|Scene Title||The Wreckage|
|Synopsis||Coping with the aftermath of a Brennan verbal vomit.|
|Location||An empty classroom|
|Watch For||So many things. So much subtext.|
There are more than enough unused classrooms right now, that Jake takes the first one, on the next floor up, and walks them into the first one available. The door closes shut with an ominous click behind them. And where his friend of 20 years is stone faced, he's pinching the bridge of his nose as soon as he can lean against one of the tables. "Okay, first. You can't punch Dr. Brennan in the face no matter how much you want to. And I am sure you want to." Because so does he. "Or Siobhan. You can't do that either. I saw that glare." But then he flounders. He has no idea what to say. So he just looks up expecting some kind of… something. An expression. An explanation. A confirmation. A denial. Anything.
Ten years ago - five years ago, even - Harvey would have argued at least the latter order, if not them both. It grated on him, this marriage of convenience. Not in any rational, logical sense, but he couldn't help feeling Siobhan was gaining everything without even being cognizant of the price being paid for all of it. But this isn't the rookie of five or ten years ago. This is Harvey Specter in his prime, so he has the sense not to argue - not to give away more than has already been so awkwardly spilled - and simply leans back against the closed door, hands in his pockets and expression carefully neutral. "Fine. I agree not to punch either Siobhan or Doctor Brennan." There were other ways to get even.
"Well, I'm glad we have that settled." Jake's tone is utterly dry. He can't help it. Nor can he help that he reaches up to pinch the bridge of his nose like he's staving off a headache. And when he looks up again, it's with… well, not hurt. But something close to it. "You couldn't tell me this? What exactly did you think I'd say? Fuck off, and get lost? You know me better than that. Shit, Harvey. How long?" There's been no denial, so he's going with 'Brennan hit the nail right on the head'.
Harvey lets one corner of his mouth twitch upward at that dry tone, but it's a swift return to careful impassivity as Jake plunges right on in. There's a pause as he considers his friend - his best friend - and measures his response. "We've got two options here, Morgan," he begins, deliberately casual in a way that reaches everywhere but his eyes. "Either you can elaborate for me just exactly what purpose that conversation would have served at any given point in our history, or you don't, we go down and pick up the Tesla, go to dinner and have any other conversation you can think of." Because sometimes there are questions you don't want the answers to. Knowledge always changes things.
"I'm not interested in trying to figure out what purpose it may or may not have served in the past. Because it's the past and it's too late to change it." Jake admits, his pose matching Harvey's for casual. Even if he can't quite manage the same for his voice. "But the future is too short to fucking waste, so I'd like the truth of what the hell is going on in the present so I can figure out what to do about it." You know, while he has time. It's also glaringly obviously someone's special pepper-up has run its course for the day. Since he's a little scowly looking.
Jake may have been trained by the best, but Harvey's known him for twenty years. On top of that, more than any other person he's been involved in every stage of this disease that has been making its merry way through Jake's body. He knows the signs that whatever medication or drug or potion has been propping him up is beginning to fail and before he can even process the words coming out of Jake's mouth there is naked concern that overshadows everything else. Which, really, should be enough of an answer on its own. It's only when he's reasonably sure collapse is not imminent that Harvey thinks back on the spoken demand. "You asked me why I hadn't said anything. You asked me how long. Both of those questions are rooted in the past, Jake." Because evidently this was not going to be one of those 'gloss over it and move on' situations, so Harvey wasn't going to lie. "You're straight, which makes it my problem. I've dealt with it for at least the last fifteen years or so." He shrugs, like at this point he could deal with it forever if he had to. If it meant holding on to his best friend. "You've… had enough on your plate."
"I'm fine. Just tired." Jake knows that Harvey knows. So the least he can do is offer a bit of reassurance. He also lets the rest of that sink in. And it does, but in layers. His expression goes distant while he considers the past and just how long a time that fifteen years must have been. "Correction." And now he sounds about as tired as he feels. "As far as you know, I'm straight." Which isn't exactly a confession of -not- being straight either. But more like a reminder that Harvey never actually asked. "You're my best, closest friend, Harvey. There's nothing you could tell me that would add too much to my plate. Nothing. Except perhaps that you're really a pod person. I would definitely take exception to that." It's a sad attempt at humor, accompanied by a drawn out sigh. "You be back here tomorrow, alright? I need to rest before I can think about dinner."
Harvey nods and at first that seems like the end of it. Like they'll walk off from this and sleep on it and everything will go back to normal in the morning. Like a Mulligan. Or something. But Harvey's between Jake and the exit - is leaning on the exit, in fact - and appears more genuinely thoughtful than he has been in a long time. "I almost 'fessed up, once. Before you shipped out. It was after you'd gone through basic and I was raised Muggle." With all the modern American muggle attitudes about life, love and the military. "So I talked myself out of it, figured you might not have freaked before but after exposure to the SEAL mentality, well." He shrugs. "You served. You know." There's a low, weary sigh. "Anyway, I spent the next five years hating myself for being a coward because you could have died out there. I said I'd speak up when you were home safe." He laughs then, though the sound is a little bitter. "Like some childish deal with God that if you came home okay, I'd be honest." He shrugs again. "But then you were dating what's her face and the longer I waited the harder it got and before I knew it, you were sitting on my couch telling me something was eating you alive from the inside out." And he pauses there, as though he can't really connect the dots out loud the way he could in his head. "I'm not brave like you, Jake. Never have been." Reckless, yes, but never brave.
"Longest five years of my life, you know." Jake muses, thinking on that time as a SEAL. Hell, his expression hardens out of sheer reflex. You don't know any kind of emotion when you're on a mission. "I was good at it. Really fucking good at it. But I tried not to let it change me. You know how stubborn I am, Harv." The ceiling is really interesting right now. Counting the cracks in the stone, and all the little pockmarks. "You're selling yourself short again. Being brave doesn't just mean putting yourself on the line in some foreign country. You've done good things, Harvey. I've never once thought of you as not being brave, and I don't think it now either." There's a pause, and another deep breath let go. "If I'd known sooner, I wouldn't have put you through all of this. A lot more of it makes sense now. How much you don't like my marriage in name only. You know I'm doing it for Cole and not me, I hope. And so that the money is used for something good."
That makes Harvey snort, at least. "You? Stubborn?" He shakes his head. "Even I can only talk you out of something crazy three times out of five and I'm the most persuasive sonofabitch alive." Yeah, humble too. But the humor doesn't last long. "Rationally, yeah, I know your reasons for doing it. I'm the one that drafted most of that paperwork, if you'll recall. Actually me, since it was too sensitive even for my associate. You know how long its been since I had to type up my own contract?" He's mostly teasing to try and hide the sharpness in his eyes. "I get it, Jake. I do. It just… I don't even care that you two are just friends. There are worse foundations for marriage. But she - " He cuts himself off, turning away to glare out the window for a minute. "She doesn't realize what she's got." Which is why his problems tend to surface more when Jake's wife and the Headmaster are anywhere with him together. "I didn't mean brave like that," he continued on a sigh, hands back in his pockets and shoulders slumped forward in a very un-Harvey-like display of defeat. "I mean brave in the 'I should have done the honorable thing and spoke up sooner' sense." But there was always something - some new little thing every time - to hold him back, to bid him bite his tongue. "I wasn't ready to cope with the possibility that you'd think less of me - or worse, that you'd think less of yourself."
"Got to keep you on your toes, buddy. You can't give all the shit work to your associate." Nothing can stop either of them from giving the other a bit of shit, apparently. "I don't know what to say about that. We like and respect each other. But she and Severus have a bond forged in magic. Nothing comes between that, and I wouldn't even bother to try. I'd rather she not get attached, since it will be easier when it's my time to go." Which is why the fact that Harvey feels a whole lot more for him than Siobhan does is just making him hurt. A fact that finally starts to show in his, frankly, concerned expression. "Well, ok. You were a dumbass for thinking I might think less of either of us. So there's that." He's not agreeing on the bravery thing, mind. But he's sure willing to call out stupidity. "Because I don't. And I won't." Capiche?
It's always hard for Harvey, whenever Jake is so cavalier, so casual in his mentions of dying. He manages not to wince this time, but the skin around his eyes and mouth goes tight and there's something heavy about the set to his jaw, the way he swallows thickly around nothing. He snorts a low laugh at being called a dumbass, but he takes it as his due. "Well then. Now that's cleared up." He clears his throat and shifts his weight from one foot to the other. "Guess you'll want that nap before dinner." Because at this point there really was nothing left he could say. Not without risking injury to the soft places he worked so hard to keep hidden.
Jake really can't help it. Ironically, speaking cavalierly about his imminent demise makes it easier to cope with. A reminder not to let himself get too attached to anyone. Only, in this case it's too late. But he does, at least, reach over to squeeze Harvey's shoulder reassuringly, if it's allowed him. "Want one? Not really. Need one? Yes. I'll let you know when I wake up, and you can tell me if you still want to head out somewhere." he offers, waiting for the man to step out into the hallway first so that they can both go brood. Or sleep as the case may be.
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