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God's And Satan's Brood

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In the morning, Harvey gets out from under his thousand-threadcount Egyptian cotton sheets, even though he sleeps in old Harvard-branded sweatpants and a t-shirt he got in a ten-pack from Target. He goes to the bathroom and the water comes on at the perfect temperature since he had the Pfister regulator installed; he washes his hair with Bumble & Bumble seaweed shampoo, conditions it with Aveda formulated for fine hair, and leaves in a second condition while he washes with Cor by Plank silver soap and then with simple Dove moisturizing soap. He rinses the second condition out of his hair and steps out of the shower, then lathers his face with cream from Truefitt & Hill. He shaves with a Gillette disposable razor because he's not comfortable with straight razors near his face. He's not comfortable with how deft he can be, has been, with a straight razor. Non-alcohol aftershave; alcohol dries out the skin. Sparing, sparing cologne.

Most of his suits are Armani, tailored by Rene, with some Prada thrown in. Once in a while, just for laughs, he'll wear Galliano, even though Galliano is a little outdated as a brand and the man himself is totally fucking insane. Ralph Lauren shirts, or slumming it in Thomas Pink. Allsaints or even Abercrombie for casual days, because Harvey has a wry sense of humor.

Sometimes, before he walks out of the bathroom to dress and eat breakfast (hardboiled egg, apple or orange slices, sometimes Greek yogurt with organic granola; this is the reason he can eat food-truck hot dogs for lunch with impunity), while his hair air-dries and before he styles it with Paul Mitchell wax or some amazing mousse Donna sources for him that's so exclusive it doesn't even have a name -- her price for finding and buying it is that she gets a bottle too, which Harvey thinks is only fair, plus it makes her hair all shiny and Harvey likes that --

He catches sight of himself in the mirror.

Most days he just sees himself. But sometimes -- clean-shaven, smelling of Tom Ford and money, hair wetly slicked back -- he sees his older brother in his face and can't help the brief choke of nausea.

***

Donna made a point of listening in on all of Harvey's meetings. With the intercom hooked into her earpiece, it wasn't hard; she always muted it when taking a phone call, but she rarely missed anything important.

The first time Patrick Bateman showed up, she didn't really pay him any more heed than she would any other rich potential client. Bateman was of a certain type she encountered frequently: fortysomething, charming, fit, tanned, with a handsome sweep of brown hair just going grey at the temples, a tailored Prada suit, a Rolex, Grenson leather shoes, Levenger folio case. He had more money than God and his finger in every fashionable pie in Manhattan, and his brother Sean was a jet-setter with only slightly less money than God, who kept appearing in People Magazine as the reason some celebrity couple or other broke up. There was a rumor for a while that Sean was Suri Cruise's biological father.

So she was startled when she showed Patrick Bateman into Harvey's office, closed the door, and heard Harvey over the intercom say, "Get out of here, Pat."

"Now, is that any way to talk to family?" Bateman asked. "Nice tan, by the way."

"We're not family. That's been made abundantly clear to me," Harvey said. She heard paper rustle and knew Harvey hadn't even looked up from his desk. She turned to her computer and began googling the Bateman family. Maybe they were cousins.

"By our father, who's been dead for twenty years," Bateman said.

"And by Sean."

"Sean's the most irrelevant human being on Earth. Come on, Harvey. You're a big name now. You deserve this. Come back to the fold."

"I'm happy being the black sheep," Harvey answered. Donna began taking notes.

"I could buy you in for senior partner."

"I can buy myself in," Harvey replied.

"How'd you like ownership? Want me to kill Pearson for you?"

"You're not funny, Patrick. Get out."

"You should watch how you speak to me, little brother," Bateman said.

"You should get the fuck out of my office before I call security," Harvey replied. Donna, tense, already had her finger on the emergency security speed-dial.

"Bad press for both of us, huh?" Bateman asked, but Donna heard the door open. She covered her notes quickly, casually, as he leaned over the edge of her cubicle -- loomed, really -- and said, "Donna, right?"

"Yes, Mr. Bateman?" she said, looking up.

"You couldn't get me a coffee, could you?"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Bateman," she lied. "Our machine's broken. There's a very good cafe in the lobby, though."

A look of snarling distaste crossed his features, quickly hidden. She was sure she heard him mutter bitch as he left.

Donna turned around slowly. Harvey was sitting at his desk, head bowed, one hand on the back of his neck, shoulders heaving as he breathed in and out deeply. She got up and opened the door.

"Donna, my calendar is never open for Patrick or Sean Bateman," Harvey said, his voice taut with tension.

"I'll make a note," she said, as neutrally as she could. She turned to leave --

"Don't go near him," Harvey said, just before the door shut. Donna hesitated. "Bateman. Don't ever go near him. If you see him on the street, if he comes up to you in a bar -- stay away from him."

Donna almost asked. Is he your brother?

But Harvey looked like he was holding himself together through sheer force of will, so she didn't.

***

A few days after Harvey made senior partner, a nervous, sullen, kind of strung-out looking man appeared in the office with a fruit basket.

"I can sign for that," Donna said brightly, but the guy didn't even take off his Ray Bans. He was wearing a designer t-shirt that had mi coca es tu coca written on the back.

"Personal delivery only," he said.

"Can I ask who it's from?"

"Patrick Bateman."

"I'm afraid Mr. Specter's very busy -- "

"It's all right, Donna," Harvey said from the doorway. He had to have seen the man arrive. "Sean. You're looking...not dead yet."

"Hey, Harvey," 'Sean' said. Sean Bateman? He looked smaller than the magazine photos made him seem. Donna noticed his jeans were tailored, and he had the same square jaw, the same dark eyes as Harvey, though his hair was dyed blond. "Patrick's paying me two grand to give you these apples. They're from Dean & Deluca. Organic as shit, man."

"I'll pay you three never to come here again," Harvey offered. Right there at Donna's desk, where anyone could hear.

"Sure," Sean shrugged. Harvey peeled off a series of hundred-dollar bills from his money clip and handed them over.

"Good to see you," Sean said vaguely, and left.

"Do I need to worry about him?" Donna asked. Harvey eyed the basket of fruit suspiciously.

"Sean 'walking dead' Bateman? Nobody needs to worry about him," Harvey answered. "Do we have an incinerator in the building?"

"I'll call and find out," Donna said, taking the basket and putting it under her desk.

***

The next time Patrick Bateman showed up, it was early evening, and Jessica was escorting him down the hallway. Donna watched with interest as Jessica smiled and made small talk and never came close enough for Patrick to touch her. Jessica had very good instincts. Bateman was wearing Gucci all over -- no, the tie and pocket-square were Thomas Pink, she decided.

"Donna," Jessica said, with a false smile Bateman couldn't see, "Does Harvey have a few minutes for Mr. Bateman?"

Donna glanced down the other end of the hallway, where Harvey and Mike were coming back from interviewing a witness and apparently having a business dinner; Harvey had a cup of coffee and a half-eaten hot dog, which he was using to illustrate some kind of point to Mike, who was finishing off a gyro. When Harvey saw the little tableau, he handed the remains of the hot dog to Mike, dropped his coffee in a nearby cubicle trash can, and came forward, Mike trailing a step or two behind.

"Patrick," Harvey said smoothly. Donna watched them study each other like a pair of sharks.

"Harvey," Jessica said, "we were just looking for you. Can you take a minute to speak to Mr. Bateman about some business matters? I understand you two know each other."

Donna glanced sidelong at Mike, who clearly could sense the hostility in the air and was keeping well back, nibbling wide-eyed on his gyro.

"Of course," Harvey replied, because nobody said no to Jessica. "I think I have five minutes free."

Jessica left; Mike and Donna both watched as Harvey showed Bateman into his office and shut the door.

"Who is that and why is Harvey scared of him?" Mike asked in a whisper.

"He's not scared of him and shut up," Donna hissed, pointing to her earpiece. Mike hovered uncertainly.

"What do you want, Patrick?" Harvey asked, sounding tired even over the intercom.

"Well, you didn't hear it from me, but Pierce and Pierce is entertaining the idea of a merger," Bateman said.

"I heard they took a hit when the housing market collapsed," Harvey replied. "I thought you weren't working for them anymore."

"I'm not. I want to eat them alive," Bateman replied. "Hostile takeover. I want you to orchestrate it. As my legal representation, of course."

"What happened to your other lawyer? What was his name, Carnes?"

"I hacked him to pieces with a hatchet," Bateman said calmly. "He had an annoying laugh and he kept mistaking me for Paul Owen."

Donna heard Harvey sigh in frustration. She glanced up at Mike, who was casually watching through the glass wall of Harvey's office. He'd finished his gyro and was eating the rest of Harvey's hot dog, almost distractedly. She wondered if Mike could read lips.

"Here's the thing, Patrick," Harvey said, and something dark and frightening crept into his voice. He sounded like the Batemans. "I don't care why your last lawyer dropped you. Anyone else, sure, I'd snap you up in a heartbeat. Especially since you went through Jessica."

"I'd like to go through her," Bateman remarked.

"Say that again," Harvey offered, the threat evident but unspoken.

"Harvey, I'm just looking out for your interests. Imagine what we could do together. You've really made something of yourself."

"I didn't have a choice, Pat."

"So?" Bateman let the question stand.

"So you'd be a great client," Harvey said. "Except I don't think you hacked anyone to pieces but I do think you raped those women."

Donna stiffened. Mike caught it and raised his eyebrows. She held up a finger, making sure the men in the office couldn't see it.

"What does that have to do with hostile takeovers?" Bateman asked, his tone bland and a little amused.

"And that's why I will never be your lawyer," Harvey said. "I'm not interested. If you send Sean here to try and smooth things over, I'll laugh in his face and throw him through the window."

"I'd like to see that," Bateman said. He sounded honestly fascinated.

"I'm sure you would. Goodbye, Patrick."

Donna could hear Bateman get up; Mike, who could probably see him, burst into subdued but continuous chatter, because Mike was the smartest of the associates as well as the prettiest (Donna's personal but highly-qualified opinion).

" -- said to him, I don't think search warrants work that way," Mike said, as Bateman left the office. "You should have seen the look on his face. So he turns to me and says, search warrants? I'm here for the luncheon!"

Donna let out a laugh she knew and Mike knew and Bateman almost certainly knew was fake. Bateman put a pair of sunglasses on, checked his watch, and glanced up at them.

"You must be Mike," he said. "Harvey's assistant, right?"

"Mr. Bateman," Mike said, wiping his hands on his pants (oh God, Mike, come on) and offering one to shake.

"I like that suit. Prada?" Bateman asked.

"Um. Rene," Mike said.

"Very post-couture. Hey, you think you could walk me out? I need to find a Starbucks, but I'm hopeless unless -- "

"Mike," Harvey said from the doorway. Mike, his hand still clasped in Bateman's, leaned around him. "I need you in my office."

Mike looked back and forth between the two men, worriedly. "I was just showing -- "

"You're not going anywhere with Mr. Bateman. I'm sure he has a smartphone that will do the job just as well," Harvey said.

"iPhone 4G. Spoil my fun," Bateman said over his shoulder, but he let Mike go, and Donna exhaled quietly. Bateman leaned over and murmured in Mike's ear, "I could just eat you up," before he walked away. Donna shuddered.

Mike turned to Harvey. "I thought we were done for the day."

"We are. Come in. Donna, you too," Harvey said, stepping back into his office. He went to the small, tasteful bar in the corner and poured a healthy measure of scotch into one glass, then smaller helpings into two others, handing them to Mike and Donna. "Sit."

Mike settled nervously on the couch, cradling his drink. Donna sat back, sipping hers.

"I'm going to tell you what I told Donna, and then I'm going to tell you both why, and none of this leaves this room, am I understood?" Harvey said. Mike nodded. Donna gave him a reassuring smile. "If Patrick Bateman approaches you in the office, you come straight to me. Make whatever excuse you have to. If I'm not here, one of you find the other one, or go to Louis."

"Louis?" Mike asked.

"Louis is an asshole but he'll run Patrick off," Harvey said.

"He knows, doesn't he?" Donna asked.

"Knows what?" Mike gave her a confused look.

"In a minute," Harvey said. Mike settled into silence. "If you see him outside the office, avoid him. If he approaches you, don't go anywhere alone with him. Not even to the bathroom. Call me if you have to. Doesn't matter where you are or what time it is."

"Who is this guy?" Mike asked. Harvey glanced at Donna. "I mean, I know the name..."

"My father's son," Harvey said, more to himself than to them. "James Bateman is Patrick's father. And Sean's. He had an affair shortly after Sean was born -- probably more than one, but as far as the Bateman legal team knows, I'm the only byproduct. After our father died, Patrick found me at Harvard. He wanted me to..." his face twisted with distaste, "...join the fold. He's a banker, Sean's a celebrity; I guess he thought a lawyer would be a triple crown."

"Wait -- Sean Bateman's your brother?" Mike asked. "He used to date Paris Hilton!"

"Half-brother. Focus, Mike."

"And Patrick Bateman -- "

"Patrick Bateman, and I do not say this lightly, is a sociopath," Harvey said. "He's obscenely rich, so he gets away with murder. Possibly literally. He's violent and dangerous."

"And Louis knows all this?" Donna prompted.

"Louis was at Harvard with Patrick. When someone gives Louis Litt the creeps..." Harvey spread his hands. "Look, I'm not proud of it. I don't know why he even cares I exist, but he does. He wants to own me. If he can't have me, he'll break my toys."

Donna raised an eyebrow.

"That's the way he sees the world," Harvey said, and he looked suddenly weary. "So just...stay out of his way."

Donna finished her drink, got up, and kissed Harvey on the cheek. Harvey allowed it, and even gave her a small smile as she left. Mike caught up to her in the hallway, glancing over his shoulder at Harvey's office.

"Wow, he's really not into the family thing, is he?" Mike asked. Donna punched the elevator down button.

"I think he has good reason," she replied.

"I guess so." Mike frowned. "Listen, you're going my way, right? Want to split a cab home?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Do I look like I need protecting, puppy?"

"Um, no, but I do," he ventured, as the elevator doors opened. "I don't want to be broken because Harvey's brother is a headcase. He said he wanted to eat me."

She gave him a smile. "Just this once, then. You should really get some pepper spray."

***

When Donna came in the next morning, she found police tape sealing off most of the building's lobby.

It only took her two phone calls to find out what had happened; a night security guard had been murdered, nearly beheaded with some kind of large knife. Apparently, the building management receptionist whispered to Donna, two of her fingers had been removed and chewed up before being spat into a potted plant nearby.

Harvey was already in his office. Donna caught his eye; he held her gaze for a minute, then shook his head.

"He has phases," he said. "By next week he'll have forgotten I exist again."

"I'm buying Mike some pepper spray," she told him.

"Put it on my expense account."

"Have you talked to the police...?"

"Yeah, I used to try that. Now I don't waste my time," Harvey said.

***

As a child Harvey knew in an abstract way that he had two older brothers, and that they were Sean and Patrick Bateman. This didn't have any real significance for him until he was sixteen or seventeen, when Sean started becoming famous for being famous and there was the occasional article about Patrick in the Financial section of the New York Times. Harvey knew about them rather than knew them because his mother was honest with him but there was a settlement, a contract, a codicil: Harvey's mother was not to contact the Bateman family, ever, and if Harvey did -- there would be repercussions. (Harvey read the contract years later, and had to admit it was an impressive piece of work.)

By the time he started at Harvard Law, Bateman Senior was dead, at which point the contract became invalid, the only inheritance Harvey had from his father. Batemans Junior hadn't shown any interest in him, though he assumed they knew he existed; he didn't really see why they would want to make contact, and he wasn't that interested in awkward family reunions, so he let it slide.

But then one day during his second semester at Harvard a lawyer for the Bateman family had approached him, and Harvey had found himself meeting his older brother Patrick at an exclusive Boston dinner club. Patrick mostly talked and Harvey mostly listened and somehow the result was, without Harvey really understanding how, an incredibly prestigious internship in New York City for the summer and the guest room of Patrick's condo for him to stay in. Patrick promised to introduce Harvey to Sean, too.

"And a good tailor," Patrick had added, eyeing Harvey's suit.

"Not to seem ungrateful, but can I ask why you're doing this?" Harvey asked. He'd sensed a cold objectivity in Patrick, but it was unsettling him that he couldn't decide whether it was awkwardness around the castoff son of his father or whether Patrick was just that cool. (Neither; it was because Patrick was a psycho.)

"I want to get to know you," Patrick said. "You're my brother. Blood is important to me. And you're at my alma mater, and you seem to have it reasonably together, which is more than I can say for Sean."

Patrick had watched him closely, with what Harvey later realized was predatory attention. He didn't think Patrick would actually kill him, even now when their relationship was so openly hostile on Harvey's part, but who knew Patrick's whims? Not even Patrick.

That summer had been...amazing. Formative. Patrick had taught him an encyclopedic amount of information about almost everything: grooming, fashion, celebrity, where to eat, how to know where to eat, how to talk to these identical-looking men with their early-nineties hair and sleek frameless glasses, how to pick up women, and a lot about manipulation -- mostly by example, because Harvey was, like his big brother, something of a natural in that regard. Patrick had bought Harvey his first really nice suit, paid for his food so Harvey could try anything he wanted and develop a palate, and let him have the town car whenever he needed it. Harvey owes a major amount of the image he projects to Patrick Bateman, which occasionally still makes him uncomfortable. (Rene is not Patrick's tailor; Harvey found Rene on his own and will never, ever tell Patrick who or where he is.)

It was almost the end of summer when Sean finally put in an appearance, and Patrick took his brothers out to dinner at some incredibly fancy restaurant Harvey no longer recalls the name of (D'Orsay? Dorsal? Something like that). Sean wore sunglasses, twitched nervously, and knew everyone.

Harvey had spent a lot of time that summer ignoring a lot of things, because Patrick was useful and seemed, in some distant, unemotional way, to like him. He ignored the massive amounts of coke that everyone was doing, the models who asked if he had any heroin, the joints that were more common than cigarettes, the prostitutes Patrick sometimes brought home (never the same one twice), the men and women who found out he was Patrick Bateman's brother and either mistook him for Sean or made passes at him or both. It wasn't that he was naive; it was just that it wasn't his scene. But Patrick was his brother, so he ignored it, and pretended he never saw Patrick doing coke with someone who might or might not have been Tim Price (it was so hard to tell everyone apart) and never felt married men and women put their hands on his ass.

Sean brought it home, though. The first time they met was at that uncomfortable dinner where Sean effortlessly seemed cooler than Patrick, which made Harvey feel for Patrick, in whom the only emotion he ever really witnessed was a desperation to be normal and fit in. Sean was at least as high as the women he and Patrick sometimes had dinner with, if not higher, and he stopped him on their way out to ask if Harvey had any Ecstasy, surprised when Harvey said no.

"You mean you're not high?" Sean asked.

"Not right now," Harvey said, which he'd learned was the best way to say no without getting a joint pushed on him.

"How do you do it?" Sean said.

"Do what?"

"Sleep in the same building as Patrick," Sean said, and then casually added, "I think he's the antichrist."

Harvey darted a glance at where Patrick and the town car were both waiting for him. "It was nice to meet you, Sean. I have to go," he said, untangling himself, and felt Patrick's possessive hand low on his back when he climbed into the car.

But it wasn't the dinner that eventually made Harvey realize he was blood kin to a pair of monsters. It happened the following week -- a week where he'd seen Sean sort of 'around' and done lunch with him and a dazed-looking girlfriend and met Sean at a club with Paul Denton, who he'd thought was a friend of Patrick's until he happened to see Paul shoving his tongue down Sean's throat in a quiet, dark corner. Okay. Friend of Sean's first, then.

It was the night Harvey had gone to bed listening to Patrick and his date talking in the living room, Patrick's voice a low growl, the woman barely conscious, Harvey aware they were probably going to have sex and hoping to sleep through that. He'd woken in the darkness to feel a hand stroking his hair and jerked back, switching on the light, sitting up. Sean was sitting in his bedroom, on his bed, a joint in his mouth, clearly just the cherry on the top of a whole three-scoop sundae of other drugs.

"Relax, hey, relax," Sean said, offering him the joint. "Deal with it, baby."

"Sean, why are you in my room?" Harvey asked, keeping his voice low, waving the joint aside. "How'd you get in?"

"Patrick gave me a key about a century ago," Sean said, shrugging. Then he shot Harvey a dark grin. "Why?"

"Did you need something?" Harvey asked. Sean reached out and stroked his hair again, and Harvey did his best to politely not flinch away.

"It's cool, it's cool," Sean assured him.

"What's cool, Sean?"

"We're not like, actual brothers."

It would have hurt more if Harvey had at any time in their brief association actually wanted a brother like Sean. But Harvey saw almost immediately that his initial interpretation wasn't what Sean meant -- oh Jesus Christ.

Sean leaned in and kissed him, hand now holding him firmly by the hair, slipping him tongue, and Harvey pulled away despite the pain, despite Sean still trying to hold onto him, and knocked Sean's arm aside. Sean's eyes were glassy, pupils hugely dilated, and he smelled like pot and sweat.

"No, like, we don't even know each other that well," Sean said, swaying a little. "So it's cool, right? Rock and roll."

"It's not cool, Sean," Harvey said. He was, had always been, good at reading people, and what he read in Sean's attitude, in his voice and movements, startled him. Sean didn't believe that they weren't brothers. Sean was making a pass at him because they were brothers.

"I think you need to go," Harvey said quietly.

"Buzzkill," Sean muttered, but to Harvey's immense relief, he stood up and stumbled to the door. "Hey, you change your mind, I'm crashing on Patrick's couch. Do you know where he keeps his coke?"

Harvey just stared at him. Sean left; Harvey slid out of bed and pulled over the chair from the desk in the corner, propping it under the doorknob.

The next morning he got up early and packed quietly, checking the hallway and the living room before bringing his suitcase out and setting it by the door. Patrick's bedroom door was open; he was lying naked next to a naked woman and Harvey was horrified to find he was relieved the woman was still alive. Sean was on the giant sectional sofa in the living room, passed out, a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses perched over his eyes.

Very, very carefully, Harvey went through Sean's wallet, sitting on the coffee table next to a scattering of white powder, and took the two hundred and twenty dollars he found there. He scribbled a thank-you note to Patrick, left his key folded up in it, and went downstairs, asking the doorman to hail him a cab.

He'd met Louis Litt through Patrick at the Harvard Club, though he also knew of him from Jessica, who'd taken him on as an associate at Pearson Hardman a year or two before. Louis was a socially awkward creep, but at least he seemed sane, and he wasn't part of the party scene. When Harvey showed up on Louis's doorstep that morning with a suitcase, Louis let him in, gave him coffee, fed him breakfast, and asked, "Patrick or Sean?"

Harvey glanced at him. Louis looked like he understood, and like he wouldn't ask anything else.

"Sean," Harvey said, in a voice so small he hated himself. Louis awkwardly patted his shoulder. "I'm going back to Harvard in two weeks, I just need a place to crash. I can help with rent," he offered, holding out the cash he'd taken from Sean.

"You can have the couch. I'm never here. The spare key's hanging by the door. I have to get to work. Don't fuck up my apartment, and don't touch my fish tank," Louis said, ignoring the money, and left Harvey sitting there staring at a giant tropical tank full of angry-looking angelfish.

***

He and Patrick had managed civility for a few years after that, but then Patrick asked Harvey to handle some rape allegations he said were 'ridiculous' and Harvey said no, because he'd seen the files on the women and drawn his own conclusions. Not long after, Sean had come to him for a loan and Harvey had floated it to him, because they were after all brothers. But then Sean came to him for another one and Harvey said no and Sean had some kind of freakish tantrum or breakdown or something, Harvey had been kind of busy being the most awesome associate that Pearson Hardman had ever known. After that Harvey made it clear he didn't have time for games with his half-brothers.

Patrick had not taken well to one of his belongings running off on him, but eventually Harvey's open hostility and refusal to play into Patrick's manipulations had apparently -- hopefully -- made Patrick bored with him.

"I hear Bateman showed up at the office yesterday," Louis said, appearing with impeccable timing as usual, when Harvey was three or four drinks in at the bar of the Harvard Club.

"Yeah," Harvey agreed, not looking at him.

"What'd he want?"

"My soul, as usual," Harvey replied.

"Wait, does he not know you already sold it?" Louis asked, eyes wide in faux-concern. Harvey looked over at him and cracked a smile.

"Get it straight, Litt, I split it into seven pieces and hid them in various family heirlooms."

"Oh my God, you went for the Harry Potter reference," Louis said. "You actually went there, you humongous nerd."

The thing about Harvey and Louis is that they are always fucking with each other and genuinely hurting each other and trying to sabotage each other with malice aforethought, but Harvey is not fundamentally an asshole and Louis is a good person wrapped in five layers of defensive dickhead. And some part of Louis remembers the scared kid who slept on his couch for two weeks after realizing that the Bateman brothers are actual facts evil.

"I'd take offense, but you got the reference, so." Harvey gestured at Louis with his glass. Louis leaned back on the bar.

"You warn the puppy?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah. You help out if he needs you?"

"Course. Anything to screw Patrick Bateman. I'd say I can't believe you're related to him, but clearly the monstrous dickwad gene smothered him and just dinged you."

"Aw, you say the nicest things."

"I can't decide whether to go with a your-wife joke or a your-mom joke."

Harvey actually laughed at that, and Louis grinned.

"Hey, listen," he said to Harvey, who straightened slightly and realized he might be perilously close to drunk. "You've got family, right? Other than the Batemans."

"Yeah, younger brother, sister. Why?"

"And they're not complete freaks?"

Harvey shook his head.

"Don't let Bateman get to you. You're related. Doesn't mean you're the same," Louis said. He gave him the exact same awkward shoulder-pat he'd given him years earlier, smiled, and left.

"Nope," Harvey said softly to himself. "Just an echo."

***

Mike, when he isn't being an argumentative little shit, treats Harvey the way Harvey used to look at Patrick, with a sort of wary hero-worship mingled with fraternal affection. Harvey likes Mike, and sees great things in his future. Donna is a crown jewel among women, professionally and personally, and Harvey needs and adores her. So they are his to protect, and that's not a duty he takes lightly.

He sees in himself the darkness that he saw in his older brothers, not as much, but some -- the manipulative, violent psychosis of Patrick, the self-destructive nihilism of Sean. But through a quirk of genetics or maybe of upbringing, in Harvey they manifest as ambition, protectiveness, loyalty. Even, sometimes, affection.

He's not perfect. But these days when he looks in the mirror and sees Patrick, he reminds himself that he will never give Mike reason to fear him, and he knows Donna is a person and not a playtoy.

It makes things better.

***

His blinding light
He flingeth white
On God's and Satan's brood,
And reconciles
By mystic wiles
The evil and the good.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson