Disclaimer: Never in my wildest dreams would I have come up with a playboy moody sonar using superhero and his motley crew, so it's safe to say I don't own it. (Not that I'm not grateful to the people who DID think it up...)
A/N: Basically, after watching Dark Knight (awesome movie!) I was incredibly depressed by the romance/tragedy of Harvey and Rachel. I feel bad for Bruce of course, but I think she's right when she says he'll always need Batman, and Harvey is an incredible man. His rise, fall, and constant devotion to her left me in tears. But it's true: he screwed up and was used. So, even though this story doesn't change anything about what happened in the movie, I was very comforted after writing it, and I hope that some of you might find it a nice way to think of them too.
Harvey Dent looked up slowly, opened his eyes, and wished immediately that he hadn't. The light was blinding. Slowly, painfully, he gave his eyes time to adjust, shielding the one on the burned side of his face, since its eyelid was entirely gone.
He was in an empty room. At least, he thought it was a room, until he realized that he couldn't make out any walls, or even a ceiling, at all. Everything was just…white, as far as his eyes could see. The silence was absolute as well- truly deafening. Perplexed, he stood up...only to realize that he hadn't been entirely alone after all. He had been sitting the whole time on a metal desk chair, which grated against the nondescript white floor when he moved. He stared at it awhile, his teeth grating back and forth painfully in his jaw. It looked just like the chair he had been chained to in the warehouse that night. Had it been days since then? Weeks? He wasn't sure anymore. With a roar of fury, he picked the chair up and hurled it over his head with all the strength he could muster. It crashed and skidded across the floor, and Harvey seethed with rage as he watched it. Perhaps this was why he didn't hear her the first time she called.
"Harvey? Harvey, it's ok now…shh, it's ok. Harvey? Turn around Harvey, and look at me." Shock and disbelief reverberated through every part of his being. He knew that voice. He loved that voice. And he had never thought that he would hear it, ever again. A tear rolled down the unscarred side of his face as a small, warm hand found his.
"Harvey Dent, are you listening to me? Turn around right now!" He complied, carefully, scared that he'd turn and then she wouldn't be there. But she was. Rachel, his beautiful and perfect Rachel, wearing that blue velvet dress that he loved so much he had bought it for her -hang the price!- and she was standing right in front of him; stunning and flushed and angry, but that was ok because she was alive. Without a second thought he reached out for her and pulled her to him, crushing her against his chest, burying his face in her hair and kissing it, whispering words of devotion and relief and joy.
After a moment he pulled back to look down at her, smiling, and was horrified to see the pain on her face. "Rachel, what is it? What's wrong? I-" Realization hit him then. The scars. Those hideous, hideous scars. No wonder she was staring at him like he was a monster- he was worse than The Joker like this. He spun away from her, covering his face with his hands, suppressing a sob.
"Rachel, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. You were dead, and I couldn't...I just couldn't... and then, with this…" His heart was breaking all over again. "You must hate me." he whispered.
She spoke again, and the anger in her voice was gone, dissipated by his pain. "No Harvey, that's not it. It's not your face. Please, look at me. Please." He could feel her hands on his, trying to pull them away. He gave in, but continued to look down until she placed a hand, gently, on either side of his face, causing him to wince. Their eyes met, and he couldn't bear to see the tears in her eyes. "What happened to you?" she murmured. "Why are you still like this?"
He swallowed down the painful lump in his throat. "In the warehouse, that…that night…there were chemicals, and then Batman, and the fire…but, that doesn't matter anymore! I'll accept the surgery, we can go back there together! If…if you'll still have me, that is." He choked it out, but pushed the thought out of his mind and went on, joy flooding through him. "None of that matters right now, because you're alive! That's all that matters; the fact that you made it out."
Something flickered in her eyes. "I'm sorry Harvey, but that's not true."
"What do you mean, not true?" he asked her, panicking. "Please, Rachel, I love you. I need you. Please don't leave me again, please." He was begging, but he didn't care if he sounded desperate, he meant every word he said. He'd be strong later, right now all he needed to know was that he hadn't lied that night, that it was going to be alright after all.
She smiled at him, sadly. "I'll always be by your side, if you want me to be. But Harvey, there's something that you have to understand- I'm not alive."
It took a moment for the words to sink in. "You're…dead?" He asked, mind foggy.
"Then, is this just a dream? Just some cruel final joke? I'm going to wake up to the nightmare and you won't be here anymore?"
"No," she said quietly, reaching up and tenderly brushing several strands of hair away from Harvey's eyes. "you're dead too."
He looked down at her for awhile, weighing the truth of what she'd just said. Then finally, he sighed. "Thank God…it's over." Relief coursed through him, and his tensions, his fears, and his fury slowly dissolved. "I'm so glad that it's actually over." He tried to wrap her in his embrace again, but she placed a hand on his chest, effectively holding him back.
She looked up at him, one finger gently tracing the dividing line between his good and scarred skin. "If it's over, then why do you still have this?" she asked, frustrated. He frowned at her, incredibly aware of how monstrous he must look, and vaguely wondering why she hadn't run screaming in the other direction by now. "I told you why: There was a fire. What I don't get is why you keep getting angry at me."
"For one thing, because you're not supposed to be here yet!" Rachel snapped, glaring at him. "You're supposed to be out there, helping Batman and saving Gotham! You're supposed to be alive!"
"Alive?" Asked Harvey, growing angrier by the moment. "Helping Batman? He killed you Rachel! He was supposed to save you! You should have been the one out there, fighting crime and prosecuting The Joker! I should have died for you! But I didn't…they chose me instead. Filthy bastards!" He screamed, clenching his fists until the knuckles were white with rage.
"Stop it Harvey! Listen to me." She grabbed his face again and forced him to look at her. "The Joker lied. Bruce was coming for me. But The Joker switched the addresses on him. He didn't know it was you inside until he opened the door." Harvey stared at her, trying to comprehend. Rachel went on. "It never was a 50/50 chance for me. The Joker knew exactly what Bruce and the police were going to do, and he knew that Bruce would reach me in time, but he didn't know for sure about you. So he lied. The Joker needed you alive or else his plan wouldn't work. I never had a chance. I had to die, because The Joker wanted to prove that he could corrupt even you. And he did. You know that." Her voice wavered and she took a deep breath, clutching at his shirt.
Everything Harvey thought he had understood suddenly collapsed. Bitterly he regretted not blowing The Joker's brains out when he'd had the chance. Eventually, something else clicked. "Bruce?" He asked, staring at the woman he'd wanted to marry -and still would if given the chance- "What's Bruce got to do with anything?"
Rachel sighed. "Bruce Wayne is Batman, Harvey. I've known that for a long time." Harvey blinked slowly with his one good eye. "Well I'll be damned, he was right with us the whole time. Sure doesn't act like it in public though, does he?" She grinned. "I think that's kinda the point."
As he thought about it longer, more realizations occurred to him, and Harvey groaned, running a hand through his short blond hair. "Do I feel like an idiot or what? Some of those things I said when he was there, some of the things I did-"
He was interrupted by Rachel slamming her fist into his chest so hard it forced out all of his air and left him gasping. "You should feel like an idiot!" She screamed at him, her fury a deluge. "What the hell were you thinking?! Threatening that poor boy, leaving people's lives up to your sick 'chance'! Bruce trusted you! He believed in you and all that you stood for! Gotham believed in you! And you threw it all away! Did you really think that it would have helped anything?! Did you really think that killing people without a trial, that hunting down the people who did this to me and turning your back on the law which we both worked for would make me happy?!" She continued pummeling him and he took the blows, but the words she was saying cut him deeper than anything else she could have done. The worst part was, she was right. The pain of his burns, the anguish of her death, the loss he had felt over his career, his dreams, and his children who would never be born had driven him to hide in murderous despair. Only now, with Rachel in his arms where she belonged, could he clearly understand the true travesty of what he had done. The guilt and horror washed over him in waves.
Rachel felt him stiffen, and eased up on her attack. "You shouldn't have…" she whispered, resting her forehead on his chest and letting her arms wrap around his neck. "you shouldn't have done those things."
He stood there, clutching at her, and wondered how things had gone so wrong. Finally, after many moments of painful silence had passed, Harvey voiced the question that had been in the back of his mind the whole time.
"So…where is this place? Am I in hell?" He laughed bitterly. "I've certainly earned it. But Rachel, then you can't be here, unless- unless this is heaven?"
Rachel looked up at him and left the softest, most brief kiss possible on his smooth and mangled lips. "It's neither…yet. It's whatever you want it to be. No, I guess I should say it's whatever you choose it to be."
"I don't understand." Harvey admitted. "If I chose this, then is that the only reason why you're here?"
"No, I'm here because I chose to see you."
"And that's how you found me?"
"Almost. It's because you chose to let me be seen."
He stepped away from her and glanced behind him, searching for the chair he had rejected earlier. It wasn't there anymore. Giving up, he sat on the floor (for lack of a better word) and massaged his temple, cringing at the feel of ruined flesh.
"But how could I have chosen that? I didn't know that you would be here!" Rachel knelt down next to him and took both his hands in her own, squeezing them reassuringly. "People do that all the time, making choices without meaning to, or without realizing it. Harvey, have you ever heard the saying, 'you make your own hell'?" He did not like where this was going, but he nodded regardless.
"It's more true than we realize." She said, gesturing at the empty blankness around her. "This is where we go when we die. But for most people, it's not a void when they arrive." She smiled at him fondly, shook her head, and continued. "People who were, essentially, good while alive want to be someplace good when they die: Whether to them it's the peace of Nirvana, the Christian heaven, or the nothingness of a true atheist. They know, subconsciously, that they were decent enough people to hope for something more, and when they arrive here their hope builds it for them- without knowing it, they choose their own afterlife. The same basic idea applies to people who have done wrong: Their fears, recognized or not, create for them a personal hell."
Harvey shuddered, then blanched when a thought occurred to him. "But what about the criminally insane? Those who are evil and either don't know it, or don't even care? What happens to them?" His stomach churned at the thought. If they were somehow able to escape the cycle, and spend eternity torturing innocents just as they did in life…Rachel seemed to realize what he was thinking.
"You mean like The Joker?" She asked gently. "He won't spend his death burning in the fiery pits of Hades, if that's what you mean. But don't worry," she added hastily, trying to sooth the torment from his face. "What he can't do is influence the choice of another. He might create a city to terrorize, but it will be an empty city- how could he convince someone to stay there with him to be tortured? Except for Bruce I suppose," she added darkly, "I could see him pursuing his enemies into the afterlife. But otherwise, he will be destroying dead buildings, dead streets, with no one to frighten or control. For someone like The Joker, don't you think that's what he's scared of the most?"
Harvey contemplated this fate for a moment: Watching The Joker be ripped apart by unholy flames had a definite appeal; but having him trapped, alone and unhated with no one to appreciate his love of chaos seemed a much more appropriate hell. Harvey smiled bitterly. "Let the punishment fit the crime." He muttered, nodding his approval.
Pleased with his response, Rachel leaned over and kissed him again, this time being slightly more firm. He savored it for a moment before asking the next question. "If everything that you're saying is true -and I have no doubt that it is, you always were brilliant- then why is mine like this?" He wondered, staring out into the namelessness.
Rachel rearranged herself, sitting next to him and leaning her head against his shoulder. "It's because you can't decide." She said, her voice laced with sorrow. "You're a good man Harvey, a wonderful man, and I love you. But…you did some horrible things. Your mind doesn't know what to do: On the one hand, all those things which you fought for while alive; you know that you've earned your happiness. On the other, those…sins…your guilt can't let you move away from them. So until you can decide, you're here, which is to say, nowhere." She reached up to stroke his scarred face, carefully avoiding the exposed tendons and bone. "This could already have been cured, if you could just let it go."
He caught her fingertips and pressed them to what remained of his lips. "How can I do that Rachel? How can I just decide that those things don't matter anymore, and move on? Gordon's family; will they be able to move past this? The pain I inflicted? The people I killed; what have I sent them to? Did they have time to repent? Or are they trapped in their own fears? Why shouldn't I just stay here? Or better yet, why not just flip a coin?" He said sarcastically, finding his double-headed charm in his pocket. Not that he was surprised- he had chosen to find it, after all.
"Harvey Dent, don't you dare!" Rachel hissed, snatching the coin from his fingers. "There was a time when you didn't resort to chance, do you remember? A time when you made your own luck. And you know what? It worked! It's time that you stopped relying on this, and went back to relying on yourself." She held up the coin and flipped both sides for him to see. His jaw dropped slightly in surprise. "It's…healed." He murmured, reaching for it; but Rachel held it away, out of his grasp. "Of course it is," she answered proudly, "because I chose to heal it, and you didn't chose to stop me."
She stood and brushed off her dress out of habit, even though there was nothing to brush. 'You're a good man Harvey." She said, smiling down at him. "Your time as Two-Face doesn't change that. You just need a little while to realize it. I'm going to hold onto your father's coin." She went on, noticing his anxious expression. "Don't worry, I'll take good care of it- I know how much it means to you. When your ready, come find me -you'll know how- and I'll give it back."
"How do you know what I'm going to choose?" Harvey asked doubtfully, worrying his restored lower lip between his teeth. Rachel smirked and rolled her eyes. "I just know, ok? Take your time to mull things over- you need it. But remember, when you're ready, I'll be waiting for you."
She turned to go, but Harvey stood up hastily and called after her, "Rachel! Will you really? I mean, after all that I've done, will you really choose to stay with me?" he asked, his voice full of apprehension.
An emotion which he couldn't quite place passed over her face, but when she smiled at him it was warm and content. "I already did, Harvey." She said.
"And, where you are…what's it like?"
"You'll see." She teased. "But I will tell you: There's room for two." She blew him a kiss, and with a last wave she left, vanishing from wherever she had come from.
Watching her go, Harvey could feel the loneliness settling over him, but he shook it off; Rachel was right, he had a lot of thinking to do. But first things first:
He wanted his chair back.
A/N: Review please, and help me improve!