WARNING: Spoilers for The Dark Knight. I do not recommend you read this if you are one of the few people in the world who has yet to see this movie.
Disclaimer: I do not own any character presented in this story. They are the property of DC comics and their creators.
A/N: Please see the authors note at the end for explanations and theory.
The Faith of Averages
The law of averages states that no matter how many times you flip a coin, it'll eventually get close to evening out heads and tails. Almost perfect equality. Good and evil in equal representations.
Harvey Dent knew all about the law of averages. In his successful, albeit short, career as District Attorney of Gotham City, he quickly learned that man went easily into evil and he gallivanted into good, sometimes in the same day, the same hour. The same men and women whom he damned with a circus of rhetoric fury as scum, crooks, the underbelly who were turning the kind-hearted innocent of Gotham dirty, were also the same men and women who, beginning his career as a defense attorney, he had praised as fathers, mothers, individuals who paid their taxes and fed the dog; who loved and were loved.
He got that moniker when he had, in a move the sophists of law must have wet themselves over with in giddy glee, successfully convicted and appealed an arsonist in a mock trial. That was the assignment, that was the lesson; do what you have to do to win.
Harvey Dent always won.
Justice is blind. Truth is blind. Justice is intonation, a good turn of phrase, a charming smile to the foreperson. Truth is whatever someone believes in the moment.
Dent also knew that the law of averages was based on faith. The Faith of Averages, it should have been called.
That's why he had the coin. If there was no truth, if there was no justice, if he had the power to make or break a man with his words, then it should be even more simplified. A coin toss, let's say. You can win or you can lose. You can live or you can die. It doesn't really matter who pulls the trigger, or who doesn't pull the trigger, or why. It's action. Simple unmotivated action.
Only not purely so. Harvey still pondered this time and time again in the jumble of his half-scarred head. The men he went after were ones who were responsible for what happened to him and to… and to her.
Still, it is hard to say her name, hard to think about her soft brown hair, her smirk, the way she challenged him to be a better –
Flip. Tails. Indulge
The ones who were responsible. Some had lived, some had died. It didn't matter. Harvey Dent was something beyond morality, he had risen above it with coin tosses.
And still, not entirely. There was still (should you lead your life on the whim of a coin, Harvey?) something that gave him pause, that made him want to believe in something more (my answer is yes) something greater than (sometimes…)
But that dream was over.
Like it had never existed in the first place.
Flip. Tails. Indulge.
It was interesting to think about sometimes. Ramirez had lived, Gordon's family, Joker had lived (and how). That fat old cop, Maroni, the driver…
Now the driver was interesting. Uninvolved for the most part. He could have just had the misfortune of keeping bad company; Harvey had seen many similar cases in his time. Men who simply needed quick money. Fired from a legitimate job (the economy being so poor these days) and who had to pay the mortgage, so they drive crime bosses around because the job is easy and the money was good and it meant little Junior could eat and have clothes to go to school with and hopefully get a job where he would be secure enough to not have to drive the Maroni's of the world around.
Or he could have been a murderer who just happened to have driving duty today.
Did it matter? No. Not at all.
But Harvey was nothing if not fair. He'd flipped for himself, hadn't he? And sometimes, late at night when he could swear he smells something faintly resembling her, or he hears the echo of The Rite of Spring (they had listened to it in the car on the way over, his hand delicately hovering on her thigh, promising himself he'd let it rest there when they were in the show – cancelled, of course... of course) he flips the coin for himself.
Flip. Heads. Move on.
But Harvey Dent has faith in averages. Luck might be a bitch, but she is at the very least fickle, and his wheel was always turning.
She awoke, and she knew with terrible certainty that it meant she was alive.
It began with a wiggle of her toes. Yes, mobility meant ability: the ability to move, she can move, therefore she is, therefore she is alive. Then her legs, then her fingers (quick jabs, clawed curls, it hurt so much to feel life flowing in her veins again) and then her voice, her strained voice.
Someone, a nurse by the looks of it, enters the room and drops the tray.
"She's awake! Jane Doe is awake!"
And then the flurry starts.
It was Bruce who came to her first. She had never seen him so drawn, so quartered by his own emotions, as she did then. His rigid face was red, and she could see that he had been crying. She couldn't remember the last time he'd cried, not since he was eight years old.
"Rachel," his voice is timid, and he reaches out for her with such tentative fingers. She might have been glass to him; he was treating her like she was fragile.
"Harvey," she says, her voice raspy but soft.
Bruce leans back, his eyes clouding. "No, no Rachel. It's me. It's Bruce."
She leans her frustrated head back amongst the white cushions of the hospital bed. "Where is Harvey?" she asks. "Did he…" and she can't say it. She chokes on her words.
Bruce lowers his head into his hands, and Rachel knows the worst.
"I thought you saved him," she whispered. "I thought you saved him."
His shoulders hunch up and down in quick jerks. He says something into his hands, but she does not understand him.
Unable to do anything to stop the sound of his pain, she reaches out a hand onto his arm. He snatches it with his quick reflexes and brings it to his eyes.
Her hand is saturated in his tears by the time he returns it to her.
Later, they told her she had been in a coma for almost two months. It was Gordon who sat down with her. Quiet, peaceful Gordon, who looks more worn than she has ever seen him.
"You deserve it," she tells him.
"It's harder than Loeb made it out to be," he says. "And it wasn't the way I wanted to be promoted."
"Still," she says, looking out the window, "it could not have gone to a better man."
He inclines his head in thanks. "Would you mind talking about what happened that night? We need to know how you survived."
What was the point of survival, of being saved, she thinks, when the one you saved dies?
"Detective Wuertz came back for me. He… he pulled me out as the building was exploding and… and I don't remember much else."
"You suffered a significant head injury. Something must have hit you. A chunk of wood or something. I imagine. You're lucky there's no permanent scarring." Gordon looks particularly sour at that, and Rachel does not know why.
"Is Detective Wuertz alright?" she asks. "I want to thank him."
Gordon is silent for a time, then, "I'm afraid he died in the line of duty, Miss Dawes."
She feels an unexpected wave of tears at that, so strange, for a man who put her and Harvey in danger and then dragged her out.
Expectedly, she does not feel the same way for Det. Ramirez.
"Was it the Joker?" she asks.
Gordon is not looking at her at all now. He finds the wall, or his feet, his hands, anything but her, to be highly fascinating. "The official report is that it was the vigilante known as Batman," he says at length.
Neither of them makes a move for much too long.
"You're kidding," she says.
Bruce lets her stay with him when she's released from the starch hospital bed. She has not spoken to him much; he's very busy with being a masked, vigilante outlaw and a successful multimillionaire playboy of the most profitable company in a growing metropolis.
She knows he's avoiding her.
So she speaks to Alfred instead.
"You didn't give him my letter, did you?" she asks, wrapping her fingers around a large cup of imported coffee.
"It seemed cruel, Miss Dawes," the aged Butler says, honesty making him so much older and frail. "He needed something to believe in. To continue on. Gotham needed him. Still needs him."
"It was a lie. I loved another man."
"Sometimes, Miss Dawes, when lies are all we have to give us reason to live, they are far better than the kindest truths."
She doesn't agree, but there's no point in arguing.
Eventually, she is able to track him down. She wants answers, and he's the only one who can give them to her.
He's stitching up his own arm. He wobbles when she requests the needle and thread, but eventually gives in. She suspects it is not because he trusts her sewing skills, but because he wants to feel her touching him. His breathing stills to almost nothing when her hand steadies his arm to make the first stitch.
"You should tell me," she says, softly. She doesn't really want to know, because it will be bad, but she wants to have closure, at least. "What happened. To him."
No need saying who he was.
"He died," says Bruce. He does not look at her, but on whatever he does gaze upon, his eyes do not waver.
"I thought you got him out of the warehouse in time. I thought I heard –"
"Batman did." He pauses. "I did. But he was badly hurt, Rachel. His face was…" he raises his good arm, the one not being stuck with a needle, around the left side of his face as if to encompass the horror that he cannot bring into words. "He wasn't the same man afterwards," he says at length.
Rachel is very quiet. "What did he die of? Infection?"
"He wasn't the same man, Rachel. Harvey Dent died in that warehouse."
She has to stop halfway through his arm and retreats to a far, dark corner of the penthouse.
Bruce tries to ignore it, but the low keen of her grief-howl invades each corner of his home.
Harvey is in a dank cell in Arkham. It's where Gordon and Batman, in all their wisdom, put him. It's really quite funny. A blind nurse is the only one who tends to him, and he has already flipped the coin which said she would live – so he tolerates her presence.
They think some dank cell will hold him. He's just waiting until the coin tells him to leave – to go out and administer perfect, pointless justice.
She brings him the newspaper, which he accepts with a cultured thank you kindly. He can, if he so chooses, have all the charms of a Southern Gentleman without the accent. He often uses it on this woman, if only because she's there, and if her blushes are anything to go on, she is receptive.
He wonders if she knows her cheeks get as red as a bursting tomato. He then decides that he doesn't really care.
The headline gives him pause. At first he thinks he's gone crazy – crazier. Maybe it's a trick of the light, or he's just reading what he thinks he wants to read.
But after several blinks, when the words remain the same, he bunches the paper in his hands and tears it apart with an inhuman roar.
He does not know what to do. This was unexpected. Should not have been. Should never have come to be again.
He defaults, and flips the coin.
Heads, then. Alright. Time to move.
The nurse is at his side in an instant.
"Is something wrong?" she asks.
Hurriedly, he flips the coin again. Who is to say you cannot be tested twice?
"Oh, yes, something is very wrong," he says. "Could you come here and take my pulse? I think my heart is about to burst."
As she hurries to his side, murmuring words of comfort and worry, Harvey thinks that fate really is quite fickle.
Tails. Time to indulge.
Rachel Dawes Miraculously Returns From The Dead! Full Story Page 7.
Bruce receives the call through the headset in his cowl. He shakes his head, irritatingly realizing he has to recalibrate the volume. It's just a tad too loud.
"Can you repeat that?" he asks Alfred on the other end.
"I said that the Director of Arkham telephoned and our friend Mr. Smith appears to have broken out. His nurse was found in his cell with her neck snapped."
Bruce swore loudly.
"Another thing, Master Bruce. There was a copy of today's paper in his cell. The one with a certain article about a certain Miss Dawes."
Bruce stiffens. "Is she still at the penthouse?" he asks.
"Yes, sir. She's still asleep. I did not think it wise to wake her."
"I'm on the other side of Gotham," he cursed. "Looks like I'll be coming home early tonight, Alfred."
"Yes sir. I'll put the kettle on."
Harvey knows where to go. It's pretty simple. He could have actually read the article to know that Rachel was staying with her oldest childhood friend, but he knew her well enough to know that that was where she would go.
Bruce's penthouse is the safest place in Gotham right now.
After all, didn't everyone just want to feel safe?
But beyond that, in a dark place inside of him, a beast roared and unsheathed its mighty claws. Bruce was someone who had everything Harvey didn't. Money enough to buy whatever he wanted, fame to get people to listen to him, even now the man still had his precious good looks while Harvey was half a Frankenstein monster.
And, secretly, Harvey was always achingly jealous that Bruce knew Rachel as a child. He saw her growing up. He had known her through his entire life. That lucky son of a bitch.
Of course he was always somewhat terrified that Rachel would leave him for something like Bruce's money, or Bruce's charisma, or Bruce's ability to get whatever he wanted. Or, perhaps even more afraid, that she would leave him because Bruce had history with her that he could never hope to claim as his own.
All he had, really, was a desperate yes. But oh, how he cherished that single syllable like it was a pearl from the very deepest heart of the ocean.
And how he would hate to find her at Bruce's lavish apartment.
It's easy enough to procure a gun and enough rounds to take care of anyone who stands in his way tonight.
Hades was about to reclaim his Persephone.
She was not sleeping. Not really. She dozed, occasionally. Sometimes she got up and ate, or showered, or did some innocuous task that Alfred would ask of her. A bit of chess, Miss? Just to pass the time. Or perhaps you would like to help me with the dishes. While we wait.
While they waited. Rachel knew what her life would be like if she had chosen Bruce. She would either wait patiently for Batman to return home, or for the playboy to get back from his meetings, his parties, his in-constant demand body to return to hers at night. And what would she do? Sit around, waiting and worrying, like a wind-up automaton of weariness.
He would want her to relive those happy childhood memories, and maybe make a few more, and then go off and live his own life while she waited on him.
She knew Gotham came first in his heart, and Batman even before that. It was hard to love a man who had to hide his face, and who eventually would have thought that she was some prize at the end of the some long, arduous journey of justice. Wait for him. Put your life on hold and wait for him to get done whatever he wanted to get done.
Rachel did not want to fade away in the long lull between his returns.
Harvey, though, rose with her. The flashy new D.A. who listened to her, who paid her compliments and criticism in the same breath, and who asked her to share her life with him if she wanted to. Not when he was done with crime, when he had achieved all he wanted first, but while he was living to his fullest.
She shuts her eyes harshly on the stinging of tears. She does not think she can cry anymore, but it seems that her body aims to prove her wrong.
In the morning, she decides she will leave. Maybe go to Metropolis. Or Hub City. Somewhere where Harvey Dent was not in the memory of every corner, waiting patiently for her answer to his question.
Yes, Harvey. My answer will always be yes. Even if you can't hear me.
Luck was really on his side this night. Too bad he couldn't say the same for the doormen, or that lone security guard.
Easy enough to break in, once you knew how to do it. Rachel had given him the security codes (complex, but then again, Bruce could afford them) for the penthouse during the Joker fiasco, in case he quickly needed a safe place to hide or crash.
However, because he was so lucky to get in, the ride up on the elevator made him jittery. Luck was fickle. If it was favoring him now (and it never favored – it was so simple that it was beyond favoring) then the next flip could be his end.
Or, worse, that Rachel was not…
Best not to think of that now.
But if he wasn't thinking about that, then there was almost nothing else to think about. She consumed him, always had, and in her death his justice had almost been a mantra to her: she who loved the concept as much as he did, does.
He just changed it a little. Made it more fair than a trial by peers could ever be.
The elevator doors swung open, and he was met with a shotgun in his half face.
Rachel heard Alfred over the din of her quiet agony.
"Please don't move, or I will be forced to take aggressive action, Mr. Dent. Don't try me. I'm very capable with the Mossberg 500, sir. Especially from this distance."
At first she thought she was dreaming, that she imagined Alfred had said the name of her beloved. Briefly she considered her mental state. She was hearing things, obviously. She wanted him to be alive, that was all. She wanted to hear people talk about him like he was there, like he was flesh and blood again.
The only reason she got up was because she knew that she didn't want him to get shot in the face, so there was no way she could have imagined that.
She comes from the right side, where the bedroom is.
Alfred is looking poised, younger even, as he expertly holds that weapon in the face of… in the face of…
Harvey. Who is grinning. He's got his hands up, she can see the silver gleam of his father's coin in his left hand, and he's grinning.
She does not know what it is she says, but she must have said something because both men turn their attention to her.
And he cannot believe his eyes.
"Rachel." He says her name as he would utter a prayer, a protective mantra, a reverent murmur to the gods. "Rachel."
She has not moved, has not breathed. She is staring at him. Her eyes are wide, so very wide. There are tears dripping down, but she does not wipe them away.
She begins to walk toward him, and her lips begin to curl upward; he knows that look, the small coy delight before she exploded in one of those grins that was insuppressible.
He makes the mistake of turning fully toward her.
And she stops cold.
"Harvey?" her voice is so quiet and tiny that Harvey feels his heart constrict.
"It's me, Rachel." He says. An attempt to soothe, but her face stays in that frightened, frozen mask.
Alfred, forgotten but still rigid in posture, tries vainly to garner Rachel's attention. "Please stay back, Miss Dawes. I've got the situation under control."
There is that little voice in Harvey's head that says, hah! Contradict the old man. Nothing is certain but life and death, nothing at all.
It is when Rachel makes a slight move towards them and the butler thoroughly distracted, that Harvey makes his move. Reminiscent of his famous courtroom punch, he grabs the barrel of the shotgun and aims up while delivering a quick and solid punch to the old man's jaw. Rachel screams.
Alfred manages to get a shot off, but it hits the ceiling and he falls to the floor, nursing his face. A thin, bright trail of blood drips from his mouth.
Harvey cocks the shotgun with one hand and aims it with a bored swagger at the old man. His coin is running through the fingers of his free hand.
"Very honorable of you," he says casually. "Protecting the princess like a geriatric knight of the round table. Classy."
"Harvey," Rachel whispers, taking too long to get to his side. "What are you doing?"
It's almost as if he can't hear her. "Sad thing is, sometimes you can do your duty just as good as you can, and you get punished for a job well done." He holds up the coin. The scarred part faces Alfred. "Let's see if you'll be rewarded for your duty, shall we?"
He flips the coin, catches it with ease.
She is almost to him now, not fully understanding what he's doing, but intrinsically knowing something is very, very wrong.
Harvey glances at the coin, and without any particular inflection or tone, he says, "Too bad."
When he aims at the poor man's face, Rachel knows.
Biting back bile, she almost jumps on him. She cries out his name and pushes him. Almost too late, he gets the shot off. It misses the butler for the most part, but so close that his right leg is singed and cut somewhat badly from the bullet, and he cries out.
Harvey turns on her, his monstrous face at war. She can see the anger, the wish for murder in that dead eye of his, perpetually open and perpetually damning the world.
But the part of him that she knew, the one that she recognized the man she loved, looked terrified.
"Did I hurt you?" he asks quietly, guiltily.
"You almost killed him!" she accuses, grabbing the lapels of his half-ruined suit and shaking him. "How could you?"
At first he seems bewildered that she would question him at all. He opens his mouth to answer her, but it snaps shut when he sees something off in the distance. Furiously, his free hand grabs her wrists in a tight hold and pulls her closer to him. "Time to go before company arrives."
He has to drag her when she resists him. Before the elevator door closes, she sees the silhouette far off in the distance. Small, but unmistakable.
Batman was coming home.
She does not know anymore.
She feels like she's been drowned and punctured and hit by a truck and then spit on.
And for some reason, she is still feeling that small butterfly in the bottom of her stomach, calming her tangled nerves with soft fluttering of wings.
He had not said anything on the quick ride down. Bruce Wayne was a man with little time to waste, and his elevator was ridiculously fast as a result.
Harvey had merely gathered her close to him, resting her under his chin and pressing her to him with one hand. When he felt her rest her quivering palms on his chest, followed by her heavy head, he had sighed.
She had curled her fingers in his shirt when she saw that gun still clasped in his hand.
He had shuffled her into a car, not the domestic-made she recalled him owning, and had driven with considerable carefulness.
She was leaning her head against the window.
He breaks the silence. His voice is lower now, darker. She thinks it's because of the scars.
"Why don't you look at me?" he asks. He sounds anxious, but closed off. Distant.
She does at that. Sitting on his left, she only sees the scars; the twisted, horrid disfigurement. Burns. She can see his muscles as tense strands of pink and red and black strands – like a Pollock painting on a man. His perfect teeth, which so often smiled at her with earnest, or with the practiced, disingenuous ease of his courtroom charm, were hideous now in their omnipresent state.
She can't stop looking now that she's started. Harvey turns his head slightly to glance at her, and she sees the indication that he's biting the inside of his cheek on his good side. A thing he always did when he was feeling guilty.
"You don't have to look if it scares you," he says quietly.
"It doesn't scare me," she says quickly, too quickly. She doesn't really mean it; she's terrified of him in this moment.
And yet, she still wants to reach over and bury herself in him and never be anywhere else.
"How can it not?" he says, his voice even lower with the taint of bitterness. "I look like a monster."
You're acting like a monster, she thinks, but does not dare voice that thought just yet. "You were going to kill Alfred," she says softly, her voice carefully devoid of any accusation.
It's almost a shame that they know one another so well. She can see that he knows she's using her lawyer voice. Say something tonelessly for the jury, and let the witness go mad with guilt on the stand.
"The coin came down bad," he quips. "Nothing personal."
"He's my friend. He's almost like a father to me. I've known him for almost my entire life," she narrows her eyes. "You knew that."
"I said it was nothing personal," Harvey says evenly, his eyes carefully on the road.
"I thought you didn't leave things up to chance." Her voice breaks on the last word, remembering that kiss, that long, drawn out I-might-never-get-to-do-this-again kiss he gave her when he almost died to protect Bruce's secret.
He places something cold in her hand. She looks down. It's his coin, but it's scarred. Tarnished. Slippery too, with the remnants of his sweat. She knows he only sweats, outside of the bedroom, when he's nervous.
"I was a fool," he says softly. "You can't make your own luck. It's all just random. Absurd. No matter how much good you do, or how much harm you cause, you still have the same chance at life or death. That's the only thing that's real."
She does not agree with him, but she does not know how to argue when she's grasping his perfect dichotomy in her hands.
"I said I'm alright, Master Bruce. I've had more than my fair share of injuries in my day. This is nothing."
Even with the mask on, Alfred can see the uncertainty in his young wards eyes. The lack of confidence makes Bruce look so young suddenly; it's so out of place on a man with a backbone of steel. Alfred feels his gut clench: his poor master looks so very young, and almost afraid.
"It's not as bad as it looks," Alfred says again. It does look very bad. There is blood everywhere, but Alfred swears its superficial.
"The ambulance will be here soon," Bruce says, already standing and recovering his cover of hardness. The only thing that gives him away is his clenched fists. "Do you have any idea where Dent took her?"
"He didn't exactly draw me a map, sir," says Alfred. "I suppose you might have some idea, though?" he adds when Bruce begins to walk toward the exit.
"I have a good idea," he says, and takes off.
"Why are we here?" she asks. Walking around this place is unpleasant. Not only does it bring back bad memories of the terror and agony of her almost-final moments, but it brings back those feelings, those awful, plunging, gouging feelings, of when she knew for certain that Batman would save her, and that Harvey was going to die.
Shows what she knows.
"This is where I almost lost you," he says at her side. "Seeing you here, now… it's like you beat it."
"What did I beat?" she says, weary.
"Death. Maybe fate."
Looking down, she sees his hand unconsciously twitching towards hers. On impulse she takes it firmly within her own. He looks down, surprised, but not displeased.
"Does it hurt?" she asks him, her eyes drawn to that open eye, that perpetual skull-grin.
"Not much," he lies. He's in constant agony.
She reaches her free hand out, and he is curious which side of his face she will choose to touch. He should have expected that she would touch his right side, his good side. It's his left hand that he's holding.
"What happened to you, Harvey? What really happened to you," she adds as she holds onto his hand tightly when he made a move to pull away from her.
"Can't you see for yourself?" he says, his voice dark.
"You know what I mean. With Alfred… you would have never done that."
"Don't you see, Rachel? I lived too long. I've become the villain."
Her heart quenches at that, and a small selfish desire, grown from those butterfly wings, spreads out through her body.
But she cannot speak that yet.
"You don't have to be," she says. "They can fix your face. You can atone for your crimes-"
"No, I can't." He is simple, swift. Concise. He turns from her, showing her his back. He raises his arms, like a preacher would, and encompassing the room. Those strong lengths take in the full drudge of the place, and Rachel cannot help but feel taken in by the show.
"Look around you, Rachel. This is hell. Your hell, my hell. Oh, certainly my hell. I've seen the very core of man and there's nothing worthy in there. He will sell a good man to save a villain, or his own flesh and blood, even, to get what he wants, to save his sorry hide. People run on fear, Rachel. Simple fear. Some survive, some don't. The good aren't rewarded in the end, and the bad aren't punished. It's just absurdity, regular old comic absurdity. That's all anyone is."
She approaches him, placing her hand on his broad shoulder. "We were working to make things just, Harvey."
"And look where it got us," he says, turning to her and looking grim. "I'm a harlequin of Robert Redford meets Freddy Kruger, and you're back from the dead just hanging out with your best childhood friend."
She hears the accusation in his tone. "I thought you were dead. They told me you were dead. I thought -
He steps so close to her she has no choice but to take a step back. He continues, and so she must be in constant retreat. "You thought I was dead, and so you thought you could just shack up with Bruce the next moment? Afraid of being alone, Rachel?"
Her eyes flash. "It wasn't like that. It wasn't –"
"It wasn't… what? Did I or did I not find you in his glorified penthouse?"
"Yes, but –"
Her back hits one of the damaged walls, and she yelps when he slams his hands on either side of her, trapping her. "I heard you, you know. I heard you say yes." His lawyer voice is no longer charming in that dark rasp, but utterly terrifying. "What sort of a woman is it who says yes to one man and a few months later stays in the bed of another? There's a term for that."
"Don't you dare," she hisses, glaring up at him.
The gentleness of his hand as it reaches up to caress her face is belied by his next words. "I told you there's nothing good in the heart of man, Rachel. Woman, either. Don't you see?"
"How dare you," she whispers. "How dare you. You have no idea what I went through when I woke up."
"What you went through?" that exuberant incredulousness. Showmanship. But the actor in him quickly dies, and the darkest rage crosses his face, blackening his eye, making his half-skull head even more gruesome."How do you think it feels to know that the only woman you loved told you she wanted to spend the rest of her life with you, and then just ran off with her rich childhood friend as soon as she possibly could?" He seems to get himself under control, because he quiets, his voice growing soft, cruel. "Oh, but don't you fret. I understand. You just said that to appease me, right? It was a desperate situation, lives on the line and all. You just said yes because you thought that's what I wanted to hear in my last moment, right?"
She feels like she's going to scream if he doesn't listen to her. "It wasn't –"
He puts his hand on her mouth, blocking her voice. "Shh, it's alright. It's okay. I understand the concept of pity. You were just being kind to me, that's all. You didn't mean it. You just wanted me to be at peace in my last moments, right?"
She struggles under him, moaning and shaking her head no.
"You can be honest with me, Rachel. I can take it."
She glares at him. Reluctantly he removes his hand from her mouth.
Rachel has to take a long breath before she begins to speak. "Everything I said in that room I meant," she says firmly, looking him straight in the face. "I meant every. Damn. Word. The only reason I
was at Bruce's home was because he let me stay there. I had no where else to go. They'd already rented out my apartment. "
"Law 101, Rachel. Never lie about something that can be fact-checked."
She stares at him. "I know, Harvey. You're the one who taught me that."
It takes him a moment to process that information.
He steps away from her, looking stricken. "You meant it? You would have said yes?"
She only looks at him, her eyes beginning to water.
"But not now, right? I'm a monster now. Oh, heavens, look at me!" he clutches his hands to his face, and screams. "Look at me!"
"Harvey…" she whispers, her breath becoming shudders of air. "I still –"
"Get away from her!"
Batman had arrived.
"Ah, the hero comes to save the day," Harvey drawled, reigning in his fury at his conversation being interrupted. "Shall we flip for it? Heads you leave, tails I shoot you. Sound good?"
"You already shot me, Harvey," Batman rasped.
Harvey can hear Rachel gasp behind him, but he steely tells himself to ignore it. "Yes. So I did. It's cheating to wear body armor, you know. It skews the odds." He pulls the pistol from his suit coat. It should still have three bullets in it. "Can't play even that way, Batman."
"Let her go," Batman says. "She doesn't need to get hurt."
"I would never hurt her," he says, cocking the gun and aiming it at the bat. "You're the only one I want to hurt."
"Harvey, please," Rachel says, coming up and gently touching the arm holding the gun. "Please."
Batman starts moving forward.
"Stay where you are," Dent says, reaching into his pocket. He pulls out his coin. "Let's see if you're unlucky a second time, shall we?"
"You're not going to –"
"To what, Rachel? I'm about to show you what justice really is."
Batman is pulling a bat-a-rang from his utility belt. He pauses before he throws. "Get away from him, Rachel!" he cries, afraid to hit her.
Both men thinks she is talking to him.
Harvey flips the coin. It lands in his hand.
Batman reaches back to throw. He has good aim. He can probably avoid her.
"No no no!"
Batman halts. Rachel has jumped in front of Dent.
Which, of course, does not hinder Harvey any. He shoots.
Thankfully Harvey does not have the best aim. Bruce feels pain at his collar, where the armor did not quite meet to give him better movement. The bullet appears to have only hit the very edge of him, and he falls to the ground.
His vision fades in and out for a moment, but when it is recovered enough he sees Harvey leaning over him, pointing the gun at his face. Rachel is still holding onto his arm, pulling him away.
"Let me finish this," Harvey says to her.
"No! My God, Harvey! You can't do this!"
"Sure I can. It came up tails, which means he dies. Don't you see? It's just chance. He could have died by getting hit by a car. There's no morality in it. It's chaos, simple chaos."
"Then be the order, Harvey. You aren't a monster, you aren't. You can be above this!"
"I'm not above this, Rachel. Do you think you are? Would you forgive the men who tried to kill you? Who did this to me?"
"They would deserve a fair trial –"
"There is no such thing as fairness in the world of men! You've seen it yourself. Those who can afford to get off go free! People die who don't deserve it! The world is insane, and you know it."
She looks like she wants to argue, but Bruce instinctively know why she cannot. The insanity is so clear on his face – and this is what the world did to him.
So she tries another tactic.
"Please, Harvey.I still see the man I loved in you, and he wouldn't do this."
"Loved?" His voice is queer, high. "Loved, is it?"
Bruce sees Rachel put her hand on the monsters face, on the burns and the muscles. Harvey at first flinches away, obviously from pain. But with a little moan the monster leans into her hand, closing his good eye and placing his hand over hers.
"I love you, Harvey Dent. I don't care if you only look like half the man I love. I will love you no matter what manner or shape you are. I love you in your perfection, and I love you in your imperfection. I love you as I have never loved any man."
Bruce feels himself break, and very much wants to die, then.
Which is why he is quite lucky when Dent opens his eye and aims the gun again.
"See? I don't deserve your love anymore but you still give it," he tells her. "This is why my justice works."
And he fires.
Several months later, Bruce Wayne is still recovering from an unfortunate drunken escapade involving spelunking and a very sharp rock. The newspapers said it punctured him, in what the tabloids are calling a freak accident, when he impaled himself simultaneously on each side of his neck.
Oddly enough, Batman has not been seen around much either during this time, but no one makes that connection. And it certainly does not mean the criminals are running free reign over the town. There's whispers of another freak, one who will kill as soon as look at you, with a deaths-head.
But those are rumors.
Rachel sits in a chair by his bed, fingering the flowers next to him. "These are pretty," she remarks.
"From Svetlana," he tells her. "She's the –"
"The twenty year old prodigy singer of opera. Yes, I know of her."
He smiles a little. "I should be up in a few days."
"Alfred must be going mad with having you home for so long. He's never had so much to do."
"He's going mad? If I hear "I told you so" one more time, I'm going to fire him."
Rachel laughs. "No, you won't." She reaches out and grasps his hand. "You're not going back to flying around the skies, are you? You're not going to be up for it. What if you get hurt?"
Bruce is silent for a time, then he says, "It's what I do. I get hurt and I help this city."
"It doesn't have to be what you do, Bruce. There are police for that."
"They're not enough. You know that."
She doesn't know that, but she says nothing. She does know he won't let the point go.
"I have to go," she tells him, standing up. "They're expecting me at the office."
"I saw the papers. You'll be prosecuting Mario Falcone, then?"
"Yeah. Looks like he was helping his father with the business. You know what they say, the family that goes into organized crime together..."
Bruce smiles, but his face is serious in the next moment. "You shouldn't go out there. Dent is still out there. It would be safer here."
It would be safer. He's since had a better security system installed. Changed the codes.
Rachel shakes her head. "I told you, I need to have some time to myself. To think." She lays her hand on his. "Don't worry Bruce. He won't come after me. Trust me. I know."
But he doesn't let go. "I heard you, you know. What you said to him."
She stills, watching him.
"Did you mean it?" he asks, quietly.
She remembers she told him yes to that same question some time ago.
So she leans down and whispers something into his ear. He closes his eyes.
Later, Rachel is in her apartment. It's slightly better than the one she had before. It has to be. That one was for one person.
He's already waiting for her when she comes in. Cooking dinner. It's odd to see him so domestic.
Especially since she knows he might have spent the time she was at Bruce's out, running through the streets. Sometimes mob men end up dead, and sometimes they end up on Gordon's footstep, tied to their own damning evidence.
That's how she was prosecuting Mario, after all.
"You could have given me his PDA records," she tells him, tasting his pasta sauce. "He'd be sentenced already."
"I didn't want to make it too easy for you," he tells her, bestowing a kiss on her forehead. "Don't want you to think I'm going to do all the work."
Work. She stiffens at that, but he doesn't notice. His work is life or death. Her life is man's justice. Both slightly corrupt, both trying to be fair.
Sometimes, when he's holding her at night in his sleeping arms, she thinks about calling Gordon, or Bruce, and telling them that she is in the arms of a murderer.
Other times, she wants to chain him to the bed so he'll never leave her again and she can always be sure that he'll be there at all time.
And, very rarely, just once or twice, she thought about what it would be like to flip the coin on someone. Just as a thought, a passing thought.
She buries her face into his chest. He smells like a clean man, he smells faintly like fire.
When she kissed him, on the lips for the first time, she cried.
The salt burned his face, but he would have had it no other way.
In the end, she knows this won't last. She'll break, or he will get killed, or Bruce will put a stop to it somehow. In the end, all she has are desperate moments with him.
She thinks she partly died in that explosion too.
She hates, she who never hated before, the men who did this to him. Who did this to her. It was easy to be above such things when you're not involved, when you're distantly gazing upon the masses tearing each other apart for whatever reason. But when Rachel was thrown into the pits, she could understand.
She thinks she was reborn, and that what she has become is somehow twisted. Half-ugly. Very real, and very warped.
He tells her that she completes him. She completes half a monster.
That doesn't make her feel as bad as it probably should.
She also thinks that it feels good to be in his arms at night, in the afternoon, waking in the morning, if only for the time it takes to say one word.
When she's in his arms, the distorted butterfly in her stomach calms itself, and is satiated.
But that's more than enough.
She feels lucky.
A/N:There we go. My tribute to Harvey Dent and Rachel – who I think would have made an excellent, tense, full of delightful angst couple if she had lived and he still went mad. Also because there doesn't seem to be a lot (or any?) Harvey/Rachel fic out there. Hell, hardly any Harvey. What gives.
Here's what I had to change from the movie in order to make this fic work:
First of all, obviously Rachel does not die. It would have been exceedingly difficult to write a pseudo-romance when she's in the grave and he is not exactly known for necrophilia. It's vague in the story, but my idea is that she was pulled at the last moment by Det. Wuertz (the man in the bar whom Harvey shoots, if you're unfamiliar with the name (and don't feel bad if you are, I had to IMDB it)). I couldn't use Ramirez because she does not die in the movie and had plenty of opportunities to tell Harvey that she had saved Rachel. Wuertz works if you can believe that he's an old-fashioned man who went back to save the damsel in distress. Again, I admit this part is kind of sketchy, but if you're very nice you'll just suspend disbelief and go along with me on it.
Harvey Dent, also, does not die. I know it's not stated explicitly at the end, and there's a lot of discussion over his fate – I think he lives – but it leaves the question of what does Gordon and Batman do with him. Obviously the city is supposed to think he's dead, and he can't exactly be walking around as he is. Arkham seemed like the best choice – canonically he'll end up spending a lot of time there anyway. Might as well get used to it.
Harvey Dent is, for me, the most interesting character in the movie (yes, moreso than the Joker who, though acted beautifully and very true to character, is ultimately one-dimensional. He's evil. That's it. It works that way, and I'm not complaining because Batman needs a polar opposite. His necessity as a plainly evil character who feeds and is fed off by Batman is explored to a greater extent in the comics – but my theory with Dent is that Batman and Joker are larger than life. They have almost transcended humanity into beings of ideals. Batman is good. Joker is evil. When these two forces crash people in the middle are going to get hurt. They will go mad, or they will maintain their ideals.
Gordon maintains his goodness (Seen also in The Killing Joke) and Harvey loses his mind. But even so, I don't think he's completely evil. In an almost Nietzsche-esque manner, he has transcended morality – he can dish out death and life as unflinchingly as most people make toast. I am particularly a fan of Greg Rucka's interpretation of Dent's coin. In that, Dent becomes a tool of chance or fate. When he flips, it isn't something as simple as do I go right or do I go left, but do I save that kid from drowning or do I push his head under the water?
I think Rachel is someone who would still be unrelenting, like Gordon, when it came to morality. She will never understand Harvey as he is not, not really. She loves justice as much as Batman does, but then again, she is not willing to wait for him – that's where I think she becomes interesting (and not merely a plot tool for the movie so there's some tension between Wayne and Dent, la la) – because she still puts herself ahead of rewarding the shining knight. She has just a smidgen of selfishness, and a rather human desire for personal happiness, that I think she would still be with Harvey even if he was somewhat more twisted.
I hope to see some more Harvey fics out there. I don't think he died at the end of the movie (mostly due to a desire to see Aaron Eckhart again – oh be still my horny heart) and thus should have inspired at least some fanfiction. Maybe when the Joker craze dies down slightly…
Edit: June 5th 2011 – It's always bugged me that the line breaks never showed up. I always thought it jarred the reading of this. Nothing else has been changed, so all the logical leaps and grammatical errors are well preserved. Thanks everyone who has enjoyed this story.