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We Deal With What's Left

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Harvey Dent returned to Bruce Wayne's life at just the right time without even knowing it. Cleared for release by his team of doctors at Arkham, he had no stable income, no job, and no place to go. He went to the only person who still held out hope for him, only to discover the Wayne household in mourning. He knew the moment Alfred opened the door that something was horribly wrong. Alfred himself looked old and tired, something the butler, however gray-haired, never seemed to look before. The mirrors throughout the house were covered with big white drapes and Bruce - unshaven, shaking, and with what Harvey assumed were a few days worth of wear in his clothes - greeted him with a genuine, sad smile.

The next few days were filled with tearful explanations and visits from Bruce's upper class friends; all of them commenting on his appearance and insisting he present himself better. Alfred, with eyes of steel and a tongue of ice, tells them to leave, to brush up on their Jewish customs, and to have some common decency. Harvey had never heard him raise his voice until then. Bruce's other children, all of whom Harvey didn't recognise, even if they greeted him with familiarity and caution, visited and then decided to stay. Sometimes Bruce would disappear for hours on end or whole days, only to return in random rooms of the house. He was like a ghost and he haunted the manor as such. Harvey took up little space, ate what Alfred cooked without complaint, and cleaned up after himself. One night Bruce kisses him. It's not a kiss that means anything romantic - Harvey knew that. It was a simple act of need; the need to feel comforted again. Harvey kisses him as many times as he requests, wills himself not to fall back in love, and holds Bruce on the nights where his children sleep on their own. When Bruce sleeps he has nightmares and in those nightmares he screams for Jason. Harvey holds him tightly. Sometimes the very air of the Manor is heavy; filled with grief. Harvey has to fight against returning to a place of deep sadness with every breath he takes.

One day Bruce dusts off two kippahs - his father's and the one that Alfred had bought for him when he transitioned - and invites Harvey to temple with him. Harvey covers himself in concealer that is far too light for his skin and ends up looking like a ghost, but it's better than without. Bruce holds himself with grace throughout the service and speaks with the rabbi while Harvey admires the architecture. While Gotham had a wide range of churches, it only had one synagogue. Unlike the churches, it had adapted to the needs of its worshippers, and doubled as a safehouse for religious LGBT folk.

One afternoon the youngest of the boys takes Harvey by the hand and shows him his lego creations, all of which resembled some sort of bat-tech gadgets.

"You like batman, Tim?" Harvey asks, watching the younger boy who made zooming noises as he pushed around the lego batmobile.

"Yeah. I really like when he beats the bad g- uh, you know," Tim bites his lip and looks guiltily up at Harvey.

"It's okay, that other boy, Dick, still calls me Two-Face sometimes."

"He's just angry. We all are," Tim explains.

Bruce has good days where he writes two or three cheques at a time to charities, sips on non-alcoholic champagne, and hosts dinner parties for a good cause. Other days he can't shower, overcome with grief. On those days Harvey makes himself known to the other man, holds him close, and kisses him when he's asked to. Harvey has bad days, too, where deciding what shirt to wear sends him in to a spiral of panic and ends with him angry and upset, curled up in bed. Bruce picks one for him, pecks his cheek, and says it brings out his eyes.

After that the Wayne Tech starts to arrive. Harvey had no idea of Bruce's extreme intellect. He knew he was smarter than most, sure, but soon Bruce is producing prototype hearing aids, contact lenses, even prosthetics, to help Harvey recover. The work keeps him occupied, which is a good thing. Bruce has more good days than bad, spends time with the young boy, Tim, and talks on the phone with his eldest, Dick. 

It's only when Harvey is laying on Bruce's chest one night, idly tracing the scars there, that he realises how far both of them have come, and how much he wanted to stay like this. For the next few hours, he does.