Actions

Work Header

Mr. Harvey J. Specter

Chapter Text


Knock-knock.

Mike poked his head into the office. “Harvey, do you need me to do anything else before I leave? Anything I need to take home for the weekend?”

“No, Mike. You’ve done enough this week. Try to get some rest. Next week might be busy.”

“Okay. Have a nice weekend, Harvey.”

“You too.”

Harvey watched his associate smile a little brighter than usual and skip out of the office. His head told him that the kid was just excited to leave at seven o’clock, but his gut told him that it was because of something else. He turned his gaze to his right and saw that Donna was gathering her things to leave.

“Donna, why is the puppy running out of the office?” He asked through the intercom.

“He has a date.” Donna smiled. She hoped that everything would work out for Mike.

Harvey wanted to ask if Donna knew whom his associate was going out with, but he didn’t feel like it was his place to ask.

“Rachel Zane.” Donna read his mind.

“The pretty paralegal?” Harvey was surprised. He thought that the two were just friends.

“Yeah. Anything else you need?” Donna stood up with her purse.

“No. Thank you, Donna. Have a nice weekend.”

“You too, Harvey.”

As he turned off the lights in the office, Harvey wondered if Mike’s personal life would interfere with his work. He thought that Mike might be too young and inexperienced to compartmentalize.

‘Well, I’m his mentor. If he needs help, he only has to ask.’

Harvey decided that he should start worrying when the problem presented itself. For now, all he had to do was head home and spend a relaxing weekend.

 

On Monday morning, Mike marched into Harvey’s office as soon as he had thrown his messenger bag somewhere in his cubicle.

“Good morning, Harvey! What a wonderful day it is!”

Harvey chuckled at the burst of exuberance. “Good morning, Mike. I assume you had a fun weekend.”

“You can say that.”

Mike grabbed a chair and started to pour out information about his date. He didn’t really care whether Harvey was interested or not; Rachel wanted him to tell Harvey about them and he had to tell someone about his super sweet date.

Harvey just relaxed in his chair and listened to his associate babble away. The kid didn’t even seem to breathe between sentences. Harvey caught the words ‘the best meal ever’, ‘the best film ever’, and ‘the best date ever’ which gave him the general message that Mike was trying to convey.

“So how was your weekend?” Mike asked.

Harvey found himself letting out a small sigh of relief. The puppy must be done rambling. “Nothing special, but good.”

“Good? That’s it? Tell me the details! You went out with friends? Had a pretty boy over?” Mike wanted to know more about his boss. He felt that they were on the path of becoming very good friends.

Harvey laughed. “Don’t you think it would’ve been special if I had a pretty boy at my place?”

“Well, look around. You already have a pretty boy in front of you and you act like it’s nothing special.” Mike grinned.

“Get out of here.” Harvey said with a smile as he handed over several files.

Then he felt the need to add, “And, try not to daydream too much about that paralegal, will you? Or you won’t have time for any dates this week.”

“Don’t worry, Harvey. We’re going out again tonight so I’ll work super efficiently.” Mike grinned once more before leaving Harvey alone.

 

When Mike walked into the associates’ area, he saw that Rachel was chatting with Harold in front of his cubicle.

“Hey, Rach. Need something?” Mike asked as soon as Harold left for the copy room.

“No. I just wanted to ask if you informed Harvey about us. I know it’s none of his business, but I work in this office and he’s your direct superior so I really think he should find it out through you.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it. I told him. He didn’t say anything so I guess he’s cool with it.”

“Oh, great!” Rachel smiled. “Do you mind if I tell Donna? We’re supposed to have lunch today and I usually value her advice.”

“You can tell anyone you want, Rach. I have nothing to lose. Everybody here hates me already. You’re the one who’s going to be less popular when the word gets out that you’re seeing me.”

“Well, if anyone thinks less of me because of that, they’re idiots.”

Mike smiled warmly. He wanted to give her a kiss, but they were standing in the middle of the associates’ area so he would have to wait until they got out of the office.

“Let’s get some work done so we won’t have to cancel our date.” Rachel smiled one last time and headed back to her office.

Mike kept his eyes on his new girlfriend, thanking God that she had finally agreed to go out with him. He had wanted her for months but despite everything he had done for her, she hadn’t wanted him. However, after he had broken up with Jenny because she couldn’t trust him anymore, Rachel had kissed him again (this time in the file room) and Mike had persuaded her to go on a date with him.

‘Best decision of my life! Well, other than running into Harvey with that suitcase full of weeds, of course.’

Mike chuckled at the wonderful turn of events in his life. He had thought that his world was going to turn upside down when he was running down the stairs in the hotel. But now, he had a job that he had always dreamed of, had a competent boss and wise friend who didn’t mind mentoring him to become the best lawyer he could be, and had a gorgeous and smart girlfriend.

‘I wish Harvey was seeing someone too. After all the things he’s done for me, he totally deserves to be happy, doesn’t he?’

He knew that Harvey wasn’t in a relationship only because he didn’t want to be in one; his boss could probably have anyone in the world if he wanted to. He glanced at the direction of Harvey’s office and decided that he could make him happy by doing his job well.

‘Let’s get to work then.’

Mike rolled up his sleeves and took off the cap of his favorite highlighter.

*****

Roughly two weeks had passed and Harvey had been both amused and impressed at his associate for finishing his work by seven o’clock just so he could go out with his girlfriend. Out of the nine workdays, Mike had missed only one day because he had to follow him to a dinner with a client. Today was Friday and Harvey was wondering if Mike would be able to extend his magnificent record as he looked at his watch.

‘In three, two, one…’

“Harvey, I’m going to head out if things can wait till Monday.” Mike was as punctual as a clock.

“Sure. Have fun, kid.”

Mike beamed and lowered his voice. “Oh, I think I’ll finally have some fun. Not that I haven’t had fun all this time but you know what I mean.”

Harvey knew exactly what kind of fun he was talking about. “I don’t really need to know the details of your love life, Mike.”

“Well, you seem to lack a love life, so I figured I could let you share mine.” Mike joked.

“And, how did you figure that out?” Harvey raised his eyebrow.

“You haven’t sported that smug grin of yours in the morning all week. Don’t think that Donna’s the only one who can tell if you’ve got laid or not.”

Harvey wanted to smack the smug look off the kid’s face. ‘When did he learn how to smile like that? Who does he think he is? Me?’

Mike checked his watch and said, “Listen, Harvey, I’d love to banter some more with you but I’ve got a dinner reservation at this romantic place and well, I have to be at my best if I want romantic things to happen after that.”

Harvey made a gesture with his hand. “Get going then. I don’t need a sad puppy on Monday.”

“Wish me luck, Harvey! Have a great weekend!”

Harvey watched as the boy ran out with excitement written all over his face. Harvey chuckled and hoped that he would see the same excitement on Monday morning for the sake of their clients.

 

Monday morning came but much to Harvey’s surprise, there wasn’t any kind of excitement on Mike’s face.

“What happened?” He had to ask.

“Nothing romantic happened.” Mike sank into the couch.

“I kinda got that part. But why?”

“Unromantic things got in the way. Her grandfather had a seizure while we were having dinner so she went straight to the hospital as soon as we were done eating.”

“And, you guys didn’t meet up during the weekend?”

“No, she wasn’t in the mood. On Saturday, she was worried about her grandfather. He’s recovering nicely, by the way. Thank God for that. And, on Sunday, her car broke down. She adores her car so yeah… she wasn’t in the mood because it was in the repair shop.”

“Murphy’s Law.”

“Tell me about it. But it’s fine. I thought she’d never go out with me in the first place so I can wait. This is nothing.”

Harvey nodded. Mike was a decent kid.

“Besides, I’m going to see her tonight. I only have to wait till seven. I think I can manage that.” Mike smiled.

“Right.” Harvey felt a little disappointed even though he knew that his associate was allowed to have some action even when he himself didn’t feel like having some these days.

“We’re going to try the new Mexican restaurant today. You know she’s a foodie, right? I bet she’s going to order us the weirdest dishes on the menu. I just hope my stomach will be able to handle them because a stomachache will surely kill the mood.” Mike expressed his concern.

“You’re in your twenties, Mike. You’re supposed to digest steel. I think you’ll be just fine.” Harvey reassured him.

Mike smiled. “Thanks, Harvey. It’s really nice that I can talk to you about this. I feel better now.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Now I’ll go get some work done and make your life easier.” Mike grinned and left the office, leaving a slightly uncomfortable Harvey on the couch.

 

Mike was telling a funny story from his childhood while enjoying his tiramisu when his cell phone started to ring.

“Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I should’ve turned it off.” He apologized and pulled his phone out of his jacket pocket.

“It’s okay. You’re a first-year associate. You’re supposed to leave your phone on. In your case, even more so. You answer to Harvey.” Rachel smiled.

“You’re right. It’s Harvey.” Mike smiled apologetically and answered the phone. “Hello? Harvey?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry to step on your romance but I need you in here.”

“You’re still at the office?” Mike was surprised.

“Yeah, it’s the Anderson case. He changed his mind just now and wants us to come up with a whole new arrangement.”

“Oh, it can’t wait till morning?”

“If it was up to me, I’d leave you alone for the big night but this guy has no patience. I’m sorry, Mike.”

Mike nodded. He understood how irrational and annoying clients could be. “It’s okay. I’ll be right there. Oh, do you want me to get you anything? How about some burritos?”

Mike could hear Harvey’s mouth watering at the idea. “Haha, no need to answer that. See you in half an hour.”

Mike put his phone back in his pocket and grabbed the bill. “I’m so sorry, Rach.”

“It’s okay. I work in that firm too, remember? I know what things are like. Besides, this will give me some time to shop for new lingerie.”

“What…?” Mike had to swallow hard.

“I put on my best one for tonight but I could always buy sexier ones.” Rachel smiled and called the waiter. She would have to order Harvey’s burritos instead of her gaping boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Harvey looked down at his phone, wondering why he had just lied. Mr. Anderson did want to change the terms of his deal but he had said ‘Take care of it first thing in the morning’. So why had he felt the sudden urge to work on the deal right away?

‘I just wanted to get things started earlier. You never know when things will get complicated. And, if everything goes smoothly, well, then we’ll have a happier client. Besides, the kid said that he could wait. I’m sure he can wait till tomorrow night. It’s no big deal.’

Harvey pushed aside the small amount of guilt in his mind. He would feel better on Wednesday morning when Mike would walk into his office with a broad smile on his face.

Chapter Text


During the following days, Harvey was reminded that his superhuman associate was only human after all. On Tuesday afternoon, Mike realized that he would be lucky if he could get out of the office before eleven o'clock. He simply had too much work, and the added work from Louis clearly didn’t help him.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mike was in a similar position but he brightened up a little when Rachel offered to help him in the library over dinner. That evening, Harvey found himself in a bad mood and headed to the car club. He figured that he felt a little bit guilty for enjoying the night air when his associate was stuck in the office. His mood got strangely better on Thursday morning when there was still no joy on Mike’s face.

“Good morning, Harvey.” Mike walked into the office with sad puppy eyes.

Harvey gestured for him to sit in one of the chairs. “It doesn’t look like a good morning for you.”

“Yeah, Rach and I were too exhausted to do anything last night. I appreciated her help though.” Mike yawned.

“Sorry to hear that. And, I hate to break it to you but you know that today’s not going to be any less exhausting, right?” Harvey had a slightly apologetic face.

“Yeah, we have two big meetings tomorrow. One in the morning and one over lunch.”

Mike yawned again and Harvey felt bad about how tired and disappointed the kid looked. “Tell you what. You don’t screw up anything till six and I’ll order something you like for dinner. You can work in here with me. What do you say?”

“Really? I’d like that.”

Mike gave him a sunny smile and Harvey thought that if Jessica ever needed a ‘happy smiling face of Pearson-Hardman’, he should recommend his associate.

 

“Nom nom, this is a piece of Heaven, Harvey. Absolutely delicious.” Mike marveled as he blessed his mouth with another spoonful of curry.

“Is that so?” Harvey was glad to hear all the appreciative sounds and words coming out of his associate’s mouth. He had paid for the meal after all.

“We should do this more often, Harvey. Late curry nights. I always feel more productive in your office anyway.” Mike grinned.

“If you behave, I’ll think about it.” Harvey wasn’t going to admit outright that he enjoyed working together in his office too; his boy knew which basketballs he wasn’t allowed to touch and appreciated the music he put on.

“So… what do you like about that paralegal so much? I don’t know her very well.” Harvey wanted to know what made the girl special in Mike’s mind. He only knew her as a pretty and hardworking fifth-year employee.

“She has a big and healthy heart.” Mike smiled automatically at the thought of his girlfriend. “She volunteers at the community center. She obviously doesn’t mind doing pro bono work.” He grinned knowingly.

“I don’t mind it either if that’s what you’re getting at. You take care of it for me.”

“I know. What would you do without me? You simply can’t imagine it, can you?” Mike sighed purposefully loudly.

“I don’t know. I think I’d go find another pretty boy with a big brain. Preferably someone who knows how to care less.” Harvey joked.

“But that’s what you secretly love about me the most! That I care about you and the clients, and that I bring emotions out of you.”

Harvey would have normally said ‘Don’t push it’, but Mike looked so happy with his little theory that he decided to let his sexually frustrated associate enjoy it.

 

The next day, Mike was in a considerably better mood because how could anyone be sad on a Friday?

“Thank God it’s Friday.” Mike breathed a sigh of relief as he slid into the back of the town car. He only had to hang on for seven more hours or so before he could start enjoying the blissful weekend.

“I don’t see why you’re so excited, Mike. Nobody calls you a ‘good boy’ on weekends.” Harvey looked up from his papers.

“Even good boys need a break, Harvey. They need a refuel so they can be good the following week as well.”

Harvey nodded approvingly. His associate had a good working attitude. He reached out and ruffled Mike’s hair just for the positive answer.

“Hey! I combed my hair nicely to meet the client! My hair was perfect!” Mike tried to comb his hair with his fingers.

“You look fine, Mike. The disheveled look looks great on you.” Harvey grinned wickedly.

“Says the man who has slicked his hair to perfection.”

“You think I look perfect?” Harvey wore his trademark smug look on his face.

“If you could stop grinning like that.”

“Not a chance.” Harvey grinned and ruffled his associate’s hair again.

A couple of hours later, Mike found himself in an even better mood. At lunch, Harvey had unusually spoken highly of him in front of the client, and it looked like he could leave the office before eight o'clock.

Bleep.

Mike checked his phone and saw that Rachel had sent him a text message: I can’t wait to see you tonight. Everything will be ready at my place ♥

‘Aww…’

Mike’s face broke into a huge smile as he touched the heart on the display screen. He knew that he was unbelievably lucky to be with someone like Rachel. It felt like she was the one, and he could only hope that she felt the same way about him.

He texted back: Can’t wait either. Too shy to send a heart though.

Then he got another message: But we’ll be doing much shyer things tonight! You think you can handle that? ;)

Mike smirked and left a message: We’ll see who gets shyer when it really matters <3

He left his phone on the desk and got back to work. No Murphy’s Law or work would stand in his way tonight.

 

At half past nine, Harvey was swirling his drink in his left hand as he rested on the couch.

‘I’m home on a Friday night. I’m never home on a Friday night.’ He mused as he tried to think about why he hadn’t felt like going out.

‘Hmm, I wonder if the puppy’s finally going to get what he wants.’ He sipped his drink and found the taste bitter.

‘He could probably work with a clearer head on Monday.’

Harvey checked the time on the clock and decided to leave Mike a message. According to his calculations, they would be having dessert so he shouldn’t be interrupting anything.

Having fun, rookie? Make sure that brain of yours is well rested afterwards.

Harvey waited for an answer but didn’t get one for minutes.

‘He’s a first-year associate. His phone should be on 24/7. No exceptions.’

Harvey couldn’t understand why he found Mike’s behavior annoying. It wasn’t like they had an emergency. He knew that Mike would put work first when it mattered.

‘Perhaps I should call him just to check if his phone is on.’

Reminding himself to disconnect the call as soon as he confirmed that the phone was on, Harvey dialed Mike’s number.

‘Okay, it’s definitely ringing. Let’s leave him alone.’

Harvey was about to end the call after three rings when he heard Mike’s voice.

“Hello…? Harvey?...”

Harvey felt the blood drain out of his face. He didn’t like the sound of his puppy trying to catch his breath.

“What were you doing?” He couldn’t help but ask.

“Oh, I’m at Rachel’s.”

“I know that. What were you doing?”

“Uh, kissing her?” Mike whispered while Rachel took the opportunity to fix her makeup in the bathroom.

For some reason, Harvey felt better but not so much.

“I need you at my place. Right now.”

“What? Why?”

“What do you think? We have work to do.”

“What work? I’ve finished everything at the office, Harvey. And, I thought we agreed that even good boys needed to rest every once in a while. Especially when it’s a Friday night!”

“Hey, I’m sorry but I don’t need to explain myself here. I’m the boss. So apologize to her and get your ass over here. I’ll be waiting.”

Harvey hung up the phone and realized that he had half an hour to come up with a convincing excuse.

 

Twenty five minutes later, Mike was inside Harvey’s glass elevator, watching the moonlight dance around the city lights.

‘I guess it’s better than leaving in the middle of sex. We were just kissing at the dinner table.’

Mike shrugged as he smoothed the front of his shirt under the jacket. Rachel had wrinkled it but it only made him smile. He was relieved and proud that he could provide her with a satisfying kiss. Kissing Rachel felt like eating cotton candy and he couldn’t wait to discover what other flavors could be associated with her.

Thunk.

The elevator came to a halt and he could see Harvey sitting on the couch, looking his way.

“Hey.” As soon as he stepped out of the elevator, he felt Harvey’s scrutinizing eyes on him. He was fully clothed but he felt almost naked.

“Hey. It looks like you were having a good time.”

“Uh, yeah, but it’s okay. Work comes first obviously.”

“Come sit. Let me get you a drink.” Harvey gestured at the single couch.

“Thanks, Harvey. Something light, please. Since I need to work.”

Harvey nodded as he tore his eyes off his associate. It was very unpleasant to notice how red his lips had become. There was a hint of pink lipstick on the swollen lips and Harvey knew exactly how many minutes and how much intensity of kissing was required to yield such a result. Then there were those wrinkles on his shirt. Harvey may not have an eidetic memory but he was fairly certain that Mike’s shirt had been in a relatively fine condition when he had seen him at work earlier in the evening.

“Can I use your bathroom before we get to work?” Mike asked Harvey who had his back to him, pouring drinks near the trolley.

“Sure. You know where it is.”

Mike got up and Harvey turned around to catch his appearance from behind. The kid had taken off his jacket and Harvey could see that the paralegal had wrinkled the back of his collar.

‘They couldn’t just talk with their mouths?’

Harvey felt like slamming the drinks on the coffee table as he took a seat on the long couch. He strongly disapproved of how his associate looked, and he knew that it had nothing to do with him not being dressed neatly as a good lawyer should be.

‘I’m jealous.’ He concluded as he sipped his drink. ‘But why? Because he had a good time and I was here alone, staring at the clock?’

Harvey looked at Mike’s folded jacket that was lying on the arm of the couch. He pictured the paralegal taking off Mike’s jacket while she had her lips passionately locked with his. Anger flared in his chest and that’s when Harvey realized that he wasn’t jealous of Mike. He was jealous of the paralegal.

‘This is rather unexpected.’ He thought because he usually liked someone right away and he had known Mike for quite some months now.

‘Well, I like someone right away and dislike that someone right away. This is different. It’s like Halley’s Comet. Doesn’t happen often.’

“So what do you need me to do?” Mike was back from the bathroom.

Harvey got up and pulled out two copies of the Pearson-Hardman bylaws from the bookshelf. “Let’s go through our bylaws, shall we? Jessica called and asked us to look over them.”

“Oh, what’s wrong with our bylaws?”

“She wants to make sure that we’re treating everyone equally. She’s trying to bring in a client who’s big on equal rights on Monday.” It was a complete lie but it wasn’t like Mike would figure it out.

“You mean for men and women?” Mike took a sip of his drink.

“For everyone, meaning no discrimination based on sex, age, skin color, rank, etc.”

“Okay.” Mike pulled out a yellow highlighter from his messenger bag and got down to work.

Harvey opened his own copy and pretended to read. If he was jealous of that paralegal, he would have to stop Mike from going out with her.

‘But do I really want to go down this road?’

He didn’t get involved with people at work for the same reason that he didn’t get involved with married people; it was just too complicated.

‘But it’s Mike. Things had already been complicated the minute we met.’

Harvey glanced over at Mike who seemed to be extremely focused. He knew that Mike had a pretty face the moment he saw him. He had been looking for another him, so good looks were imperative. But now that Mike was sitting on his couch, drinking from his glass, and working hard for his lie, he looked even prettier.

‘Do I want him for one night? If that’s the case, I can let the paralegal have him.’

Numerous banters that they had exchanged and pranks that he had played on Mike flooded Harvey’s mind. It was simply fun to have Mike around and Harvey liked to think that they had established quite a close rapport.

‘He’s intriguing. This isn’t just physical attraction. I value his mind and I’m not just talking about his memory. He’s another me but he’s also something I could never be. I’ll need him for more than one night.’

Mike chose to bite his lower lip at that very moment which got Harvey’s attention. His lips were now free of lipstick; he must have wiped it off in the bathroom. Harvey felt better that there was one less visible mark of someone else on his puppy.

‘Well, I know he bats for both teams. He told me he had both girlfriends and boyfriends at college before he got kicked out. So that’s not an issue here, but he’s not going to cheat. That’s just not him. But then, all they did was going out and making out, isn’t it?’

Harvey knew at that instant that Mike and the paralegal’s relationship couldn’t go any further. He wanted Mike and he was confident that he would get him to like him, but he still didn’t want to steal him.

“Harvey?”

“Yes?” Harvey saw a puzzled look on Mike’s face.

“Do you want me to take this home? You look… pensive.”

Harvey shook his head. “No, I’d rather have you work here if that’s all right with you. You work better in my office, remember? I’d like to think that my place has the same effect on you.”

Mike smiled. “I love your place, Harvey, but it’s getting late.”

“You can sleep here. You know I have a guest room. We can continue working here tomorrow. It’s easier that way. Besides, this is very important for Jessica and you.”

“Why me?”

“Because she’s heard all about your eye for details from Louis and she now expects you to be as thorough as humanly possible.”

Harvey smiled mischievously as Mike let out a frustrated groan. He felt bad for putting pressure on his associate for nothing, but perhaps it could keep his mind off the sex with the paralegal that he would never have.

“Can I borrow something comfortable to wear then?” Mike asked as he took off his shoes.

“Sure. Let me go fetch something for you.”

Harvey got up and grinned, determined to find the biggest T-shirt and sweatpants that he owned.

‘Hmm, perhaps I can change into more revealing clothes too.’ Harvey mused as he decided to lose his shirt. It was his place and there was nothing that Mike could do about it.

 

“Here you go. You can take a shower and try these on. The towels are in the bathroom.”

Harvey came back to the living room with a bunch of stuff for his guest; a grey T-shirt with short sleeves, dark blue pajama bottoms, a new pair of boxers, a new toothbrush, and a razor for the next morning. “I think I’ll take a shower too.”

Mike’s eyes widened. “Uh, how many bathrooms do you have?”

“One.”

Mike’s eyes grew wider.

“I’m joking. There’s one in the guest room too.” Harvey grinned.

“Oh, okay. Great then.” Mike left his highlighter on the coffee table and took everything from Harvey’s hands. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Harvey dropped his voice a little and watched Mike go into the guest room.

‘He’s right. Thank God it’s Friday.’ Harvey smiled and headed to his bedroom. He would have to come up with ideas in the shower that would keep Mike at his place for the rest of the weekend.

Bleep.

Harvey had just left the living room when he heard an unfamiliar sound; it wasn’t his phone.

‘It must be Mike’s then. The paralegal must’ve texted him.’

Fully aware that his associate didn’t have many friends, Harvey went back to the living room and picked up the cell phone that was lying on the coffee table. There was indeed a text message from the annoying paralegal: Hey Mikey, how’s work going? Give me a call when you get back home ♥

‘What in the world is that girly heart? And, seriously, Mikey? He’s either Mike or Michael. Does he even like being called Mikey?’

Harvey figured that he could do an experiment later and find out the answer by himself. For now, he had a text message to delete.

 

When the host and the guest reunited in the living room, both had to laugh at Mike’s form. Mike was swimming in the large T-shirt and his sweatpants were resting on his pelvis, making him look like a rapper.

“Is this the smallest T-shirt you have?” Mike asked as he hiked up one side of the T-shirt and sat on the single couch.

“That’s the one that would look best on you.” Harvey answered honestly.

“I know you always say looks matter, but I really don’t think clients would knock on your door at this time of the night, Harvey.”

“Well, those are my brother’s clothes. He left them here a while ago. I just thought they’d be more comfortable for you than mine.”

“Are your home wears designer brands too?”

“Yep.”

“Okay then. I don’t want to ruin them and have to sell my soul to you, so I'll try to get used to these.”

“Smart decision. I knew I hired you for a reason.” Harvey patted him on the back and wondered when would be a good time to flex his biceps. He suddenly felt as if he was an animal in the wild that was trying to attract a possible mate.

“Oh, you have nice arms, Harvey. Your morning workouts must be paying off.” Mike took in the sight of his boss wearing a black sleeveless V-neck shirt.

“Thanks.” Harvey gladly used the opportunity to flex his biceps as he adjusted the position of the coffee table.

“Wow.” Mike was impressed.

“I could teach you how to get your biceps into shape if you want. I’m your mentor after all.” Harvey offered with a smile that very few people were known to resist.

“You’d do that for me?” Mike beamed, already picturing himself with awesome biceps.

“Sure, Mikey. You’re my associate. I’m responsible for you.” Harvey was glad that Mike took the bait. Now he just had to see how he responded to the nickname.

“Great! When can we start? Can we do it now?”

The experiment had failed due to Mike not really caring what he was being called. He was too excited to get nicer biceps. So Harvey had to try again. “Haha, it’s better to work out in the morning, Mikey. We’ll do it in the morning.”

This time, Mike had noticed.

“I feel like suddenly everybody’s calling me Mikey.” He said with a small smile on his face.

“Which one do you prefer? Mike or Mikey?”

“Actually I like Mike much better. Mikey makes me feel like a kid, you know.”

Harvey wanted to shout ‘Take that, you insensitive paralegal!’ but he didn’t want to gloat in poor taste.

“Well, then, Mike, would you like a late-night snack perhaps? I have cup noodles.”

“Oh yes, please! I love those!”

Pleased at his sensitive hosting, Harvey stood up and strutted into the kitchen.

Chapter Text


The next morning, Harvey woke up bright and early despite having gone to bed at two o'clock in the morning. He and Mike had enjoyed a late-night snack and had talked about all sorts of things just like they did when they worked together in Harvey’s office. Thankfully, Mike hadn’t mentioned his girlfriend until she had texted him again and Harvey had enjoyed the sight of Mike’s shoulders taking turns at peeping out of the T-shirt.

‘Mmm, morning coffee always tastes better when I have a pretty boy over.’

Harvey stood on the terrace, admiring the beautiful view that only morning could offer. The breeze was warm and gentle, nuzzling his hair, and the sun winked at him through the cotton white clouds. Harvey let himself enjoy the advances of nature before thinking about the phone call between Mike and the paralegal from last night.

‘Well, at least it was short.’

Mike had spoken softly into the phone, telling her that he would have to spend the night at Harvey’s place but that he would love to see her on Saturday evening. They had exchanged sweet goodnights under Harvey’s disapproving glare, but Harvey had been relieved that Mike hadn’t said anything stupid like ‘I love you.’

‘I’m sorry, Mike, but you’re going to be here tonight, not out on a date with a chick.’

Harvey finished his coffee and walked out to the living room. The clock on the wall told him that it was nine. So he took off his sleeveless shirt, threw it in the laundry basket and decided to start his morning workout. Normally he would have gone to the gym on the third floor, but today he had a guest and had promised to help him with his biceps. He fetched a towel and a bottle of water and started to stretch.

“Good morning, Harvey.”

Harvey was busy doing pushups in his half-naked glory when Mike came out to the living room with his hair even more tousled than usual.

“Good morning, Mike. How was the bed?” Harvey stood up and gulped down some water.

“It was very nice. I slept like a baby.” Mike answered, wondering how many hours of workout was required to get a chest like Harvey’s.

“Good. Ready to try out some dumbbells?” Harvey pointed at the dumbbells on the floor.

“Oh yeah. Let me get some water first.”

“Sure.” Harvey toweled himself and made sure that he wasn’t too sweaty.

“Okay. Now teach me.” Mike came back with a bottle of water of his own.

Harvey tried not to grin as Mike walked towards him. “Grab the dumbbells.”

Mike did as he was told and Harvey taught him everything he needed to know about working his biceps.

“Like this?” Mike asked. He wanted to check if he was following the instructions correctly.

“You should stand still. Your upper body keeps moving forward.” Harvey stood right behind Mike and put an arm around his chest to hold him still.

As Harvey kept him in place, Mike memorized the exercises and the number of times that he needed to do them.

“The angle of your elbow is a little wrong.” Harvey let go of Mike’s chest and worked on his elbows.

“Like this?” Mike asked again. Apparently it wasn’t as easy as he had expected.

“Let me show you.” Harvey now had his hands on Mike’s hands, guiding him through each and every single exercise. He was pretty much hugging his associate from behind and he liked it.

‘Geez, I feel like a dirty gym trainer.’

But then, he realized that the paralegal probably did all sorts of questionable things in a low-cut dress under the name of ‘girlfriend’.

‘This is nothing.’ He told himself and tightened his grip on Mike’s hands.

“You do this every day and your arms will get strong enough to hold people up against the wall.” Harvey grinned and felt Mike tense up.

“Keep breathing, Mike. Breathing properly is half the work here.”

Mike nodded and relaxed again. “Thanks for teaching me, Harvey. This is nice.”

“Yeah, it is.” Harvey breathed his words against Mike’s ear. He felt the need to find out how soft Mike’s ear lobe was but it would have to wait.

“I wish there was a way I could return the favor.” Mike said sincerely.

“You mean it?” Harvey loved how Mike gave him useful ideas.

“Of course I do!” Mike turned around and for a moment, their faces became too close for Mike’s comfort.

“Uh… I think I’ve done enough for one day.” Mike quickly put down the dumbbells on the floor and poured some water in his mouth.

“If you meant it, I could use your help doing sit-ups.” Harvey sat down on the workout mat.

“Great! What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to hold me down.” Harvey lay down and drew up his knees, putting his hands behind his head.

“I can do that.” Mike knelt down on the mat and grabbed Harvey’s bare ankles.

“Count for me, Mike.”

“One.”

Mike became uncomfortable as soon as Harvey sat up. Harvey’s good-looking face was too close again. “Um… how many do you usually do?”

“A hundred. This is what helps me work all night long.” Harvey answered casually.

“You work all night long? But you have me for a reason!”

Then he realized what Harvey had really meant. “Oh, that kind of work… Uh, great. And, um, a hundred is awesome… Keep going.”

‘Why couldn’t I have an unattractive boss who never worked out?’ Mike sighed when Harvey was down on the mat. He couldn’t believe that he would have to stand this awkwardness for another several minutes.

Harvey had to bite back laughter when he noticed how Mike’s face had turned into a pretty shade of red. He looked into the wonderfully blue eyes every time he sat up; he had never been this encouraged while doing sit-ups. He could tell that Mike wanted to look away but he could also tell that the kid didn’t have other options. It would look very suspicious if Mike closed his eyes or looked up at the ceiling.

“Mike?” Harvey sat up and showed off one of his charming smiles.

“Yes…?” Mike swallowed hard.

“You’re not counting.”

“Oh, sorry! I must still be half asleep.” He faked a yawn.

Harvey wanted to shake his head at the horrible acting but he had to save his energy for more sit-ups. “You can start counting from sixteen. And, if you manage to count till hundred without getting distracted, I’ll make you breakfast.”

Mike had never seen someone pronounce the word ‘breakfast’ in such an enticing way.

‘It’s probably the f… and the t.’ He thought as he started counting again.

 

Mike was actually having a great time at Harvey’s place. He thought that it was so cool to be able to hang out with his boss without a single worry on his mind. Harvey had made him the best breakfast that he had had since his mother had passed away and they had worked on the company bylaws together. Then Harvey had cooked him delicious lunch and had insisted that he should take a nap on one of the beach chairs on the terrace.

“Well, I guess I should get going.” Mike stretched and rubbed his eyes. It had been nice to nap under the soft sunlight.

“Already?” Harvey looked up from his book. It had been a real treat to watch Mike sleep so peacefully.

“Yeah, I’ve got a date in the evening, remember?”

“Right.” Harvey casually turned a page and added, “By the way, I think I heard your phone bleep while you were asleep. You might want to check that.”

“Oh, thanks, Harvey.” Mike smiled gratefully and picked up his phone that was lying on the table.

Harvey watched as Mike checked his text message. It hurt a little to see disappointment on Mike’s face. He would have to make it up to him later.

“What’s wrong?” He asked innocently.

“Rachel canceled on me.”

“Ouch, sorry to hear that. I know you were really looking forward to it.” Harvey closed the book and gave Mike a sympathetic look.

“Thanks. She says her period has started. I should text her back and let her know that it’s all right. I guess we won’t be able to reschedule for a while then.”

Harvey nodded and as soon Mike finished texting, he suggested, “You should probably hit the bathroom before you leave. You’re going to take a cab back home and there’s usually a lot of traffic on Saturday.”

“You’re right.” Feeling incredibly lucky that he had such a considerate boss, Mike walked inside and headed to the bathroom.

Bleep.

Harvey checked Mike’s phone and read the incoming message. It was from the paralegal: What do you mean it’s all right? I’ll still see you at 6 at Chez Richard, right?

Harvey knew that he should feel terrible about fabricating and intercepting someone else’s messages –especially someone who trusted him so much- but he saw it as a necessary evil to get rid of the competition.

Sure. I’ll see you there.

He wondered if the message was too short to be coming from Mike. So he added: Can’t wait to see you.

It sounded lame and Mike probably texted her wittier words but he couldn’t be bothered to get inspired for his rival. At the sound of Mike washing his hands, Harvey quickly deleted all evidence of his clever plan, turned off the phone, and put it back on the table.

“Okay, I’m good to go now. Thanks for breakfast and lunch, Harvey. I think you scared my taste buds with your cooking, haha. It was so delicious!”

“You’re welcome.” Harvey gave him a warm smile. It was a good thing that he knew how to cook.

“Oh, and I should thank you for teaching me how to use those dumbbells too. I should buy my own dumbbells and do the exercises every day.”

“I’m happy to help.” Then Harvey asked, “I don’t mean to pry but what are you planning to do for the rest of the day now that your date got canceled?”

Mike shrugged. “No idea. I’ll probably do some chores and watch TV.”

Harvey tried not to smile too obviously. “Then how about staying here a little longer? I could use the company and you could help me cook dinner.”

Mike’s mouth watered immediately at the thought of getting another meal out of Harvey’s cookbook. “What do you have in mind for dinner?”

Harvey laughed. “What do you want for dinner? We can go buy the ingredients for whatever you want to eat.” He couldn’t believe that he had just offered to do something terribly domestic.

“How many dishes can you actually cook?” Surprise was evident in Mike’s voice.

“You should know by now that I’m full of surprises, Mike.” Harvey turned on his charm and asked, “What kind of food were you planning to eat tonight?”

“French. It was Rachel’s idea.”

“Then how about I make you some French food, so you’ll feel better about hanging out with your boss instead of your girlfriend?”

“You know how to make French food?”

“Hmm, I guess I could make you a croque-monsieur.”

“What’s a croque-monsieur?”

“It’s the French version of a hot grilled ham and cheese sandwich.”

“I love sandwiches!” Mike exclaimed. “Oh, Harvey, why do I even bother dating? I should just marry you!”

Harvey laughed it off but a strangely cozy feeling brushed his beating heart.

 

After doing a little grocery shopping near Harvey’s condo, Harvey and Mike spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch, watching different kinds of sports. Harvey liked to hear Mike complement the commentators by providing him with extra statistics. Mike even filled him in on the athletes’ trivia and gossip; Harvey wasn’t particularly interested in the information itself but he liked how chatty Mike became. Mike was like a little sparrow that liked to talk about everything he had seen, heard, and felt. Harvey imagined that with a brain like Mike’s, it was imperative to let out as much information as he could.

It was six o'clock now and the two were in the kitchen making dinner. Harvey was relieved that Mike had no idea that his phone had been turned off. Harvey and Rachel were pretty much the only ones who called or texted him outside the office, and since he was with Harvey and Rachel was resting at home, Mike didn’t even think about paying attention to his phone.

“So I get a croque-monsieur and you get a croque-madame.” Harvey announced as he got an egg from the fridge.

“Why do I get a madame? Is it because I have soft features?” Mike protested as he got the ham and cheese ready for Harvey to work his magic.

“No, it’s because a croque-madame has an egg on top. You like eggs, right?”

Mike nodded. Harvey definitely knew him well.

“Good. We’re also going to make béchamel sauce. We need milk, flour, and butter, Mike. We want to make sure that the bread doesn’t get too dry.”

“Aye, aye, Chef.”

Mike got the ingredients ready on the kitchen table. Then he got a wicked idea. He dipped his index finger in the bowl of flour and rubbed it against the tip of Harvey’s nose.

“You did not just do that.” Harvey frowned with a slice of cheese in his hand.

“You look way too clean even when you cook! It makes me want to dirty you up a bit.” Mike grinned mischievously.

“You're aware that I’m cooking your dinner too here.”

“Huh? What did you say? I can’t hear you, Harvey!” Mike yelled as he put more flour on his finger and moved it along Harvey’s forehead. Harvey tried to back away but Mike was faster and now Harvey had a white line on his forehead.

“Ahahaha, look at you! You look ridiculous!” Mike admired his handiwork.

“Are you declaring war on me, Mike? You know I hate to lose.” Harvey had always felt that they sold flour in too big of a quantity; this might be a fun way to get rid of some.

“Oh, yeah? Who says that I like to lose? I hereby declare flour war on you, Harvey Specter.” Mike quickly grabbed a handful of flour and threw it at Harvey.

“It is on!” Harvey threw some flour back and walked over to the sack of flour.

“Oh no. All I’ve got is a bowl!” Mike took the bowl of flour and ran out of the kitchen.

“You can’t leave the battlefield, Mike!”

“Well, watch me!”

Harvey grabbed another bowl and filled it with flour. He was going to beat Mike so badly that he would wince every time he saw flour. “Don’t go near my couch!”

“But I can’t go into a room! I’ll be trapped!”

“I don’t care!” Harvey caught up with a hesitating Mike in the living room and poured flour over his head.

“Ahh, Harvey! Not in my hair!”

“This is just the beginning, Mike!”

“Bring it on then!”

Mike positioned himself behind the coffee table. He was a combat veteran when it came to flour battles; he had had extensive experience fighting against General Trevor. Harvey would be an easy opponent, compared to him.

“Take this, Mike!!”

“You’re going to weep so badly when you lose, Harvey!!”

“Oh yeah? We’ll see about that!”

“You’re making me dinner so I’ll give you a chance to surrender now!”

“I’ll rather die, fighting till the end!”

“Ahh!! I told you, not in my hair!”

Not aware that Rachel was sitting in a restaurant, desperately calling him, Mike ran all over his boss’ place, giggling like he was having the best time of his life.

Chapter Text


Harvey was in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner when his cell phone rang. He had offered to clean up as the generous winner of the Grand Flour War while Mike took a shower, but Mike had insisted that Harvey was cleaning up because he knew that he had lost.

R-ring.

The caller ID informed him that Donna was calling. Harvey smiled and answered the phone in his usual teasing voice, “Why, Donna, I know you love me but you couldn’t wait till Monday to see me?”

Donna snorted and cut to the chase. “Harvey, do you know where Mike is? Rachel was supposed to meet him at six but she can’t reach him. She’s worried sick.”

Harvey felt a pang of guilt in his chest. He hadn’t even thought about the paralegal worrying over Mike. “He’s with me. I guess he forgot about his date. I’ll tell him to call her when he comes out.”

“Out of where?”

“The shower.”

“What? He’s at your place? What’s he doing there taking a shower?”

Harvey thought about telling the truth but figured that he could let her guess until one of the lovebirds told her. “I happen to have a very nice bathroom.”

Donna made a disapproving sound but chose not to push it. “Just don’t forget to tell Mike to call her, okay? Have a nice weekend, Harvey.”

“I wish you the same.” Harvey ended the call and tossed the phone on the table.

“Who was that?” Mike walked into the kitchen, drying his hair with a towel.

“It was Donna. She wants you to call your girlfriend. She said that you were supposed to meet her at six?”

“What? But she canceled! She left me a text saying that she needed rest!” Mike’s eyes searched for the phone but it wasn’t in the kitchen.

“If you’re looking for your phone, it’s probably out on the terrace.” Harvey offered.

“Oh god, maybe she felt better and texted me that she could come out and see me.” Mike rushed out of the kitchen and found his phone on the terrace. Much to his surprise, it had been turned off.

‘Maybe there’s not enough battery left. How stupid of me.’ He blamed himself as he turned on the phone. Now that he was dating, he should pay closer attention to his phone so that Rachel wouldn’t feel like it was difficult to reach him.

‘This is weird.’ Mike stared at the upper right corner of the screen which indicated that he had enough battery.

He quickly checked the message box and saw that Rachel had texted him twice, asking where he was. He also searched for the text message in which she said that she would have to cancel the date, but strangely, he couldn’t find it.

‘Where did it go? Did I delete it?’

Mike checked the page where all the numbers that he had exchanged calls and text messages with were recorded, but it said that Rachel had texted him twice only after six o’clock. There was no record of him having received a text message around the time that he had woken up from his nap.

‘But Harvey heard my phone bleep and told me about it! I saw the text with my own eyes and I don’t think I deleted the text or the record! I never delete anything! How strange...’

Given how Rachel was still outside, waiting for his call, Mike decided to stop his guesswork for now.

Meanwhile, Harvey was in the bedroom, listening to Mike speak on the phone. He was supposed to go into the bathroom and take a shower but his feet just wouldn’t move. Mike sounded utterly confused as he explained his side of the story in his terrified puppy voice. Harvey felt bad when Mike mumbled apologies, telling the paralegal that he must have dreamed about the canceled date. ‘Sorry, kid. I’ll make it up to you some day.’

When Harvey heard Mike use his sweet talking skills to make the paralegal forgive him, he wanted to throw up his dinner. Then he heard something much more horrible that alarmed him instantly.

“So you’re not on your period now? Oh… I just thought… Never mind. Really? Oh, great! I’ll come right away then. Let me make it up to you.”

Harvey gritted his teeth and rushed into the bathroom. He couldn’t let Mike leave tonight. So he stripped everything off in a hurry, turned on the shower, and knocked the shampoo and rinse bottles off the shelf to make some noise. Then he lay down on his side, grabbing his right shoulder and wearing a painful expression on his face.

“Harvey? Harvey, what was that noise? Are you okay in there?”

Just as Harvey had expected, Mike poked his head into the bathroom.

“Mike, my shoulder…” Harvey was glad that he had paid attention when Donna acted.

“Oh my god, are you okay? Don’t try to get up so quickly. Isn’t that the one you hurt when you were younger?” Mike opened the bathroom door wider and ran inside.

Harvey nodded and rolled onto his back, opening his legs for Mike’s viewing pleasure. Again, just as Harvey had expected, Mike stared at the spot between his legs before rushing to his side with a red face.

“Let me help you get up. Do you think it’s broken?”

“No, but it feels pretty bad. Ahh…” Harvey was quite impressed at his own acting skills. Donna would have been proud if she had seen him.

“Okay, put your left arm around my shoulders and be careful. The floor is still slippery.” Mike didn’t care if his socks and pants were getting wet, and Harvey felt bad for taking advantage of Mike’s caring personality and their friendship.

‘I’m sorry, Mike. I wish I knew another way to do this.’ He slowly got up from the floor and glanced at Mike with an apologetic look on his face.

“Hey, there’s no need to be sorry or embarrassed. We all slip several times in our lives and obviously I’m going to help you when you need me.” Mike’s smile only made Harvey feel sorrier as they walked out of the bathroom.

But as Mike led him towards the bed, Harvey realized that it was no time to be weak. ‘Let’s stick to the plan. I must take him out of the relationship before he jumps into bed with her. Who knows what she'll do when she gets desperate? For all I know, she could fake pregnancy.’

Harvey was fully aware of what women were capable of to make a man stay, so he stopped feeling sorry and decided to succeed. If he failed, then he would have wasted the time, effort and emotions of all three of them.

“Here you go. You don’t want to catch a cold.” Mike handed him a big towel but Harvey couldn’t do much with one hand.

“A little help?” Harvey asked and Mike took the towel from him and started to dry his upper body.

“Thanks, Mike. I really appreciate it.” Harvey watched Mike’s face get redder as the towel traveled lower.

“No problem!” Mike answered a little too loudly.

Harvey got up and opened his legs at shoulder width so that Mike could dry his lower body.

‘Aren’t we lucky that I’m proud to display my body like this?’ Harvey chuckled inwardly as Mike carefully dried his intimate parts. Mike was unusually quiet and Harvey liked to think that he was the reason for such a change.

“You’re good! Where do you keep your clothes?”

Harvey pointed at several drawers and Mike busied himself fetching dry clothes and dressing his boss. Mike found out that dressing his hunky boss was much easier on his heart than helping him walk naked or drying him.

“Ahh…” Harvey didn’t forget to let out a painful sound when Mike made him lift his right arm so that he could put on the T-shirt.

“I think we should get you to a doctor, Harvey, just in case.”

“Nah, I just need some painkillers. I'll be fine.” Harvey sat back on the bed and winced.

“If we go see a doctor, we could ask for some strong ones.”

“No doctors, Mike. I absolutely hate going to the hospital. Do you know how they rip you off when they treat you in the ER? It’s Saturday evening so the only place I can go to is the ER.”

Mike nodded. He had once taken his grandmother to the ER and it had cost him much more than he had expected. Even though Harvey earned a lot, he could see the point of not wanting to waste money on something that he believed that could be handled with over-the-counter painkillers.

“Do you have painkillers? Or should I go out and get you some?”

“Oh, I can’t ask you to go out for my pills. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but I heard you had to leave.” Harvey said even though he had painkillers stacked in his medicine cabinet. If Mike were to find them, he would claim that he had totally forgotten about them.

“But you’re hurt! I’m not going to make you go get them yourself. Someone could bump into your shoulder and things could get much worse!”

Mike’s warm heart touched Harvey and he couldn’t help but reach out and grab Mike’s hand. “Thank you.”

Mike looked a little surprised at the heartfelt tone. “Oh, haha, you’re welcome, Harvey. Do you want me to get you anything else while I’m out?”

Mike made Harvey sit against the headboard and made sure that there were enough cushions between the man and the board.

“Well, usually when my shoulder hurts, I can’t sleep well so I could use a couple of new DVDs.” God, he was a terrific liar.

Sympathy skated across Mike’s face. “Of course. Pills don’t last very long and things always hurt more during the night.”

“Yeah, it can get a little lonely too so I like to watch DVDs. Well, I don’t really watch them but it’s comforting to hear something other than your own groans.” Harvey snorted inwardly. He would never say such words but he knew exactly what to say to get Mike to consider staying overnight.

Mike nodded. “I’ll go fetch you a glass of water in case you get thirsty and when I come back, we’re going to watch DVDs together.”

Harvey yelled ‘Victory!’ in his mind before he tilted his head and asked, “But what about your date? You’ve already missed so many chances with her.”

Mike laughed. “I don’t know, Harvey. I’m starting to think that perhaps she and I are meant to wait. It’s like the whole universe wants that. Don’t worry. She’s really nice and she admires you. She’ll be cool about this.”

Mike fetched Harvey a glass of water and imitated a robotic voice, “I’ll be back.” He completed his performance by holding up his right thumb.

“See you later, Terminator.” Harvey saluted with his left hand and let out a small sigh of relief. His plan was working smoothly.

 

It only took Mike about twenty minutes to come back with a generous amount of painkillers, herbal tea leaves, and three DVDs (comedy, action, and thriller).

“Hey, Harvey, check this out. They sold these tea leaves that are supposed to work like magic! I know magic isn’t real but you see, in China, in 1897, a man got lost in the woods and got injured…”

Harvey tuned out as Mike started to feed him information about a poor Chinese man. He assumed that the story ended with the man somehow finding the herbs and getting miraculously cured.

‘I’d rather focus on the storyteller.’ Harvey mused as he looked at Mike.

It was moving that Mike had bought him something else apart from the things that he had asked for. Harvey believed that this was one of the many reasons that he had fallen for his associate. He used to believe that there was no place for bleeding hearts in the world of law, but Mike had shown quite a number of times that he could persuade witnesses by appealing with his kindness and make people see the situation in a different light.

“So should I put the kettle on while you take the pills?” Mike asked. Apparently the story of the lucky Chinese man had come to an end.

“Yeah, thanks. I think you should have a cup of that tea too. It might ease your pain for having to babysit your boss instead of sleeping with a girl.”

Mike laughed as he handed over the painkillers. “Don’t be ridiculous, Harvey. You know I’d do anything for you.”

‘You’re going to break up with her for me then?’ was the question that Harvey wanted to ask but he knew that it wasn’t the right time.

As Mike left the bedroom to go make some tea, Harvey walked into the bathroom and flushed the pills down the toilet.

By the time Mike came back with two cups of tea and the DVDs, Harvey was sitting under the covers. He showed Mike the empty glass of water and put his cup of tea on the nightstand.

“You took the pills? Good boy.” Mike grinned and patted Harvey on the head.

“Oh, you don’t get to call me that.”

“Why not? You said I was babysitting you.” Mike’s grin only grew wider as Harvey pouted.

“Why do I have a feeling that you’re enjoying this?”

“It’s a Saturday night! Everybody deserves to enjoy it. Let’s try to make the most of it, Harvey. You know how endorphin helps with the pain.”

“You’re right, kid.” Harvey agreed.

“Oh, you don’t get to call me that.” Mike even imitated Harvey’s voice.

“Why not? You prefer to be called nurse?”

“Hmm, Nurse Mike, I like that.”

Harvey laughed. “Then where’s your tight, revealing uniform? And, where’s my sponge bath?”

“Well, if I give you all that, you’ll get horny and I don’t think that will help with the pain.”

“What makes you think that I’ll get turned on by you?” Harvey looked amused while Mike looked offended.

“What kind of a question is that? Of course you’ll get turned on by me!”

Harvey raised an eyebrow. “Just because you have a pretty face?”

“What? No! I have much more to offer than a pretty face! I have incredibly soft skin and a very kissable ass! I…” Mike shut his mouth. He had talked too much. No matter how close he was to his boss, it didn’t feel appropriate to talk about his physical features like that.

“A kissable ass, huh? Oh, sorry, my bad. A very kissable ass.” Harvey’s teasing left Mike as red as a tomato.

“Uh, which one do you want to watch?” Mike changed the subject, pointing at the DVDs.

Harvey looked at Mike with a serious face. “Hmm, I’m not sure… Which one has a boy with a very kissable ass in it?”

“Harvey!!”

As Mike picked up a pillow and started to hit his good shoulder with it, Harvey laughed his lungs out. Mike was right; endorphin did a wonderful job to ease the pain. For a few hours, Harvey felt much better about Mike going out with another person.

Chapter Text


On Monday morning, Harvey was in quite a good mood. Mike had played the perfect nurse for him from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon and even though Harvey had sent him home in the evening, he didn’t have to worry about the paralegal because she had wanted Mike to get some rest after all the nursing.

‘Plus it’s much easier to sabotage his date during the week. There’s always work to do.’

Harvey strolled across the hallway and greeted his secretary. “Good morning, Donna.”

“Good morning, Harvey.”

Donna eyed her boss somewhat suspiciously and grabbed a file to have an excuse to follow him into the office. “What are you so happy about?”

Harvey took off his suit jacket and hung it on the coat rack. “Happy to see you?”

Donna snorted and went straight to the point. “Does it have anything to do with Mike taking a shower at your place? What was he doing there on a Saturday night anyway?”

“You can ask Mike if you’re so curious.” Harvey sat on his chair, not paying much attention to the way Donna tried to pry into his soul.

“You know he’s going out with Rachel.”

“Yes, I do.”

Sometimes Donna wished that Harvey didn’t have a poker face. Even with years of experience, it could be difficult to read him.

“He actually cares about her.” She used her most serious tone.

“He’s Mike. He cares about everyone.”

Donna opened her mouth to continue the discussion but she realized that she had said enough for the time being.

“You’ll need this file for today’s meeting.” She dropped the file on Harvey’s desk and went back to her area.

She was aware that Mike was Harvey’s usual type; a pretty boy with lithe physique, blond hair, and blue eyes. Besides, Mike even had the ultimate bonus package- a brilliant mind. When Harvey had hired the kid despite all the risk, she had thought that he wanted Mike all for himself. But contrary to her expectations, Harvey had showed no particular interest in his associate and it seemed as if he just wanted a solid friendship out of him. She had wondered why and had settled with the idea that Harvey probably didn’t want things to get complicated at work.

‘Hmm… but this is all very suspicious. Harvey doesn’t have an urgent case so what was Mike doing there? And, why did he need a shower? What are the chances of Mike forgetting about his date? Plus, Rachel said that his phone was turned off. Talk about suspicious timing!’

Donna thought about taking Harvey’s advice and asking Mike but she didn’t want to be a nosy secretary who poked her nose in everyone’s business.

‘It’s not my place to ask him. It’s Rachel’s. Let’s try to stay out of it.’ She told herself, deciding that Mike’s girlfriend was the only person who had the right to interrogate Mike about what he was doing at his boss’ place instead of showing up at the restaurant.

 

An hour later, Mike walked into Harvey’s office with a file in his hand. “Hey, Harvey, I finished this. How’s your shoulder?”

Harvey gestured for Mike to take a seat and answered, “Much better, thanks to you. I really appreciate you staying over the weekend.”

Mike smiled and shook his head. “Don’t mention it. You would’ve done the same for me. That’s what friends are for, right? I’m glad you’re feeling better. You should probably be careful for a few more days though. Do you still need painkillers?”

“Nah, the pain is manageable.”

Mike nodded. “Great. I’m really glad that the fall didn’t do much damage.”

“Me too.” Harvey picked up a shopping bag from the floor and put it on the desk. “This is for you.”

“For me?” Mike looked surprised. He reached out for the bag and took a look inside. There was a rectangular box, wrapped in dark green. “This looks like a gift.”

“Because it is.”

“You bought me a gift? But it’s not my birthday or anything.”

“It’s a thank you gift. I know you didn’t babysit me to get a gift out of me, but I wanted to give you something. Open it.”

The minute Mike pulled out the box from the bag, he knew what it was. The box was heavy. “Can I make a guess?”

“You want to show off your guessing skills? Go ahead.” Harvey laughed.

“You got me dumbbells!”

“Yes, I did.”

“Oh, Harvey. Thank you! I was thinking about getting them myself sometime this week.” Mike tore open the box like an excited child.

“Aren’t you glad I’m always one step ahead of you?” Harvey was pleased that Mike liked his gift. It was comforting to know that he knew what Mike wanted.

“I definitely am.” Mike lifted the dumbbells and made exaggerated faces as he worked on his biceps.

“Ahaha…” The plan worked and Harvey laughed.

‘Hmm, aren’t we all jolly in there today…’ Donna thought as she studied the two guys. She could feel that something had changed in the way they interacted.

‘Are Mike and Rachel having some trouble? I thought they were perfect for each other! Has Harvey made a move on him? He’s definitely the type to get jealous. Perhaps the idea of Mike dating someone doesn’t sit too well with him, hmm…’ Many thoughts troubled Donna and she decided to keep a closer eye on her boys.

 

“Hey, Rach, check these out. Harvey got them for me.” Mike beamed as he pointed at the dumbbells on his desk.

“Wow, cool! I’d love to be held in stronger arms...” She leaned against the cubicle and lowered her voice, making Mike swallow hard.

“I’ll work on my arms morning and night!” He promised and Rachel laughed.

“Well, not tonight. Tonight, you’ll be working on something that I’ve wanted you to work on since foreverrrr...” Rachel purred and Mike couldn’t wait for the day to be over.

“Do you want to grab lunch later?” Rachel asked, standing straight. There was only so much seduction she could do in the associates’ area.

“Oh, sorry. I have a lunch meeting with Harvey and a client.”

“Wow, that’s great. It looks like Harvey’s taking you to more meetings these days.” Rachel was happy for him.

“I know! I think he’s taking this mentoring thing really seriously. I’m so grateful for whatever he has to teach me.”

Rachel couldn’t help but ruffle Mike’s hair affectionately. Mike was so cute when he was eager to learn something new. In her mind, Mike had many good qualities but one of the best was his attitude. He was open to all ideas and had the constant will to improve. Unlike her ex-boyfriends, Mike wasn’t arrogant despite having a brilliant mind.

“I’ll see you after work at my place then. I’ll even cook for you.” She smiled fondly and winked.

“I can’t wait!” Mike blew her a kiss and watched her head back to her office, unaware of a pair of eyes watching him in the dark.

 

‘Oh seriously…’

Rachel sighed as she leaned against the wall, looking at her boyfriend who was completely lost in work. It was almost seven o’clock and she had a feeling that Mike was nowhere near done with the Great Wall of Briefs that was surrounding him.

‘But this is day no.11 already! What do I have to do to get him in bed?’

She tucked her hair behind her ear as she studied Mike’s face. He looked tired and she blamed two things; nursing Harvey and working his ass off. She knew from experience that nursing someone overnight could be an exhausting task. She had once nursed her sick niece for one night and she had been very tired for the next couple of days. Of course, one would argue that a ten year old girl and a man in his thirties weren’t the same, but Rachel was pretty sure that when people were sick, they all turned into babies.

And, as far as work was concerned, Rachel thought that Mike had an extremely stressful job. Working as an associate in a firm like Pearson-Hardman was bad enough, but working directly under someone as meticulous as Harvey was even worse. Mike loved working for Harvey so Rachel couldn’t be bitter about it, but on a day like this, she wished that Mike had a less stressful job and looked happier.

‘I knew this was going to happen. That’s why I wanted to go to a nice hotel during lunch break but of course, Harvey had to take him to a meeting.’

She frowned as she thought about Harvey. She was perfectly aware that Harvey wasn’t to be blamed but she needed to blame someone.

‘I’ve done enough lingerie shopping already! If I go back there one more time, they’ll think I’m a call girl!’

Rachel glanced at Mike one last time before going back to her office. She hadn’t expected to encounter this much trouble while taking the next step. She had only been going out with Mike for a little over three weeks but she already adored him. Besides, they had had their moments even before they started dating so it was no surprise to her that she wanted more from him. She couldn’t wait to see his mind completely focused at her. She couldn’t wait to feel the muscles on her fingertips without any obstructive material in the way. She couldn’t wait to hear her name on his lips while they were crossing over to each other’s world.

‘How is he holding up so well? Gosh, he’s such a gentleman. If I were in his shoes, I would’ve done something horribly embarrassing… like setting up candles in the empty conference room or something.’

She closed the door of her office and sank in her chair. She had finished her share of work so it was very unfortunate that she couldn’t help her boyfriend. Nobody in the office had a better eye for detail than Mike and there was only so much that she could help as a paralegal.

‘There must be something that I can do. I mean, I only need him for an hour or so.’

Rachel didn’t care about candlelit dinners anymore; they had enjoyed enough dinners already. There was something awfully unnatural about how the situation had unfolded, but she wasn’t the type to believe that fate banned them from getting together.

‘Well, perhaps I should try a different approach. We’re trying to get everything perfect for our first time but obviously, we can’t afford that. It’s time to try something else.’

She smiled as she came up with an idea. It was an idea that wouldn’t require them being at the same place and Mike would only have to put in minimal effort. She would have to do most of the work but she didn’t mind it at all; especially not when she felt that if she couldn’t get Mike in her bed in the next few days, she would be dragging him into an empty conference room and have him her way.

‘Phone sex is the answer.’ Her smile grew wider as she thought about how Mike would respond to her suggestion.

Mike always told her that she had great ideas and she really hoped that he would feel the same way about this one.

‘He can just lie in his bed comfortably while I tell him everything he wants to hear. We can have a little preview session. Hmm, maybe I’ll pretend that I’m in Greece. Perhaps he’ll like that.’

Convinced that it was a great idea, she happily left Mike a text message.

 

At half past eight, Harvey swung by his associate’s cubicle, hoping that he had given Mike just the right amount of work. He didn’t want the kid to be exhausted but he didn’t want him to have energy left to jump into someone’s bed either.

“Mike, I’m heading out. How much do you have left?” Harvey asked as he watched Mike yawn like a sleepy puppy.

“Uh, not much. I’ll be done around ten.”

Harvey nodded. Ten o’clock sounded decent enough. “You’re doing great work these days. I’ll make sure you get a nice quarterly bonus.”

“A quarterly bonus?” Mike woke up a little. “But I’m just an associate.”

“Yes, you are. But you answer directly to me and I happen to be a senior partner. Therefore, if I wish, I can encourage my associate using the firm’s resources.”

“Aha! I knew that I loved this firm for a reason.” Mike chuckled and Harvey spotted food cartons in his waste basket.

“Grabbed some dinner? Good to know that you take care of yourself.” Harvey was pleased.

“Uh, yeah. Rachel ordered them for me before she went home. It’s great to have a girlfriend, Harvey. She even makes sure that I get a healthy snack every day.”

“It looks like she and I agree that you’re too skinny.”

“Hey, I may look skinny but I actually have quite some muscles underneath.” Mike insisted.

“Really? I didn’t see that many on your biceps.” Harvey grinned.

“Okay, not as many as you but I’m not too bad!”

Mike noticed how Harvey was staring at his chest as if he could see underneath his shirt. “Haha, nice try. But only my girlfriend gets to see them.”

Harvey’s eyes flashed dangerously which left Mike confused. “Did I say something wrong? You look mad.”

“No. So you’re planning to show your muscles to your girlfriend after work?” Harvey spat out the sickening word.

“Nah, too tired. But she told me that she had a surprise for me when I got home. Whatever it is, I hope it won’t take too long. I can’t wait to rest my eyes properly.”

“A surprise, hmm?” Harvey lifted his eyebrow.

“Yeah, she sounded excited about it.”

Mike yawned again and Harvey realized that he would have to end this mess as soon as possible if he wanted his associate to get through it in one piece. He certainly didn’t want Mike to use his bonus on medical expenses.

“Okay, wrap it up and go get some sleep. Quality rest is important, Mike.”

“Thanks, Harvey. Good night.”

“Good night, puppy.” Harvey patted Mike on the shoulder and left the office. He had a ‘surprise’ to take care of.

 

The first thing that Mike did when he arrived at his apartment was to yell, “I’m hoooome!”

There was nobody to welcome him home, but the fact that he was in a place where he could relax without thinking about anything made him feel liberated and happy. He dropped his messenger bag near the door and quickly took off his clothes so that he could jump into the shower. Rachel had told him to call her when he was ready for bed.

‘I think I have an idea about what that surprise might be.’ Mike thought as he turned on the shower. While he was biking home, he had narrowed it down to ‘receiving suggestive pictures on his phone’ and ‘phone sex.’ He was certain that his phone would be involved because Rachel had specifically told him to keep his phone close by.

‘She should know that I’m open to both ideas, really. Very open.’

He closed his eyes and pictured Rachel’s sexy smile. Then he had to bend over and laugh hysterically at his misfortune.

‘It’s been eleven days since we’ve been trying! Eleven days! She’s so close yet so far away!’

Mike wanted their first time to be absolutely special so any other location than Rachel’s or his place was out of question. Since Rachel was a girl, he preferred it to happen at Rachel’s place, but he couldn’t find the damn time and/or energy to get there and be of service.

‘Well, at least it looks like tonight’s going to be a little better.’

He went through his showering routine on auto-pilot and wrapped himself in a big towel. He felt warm and relaxed, definitely ready to get his surprise. A yawn slipped out of his mouth, so Mike hurried to dry himself and put a pair of boxers on. Then he went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and called Rachel on his cell phone.

“Hello?”

“Hey, Rach, it’s me. You wanted me to call you.” Mike said as he threw himself on the bed.

“Oh yeah, you’re ready for your surprise?” Rachel didn’t have time for the usual ‘how was your ride home?’ and all the other things that she used to say. She had waited long enough for this moment.

“Yep. I feel like I was ready the minute you mentioned it.” Mike laughed as he enjoyed the feeling of soft sheets beneath him.

“I like that answer.” Rachel smiled. She had put on some sexy lingerie and lit some candles around her bed to help her get into the mood.

“So what is this about?” Mike asked, his voice a little low.

“Well… You know how we’ve been trying to enjoy some intimate time…” Rachel spoke softly, making her words linger on Mike’s ear.

“Of course… yes…” Mike loved how Rachel sounded.

“I came up with a little solution… if you’d like to hear about it…” Rachel dropped her voice and breathed into the phone.

“I’d love to hear about it…” Mike couldn’t believe that he was starting to get aroused when Rachel hadn’t said anything yet. Just the idea of his girlfriend talking dirty to him was turning him on.

“Now this is one of the moments when I’m particularly thrilled that you have an eidetic memory… I expect you to listen carefully, Mikey… Whatever I say today, I want you to do exactly that when we get to do it for real.”

Mike swallowed hard and nodded. “Whatever you say, I’ll remember it…” He was getting hot and it was a blessing that he was only wearing his underwear.

“So let’s cover the basics. What are you wearing?” Rachel lay on her bed and closed her eyes, pretending that Mike was with her.

“I’m in my underwear. I just took a hot shower.”

This was quite new for Mike. He had enough experience being involved in the beginning of such a conversation, but he had never had the patience to get to the end. He had always ended up taking care of himself before his partner let him but that was all in the past. He considered himself to have matured ever since he had stepped a foot inside Pearson-Hardman and he wanted to be a good boyfriend to Rachel.

“Did you think about me in the shower?” Rachel asked, slipping a hand inside her panties.

“Yes… I always think about you in the shower.” Mike lied for the sake of the conversation, wondering why he hadn’t always thought about her in the shower. It was odd. He realized that he often thought about work even when he was in the bathroom.

“Good, me too… I’m wearing blue for you. The same blue as your eyes...”

“Oh… I’d love to see that.”

“Really? Would you like to see what’s underneath all this lace too?”

“Yes, Rach… Please let me…” Mike put his free hand inside his boxers. He was enjoying this.

“Gosh, Mikey, I want you so much… I want you to hook your fingers in my panties and yank them down...” Rachel realized that she had to brush up on her dirty talk but she couldn’t care less right now. Mike had just made a very interesting sound and that was all she needed to go on.

“I want you to…”

“Oh, sorry, Rach. I have an incoming call.” Mike apologized and pulled back to check who was calling.

“Rach? I’m really sorry but it’s Harvey. I have to take this.”

“Oh, okay. Just call me right back.”

“Sure.”

Mike ended the call with Rachel and answered the incoming one, “Harvey?”

“Hi, Mike. Bad time?” Harvey noticed that Mike was a little out of breath. It seemed that he had called at the right moment.

“Uh, it’s okay. What do you need?”

“I brought the brief for the Cronin case back home but there seems to be a page missing. Do you think you can remember what was exactly on page 13?”

“Oh, no problem. Do you want me to type it up and send it to your inbox?”

“I’d rather have you tell me if that’s all right.” Harvey preferred listening to Mike’s voice.

“I can do that. Should I start now?”

“Yes, please.”

Harvey settled down in his bed with his back against the headboard. Mike was reciting legal jargon to him but it didn’t matter; he got to listen to the soothing voice and had managed to mess with Mike’s love life.

‘Hmm, his voice sounds a little different at night.’ Harvey observed and decided that he liked it better than Mike’s day voice.

“Ah, what else was on page 13?” Mike threw on a T-shirt, hoping that it would help him stop thinking about the blue panties. “Ah, yes. Sorry, Harvey. So…”

Mike went on and on until he finished telling his boss every single word that was on page 13.

“Good boy.” Harvey was both impressed at Mike’s memory and professionalism. As a fellow male, he knew how difficult it was to remember anything when all the blood had seemingly gone south.

“Thanks. Anything else you need?” Mike asked even though he couldn’t wait to get back to Rachel.

“I think that’s all for now. Thank you. You saved me the trip to the office at this time of the night.”

“You’re welcome. Good night, Harvey.”

“Good night, Mike.” Harvey ended the call with a mischievous grin on his face.

Mike was quick to call his girlfriend as soon as Harvey was off the phone. “Sorry. Where were we?”

“I believe you were yanking down my panties…” Rachel reminded him.

“Oh yeah… Please carry on.” Mike got rid of his T-shirt.

Rachel felt a little weird for picking things up where they left off but she didn’t see any other options. “Well, now that my panties are gone… you open my legs and lower your face…”

“Jesus, Rachel…” Mike’s eyes were closed shut at the vivid image in his mind.

“You lick your lips as if you’ve seen something that looks delicious while I…”

“Oh, sorry! It’s Harvey again. I’m really sorry, Rachel.” Mike felt horrible for doing this to her but he knew that he couldn’t ignore work. He could hear her sigh and he hoped that this was Harvey’s last call for the night.

“It’s okay. Take it and call me when you’re done.” Rachel pretty much hung up on him.

“Harvey? Did I miss something on page 13?” Mike’s T-shirt was back on.

“No. But page 15 is missing too, sorry.” Harvey lied through his teeth while he looked at page 15.

“Can’t it wait till morning? Or I’ll type it up and send it in half an hour.” Mike was getting annoyed.

“Mike, I didn’t become a senior partner by postponing work that could be done at that moment. You need to learn how to secure extra time in case something unexpected comes up.”

Mike sighed. “You’re right, Harvey. Can I just make one quick call and get back to you? I was on the phone with Rachel so I feel like I need to explain to her.”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

Mike let out another long sigh as he dialed Rachel’s number. Since the mood was killed, there was no need for her to stay awake.

“Mike?” Rachel sounded tired and frustrated.

“Yeah, it’s me. Harvey needs me to remember another page so I think we’ll have to try this another time. God, I’m so sorry, Rach.”

“It’s not your fault. But maybe we should stick to dinners and movies. We didn’t have too much trouble with that.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. You’re a first-year employee. I guess I forgot what my first year was like. I’ll blow out the candles and go to bed. Help Harvey and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Rachel didn’t wait for Mike to say goodbye. She threw her cell phone against the wall and blew out the candles. She couldn’t wait to fall asleep and forget about the awful day.

Chapter Text


Knock-knock.

“Good morning, Rach. Do you have a minute?” Mike poked his face into his girlfriend’s office. He wanted to apologize for the failed phone sex.

“Yeah, come in.” Rachel looked up from her desk with an unhappy face.

“I’m really sorry about last night.” Mike sat down in front of the desk and gave her his best apologetic look.

“It’s okay. You were just doing your job.” Rachel’s voice was calm.

“But you look upset.” Mike didn’t feel forgiven yet.

“I’m frustrated, that’s all.” Rachel twirled her hair. “You know, girls normally don’t have much trouble with these kinds of things.”

“I’m so sorry.” Mike reached out and kissed the back of her hand.

“Okay, that was sweet.” Rachel smiled and Mike felt a little better.

“I’ve been thinking about a plan, Rach. Tonight, I’m going to turn off my phone for a couple of hours so that nobody can bother us.” Mike caressed her hand.

“What if something comes up and Harvey punishes you for not answering your phone?”

Mike shrugged. “I’ll just have to apologize and deal with his anger. It’s only for an hour or two. He won’t get too mad.”

Rachel gently squeezed Mike’s hand and spoke in a soft voice, “Mikey, I appreciate you willing to do that but I think we shouldn’t try to force it. If it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen naturally, right?”

Mike’s face fell. “But I really want this relationship to work. It took us long enough to get here.”

“I know. But every time we push and fail, I feel like something is wrong. I don’t want to feel like that anymore.”

Mike nodded. No matter how disappointed he was, if the lady wanted to wait, they were going to wait.

“Aww, don’t look so sad. I made some sandwiches for lunch. I thought we could have a nice picnic in the back.”

Rachel let go of Mike’s hand and picked up the picnic basket from the floor. “Ta-da! You like sandwiches, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I do.” Mike found his mouth watering at the sight of the ham and cheese sandwiches. He wondered if Rachel’s sandwiches would be as delicious as Harvey’s croque-messieurs.

‘Her sandwiches have love in them. They should taste better.’ He thought as he got up and leaned in for a quick kiss.

“I’ll see you downstairs at noon. Let’s hope that Harvey won’t drag you to another lunch meeting.”

“We’ll probably be busy in the afternoon but I doubt he’ll need me during lunch time.” Mike smiled as relief washed over him. It looked like he still had a girlfriend.

“Great. See you later then.” Rachel smiled and watched Mike leave her office.

‘Gosh, he has such a cute ass.’ She couldn’t help but notice. Perhaps she was insane to want to wait but she was hopeful that it would only make their love stronger.

 

Harvey was making himself a cup of coffee in the partners’ kitchen when Louis came in and stood far too close to him.

“Watch it, Louis. You’re going to make me smell like sausage.”

Louis snickered. “You’re jealous that I smell rich.”

“Not rich, Louis, like sausage. Did your wife slap you on the ear? You might want to invest in a hearing aid.”

“I’d rather invest in sunglasses, Harvey. And, you’re going to pay for them.”

“Why would I do such a useless thing?” Harvey sat at the table, taking a sip of fresh coffee.

“Because my eyes are itching after watching your puppy act all lovey-dovey with his girlfriend.”

“You saw Mike?” Harvey suddenly found the dialogue intriguing.

“Yeah, Rachel had a blanket on the lawn in the back of the building, feeding him grapes. It was sickening.”

“Glad we agree on something.” Harvey muttered. It was amazing how whenever he gave his associate a little bit of personal time, he would go straight to the paralegal and wag his tail in front of her.

‘He’s probably love-starved.’ He thought and swore to himself that he would overwhelm the kid with affection once he became exclusively his.

“So? You’re going to buy me a Ferragamo? Gucci? I wouldn’t mind Prada or Chanel either.” Louis sat across his coworker.

Harvey let out an exaggerated sigh. “Louis, I don’t know how to say this without hurting your feelings but I don’t think we’ll be able to find you the right shades. I think it’s the shape of your head. Or perhaps it’s your eyes. They remind me of a snake, you know. Or it could be your face in general. Hard to tell. Or it could be any combination of those.”

Louis let out a disapproving growl. “You know that the more you harass me, the more I get to torture Mike.”

“Well, why don’t you torture that paralegal for a change? New prey.” Harvey suggested. “She seems to go home much earlier than Mike.”

Louis eyed Harvey suspiciously. “Are you trying to protect Mike?”

“I’m just giving you an easier prey. You did mention that her services fell under your supervision.”

“That’s right. And, FYI, I would totally protect Mike too if he was my pony.”

“Can you do me a favor and stop using the words ‘pony’ and ‘Mike’ in the same sentence? It’s absolutely creepy and it makes my coffee taste bad.”

Louis cackled. He loved it when Harvey got irritated like that. “You need to accept our differences, Harvey. You have your puppy and I have my pony.”

“The difference is that Mike doesn’t mind being called my puppy but he gets terrible goose bumps when you drop the ‘pony’ bomb.”

“I still have hope that he’ll come to his senses one day and prefer to work for me and me only.” Louis made a dreamy face.

“Okay, I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear that because if I did, I’d get sick enough to need an ambulance and those things are overly expensive.” Harvey got up and left the kitchen with his coffee, hoping that Louis would play his part.

 

“Wow, Harvey, that was awesome!” Mike walked alongside his boss as they left the conference room.

“What was?” Harvey asked even though he perfectly knew what Mike was talking about. He would never get tired of Mike’s worshipping words.

“What you did in there! It was amazing! Don’t get me wrong, you’re always amazing. But you were particularly badass today! I loved watching you destroy him like that. Did you see his face when you threw the punch line? Ah, you were like a superhero!”

“You want my autograph? Is that it?” Harvey allowed himself to smile a little. Nothing felt more like victory than listening to your associate ramble on and on about your greatness.

“Hey, that’s actually a good idea. I’m your associate. I should have one, right? Where should I get it? A piece of paper sounds too lame, hmm…” Mike pondered.

“If you need ideas, I occasionally have bartenders asking me to sign their breasts.” Harvey laughed.

“Well, that sounds lovely but I’m a guy.”

“What about that kissable ass of yours?” Harvey pictured his name on the pale ass and instantly liked what he saw. He was definitely going to sign Mike’s ass someday.

“You’re never going to let me live it down.” Mike whined.

“Sorry. It’s too much fun.” Harvey admitted, grinning widely enough to show the creases around his eyes.

“You know what. I think I should get it on my skinny tie.” Mike thought that it was a great idea.

“That’s the last thing I’m going to sign and you know that.” Harvey ignored Mike’s malicious grin.

“Why not? I think it’s going to be a nice symbolic gesture of you finally accepting my choice of ties.”

“Pick something else.” Harvey opened the door to his office and let Mike in first.

“Thanks.” Mike stepped in with the files and took a seat on the couch. “But I can’t think of anything else.”

“You’ll figure something out. You want something to drink?” Harvey headed to his drinks trolley.

“Sure. Do you have juice?”

“I have grape juice.” Harvey remembered how Louis had told him about the paralegal feeding Mike grapes.

“Uh, do you have anything else? I’m not a big fan of grapes.”

Harvey smiled victoriously and nodded, “How does apple sound?”

“Great!”

Harvey poured apple juice into two glasses as he felt himself getting one step closer to Mike. He wasn’t keeping scores but he was pretty sure that he knew Mike better than the paralegal.

“You did well too today. You should know that.” He brought the glasses to the table.

Mike looked at Harvey with surprise. “But I didn’t do anything. I just sat there with my mouth shut and nodded prettily just like you asked me to.”

Harvey smiled and pointed at the files in front of Mike. “You prepared them well. Those were my weapons in there.”

Mike smiled broadly and drank his juice. “Thank you, Harvey. I hope I’ll be a great lawyer like you one day.”

Harvey shook his head. “Dream bigger, Mike. You should aim to be better than me.”

“But that’s virtually impossible!”

“Nothing’s impossible.”

“Now you just sound like a Nike ad.”

“I see I still have a lot of mentoring to do then.” Harvey wasn’t sure if that was good news or bad news. As much as he loved having Mike as his associate, he was aware that at some point, he would have to teach him everything he knew and let him stand on his own feet.

“Well, I’m not going anywhere. You have plenty of time to teach me, Sensei.” Mike smiled reassuringly. He couldn’t think of getting mentored by anyone else. “And, I think I know where to get your autograph. My helmet!”

“How can you keep coming up with the worst choices? You must be doing that on purpose.” Harvey’s tone was far from harsh.

“I don’t embarrass you anymore, do I? I think it’s going to be refreshing for people to see a lawyer bike in the city. It’s environment friendly! Perhaps I can get a Pearson-Hardman sticker so that people will know you work here. I bike all over the city so it could be good advertisement. What do you think?”

“I love your enthusiasm but hate your idea.” Harvey answered honestly.

“Then do you have any suggestions? And, if you mention my ass again, you’re going to see a very scary side of mine.”

Harvey chuckled. They were having a meaningless conversation but it was fun. “Hmm, let’s see… What about your dumbbells?”

“Oh, that’s a nice idea since you gave me those, but I already took them home.”

Harvey didn’t say anything and busied himself with the apple juice.

“Do you think you could drop by my place and sign them for me? I’d bring them back here but you have no idea how difficult it is to bike with a pair of heavy dumbbells weighing you down.”

“I understand.” Harvey smiled. “I don’t mind going to your place to sign them.”

“You don’t?” Mike brightened up.

“I’ll tell you what. Since we have a lot to cover this afternoon, why don’t we have another curry night in my office and then go to your place? Ray can make a quick stop at your apartment before dropping me off at my own.”

“That sounds like a plan.” Mike beamed. “You know, Harvey, it’s really nice to spend time with you like this. I love that I can hang out with you in and out of the office. I feel for all the other associates in the world who don’t have a boss like mine.”

Mike sounded so sincere that Harvey wanted to forget about the complicated situation and kiss him senselessly.

“Lean forward,” He ordered and felt his heart swell with satisfaction when Mike didn’t question his order or hesitate to follow it.

Biting his lips in case they tried to act on their own accord, Harvey made a fist and lifted it.

“Yes! Fist bump!” Mike bumped his boss’ fist and pushed his luck, “Up top?”

“Nope.”

“A high-five isn’t that different from a fist bump, Harvey.”

“If that’s your argument, I’ll have to take away your bumping privileges.”

“Oh, I didn’t say a thing. Whatever you just heard, it was the wind talking.”

Harvey laughed at Mike’s comic face. The kid was really into fist bumps and Harvey couldn’t help but find the childish quality a little adorable.

“I should get back to work now. Thanks for the juice.” Mike got up from the couch.

“You’re welcome. Come back at six so we can order dinner.”

“Will do!” Mike left the office cheerfully and Harvey returned to his desk with a satisfied look on his face.

Harvey considered a day like this a good day. He had done his job well, had taken care of his competition for the day, got to know more about his associate, and had even invited himself to his apartment.

‘But I’ll have to act fast. I don’t think I’ll be able to not touch him for long.’ Harvey thought about the morning when he had taught Mike how to exercise his arms. He had pretty much hugged the kid from behind and he still remembered how wonderful it had felt.

‘I need that again. And, soon, even that won’t be enough.’ He sighed and picked up his fountain pen. For now, he had to focus on work.

 

“Make yourself at home.” Mike opened the door wide for Harvey to get in.

“Thanks.”

Harvey rubbed his shoes on the mat and stepped inside the apartment. It wasn’t the first time that he had visited but it felt a little different today. It felt somewhat cozier and unlike the other times, Harvey realized that he didn’t mind the mess too much.

“Take a seat, Harvey. Would you like a cup of tea? I can’t serve you coffee at this time of the night. We wouldn’t want you to stay up and think about pretty boys.”

Harvey laughed. If only Mike knew that he would probably end up doing that anyway. “Fine, give me some tea.” He had sent Ray home so he figured that he could use a cup of tea with some company.

Mike smiled and disappeared into the kitchen, leaving Harvey to explore the living room. There were still pictures on one of the shelves and Harvey had to chuckle at the ones from Mike’s high school wrestling years.

‘Very revealing.’ He thought and wondered if Mike had actually been decent at wrestling as he claimed.

“Here you go.” Mike came back with a tray that held a cup of tea and a glass of warm milk.

“Thanks.” Harvey watched as his host sat down next to him. “Hey, do you think you could give me a picture of yours? So I can show people what my associate looks like.”

“But of course!” Mike was delighted. There were times when he had to be happy that Harvey had mentioned that he existed. This was a huge progress, compared to those times.

“Let me go fetch my photo album.” Mike went inside the bedroom and came back with a huge photo album.

“Can I just have one of the wrestling ones?” Harvey asked, half in joke.

“No! I’m not going to let you show the clients a picture of me wearing something so tight.”

“Why not? If you were a decent wrestler, it could be a nice way to show them that you know what it takes to win.”

“No means no, Harvey.” Mike’s tone was firm. He felt as if he was Harvey.

“Fine. Then pick me something else.” Harvey hoped that he didn’t sound whiny. He felt as if he was Mike.

“Okay. Let’s see…” Mike took a sip of his milk as he opened the photo album and sported a milk moustache.

Harvey couldn’t resist wiping off the milk with his own fingers. The milk was still warm on Mike’s skin.

“Oh, thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Harvey wiped his fingers on a Kleenex, relieved that Mike hadn’t pulled back.

“What about this one?” Mike pointed at a picture in which he was wearing a pink polo shirt and smiling brightly. “Grammy took this one with her new camera. You have no idea how bad she is with a camera.”

“This one looks all right.” Harvey liked the warm smile.

“This was her twenty-third shot. And, you must know that the picture looks good only because the model is so photogenic.”

“Hahaha, I’ll take this one then.” Harvey made up his mind.

“Suit yourself. I have two dozens of similar pictures anyway.” Mike took out the picture from the album and handed it to Harvey.

Harvey resisted the urge to caress the face in the picture and put the picture in his briefcase.

“So where are the dumbbells?” He asked. He would have to leave soon.

“Oh right. That’s what you’re here for.” Mike went back inside the bedroom to bring the dumbbells while Harvey drank his tea.

“Can you sign both of them?” Mike asked as he handed his boss a black marker.

“No problem.”

“Awesome!” Mike held the dumbbells in place while Harvey carefully signed them.

“Too bad there’s not enough space to write ‘For my favorite associate.’” Harvey put down the marker and observed his autographs.

“Oh Harvey, there’s no need for that. I know I’m your favorite.” Mike had a playful grin on his face and Harvey tapped the tip of Mike’s nose with his finger.

“Call me a cab, will you? It’s getting late.”

Mike nodded and called a cab while Harvey finished his tea.

“Let me see you off.” Mike offered as he grabbed his keys.

“I’m a big boy, Mike. I’ll be fine.” Harvey picked up his briefcase from the coffee table.

“But I’m a polite host. I have to see my guests off.”

“I’m sure you can make an exception. Plus, you haven’t finished your milk.”

Mike wondered why Harvey didn’t want him to join him downstairs. The weather was warm these days and Harvey always seemed to enjoy his company. “If you insist…”

He followed Harvey to the door and waved his hand. “Good night, Harvey.”

“Good night, Mike. I’ll see you at work.”

“Okay. Sweet dreams!”

Mike watched as Harvey went down the stairs. He thought that they had enjoyed a great time together.

‘Then why are his shoulders so slumped? Is he feeling lonely?’ He asked himself as he closed the door. He would have to find Harvey a nice boyfriend sometime soon.

Chapter Text


‘Hmm, if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.’

Harvey was doing some light reading on the couch while having breakfast –Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’. It was the book that he had consulted frequently when he had set his eyes on becoming the youngest junior partner of the firm.

‘So there are five factors that are needed to succeed in any war. In order of importance, the critical factors are attack, strategy, alliances, army, and cities.’

He finished one of his sunny-side up eggs and kept reading: Strategy is not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions. Planning works in a controlled environment, but in a changing environment, competing plans collide, creating unexpected situations.

‘So I should adapt. I can do that. It happens with cases all the time.’

He flipped to chapter four which taught commanders the importance of recognizing strategic opportunities and taught not to create opportunities for the enemy. He read the first few pages while eating his mashed potatoes and liked what he read. ‘Why didn’t I think about this book sooner? Well, I didn’t have too much trouble with cases for a while and ever since Mike came around, he’s been pretty helpful.’

Harvey realized that he had gotten so used to fighting battles with Mike by his side that it felt weird to prepare a battle on his own. ‘I did just fine before he came into the picture. I’ll do just fine on this one too even though it could be trickier than most of my cases. Let’s not make the mistake of underestimating my opponent.’

The paralegal looked like an easy enemy but Mike saw something in her, so Harvey knew better than to associate the word ‘easy’ with her just yet.

‘Jessica used to tell me to visualize my objective. Well, she should be happy to know that I can see my objective.’ Harvey looked at Mike’s picture that was standing on his coffee table. It was the picture that Mike had given him last night. Mike’s warm smile brought the same kind of smile to Harvey’s face and Harvey thought about how fun his life had become since Mike had walked into that interview room.

‘He’s like a tailored associate. Well, minus the skinny ties but I still have hope that I’ll get him to like larger ties someday.’

Harvey smiled at how Mike pouted whenever he criticized his ties. ‘Perhaps I can buy him some ties. Each new one should get just a little larger than the previous one. What better way to persuade him than letting him experience the fascination of larger ties?’

Harvey laughed lightly at the fact that he was now fighting against two enemies of different kinds; the paralegal and skinny ties. He checked the time and finished his breakfast before putting a bookmark in the book.

‘Time to go check how my target and enemy are doing.’ He got up from the couch with a determined look on his face. He was planning to win both of his wars.

 

“Oh my god, she wouldn’t even let me kiss her properly.” Mike stormed into Harvey’s office with frustration evident on his face.

Normally, Harvey would have lectured him on his office manners but Mike had brought such delightful news that he decided to be generous just this once.

“What are you talking about?” Harvey acted as if he wasn’t terribly interested.

“Rachel told me yesterday that she wanted to take things slowly. And, I respect that. I just didn’t think she wouldn’t want me to kiss her either.” Mike leaned forward and banged his head against Harvey’s desk.

“What’s wrong with a kiss?” Harvey was genuinely curious about this one.

“She thinks it’ll give us naughty thoughts and make us all horny.” Mike pouted.

“Wow, you must be a great kisser.” Harvey couldn’t help but laugh a little. He was feeling great.

“I’m serious, Harvey. What am I going to do? We used to enjoy heated kisses! We can’t just forget about that and give each other little pecks!” Mike dropped his head in his hands. He was miserable.

Harvey tried hard not to beam. “You have to distract yourself. When someone tells you that you’re not allowed to do something, all you can think about is doing just that. So you have to keep yourself busy, okay?”

Mike nodded and let out a long sigh. “This is why I can’t give up guys, you know. It’s less complicated and a whole lot less annoying.”

Harvey wanted to let Mike bump his fist for saying all the right things but he chose to smile fondly at him instead. “Cheer up, puppy. You’re still going out with her, aren’t you?”

“Yeah but if I spend some alone time with her, I might want to kiss her so I think I’ll ask her out on Saturday or something. We see each other every day at the office anyway.”

Harvey nodded. “Then what’s your plan for tonight? Catching up on sleep? You look tired for a Wednesday.”

“I’d love to sleep as soon as I get home but I have chores to do. I almost had to go commando today so they can’t really wait.”

Naturally, Harvey pictured Mike wearing nothing but a pair of suit pants under the waist. Summer was just around the corner so Mike wore very thin suits these days. Harvey knew that it would have been too tempting to try to get some fun out of the situation if Mike hadn’t found decent underwear at the last minute.

“Do you have a lot to do? Other than doing the laundry?” He asked, pushing the enticing mental image out of his mind.

“Yeah, the dishes wouldn’t wash themselves and I’d like to clean the house so that I wouldn’t choke on dust.”

“It sounds like you need a hand.” Harvey saw his opportunity.

“Haha, I don’t need a maid if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“Who said anything about a maid? I’m not going to help you out if you want me in a maid costume.”

Mike blinked his eyes in surprise. “Did I just hear that His Highness is willing to help his lowly associate with his chores??”

Harvey snorted. “Yes, I happen to be quite good at those kinds of things. You’ve seen me cook, haven’t you?”

“Yeah! I loved your croque-mesdames. I think you spoiled me that day, Harvey. Rachel made me some sandwiches yesterday and they were good but I kept thinking about your sandwiches.”

Harvey couldn’t resist looking smug this time. “So you want my help or not?”

“I do! Do I have to sell a part of my soul though?” Mike eyed his boss suspiciously.

“That’s very tempting but let’s just say that you owe me one.”

Mike breathed out a sigh of relief. “That sounds reasonable. I’ll pay for dinner obviously.”

Harvey smiled. “Great. Now go get some work done so I won’t regret offering you a hand.”

“Of course, Your Majesty.” Mike bowed playfully and walked out of the office. Chores were never fun to do but tonight might be an exception.

 

“Rachel, I need these done too. Today, not tomorrow.”

Louis marched into the paralegal’s office with a pile of briefs. He had never really liked the girl. He could tell that she didn’t respect him too much and he didn’t appreciate the way she had asked for a raise after clearing her name for leaking sensitive information to one of their competitors. Then of course, there was the matter of her admiring Harvey.

“More depositions?” Rachel asked, perplexed. She had no idea what she had done to the man who couldn’t stop giving her extra work since yesterday afternoon.

“Yes. You can give them to Norma when you’re done.” Louis said with his patented mean face.

“Okay. Anything else?” She couldn’t wait for him to stop making her office smell like sausage and leave.

Louis stared at her for a moment before shaking his head. “No, that’s all.”

He wanted to say something intimidating but Rachel’s eyes made him think twice. ‘Ah, women and their scary eye makeup.’

Rachel watched as Louis finally left her office. ‘Oh god, what’s wrong with him? I swear nobody likes to boss people around more than him. Thank God Harvey got the promotion!’

She took in the sight of piled-up work and wondered if Mike often felt like her right now. ‘Aww, poor Mikey.’

If Mike hadn’t been working in this firm, she didn’t think that she would’ve stayed after getting framed. Of course if there was no Mike, nobody would’ve cleared her name but the point was that she stayed despite getting a slightly better offer at the other firm because she couldn’t forget about the wonder boy.

‘He’s the one good thing that came out of working here for five years.’ She concluded as she looked at some pictures on her phone. She and Mike had taken a few pictures together during their picnic yesterday.

‘I hope he’s not upset about my decision to take things slow. I just can’t afford to screw it up with him. I want our relationship to be as natural as possible. I want us to fit. Plus, I’m not planning to make him wait too long. Perhaps we could try it again sometime next week.’

She smiled at Mike on her phone and got up from her seat. She could use a cup of coffee with Donna before immersing herself in work.

‘Hopefully she’s not too busy. There’s nobody better than her to bitch about Louis together. She knows so many of his dirty secrets.’

Rachel headed towards Harvey’s office, thankful that she had a nice coworker to talk to. The only problem was that Donna wasn’t at her area.

‘Perhaps she went to the ladies’ room or went to the kitchen. I can wait a few minutes.’ She thought and glanced at Harvey’s office. It was no surprise to see Mike sitting in front of Harvey’s desk but it was a little weird to see him roll up the sleeves of his left arm.

‘What is he doing?’ She stood in the corner of the hallway and watched. It looked like Mike was trying to get Harvey to do something for him. She could see Harvey laugh as if Mike had said something ridiculous. Mike was using his puppy eyes to persuade his boss and after a minute or so, Harvey’s expression softened and he reached out to touch Mike’s biceps.

‘Oh, he probably wants to know if he’s doing the exercises correctly.’ She smiled at Mike for thinking that a few days of exercise would make his biceps look different, but she felt rather uneasy at Harvey feeling her boyfriend’s biceps a little too thoroughly. Her uneasiness got worse when Mike rolled up the sleeves of his other arm and let Harvey do the same to his right arm.

Rachel knew that the two were nothing like any other senior partner and an associate and she thought that it was healthy and sweet, but something felt wrong about the scene that was happening right in front of her eyes. She couldn’t explain what was specifically wrong about it but it felt wrong.

‘Am I jealous that he’s so open to Harvey? Perhaps I didn’t have a boyfriend for way too long.’

She shrugged off the strange feeling and turned on her heel. She had no intention of driving herself crazy over things that didn’t exist.

 

“Om nom nom, you were right, Harvey. These are fantastic!”

Mike was enjoying dinner in his kitchen with his boss. He has having meat on skewers that Harvey had recommended while Harvey was having sushi. Their plan was to eat and save enough energy before diving into the world of dirty clothes, dishes, and dust.

“I’m glad you like your food so much but what did you have for lunch?” Harvey asked, wondering if his associate hadn’t eaten properly. At this rate, the kid was going to eat the skewers as well.

“I ate with Rachel and Donna. We had pasta and it was good but the girls were terrifying. I couldn’t tell if food was coming in through my mouth or nose!”

Harvey laughed. “That’s why I rarely have lunch with women. They can scare off your stomach at your most vulnerable moment.”

“Tell me about it.” Mike patted his stomach, hoping that it would relax and do its job now that it was in a safe environment. “I’m supposed to have lunch with them again on Friday. What am I going to do?”

Harvey chuckled at Mike’s desperate tone. “If you invite me, I could be your knight.”

Mike smiled at his shiny knight in armor. “That’s a very comforting thought! I don’t see why they wouldn’t like to have you join us. But then, I’d owe you another one, ah…”

“Hey, I meant to talk to you about that. You might have to return the favor sooner than you think.”

Mike finished another skewer and nodded. “Sure. What is it? Anything to help you.”

“I talked to Jessica earlier and she wants me to go see a client who lives a few states away during the weekend.”

“And, you need your trusty sidekick. Got it.”

“I know you were planning to go out with your girlfriend.”

Mike laughed. “We see each other every day, Harvey. Spending two days apart won’t kill either of us.”

“Very well then. Let’s finish our meal and get started. Oh, and you understand that I can’t let my suit make contact with dust.” Harvey said in his most serious tone.

Mike giggled. “Don’t worry. I’ll find you something shabby to wear.”

“As long as it’s not a maid costume, I’ll take whatever you have.”

“All right. No costumes!” Mike finished his last skewer and drank his soup before heading out of the kitchen.

Harvey had a feeling that the kid was going to find him something horrific to wear but he was feeling good enough to indulge him.

 

“Ahaha… You’ve never looked better, boss!”

Mike’s laughter filled the bedroom as Harvey looked at himself in the mirror with a sigh. He was wearing a horribly orange T-shirt and a pair of yellow biker shorts. He thought that the tight clothes worked well for him strategically, but it didn’t feel too awesome to wear something so embarrassing.

“Hey, the more I look, the more I think you actually look good in those.” Mike’s tone changed and Harvey definitely felt better.

“You think?” He pretended to be offended.

“Yeah! That’s actually one of my biking outfits. You’d get a lot of attention if you bike in those.”

“I always get a lot of attention wherever I go.” Harvey’s tone was light but he was telling the truth.

“I’m aware of that. Do you know how to bike? It would be fun to bike with you.” Mike realized that he wanted to spend more time with Harvey if possible.

Harvey tried not to jump at the opportunity. “I haven’t biked for years. I suppose I could brush up my skills with your help. You seem to have nice, strong thighs.”

Mike smiled. “Thanks. And, it would be great to teach you something. For once, I could be the mentor!”

“You know it’s not such a fancy job.” Harvey was relieved that he was able to breathe in his tight outfit. He always felt a little breathless when Mike showed him adoration like that.

“But you make it look so fancy! I’ve biked since I was three, so you’ll be in good hands.” Mike beamed.

“Fine. Let’s just get the chores done before I feel like ripping off your precious outfit.”

“Okay! I’ll put the clothes in the washing machine while you dust the living room.”

“You got yourself a washing machine?” Harvey asked.

“Yeah, now I can even spin-dry my clothes right here. I was doing fine with the laundry room downstairs until I caught one of my neighbors sniffing at my underwear.” Mike frowned.

“What’s her name?” Harvey was glad that he brought up the new washing machine.

“It’s a he. Even creepier.” Mike shuddered.

“What’s his name then?”

“Uh, it’s Wayne… but you’re not going to do anything to him, are you?” Mike asked, suddenly worried about the safety of his neighbor.

“What exactly do you think I’ll do to him?” Harvey’s tone was amused.

“I don’t know… Just remember that he may be creepy but he’s never done me any harm. And, he certainly doesn’t deserve to be found in a dungeon or in a dead alley with inexplicable wounds, okay?”

“Relax, Mike. I’m an attorney, not a hit man.”

“There’s supposed to be a difference?” Mike joked and handed his boss a duster.

Harvey examined the duster in his hand before suggesting, “You should get a duster that’s made of ostrich feathers. You’ll like it.’

Mike giggled and picked up the laundry basket from the floor. “Ah, getting domestic advice from my mentor. We really have a healthy relationship, Harvey.”

“We surely do.” Harvey said, feeling a little guilty. He hoped that there was a huge difference between him and Mike’s creepy neighbor.

Chapter Text


When Donna came back from the ladies’ room, the first thing that she saw was a puppy pacing back and forth in front of her area with a yellow envelope clutched in his hand.

“Mike, this floor is blessed with plenty of men’s rooms that are in perfect order.” She reminded him as she returned to her seat.

“Oh, you’re back. I was just wondering if Harvey was in a good mood right now.” Mike glanced inside the office again but he couldn’t see Harvey’s face as he was talking on the phone while looking out of the large windows.

“What did you do this time?” Donna asked, turning on her computer monitor.

“What? I didn’t make a mistake or do anything wrong…” Mike tried to look a little offended.

“Then why do you look like a puppy that’s about to present its owner with its mess?”

Mike sighed and decided to tell Donna what this was about. “You see, I went to see Grammy yesterday.”

“I know that. How sweet of you to visit her whenever you can.” Donna smiled warmly.

“Thank you. But do you also know that I gave an audition in there?”

“Audition? For what? Oh my god, are you writing a screenplay? Is that what’s inside the envelope? Because if you do have a screenplay, you obviously have to let me take part in it. I’ve proved to you countless times how amazing I can be on stage.”

Donna’s eyes twinkled so much that Mike felt bad to shake his head. “I’m sorry, Donna. I’m not writing anything. I just wanted to find someone for Harvey.”

Out of all the possible auditions that had run through the red head, that wasn’t one of them.

“What do you mean by ‘someone’? You wanted to get him good medical care?” Donna wasn’t following. Mike couldn’t possibly have meant ‘someone’ as a date. That would be absurd.

“No, I want to help him get a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Whatever rocks his boat these days.”

Donna wasn’t sure what to say. Normally, Harvey would just laugh at Mike’s idea but if what she suspected was right, he might get mad at him.

‘It’s worth testing my theory. I care about all three of them.’ She thought and nodded. “Go in there as soon as he’s done with the phone call. He’s talking to Miss Prescott so he should be in a good mood.”

“Okay, thanks.” Mike smiled as he remembered how they had helped that particular client successfully.

“Harvey, do you have a minute?” Mike asked as he stepped into Harvey’s office.

“Yeah, come in. What do you need?” Harvey wondered what was in the envelope and why his associate looked a little nervous.

“Would you take a look at some pictures for me?” Mike sat on the couch and waited for his boss to join him.

“Sure.” Harvey took a seat next to Mike.

“Let’s start with this one.” Mike handed Harvey a picture of a beautiful woman.

“Who is this?” Harvey raised his eyebrow. It wasn’t a familiar face.

“Her name is Kate. She’s a nurse. Lovely, isn’t she?” Mike asked with a bright smile on his face.

“And, you’re showing me this why?”

“I was wondering if you’d like to meet her. Grab a bite or something. She’s really nice. It’s just impossible to not like her.”

“No thanks, Mike. I’m more into guys these days if that’s what this is about.”

“Ooh, fantastic! I have a guy for you too. His name is Kevin and he’s a nurse. Cute, right? He even has dimples!”

“I prefer blonds, Mike.”

“Oh, but he would look great if he dyed his hair blond.”

“I like someone who’s much younger than me.”

“He’s four years younger than you.”

“Well, he doesn’t look like it, does he?”

“What? He looks incredibly young!”

Harvey made a face and Mike got the message. “Okay, then please meet Adrian. He’s six years younger than you and look! He happens to be blond!”

“Let me guess. He’s a nurse too.”

“How did you know?”

“I know most of your friends, Mike, and these people do not look like your friends. Do these men and women work at the nursing home where your grandmother stays?”

“Yeah, you were there only once but you had left quite an impression.” Mike grinned.

Mike showed him some other pictures but Harvey didn’t respond too well.

“Hey, perhaps you’re not into nurses. Ah, why didn’t I think about that before? Of course! You’re into doctors! They’re the ones who are on the top of the food chain! Silly me!”

Harvey didn’t bother to respond. His associate wasn’t being helpful at all.

“So what kind of a doctor would you like to go out with?”

Harvey silently glared at him and Mike remembered, “Oh right, a blond who’s much younger than you. Right. Err, I can’t think of anyone who fits that description. A few comes to mind but they are either married or are already dating someone. You’ll have to let me get back to you on this one.” Mike gathered all the pictures and put them back in the envelope.

Harvey rubbed his face in frustration. “Listen to me. I appreciate your looking out for me but my personal life is none of your business, Mike. If I need you to find me someone, I’ll ask you. But until then, you’ll be more helpful by doing your job.”

Mike nodded. He had expected to face resistance. Harvey wasn’t a man who asked for help until that was the only option left. And, even though he was aware that Harvey was perfectly capable of finding his own date, Mike was worried that loneliness might be affecting his boss more than he thought.

‘How else can you explain him dusting my bookshelves and vacuuming my living room wearing scarily bright colors? He probably didn’t want to go home where he would be all alone. And, I think the same thing happened last weekend. He mentioned that he could use the company when I was thinking about going home. Most of his friends live outside the city so no wonder he feels so lonely.’ Mike decided that he should keep his eyes open for Harvey’s type of guys in case Harvey let him help him someday.

Harvey noticed that Mike was looking at him with such sympathetic eyes. ‘How Mikish of him to go out of his way to try to help someone. If only he knew what was really going on…’

“Mike?”

“Yeah?”

“Didn’t you hear me? You’ll be more helpful by doing your job.”

“Right. I’ll get going then.” Mike stood up with his envelope.

“Oh, and don’t forget that we’re having lunch with Rachel and Donna at noon.” He added before stepping out of the office.

“I’m looking forward to it.” Harvey smiled somewhat dangerously. It would be the perfect opportunity to get to know his enemy.

 

“How did it go? Did he show any interest at all?” Rachel asked as soon as Mike came into her office.

“No, he barely looked at the pictures. I thought everyone liked nurses but apparently, Harvey’s not like everyone else. I should’ve gone for the doctors. My bad.” Mike sat in front of her desk with a serious look on his face. Truth be told, he had never been great at matchmaking.

“Did he say what he was looking for? Perhaps it’s not about the wrong job.” Rachel wondered how well Mike knew Harvey’s personal taste.

“He mentioned being interested in guys who are much younger than him and who have blond hair.” Mike regretted not asking for more specifics.

“Really? I assume he’d also want them to be very smart.”

“I guess so.” Mike shrugged. He couldn’t imagine Harvey going out with someone who was unable to enjoy an intellectual conversation with him.

Rachel had a bad feeling about this. There could be many guys who fit the profile but she could think of only one. ‘No. I know Harvey swings both ways but that doesn’t mean anything. Who doesn’t find young blonds cute? And, doesn’t every decent lawyer naturally like someone who’s smart? Just because I like Mike doesn’t mean everyone close to him likes him too. I’m being paranoid. I’m worried that someone might want my perfect boyfriend.’

She considered changing the topic. The last thing that she wanted to do was to be seen as a suspicious, jealous girlfriend in Mike’s eyes. She of all people should’ve learned from what had happened between Mike and Jenny. If she wanted to keep Mike, trust should be the foundation of their relationship.

‘But isn’t it usually better to confront things before they get out of control? Mike and I don’t have any secrets.’ She thought and decided to sound him out.

“That description reminds me of you, Mikey.” She kept her tone light.

“Haha, can you blame him? I’m the perfect model for a great boyfriend.” Mike said, half-joking. He was a great boyfriend who couldn’t make enough time to satisfy his girlfriend.

“You’re sure he doesn’t want you?” Rachel added a chuckle.

Mike laughed. “Harvey Specter wanting me? Ahaha, that’s a good one, Rach.”

‘I wish it was that funny.’ Rachel thought, feeling a little bit bitter.

Mike noticed that she wasn’t laughing with him so he reassured her softly, “Hey, I know that from the outside, it might look like we’re more than a partner and an associate. But I promise we’re just very close friends. That’s all there ever was to it. He’s never made a move on me if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“I’m not worried about it.” Rachel faked a smile.

“Great then.” Mike got up from the chair and kissed the top of her head. “I’ll see you in the lobby at noon.”

Rachel nodded. She was glad that Harvey was joining them for lunch. She didn’t get many chances to interact with him so it could be a nice occasion to observe him.

 

Donna was telling Rachel what she thought about the paralegal’s new lipstick as they walked down the lobby and out of the building. She had expected to walk with Harvey and see Mike and Rachel be all lovey-dovey but apparently, she had been wrong.

“Hey, I don’t mean to be nosy but is everything all right with you and Mike?” She couldn’t resist asking.

“Of course. Why do you ask?” Rachel couldn’t stop looking at the two men who were walking ahead of them.

“I don’t know. Those two are chatting away merrily and you look quite anxious.”

Rachel felt much more uneasy about the tiny idea in her head, now that Donna mentioned how merry the guys looked.

“You can tell me anything, you know. I can keep a secret and I might even be able to help.” Donna spoke in a grave voice.

“But there’s nothing to help.” Rachel didn’t want to look like a girl who couldn’t keep tabs on her own boyfriend. She could handle her relationship all by herself.

“If you say so. But really, if you ever feel like talking to someone, you know where to find me.” Donna offered her a warm smile.

“Thank you.” Rachel said sincerely.

‘Even if Harvey’s interested in Mike, Mike said that he has never made a move. Plus, Harvey knows that Mike is going out with me. Is he really the type to steal someone’s boyfriend? Well, Mike’s pretty special. I remember I wanted to steal him away from Jenny. But let’s not jump to conclusions until I get some proof.’ Rachel rushed into the restaurant. There was no reason to lose her appetite just yet.

 

“This is lovely.” Donna appreciated the taste of her onion soup.

“It really is!” Mike was excited to be out with his three favorite people at work. He reached out for another slice of bread and happily chewed it.

“We should do this more often.” Harvey suggested while keeping his eyes on the paralegal. She was sitting right across him at the square table so it was an easy task.

“I couldn’t agree more.” Mike turned his head to his right and smiled at Harvey. This had been a wonderful idea.

Rachel ate her vegetable soup as she thought about Harvey. He had kindly pulled out the chair for Donna (while Mike had pulled out hers) and had politely recommended dishes to everyone. Being a foodie, she put great emphasis on recommending the right food to each individual. So far she had tasted her soup and her wine and she had to admit that despite the fact that he didn’t know her well, Harvey had picked them wisely.

‘Perhaps I should go out with him instead of Mikey.’ She joked inwardly, thinking about the day when Mike had ordered her a cheeseburger that had made her sick.

‘Or… perhaps everything is delicious here.’ She changed her theory. She didn’t want to praise someone who might have his eyes on her boyfriend.

“You’re pretty quiet, Rach.” Mike’s voice pulled her out of her thoughts and Rachel realized that everyone at the table was staring at her.

“The soup doesn’t suit your taste?” Harvey asked.

“Oh, it’s not that. The soup is great, Mr. Specter.” She smiled. “It’s actually so great that I’m speechless.”

Donna and Mike laughed while Harvey studied her face. The girl looked nervous and a little confused; an expression that he was very familiar with, thanks to his associate.

“If something makes you uncomfortable, please let me know.” Harvey’s tone was one that he often used with clients.

Rachel nodded, biting back the urge to point out that he was the one who made her uncomfortable.

“Oh, where did all the bread go?” Mike asked, looking at the empty bread basket in the middle of the table.

“We can ask for more if you want.” Harvey suggested.

Mike pointed at the bread that was left on Harvey’s bread plate. “Are you going to finish that?”

“No. But as I said…”

“Yeah, I know. But I only need a few bites.”

Mike’s eyes were glued to the bread so Harvey had to give in. “Fine. Help yourself.”

“Thanks!”

“You’re welcome.”

Rachel knew that Harvey had used his hands to cut the bread in half and that it was important to not waste food, but it didn’t annoy her any less. She wondered if Harvey would ever eat off Mike’s plate. She hoped that he wouldn’t.

“Your main dishes, ladies and gentlemen.”

Two waiters brought out the dishes and Mike was quick to cut the venison into small pieces on Rachel’s plate.

“Aww, what a gentleman.” Donna smiled at Mike’s sweet gesture.

“She’s an independent woman, Mike.” Harvey pointed out lightly.

“I know, I know. But it can’t hurt to have someone do the legwork, well, in this case, fingerwork.” Mike smiled at his girlfriend.

“But she’s a foodie, puppy. I bet she appreciates the feeling of driving a knife into a deer’s heart.” Harvey took a good look at the paralegal.

Rachel’s eyes shot up to meet Harvey’s. ‘What is he trying to say? Is he talking about my lunch? Am I still imagining things?’

“Oh… Is that true?” Mike stopped cutting.

“Well…” Rachel hesitated. As much as she hated to admit it, Harvey actually had a point. She enjoyed the whole process of a good meal. “Normally I do enjoy cutting my own food but I can always make an exception when you’re the one doing the cutting.”

Mike made a mental note to read up on what foodies generally liked and disliked. “Uh, so should I keep cutting or not?” The romantic gesture had just become awkward.

“It’s okay. I got it from here. Thanks.” Rachel smiled gratefully.

“You’re welcome.”

Thankfully, the awkward silence didn’t last long as Donna initiated a conversation by talking about their favorite chew toy; Louis. Rachel had her fork in her left hand and held Mike’s hand in her right one. She had seen Harvey glance at their hands on the table but because of his lawyer face, it was difficult to know what he was thinking.

Mike was by far the most responsive one and the other two just muttered a few words of agreement and nodded their heads every once in a while. Rachel was aware that she was staring at Harvey a little too obviously but she had to be sure. ‘Oh god, I really hope it’s not true. Why can’t I enjoy a normal relationship with my boyfriend? Is that too much to ask? I haven’t had a decent one for years and this is what I get? And, out of all the people, I get to fight Harvey Specter? Oh please…’

“Rach? Are you okay?” Mike felt her grip tighten on his hand.

“I’m fine.”

Mike wanted to ask her if she was absolutely sure but a waitress came along with the menus.

“Would you like to order dessert in advance? Our kitchen seems to be busier than usual. We wouldn’t want to keep you waiting too long, Mr. Specter.”

“Thanks, Mindy.” Harvey nodded and soon everyone was looking at the dessert section of the menu.

“What do you recommend, Harvey? I’ve loved everything so far.” Mike looked at Harvey with twinkling eyes. His veal cutlet had been wonderful just like his boss had promised.

“What about a crème brulée for you, puppy?” Harvey’s tone was so soft that it gave Rachel goose bumps on her arms.

“I trust your judgment completely, Harvey.”

Rachel could pretty much see his boyfriend wag his tail and felt her appetite go away completely. She listened as Harvey recommended peach pie to Donna and thought about skipping her dessert.

“You and I could have tiramisu, Miss Zane. It looks like we have similar taste.” Harvey closed his menu.

“I’m afraid you’re wrong, Mr. Specter. I enjoy very different things from you.”

“Is that so?” Harvey’s tone became sharper.

“Yes, I’m quite positive.” Rachel had no intention to back off.

“What would you like then?” Harvey asked in an uninterested voice.

“An apple pie, please.” She had to prove him wrong.

“Suit yourself.”

When the waitress came back, Harvey ordered their desserts and everyone finished the main dishes while listening to Mike talk about how his creepy neighbor had moved out of the building in a hurry last night.

“We’ve got your desserts ready, sir.”

Rachel took a bite of her apple pie and instantly regretted ordering it. It was too sugary. So her theory about how everything they served must taste great turned out to be wrong. Harvey had actually known what he was talking about.

‘Great! I feel so fucking great.’ She stabbed her pie with her fork, cursing her luck.

 

Rachel felt a little better when they left the restaurant. Before Harvey got a chance to chat with Mike, she had hooked an arm around Mike’s and had clung to him.

‘Okay, so Harvey wants him. But what does Mike want? Does he want him back? Or does he want to stay with me? Does he even know what’s going on?’ Rachel bet her money that her boyfriend was utterly clueless. As a first-year associate, Mike didn’t have a solid lawyer face yet. He seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the occasion whereas Rachel couldn’t have been more uncomfortable.

‘I know they’ve been close from the beginning but they seem to be closer these days. They hung out in Harvey’s office every once in a while but they didn’t frequent each other’s place, let alone spend the whole weekend there.’

“What’s on your mind?” Mike asked. Rachel had been far too quiet.

“You, as usual.” Rachel gave him a peck on the cheek.

‘At least this is something that’s out of Harvey’s reach. Nobody gets to kiss him other than me.’ Then she got an idea. She had a feeling that it could be dangerous to provoke someone like Harvey but she had every right to warn anyone who was getting too close to her boyfriend. So as soon as they stepped into the building, she turned Mike’s face and gave him a kiss that only a caring girlfriend would give.

“Oh boy.” Louis’ disgusted voice had put an end to the kiss. “You probably know this but I’ll remind you anyway. We frown upon such unprofessional behavior in this firm. Plus, I have more work for both of you. You should’ve been at your desks five minutes ago.”

Mike made a pouty face and looked back at Harvey for help.

“Louis, try not to blame my associate for your poor choice of lunch menu. Next time, don’t be adventurous. It doesn’t suit you. Just be your simple self and stick to the basic dishes.”

Rachel wasn’t happy about the way Mike chuckled lowly and looked at Harvey as if he was his hero.

“Come on, puppy.” Harvey put a hand on the back of his associate and guided him towards the elevator.

‘Oh seriously… Can’t he see that we’re walking arm in arm? And, how often does he call Mike a puppy? If he wants a puppy so much, he can always fill his house with real puppies!’ Rachel couldn’t hide her annoyance anymore. She stood closer to Mike and saw that Harvey’s hand was digging deeper into Mike’s back.

“Wow, I’m getting so much love here, haha.” Mike laughed as the three of them stopped in front of the elevator.

Both Harvey and Rachel pulled their hands back and Mike suddenly felt alone. “Um, I never said I didn’t like it…”

But the warm touches didn’t come back and Mike was left with Louis’ snickers coming from the back. Mike shuddered at the terrifying sound and instinctively stepped closer to Harvey who was standing on his left.

‘Are you kidding me?...’ Rachel stared at the distance between Mike and her. She only needed to take half a step to be right next to Mike but half a step had never felt so distant.

Chapter Text


Not too long since they were back from lunch, Donna walked into Harvey’s office and headed straight for her boss.

“No knocking? Don’t tell me that Mike’s bad manners are rubbing off on you.” Harvey looked up from his stack of papers.

Donna didn’t say anything. She just stood behind Harvey and stuck her right hand in his vest.

“Okay, this is more than bad manners.” Harvey commented.

Donna pulled out her hand and looked at Harvey who had turned his chair around to face her. “So you do have a heart. A heart that beats very nicely.”

“Thanks. I didn’t know you had a thing for hearts.” Harvey’s tone was dry.

“I hope you have a sage one.” Donna leaned against the wall as Harvey crossed his legs.

“Are you trying to tell me something?” Harvey asked even though he already knew where this was going.

“Yes, you have to stay away, Harvey.” Her eyes were pleading.

“I don’t have to do anything.”

“But you know they’re going out together.”

“It’s not like they’re married.”

“There’s still the moral code!”

“I’m not breaking any laws here.”

Donna sighed. “I don’t want any of you to get hurt.”

“Life is full of battles, Donna. This is just another one which is absolutely none of your business.”

“Harvey, your everyday life is my business.”

“Let me rephrase it then. Unlike all my other businesses, I promise I won’t ask your help on this one. That sounds fair to you?”

Donna looked at Harvey for a long time.

“I’m just worried, Harvey.” She spoke softly.

“I know.” Harvey smiled bitterly. “I wish there was another way to do this.”

“Why don’t you try talking to Mike? Honesty is the best policy.”

“And, drive him away? He’s not going to leave her if I scare him like that. He’ll just stay away from me.”

Donna thought about Harvey’s words. He was right.

“I still don’t think this is the best way to deal with it.” Her face was cloudy.

“I’m afraid that sometimes there’s no best way.” Harvey rubbed his face, feeling a little tired.

“So what’s your plan? Wait for an opportunity and find an opening into his heart?”

“Pretty much.” Harvey admitted in a smaller voice.

“And, you think it’ll work?”

“I’m quite optimistic. Yes.” Harvey regained his confidence. He knew how to win. It was as simple as that.

“So that’s why you’re suddenly interested in Jessica’s request.”

“Hmm?” Harvey played dumb. It was always fun to watch his secretary act like his third grade teacher.

“Oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about.” Donna used her scolding tone. “You hate going out of town for work but you’re taking Mike to go meet that client in Washington, D.C. And, you’re taking the train instead of an airplane so you can spend more time with him.”

Harvey allowed himself to smile a little. “You ever thought of becoming a private detective?”

“Now you’re insulting me.” Donna smiled smugly. “I’ve got your reservations confirmed for both your train and hotel. I’ll hand over the papers to Mike and I already told Ray when to pick you guys up and drive you to the station.”

“Thanks, Donna.” Harvey meant it and Donna understood exactly what he was thanking her for.

“It doesn’t mean that I approve it.”

Harvey nodded. “I still appreciate it.”

“Choose your moves wisely or you’re going to get hurt.”

“I know. I’ll be careful.” Harvey gave her a warm smile.

Donna stepped out of Harvey’s office with a sinking heart. This was a new situation for her; she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do. ‘Should I help him as a long friend of his? He said he’d keep me out of it but should I look for ways to act as the ‘invisible hand’?’

She sat at her desk and turned on her computer.

‘Well, Rachel clearly knows she has competition now. But Mike looked oblivious, not that it’s surprising.’ She assessed the situation and wondered what Rachel was planning to do about it.

‘She didn’t want to talk about it but perhaps she’ll have a change of heart. I’ll have to wait until she asks me though.’ Donna wasn’t the type to patiently wait but Mike wasn’t her boyfriend. Whatever Rachel wanted to do, it had to be her call.

‘Hmm, there’s one thing that I can do without Harvey or Rachel’s approval. I can make sure that nobody finds out about this, especially Louis.’ She frowned at the thought of Louis’ eyes gleaming with amusement.

Pearson-Hardman allowed its employees to fraternize at the office as long as their romance didn’t interfere with work so that wasn’t a problem. What she was worried about was that if Rachel chose not to discuss the matter with Mike, Louis might figure out what was going on before Mike did. With nobody to love him back, Louis tended to sniff love in the air like a hungry dog.

‘I’ll have to gather more blackmail material in case the drama goes on for a while.’ She decided, even though she had plenty of stuff she didn’t get to use yet. Even if Mike found out earlier than Louis, she didn’t want the whole firm to watch the tug of war. Louis never knew when to keep his mouth shut so she would have to keep an eye on him.

‘I should get a raise for this. It’s extremely unpleasant to deal with that smelly ball of fur.’ She knitted her eyebrows as she got back to work. She usually enjoyed watching drama happen in the office but she had a feeling that she wasn’t going to enjoy this one.

 

Mike was pondering about his former creepy neighbor while doing some research for the case on his computer. Last night, when he had stepped inside the building of his apartment after paying a visit to his grandmother, Wayne was trying to push his couch down the stairs. Apparently it was too big to fit inside the elevator. When he had offered to give him a hand, Wayne had turned pale and had yelled that he didn’t need any help.

‘That was weird. Perhaps it was his way of saying sorry to me. He never seemed like a bad guy. He probably felt bad that he sniffed my underwear.’ Mike remembered how he had washed that particular pair of boxers again to make sure that it was extra clean.

‘Harvey had nothing to do with it, right?’ He found the timing of Wayne’s move a little suspicious. He had mentioned the sniffing incident on Wednesday evening when Harvey had helped him with his chores and Wayne had moved out in a hurry the very next evening.

‘But why would Harvey do such a thing? I told him that Wayne was harmless! And, even if he threatened to sue the guy, Harvey had no proof! It’s not like he left his prints on my underwear. I washed it again! Ooh, but maybe Wayne didn’t know that. But still, he could’ve argued that he had just picked my boxers from the floor of the laundry room to help me out.’

Then Mike remembered that Wayne wasn’t a bright guy by any stretch of the imagination. Whatever Harvey said would’ve worked like magic. ‘Plus, who can really stay cool under Harvey’s burning glare? Hmm, I wonder if I should thank Harvey. I didn’t need his help but I can’t say that I’m sorry to see Wayne gone. Wait. Then why did I buy the washing machine? Urgh…’

Feeling frustrated, Mike tried to tell himself that there could always be other creepy neighbors in his building and that doing the laundry at his own place was the best way to avoid them.

‘Let’s go say thank you.’ Mike finished up his research and headed towards his favorite office.

“Harvey, I’m done with the research you asked for.” Mike proudly handed over the file.

“Good. Anything else?” Harvey asked as he opened the file and started to read.

“Yeah. I wanted to say thank you.”

“For what?” Harvey kept his eyes on the file.

“For taking out my neighbor.”

“I didn’t take him out.”

“You know what I mean.”

Harvey looked up at Mike. He didn’t see the point of denying it. “Next time something like that happens, you come straight to me, okay? It doesn’t matter if it’s not work-related.”

“I can handle my own problems, but okay, I’ll do that.” Mike didn’t want to upset Harvey when he was here to thank him.

“Good boy. Now take a seat so I can talk to you about our weekend.”

“We leave the station at half past ten and arrive about three hours later. We have a banquet at 7p.m. and a brunch meeting on Sunday at 11a.m. We leave at 4p.m. and get back here around seven. If you behave all weekend, I’ll buy you dinner before sending you home.”

“Okay.” Mike memorized their schedules and announced, “I’ll get that dinner out of you! You just wait!”

“You can try.” Harvey smirked. “And, I hope it’s okay that we share a room at the hotel. We’re cutting costs. That’s also why we’re taking the train.”

“No problem. As long as we’re not sleeping on the streets, I’m good and I prefer trains anyway.” Mike smiled. He hadn’t taken a train in a long while.

“Good then. Go home at a decent time today. Pack and get some rest so you won’t be useless tomorrow.”

Mike nodded.

“I mean it, Mike. If this client wasn’t important, Jessica would’ve sent Louis instead. No chores, no girlfriend. Rest.”

“Got it. Pack and rest.” Mike got up and grinned. “We’re going to have so much fun, Harvey. I see that we have a few hours before the banquet tomorrow. Do you think we could go to the zoo and bike around the city or something?”

“It’s a business trip, Mike.”

“I know but we could always have a little fun too. I’ve never been to D.C. before! Have you?”

“I’ve been there three times.”

“Great! Then you can be my handsome tour guide! I’ll bring the biking outfits for both of us. We can rent bikes in D.C.”

“No way. I’m not going to humiliate myself in those yellow biker shorts. Not again.” Harvey firmly shook his head as Mike sat down again.

“But yellow’s a great color for safety!”

“No, Mike. If we must bike around, I’m bringing my own.”

“Fine. I bet yours is boring black.”

“It’s called elegant.”

Mike made a face. “Don’t tell me that your helmet is elegant too. You can’t go all black!”

“I’m not going to bike in the dark, Mike. I’ll be fine with a black one.”

“You’re lucky I have two helmets, Harvey. What would you do without me? I’ll bring a yellow one and an orange one. Since you seem allergic to yellow, you can have the orange one.”

Harvey snorted. “You’re starting to sound like Donna. Anything else you want to nag about?”

“As a matter of fact, yes, one last thing. What’s your favorite animal?”

“A puppy.”

“Haha, that’s very flattering but I meant an animal that lives in the zoo.”

“Hmm, I don’t know. A panther?”

“Like the Pink Panther?” Mike giggled while Harvey rolled his eyes.

“No, Mike. A black panther.”

“Ah, there’s that black again!”

“Why do you have a problem with black?”

“I don’t have a problem with black. I just think you’ll be a brighter person once you embrace warm colors!”

“You think I’m too dark?” Harvey lifted his eyebrows.

Mike shrugged. “I know lawyers are supposed to be like sharks in court but I think you could use more light.”

“But that’s what you’re here for.”

Mike beamed. “It’s nice to see you finally accept that I have more to offer than my brain. Oh, Harvey, I’m going to make you so proud this weekend. You’ll feel lucky to have brought me with you.”

“We’ll see about that, smart ass. Go work now. Enough talking.”

“Fine. We’ll continue our elegant talk in the train tomorrow.” Mike left with a salute and Harvey smiled. He already felt lucky to have Mike around.

 

Meanwhile, Rachel was in front of Mike’s cubicle, waiting for him to come back. She could go look for him but she wasn’t sure if she could handle it if Mike was in Harvey’s office, being too friendly again.

‘Should I tell him that Harvey has eyes for him? But he wouldn’t believe me. What happens if he asks Harvey if it’s true? Will Harvey admit it? Or will he deny everything and let Mike think it’s all in my head?’

She saw the danger in the last scenario. She couldn’t end up as Jenny no.2. ‘Then how can I prove to Mike that I’m not making things up?’

‘Will Mike have second thoughts about going out with me? Or will he turn Harvey down and stick with me without any regret?’ She sat in Mike’s seat and thought hard. She had plenty of ‘soft’ evidence but unless she provided him with a smoking gun, it was unlikely that Mike was going to believe her.

‘What is Harvey waiting for? Why didn’t he confess already and sweep Mike off his feet? Is he waiting for me to slip so he can squeeze in between us? Is he planning to do something special while they’re in D.C.?’ As far as she was concerned, the best way to go about this was to warn Mike before he left town. Although she didn’t believe that Harvey would jump his associate on a business trip, she was afraid that the two might strengthen their bond.

‘Gosh, why did I tell him that we should take things slowly? I should’ve never said that!’ She didn’t want to get worked up when nothing had happened between Harvey and Mike, but she couldn’t shake off the feeling that she had missed a huge opportunity to stay ahead in the race.

‘Where the heck is he anyway? Urgh, let’s just leave him a note.’ She wrote down a few words on Mike’s Post-it and went back to her office. She would have to google ‘how to keep your boyfriend.’

It didn’t take long for Mike to appear in her office.

“Rachel? You wanted to… okay… I think you missed a button on your blouse.” Mike’s eyes shot up to the ceiling.

“No, I didn’t.” Rachel smiled. She was glad that Mike had told her that he was a visual person.

“You’re sure?” Mike didn’t know where to look.

“I’m sure, Mikey.”

“But you’re not that type of woman…” Mike said before he realized that he should’ve worded it better.

“What do you mean by that?” Rachel wondered if her breasts weren’t attractive enough.

“I mean, you don’t use your physical attraction to deliver the message.” Mike spoke gently, careful not to hurt her.

Rachel sighed and did the button in question. Mike was right. She had to go with the things that she was comfortable with.

“You can stop studying the patterns on my wall now.” She said and watched Mike take a seat in front of her.

“So what did you want to talk about?” Mike’s eyes wandered over to Rachel’s blouse for a second. He was a little disappointed now but he knew that he had done the right thing.

“I want to give you a hand tonight. Help you pack and maybe wish you luck after that.” Rachel winked suggestively.

“But I thought you wanted to wait.” Mike wasn’t following.

“I changed my mind.”

Mike looked at his girlfriend with attentive eyes. It seemed that she wanted to look hot and appealing but she rather looked nervous and worried. “Can I ask why?”

“Do I need a reason to want to sleep with my boyfriend?” Rachel was getting impatient. Why couldn’t Mike jump at the opportunity like other guys? Why did he have to question things?

“No, you don’t.” Mike answered. He knew from experience that girls sent mixed signals all the time.

“So can I come over tonight?” Rachel asked excitedly.

“Uh, sorry, Rach. Harvey specifically told me, ‘No chores, no girlfriend.’ He thinks that I need to get as much rest as possible for the big client. Sorry.”

“Well, he doesn’t have to know.” Rachel lowered her voice with hope.

“But it’s Harvey we’re talking about. He always knows.” Mike wanted to forget about Harvey’s warning and listen to his girlfriend, but he wasn’t going to do anything to screw up his first business trip.

“But it’s your first business trip! As your girlfriend, I’m obligated to encourage you.” Rachel even whined with puckered lips, knowing that it worked on most men.

“Urgh, I’m really sorry, Rach. I can’t go against Harvey’s direct orders.” Mike apologized again. He felt horrible. It almost felt like their relationship was based on missed dates and apologies.

Rachel gave up. Mike was definitely not like other men. She usually loved him for that but at this very moment she wasn’t too sure about it. “Fine. Just call me tonight then. And, before you head home later, you’re going to give me a very nice kiss.”

“Haha, I can do that.” Mike got up and leaned in for a short kiss. He felt lucky to have such an understanding girlfriend.

“Mike?” Rachel’s insecure voice stopped Mike from walking out of the office.

“Yeah?” He looked back.

“I love you.” She suddenly realized that she had never told him.

Mike’s eyes widened for a moment but a beautiful smile came out to cover the surprise. “I love you too.”

Rachel smiled. “Promise me you won’t fall for anyone else until you see me again on Monday.”

Mike laughed. “You’re worried that I might meet someone in D.C.?”

“I’m serious, Mikey. Promise me.”

Mike put on a more serious face, wondering where all the insecurity was coming from. It must be a female thing. “I promise, Rach. I won’t fall for anyone else till Monday morning.”

“Okay, thank you.” Rachel watched her sweetheart leave, hoping that he would be true to his word.

Chapter Text


Harvey and Mike were in the dining car of the train that was headed to Washington D.C. Thanks to Donna’s reservation, they were enjoying a delicious lunch at the table that was illuminated by the warm sunlight and Mike’s smiles. It was mid-June and Mike thought that it was the perfect time to explore a new city.

“I know this is a business trip, Harvey, but I’m really glad that you brought me with you.” Mike smiled as he wolfed down his burger.

“I didn’t see why you couldn’t come along. You’ve earned the right to sit at the adults’ table and you haven’t screwed up in weeks.” Harvey took a bite off his sandwich.

“Haha, thank God for easy cases then.” Mike’s answer might have been humble but inside, he was burning with pride. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to ‘not screw up’ in Harvey’s eyes; Harvey had been serious about mentoring these days and had been pushing his limits intellectually.

“It had nothing to do with the cases, puppy. You did well. I’m proud of you.” Harvey commented casually and worked on his salad.

Mike gasped. “Did I just hear you say that you’re proud of me?”

“The burger is about to fall out of your hands, Mike.” Harvey warned his associate and watched him quickly bring the burger to safety.

“You said you were proud of me!” Mike loved how the words sounded to his ears.

“Yes, I did. But I’m not too proud of how you’re gaping and not eating.” Harvey put some broccoli and carrots on Mike’s plate. “Now eat.”

“Aww, you even care about my health.” Mike said with dreamy eyes.

Harvey made a disapproving sound and focused on his cucumber.

“Thank you, Harvey.” Mike’s voice was sincere.

“You’re welcome. The salad was too big for one person anyway.” Harvey didn’t think that it was a big deal.

“I’m not talking about the salad, Harvey. I’m talking about every single thing that you’ve ever done for me. If I didn’t have a perfect memory, I might’ve forgotten a couple of things because there are just so many! I know I owe you big time and I’ll do my very best to make it up to you.”

Mike’s adoring smile stung Harvey’s heart. He badly wanted to reach out and feel the smile on his fingertips. Instead, he gripped his cup of coffee and took a deep breath.

“You don’t owe me anything, puppy. Whatever you think I have done for you, I might’ve done it for myself.” Harvey was honest.

“I really don’t think you risked your own safety to save Trevor for yourself.” Mike happily ate the veggies on his plate.

“I didn’t want to see a sad puppy.”

Mike smiled as he drank his apple juice. “Have I ever told you how much I like it when you call me a puppy? It makes me feel like you’re going to look out for me no matter what. You always insist that a puppy can’t clean its own mess.”

Harvey was surprised. He had known it the first time that he had used the puppy analogy but he hadn’t expected Mike to admit it. Perhaps the fresh air was making him bold. “You never told me but you didn’t have to. I can read you easily, puppy.”

Mike chuckled as he ate some fries. “I know you can but I wanted to tell you. If my secret ever gets out or if either of us gets promoted, I think that’s going to be one of the things I’ll miss the most.”

Harvey’s blood went cold. “Why would you even think about that?”

Mike shrugged. “I’m not going to be your associate forever, Harvey. I don’t see Jessica having an associate so I assume that if you get promoted, you wouldn’t need one. And, if I somehow manage to get promoted, I probably won’t see you as often as I do now.”

“And, if your secret gets out?” That was what Harvey really wanted to hear about.

Mike finished his burger and answered, “I’m going to say that you had no idea I hadn’t gone to Harvard, or any other law school for that matter, so I assume that I’ll have to stay away from you. Otherwise, people might wonder why you’re hanging out with someone who betrayed you right from the beginning.”

It hurt Mike to think that a day might come when he wasn’t allowed to hang out with Harvey. He loved how they had become great friends and he really didn’t want to lose the bond they shared.

“Listen to me, Mike.” Harvey waited until Mike looked him in the eyes. “Your secret is not going to get out. Lola gave you two layers of protection, remember? Besides, now you’re too good of a lawyer for anyone to doubt you. And, even if things somehow come to the worst, I’m going to find a way to get you out of the mess, all right? So there’s absolutely no need to think about it and torture yourself.”

Mike looked at Harvey as if he was searching for something in the brown eyes before looking down at his left hand on the table. Harvey followed Mike’s eyes with his until he spotted a familiar hand on top of Mike’s.

Harvey immediately pulled his hand back and picked up the cup of coffee.

“I was trying to reassure you.” He regretted, right after saying it. It made him look even more suspicious.

“I’ve been greatly reassured.” Mike said in a gentle voice. He missed the warm hand that had covered his like a security blanket.

As Harvey nodded and ate in silence, Mike thought about Rachel’s hand which was small, soft, and aesthetically pleasing. Then he thought about Harvey’s hand which was slightly bigger than his, strong, and aesthetically pleasing as well. He had no idea why he was comparing hands but Harvey really had nice hands. He had noticed that shortly after he had started to work for Harvey because the sight of his boss holding his black fountain pen was something to be remembered. Mike’s mind moved on and presented him with a much more recent memory. He thought about the day that Harvey had taught him how to use the dumbbells. He hadn’t been able to get his arms into the right position so Harvey had covered his hands with his to help him out.

‘That was very reassuring too.’ Mike thought as he looked at the man in front of him.

“You want more veggies?” Harvey asked, trying not to guess what was going on inside Mike’s head.

“No thanks, I’m full.” Mike patted his belly with a satisfied grin.

“Good. You should really eat more.” Harvey couldn’t resist nagging him.

“Well, in that case, I could use some dessert.” Mike turned around in his seat to read the menu over the counter.

“I thought you were full.”

“There’s always room for dessert, Harvey. Hey, how about we order an ice cream and share it?”

“Why? You only have room for half an ice cream?” Harvey finished his salad.

“No, I have room for more but I’m trying to get into better shape, remember?” Mike moved his arms as if he was holding dumbbells.

“Ah, so you’re trying to dump some extra fat on me for your own good. I see.” Harvey didn’t point out that if Mike wanted to get into better shape, he shouldn’t order ice cream at all.

“I’ll take that as a yes and go order one!” Mike announced cheerfully and bolted out of his seat.

Harvey chuckled and glanced at the suit jacket that Mike had left behind. It reminded him of the night when Mike had come to his place wearing a wrinkled shirt and marks of that paralegal. He remembered how he had pictured the paralegal taking off Mike’s jacket and that was when he had realized that he was jealous of her. That had happened a week ago and Harvey didn’t see any progress. He had been able to stop his associate from jumping in the paralegal’s bed and let the girl know that she had competition, but he hadn’t achieved anything substantial on the Mike front.

‘That will have to change. I’m not going to waste this opportunity when we’re far away from her. I’ll make sure that she sees a different Mike on Monday morning.’ Harvey vowed and welcomed Mike and the ice cream with a determined look on his face.

 

Two hours later, the pair was getting ready for their Washington D.C. bike tour. They had left their luggage at the hotel and had come out in their sporty biking gears. Harvey was wearing elegant black Lycra and Mike’s orange helmet for safety measures while Mike was wearing yellow from helmet to shorts. Since Mike had provided them with helmets, Harvey had brought matching shades for the event.

“Ready?” Mike asked as he checked Harvey’s bike.

“It’s not the first time I’m riding a bike, Mike. And, you already checked twice.” Harvey looked down from his saddle.

“I know. But it’s a rented bike and I want to make sure that I won’t get sued even if you fall.”

“I’m not going to fall, Mike. It’s not like we’re on the mountains. Plus, the beauty of riding a bike is that you don’t forget how to do it even after so many years.”

“I know that too but better safe than sorry. Now let’s take another look at your helmet.”

Harvey wanted to tell Mike that he knew how to wear a helmet but he didn’t think that it would stop him from checking it. So he remained silent and let his biking mentor make sure that he was 100% ready.

“You’re ready.” Mike announced with satisfaction as he got on his own bike. “Don’t hesitate to let me know when you need a break. I’m not going to tease you. I’ll show you how caring and understanding a mentor can be!”

Harvey laughed. “Is that supposed to make me feel bad?”

“No. But there are many different styles of mentoring and I might do something that would inspire you.” Mike wore a confident smile on his face.

“Good for me then.” Harvey chuckled and checked the map. He was supposed to be Mike’s personal tour guide. Mike had told him on the train that he was particularly interested in visiting the political and historical monuments. “Let’s start with the White House, shall we?”

“Excellent choice!” Mike looked at the map over Harvey’s shoulder and duplicated it in his head.

“Did you just memorize the whole map in two seconds?” Harvey asked even though he knew the answer. He liked to watch the proud expression grace the pretty face.

“Yep, every single inch of it. Now you don’t have to worry about losing the map.” Mike answered smugly.

“If I lose the map, I can simply buy another one. It only costs a few bucks.” Harvey grinned.

“But I know you’ll like it better when you get the right directions from me.” Mike stuck out his tongue.

Harvey’s gaze lingered on the tongue and then on the enticing mouth.

“Let’s get going or we’ll never make it in time.” He pedaled off before he had a chance to do something stupid. It was only about three o’clock in the afternoon so there was no need to do anything risky. He still had plenty of time to make his move before they had to go back home.

 

Mike was having a fantastic time, riding the bike across the beautiful city with the most handsome tour guide in the state. A tourist even asked him which tour agency he was using and Mike had to tell him that the guide was his boss with whom he was on a business trip with. The guy had given him a funny look but had left him alone, and ever since, Mike had followed Harvey’s lead and even raced with him while keeping an eye on Harvey’s biking. He liked how Harvey rode his bike. He had a firm grip on the handlebars and used long, smooth thrusts with a leisurely yet confident look on his face.

They had stopped to experience the capital’s hot dogs and coffee for a short while but apart from that, Harvey had been able to bike gracefully without a break. Mike had been impressed and had complimented his protégé by using various synonyms of the word ‘wonderful’. He was about to pick yet another wonderful word when he saw Harvey nearly fall off his bike. A little girl and a puppy had come out of nowhere and Harvey had almost hit them.

“Oh my gosh, Harvey! Are you okay?” Mike got off his bike and rushed to Harvey’s side.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? Move your legs a bit and tell me if it hurts.” Mike became a little pale.

“I’m really fine, Mike. See? Nothing’s wrong.” Harvey moved his legs to prove his point.

“Hey, you look nice but your boyfriend looks like a sour Popsicle.” The little girl’s words made Harvey laugh.

“Excuse me? I’m not his boyfriend and I’m most definitely not a sour Popsicle.” Mike protested.

“But you have the same shades.” The girl pointed out, eyeing Mike as if she wanted to say ‘Don’t lie to me just because you think I’m a kid’.

“He’s my puppy.” Harvey helped her out.

The girl tilted her head. “Your puppy? So you scratch his belly and pat him on the head like I do to Leonardo?”

“Pretty much.” Harvey answered. He figured that allowing Mike a fist bump was close enough to scratching his belly.

Mike couldn’t care less about the current topic; he was still grumbling over the ‘sour Popsicle’. Why couldn’t people understand the utter importance of the color yellow? It would certainly be wiser to choose safety over fashion but perhaps it wasn’t the same for a little girl.

“Come on, puppy. Time to go back to the hotel.” Harvey’s voice dragged him out of his thoughts and he noticed that the girl and her Leonardo were gone.

“Already?” Mike looked disappointed. He was having such great fun.

“The banquet starts at seven, Mike. We can’t go there with wobbly legs, smelling like sweat.”

Mike nodded. They were here for business and he was actually looking forward to the banquet. He was hoping that it would be another fascinating adventure with Harvey.

“Which way is the hotel?” Harvey quizzed him before he took a sip from his water bottle.

Mike looked around and pointed at the right direction. “That way.”

“That’s my boy.” Harvey smiled and patted his puppy on the helmet. He didn’t know what kind of tricks Leonardo was able to do but he was fairly certain that his puppy was the best in the whole wide world.

 

Mike’s tricks continued to satisfy Harvey at the buffet banquet. After the meal, Mike stood next to Harvey, feeling valuable as he shook the hands of important people and smiled at all the compliments he got. Harvey didn’t only show off his memory but also his wits and humor.

“Very impressive, young man. I wish I had a truck full of employees like you.” The client shook Mike’s hand again.

“Thank you, sir.” Mike smiled politely.

“I expect nothing less from Harvey Specter.” The client addressed Harvey. “You found yourself a brilliant asset.”

Harvey smiled. “Yes, I was very fortunate. I’m trying to train him into a lawyer that you’ve never seen before.”

Mike found himself blushing at Harvey’s words. To think that Harvey thought so highly of his potential made him shiver with excitement.

“Well, we’ll talk about business tomorrow at brunch. For tonight, I hope you’ll get to find some entertainment in here.” The client shook Harvey’s hand and left to join his wife.

“Phew, I thought it was never going to end.” Mike relaxed as he was finally left alone with his boss.

“Business hasn’t ended until you set foot outside this place, Mike. So try to stay sharp.” Harvey mentored him.

“Aye, aye, Sensei.” Mike knew that Harvey liked it when he called him ‘Captain’ or ‘Sensei’.

Harvey fixed Mike’s tie and was about to comb his associate’s hair with his hand when Mike’s cell phone started to buzz inside his jacket.

“You didn’t turn off that thing before coming in here?” Harvey frowned.

“I’m sorry. I thought it was okay as long as it didn’t make any noise…”

Mike was right but the frown didn’t leave Harvey’s face. He knew that it had to be the paralegal.

“Uh, do you mind if I take this call and go get some dessert? I think I saw cheese cakes back there.” Mike pointed over his shoulder.

Harvey gave him permission with a small nod and watched Mike smile into the phone. Instead of clenching his fist and throwing a punch at the imaginary paralegal, he chose to distract himself by talking to more people.

“So, Mikey, how much do you miss me? How many times have you thought about me today?” Rachel asked sweetly.

Mike was a little taken aback. He had thought about his girlfriend… once. And, even when he did, he hadn’t thought about her as a whole; he had just thought about her hand.

“Oh, haha, I was extremely busy today. I wasn’t able to think about anything other than work.” He had to lie. He didn’t think that Rachel would appreciate his honesty.

“That’s too bad. I was hoping that you would get some time off and take a look around the city. Didn’t you want to go to the zoo?”

“Ah, I think we might have time to squeeze that in tomorrow.” Mike was hopeful.

“How are things with Harvey? Is he nice to you?” Rachel asked cautiously.

“With Harvey? Yeah! We’re doing great! We just finished talking to the client and we had so much fun, biking around…” Mike closed his mouth. He blamed the champagne. People kept offering him glasses and he hadn’t been able to refuse them.

“I thought you didn’t have any free time.” Rachel’s voice was cold and sad.

Mike bit his lips. He didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry, Rach. I shouldn’t have lied to you. I did have some free time in the afternoon but…”

“But you didn’t think about me.” Rachel took pity on him and finished the sentence for him.

“I did think about your pretty hand… And, hey, I’m just a guy who focuses on the things right in front of me. It doesn’t mean that I love you any less.” Mike hoped that his voice was soothing.

“Mike, there’s a potential client who wants to talk to you.” Harvey interrupted and Mike had to mutter apologies and hang up in a hurry.

After dealing with two more potential clients, Mike finally got his hands on the cheese cake. He felt bad about how the conversation had ended with Rachel but he was glad that he had been quite successful so far on his first business trip.

“So how long have you been dating the man of your life? I saw you two interacting with each other and I bet it hasn’t been long.” A female voice caught his attention as soon as he sat at his table.

“Excuse me?” Mike looked around if she had been meaning to talk to someone else but there was nobody but him within earshot. “Oh, you were talking to me. I’m sorry but I’m not sure what you mean. There’s no man in my life.”

The woman laughed and pointed at someone. “Then who is he? He seems to be very fond of you.”

Mike followed her finger with his eyes and realized that she was talking about Harvey. “Oh, Harvey! He’s my boss. I’m here as his associate.”

The woman smiled. “I get it. You work in a firm that doesn’t allow fraternization in the office. Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.”

“No, no. I’m really just his associate.” Mike wondered why this city thought that he and Harvey were a couple. Perhaps things worked a little differently here.

“Ah, then you’re worried that I might be homophobic.” The woman nodded as if she understood Mike’s concern. “No need to. I have a gay son and that’s actually why I asked how long you’ve been dating. Forgive me if I was rude. You remind me of my son and I’d just love to see him find true love like you.”

Mike opened his mouth to set the record straight one last time. “Ma’am, Harvey and I are…”

“Oh, you don’t have to explain anything to me. I’ve lived long enough so I know true love when I see it.” The woman gave him a warm smile.

Mike looked at his boss to see if he had given the woman any reason to reach such a conclusion. As far as he could tell, Harvey was innocently chatting with an elderly couple with a glass of champagne in his hand. Mike was about to face the woman again when Harvey looked straight at him and gave him one of his charming smiles.

Mike smiled back with a fluttering heart. ‘It’s the champagne again. After hours of biking, my body’s naturally circulating the alcohol faster.’

He felt Harvey’s gaze get more intense and instinctively looked away. He could hear the woman laugh right next to him.

“Uh, ma’am, could you tell me about your son? How old is he?” Mike asked, hoping that the life story of a gay boy struggling with his sexuality and longing for love would sober him up.

 

“How come people here think we’re a couple?” Mike blurted out as soon as they walked into their hotel room.

“If it’s about that little girl, you can forget about it. She’s just a little girl.” Harvey locked the door behind him and got out of his jacket and shoes.

“No, there was this woman at the banquet and…” Mike decided to skip the details. “Well, for some reason, she thought that you were the man of my life. I kept telling her that I didn’t have any man in my life but she wouldn’t listen.”

Mike kicked off his shoes and pulled a fresh undershirt and a pair of boxers from his bag.

“Does it bother you that someone thought you were with me?” Harvey tried to keep his tone casual but he was a little nervous.

“No, it’s not that. I just thought it was weird how we didn’t get any of those comments back home. Are we doing something differently? Or do lawyers date their associates in this city?”

Harvey laughed at the last question as he took off his tie. “I don’t know, Mike. Some people like to see good-looking men be together.”

“Hmm, well, we are definitely good-looking.” Mike agreed as he watched Harvey unbutton his shirt. He didn’t know how the man could do everything with so much grace. He knew that he was supposed to give Harvey some privacy, but Harvey didn’t seem to mind it and he didn’t feel like looking away. Harvey looked nice and he wanted to keep looking at him.

Harvey was fully aware of the stare his associate was giving him. He hadn’t planned on giving Mike a show but he wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity. So he let his fingers move as slowly as possible down his shirt and started to hum lightly so the silence wouldn’t feel too awkward.

Mike sat down on his bed and took off his socks, pretending not to stare at Harvey’s arms. He took his time with his shirt as Harvey got rid of his undershirt, belt, and socks. Soon all there was left for Harvey to remove was his pants. ‘Okay, this is getting creepy. I know I’m under the influence of alcohol but let’s not screw things up.’

“Can I use the bathroom first?!” Mike shot up from the bed, startling Harvey who had just put his hands on his pants.

“Sure. No need to yell, puppy. I have perfect hearing.” Harvey noticed that Mike’s cheeks had turned crimson. He thought about taking advantage of his drunk associate but that wouldn’t be right.

“Thanks! I won’t take too long in there!” Mike ran into the bathroom with a fresh change of clothes.

Harvey sat on the other bed, rubbing his face. He felt a little disappointed that Mike had chosen to leave the room. ‘Nah, it was the right thing to happen.’

Despite all the questionable things that he had done in New York, Harvey didn’t want to do something that might put their trip in jeopardy.

‘Well, it was still a good day if I think about it.’ He thought about how much they had chatted and laughed on the train and their bikes. He had even let Mike do a series of awful impersonations just so that he would feel free around him.

‘Then there was the banquet.’ Harvey remembered how he had constantly put a hand on his associate while they talked to other people. He had usually guided him around with a hand on his back but in other occasions, he had gently grabbed Mike’s wrist, arm or shoulder and Mike had never stiffened. Harvey was pleased that he had made his presence clear to Mike without disturbing him.

His thoughts then went back to the train when he had held Mike’s hand. The contact had happened unconsciously but it was probably more meaningful.

‘I don’t know what he thought about that one.’ Harvey rubbed his chin and figured that he would have to do it again to find out what Mike thought about it.

“The bathroom is all yours, Harvey.” Mike came out of the bathroom, wearing his undershirt and boxers.

“Okay. If you’re sleepy, you can go to bed. We had a long day today and tomorrow will be a long one too.” Harvey tried not to stare at Mike’s underwear.

“But I thought we were going to trade embarrassing stories and secrets until we fall asleep. Isn’t that what people do when they’re on a trip?” Mike asked as he tried to stifle a yawn.

“We’ll think about it if you’re still awake in ten minutes.” Harvey took out the things that he needed from his bag.

“Oh yeah? You think you can be ready for such a sensational talk in ten minutes?” Mike sat on the bed and chuckled.

“Watch me.” Harvey said playfully and went into the bathroom.

 

By the time Harvey came back to the room in his boxers, Mike was asleep on top of the covers.

‘Just like I expected.’ Harvey smiled. He was quite exhausted too.

Harvey managed to pull the covers from under his associate but Mike opened his eyes in the process.

“I fell asleep?” He rubbed his eyes and let out a yawn.

“Yeah. I know it’s warm but you should sleep under the covers.” Harvey tucked him into bed.

“So you want to go first?” Mike asked with a grin.

“Go first on what?” Harvey wasn’t sure if trading secrets was a good idea.

“Tell me one of your secrets!” Mike looked more awake now.

“I don’t have any secrets.”

“Liar. Everybody has secrets.”

“Oh yeah? What’s yours then?” Harvey settled down in his own bed.

“I asked you first!”

“No, you asked me if I wanted to go first.”

Mike gave in. “Fine, I’ll go first then. I think I like your hands.”

“Everyone likes my hands, Mike. I happen to have very nice hands.” Harvey tried to play it down as he turned off the lights.

“I’m not talking about how they look, Harvey. I’m talking about how they feel.”

Harvey was glad that the lights were off. He hadn’t expected such an honest confession. “Care to elaborate?”

“Elaborate? Hmm…” Mike yawned. “I think they’re warm, confident, and reassuring. Very useful hands. Now it’s your turn.”

Harvey thought for a moment. What other secret could he tell him? “I’m worried that Leonardo might be a better name for a puppy.”

Mike’s laughter filled Harvey’s heart. “I thought you liked my name. You use it pretty often!”

“I do, but alas, I might’ve fallen for Leonardo. I wonder if it’s a da Vinci or a DiCaprio.”

Mike laughed some more. “That’s none of your concern. The only puppy name you need to know is Mike!”

“Well, in that case, you need to promise me something.” Harvey’s tone became serious.

“Promise what?”

“Give me your hand, Mike.” Harvey stretched his arm out of his bed. There was only a nightstand between the two beds.

“My hand?” Mike was puzzled but did as he was told.

Harvey took the hand in his and closed his eyes, pricking his ears for any sound that Mike might make. “If your name’s the only name I need to know, promise me that even after you stop working for me, you’ll still be my puppy.”

He could hear Mike take in a sharp breath and let it out with a smile. “I promise, Harvey. If you want, I’ll always be your puppy.”

Harvey didn’t want to let go of Mike’s hand but he could feel that Mike’s arm was getting heavier. “Okay. Good night then.”

“Good night, Harvey.” Mike let out one last yawn before falling asleep.

Chapter Text


The next morning, Harvey woke up to the astonishing sight of Mike’s blue eyes. He had learned to adore blue eyes far before Mike jumped into his life but Mike’s were particularly stunning. He blinked a few times to get used to the sunlight and noticed that Mike’s face was getting closer.

‘Jesus, what is he trying to do?’ Harvey was certain that he wasn’t dreaming.

“Mike, hasn’t anybody ever told you that it’s creepy to watch someone sleep? Especially so closely?” Harvey stretched and sat up as soon as Mike sat on his own bed.

“You were talking in your sleep. I was just trying to see if you were okay.”

Harvey felt his stomach drop. “What did I say?”

“You quoted several passages of ‘The Art of War’.”

Now that Harvey was awake and seemed to be well, Mike could finally laugh. “I must admit that I’m impressed, Harvey. Most people talk nonsense in their sleep. No wonder you’re such a brilliant lawyer! Thinking about tactics even in your dreams!”

Harvey would’ve been flattered if he hadn’t been so worried. He had to assess the damage. “Did I say anything else?”

“I don’t know. I was talking to Rachel on the phone in the hallway and when I got back, you were already quoting.”

Harvey breathed out a small sigh of relief. It would have been disastrous if he had confessed his feelings in his sleep. “Why are you up already? Your girlfriend woke you up?”

“No, I think I woke up early because I was hungry. Then, Rachel texted me that she was going to get me a gift today so I called her and we talked for a while.” Mike smiled, wondering what he would get tomorrow. He was relieved that Rachel had forgiven him so easily for lying to her about the little bike tour.

“She’s getting you a gift? Is it your birthday?” Harvey realized that he didn’t know when his associate’s birthday was.

“No, my birthday’s in December. She told me that she wanted to show me how much she loved me.” Mike’s smile got wider and Harvey wished that they had come to a place where there was no cell phone reception.

“Did she tell you what kind of a gift you were going to get?” Harvey didn’t like the idea of Mike owning something that someone else gave him. He knew that he was overly possessive but it wasn’t something that he could change.

“No, she wouldn’t say. I guess I’ll have to wait till tomorrow and find out myself.” Mike ran his hand through his hair and that was when Harvey spotted the old, brown watch on his left wrist.

“Hmm, that reminds me that I have a bit of gift shopping to do myself.” Harvey improvised and grabbed the water bottle from the nightstand.

“Oh? Here? For who?” Mike thought about Donna. Harvey really was a sweet, considerate boss.

“For this cute boy I was with last night.”

Mike gasped as he looked at Harvey with wide eyes. He was speechless for a moment before his face turned red. “Last night? You sneaked out of the room in the middle of the night?!”

He was aware that Harvey could do anything he wanted to, but it upset him that he would go somewhere alone without telling him first when they were on a trip together.

“No, puppy. I was with him at the banquet.” Harvey tried not to enjoy this too much. Mike was reacting much more interestingly than he had expected.

‘The banquet?’ Mike’s stomach turned upside down. He had only left Harvey’s side when he was listening to the story about that woman’s gay son. It couldn’t have taken more than twenty minutes.

“But how…?” Mike knew that it was a silly question; his boss could seduce someone in less than two minutes. He remembered the first time when he had met Harvey. Of course, he and Harvey hadn’t been seducing each other in the interview room but the firm and warm handshake, the confident and charming way that Harvey had introduced himself, and his calm demeanor in the face of a suitcase full of weeds had been enough to make him do better than his best and earn the chance to work for the man.

“You met him only yesterday and you already want to give him a gift? Oh, is it a bribe?”

Harvey laughed. “No, it’s not a bribe. And, I didn’t meet him yesterday. I just saw him again yesterday.”

Mike’s brain started to work faster as his face grew darker. ‘It must be someone he met before he started working here. I’ll need Donna’s help on this one. So is he an old flame or something? Is he the one who got away? Oh gosh…’

“You look upset.” Harvey took another sip of water. He didn’t want to confuse his associate but he wanted to know what Mike thought about him. If he was talking in his sleep, he was going to lose control soon and he would like to take matters into his own hands before an ‘accident’ happened. Besides, in his defense, it was Mike who gave him the whole gift idea.

“Who is he? Are you going to see him again? Is he coming to the brunch?” Mike ignored Harvey’s obvious comment, not bothering to hide his annoyance. Whoever the boy was, he already hated him.

“You know him. And, yes, I’m going to see him again at brunch.” Harvey answered casually and got out of bed.

“I know him??” Mike quickly went through all the faces that he had seen last evening. As far as he remembered, he hadn’t known anybody except for Harvey but he must have missed someone. Perhaps some people had arrived later or had stayed on the other side of the room.

“Can you stop with all this mystery and just tell me who he is?” Mike looked at Harvey who quickly looked away because he knew that those irresistible puppy eyes were coming.

“If I do that, it won’t be fun anymore.” Harvey answered with a smile and took off his undershirt.

“It’s not fun for me anyway.” Mike watched with narrowed eyes as Harvey started his morning workout with push-ups. He thought that his boss could have made a name as an athlete as well. He had a nice body to work with, enough mental strength, and a mind of a champion.

‘He looks like a boxer getting ready for a big game, doing push-ups like that in his boxers.’ Mike mused and decided to change tactics. If Harvey really had a mind of a champion, he wasn’t going to crack under pressure. He would have tried to solve the riddle on his own if he knew anyone from Harvey’s past, but the only person he knew was Cameron Dennis and he was clearly not a boy.

“Come on, Harvey. Have some pity on me. We’re still on this trip together so we’re supposed to trade secrets, remember?” Mike tried whining.

“I thought we already did that, Mike.” Harvey focused on his workout.

“No, I did that, not you. You only told me that Leonardo might be a better name for a puppy!”

Harvey chuckled. “Why are you so curious anyway?”

“Did you seriously just ask that? We’re friends, Harvey. Friends are supposed to know these things about each other! Oh my god…” Mike shook his head in disbelief.

“Stop being dramatic and get down here. If you help me with my sit-ups, maybe I’ll give you another hint.” Harvey got up and drank more water.

“But I don’t want another hint! I want a name!” Mike protested but still joined Harvey on the floor.

“You’re full of energy for a hungry boy.” Harvey got into position and Mike knelt down to grab his ankles.

“Well, people get easily upset when they’re hungry so you better start talking. Where did you meet him for the first time?” Mike’s eyes were piercing as they met Harvey’s on his way up.

“In a hotel.” Harvey went down.

The answer reminded Mike of how he and Harvey had met. “Don’t tell me that you ran into him just the way you did with me.”

Harvey laughed as he came up and looked at Mike straight in the eye. “You’ll have to hold me harder, Mike. I’m slipping from your grasp.”

Mike groaned as he chose to sit on Harvey’s feet instead. He didn’t feel like being too nice to his boss right now.

‘Okay, perhaps this wasn’t the best idea.’ He regretted as soon as he felt like there was too much contact, but he didn’t want to follow Harvey’s orders when he wouldn’t tell him who the stupid boy was.

“You know, it’s not fair. You know who my girlfriend is.” He tried again. Curiosity usually got the better of him and this was no exception.

This time, Harvey came up and leaned forward. He didn’t say anything and just studied the pretty face. He knew that patience was a virtue but it was difficult to hold himself back, especially when all he could think about was how he could feel Mike’s ass on his feet.

“Harvey…?” Mike noticed that Harvey’s pupils were dilated and that his face looked flushed. “Uh, perhaps this is enough exercise for today. You don’t look too well.”

Harvey didn’t answer so Mike went on. “Harvey, you biked for a couple of hours yesterday. I’m sure that’s more than your usual weekend workout.”

Harvey closed his eyes and nodded. “You’re right. I think this is enough for today.”

He waited for Mike to get up but nothing happened. When he opened his eyes, Mike was looking at him with a worried face. Then a warm hand flew to his face and landed on his forehead.

“Hmm, are you a little warm because you worked out or do you have a bit of fever?” Mike couldn’t tell.

“Don’t worry. It’s nothing a cold shower can’t fix. Get your ass up so I can make it quick. Then, we’ll go get some breakfast, okay?” Harvey motioned for Mike to stand up and settled for giving the pale arm a gentle squeeze.

“Okay…” Mike had a weird feeling about what was going on but he got up and walked over to the couch. He turned on the TV while Harvey walked into the bathroom, thinking about what kind of a watch would look best on his puppy’s wrist.

 

“You made me promise last night that I’d always be your puppy.” Mike accused his mentor as they sat down for a light breakfast in the hotel restaurant.

“Yes, I did.” Harvey drank his black coffee and appreciated the taste.

“What do you call him then? Bunny? Kitten?” Mike asked, hoping that the answer would be ‘Piggie’ or ‘Hippo.’ He simply couldn’t drop the issue. If Harvey had just told him about the boy like a normal person, he probably wouldn’t have reacted so negatively, but of course, Harvey had to be all secretive. Since it looked like he wasn’t going to get a name, he opted to go after the relationship between Harvey and the boy.

Pleased with Mike’s reaction, Harvey buttered a slice of bread and gave it to his puppy. “Here you go.”

“Oh, you’re giving me bread so you can avoid answering?” Mike looked at him with sharp eyes.

“Well, you’re asking a very personal question, Mike. I’d like to keep some things just between me and the pretty boy.” It took a lot for Harvey to keep the smirk off his face.

“Personal? I’m just asking what you call him!” Mike looked around and lowered his voice. He was having a bad morning.

“You sound jealous.” Harvey cut his salmon and couldn’t help but look at Mike with a mischievous grin.

“I’m not jealous. I wanted to hook you up with one of the nurses, remember? I just can’t believe that you never told me about him.”

Mike picked up his fork and stabbed his eggs. He had kept Harvey in the loop about what was going on between him and Rachel, so he felt betrayed that Harvey wouldn’t do the same for him. Besides, he had been so used to getting Harvey’s full attention that it hurt to share it with someone else. He knew better than anyone that he was acting like a spoiled brat but he couldn’t help it.

Harvey found his associate’s behavior completely adorable. This hadn’t been planned at all but it was definitely helpful. Now he was confident that he could speed things up.

“I didn’t tell you because I couldn’t find the right time to bring him up in our conversations.” Harvey confessed.

“Oh, so you decided to drop the bomb by letting me know that you wanted to buy him a gift?” Mike shoved the eggs into his mouth and chewed.

“Well, you brought up the gift…” Harvey stopped talking. Mike was glaring at him like he meant it.

“I’m sorry, Mike. I didn’t mean to upset you. You’ve been a great friend. I’m really sorry.” Harvey added an apologetic smile.

Mike’s heart softened at the sincere apology. But that didn’t mean that he was going to leave Harvey alone. “Apology accepted. But you said that I knew him.”

“That’s right.”

“But I don’t know any pretty boys. You must be mistaken.”

“Trust me, Mike, you know him.” Harvey gave him an endearing smile. He had originally wanted to order room service but he didn’t trust himself to keep a healthy distance from Mike, especially when the boy was so jealous of himself.

“Well, if I really know him, you and I have some seriously different opinions of what can be considered ‘pretty’.”

Harvey just laughed and Mike wanted to throw the slice of bread at him. But he was hungry and the buttered bread smelled nice so he ate it like a man.

“You still want to go to the zoo?” Harvey changed the subject before he would do something irrational as kissing his associate in public.

“Yeah. But I can go alone. You can go play with that boy of yours. Wait. How old is he? Or is this too personal too? I’m asking as your associate because if you’re flirting with an underage boy, I’ll have to report it.” Mike’s heart was hardening again.

“No need to worry about that. He’s perfectly legal.” Harvey could barely stop himself from grinning.

“Are you sure? Did you see his driver’s license or something?”

“I’m sure, Mike. Do you really think there would’ve been an underage boy at the banquet?”

“Good point.” Mike admitted with a pouty face and Harvey realized that he should stop messing with him and try to console him. He was starting to feel bad for him and he didn’t want to attend a business meeting with a sullen associate.

“Hey.” Harvey reached out for Mike’s hand that wasn’t holding a fork. Mike looked up from his bacon and Harvey could tell that he was already starting to feel better. Human contact made a huge difference to Mike.

“Listen to me. Whatever happens between me and that boy, Mike, you and I will stay the same.”

“You don’t know that.” Mike sounded a little sad.

“Don’t first experiences count for something? You’re my first associate and I’m your first mentor. That fact will never change. We’ll always own a part of each other. That’s how we build memories, right?” Harvey wanted to hug his boy so badly.

“Right.” Mike wondered if this was what Harvey felt like when he had told him that he was going out with Rachel. Apparently, a bond between a mentor and his associate was much stronger than he imagined. He thought about all the films that featured a Sensei and an apprentice. Passing on valuable information and tips was obviously something that two people could greatly bond over.

“You know, Harvey, Grammy used to tell me that there are millions and millions of different types of relationships.”

“She did?” Harvey let go of Mike’s hand.

“Yeah.” Mike subconsciously rubbed his warmer hand with his other hand. “I think our relationship falls somewhere between great friendship and… love.”

“What? You don’t love me?” Harvey chuckled. He wasn’t going to get discouraged.

“Of course I love you. But you know what I mean.” Mike smiled. He felt much better now.

“Well, I’ll give you a fair warning. Love will come faster than you think. It usually captures you when you expect it the least.” Harvey finished his coffee.

“Oh, you think I’ll fall for you?” Mike grinned as he drank his milk.

“Oh, I think you’ll fall for me hard.”

“Ah, I’d normally come up with something that would totally crush your ego but I don’t want to do that before a business meeting.”

“How generous of you.” Harvey smirked as he waited for Mike to finish his breakfast. He felt for the boy who seemed to have no idea that love was just around the corner.

 

Mike’s mood got even better after the brunch meeting and the visit to the zoo. He had been watching all the people at the meeting like a hawk but he hadn’t been able to figure out who was Harvey’s boy. As far as he could tell, he didn’t know anyone there and Harvey hadn’t winked or smiled at anyone in a suspicious manner. So he had reached a comfortable and a perfectly logical conclusion that the boy hadn’t showed up.

‘How unprofessional.’ Mike thought cheerfully as he followed Harvey into the store. Harvey wanted to buy the unprofessional bastard a wristwatch.

‘What a useful gift for him! Harvey’s so clever.’ Mike stood next to Harvey and looked down at the display case. Apparently, the bastard was going to get a very nice watch.

“Help me out here, puppy. You’re his age. If you were in his shoes, which one would you like?”

The clerk launched himself forward, ready to assist the wealthy-looking customer but Harvey held out a hand and stopped him. He wanted to be left alone with his associate.

“Oh, you want my input?” Mike managed to hide an evil grin and pretended to take the task seriously.

“What about this one? I think he’ll love it.” He pointed at a girl’s watch that rather looked like a bracelet.

“Don’t you think it’s too girly?” Harvey tilted his head.

“Are you trying to tell me that he’s not girly?” Mike let out an exaggerated gasp.

“Very funny.” Harvey said sarcastically and looked for a decent summer watch.

“What about this one? I’m serious this time.” Mike lied and pointed at a watch that had a wide-eyed SpongeBob on the band.

“He’s a lawyer, Mike.”

“A lawyer? Of course you’d choose a lawyer. But even a lawyer goes out for fun, right? This watch has personality, Harvey. Trust me, he’ll love it.” Mike wore his most serious expression. If he knew how to lie, this would be a great time to show it.

Harvey eyed his associate and decided that Mike was lying. So he pointed at a silver watch with a thin band that looked light and classy. “What do you think about that one?”

Mike took a look at it and it was difficult to deny how jealous he was of this boy. Harvey had given him dumbbells and he adored them but it felt like a wristwatch was a more personal gift. He became painfully aware that he was just a friend and associate to Harvey while this boy was a little more than that. ‘Well, obviously. What did I expect?’

“Mike? You don’t like it?”

“Me? Oh, if it was me, I’d love that one. But I don’t know what he likes.” Mike answered honestly. He knew that he should congratulate Harvey for finding someone. That was what he had wanted for him after all.

“Is there a summer watch that looks better than this one?” Harvey asked just to be sure.

Mike looked more attentively this time but it seemed like Harvey picked the best one out of the lot. “Nope, that one looks the best.” He tried not to look down at his own watch.

“Good. Now you can look for one for yourself. Choose something you can wear in cold weather. Summer will be gone before you know it.” Harvey moved to another display case which kept watches with thicker bands.

“Huh?” Mike asked as he followed Harvey.

“You did well this weekend. I think you deserve a prize.”

“So you’re getting me a watch?” Mike was already smiling before he realized that he probably shouldn’t. “Uh… Thanks but no thanks. You already got me those dumbbells. Plus, you said that if I behaved, you’d buy me dinner. Dinner is more than enough for me.”

“Cute answer but you’re still getting a watch.” Harvey patted his competent associate on the shoulder.

“What? What kind of logic is that?” Mike raised his eyebrow which almost made him look like his mentor.

“Look. If it makes you feel any better, think of it as my investment to your future.”

“Ah, a decent lawyer has to wear a decent watch as a symbol of punctuality.”

“Exactly.”

“You’re absolutely sure about this?” Mike asked even though he couldn’t hide his excitement.

“Absolutely.” Harvey motioned for the clerk to come forward and help his associate.

The clerk soared with joy as he was finally allowed to show off his skills. Harvey watched him recommend various types of watches; he was quick to grasp what the customer might like and pull out the products that would be the most suitable for him. Mike carefully looked at all the recommended items and asked several questions before telling the clerk that he would like to have some time to think alone.

Harvey stayed back but he had to order, “Don’t look at the price, Mike.”

“Sorry, Harvey, I have to.”

“That was an order, Mike.”

Mike shook his head as he looked at Harvey. “You can’t give me an order when you’re getting me a gift!”

“Why not? I thought I could give you an order because I’m getting you a gift. I’m the one who’s paying here.”

“But a gift is supposed to…” Mike started to protest but Harvey made a gesture with his hand that reminded Mike of the expression ‘shut up like a clam’. So he shut up like a clam.

“Good boy. Now take your time while I get the other one wrapped.” Harvey moved to the other side of the store to choose the wrapping paper while Mike had the sudden urge to go for the most expensive watch.

‘But I’m a good boy.’ Mike cursed his wonderful quality and focused on finding the perfect watch for himself. If he was going to spend Harvey’s money, he was going to spend it wisely.

 

On the train back home, Harvey couldn’t resist letting a broad smile dance on his face. The trip had been successful on so many levels that he wondered if fate was at play. He had completely enjoyed spending two full days with Mike and business had gone as smoothly as possible. Jessica had called him at the station to congratulate him and wanted him to pass on the compliments to Mike. Mike had been delighted at the managing partner’s approval and had happily fallen asleep soon after the train had departed.

Harvey turned his head to the left and looked at his boy. It looked like Mike was deeply asleep. ‘Well, he did wake up early this morning.’

Harvey brushed Mike’s cheek with the back of his hand, hoping that he wouldn’t wake him up. For someone who never got enough sleep, Mike had fairly soft skin. Now that he knew what Mike’s face felt like, he couldn’t stop wondering what his lips would feel like.

‘Very tempting.’ Harvey mused as he watched the slightly parted lips. Then he had to laugh a little as he remembered telling Mike how creepy it was to watch someone sleep, especially so closely.

‘I don’t really lead by example, do I?’ Harvey smiled fondly at his boy who was leaning against the window. Mike didn’t look uncomfortable but Harvey had an idea to make him feel more comfortable. Taking a good look at the boy to make sure that he was still asleep, he moved Mike’s head so it could rest on his shoulder. Mike stirred and turned towards Harvey but didn’t open his eyes. Harvey thought about putting an arm around Mike but he didn’t want to push it. He felt that he had taken enough risk for one day.

‘Sweet dreams, puppy.’ Harvey kissed the top of Mike’s head and that was when Mike’s left hand landed on Harvey’s left arm. The watch that Harvey had bought him was firmly around Mike’s wrist. He had told Mike to wait until fall but Mike had insisted that he could wear it whenever he wanted to because it was his.

‘I should be glad that he has better taste in watches.’ Harvey shuddered at the mental images of Mike’s suits. Mike had wisely chosen a black watch that would work both with suits and casual apparel.

“Mmm…” Mike made a sound and frowned a little.

Harvey was quick to pat him on the head, hoping that the comforting touch would fight off whatever was bothering him. Thankfully it only took a few seconds for Mike to go back to his peaceful state so Harvey decided to rest his eyes for a while. He didn’t feel particularly sleepy but he still closed his eyes. He would rather enjoy the feeling of Mike’s head on his shoulder than looking at the scenery outside.

 

On Monday morning, Mike found himself humming on his way to work. Life was good; his trip to Washington D.C. had been awesome and his beautiful girlfriend was waiting for him in the office with a gift. Mike looked down at his other gift as he secured the lock around his bike. He loved his new watch to the point that he had already slept with it last night.

‘Hmm, I think I’ll name him.’ Mike decided as he walked into Pearson-Hardman. Then he headed over to the security guard and smiled.

“Good morning, John. Do you want to know exactly what time it is?” He raised his left arm and looked at his watch.

“Hi, Mike. Is that a new watch or what?”

“It is! You can tell?” Mike beamed.

“Yeah! Looks great on you, man.”

“Thanks! I think so too!” Mike exchanged a few more words with the guard before jumping into the elevator.

His next stop was Rachel’s office. “Rach, I’m back!”

“Mike!” Mike lifted his left arm again but before he could show off his new watch, Rachel threw herself into his arms.

“So do you still love me?” Rachel asked as soon as she pulled back to take a good look at him.

“Of course I still love you. I saw the women in D.C and believe me, nobody was even close to matching your beauty.”

“Aww, how flattering. You’ve become a smooth liar, Mikey. Congratulations.” Rachel grinned.

“Haha, thanks. But I wasn’t lying.”

“Aww, come here so I can give you a welcome back kiss.” Rachel wrapped her arms around Mike’s neck.

“Wow, I get a gift and a kiss?” Mike had spotted the large box on Rachel’s desk as soon as he had walked in.

“Yes, it must be your lucky day.”

Mike gladly hooked his arms around his girlfriend’s waist and Rachel gave him a passionate kiss. There were no words to express how relieved she was to get her boyfriend back ‘untouched.’

Mike closed his eyes and pulled her closer. It was such a wonderful way to start the day. ‘But wait…’

He tried to remember if Rachel was wearing a different lipstick today. Something felt different. The kiss was great but not perfect like it used to be.

“What’s wrong?” Rachel pulled back and looked into Mike’s eyes.

“Nothing. I think I’m just tired from the trip. Perhaps I shouldn’t have biked today.” Mike scratched the back of his head with an apologetic face.

“Oh, don’t worry. You’ll feel better once you open your present.” Rachel took a few steps to her desk and gave the large box to her boyfriend.

“Can I open it here?” Mike noticed that it wasn’t a light object.

“Sure!” Rachel waited patiently until Mike unwrapped the gift and looked inside the box.

“It’s a briefcase!”

“Yeah! You could leave it in the office and take it when you have a client meeting or when you go to court.”

“Oh my god, I have the best girlfriend ever. Thank you so much. I really needed a briefcase so I was thinking about getting one. Thank you.” Mike showered Rachel’s face with kisses but once again, something felt different.

“That’s enough, lovebirds.” Louis’ voice startled the couple who immediately put some distance between them.

“Other people in this firm are actually getting some work done so I suggest you do the same.” The junior partner walked in with a huge pile of work and dropped it on Rachel’s desk.

Mike muttered a few words to both of them and fled the scene. The last thing that he wanted was Louis spoiling his morning.

When he reached his cubicle, he saw a small box lying on his desk. He might have thought that it was a nasty prank if the box hadn’t been wrapped with such elegant paper. ‘But Rachel already gave me a gift. And, Harvey got me one too. So who is this from?’

Mike’s heart pumped blood far too quickly as he pulled out the card from under the box. He had just made an educated guess but he couldn’t possibly be right. He opened the card with trembling fingers and read it:

You can’t wear the same one all year.

“Oh my god…” Mike felt his legs give out and dropped into his seat. He could barely breathe. His world was turning upside down.

 

Chapter Text


Mike was trying to stop his heart from racing as he read the card over and over again. He felt like there wasn’t enough oxygen in his cubicle so he loosened his tie with his free hand. ‘How on earth is this happening…?’

He looked at the handwriting inside the card. There was no doubt that the neat, firm handwriting belonged to the one and only Harvey Specter. ‘But this isn’t possible.’

He proceeded to unwrap the box and confirmed that the watch was indeed the one that Harvey had bought in Washington D.C. ‘But it’s simply not possible! I’ve been searching for someone decent to love all my life and suddenly I find two? What are the odds? This must be a kind dream. It has to be a dream.’

Mike pinched his thigh but he didn’t wake up. He pinched it harder but still nothing happened. ‘Oh gosh, why is this happening to me?’

If anyone else had read the card, he would have thought that it was a nice, considerate message from a boss to his associate. But Mike was there when Harvey picked out the gift. He was there when Harvey mentioned that he had been with a cute boy at the banquet. ‘Oh my god… He threw me hints all day and I still didn’t see this coming.’

He dropped the card on the desk and started to think about other hints that he must have missed. His brain was suddenly overloaded with all kinds of information. ‘So that’s why he didn’t bother about those nurses! That’s why he wanted my picture! And, that’s why he wore my ridiculous bike gear when he helped me clean the house! I thought he did it to spend more time with me because he was lonely but it was because he liked me!’

The impact of his last thoughts hit him hard. His boss liked him… or possibly even loved him. He didn’t think that Harvey would deliver this strong of a message if he wasn’t absolutely sure about his feelings. ‘But when did he start to have these feelings? He looked cool when I started dating Rach! Why didn’t he say something then? He didn’t like me back then? Then when did it start? Gosh, I told him everything about me and Rachel and he just took it all? Didn’t it hurt?’

In the middle of all this madness, Mike found it impossible to ignore the pain and frustration that he must have caused Harvey. ‘So he decided that enough was enough? That’s why he’s telling me now? Does Rachel know? Does Donna know? Am I the only one who didn’t know? Oh gosh…’

Mike remembered a particular piece of conversation that had taken place during breakfast yesterday.

“Well, I’ll give you a fair warning. Love will come faster than you think. It usually captures you when you expect it the least.”

“Oh, you think I’ll fall for you?”

“Oh, I think you’ll fall for me hard.”

Mike swallowed hard. Harvey usually read him like an open book. ‘Does it mean that he’s sure I’m going to choose him? What in the world gave him the idea that I’ll leave Rachel? More importantly, why would he think that I have feelings for him?’

Then he remembered how he had described their relationship as one that was somewhere between great friendship and love. ‘So he thinks it’s closer to love while I think it’s closer to great friendship.’

Mike shook his head. He loved Harvey as a dear friend and a savior but he would have to break his heart. ‘I love Rachel. I’ve always loved her. Even when I was with Jenny, a small part of me couldn’t give up on her. I’m not going to make the same mistake and let her get away. Harvey can have anyone he wants. He’ll be fine. Too bad I don’t have a twin brother though. I could’ve introduced him to Harvey.’

Mike instantly regretted his idea. He didn’t want to think about Harvey going out with his imaginary twin brother. The intense jealousy that he had felt yesterday was coming back. He couldn’t stand the thought of Harvey giving his full attention to someone else; Harvey calling someone else by an adorable nickname, Harvey biking along with someone else in a beautiful city, and Harvey making croque-messieurs in his kitchen for someone else. It was all too unpleasant. ‘Nobody’s good enough for Harvey. Nobody.’

Mike knew that he was being selfish. As Jenny had once pointed out, he couldn’t have both of them. ‘But I can’t give up on Rachel! After all we’ve been through, I can’t do that! I love her.’

He thought about the kiss that he had shared with her this morning. It had felt slightly different and now he had to wonder if it had anything to do with his emotions regarding Harvey. The business trip had left him with wonderful memories and Mike had to admit that he felt much closer to Harvey after spending the weekend with him. ‘But I’ve never really felt like kissing him or anything… I mean, he’s good looking and attractive to anyone’s eyes so I’ve wondered what it would be like to be with him, but that doesn’t mean I actually want to be with him, right? But… didn’t I imply that I want to be with him when I just thought about how I can’t have them both?’

Mike had no idea if he was making any sense. His brain was a tangled mess and he felt like he was wandering around the desert with no good direction to follow. Harvey always helped him with directions when he was lost but Mike had a feeling that he should figure out this one on his own. Harvey was only a few dozen steps away but he couldn’t go ask for his help. ‘This is crazy.’

He looked down at the watch that was firmly around his wrist. Harvey had given him a choice. If he kept wearing the black watch throughout the summer, he would stay as his associate. But if he wore the silver one which was more weather-appropriate, he would become his boy as well.

‘No, let’s not even think about it. I love Rachel and I made a promise to myself.’ He refused to make Rachel go through such harsh times again. When he had finally had her in his arms, he had vowed to himself that he would never hurt her again.

Mike dropped his head on his desk. He hadn’t even started to work but he was already so tired. He didn’t know how to let Harvey down. Ever since he had met Harvey, he had been doing absolutely everything to please him. He had never even thought about letting him down. ‘Gosh, Harvey… What am I supposed to do? I can’t believe that you’re not here when I need you the most…’

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He knew that he was a grown man but it seemed like a great time to shed some tears. Thinking about Harvey’s heart getting broken squeezed his heart in all the wrong places. He clearly remembered what Jenny’s eyes had looked like when she had decided to leave him. It had been one of the worst things that he had ever to see. He couldn’t bear to picture Harvey’s eyes displaying that kind of pain. ‘I can’t do that to him! After all he’s done for me! I can’t see him in pain. No way. I can’t do that to Harvey.’

Mike was desperate to the point that he started to think about all the tribes that allowed more than one partner. ‘I’m obviously losing my mind. And, let’s face it. Harvey would never agree to share me.’

He felt his heart race for an entirely different reason now. He had always enjoyed Harvey’s possessiveness. He liked it when Harvey roared at Louis to make it clear that he belonged to him. Then he thought about how Harvey’s hands made him feel safe.

“Give me your hand, Mike.”

“My hand?”

“If your name’s the only name I need to know, promise me that even after you stop working for me, you’ll still be my puppy.”

“I promise, Harvey. If you want, I’ll always be your puppy.”

‘Will he still want me to be his puppy even if I turn him down?’ Mike had to ask himself. Then he recalled how Harvey had reassured him that no matter what happened between Harvey and his boy, he and Harvey would stay the same. But somehow Mike had a feeling that things would never be the same after today.

“Mikey? What’s wrong?” Rachel’s voice forced him to sit up.

“You left your briefcase in my office.” Rachel smiled and put her gift on one side of the desk but her smile faded as she noticed how pale Mike was.

“Hey, are you okay? You don’t look too well. Perhaps the trip was too hard on you.” She put a sympathetic hand on her boyfriend’s cheek.

“Yeah, I’m not feeling too well. Excuse me.” Mike felt his stomach do a nasty turn and bolted out of his seat.

Rachel stood there with a worried look on her face. She couldn’t go after him and rub his back in the men’s room.

‘I hope he won’t have too much work to do today. Poor thing.’ She looked around for a Post-it so that she could leave him a note and that was when she saw a wristwatch sitting in a box and a card next to it.

‘He got a gift? Wow, what a nice watch.’ She knew that it wasn’t her place to read the card but she wanted to know if Mike had a secret admirer. She already had Harvey to deal with and she couldn’t afford to battle off another competitor.

Much to her relief, the card didn’t contain any alarming content. She put down the card where it was and spotted a few drops of water on the middle of the desk. But strangely enough, there wasn’t any kind of drink in the cubicle. Then she remembered how Mike had been face down when she had walked up to him. ‘Are these tears…? But he was fine ten minutes ago! What could have possibly happened in ten minutes?’

Her eyes automatically went to the mysterious watch. She heard footsteps coming near the cubicle and when she looked up, she spotted a new watch on Mike’s left wrist. The message on the card suddenly made sense: You can’t wear the same one all year.

‘Oh my god, it’s from Harvey. Both of them are from Harvey…’

Rachel felt her heart crack as she realized how Mike had forgotten her gift in her office while he was wearing Harvey’s on his wrist. She didn’t want to put any meaning to it but she couldn’t help but feel that it was ominous.

“Rach…?” Mike could tell by his girlfriend’s expression that something was wrong. He looked at Harvey’s card and wondered if she had read it.

“Mike, we need to talk.” Rachel squeezed the words out of her system.

“No, I need to go home.” Mike opened one of the drawers and put both of the gifts and the card inside.

“But you just got here.” Rachel understood that Mike was in a difficult position but she didn’t like how he felt distant. She had never heard him speak in such a cold voice.

“I worked during the weekend so I think they’ll understand if I feel like working at home today. I don’t think that the janitor would want to clean up the mess if I puked out my guts here.” Mike reached for his messenger bag.

“I love you, Mikey. You know that, right?” She grabbed his arm in a hurry. He was just going home but she felt like he was leaving for a place that was much far away.

“Of course I do.” Mike forced himself to smile.

“Aren’t you going to say it back?” Rachel didn’t want to be clingy but she needed some reassurance to get through the day.

“I love you too.” Mike’s smile was a little more natural this time.

“Okay…” Rachel quickly pressed her lips against Mike’s cheek and let go of his arm.

It hurt to see him head straight for Harvey’s office as soon as she released her. ‘He’s just going to ask for Harvey’s permission. Harvey’s his boss and that’s all he’s ever going to be.’

Rachel stood by Mike’s empty desk, watching her boyfriend disappear out of her sight. She had no idea what Mike’s thoughts were on the matter. As his current girlfriend, she had every right to keep him but it was difficult to deny that Mike shared a special bond with Harvey.

‘No. I’m overthinking it. He said he loved me, right? That’s all I need to know. Mike’s not a liar. If he didn’t love me, he wouldn’t have said it back.’ Rachel tried to calm herself down as she headed back to her office.

 

“I need to see Harvey right away.” Mike walked up to Donna’s desk.

“Are you okay?” Donna sensed immediately that there was something very wrong.

“No, I need to ask his permission to work from home today.”

Donna’s eyes went straight to Mike’s left wrist and Mike hid his left arm behind his back. He didn’t want her to start asking questions until he cleared his head.

“You can go in. He’ll be done with the call in a minute or two.” Donna let him in with a dark face. Harvey must have made his move earlier than she had expected.

Harvey was on the phone with a client when he saw Mike walk into his office. His boy looked sick and thoroughly shaken. He watched as Mike came up to his desk, waiting for him to finish his call. Thankfully, the client told him that things looked fine and that he trusted Harvey to take care of the rest. Harvey said a few polite words and hung up while Mike gave him a reproachful glance.

“Mike?” Harvey focused on his associate who was clutching the shoulder strap of his messenger bag.

“Can I please work from home today?” Mike couldn’t stop looking at Harvey with eyes full of blame. He had been happy with the way things were.

“Why would you need to do that?” Harvey was glad to see the black watch on Mike’s wrist. It seemed that he had managed to avoid the worst-case scenario.

“Are you serious? I think you know why.”

“Puppy, if you’re going to leave, I need to know exactly why.” Harvey said in a soft voice. He wanted Mike to acknowledge the situation and get out of shock as soon as possible. As far as he was concerned, Mike was trying to run away from reality.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me…” Mike’s face was distorted with disbelief and pain. “How could you… We were doing fine.”

Harvey didn’t want to discuss this in the office but he figured that he owed Mike an explanation, albeit a simple one. “I can make you happier, Mike. I know you better than she does and I can look out for you.”

“Are you saying that you wouldn’t look out for me just as my mentor?” Mike couldn’t decide if he wanted to punch Harvey or hug him.

“I’m saying that I’d be able to look out for you much better if you’re with me. I’d get to understand you better.” Harvey rubbed his temples. Mike wasn’t the only one who was having a difficult day. Harvey hadn’t been able to sleep well during the night, fully aware that he would have to put Mike through a lot today.

Mike wanted to say so many things and ask so many questions but he still felt light-headed. “I need to go home, Harvey, please.”

“And, I’ll let you do that once you tell me the reason.” Harvey’s voice was still soft. He wished that he had found another way to do this but he needed a strong way to deliver the message.

Mike didn’t know why Harvey kept insisting. He didn’t want to talk to Harvey or face what was going on. He wanted to go home and crawl into a ball in the darkest corner that he could find. “I need to get some rest. The trip was more tiring than I thought and I think that it would be best if I took precautions before I get really sick and miss more days of work.”

“Give me an honest answer, Mike.” Harvey’s tone became firm.

“I don’t want to.”

“I’m asking as your boss, Mike. If you’re not going to be honest with me, I suggest you go back to your cubicle.”

“Honesty? You want honesty from me? Is that the kind of approach you took when you asked for a picture of me? Is that why you booked one room in D.C? You lied to me, Harvey. You didn’t get that picture to show my face to clients and you didn’t book one room to save the company’s money. You fucking lied to my face and you want honesty from me? What’s the matter with you?”

Harvey decided that it was healthy for Mike to lash out at him. “I’m sorry I lied to you, Mike. But I didn’t think that you’d stick with me if I had told you everything right from the beginning. I needed to buy more time to connect with you. I had to make sure that you’d choose me when it all came down to this.”

“Choose you? What makes you think I’ll choose you? Didn’t you hear me? You lied! I don’t think that’s a good base for a solid relationship!”

Harvey let out a sigh. “I’ll repeat myself. I’m sorry I had to lie. But those were tactical moves and I’ll lie all over again if I have to. But, if you think a few lies aren’t a good base for a solid relationship, you might want to think about what kind of a relationship you have with that paralegal.”

“What? What are you talking about? Rach tells me everything.” Mike used Rachel’s nickname just to piss Harvey off.

“You think so? Did she tell you that I was interested in you then? Because I think if she did, you wouldn’t be here asking to go home.”

Mike was at a loss of words. “She knew you had feelings for me…?”

“Yes.” Harvey’s answer was clear.

“Since when? How do you know?”

“You’ll have to talk to her about that. So do you want to go home or not?”

Mike was still dwelling on the fact that his girlfriend hadn’t shared such important information with him. ‘So that’s why she made me promise to not fall for someone else during the weekend. That’s why she kept asking me if I loved her. And, that’s why she gave me a briefcase when I had lied to her about biking with Harvey!’

Mike realized with disgust that he had lied too. He had lied just like Harvey and Rachel. He felt the urge to slap himself but he could do that when he was alone at home. “I’d like to go home and rest because I just found out that my best friend is in love with me. I know it’s not a professional excuse but I’m unable to focus on work right now. Sorry, boss.”

Harvey nodded. Mike had finally started to deal with his reality. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

Mike got up and looked at Harvey with sad eyes. He thought about saying a few words before leaving but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to say. So he turned around and walked out of Harvey’s office, feeling like he was walking out of his life.

 

Harvey didn’t get to miss his associate for long because a certain paralegal knocked on the door of his office soon after.

“Excuse me, Mr. Specter. Do you have a minute?” Rachel tried her best to be polite. Harvey was a senior partner and she was a paralegal. She knew that it was in her best interest to not make a scene in the office.

Harvey nodded. “Come in, Miss Zane.” He didn’t particularly want to talk to her but he didn’t want to give her the impression that he was hiding in his office.

Rachel took a seat in front of Harvey’s desk and ignored how small she felt inside the great Harvey Specter’s office. “I’d like to talk about Mike.”

“What about him?” Harvey put down his fountain pen on the desk.

“He left his bike here and took a cab. I’m worried that perhaps he wasn’t feeling well enough to bike home. I called him but he didn’t answer.” Rachel had tried to talk to Donna but she had refused to discuss anything concerning Mike.

“No need to worry, Miss Zane. It’s just a safety issue. A matter of concentration.” Harvey put her mind at ease.

“How do you know that?” Rachel didn’t want to think that Mike had told him before leaving.

“Because he told me so.” Harvey recalled how Mike had once taken a cab to work when he had been struggling with the paralegal and that blond girl.

“Oh, okay…” Rachel felt bitterness in her mouth. It felt like no matter what she did, Harvey was always one step ahead of her.

“Anything else?” Harvey wanted to get back to work.

“No. But I must tell you that I think you put him in a tough spot for nothing. He’s going to suffer and then he’s going to stay with me. Nothing’s going to change.” Rachel felt bold as the desire to put her foot down became more urgent.

Harvey managed not to snort. “I’m not interested in what you think, Miss Zane.”

“But don’t you want him to be happy? We were doing just fine before you barged in!”

“Of course I want him to be happy. That’s the whole point. But don’t try to fool yourself by thinking that you guys were doing fine. You wouldn’t be so insecure if things were actually that fine.”

Rachel knew that a great lawyer had great insight and Harvey was proving to her that he was indeed a great lawyer. But she wasn’t going to sit by and watch him mess with their relationship. “We just need a little bit more time.”

“So I’ve heard.”

Rachel’s jaw dropped. It sounded like Harvey knew that they were waiting for the right time to have a more intimate relationship.

“Don’t look so surprised, Miss Zane. He tells me everything.” Harvey didn’t bother to hide the smugness in his tone.

Rachel immediately thought about how Mike used to take LSATs for other students. Could he have told Harvey about that too? If he never got caught, it wouldn’t have showed up in background checks. She wanted to mention it and enjoy Harvey’s reaction to the new information but she couldn’t just spill Mike’s secret like that. So she tried another approach. “He’s better off with me, Mr. Specter. I know this firm doesn’t interfere with employees’ relationships but what will people think even if he chooses you? You know better than anyone else that people won’t fully appreciate his wonderful talent and the hard work he’s put in. They’ll think that he climbed up the ladder easily because he’s been sleeping with you.”

“I’m sure Mike appreciates your concern, Miss Zane. But I think he’s becoming a strong lawyer who can get past that kind of envy and badmouthing. He’ll be fine.”

Rachel found it annoying that Harvey called her ‘Miss Zane’ far too many times than necessary. It somehow sounded like an insult. “Well, let’s say that he does get past all that. What can you do for him, Mr. Specter? I’ve been in this office long enough to hear all those rumors about you. From what I’ve heard, you’ve never been in a stable, long-term relationship. Do you really want to put Mike through a difficult relationship that’s bound to fail? You might only use emotions to win but you know how he wears his emotions on his sleeves. He’s not going to recover if you toy with him and throw him away once you get bored.”

Harvey laughed as if he had heard the most ridiculous thing in the world. “Rumors are called rumors for a reason, Miss Zane. And, who says I’m just toying with him?”

“Well, you didn’t seem to have a problem when we first started to go out. I think you just want him because someone else has him now.”

“I think I made it clear that I’m not interested in what you think, Miss Zane. And, who are you to say such a thing when you wanted him just because he was with that small blond girl?”

Rachel gasped. “I didn’t want him just because he was with Jenny!”

“Really?” Harvey lifted his eyebrows. “So it was just a coincidence that you kissed him after she brought him a change of suit.”

“How do you know all that?” Rachel couldn’t believe that Harvey knew such details.

“You really seem to have a problem understanding what people are saying, Miss Zane. I told you, he tells me everything. And, you asked what I could do for him? Let’s talk about that. What can you do when his grandmother is in critical condition? Do you have the resources to get a medical chopper so that she could get the best possible care? What if Trevor tries to get his miserable ass back into his life? Are you willing to get your hands dirty to make sure he backs off? What happens if Trevor somehow drags him into a mess again or if Mike gets caught for corporate espionage? What can you possibly do to keep him out of jail?”

“I’m not trying to take away anything you could offer him as a mentor and friend, Mr. Specter. I just think I could comfort him better on a more personal level.”

This time, Harvey couldn’t stop himself from snorting. “With what, Miss Zane? From what I’ve heard, you couldn’t even get the sandwiches right.” He wanted to add that she couldn’t even get him in bed but that was mostly his fault so he decided not to mention it.

Rachel blinked her eyes. “He didn’t like my sandwiches?”

“Let’s just say that he liked mine better.” Harvey felt stupid discussing sandwich-making skills but he believed that it was the little things that made a difference.

Rachel didn’t know what she wanted to achieve by talking to Harvey like this. She had just wanted to make sure that Mike was all right. Obviously nothing good could come out of this conversation. She didn’t know him well but she knew well enough that Harvey Specter wasn’t the type to back off from a challenge. She should have probably left right after getting the answer that she had been looking for.

“Anything else? I don’t know about you but I’ve got work to do.”

“No, that would be all.” Rachel got up, feeling worse than when she had walked into the office. She took one last look at the man who was disrupting her world and realized that he looked better than when she had walked in. Ignoring the horrible feeling in her stomach, she turned around and headed for the door.

“Miss Zane?”

The sudden sympathetic tone in Harvey’s voice made her stop dead in her tracks. “Yes?”

“Don’t sweat it. If it’s not meant to happen, it’s not going to happen. You’ll find someone right for you.”

Rachel almost felt laughing at Harvey’s audacity. “I don’t know how you have the nerve to say something like that.”

“I’m giving you a fair warning, Miss Zane. I trust that you’re a smart woman who knows when to let go. If you keep pushing it, it’s going to end badly for you. Believe me when I say it’s going to get bad to the point that you’ll beg me to share him.”

Rachel threw her head back and enjoyed a hysterical laugh. “If you’re so sure that my Mikey will choose to be with you, why don’t you give it your best shot? Just don’t take it out on him when he makes the right decision.”

She pushed the door and left. She couldn’t wait to see the arrogant man fall into despair.

Chapter Text


Several hours had passed since he had come home but Mike was still in no shape to function like a normal human being. He had tried to get some sleep, hoping to clear his head but he had only managed to doze off for half an hour and had ended up dreaming about running away from Pearson-Hardman.

‘I am not running away. This is my life! I do real work every day at the office whether I’m a real lawyer or not. I’m not going to run away just because I’m in the middle of some personal drama. And, I promised Grammy that the only way I’m leaving this firm is when they rip me out. So no, I’m not running away. I’m going to get some food and think about what I’m going to do.’

Unfortunately, it was easier said than done. He couldn’t bring himself to lift a finger, let alone get out of bed. It wasn’t just because he was exceptionally tired. He also had this ridiculous feeling that if he moved a muscle, the butterfly effect would kick in and he would somehow end up disrupting someone’s world; in this case, Rachel or Harvey’s. Deep down in his mind, Mike couldn’t help but feel that he had done something wrong to have caused this kind of a disaster. Rachel and Harvey were both wonderful individuals. Someone must have done something wrong to cause them pain and who could he blame other than himself when he was the one that was right in the middle of this?

‘If I had known sooner… If I had gotten any one of those hints, perhaps I could’ve done something. Perhaps I could’ve stopped Harvey from falling for me.’

Mike laughed inwardly at how surreal he sounded. He had to be proud that someone like Harvey Specter wanted him. To think that Harvey set those mesmerizing eyes on him, to think that he studied his every expression and every move, not because it was his job as a boss and mentor but because he was interested in him gave Mike a lump in his throat. He felt precious and it was a feeling that he hadn’t had the joy to feel in far too many years.

‘He really is in love with me.’ Mike couldn’t believe that he had said it out loud in front of Harvey even though Harvey had practically forced him to.

‘But I’m going to have to turn him down. He said he had lied for a tactical reason but he lied too many times! He knows perfectly well that I hang on to every single word of his and he still chose to lie about so many things!’

In fact, Mike had been thinking about Harvey’s lies all morning. He had thought about the evening when Rachel had to wait for him in the French restaurant because he had thought that the date had been cancelled. He remembered how his cell phone had been suspiciously turned off and how Harvey had insisted that he stayed for dinner at his place. There was no proof that Harvey had touched his phone but Mike would bet all the money he had that Harvey was the culprit. That same evening, Harvey had injured his shoulder in the bathroom and Mike had stayed overnight to take care of him.

‘Nah, he wouldn’t have faked that.’ Mike refused to believe that his dear friend would have gone that far.

‘What did he get out of that night? We just watched some DVDs together. He didn’t once try to hug me or kiss me. He must’ve really slipped in there.’ Mike ignored his guts that told him otherwise. If Harvey had pulled off that kind of a stunt just to spend some innocent time with him, he would feel even guiltier for letting Harvey’s feelings get this far. It felt a little better to think that Harvey wouldn’t have resorted to such measures for him.

Mike carefully sat up on his bed, hoping that he didn’t just give Rachel a nasty paper cut or made Harvey bang his knee against his desk. He could see the dumbbells on the floor that Harvey had given him out of the corner of his eyes. Harvey had kindly signed both of them. Harvey was a hero and Mike was his most loyal fan. ‘I thought heroes only fell in love with regular people in movies.’

Mike dragged himself out of bed and walked towards the dumbbells. He crouched and laid a hand on Harvey’s autograph. He could almost feel Harvey’s strength and care for him on his fingertips. The lump in Mike’s throat got bigger as his mind kept going back to the weekend that he had spent at Harvey’s place. Before Harvey made him dinner, he and Harvey had enjoyed a very intense flour war.

Mike chuckled at how eager he had been while running around the spacious condo with a bowl of flour in his arms. Harvey had chased him down mercilessly and they had been very wasteful with their laughs. Mike couldn’t remember the last time he had laughed himself silly like that. Even when he had had the same flour war with Trevor, it hadn’t been that much fun.

‘He always makes me laugh.’ Mike wiped off a tear that rolled down his right cheek. Harvey might have been a tough mentor when he had first started working for him but over the months, he had become much gentler, telling him a light joke whenever he was done lecturing him.

‘He knows so many great jokes. No wonder his clients love him. He’s lovely like that.’ Mike realized with an aching heart that he missed Harvey. Even though Harvey had reassured him that their relationship would stay unaffected by Harvey’s boy, he was almost certain that he had left the gentler, kinder Harvey back in his office. When he would walk into that same office tomorrow and tell him what he had decided, the Harvey he knew would disappear into Mike’s memories.

Mike felt helpless and incredibly lonely as heavy tears hit the floor. He grabbed one of the dumbbells and hugged it tightly. Harvey was by far the best thing that had happened in his miserable life. He couldn’t have been working at such a prestige firm as the city’s best closer’s associate if it hadn’t been for Harvey. He couldn’t have kept his promise to his grandmother to live up to his potential. And, he couldn’t have met Rachel without meeting Harvey first. In one word, his new life existed thanks to Harvey Specter.

But no matter how grateful he was, he couldn’t let Harvey mess with his feelings. He wanted to convince himself that he was turning him down because Harvey had lied and betrayed his trust but there was a part of Mike that was afraid of what would happen if he actually chose Harvey. He couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of going to Harvey, only to make him realize that he had just wanted him because he had been with someone else.

‘Besides, what does he even know about love? How can he be sure that he loves me? Even Harvey Specter can be wrong sometimes!’ But then images of Harvey covered in flour, Harvey holding his hand on the train, and Harvey guiding him around the banquet with a reassuring hand on his back flooded into his mind. Mike was old enough to know that love wasn’t anything fancy. He knew that it was the little actions here and there that added up and became the most wonderful thing in the world.

‘No, I’m staying with Rachel. I don’t see any other options.’ If things played out like he imagined, he could very well lose both Harvey and Rachel. And, if Harvey decided to break up with him one day even for other reasons than boredom or misinterpretation of his own feelings, he wouldn’t be able to survive it. Mike liked to think that what he and Harvey shared couldn’t be described with any of the words that existed on this planet. Love sounded too much like a cliché as if their special bond could be seen somewhere else. He didn’t want to think of and couldn’t really imagine himself losing his admiration for Harvey. To stay as his adoring fan, he would have to keep a safe distance from him.

Besides, change was something scary. He usually enjoyed the status quo even though he didn’t want to admit it. That was why he couldn’t cut all ties with Trevor and why he couldn’t pull his life out of the gutter sooner. Harvey had been right on his first day at work; he had kept that suitcase full of weeds because he was having trouble dealing with so much change in his life.

Tears had stopped but his heart was still bleeding. Mike carefully put down the dumbbell as if it was Harvey’s heart and slowly walked out of the bedroom. The sunlight and the breeze were having a blast in his living room when he was feeling close enough to death.

The breeze actually reminded him of Rachel. One of his favorite pastimes was watching her long hair stream in the wind. It was relaxing and joyful to watch. When he was around Rachel, he felt like a real lawyer who had led a normal life. He could forget about all those years that he had lived as a loser. He had to be careful not to spill his secret but he had gotten used to it by now. Besides, he had been thinking about letting Rachel in on the secret after consulting with Harvey. With the business trip and all the work, he just hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to him. When he was with Harvey, he most definitely didn’t have to watch his words. But Harvey’s existence was a constant reminder of his fake life and sometimes it crushed him to no end.

Mike sank to the floor as his legs gave out. It was all too much. He heard his cell phone ringing somewhere but he couldn’t be bothered to answer it. It was probably Rachel checking on him. He didn’t think that Harvey would call him but he thought that he might feel better if he heard his voice. Harvey had been there for him whenever he had needed help, so Mike told himself that it was natural to miss his mentor over his girlfriend in such difficult times.

Knock-knock.

Mike’s heart stopped at the sound of someone knocking on his door. Trevor was no longer in his life, so who could it be?

‘Could it be Harvey?’ Mike’s heart thumped with an inexplicable feeling as he managed to stand up and head to the door.

Knock-knock.

The knock was firm and determined yet not overdone. It had to be Harvey. Mike found his hands trembling as he opened the door. The few seconds it took to unlock it and take a look at the visitor seemed unrealistically long.

“Donna…” Mike felt disappointment wash over him.

“Oh, Mike. I’m glad I stopped by.” Donna patted him on the cheek and stepped into the apartment, closing the door behind her.

“What are you doing here?” Mike did his best not to emphasize the ‘you’. Could Harvey have sent her?

“To feed you some soup. I also have burgers if you’re interested.” Donna put down the brown paper bag on the coffee table.

Mike’s stomach made an interesting sound at the mention of burgers and Donna pulled out a cheeseburger with a smile. Mike thought about how funny it was that a person felt hunger even in extreme situations as he sat on the couch.

“What about you? If you’ve brought two burgers, you should have one.” Mike looked at his wristwatch and checked the time. Donna had come to see him during her lunch hour.

“Nah, I brought a salad for myself. Nice watch, by the way.” Donna remembered how Mike had hid his left arm behind his back at the office.

“Thank you. It’s from Harvey.” Mike came clean, fully aware that Donna wanted to know whom it was from. But then, she probably knew already.

“He picked it out for you?” Donna’s tone was neutral.

“No, I picked it out myself.”

Donna lifted her eyebrows. “Really? He let you? A control freak like Harvey?”

The two couldn’t help but share a laugh. Harvey was indeed a control freak.

“You’re like Harvey.” Mike commented, hoping that it wouldn’t earn him Donna’s rage.

“Mike Ross, are you trying to tell me that I’m incapable of existing without wielding my stick of control?”

Mike laughed. “No. I mean that you make me laugh.”

“Mike Ross, are you trying to tell me that I’m laughable?”

“Ahaha, no! I meant it in a good way!”

Donna smiled warmly and decided that she had made the right move to come visit Harvey’s puppy. She didn’t spend time with Mike outside the office but she would like to think that they had grown quite fond of each other. She was aware that Mike didn’t have many people in his life and when a crisis of this magnitude happened, she figured that she could play a close friend or the voice of reason or just give him a shoulder to lean on.

“How is he doing?” Mike asked quietly as he took a bite off his burger.

“Hanging on.” Donna opened her salad and started to eat. “Aren’t you going to ask how she’s doing?”

“I didn’t think you’d know…” Mike mumbled.

Donna just smiled and kept her focus on the salad.

The amicable silence went on for a while until Mike finished his burger and stared at Donna with sad puppy eyes.

“Don’t give me that look. That only works for Harvey.” Donna scolded him half-heartedly.

“I don’t know what to do.” Mike let out a dramatic sigh.

“I can’t help you with that. I’d give you advice like ‘Follow your heart’ but I doubt you’ll find it helpful. But you know you don’t have to make up your mind today.”

“But if I don’t make up my mind, how am I supposed to work? I really don’t think I could focus, Donna.” Mike couldn’t bring himself to tell her that he had already made a decision. Donna worked for Harvey. He couldn’t give her bad news when she had come all the way to offer him some comfort.

“Well, if you can make the decision in one day, I suppose it’s an easier one than you think.” Donna took a good look at the pale boy. He probably didn’t have enough life experience to get through these kinds of ordeals by himself.

“You’re aware that you’re blessed, right?”

Mike looked up, wondering what she was talking about.

“It’s a cold, harsh world, Mike. It’s so difficult to find someone to love or get someone to love you. If I were in your shoes, I’d consider it a blessing. A small miracle even.”

“Oh…” Mike hadn’t actually thought about it like that. He had only seen it as a burden that had seemingly come out of nowhere.

“Do you want me to check on you again after work?” Donna picked up her purse and got up.

“Oh, no, I’ll be fine. You’ve already done so much. Thank you.” Mike gave her a heartful smile.

“You’re welcome.” Donna patted him on the shoulder and headed to the door. “Eat the soup and extra burger for dinner if you don’t have anything else.”

“Yes, mom.”

Donna looked back at Mike and saw him grin like a kid. She knew that he would go back to his miserable mood once she walked out of the door so she decided to let it slip. Besides, the kid didn’t have a mother. “You’ll be fine, kid.”

Mike nodded but it didn’t look too convincing. “Does Harvey know you’re here?”

“Do you want him to?”

Mike didn’t have an answer for that. It seemed selfish to want Harvey’s attention when he was going to break his heart.

“See you tomorrow.” Donna left the apartment without an answer and Mike closed the door with a sigh.

He heard his cell phone ringing again and decided that he might as well leave Rachel a text message to ease her mind.

‘Oh Rach…’ Mike read all the messages that were full of worry and love. Donna was right. He was blessed with so much love around him.

He quickly sent her a text to let her know that he was all right and that she had nothing to worry about. Then his mind went to Harvey and the guilt came back full force. Harvey had put both his career and heart on the line for him and this was how he was going to pay him back.

‘I need to gather my words. I can’t just go in there tomorrow and tell him he can’t have me.’ Mike scratched the back of his head and wondered if he still had those fancy writing papers.

 

The next morning, Harvey went to his office through the associates’ area to check if his associate had made it to work. If it was possible, Mike looked even worse than yesterday. His eyes were puffy and it looked like he hadn’t got much sleep.

“Good morning, Mike.” He said casually as he walked past the cubicle.

“Good morning, Harvey.” Mike greeted back and Harvey had to stop and accept that Mike had already made up his mind. The guilt thick in his voice suggested that the decision wasn’t in his favor. He had lost the battle.

Harvey resumed walking and reached his office as calmly as he could. He feared that the watch he had bought would be waiting for him in the office. There wasn’t a watch box on his desk but relief turned into panic when he spotted an envelope instead.

‘It can’t be a letter of resignation. If it was, he wouldn’t be sitting in his cubicle.’ Harvey tried to stay rational but his heart thudded against his ribs as he sat down and opened the envelope. He didn’t bother to read the content and let his eyes head straight down to the bottom of the letter. When he checked that Mike had signed ‘Your faithful puppy’, he breathed out a sigh of relief.

Harvey sat there for a while, trying to deal with the strange mixture of pain, relief, disappointment, and confusion. He had lost the battle. ‘Did I push too hard? Too early?’

He shook his head. Mike might not be the toughest cookie out there but there was no question that he was a strong boy. Harvey believed that Mike had the endurance to pull through even with his bleeding heart.

Ignoring the urge to read the letter, Harvey put it back in the envelope and tucked it in his jacket pocket. He felt that he could get through the day with Mike’s handwritten words close to his heart.

 

Harvey waited until he got home to read Mike’s letter. He already knew that Mike had turned him down but he needed to know how bad it was. Losing one battle didn’t mean losing the whole war. It only meant that he had to win the other battles. He believed that he had the patience and strength to win a protracted war so if Mike had left him anything to work with, he might get a second chance.

He put on his favorite jazz piece, brought out one of his finest scotches, and sat on the couch with the letter in hand. Determined to stay strong, he opened the letter and started to read:

Dear Harvey,

Let me begin this letter by telling you how sorry I am for causing you this much pain. I wish I had known what was going on sooner but sadly I can’t rewrite the past. I feel like I could’ve done something to spare you the heartache but I’m apparently clueless when it comes to these things. Can you see the irony here? I always say that I’m big on emotions and I really am, but when it mattered the most, I failed to deliver. I failed to not hurt you. I failed to make you happy.

Do you remember the day I walked into your interview room? Do you remember the admiration in my eyes when I noticed that you were nothing like other people? You took the time to listen to my pathetic life story and saved me when nobody had ever bothered to. I would say that I didn’t need your saving and you would say that you hired me for your own good but we both know that we felt a certain connection right from the beginning. Then you became my friend, my best friend, and I suddenly had the best job and the best people around me. I suddenly had a life that was worth living. I started to smile again because I was happy.

Harvey, I can’t say that I don’t love you. I will never have the heart to say that no matter how much of a heartless lawyer you want me to be. And, I will never love anyone the way I’ve grown to love you. I won’t be able to and I won’t be willing to. I need to keep loving you if I want to get through day after day. Life has been surprisingly kind to me these days but I know that it will naturally be unkind when I expect it the least. See, I cannot think of a scenario where we fall apart and I stop loving you. I could love you the way you want me to but I can’t risk even the slightest chance of that scenario coming to life. I know it’s incredibly selfish but I just can’t. You can’t pick up a person from the gutter and show him the bright blue sky and then throw him back in the gutter. That person will never be the same once he’s seen the infinite depths of the sky. He won’t be able to think of anything else but the sky. You’re my sky, Harvey. I cannot afford to lose you. Please don’t let me get any closer to you.

I know none of my words has the power to ease your pain. In fact, it’s selfish that I’m even writing you a letter. I just couldn’t bear the thought of having to tell you myself. I didn’t want to break down in front of you and make you cringe. I didn’t want to see the pain on your face, knowing that I was the cause of it. I also know that I acted like a brat when you talked about your boy, but I promise that I’ll learn to behave when you meet someone who’s braver than me; someone who would risk losing you for greater happiness because he simply can’t help himself. It’s going to be very difficult to see you with someone else but you seem to manage it with me and Rachel so I can only hope that I could do the same.

Do you still love me? I’ll understand if you don’t want to see me for a while. I’ll be sad but I’ll understand. Oh, Harvey, how did we get to this point? When did things start to change? How could I be saying all this to you? How could I be so ungrateful? I feel even more terrible because I know you’re too much of a gentleman to want me to love you back just because you gave me a second chance at a decent life. Now I’m worried that you might not read such a long letter. You probably stopped reading after the first few paragraphs… Well, I suppose I can’t blame you even if you did.

I don’t know how to end this letter, Harvey. I keep getting this ridiculous feeling that you’ll walk out of my life once I put the pen down. But you’re a man of your word and I remember you telling me that you and I will be fine no matter what. I count on those words to get me through this difficult period. I never imagined a day would come that a guy like you would care so much about a guy like me. It’s overwhelming and gratifying. There’s so much joy under the pain and guilt in my heart so I thank you for that. Whatever happens from now on, you will always be the best thing that has ever happened to me.

- Your faithful puppy, Mike

P.S.: Please forgive me? I don’t think I could stand it if you couldn’t.

Harvey swallowed chunks of emotion that kept threatening to come up. His throat was sore and his lungs were heavy. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to throw his glass against the wall or drink more and dull the pain. He was angry and hurt but there was still hope left inside him. So he took a few deep breaths and read the letter again.

‘I could work with this. He’s given me enough. I can work with this.’ He told himself. Mike was just afraid that he might end up losing him.

‘He doesn’t know how brave he is.’ Despite having heard all about it, Harvey couldn’t imagine what Mike must have gone through when he had lost his parents. Regardless of age, losing one’s beloved parents was one of the worst things that could happen to a person but Mike had come out of it in one piece. With so much brightness inside him, Harvey would have never guessed that Mike had experienced such a tragic event so early in his life.

Harvey poured himself more scotch and studied Mike’s handwriting. He had obviously taken the time and effort to write the letter. The strokes were neat and careful yet there were ink stains on several spots, indicating that his boy had cried over it. Harvey felt a sharp pang of remorse for a split second but managed to shrug it off. If he was going to guide Mike through this, he would have to stay stronger than ever.

‘It had to be done. No pain, no gain.’ Harvey put the letter back in the envelope and looked at the picture of Mike standing on his coffee table. He hadn’t expected himself to long for someone, especially someone from work, but he knew how life had a tendency to throw unexpected challenges.

‘I suppose that’s part of the charm of living.’ Harvey decided that if he was going to go through this, he might as well try to enjoy it. Very few people had had the pleasure of meeting Mike Ross and even fewer people had got the chance to be friends with him. Now he was competing to be one of the most exclusive members of the Mike Ross club and damn, if this wasn’t a challenge that was worth winning.

And, for once, it wasn’t just about winning. Mike brought silly smiles to his usually composed face, gave him a formidable sense of pride, and made his heart beat like it had never beaten before. When Mike was around, he felt young, lively, even more intelligent, and adequately sensitive. He felt like an extremely desirable human being even without his power or wealth. Mike didn’t care much about those things. He believed that Mike loved him for who he was. Mike was that kind of a person, one of those who were on the verge of extinction as far as Harvey was concerned.

Harvey got up and brought out a piece of paper and his fountain pen. It was only polite to answer back:

Dear Mike,

I appreciate your honesty in the letter that you wrote me. In return, I would like to let you know that I have no intention to let go of you so easily.

Do you know the story of a hen that was afraid that the sky was falling when an acorn fell from the tree and hit her on the head? Needless to say that it was a useless worry, simply caused by lack of experience. You can guess what I’m trying to say, Mike. It’s perfectly natural to be terrified when you haven’t experienced it. But you will miss out on some of the best things that life has to offer if you can’t take a few acorns on your head. The sky never falls, puppy. It’s one of the very few things that you can count on.

I think you would remember how I told you that I want a much higher quality of life than most people would dream of. Well, you’re in that life, Mike. So you can understand if I’m willing to give my very best and make sure that you’re included in it. Our bond could be so much stronger than neither of us could ever imagine.

I would also like to stress that you didn’t fail me, puppy. There is absolutely no need to feel guilty for looking out for your own happiness. But rest assured, I will prove you wrong. There is no doubt in my mind that you will eventually come around.

- Love, Harvey

Chapter Text


A week had passed since Mike had found Harvey’s letter on his desk. He had read it so many times that the edges had been crumpled and a few teardrops had smeared Harvey’s handwriting. Even if he hadn’t had an eidetic memory, he would have been able to recite the words to perfection in his sleep.

Mike had experienced mixed feelings when he had first read the letter. The pain and guilt had still been regular customers but other types of feelings had also flooded into his mind. To think that he was worth fighting for in none other than Harvey’s eyes, to think that Harvey believed their bond could be even stronger did wonders for his heart. He had already made his decision and there was no going back, but there was a part of Mike that wanted to see just how passionate Harvey could be for him. He couldn’t believe how selfish he was but he couldn’t get enough of Harvey’s attention. Harvey had changed him… or did he? He used to smoke pot before he met Harvey and now he couldn’t stop asking for Harvey’s attention. Maybe he had just moved on to something better, something more unique.

Even though Harvey had practically announced that there was going to be more drama in the future, Mike adored the letter. Ironically, his favorite part was the most alarming part; the last line that read ‘Love, Harvey’. Harvey had never used such direct words before to express his feelings for him. In hindsight, Mike realized that his actions had spoken louder than any words but it was still stunning to see ‘love’ written in Harvey’s handwriting. Now he had something that was much more valuable than the dumbbells; he had Harvey’s handwritten letter, signed with love.

He was Harvey’s only associate, one of his best friends, and definitely his best fan. He was extremely happy to fill all three positions but he could never be his boyfriend. He hadn’t even thought about the possibility until very recently and even if Rachel hadn’t been in the picture, he didn’t think that he could have gotten on board. The idea of asking Harvey to constantly love him sounded like chasing a mirage. Yes, Harvey was exactly that; a sweet mirage that had appeared out of nowhere to help him get through the tough times in the desert.

Right before he had met Harvey, his life had hit rock bottom. Volunteering to deliver a suitcase full of drugs had to be the worst decision of his life. When he had walked out of that interview room with the promise of getting a dream job that included working for and learning from such a decent man, he knew that it was too good to be true. There had to be a catch. He had lived long enough not to fall for such slick offers that could end up destroying him but he couldn’t find it in him to refuse Harvey’s offer. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush from fleeing, the instant connection he had felt with Harvey, the huge signing bonus that could help his grandmother, or maybe he just wanted to be a lawyer so badly that he was willing to ‘cheat’ again. Whatever the reason was, he had decided to pursue the mirage and this was what it had led to.

When you get too close to a mirage, you realize that it had been all in your head, that you had dreamed about it because you had desperately needed something to hang on to. Mike felt that he was close to Harvey to the point that if he took another step, his world would spiral out of control and the mirage would disappear out of his sight. He needed the mirage to be there for him, to guide him through these unstable times. He didn’t want to be left alone in the desert, feeling hopeless and lost again.

Besides, Mike had learned how to be satisfied with the things that he already had in his grasp. Even if something looked well inside your reach, it wasn’t yours until you’ve reached out and grabbed it. Mike wasn’t going to make a foolish mistake of trying to reach out for something that was far over his head. Rachel was a great woman. He had never doubted that fact since the moment that he had met her. She knew how to help out a friend in need, patiently listened to whatever he had to say, and smiled at him as if he was the best man she had ever met. With her, he felt confident and sexy. And, it didn’t hurt that she was smart enough to have an intellectual conversation with him. She was also very courageous if crushing the little bug that had crawled into her apartment had been any indication.

If Harvey was his sky, Rachel was his sea. He could actually touch the sea if he headed out far enough while there was no way that he could touch the sky even if he climbed the highest mountain. Rachel was perfect enough and real for him whereas Harvey was probably a little too perfect like the guys that only existed in fairy tales. Mike considered himself a simple man. He could be happy with what he had now. At least, that was what he had kept telling himself for the past seven days.

He hadn’t mentioned Harvey’s letter to Rachel though. He had thought about telling her, but he wasn’t going to change his mind so he didn’t want her to worry for nothing. It was bad enough that he kept thinking about what Harvey would do next. He didn’t need both of them to walk around at work, feeling like something was going to jump out of Harvey’s office. Besides, Louis was still keeping her extra busy so she already had enough on her plate.

Working with Harvey hadn’t been that different for the past week. Harvey looked cool and composed as usual and Mike couldn’t help but admire him more for the strength that he was displaying. If Mike had been in his place, he would have probably taken his summer vacation right away. But Harvey still mentored him, treated him well, lectured him every once in a while and threw in a funny joke at the end so that Mike would leave his office with a smile on his face.

In fact, Harvey was doing so well that Mike was starting to think that he had changed his mind. He had waited (again, with mixed feelings) for Harvey to make another move, but so far there had been nothing out of the ordinary. They had even had one of their late curry nights in Harvey’s office but Mike hadn’t had a chance to use his knowledge that he had gathered from reading ‘How to turn down a guy with dignity.’ There was the occasional look of loss and longing on Harvey’s face but it went away so quickly that Mike wasn’t sure if it was real or if his mind was playing tricks on him. Mike hoped that it was the latter but he knew that Harvey must still be suffering from the rejection. The few things that he could do to ease the pain were doing his job properly, forgiving him for lying in his face, and being there as a friend if Harvey needed one.

Much to his surprise, it hadn’t been too difficult to forgive Harvey’s many lies and questionable actions. (But then, he felt fully indebted to the man so perhaps it wasn’t so surprising.) Mike had had the displeasure of putting himself in Harvey’s shoes in Washington D.C. and he wasn’t sure to which extents that he would have gone if he had loved Harvey as much as Harvey loved him right now and had to listen about that boy of his for weeks. Besides, Harvey was by far the most possessive person that he had ever met. It was just in his nature to do whatever it took to achieve his goal, and Mike believed that Harvey had still held himself back even when he was manipulating him. There was only so much one could expect from a man and Mike had been able to get past the feeling of betrayal. At least, he thought that he had.

Meanwhile, he and Rachel had gone out a couple of times, spending quality time at the cinema and the art gallery. Rachel had asked him if he wanted to go see a ball game during the weekend but Mike hadn’t felt like staying under the blazing sun for hours. The weather had started to get sticky and he didn’t think that they had reached the state of relationship where they could pretend that each other’s sweat smelled like perfume.

Speaking of sweat, they still hadn’t achieved anything on the sweaty front. Rachel hadn’t invited him over to her place and he hadn’t even thought about inviting her to his since he had been busy sorting out his issues with Harvey in his mind. They hadn’t talked about sex at all and Mike was starting to think that it was going to be an issue. He told himself that Rachel was just giving him time to recover from the shock but it bothered him that she wouldn’t even hint at it and see if he was up for it. He believed that they had to take the next step to solidify their relationship but he was going to wait patiently like a gentleman until she brought it up. Besides, even though he still liked the idea of sharing a bed with her, he had to admit that he was slightly less intrigued than before. Perhaps Rachel was right. Maybe he needed more time to recover. Because what kind of a guy wouldn’t want to lie in bed with such a wonderful woman like her?

 

“Hey, Rach. You wanted to see me? I got your message.” Mike stopped by his girlfriend’s office on a Tuesday morning. He had just come out of a client meeting with Harvey.

“Yes. Please come in.” Rachel greeted him with a smile. One might say that working at the same office as your boyfriend was only going to complicate matters in the long run but she relished these little visits from Mike.

“So? What did you want to talk about?” Mike grabbed a seat and studied her face. She looked rather excited.

“I was wondering if you’d like to help me with something this evening.” The way Rachel asked, looking a little hesitant made Mike wonder if this was an invitation to sex.

“Uh, sure.” Mike answered, feeling his mouth go dry. Was it finally time?

“Don’t look so alarmed, Mikey. I just need your help to find the perfect puppy.”

Mike’s eyes grew wide. “I’m sorry. Perfect what?”

“A puppy, Mike! I’m going to adopt a puppy!”

“Oh, wow. I didn’t even know you wanted one.” Mike adored animals, especially puppies, but he hadn’t seen this coming.

“Oh, you silly, I told you I used to have a puppy when I was a kid and wanted to have another one but never got a chance to.”

“You did?” Mike couldn’t remember. Perhaps she was confusing him with someone else.

“Yes, I did. When we went to watch that zombie movie last Friday, remember?”

“Oh, right.” Mike still didn’t remember that particular conversation but he definitely remembered watching the movie (it was difficult to forget when he had nightmares about it). Whatever she had said after the movie must have gone into one ear and left through the other.

“I’m thinking of getting a small one like a Yorkshire terrier. What do you think?”

“I think it’s great. You live in an apartment so it seems like a rational choice.”

Rachel smiled. “I need to start thinking about names. I hope I’ll find a cute boy puppy, Mikey. Easier to raise. Do you have any suggestions?”

“Uh, I don’t know…” Mike didn’t know what to say. It was Rachel’s dog and he had no say in the matter.

“Well, I guess the name will come to me when I see him. Oh, I can’t wait to meet him. I haven’t been this excited in a while!”

It was Mike’s turn to smile. He respected people who were kind to animals. “I can’t wait to meet your boy either.”

Rachel’s smile became brighter and Mike noticed how her eyes were sparkling with joy. It was nice to see her so excited even though he wasn’t the cause of it.

“So what time do you think you’ll get off? Seven? Eight?”

Mike thought about his schedule for the day. The client meeting had gone smoothly so if there weren’t any further complications, he should be able to leave the office pretty early. “Let’s say seven.”

“Great! I’ll see you then. Are we still on for lunch?”

“Uh, sorry. I think I’ll have to eat in the file room if I want to finish up by seven. Unless you’re willing to join me in a dusty, dark room that smells like old paper.”

Rachel laughed. “I’d love to join you. I’ve made us new and improved sandwiches so I need you to taste them and give me an honest comment.”

“Ah, so this is the day we break up. I’ve never imagined that it would involve bad sandwiches.” Mike’s tone was playful.

“Oh, you did not say that. You know, I can always put some questionable, untraceable substance under the lettuce and nobody will ever know what happened to you. They would probably think that you choked on all the dust.” Rachel joked back.

“Women do love their poisons when it comes to murder.”

“And, you’ll get a firsthand experience if you keep badmouthing my sandwiches before actually tasting them.”

“Ah, you would’ve made an excellent lawyer. I’m shaking.”

“I know. But for now, I think I’ll settle for an excellent girlfriend.”

“I’m touched.” Mike put his hand on his left chest and made an exaggerated face.

Rachel swatted him on the arm that was resting on her desk. She loved how easily their conversation flowed. For a week, there had been a little bit of tension in the air, probably because of the whole ‘Harvey incident’, but she liked to think that things were back on track and that neither of them would have to look back.

“As much as I enjoy your terrifying presence, I happen to have a boss who’s even more terrifying. I’ll go get some work done.” Mike stood up and took a few steps to lean down for a kiss.

“Love you.” Rachel whispered into her boyfriend’s mouth.

“Love you too.” Mike caressed her cheek and turned on his heel.

Rachel watched as Mike left her office. She was thrilled that Mike had decided to stick with her so quickly but she had a feeling that Harvey Specter wasn’t someone who gave up so easily. Mike didn’t talk about Harvey anymore so there was no way of knowing what the senior partner was up to. She had tried to ask Donna but she had still been reluctant to discuss her boss’ matters with her. Her reaction had only aggravated her worries that the war was far from being over which meant that she needed plans.

Harvey’s pointed question had gotten her thinking all week about what she could possibly offer to Mike. It was clear that Harvey had given it a serious thought but she hadn’t even realized that she was supposed to think about it. She didn’t have the money (her parents were loaded but she wanted to live on what she made) or personal connections or the ability to defend Mike if he ever got into trouble so she would have to work another angle.

‘I can be more affectionate, for a start.’ Rachel pondered. Mike was eager to please the people around him, almost to the point of desperation. Unlike Harvey, she could give him proof of affection whenever he wanted it; a hug and kiss here and there, a shoulder to cry on, sweet words of encouragement, use of a term of endearment, praise after praise, and whatever else he wanted.

‘Hmm, what else? Exciting new experience? Harvey seems to be the type to provide stability.’ She was reminded of the day when she had helped Mike with the menu of his rookie dinner. She remembered how she had told him that trying out new food meant willing to go through new experiences.

‘Oh boy, he put the squid in his mouth and made all kinds of faces, claiming that it was still moving, ahaha…’ It had been nice to help him out with something other than her office skills but then she remembered who had covered the big, fat bill of the rookie dinner. She had considered it as the sweetest gesture ever but now it couldn’t irritate her more. However, she was aware that Mike couldn’t have afforded the bill so she would have to suck it up and be grateful.

Much to her displeasure, she still admired Harvey as a fellow human being. She had rarely got the chance to work with him but from what Donna and Mike had been telling her, he seemed almost as decent as Mike. It would’ve been easier to gloat over her rival’s misery if he had been an asshole, but it was what it was. Harvey wanted something that belonged to her and she had to fight him off to protect what was rightfully hers.

Shaking her head for feeling sympathy towards Harvey, her thoughts wandered over to her boyfriend. Mike was kind, smart, courageous, fun, cute, and honorable. He didn’t have a great sense of fashion or appreciation for fancy food but she was willing to help him in those areas. ‘Oh, Mikey…’

Their relationship was still so young even though they had known each other since the first day that Mike had started working at Pearson-Hardman. She knew that Harvey had met Mike around the same time as her, but apparently a relationship between a mentor and an associate was different from a relationship between close coworkers that had just started dating.

‘Sex! I could give him that.’ Rachel laughed at the obvious answer. She was hoping that Mike would often come see her puppy and they would get a natural opportunity for physical affection. Given how they couldn’t get a single chance when they had planned it in advance, she figured that it might work better.

“Miss Zane? Did I not give you enough work this morning? Pearson-Hardman doesn’t pay you for your daydreams.” Louis’ voice snapped her out of her thoughts. “Did you finish the research on the Hoffman case?”

“Sorry, it’ll be done in ten minutes.”

Louis made a disapproving sound and sneered, “Two daydreamers dating each other? You must be a match made in a very unproductive part of Heaven.”

Rachel waited until the junior partner turned around to lift her hand and make a gesture to scratch him with her long nails.

‘Gosh, why does he hate us so much? He’s probably jealous. I wonder why nobody loves him!’ Rachel narrowed her eyes at the thought of Louis bothering Mike. Love was no easy matter and she thought that finding the right guy was the hardest part.

 

Mike was lost in his pile of work that afternoon when Harvey texted him: Come see me now.

‘Okay, working with him has definitely changed.’ Mike winced as he read the text message again. Harvey had stopped calling him puppy. He wanted to remind his boss that he was the one who had made him promise to stay as his puppy, but Harvey was probably hurting and needed time to heal without him whining about his own issues.

‘Couldn’t he call my name at least? He used to love it!’ Mike groaned at the disappointment. To be fair to Harvey, he still did call Mike’s name but it didn’t happen as often as before and it somehow sounded different. Mike had managed to shrug off the weird feeling so far but it was starting to bother him.

‘I hope he won’t start calling me ‘Ross’ one day.’ Mike shuddered at the awful prospect and realized how vulnerable he was to Harvey’s words. He had a feeling that even being called ‘Michael’ would hurt him badly. He had always preferred ‘Mike’ and when it came to Harvey, ‘puppy’.

‘Oh, right. He said now!’ Mike rushed out of his cubicle and walked quickly towards Harvey’s office.

“Harvey, you wanted to see me?”

“Yes. Take a seat.”

Mike sat in his usual spot in front of Harvey’s desk, wondering what this was about. Having worked closely with Harvey for months, he could tell when his boss was about to discuss something that had nothing to do with briefs or depositions.

“Do you still have the tennis outfit from that field trip you took with Louis?”

“No, that wasn’t mine. I just rented it at the tennis club. Why?”

“Because I’m going to teach you how to play tennis.”

“Oh, you want me to beat Louis’ ass at some Pearson-Hardman championship?”

Harvey gave him a small smile. “That would be great but I need you to play tennis with a client next Saturday.”

“Next Saturday? But today’s already Tuesday! I only have eleven days left!”

“Don’t worry, Juliet. Your job is to lose gracefully so you don’t have to play like Roger Federer.”

“I’m glad that you place so much faith in me, Harvey, but wouldn’t it be better if you played instead?” Mike decided that ‘Juliet’ was better than nothing. After all, didn’t she look pretty in that old film?

“I would if I could. But I’m too good to fake losing a match.”

Mike laughed incredulously. “I don’t buy that. You never even told me that you knew how to play tennis!”

“You never asked.”

“But we’re friends, Harvey!” Mike closed his mouth immediately but the damage was already done. A sharp look of pain flew across Harvey’s face and disappeared behind the usual mask. Mike fidgeted, debating if he should apologize but technically, he hadn’t said anything wrong. They were still friends as far as Mike could tell.

“As you pointed out, we only have eleven days to get you ready. So you’re going to clear your evenings from today till next Saturday. Understood? But you’ll get this weekend off since you’ll need some time to recover.”

Mike nodded. He was just grateful that Harvey had dismissed his comment of them being (only) friends. ‘Wait… Rachel!’

“Is there a problem?” Harvey’s tone was sharp.

“No. I got it. So do I rent an outfit again? And, do I meet you at the club or are we going to leave together?”

“We’re leaving at six sharp. We’re going to get dinner and shop for your tennis gear and then I’m going to teach you how to hit a forehand.”

“Okay. I’ll see you at six then.” Mike got up and smiled before heading towards the door. He would have to work even harder to get things done by six.

“Mike?”

“Yes?” Mike turned around.

“I’m still your friend.”

Mike pinched his thigh to stop himself from bursting into emotions. He had to say something before he embarrassed himself. “Uh, Harvey? Do you think we could keep this as a secret? Just from Louis? I know we already keep many secrets but I’d really like to beat him badly if he ever takes me to the club again.”

Harvey laughed. “You want to give him the false impression that you still don’t know a thing about tennis?”

Mike nodded. “Please?” He almost felt as if their relationship had gone back to what it used to be.

“I won’t tell him but it wouldn’t make any difference if you still suck by the end of next week.”

“But I’ll pay great attention! Whatever you teach me, I’ll learn! You know how well I obey your orders!” He hadn’t meant to shout but he couldn’t afford to screw up and disappoint Harvey, especially now that he had broken his heart.

Harvey didn’t say anything and just took a moment to look at his associate. Mike thought that he looked a little sad and a little proud.

“Very well. I’ll get Donna to make the court reservation.” Harvey dismissed him with his hand and Mike left the office, vowing to himself that he would do exactly what Harvey wanted him to do until the end of next week.

‘Now I have to go talk to Rachel. Gosh, why couldn’t she get a puppy yesterday? Or the training could’ve started tomorrow?’ Then Mike wondered if it was a coincidence that both Rachel and Harvey needed him on the same evening.

‘But it has to be! How could’ve they possibly known what was going on with each other? Urgh, I’m turning into one of those conspiracy theorists.’ He shook his head and headed towards his girlfriend’s office.

“Rach, I don’t think I can help you with your puppy today. I’m sorry. It’s a client thing.” Mike didn’t want to go into details since it involved him spending time with Harvey. He knew that it really was a ‘client thing’ but he and Harvey didn’t have multiple personalities; they didn’t have a clear boundary line among boss/associate, friend/friend, and loving/loved.

“That’s okay. Let’s go some other day then. How about tomorrow?”

“Uh, sorry. I have to play tennis with this client next Saturday, so Harvey’s going to teach me every evening except for this weekend.”

Rachel tried her best not to flinch. She had expected Harvey to strike and had braced herself for a whole week, but now that it finally hit her, she realized that it wasn’t something that she could mentally get ready for. “Oh… Work has to come first, of course. I understand. We’ll go together on Saturday then.”

“Okay. Thanks for understanding.”

“No problem, Mikey. I hope you get to learn quickly. It sounds like you don’t have much time.”

“I know. I’m a little worried. I’ve never done well with ball games. My hand-eye coordination leaves much to be desired.”

“Aww, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll be fine. Hard work always pays off! Hey, do want me to come support you? I can stay quietly on the sidelines or I can be the ball girl.” Rachel wanted to make sure that Harvey didn’t pull anything funny. She could just picture the senior partner standing behind her boyfriend with his hand over Mike’s to teach him all about the different grips.

Mike turned a little pale. “Uh, I don’t think that’s a great idea. I don’t want you to see my worst.”

Rachel wanted to ask ‘And, you don’t mind Harvey seeing your worst?’ but she managed to swallow it. “Okay, let me know when you need me there. I’ll be happy to help you out in any way. I’m your girlfriend.”

“Yes, you are.” Mike breathed out a sigh of relief. There was no way that he would be able to focus on tennis while Rachel and Harvey played tug-of-war with their scary eyes.

“You know, perhaps I can talk to Harvey about the ball girl thing.” Rachel pondered.

“No, no! I’m sure we can find someone at the club who can help out with the balls. You just go home and get some rest.” Mike really hoped that Rachel and Harvey wouldn’t meet. He had stopped sharing news about Rachel with Harvey and vice versa for a reason. He might not have a real lawyer’s instincts yet but his guts screamed danger on this one.

“If you insist. But if things don’t work out, you know you can always ask me.”

“Yes, of course. Anything else? I really need to get back to work. Harvey and I are leaving at six.” Mike didn’t think that he should mention them getting dinner together. It was one thing to have a late curry night in Harvey’s office and quite another to have dinner outside the office.

“Oh, I came up with the perfect name for my perfect boy.”

“Already? What is it?” Mike was curious. He hoped that she had picked a decent name.

“You know how I loved the show ‘Friends’, right?”

“Yeah, you told me. I loved it too.”

“Well, my name happens to be Rachel and her soul mate in there was Ross. So I decided to call him Ross! What do you think?”

“Haha, well, Ross happens to be my last name so I can’t say it’s a bad name, can I?” For once, Mike was sure that it wasn’t a coincidence.

“I’m glad you feel that way.” Rachel smiled. “Good luck with all the work. Give me a call when you get home?”

“Yes, I will.” Mike smiled awkwardly and rushed out of her office. Apparently the ceasefire was over.

Chapter Text


Much to his relief, Mike felt much more at ease around Harvey after spending some time outside the office with him. They had enjoyed dinner in a rather cozy restaurant and had shopped for Mike’s tennis gear. Mike had told his boss that he could just rent it but Harvey had emphasized the importance of owning the proper gear to get in the right mindset. Feeling like one of those ‘wear better suits with a wider tie’ lectures coming his way, Mike had quickly agreed to buy everything that he would ever need to play a tennis match.

Harvey hadn’t chosen everything for him like he had expected and had actually given him enough choices to make. But he had used his knowledge and experience in having played the sport for years and Mike had been relieved that it felt like they were buying all the right things. When it was time to pay, Mike had pulled out his wallet but Harvey had covered the expense with his corporate card, telling him that it was for business.

Now, Mike was in the locker room of the same tennis club that Louis had dragged him to. He was hoping that spending enough time with Harvey in the same club would wash away the awful memory of the junior partner. While Mike was sitting on the bench, struggling to put on his new tennis socks, Harvey was taking off his tie and unbuttoning his shirt.

Since he was on a mission to replace the memory of Louis with Harvey, Mike didn’t even pretend to look away. Instead, he opened his eyes widely and did his best to memorize exactly what Harvey’s back looked like. Thankfully, Harvey didn’t have eyes on the back of his head to judge him. The senior partner had very fine shoulder blades and the line from the back of his neck all the way down to his hips was aesthetically pleasing, to say the least.

Mike was suddenly reminded of the day that Harvey had slipped in his bathroom. His boss had been in his birthday suit since he had just stepped out of the shower and he had accidentally seen all of him.

“One might think you’re ogling me, Mike.” Harvey didn’t have to turn around to notice that Mike was staring at him. He could feel the attentive eyes scan his torso.

“Sorry, I was just wondering if you had any scars.” Mike knew that it wasn’t the most plausible excuse, but thinking clearly wasn’t an easy task when a handsome man was changing right in front of him. Luckily, Harvey didn’t say anything and threw a navy polo shirt over his head.

Now that he thought about it, Mike had never seen Harvey play a sport before. He had once asked his boss if he would be any good at boxing, wondering if he would drag him to a boxing ring. But Harvey had just laughed at him, saying that he shouldn’t do anything that might do some damage to his pretty face. ‘Am I objectively pretty or did he already like me back then?’

Harvey turned around and knitted his eyebrows when he saw that Mike was still in a suit. “Mike, unless you need my help, I urge you to speed up. We don’t have all day.”

Mike smiled at the realization that Harvey had been using his name much more frequently ever since they had left the office. He couldn’t tell if it was on purpose but he liked it.

“What are you grinning about? Get out of the suit already.” Harvey faced the locker again as he took off everything below his waist. He wasn’t trying to put on a show but he was comfortable enough with his body to put it out there. If Mike didn’t want to watch, he could simply look away and mind his own business.

When Mike had pushed his head into his new sky-blue polo shirt (Harvey said that true champions wore classy polo shirts), he was welcomed by the sight of Harvey getting into his black compression shorts. Back at the store, he had asked Harvey why they were called ‘compression’ shorts, but he had figured out on his own what exactly got compressed by the time he had finished asking the question.

“Ahaha…” Mike couldn’t help but laugh at the silly name of those short biker shorts.

“Ah, I knew I fed you too well. A giggly puppy’s no use on court.” Harvey shook his head but Mike thought that he had seen a small smile on the corner of his lips.

Mike smiled back and rushed out of his pants and laughed again as he put his legs into his compression shorts. He couldn’t help it. Most of the tension that he had felt whenever he was around Harvey was gone and he felt relaxed and comfortable.

“I’m glad you’re teaching me yourself, Harvey. I would’ve hated it if you made Donna set up an appointment with one of the coaches here.” Mike put on his light grey tennis shorts and looked into the mirror. He looked nice and sharp like a prep boy.

“Well, they didn’t have any coaches who were available on such short notice.” Harvey put on his wristbands and closed his locker.

“You’re lying.” Mike felt comfortable enough to playfully accuse him. “You wanted to teach me yourself because you couldn’t stand the thought of someone else mentoring me.”

“Oh yeah? That’s what you think? Well, I might change my mind if you don’t get your ass on court in the next two minutes.” Harvey lightly punched his associate on the shoulder and headed out. “I’ll get the balls and towels. You grab your racquet and the water bottles.”

“Got it, Sensei.” Mike put on his new tennis shoes and checked himself in the mirror again. Yep, he was objectively pretty.

 

When Mike walked on to the court, he saw Harvey stretching his legs with the help of the net pole. He knew that Harvey hadn’t been on a tennis court in a while but of course the senior partner fit in perfectly. That was one of Harvey’s many strengths. He would walk into a place and own it without much effort.

“How long do you need to finish ogling me, Mike? I’d like to have a rough idea of when I’ll be able to get home tonight.” Harvey switched his legs and leaned forward.

“Sorry. It’s just that I’ve never seen you in a sports outfit before.” Mike hurried to Harvey’s side and imitated what his boss was doing.

Harvey glanced at his associate and chuckled. “I think that’s going to cause an injury, Mike.”

“What? No way! I know what I’m doing. I used to wrestle in high school, remember?”

“Well, you use different muscles for wrestling and tennis. I’ll have to help you stretch then.” Harvey lay down the towel that was around his neck. “Lie down.”

Mike did as he was told but he was slightly nervous. What if Harvey got overzealous and ended up giving him a groin injury? He had never been known for his flexibility. “Uh, just so we’re clear, we’re doing this to prevent injuries, right?”

“Don’t worry, Mike. You’ll come out in one piece. Now give me your left leg.”

Mike lifted his left leg in the air and let Harvey stretch it in different angles. Harvey told him to stretch his arms on his own, so he tried to do as much as he could while lying on the court. At some point, Harvey was sitting between Mike’s legs and working on his knee. Apparently, knee injury was one of the most common injuries for tennis players. Harvey was very professional but Mike could understand why so many athletes ended up sleeping with their physical trainers. It wasn’t their fault; it was the positions.

Harvey kept his eyes on Mike’s legs but all Mike could see was Harvey’s face. He hadn’t really had a chance to look properly at the good-looking face ever since they had come back from their business trip. Of course he looked Harvey in the eye when they talked, but he hadn’t had enough peace of mind to appreciate the focused look on his face. In his mind, there were only a few things that were sexier than a person completely concentrating on the task at hand. Harvey and Rachel both had an intense look on their faces when they worked and Mike absolutely loved it.

“I think you’re good. Now let’s teach you how to hold a racquet so you can hit some forehands.” Harvey pulled Mike up to his feet and Mike scurried off to get his racquet.

Harvey had already checked during dinner that Mike knew the basic rules of the sport. He had just filled in the blanks and had given him a few tips for etiquette since Mike was going to play against a client.

“So you told me there are different kinds of grips.” Mike came back with his brand new racquet. It felt good in his hand.

“Yeah, let’s go with the continental grip. It’s great for beginners.” Harvey picked up his own racquet that was leaning against the net to give him a demonstration.

“Okay, wrap your fingers around your stick like this and apply a little pressure.”

“Like this?”

“Yes, but you don’t want to grab it too tight. Your arm’s going to get tired soon.”

Mike loosened his grip.

“That’s too loose, Mike. A little harder. Yes, just like that.”

Harvey sounded like a real tennis coach but his voice was lower than usual. Mike knew that his voice tended to get a little low in the evening but he couldn’t help but feel like Harvey was teaching him something naughty. ‘We’re obviously talking about a tennis racquet here. Let’s focus.’

Giving his dirty mind a firm kick in the ass, he listened carefully to his boss. The only problem was that Harvey’s explanation kept feeding naughty material to his mind.

“Mike, this area right here on a racquet is called the sweet spot. You have to try to get the balls make contact with the sweet spot.”

Mike barely managed to contain his laughter as he nodded. “Got it. The sweet spot.”

“Good. Now let’s stop giggling and try a few swings.” Harvey grabbed the cart full of tennis balls and moved across the net.

“We’re not using the ball-shooting machine?” Mike pointed at the machine that was on the empty court next to theirs.

“Nope. I doubt you can return any of the balls coming from a machine yet. Go back to the baseline and swing, puppy.”

Harvey pulled a ball out of the cart as soon as Mike looked ready. “Here we go!”

Mike swung his racquet, trying to hit the ball. When he missed the first couple of balls, Harvey started to give him tips. “Easy with the grip!”, “Open your shoulders!”, “Hit the sweet spot!”, “Don’t look at me, Mike. Keep your eyes on the ball!”

Harvey stopped feeding him balls after Mike kept missing and walked around the net.

“You need to follow through, Mike. Let me show you.” Harvey stood behind his associate and put his hand over Mike’s. It was becoming his favorite position of all times. “See, even when the ball has left the racquet, you need to push through the motion for a little longer. You have to finish the swing.”

Harvey repeated the ideal swing a few times and Mike was reminded of when he had learned how to use the dumbbells. Back then, he hadn’t thought much of Harvey hugging him from behind, but now that he knew Harvey was interested in him, it felt different. He found himself trying to lean back and it was alarming.

‘Let’s think about Rachel! I’ve gone through this already! I can’t have both so I decided to choose her! I shouldn’t give him false hope. I can’t be that cruel. I must let him move on.’ As painful as it was to think about Harvey moving on to someone else, he knew that he had to stomach it.

“Is something wrong?” Harvey asked as he took a step back from his associate.

“No. I think I can give it another try.” Mike tried to give him a bright smile but he had a feeling that Harvey could gauge his real mood.

“Okay, let’s see.” Harvey went back to his spot across the net and the training resumed.

 

Half an hour later, Mike was feeling proud of himself as he took a break on the bench. He had finally managed to return Harvey’s balls and he had started to enjoy it. The club manager had offered them sports drinks and Mike was taking full advantage of it. He was watching Harvey hit a few balls with another male guest, trying to observe what it looked like to hit a decent forehand.

Fully intending to embarrass his boss, Mike yelled cheerfully, “Go Harvey! Nothing is impossible! You can do this! I believe in you!!”

Harvey threw him a quick glare but Mike’s grin only got wider. That was when he heard people laugh behind him. He turned around and saw that some of the guests and ball girls were watching. They were all dressed accordingly and Mike had to wonder what his girlfriend would look like in a sleeveless top and a short skirt. Rachel usually wore pencil skirts to work. They were elegant and made her look sharp but Mike wouldn’t mind seeing a different look on her. Even on their dates, she didn’t wear anything particularly short and Mike wished that she would show off her perfect legs. ‘And, I think she’ll look cute in a cap. Perhaps I should’ve accepted when she offered to be a ball girl.’

Then he remembered that Harvey and Rachel couldn’t be at the same place at the same time. It was a perfect recipe for disaster and Mike would like to have an easier week. ‘But maybe I’m overreacting. What can possibly go wrong? It’s not like they can have a duel on court. And, I won’t kiss or hug Rachel so Harvey will be spared of the pain. But then maybe just seeing her makes it painful…’

“Way to go, Harvey!” Clapping at a particularly amazing forehand that Harvey had sent to the corner, he thought about the day that he had lunch with Harvey, Rachel, and Donna. There had been a small incident in front of the elevator while he stood between Harvey and Rachel. They had both put hands on him, trying to guide him towards them. ‘So Rachel must’ve already known about Harvey’s feelings back then.’

He hadn’t asked her since when she had known that Harvey was into him. It seemed pointless to dig up the past and make her feel uncomfortable when nothing could be done about it. He now knew what Harvey felt and that was all that mattered.

“I wanted you to watch me, puppy, not wander around your inner playground.” All of a sudden, Harvey was sitting next to him on the bench.

“Oh, I was watching! I just lost my concentration a bit at the end.” Mike gave him an apologetic smile. “So did you win?”

“It wasn’t exactly a match, Mike.”

“But did you win? You always win!”

“Yes, I think I did.” Harvey held out his fist and Mike’s heart fluttered at the unexpected gesture.

“What did I do?” Mike bumped Harvey’s fist before he could lose the chance.

“I figured it would be nice to end each session with a fist bump. After all, I’m taking your time away from your girlfriend.”

“Oh, so we’re done for the day?” Mike checked his watch and noticed that only an hour had passed.

“Yeah, it’s no good pushing things too hard, Mike. My priority is to have a functioning associate in the morning. Now let’s jog a little to warm down and hit the showers.” Harvey got up from the bench and got a head start.

“Hey! Wait for me!” Mike finished his sports drink and caught up with him. If Harvey called him ‘puppy’ again and there were even fist bumps at the end of the session, he thought that he could get used to this daily training.

 

The next morning, Rachel made a bee line for her boyfriend’s cubicle. She had a gift for him. She knew that it hadn’t been long since she had given him a briefcase but she couldn’t help herself. She had a strong desire to shower him with gifts and she enjoyed the process of choosing the right product for him. Then there was the stunning sight of watching joy bloom in Mike’s eyes. There had been many men with blue eyes around her but Mike’s eyes were different. She couldn’t exactly explain why but there was something special about those eyes and she hoped that she would never see sadness in them again like last week.

“Good morning, Handsome.” She greeted cheerfully.

“Good morning to you too, Gorgeous. What do you have behind your back?” Mike asked as he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.

“I’ve got something for you.” Rachel smiled.

“What? Again? You’re spoiling me, Rach.” Mike chuckled. He would like to think that he wasn’t highly invested in material comforts but he had to admit that opening a gift was one of the things that never got old.

“I sprayed kisses all over them for good luck.” Rachel handed him a small box and Mike unwrapped it in a hurry. It was a pair of wristbands.

“Wow, these look great! I could use them as my second pair. Thanks a lot, Rachel. I love them.”

“You’re welcome.” Rachel watched as he tried them on. It wasn’t a meaningful gift but she wanted to see something other than the watch that Harvey gave him on her boyfriend’s wrist.

“Uh, is there something else you want to talk about?” Mike asked he put the wristbands back in the box.

“Yeah, you sounded really excited on the phone last night.”

Mike’s eyes grew wide. How could she have possibly known that he had been fantasizing about her wearing a short tennis dress?

“About your training yesterday?” Rachel offered helpfully.

“Oh, yeah, I was excited about that.” Mike admitted. “It was nice to get some fresh air outside the office and once I learned how to hit the ball, it was quite fun.”

Rachel smiled at her window of opportunity. “I’m glad you had fun, Mikey. I was hoping that you’d change your mind and let me watch you practice. My offer to be your personal ball girl still stands~” She said the last part in a sing-song voice and Mike tried his best not to wag his tail.

“You really want to come and watch me? I have to warn you that I’m a baby-learner so it’s going to be horrible. Plus, I’ll have to check with Harvey. I have no idea what he’ll say about it.”

Rachel knew Harvey enough to know that he wasn’t a man who backed away from a challenge. She thought that there was a good chance that he would actually let her come. “Why don’t you go ask him then? I’d really love to help out with your practice since you’re going to help me with my puppy this weekend.”

“Oh, right, the one that you already named Ross.” Mike still wasn’t sure what to feel about that.

“That’s right. Why isn’t it Saturday already?”

Mike smiled and asked her seriously, “So you really want me to ask Harvey? You think you can handle the tension in case he acts like a bad boy?”

“Oh, I think I can handle it all right. Besides, I’m sure he and I will agree that you need to focus on your practice. You don’t have much time left.”

“Okay. Then I’ll ask him and let you know.”

And, that was why Mike was standing in front of Harvey’s desk ten minutes later, looking like a puppy that had just wet himself on his master’s shoes. He was starting to wonder if it was worth this much trouble to see one of his fantasies come to life.

“What is it, Mike? I know I read people for a living but I’m a lawyer, not a psychic. I’m afraid you’ll have to use your words.”

“Rachel wants to play ball girl for us. Well, for me. I mean, for my training, obviously.” Mike shut his mouth before he embarrassed himself even more.

“Really?” Harvey was amused. “And, what do you think about that?”

“Uh, you’re asking my opinion?”

“Well, it looks like that, doesn’t it?”

Mike studied Harvey’s face to see if this was some kind of a test or if there was a trap somewhere.

“Just answer me, Mike.”

“If it makes you uncomfortable, I’ll turn her down.” Mike answered honestly. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, especially Harvey, in exchange for a real-life fantasy.

“Nah, she can come if she wants to. Just make sure that both of you understand it’s not a date. You’re there to practice and she’s there to pick up your balls, okay?”

“Okay. You have my words.” Mike nodded and fled out of the office before Harvey could change his mind.

 

Later in the evening, Mike saw that Harvey had got them a more private court which was surrounded by tall bushes. Unless someone tiptoed with all their might, it was nearly impossible to tell what was happening on the court. ‘Oh no, let’s hope that he didn’t choose this one so he could bury Rachel under the bushes without leaving any eyewitnesses. He seemed to know the club manager pretty well and I’m sure he’d keep his mouth shut. Wait. But he’d still have me as an eyewitness. Maybe he’s going to bury me too.’

He shuddered at the awful idea and decided to do his very best to keep Harvey satisfied. It was for everyone’s sake; Rachel’s, Harvey’s, the club manager’s, and his.

“Ready to warm up?” Harvey smirked but Mike grabbed Harvey’s arms before he could put down a towel on the court.

“Um, I think I can do it on my own today.” He didn’t want Rachel to see the awkward positions that he and Harvey would get into. Perhaps she had an extremely clean mind but he didn’t want to risk it.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Mike. You know how important it is to prevent injuries. There’s a reason why professional players let their trainers help them out. Besides, you’re no good to me if you can’t run properly next Saturday.” Harvey’s tone left no room for argument so Mike had no choice but to lie down on the court.

‘Damn my curiosity and fantasies!’ Mike cursed himself as he gave Harvey his left leg. He turned his head to the right and saw that Rachel was watching them with an unreadable expression on her face.

‘This might not have been a great idea after all but oh my god, she looks so hot in that black tennis dress.’ He watched as Rachel started to warm herself up. She put her lean leg on the net pole just like Harvey did yesterday and started to stretch. Mike was suddenly very jealous of the net pole even though it wasn’t the same one.

He watched intently as his girlfriend stretched her other leg and then her back. Mike thought about the gymnastic videos that he had watched with Jenny as her back arched beautifully. He saw Rachel turn around and give him a wink. Then Mike got to see one of the hottest scenes that he had ever seen. She kept her eyes on him as she slowly did the splits. It seemed that having done yoga for many years was coming in handy.

“Oww!” Mike felt a slap against his shin.

“What did I tell you? This isn’t a date, Mike. Stop drooling and stretch your arms already.”

Mike followed his orders but he couldn’t stop checking out his girlfriend. He kept throwing tentative glances towards her until Harvey got his attention by leaning down. Harvey’s face was close to his as he worked on his knee. Now Mike had something else to look at. To make things even better, Harvey’s eyes weren’t on his legs today; they were looking right into his eyes. A voice in the back of his mind told him that Rachel was only a few feet away but he couldn’t look away. Harvey’s eyes were telling him a story and he needed to know the end.

“Ahem…” Rachel cleared her throat and Harvey let Mike get up. It was time to teach him how to hit a backhand anyway.

 

For a while, things went much better than Mike had expected. He had worked hard to the point that Harvey was convinced that he had a better backhand than forehand and Rachel quietly did her job, running all over the court, gathering balls. Mike had been pleased that the two people that meant so much to him were civilized enough to share a court.

But he noticed the first crack in the peaceful atmosphere when Harvey gave him a break. Taking a break on the bench, munching on an energy bar, wasn’t the problem. The problem was that Harvey was taking off his shirt and toweling his abs. Mike knew that he was gaping but his mouth was out of control. It only opened wider when Harvey sat down and drank some water before pouring the rest down his chest.

‘Oh my gosh, this is real-life porn. Thank god I have an eidetic memory.’ Mike traced the water drops with his eyes and admired the perfect torso. The towel on Harvey’s lap caught the water drops and the fun ended far too quickly before Mike realized that Rachel was shooting daggers at him. She threw a ball at him and Mike let it hit him on the arm. He deserved it.

“If you can handle another fifteen minutes, let me teach you how to serve. Come on, puppy.” Harvey relished calling Mike by his nickname. Nobody else, even his grandmother, could call him that.

As Mike followed Harvey towards the baseline, his stomach told him that an unfortunate incident was going to happen. Getting trained by the best lawyer in the city was surely paying dividends; his instincts were getting better.

‘Well, as long as nobody dies.’ He took a deep breath and paid attention to Harvey’s teaching. He learned how to toss the ball and to serve, trying his best not to stare at Rachel’s running legs. Harvey had tried to teach him how to serve underhand but Mike wanted to learn how to serve like a pro.

That was when it happened. The ball left Mike’s racquet, flew over the net, and bounced once before hitting Rachel’s face.

“Oww!”

“Oh my god! Are you okay?” Mike threw his racquet and rushed to her side.

Rachel was rubbing the top of her left eye and Mike realized with horror just how close he had hit her on the eye. “I’m so sorry, Rach! I don’t know why the ball went that way!”

Harvey almost laughed at the stupid accident. Perhaps he had taught him too well. Perhaps the serve was Mike’s real forte. “You have a lethal serve, Mike. The whole court is open and you chose to hit the one person in the vicinity?”

“I didn’t choose, Harvey. It was an accident!” Then Mike changed his tone to pleading. “Could you come and take a look at her? Please?”

Mike’s plea irritated both Harvey and Rachel. Harvey was annoyed that Mike cared so much about his girlfriend to ask him to check on her when he wasn’t an eye doctor while Rachel wasn’t happy that Mike asked Harvey when he wasn’t an eye doctor as if he was some god who knew about everything.

“They provide medical assistance at the club, puppy. I’ll go get someone.” Harvey reassured his associate with a nod. Given how she was going to lose Mike in the end, he figured that the paralegal should at least get to keep her eye.

“Thank you, Harvey.” Mike gave his boss a grateful look and tried to examine his girlfriend’s eye himself.

“I’m okay, Mikey. Don’t worry.” Rachel smiled and Mike gently kissed the spot that he had hit.

“I am so unbelievably sorry, Rach. I’m so sorry.”

Mike tried to look at the positives. Well, at least, one good thing had come out of it. Now that the accident had happened, the unsettling feeling in his stomach was gone.

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

Mike had felt much more at ease around Harvey after spending some time with him outside the office. They had enjoyed dinner and shopped for Mike’s tennis gear before heading to the tennis club for practice. The next day, Rachel had offered to play the ball girl again and Mike had accepted, wanting to see her in the sexy outfit. But disaster had struck as his ball had ended up hitting his girlfriend on the face.

 

It was a Saturday afternoon when a young couple was walking down the street, giggling in the warm sunlight.

“You know what? I’m starting to think that Ross might not be such a bad name for this little guy. He’s smart and cute so what more can I ask for?” Mike pointed at the puppy in Rachel’s arms with his chin. He would have liked to be more respectful and use his finger instead but his fingers were occupied at the moment. He was carrying all the dog products that Rachel had bought in her shopping frenzy.

“I’m glad you feel that way. He’s a sweetheart like you.” Rachel kissed the Yorkshire terrier on the nose. Finding the right puppy hadn’t taken long; it was the shopping afterwards that had eaten up their time.

“Oh, but I can bark, you know. I also have useful sharp teeth.” Mike made a barking sound which made Rachel laugh and the puppy stare at him with a weird look on its face.

“I think he just judged my bark.” Mike tried not to walk too quickly and let his girlfriend set the pace. He had been used to walking and biking as fast as he could since he had become a lawyer, so it was a nice change to stroll peacefully with the person he loved.

“Isn’t this nice? For once, we’re not stuck in the suffocating office and we’re treating our lungs properly with some fresh air.” Rachel took a refreshing breath as she held her puppy closer.

“That was what I was thinking about. I love this. I love you.”

Rachel smiled and leaned in for a kiss. Mike happily gave her what she wanted, putting the bags down so he could hold the back of her neck and caress her hair.

“Hngh…” The puppy whined as it wriggled between the couple.

“Aww, you feel neglected? Would you like the Mike Ross specialty too?” Mike leaned down and kissed the puppy on the nose.

“Woof!” It barked eagerly and wiggled his tail.

“Why do I get the feeling that he likes you better?” Rachel asked with a small laugh.

“I don’t know. Probably because I’m prettier than you?”

The laugh was louder this time. “Don’t you remember what you said when you first saw me? You told me I was pretty.”

“Oh, I meant average pretty.”

Rachel punched her boyfriend in the shoulder and then gave him a soothing kiss on the cheek. “Thank you for doing all this. I would’ve needed a cab to move all the stuff if you hadn’t helped me. Getting fresh air in a car would’ve felt totally different.”

“Hey, you took a ball to your eye. I think I can manage a few bags.” Mike lifted his left hand and touched the spot he had hit.

“Mikey, no real damage was done so you can stop feeling guilty about it.” Rachel held the warm hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze. “And, if I’m being honest with myself, I think a small part of me liked that you looked at my average pretty face so often to check on me.”

“Ouch, touché.” Mike chuckled and picked up the bags again.

 

Ten minutes later, the pair was in Rachel’s living room, making the place a dog-friendly environment. Rachel was trying to find the perfect spot for the dog basket while Mike was arranging the contents of the shopping bags.

“Hey, this could work for me as well.” He picked up the pink collar with the name ‘ROSS’ on it. “I wouldn’t even have to change the contact number. You know, Harvey used to joke about how he should put a collar on me. Apparently, I’m never there when he needs me, haha.” Mike hoped that it was all right to talk about his boss again. He couldn’t pretend that the man didn’t exist whenever he was with Rachel.

“I’m surprised he didn’t go with the plan.” Rachel said in a neutral tone as she finally made up her mind and put the basket right next to the couch.

“I’m glad he didn’t go with the plan. I already get more than enough jokes about how I’m Harvey Specter’s golden goose. Kyle thinks it’s hilarious to ask me every morning how many eggs I laid for him last night.”

Rachel covered the puppy’s ears and said, “He’s such a jerk. He should channel all that jealousy into work. Who knows? Maybe his dreams will come true one day and he’ll become a goose. Or Louis might pick him as his pony if he ever gets promoted.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. I think he’s set his eyes on Harold.” Mike let the puppy examine the three different flavors of dog food.

“Harold?” Rachel sounded surprised. Having her own office, she usually knew less than Mike about what was going on in the associates’ area.

“Yeah. Harold told me the other day that Louis had asked him in his office to tell him that he should be reachable 24/7. Harold thought it was downright creepy but it looks like Louis is quite interested in him. Can’t tell if it’s a good thing though.” Mike felt a little bad for one of the few associates that didn’t go out of their ways to make his life miserable.

“I thought Harold didn’t have the brains. He always has that dopey look on his face. At least Kyle’s a proven mock trial champion.” Rachel opened the box of dog food that Ross had just licked and poured it into his yellow bowl.

“Well, he has some wild imagination. With proper training, maybe he’ll learn how to come up with original solutions.”

“Or maybe Louis likes his ponies blond with blue eyes. Like you!” Rachel teased her boyfriend with a malicious grin.

“Oh gosh, don’t even say things like that. I will be forever scarred by the memories of him talking about how he wants to stamp his own little brand on his ponies.”

“Ahaha, I really hope he didn’t mean that literally. Everybody deserves better than that.”

“Who knows? Maybe that tattoo Harold is so desperate to get is L.L, Louis Litt.”

The pair shuddered at the same time and the puppy sympathetically licked Mike’s hand.

“Aww, look. My boy must be a bleeding heart like you.” Rachel patted her little boy.

“Hey, I’m not a bleeding heart. I just have a heart unlike you heartless people at Pearson-Hardman.”

“Really? Well, you’re going to turn into one of us eventually. There’s no point in resisting, Mr. Ross.” Rachel exaggerated her voice.

“Oh, god. I feel like we’re role playing for a zombie apocalypse. You should probably miss an ear or something.” Mike kindly hid her left ear with her hair.

“Exactly what kind of a relationship did you have with Jenny?” Rachel knitted her eyebrows.

“She was into extremely dramatic situations, okay? I was just playing the pliant boyfriend. It always ended with her eating me.” Mike hoped that his last words didn’t sound dirty even though they were actually dirty.

Rachel laughed and glanced at the clock on the wall. “Do you want to hang around and stay for dinner? That is, if you don’t mind putting up with a zombie who’s missing an ear.”

“Haha, I’d like that. But I should warn you that I’m so sore because of Harvey, which means role playing is strictly off the table.”

“Because of tennis.” Rachel corrected him.

“Huh? What did I say?” Mike was busy scratching the puppy’s back.

“Never mind. Let me get us something to drink.” Rachel forced a smile on her lips and got up from the floor. It was never too early to bring out a good bottle of wine.

 

“Oh, god, Harvey… I thought my muscles were ready to go through this torture again but I was wrong. Very.” Mike moaned as he ran up to the net to hit a forehand volley. Even though he had gone home straight after dinner on Saturday and had slept almost all day yesterday, he was getting sore all over again.

“I thought puppies liked to play with balls.” Harvey adjusted his shorts and rolled a ball in his hand.

Mike stared at how skillfully Harvey’s fingers moved over the tennis ball. ‘Okay… I really need to get laid. That should put my dirty mind to rest. Perhaps I shouldn’t have turned her down and stayed the night. Perhaps that was the perfect time for our first time. But I was exhausted! And, all that wine was making me too sleepy.’

“Stop thinking and run, puppy.” Harvey was pleased that Mike looked tired. He was going to make his next move any day now and he didn’t want his puppy to do something unnecessary.

“Harvey…” Mike made a dying sound. “Can we take a break? I need an energy bar. You said yourself that I’d be no good if I can’t run properly on Saturday.”

Harvey pretended to think about it. Of course, he was going to let the kid take a break. It’s not like he had to beat the client.

“Please?” Mike drawled, making it impossible for Harvey to say no.

“Okay, let’s take ten then.”

“Yes! You’re the best, Harvey!”

Harvey smirked before he joined Mike on the bench and took off his shirt. He hadn’t run that much but it was an unusually hot night. Besides, he had changed his shirt every evening since they had started to practice together and Mike had always watched in silence. Then, it would be time for Mike to change and Harvey would secretly appreciate the view. Neither of them brought it up and it had naturally become a part of their routine.

Harvey was glad that their chemistry was getting stronger while Mike felt like he was passively cheating on his girlfriend. ‘I know it’s not the same but I haven’t even seen her topless yet!’

Mike tried to tear off his eyes from his boss’ abs but he was only human and the bench was only so long. Besides, Harvey kept putting him on the court that was surrounded by these tall bushes and there wasn’t much else to look at. He did his best not to stare though; he believed that he was a man of conscience.

When Harvey pulled out a fresh shirt from his bag and threw it over his head, he knew that it was his turn to change. ‘This is wrong. How can I keep doing this if I actually have a conscience? Did I already forget how Rachel threw a ball at me?’ Then another voice in his mind took over. ‘But the training will end on Friday anyway. Where’s the harm in treating oneself to a little bit of visual entertainment? And, it’s only polite to give him something back since I watched him first.’

Mike stopped thinking about it and got rid of his shirt. He had to frown at how soaked it was as he put it in the plastic bag. ‘Eww, I don’t think this could count as visual entertainment by any stretch of the imagination. It’s gross!’

His eyes searched for Harvey’s to see if he hadn’t looked away from all the sweat. Much to his surprise, Harvey was looking at him with unmistakable lust in his eyes and Mike couldn’t help but shudder under his gaze. ‘Well, they do say that sweat is an aphrodisiac. I can’t believe he really wants me…’

Mike’s heart twisted painfully as he broke the eye contact to towel his chest and grab a fresh shirt. As usual, he pretended that he couldn’t feel Harvey’s eyes all over his upper body and put on his shirt. Whatever was going on here, it would end in a few days and he could forget about whatever he was feeling right now.

“Oh, Harvey, I met the cutest puppy the other day. You have no idea how adorable he is.” He decided to change the topic before Harvey’s eyes could burn holes in his new shirt.

“Really? Are you trying to tell me there’s a puppy out there that dresses better than mine?”

“Haha, I’m talking about a real puppy, Harvey. Rachel got a Yorkshire Terrier last Saturday.”

“Is that so? A boy or a girl?” Harvey had always considered himself a cat person but now that he had a puppy associate, he wasn’t too sure anymore.

“A boy. He’s smart and I think he likes me.” Mike smiled at how the puppy had loved playing fetch with him. “You wouldn’t believe how cheerful he is when he was found weeping next to his mother who got killed in some kind of an accident. What a poor thing! They told us he wouldn’t come near people at first but now he’s recovered and has become friendly again. Ah, I think I’m in love with him, Harvey. I think it was love at first sight.”

Harvey picked up his sports drink and gulped it down, trying to drown the sound of frustration coming up his throat. ‘Great. I’ve got another rival. This one even has a tragic background that can make him bleed his feelings all over it.’

Mike didn’t notice his boss’ mood and kept admiring the precious little animal. “He’s got the clearest eyes I’ve ever seen and it tickles when he licks my wrist. Haha, he had me laughing so much! It’s impossible to stay mad at him even when he’s made a mess all over the place.”

“What’s its name?” Harvey asked as he changed his wristbands. If he was going to take on another rival, he might as well learn his name.

“Oh, uh… She hasn’t named him yet.”

Harvey raised his eyebrow. “Really? Then why do you have a guilty look on your face? I thought you didn’t tolerate dishonesty, Mike. Or do you apply double standards?”

Mike hung his head in shame. “It’s Ross. And, I’m sorry.”

“You want me to call you Ross now? Just because I caught you lying to my face?” Harvey was starting to get annoyed. It was a hot night with a high temperature-humidity index. He didn’t have the patience for this.

“No! That’s not what I meant! The puppy’s called Ross. She named it Ross, Harvey.”

Harvey took a moment to absorb the news. “Wow, could she be any more obvious?”

Mike had to chuckle at Harvey’s surprised voice. As far as he knew, his boss didn’t get stunned very often. “She claims that it’s Ross from ‘Friends’. You know, Rachel and Ross liked each other.”

“I ask again. Could she be any more obvious?”

“Ahaha… I know!” Mike laughed freely, knowing that there was nobody around to judge him. It was just Harvey and him on a secluded court. It almost felt as if they were in Washington D.C. again. “She named the puppy even before she had him! Now that I’ve met the fine young man, I don’t mind it too much but I freaked out at first.”

‘Well, at least she’ll still have a Ross when this is over.’ Harvey mused as he pulled out two energy bars from his tennis bag and handed one to his associate. “Here.”

“Thanks.” Mike took it and unwrapped it before he realized that he wasn’t familiar with the brand. “Hey, are these imported? I’ve never heard of it before.” He took a big bite and savored the taste. “Mmm, this is good.”

“They’re new on the market. An old client of mine runs the business.” Harvey took a bite as well and nodded his approval at Mike’s expectant eyes.

“Ah, you really get a lot of things from the ones you’ve helped, don’t you? How nice, receiving the tokens of their gratitude.”

“Yep. One of the best feelings in the world.” Harvey enjoyed the crispy texture of the energy bar until he noticed that Mike was looking at him in surprise. “What?”

“Did you just admit that you have feelings? Feelings that come from your clients? When you told me in so many colorful ways that you don’t get emotionally involved with them?” Mike asked in an exaggerated tone to keep it light but he was impressed with Harvey’s honesty.

“What can I say? I like gifts. Honestly, who doesn’t?” Harvey’s eyes dropped to Mike’s left wrist. The watch had been temporarily replaced with a white wristband… that looked a little different from what they had bought together. “You got new ones.”

“Huh? Oh, these. Yeah, Rachel got them for me. I’m using them as my backup pair.”

“Ah, I can see she’s spoiling you nicely.” Harvey bit into the bar a little harder than necessary.

“Haha, don’t worry, Harvey. I remember exactly how much my watches cost you. I’m pretty sure you’re still more suitable than Rach to spoil me.”

“Good to know.” Harvey finished his energy bar and took a sip of his sports drink. Then he asked casually, “When do you think you’re going to wear the other watch? You know the one you’re wearing these days isn’t the right one.”

Mike stopped munching on his snack as the impact of the question hit him. “You mean weather-wise…”

“You know exactly what I mean.” Harvey’s voice was as low as a whisper but Mike heard it as loud as thunder.

Mike grabbed his water bottle and soothed his dry throat. He hadn’t expected Harvey to be so straightforward about the sensitive issue. But then, was he really surprised? Harvey was the one who had made him face the reality, only minutes after he had figured out that Harvey’s boy had been him all the way.

“It’s okay, puppy. I promise that whatever you say won’t leave this court.” If Mike wanted honesty, that was what they were going to work on. This was the chance that he had been waiting for.

“What does that mean? You mean I can speak my mind?”

“Yes.” Harvey gave him a firm nod.

Mike felt his heart jump at the promise. Ever since Trevor and Jenny had walked out of his life, he hadn’t had anyone to spill his guts to. Even though he had felt much closer to Donna since she had visited him at home, he didn’t feel comfortable to talk to her when she knew both Harvey and Rachel so well.

He usually told his grandmother about all kinds of things that happened to him; how annoying it was to deal with the unfriendly associates every single day, how he had blown Harvey’s mind by saving the case with one word from the company’s bylaws that everyone had failed to notice, and how his bike made a strange noise these days when he turned the corner in a hurry. But despite all that, he didn’t feel like discussing his personal life with her. It was a line that both of them would rather not cross and as a result, he had nobody to turn to when he was trying to deal with what seemed like the most compelling issue he had ever had.

“Is the silence a trick to extend your break that has already been too long? Or are you actually trying to gather your thoughts? Give me your leg then. We might as well take advantage of the long break.” Harvey patted his lap and Mike turned to his left to give his boss his left leg.

“What if I hurt your feelings? Again…?” Mike couldn’t bear to look Harvey in the eye so he focused on the hands that had started to work on the muscles around his knee. Really, could he have found a better mentor even if he had given everything he had?

“Well, the truth is all about getting hurt, Mike. It’s painful to face the truth.”

“I know. But I don’t want to hurt you again.” Mike let out a soft sigh as he felt the tension leave his muscles. Apparently, tennis was more brutal on the body that he had imagined.

“It already hurts to see you flirt with me out here and then run back to your girlfriend.” Harvey said calmly as he motioned to Mike to give him the other leg as well.

Mike was shocked. Harvey had just broken their unspoken rule to never bring up their new, little routine. “I didn’t really think it was flirting. It’s not like we take it to the locker room or the shower booths…”

“Do you want to take it to the locker room or the shower booths?”

If Mike wasn’t properly shocked before, he was definitely shocked now. He was suddenly very aware of how the back of his right leg was in direct contact with Harvey’s skin and how Harvey’s fingers were playing a seductive rhythm on his legs.

Could he do this without any help from alcohol or drugs? Could he tell Harvey what he really wanted and walk away, leaving everything buried under the bushes? Shouldn’t he pretend to tell the truth while ‘lying to his face’? Would Harvey catch him lie again? What happened if he did? He would never get the same respect, would he? But wouldn’t he lose that respect anyway if he told him the truth? What was the better option? Was there even one? What was he supposed to do?

“Answer me, Mike. Do you want to? It’s a simple yes or no question.” Harvey stopped rubbing his associate’s legs and held them in place.

Mike realized that there was no way he could fool his boss when they were sitting this close to each other. Harvey’s face was only a few breaths away, and the only option was to say what was on his mind and pray that Harvey would be true to his word. “Yes.”

Then he squeezed his eyes shut and waited with a sunken heart for Harvey to drown him in a sea of disappointment, contempt, and repugnance. He had just admitted that he wanted to cheat (passively or actively, it didn’t really matter) on his girlfriend with the guy that he had very recently broken the heart of.

“Look at me, puppy. I want you to open your eyes for me.” Harvey gave one of Mike’s legs a gentle squeeze.

Mike had momentarily forgotten that his legs were on someone’s lap. He opened his eyes and tried to sit straight but Harvey wouldn’t let him.

“Mike, look at me.”

Mike pushed down the feeling of self-loathing as much as he could and looked up. Harvey didn’t seem to be disappointed in him. If he had to guess, the expression in his eyes looked more like a combination of relief, sympathy, and… was that delight? “Harvey?”

“Don’t worry. Wanting to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. You didn’t cheat on her, Mike. Not yet.”

“You think I will?”

Harvey watched with fascination as Mike bit and released his lower lip before answering, “I was hoping you wouldn’t have to.”

Mike grunted and threw a clean towel over his head. What was he doing? He didn’t want to change his decision. There was no point in discussing this and he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to. He had already accepted the status quo and he didn’t want to think that there might be something special, something even more special than what he had at the moment, right in his blind spot.

Harvey didn’t appreciate how his boy was trying to hide again. He had provided him with a safe environment to speak his mind but he was still trying to stay in his cocoon. “Hey, you think this tension between us will magically go away once you sleep with me? Is that what you’re planning to do? Wait until it gets unbearable, cheat on your girlfriend, and then feel pangs of guilt and some twisted satisfaction?”

“What? I’m not planning to do that!” Mike’s head shot out of the towel. What was Harvey accusing him of?

“Then what is your plan? Do you even have one? ‘Cause it looks to me like you’re just waiting for a disaster to happen while your head is buried in the sand. You think you’re hurting only me? Has it ever occurred to you that you might be hurting her and most importantly, yourself as well?”

Mike wanted to get up and start running. He wanted to run until he couldn’t feel the confusion, the agony, and the absolutely terrifying feeling that he might have finally succeeded in disappointing Harvey.

“You know what? I’ll be the bad guy and make it easier for you. If this doesn’t get your head out of the sand, I don’t know what can.”

Mike held his breath as he thought about Harvey sending him to another senior partner or worse, to another law firm across the city. But what was happening right now was even more overwhelming than that. Harvey was gripping his face with both hands and kissing the life out of him.

Mike leaned into the kiss before he could wrap his head around his own action. If the mirage was waving at him so closely, how could he resist checking it out? He threw his arms around Harvey’s neck and tried to get more of his taste. He was thirsty. But he found himself getting thirstier as the kiss grew hotter and bolder. He shut down his mind that was trying to yell some sense into him and let it go. He was already in the desert. What more could possibly go wrong?

The kiss ended before Mike could properly examine the mirage. Harvey was already on his feet, packing his bag while Mike was panting on the bench.

Mike wanted to ask if the practice was over for the night but he couldn’t afford to move a muscle. Again, just like that day when his world had turned upside down, he feared that a single movement from his part might disturb the balance of someone’s universe. So he just sat there, watching Harvey zip up his tennis bag and glance at him before walking away.

‘Don’t do that, Harvey. Don’t walk away from me. Please?’

Obviously, Harvey couldn’t hear the unspoken words and Mike was soon left alone, cut out from the rest of the world.

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

Rachel had got a Yorkshire terrier called ‘Ross’ and Mike had instantly fallen in love with him. Mike had spent the evening at Rachel’s place but had turned down the offer to stay the night due to fatigue. On Monday, Mike had wondered if it was all right for Harvey and him to continue watching each other change their shirts on court. Harvey had given him a chance to speak his mind and Mike had admitted that he wanted something more but had crawled back inside his cocoon once the heat was on. Tired of seeing Mike hide from reality, Harvey had decided to be the bad guy and had kissed him in hopes of Mike finally snapping out of his bubble.

 

Ding-dong.

Rachel had just tucked Ross into bed when she heard someone ring the bell. She peeped through the hole on the door and was surprised by the sight of her boyfriend standing in the hallway.

“Mikey! What are you doing here at this time of the night?” Her bright smile faded once she noticed how distraught he looked.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” She held his hand and invited him in before locking the door.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call first. This is so rude of me. I just wanted to see Ross if that’s okay.” Mike looked over at the puppy that was comfortably nested in his basket next to the couch.

Rachel thought that she would have been thrilled to hear Mike using Ross’ name if he hadn’t looked so sad. “You’re welcome at my place any time, Mikey. It’s not rude. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

She led him towards the couch and they sat together while Ross crawled out of his basket to lick Mike’s shoes. Rachel noticed that he was wearing tennis shoes under his suit pants and realized with a sinking heart that his gloomy mood must have something to do with the senior partner.

“Do you want to talk? I can make some tea.” She offered quietly, hoping that she would get some answers.

“What’s the strongest drink you have?” Mike asked as he lifted Ross in his arms.

Rachel shrugged. “Vodka?”

“Excellent.” Mike kissed the yawning puppy on the nose and started to stroke his hair. Holding a warm ball of adorableness made him feel a little better. He had no idea how he had left the court, had taken a quick shower, and had managed to come over to his girlfriend’s place. The kiss had been replaying in his mind on an endless loop and he still felt as if his lips were burning from the passion that Harvey had poured into him.

“So what happened out there?” Rachel came back with a tray that had a bottle of Vodka, two cans of Sprite, two shot glasses, and a bowl of salted peanuts on it.

Mike grabbed a handful of peanuts with his free hand and shoved them in his mouth. “He kissed me.” He had to talk to someone and he didn’t want to hide such a big event from his girlfriend.

Rachel’s hand shook lightly as she poured Vodka and Sprite into the shot glasses. She didn’t know what to say.

“Did you kiss him back?” The question left her lips before she could stop herself.

Mike remembered all too clearly how he had thrown his arms around Harvey’s neck and had kissed back eagerly but he couldn’t bear to tell the truth to the woman who loved him.

“You kissed him back!” Rachel dropped the Vodka bottle on the coffee table, making Ross jump and yelp. She had obviously interpreted the delayed answer as a yes.

“No, I didn’t! It’s just… it happened so quickly.” He had turned into a fantastic liar.

Rachel took the puppy from Mike’s arms and calmed him down, murmuring soothing words at him.

“It doesn’t exactly sound like you pushed him away.” She put Ross back in his basket and dimmed the light in the living room so he could sleep.

Mike downed a shot and poured himself another one before downing it again. He hadn’t come here to fight. “I love you, Rach. I’m sorry the kiss happened but it won’t happen again. Now I know how far he’s willing to go.”

“So if he tries again, you’ll push him.” Rachel wanted confirmation.

“If he tries again, I’ll push him. I promise.” He added a sincere smile.

Then he took his girlfriend’s hand and pressed a kiss on the back of it. She had such soft hands. He took a good look at her pretty hand and bit back a grin. “I love your new nail color, baby. Very chic.”

Rachel gaped at her boyfriend before punching him in the shoulder. “It’s the same color you saw for days, you insensitive boyfriend!”

“Hahaha, I know, I know. I was just messing with you. You looked like someone had just kicked your puppy.” Mike gathered her in his arms and held her close.

“Well, someone just kissed my puppy boyfriend so I think it’s pretty close.” Rachel picked up her shot glass and frowned as she took a sip. She couldn’t exactly point out what was stinging though; the strong drink or the sight of her boyfriend’s kissed lips.

“I knew he had an ulterior motive, you know. If he wanted you to get tennis lessons, he could’ve simply swiped his corporate card and find you a coach.” Rachel threw some peanuts in her mouth and leaned into Mike’s arms again. She put her chin on his shoulder so she wouldn’t have to stare at his lips.

“Yeah, I should’ve known better. I thought we’d get to hang out like friends again, but I guess I was a bit naive.” Mike caressed Rachel’s back, hoping that his touches would soothe her.

“He’s going to try again, Mikey. He’s not going to stop until you give him a firm answer. Are you going to talk to him tomorrow?” Rachel left Mike’s arms and filled up both glasses.

“Yes, I’ll have to.” Mike raised his glass and poured it in his system as he thought about how he had admitted to Harvey that he wanted to take things further.

‘How stupid am I? How could I actually say yes? Even if he was going to see through my lie, I should’ve tried! Even if he was going to be disappointed in me, I should’ve lied!’ Mike screamed inside as he realized that he was the one who was responsible of letting Harvey get this far. It was all his fault. He had been fully aware of their new little routine but hadn’t put a stop to it. Not only did he not stop it but he had also enjoyed it and had told his boss that he wanted more. If he hadn’t admitted the truth, there was a good chance that Harvey wouldn’t have kissed him and then he wouldn’t be feeling so torn right now.

A part of him was absolutely horrified for having kissed someone back when he had a legitimate girlfriend but another part of him couldn’t stop reliving the kiss. He had trouble finding the words to describe the experience. Should he say that the kiss was searing? That he had felt like he was the single most loved person in the world? That he had felt dizzy at the thought of making Harvey feel such intense emotions? Really, how could Harvey stand being around him when he had that much energy and passion inside? When he had that much love for him?

Rachel grimaced at how Mike was deeply absorbed in thought with fingers on his lips. Why was he thinking about the kiss that wasn’t supposed to happen? She bit her lips at the pain and fear that was crawling inside her mind. If Mike had liked the kiss so much, she could give him a better one. So she finished another shot and threw herself in her boyfriend’s arms, pressing her lips tightly against his.

Mike was quick to respond to the kiss. He needed something to help him forget and what could be better than a new, perfectly acceptable kiss? He grabbed the back of her neck and pushed his tongue into her welcoming mouth. The purring sound that left her throat made him push further into the kiss. He wanted this. He didn’t want to kiss Harvey. He loved Rachel and he was going to kiss her and only her.

But his thoughts kept flashing back to how Harvey’s mouth had tasted, how Harvey’s tongue had been relentless just like the man himself. Mike felt himself getting aroused and put a hand in Rachel’s long hair so he would remember whom he was kissing. But the memory kept hitting him like persistent waves and Mike realized that he needed something more; something stronger than a powerful kiss.

“Rach…” He broke the kiss and looked into her eyes, seeking for an answer. He needed her right now. He needed to remind his unfaithful mind that he belonged to her the minute he stepped outside the office.

Rachel tried to catch her breath as she saw desperation in the beautiful blue eyes. She knew what he was asking for and she also knew what she was going to say.

“Yes.” It seemed like the perfect time had come. Perhaps they had waited this long for a significant day like today. She had finally got a chance to show him how much she felt about him and what she could offer that Harvey couldn’t.

“You’re not under the influence of alcohol? I don’t want to take advan…”

“Shh, you’re not, Mikey. I know what I’m doing. And, I’ve wanted you for a very long time. Even before I kissed you in the library that night.”

Mike blinked a few times, focusing on the woman in front of him and tuning out everything else. Nothing else mattered right now. This moment was exclusively theirs and Mike vowed to himself to make the most of it.

“I love you, Rach. We’re a perfect match. You’re the one for me.” He told both her and himself.

“I know. I love you too, Mikey.” She smiled brightly and Mike had never seen her smile so prettily. He felt the urge to capture the smile before it disappeared so he leapt forward and did just that.

The kiss was nothing like the one they had shared a minute ago. This one was fierce, messy, and desperate from both sides. Rachel pulled out Mike’s shirt from his pants and Mike took it as a cue to lift her off the couch.

By the time they had reached the bed, they were both stripped down to their underwear and panting heavily against each other’s shoulder. Rachel felt like she was burning while Mike felt like he was drowning. He needed air so he opened the window above the bed.

That was when Rachel took Mike’s left hand and put her fingers on the wristwatch.

“What are you doing?” Mike asked, pulling his hand away.

“I’m trying to get you more comfortable.” Rachel smiled and took hold of his wrist.

“But I always keep my watch on. I’m more comfortable this way.” Mike freed himself from her grasp once more.

“But I want you naked, Mikey. In my darkest fantasies, you were never wearing a watch.” Rachel gave him a seductive smile and used her bedroom voice. There was no way she was going to allow something from Harvey in her bed.

“But you don’t want me to have performance anxiety, do you?” Mike tried to lighten the mood. He wished that she didn’t make a big deal out of it. It was just a watch.

“I’m sure you’ll perform just fine. And, if you don’t, I could always give you a hand.” She winked playfully and reached out for the watch again but Mike pulled back.

“I’m sorry, Rachel. It’s a habit that I’ve had for over twenty years. I’m sure you can understand how difficult it is to lose a habit in one night.” Mike put a protective hand around his watch and Rachel couldn’t believe that he was being so difficult.

“I’m not asking you to lose the habit, Mikey. I’m asking you to take it off for one night. One hour even. You can surely do that for me.” She unhooked her lacy black bra and let it slip down her arms to offer him more incentive.

Mike’s jaw dropped as he stared in wonder. ‘Okay, that’s definitely something Harvey doesn’t have.’ He grimaced at how he was thinking about Harvey again. What was wrong with him?

Rachel quickly looked down at herself, wondering what had made him frown. ‘I don’t understand! What more does he want?’

Luckily for her, she didn’t have to worry for too long. Mike had closed the distance between them and was kissing her softly while fondling her breasts. She kissed him back accordingly but couldn’t stop thinking about the damned watch. Then Mike moved his lips to the side of her neck and all she could see was the watch attached to her boyfriend. It had to go.

So she pushed Mike on the bed and crawled down to his crotch. She wasn’t a dirty girl but desperate times called for desperate measures. ‘How difficult could it be? I’m sure he’ll help me out if I get stuck.’

“Uh, Rach?” Mike looked down with eyes filled with confusion and lust. He didn’t want her to do anything she wasn’t comfortable with. She was his girlfriend; he had to protect her at all times even when he was having trouble thinking straight.

“Do you want this, Mikey? Have you ever thought about it?” Rachel pulled down his gray boxers with her delicate yet determined fingers.

“Oh god, yes, I have. Many times.” Mike lifted his hips to help her drag the material down his legs.

Rachel could hear the sound of his ragged breathing loud and clear. It was the right time to negotiate. “If I’m going to do this, you’re going to have to do something for me too. Quid pro quo.”

“What is it? What do you want me to do?” Mike asked urgently as he watched his girlfriend wet her lips.

“I want you to take it off.” Rachel voiced her request and leaned down, keeping her eyes on his. But before she could reach her destination, Mike jerked and sat up.

“Wait! Wait. I need time to think.” Mike pulled up his legs to his chest and Rachel felt a ball of fire shoot up her throat.

“Are you kidding me? What is there to think about? What kind of a guy are you? When a girl offers to do something dirty for you, you take off the stupid watch!”

Mike was startled at the angry reaction. “Why does it bother you so much? You don’t want it to brush against your skin? Or is this about Harvey?”

“Of course it’s about Harvey! What do you think? Aren’t you supposed to be the genius here? I obviously don’t want you to wear something he gave you when we’re about to make love!” She couldn’t believe that she had to spell it out for him.

“What does it matter who gave it to me? It’s mine now. It’s not like I think about him when I see it.” And, all this time, Mike had thought that she was the rational one.

“Jesus, Mike. Why are you being impossible? Taking off a watch won’t get you fired! You’ll still be his associate whether you’re wearing it or not!”

“You don’t think I know that? And, you’re the one who’s being impossible! But you know what? If it matters so much to you, I’ll take it off.” Mike took off the watch and threw it on the nightstand before storming out of the bedroom.

“Where are you going?!” Rachel shrieked but she found out soon enough when Mike came back, wearing the wristbands that she had given her.

“Since you seem to have such strict rules on appropriate bedroom attire, voilà.” Mike held out his arms towards her. “Am I suitable to get in your bed now?” It had been an incredibly hot day in every sense of the word and he was so tired and annoyed.

“Why are you acting like an ass? Any girlfriend would’ve wanted it off. It wasn’t that much to ask.” Rachel crossed her arms in front of her breasts, suddenly feeling too exposed.

Mike took a deep breath and leaned down to kiss her shoulder. “You’re right. I’m sorry I acted like that. Can we get on with it now?” But he knew that the mood had been brutally slaughtered.

“I think you should leave now.” Apparently she felt the same way.

“Are you sure?” He had to ask. It was incredible how he had managed to upset both people who had kissed him today. No wonder he had never enjoyed a long-term relationship.

“Yes, I’m pretty sure the magic has left us for the night.” She climbed out of bed and threw a T-shirt over her head, giving Mike a sad smile.

Mike nodded before putting on his boxers and picking up the rest of his clothes. The day had gotten worse and worse and he couldn’t wait to end it.

“I’m really sorry, Rach. I didn’t mean to screw things up.” He gave her a heartful apology as he buttoned up his shirt and put his watch back on.

“I’m sorry too.” She walked him to the door when he was ready to leave.

“Will you let me kiss you good night?” His voice was gentle against her face.

“Sure.” Rachel leaned in and let her boyfriend set the tone of the kiss.

The kiss turned out to be wistful, apologetic, and awfully unromantic. All Rachel wanted to do was brush her teeth so she would stop smelling like a Vodka bottle and all Mike wanted to do was throw himself in his bed and bang his useless head against the headboard.

“Night, Rach.”

“Night, Mikey.”

Rachel slid down the closed door, not aware that Mike was doing the exact same thing on the other side of it. For once, they were in perfect synchronization.

 

While Mike was taking a cab back home, his boss was in bed, satisfying his carnal desire. He had enough alcohol and craving in his system to enjoy the session to its full extent. “Mike…”

Harvey thought about how Mike’s lips had burned against his, how those beautiful eyes had fluttered shut at the spine-tingling sensation. He pushed up to the air as he replaced his hand with Mike’s in his mind. “Yes, Mike… Just like that… That’s my good boy…” He threw his head back, letting out a guttural growl. Mike had such clever fingers.

He had expected Mike to respond relatively well to his kiss but the reality had surpassed his expectations. The way Mike had thrown himself to him was more than promising. The tiny whimpering sound that his boy had made when he had pushed deeper into his mouth had almost paralyzed Harvey with unadulterated desire.

That was why he had ended the kiss instantly. He couldn’t lose control over himself and tear off Mike’s clothes on a tennis court. Mike deserved better than that and he had only meant to kiss some sense into the boy, not to eat him alive.

Harvey moved his hand with alarming urgency as Mike’s taste came rushing back into his mouth. The sports drink and the energy bar had masked most of his unique taste, but Harvey was experienced enough to know how to extract a person’s pure taste with the tip of his tongue.

“Mike, Mike…” Harvey was too close to completion to think about any other words. He allowed himself to get completely lost in the vivid memories of the kiss and urged Mike to finish him off. Mike gave him an amused smile and tightened his grip on him and Harvey pushed himself off the bed one last time before melting in Mike’s arms.

Harvey lay still for a few minutes, feeling light-headed at the sheer intensity of the experience as he eased himself back into reality. He had only gone so far as to hold Mike’s hand until tonight. It hadn’t been too hard to keep a safe distance from Mike when he had no idea what he tasted like, but now that he knew, he wasn’t sure how well he would be able to behave.

‘Well, I told him that I’d be the bad guy anyway.’ He mustered enough strength to grab the towel next to him and cleaned himself up.

Harvey wondered what was going on inside Mike’s mind right now. Was he reliving the kiss too? Could he still feel the heat on his lips? Was he throwing up his guilt in the bathroom? Or was he rolling in bed with the paralegal to make it up to her?

The last thought made him frown in disgust. He believed that one kiss with him would be more powerful to Mike than a whole night with her, but there was always a chance that both might be equally powerful. ‘I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. And, if I lose this one again, there’s always the next one.’

He did his best not to worry about the consequences of the kiss. What happened had already happened. Whether it was the right move or not, there was no going back.

‘It was the right move. What else was I supposed to do? Wait until he pushes his head deeper into the sand and twists his neck along the way?’

He had made his move twice already and the ball was firmly in Mike’s court. Now it was time to wait. He wasn’t trying to destroy the opposing counsel so pressing until it hurt would only scare the puppy away. He had put the food out there, and now that the puppy had tasted it, he knew that it was only a matter of time before he came back for more.

 

The first thing that greeted Harvey at work in the morning was a bleary-eyed Mike sitting nervously in front of his desk.

“Good morning, Mike.” He gave his associate a once-over to figure out what was going on with him. It was obvious that he had only got a few minutes of sleep, if any at all.

“Good morning, boss.”

Harvey tried not to wince at the choice of Mike’s words. Whatever was going to happen, he wasn’t going to like it.

“You wanted to see me before work?” Harvey checked his watch and confirmed that business hours hadn’t started yet.

“Yes, I’d like to return this. I’m sorry.” Mike stood up from his seat and put down the watch box on the desk. His priority was to make things work with his girlfriend, not to leave a window open for his flirtatious boss.

“You can keep it, Mike. If you don’t want it, give it to someone else. This watch has no value to me if it’s not on your wrist.” Harvey put down his briefcase on the desk and sat in his chair.

“But I didn’t wear it at all so it’s still brand new. You could keep it and give it to your boy.”

“I only have one boy and you know who that is.” Harvey tossed the box into the waste basket and watched his associate look at him in horror.

“Harvey! You can’t throw it away!” Mike quickly rescued the watch and gave his boss a nasty glare.

“If it means so much to you, why don’t you keep it?” Harvey suggested as he pulled out some papers from his briefcase.

“You know I can’t… Please don’t make it more difficult than it already is.” Mike’s plea was close to a broken whisper. Now that Harvey’s lips were in his sight again, he could barely stop himself from thinking about his taste.

Harvey motioned him to sit down. “If you think you’re doing all of us a favor by trying to keep your word, it’s a mistake, puppy. And, it’s perfectly fine to make a mistake. But a wise man knows when to admit his mistake and does his best to fix it.”

“I’m not making a mistake, boss. I know what I’m doing.” Mike dug his nails into his thighs, telling himself to stop staring at his boss’ lips.

“So you don’t care what I do with this useless watch.” Harvey pointed at the watch that had found its way back on his desk.

“It’s yours so you can do whatever you want with it.” Mike kept his head bowed so he could ignore those tempting lips.

“Okay then. Is there anything else?”

Mike’s head jerked up at how easily Harvey was letting him go. He should be relieved but he wasn’t sure if that was what he was feeling. “Uh, no. That’s all. I should go work now.” He dragged his body out of the chair and then out of the office, somehow feeling like he had just made a mistake.

Harvey watched as his boy slowly disappeared down the hallway. He was hoping to dig through the sand around Mike’s neck so the boy could pull out his head on his own, but perhaps he had to grab his hair and pull hard for him. He wasn’t in favor of the method but he needed to do what had to be done.

‘I’ll make it worth your while, puppy.’ He vowed to himself as he got Donna’s attention through the intercom. It was time for some good, old shock therapy.

 

After gathering up his mind in the quiet file room, Mike ventured back onto his floor with some papers that needed to be copied. He had to go tell Rachel that he had made his intentions clear to Harvey but work always came first. So he walked into the copy room and looked around for a machine that wasn’t occupied. And, of course, as luck would have it, the only one available was right next to the one that Kyle was using.

“Hey, Mikey!” Of course Kyle had to notice him. “That’s what your girlfriend calls you, right? I can’t believe she picked someone who needed Gregory’s help to file a simple subpoena. I thought she was smarter than that even though she’s a paralegal.”

“Watch your mouth, Kyle. She’s not…” Mike couldn’t get the rest of his words out of his mouth.

“What’s gotten into you?” Kyle took a step back in case Mike was going to throw up. He suddenly looked very pale.

“What is that…? Where did you get it?!” Mike pointed an accusing finger at the familiar watch on Kyle’s wrist.

“Oh, this? Mr. Specter gave it to me. Doesn’t it look expensive? I think he’s finally warming up to the idea of him and me as a team. I saw him at the mock trial, you know. I’m glad I kicked your ass that day. He must’ve realized he had made a mistake and has decided to fix it. Enjoy your last days, Ross. I’m going to take your place soon. But don’t worry. You could always be Louis’ pony.”

Unfortunately for Kyle, Mike wasn’t listening to him anymore. His sole focus was on the silver watch that was taunting him from someone else’s wrist. “Harvey…? You mean Harvey gave it to you? You didn’t pick it up from a waste basket?”

“A waste basket? Who would throw such a perfect watch in a waste basket? Are you okay, Ross? If you’re not, you need to stay away from me. I’m sure Mr. Specter wants an associate who knows how to take care of his health.”

Mike felt sick. He wanted to throw up all over Kyle’s face but there was nothing in his stomach. He felt the impulse to snatch the watch off the bastard’s wrist and march into Harvey’s face, demanding an explanation. But he had already told the man that he didn’t care what he did with the watch so what was he supposed to do?

Again, when he was in need of some solid guidance, his mentor was nowhere to be seen. He had rejected Harvey’s advice so he couldn’t go running to him for help. ‘How could he give it to someone else already? And, why Kyle? Is this some kind of revenge? Does he want me to suffer? He surely can’t be interested in Kyle. Or is he sick and tired of me because I didn’t do as I was told? Does he think Kyle will obey every single order of his? Oh god…’

Mike braced himself against the copy machine, his knuckles turning white. He saw out of the corner of his eyes that Kyle was walking away with that precious watch but he didn’t have the energy to go after him.

‘Harvey, Harvey…’ Mike was too close to destruction to think about any other words. He allowed himself to get completely lost in the vivid memories of the kiss and urged Harvey to finish him off. Harvey gave him an amused smile and tightened his grip on him and Mike pushed himself off the copy machine before melting on the floor.

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

Mike had headed to Rachel’s place and had told her that Harvey had kissed him. He had tried to seek comfort by making love to her but they had argued over how Mike refused to take off his black watch. He took it off eventually but the mood had already been killed. The next morning, Mike had returned the silver watch to Harvey who had decided that it was time for some shock therapy. Shortly after spotting the watch on Kyle’s wrist, Mike had collapsed in the copy room.

 

When Mike opened his eyes, he realized that he was still on the floor of the copy room. He saw Donna give a nod to the company doctor who patted him on the shoulder before leaving the room. Mike only knew the doctor’s face because Harold had once stapled his own finger on a busy day at the office.

“Hey, do you think you could get up?” Donna held out a hand for him.

“Yeah.” Mike took her hand and slowly got up on his feet. He still felt dizzy and thought that it would be a good time to get some food in his stomach.

“I have onion soup ready in Harvey’s office.”

Mike stiffened at the mention of his boss but Donna put a soothing hand on his arm. “Relax. He left the building to go see a potential client and Rachel is in the library with Louis. It’s just going to be you and me.”

‘So I made a fool of myself and missed a meeting with a potential client?’ Mike cursed himself as he walked towards Harvey’s office with Donna leading the way. He didn’t have any proof that Harvey would have let him attend the meeting but he would like to think that Harvey would have wanted to show off his associate. He loved it when Harvey tested his knowledge of law and judgment in front of someone else because it almost always ended with a big smile plastered on his boss’ face.

“What did the doctor say? He said I should sleep and eat, didn’t he?”

“Pretty much, yes. He also mentioned a specific type of fainting which occurs more often in young people when they have experienced shock or fear.” Donna opened the door of the office and pulled down the blinds as soon as they were inside.

“Shock or fear?” Mike sat down on the couch with disbelief in his eyes. ‘Kyle wearing that watch was that shocking?’

“Well, I don’t need a medical degree to tell you that many factors must’ve been in play. You already have a very stressful job, you’ve been training for a tennis match on every single weekday, and you haven’t got much sleep or food, not to mention that you’re at the center of a dramatic love triangle. Plus, the weather has been insane since yesterday. It’s far too hot.” Donna gave him her own diagnosis as she pushed him a brown paper bag across the table.

Mike flinched as he recognized the familiar situation. It was just like the day when Donna had dropped by his apartment after he had run away from the office. He had desperately tried not to land on this exact same spot but apparently his efforts had been futile.

“Having a déjà vu moment?” Donna smiled knowingly. “But you only get soup today, sorry. A burger might scare your empty stomach. But if you be a good boy and eat and nap, I’ll think about throwing in one of those cheeseburgers they sell right around the corner.”

Mike nodded eagerly and opened the container. “Wow, it smells great. Would you like some?”

Donna poured the boy a glass of water and sat across him. “No, thanks. I just fed off the fear of an associate who tried to hit on me in the elevator. I’m full.”

Mike chuckled as he enjoyed the warm, tasty soup. “Thank you, Donna. I wouldn’t even know how to start repaying you.”

Donna understood that he wasn’t just talking about her diagnosis and the soup. He was also thanking her for not asking about his private life.

“You can start repaying me by taking better care of yourself.” She handed him a napkin so he could wipe off the soup that hadn’t made it into his mouth. “And, I think it would be a great start if you could slow down. If you get an upset stomach, we’ll need the doctor back here and he’s already having a busy day with a pregnant woman who wouldn’t stop crying.”

Mike was ready to tell her that he wasn’t eating that fast but when he looked down at the container… where had half of the soup gone?

“Once you’re done, I want you to take a nap. Harvey won’t be back for a while and I gave some of your work to Gregory.”

Donna’s voice left no room for discussion so Mike nodded and carried on with his soup. Now that she mentioned sleep, he did feel very sleepy. It had obviously not been a good idea to stay up all night, dwelling on an unforgettable kiss and a failed attempt at lovemaking.

Donna got up and fetched him a thin blanket from Harvey’s closet. It was a hot day but Mike wasn’t feeling well so she figured that he might need it. In the meantime, Mike ate his last spoonful of soup and kicked off his shoes. He was grateful for the opportunity to get some sleep, especially on such a comfortable couch.

“If I hear you thinking rather than sleeping, an upset stomach will be the least of your problems.”

Mike gave the scary woman a salute and lay down before pulling the blanket up to his neck. A long yawn left his mouth as his ears noticed the sound of Donna leaving in her heels. He knew that he shouldn’t be thinking but he couldn’t help but wonder how Harvey’s meeting was going and how Rachel was handling the junior partner.

“Mike, what did I say?” Donna’s firm voice came through the intercom.

“I’m sleeping!” Mike answered in a hurry and squeezed his eyes shut. It was time to let go of his consciousness again.

 

An hour later, Harvey was on the floor of his office, sitting next to the couch. His associate was fast asleep and he was trying to shake off the guilt that kept hitting him like waves. The moment he had walked past Mike’s empty cubicle, he had sensed that something was wrong. That feeling had only grown to an alarming level when he had seen that the blinds in his office had been pulled down. Donna had filled him in on what had happened and had reassured him that he was fine, but he couldn’t help the feeling that he might have pushed his boy too quickly.

Donna had told him that the doctor had talked about how Mike could have been shocked. Even though she hadn’t mentioned Kyle’s new watch, it hadn’t been difficult to put two and two together. But as a lawyer, he needed solid evidence so he had dumped some of Mike’s work on Kyle’s desk while asking if he had shown off his watch to anyone. Kyle had helpfully told him that a pale Mike had stupidly asked him if he had picked it up from a waste basket, so Harvey had thanked him by giving him more work.

Harvey tried to find some comfort in the peaceful rhythm of Mike’s breathing but no matter how hard he tried, the disgusting amount of guilt wouldn’t leave him alone. So instead, he tried to think about how helpful Donna had been in all this. Surprisingly, she had stayed out of it and had only been there for Mike when he had needed a hand to get up. She had even refused to let him inside the office just now, but he had been able to come in after giving her his word that he wouldn’t make a sound.

‘I’m sorry, Mike. Perhaps I should’ve waited until you felt better. I knew you looked awful this morning but I was so angry.’ Harvey rubbed his face in frustration as he realized that he had to follow through with his strategy. Otherwise, Mike would be going through this for nothing.

‘We’re almost there, puppy. It will all be over by next week. Just hang on for a few more days, okay?’ If Mike had been properly shocked, his head must have been pulled out of the sand at least halfway through. As long as the paralegal didn’t come up with something that Mike could absolutely not resist (like a baby, Harvey frowned at the thought), it wouldn’t be long before he had his boy in his arms.

Apparently, using jealousy was an excellent strategy when it came to drawing out the real Mike. It had worked before (in Washington D.C.) so there was no reason why it wouldn’t work again. But given Mike’s current state, Harvey thought that it might be working a little too well. However, he had no intention of complaining. Mike wasn’t in any danger and he had accomplished the first phase of his new plan much more quickly than he had expected.

Now all he had to do was put some distance between Mike and him which would ironically translate into putting some distance between Mike and the paralegal. And, when there was enough distance to work with, he was going to apply the rule of engagement of SWAT: Secure the hostage and defeat the enemy any way you can. ‘Well, maybe not any way I can. That sounds so dramatic. Perhaps I could send her a card and some dog food for her Ross. That should close the deal.’

Mike stirred and pulled down the blanket before facing the other side of the couch. With no more cute face to stare at, Harvey took it as his cue to get back to work. ‘Wait, I hope you’re not dreaming about that girlfriend of yours. You’re asleep in my office so you dream about me. I’d wish you sweet dreams, but I actually think the naughtier, the better.’

Harvey would have laughed at his silly thoughts if he hadn’t been serious. Luckily for him, he had an idea of how to affect his associate’s dream. He got up and grabbed his jacket from the other couch and draped it over his boy. (It was much thinner than the blanket so he couldn’t imagine anyone feeling suffocated under it.) He had read several books on the power of scent and if it seemed to be working on his clients, it could work on his puppy too. Besides, didn’t puppies have an excellent sense of smell? Given how responsive Mike usually was, Harvey felt that it was worth a shot.

He thought about giving Mike a kiss somewhere but he had promised Donna that he wouldn’t do anything that might wake him up.

‘All in due time,’ Harvey consoled himself as he went back to his desk. It had been difficult to focus on work during the past few days and he had a lot of catching up to do.

 

Meanwhile, Mike was in an exciting place, far away from reality. One minute he was in a fancy gown, shaking hands with a Japanese male show host and the next minute he was lying naked on a large golden bed at the center of the stage. Even though he had never watched this TV show before, he already knew what type of show this was.

‘Oh my god, there are so many people! Is this really happening?’ He blushed as he saw rows and rows filled with people that were impeccably dressed. The blush only got deeper as he spotted microphones surrounding the bed, ready to capture every single sound. Then he saw out of the corner of his eye the producer giving everyone the green light. The short and skinny host who was wearing a glittering silver suit flashed him a smile and the cameras started rolling.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our live show ‘Who will he come for?’!”

The audience burst into enthusiastic applause and Mike felt his heartbeat speed up. He was both nervous and excited.

“Today we’re blessed with a healthy, young participant who’s incredibly handsome. Have you checked him out already? He looks promising, doesn’t he? Did you all see his pale skin and innocent face? What about his nice package down there? Well then, ladies and gentleman, without further ado, please give your warmest applause to Mr. Mike Ross!”

Mike wondered what the protocol was in a situation like this. ‘Should I stand up and bow? Just sit up and wave? Why is the host speaking in English by the way? Is this aired to the whole world? Oh gosh, this is so cool...’ He tried to sit up but found out that he couldn’t move much. Perhaps he was supposed to stay still.

“Let me quickly explain the rules before we get started. As usual, we have two contestants who will be fighting for Mr. Ross’ attention and only one of them will get Mr. Ross as the prize. Each contestant gets to touch and kiss half of Mr. Ross while Mr. Ross doesn’t get to touch anyone. That includes himself! So Miss Zane has won the coin toss backstage and chose the right half. This means that Mr. Specter will get the left half. Now, as you all know, there are some local delicacies on the border. Who gets to play with them? Well, we have very strict rules about no arguing or fighting between the contestants, so they’ll have to play nice and share, won’t they?”

The audience shouted with joy.

“The contest naturally ends when Mr. Ross reaches his climax and he will announce the winner shortly after. Until then, you’re allowed to place your bets on one of the contestants. Who’s it going to be? The ever so beautiful and charming Miss Zane? Or the ever so confident and devilish Mr. Specter?”

Mike could hear eager voices shouting out the familiar names.

“For those who have missed our pre-game interviews, let me sum up the contestants’ plans so it might help you with your bets. Mr. Specter quoted Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’. He mentioned how an army's opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of the enemy in a given area. Miss Zane’s strategy is much simpler. She’s just going to use her delicate fingers and make him feel good. She believes that a man’s body will react naturally when it feels good. She has a point, right? But I don’t know, both plans sound good to me. So please start placing your bets and let me urge you to welcome our two contestants, Miss Zane and Mr. Specter! And, let the game begin!”

The sound of the gong echoed in the large studio as Batman and Cat Woman took the stage.

Mike found himself drooling at the skintight costumes. His two favorite people were dressed as his two favorite superheroes and they looked absolutely perfect. Even the masks were perfect as they made those beautiful eyes and lips stand out. This was too much and the game had only just begun.

The stage went dark except for the area around the bed and Mike tried not to tense up.

“Hello, Mikey. Just lie back and relax.” Rachel crawled onto the bed and that was when Mike spotted a long, black tail.

“Oh god, Rach…” He gasped. He loved sexy tails.

“Shh…” Harvey put a finger to Mike’s lips and whispered darkly in his ear, “Ready to roll?”

“Yes. Yes! I’m definitely ready to roll.”

Mike automatically tuned out the audience and focused on the two people who started to kiss him on the face. ‘Oh gosh… This will be the death of me.’

It didn’t take long for Mike to get completely lost in the wonderful sensations. The hands moved diligently while the lips moved greedily. He couldn’t stop himself from squirming with shyness and delight.

“Eh, Mr. Ross, we’re hoping to get at least ten minutes out of this contest so we’d really appreciate it if you could keep it together for as long as you can.”

Mike wanted to tell the host that he would see what he could do, but Rachel’s red fingernails were lightly scratching down his chest all the way to his leg, making a stop at all the right places, while Harvey was sucking on his earlobe and playing with his nipple. All Mike could do was arch off the bed with a cry. The host was on his own.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen, it seems like we’ve already lost contact with Mr. Ross. But don’t worry. That’s why we’ve established a connection with his mind before the game started.” The host showed the audience the earbud before putting it in his left ear.

“Now, let’s see what Mr. Ross is thinking, if he’s still capable of thinking.”

The audience laughed and some of them yelled at the host to tell them already.

“Ah, he’s worried that he might not last long. I’ll have to remind the contestants that the goal isn’t to get him off quickly but to have him cry out your name when it happens. Providing him with direct stimuli doesn’t actually lead you to victory, so if you could slow down a bit…”

A loud moan from Mike interrupted the host so he had no choice but to move onto the commentary. Not everyone in the studio had the best seats for the show. “Okay, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on. First, we have Miss Zane who’s busy licking around Mr. Ross’ knee like the Cat Woman she is while giving some attention to his sensitive ankle. Meanwhile, Mr. Specter has his hands all over Mr. Ross’ chest and thigh and he’s kissing him hard on the mouth.”

The audience made a thirsty sound as if they wanted to get kissed from Harvey as well.

“Oh, look! Miss Zane has become bold and has moved onto sucking his toes. Can you see how much Mr. Ross is enjoying this? He can’t stop writhing! And, look! Mr. Specter is raising his game too. He’s lifted Mr. Ross’ leg and is kissing his way up. Thanks to him, we now have a better view of what Mr. Ross keeps at the back.”

The host winked and the greedy audience shouted for more.

“Ooh, did you see that smirk on Mr. Specter’s face? Is he going to give us what we want? Yes! He now has his face on the bed, kissing Mr. Ross on the backside! But wait, Miss Zane has taken control of his mouth now and look where her hand is! This is getting very naughty!”

Some people stood up to get a better view of how Rachel worked on his private parts. As soon as she released his mouth, Mike’s obscene moans filled the studio, causing a few people to faint.

“Now this is one of those times when I find prepositions particularly meaningful. I can describe the current situation with one sentence: Miss Zane’s fingers are on him while Mr. Specter’s are in him! Isn’t it efficient? Ah, I love prepositions.”

Then the host jumped a little for a dramatic effect. “Mr. Ross’ mind tells us that nobody has touched him there in a while. Let’s hope he’s talking about Mr. Specter and not Miss Zane.”

The audience shook with laughter.

“Now both contestants are taking turns, whispering in Mr. Ross’ ears about what they’re willing to do to him and for him (See? Useful prepositions again) if they could get some personal time with him.”

The audience made a loud sound of protest as they wanted to know all about the filthy details.

“Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Ross wants to keep some things to himself.”

People started to boo but they were soon distracted by the intense development on the bed.

“I think we’re reaching the peak of the game! Mr. Specter’s jabbing his fingers in and out and Miss Zane has replaced her fingers with her lovely mouth. And, ladies and gentlemen, please take a moment to appreciate Mr. Ross’ face! We haven’t seen a face that beautifully flushed in a while!”

The audience whistled and cheered on their favorite contestant.

“Okay, we have some breaking news. Mr. Ross doesn’t think he can hold back anymore. And, he’s pretty sure that he’s going to have one of the best releases ever! So I’m afraid we’re going to have to start the countdown already. And, I’ll have to remind the contestants that Mr. Ross’ face is off limits once the countdown begins.”

The crowed let out an angry roar but the big screen on the back of the stage started the countdown anyway.

“Ten! Night! Eight!”

Rachel took Mike deeper into her mouth and caressed his thigh while Harvey moved his hand faster and started to kiss him on the neck.

“Seven! Six! Five!”

Mike bit his lower lip and shook his head. He didn’t think that he could wait until the countdown ended.

“Four! Three! Two!”

Mike threw his head back and cried out the name of the winner. “Harvey!!”

“And, we have a winner! Ladies and gentlemen, please give a round of applause to our winner, Mr. Harvey Specter!”

The crowd stood on their feet and the host held up Harvey’s arm high in the air. The studio was filled with confetti as Harvey took off his mask and gave his new fans his most charming smile.

Mike had his eyes closed, trying to catch his breath. He had never felt more alive. His loved ones had been amazing and he couldn’t think of a more thrilling and satisfying experience than this. But then, all of a sudden, he couldn’t hear anything. No cheers or murmurs of awe from the audience, no victory speech from Harvey. What was going on?

 

When Mike opened his eyes for the second time that day, he realized with absolute horror where he was and what had happened. He wished that he had dreamt in a dream and that this wasn’t the harsh reality but the sticky feeling in his pants told him otherwise.

‘Oh gosh, this is Harvey’s jacket.’ He recognized the jacket that was on top of him and looked up with terror. His boss looked amused and a little shocked but thankfully not disgusted.

‘I want to die!! What do I tell him? Sorry for having a wet dream on your couch?’ Then it hit him that he had cried out Harvey’s name at the end of the game. Had that been a part of the dream or had he actually made his boss’ name echo in the large office?

‘Oh my god… What if I twisted and shivered too? Gosh, I hope I didn’t touch myself. I wasn’t allowed to do that in the game but who knows what really happened? Is there any chance he could’ve mistaken it for a nightmare? Why didn’t he wake me up? He was there the whole time! Oh god, I don’t want to think about this. I’m just going to go die once I figure out a way to get out of here.’

Mike closed his eyes and willed his body to stand down. His cheeks were burning and his body part that had just had inappropriate fun was showing interest in this impossibly embarrassing situation. He couldn’t believe that the fact that Harvey had been watching him was turning him on again.

“No need to be embarrassed, puppy. It was probably my jacket.” Harvey got up and walked towards the closet while Mike slowly sat up, pondering about the best way to die.

“Here you go. Take your time. I’ll go tell Jessica that I’ve landed a new client.” Harvey left one of his spare suits, a bag for the ruined pants, and a small towel on the coffee table before turning on his heel and leaving the office.

“Ahahaha…” He couldn’t help himself. At least he wasn’t laughing in front of Mike. His jacket had done more than wonders and Harvey decided that he should deem it his ‘lucky jacket’.

Donna knitted her eyebrows at her boss enjoying an uncharacteristically delightful laugh. He couldn’t be this happy about a new client. “Harvey, I hate reminding you about socially acceptable behaviors but it’s really inappropriate to laugh at your associate’s misery.” She shouldn’t have trusted her boss and turn off the intercom.

“Oh, believe me, Donna. This laugh isn’t even remotely close to inappropriate behavior.” Harvey laughed some more as he headed towards the managing partner’s office. Perhaps he should let his associate nap in his office more often.

 

Mike was in his cubicle with his head buried in the briefs since he hadn’t been able to find a good way to leave the world. He was really too young for this. Besides, his grandmother and his girlfriend would be terribly upset. His boss would understand though; he had been there when he had humiliated himself.

‘I am never going to be able to see him in the eye again. I hope that all contact with him from now on would be through Donna or the good, old phone. Or via e-mail or MSN. I’m not picky.’ Mike groaned as he tried not to think about his vivid dream. He couldn’t remember the last time that a dream had felt so real. Of course there was no way he would actually lie on a bed on a Japanese game show and let himself enjoy the pleasure given by two pairs of lips and four hands, but lack of plausibility didn’t mean a thing in dreams.

‘But does the dream mean something? And, again, I failed Rachel! Even in my dreams! How could I actually call Harvey’s name? I don’t have any conscience or what?’ Mike sighed and poured himself a glass of water. His eyes naturally landed on the bottle of multivitamins next to the bottle of water. His caring girlfriend had bought it for him as soon as she had heard that he had hit the floor.

He thought about how Rachel had asked him if he had napped well. He had just nodded without meeting her eyes. There was no way that he could tell her about the dream. The nature of the dream was nothing to be embarrassed about; he was a healthy young man who wasn’t asexual. But he didn’t think that Rachel would appreciate the other guest star and the setting, not to mention the winner of the game.

‘But I don’t understand! I do find him attractive but I’ve never had a dirty dream about him!’ Mike had thought about including his boss in his fantasies right after he had come back from his business trip, but he hadn’t actually gone through with it. It had felt too much like cheating even though it was just a fantasy. Apparently, his subconscious hadn’t been too happy with his consciousness and had taken matters into its own hands.

‘Maybe I’m not a 2 or 3.’ The Kinsey scale came to his mind. ‘Maybe I’m a 4 or even 5…’

He remembered how he had learned about the Kinsey scale when he had been confused about his sexuality in his younger days. His memory told him that the scale ranged from 0 to 6 with 0 meaning ‘exclusively heterosexual’ and 6 meaning ‘exclusively homosexual’. He had considered himself a 2 (predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual) or a 3 (equally heterosexual and homosexual) but he wasn’t so sure anymore.

‘What if the dream actually means something? What if I’m into guys more than I thought? What if I’m into Harvey more than I thought? Didn’t the host say that the winner gets me as the prize? Do I want Harvey to have me? What if the dream’s some kind of a warning sign that maybe my choice was wrong…?’ The thought paralyzed him. He couldn’t afford to think like that.

Then he remembered what Harvey had told him right before kissing him: It looks to me like you’re just waiting for a disaster to happen while your head is buried in the sand. You think you’re hurting only me? Has it ever occurred to you that you might be hurting her and most importantly, yourself as well?

Now that he thought about it, Rachel and Harvey had both looked exhausted earlier. He had been too focused on himself to notice. His memory told him that there had been bags under Rachel’s eyes and less gel in Harvey’s hair. ‘Of course they’re tired too. I left her in her bed and let him walk away after a kiss!’

Mike swallowed the huge amount of guilt with the help of water. He was the reason why those gorgeous faces had looked weary. Both of them deserved so much better and it was up to him to do them justice. The problem was that he wasn’t so sure anymore if he was on the right track. He had failed to make love to Rachel and that could have led him to pick Harvey as the winner, but what if Harvey had won because he was supposed to? He had thought about the possibility that Harvey had simply had more skilled hands but since it had been a fantasy, Mike felt that Rachel had been equally skilled.

‘I can think about it later at home. Let’s work for now. I’ve missed enough hours already.’ Mike grabbed his iPod and turned it on. He needed something calm in his life.

“Hey, guess what I’m doing tomorrow evening, Ross.” Kyle pulled out one of Mike’s earphones to get his attention.

“I couldn’t care less, Durant. Leave me alone.” Mike snapped the earphone out of Kyle’s hand and put it back in his ear, only to have it pulled out again.

“But if you hear what I’m going to do, I think you’ll get very interested.”

Kyle’s tone was smugger than usual and Mike felt a bad type of shiver run down his spine. “Okay, I’ll bite. What are you doing tomorrow?”

“I’m glad you asked! Maybe you’re not that stupid after all.” Kyle enjoyed making the golden goose sweat as he kept playing with the watch on his wrist. He had figured out with his brilliant mind that Mike was jealous of his new possession.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Tell me already.” Mike really wasn’t in the mood to play along but he had a feeling that he needed to know what was going on.

“Fine. I’ll spare you the misery since you look so awful. I’m having dinner with Mr. Specter tomorrow. I asked if there was going to be anyone else and you know what he said? He said it was going to be just the two of us!” Kyle cackled with satisfaction.

“Tomorrow?” Mike frowned. It didn’t make any sense. He and Harvey were supposed to have dinner together and go to the tennis club. That was their routine. “Are you sure it’s tomorrow? It must be next Wednesday.”

“Eh, you may have trouble with hearing, Mikey, but my ears work perfectly well. He precisely said tomorrow, at eight sharp. I’d even tell you the name of the fancy restaurant but you might try to come and interrupt our perfect evening.” Kyle shook his left wrist in Mike’s face before going back to his cubicle.

Mike felt a strong urge to break that stupid wrist. But the sharp pain piercing through his heart kept him in his seat. ‘He said eight? But that’s when we usually start warming up. So Harvey’s not just skipping dinner but also practice? Or is he going to push the practice a little further? All because of a dinner with Kyle? But isn’t preparing me for a client more important than having dinner with an associate who doesn’t even work for him? What is going on here? He can’t possibly want to spend time with Kyle!’

Mike decided to stop sulking like a child and confront his boss. Didn’t Harvey want him to be honest? Maybe it was a little late for that and whatever Kyle believed, he didn’t think that Harvey would get a new associate, but this whole Kyle business was far too disturbing to just watch with his mouth shut.

 

Donna wasn’t in her area so Mike knocked on the door and went straight in. “Harvey, I want to ask if the tennis training is over. If it’s about my health, don’t worry about it. I can take it.”

“Come in.” Harvey motioned for him to take a seat and that gesture itself made Mike nervous. His boss was going to give him a long answer and that was rarely a good sign.

“I meant to talk to you about that, Mike. You can take the evening off but I’d like you to resume practice tomorrow. George will help you for the remaining three days.”

“Who the hell is George?” Mike asked in a sharp voice. Why were there suddenly so many guys around Harvey? Wasn’t Kyle enough? Would this George get a watch too?

Harvey didn’t appreciate his associate’s tone but he was a little pleased at the reaction. “He’s one of the finest coaches in that club. I’ve already taught you the basics so he can just hit some balls with you.”

“But I don’t want anyone else! I want you!!”

Mike instantly regretted his choice of words and Harvey had to remind himself that they were talking about tennis practice.

The two men stared at each other until Harvey put an end to it. “Listen, puppy. I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend time with you outside the office, at least until I’ve moved on. I know we’re friends but it’s difficult enough to see you around the office.”

Mike was shocked. Harvey had just admitted that he was having trouble forgetting him. His heart leapt with joy at the idea of Harvey still having feelings for him but it soon hit the floor (just like its owner) at the idea of how he would have to watch those feelings fade and eventually disappear without a trace.

Mike cleared his throat and said sincerely, “Um… Uh, sorry, Harvey, I hadn’t thought about that. I understand. But you’re still coming to watch my match on Saturday, right? I mean, you’d want to see how well you taught me.” He did his best to smile. Nobody spat on a smiling face, right?

“I’ll be there to get the client to sign the papers, but I’m not sure if I’ll get there early enough for the match, sorry.” Harvey looked down at the briefs on his desk so he wouldn’t have to see the hurt look on his boy’s face.

“Oh, okay then.” Mike might have said okay but he felt nothing like okay. He needed to go splash some water on his face so he stood up.

“Hey, can you ask Kyle to come in? And, if you could also pull down the blinds on your way out, that would be great.” Harvey kept his eyes on the briefs as Mike stopped breathing.

“Excuse me…? Why would you need the blinds down with Kyle?” Mike refused to think about the one scenario that threatened to enter his mind.

Harvey looked up. It was time for the best part. “Look, I don’t ask you about you and your girlfriend’s sex life, do I? So if you could do the same for me…”

“Sex life? There is no sex life! Do you and Kyle already have a sex life? Gosh, Harvey! What is wrong with you? Don’t you know he’s just trying to sleep his way up? You’re better than this! Why can’t you just hire a hooker or something?!” Mike didn’t feel better about his own suggestion but at least it wasn’t Kyle.

Harvey gloated inside at the enticing information about the lack of sex in his boy’s life. Ironically, it seemed like he had witnessed Mike’s orgasm earlier than the paralegal. It really was his lucky day.

“Don’t just look at me! Say something!” Mike yelled across the desk.

“What do you want me to say? Kyle’s never going to replace you, Mike. But since you’re not into me, or you’re deluding yourself that you’re not into me, I think I’ll take what I can get.” Harvey was insulted that Mike even thought that he would want to do anything with someone like Kyle, but he supposed that he had to make sacrifices for the greater good.

“I’m not deluding myself, Harvey. I know what I’m doing!” Mike couldn’t let Harvey pick up a sledgehammer and pull down the wall that had already started to quake.

“Okay, keep telling yourself that. Can you go fetch me Kyle now?” Harvey sat back in his chair and put a thoughtful finger on his chin. He had already given Kyle so much work that it would be difficult to find him more work.

Mike couldn’t remember the last time he had been this angry. “You know what? Since we’re still friends, I’m going to do you a favor and not fetch you Kyle. And, if you want him so badly, why don’t you go find him yourself? You can also pull down the blinds yourself on your way out!”

He turned around and stormed out of the office, not aware of the fondness that had returned in his boss’ eyes.

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

After collapsing with shock from spotting a familiar silver watch on Kyle’s wrist, Mike had taken a nap in Harvey’s office with Donna’s help. He had had a wet dream about Harvey and Rachel fighting for his attention on a Japanese game show and had ended up crying out Harvey’s name. Feeling guilty and embarrassed, he had been forced to think about the meaning of the dream. Kyle had told Mike that he was scheduled to have dinner with Harvey the next day, around the time when Harvey usually helped Mike with his tennis practice. So Mike had confronted Harvey, only to find out that his boss wasn’t going to coach him anymore. Feeling angry and betrayed at Harvey’s request to fetch him Kyle and pull down the blinds, he had yelled at his boss to do it himself and had walked away, not aware that it was all part of Harvey’s plan.

 

Mike stomped towards his cubicle as he took a good look at Kyle. The bastard appeared to be very busy with work. He had the phone cradled between his ear and shoulder while he typed something into his computer in a hurry.

‘Good.’ Since Kyle’s line was busy, Harvey or Donna wouldn’t be able to summon him. There was no way he was going to tell the bastard that he was needed in the senior partner’s office so Harvey would have to come down here or take care of his needs on his own. As he sat down on his seat, Mike glanced towards the direction of Harvey’s office to check that his boss wasn’t actually on his way.

‘Perhaps he’ll get Donna to drag Kyle into his office. Or she will grab a lowly associate to do the dirty work for her. But even if Harvey’s doing this just to hurt me back, can’t he wait until they have dinner? Or is he going to toss him away once he’s had his fun? Maybe there won’t be a dinner tomorrow. But he gave him that watch! I know how much that watch costs, and I really don’t think Kyle’s mouth or ass will be worth that much!’ Mike pondered while keeping an eye on the bastard. Judging by the look of annoyance on his face, it looked like things weren’t going too well for him.

‘Great!’ Mike rejoiced from the bottom of his heart. He hoped that Kyle’s situation was bad enough to take away all his sexual appetite. He couldn’t really picture someone classy like Harvey sharing intimate moments with someone unclassy like Kyle and he preferred to keep things that way. That was when Kyle put down the phone and leaned closer to his computer screen. The line wasn’t busy anymore.

‘Oh no.’ Mike quickly picked up his phone and called Kyle’s extension. Who knew that the trick to hide the caller ID would come in so handy? It was useful to hang out with Benjamin from the IT department.

“Durant.” Kyle answered the phone.

Mike thought about breathing hard into the phone to eradicate all sexual thoughts from Kyle’s brain but there was a chance that his plan could backfire; Kyle might be the type to enjoy a stranger’s heavy breathing on the phone.

In the meantime, Kyle had hung up. The connection seemed to be bad so it would be better if the caller tried again. So, to not disappoint his coworker, Mike dialed again. He didn’t have a specific plan and he knew that Kyle could always choose to take the incoming call instead but he had to do something. Even a futile effort was better than no effort at all.

“This is Durant speaking.” Kyle hoped that he would get an answer this time. He was completely overwhelmed with work and he didn’t have a single second to waste. “Hello? Can you hear me? Jesus, what’s wrong with this call. Hello?”

Kyle slammed the phone on his desk and Mike had to jump a little. It was gratifying to see him so irritated but perhaps it was time to stop this childish prank. He had slacked off more than enough and he was lucky that the pile of briefs on his desk looked very manageable.

‘Wait. Exactly how much work went to Gregory?’ Mike remembered how Donna had told him that she had kindly taken some work off his shoulders. ‘Did she give some to Kyle too? Is that why he’s so busy?’

Mike hoped that none of his work had gone to Kyle. He didn’t want to give him another reason to look good in Harvey’s eyes. So he got up and walked straight to Kyle’s cubicle which was right across his own. “Hey, if there’s anything on your desk that belongs to me, I’d like it back.”

Kyle looked up and snorted. “Not going to happen, Ross. This is my chance to impress Harvey. I’m going to do whatever it takes even if it means spending the whole night here.”

Mike frowned. “Did you snatch the files from Gregory? Donna told me she had left them with him.”

“Who said anything about Gregory or Donna? Harvey came over personally and gave me all these high-priority files.” Kyle pointed at the files as if they were trophies.

Mike was confused. It didn’t seem like Kyle was lying, so did Harvey really give this much of his work to someone else? Did he think that he couldn’t handle it? More importantly, did he trust Kyle to get it done?

“Look, you can go drown in your misery at your own desk. Some people actually take their jobs seriously and have work to do. Bye, Ross.” Kyle waved off his rival but Mike wasn’t going anywhere until he got his work back.

R-ring.

Mike gasped as his heart started to beat faster. He had a feeling that this was the call. Kyle didn’t understand the significance of it but he did. So before Kyle could pick it up, he leapt forward and snatched the phone. “Hello.”

“Hey! Give me that!” Kyle got up and tried to take the phone but Mike took a big step back. “Hello?”

“Mike?” Harvey sounded puzzled. “What are you doing with Durant’s phone?”

By then, Kyle had won the tug of war and Mike didn’t get a chance to answer. “Sorry, this is Kyle Durant. You wanted to talk to me?” He glared at the rude disturber.

Mike watched with his arms crossed as the bastard recognized Harvey’s voice and told him that he was on his way. Kyle’s face or tone hadn’t changed so Mike assumed that Harvey hadn’t told him what he needed the bastard for.

“Get out of the way, Ross. Stopping me from going to see Harvey won’t change his mind. He’s found a shiny, new associate now. Me.” Kyle boasted as he pushed Mike out of his way.

“It’s not your brain he wants, Kyle. It must be that mouth of yours which never shuts itself.” Mike spat out. Kyle was bringing out the worst of him.

“Well, I speak more like a lawyer than you do so it’s not that surprising, really.” Kyle obviously didn’t understand what Mike was saying. Realizing that he was keeping a senior partner waiting, he took a step forward before tripping over Mike’s foot and almost falling flat on his face.

Mike couldn’t help but giggle. It was a shame that he didn’t fall and hurt his mouth.

“Really? Grow up, Ross. How pathetic.” Kyle regained his balance and hurried towards Harvey’s office until he noticed that Mike was following him.

“Where are you going?” He couldn’t believe that Mike had the audacity to bother him at every opportunity.

“To Harvey’s office.”

“No. I’m the one who’s going to Harvey’s office.”

“Well, I’m going there too.”

“But he wanted to see me, not you. You can beg him after I’m done with him. Not that he’d give you a second chance.”

Mike snorted and led the way. He didn’t know what to do but he knew that he had to stop the disaster at all costs.

“Hey! I don’t know what you’re trying to…” Kyle stopped talking as the door to Harvey’s office flew open and an annoyed Harvey stepped outside.

“Mr. Durant, when I tell you to come see me, I expect to see you right away. Do I need an appointment for that?”

“No, sir, of course not. It’s just that Ross was…”

“Are you blaming someone else for your own inability? ‘Cause I don’t need a man who can’t take responsibility for his actions.”

“I apologize, Mr. Specter. I take full responsibility.” Kyle wanted to shoot a death glare towards Mike’s direction but he could do that later.

“Very well. Now get inside and take a look at the file on the coffee table. I believe you need far more time to read than my associate.”

Kyle reluctantly admitted it and went inside the office while Mike enjoyed a muffled laugh. He loved that Harvey had been hard on Kyle. Perhaps it really was one-time fun despite the original significance of the silver watch.

“What do you want, Mike?”

Mike was startled to hear the same harsh tone directed at him. His boss seemed to be in a terrible mood. “Uh, I want to talk you out of it.”

“Talk me out of what?”

“Spending time with him.” Mike pointed at the office with as much disgust as possible.

“And, this is your business how? I don’t like you spending time with that paralegal but you keep doing it anyway.”

Mike had opened his mouth to defend himself but decided to plead with his eyes instead. He wasn’t going to beat his mentor with words, not yet. So he tried to convince Harvey that Kyle wasn’t worth his attention and that there was no point in hooking up with such a lowly life form just to get back at him. He couldn’t tell if he was begging as a caring friend or a love interest that was holding onto the last shred of hope.

Harvey let out a long sigh as he read the thoughts and emotions pass through Mike’s eyes. He wanted to end this madness and hold his boy in his arms. He wanted to tell him how much he enjoyed looking into those beautiful eyes and how he wanted to keep them clear for as long as possible.

“Tell me you choose me.” He didn’t want to wait until next week to secure Mike’s heart. It was getting too difficult to stay patient.

“What…?” Mike looked around to see if anyone was within earshot. Thankfully, Donna wasn’t at her desk and the hallway was empty.

“Whatever we did in your dream, we can do it better in reality.”

Mike turned crimson as scenes from his wet dream came rushing into his mind. So Harvey had heard him cry out his name. This was embarrassing.

“Well, if you don’t have anything to say…” Harvey turned on his heels.

“Wait! I haven’t had the time to think it through! I don’t know what that dream means, Harvey. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“You don’t know what you’re supposed to do? I just told you what to do. Leave her, Mike. I don’t know what you’re trying to prove here. I don’t see the point of you fighting me when we both know how this is going to end. You’re going to come to me one way or another.” Harvey couldn’t believe that they were doing this again. What was his puppy so scared of? The Mike that he knew was braver and smarter than this. How much heartache was he willing to go through before he made the right choice?

Mike admired Harvey’s confidence more than ever. He would never stop loving that side of him. What if Harvey was right? What if he had made the wrong choice before? Between a man who wasn’t certain about his decision and a man who looked absolutely certain that it was the wrong decision, who had the higher chance of being right?

Then Mike saw Rachel’s face in his mind. What was he doing? Was he really thinking about blowing his relationship with her just because he had a dream? Did he believe in the power of subconscious that much? Harvey must have seen the indecision on his face because he faced his office again and opened the door.

“Harvey, wait! Please!” Mike wanted to reach out and grab Harvey’s hand but Kyle was staring at them with curious eyes. Before he could say another word, Harvey was already on the other side of the door.

“No, Harvey… Wait.”

Then he started to yell at the man who was getting farther and farther away. “Harvey, please! I’m planning to think hard tonight! Right after I finish work! I can’t do it right now in the middle of the hallway!”

But all Mike got as a response was a disappointed look on the handsome yet tired face. And, soon all he could see was the blinds shutting him out of Harvey’s world. He had missed his chance and Harvey was gone.

 

Harvey felt empty as he explained the pro bono case to Kyle. He had turned off the air conditioner and had made the associate run in place. He had to make things look believable for Mike. He felt as if he had scorched his boy’s heart but there was nothing he could do about it for now. He needed this plan to work and he couldn’t show any signs of weakness. He had to be strong for both of them.

He was perfectly aware that his approach wasn’t conventional but he couldn’t take the usual road when his situation wasn’t usual. Mike had already been emotionally invested in someone else by the time he had figured out that he wanted him. Harvey was also aware of the risks. If he had misread Mike, this plan could send him flying back firmly into the paralegal’s arms. He would have to tell the truth at the earliest convenience before Mike got a scar on his heart.

“That’s enough.” Harvey motioned for Kyle to stop running. “Now, I need to know if you can keep your mouth shut. I don’t want you to tell Ross, for a start. He’s obsessed with pro bonos and I don’t want to deal with an associate who refuses to share decent cases.”

Kyle smiled like a little shark. “No need to worry, sir. My lips are sealed.”

“Good. Then rub those lips against the back of your hand.”

Kyle blinked his eyes in confusion. “Excuse me, sir?”

“Do you have trouble following orders, Mr. Durant? I don’t like to repeat myself.”

“Of course not. Rubbing them right away, sir.” Kyle decided that it must be some kind of a hazing and started to rub his lips.

“Let me know when they feel sore. And, perhaps you should run again now that you’ve got some rest.”

“Yes, Mr. Specter.” Kyle figured that it was a test. Harvey would obviously prefer an associate who was healthy enough to handle his job to an associate who had apparently fainted like a girl.

Harvey dealt with some paperwork while Kyle felt a little stupid, running and rubbing his lips at the same time. But he remained silent as he pictured beating Harvey Specter and taking the title of ‘the best closer of the city’. One day, he could put this anecdote in his best-selling autobiography.

“Uh, it’s a little sore, sir.” Kyle wondered if he had spoken too soon.

Harvey gave him a once-over and noticed that something was missing. “Muss up your hair and get back to work.”

Kyle finished his strange mission and picked up the pro bono case. He might not be allowed to talk to Mike about it but he could certainly gloat about it. And, that’s exactly what he did as he returned to his cubicle.

‘Oh my god…’ Mike’s jaw dropped as he stared at Kyle’s appearance. The bastard had a glow to his cheeks and his lips were red and swollen. Mike swallowed hard as he tried to tear his eyes away but he couldn’t stop staring. He hadn’t thought that Harvey would actually go through with it. Technically, it wasn’t any of his business what his boss did in his own office but he felt crushed and betrayed. He had begged the man to think twice but Harvey hadn’t changed his mind.

‘Did he really run his hands through that oily hair…? I can’t believe this.’ Mike felt sick just by thinking about it. He knew better than anyone how often he had left his desk today but he couldn’t help it. He had to get to the men’s room immediately.

Mike went straight to the sink and turned on the water. He didn’t care if he was getting wet. He needed the ice-cold water to penetrate his brain and turn off all the emotion sensors. He had been experiencing too much intense emotion in a single day and the day hadn’t even ended yet.

‘How could you do that? How could you, Harvey… How could you do that to me?’ Mike knew that he had no right to criticize Harvey’s actions. Harvey had given him a fair chance but he had turned it down. He was the one who had returned the silver watch. Besides, Harvey had even asked him to choose him before shutting the door to his office. As far as Harvey was concerned, he must have gotten enough chances.

Mike splashed more water on his face. He couldn’t tell if it was water or tears streaming down his face. At least he could tell that the water temperature was right. He was shivering uncontrollably.

‘I want him. I want him to touch me.’ Mike was reminded of how Harvey’s hand had felt on his own while they were on that business trip. Even that simple hand-to-hand contact had had an incredible effect on him. He couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to be tightly wrapped in Harvey’s arms or get affectionate caresses all over his body.

‘I need that touch. I need it now!’ He couldn’t stand the thought of Harvey giving any kind of personal attention to Kyle. He didn’t want to picture Harvey grabbing Kyle’s hair while pushing into his mouth. He didn’t want to think that he had rewarded the bastard and had called him a good boy. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Kyle now knew details of Harvey that he didn’t know and might never even get a chance to know.

Mike gripped the edge of the sink and tried to control his shivers. He didn’t like this. It was all wrong. Nothing made any sense and everything felt unreal. Kyle didn’t belong to Harvey. He did. He should have been the one on his knees, worshipping his mentor as always. He should have been the one that had gotten patted on the head. Kyle had no place between Harvey and him. He had no right to mess with his Harvey. Whatever was going on between him and Rachel, Mike had never felt such a burning desire to connect with her. It wasn’t about lust. It was about the fundamental need to make sense of the world through Harvey’s touches.

There was no doubt that jealousy was playing a big part here but he felt like it was only acting as a conduit. This was bigger than one incident of Harvey sticking it in the wrong place. It was also bigger than craving and monopolizing Harvey’s attention. He needed Harvey in a way that he needed another human being in his world; a man that he could hold onto as he braved through life, a man who could be the guide stars in the night sky and the warm sunshine in the day sky. And, when he needed protection, that man would be the thunder, lightening, and strong wind in the stormy sky.

Rachel was a spring girl while Harvey was a fall guy. Mike realized that even though he had always enjoyed both seasons, he was leaning more and more towards fall with every new year under his belt. There was something soothing about the world preparing for the harshest season. Perhaps it was because his life had been more about dodging bullets than asking for pleasant things to happen. He adored the pretty flowers and the hope on people’s faces but he could relate more to the falling leaves and people pulling their coats closer to themselves. Spring might look fancy and vivid but he wanted someone who would gladly sit through the colorless winter with him. He saw that now.

‘I want him. Oh god, I want him to love me. Nobody else, ever. Just me.’

The shivers stopped. He didn’t feel numb anymore. He had always assumed that people naturally had an epiphany about love in a romantic setting. He never thought that he would have one in the men’s room at work.

But the next moment, he had to flop down on the floor as his mind was flooded with waves of emotion. Joy, guilt, hope, remorse, and love were entangled, refusing to sort themselves out. His brain was on overload, playing out all the possible scenarios regarding the shift of dynamics in the love triangle. This time, he had to be right. It was his last chance and none of the three apexes could afford another bad decision. It all came down to him. He was the only one who could set all three of them free.

Mike thought that he had heard the door open and close but he couldn’t care less. He closed his eyes and put his head in his hands. Various scenarios were still running in his head and he had to focus. There was no best-case scenario at this point. Any scenario would result in at least one of his loved ones’ heart getting ripped out. He found it ironic that he had made a selfish decision based on his thoughts and feelings when love was supposed to be selfless.

“Jesus Christ.” Louis rushed towards the sink and turned off the faucet. There was water all over the sink. He would have to deal with the thoughtless partner who didn’t know how to save energy. He despised those who didn’t appreciate the firm’s resources. So he put on his court face and glared at the culprit sitting on the floor until he recognized the short, blond hair.

“Mike?”

Something was wrong with the young associate. He looked too distressed for his liking. “Hey, what’s the matter?”

Mike couldn’t lift his head. He was overwhelmed with his decision and terrified of its ramifications. He knew that Harvey wanted him to be brave but while he was trying to fix his previously wrong decision, it felt like he was making a whole new set of mistakes.

“Harvey…” Mike found that it was the only word that helped him restore order inside his head.

Louis knitted his eyebrows. “No, this is Louis. And, for the record, I’m offended that you’re confusing me with him when I’m clearly the one with the better voice.”

When Mike made no attempt to defend his mentor, Louis understood the gravity of the situation. He sometimes criticized Harvey just to see the flares of loyalty fire up in the boy’s eyes.

“Mike, talk to me. Do you need the company shrink? You have to get up.” Louis tried to help him up but the boy wouldn’t budge.

“Fine. I’ll go fetch your precious Harvey. Don’t do anything stupid and wait here.” Louis groaned and left the men’s room. Some people just didn’t know how to accept his kindness.

 

“Louis! You can’t just barge in there!” Donna shot out of her seat and rushed after the junior partner who had already walked into the office.

“Harvey, you need to do something about your associate.”

“If you mean mentoring, I’m already on it.” Harvey was too drained to make Louis feel inferior today.

“No, you don’t get it. There’s a wet puppy in the partners’ restroom, looking broken. I don’t know what happened since he wouldn’t talk to me but I suggest you go fix him. Or I’m going to have to tell Jessica that you broke the firm’s most valuable associate.”

As soon as Louis left the office, Donna headed straight for the closet. “I hope you know what you’re doing.” She spoke gently while taking out a spare shirt, a tie and a towel.

Harvey was grateful that her tone wasn’t accusing. “It’s going to be over soon one way or another. Besides, he’s much stronger than anyone gives him credit for.”

Donna nodded and smiled faintly. “You know him best.” She would have liked to throw in a few soothing words for her dearest friend but she had a puppy to rescue. It was rapidly becoming a worrying routine.

Apparently, Mike felt the same way if the astounded look on his face was any indication.

‘No... Not again!’ Mike stood up with a jerk. He had to break out of the vicious circle. He had to stand up for himself. He refused to find himself in a situation that he needed Donna’s help again. This time, things were different though. He didn’t feel lost anymore; a little unsure, yes, but given the importance of the decision, he thought that it was understandable.

“Here.” Donna held out the stuff that she got from Harvey’s closet. She was relieved that Mike’s pants, well, Harvey’s pants, were intact. She had seen him leave Harvey’s office wearing his boss’ pants after the nap.

“No thanks, Donna. I don’t need your help.” Mike said politely.

Donna raised her eyebrow. “You can’t walk around with a soaked shirt, Mike. You need to change.”

When Mike hesitated and looked at her with wary eyes, she let out a short sigh. “I know. I want to break this habit too. Take off your shirt already. This is the last time I’ll fetch you anything.”

Despite her stern tone, Mike knew that she didn’t really mean it. She just hoped that they would never come to this again. Mike started to undo the buttons on his shirt while pondering about asking Donna’s opinion. But there must be a reason why she didn’t get directly involved. It was very unlike her but so like her at the same time. Such a wise woman, she was. She seemed to understand that it was simpler to solve an equation when there were fewer variables.

“Thank you.” Mike said sincerely. He hoped that she understood he wasn’t just thanking her for the fresh shirt.

“You’re welcome.” Donna was delighted to see a smiling Mike. Something had changed. She could smell it in the air and see it in the boy. Mike looked happy in Harvey’s suit and there was a certain glow on his face.

“Someone’s a happy puppy.” She smiled. Perhaps the saga was coming to an end?

“I hope we’ll all get to be happy.” Mike’s face clouded over as he realized that he would have to talk to Rachel before running to Harvey. The least he could do was tell Rachel what was going on and give her closure as soon as possible.

Mike took deep breaths as he followed Donna out to the hallway. He suspected that the process of breaking up would be gutting like any other relationship that had once been treasured.

‘I’ll have Harvey to help me heal but who does she have?’ A cute puppy face came to his mind but he wished that Rachel had a human being to look after her.

Mike smiled wryly as he headed to Rachel’s office. He never knew that he had such audacity when he was planning to leave her in a few hours.

 

Knock-knock.

“Rach, do you have a moment?”

“Sure. Come in.”

Rachel pulled a face when she saw her boyfriend dressed in a suit that was far outside his price range. “Is that Harvey’s?”

Mike nodded with a wistful smile. Rachel had come to check on him earlier but since he had been sitting at his desk, she probably hadn’t got a chance to see the pants that he was wearing.

“An explanation, please?” Rachel demanded gently, ignoring how her insides were getting twisted. She had a feeling that the explanation wouldn’t mean a thing.

Mike couldn’t help but admire the beautiful picture that was Rachel Zane. Even in such a humiliating situation, she remained strong and graceful. This would be one of the last images in which he would remember her as his girlfriend. Mike captured the moment with his eyes and locked it away deep inside his mind.

“Mikey…?” Rachel tried not to shudder. The look on Mike’s face chilled her to the bone.

“I love you, Rachel.” Mike confessed shamelessly. He wasn’t lying though. He just found out that he loved her in a different way than he had initially thought.

Rachel opened her mouth but no sound came out. Her lover sounded different. His love felt different.

“I love you too, Mikey.” Her words were barely a whisper. She was choked up with emotions that she wasn’t ready to identify.

Mike’s smile grew wider yet sadder. He could tell that she knew what was coming and he could feel what she was feeling. Why couldn’t they have connected like this before? Or was this only possible because it was the last flame of their bond?

“Will you have dinner with me tonight?” Mike approached the desk and gave her a soft kiss. He was grateful that she didn’t pull back.

“Sorry, I can’t. I already have plans.” Rachel lied. She wasn’t ready to have the fateful talk. Everything was happening so fast and she didn’t know how to put a stop to it.

Mike couldn’t remember what kind of plans she had but decided to respect her privacy. There were only so many privileges left that he could exploit as the shadow of her boyfriend. “What about tomorrow dinner then?”

Rachel nodded reluctantly. She needed time to digest what was going on and come up with a plan, but she didn’t want to push the date too further and raise suspicion. If Mike thought that she would give him up that easily, he was wrong. She just had to figure out what had turned the tables.

But hadn’t her love been enough for him? What more did he want? Couldn’t he see it in her eyes? Couldn’t he feel it in her kisses and touches? Wasn’t he a Harvard-graduated lawyer? Wasn’t he supposed to be an excellent people-reader?

Mike pressed his lips against Rachel’s hair while she closed her eyes and tried to absorb the remnants of his love. She had no idea how many times she would get to enjoy his kisses. But with her eyes closed, all she could smell was another man’s scent on her man. It was like a punch to her gut. Harvey Specter was stomping all over her Mikey’s world. Whether it was in the form of a pair of dumbbells, a watch or a suit, whether he was teaching him tennis or taking him on a bike tour, he was everywhere. He had penetrated deep into Mike’s life even outside the office so how could she possibly compete with him?

Rachel smiled wryly as she let Mike hold her tight. She never knew that Mike had such audacity when he had been planning to leave her in a few hours.

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

Harvey had given Mike another chance to choose him but when he saw indecision on the boy’s face, he had carried on with his plan to make Mike believe that he was sleeping with Kyle. Mike had been properly shocked when Kyle had come out of Harvey’s office with a glow to his cheeks and lips all red and swollen. He had to splash water on his face until he realized that he wanted Harvey’s touches and needed them to make sense of the world. So he had asked Rachel to dinner to say his goodbyes but she had sensed that he was going to break up with her and had postponed it to the next day. She wasn’t willing to give him up but she didn’t think that she could compete with Harvey when he was everywhere around her Mikey.

 

Both Rachel and Harvey noticed how different Mike was the next morning. Mike had stopped by in both of their offices to say good morning and although it was nothing out of the ordinary, the peaceful look on his face was definitely out of the ordinary. If there was one thing that Rachel and Harvey could agree on was that Mike never looked genuinely peaceful. Rachel always thought that Mike looked a little confused, probably due to the speed and amount of information that his brain processed. Harvey had a similar opinion. In his eyes, Mike seemed to be constantly struggling to make sense of what was going on around him. With that simple morning greeting and the small smile on his face, both of them sensed that whatever Mike had decided, it was going to be irreversible.

“Mike! Take a seat.” Harvey kept his associate from leaving his office and watched him like a hawk. He needed to know if his plan had succeeded or backfired.

“A new case?” Mike asked as he sat in his usual seat in front of Harvey’s desk.

“No. I just wanted to make sure you haven’t forgotten the appointment with George.” Harvey readied himself to capture every single emotion passing through Mike’s face.

“8pm sharp at the tennis club. I haven’t forgotten. I only have three days left so I should train a little harder.” Mike picked up the baseball from the desk and rolled it in his hand.

Harvey noticed several things: a) Mike felt comfortable enough in his office to touch his balls again, b) Mike didn’t have a problem with George anymore; just yesterday, he had barked “Who the hell is George?”, c) Mike was showing a great deal of enthusiasm for work again.

“How much sleep did you get last night?” All the signs were positive but he needed more information to make a proper judgment.

“Nine hours.” With the tension taken down a notch, Mike had slept like a baby.

Harvey groaned as he thought about the new information. Maybe his puppy had just enjoyed a good night’s sleep. But was he capable of sleeping soundly when he was struggling to make one of the biggest decisions in his life? Even if he hadn’t slept properly for days? No, there was something else going on.

“What about you? Did you sleep well? It doesn’t look like you did.” Mike found the lesser amount of gel in his boss’ hair very worrying.

“It was a hot night.” Harvey tried to focus on the emotions on Mike’s face but the kid looked absolutely adorable with a serene smile and twinkling eyes. Why did he look so hopeful? What was making him shine like that? Who was making him shine?

“Are you still having dinner with Kyle today?” Mike asked cautiously. He hadn’t broken up with Rachel yet but it was going to happen tonight. He didn’t want Harvey to spend even a second with that bastard when it was completely unnecessary. Now that he could think more clearly, he didn’t believe that Harvey had already moved on.

“Unless you’re willing to step in for him, I don’t see any reason not to.”

“But I’m coming, Harvey. I just need a day to make the necessary arrangements.”

Very few things in life startled Harvey. Did his boy finally get it? When did this exactly happen? Yesterday evening? Late last night? Early this morning? Was his plan a success or did something happen with the paralegal?

Mike leaned forward and put his hand on top of Harvey’s that was resting on the desk. This was the connection that he had craved. This was the confirmation that he needed. He had made the right choice. “You were right. I see that now. I just need one day and I’ll be yours.”

Mike let go of Harvey’s hand but Harvey snatched Mike’s hand before Mike could pull back. He tried not to grip it but he couldn’t control himself.

Mike could feel Harvey’s frustration seep into his skin. The love affair had taken a toll on him and even a day felt like too much to ask. But he needed to end things the right way with Rachel. She deserved that much. “Please, Harvey. One more day. I’m not asking for more time because of me. I just didn’t get a chance to tell her yet.”

Harvey gave his associate a nod. It was the sensible and humane thing to do. After all, he didn’t want Mike to cheat on her. Being a fake lawyer was more than enough. The boy didn’t need to feel like he wasn’t capable of doing things straight in other aspects of his life. “You have till the end of the day.”

Mike nodded, pulling back the hand that Harvey had released. “Thank you.” He stood up, ready to return to work, before feeling the need to make one thing clear. “So, no dinner with Kyle?”

Harvey smiled a little. “No dinner with Kyle.”

Then he watched as his associate let out a sigh of relief and head to the door. He suppressed the sentiments that were about to take over him. It wasn’t over yet. He wasn’t foolish enough to believe that it was time to enjoy his victory. Mike’s promise didn’t mean a thing until he was actually in his arms. There was a world of difference between achieving the goal and having half a step left. He had to wait, but hopefully not for too long.

Harvey rubbed his chin with his fingers, trying to anticipate the paralegal’s moves. She had been a rather passive player, but he had to remember that Mike still had feelings for her and that she could do something drastic out of desperation. Besides, it went without saying that it wasn’t wise to underestimate any opponents. How often had he seen lawyers lose a case at the last minute because they had let their guards down? How often had he been able to snatch the win from right under the opposing counsels’ noses because he had stayed patient until the very end? So he picked up the phone and called Kyle’s extension. He could simply postpone the dinner to tomorrow and stay on course.

 

Later in the evening, Mike was in a cab, heading to Rachel’s apartment. They were supposed to have dinner together but Rachel had too much work, so he had suggested that he visited her after tennis practice. He had been thrilled to find out that George was a man in his seventies who had five grandchildren. Practice had gone well and all he had to do now was ask for Rachel’s forgiveness and move on.

‘I can’t believe I’m going to break up with her. I fell in love with her at first sight!’ Mike reminisced about the day that he had first seen her. It was the day that he had started working for Pearson-Hardman. Rachel had given him the tour around the office and he had blurted out how pretty she was when they had shaken hands. Since that day, he had fantasized about keeping the job of his life and getting the girl of his life. There had been numerous setbacks but he had finally managed to get what he wanted, only to realize that he wanted more.

“Thanks. Good night to you too.” Mike paid the fee and got out of the cab. His steps were so heavy that it felt like the earth was pulling him down. There was no easy way to break someone’s heart and there shouldn’t be one.

“Hey.” Mike smiled as Rachel let him in.

“How was practice?” She gave him a quick kiss on the lips.

“Good. I think I’m ready to lose now.” Mike laughed and knelt on the floor to welcome the puppy that was crawling towards him.

“Do you want me to come and support you on Saturday?” Rachel hoped that she would get to spend more time with him.

“Haha, I don’t know about that. I don’t think I’ll recover if I hit you with the ball again.” Mike patted the puppy’s head and let him nibble his finger when Ross bit it hard.

“Ow!” Mike jerked his hand back. It was like the puppy knew what he was going to do to his owner.

Rachel tried not to laugh. It couldn’t have hurt that much but Mike was inspecting his right index finger as if a bulldog had bitten him.

“Now I have another good reason to lose the match.” Mike joked as he sat on the couch.

Rachel smiled and sat next to him before kissing the bitten finger.

Mike looked at her with surprise. What was she doing? Was she trying to remind him of what he would be missing out on?

“Can I get you anything? I’ve got apple juice.” Rachel got up and took a few steps towards the kitchen. It was getting awkward.

“Thanks. That would be great.” Mike used the time to give puppy Ross his best smiles but he only got a growl in response. How did he know? Was he emitting such negative energy? Was he hurting Rachel even with his expressions and body language?

Mike wondered what his boss was doing right now. Harvey had said that he had until the end of the day. Did that mean he expected to get a call or a text message when it was done? Or was he supposed to go see him in person? What would his reaction be? He wasn’t sure when it had exactly started for Harvey but he could imagine how difficult it must have been for him to step aside and watch him love someone else. His sufferings were going to end though. In a couple of hours, he was going to be the winner just like he always was.

“Here you go.” Rachel put down both glasses on the coffee table and sat across her boyfriend. She was grateful that they got to talk at her place instead of a restaurant. They didn’t have to worry about other people and were free to let out their emotions.

“So what do you want to talk about?” Rachel braced herself for the impact. It was going to burn.

“I think you know what it’s about.”

“You’ll have to say it.” Rachel wasn’t planning to make it easy for him.

Mike took a sip of his juice and gave it one last thought. Was this what he truly wanted? Did he really want to end it with sweet Rachel? As memories with Harvey threatened to overwrite those with Rachel, he knew that he was doing the right thing. Rachel deserved to be with someone who could cherish those memories like nothing on earth.

“I don’t think we’re going to work out as a couple, Rach. I’m so sorry.” The words weighed heavily on his mind. He wasn’t going to forget this dreadful feeling any time soon.

Rachel waited a few seconds for the burn to come. But she couldn’t feel anything. She must have gone numb.

Mike carefully searched for a reaction on Rachel’s face. Was she speechless because the pain was too intense? Or was she gathering her words to make him feel the same pain? He thought that Rachel looked like a doll as she kept blinking her empty eyes. Had he caused that? Had his tenuous love meant so much to her?

“How can you be sure it’s him?”

Mike finally saw some emotion in play. Her voice had slightly trembled at the end. He drank his juice while he tried to come up with a decent answer. It had to be sincere yet humane. The last thing that he wanted to do was rub salt into her wounds.

“I can’t.” Mike answered honestly. “But he seems to be sure and I trust him completely.”

“But if you can’t be sure, how do you know it’s not just lust or obsession? How can you trust his judgment that much when it’s a matter of the heart? You’re confusing his area of expertise, Mikey. This has nothing to do with reason.” Rachel felt that the usually sweet apple juice was bitter tonight. Her boyfriend was affecting her in all the wrong ways when she was trying to protect what they had together. How was this fair?

Mike wished that he could let Rachel into his soul so she could see for herself what was going on inside him. He was a lawyer who used his words for a living but they were failing him at the most important moment. How was this fair?

“It’s hero worship, Mikey. It’s not love. It’s going to get better with every new day you get mentored.” Rachel held out her hand but Mike didn’t reciprocate the gesture. She let out a deep sigh and decided to change tactics.

“Look, if you’re so attracted to him, you can have one night with him. That’s as far as I can go.” Rachel despised herself for even thinking about such a strategy, but wasn’t it better than losing him entirely? Shouldn’t she pretend to be strong enough to make compromises when she was about to go up in flames?

“Excuse me? You want me to sleep with him? What is wrong with you?” Mike had trouble processing the permission. Since when had she been so bold and reckless to allow her beloved one to share a bed with her rival? Hadn’t she been the one who couldn’t even stand a small reminder of Harvey in her bed? What made her sure that he wouldn’t fall for Harvey even harder once he had sex with him? What was she going to do if Harvey completely wiped her off his heart?

“Did you like the kiss?” Rachel was ashamed that she had come up with such a suggestion. Apparently Mike didn’t like it.

“What kiss?”

“The one you shared with him on the tennis court. You never told me how it felt. You just said it had happened so quickly.”

“What does that matter now?”

“I want to know if I should’ve made make a bigger deal out of it. I need to know if I had already lost you that day.”

Mike remembered the kiss all too clearly. It had been all flames and burns. He had desperately needed water so it had only been natural to cling to the mirage. At that moment, he had barely been able to exist on his own. Everything had felt like Harvey and Harvey had felt like everything.

In hindsight, Mike thought that Rachel had probably lost him far before the kiss happened. Perhaps it was while they were on the business trip. Or perhaps it was even before then. It was possible that Harvey had already planted the seed in him the day they first met and that he hadn’t been able to see it grow until it was visible to everyone else.

“Answer me, Mikey. Did you like the kiss?” Rachel looked at him sharply.

“Yes.” Mike admitted. There was no point in lying or hiding his true feelings now.

“And, you didn’t think I should know about it?”

“I didn’t tell you because it wasn’t going to happen again. And, if I’m choosing Harvey, it’s definitely not because of one kiss.”

“Then what is it? Help me understand!”

“I told you. I trust him completely.”

“And, you don’t trust me?”

“I didn’t say that. I’m just saying I trust him more than anyone else. The only other person I’ve ever trusted this much is my grandmother. I’ve always had trouble trusting people, Rachel. This is shocking for me. I’m almost scared at how easily I can trust him when he’s in the perfect position to manipulate and use me.”

Rachel got up to open the windows. The air was unbreathable. How did this happen? She thought that she had won him easily. Or perhaps it had been too easy.

“Is there anything I could do to change your mind? Anything to make you trust me more? Just tell me what I need to do.” Rachel mourned at the image of herself, getting reduced to a begging girl who was about to lose her guy.

“I wish I knew.” Mike gave her a sad smile. She was standing near the windows but there was no breeze in her hair tonight. There was no hope on her face that reminded him of a pretty flower anymore.

“And, there’s something else.” He was going in for the kill.

“What now?” Rachel was annoyed. How many reasons did he need to get away from her?

“I think I like guys more than I thought, or more than before, at least.”

Rachel felt slapped as she sank on the couch next to her boyfriend. That was an angle she hadn’t really thought about. That would partially explain why it had been so difficult to get him into bed.

“I don’t know what more to say.” Rachel confessed. Mike wanted a guy and that was something that she couldn’t give him. Sorrow and despair clouded her world. It was over. It was over so easily as if their relationship hadn’t meant a thing.

“You know, I thought we might get a happy ending. I thought that you might wait for me when I manage to go to law school.” She smiled bitterly. “Were we really that bad together? To end as a summer fling like this?”

Mike shook his head. For what it was worth, he had thought that they were the perfect couple before they got dragged into the mess.

“Do you think we could have a few last days together? Maybe till the end of the week? I think it would give us some closure.”

Rachel waited for an answer. She could tell that Mike was hesitating so she pressed harder. “It’s Wednesday today so there are only four days left, Mikey. When our time ends, I’ll let you go without any hard feelings. I promise. I just want to end things the right way and this doesn’t feel like it.”

Mike thought about Harvey’s order. Was he going to disobey a direct order when their relationship hadn’t even properly started yet? Would Harvey be willing to wait a few more days for him? He knew that Harvey was having trouble waiting patiently but it was difficult to resist the promise of leaving Rachel, feeling less guilty.

“Three more days together and then we move on with our lives.” The best he could do was negotiate the terms. “We’ll have our last date on Saturday after my tennis match and we’ll take our first steps without each other on Sunday. How does that sound?”

“It sounds great.” Rachel gave him a small smile. It wasn’t much but what more could she ask for? Mike was already being kinder than any guy she had ever broken up with.

“Can you…?” Rachel asked for a hug. Mike was right next to her but she felt incredibly lonely.

“Sure.” Mike let her into his arms and held her tight. He was going to worry about Harvey tomorrow. For now, he had to try to ease her pain.

Rachel closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his waist. She was going to miss this feeling. She was going to miss him so much. Where was she going to find another guy like him? How long would it take her to forget him? She used to adore how they worked at the same office but it was going to be harsh running into him at work now. The fact that Mike was going to date someone else in the office was just the icing on the cake.

“I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” Mike kissed her hair.

“Me too. At least we tried.”

Mike nodded slowly. He could hear the puppy whimper in his basket. It didn’t seem possible that three days could relieve him of all this guilt.

 

Harvey had come to the office earlier than usual to hear the good news as soon as possible. The rational part of his brain had told him that the lack of messages from Mike indicated that the boy wasn’t going to be his today, but he had been inclined to trust the other part of his brain. He had woken up bright and early so it hadn’t been much of a bother. He would have driven himself crazy at home, wondering if Mike was already at work anyway.

He sat down at his desk with a fresh cup of coffee and looked at the picture of Mike that he kept in his living room. He had brought it with him since he could use some moral support in the office. Mike was smiling so brightly and Harvey couldn’t help but smile back at him. Was he going to see that smile today? Was he capable of bringing back such a beautiful smile to his face?

‘Of course I am.’ Harvey dismissed the feeling of insecurity. It wasn’t the right time to doubt himself. Doubt and anxiety were for losers, and he was anything but a loser. It was always better to envision reaching the goal and enjoying the victory. What was the first thing that he wanted to do when Mike got rid of the paralegal?

‘I’m definitely going to kiss him. Make him forget that anyone else exists.’ Harvey licked his lips at the memory of the kiss. His fingertips tingled with the sheer desire to hold Mike close to him. Once he got him, he would never let him go. He would love him above and beyond what was expected of him.

‘Then, we’re going to talk about our summer vacation. I’ll have to extend Mike’s three days’ vacation by taking a pro bono case.’ Harvey wondered what Jessica would think of their relationship. It was technically none of her business but he wanted her to like Mike. If something ever happened to him, he wanted Jessica to look out for the kid.

“Good morning, Harvey.” Mike walked in with a nervous smile on his face. He sat down in front of Harvey’s desk, praying for the best.

“Good morning, puppy. You didn’t call me last night.” Harvey went straight to the point.

“Yeah, about that…” Mike dropped his head and twisted his fingers.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Harvey felt anger and disappointment rise in him. What was wrong with his boy? “You couldn’t do it. You didn’t pull the trigger. It was for everyone’s best interest, Mike. When you see a wounded animal that’s not going to make it, you put it out of its misery.”

“I did pull the trigger! I told her she and I weren’t going to work out!”

“But?”

“But she wanted more time!”

“For what?”

“For closure! She thought it would be best if we ended things on a decent note after spending a few days together. She asked me to stay till the end of the week but I told her I’d only stay with her until Saturday.”

Harvey had always known that Mike had excessive sympathy but he had never thought that it could be this bad. “You’re breaking up with her, Mike. There’s no good way to do it. And, what are you going to do if she wants one more day? You’re going to say yes? What if she wants another week? Another month?”

“She’s not going to do that. She promised me.”

“Oh, really? Because promises mean so much in the real world.”

Mike was starting to get angry. He was doing the best he could in the tricky situation but Harvey wasn’t showing him any compassion. He knew that there was no way of satisfying both Rachel and Harvey but it still hurt. “It’s only a few more days, Harvey. Don’t be like that.”

“If you were in my shoes, you’d never say it’s only a few more days. Now get out.” Harvey picked up his fountain pen to get to work. He was too furious to carry on with the conversation.

“Harvey, please, I know I’m asking a lot but I couldn’t just leave her like that. You’re stronger than her. And, you’re the one who’s going to be with me. Please, Harvey.”

“Do whatever you want, Mike. Just don’t expect me to be waiting for you when you finally learn how to stand up for yourself.”

Mike wanted to tell him that he had learned how to do that, thanks to Harvey, but his lips wouldn’t move. His brain was too busy analyzing Harvey’s words. What did he mean that he might not be waiting for him? Did he mean that he was planning to have dinner with Kyle again? Was he that disappointed in him for being sympathetic?

Mike slowly got to his feet and looked at the man in front of him. He looked completely exhausted. He wanted to ask Harvey if he was taking good care of himself but he didn’t feel like he had the right, not after how their discussion had gone. So instead, he walked around the desk and pressed his lips against his boss’ hair, ignoring the surprised look on his face. “I’m sorry.”

Then he returned to his cubicle with a sad heart. It was going to be another difficult day.

 

“Hey, Ross, I need your opinion.” Kyle stepped inside Mike’s cubicle and pulled out his earphones.

“I’m in the worst possible mood, Durant. Run away while you can.” Mike kept typing on his keyboard with destructive force. He was so angry at the whole situation that he could hardly contain himself. He felt utterly helpless that he couldn’t do anything to stop Harvey from going out with Kyle or anyone else. He only had three days to endure but someone as handsome and rich as Harvey could engage in five different orgies in that period. The worst part was that he didn’t regret agreeing to Rachel’s terms despite the consequences. Harvey couldn’t do everything as he pleased. He would have to learn how to compromise just a little bit more even though he might have already done that in his own mind.

Kyle took a good look at the exasperated man. He had never seen the puppy lawyer act like this. It looked like someone had taken away his chew toy and he was trying to get revenge by destroying his keyboard. He laughed inside. It was always easier to take out an emotional competitor. He was the one who deserved to be the star of Pearson Hardman’s associate, not some scrawny kid who didn’t have the balls to deliver in court. “You know Harvey best, Ross. I can’t ask Donna or Jessica, and I can’t go to a fancy restaurant looking like you. That would be horrendous.”

So sick of Kyle’s voice, Mike turned towards him. The douche bag was holding a transparent suit bag. “What do you want? The suit looks fine.”

“I know it looks fine. I need to know if it’s good enough to impress Harvey. You wouldn’t know anything about it, but image is everything to a lawyer. I’d rather die than see Harvey frown at my appearance.”

“Really?” Mike had had enough of it. “Then why don’t you do me a favor and go kill yourself?”

Kyle was shocked. There was so much venom in his rival’s voice. He didn’t think that Ross had it in him. Maybe he wasn’t going to be the worst lawyer in the history after all.

“You know what? I was going to tell you tomorrow how the dinner went but I just changed my mind. You can figure it out on your own.” Kyle went back to his cubicle with a frown. Perhaps he would have to fight a little bit harder to replace the golden goose.

 

Harvey had barely stepped inside his condo when his phone rang yet another time. He didn’t have to check the name on the screen to know whom the call was from. There was a 99 percent chance that it was Mike again. When he had been on his way to the restaurant and while he had made it clear to Kyle Durant that he would be in serious trouble if he didn’t finish the pile of work that he had assigned to him, Mike’s name had kept flashing on his screen. And, when he had turned the phone back on after grilling the traumatized Harvard clone about the way he interacted with Mike, he had found out that his associate had left him four text messages and two voice mails.

R-ring.

He was tempted to answer it. Why was Mike on the phone anyway? Wasn’t he supposed to be enjoying his last few days with the paralegal? Or was he calling to tell him that he had finally ended it with her? Or was he calling him to beg? How far did he think that he would go with Durant?

Harvey tossed his phone on the couch and headed to the walk-in closet. The reason why he hadn’t been generous enough to give the boy three more days was because he didn’t think that he could last three more days. He had been having dreams of Mike choosing neither him nor Zane and running off with someone else. One night, it would be a blond girl with green eyes. Another night, it would be a muscular guy with a badass tattoo. He would wake up in the morning, feeling worse than when he had fallen asleep and that feeling didn’t get any better throughout the day. It also didn’t help that he had never been much of a summer guy. His annoyance level was off the charts and if Durant hadn’t been a satisfying punch bag, he would have had gone boxing at this hour.

Life just hadn’t been what it used to be without having Mike around the way he wanted. Everything was annoying and he terribly missed the boy. He missed how they used to be each other’s best friend and how they could shake the planet with laughter, doubled up over something completely trivial. He missed how great they had been together at whatever they did. They had been a winning team and nobody had ever questioned their chemistry.

He was aware of the risks of moving from friends to lovers but he believed that their bond was strong enough to overcome any obstacles. He was willing to fight for Mike and it seemed like Mike had just started to fight for him.

By the time Harvey came back to the living room, the voice mail count had gone up to four. It brought him mixed emotions in the form of joy that Mike was putting in that much work for him and guilt that he was making things difficult for Mike. But he had to make sure that Mike was going to stay with him once he switched sides. He couldn’t afford going down this road again.

Harvey sat on the couch and went through the voice mails. He had to check if Mike had broken up with the paralegal. Mike started by gently asking him to wait for him and quickly moved on to pleading. Then he accused Harvey of not understanding how miserable he felt and told him how bad his day had been. Apparently Mike hadn’t been able to focus on the paralegal while having dinner with her and had to cut tennis practice early because he had to go bike in Central Park to let out his frustration. The last two voice mails featured a drunken puppy that slurred his words but it wasn’t difficult to understand him.

‘Harvey, why aren’t you picking up the phone? And, why did you turn it off earlier? You never turn it off. I’d rather hear you yell at me than see you shut me out like this. Talk to me, Harvey. Please?’

‘Oh well, if you’re not going to talk to me, I’ll do the talking. I love you, Harvey. This is not a drunk confession. Well, I am drunk and it is a confession but I’m not confessing because I’m drunk. I love you. And, you’ll see how much I do in a couple of days.’

Harvey was glad that he hadn’t answered the phone. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to play the last message over and over again. Mike’s confession only made him lose whatever was left of his little patience. He wasn’t going to wait a couple of days. He couldn’t wait any longer, not after Mike had told him that he loved him.

‘It’s settled.’ Harvey made up his mind. He was going to close the case tomorrow once and for all.

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

Mike had told Rachel that they weren’t going to work out as a couple but she had asked him to stay until the end of the week so that they could get some closure. Desperate to leave her feeling less guilty, Mike had agreed but had negotiated to end their relationship on Saturday. Harvey had been furious to hear the news and had gone out for dinner with Kyle. After grilling the associate about the way he interacted with Mike, he had come home and turned his phone back on which contained several voice mails from his associate. In the last message, Mike had told Harvey that he loved him, and Harvey had realized that he couldn’t wait until Saturday. So he had decided to close the case the very next day once and for all.

 

‘Urgh, my head…’ Mike carefully laid his head on the desk and closed his eyes as soon as he made it to his cubicle. His brain might have information-processing power that was slightly different than others but when it came to hangovers, it acted just like everyone else’s. The copious amount of alcohol from last night had made him take a cab instead of riding his bike, and it was now threatening to mess with his working ability.

‘In three, two, one…’ Mike waited for Kyle to come over and sneer at him. He fully expected the unpleasant associate to brag about how awesome the dinner with Harvey Specter had been, but he couldn’t hear any footsteps headed his way.

‘That’s weird. He didn’t come in yet?’ Driven by curiosity, he slowly raised his head and peered over his monitor. Unless he was staring at a doppelganger, that was definitely Kyle sitting at his desk.

‘Why does he look so awful?’ Given his current form, Mike realized that he probably shouldn’t say that about anyone else, but the mock trial champion looked rather defeated as he read something on his monitor with tired eyes.

‘Maybe Harvey quizzed him and he failed miserably. That’s why he’s trying to find the right answers online. Or he got food poisoning and he’s trying to find out the fastest cure for it.’ Mike found immense pleasure in guessing the reason behind Kyle’s misery. Whatever had happened at that dinner, it seemed safe to assume that there wouldn’t be a repeat this evening.

“Ross, that goofy grin of yours makes me want to put you up for another drug test.” Louis crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes, trying to figure out why the kid was grinning like a maniac.

“I’ll save you the trouble, Louis, and let you know that you’ll only find traces of alcohol in my system.” Mike switched his attention from Kyle to the briefs that were tucked under Louis’ arm.

“Are you saying that you came to this sacred workplace drunk?” Louis hated employees that didn’t give their 110 percent to the job.

“Of course not. That’s why I said ‘traces’.”

“Good. Then you’ll have no problem proofreading these till three.”

The loud sound of Louis dumping the briefs on his desk made Mike squirm with discomfort both physically and psychologically. He had been having it easy at work for the past few days but it looked like today was going to be different. The timing couldn’t have been worse since his brain was too busy trying to get rid of the headache, and he didn’t feel like it was going to succeed any time soon. Pills that he had taken right before getting into the cab weren’t working properly and he briefly wondered if it was because of the stress.

Dinner with Rachel had been nothing short of disastrous; he hadn’t been able to sit still and focus on the conversation or food as if he had ADHD. He had kept glancing at his phone to check if he had missed the sound of a text message coming in. He had also made several trips to the men’s room to get a chance to call Harvey. Rachel had been fed up with his behavior before dessert and he had apologized profusely while flagging down a cab for her.

He couldn’t remember a thing about how tennis practice had gone. All he could remember was how George had looked at him with sympathetic eyes and had let him go early. He had mumbled his gratefulness and had gone biking at Central Park before finding some consolation at the bottom of a bottle in a small bar. And, then it had happened. He had been overwhelmed with the need to tell Harvey exactly how he felt about him. He had felt like he could understand what Harvey had meant when he said that even a few more days were too long to wait. The urge to talk to Harvey right away had been strong, but he had been reluctant to go see him at his condo. Not only because it had been late but also because he hadn’t trusted himself to stop at just telling him with words. He didn’t want to kiss Harvey again before things had officially come to an end with Rachel, so the second-best option had seemed to be leaving a voice mail on his phone.

‘It felt like a really great idea last night…’ Mike put his head back on the desk and moaned. He wondered if Harvey had even checked his voice mails. He also wondered if Rachel still wanted to spend two more days with him. Unlike yesterday, he hadn’t stopped by either of their offices to say good morning. His first priority upon entering the building had been getting his throbbing head on a flat surface. Even if his headache hadn’t been killing him, he wouldn’t have wanted to greet them first thing in the morning. Both of them were expected to be in a bad mood because of him, and he was planning to avoid them until he could use his brain to think again.

“Uh, Mike…?”

“You’re still here, Louis?” Mike didn’t bother to move even though the junior partner sounded as if he had seen a ghost.

Then he heard other employees gasp and talk to one another in low voices. What was going on? Cursing his curiosity, Mike sat straight and looked at the man who was headed towards Kyle’s cubicle.

“Harvey…’s brother…?” That was all he could manage since there was no way Harvey would be wearing a skinny tie with his hair blond and spiky with mousse.

“Nah, that has to be Harvey. Nobody could look that disgustingly smug even in the same family. What has gotten into him? Is he terminally ill or something? Maybe he’s gone crazy. I knew it. I knew he’d lose it one day.” Louis didn’t even feel like laughing at his rival. Competition was useless when one side had completely lost his mind.

Mike’s jaw dropped as he watched Harvey lean against Kyle’s cubicle and say something that lit up the associate’s face. If he hadn’t known any better, he would have thought that his boss was flirting with the irritating associate. ‘Maybe he is! Maybe he’s asking him if he’s feeling better from food poisoning and wants to set up a second date! Urgh, why can’t it be Sunday already? And, does this mean he didn’t get my messages? He can’t possibly look so friendly with that bastard if he heard me telling him I love him! And, seriously, why is he wearing a skinny tie? After all the shit he gave me for it! And, since when was he blond?’

“I see that you and Durant are still fighting for daddy’s attention. Do you think that was the trigger for… that?” Louis pointed at Harvey’s general appearance.

Mike would have provided some insight if he hadn’t been so busy trying to get a better look at Harvey’s orange cufflinks. Even though he was hardly an expert on cufflinks, they were the most terrifying, fashion-backward ones that he had ever seen. ‘Where on earth did he get them from? He couldn’t have bought them himself. Oh gosh, were those a gift from Kyle? In return for the watch? I can’t believe Harvey actually allowed such ugly things near him! Is he really terminally ill? Maybe he has a brain tumor! Wait… what are those letters?’

He was about to crane his neck out further when Harvey turned around and came towards his cubicle. “Good morning, Mike. Oh, I didn’t see you there, Louis.”

As Louis mumbled good morning and asked Harvey if he was going to pass away any time soon, Mike turned completely white. The letters on the cufflinks were ‘HK’. He rubbed his eyes, certain that his fuzzy mind was playing tricks on him, but it still looked like a H and a K no matter how hard he stared at them.

“You’re all right, puppy?” Harvey asked after shooing Louis away by insulting the color of his socks.

The fact that Harvey called him ‘puppy’ after blatantly flirting with someone else right in front of his eyes made even more anger boil up inside him. “No, I’m not all right. You’re wearing your damn initial and his on your sleeves.”

Mike thought that it was a good opportunity to show Harvey that he was perfectly capable of standing up for himself. He wasn’t looking for sympathy here; he wanted answers so that he could formulate a plan to get what he wanted. But Harvey just laughed casually, seemingly unbothered by his mood, and walked away without giving him an answer to work with.

“Harvey! Harvey!!” Anger turned into fury as he glared at his boss’ back. Then he noticed how cheerful Kyle looked, so different from what he had looked five minutes ago. He wanted to punch the happy look off the annoying face but he wasn’t going to resort to violence.

‘Isn’t love supposed to bring out the best of you? Then what’s this ugly side that’s driving me crazy? I don’t think I can stand it any longer!’ Mike realized that the fury had even overwhelmed his hangover. His brain now had a higher priority; keeping his fists to himself and channeling the negative energy into work. Once he calmed down and got halfway through Louis’ briefs, he could go see if Rachel still wanted to wait until tomorrow to break up with him. If she agreed to end things right there and then, he would go running into Harvey’s arms straight away.

‘What if she doesn’t agree? What then? I just let Harvey get close to Kyle like that?’ Deciding that he would think about it later after talking to Rachel, Mike dove into work. He didn’t need Louis to give him a hard time and make his day worse.

 

Harvey entered his office with a triumphant glow on his face, ignoring the amused look that Donna gave him. He wasn’t surprised that she didn’t look horrified. She knew that he had used to wear skinny ties when he worked for the D.A’s office and that he was actually blond. Mike had also known about the skinny tie and the different hair color because he had stumbled upon an old picture of his, but he had let him assume that he had dyed his hair blond. Much to his delight, what bothered his associate the most seemed to be the horrendous cufflinks.

‘I guess Jessica was right when she said that clients do help you out when you’re in need. Wise woman, she is.’ The HK cufflinks were a gift from a particularly patriotic client from Hong Kong. They were awfully tacky and he wasn’t loyal to a country that wasn’t his, but they were going to serve their purpose for the day. Just like he had hoped, Mike had gotten the wrong idea about the initials.

Harvey let out a long yawn as he settled down in his seat. This was by far the most tiring war that he had ever fought. It wasn’t the actual duration that exhausted him but the intensity and the emotional turmoil that he was rather new to. However, that didn’t mean he hadn’t been enjoying the ride. He had gotten to see Mike being all jealous of himself when he had bought a second watch and of Kyle who had been nothing more than one of the props for his show. He had also gotten to exchange letters with the kid which had been surprisingly moving. But what he had enjoyed the most was the stolen kiss on the tennis court. Even though he hadn’t wanted Mike to cheat, it had been thrilling to taste his lips when he wasn’t allowed to. It had felt like getting a preview and a midway reward which had only pushed him to work harder for his goal.

‘Too bad I had to put him through a lot though.’ It was a shame that there had been unavoidable consequences that Mike had to deal with. He remembered the tear-stained letter, the heartbroken look on his boy’s face, and the drunken love confession in his voice mail that he had played endlessly throughout the night. The worst part had been letting him suffer alone. Donna had thankfully checked on him a few times, but Harvey wished that it was him who offered the kid a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold onto.

‘Just a few more hours now. He won’t manage to stand it for much longer.’ Harvey told himself as he looked down at his skinny blue tie. In his eyes, the tie was as distasteful as the cufflinks. He had been surprising himself throughout this thunderstorm in regard to how far he was willing to go to get his boy. He had worn Lycra twice when he had helped Mike clean his house and when they had gone for a bike tour in Washington D.C. He had also acted nude in his bathroom, pretending to have hurt his right shoulder, and had fabricated text messages to keep Mike at his place for longer. Then there was that incident where he had chased off Mike’s creepy neighbor who had dared to sniff at his underwear. He wasn’t exactly proud of some of the things that he had done, but all great things came with a price and Mike was definitely worth all the trouble.

“Donna, will you please send Durant to my office?” Harvey asked through the intercom. It was time to reward the associate for following his orders so well by giving him more work. He had ordered him to be his brightest self as a way of learning how to maintain a good image even on a bad day. Luckily, Durant seemed to understand that image was everything to a lawyer and Mike had noticed just how happy Durant had looked.

 

Mike had finally got a grip on himself, working through his frustration and headache which had come back the moment his anger had gone down to a manageable level. He had seen Kyle getting up with a worried look on his face and leaving the associates’ area but he chose not to think about it. For all he knew, Kyle might just be constipated and worried about his performance in the men’s room.

He put down the orange highlighter and picked up the yellow one. Orange kept reminding him of Harvey’s hideous cufflinks. ‘They must’ve been custom-made, right? I can’t believe someone sold his artistic soul and agreed to make something so cheesy! And, gosh, he looks like such a Casanova with his hair all spiky like that. He looked younger and more human though.’

Mike swore that he would do a favor for Harvey and all the other employees who had eyes and find a way to get rid of the cufflinks and the obscene hairdo. ‘Okay, enough with Harvey for now. I have to work faster if I want to catch Rachel by lunchtime.’

R-ring.

It seemed like the universe didn’t want him to get back to work just yet. He checked his cell phone and saw that the call was from his grandmother.

“Hey, Grammy… I’m sorry we haven’t had a chance to talk in a while. I’m really sorry.” Mike rubbed his face in frustration. He had been doing his best to juggle work and his messed up love life but hadn’t been able to squeeze his grandmother into his timetable. Besides, he didn’t want her to worry about what he was going through. It was bad enough that there were three casualties already. That was why he hadn’t filled her in on any of the drama. She only knew that he had a wonderful girlfriend named Rachel.

“No need to worry, Michael. Talking to your girlfriend was almost as fun as talking to you.”

“My girlfriend? You talked to Rachel? When? How?” Mike might have been drunk but he thought that he would remember if he had introduced Rachel to his family.

“Last night. I hope you don’t mind that she came to me for a bit of advice.”

“She went to see you at the nursing home? Last night?” Mike couldn’t believe that Rachel had gone behind his back and had contacted his grandmother when they were about to break up.

“Michael, she didn’t barge in.” Edith could sense that her grandson was upset. “She called the home first and I said I’d love to meet her.”

“Grammy, we’re going to break up.”

“Don’t say it with such conviction, dear. There are always ways to work things out as long as you two love each other.”

Mike had a feeling that Rachel hadn’t told her about Harvey’s role in their impending break up. “That’s just the thing, Grammy. We don’t love each other anymore. At least, I don’t.”

There was a slight pause before his grandmother spoke again. “That’s a shame. She seemed to be very fond of you. She even talked about how she wished you two could get through this and have a future together.”

“A future?” Mike figured out what Rachel’s agenda was. She apparently hadn’t asked for more time to get closure. She had lied to him. She wanted him back.

“Yes, a life together, a family. Sometimes we’re lucky to find the right one at a young age like me and your grandfather.”

Mike could tell where this was headed. “Let me guess. She also talked about having children.”

“She did. And, I told her that the kids could inherit her beauty and her brains.”

Mike faked a laugh and gritted his teeth. “That hurts, Grammy. I thought you’d be prouder of our genes. Listen, I’ve got to go. I’ll go see you on Sunday, okay? We need to have a long talk.”

He quickly wrapped up the phone call and marched over to Rachel’s office. Nobody messed with his grandmother like that.

“What the hell were you thinking? How could you go see my grandmother?” He barked as soon as he was inside. His anger went up a notch when Rachel didn’t even blink at his outburst.

“Why are you so mad at me? I got her permission first and I left when the visiting hours were over.” Rachel looked straight into her boyfriend’s eyes.

“And, you didn’t think to get my permission first?” Rachel pointed to the chair in front of her desk but he wasn’t in the mood to sit and talk calmly.

“Who says I didn’t get your permission?”

“What…? You never asked me.”

“I did ask you, Mike. You were just too busy staring at your phone, waiting for Harvey to call you.”

Mike felt like it was a good time to sit down. He must have answered ‘yes’ while not being aware of the question during dinner. “You talked to her about having kids with me, Rachel. I know what you’re trying to do.”

“Are you seriously being mad at me because I tried to entertain your grandmother?”

“No, I’m mad at you because you’re trying to bury me under six feet of guilt! You’re trying to use her to make me feel guilty about not being able to give her great-grandchildren if I stuck with Harvey!”

“Think whatever you want. I only went there to seek some advice. She’s the one who knows you the best.”

“And, what advice did you get?” Mike tried to calm down. This wasn’t how he wanted to spend the last few days with her.

“To open up to you. To tell you exactly what’s going on in my mind. And, to make you listen…”

Mike winced as he thought about how desperate Rachel must have been to resort to such measures. He still felt like she had crossed the line since she had known that he wasn’t really listening to her yesterday, but he could understand her reasons. “Well, I’m listening now. So you can tell me exactly why you lied to my face about how you needed a few more days with me for closure.”

“I didn’t lie to you.” Rachel stated it clearly. “I was going to let you go just like we agreed. But then, at the restaurant, you were so distant and…”

“We’re breaking up, Rachel. You can’t blame me for being distant.”

“But you acted like I wasn’t even there! I thought you meant it when you said you loved me!”

“I did mean it!”

“Then how could you just sit there with your stupid phone while I felt like the loneliest person in the world? You shouldn’t have agreed to my terms if you weren’t the slightest bit interested in honoring them!”

“Oh, please. Like you gave me a choice! You promised me you’d let me go without any hard feelings! You knew I’d take the bait! You played on my guilt again!”

“That’s enough.”

Mike froze at the voice of the managing partner coming from behind. The day couldn’t get any worse than this.

“I’m sure I don’t need to remind my brilliant employees that this is a place where we solve problems, not make them.” Jessica stood tall in the doorway as she noticed how red the back of the associate’s neck was. She didn’t know him well but she had never seen him this angry. The puppy was no bull dog but he seemed to know how to bite. Perhaps he had grown up since that disastrous mock trial.

“Mr. Ross, if you’re done expressing your opinion in an aggressive manner, please return to your desk immediately.”

“Yes, Miss Pearson.” Mike scrambled to his feet, thinking that Jessica’s voice could kill ten puppies at once. He wasn’t actually done expressing his opinion to Rachel but he left the office in a hurry. He didn’t want to die and he had a pile of briefs to attend to anyway.

 

Beep.

“Harvey, he’s just come back from Rachel’s office.”

Harvey smiled at the good news. Donna was an expert on locating employees. “Excellent. Send him over, will you? It has to be right now.”

“You got it.”

Five minutes ago, Louis had meowed about how Mike wasn’t in his cubicle and how he had to have better control over his associate. Grateful for the useful information, he had sent the junior partner back without any insults and had earned a truly puzzled and sympathetic look. If he was going to strike, it had to be now when Mike’s emotions were unstable. He had no idea what Mike had done in the paralegal’s office but given the situation, it couldn’t have been all lovey-dovey in there.

“What do you want, Harvey?” Mike knew that this was no way to speak to his superior, but the sight of Harvey sitting there with that hair and those cufflinks made him kick his manners out of the window. It didn’t feel like he was talking to Harvey anyway.

“What’s bothering you, puppy? Tell me.” Harvey gestured for his associate to take a seat.

“You don’t want to know.” Mike sat down but refused to talk. He was too emotional right now to play little mind games with his insensitive boss. He found himself being angry at both Rachel and Harvey. He felt like both of them were much busier manipulating him than loving him.

“I think I want to know, Mike. That’s why I asked in the first place.”

Mike glared. If he didn’t want to play games, he would have to go with the truth. “Fine. You bother me, Harvey. That ridiculous look you’re sporting is what’s bothering me.”

“Really? That’s too bad. Kyle likes me this way.” Harvey shrugged and fixed his cufflinks. Even without looking up, he could tell that Mike was shooting daggers at them.

“What do you mean Kyle likes you that way? This was his idea?” Mike hated to confirm that the cufflinks had been a gift from Kyle.

“Yeah, the cufflinks, the hair, and even the shirt. He picked it out for me this morning.”

“This morning? When? Where? You mean at the office…”

“Nope, at my place. He didn’t tell you we spent the night together? I guess he didn’t want to brag then.”

“You did what…?” Mike shot out of his seat. Anger and sorrow were burning him from head to toe. “You couldn’t wait two fucking days? I told you I was coming! I told you I love you!!”

“Did you mean it when you said that?” Harvey kept fondling his cufflinks. It was painful to listen to Mike’s cracked voice but the end was close.

“Of course I meant it! Why is everyone questioning my love? I meant it, okay? I love you!” Mike stomped around the desk and gripped Harvey’s right wrist. Then he ripped off the cufflink, not giving a damn about ruining his boss’ shirt. He gave the same treatment to the left sleeve before heading towards the closet and pulling out one of the spare shirts.

“And, now that your shirt has become useless, you’re going to change into this one.” Mike threw the shirt on the desk.

“Mike…”

“What? You need help? Fine, I’ll help you. After all, I’m your associate.” Mike started to roughly undo the buttons on Harvey’s vest, a little surprised and relieved that Harvey allowed him to do this to him. Then he tossed the vest on the desk and moved onto the tie.

“Mike, I…”

“Shut up, Harvey. I want to kill you right now, so you probably shouldn’t talk when I’m this close to your throat.” Mike tried to focus on undoing the knot but his hands kept shaking. Harvey’s hands came up to steady them but Mike swatted them away. He didn’t need his pity. He could do this on his own. He was capable of erasing Kyle’s traces all by himself.

The tie finally dropped on top of the vest and Mike ripped the shirt open. It was liberating to watch buttons fly all over the office. He had got the shirt off and had picked up the fresh one when he realized that something was odd.

‘Wait a second…’ There were no hand prints or love bites on Harvey’s chest and shoulders. He didn’t think that anyone could roll in bed with Harvey without laying their hands on his perfect body.

Mike took a quick look at Harvey’s back but there were no scratches or suspicious marks either. Confusion only lasted a second before he reached the correct conclusion. “You didn’t sleep with him.”

“No, I didn’t.” Harvey confirmed what Mike wanted to hear.

“Then why did you…”

“Shut up, Mike. I want to kiss you right now, so you probably shouldn’t talk when I’m this close to your mouth.”

Mike dropped the shirt on the floor. He hadn’t expected this kind of a reaction. But then, he should’ve known by now that Harvey was rarely predictable. Relief that Harvey hadn’t actually slept with someone else made his head swim. Heat rushed into his pores and he had to loosen his tie. Screw Rachel. Screw Kyle. Harvey wanted to kiss him and he wanted to kiss him back.

Mike stared at Harvey’s thin lips before brushing them with his right thumb. Harvey was right. They couldn’t wait. He couldn’t wait. This was the moment that he chose Harvey. Harvey wasn’t strongarming him. He was making a choice on his own by taking what he wanted.

The kiss was frantic and consuming, burning everything inside them. Mike’s anger and jealousy, Harvey’s frustration and greed all burned to the ground. Mike’s back was screaming for a better posture but he couldn’t stop kissing. He held onto Harvey’s shoulder and the edge of the desk, relishing the sensation that only Harvey could offer.

Harvey tilted his head for a better angle and kissed his boy more deeply. This was nothing like their first kiss. Neither of them was holding back and it exceeded all of his expectations. Their mouths were already pressed against each other’s as much as humanly possible, but Mike was demanding for closer contact and he wished that he could bend the laws of physics to give him what he wanted. That was when he saw a familiar yet horrified face out of the corner of his eye. It was the paralegal.

‘Good.’ Harvey released Mike’s arm and gripped his ass instead, making eye contact with his competitor. The boy’s response would be difficult to miss even from outside the office. Not only did Mike moan loudly but he also pushed back, craving more attention, and Harvey was only happy to give it to him.

Rachel stood there, frozen in place. She had come to ask Donna if she would like to take a coffee break with her and this was what she got; her boyfriend and the damn senior partner shamelessly making out on the other side of the glass. Harvey was shirtless which explained the shirts, the vest, and the buttons that littered the usually immaculate office. Then there was Mike, her dear Mike, letting out needy moans as Harvey kneaded his ass and looked straight into her eyes.

She could hear Donna yelling at her to look away but she couldn’t. She had never seen Mike so passionate, so gorgeously open. A part of her wanted to shatter the glass and get him out of Harvey’s grip. Her time with him wasn’t up yet, was it? But another part of her knew that the war, the game, or whatever else it had been, was over. She had lost. Not a single thing had worked in her favor and she wondered why she had to be the victim. What had she done to deserve this? Had she broken someone’s heart so badly that karma had decided to make her understand what heartache felt like?

She only realized that she was crying when Donna handed her a Kleenex. She was perfectly aware that she was at work but she couldn’t stop the tears. Then she saw Harvey break the kiss and take his hands off Mike.

‘Oh god, no…’ She had to turn around and run. She didn’t want Mike to see her like this. She didn’t want him to remember her this way. But she couldn’t move her feet. She was stuck in the time when Mike was still her boyfriend while Mike was turning around.

Rachel felt Donna’s hands pull her down towards the side of her desk. It was a close call. They were hidden for now, but Mike could easily spot them on his way back to his cubicle.

“This way!”

She listened to Donna’s whisper and crawled under the secretary’s desk. Then she buried her face in Donna’s blouse and squeezed her eyes shut. She was so tired. She didn’t want to think about anything. She pushed the images of Mike out of her mind. Strangely enough, it felt like she loved him more now, than when they had been together. Was she the one who wanted him more because he was in someone else’s arms? Wasn’t that what she had been accusing Harvey of?

‘My Kleenex!’ Rachel looked around but the tissue was nowhere to be found. But it was too late to go out and retrieve it. She could hear Mike’s footsteps headed towards the door.

“Harvey, I promise I’ll talk to her before six. Don’t worry about it.”

Mike’s determination cut through Rachel’s heart. She wanted to cover her ears with her hands, but they were pressed against her mouth so that Mike wouldn’t hear her sob. Thankfully, a pair of warm hands came up and gently covered her ears. As grateful as she was, she could still hear the general tone of Mike’s voice. It was so carefree and relaxed. Had Mike sounded like that around her too? Had they actually enjoyed some great time together? It was too foggy to dig through the memories right now.

‘Geez, who dared to throw away a tissue in front of Donna’s area?’ Mike clicked his tongue and picked up the Kleenex before turning his head around to look at Harvey. The handsome senior partner was now wearing the shirt that he had picked out for him and was licking the tip of his pen, obviously teasing him.

He was blowing a kiss and giggling when he heard a disturbing sound. He looked around but nobody was there. ‘That’s weird. It sounded like someone was crying. Where’s Donna, by the way?’ He could see a cup of steaming coffee sitting on Donna’s desk.

Then it all clicked into place; the wet tissue that he was holding, the sound of someone crying, and the absence of Donna. There was no way that Donna would leave her area for more than a minute when she had just poured herself a fresh cup of coffee. He knew how much she loved enjoying the scent of coffee before it cooled down. It was almost like a ritual and she wouldn’t have broken the pattern unless something urgent had happened.

Mike swallowed the pain and guilt as he slowly walked away. If Rachel didn’t want to be seen, he should respect that. He had been unable to fulfill so many of her wishes but he could fulfill her last one.

‘I’m so sorry, Rach.’ His chest tightened up as his steps grew heavier. He had Harvey to help him get through the break up, but who did Rachel have? He could only hope that Donna would be there for her until she found herself the right guy.

Mike spotted a waste basket inside the associates’ area and tossed the Kleenex in it. It seemed like such a simple thing to do; throwing away a crumpled tissue that he had no use of. Whatever emotions he felt, the decision had been made and he had to live with it. He just hoped that he wouldn’t live to regret it.

“Oh, good. At least you know how to dump the right things. You didn’t dump the briefs I gave you.”

Louis’ words had never sounded so soothing. Mike gave him a bitter smile and returned to his seat. He let the junior partner’s scolding just wash over him as he picked up the orange highlighter. There was no reason for him to avoid orange anymore. He had crushed those cufflinks with his shoes while kissing Harvey.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

As he tuned out Louis’ voice, the sound of his wristwatch grew louder in his mind. He was wounded but time would heal him. Sharing his time with the man that he loved was going to heal him.

Mike looked down at his watch, wondering if that was why Harvey had chosen to give him a watch. He didn’t need two watches. He was happy with the one that he had. He raised his left arm and pressed his lips against the watch as Louis shook his head and muttered about both the senior partner and his associate losing their minds in the brutal heat.

The heat… Yes. He had always felt like he was dragging his feet through the endless sand in a desert where the heat and thirst were unbearable. Then he had met Harvey Specter and had fallen in love with him. He had apparently followed the mirage for long enough to have made it to a real body of water.

As soon as Louis left him alone, Mike realized that his heart was beating fast. Life had become exciting again. He was scheduled to have dinner and tennis practice with Harvey again. He had something to look forward to and everything was falling into place.

Bleep.

Mike checked his phone and beamed as he read the text message: Stop thinking about us and get to work, puppy. I’ll try to do the same. -Love, Harvey

 

Chapter Text


Previously in ‘Mr. Harvey J. Specter’…

While Mike had been dealing with his hangover after leaving a love confession in his boss’ voicemail the previous night, Harvey had showed up to work in a skinny tie with his hair blond and spiky. If finding out that Rachel had visited his grandmother wasn’t bad enough, Mike had also found out that Kyle had been the one behind Harvey’s new look, including the ‘HK’ cufflinks. When Harvey had let him think that he had spent the night with Kyle, Mike had decided to choose Harvey right then and there, regardless of his previous arrangement with Rachel. While he had been busy kissing his boss, Rachel had witnessed it from outside the office and had sobbed into Donna’s blouse under her desk. Thanks to the wet tissue abandoned in front of Donna’s area, Donna’s steaming cup of coffee, and the sound of someone crying, Mike had realized that Rachel knew and that it was finally over.

 

One week later…

A young woman was standing near the window of her apartment with a cup of espresso in her hands. The summer rain was washing the dust off the streets and birds were rushing towards a drier sky. The woman took a sip of coffee with a grimace. It tasted bitter, but wasn’t that the general taste of her life these days. In the background, a puppy was whimpering near the couch, asking for the tennis ball that had rolled under it. But the woman was busy watching the outside world so that she could ignore her own.

“If you keep pushing it, it’s going to end badly for you. Believe me when I say it’s going to get bad to the point that you’ll beg me to share him.”

No matter how hard she tried, the man’s voice kept haunting her. He was the man who had what she wanted, who had taken the one thing that had been perfect in her imperfect world.

Rachel downed the espresso, enjoying the sting of her tongue, and started laughing. If she thought that it would work, she might have given it a try. What was wrong with a little begging if she could be a part of Mike’s life again? But she knew that Harvey hadn’t meant it; he had just tried to make a point. He didn’t seem like a man who would share, much to her sorrow.

Actually those weren’t the only words from the senior partner that were swimming in her head. Just yesterday, before going on vacation with his boyfriend, he had personally stopped by her office and had dropped a short letter on her desk. She had wanted to shred the letter without reading it but the temptation had been too strong.

It’s tough to run in the sand but it allows you to leave deep footprints behind. When you look back at your life, those footprints will show you just how hard you fought for yourself. And, those same footprints will lead you to what you’re looking for. So be strong and keep running. It’s only natural to reach water eventually.

The fact that Harvey had gone out of his way to console her made her feel more defeated. Mike had brought out a new side of him. The man had used to lack compassion, but now he could apparently muster enough sympathy even for his rivals.

‘Or he doesn’t consider me a threat. He probably never did.’ Rachel gave Ross a lopsided smile and retrieved the tennis ball. She knew that even such a simple act would help him consolidate his loyalty to her. As the puppy gave her a thankful look, she patted him on the head and gave him a kiss on the nose. Then she thought about how Mike had used to kiss him on the nose like that. She hadn’t spent that much time with him, and yet he was all she had to regret.

Mike looked different these days. He looked absolutely gorgeous. He had always been gorgeous but he had looked so exhausted and miserable at the end of their relationship that she had remembered him that way. Now he had a happy glow on his face and his voice was higher. He also wore much better suits with slightly wider ties. Knowing who was behind all that, she often felt the urge to cut his tie with her scissors. It wasn’t like they could go back to being friends anyway. Their dynamic had been fundamentally altered.

Woof!

Rachel opened her arms and let Ross join her on the couch. She had actually named the puppy after Mike. “Ahahah…”

Nobody had to point out to her how silly and desperate she had been. She already knew it. She had always considered herself much smarter than the average woman but when it came to hanging on to a guy who had one foot out of your life, she was pretty much the same if not dumber. She knew that one day she would associate the name ‘Ross’ with her puppy’s face more than with Mike’s, but for now it hurt whenever she called his name.

At least one good thing had come out of this mess; she was going to take the LSAT next month. She wasn’t even sure why she had been so scared of the test. Now that she had gone through a devastating experience, failing a test didn’t seem like a big deal.

She had already worked as a paralegal in one of the top law firms in New York City for five years. She had learned a lot and it had been a marvelous experience but it was time to move on. She had even earned herself an office so what more was left for a paralegal to do?

‘Maybe I’ll fall for another cute genius in law school. History tends to repeat itself.’ She scratched Ross’ belly and thought about how improbable that sounded. Donna had dragged her to an upscale bar last night and some guys had tried to get their attention. Some of them had been cute and successful but she had found herself constantly comparing them to Mike. She knew that it was too early to smile at someone else and that her wound would heal eventually, but everything sucked right now and she really missed the Mike she had used to know.

Woof! Woof!

Rachel took Ross into her arms and hugged him tight. He was soft and warm, and he was the cutie that was staying with her. She didn’t want to think about how much lonelier she would have felt if she hadn’t got him.

‘Let’s just keep running.’ She hadn’t expected to take the senior partner’s advice on such an emotional matter, but it would be stupid to ignore a tip coming from someone who had succeeded in something that she had failed spectacularly.

There was no point in looking back and trying to determine what had gone wrong. Despite wincing every time she thought about it, she didn’t regret anything that she had done to keep her boyfriend. No decent woman would have sit by idly while a shark was looking for a small window of opportunity to sink his teeth into her guy. Even though that was exactly what had happened, she had tried her best and it was now time to put it behind her. It wasn’t her first breakup and it probably wouldn’t be her last.

“Go play, sweetie.” She threw the ball towards the kitchen and watched Ross happily go after it. Then she picked up her LSAT book from the coffee table and put on her reading glasses. She was going to pull herself together and pave her own path. She had never liked sand and had no intention of running in it.

 

A young man was standing near the window of a condo with a cup of milk in his hands. The summer sea was gently washing the grains of sand and a flock of seagulls were crossing the bright blue sky. The man took a sip of milk with a smile. It tasted fantastic, and wasn’t that the general taste of his life these days. In the background, a dashing man was humming in the kitchen, making breakfast for the two of them.

“Tell me you choose me. Whatever we did in your dream, we can do it better in reality. Leave her, Mike. I don’t see the point of you fighting me when we both know how this is going to end. You’re going to come to me one way or another.”

And, things had turned out exactly as the senior partner had predicted. Mike was currently wearing Harvey’s shirt over his boxers on Fire Island, Harvey’s New York City summer retreat. Things had changed so much in one week. He suddenly had a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend and had a sex life and a better wardrobe. He hadn’t wanted Harvey to spend so much money on him but Harvey’s response had been ‘Are you kidding me? Do you know what I went through to have the right to spend money on you?’ and he hadn’t had the heart to refuse anything since then.

“How many pancakes, Mike?”

Mike turned around and faced the man who was dressed the same way as himself but who looked better than any man could ever look.

“I’m going to charge a decent kiss for each one so answer wisely.”

Mike laughed. “Only a kiss? Aren’t you a gentleman. Three, please.”

“Only three? I’m a little disappointed here.”

“Well, if they’re really good, maybe I’ll be in the mood for some dessert.” Mike licked his lips to emphasize his point and saw Harvey smirk before turning his attention back to the sea.

He thought about the day when everything had gone down. It was last Friday. After the kiss in his boss’ office, he had found himself rocking back and forth between feeling guilt and sorrow over Rachel and excitement and affection over Harvey. By the time he had finished his work and had headed to Rachel’s office, she had already left the building. The talk that had happened on Monday morning in an empty hallway had been brief. He had said sorry and she had said it back. After everything they had gone through, it had been the only thing that was left to be said.

“What are you thinking about? It’s too early to think even when you’re a genius.”

Mike smiled as he felt Harvey’s arms around his waist. He leaned back and closed his eyes while a kiss landed on his hair. “I was thinking about our first night. Well, I was getting there.”

“Our first night?” Harvey frowned. “Why that night? Last night wasn’t good enough?”

“Haha, you already know the answer to that.” Mike finished his milk and put down the cup on the small table nearby.

Harvey released his boyfriend only to pull down Mike’s boxers. His signature was proudly covering half of the pretty ass. He wouldn’t have signed him if Mike hadn’t wanted it, but it had seemed like Mike needed the reassurance that he belonged to the right person. The signature was to commemorate the fact that Mike had stopped crying in bed. He had finally overcome his guilt and had dropped his baggage. Last night was the first time Harvey had felt that he had the whole Mike with him and he had been proud to have successfully comforted his boy.

“I knew you’d like it too much. Should I start looking for a tattoo parlor?” Mike hiked up his underwear and turned around.

“What makes you think I wouldn’t prefer claiming you freshly every single night?”

“Good point. I guess I still need to learn more about you.” Mike leaned in with a grin and got a morning kiss that he could have only dreamed of. He felt so loved and yet he wasn’t overwhelmed anymore. A week wasn’t long enough to forget about his ex-girlfriend but it was apparently long enough to accept Harvey’s love in its entirety.

“Come on. Let’s get breakfast and go out for a walk. And, I still have two more kisses to collect.” Harvey hooked his arm around Mike’s waist and padded towards the kitchen.

“You can kiss me anytime you want anyway! We’re on vacation!” Mike chuckled into Harvey’s neck.

“Of course I can. I just want to keep you on your toes.” Harvey kissed him on the temple and Mike lost the urge to say something witty. He had found out that Harvey’s lips could do that to him.

They settled down at the table, both facing the huge window that led to the sea. Mike glazed the pancakes with maple syrup and drank his apple juice. He watched as the waves rolled in and out while listening to Harvey enjoy his salad with a soft crunch. It was much more peaceful than he had expected, probably because he had gone through a storm. He was happy now with the rainbow shining over his head. With every new day, he was reassured that he had made the right choice. Harvey looked happy too and it was such a nice change from what he had seen in the office.

“Why are you grinning like a complete idiot? You’ve had my pancakes before.” Harvey took a sip of coffee.

“Yes, I have. The morning after I gracefully lost the tennis match to your client.” Mike reminisced fondly as he pushed a piece of pancake into his mouth.

“In what world could that have been described as graceful?” Harvey didn’t even bother to snort. “And, here I thought I was molding you into a real lawyer who knew how to use correct words.”

“Hey, I’m just like a real lawyer! Let’s not forget how we got another day to spend together!” Mike remembered how Harvey had initially planned to extend his three days of vacation by winning a pro bono case on his own. There were no words to describe how much love he had felt when he heard that. Harvey? Pro bono? Just so he could get one more day with him? He had naturally pulled down the blinds in Harvey’s office and had given him a hot French kiss.

But Harvey had already done more than enough for him even before their relationship had properly started. He didn’t want Harvey to do something that he didn’t want to. So he had worked hard to find the loophole for a tricky case and had handed it to Harvey to use as leverage. Of course he had let Harvey do the talking alone with the managing partner since he was terrified of her.

Harvey was thinking about the same event. Jessica already knew that Mike did excellent work so it wasn’t difficult to convince her that he could use another day off. Then he had pressed a little harder to get him one more day by handing over one of his own vacation days. They had managed to get a whole week off together, including the weekend, and he was looking forward to find out what Mike was like on different days of the week. They had arrived here late last night so today was their first day together in their own little world. He had never brought anyone on his vacation before but it didn’t feel strange to be here with Mike.

Harvey watched as Mike devoured his pancakes with a smiling face. He knew that the boy wasn’t grinning because of the pancakes. Anyone would be able to see that the weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

‘I’m coming, Harvey. You were right. I see that now. I love you. And, you’ll see how much I do in a couple of days.’

Mike had been hanging onto him for dear life for the past week. He had only started to loosen his grip on him since they had got here. They hadn’t had time to process all the changes since they had had to wrap up their cases before leaving. They had been busy even during the weekend with signing a client at the tennis club and visiting Mike’s grandmother.

The woman hadn’t been thrilled at the idea of her grandson dating: a) a guy, b) who was ten years older, c) and who also happened to be his boss. But she had made it clear that she was very grateful to him for giving Mike a chance at a worthy life and making him shine like he was supposed to. He would have to work hard to win her over but he had considered it a solid step ahead when she had told him to call her ‘Edith’ by the end of their visit.

His thoughts got cut abruptly when Mike grabbed his face and kissed him out of nowhere. He tasted like syrup, apple juice, and yogurt. He smelled like relief, contentment, and hope. And, he looked like… he just looked lovely. The best part was that all of it was his now. It could have gone to the paralegal but thankfully it had come to him. With a sudden rush of possessiveness, he gripped his boy’s arms and kissed him harder. These emotions were rather new to him but with Mike, everything was just a little bit easier.

“If you do that one more time, I’m going to have you for breakfast instead.” Harvey returned to his salad and pancakes while Mike lazily giggled against his shoulder. He couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a threat or a seduction. What he could tell was that it wasn’t an empty statement. Harvey would most certainly follow through. So he busied himself with his own breakfast and when Harvey had one piece of pancake left, he dropped Harvey’s knife to the floor and climbed onto his lap.

“I warned you, puppy.” Harvey’s tone was calm as he put down his fork.

“Yes, you did.” Mike put his hands on Harvey’s shoulders and looked into his eyes. He would never get tired of wandering around in those beautiful eyes. “I see that you have one bite left.” His tone was challenging as he pointed towards Harvey’s plate with his chin.

Harvey fixed his boy with a look that said ‘You brought this on yourself’ before claiming his lips and lifting him onto the table. Mike let out a moan full of anticipation and tried to get out of his boxers without breaking the kiss. Harvey thought that it should look hilarious but he found Mike’s eagerness hot and adorable. When the boy whimpered in frustration, he gave him a hand and fixed the situation.

“Harvey…” Mike panted and let Harvey undo the two buttons of his –well, Harvey’s- shirt. Since Harvey seemed to have no intention of pushing the shirt off his shoulders, he kept it on and lay back.

“I like my breakfast warm.” Harvey announced, making Mike think ‘Who doesn’t?’. But he didn’t get to say it out loud since Harvey took his time thoroughly sweeping every bit of skin on his torso. He didn’t know if Harvey was warming him up or checking if he was warm enough to eat. All kinds of sounds spilled from his lips, but he knew that Harvey liked him responsive so he tried not to be embarrassed.

Harvey took his hands off Mike and grabbed his mug. He made sure that his mouth was as hot as possible before leaning down and swallowing his boy.

“Harvey!!” Mike let out a startled sound even though he had seen him drink his coffee. It was definitely not the first blowjob from his boyfriend but the warm liquid made it feel different. His hands were in Harvey’s hair, fingers gliding over his scalp. His hips kept moving of their own accords to get himself deeper inside Harvey’s mouth. He was willing to offer himself as the last bite of Harvey’s breakfast every morning if this was how the man treated his meal.

But just when he thought that he could predict Harvey’s next move, he saw him reach for the apple juice. An embarrassingly loud moan left him even before Harvey was back on him. His arms knocked over cups and plates but his boyfriend didn’t budge. Harvey’s mouth was now cold and the sudden change of temperature was doing wonders for his body.

“I’m glad it’s me…” Mike shivered when Harvey’s hands left his hips and started moving up and down his thighs. He was still incredibly relieved that Kyle hadn’t gotten anywhere near this man. He didn’t want Harvey to pay this much attention to anyone else. There was nothing more arousing and fulfilling than to be at the center of his attention.

“Why would it be anyone else?” Harvey rinsed his mouth with coffee and went back down. The coffee should be hotter and the juice colder, but Mike was reacting beautifully and he couldn’t be bothered to leave his boy. He didn’t give Mike a rhythm to get used to. He blew him harder while he switched faster between beverages.

Mike couldn’t help but arch his back and kick the back of Harvey’s chair. He also swept whatever was left on the table with his arms. His limbs were out of control and he was being impossibly loud. It was only then that he realized he had made a mess out of the coffee and juice. He closed his eyes and whined through his nose. He was such a mood killer.

“It’s fine, Mike. There wasn’t much left anyway.” Harvey soothed him by running his hands along his sides. “I have other ways to finish my meal.”

Mike opened his eyes and nodded. He needed a little more push to give Harvey what he wanted.

“There’s something I need to know.” Harvey murmured while he pressed kisses to Mike’s thighs.

“Anything, Harvey. Anything.” Mike spread his legs wider. The back of his left leg was getting sticky with juice and syrup but it only made things hotter.

“What did you dream about that day in my office? On my couch.” Harvey started leaving love bites on the softest parts of Mike’s thighs as he moved his hands down to the taut calves.

Mike squeezed his eyes shut. Why would Harvey want to talk about that embarrassing day? Especially now? “I dreamed about you.”

Harvey snorted and bit a little harder than necessary. “Of course you did. I want specifics, Mike.”

“Uh, you were dressed like Batman… and it was a game show with a lot of people watching…” Mike wanted to die. He could only hope that Harvey would find it amusing and have mercy on him.

“A game show, huh? How did I win and what I did win? ‘Cause I would’ve obviously won.” Harvey kissed Mike’s knees for encouragement before guiding him to bend his legs and put his feet on the table.

Mike felt horribly exposed with this new position but he focused on Harvey caressing his ankles. “You won me and… you beat another player by making me come.”

Harvey chuckled at how fast Mike’s body turned red. “You naughty boy.”

“Hey! It was a silly dream, okay? It’s not like I had any control over it.”

“Let me guess. Was the other player a woman?” Harvey squeezed Mike’s ankles and swallowed him again. Dream or not, he didn’t want the paralegal anywhere near his boy.

Mike whimpered before getting his voice back. “You really need to quit asking questions you already know the answer to. A smug man can look attractive for only so… oh god…” He bit his lower lip as Harvey’s tongue expertly worked on him.

“Look at how coherent you still are. You’re going to tell me exactly how I won you.”

A sound of protest left Mike’s lips but he knew that Harvey would eventually get the information out of him.

“Tell me what I did. Did I lick you from head to toe?” Harvey had already done that on their first night together but he was willing to do it all over again.

“Something like that…” Mike felt Harvey tug him closer to the edge of the table as his tongue swept every part of his stomach.

“Give me details, puppy. What did you like the most?”

Mike somehow managed to think despite Harvey fondling his balls. “Mouth! Mouth… kiss…”

Harvey got the message and stood up to lean over his boyfriend. He was glad that they were on the same page. As much as he enjoyed kissing other parts of Mike, nothing was better than kissing his lips.

Mike’s arms flew around his man’s neck. It was quickly becoming an instinctive reaction. As Harvey kissed him with renewed passion, he wrapped his legs tightly around Harvey’s waist. He didn’t care if that wasn’t what had happened in the dream. Harvey was better than any fantasy and this was hotter than anything he could possibly dream of. His world was currently reduced to one man, and yet he didn’t feel isolated or suffocated.

“Love you, Mike.” Harvey couldn’t resist the urge to whisper those words in Mike’s ear. He had made it a habit to tell him every single day but it turned out that he didn’t need much resolution for the task; he always ended up saying it several times a day.

“Love you back.” Mike declared as he thrust his hips up. “I think I’ve always loved you… and I don’t think I could love anyone else now.”

Harvey grinned at Mike’s honesty as he rolled his hips in sync. This was a perfect start to their weeklong vacation. “You know how far I’m willing to go to get you. So no more paralegals.”

“No more Kyles.”

“There never were any Kyles.”

“I get all the watches.”

“Naturally.”

“And, all the tennis and dumbbell lessons.”

“Obviously.”

“You only wear Lycra for me.”

“I’m never wearing that again but I could be persuaded.” Harvey kissed his boy hard before settling down on his seat.

“Oh, Harvey…” Mike panted as he felt close to completion.

Harvey took Mike in his mouth again and sucked mercilessly. Mike was flailing his limbs and gasping as if his heart was going to stop but he held him down and kept on sucking. When Mike gripped his hair and let out a desperate moan, he took a deep breath through his nose and drank everything that Mike had to offer.

“Come on, Mike. Join me in the shower.” Harvey licked his lips and stood up. Mike tasted great. “I’ll get the water running.”

He drank in the sight of his boy utterly undone on his breakfast table. He could eat him all day long but he wanted Mike to take enough time to process the changes in his private life. That was one of the main reasons why he had brought Mike with him when they had only gone out together for a week.

“I don’t think I can walk, Harvey.” Mike blushed as he felt Harvey’s eyes all over his body.

“It’s nothing we haven’t done before. And, if I can walk, you can walk.” Harvey didn’t need to point at his underwear.

“I know. But I really don’t think I can.” Mike sat up and moved his legs only to have them twitching. “Maybe my body knows it’s on vacation?” He opened his arms with a hopeful look on his face.

With a sigh, Harvey lifted his boy and threw him over his shoulder. He was too sexually frustrated to carry him any other way. Mike gave a yelp but soon proceeded to giggle.

“I think someone’s enjoying this a little too much.” Harvey’s tone wasn’t really accusing.

“Don’t worry. I’m enjoying it too.” Mike said cheekily before earning a slap on his ass.

 

Harvey was standing outside the front door, looking out to the sea as he waited for Mike to join him on his walk. It was still early in the morning so there were very few people strolling along the beach. Mike had wanted to borrow one of his shirts again and was apparently taking a lot of time choosing one.

‘Understandably so.’ He nodded as he thought about all the fine shirts that he owned. He was pleased that Mike liked to wear his clothes. As a possessive bastard (those were Mike’s words when he had signed his ass), he relished seeing the boy wrapped in something that belonged to him.

“Harvey! Forgive me for taking so long.” Mike threw himself in Harvey’s arms and kissed him on the cheek.

“You’re forgiven.” Harvey kissed him on the hair that was still moist from the shower. He held out his hand and smiled when Mike took it. It was Mike who liked holding hands but it was growing on him too.

Mike laughed happily as he held Harvey’s hand tighter and walked next to him. Harvey knew how to express his feelings for him in surprisingly many different ways, but his favorite method was through his hands. Harvey had slightly bigger hands than his that were warm and strong. He didn’t even try to fight the urge to hold up their joined hands and press his lips on the back of Harvey’s hand. It was difficult to contain his love for him now that he was allowed to show it.

Harvey looked at Mike who had wonder in his eyes. The wonder was purely for him. How did the kid manage to keep everything down his throat for so long? The amount and intensity of emotions that Mike was displaying weren’t something that could have developed in a week. Mike had been denying himself all of this just so that he could play house with some random woman. His eyes slid down to Mike’s wrist. He was wearing the watch that he had given him and he couldn’t help but smile.

“Your watch was on the nightstand so I put on mine. Someone has to know the time.” Mike felt like explaining. He didn’t want Harvey to think that he was obsessed with the watch even if he were.

“Smart puppy.” Harvey wrapped an arm around Mike’s shoulders and felt Mike’s arms hook around his waist. They actually didn’t need to know the time in the conventional sense. They only needed to know when it was time to switch to another way of sharing their love.

Mike closed his eyes and leaned on his boyfriend. He had always liked sand and the sunlight was just warm enough on their skin to feel like blessing. Now that he was with Harvey, it didn’t seem too difficult to walk in the sand. He wasn’t in the desert anymore. He had made it out of the harsh land and Harvey was the one who had guided him to a safe place.

Mike opened his eyes when he felt water on his feet. He looked down where small waves were tickling his ankles. They were in the water, standing side by side just like they used to do in front of the windows in Harvey’s office. It was one of Mike’s favorite activities at work. He relished the image of the two of them looking down at the world, eager and confident to take it as they pleased. The only difference from then was that they were now looking out to the endless horizon. There was no limit ahead of them. There was nothing to stop their journey together.

“Harvey?”

“Hmm?”

When there was no question headed his way, Harvey turned his attention from the sea to his boyfriend. The blue eyes were layered with fear and worry so he took Mike into his arms and hugged him tight. Mike had been on an emotional rollercoaster for weeks. All he could do was provide a safety net and make sure that he didn’t get hurt.

“This is too good to last. But god, I love you so much.” Mike’s voice was barely louder than a whisper. He didn’t want to sound weak but such intense happiness frightened him. It wasn’t something that he had experienced before and he didn’t want to think about what would happen if they ever lost each other.

“It can last and it will last. It’s a challenging case we’re going to win together.” Harvey hoped that fifteen years of lawyering was enough to make him sound confident. Mike wasn’t the only one who was terrified of what lay ahead of them but he didn’t need the boy to freak out even more.

Harvey walked out of the water before tackling Mike to the sand and falling on top of him. He wanted him to stop thinking. He briefly wondered if this was one of the special aspects of dating a genius.

“You’re much heavier than you think.” Mike squeaked but wrapped his arms firmly around Harvey’s torso. He had Harvey exactly where he wanted.

“All the romantic things you say.” Harvey kissed the pretty forehead and moved onto the nose. He could see that Mike was waiting for a kiss on the lips but he skipped the mouth and headed towards the chin.

“I hate to tell you, Harvey, but you suck at geography. You missed a spot.” Mike licked his lips in anticipation.

“Now did I?” Harvey smirked and leaned towards Mike’s lips, only to pull back at the last moment.

“Don’t tease me like that! My patience gets very low when I’m on vacation!” Mike put his wrestling skills to use and rolled them over. Now he could kiss his man as much as he wanted to.

Harvey stayed pliant and let his boy take his mouth in any way that he wished. Mike seemed to be too busy figuring out new ways to kiss him to worry about their future. He gave some encouraging moans and ran his hands all over Mike’s back. Mike pressed himself even closer to him and took his breath away.

“Done with me?” Harvey asked playfully as he tried to catch his breath.

“For now, yeah.” Mike rolled off his boyfriend and lay on the sand. The infinite sky was all that he could see.

“I know what’s going through your mind.” Harvey searched for Mike’s hand as he kept his eyes on the sky.

“You always do.” Mike chuckled as he intertwined their fingers. “Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.” There were no words to express how relieved he was that Harvey had read his mind and had decided to fight for him. Even when he had pushed him away with everything he had, he hadn’t given up on him.

Unlike with Rachel, he didn’t feel like he was walking on eggshells with Harvey. It wasn’t just because there was no third player in play. Everything seemed just a little more natural with him. While he wanted to be his best for him, Harvey already knew his worst. The right combination of freshness and familiarity kept things exciting and comforting.

He appreciated all the new things that he had learned about Harvey; how he knew how to play the saxophone thanks to his father, how he was obsessed with the dimples on top of his ass, and how he seemed to be scared of the panda painting in his apartment. “Ahahaha…”

“Care to share what’s so hilarious?” Harvey raised his perfect eyebrow. “I was trying to make you feel better but there’s apparently no need. But then, acting like a giggly mess might be a sign of some very disturbing conditions.”

“All the romantic things you say.” Mike swatted him on the arm with his free hand. His heart pounded hard at the sound of Harvey laughing into the fresh air. He felt like that sound could chase away all the darkness inside him and if this wasn’t hopelessly falling in love, he didn’t know what was.

“Do you remember the letter I wrote you?” Harvey’s voice was tender.

“Of course! You know I can’t forget a single word even if I wanted to. Not that I’d ever want to! You signed it with love.” Mike smiled and squeezed Harvey’s hand.

“Well, then I don’t have to remind you that the sky never falls, Mike. It’s going to pour rain and bring thunder but it’s never going to fall on your head.”

Mike stared at the sky before turning his head to the man who was lying next to him. He had often associated the sky with Harvey but the comparison had never made more sense than at this very moment. They were going to have their share of difficulties like any other couple, but in the end Harvey was going to keep him safe and warm like a blanket full of stars.

“I trust you.” That was the most he could offer; the ultimate trust. If Harvey said that they were going to be okay, they were going to be okay. He watched as Harvey slowly turned to his side and cupped his face in his hands.

“I know you do.” Harvey caressed Mike’s cheek with the back of his hand. “I trust you too.”

Mike blinked a few times. “Even after everything I did? I almost lost you!”

“Even after everything you did. I trust you to trust me when it really matters.”

As narcissistic as that sounded, Mike did prefer trusting Harvey’s judgment to his own for now. So he nodded firmly and kissed his very own sky. Nobody could convince him that life could get better than this. For once, he felt like everything was in place. Harvey was his to kiss and his to love. And, he was going to work damn hard to keep things that way.

 

THE END