Title: The Cost
A/N: After the Season Finale 'War' I wasn't really happy with Jessica. This is one way I would like things to play out. Begins a couple days after War.
Seeing Donna's extension on his phone's caller ID, Mike quickly answered it.
"Mike. Jessica's in Harvey's office, but they're about done," she told him.
"Be right there. Thanks, Donna," he said and hung up. He'd come up with a plan to make things right with Harvey, and Donna had agreed to at least give him the chance to put it into action. Picking up the paper he'd kept ready, Mike hurried to Harvey's office.
"Mike," Harvey said as the younger man walked in, his tone cold. "You don't just walk in here anymore."
"I'm just here to give this to Jessica," he answered, handing her the paper.
"You're resignation?" she asked in surprise. Harvey gave Mike a sharp, assessing, look.
"Yes. Harvey fired me, and I work for Harvey – not you. And it's not like you didn't let him fire me because you care about me. You did it to prove your power over him. And because you think I'm the next Harvey, but better for you – since you think you can use my secret to control me like you could never control him. You think you can use me to control him. Not going to happen. I don't want to work for Pearson and whoever." He looked at his former boss. "I want to work for Harvey. If you want your associate back, just call. But only if you want me back – not if she does."
Mike focused back on Jessica, and handed her a paper. "The motion you never did file. Now a week old. This is one of my copies. Try to hold that secret over my head again, and you won't be able to pretend you just found out. This is proof you knew, and didn't turn me in. Harvey will also have a copy, so you can't use it to take him down either – not without going down yourself."
Having said what he needed to, Mike turned and left.
A month later Mike's phone rang early Saturday morning. "Harvey?" Mike asked, having checked the caller ID.
"Be at work Monday morning. Your one month suspension is over."
"Thanks, Harvey," Mike said, and they hung up.
Mike quickly called Donna. "Harvey just called."
"I know," she replied.
"Was it really him, or an order from Jessica?"
"It's really him. He misses you – but try and make him admit that, and you'll be fired permanently."
"Understood. You're still the best, Donna."
"See you Monday, Mike," she told him and hung up.
Weeks later Jessica walked into Harvey's office. "Good work on that case."
"Thank you," he replied in a polite tone. The only tone she'd heard from him lately. She found she missed the sarcastic and joking tones she'd gotten so used to.
"Join me for a celebration dinner?"
"Sorry, but I can't," he replied.
"Can't… or won't?"
"Whichever you prefer."
"You got what you wanted. You got to prove you can control me at work. But after work hours I still have the freedom to do what I want and eat with who I want. I will keep my word, but our celebration dinners weren't part of the agreement. If there's nothing else, I need to go meet a client."
"No, there's nothing else," Jessica said, and watched Harvey walk away. His words echoed in her mind. 'You got what you wanted.' She had. But she'd been so focused on getting it, that she hadn't considered what it would cost her. As she walked back to her office she had the sick feeling that this was just the down payment.
3 YEARS LATER
Jessica smiled at Harvey as he walked into her office. "Please, have a seat."
Once they were seated, she began. "It's time, Harvey. You're getting your name on the door."
"So, I've fulfilled the terms of that bet?"
"Yes, Harvey. You've earned your name on the door. You've earned my trust."
"You've lost mine. You lost it three years ago. Daniel called me your attack dog. I couldn't deny it, but I didn't mind it; because I thought that meant you respected and trusted me. But you didn't. You said you wanted me to learn my place. I've learned that my place isn't with you… Not anymore. I will be getting my name on the door, but not your door. Now that I've kept my word, I'm leaving."
"Leaving?" Jessica asked, in shock.
"Reingold and Anderson in LA. Anderson is retiring. I've had a standing offer for months. I was just waiting until I'd kept my word to you. Anderson respected me wanting to keep my word and held off on his retirement until I could get out of here cleanly."
"Reingold and Specter," she said softly.
Harvey nodded. It would actually be 'Reingold, Specter and Litt', but he'd let Louis tell her that. Mike was coming with him as a Senior Associate.
"I assume Donna will be going with you?"
"Of course. If all goes well at the celebration dinner tonight, she'll be going as my fiancé rather than, or as well as, my assistant."
"Congratulations," Jessica managed. She had no doubt Donna would say 'yes'.
"My resignation will be on your desk by close of business. Good bye, Jessica."
"Good bye, Harvey."
As she watched him walk away, she thought back to when this had started, three years ago. When she'd talked with Darby about that bet, she'd told him he had to beat Harvey, to earn Harvey's respect. That if Harvey didn't respect him, he'd leave. That Harvey was too valuable to lose.
But she hadn't stood back and let Darby beat Harvey. She threatened Mike into betraying Harvey, so that he'd lose. During that argument in the bathroom she'd said they thought she couldn't control Harvey, and she was going to prove she could. She'd thought she had to prove she could control Harvey to earn Darby's respect. But it had cost her Harvey's trust. He was too valuable to lose, but she'd lost him.
She'd gotten the merger she wanted… but the cost… The cost was so much higher than she'd ever imagined it could be.
She gave a soft, bitter laugh. Harvey had said he was trying to stop the merger to protect her. But she'd wanted the merger so badly she'd refused to hear him out. But now she understood. She was no longer the named and managing partner of her own firm. She was in charge of one office of a massive law firm. Instead of making her own decisions, she answered to Darby. She'd been so focused on controlling Harvey, she hadn't considered that it would be Darby controlling her. He was always polite about it, but it was always known that he was in charge, not her. No, Daniel and the others couldn't touch their firm, but it was their firm, not her firm. This was what Harvey had been trying to prevent. Trying to warn her about. And she hadn't listened.
The words of a poem drifted through her mind:
Not what you thought
When you first began it.
Got what you want,
Now you can hardly stand it.