(Blackjack12) Part the Twelfth

And the tears are filling up their glasses, No expression, no expression.  Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow, No tomorrow, no tomorrow.

“Mad World,” Gary Jules

Harry was sitting up in bed the next morning when Bruce awoke, his eyes staring unseeing out the window at the skyline of Gotham.  His back was perfectly erect, but he had curled his knees into himself, grasping them and resting his chin on the top of his knees.  If the pose had been relaxed, Bruce would have thought that Harry was daydreaming, but he was too tense.

Bruce wondered how long he’d been awake like that.

As if sensing Bruce’s movement, Harry spoke in a quiet, dead tone: “I lied.”

Bruce stilled for several long moments, but Harry didn’t continue.  He just looked out the glass walls and Bruce knew he couldn’t come from behind and hug him as he wanted to, not wanting to frighten him or make his dark mood even worse.

“I lied,” was repeated, now a little hysterical and Harry turned toward Bruce, his dark green eyes wide and full of tears.  Almost instantly he was in Bruce’s arms, his hands clasping at his chest.  “I lied.”

“It doesn’t matter, you’re safe,” Bruce murmured, hoping that both statements were true.  “You’re safe, and I love you, Blackjack.”

Harry stayed completely still for several long moments before settling his left hand down on the bed, the scars illuminated in the morning twilight.  I must not tell lies.  Bruce now knew what he was talking about, and ice swept across him, hating everyone who had ever hurt Harry and made him think that—he pushed the thought away.

Reaching out, Bruce gently traced the scarred words and picked up the hand, kissing the back of it lightly.

Harry then shook his head, his messy black hair brushing against Bruce’s exposed throat.  “You shouldn’t.  You know nothing about me.”

Carefully Bruce pulled Harry away from him and looked into his dark green, lucid eyes.  “I know all I need to know,” he stated firmly, leaning in and kissing Harry’s unresponsive lips gently.  “All I need to know, and I’ll learn the rest.”  He lowered Harry back into his arms and continued to let him cry, wondering what Harry possibly could have said the night before that was a lie.  He didn’t want Harry to cry, he wanted to make him happy and bring a smile to his face—and he knew Harry had secrets from the little he knew of his role in the wizard’s world and about magic itself.  It was only natural.

Bruce knew the world of wizards was dark.  There had been a war; Harry had been conceived for the purpose of fighting off the evil in it.  This was a world where words were scarred into the backs of hands, where innocent children were poisoned because of hatred and misunderstanding.  It was a world darker than crime-infested Gotham, with its glittering lights and high society parties.  Far darker, and it had birthed the two most precious people in Bruce’s life, and it was his task to keep them safe from the darkness of their pasts, the darkness in their minds, the insanity of knowing that if you lied, your punishment was to cut words into your very flesh.

And Bruce knew he would do that and more, just to keep his Blackjack and their son safe.  He was terrified that Teddy would be going to Salem Institute of Witchcraft when he was eleven, that Bruce wouldn’t be able to follow and anything could happen.  He’d seen Harry do so much with his wand—the Deathstick—and they were just harmless parlor tricks.  What more could a wand do if it was pointed at you?  How badly could it harm a child, even more than silver poison being poured down his throat as he begged and cried for the people who should have loved him, his own grandmother included, to stop?

There was so much darkness and Bruce could feel it slowly creeping into his bones, cutting off his air and suffocating him.

Unbidden, the face of Jonathan Crane came to his mind, smiling at him with his ice-blue eyes and taunting him.  I kept him safe and loved him, Crane seemed to say, but Bruce pushed the apparition from his mind, refusing to think on it.  If it weren’t for Harry’s quiet sobs against his chest, he would have thought he was asleep and dreaming—but he was still wide awake, staring at the ceiling, running his fingers through Harry’s hair.

Crane was gone—dead—nothing more than a ghost.  He couldn’t haunt them anymore, he promised himself, the lie sounding dead in his mind.

I lied, Harry had whispered dejectedly.  I lied.  Two simple words that now spun around Bruce’s mind, taunting him with half-truths and possibilities.

I lied—a truth of Bruce’s world, pretending to be just a billionaire when he was out on the streets as Batman every night.

Still, the words whispered to him in the darkness.  I lied.

It was nearly an hour later when Bruce realized that Harry had stopped crying and had fallen asleep in his arms.  The unnatural hush of the penthouse made Bruce feel almost as if he were being watched, although his entire family was now sleeping peacefully.

The next few months were quiet, but Bruce felt as if change was always around the corner, waiting for him to let his guard down completely before springing out at him.  Harry had never spoken again about his twilight confession, or of the lie he had told, and Bruce felt himself uneasy at it, though he continued to show Harry and Teddy just how much they were loved and wanted. 

Teddy had, strangely enough, named his kneazle (“Half-kneazle,” Harry would always correct under his breath with a half smile on his lips) “Dollface” as she was, apparently, as pretty as his Pierrot doll who didn’t have a name.  Dollface was a mischievous kitten who seemed to get into everything and as only Teddy could pick her up, the young boy was constantly chasing after her, and Alfred even had to lift him up a few times so that he could fetch Dollface off of some of the furniture.

“She likes you,” Teddy had said happily one night at dinner.  “You’re a Muggle and she seems to like you.”

Bruce could only smile at that.

Harry and Teddy became almost reclusive considering the amount of press around their building, but Harry didn’t seem to mind.  Bruce knew he disappeared on occasion with Teddy although the doorman always informed him that neither had come nor gone, as he would find new toys for Teddy in shopping bags or even the occasional photograph that was now displayed about the penthouse. 

The pictures had also all begun to move, and when Bruce tiredly asked Harry about it one night, he had smiled and said all wizarding photographs did that, and he’d made them stop before so as not to frighten him. 

A new face, strangely, was beginning to reoccur in the photographs.  The girl-woman was always smiling, with a far off look in her watery blue eyes.  Stringy dirty blonde hair fell around her face and she was always wearing strange earrings that looked like radishes and occasionally a necklace made out of bottle caps.  She was always about the same age in the pictures, sixteen or seventeen, and was always alone, smiling at someone just beyond the camera. 

“Should I be jealous?” Bruce asked Alfred carefully one day when Harry was showing Teddy exactly how to use a practice wand movements without injuring his kneazle.  He stared pointedly at a prominent portrait of the girl that was on his dresser.  “Who is she?”

“I am uncertain,” Alfred said carefully, looking at her.  “I have deduced, however, that she is of no relation to Master Harry.”

Bruce’s shoulders slumped.  He’d figured that out as well.  The girl looked nothing like the few photographs of Harry’s parents who, when they were pictured with a child, only held the one—Harry.  “She must be important.  Ginny perhaps?”

Alfred hesitated several long moments and then shook his head.  “I saw a photograph in the paper a few years ago of Master Harry and someone with the name of Ginny, and she looked nothing like the young woman.”

Bruce didn’t know whether the idea comforted him or not. 

Despite his better judgment, he went to the penthouse safe and opened it, knowing that Harry’s file had been recovered from the manor’s safe and placed within it.  He knew he shouldn’t go digging into Harry’s past, trying to find the smiling face of a girl, but whenever he thought of the nameless girl, jealousy would slowly eat away at him, and he was afraid that the life he had built around him could tumble around him in pieces.  He couldn’t lose Harry to a girl who existed only in pictures—couldn’t lose his son who had just begun to call him just “Papa” when he was half-asleep—couldn’t lose the reason why he woke up in the morning with a smile on his face, knowing that he was not alone and had found love again.

He was surprised when he found a large envelope on top of everything else, stuffed with what seemed like handwritten notes and newspaper articles, the name LUNA LOVEGOOD carefully printed on the front in Harry’s chicken scratch.  Hesitantly, he reached out for the envelope but then stopped, knowing he couldn’t look at it, couldn’t see what Harry had been compiling.  Luna Lovegood.  The name meant nothing to him. 

Extracting Harry’s medical file from beneath it, he carefully shut the safe again and went to sit down in the living room area of the penthouse, staring at a small picture of the nameless girl holding a daisy in her hand and smelling it, a smile blooming across her face every time she took a sniff of the flower’s natural perfume.  The name passed over his mind again.  Luna Lovegood.  The girl in the photographs was important enough to be remembered in pictures, and this Luna had an entire file devoted to her in the safe.  The girl herself might be this Luna.

He set his jaw and opened the file, skimming through it for any mention of Luna, but found nothing.  Bruce sighed.  He skipped over several pages that spoke of Crane’s first sexual encounter with Harry back in 2001.  He could almost feel the man’s joy and satisfaction emanating from the pages and flipped back to the beginning of the file in disgust. 

Harry was safe now, he reminded himself.  Blackjack is safe.

His eyes flitted across the page and then paused at a neatly written paragraph.  The patient will not give his name.  He shows all signs of sanity except for his insistence that the Moon has been eclipsed.  Then there were a series of dates: 1999-01-31, 2000-01-21, 2001-01-09, 2001-12-?

Bruce stilled staring at the words.  The Moon has been eclipsed.  He looked up and stared at the photograph of the girl.  Luna.  The moon. 

Hurriedly, he scanned through the pages, reading Crane’s notes.  The moon is forever eclipsedThe moon has fallenThere is no moon.  Crane wrote of Harry’s distress when thinking of the moon, how he hated the night and would sometimes spend all of it awake, never looking out his window, and a shiver ran up Bruce’s spine.  For Crane to know about this behavior, he would either have to have a camera placed in Harry’s cell or have been there all night himself, just watching and observing.  The moon will never smile again.  He grimaced and then, remembering what he had read all those months ago when first flipping through the file in Crane’s office, he turned back to the beginning, a dead weight settling into his stomach.  Witness of rape and murder—favor to Falcone.

He looked at the photograph of Luna and found her looking directly back at him, a knowing and sad look in her eyes.  Bruce knew.  Harry had known Luna and she had been killed in front of him, and Falcone must have locked Harry up to keep him quiet.

There was only one unanswered question: Who exactly was Luna Lovegood?

“Three Batmans,” Harry said by way of hello nearly six months later when he came by the office.  “Three vigilante citizens dressed up like Batman and tried to fight crime.  It was in the paper.” 

He sat down across from Bruce’s desk in his maroon and bronze robes (sans the actual cloak) and looked at him expectantly.

Bruce gave him an easy and charming smile.  “Where’s Teddy?”

“Alfred took him to the park,” Harry admitted quietly.  “I wanted some time alone with you, and I had to come into the city anyway—“ A mischievous smile crossed his lips and Bruce’s heart jumped into his throat.

“Well, if you put it like that,” Bruce answered with a laugh, getting up and putting on his jacket.  “How can I refuse?”

They walked out of the offices easily, side by side, Bruce’s arm slipped around Harry’s waist.  Harry suggested they try a restaurant that was nice and small, out of the way, where reporters wouldn’t think to look for them.  “I had to distract them so Alfred could leave with Teddy in peace,” Harry admitted.  “They’re absolutely ruthless.  I thought it was just our reporters who were like that—but Muggle journalists are just the same.”

“Did you have much experience with them, then?” Bruce asked as they walked toward a small family-owned Italian restaurant that was only a block and a half away.  No one had fortunately recognized them and called the press, so they were having an easy stroll in the cool Autumn air.

“Unfortunately.  I had people bowing to me in the street before I even knew about—everything.  As I was an orphan and had no defender, people just wrote whatever they wanted, whether or not it was the truth.”  A grimace crossed over his face, darkening his eyes.  “Still, here I’m just the mysterious fiancé of Bruce Wayne.  It’s a lot less pressure.”

A headline in a local stand caught Bruce’s eye, and he stilled as he quickly read it, and then smiled widely.  “You’ve seen the papers, haven’t you?”

A smirk crossed Harry’s face.  “And what if I had?  Is it so wrong I want to celebrate just a little?”

Bruce tightened his grip and kissed the top of Harry’s head.  “No, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate.”  He grinned widely and led Harry into the restaurant, their fingers intertwined at Harry’s hip.  He watched as Harry looked around with a small smile on his face, taking in the customers and then pausing on one table.

“Is that—?” he whispered and then left Bruce’s side as the owner came up to show them their table. 

Bruce watched him curiously as he approached a couple, and asked the owner to hold their table for a few minutes as he followed Harry to the small table near the back where a man with blond hair was sitting with a dark-haired woman across from him.  He stilled when he recognized Rachel from behind and then noticed that she was sitting with the District Attorney, Harvey Dent.

“I wouldn’t normally ask and disturb your meal,” Harry was saying with a smile, looking at Dent, “but my son has taken to saying ‘I believe in Harvey Dent’ like a personal motto and he would love an autograph.  He has an album full of them.”

Bruce came up behind him and wrapped an arm around his waist, looking over his shoulder at a flattered Dent and a tense but smiling Rachel.

“Well, how can I refuse?” Dent said with a laugh, taking a pen from his inside jacket pocket.  “Rachel?  Do you have any paper?”

“Oh,” Rachel said quickly, turning from her observation of Harry.  “Yes, one moment.”

“How old is your son, Mr.—?” Dent asked, looking up from the paper Rachel was handing him.

“Harry, please.  I don’t bother with titles,” Harry replied smoothly.

“Harry, then,” Dent agreed.  He looked up and started when he saw Bruce standing behind Harry.

“Oh, forgive me,” Harry said, turning and giving Bruce a smile.  “My fiancé, Bruce Wayne.  Darling, this is Harvey Dent, and you of course remember—Miss Dawes, was it?” he asked kindly.

Rachel stiffened and nodded, the strained smile still on her lips.  “Bruce,” she said.  “I haven’t seen you in quite some time.”

“No,” Bruce agreed.  In the end he hadn’t gotten a restraining order against her, only a sworn affidavit that she would drop her pursuit for answers about Bruce’s potential connection to any ongoing investigation and allow the police to handle it instead.

Dent was looking between them with a look of understanding, before turning again to Harry.  “What’s your son’s name?”

“Teddy,” Harry answered with a smile.  “He keeps on asking me why you’re no longer on the telly.  He still doesn’t understand that you already are the D.A. so you don’t need to have advertisements on.”

Dent smiled kindly, handing over the paper.  “It’s my pleasure, Harry.”  He looked at him for several long moments.  “And good luck this afternoon.  I heard from Lieutenant Gordon that you’re trying to identify a friend who went missing in Gotham a few years ago and are looking into all of our Jane Does in the morgue.”

Bruce looked over at Harry in curiosity, and saw the sadness that passed across his eyes. 

“Yes, I am.  I have little hope that she’s still alive, but I want to give her the dignity she deserves in death if I can find her.”

“Of course,” Dent said kindly.  “Lieutenant Gordon, from what I understand, is a good man.”

“Yes,” Harry agreed with a smile, turning and looking at Bruce.  “Bruce told me of his kindness to him when he was a child, and I didn’t really want to deal with anyone else.”

“I thought,” Rachel added in, “that you were here to celebrate.  I read the afternoon papers and saw the announcement.  You must be so pleased, Bruce.  A bill on Civil Unions is being proposed in the state Senate.”

Bruce’s eyes hardened.  “We are.”  He looked at Harry who was smiling sadly at him.  “It will still be several months before it can even hope to be passed and longer for it to be put into effect, but it’s a beginning.”

“A beginning,” Harry agreed, happiness creeping back into his grin.  “Our new beginning.”

With one final thank you to Dent, Bruce led Harry to their table, and settled in across from him, accepting his menu from a kind young woman who was sneaking glances at the two of them.  “I didn’t know Teddy collected autographs,” he remarked.

“It seems everyone back—home—wanted to give my godson autographs if he approached them,” Harry said easily.  “It’s one of the few good things Teddy got out of there.  But this is his first Muggle autograph for a new life.  I thought that Dent looked kind and, well, it never hurts to ask.  I also have you in my arsenal.  Who could deny Bruce Wayne’s son an autograph?” he teased.

Bruce laughed openly.  “Indeed.”

“It’s also a way to get Teddy to acclimate to living among Muggles and to realize that Muggles and, more generally, humans aren’t trying to hurt him.”

Bruce’s mood darkened slightly.  “Yes.  We should prosecute, you know.  You have courts, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Harry agreed.  “Much good that they do anyone.”  He sighed when Bruce looked at him in question, shutting his menu and taking a sip of his water.  “My godfather was sent to prison for twelve years without trial a few days after my parents were murdered.  He managed to escape, but wasn’t pardoned until after he died.”  His green eyes seemed to darken even more until they were almost black.

“I’m sorry, Blackjack,” Bruce said, reaching out and entwining their fingers.  “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s in the past,” Harry murmured, looking away as the waitress came to take their order.

Despite the sun shining out of doors, gloom had settled around them as they ate quietly together, sharing long looks and smiles and yet the knowledge of Harry’s godfather hung between them, pushed aside but always present, silently acknowledged.  Bruce insisted on ordering a bottle of champagne to celebrate the new proposed bill, but Harry only sipped at it, occasionally staring at the bubbles that rose to the surface, popping when they reached the air.

Still, they were together and as the meal progressed, Harry’s eyes lightened to their usual dark green.  When they finished off their meals and desert, they rose together and kissed languidly on the sidewalk, Harry humming into Bruce’s mouth as he raised himself slightly to meet Bruce’s impressive height.  “I love you,” Bruce promised when they finally broke apart, his thumb caressing Harry’s cheek.  “I love you so much.”

Harry smiled gently at him but didn’t answer, instead reaching up for another kiss, their tongues slowly teasing each other before drawing away again.  “You’ll be home for dinner?” he questioned, looking into Bruce’s eyes. 

“Long before then,” Bruce promised, kissing him softly once more before pulling away.  “I’m here if you need me.”

“Yes,” Harry whispered.  “Yes, I know.”

Harry had a smile on his face when he walked into the penthouse later that afternoon, but it didn’t reach his eyes.  He was the last to arrive home and Bruce was helping Teddy with his Latin—he thought it was a bit strict that Harry had him studying the language at age eight, but Harry had assured him that most magical children grew up learning the language to help them with their spellwork.  Alfred was off in the kitchen, humming happily to himself, insisting that he make a cake in celebration of the new proposed law. 

They settled down to a family meal of fetuccine alfredo and Harry answered all of Teddy’s questions about magic, but still sadness surrounded him, and Bruce found he carried most of the conversation with Teddy, trying to bring a laugh to Harry’s lips although he didn’t quite manage it.  Harry remained quiet and withdrawn and for the first time since Teddy had moved in with them, Bruce read his bedtime story, making strange voices when he read about Babbitty Rabbit, wondering if wizards could really turn into animals and still speak.

That night Bruce quietly undressed, looking at Harry who was standing by the window, staring into the falling darkness.  Finally, after reading for an hour in bed, he stood up and walked over to Harry, wrapping his arm around his waist, only to have Harry pull away, his eyes never leaving the skyline of Gotham.

“Blackjack,” he murmured, hurt.  “What’s wrong?”

Harry didn’t reply, instead continuing to look at the moonless night.

Bruce sighed and leaned against the glass wall, his arms folded in front of him, just looking at Harry who was impeccably dressed in his maroon and bronze robes that looked like something a gentleman from the eighteenth or nineteenth century would have worn, his shirtsleeves billowing about his arms. 

He wasn’t certain how long he stood like that, just looking at Harry, wishing he could reach out and embrace him, but knowing that any act of comfort would be rebuffed.  Harry’s profile was chiseled, showing his high cheekbones and the Ducard nose and full lips. 

“I love you,” Bruce finally murmured long past midnight, and a tear slipped down Harry’s cheek.

“I’ve betrayed her,” he said desperately.  “She never hurt anyone and I betrayed her.”

“You didn’t,” Bruce tried to sooth, stepping forward, but Harry took several steps away, his dead eyes still looking out across Gotham.

“I did,” he insisted.  “I betrayed Luna.  My Luna.”

An icy dread filled Bruce and he nodded to himself.  “The girl in the photographs.”

“The girl in the photographs.”

Silence settled around them like a shroud, and Bruce’s heart began to weep, just looking at Harry, his Blackjack, standing erect as if made of stone, his eyes lifeless and lacking sanity.  They were the dark black eyes of the dead.

“I love you,” Bruce whispered again.

There were several long minutes of silence and then Harry took in a long shaky breath, which had a haunting rattling sound to it.  “I know. I love you, too—when I promised the night before she died that I would only love her.”

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