She sits next to him this time. The tips of his sleeves are still damp. He'd rolled them up before, then tried to pull them back down. That was worse. He could have taken the whole thing off but the sweatshirt is irrationally reassuring. White, blank, boring, not much shape. So sleeves up it is. His jeans and sneakers have seen some use. Harvey tells himself he looks almost like a regular person this way. Hopefully.
Gilda's in a t-shirt he hasn't seen before, smoke colored stripes with shorts underneath. It's not quite hot or cold out, so maybe they're both a little off with what they're wearing. Her hair is down tonight, and her eyelashes are very long as she studies her lap.
"You seem better than last time," she says after a while. Her fingers weave together. Their knees don't quite touch.
"Thanks," he finds himself replying. Then, "I'd like to be."
Gilda nods mutely, lips pressed tight for a moment. She exhales before saying, "I shouldn't have made it harder."
Her shoulders are stiff, elbows close to her body. He almost places his palm along her spine, but chooses her hand instead as lightly as he dares. She starts, then relaxes, then turns to face him. She doesn't move away.
"I kept your name all these years because I wanted to," she says, her voice delicate as glass. "Nothing I could replace it with would have made me happy."
Involuntarily, he thinks of Batman's silver dollar resting on his nightstand. The pit of his stomach drops, and he averts his eyes as Gilda shifts to take his hand completely.
"But the fact is," she continues, "I'm… I don't know you anymore. And you don't know me either. It's been too long. Things have changed."
"I know," he says. There is something hoarse in the undertone.
It isn't fair.
"I'm married to a memory," Gilda confesses, almost a murmur. "I don't know if I can ever really have you back."
"I'm here," he says, numbly, and he doesn't know who he's trying to reassure, what he's trying to prove, "I'm…"
His hand is empty. For an instant he is alone. Then, her fingers are resting on the acid-warped ruin of his face—passing over rough patches and uneven grooves like a shadow. He goes still.
Gilda doesn't smile, doesn't cringe, keeps her eyes trained like she's looking for something. Harvey can't decide if he wants her to find it or not.
"I wish we could blame Two-Face on Maroni," she says eventually. Her thumb smooths over skin. "Or your dad. But this has always been you."
Part of him would prefer it if she was angry. Tearing him apart with her nails, unifying him into a single mutilated truth on display.
At Arkham, Dr. Adams once said sometimes we have to pull down in order to re-build. But the pieces are all the same. There's only so much you can do.
"Of course we're the same people," Harvey breathes, and Gilda's brows knit in incomplete-understanding. He closes his eyes. "I let this happen."
Slowly, Gilda withdraws her hand, rests it at the edge of his knee instead. She doesn't say anything for a long time. "It would be easy if there was one answer," she says at last. "but there isn't."
He turns to meet her gaze directly. "You never had to come back," says Harvey quietly. "This has been messy. I don't want to drag you into anything."
Gilda leans forward, presses her lips to the scar of his left cheek. She doesn't linger.
"I'll take my chances."