Log in

No account? Create an account
Suits Fic: Some Nights (It's Because Of The Past), Chp 2 - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
Suits Fic: Some Nights (It's Because Of The Past), Chp 2
(Because it isn't confusing enough to have a semi-unrelated series of Formal Wear fics, now I'm turning one of those parts into a chaptered fic. And I don't write chapter fics ever, so I have no idea what is going on. You're welcome for the crazy. Blame Donna/Harvey. Those idiots.)

Title: Some Nights (It's Because Of The Past), Chapter 2
Rating: G
Category: Donna Paulsen/Harvey Specter.
Spoilers: Season Two, War.
Disclaimer: Owned by others.

Part 1: Some Nights (It Was Meant To Be)
Part 2: Some Nights (It All Could End)
Part 3: Some Nights (It Takes A Conversation)
Part 4, Chapter 1: Some Nights (It's Because Of The Past), Chapter 1


He loses again.

The second loss hurts worse than the first. Once is a fluke, but now he's in a rut, and even Louis looks at him with a kind of thrilled horror.

"Get it together," Jessica says sternly in passing, and he grits his teeth. He has everything to prove to get his name on the wall where it's deserved, but he's having a hell of a time showing it.

Donna meets him in his office with a stack of files and a hard look. "You need to bring Mike in on this."

He notices she doesn't use the word help, or position the statement as a suggestion; it's as though she already knows he's going to avoid the discussion. "Did Lamar call?"

"I handled it. Don't change the subject."

There's definitely no getting her to leave it alone until he answers. "I've got it under control."

"You're in trouble," she argues. "And you're the only one who doesn't want to see it."

The hard reality is he could use Mike on the case; it's already unraveling faster than he can put motions in place to hold it together. Two losses could become three very quickly, and unacceptable is an understatement. But betrayal is not something Harvey takes lightly.

"He hasn't suffered enough," he tells her, only half-joking.

She doesn't bother to hide her exasperation. "Let it go, Harvey. It's been long enough. You've put all of this on him, and he's not the one you're fighting."

It feels more like a battle against everyone in the firm - against Jessica's ironclad control, Darby's slow takeover, Scottie's inconsistency, and every partner that's eyeing the growing chink in his armor. He doesn't want to admit to what Donna is pointing out, but it's becoming clear he won't survive the onslaught alone.

"I'll think about it," he offers. But he knows even as he says it that it's simply pride getting the better of him. He sighs. "Tell Mike I need to see him."

"He's already on his way," she answers smoothly.

He should have known.


"Donna suggested it," he tells Scottie as he refills her glass. "Louis was in my office for a week yammering on about the M&A strategy, so she had the courier drop it off anonymously - a bottle she'd picked up with Brad or something a few days ago, but it looked-"


He stops at her interruption. "Who's Brian?"

"Brian," she repeats in two syllables as though his hearing it again slower will somehow help him remember. "Donna's boyfriend."

He shrugs. "Brad, Brian, whatever. He was just her..."

The word date is on his tongue, but it dies just before he says it - boyfriend finally filtering through. Suddenly he realizes it has been a while now that Donna's been seeing this guy - the name coming up enough in random conversation that Harvey at least had the start of it correct.

Scottie is watching him, eyebrows raised in amusement. "There it is."


"Your 'figuring it out' face," she explains.

He smirks, unconvinced.

"Why do you think I beat you at poker?" she adds.


So Donna has a boyfriend.

It's a non-event, he tells himself.


He wins the next case, thankfully, and it's a slaughter.

He's in a take-no-prisoners mood after the months he's had, so the damage inflicted is severe and the rewards for Pearson Darby significant. It doesn't immediately fix the tension with Jessica, or the distrust from Edward, but it goes a long way toward helping and putting him back on top.

"It was legendary," Mike shares proudly.

"Don't get cocky," Donna admonishes them both, but she winks.

Scottie doesn't talk to him for weeks.


But ever hot and cold, Scottie returns to his door after the period of silence wearing a trench coat with nothing underneath.

"The competitive side doesn't just go away because I love you," she admits in lieu of an apology as she sheds the coat with a lazy smile and starts working on his belt.

"I'm going to keep winning." He wants to be clear about that. This thing between them doesn't come at the expense of his career.

"You're not the only big shot lawyer at Pearson Darby, you know," she teases as she continues to casually strip him of his clothes. "We're both getting our names on that door."

"I'll probably get there first."

She laughs. "Then next time, it's going to take longer than a couple of weeks to get over it."

He slips his hands around to her back to pull her close so he can place a kiss on her shoulder, another on her neck. "Donna said to give you the space."

Scottie suddenly stiffens in his arms. "God, Harvey."


She shakes her head in frustration and looks up at him. "Do you hear yourself?"

"Was I not supposed to do that?" he asks, hesitant but incredulous. Somehow he's veered off course, and it's like finding himself in the middle of a minefield with no idea where it's safe to step.

Scottie sighs. "Just... stop talking, okay?"

He complies, his lips meeting hers with no further questions asked, and at least that seems like the right thing to do.


After the official completion of the merger, the firm transforms into a battleground - Pearson and Darby redundancies on either side of the pond are cut, and the feeling of desperation lingers in conference rooms.

He relies heavily on Donna's inside knowledge to stay ahead of the changes and keep as many Pearson assets in place as possible. His involvement in select troubled cases across the firm that Donna makes a point to stress is very discreet; publicly, his own cases continue to win as they should. They're not as financially lucrative in scale, but they're wins, sometimes impossible wins, and helped in no small part by Mike who is unusually razor-sharp and focused.

"It's Rachel," Donna says, and lifts an eyebrow meaningfully.

It clicks immediately. "He's sleeping with her?"

"Good luck stopping that."

Harvey's already spending an extraordinary amount of time protecting Mike's secret and keeping him out of Edward's crosshairs, and he suspects Jessica is doing likewise. It's in the best interest of all involved to keep that information quiet. As far as he's concerned, Mike can sleep with whomever the hell he wants, but Harvey remembers their conversation from months ago and his ire rises.

"He told her." It's not a guess, and Donna's face says it all. He slams a file closed. "I'm going to kill him."

"Rachel will keep his confidence," she states, and she seems sure.

"Because he's made such good choices up until now," he reminds her as sarcasm rises to the surface.

"Because I know Rachel," she counters.

"So when he does something stupid and they're yelling at each other in the middle of the office, or when Darby questions her value to the firm and she has to prove her worth... even then?"

Donna just looks at him calmly. "Even then."

He wonders briefly if there's layered meaning in her words. It's an insinuation in her tone, an undercurrent that seems to say something about loyalty and trust.

They never discussed the night at his place. It hadn't been necessary with understanding built into their 13 years, and there had been no change between them, no fallout in the months since. It only crosses his mind on occasion - the way she had kissed him, intoxicating in the depth of feeling like it had been all or nothing.

He looks up at her, but she's gone before he's thought of the right question to ask.


"It wasn't winning that defined you," she'd said, quiet and poised when she'd left that night.

He still doesn't know what she meant.


Jessica hands him the case with a cool, "play nice."

It's second chair to Darby much to Harvey's annoyance, but unexpectedly, it doesn't end up the disaster he anticipates at the start. There's a brilliance to Edward's approach, like a chess Grandmaster planning six moves ahead, that Harvey finds himself reluctantly admiring. Although initially distrusting, he can't find argument with Edward's strategy, and together they craft a defense that is devastatingly sharp. They're not more than two days in when the prosecution crumbles.

"That might be a record," Edward reflects later, his interest piqued. "You're a talented lawyer, Harvey."

Jessica's reaction is understated - a curt nod, and the hand-off of yet another special case - her cards held much closer to her chest since the merger. But even in success, Harvey still feels the yoke of control around his neck.

He knows it's a long road to redemption, and the thought chafes.


It takes some time to see - both of them occupied with the influx of cases as the two firms combine. But slowly he begins to notice the disconnect between them as though he and Scottie always seem to be one step off despite their efforts to make the relationship work.

It's an observation that once identified can't be ignored, and soon he notices it frequently. In decisions, in arguments - Scottie doesn't say what he thinks she will. But more than that, she doesn't say what he needs. She agrees where he thinks she'll challenge him. She fights where he needs her to take his side. It's perplexing and frustrating, even simple conversations twisted by the unpredictable, and he feels it all should be easier.

"You have these expectations," she says over morning coffee and bagels like it's safer to broach the topic in the pre-dawn light. "Expectations of how we should be."

"It was different in law school," he admits. Everything seemed to work better between them before.

"We were just two kids fooling around together back then, of course it's going to be different. But Harvey, something's wrong in this relationship."

She waits for him to figure out the unrealizable. And the moment hangs, asynchronous, as he waits for her to tell him what he's missed. It's with examples like these that he can't help but wonder if they should understand each other better by now. He wishes for Donna's input; he knows she would already have it figured out and be cutting to the chase.

"Do you love me?" Scottie asks suddenly, but she's more curious than apprehensive.

He knows she loves him, and she hadn't before pressed him for the same - sensing, perhaps, that he didn't have an answer. It's obvious they work well professionally in both competition and now in cooperation, and there's familiarity behind it having known her for years. It hasn't been a daily association however, so it isn't as instinctive as it is with Donna - the history not as complete and the relationship not as smooth, but it should be enough that the gaps and missteps are workable despite his... expectations.

Maybe that's what love is, he thinks, and kisses her.


It occurs to him one day out of the blue that Donna hasn't thrown a quip about Scottie his way in months.

He wonders when that started.


His conversation with Jessica goes badly. Very badly.

He's played the good soldier since the merger and proved himself by bringing both new business and wins to the firm. But what starts as a reasonable demand dissolves into an ugly argument that ends with a threat and a reminder.

"I will tell you when you're even close to ready," she says, voice low with hard finality.

This time, he throws something, and it breaks into too many pieces to count.


Love at first sight and happily ever after are things Gordon believed, and look what that got him, so Harvey's approach is tentative to say the least. He doesn't want to be in love because the word still carries connotations of weakness he can't overcome, but he knows he wants what love, in all of its misguided forms, offers despite these flaws.

There's comfort in being in an equal partnership with Scottie, in having a shared history and being in one another's confidence. It feels familiar and right, and he manages not to balk at what a relationship with her represents. And though it's never easy, occasionally - when their conversation is in sync, when her body fits with his, or she smiles right when he thinks she will - the prospect of love isn't quite so daunting.


It's a white tie ball to rival any event that's ever come from the likes of Smith & Devane or Wakefield-Cady, and the message to everyone is clear - Pearson Darby is unparalleled. The celebration of a year of partnership extends to their entire bank of clients, the list impressively long. Harvey is learning that Edward lives in majors, not minors, and from the excess of guests already present, the city embraces the philosophy eagerly.

Harvey leaves Scottie in conversation with Mike as he goes in search of a stronger drink to exchange for his champagne. He turns the corner and in his periphery catches sight of Donna across the bar. It's worth the double-take it causes - she looks unbelievable.

He has a hard time reconciling the Donna he's known for over a decade with the one standing twenty feet away. He's never seen her in this particular dress - a radiant sapphire and gold with creative angles in the design that cover one shoulder and cut away to a slit that ends low between her breasts; it pulls his focus, and then his thoughts, as he imagines it's meant to. Harvey knows well what it would be like to have her out of the dress, and unbidden, the memories from that night rush at him. They're practically in Technicolor 4D with his mind in fifth gear the way it is, and his mouth suddenly feels dry like the ballroom has gone arid. It seems too warm inside, claustrophobic even, but he finds himself still staring as Brian casually slides his arm around her waist.

Harvey decides he's never really liked the name Brian. It's overused and unremarkable, and Donna has always before gone for guys with names like Mateus or Everett or Anton. He doesn't know what it is about Brian that's caught her interest - the guy seems too tame, too... undeserving.

"You didn't make it far," Scottie notes as she joins him. There's a pause as she follows his line of sight. "Now I get it."

He gives her a questioning glance.

"Donna," she says simply. "And Brian."

He detects the odd tone in her voice and guesses he hasn't been alone in noticing the incompatibility. "It doesn't make sense."

"Doesn't it?"

"He isn't her type," he explains, and watches as Donna smiles at something Brian says. "The last guy was an Austrian dignitary with a summer home in Milan. Before him was a Formula One official. She breaks up with them and she gets handbags and symphony tickets, not flowers. Brian is a flowers guy."

Scottie lets out a soft sigh. "She's happy, Harvey."

"Is she?" He knows exactly what will make Donna laugh - has gotten good over the years at reading her, at knowing what she doesn't say when she looks over at him. And from the way she always lets Brian reach for her, or how her smiles with Brian seem to lack that extra layer of pride or joy or mischief, he feels somehow like she's settling.

"Settling for what?" Scottie asks coolly, and he didn't realize he'd commented aloud. He also doesn't have an answer. There's something about saying settling for love that suddenly seems like a very bad idea.

Donna's attention flits across the room, her gaze finding his. He doesn't know when her expressions became so enigmatic, but there's nothing more to her smile for him than what he's used to seeing in her usual morning greeting. He doesn't expect more, and yet it's also the same reserved smile she uses with Brian.

"You should tell her," Scottie says, and he laughs at the suggestion.

"I'm sure she'd appreciate knowing we think Brian's a flowers guy."

She shakes her head like she's perplexed, a ghost of a smile present that also manages to look incredibly sad. "God, Harvey, you're an idiot."

He frowns, not expecting that comment. "What am I missing here?"

Edward joins them looking pleased, and Scottie doesn't get the opportunity to answer.

"Quite an impressive turnout," Edward observes, then glances between them. "Ah, I seem to be interrupting."

Scottie puts on a smile though Harvey can tell it's forced. "No, it's alright. I could use another drink."

He watches her leave, feeling unsettled and frustrated. One step off, as usual.

"I wanted a word, Harvey," Edward says, putting a stop to any further thought on the situation with Scottie. "While you and I might have started off on the wrong foot, I hope we can set the past behind us. You've closed some impressive cases recently."

Harvey acknowledges the remark with a nod. He might be on better terms now with the Darby contingent that's been added to the firm, but he still doesn't trust their intentions. "It isn't a fluke."

"No," Edward agrees. "I can see that now. The best closer in the city, but hard to control."

He clenches his jaw briefly, shrugs. "Is this your idea of bromance?"

Edward ignores the jab, watches him keenly. "I believe it's high time we talk about making you a named partner."

Shock shoots through him, but Harvey holds it at bay, his suspicions suddenly raised. "And Jessica's on board with this?"

Edward simply offers a nonchalant smile. "Darby Specter has the perfect ring to it, wouldn't you agree?"


Donna finds him before Scottie does, a fifth of bourbon in hand that she passes over to him.

"What did he say?" she asks and sits beside him on the bench. It's brisk outside, but he needed the air to clear his head. From the way he feels stiff with cold, he guesses he's been sitting for a while.

"That I'm the best closer in New York," he says honestly, unsure if he's been able to work through the rest.

She gives him a look. "You know I'll figure it out."

He knows that to be true enough. He glances over and sees that at least she had the presence of mind to grab her coat before she followed him outside.

"How's Brian?" He doesn't care, but somehow he wants to hear her answer.

She studies him for a moment, and he suddenly recognizes the silence. Over the last year she's grown distant - not in the cases or the firm, not in the everyday of their professional lives, but in the personal. Without even being fully aware, he'd missed that rapport, that easy partnership with her.

"He's good," she says, and takes a breath. "We don't have to do this."

"And the magazine?" he continues. He knows print is a dying medium and even an editor of a highly regarded publication like The Observer would be wary of the digital future.

"It's fine. Harvey, what's going on?"

He's satisfied with the simplicity of Donna's answers, yet bothered by the lack of detail. The wants are incongruous and irritating. He throws back the bourbon and waits for it to do its job, warmth crawling down to settle in the pit of his stomach.

"Darby Specter," he says, and Donna looks speechless.

There's a long pause as she absorbs the information, but he knows her question before she even asks it.

"And Jessica?"

He has no answer. The prospect of Darby Specter leaves little doubt where Pearson fits into the equation. But Donna doesn't look like she's waiting for more, her brow furrowed and expression serious. "What are you going to do?"

He runs a hand over his jaw. "I have no idea."

He's thankful when she doesn't press him further - Donna knowing in her unique way that he needs more time. She rests a hand on his arm. "We need to go back inside; you're freezing."

So he follows her back to the party, bourbon warming his core and his head too full of unorganized thought. Darby Specter is an offer he never saw coming, and it's a greater temptation than he ever thought possible.

"What did you mean?" he asks, stops her inside the entrance before they're surrounded by the crowd.

She looks at him questioningly. "What did I mean when?"

"It wasn't winning that defined me."

She doesn't look surprised at the topic, just thoughtful as she reaches up to straighten his tie. Her hands don't linger, just a quick fix, yet it's more intimate than any interaction they've had in nearly a year.

"You'll do the right thing, Harvey," she says.

It's not an answer, but somehow it still helps.


He doesn't get a chance to reflect on the conversation before Scottie approaches and gestures toward Donna's retreating form. "She doesn't see it either."

"See what?" he asks. Everything feels like a question with her tonight.

Scottie looks at him, her expression saddened but resolved. "It's never going to work, you and me. Not like we want it to."

He knows these speeches, but hearing it from her comes as a complete surprise. It hasn't been the easiest relationship, more dissonance than harmony, but he thought they were finally getting somewhere - that love was becoming more than just a possibility.

"Harvey, you're in love with her," she states, and her voice doesn't waver.

It takes him a second. "With Donna?"

And he can't help but laugh. He's still finding his footing around the concept of love, only now open to accepting what he previously rejected outright. But in love? With Donna?

"Not in the slightest," he continues, amused. "Is this because I closed the O'Leary case?"

Scottie actually smiles like she understands. "What you've been looking for, what's been missing... I'm not her."

He shakes his head, growing frustrated. "Look, I don't know what you think-"

"She's your partner."

"She's my secretary," he snaps. He says it out of annoyance, but they both know that's the understatement of the year.

Scottie bites her lip, and he's surprised to see how upset she is. "You don't think I want this with you? That I haven't been trying to make this relationship work? I'm in love with you, Harvey."


"Don't say something you'll regret," she interrupts before he has a chance to argue. "I know you don't understand. But you'll have to trust me on this one."

He needs a drink. "So that's it?"

She's watching him carefully, her thoughts hidden from him, looking beautiful in a long silver dress that he hadn't fully noticed until now.

"You're a good man, Harvey," Scottie says with tempered emotion and leans in to press a kiss against his cheek. "Just don't take too long to figure that out."

He's left with an empty glass of bourbon and the remnants of what feels like a bad joke. In love with Donna, he thinks again. He wants to laugh, but nothing about the idea is funny anymore.


Tags: ,

8 whispers :: tell me a secret
bristow1941 From: bristow1941 Date: March 30th, 2013 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you just ripped my heart out with this one! Gah, thank you for writing these amazing and thoughtful meditations on the season finale and what lies ahead. *skipping off to go reread the series*
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: April 6th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poor Harvey - I'm putting him through the wringer. It's all for the sake of love, Harvey!

And eee, I'm so happy you're enjoying! Thank you!
enemeriad From: enemeriad Date: April 1st, 2013 09:28 am (UTC) (Link)
k i l l m e

this is basically all i want from s3. this and a sex scene, after hours, on his desk. nothing else.

you are fab. <3
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: April 6th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
We can hope!! They have to progress the Donna/Harvey storyline next season, right? THEY MUST.

And haha, basically this. Preferably at the mid-season finale so we can get even more in the back half.

lizook12 From: lizook12 Date: April 2nd, 2013 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
But... but... where's the rest???

*scrolls up and down futilely*

I love what you did here, the way you slowly layered it together—from her comments about Mike and Rachel to her knowing just what to say about the Darby Specter prospect—perfectly.

And I love that you made it white-tie! Also this: Harvey decides he's never really liked the name Brian. It's overused and unremarkable made me laugh hysterically.

Thanks for sharing this ♥
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: April 6th, 2013 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol - one more chapter to go! And maybe I can finally end this formal wear series, heh.

Glad it's working! I wanted to show a slow awareness for Harvey, an evolution of feeling caught up in misdirection. And eee, had to get a white tie event in there somehow! I totally used the name Brian because of The Newsroom, but figured Harvey wouldn't much like it either after watching Donna with him. ;)

Thanks as always for the comments, lovely! *hugs*
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 27th, 2013 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Will update soon with the third chapter? your story is so good
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: April 29th, 2013 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, oops! Didn't think there was really anyone reading much during the hiatus so I've been taking some time with it. SORRY. *shame* I swear the third chapter has been giving me heartburn, but yes! Writing is in progress. :D Sorry for the long delay and thanks for reading! Give me a little bit more time, but I'll have that conclusion for you soon. <3
8 whispers :: tell me a secret