AN: I do not own.
She meets Paul through a friend one night. They spend the evening together at a small Turkish restaurant surrounded by decorative mirrors and the occasional clink of wine glasses. He's a plastic surgeon, and he's handsome, and he makes her laugh like she hasn't laughed in years. When it's time to leave he offers to take her home, and she lets him, but they part ways at the door.
It hits her afterward as she pulls off her stockings, unfastens the barely-noticeable earrings she'd worn in anticipation of tonight, and sits against the side of her bed. Which is empty. Of course.
She stays there for a long time.
When Gilda rises she's shaking and her mascara has smudged. Harvey loved her eyes, loved her smile, used to press his mouth into the curve of her lips. He was never afraid to be ridiculous around her. She thinks of the animal print underwear and makes a sound that might be a chuckle or a sob.
Gilda peels away the remaining layers of decoration to leave herself bare and messy and miserable with herself.
The next day she works, sculpting a model who is beautiful and mysterious and a stranger in every way. She blasts opera through the studio and it is loud, furious. In the end she has to stop. The woman, clay face angling upward, does not reproach her for the uneven grooves that mar her figure. But then again, she isn't real.
Gilda wants to destroy everything in sight, to scream at the top of her lungs. Instead she kicks over her stool, washes her hands, and pours herself a drink.
Of course everybody knows who she is. Even before the acid Gilda was the DA's wife first, the artist second. She's been stuck in his shadow almost as long as she's known him. Initially it wasn't a problem—unlike Harvey, Gilda never sought the spotlight, never felt the need to compete. People bought and were shaped by her work. How they found out about it was not important.
But things change.
Now, people meet her with hesitation and looks of pity, questions and accusations shining in their eyes like kerosene waiting for the match.
After all she is Gilda Dent, who took her husband's name and wears it like a scar.
"I hate you," she says, and it hurts to say it. Her throat is tight, her voice wavers. "You don't even care, do you?"
He's always been so much taller than her. Sitting now behind a pane of glass holding his elbows, unable to even look her in the goddamn eye, he seems small. Like a schoolgirl she used to think he was golden. Now, under the glare of fluorescent hospital lights, she sees a colorless man who needs a haircut.
Harvey exhales, and she can hear the shudder in his breath, but he doesn't speak.
Her eyes sting, blur until she can't see him properly anymore. "It isn't a very important question, is it?"
"I love you," he says, and it's soft and rough and strained and so, so alien from the way he used to address her, address the world. "I'm sorry."
She balls her fist, stops short of hitting the panel before the guard even realizes it's a possibility. "You," she says slowly, "are such a liar."
He puts his ruined, beautiful, hideous face in one hand and exhales again. She can see he's starting to tremble, and the black, twisted pit of her does not regret it.
"I'm alone," Gilda says, hears herself say. The realization that her own face is hot and wet comes from a distance. "You promised you would be here. There are things happening in my life and I…I can't even trust you with that, can I?"
"I'm so sorry," Harvey says, voice strangled. "I'm so sorry…" And she knows she's right, knows that confiding in him means putting herself at the mercy of chance. Maybe he'll help. Maybe he'll take the opportunity to destroy her.
"Please stop," she says quietly. Then, "It doesn't matter how sorry you are. It doesn't change anything."
He nods, the half of his mouth that isn't distorted into a sneer pressed tight as if he's struggling to contain something.
Her fingers slide into her pocket, wrap around metal. She draws them out again. In her grip, a silver dollar gleams unmarked. Harvey freezes.
"Tails," says Gilda, her tone flat and even, "I take off my wedding ring. I move on. I live my life and hope I can find someone who makes me happy. Someone who is willing to try." The coin turns. "Heads, I stay here. I wait for a man who has given up. Because it isn't enough to believe in Harvey Dent."
He doesn't breathe, doesn't blink. For a moment, Gilda is tempted. But, slowly, she lets her arm drop. She tucks the coin away.
They sit in silence for a while after that. When it's time for her to leave, she stands.
"Do you still love me, Harvey?"
He stares up at her, and she finds herself picking over the reddened grooves and hollows that have made him unrecognizable on one side. His expression is immutable, paralyzed.
"You know I do," whispers Two-Face.
"Then show me." Her shoulders fall. "Words alone don't mean anything."
She thinks this should make her feel better, more powerful somehow. Instead, she only feels empty as she walks out the door.
Gilda doesn't look back. She doesn't want to know what the other half of his face is doing.