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Suits Fic: Once - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
Suits Fic: Once
Title: Once
Rating: M
Category: Donna Paulsen/Harvey Specter
Spoilers: Season Two, Asterisk
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
For: spyglass_. Happy birthday, my dear friend!
Author's Note: One way "the other time" happened.
Summary: These things she knows.


“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing.”
-- Madeleine L'Engle, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’


These things she knows –

- the name of every legal secretary to every senior partner at the 11 best-ranked law firms in the city.

- his Sunday morning jog route and the corner café with the blue-grey stucco where she can wait if he is running late.

- the bank account where she deposits his vacation day payouts.

- her strengths, her weaknesses, and her five-year plan.

- everything.


A natural curiosity is there, of course - a question that rises up on late nights, or after successfully closed cases, or when he reaches for her wrist - a brief thought. She attributes most of it to age and circumstance, their years together intimate in length. The rest is knowledge, for better or worse.

She knows he wonders - the moment found in a long glance, a quick comment, a spark that flashes unexpectedly in a casual touch. It's not about change, not about needs or wants, and most decidedly not about a relationship.

It's simply about more.


“It won’t change anything,” she says to him when the elevator doors close, his touch light on the back of her arm. It’s Harvey-speak, and for once she means it wholeheartedly.

She lies.


The key sticks in the lock and she has to turn it twice before it catches, the door silently swinging wide as his hand plays in her hair, fingers tracing the long angle of her neck.

There is no pretense, no awkwardness in his touch - just certainty, a stark truth and an inevitability that she wants to remember. She turns to him, kisses him in the arch of the door’s frame as they fold together, curves and lines and heat. His hands press firmly at her lower back, pulling her tight to him, and she feels him getting hard as she runs her tongue along his.

It’s not a rushed affair, no clothes strewn in a bread crumb path from her door to the bed – because it’s just the once, and it doesn’t change anything, this one moment theirs and indefinite until it’s not.

His hands are deft, exploration slow and thoughtful, his fingers finding patterns and drawing paths. It leaves her body afire, and he smiles at the way she moves beneath him – curving and reaching.

She follows the lines of his muscles, taut and smooth under her as she nips at his earlobe and his hands clench on her arms, her name coming from him rough and raw. And when she slides on to him, takes him in slow and sure, he holds her hips, draws her down for a kiss that reminds her just vaguely of love.

She comes on the edge of an inhale and lets the feeling roll through her body, doesn’t breathe.


He doesn’t stay long and she doesn’t kiss him goodbye - nothing uncomfortable or committed, no meaning – just the simple, quiet end of a pause.


The pile of file boxes stack higher than the couch and she skirts the edge to rifle through the cases in reach. Despite the appearance, it's far from a disaster, and she finds the file, as she expects, in seconds.

Harvey looks up when she puts it on the desk, his expression thoughtful. "The jury will have to be sequestered."

"And you've known that," she points out. "You think it's Baker?"

"I know it's Baker." He points down to the file she located.

She nods, that guy had been a weasel since their time with the DA. "What are you going to do?"

He stands and squeezes past her in the narrow space – the press of his body a sudden reminder – stops at the door to button his jacket and tilt his head in that cocky way she knows well. “Win.”


In the end, it’s easy.

It’s just a one-sided affair – her emotions versus her thoughts, him versus her, wishes versus reality - and she’s a choices type of person.


These things she knows –

- he’s a hands and tongue kind of guy, and, well…

- the bruises on her hips, the faint blue and yellow pattern from the press of his fingers.

- his appendectomy scar, smooth and white, a thin line barely visible.

- and counting.


“Because you can never go back,” she tells Rachel when she really means forget.


He stands by her desk, waiting.

She doesn’t bother to glance up. “You will have it in five.”


“Unless that’s followed by ‘you were right’, I will have this to you in five.” She looks up then, pointedly, and watches while he changes his mind about saying whatever he’d been thinking – and she has a pretty good idea what - then turns back toward his office.

She waits until he’s sitting at his desk before following and setting the case files down in front of him. “As requested.”

“Wait,” he says, putting the pieces together. “It was already finished?”

She points at herself. “Awesome.”

“I only changed my mind about this a half an hour ago.”

She smiles at the disbelief in his voice. “I would really hate to use the same descriptor for myself twice.”

He lets that sink in, raises an eyebrow. “And five minutes?”

She puts her hands on her hips. “Distracting with impatience is my specialty.”


“The feelings go away,” she says, remembering backwards - the time and distance long now. “Eventually.”

She’s honest about that at least.


These things she knows –

- the other time, she says.

She stops there.


Tags: ,

26 whispers :: tell me a secret
just_liv From: just_liv Date: August 26th, 2012 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)

My life is complete! *excuse me while I fangirl*
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 26th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha. <3 Thank you!
magisterequitum From: magisterequitum Date: August 26th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Gahhhh, this is gorgeous. I love everything about this and Donna is wonderful here.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 26th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!!!
spyglass_ From: spyglass_ Date: August 26th, 2012 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
ASLKDJASLDKJ. This is so beautiful and just so, so very Donna and Donna thinking about Harvey/their relationship. I will refrain from quoting the entire thing back to you, but I love this line a lot: It's not about change, not about needs or wants, and most decidedly not about a relationship.

It's simply about more.

I love this so much. Thank you, my dearest! I MISS YOU ♥
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 26th, 2012 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I know it's not Secretly Married fic nor particularly happy, but I wanted you to have Donna/Harvey for your birthday (albeit a few days early ;)). Without you freaking out with me, I would not be even remotely this insane over the show. LOVE YOU. <3

And eee, thank you! Miss you too, hon.
spyglass_ From: spyglass_ Date: August 27th, 2012 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
DOES NOT MATTER TO ME. And seriously, Secretly Married fic is definitely happening as soon as my LSAT is over! Fueled today by this picture, which I imagine is them off on Long Island for a holiday weekend. MY BABIES.

You are such an excellent freak out partner. IT IS A PLEASURE TO FREAK OUT WITH YOU. LOVE YOU TOOOOO ♥
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 27th, 2012 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Eee!! I'm so excited for you and we will have cake when the LSAT madness is done! <3

From: tidbit2008 Date: August 26th, 2012 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
THIS IS ACTUALLY PERFECT. a;slkdgjadlkgjd.

I love the way you write them. Srsly. This is fantastic ♥ ♥
From: tidbit2008 Date: August 26th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay so I had never seen your layout before because I usually LJ on my phone. YOU HAVE A STANDOFF BANNER. I think that seals the deal. We have to be friends, yes/yes? :D
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 26th, 2012 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)

You know Standoff?! THIS IS MY BABY. I swear I downloaded and sent the episodes to every person on my flist back when the show was airing. I even did picspams to try and get people watching this show. I was INSANE.

And then Ron/Rosemarie got frickin' MARRIED and I gave them a piece of my soul.


Also, that was the longest way possible to basically say, WE ARE NOW FRIENDS FOREVER.
From: tidbit2008 Date: August 26th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
heeeeeee. I watched back when it was airing! Still mad at Fox for killing it. grrrrr. And aw, I just scanned through your first picspam and now I want to rewatch, whoops.. Lol.

IKR? They're too adorable for words *g*

YAYYYY :D I am good with that!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 26th, 2012 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee. :) And aw, thank you!

I'm really excited for you all to see the second one, too. *grins*
From: tidbit2008 Date: August 26th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Welcome! :D

Yayyyyyyy! I can't wait *does a jig* :)))
anr From: anr Date: August 26th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, lovely. *happy sigh*


Also, this phrasing: just the simple, quiet end of a pause. because, yeah. GUH.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 27th, 2012 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you hon! *clings*

And hee, I had this feeling you would choose that line. ;)

Edited because: stupid iPad making it hard to type.

Edited at 2012-08-27 04:44 am (UTC)
pengyn From: pengyn Date: August 26th, 2012 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I definitely don't like you. Why are you so awesome?

Also - I've been trying to work it out but is your header from 'standoff'?
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 27th, 2012 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Lol. I just blame the show - it is doing funny things to my heart, and causing my brain to leak fic. ;)

AND OMG YES. That show owns me.
bichito From: bichito Date: August 26th, 2012 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
This is gonna be short because I'm pretty sure you just killed me dead and I'm gonna need some cardio-respiratory reanimation at this point but...

Your fics and I are like THIS *clasp hands*

phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 27th, 2012 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
You crack me up. :)

And thank you!! Nicest comment, EVER omg. *loves*
lapiccolina From: lapiccolina Date: August 26th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi there!

So, i am a baby fan to the Suits fandom, basically mainlining miat of the first season when i stumbled on a USA Suits marathon and i basivally lost my mind, lol. With the season finale done, I've been on a Suits fic binge and I found one story of yours and proceeded to read everything. You write Donna and Harvey so so awesomely, and I just wanna say that. I want these two so much (and Mike/Rachel), so I am happy I get little pictures of them here!

Brilliant writing!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 27th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I am so happy I can help be a Donna/Harvey fix. These two, omg. <3

Thank you so much for reading and for the comments! :)
abvj From: abvj Date: August 27th, 2012 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my. This is just so lovely. Every last word of it. I love the glimpses we see here - they are very honest and very Harvey/Donna, but I also love your uncanny ability to write Donna's dialogue. I could hear SR saying every single bit in my head, which is something I wish I could emulate. Well done.
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 27th, 2012 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!! <3 And don't sell yourself short - you had a mighty brilliant Donna/Harvey fic there yourself, my dear. :)

And I wish I could take credit for a natural awesomeness, but I'm happy to share how I write dialogue for Donna (and others) -

1. Research. I often write down things Donna says, things she says about herself, and things others say about her. It's an acting technique I use with each new role, and I find it helps me get into the heads of characters I'm writing too. I look at syntax, connotation and denotation, whether Donna tends to ask questions or makes statements, how long/short her phrasing, etc.

2. I say sentences out loud so I can hear them. I do this for each sentence a ridiculous number of times - running the dialogue to get it to sound like something I could imagine the actor/character repeating - both for each line alone and for the conversation's tempo.

3. You may notice I don't use a lot of dialogue in my fics. That's partly strategic to keep verbal lines to a minimum and lessen the risk of sounding out of character, but it's mostly because I love writing a blend of prose/poetry - lots of description with empty space that you fill with your own emotion to paint a visual that's somewhat personal, so you feel you're already in the character's head by the time they talk.

And then it's sort of hit or miss, lol. All my secrets, omg. ;)

thefigtree From: thefigtree Date: August 29th, 2012 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've made me believe this is what happened. :) And Harvey and Donna are both so in character. Thanks for sharing this!
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: August 30th, 2012 06:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for reading and leaving the sweet comments. :)
26 whispers :: tell me a secret