A/N: Spoilers for all of Season 3 so far, including 3x04. After two years of being an emotional wreck over this show and its everything, I've finally come to the point where I need to write about my feelings (through my tears, obviously, because Season 3 is killing me). Jessica Pearson AKA everything I aspire and dream to one day be.

just to say that you've won

i gave you all
and you rip it from my hands and you swear it's all gone
and you rip out all i had just to say that you've won
i gave you all ––mumford and sons

Jessica Pearson thinks life is a real riot, sometimes. You just have to make sure you're the one laughing instead of the one getting laughed at. When she finds out about Harvey's true intentions, she almost laughs, but then she realizes she was the only one not in the joke that had been brewing in the depths of her own firm for weeks without her knowledge, and something heavy – something that screams betrayal – overtakes her until she can barely breathe.

She should have seen it coming, but had left things to chance, thought that maybe Harvey would get over all the bad energy that had passed between them prior to and following the merger, but of course he hadn't. She hadn't expected the worst out of him because she thought they were past that stage of constant wariness and watching their backs for unanticipated attacks, but apparently he was still playing the game. She sincerely hopes he's betting on the fact that she sure as hell hasn't forgotten how to play, or else he's in for a surprise. She'll be damned if she lets her firm and a life's hard work worth to call it exactly that – her firm – slip through her grasp.

Her mother had drilled false realities into her head since she was five years old and home from her first day of kindergarten. "It's a man's world, honey," turned into "Be careful out there," in middle school, and "There will be white men everywhere trying to stray you from your path," in the last week of ninth grade when she realized she wanted to study law.

Studying law turned out to be too passive of a term for Jessica, who upgraded from that to "I want to go to law school" and then "I'm going to go to the law school" and finally, "One day I'll be a famous lawyer." That one day had came and went, and after years of sleepless nights and textbooks and sweat and building contacts and tears and cases she'd never forget, she was the rightful managing partner of the most successful law firm in New York City. There were still white men looking over her shoulder at every given opportunity, double–checking her strategies and offering her lame advice and methods that had crossed her mind four steps before she knew she would be saying Checkmate.

She doesn't ever miss the skeptical stares, which are directed her way more often than she cares to admit purely out of self–respect. A whisper here, a slight shake of the head there, and a constant question looming about the space around her every time she stands tall and casually arranges her shoulders into a shrug: "How did she get there?" And she thinks, Damn fucking right I got here. White men, she concludes early on, will never get used to realizing that the Pearson in Pearson–Hardman is not a surname of another white man who's made it big, and she'll never tire of the look on their faces when they realize it's a reality they'll have to accept.

In a way, her mother had been right. She reckons it's just too bad for the people who'd like to see her fall that she's far beyond the point of being strayed from her path.

Harvey looks as if he's been expecting her when she strolls into his office unannounced – which she has every right to do, since she is the one who gave him the very office he sits in – long after Donna has retired for the night.

"Who told you?" he asks, and it feels like more of a slap in the face than his actions.

"Does it matter?" she shoots back, one eyebrow raised and an aching anger resounding in all her bones. She waited approximately ten minutes after finding out to confront him, seven of which were spent not believing her own ears and most general sense of logic.

"I guess not," he says, hardly appearing apologetic, "Well, now that we're on the same page, what is it that you want me to say?"

"I don't want you to say anything, Harvey," she replies coldly, biting down retorts along the lines of How could you and I trusted you and Get the hell out of my sight if you know what's best for you that initially rush through her brain, "But at the very least, you owe me an explanation."

He sighs. "Jessica, think about it. We've talked about this before, and it just holds a different relevance now. You're the one who has always said that there are certain times when you have to step on a few toes to get where you need to go."

"So you're stepping on my toes to get where you need to go?" she echoes, tone still holding some semblance of disbelief, like she's hoping he'll smirk and say I got you in that traditionally smug voice of his and confess that this was all part of a brilliantly conducted plot to get her to take him seriously. She would even buy a story like that over the truth that he's willingly initiated a coup d'état on her.

"Essentially, yes."

"And you're not ashamed of what you've done?"

He shakes his head, and she completely loses it. "I made you," she scoffs, edging closer to his desk and getting right in his face, "You've got a lot of nerve, making plans to take over my firm. You always seem to forget that you started out as nothing more than a mail–boy, and I always have to remind you who it was that guided you up the food chain."

"Please," he almost rolls his eyes, but then glances up at the firm line her lips are set in and the unforgiving stare she's set on him, and abruptly recalls the graveness of the situation, "Everyone got made by someone. Someone made you, no doubt, and you don't go around grovelling at their feet before you look for opportunities to climb higher."

"That's because climbing higher doesn't require me to pull them down and steal their spot secretly and unfairly," she says icily, "What happened to loyalty? Isn't that what you preached to Mike? You didn't talk to that kid for weeks because you claimed he wasn't loyal to you. And what about your loyalty to me?"

"Jessica –"

"Don't Jessica me, you son of a bitch," she snaps, "You did this. You made your choice, and now you're going to have to pay the consequences for it."

He stands up, suddenly furious. "You think I don't know that? You think I didn't want to see Pearson–Specter engraved onto the door instead of Darby–Specter? But you didn't even consider that option, you couldn't bear the thought of my name being on the door, so you brought in these fools from across the ocean –"

She holds up a finger to interrupt him, irritation only growing upon hearing his words. Leave it to Harvey to begin taking about himself and his grievances when the conversation isn't even about him. "I don't know what you thought," she says, reminding herself that the only reason he sounds slightly guilty is because he got caught, "All I know is that you betrayed me."

"I'm the best closer this city has ever seen," he continues indignantly, "I deserved managing partner, and you didn't give it to me."

"You've just proven that you don't deserve it. I was trying to fix this, but you had something else entirely in mind."

"You weren't trying to fix shit."

"You want to bring down the person who made you what you are today? By all means," she goes on, not breaking eye contact, "Go ahead. But when I stop you – which I will – and extend your non–compete so you won't have a choice but to stay, don't think you'll lead a single day of peace in my firm again."

She walks out without another word, officially coming to terms with how Harvey had been just another white man attempting to bring her down all along.

Harvey knows that Jessica isn't bluffing, but he doesn't need Louis Litt hovering around his office like a vulture to remind him of that. He tells Donna to let him in when it passes the ridiculous phase of him pacing the hallway like he's got nothing better to do. Harvey is pretty positive that he probably doesn't.

"Whatever you want, I'm not in the mood, Louis," are the first words out of Harvey's mouth. His gaze is fixed on his laptop screen.

Louis is incredulous. "But – but you're the one who called me into your office in the first place."

"Yeah," Harvey admits, deadpan, "But only because you lurking was getting seriously creepy. Now out with it, before I do what I should have done ages ago and get a restraining order against you."

Louis pointedly opens his mouth as if prepared to respond, but then decides against it and evenly replies, "I know about Jessica and how you were planning to overtake her."

Harvey looks up. "Well, how about that," he says, seemingly unaffected by this news and having no qualms voicing it, "Too bad I couldn't care less about you knowing."

"Harvey," Louis says, drawing out the syllable to signify his seriousness, "How can you be so –"

"Cold? Insensitive? Overly ambitious? And the list goes on."

"You know what I mean."

"Actually, I don't. Enlighten me."

"Really?" Louis widens his eyes, now visibly annoyed. "You're just going to sit there on your righteous ass and tell me that this is justice? You trying to overtake Jessica's rule in a firm, which I may add, is Jessica's firm to begin with?"

"Oh, come on. You're the accounting whiz out of the two of us. It must not take that many complicated calculations to figure out that only forty–nine percent of the firm is actually Jessica's," Harvey replies, as if this makes much of a difference.

"Doesn't matter," Louis retorts, "This is wrong, and you and I both know it. You were the one who was all up in my business when I was just thinking about voting in Hardman's favor instead of Jessica's because he promoted me, and all of a sudden you've taken it upon yourself to betray Jessica for your own benefit? Wouldn't you agree that that's a bit of a hypocritical and cowardly act?"

Harvey denies the pang he feels at the legitimacy in Louis's accusation, waving him off absent–mindedly. "I did what I had to do," he says, swallowing the Go to hell that he wants to add but doesn't, because then he'll also have to go on to say, I'll see you there, anyway.

Darby makes a show of pretending like he has no idea what Jessica's talking about when she gets around to asking him about his deal with Harvey. He had been the one to originally let the vital piece of information slide into one of their recent conversations, but had acted like nothing wrong had been said and had continued doing whatever he did all day other than cutting backdoor deals right under her nose. Jessica wasn't up for that kind of beating around the bush now. Jessica wanted answers, and she was going to get them.

"Perhaps if you hadn't bound Harvey so tight with all your regulations and restrictions," her fellow managing partner of choice has the audacity to tell her, "He never would have felt the need to take such drastic measures against you."

And here it is again, another white man telling her what she should have done, how she should run her firm and her life, overlooking her position and blindly inflicting his upon her and expecting her to attentively listen. Fuck you, Jessica thinks, not for the first time, and yet she smiles anyway, taking it all in stride as he speaks. She'd hate to be, god forbid, rude by interrupting him mid–sentence, so she waits until he's finished to open her mouth.

"I gave you the extra two percent of this firm as a courtesy, not as a pass to be able to spew all this bullshit at me."

"If you'd like to look at it that way –"

"Shut up," she commands, in more of an edgy state than she'd even begun in, thus abandoning all pretenses of politeness, "Here's what's going to happen."

He makes a noncommittal noise from the back of his throat, starting to say something, but she goes on without hearing it.

"You're going to tell Harvey that you made a mistake by agreeing that you would back him for managing partner if he won the Hessington case."

"You really think that I'll go back on my word?"

"I'm not giving you a choice," she replies rigidly, leaving no room for argument, "You're going to do it."

"That's quite a request, Jessica," he says haughtily, cocking his head to the side as if he's king of the castle and will be forever, "After all that's transpired, I'm not sure that what you're asking of me is doable any longer."

Absurdly enough, she finds herself chuckling at this. If he's the king, then she's the goddamn queen. "I wouldn't sound so sure if I were you."

Harvey comes into her office the next morning. She doesn't even put forward the effort of looking up and acknowledging him. Then he says, rather simply, "I would do it again," and her head immediately jolts up. He's obviously outraged about something, and she can make a decent guess that Darby has been in to speak with him already.

"I don't think so," Jessica says, staking her claim to the throne that has always been hers, unable to stomach him using her own comeback against her and considering it the very last straw in their relationship which has long since been destroyed, "I'd like to see you try."

A/N: I'd appreciate reviews letting me know what you thought, but please don't favorite without reviewing!