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Suits Fic: Some Nights (It Was Meant To Be) - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
phrenitis
phrenitis
Suits Fic: Some Nights (It Was Meant To Be)
I was stuck, but then leave it to these two to make fic happen anyway. I don't know. It's a moment in time? The first in a multi-fic? They just wanted to be in formal wear, okay?


Title: Some Nights (It Was Meant To Be)
Rating: PG
Category: Donna Paulsen/Harvey Specter.
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Author's Note: Thanks to magisterequitum and bichito who both provided prompts that led me here. And love always to ceruleantides who puts up with my madness time and again.
Summary: A black tie event and she just had to step across the line into color - a green so deep her hair looks like fire.

==

No surprise, he hears her heels first.

"I like to see above the competition," she used to say, three or four or five inches added to her height. And not long after, they were the best in the city and there was no competition left, but they still had a standing to maintain. So he knows the sound of her approach, thinks about those stiletto heels rising high making her legs look impossibly long and his mouth go dry.

"This is a terrible idea," she says as if she hasn't been arguing that angle for half the day already. But when he turns, his perfect retort dies on his tongue because he gets his first look at the heels, at the dress, and her in the dress, and jesus - she is goddamn stunning.

Fuck, he thinks. "Nice," he says. And both are, without question, two ends of an answer spectrum he should never visit again.

"Looks incredible," he adds, thinks that should be appropriate enough; the subject of the sentence is unimportant. A black tie event and she just had to step across the line into color - a green so deep her hair looks like fire.

"You said, win." She doesn't look apologetic, and the tilt of her hip exposes the slit running from floor to god only knows where above her thigh.

"I implied there should be a fight," he corrects. Boundaries are not his strong suit. "Ray's waiting."

She turns toward the door and the dress is backless. Of course it is.

"Harvey Specter's plus one," she says, still testing it out apparently because she's been saying that all day, too.

"It's for the firm," he reminds her.

"I'm sure you tell that to all the girls."

==

She slides like silk into the seat of the car, flowing curves and flaming hair, mile long legs and sex in heels.

Ray's eyes meet his in the rear view mirror, and the raised eyebrows he receives are as much of a warning as he's ever likely to get.

"Let's go," he says, and Ray complies.

The ride is quiet. The outside view is uninspiring, his phone even more so, and the slit of her dress is provocative, her legs crossed toward his revealing smooth, ivory skin from ankle to thigh.

"Two hundred fifty million," she says as she stares out the window; it sounds like a reminder or maybe a reassurance. It's the amount at risk, and they both feel the pressure.

He sets his phone to silent. "What's not normal about that?"

==

She introduces herself as Harvey Specter's plus one because she is incorrigible. It earns them looks, equal to the stares she draws in that dress alone, and there's really not a single thing he'd change with their entrance.

"Winning," she says, her voice pitched low and soft just for him. It ripples with a liquid laugh and the sound is intoxicating.

"Game face on," he tells her, and then they are through the sweeping metal arch into the ballroom. The benefit is in full swing before them, two hundred of New York's finest, and he has a difficult, multi-million dollar client to win. Champagne is proffered, and he watches as her lips leave a red impression behind on the glass, a lasting kiss.

She suddenly sidles close. The smell of her shampoo is familiar, but the perfume is not, and together it's smooth elegance with a faint spicy note, an exotic combination that leaves him momentarily distracted. He thinks of Madrid, of tempranillo grapes, of complicated.

"Wellers at your eight o'clock," she murmurs. "Davis & Marrow are making their introductions."

He almost feels bad. "I give it five minutes."

"Three," she bets.

She's right.

"He'll come to us," he says confidently because Matthew Wellers may be difficult, but his interests are predictable.

Then he reaches for her, unthinking, as the music swells. The small of her back is warm and soft under his palm, spine curving in a gentle C beneath his fingers as he plays an arpeggio.

"Harvey," she warns, but nothing follows. She doesn't lean into the contact, doesn't arch away, so he presses his fingers gently into the muscles that frame her spine. Her eyes close briefly and he steps away.

"This is-," she starts.

"-a terrible idea," he finishes for her, glances over at Wellers. "I know."

She looks mildly surprised. "I was going to say, 'this is not going to be easy.'"

"Were you?"

It earns him a quirk of a lip. "This time."

==

The music stops as the band moves from one song to the next and the silence is seductive, waiting to be filled. Wellers chooses this moment to approach; Harvey knows Matthew always appreciated a good entrance. Among other things. The woman on his arm is no exception - bombshell gorgeous, lithe and young, but she's an afterthought to Donna's natural beauty and maturity, and she is out of her element in mere seconds by Donna's acerbic wit.

"You must be Matthew's daughter," Donna says innocently, and there's but a moment's delay before Wellers laughs loudly.

"You promised me a fight, Harvey," he complains good-naturedly.

Harvey shrugs. "We came prepared."

"Yes, yes," Wellers nods almost absent-mindedly, but there's a keen and ruthless business man beneath. "The city's best; I should have known. Donna, a pleasure as always. You look like every man's most desired temptation, my dear."

The implication is clear, and Harvey feels his jaw clench, but she smiles. "Matthew, it's been too long."

"Has it?" he asks, suddenly serious as his true colors show. "I remember I lost a lucrative business venture worth nearly a hundred million the last time."

"Wrong side of the table," she says frankly, not missing a beat.

Harvey follows her lead smoothly. "You have a chance to avoid the same mistake again."

"Get in bed with the enemy," Wellers says with a scowl. "Pearson Hardman always liked airing everyone else's dirty laundry. What secrets are you hiding, Harvey?"

He ignores the threat. "Everyone already knows your new investment is at risk, but we know Gunner Industries suing for those patent breaches are the least of your worries."

"Oh ho! I see Donna's network is as alive as ever. Brains and beauty. I've offered her the world to come work for me, Harvey, did you know that?" Wellers asks, then looks at Donna, and steps closer to her side. "Does he even appreciate your talents?"

"The ones he knows about," she says simply.

"Ha! You see, Harvey? She's much too good for you."

Harvey smiles wryly. "As she reminds me daily."

"I imagine that's true. So you know my secrets, well done. Now tell me, what do I gain if I join forces with your esteemed firm?" The emphasis is just on the right side of polite.

"We protect your assets along with all the others," Harvey explains, irritated with the conversation and cutting to the chase. "Or, go it alone, and we know just how to rip you apart."

He half expects Donna's hand to come up and touch his arm in warning, but she is outwardly calm, almost impassive, and only he can see the coiled tension in the tightness at her neck.

Wellers snorts bitterly. "So I have a choice after all?"

"There's always Davis & Marrow," Donna suggests.

==

He gets them drunk on champagne because he can, because of a new quarter of a billion dollars contract, because she was perfect.

"Wellers or Stoker?" she asks. Somewhere along the way, and he really can't remember when, the night turned into a series of lightening rounds.

"Stoker. But only because he cried."

He loves, absolutely loves, that he can make her laugh. Her eyes are getting glassy, and her cheeks are flushed a light pink, but she looks radiant, positively luminous, her laugh contagious.

"Okay," he says, tries not to give it away too soon although champagne courses through his system like a drug. "Macbeth or Hamlet?"

"What? Wait. How did you even know-?" Her eyes go wide. "I am going to kill Louis."

She leans in, her expression suddenly eager and competitive because she always finds a way to one-up him. "New Year's Eve 2008 or Valentine's Day 2010?"

He doesn't immediately get the reference. "You didn't answer my question."

"Fine, Macbeth." She waves it away like it's nothing, one stray curl falling loose down the side of her neck. "You're stalling."

The significance of the dates slowly dawns on him, vague memories surfacing. They had been nothing more than throw away evenings, hardly momentous although rare. He can't even remember what he did sitting around at home those nights - TV? Beer? He has just the slightest recollection there might have been a few winning rounds of online poker.

Donna is watching him, oddly excited like she really has no idea what he's going to say, or she's just waiting to catch him out.

He chooses one arbitrarily. "New Year's."

She shakes her head and more curls fall. He wonders if there's one strategic pin in place - one pin he could pull and all that red would come tumbling down to her shoulders. She studies him closely. "Well, I know it has to be good. I was interrupted in the middle of both my dates with calls from yours saying you never showed up. So?"

"That's not part of the game," he reminds her with a smile. There's a part of him that's relieved to know her expansive database of knowledge isn't actually somewhat supernatural. Because it's crossed his mind.

She sips at her champagne thoughtfully, and he likes the brazen way she looks at him, deciphering and understanding off a glance because their years together speak louder than anything they could say. She is, he realizes suddenly, his longest relationship.

"Secret rendezvous," she says knowingly, but it's a guess.

"Something like that." He's careful to school his expression just right because he knows she can string together his every minute look like steps in a recipe. In truth, he doesn't even remember the why, only that on those nights, he had simply stopped caring.

There must be answers he's giving away in the set of his shoulders or a look in his eyes or in a hair out of place, something insignificant, next to impossible despite his efforts because her smile fades as she thinks.

"Nothing like that," she says cryptically, and he's drunk and watching her mouth, not her eyes, so he misses understanding any of it.

She suddenly looks entirely too serious, even sad, for a well-deserved night of champagne and celebration.

"It was perfect," he says of the evening. He means it as a compliment, but somehow it sounds just like blame.

She stands, and the touch of her hand on his is a shock. "We should go."

==

He hasn't thought it out, so he doesn't ask because he's not entirely sure what she'd say if he did. It turns out she doesn't say anything when he gets out of the car at her apartment, doesn't say anything at all when he waits behind her as she unlocks her door.

In the entry way, her hand comes up to her head, fingers finding the pin (oh, pins) holding up the elegant twist of hair, and in seconds she has them all collected, her hair in its familiar form, curled and wavy down her back. Her shampoo is herbal - sage and thyme and ginger - and he spends a minute deciphering each ingredient, a combined smell so well known over time he'd just been identifying it as her.

He doesn't follow her into the bedroom where she goes to change, but wanders into the kitchen to drape his jacket over a chair and find the coffee machine. It takes an inordinately long time to figure out, alcohol muddying the effort, and she eventually takes over.

"Really?" she says at his attempt, but her tone is fond. He makes a mental note to buy her an espresso machine.

She's exchanged the dress and heels for a worn cotton shirt and shorts and bare feet, and he is amazed at how it's just as alluring. He knows champagne is to blame for that thought - he can also blame the late hour, and the high he's still riding from signing Wellers, so he doesn't question where his mind strays. There's a domestic simplicity in her company that he finds oddly attractive.

The coffee is strong and black with none of the sweetness she usually includes. It burns his tongue and leaves a rich earthy flavor behind. He follows her into the living room, the coffee mug hot in his hand.

"I'm redecorating," she explains when she catches him eyeing the room. It's in various stages of being boxed up, one wall bare of adornments and painted in random strips of color - shades and shades of blue.

"Don't let Louis help," he says as he gets a closer look at the swatches on the wall. "He'd be in here finding the perfect color for a week."

She looks thoughtful. "He was spending a lot of time at my desk yesterday."

"Probably smelled the paint."

She smiles and points to one of the blue patches; it's bold and vivid. "What do you think?"

He can't help but note the way the red of her hair stands out against the color on the wall - the contrast striking. "Blue's depressing."

"It's soothing," she corrects, giving him a look. "And honest."

It reminds him of a time. "Wait. Is that why you insisted I wear the blue tie for that pro bono case?"

"You needed the help," she shrugs.

"I'm always honest."

"And never soothing," she counters pointedly. He supposes that could be true - he doesn't often think of himself in adjectives, and the ones that come to mind aren't anything like soothing.

Her couch is clear of boxes, and she sits with legs curled up beside her casually. She looks relaxed, coffee mug between her hands, and he takes a moment to appreciate how she can be both utterly ravishing at a black tie event and then beautiful at home in a simple shirt and shorts just hours apart.

"What was he willing to pay?" he asks as curiosity finally gets the better of him. They've made no promises to each other despite their length of time working together. They've both been careful about that.

He means Wellers, but she evades the question. "It doesn't matter."

"20 percent?" He's pressing for an answer, guesses high because he knows Wellers would want to make a point, but the look Donna gives him twists his stomach unpleasantly. "How much higher?"

She glances away, frowns. "Harvey. Don't do this."

"But you were tempted." He states it accusingly, as though it's fact. There's a slick taste at the back of his throat - a bit of bitterness, and something raw like fear.

"No," she says flatly. "Never."

It's said in a tone that is simple and sure and only rough at the edges which he knows he deserves. He sits down heavily beside her on the couch, her shins coming to rest against his thigh. He's been staring at her legs for half the night, but he stills his hand. Words of apology catch on his tongue because they haven't committed to anything beyond what's on her employment papers. They owe each other only in what's intangible.

"You're worth more," he says. It's as much I'm sorry as it is a weak explanation for his champagne fueled interrogation.

The corner of her mouth curls up. "Obviously."

And nothing more needs to be said, his apology accepted though he knows she deserves better. He just doesn't know what to say - will show her instead in her bonus check, in a favor, in turning a blind eye at the right time. He slides his hand gently along her leg before rationalization catches up to him, her skin smooth beneath his palm.

She looks at him with a curious sort of detachment.

"Is there a plan, Harvey?" she asks quietly. And he realizes it's not detachment he sees, it's expectation, and his pulse picks up in response.

"I don't know," he says honestly, because he stopped thinking clearly at the beginning of the night, and he doesn't worry about needing to be three steps ahead when he's with her. "I didn't think it through."

She laughs then, a sound that is pure and bright, unguarded, and he feels relieved like he said something right. It's as much of a confession as he's ever given to her. He doesn't even know what he's doing here in her apartment, still somewhat drunk, images from the evening flicking through his memory as the pressing warmth of her distracts him.

"It's been some night," she says with a soft smile.

"Some night," he agrees, pausing because he has a decision to make. She waits, and he thinks about how very easy it would be to kiss her, how much that simple want fills him. He knows it's easy to be unthinking with her, easy to be action without consequence. Just touching her already seems to blur a line that has always been tenuous between them from the start.

He wonders too about the aftermath - the next day, and then beyond. He knows what tonight would be, but not what it could become, and that carries with it a staggering depth of meaning that he can’t even fully grasp. He pulls his thoughts back in line. "I should call Ray."

She nods, neither relieved nor disappointed, and he's unsure why that should matter to him so much, wonders at his reaction. He knows from experience that understanding Donna is either easy or impossible; it leaves him pleasantly unbalanced in a way that’s unique. She's an intriguing mystery he chases, like she's keeping a secret he just can't figure out.

She takes his mug to the kitchen while he makes a quick call - that Ray is only five minutes out despite the hour speaks volumes. He glances at her, bare legged and hair loose down her back as she stands at the sink, and decides to stay in the living room, uses part of that time to skim through the messages on his phone.

"Jessica's preempting my meeting with Lindstrom and Sons," he tells Donna when she rejoins him with his jacket. "Can you move-"

"Already done."

He looks back down, checks the calendar and sees she's right - the schedule up to date.

"You're worth a lot more," he mutters as they walk to the door, and her knowing smile in return is all ease and temptation. He actually has to clear his throat before he can look at her again.

She helps him with his jacket, her fingers brushing against his neck as she straightens the collar, and he briefly questions if he made the right choice in choosing to leave.

"Two hundred fifty million," she says like it's nothing, but he knows she's proud.

"All in a night's work," he adds. He's outside her door and a few steps down the hall when he remembers and turns back. "Was it really such a terrible idea?"

"Being Harvey Specter's plus one?" she asks, then cocks her head to the side as she thinks back on the night. "I could do worse."

She's in silhouette in the doorway, and he wishes he could see her expression. "That's not very reassuring."

"Well, it was the least I could do," she says, giving a slight shrug. "For the firm."

"Of course," he agrees, and smiles. "For the firm."


-Fin

Part 2: Some Nights (It All Could End)

Tags: ,

24 whispers :: tell me a secret
Comments
enemeriad From: enemeriad Date: October 3rd, 2012 12:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
babygirl. this was exactly what i needed at the time. like seriously. :(

this line killed me: She suddenly looks entirely too serious, even sad, for a well-deserved night of champagne and celebration.

"It was perfect," he says of the evening. He means it as a compliment, but somehow it sounds just like blame.


ugh this was so great it could've been like a scene from the show, just like a moment between days just the two of them. /dies
too much goodness. <3
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
*loves* Hope your week's been better since! And glad I could provide some fic for you. <3

Thank you for the comments! And yay, very happy it worked and felt in character. :)
lapiccolina From: lapiccolina Date: October 3rd, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is excellent!!!

Sigh, so many good moments.

That line is always there. I really liked how it world pop up at the last minute. Great job!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eee! Thank you! I wanted to explore some UST with them - pushing the line, but keeping it intact. At least for now. ;)
just_liv From: just_liv Date: October 3rd, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes!! More Darvey Fics!! It's perfect, as expected, as usual, as everything a girl could want in such a long long sad hiatus.
Anyways, you had me at "The first in a multi-fic?"

phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much, hon. Very very glad you liked it!

And hee, stay tuned. ;)
bichito From: bichito Date: October 3rd, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG!!! *FLAILS* This is going to be short because I NEED (really, NEED) to re-read this immediately. Too good, too too too good to read it just once. This is beyond whatever I imagined. God Lord! Did I ever say that I love you? Because I truly do! ♥

If this is part of a multi-fic I might die of pure happiness, no pressure or anything.

Why do you write so amazingly well? Why? *glomps you*
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
ILU. You always make me grin with the super nice things you say. *hugs*

Thanks to you for the prompt! It was so compelling I couldn't even contain it to one fic. Lol.
magisterequitum From: magisterequitum Date: October 3rd, 2012 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh!

I love this. All the descriptions in here are so great, the imagery is evocative and engaging. And that you have their relationship down and how they work, always butting up to that line but never crossing it.

Sigh, so wonderful!!!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
So happy you like it! I loved the idea of seeing what I could do with that line in the sand between them - where I could take it even though Donna's fully aware of it and Harvey is sort of oblivious to it because he's just so confused about feelings, lol.

Thank you too for the formal wear prompt. I haven't been able to get it out of my mind! :)
lizook12 From: lizook12 Date: October 4th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG I love this. And them in formal wear. And pins holding her hair up.

And this: She introduces herself as Harvey Specter's plus one because she is incorrigible. It earns them looks, equal to the stares she draws in that dress alone, and there's really not a single thing he'd change with their entrance. Because between the way he enjoys her using that introduction and not wanting to change anything about it... it so encompasses them in an oddly beautiful way.

Also, adored that subtle bit of him having to clear his throat before he leaves.

so amazing <3
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee! *big grin* Thank you!

I love how Harvey can get slightly awkward when reality and feelings start to make sense to him. Heh. ;)
lovexwentxred From: lovexwentxred Date: October 5th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. This was absolutely perfect. I loveee the idea of Harvey and Donna going to a black tie event, and Donna sending him reeling with her dress and her heels added to her amazing self just being her, basically outshining everybody in the room.

This line is marvelous, btw:
She sips at her champagne thoughtfully, and he likes the brazen way she looks at him, deciphering and understanding off a glance because their years together speak louder than anything they could say. She is, he realizes suddenly, his longest relationship.

It captures their relationship so. well. You really have their voices down. This one's going into memories. I just have one last thing to say: MULTI-FIC PRETTY PLEASE. ;)
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 5th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Your comments are incredibly sweet, thank you!! :)

And if what more I have jotted down so far is any indication, I can say multi-fic is looking like a definite possibility. The two of them in formal wear is apparently something I keep wanting to explore? Lol.
abvj From: abvj Date: October 8th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
This is exceptional. I really love the quietness of this, the way you capture this very realistic moment in time. Naturally, their voices are spot-on, and you can just taste the tension between them, and the frustration with respecting boundaries that have more or less become obsolete.

Never stop writing these two, please!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 9th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
*hugs you to pieces*

Thank you!! And I know I say this every time, but I'm so glad we have this awesome little community and each other to keep ideas and fic going during the hiatus. I just want to talk about them ALL THE TIME.

Also! Saw you posted a new fic (the flail I have over that fact is absurd), and I already have it opened in my browser so I can read and enjoy it tomorrow! ILU SO MUCH.
xyliette From: xyliette Date: October 9th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
They did just want to be in formal wear, and I am not complaining!

"Being Harvey Specter's plus one?" she asks, then cocks her head to the side as she thinks back on the night. "I could do worse." LOL! Please let the second "half" of this season show us some fun like this. Thank you!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: October 9th, 2012 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
They are RIDICULOUS in formal wear. To the point I can't stop thinking about it. These two are ruining my ability to concentrate on, you know, life. SIGH.

Thank you for the comments! And omg yes - a formal wear scene with the two of them is so at the top of my second half season wish list!!
tidbit2008 From: tidbit2008 Date: October 28th, 2012 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I continue to be completely enraptured with the way you write them. And I love the lines you blur and pick at in this ♥
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: December 25th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
OOPS. Sorry I'm responding so late! But thank you so much. <3
anr From: anr Date: February 27th, 2013 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the way you write their banter -- just perfect:

Fuck, he thinks. "Nice," he says. And both are, without question, two ends of an answer spectrum he should never visit again.

"Looks incredible," he adds, thinks that should be appropriate enough; the subject of the sentence is unimportant. A black tie event and she just had to step across the line into color - a green so deep her hair looks like fire.

"You said, win." She doesn't look apologetic, and the tilt of her hip exposes the slit running from floor to god only knows where above her thigh.

"I implied there should be a fight," he corrects. Boundaries are not his strong suit.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: March 3rd, 2013 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!! I wrote the first section as part of my prompt challenge and then couldn't let it go. The idea of them in formal wear is delicious.
snowflake912 From: snowflake912 Date: April 2nd, 2013 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
"I'm sure you tell that to all the girls."

So sassy. So, so Donna. I love this so much. I've read it a few times because every time a new line jumps out at me. You write in simple truths that are bare and become more and more striking with each reading.

He knows from experience that understanding Donna is either easy or impossible; it leaves him pleasantly unbalanced in a way that’s unique. She's an intriguing mystery he chases, like she's keeping a secret he just can't figure out.

There's so much ambivalence and fear of the unknown. It's a beautiful contradiction. *sigh* I can pick up every line and make a running commentary on it.

Thank you for writing them. You're awesome, and I'm admittedly obsessed with these little ficlets. And with Harvey and Donna.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: April 6th, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah, thank you so much for the niceness!! I love the complexity of meaning in poetry yet how simply it's written sometimes, so I'll admit that is a major influence. I'm thrilled that comes through. :)

And no, honestly, thank you for reading! Always makes me happy to know these fics are enjoyed.

And now you're writing them (so wonderfully I might add), and our community is growing, and I'm ecstatic!
24 whispers :: tell me a secret