Author's note: MAJOR spoilers for "Breaking Point" and "Sucker Punch". This is my first attempt at writing a fic from Harvey's POV. I hope it's not weird. :)
It took Jessica less than a second to read me the riot act once we were back in her office. I wasn't quite sure why she bothered to wait for the door to shut, since it would have been obvious to anyone passing by that she was less than pleased. Any other day, Hardman's stab in the back would have washed away her chronic exasperation over the antics of a certain senior partner. But when said senior partner was the one who did the stabbing. Well. You can imagine how well that went over.
I could have said many things in response to, "What the hell are you doing?" But the fact that I stood there and stared at her for a few moments left her searching her desk for what I can only assume was something heavy, yet aerodynamic. I could have said that it was because of Mike's temper tantrum in the conference room, or that I was finally won over by Hardman's arguments (both scenarios as likely as Louis suddenly gracing the cover of GQ). What I won't say, what I will never say, is that my vote to settle came from that freeze-frame image in my head of a pissed-off redhead in an elevator.
She had every right to be angry. I know this. I may not be Mr. Emotion, but I'm not stupid. I went out on a limb for a twenty-something con-artist I'd known for only a year and threw her and her fifteen years of service to the wolves. Or so she thinks. She also thinks she knows me, reading my thoughts through every skewed necktie, every slight deviation from the norm. But right there, in front of twenty voting Senior Partners, she wouldn't have known me at all.
According to some old Chinese proverb, if you save someone's life, you are responsible for that person forever. Walking evidence of that is currently sulking in the bull pen on the fifty-first floor. I did save Mike's life, the second I told him to pick up the pot and stuff it back into his briefcase, and he was making the most of it. Degree or no, the kid has amazing potential. He's mouthing off a lot more these days, and though I will continue to give him shit about it, I'm actually proud of the fact that he's begun standing up for himself. There was no way in hell I was going to let one vindictive asshole ruin Mike's career, and if the price was a somewhat-strained relationship with the Managing Partner, so be it.
And then there's Donna. I know she thinks I left her to twist in the wind, but there is one simple fact that she, for all her brilliance, fails to grasp: she is my Chinese proverb. When the strongest person in your universe has saved your own life repeatedly over the course of fifteen years, the simple truth is, you don't expect them to need saving. Call me an idiot (just once, mind you) but I thought we'd get through this. Right up until the moment she slipped into the elevator with a box under her arm. Even then, I expected a phone call. It was her job to follow up on these things, to call me, by every colorful epithet in the book if necessary, argue every point, and be a general pain in the ass until everything was back to normal. By the look on her face as she disappeared into the elevator a second time, that was highly unlikely.
And so I stood there in the circle, the raised hands around me fading to a vision of my closest friend, on the stand, under subpoena. Travis Tanner doesn't give a shit about Donna Paulsen. Tanner wouldn't be near tears in the bathroom, either, after ripping her to shreds. This time, though, there was something I could do to save her, and reciprocate all those years of trust by the only means left to me.
"I vote. We settle."
I ignored the daggers coming from Jessica's direction and focused on the idea that this was the start of something. It was going to be a war, getting her back, in every way possible, but I was the best Closer in the city, and damn if I wasn't up for the challenge.