I briefly mentioned Barbara and Jason in my Barbara/Dick rambling, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to them, too.
Now, let me clarify first: I don’t subscribe to the canon of Gotham Knights 43, in which Barbara barely interacts with Jason before retiring. Jason was Robin for three years, and I don’t have any time for retcons that shorten his tenure. Barbara retired months before she was shot and Jason was murdered. That gives them plenty of time to get to know each other.
Jason, first of all, needed a tutor. He was a fast learner, and a determined one, but he’d been out of school for a while, and he needed help catching up. That’s how he first met Barbara; as a teacher.
He was, overall, a good student. He could get impatient and bored, he could be flippant and cheeky, but he worked hard. He respected Barbara because she didn’t talk down to him, didn’t pity him. She challenged him as hard Bruce did, without ever making him feel inadequate.
Barbara could get impatient with him, too, but he endeared himself to her pretty quickly. He made her laugh. And she could tell, even at his most cocky, his most heated, that he was a very vulnerable kid, dealing with a lot of pain and loss.
They bonded over that. Both of them saw a parent slowly slipping away, unable to do anything to stop it. Barbara has had a long time to come to terms with it, and she helped Jason try. They may have visited Catherine’s grave together.
He didn’t realise she was Batgirl until his six months of training were up and he officially became Robin. He felt a bit betrayed, but Barbara apologised, and told him she wanted to let him focus on something outside of the Bat. Jason, ultimately, forgave her, and a new kind of mentorship began.
He usually worked with Bruce, and she usually worked alone, but sometimes they would patrol together. Sometimes they would race across rooftops; sometimes they would sit and wait, whispering stories. They learned to balance and complement each other on the field. Jason’s rage worried her, but she knew where it came from, and she couldn’t begrudge it. Barbara was a grounding influence for Jason, constant support and candid concern.
When Barbara did retire, she promised him this wouldn’t be an end to their friendship. He still came to her for advice. They still trained together, on occasion.
Then Barbara was shot, and Jason had to be benched, because Batman knew what could happen if he encountered the Joker.
He would perch outside the window, gazing silently into her hospital room. Barbara wouldn’t often look at him, but she never told him to leave. He was the only one she wouldn’t turn away when he visited her home. He was the first one who made her smile again.
Jason’s funeral was the first time she left the house.
Some of Shobogan’s head canons about Barbara and Jason.