the guys in charge. We got some of the small fish tonight but you need a badge to get the the bigger ones.”
“Thanks,” Gordon mumbled, grabbing the USB hesitantly, like it was going to explode. “If I may ask, how did you get involved with this? Did the arms dealing originate in Metropolis?” Detective Mac groaned quietly in the back. They hated intercity especially investigations but it was worst with Metropolis, all ‘Superman this’ or ‘Superman that’. Pat kind of gets it now, the Supers have such a strong presence to them.
“Oh no, I think Robbie said these guys came from the south like Florida or something,” Superboy frowned. “I’m here because this one-” another light shake of Robin who still did not stir. “Got so wrapped up in this case he forgot our date night,” he rubbed at his eyes. “Found him making one of those string evidence charts on the fridge because he ran out of room on the counter.”
“And Batman?” Gordon questioned, like he didn’t want to know the answer.
“I think he’s in Japan on League business,” Superboy tilted his head in thought, “or was it Norway? Anyway not here. Rob always goes a little overboard when Bats isn’t around to spray bottle him into taking a break like hello, you’ve got nothing to prove, we already know you’re super sexy and way smarter than Batman.”
No one quite knew what to say to that so they just stayed quiet. Superboy glanced at the clock and groaned.
“Shit, I didn’t realize it was so late. I’m gonna be in so much trouble when I get home once I drop this idiot off,” he ended his sentence with a soft kiss to the top of Robin’s hair. “Hey, did anyone catch the end to the Knights/Meteors baseball game? I caught some of the eighth inning when Rob and I raided the warehouse where they were storing some of the guns, I think the Meteors were up.”
“They were,” Detective Driver said with a smug grin. “it was 8-9 Meteors but Matheson hit a triple at the bottom of the ninth and it ended 9-12 for the Knights.”
“Hell, we keep crumping at the last minute,” Superboy huffed. “I’m telling you that new pitcher they brought in from St. Louis ain’t cutting it; hope they trade him back at the end of the season.”
“Might as well trade the whole team while you’re at it,” Driver goaded. “Metropolis hasn’t put up a good showing since the miracle season of ‘93. If I were you, kid, I’d fly to a city with a better team.”
“Man, get off my back,” Superboy grinned. A couple people gasped quietly when he lifted himself up off the floor. “And be careful what you say; I doubt Robin will move to me if we decide to move in together which means y’all,” he clicked his tongue and did a one armed finger gun, “will have to deal with me on a more long term basis. Anyway, thanks for the help and uh the service you do. See ya.”
He turned and flew out the way he’d came, down the stairs to the main lobby and presumably out the front doors. And the whole time, Robin hadn’t moved from his slumber as if there were nowhere safer than his friend’s -boyfriend’s?- arms.
“Well that sure was something,” Montoya grumbled from the back.
“Bad enough we got Batman and his little kid freaks running around but now he have Supers too?” Chandler groaned, resting her forehead on the desk.
“Did you guys see-,” Stacy, the secretary and unofficial Batsignal operator said, poking her head in. She winced, “I guess you did.” She smiled and held her hands over her heart. “Well I think they’re cute, SuperWonder is so two years ago, SuperRobin is the only true ship.”
“I have no idea what you’re saying and I don’t want to know,” Gordon sighed, shoving the USB into his coat pocket and shuffling out of the bullpen. “If you need me, I’ll be going over this evidence and wondering why I’m still in the game if lovesick teenagers are doing my job for me.”
There are a bunch of reasons why I like Jean simply from a character design standpoint, but in addition to him hitting multiple buttons for me at once he’s also just interesting because of his significance in-game. Even with the few times he appears and interacts with Harry and others, there’s still so much dense info doled out from him- not just about Harry’s past, but also Jean himself and their relationship.
One of the very base readings of Jean is that he’s simply an asshole. And, like, yeah he is (that’s what’s so fun about him, haha). But that impression also becomes heightened by Harry’s lack of knowledge about why Jean is mad at him. Or who Jean even is to him.
So, from the player’s perspective, we also lack that knowledge and have to come to our own conclusions about Jean’s character and who he is to Harry through reading between the lines and picking up the clues the game sprinkles into their interactions and what few memories of Harry’s past we get.
What the game ends up showing us are a couple of important things: Regardless of how Harry is played, his past self was a drunk, an addict, erratic and violent. It may only have gotten really bad in the year leading up to the case in Martinaise, but this is alluded to by Harry’s emerging memories, his ledger and fellow police officers. It’s an undeniable fact that past!Harry had become an awful person.
Jean is mad at Harry and doesn’t believe he’s lost his memory, because as his partner- and likely the closest person in Harry’s life by the time right before the game begins- he's watched Harry’s self destruction and tried to help him as well as picked up after him for all this time.
This is not the anger of someone who hates Harry. It’s the anger of someone who deeply cares for him and who has been let down over and over again, both on a personal and professional level.
I see this especially in the ways Jean repeatedly claims that Harry is drunk, no matter whether Harry has stayed sober in Martinaise or not. He’s seen the attempts at sobriety before and has clearly been disappointed too many times to believe it’s going to last.
Another important aspect is that despite Harry’s seeming inability to understand why Jean is so mad at him, both Jean and the game’s text itself pretty much lay it out for us: Harry told Jean (and everyone else from C-wing) to fuck off. As the highest ranking officer on the case and as the leader of the team and Jean’s partner, he essentially took everyone else off the case. Harry was the one to push everyone away.
The implied part are the hurt feelings.
When Jean returns to Martinaise, it’s not with the expectation that Harry has lost his memory. He returns, because he was worried and in a disguise he expected Harry to see through and find funny. A peace offering. A way to make Harry laugh and pick things up where they left off.
Instead, Jean gets ignored. Considering the falling out they had a few days ago, his first assumption wouldn’t be that Harry has lost his memory, but that Harry is ignoring him deliberately. He’s reluctant to believe Harry’s explanation of having amnesia, because honestly, it sounds too convenient. Like a mean prank Harry is playing on them, to punish them for turning up again.
Just because Judit starts to believe Harry doesn’t mean Jean is willing or able to allow himself to believe him. It sounds ridiculous, for once. Again, a cruel joke in his head is the more probable answer. But also, and this is the part that’s implied again: It’s painful.
If he accepts the fact that Harry has lost his memory, he’ll also have to come to terms with the fact that the person in front of him doesn’t remember him. His partner, his friend, the person Jean cared about and who, despite all his failures, probably still cared about Jean, is gone.
Getting angry at the version of Harry that now only exists in Jean’s head is easier. It’s less painful than being forgotten.