8. The Big Picture
[February 15, 2015]
"You look like hell, Bruce."
Bruce gave Harvey Dent such a look that even the loud-mouthed District Attorney shut up. He scratched the back of his hair, cleared his throat, and turned back to the documents in the manila folder in his hand. Bruce had not intended to glare at his friend, but he was in a foul mood. He did look like hell, and he knew it. What else should he look like, after spending a sleepless, lonely Valentine's Day night hunting futilely for Holiday? Not that Harvey could possibly know that.
"None of us are going to be looking our best until Holiday is put behind bars, Harvey," Gordon said, echoing Bruce's thoughts. "Falcone and Maroni are each blaming the other for these Holiday hits. Maroni will hit at Falcone soon, and the hits are going to be traded back and forth until the streets are a war zone."
"Such a shame," Harvey said cynically, "the sharks are eating each other."
"Would you please stop acting like this is a good thing?" Gordon said wearily. "Think of the collateral damage, Harvey."
"You kidding me?" Harvey said. "I am the collateral damage. Gilda was collateral damage. I'm just sayin' that at least something good is comin' outta this thing."
"Nothing good can come out of this war," Bruce said sharply. He caught himself and put a hand on Harvey's shoulder to take the sting out of it. "You know that, Harvey."
Harvey looked at him, shrugged his hand off his shoulder. He said nothing, flipping through his papers. Bruce went to speak to him again, but they were interrupted by a tall, skeletal man. He removed glasses from over his icy blue eyes and introduced himself as Dr. Jonathan Crane, down from Arkham Asylum.
"I'll be determining whether, ah—" Dr. Crane tilted the folder in Harvey's hand down enough so that he could read it. "—whether Edward Nigma Nashton is mentally fit for trial."
"He's fit as a riddle." Harvey winced at the slip. "I mean, as a fiddle, doc. Ahem. Just get him to the stand, all right?"
"I will do my job, Mr. Dent," Crane said coolly. "Nothing else."
With that, Crane went into the interrogation room that had been prepared for his interview with the Riddler.
"Doctors," scoffed Harvey. "Can't convict with them, can't convict without them, can't shoot them. Jim, let me know when beanpole in there is done with Nigma. Bruce, let's get a quick lunch, all right?"
Harvey walked off without waiting for an answer. Bruce and Gordon shared a look. Not feeling he had much choice, Bruce followed Harvey Dent out of the GCPD. Harvey was already a quarter way down the block by the time Bruce caught up to him.
"Harvey, wait," Bruce said, jogging up to him. "Hold on a second."
"What, what?" Harvey asked. "I'm hungry. I don't want to stand around freezing and starving to death."
"Why don't we go somewhere quiet?" Bruce suggested. "The Gotham Regal is right around the corner."
"Yeah?" Harvey said, glancing in the Regal's direction. "I dunno, that place is pretty pricey. You're paying, right?"
"Okay then," Harvey grinned.
They walked the rest of the way in silence, since Harvey was intently going through e-mails on his phone. At the Regal, Bruce requested his table and they were tucked away in the private little niche. Bruce was stabbed with the memory of sitting at his private table with Luis, and a flash of anger shot through him. It should have been Harvey, he thought. Maybe it was wrong to push Harvey away. I wouldn't encourage him into betraying his wife's memory, but I shouldn't have put so much distance between us. I let Bobby slip away after we broke up, and look at how that's turned out.
"I could spend several months' salary on a meal here," Harvey said as he looked over the menu. His brow furrowed. "And I can't even pronounce half of it."
"I'll order," Bruce said, taking the menu from him. "You'll have to trust me."
"Sure, s'long as it's free," Harvey said. "Just don't send for anything weird like goose liver or snails or any other 'delicacy' only a billionaire could love. I didn't eat at all last night, I could use a steak of some kind."
"Rare or well done?"
"Either, just not medium anything."
Bruce had never met anyone that had no preference between rare and well done, but he did not comment. He ordered for them, choosing a well done cut for Harvey and a chicken dish for himself. They drank water, and Harvey ate the appetizer bread sticks so ravenously that Bruce suspected he had not eaten much for the past few days.
"So," Harvey said lightly, though his eyes were hard, "you and Luis Castell? What was that about? You have a fetish for prosecutors or something?"
"And where is Luis anyway?" Harvey asked. "He called in to take some time off. You break his heart and cause a meltdown?"
"Luis fooled me," Bruce said. "He wasn't the man that I thought he was. He wasn't—"
"No," Bruce said softly. "He wasn't you."
Harvey considered that while the waiters served them. Bruce was grateful that the meal stalled the conversation. For a man that knew so much about psychology and human nature, Bruce had to admit that he was absolutely lost when dealing with people he cared for. He did not know how Bobby threw himself into relationships so trustingly, so completely, or even how Harvey and Jim took a leap as significant as marriage.
Harvey was too hungry to think about Bruce's intentions. He had spent Valentine's Day in emotional turmoil, drinking all his meals while he ignored his phone altogether. First, he had driven out to the spot where his house had once stood. He walked through the slushy snow that was running over the charred ground, touching the few blackened beams that remained from the shed's structure, letting the soot blacken the plastic-like skin regrowth on his burned hand. He had finished an entire bottle of gin at the house, and had driven back to Gotham recklessly, half-hoping to crash.
Harvey had survived the drive back to his apartment, and finished a bottle of vodka in the kitchen. He brought a second bottle up to the bedroom that held so many precious memories of his time with Gilda, drunk enough to let the tears flow freely. He did not quite remember the rest of his day (or had it been night by then?) but he did have a recollection of talking to Gilda, clutching the sheets that still held traces of her perfume, as he cried and drank until he passed out. He still thought it was a small miracle (or a tragedy) that he had not died of alcohol poisoning.
"Are you taking the lithium?"
Bruce saw the predictable spark of fury in Harvey's eyes when he looked up from his plate. Harvey chewed slowly, and the anger passed like clouds over a night sky.
"No," Harvey said. "I don't need it. I'm handling it. I'm not good, but I'm dealing."
Bruce had learned his lesson from his dealings with Bobby, and was determined not to let his controlling nature take hold of him. He nodded, leaving Harvey to his decision. It was a harder thing to do than Bruce expected.
I am a control freak, he thought, chagrined. I control Gotham by caging its wolves, I control my life with all the physical disciplines that I've learned over the years, I control my mind with education. I control everything that I can, and I still wish that I could control the people I love. I know that my need to control things is due to my being a Type A, like Bobby said, and the paranoid fear I have of losing everyone I love. I've spent years training myself to know how to accept the world and life as it comes, to not react to the inevitable, to detach myself from emotion enough to deal with what I can rationally and let go of the things that I can't, or shouldn't, change. I've always been capable of doing just that, and now I'm going to do just that …
… no matter how much I want to do anything I can to get Harvey medicated again. But Harvey isn't like Bobby, he doesn't want to be told what to do and punished for his own good. Harvey was raised by a man that controlled him for no other reason than cruelty, he's understandably adverse to any authority other than his own. He listens to Jim as much as he will listen to anyone, but he's known Jim since childhood. Why would Harvey take the advice of a younger billionaire near-stranger that enabled him in cheating on his wife?
"So, why do you want to know whether I'm medicated or not?" Harvey asked. "Are you afraid that I'll throw myself at you again? Or that I'm won't?"
"I'm only worried about you, Harvey," Bruce said. "I feel that I've let our friendship slip away from me ever since the Frost Ball. To be honest, I was isolated during my time traveling, and I never had to divide friendship from romance. In the places that I went, people were … away from themselves, or they knew themselves well enough to be decisive. I became too used to taking mutual attraction for granted, and it's made me irresponsible."
"No, that isn't fair," Harvey said. "You're young, you're single, and I've known that you like me since the night we met. My loyalty, or disloyalty, to Gilda, that was on me and me alone. I never blamed you for that night, Bruce, and I don't blame you now. I just don't understand why you've been acting like I'm patient zero now."
"What do you mean?"
"You avoid me like a disease, you won't even touch me anymore, and—" Harvey paused, turning his eyes to the ceiling in annoyance as Bruce belied his last observation by putting a hand on his. "—and you try not to be alone with me. Until today, that is."
"You're mourning the love of your life, Harvey," Bruce said. "I let myself have you despite everything and everyone else, and that is on me. I was selfish. I should have opened the car door and thrown you right out of it."
"You know I would have hated you for that, right?"
"I would rather have had you hate me than yourself," Bruce said. "I could never feel as guilty for that night as you must, but I know that I share the blame. Since then, I really haven't known what to do with my feelings for you, Harvey. The idea of giving you another night to blame yourself for, to hate yourself for, that terrifies me."
"You're protectin' me?" Harvey laughed in disbelief. "Are you even thirty yet, Bruce? Christ! You're a sheltered kid, and you're protecting me? You have some kind of complex, Bruce, you really do. Listen, I've been deciding who to screw and who not to screw for some time now, right? I think I can handle my own affairs, literally."
"Then I'll ask you once, and only once," Bruce said. "What do you want from me, Harvey?"
Harvey opened his mouth to answer, hesitated, frowned deeply, contemplated as he carved his remaining steak into pieces.
"I don't expect anything from you," Bruce said. "I'll always be your friend, unless you never want to see my face again."
"I tried to hate you after the Frost Ball," Harvey said. "I tried my damnedest to never want to see your face again. I told myself that you were a selfish, arrogant, careless, lying bastard that only cared about yourself and your score count."
"I don't even have a score count, Harvey."
"I didn't really believe that you did," Harvey said with a small smile. "You're a good man, Bruce. To hear Gordon tell it, it runs in the Wayne family. All I know is that I missed having you to talk to. I missed having you as a friend. I never told anyone this but when I was stoned on painkillers after the Joker beat me … I lay in that hospital bed looking at you and Gilda side by side, and I wanted the both of you. God help me, I loved you both."
Bruce could not help the thrill of pleasure hearing Harvey use the 'l' word, even if it had been a slip. Harvey turned a little red, turning his eyes to his quickly-emptying plate.
"Do you think that's possible, Bruce?" Harvey asked, sounding smaller and more confused than Bruce had ever heard him. "Do you think that one person can love two people?"
"Yes," Bruce said. "I think that people are capable of much more love than they allow themselves to give. I think we only get in our own way too often to fully appreciate that."
"You still love someone else, huh?"
"I love Bobby Halloran, even if we can't be together," Bruce said. "I'll always love him, and even if we never saw each other again after today, I'll always love you. I love my parents even though they're gone, and I love Alfred as a second father. There are even a few people out there that I still care a lot for … even if they don't deserve it."
"Are you trying to tell me something?"
"No, I wasn't talking about you," Bruce said, thinking of Floyd Lawton. "In any case, love takes a lot of forms, and it can even contradict itself. There is nothing wrong with you, Harvey."
"I don't know about that," Harvey muttered.
"You haven't answered my question."
Harvey finished eating his steak, making record time, Bruce noted. Bruce pressed the button for service, and the waiters appeared, also in record time. The dishes were cleared away and Bruce ordered dessert. Harvey sent for a top shelf bottle of bourbon.
"Might as well take advantage," he said with a roguish smile. "You're still payin', right?"
"I'm still paying," Bruce said. "But Harvey, it's the middle of the day."
"I'll survive," Harvey said flatly. "If I'm going to give you an answer, I need some fortitude, right?"
"You would have made an excellent defense lawyer if you had gone another way," Bruce told him. "Why didn't you? Become a defense lawyer, I mean?"
"Couldn't afford it," Harvey snorted. "My scholarship got me through college and I worked and decimated my credit to get through law school. The competition in law is so fierce in Gotham that I just couldn't go any further. Besides, I saw what even the dumbest court-appointed defense attorneys did for my dad, always getting him out with less time, always sending him home to beat on me. The idea of defending people like that, or worse, makes my skin crawl."
The drinks arrived and Harvey joyfully took a few minutes to savor the liquor. Bruce abstained.
"I could get used to this," Harvey said. "Not that that's going to affect my answer or anything. I think."
"Do you have an answer?"
"What was the question? Do I want you?" Harvey asked. He went on without waiting for an answer, "I always wanted you, Bruce. I haven't felt this way about another man in a very long time, haven't even thought about swinging that way since college."
"That wasn't exactly the question," Bruce said. "I asked what you want from me."
Harvey went on drinking without answering. Finally, Bruce allowed himself to take a little control; he put a hand over Harvey's glass, stopping his next sip.
"Do you have an answer, Harvey?"
"I have answers, I just wish I knew which one was right," Harvey said glumly. "I always thought it was stupid, the way people stayed loyal even after death. The vows say until death, right? It doesn't say anything about after. I never even really knew if I believed in an 'after'. Do you?"
"Believe in an afterlife?" Bruce asked, taken off guard by the question. "No, Harvey. I don't."
"You're lucky," Harvey said. "It would be simple if I didn't believe, but a part of me still does. A part of me thinks that Gilda had to have found better in death, since she sure as hell didn't find anything great in life."
"I think she would disagree."
"She always did see too much in me," Harvey said with an affectionate smile. "In any case, I would never marry again. I don't think I'd ever marry a guy anyway, no offense, but even if I were willing, I couldn't."
"I wasn't asking for your hand in marriage," Bruce said dryly.
"Yeah, I didn't think my hand was the body part you were after," Harvey snickered. He took a long drink, and his humor was dashed away by grimness. "I want to be alone, Bruce. I want to go on mourning, but I think that if I do, it's going to kill me."
Harvey went to refill his glass, but Bruce took it from him. Harvey was too solemn to argue. He leaned his head on a hand, his index finger rubbing his temple lightly. The hangover headache that aspirin and coffee had staved off in the morning was beginning to return.
"I tried to die yesterday, Bruce," Harvey confessed hoarsely. "I drank enough to kill another person. I drove drunk, not paying any attention to the road. If I hadn't been too inebriated to move in the end, I would have done it. I went to sleep considering a handful of aspirin and a razor blade, a bullet through the brain, jumping off a rooftop."
"It was Valentine's Day," Bruce said. "I'm sorry. I should have called you, or something."
"I wasn't in the mood for company," Harvey said. He took the bottle, uncapped it, and drank directly from it, to Bruce's horror. "But I woke up alive, and I'm not going to give my enemies the satisfaction of committing suicide. So here I am, trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to stay alive."
Bruce took the bottle from him. "Not like that."
"Guess not," Harvey sighed. "So what do I want from you? I don't know, Bruce. I don't know what I want from myself, or from life. I only know that I need something, I need someone. I can't keep going through what I'm feeling alone. If you want to be that someone, well … I would like that, Bruce."
"Are you sure?" Bruce asked. "I would love to help ease your pain and loneliness, I would love that more than anything, but if you're rushing into this for the wrong reasons, I don't want to make it wo—"
Harvey cut Bruce off with a fast, intense kiss. Bruce's words tumbled from his mouth into Harvey's, and he was too startled to react for a moment. He could feel, almost taste, Harvey's desperation, but the DA was also very certain and assured. Bruce kissed him back finally, but Harvey drew back, smiling sadly.
"Sometimes, your age does show there, Bruce," Harvey said. "Stop worrying so much about everyone but yourself. I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself. Just accept my answer, will you? It's how adults do things."
Harvey used Bruce's distracted state to take the bottle back from him. He tipped it to his lips and drank. Bruce tried to take it from him, Harvey pulled it back, and Bruce tugged Harvey into another kiss. One of them thumped the bottle onto the table, and Bruce moved his chair around the table to close the distance between them. Taking Harvey into his arms again felt like a bittersweet dream built on the remnants of a nightmare. Bruce did not pull back very far when their lips parted. He stroked the side of Harvey's handsome face, ran a finger over his lips, and looked into the depths of Harvey's dark blue eyes, watching the turns of hope, sorrow, anger, and love alternate stormily.
"What the hell are we doing, Bruce?" Harvey murmured, blushing with guilt and shame. He looked at Bruce, and his affection wore away the doubt. "Oh, to hell with it."
They kissed again and might have gone on kissing forever if Harvey's phone had not rang. Harvey sat back in his chair with a frustrated sigh, taking out the phone and giving it a murderous look.
"Hell, it's Jim," Harvey said. "I guess that Crane guy has finished diagnosing Nigma. We better get back."
Bruce stood, buttoning his jacket. Before Harvey got up, he leaned down and kissed his forehead. The gesture was trite but so sweet that Harvey turned uncomfortably red. He could barely look at Bruce when he stood.
I never thought anything could feel so good again, Harvey thought. He glanced at Bruce as he slipped on his coat. Bruce gave him a warm smile and kissed the corner of his mouth. I don't deserve to feel anything nearly this good. I don't deserve to be loved again.
Fuck it. I can't bear this goddamn emptiness anymore. I can't die yet, not while those bastards are still living it up in Gotham. I do believe I'll see Gilda again somewhere, but until then I have to keep from ever feeling the way I did yesterday. I have to live, I have to take whatever I can to live. Bruce is offering, so I'll take everything he's got to give. I'll let him love me. At least it's not another woman. At least it's not that.
"No PDA," Harvey told Bruce on the streets in a low voice. "You don't exactly have a low profile, and the last thing I want is the city whispering and winking over our relationship."
"I'm no friend of the press," Bruce said. "I don't regret my relationship with Bobby, but having our every step in public photographed and dissected online was maddening."
"Dehumanizing, isn't it?" Harvey chuckled. "I guess now you know how I feel about being characterized by total strangers. Gotham's white knight, 'Apollo', it's ridiculous. All anyone wants to know anymore is how close you come to fulfilling their fantasy."
"The ease of spreading information has crippled the quality of information," Bruce said. "The internet collects more information about a person than any system ever has before, spits it out in less than a second, and enables the public to make snap judgments that are so well-informed that they mistake them for unbiased truth. It only proves the fact that one can know everything and still know nothing at all."
"It's so difficult for a person to even begin to know themselves," Harvey said. "How the hell can anyone think that they ever truly know another human being at all, let alone from words on a computer screen?"
"Characterizing people humanizes them, and humanizing people gives society comfort," Bruce said. "Some people can even find murderers to be sympathetic, others like to think that a certain celebrity would be a friend if they met, or that they have a chance at shaping their life in the image of someone more successful. Humans are insular by nature, no one ever can know another person's mind totally, but it's comforting to find connections and patterns that draw people together. The differences are far too obvious, so it can be refreshing to find the similarities."
"That makes sense," Harvey said. The rough edge of his voice had smoothed out again, and he sounded like any young, well-educated man that Bruce had ever heard. "People do often bond over similarities. The more open-minded of us can appreciate differences, but it's usually the similarities that draw people together most strongly."
"What do you think about us?" Bruce asked. "I don't think we came together over similarities."
"No, I think not," laughed Harvey. "It was sex. That's what started it, I think: pure sexual attraction. You were flirting with me from the start."
"You were the first person I ever did that with back in Gotham," Bruce said. "I hadn't even considered romance here before that night, I was still too preoccupied with re-familiarizing myself with my home."
"You've certainly been moving fast ever since," Harvey said.. "You've managed to break two hearts since November and now you're back to mine."
"I've had three relationships, actually," Bruce admitted. "There was a brief encounter with an old lover in November, before the Frost Ball."
"Oh, so that one-night stand we had was a rebound," Harvey said. "Explains a lot. Then what? You rebounded from me to Robert Halloran, and from him to Luis Castell?"
"I became used to not being alone," Bruce said quietly. "Too used to it, I think. I wouldn't count Luis, he … was a mistake."
"Why?" Harvey asked curiously. "I don't know him too well, but he's always seemed like a good guy."
"He lied to me," Bruce said shortly. "I don't know his reasons yet, but he completely manipulated me. It was a mistake."
"I'll take your word for it, but he still counts," Harvey insisted. "You slept with him, didn't you?"
"Then it counts," Harvey said. "Where were you when you left Gotham? Under a rock? You're so mature that I don't even realize that you're younger than me sometimes, and then other times you're as clueless as a teenage boy. You really didn't deal with people much overseas, did you?"
"Not in this everyday kind of manner, no," Bruce said. "I lived with people, but it was to train with them, to study. There was always a feeling of temporariness about those days that sheltered me, and them, from getting too attached. It's been much more difficult to handle than I expected."
"It's the mundane things that are the hardest, and sometimes the most rewarding," Harvey said. His thumb stroked the gold wedding band that he still wore on his ring finger. "I never understood that saying, 'don't sweat the small stuff'. The details of a life can be the most important, no matter how small they seem at the time."
Harvey fell quiet after that, lost in memories. They soon returned to the GCPD, where they met with Gordon and Dr. Crane again. Dr. Crane wiped his glasses on a small cloth and then placed them atop his long, thin nose.
"So, what's the verdict, doc?" Harvey asked. "Nigma is a broken egg but he isn't too scrambled, right?"
"Wrong," Dr. Crane said sourly. "I am afraid that I found Edward Nigma Nashton to be unfit for trial."
The babble and motion of the station's activity flowed around Harvey. Bruce watched him anxiously. Harvey stared blankly at Jonathan Crane for a moment.
"Are you serious?" he asked. "I just saw the man this morning. He was fine."
"He's suffered a breakdown, most likely brought on by the stress of confinement," Dr. Crane said patiently. "There is no fixed time table for mental deterioration, Mr. Dent."
"But he was fine!" Harvey argued, his temper flaring. "He was the same as always, spouting riddles and wrapped up in his own ego. Jim, tell him!"
"Edward has always been a little off, but he's never lost touch with reality before," Gordon said. "His belief that Bruce here is Batman was a hypothesis, not a delusion; he based that guess on a lot of research and information that was convincing."
"Nonetheless, his hypothesis being disproved completely shattered Nigma's fragile ego," Dr. Crane said. "Without the narcissism he uses to shield himself from the world's derision, he was left defenseless, alone, frightened, ashamed. The last of his resolve must have broken while he was confined in that interrogation room. It is quite common for such situations to cause enough panic to sever the tether to reality."
"I'm telling you, he's not crazy!" Harvey shouted. "What the hell kind of game are you playing, Crane? Do you just enjoy collecting patients? Don't you have enough out there at Arkham? Why are you doing this?"
"I am only doing my job," Crane said impatiently. "Why are you so determined to have Nigma stand trial? What is it you fear so much about losing one little conviction?"
"I'm afraid of Nigma getting a short round of therapy in Arkham and being let loose on the streets worse than ever, that's what I'm afraid of," Harvey said. "I'm afraid of every scumbag in Gotham seeing how easy it is to persuade an overly paranoid psychiatrist to give them an easy ride out of prison."
"I assure you, DA Dent, Arkham is not an easy ride," Crane said. "As for your mistrust of my diagnosis, why don't you see for yourself?"
They went into the interrogation room together: Crane, Gordon, Harvey, and Bruce. Edward Nigma tried to get to his feet when they came in, but he was still handcuffed to the table. He struggled against the handcuffs, aggravating the welts that were forming on his wrists. The four men stared at him in horror. Only hours ago, Edward had been his usual smug self, but now he was absolutely haggard. Edward's red hair was almost the shade of his prisoner's uniform, and it stood on end, combining with the rusty stubble on his face in stark contrast to his pallor. It was evident that he had been crying from the dark red circles around his eyes, and the fluids staining his face.
"Please, please, oh please, please, help me!" Edward begged. His voice was hoarse from shouting. "Don't let him hurt me anymore. Please don't let him! Get him out of here! Take him away!"
"His father," Jonathan Crane explained in an undertone. "He's been having hallucinations of his father."
"His father was a mean son-of-a-bitch," Gordon said. He rubbed his face. "I'm going to get some guards to restrain him and put him in one of the padded cells."
Gordon left. Harvey, Crane, and Bruce remained staring at Nigma, who went on crying and babbling incoherently.
"He's faking," Harvey finally surmised. He ran up to Edward and grabbed him by the front of his shirt. "You're faking, aren't you? You think you're clever, but I'm not buying it. You hear me? I DON'T BELIEVE YOU!"
Edward cowered as Harvey shook him. Bruce let it go on for a moment to test Edward, but he doubted that the physical reactions Edward was displaying were an act. When he began to hyperventilate, Bruce pried Harvey off of him.
"Harvey, that's enough! Stop it. STOP!" Bruce commanded, holding him back firmly. "He isn't faking it, look at him."
Harvey turned on Bruce as if he might attack him next.
"Look at him," Bruce repeated. "He needs to be sedated. Harvey, look at his pupils, he isn't acting."
Logic won through at last. Harvey pushed Bruce off and stormed out of the room. Bruce followed him to Gordon's office. Harvey slammed the door behind himself.
"Damn it," he said quietly before punching the door with a booming slam. "DAMN IT! DAMN IT! SON-OF-A-BITCH!"
By the time Gordon joined them, his office was nearly destroyed. Harvey had just slumped into the visitor's chair, his eyes covered with a hand. Bruce was massaging his shoulder with one hand, though Harvey didn't seem to notice. Gordon closed the door behind himself and walked around the office wearily.
"It's never enough." Harvey kicked the leg of Gordon's desk. "It'll never be enough. They always find a way out. They always get away. Damn it!"
Gordon picked up his overturned chair and sat behind his desk. He looked exhausted. Harvey got to his feet and paced restlessly.
"What's the point?" Harvey asked, more to himself than the others. "What's the point of any of this? They're always going to get away with it, always!"
"Not always," Gordon said. "I promise you, Harvey, it won't always be that way. We still have Maroni."
"For all the good it's doing," Harvey scoffed. "He's probably down there planning his next move as we speak, and he'll have his people make it, there's no question of that."
Neither Bruce nor Jim could deny the fact. Harvey rubbed his face with both hands, holding his head in them.
"I'm just tired," he said. "Jesus Christ, I'm so fucking tired."
"Can we have a moment alone?" Bruce asked Gordon.
"No," Harvey said, hitting the hand Bruce held out to him away. "No, I don't need … I just need to get out of here. I need to think, alone."
Bruce caught Harvey at the door and slammed it shut before he escaped. Harvey looked at him in surprise, eyebrows raised.
"You shouldn't be alone," Bruce told him. "You don't have to be alone anymore, Harvey. We're here. We've always been here for you. You think it's ridiculous that you're called a white knight? Well, stop acting like one."
Bruce pulled Harvey from the door. He held him close by the shoulder, leaning his head close enough that their foreheads touched. Harvey looked sidelong at him, perplexed by the ease with which Bruce took hold of the situation—and of him.
"If you keep shutting down, you're going to shut off, one way or another," Bruce said. His hand rested lightly at the nape of Harvey's neck. "Don't shut me out, Harvey."
Harvey looked at him for a long moment. Bruce hated to think of the struggle he was fighting inside, the tumult of emotions that must be wrenching him from one extreme to the other. Resolution came to Harvey's eyes, and then he kissed Bruce.
Bruce's eyes slid to Gordon, who looked down and cleared his throat awkwardly. Jim had never been able to keep track of who was romancing whom in Gotham before, and now that gender was apparently no longer a guideline, he was even more lost.
"You're right, Bruce," Harvey said, clapping Bruce on the shoulder. He remembered Gordon and gave the man a flushed smile. "Well … Jim … that happened. Look, I'm not—"
"You don't have to explain anything to me, Harvey," Jim said, putting a hand up to silence him. "You aren't doing anything wrong."
Harvey did not look completely convinced, but he shrugged it all off. He burrowed through the mess for a stack of files and sank into a chair.
"I don't give a damn if we lost this Riddler character," Harvey said. "Let Arkham have him, he's a newbie, a little fish. We have Maroni, and we're going to convict Maroni and anyone else we can connect to him. If Holiday doesn't get him first, we'll get Falcone, too. I just have to focus on the big picture here, right?"
"Right," Jim and Bruce said simultaneously.
Harvey could tell that they were trying their best to keep his mood even, and embarrassment colored his face. He cleared his throat and turned his face to the files, ignoring them. He kept telling himself that he needed to get his temper under control, but it was getting harder and harder to stifle these rages. Sometimes the pure, blind fury felt good, simply because it was so clear; sorrow, love, morals, all of it was burned away by the sheer heat of it.
Bruce gave Harvey's shoulder a squeeze and took his leave of Jim and Harvey.
"I really didn't mean for it to happen," Harvey said quietly, rearranging papers and bustling about the office. "Yesterday was just … and then today Bruce … It just … happened."
"You're not doing anything wrong, Harvey," Jim repeated. "You can't beat yourself up like this. You're only human, you're not … 'Apollo'."
Harvey chuckled, shaking his head.
"No," he agreed. "No, the gods have all died in Gotham City."
— END —