I come bearing my first ever Bat-verse fic. I hope you enjoy it. Comments and criticism are warmly welcomed.
Rating: PG -13 for language and violence.
Pairing: Two Face/Joker. Minor mention of past Harvey/Gilda.
Warnings/Spoilers: This fic portrays Harvey just as he's starting to recover from one of the darker points in his mental history and the damage done to his psyche by the Arkham Asylum psychiatrists. All canon Batman warnings apply; Joker is manipulative, Arkham Asylum is not a nice place, and Harvey Dent is utterly insane.
Contains mild spoilers for the graphic novel "Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth".
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or places or depicted herein. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: "The Joker was unimpressed. Harvey was ignoring him and being polite again. It was his new Thing."
Author Notes: Set a couple of months after the events of the Arkham Asylum graphic novel, but you don’t need to have read it to understand this. If anyone who hasn't read it would like more background info on Harvey's recent medical treatment in the asylum, I'll be happy to post it as a Comment.
The fic's title comes from part two of TS Eliot's wonderful, chilling poem "The Waste Lands".
"…Pressing Lidless Eyes and Waiting for a Knock Upon the Door"
The Joker grimaced. Arkham was no fun anymore. Allowing the patients to socialise for an hour a day completely took the challenge out of things. Being allowed to saunter around like Bruce Wayne at a cocktail party in the once-elegant drawing room of the mansion meant everyone was too open, too easy to approach. It didn't keep his mind ticking over the way it used to. Much longer of this boredom and he might actually go mad.
Grin widely in place - but wasn't it always? - he gazed around the shambling, silent figures who endlessly roamed the expansive floor, then beyond them to the inmates who sat in the gloomy corners of the room. One inmate in particular caught his eye. The figure was sitting in a pool of dim light on a threadbare leather settee before a low, scarred table. The battered metal cage around the lightbulb above him cast bars of shadow over the chessboard before him, creating a new grid on its pitted surface. The figure stretched out his right hand and moved one of the worn knights to take the opposition's remaining bishop. There was a faint grunt, and the figure's head turned slightly as he leaned closer to the board, scrutinising the pieces carefully as if he had difficulty seeing in the dim light. Joker's grin widened.
"Playing with yourself again, Harvey? You'll go blind, you know."
The man's left eye swivelled upwards in its socket, regarded the Joker levelly, and dropped back to the board.
"Go," Two Face said, "and fuck yourself."
Joker tutted. "Such language. Did you kiss the lovely Gilda with that mouth?"
Harvey Dent's left eye regarded him with distinctly more malevolence than the right as he answered.
"Actually I was about to say 'go and find something to do.' He got in before I did."
Harvey indicated the chessboard. "You should have waited until it was my turn again." The good side of Harvey's ruined mouth twisted slightly. "I do apologise."
The Joker was unimpressed. Harvey was ignoring him and being polite again. It was his new Thing.
"You're being boring. Everything's boring around here. I'm bored. Talk to me, Harvey. Talk talk talk talk talk talk talk." He plopped down on the battered sofa, reached forward to pull a cushion out of his way and toss it behind his back, then slung his legs across Dent's lap. He felt the other man's muscles tense, and couldn’t resist pushing a little further. He left just a long enough pause before the silence could be considered to have lapsed into companionable.
"Want to fuck me?"
The Joker leered at him. "You're sure? You don’t want to check?"
Harvey Dent turned his head to meet Joker's eyes. "Do I need to repeat myself?"
Joker gestured vaguely at the left side of Harvey's face. "Well, is he sure?"
"It isn’t his turn," Harvey stated levelly, as if this answer made perfect sense.
Joker whistled. "Well done, Harvey! You made a decision! All on your own! Your therapists are going to be very proud of you." He reached out and ran a sharp nail lightly down the scarred side of Harvey's face and throat, trailing his hand down over his chest. "Go on. At least let me blow you." His voice lowered to a parody of a breathy whisper. "You can pretend you're someone else…"
Oh, being around Harvey was so much more fun these days. For one thing, Harvey had his coin back. The doctors had tried and failed to persuade him to go back to the tarot deck they had previously weaned him onto, and for weeks after the April 1st fun and games with Batman, Harvey had kept the coin clutched so tightly in his left hand that he had developed a constant tremor from the muscle strain. It was only after a brawl with two medical orderlies who tried to take it from him and a resulting week in solitary confinement that he had loosened his grip.
Talk among the inmates on the Special Category wing of Arkham was that Harvey's doctors had briefly returned to their plan of replacing his coin with the I-Ching, but after Harvey had used up an entire two-hour therapy session discoursing on the history of Taoism and its related divination system, they realised he was probably far more knowledgeable on the subject than they were, and gave up.
Even if they were just letting him keep the coin until they decided what to do next, their chances of getting it back weren't exactly high. Once the therapists had grudgingly removed the tarot deck from Harvey's cell, Arkham's best-dressed inmate (apart from himself, of course - Harvey didn’t wear nail varnish) had simply smiled, closed his fingers around the bright metal, lain down on his bunk and closed his eyes. It wasn't long before the nurses realised Harvey wasn't asleep; he was catatonic. He stayed like that for a fortnight.
When he came back to the world of the living (or whatever passed for it in Arkham) Harvey and Two-Face had settled into a relatively comfortable state of cohabitation inside Dent's body. How long it would last was anybody's guess, but for the moment all was quiet on the Dent front apart from the occasional highly enjoyable outburst of unexpected profanity and gratuitous violence. And, Joker reflected, some truly amazing sex… even if only half of Dent was concentrating on it at the time.
As Joker leaned closer, Harvey Dent's mouth tightened, and his eyes sparked with discomfort. The Joker watched, amused, as the other man's hand moved slowly and seemingly of its own volition into his left jacket pocket, then froze. Joker saw Harvey's left hand ball into a fist, then stretch out the corners of the jacket pocket as he searched its depths. Harvey's breathing became harsher as he pushed the Joker's away from him and leapt to his feet, hands frantically searching through every pocket of his clothing. He looked at the Joker with panic-stricken eyes, his voice thick and guttural with anger. "Where is it? Where is it, Joker? You've got it, haven't you? Give it back. Give it back to me, now."
Joker winked, and produced the double-headed coin from behind his back. He squinted slightly as he peered at the scratches on the "bad heads" side of the coin. "Ask me nicely."
With a snarl, Two Face lunged forwards and made a blind grab for the coin, catching Joker's wrist and prompting a breathless laugh as he painfully the slighter man's hand, bones grating on each other. Two Face struck out, his fist connecting with Joker's jaw, eyes widening with panic and rage. Snarling, he kicked the table away, sending chess pieces scattering, and his voice rose to a hoarse scream.
"You can’t have it. It's MINE. Mine, and this time Harvey's not letting them take it, that wimp, that fucking spineless bastard. I'm taking care of it and YOU CAN'T HAVE IT!" Two Face lunged gracelessly forwards, letting go of Joker's wrist only for both hands to suddenly close around his throat. He squeezed hard, shaking the other man in a blind fury, dragging him to the floor and pinning him down as he snarled and cursed above him. Joker couldn’t breathe, couldn't see for the black spots dancing above him, but somehow he was laughing, laughing through the pain in his head as it smashed down against the floorboards again and again and the crushing grip on his throat. Oh, Harvey. I've missed you, he thought, even as his vision went black.
Suddenly, he was free and his lungs fulfilled with cold, clear air. Four orderlies had pulled Two Face away and were dragging him to the corner of the room, where he was still raving and wildly lashing out. Nurses converged on him, voices trying to mumble something soothing as the madman before them raged and fought, screaming threats and curses, spittle flying as his head whipped from side to side. Eventually a syringe was produced, the needle glinting briefly in the light before it was buried in Two Face's left arm. The screaming stopped instantly, his eyes rolled back into his head and he lolled bonelessly in the orderlies' arms.
Joker wheezed and he struggled to roll onto his side. A paroxysm of violent coughs shook his thin frame as he watched the unconscious Dent being half-dragged, half-carried away. He raised a hand and gave a shaky wave. "Bye, Harv," he croaked. "Feel better."
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
The half-moon was high in the sky when the muted rattle of keys in the cell door roused him from his semi-doze. Slightly groggy after the evening's sedatives - normally Joker palmed the medicines they dispensed in the evening and disposed of them later, but frankly the two weeks since Harvey had been taken back to the solitary confinement cells had been so tedious that doped-up sleep was a welcome prospect - he sat up as the cell door swung open and a tall, broad-shouldered figure entered the room.
He shaded his eyes from the harsh light in the corridor beyond, but in the silence of the Arkham Asylum night he clearly heard the whisper of crinkled banknotes passing from hand to hand. The orderly accompanying the figure pocketed the note and stepped back. "A pleasure doing business, Mr Dent." The door closed with a muted snap.
Harvey Dent stayed in the doorway for a moment, illuminated in the jagged silver shard of light from the window. He looked down at the coin in his hand for a long moment as the moonlight glinted on its unscarred surface. His expression was impossible to read; both sides of his face seemingly in repose for once as his eyes drifted up to the window and the moon beyond; the faint outline of its dark half visible in the clear summer sky. Then he sighed quietly and stripped off his suit jacket. He stepped towards the cot, loosening his tie.