David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines
hradzka

REC: Harvey Dent, and "Duplicity"

cmar_wingnut has an interesting AU Batverse series going. Sure, cmar's using a combination of Golden and Silver Age characters -- you don't see Kathy Kane turn up in many fanfics these days -- but that's not the main AU. The initial question is, "What if Bruce Wayne hadn't been at the circus when Dick's parents died?" (They do partner up, but it makes for an interesting dynamic.)

The whole series is here, but the main reason I'm posting a rec is "Duplicity," a story in that series involving the origin of Two-Face. It's got some really excellent stuff there, particularly in Harvey's head.




“Why won’t you look, Harvey?”

It had started with a whisper. Just the hint of a voice as Harvey paced through the hallways and rooms of his house, past curtained windows and covered mirrors. At first he passed it off as an echo, a thought he hadn’t realized he’d spoken aloud, a waking dream. But deep down he knew it wasn’t.

“Everyone turned away, Harvey. But you can’t, can you?”

“You’re not real. I’m not listening.”

“I’m as real as you. As real as that coin you’re holding...”

The coin. Harvey looked down at it, gleaming silver in his uninjured right hand. The coin. Why had he taken it? He couldn’t help it, it had just happened... Yesterday, his first day back in the real world. His first attempt to recover his old life...

At first he had tried to pretend it was just an ordinary day, like before. He had gotten up in the morning, showered, shaved - a strange process without a mirror - gotten dressed, combed his hair, straightened his tie. The same routine he had gone through thousands of times, except for the extra added attraction of making sure the bandage over the worst part of the left side of his face was secure. He could almost convince himself nothing had really changed - as long as no one saw him.

It had started as soon as he got out of his car in the courthouse parking lot. A couple passing by had stared, then quickly looked away when he glanced at them. The people on the sidewalk: startled looks, averted eyes. The guard at the entrance. The familiar faces he passed in the hallway. All of them the same. Horror, pity, disgust; the air was thick with it.

“Harvey? How are you?”

“How are you feeling?”

“Nice to have you back...”

“How are you doing?”

Polite words. But he could almost hear the unspoken thoughts, like a soft murmur of whispers trailing behind him.

‘How horrible...’

‘My God, just look at him...’

‘I wonder what’s under that bandage...’

‘Thank God it wasn’t me...’

Harvey had closed his office door - had to be careful not to slam it, had to act normal, of course - and leaned against it, shuddering. Stay calm, just ignore it, concentrate on work, that would distract him. But just as he had been staring uncomprehendingly at a case file, the phone had rung.

“Harvey? Glad to see you’re back at work.”

“Bruce.”

“Yes. How are you feeling?”

“Great.”

“Glad you’re better... Listen, Jim Gordon’s benefit is tomorrow... Will you be there?”

“No.”

“Too bad, we’d all like to see you.”

“No, you wouldn’t.”

“That’s not true.”

“Maybe next time you have a costume party. Maybe next Halloween. I can come as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

“Harvey, don’t do this to yourself...”

“I don’t remember doing anything to myself.”

He had just stared at the wall after hanging up. Life goes on. But how could his life go on like this? Be like Bruce, pretend everything was okay, that everything would go back to normal? But it wasn’t normal.

There had been more stares, more whispers as he left the building a few hours later. Startled looks, quickly hidden, as he entered the central police stationhouse. Something had drawn him here, morbid curiosity maybe. Whatever it was, it led him to the evidence storage rooms.

“The Moroni trial evidence. I want to see it.”

“Why? That case is closed.”

“Just give it to me.”

He had sat with it for a long time. Witness’s statements, CSI reports, fingerprints, police interview notes... The tools of his trade, the remnants of a life that was gone now. How could he run for another term as district attorney, looking like this? And he could never be a trial lawyer again. Could never appear in front of a jury. The news cameras would be eager to film him, for a while, but only as a freak, only as an object of pity and horror. His lips twisted into a smile. Maybe he could still question suspects; he’d scare a confession out of them.

It had been a good case. No question that Moroni was guilty. No second thoughts. It would have built his reputation, made him famous. Instead it had destroyed him. Moroni was in jail, but that victory had come at too high a price.

Moroni’s lucky coin had caught his eye as he stuffed plastic evidence bags back into their boxes. His double-headed coin. Two faces, just as his face was now split in two, only both of its sides were identical: smooth and perfect. As his face once had been. The most important piece of physical evidence in the trial... he had been holding it in his hand, just staring at it numbly...

“I’m sorry, Mr. Dent, but you’ve been here all afternoon... my shift’s ending... you’ll have to leave...”

“All right. I’m going.”

They just wanted him gone, of course. He had stood outside on the sidewalk, uncertain. Go back to the office? Run the gauntlet of stares and whispers again? Or go home, back to the empty solitude of his house; let them all think he couldn’t take it, and maybe they were right. As he put his hands in his pockets, he had felt it, and pulled it out, silver catching the fading sunlight. The coin. He had taken it without thinking. Now he had to take it back. They’d all think he was crazy, as well as hideous, and maybe they were right about that, too...




Hines sez: if you want some good Two-Face fic, check it out.
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