Follow up to Guises
He isn't entirely sure who had come up first with that whole 'white knight' mantle. Possibly Gordon, since no matter how much he resents the promotion, he sure does have a lot of press-conference material rolling off his tongue whenever provoked even slightly. White knight, dark knight, it's just words, and Gotham is not a giant chessboard, there's no logic, no rules, as has clearly been demonstrated.
It's incredibly surreal, watching the repeats of Dent's funeral ceremony, as they run on every news channel, and quite a few others. By now, he thinks he almost knows Gordon's speech by heart, and, if needed, could repeat it word-by-word (and probably with more conviction than Jim had managed, although that wouldn't be very difficult, considering). It's incredibly surreal, especially as the late Harvey Dent is sleeping in his guest room (well, fine, his bedroom, but Alfred took to calling it the guest room 'since you are not using it, Master Wayne'), his breathing finally evened out.
The left side of his face is covered in bandages again, and the right seems almost as white as them. The healing process will take time, the doctor had said, and he should know, he's the best one Batman could find and Bruce's money could buy.
On screen, Gordon finishes his speech, framed by Harvey's black and white photo. On it, Harvey has the honest smile of Gotham's white knight, the exact person Gordon is describing. Jim himself has that look of long-suffering annoyance he gets sometimes, lips forming a tight line. He had probably grown the mustache just to hide it, but if you know what you're looking for, it's pretty obvious. Last pictures of the gathered crowd, and the anchor launches into a recap of all-too-familiar events of the recent days, Joker, Rachel, Batman. They show Rachel's picture from few weeks back, on the steps of the court, wind playing havoc with her neatly tied hair.
Harvey turns in his slumber, soft sigh that Bruce barely catches. He woke up three times so far, and never remembered the previous ones. Side effects of a great fall (if he had a flair for metaphors and dramatic monologues, he would mean it figuratively. He doesn't) and a mother of all concussions. And, quite possibly, the cocktail of painkillers.
"Bruce?" he says quietly, eyes still closed, and it's different from the 'where am I's of before, leading into exactly the same conversation every time, with Bruce's responses getting monotone and automatic.
"I'm here," Bruce says, crossing the space between the chair and the bed with few steps, coming into Harvey's vision. He reaches to pick up a glass of water from the table and brings it to Harvey's lips, using this as a momentary reprieve from the awkward conversation that's sure to abound.
"Rachel..." Harvey starts, and swallows the rest of the sentence as Bruce shakes his head, looking away. "You loved her," he says, not asks, and it's not exactly what he was going to say either. Bruce thinks about lying, for a split second, but there's enough of untruths clouding the space in the room, enough secrets he will never be able to share, and so he just nods, his eyes fixed on the glass he's putting away, the sway of the water. "I'm sorry," Harvey says, his hand reaching for Bruce's to get his attention. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault," he says, with more force than necessary. "It's not," he repeats, and knows Harvey won't believe him.
It's the last time they talk about it, the last time Rachel's name comes up between them. When her face appears on the tv screen again (the news stories alternate between Harvey's death and funeral, Joker's transfer to Arkham, and the hunt for the Batman, and Bruce is close to considering going out and doing something spectacular to draw media's attention. Alfred suggests adopting a child, Angelina Jolie-style, but he's probably joking), Harvey grits his teeth and watches with rapt attention, and Bruce turns away, fingers closing into fists.
Other topics they're avoiding include Batman, Joker, and Gordon, which pretty much means the entirety of the current events covered by the news reporters. Weather takes them only as far as five minutes of really strained conversation, and Bruce is pathetically grateful when Harvey's eyes close, and his breathing levels, as he's drifting off, back to sleep.
His raspy voice startles Bruce, as Harvey's eyes are still closed, and he looks almost peaceful. "Did I thank you?" he asks, and Bruce bites back Batman's words, and instead just shakes his head.
"I will," Harvey mutters, and Bruce is almost sure he's sleeping now. He turns the tv's sound off, and sets more comfortably into his chair. His earlier plan was to don the suit and at least make Batman's continued presence known to the remnants of the mob, but somehow, he can't will himself to move. There will be time, later.