Acid and Rain
Warnings: Sexuality, language
Genre: One-Sided Romance
Timeline: The beginning of Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Characters: Two-Face, Janice Porter
Spoilers: Just little stuff in Dark Victory
All this time I've loved you
And never known your face
All this time I've missed you
And searched this human race
Here is true peace
Here my heart knows calm
Safe in your soul
Bathed in your sighs
Wanna stay right here
Until the end of time
til the earth stops turning
Gonna love you until the seas run dry
I've found the one I've waited for
-Gorecki By Lamb
The first time she saw him after all those years, he was staring at her through the bars of his Arkham cell. She hardly noticed him at first. She was far too busy telling Gordon how very wrong he was to trust Batman, to use the vigilante to save Gotham. In fact, if she had waited even a moment longer, she would have missed him completely.
As it was, she did turn her head and suddenly she was looking into a single, deeply familiar, dark eye. The end of her sentence hitched in her throat and she just stared. And he tilted his head to the side just slightly, just enough for her to see the ragged scars, and his other, wholly alien eye. It was in that moment that she was struck by his expression.
It was a practice in contradiction. The dark eye, in fact that entire side of his face, was filled with sadness, desperation, fear. He wanted out, that was obvious, and he was afraid of being where he was, maybe afraid of the monster waking up in his skull. The other eye, red, foreign, disturbed in every way, held nothing but sinister, undisguised, animal lust.
Then it came to her who this unlucky man was. Harvey Dent. Apollo. That utterly gorgeous professor from Gotham U. The one who'd up and married some homely woman. She'd gone to Harvard because of him. And here she was. He caged up and she with his job. She almost grinned at him, but held it in.
Gordon was getting a little too far away from her. She hurried away from the cell, trying to ignore the burning sense of eyes on the back of her neck, following her out.
The second time, it was raining. She heard the knock at the door, and a little jolt of fear rippled down her spine. She had only just seen the report from Arkham. There had been a huge break out. She knew enough about that place to be a little worried one of the freaks had come knocking. She approached the door cautiously, pulling her little self-defense gun out of a drawer.
The silhouette was tall, wide, obviously male even through the frosted glass. She slowly pulled open the door, snapping her gun onto the intruder.
Harvey Dent was wet and tattered, but he stood tall and strong, gazing off toward her neighbor's house. She dropped the gun, hiding it immediately. Somewhere in the back of her mind she recalled that Harvey was criminally insane. It didn't seem important. Her professor wouldn't hurt her. "Harvey?"
His attention snapped to her, and his scarred face came into her full view. For a moment they watched each other, then he stepped forward and almost collapsed. The bright red stain finally spread onto the lighter side of his suit.
"Oh, my God. You're bleeding Harvey!" She grabbed him around the chest when his knees gave out. She held him close. He smelled like acid and rain. One hand came up, grabbing her sleeve. It seemed some terrible effort for him to lift his head and look her in the face, in the eyes.
She had to pay the doctor more money then she'd like to admit to make sure he wouldn't spill that he'd just patched up one of the newly escaped Arkham patients. Harvey lay, unconscious, on her nicest sofa. He'd had the good grace to mostly not bleed on it. It almost made her laugh that she was worried about bloodstains when a possible murderer was sleeping in her living room.
She sat down on the long coffee table beside the couch and watched him. He was lying flat on his back, chest bare, white bandages glowing against the angry red scars along his shoulder and side. He'd been shot, twice, just under the ribs. The doctor said the wound was hardly fatal, but would probably be painful while it was healing. He turned his head in his sleep so that all she could see was the clean, lovely face she remembered from college.
She spent several long moments in silence. The tick of the clock echoed through the room in between Harvey's soft breath. She smiled. "How could they lock you away, Professor? You wouldn't do anything wrong." She reached toward him, just to touch him, maybe reassure him in whatever dreamscape he found himself in.
He tensed, every muscle going stiff. His hand clenched into a white-knuckled ball. He choked on his breath. She pulled away, but the damage was done. His eyes fluttered open and darted around the unfamiliar room. He sat up sharply and immediately regretted it. He touched the bandages, frowning at some half-asleep memory.
He didn't notice her as he muttered to himself. "Where are we?" he asked the air, before his eyes landed on her. He looked into each of her eyes, searching for any sign of betrayal. "Porter." It wasn't a question. He knew who she was.
His eyes flashed. "Not Harvey. Two-Face." He continued his inspection of the room, slowly taking in the details. It was a criminal's eye that scanned her living room, a criminal that was used to having to make hasty getaways.
"What happened to you?" She was genuinely curious, but she also knew the longer she kept him from looking and finding any possible weapons the safer she would feel. She realized, with that thought, that she was afraid of Harvey. No. No. She was afraid of Two-Face. Harvey had nothing to do with the man sitting in front of her now. Of course, that meant she'd let a stranger into her house... She banished the thought quickly.
"The Joker shot him," he suddenly answered without looking at her.
"The Joker shot you?" she squeaked in surprise. From what she'd heard, the Joker didn't usually leave many survivors.
His eyes snapped onto her, trapping her inside the bicolored depths. "No, Porter. He shot him. He shot Harvey Dent. The naïve little bastard, trying to reach out and help the lost souls in the dark." He snorted. She couldn't help but shiver. He noticed and a dark smile twisted up his already scarred face. "Sort of like you. Will you save me, Miss Porter? Will you save the late, great Harvey Dent?"
He started to stand, leaning toward her, his hand reaching forward just slightly. She pulled away nervously. "You can't save the ones you're afraid of," he said softly, like he was telling a secret to a friend.
"I-I'm not scared of you." She tried to lean back towards him, challenge him, but the stutter broke her courage.
The tension in the air coiled around them and suddenly he jerked forward, grinning wickedly into her face. One hand pushed her down and the other clapped over her mouth before she could scream. She felt tears gather in her eyes. She shook her head, knowing that that would do little to dissuade a determined murderer. "You are terrified of me," he growled down at her.
She watched his eyes start to wander, almost childish curiosity suddenly reflected in them. He pursed scarred lips and she felt the hand on her chest undo the first button in her shirt. His scarred fingers were rough against the skin just under her throat. She sobbed against his other hand, and he seemed to remember she was there.
He considered something all to himself and the invading hand left her chest. He reached into his pocket and came back with a large silver dollar. He rolled it fondly over his fingers, apparently forgetting his hostage again. Then the games were over and he flipped the coin. It made a strange sound, like a bell, when it left his hand.
It seemed to hang in the air for the longest time. Somehow, she knew her fate lay in the outcome of this coin toss. Then it was over. He snatched the coin out of the air and breathed deep. "Like the touch of God," he whispered to no one in particular. His hand opened and he glared down at the results.
And then he was gone. The pressure of his presence was off her and she sat up carefully. She found him a moment later, standing across the room in the darkest corner he could find. He looked up at her, the one red eye glowing in the shadows. The fierce, predatory strain was gone from his posture. He looked innocent and scared, hugging himself. "I'm so sorry, Miss Porter." She could barely hear him, his voice was so soft.
"I... Harvey?" She slowly stood, fearing a sudden change back into the other one.
He nodded. His eyes flickered to the window where lightning crackled through the glass. "I'm... sorry. I shouldn't have brought him here. I didn't know... where to go." He shuddered, sudden tension flowing down his arms. "I'm so sorry."
She didn't know how she got to his side so fast. From his expression, he didn't either. She lightly rested two fingers against his lips. "Don't. Stop apologizing. You... You had no choice." He stared down at her and she was suddenly very aware of that one open button on her shirt.
"I have no right hiding behind that excuse. I should be able to control him. I should be able to wake up me and not have to... watch... that." He made a vague gesture over to the couch and slid down the wall tiredly. His head fell into his hands. "God. Why can't I?" He flinched as if someone had shouted in his ear.
She grabbed his wrists, pulling them away from his face, and forced him to look at her. "You'll get help. They have all kinds of stuff for this nowadays." She smiled as pleasantly as she could. "And your face. I mean, that's easy for plastic surgeons these days." He watched her and for just a moment, there was peace in his expression. He trusted her explicitly. He had wiped his hands of the ordeal.
The moment passed in an instant as fear replaced peace. His head dropped. He uttered a strange choked sob. She jerked back, dropping his hands, only to have them wrap around her wrists a moment later. He looked up, that disturbed, twisted grin in place again. He had her on the ground before she could blink. He was heavy and she struggled to breathe under his weight. He looked into each of her eyes again and pulled away from her face. He released her hands quietly. He was considering things again, forgetting her. He seemed oddly absentminded for a murderer.
"What are you going to do to me?"
He clicked his tongue softly. "I can't do anything to you. The coin has forbidden it." He fell silent, frowning as if concentrating on his thoughts.
Wait. Wait. He had said he was Two-Face. Then Harvey had shown up. Dissociative Identity. Split personality. The more he spoke to her, the more she could find out about his motives. "Are you... talking... to Harvey?"
In response, his eyes widened with what looked like quiet, gleeful understanding. "You love him." He snickered at some private joke. "No wonder he came to you. He knew you'd take him in like the charity case he is."
She blushed softly. "He isn't a charity case. He is a District Attorney. He would've done great things for Gotham if you hadn't shown up!"
"How about you help us?"
"How about you," he pointed at her, "help us," he pointed to himself.
"I heard what you said. I'm not stupid. What do you mean?" He got off her, standing shakily, touching the bullet wound under his bandages. Then he surprised her by helping her up. Well. Dragging her up really, but it was the thought right?
"Someone hit Arkham tonight. It was well-planned and mostly well-executed. It was set up so that in the chaos, they could kill us. I want to know who it was and you, Miss DA, have the perfect access to the investigation." He snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her in close. "I'd make it worth your while." He buried his head in her hair and squeezed her a little tighter.
"N-No!" she barked, shoving him away. How dare he play around with her feelings for the former professor. This Two-Face hardly even approached the things she had liked in him. He smiled at her, almost fondly. She shivered at the similarity between that and the way Harvey had looked at her before. She turned her back to him. "I won't help a criminal. And you are not Harvey."
She heard him flip his coin, but she refused to look back at him. He came up behind her, sliding his hands around her again. This time, though, he was all gentlemanly delicateness, a careful sweetness to his movement, like he didn't want to go too far. It made her shiver. He settled his mouth against her ear, whispering, "I am but a Dionysus to his Apollo. Certainly not the same, but with my own good sides."
She turned slightly, trying to look him in the eye. He kissed her cheek and she shivered at the strange sensation, all rough and sandpaper on one side and soft and human on the other. She turned around in his arms. He let her.
"If I help you, you have to promise me. No vigilante slaughter. You let the police handle it."
He frowned down at her. He obviously didn't like that particular plan. He looked away, pulling out his coin. When it flew into the air, she noticed that it had no tails, only another face, scarred and torn. A two-faced coin. She watched him as he caught it. He nodded to the coin and tucked it back into his pocket. His face didn't give anything away. "Of course."
And suddenly, she kissed him. She knew it was all her. He hadn't made any advances, hadn't hinted that he wanted to kiss her. He tensed for just a moment before responding. It was probably the most awkward kiss of her life. She knew Harvey had had more then enough experience in his lifetime. Whoever this Two-Face was, he wasn't depending on Harvey to tell him what to do. It showed. Despite that, it made her smile when she pulled back and she would have counted it amongst her most favorite kisses if anyone had ever asked her.
He didn't seem to know what to do with himself afterward. He shifted, fumbling around in the dark and she let him, continuing to smile. For once, that whole night, she had Two-Face at a disadvantage.
It was quite possibly the strangest relationship she'd ever been in. They never met at her house after that night. They would rent a room for the night and she would tell him about what they had found. When the Hang Man murders started, he became fascinated with them. She told him everything the police knew and then they would kiss, and hold each other until morning.
He got better. He figured out what she did and didn't like and then it was all just a matter of practice. She became so fond of him that she barely noticed the scars any more and any thoughts of Harvey began to slip from her mind.
When Harvey did surface, she comforted him, told him he was stronger then Two-Face. She knew, he knew, it was a lie, but he calmed down every time she said it. And, slowly, Harvey faded away. She was saddened by it, but Two-Face wrapped her up and told her it was okay with that gruff voice of his.
She realized, after awhile, that it didn't matter anymore that she was breaking her principles by helping him, or that he went out some nights and waged a gang war with the Families. It didn't matter that he was breaking his promise, and planning out some mass slaughter for later in the year. All that mattered was that he kept coming back, and he brought carefully planned words and coarse lips and the smell of acid and rain every time.
Right. Well. This is my first Batman story. I just finished reading Dark Victory (it was amazin') and in a fit of shipping I wrote this. Janice Porter was sort of an interesting character to me. I mean, here was this woman who was totally against Batman, vigilantes, justice by crossing the line. She was a lot like Harvey at the beginning of The Long Halloween. But she was new, so she didn't have that personal connection with Gordon or Batman. She could hardly replace their friend, and she didn't try. She just wanted to do her job.
Then, we find she's 'playing pat-a-cake' with Two-Face. Not Harvey. Two-Face. Despite the fact that she calls him Harvey, the former DA is never in control when they're together. Not only that, but she's also giving Two-Face information about the Hang Man case. She's going against her principles. Now why would such a determined young woman start betraying her core beliefs like that? Then we find out she had a major crush on Harvey Dent. It's still a little murky, but we're getting to the answer. Maybe she's indulging her crush on Harvey through Two-Face. Maybe in her desperation, she accidentally falls in love with a criminal. Maybe even she doesn't know why she does it. Maybe, just maybe. And all we can have are maybes. She can't tell us. Not now that she's dead.
Thank you for reading, particularly if you took the time to muddle through all my pointless ramblings.
Reviews are greatly appreciated.