Notes: Spoilers for SEASON 2 FINALE
The Dance By Atheniandream
Oh, can't anybody see
We've got a war to fight
Cannot find our way
Regardless of what they say,
How can it feel this wrong?
In this moment
How can it feel this wrong? ~ 'Roads', Portishead
The Plaza was dancing with Partners, Associates, Assistants, Receptionists and Benefactors, all passing and linking and flowing around one another like they were engaged in a misshapen dance. It was the way at parties; introduce yourself, say 'hi', connect, charm and move on to the next. To those whom you knew, or who remembered you from before, this was a chance to strengthen a friendship; seal a deal or connect on a level that you hadn't established the last time.
For Mike it was probably a nerve rackingly overwhelming experience, but for Harvey? It was child's play… a perfunctory and practised gesture of social elegance. Something he had picked up quickly. And it occurred to him; Mike may well be a strong lawyer and ahead of his class, but his talents were built on truth, on chivalry and seeking out the fact; real from the fake. Harvey's power was still about truth, but it was wholly about people. Anyone could deny a fact in front of them, but almost no one can deny themselves in front of truth when someone called him on it. It had taken him to meet Mike to now understand and accept the distinction. He'd told Mike that he wasn't the best; but when it came down to it, it wasn't about 'best'. Mike was a good lawyer, and razor smart, and sure he was so honest that he got himself in trouble most days, but that didn't make him any less than. Harvey could respect that; the fact that someone had risen above him and not by walking the same line. However, in this pool, Mike could be seen drowning, keeping with the herd, not bothering to venture out and make a social name for himself. He sure had a way to go in developing his social skills on a 'schmoozing' level.
He watched Mike, swimming around Rachel - whom he'd gotten to know only very recently – clad in a very tight black number with white woven detail on the top and her hair in a delicate bun at the back of her head. He understood now. At first he'd just assumed that she was some bimbo paralegal, stupid enough to fall for Mike; but Donna's insistence that she was a very smart and capable member of staff had opened his eyes a notch. Her integrity spoke to him first – like Donna had said, damn her – and the rest had followed. Soon she had softened him, and although he would not let on in a million years, Harvey Specter now had a soft spot for Rachel Zane. She was a sweetheart, and almost one hundred percent gold; which is why he knew Mike should not be flirting with her at this very moment; his lips getting so close to her ear that he would probably be able to smell her shampoo. He knew about girls like her – hell he'd dated a few – girls who never really understood their lure and would forever play in a sea of contempt with the face of an angel. She was harmless, unless you were the right man. And Mike, Mike was… bait.
His attention was caught on a knife edge as Rachel's eyes moved to the stairs, widening to take in the view. He knew instantly.
In a haze of her, the misogynist side of him couldn't help but think just how well his money looked on her; it had never been so well spent. The black chiffon dress hugged everything she had to give, from the strapless detail to the tiny waist she had – that he'd never really noticed until now – teamed with a fishtail that splayed out as she glided expertly down the long expansive flight of stairs. Her hair hung in long waves teamed with this heavy necklace of black and silver. He'd been impressed enough until he'd seen the Manolo Blahniks'; a flurry of silver and diamond bows peeking out from under the skirt edge as she flicked the dress out of her way.
Who was this woman…really…?
He checked himself by the time she'd reached the bottom, but he suspected she'd already seen something in his expression to tack onto. Luckily Rachel had flown into an unsuspecting rescue.
"Oh my god, Donna! You look… Wow!" She said.
He levelled his expression, chancing a look at Mike who delivered a less than supportive glance toward him. He was no help…
"Hey guys, wow Rachel, very nice…" She said, slightly flipping her hair. "I'm just going to get a drink. I'll be back in a sec, anyone want anything?"
He swore that she almost winked at him.
The moment Donna had swept through the doors it had occurred to her that this was a bad idea. She should have kept it low-key, gone with something understated and more her reflective of her position. But she couldn't help it. Just because she was an assistant, it didn't make her less than. By nature she was dynamic, dramatic and often loved to be the centre of attention. She'd made peace with it years ago when she'd given up the theatre, but in the world of Attorneys she had always played it safe, kept herself reserved, measured. But she was not one of these people. This was the knowledge that kept her sane, kept her ahead of the game; kept them where they were today and she was not about to quash the fact. Plus this silent niggle in that back of her head every time she saw Scottie made her want to dress in violet and wear red lipstick every day and she supposed that this was maybe a factor in her thinking when she'd bought the dress. Scottie was beautiful; the kind of beauty that developed naturally in her teens and flourished from then on without much aid; the childlike face, thick wavy hair and innocent demeanour making it her biggest asset against her hard soul and cut throat attitude. But Donna was not like this, she wasn't blessed petite and innocent and alluring. She was strong and fiery and controlled. And this was her awakening.
As she took the stairs and was confronted with the view; an open glass laden Plaza of the masses; four floors of people stuck into one square-footage, mingling and drinking and talking as one. She felt a bubble of excitement; or was it nervous excitement? She couldn't tell which, but her feet kept moving until she was met with her gruesome threesome. Rachel looked divine; clad in Roberto Cavalli; all black and white and elegant; Mike looking adorably too young for the size of his bowtie and Harvey… Harvey fitted every inch of suit, like a James Bond stand-in. She tried to not let the latter stall her but it wasn't easy. The way he clenched his jaw, narrowed his eyes and pouted slightly at her made her slightly gin soaked head – she'd had two since getting ready, just for nerves – dizzy at the sight. She puffed up.
"Oh my god, Donna you look…Wow!" She blushed at her gushing friend. Rachel was a nice girl but she didn't gush unless she genuinely felt it.
But the boys… they acted… a little differently. Mike seemed to be avoiding her gaze and looking at Harvey… and Harvey… well, Harvey was kind of squinting at her and Mike simultaneously; making her feel less and less like the goddess she'd recited to herself in bedroom mirror. An instant dislike of the situation caused her to flourish a little.
"Hey guys, wow Rachel, very nice…" She said, slightly flipping her hair. "I'm just going to get a drink."
She noticed Harvey's eyes narrow even more, so she jumped in, just to avoid any confusion or indication of how she was really feeling. "I'll be back in a sec, anyone want anything?"
She was met with she three annoying faces all shaking their heads at her in varying paces like those plastic dogs you put on the dashboard.
Her tapping her purse didn't seem to be getting the attention of anyone at the bar, and all she wanted right now was a drink; however an aimless waiter appeared at her side and she managed to swoop a glass of champagne and stand by an island to drink most of it before grasping another as the boy continued on his way through the crowds. Her heart was beating ten to a dozen against the lulling jazz quartet playing in the background so much so it could have proved a duet.
"Donna, fancy seeing you alone! That is some dress."
She heard the words as she turned to meet Scottie; small and dainty dressed a vampy almost naked crimson with a netted see-through plunged neckline. She looked gorgeous and innocently devious as she sidled up to Donna placing her glass opposite hers.
"Scottie, on your own I see?"
"I didn't come with Harvey if that's what you mean,"
"I didn't mean that in the slightest. How are you?" She smiled her most convincing smile.
"Good. You look…fantastic."
"Thanks. You too," She said, trying not to let the 'bitchy' get her.
"Has Harvey seen you yet?"
Her eyes narrowed as she bowed a little to meet Scottie's height. "Excuse me?"
"In that dress, I mean… I'm surprised,"
"Harvey's over there if you're looking for him, Dana." She replied, hard edge now creeping in.
"I've seen him already."
"I bet you have." Donna said, playing with the flute of her glass.
"I know what you're really up to,"
"Do you?" She indulged, the edges of her voices sharpening her already pointed expression.
"You love him."
"Yes. It takes a woman who's slept with him to know it."
"Really…do you love him?" She continued to indulge, almost on the edge of condescending.
"You're a smart woman, Donna. I think you know where this all ends."
"Yes… Lawyers don't end up with assistants."
With that the young woman swept away; not only leaving her champagne on the side and making her way towards her friends and Harvey. A fire flared up in her belly and she downed her drink, letting it clatter against the stone table knowing the woman wouldn't worry to look behind her and see the frustration in Donna's eyes as she straightened up, looking for anyone she knew to cushion the blow. Assistants and Paralegals weren't interested in these kinds of parties unless they had an intimate or at least a close personal work relationship with their bosses. From Mistresses to confidants only the very loyal or the very stupid could be seen at these parties, and she mingled with neither. Perhaps they both reminded her of positions that she would rather not be affiliated with or perhaps it was that neither was a good fit in her eyes when she thought of them. But often, it left her without a place to be at these kind parties. Thank god that Rachel was here. Only, in this instance Rachel was with Mike, and Mike was with Harvey and Harvey was with Scottie.
A Sticking Point, to say the least.
The moment she heard the sound of his voice she felt an odd sense of calm and ease at the person calling her name.
"You look… well, words do not do you justice."
"Thank you Louis," She said, her eyes travelling away from his sincere yet slightly leery gaze.
"He hasn't said anything has he?" He said, causing her reverie to break and posture to stiffen.
"Harvey of course… don't worry Donna, I've known for a while."
A bitter flame rose in her chest as she snatched a look at him. He answered before she could form an argument.
"Before I ripped you apart on the stand… I suspected a long, long time ago, though. I suppose that makes it worse, that I knew…"
"Don't feel bad." "My bonus bought this dress. It's Lanvin, a conciliation prize."
"He should be yourconciliation prize."
Louis being so honest only made her nerves twitch and electrify through the heavy daze of fizzy alcohol keeping her silent.
"I know I'm speaking out of turn, but you deserve more… that, at least. You've proven more than his match and you've been loyal and instrumental to his success for as long as he's been back from the DA's office. You are a jewel, Donna and it disgusts me that he doesn't give you his full attention. "
His eyes found her in a moment of rare truth. He continued,
"I was completely in love with Monica. But you….you, are a rare and beautiful creature to be admired, if not loved wholly. Harvey doesn't even know what he has. It sickens me."
"Don't be mistaken Louis, he has nothing."
"Don't be mistaken Donna, he has you. However much he isn't worth a dime of it."
Her breath was suddenly gone, all appropriate breathing lost.
"I'll be right back. Look after my drink and try not to let anyone steal it." She said.
She knew he was being strangely honest with her but it soothed her to lecture him upon common ground and closer to banter.
The bathroom would be her sanctuary for five or so minutes until she caught her breath.
She heard the jazz in the background as it reverberated against the walls; a dull hum of a bass line in playing against the paintwork as she stared into the mirror. She'd been here for at least seven minutes; any longer and people would suspect something. She'd seen people pass through the doors but luckily no one had come to find her, no doubt between Scottie entertaining them and Louis having the forum she'd looked appropriately occupied for the time being. Seven minutes was enough time to go the bathroom, sort her makeup and talk amongst people whom she had bumped into – if any – and return without so much as a whimper. Hell, with the size of the place she was sure she could do a lap of the partners and not return until the fifty minute mark. The venue was large, and if a man had swept her up it was conceivable if not slightly out of character that she'd be gone longer.
But she was Donna; and love never really happened to her these days, so she'd make her way make her way back in a minute or so and pray that Scottie had moved on.
Really wanted to get something in before the Finale! Cannot wait!
As always, please feed the Kitty! 3