Place: Nolan-verse. TDK.
Disclaimer: Not mine sadly.
Summary: A oneshot on based on the night Rachel goes to the safest place in the city.
A/n: I'm not a Rachel fangirl, i'm just exploring an interesting & heartbreaking dynamic, they did they right thing in the movie.
“Trust me Harvey; Bruce’s penthouse is now the safest place in the city.”
Harvey wasn’t overjoyed at the knowledge but eventually gave in, and although I’d rather be on the site of a major investigation, to be doing something worthwhile and useful the mayor himself insisted I go to safety. He can’t afford to lose anyone else.
The complex in which Bruce lives has an eerie quality to it, feeling quite clinical and unwelcoming. Bruce greets me with a grim smile when I arrive.
“Your next aren’t you?” I nod and Bruce swears, hand clenching into a tight fist.
Before I can say anything Alfred walks into the room, tray in hand.
“Perhaps have a drink, Master Bruce. Ms Dawes?”
“Good idea Alfred” I say, eyes not meeting Bruce’s.
The fury in them is indescribable, and frightening. Bruce doesn’t say anything he just walks over to the window and stands in silence, watching his city fall into its nightmarish sleep. I smile at Alfred as I take the drink and go sit on the couch, switching on the tv. After flicking through several channels a familiar scene appears.
“Bruce, the lion king’s on” I say, almost laughing. He turns with a smile on his face, but one that doesn’t quite reach his eyes, and comes to sit by me.
When we were younger Bruce loved the lion king, not that anyone but me and Alfred knew. After his parents death it helped him cope slightly, like it does for so many who lose their parents and I never teased him about it again.
The movie finishes at about 9, it was on late on one of the family centric movie channels, and we’d both had about 2-3 drinks each. The evening has been reasonably light hearted, both of us skirting around the reason why I’m here. Bruce has his arm possessively around my waist, which I would normally have berated him for but tonight he needs to feel he can protect me, not let me meet the same fate as Gordon.
As much as it goes against the independent women in me I know he much he needs it so I let it be.
The precarious mood however is soon shattered because I get a phone call.
“Hey Harvey, yea I’m fine.”
The minute I say Harvey’s name Bruce’s face darkens, his arm grips tighter around my waist before he lets it drop, and he stalks over to pour another drink.
Alfred’s looking between the two of us, his face not giving away what he thinks but I know what he is thinking about. He’d know long before us how we’d felt about each other and now I wasn’t entirely sure what he thought about my being with Harvey. Sure he’d known there were other men in my life before, back when I was a teenager he’d met two of my boyfriends, and when Bruce was thought to be dead I’d gone to him as my father figure when the guy I’d been seeing turned out to be a total jerk.
Harvey repeating a question three times brings my train of thought back to the present and I turn away from Alfred’s piercing gaze. That turned out to be a mistake though as I’m looking directly at Bruce as I hung up.
“Goodnight Harvey. Yea, I love you too.”
We don’t speak much after that, and the apartment is quiet with the exception of Bruce’s grunts as he does a workout, which I’m sure he is putting more force into than usual. He’d said for me to use his room, the spare room’s bed wasn’t as comfortable, and he gave me a nightshirt to wear as I had no pyjamas with me. I’d just had a shower when Alfred bid me goodnight. I wanted to see if Bruce was ok, I’d never been comfortable with leaving a hostile air between us for too long.
Even when he had returned and I thought all the tabloid stories about him were true after seeing him dripping wet and surrounded by beautiful women, as much as I’d willed myself to move on I couldn’t. They say you only have one true love in your life, and I much as I was loathe to agree I had to. I loved Harvey but not how I loved Bruce. Despite that I’d listened to my head and gone with Harvey, and ignored my hearts pining for its true love.
I knew I’d made the right choice when I’d found out who Bruce was. It had proved to me the Bruce I’d loved was no longer there, or at least not a big enough part of this entity that was Bruce Wayne/Batman to be there for me.
All my life I’d seen myself marrying Bruce, carrying his children, growing old with him, despite half the time resenting that very dream. I’d almost felt like I’d been his property and it had pissed me off no end. I felt so pathetic that I forced myself to bury my feelings for Bruce.
At nights though i sometimes still find myself lying next to Harvey, half expecting, wanting and hoping to roll over and see my best friends mop of luscious brown hair rather than the unruly blonde hair of my other love. Harvey could always tell when I’d had one of those nights, the next day I’d be more distant, stemming from the guilt.
“Rachel, please just tell me wants wrong. I want to help you.”
He said the same thing every time until once I just snapped, and we had our first big argument. It tears him apart when he notices the small changes of my behaviour suggesting my mind is elsewhere, and the more time I spend watching the two of them interact the more I’m certain he knows Bruce has something to do with it. It breaks my heart to see him so hurt, I’ve tried to hide it more when it happens, and the more I fell in love with Harvey the less it happened. But it never completely stopped and I doubt it ever will.
Others have commented before in his presence, before we made it public we were together, and it upset him enough then. I could tell because his usually beautiful smile takes on a cold quality and his eyes don’t seem as bright. Once, several months ago, we had been at a fundraising event for the Gotham PD and Bruce had been there. One of the many rich and worthless excuses for human beings had struck up a conversation with us and several others.
“But honestly who would have the money to fund this little excursion? Surely Batman has to be a wealthy person.”
She had been talking about the Batman for most of the night, hoping to get ahead in the gossip to tell her pathetic friends.
“Well,” her husband chuckled, “it could be Wayne for all we know! He’s certainly got the money.” Everyone laughed, even Harvey smiled wryly.
“Yea, right!” She spluttered, sloshing her champagne everywhere. “He’d just have to start to care about others first!” She turned to me,
“What do you reckon Rach? Your boyfriend is so sweet to you, it’s very clear you both care about each other deeply, but he doesn’t extend that to others like you do.”
I grimaced, some of the others nodded, and her husband scowled at her. He clearly didn’t want to make enemies. Harvey’s face gave nothing away but his stance became more static and his voice flatter when he spoke,
“Excuse me, I’ve got to go.”
I shake my head to clear the thoughts and head to find Bruce.
I find him in the main room, staring out across the city. I see him look at the window’s reflection and look directly into my eyes. He visibly swallows when he realises I am only clothed in a towel and he doesn’t turn round.
“Are you going to sleep now?”
I shake my head.
“Are you still going through with it?” I question.
I’d tried talking to him about him handing himself in earlier, told him we wouldn’t be together yet I had still kissed him. My lips tingle at thought so I squash the sensation and force out a breath.
Bruce had stilled when I’d spoken and the look on his face was like a knife twisting in my gut, he didn’t want to turn himself in, he didn’t want to give up yet. He wasn’t finished.
We both knew Gotham was far from saved.
“Goodnight Rachel” is all he said as he walks towards the door. A sheen of sweat clings to his muscular body from exercise so I assume he was heading for a shower but instead he goes into what looked like a panic room.
I sigh and go to dress for bed.
I lie on Bruce’s bed, unjustly comforted by the smell of him on his shirt.
After 3 hours of futile tossing and turning I admit defeat and head for the kitchen to get a drink.
I walk as quietly as possible, although I’m not sure if he is back yet. Alfred said his patrols can last all night at times.
I go get some cold water from the fridge, only realising when I turn that Bruce is there on the couch with nothing my pyjama bottoms on, watching.
It isn’t a lustful stare. It’s a mixture of awe, resignation and unhidden love. I drop the glass.
Immediately he gets up and comes over, silently picking up the glass shards, grabbing a cloth from the side to mop up the spilled water.
“Bruce..i’m so sorry.” I stammer.
I can’t do anything but stand there, feeling like a pathetic cliché of a woman in love with someone she can’t have. My breath hitches as I see just how worn out he looks, his shoulders tensed, a frown etched on his face, bruising appearing deeper and vaster in the shallow light radiating from the fridge.
He returns to me, jaw clenched, visibly resisting the urge to look lower than my face and not focus on the fact that his shirt only just makes it half way down my thigh. His hand cups mine and he checks it for cuts.
I nod and smile weakly.
“Bruce, I’m so sorry.” I repeat, for no real reason. He just exhales sharply and pulls me into a fierce hug. Cocooned in his arms all the fear drains away and I just listen to his heart beat as I rest my head on his chest. He releases me but I tighten my arms around him. Just one night, please.
“Rachel?” He asks shakily.
I look up at him and despite my mind screaming at me to be realistic and protect myself from harm I kiss him, tenderly.
After a while he pulls back “Rachel...” his voice is husky now, the look now intensely lustful “Harvey...” he barely whispers. That one word is filled with all the doubts and worries that I myself am currently shoving to the back of my mind. You aren’t just going to hurt yourself, your going to hurt them too.
“I know, i..i” I can’t find the words but he understands me anyway and his lips crash back down onto mine. His arms pull me tight against him and his hands begin to roam my body.
“Rachel..” he moans low in his throat. He picks me up in his muscular arms and carries me back to his bed. He lies me down gently before removing his pyjama trousers; all the while his eyes mentally undress me.
I attempt to calm my erratic breathing and ignore my logical voice warning me to stop now. I see the desperate needs in his face and realise I’m not that only one who needs this, just rips his shirt from me, buttons fly in all directions and he peppers my body with kisses, caressing it all over, murmuring my name against my skin. He pulls back, eyes asking me one last time for me to stop this now.I respond by running my hand up his inner thigh, revelling in the tremor it evokes in him as his head tips back, mouth open and panting. Recovering he leans over to his side draw and pulls out a condom, tearing the wrapper.
Not soon enough he is inside me pounding harder and harder, exactly the way I’d imagined Bruce to fuck me. All his pent-up raw power unleashed. There had been many a time I’d dreamt of this. Yet he slows after a while, he isn’t finished, but he’s slowed to a style I associate more with Harvey. Deep and more gentle, yet still passionate. The kind the only occurs between two people that love each other deeply. And yet, I’m not disappointed. I’m relieved. Although I’d always wanted to be screwed by Bruce, to be the focus of the almost animalistic nature more akin to Batman than my Bruce, I’d never known truly just how much he cared. Now I do and I’m nearly choked to tears.
“Bruce” I whimper. He kisses me, so very lovingly, before picking up the pace again bringing me closer and closer, growling my name in a tone Batman would envy. Soon I’m trembling too. I rest my head against his, both of us panting heavily.
“I love you so damn much Rachel.” He mumbles as he clutches me close, kissing my forehead.
I close my eyes to force back the tears. I love you too Bruce, that’s the problem.
He curls himself around me; stroking my face, my hair, my body. He whispers to me until he falls asleep. He looks so peaceful, in such a stark contrast to the fake playboy smirk he wears daily. I drift off but quickly awake several hours later and find myself alone.
Too quickly the fear returns, the gut churning dread and the knowledge dawns that I’ve done something incredible stupid. I role over and discover his side of the bed is cold, and has been for a while. Only when I see his clothes strewn everywhere does it hit me what I’ve done.
Oh god, forgive me Harvey. Please.
“This can’t happen again.” I tell myself sternly.
Out of the corner of my eye I spot a note on the table. I skim read it, it says he has gone to the press conference, and he was sorry he wasn’t there when I woke up.
He’s really going to do it. He is really going to hand himself in. A horrible sense of foreboding is building within me and making me nauseous.
I hastily pull on my clothes and head to the kitchen, thankfully Alfred seems to be elsewhere. I’m not stupid; Alfred has a habit of findings things out before you can as much think to hide the evidence, so I’m certain he knows what happened last night. It’s why we always got caught as kids when we did something wrong, and got caught as teenagers when we’d finally admitted how we felt. Things had escalated and we had both been naked except our underwear.
“You sure you’re ready for this Rachel?” I nod eagerly, licking my lips in anticipation. Bruce reaches for his the waistband of his boxers, his eyes drinking me in as he climbs onto the bed and hovers above me. Just as he pulls them off the door swings open and Alfred walks in muttering something about the Princeton admission tutor being too full of himself. He stops dead seeing the disarray of clothes on the floor and I push Bruce off me, who looks pissed at Alfred’s interruption as he tries to find something to hide his desire. I feel my face go bright red but Alfred just raises his eyebrow, smiling, and says
“When you’ve quite finished, Master Bruce, you need to call Princeton to talk to the tutor.”
He shut the door leaving us looking at each other, unable to believe what had just happened. Neither of us can think of anything to say, I was too embarrassed to pick up what we’d started. I gathered up our clothes and got dressed and leave, saying I’ll call him later.
That was the closest we had ever come before last night, we had agreed to take it slow from then but pretty soon had to leave for university and weren’t able to see each other often enough to stay together. And then Bruce had disappeared. I had waiting for him for about 4 years without taking an interest in other men, but eventually i gave into friends demands to go out with guys. Every night i'd think of Bruce, how i was only hurting myself waiting for him. By the time he had come back it was nearly too late, i didn't want to hurt anymore, to wait anymore. Then i met Harvery...
I hear a cough behind me and spin round to see Alfred standing there with a breakfast tray in one hand and Bruce’s, now button-less, shirt in the other.
“I went to give you breakfast in bed Miss Dawes. I assume you’re hungry.”
He was smirking, damn him. He knew full well what happened.
“Thanks” I mutter taking the tray from him.
“I should be back in time to watch the press conference; I just need to go fix this shirt.” I smile weakly at that, feeling my cheeks flush, and go to eat in the main room alone.
I switch the massive tv on and watch Harvey begin his speech. My heart leaps into my throat when I see him, the guilt has been gnawing away at me ever since I’ve woken up. The camera pans to the crowd and I catch sight of Bruce. Again my heart flips. The crowd wants blood and I want to shout at them for it, for throwing Bruce to the dogs after everything he’s done. Harvey is too also visibly distressed by their reaction, although I doubt he’ll feel that way once he realises Batman is Bruce. His dislike for Bruce is made all too clear every time they’ve met, to me at least. Bruce is so used to people being fake towards him it doesn’t faze him, but it upset me. I want to jump to Bruce’s defence, explain he isn’t the asshole he appears to be. The same goes for how much I hate it when Bruce mocks Harvey, takes pleasure in making him squirm.
Harvey tells them to take Batman into custody and I look away, I don’t want to see the look on his face when he realises its Bruce.
The collective gasp however manages to draw my eyes back to the screen and I just stare uncomprehending for a few seconds when I see Harvey in chains. The camera again circles the crowd and I see Bruce has hardly moved from his spot and hasn’t made any move to help Harvey.
Anger surges through me and I scream at him, swear at the screen, beg Harvey to tell the truth. The program goes to a break after Harvey is taken away with Bruce just feet away. I ignore Alfred as I run to the bedroom. I seize the anger and use it as a motivation, grab everything I had with me when I came here last night. As I pick up my keys I reread the note.
It’s signed, Love Bruce. P.S. congratulations about Harvey. I won’t tell him about us, don’t worry, he’s a good man.
“How dare you!” I snarl as I screw the note up, throwing it against the wall. How dare you presume! Then on the heels of that thought another occurs, why do I care what he thinks? I want to marry Harvey, Harvey’s not a coward like him. Since Harvey had hit the nail on the head about my failure to say yes outright, my head and heart have been fighting. My head has won and was using this new development as proof.
I quickly write Bruce a letter, and hope that I won’t lose him as a best friend. I may be furious at him but I don’t want to lose him completely.
After saying goodbye to Alfred I leave so I can convince Harvey to clear his name, to stop himself ruining his life and his career. I push past several people as I rush through the doors, and I only register Bruce calling out my name as the taxi pulls away.
You’re too late Bruce.
In the last few minutes of my life I realise I couldn’t have lived without either of them, and so I couldn’t have ever been happy as I couldn’t have both. I wanted to be Harvey’s wife, I know that in my heart and my head, but I have no doubt I wouldn’t be so hurt by Bruce saving Harvey over me if I hadn’t loved him just as much, although I am thankful Harvey will be ok. My last thoughts linger on the two men, polar opposites – black and white and yet the same in so many different ways. I hear a crackling noise building around me, Bruce and Harvey’s cries over the speaker then silence... You too late Bruce, you’re always too late.