It sounded like the setup of a bad joke, or at least the starting point of a horribly clichéd supervillain plot. It was trite, unnecessary, and, quite frankly, in horrid taste, and Harvey didn’t hesitate to point this out to Jessica.
“I want Tony Stark,” she stated, unperturbed. “And you’re getting him for me.”
Harvey didn’t even bother to crack the obvious joke. “Then get me a meeting with him. Or let me find a way to get one myself. This is ridiculous.”
“Stark only has time for superheroes and supermodels, and you are neither. The man doesn’t go a day without slandering someone important or exploding something expensive. He’s one of the richest men in the world, and he’s just moved to New York. Ergo, his billables will you get you your own private island by the end of the year, and I’ll have my own country.” She smiled; it was clear that Harvey would get no leeway whatsoever here. “Go to his party, butter him up, and close him.”
“A costume party full of superheroes.” Harvey scoffed. “Are you honestly asking me to dress like T-1000 to close Tony Stark?”
“Don’t be ridiculous—he’ll think you’re sucking up to him if you do that. Get a better costume.” Jessica handed him the invitation with a stern look. “Find a way to impress him. I want my country.”
There was certainly no changing her mind. “You’ll make a lovely queen,” he conceded, and turned to leave.
“And Harvey?” she added as he opened the door. “You’d better find an extremely impressive plus-one.”
Harvey Specter was willing to do many questionable things for the sake of a client as high-profile as Tony Stark. Most of them, however, were not as degrading as wearing a costume. All civilized human beings should have an appreciation for pop culture, of course—but meeting a client in, say, Starfleet Academy gold would be taking dedication to his job to a whole new level.
Mike was predictably delighted to hear of the party, and began spouting suggestions at once.
“Ghostbusters!” was his first idea, but before Harvey could voice his distaste at the prospect of jumpsuits, he moved on to, “The Dude! Cheech! Oh, what about Alex DeLarge? Or Chucky! Tyler Durden! Although it’s obvious that Stark’s a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan at heart, so—Arthur Dent? Wait, yeah, as if you’d appear in public in a bathrobe, never mind. Oh, Tron could be so awesome. And sure, Lord of the Rings, if you want to go with the classics. Half the people there will do just that, though: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, steampunk anything that looks remotely cool, the basics.”
Harvey leaned back on his chair, waiting for the diatribe to subside.
“That’s boring, though. You should do something more daring to impress Stark. How about—” Mike paused for effect, making a show of eyeing Harvey from head to toe with a filthy, speculative smirk. “Frank N. Furter?”
Harvey raised an eloquent eyebrow. Mike’s behavior tended to verge on inappropriate on the best of days, but voicing a wish to see his boss in a corset was definitely a line that, until this moment, he had not yet crossed. A lesser man would preen, or be offended—but of course both alternatives required Harvey to acknowledge Mike’s teasing for the casual flirting that it was, and that wasn’t an option.
Mike beamed, undeterred. “It would definitely make an impression.”
“Not the one I’m going for. Any decent ideas?”
“Doctor Manhattan?” he suggested, looking every bit the image of innocent helpfulness.
“Mike,” Harvey snapped impatiently as he expunged the horrid notion of entering Stark Tower naked and blue from his brain, “no body paint, no corsets, and no alien and/or monster prosthetics of any kind—I want something dignified, preferably involving a suit.”
“That’s unbelievably dull.” Mike scowled. “Fine. Clark Kent.”
“No; those glasses are ridiculous. I’m thinking more James Bond.”
“Boring!” Mike retorted at once. “People will think you’re not wearing a costume. You’re not going to stand out at all.”
“Ah, but I’ll have a Bond girl on my arm,” Harvey countered with a grin.
Mike rolled his eyes. “Even more boring. There will be gorgeous girls everywhere; a random girl in a revealing dress won’t be enough. She needs to have a costume, too, come on—Stark has to spot you from a distance.”
“Equally unremarkable.” He shrugged, and Harvey suppressed the urge to send Mike to sleep with the fishes for that bout of insolence. Mike seemed to notice the murderous gleam in his eyes, because he hurried to add, “A flawless movie and a brilliant character, but unless you force me to go with you and kiss your hand on bended knee every five seconds, no one will know that’s who you’re meant to be.” Harvey stared for a second, and Mike unabashedly added, “I totally wouldn’t mind.”
No good could come from lingering on that mental image, or the minefield to which it would inevitably lead; Harvey cast aside the thought, grasping at straws to change the subject. “Is this your way of not-very-subtly angling for an invitation?”
Mike’s answering grin was blinding. Harvey rolled his eyes.
“It’s Captain America,” Mike explained, gesticulating expansively and almost bursting with excitement. He’d never seemed more juvenile. “He’ll be there—in the actual flesh! You don’t get it, Harvey, I’ve been dreaming of meeting this guy my whole life. I’ve read every single comic book—”
“It’s Stark we want. If you’re going to be fawning over the Captain, you won’t be much use to me there.”
“I’ll make myself useful, I promise. I’ll—I’ll do anything, Harvey. I’ll mingle, I’ll network, I’ll follow your lead each step of the way, and I’ll definitely help you get a brilliant costume that Stark will fall over himself to compliment. Just...please.”
The worst part was that Harvey was actually considering the idea. For one, Stark might appreciate Mike’s whole boy genius angle; for another, Mike was objectively attractive enough to be arm candy to a casual observer.
Mike could probably see Harvey’s resolve breaking, and pressed his advantage. “I have enough time to study Stark Industries; I’ll know his company better than he does. No one really bothers, since it’s almost too massive for words, but I can do it, if you let me.”
Harvey relented with a slow nod. “You said something about a brilliant costume?”
Mike didn’t squeal or punch the air, but it was a near thing—some self-restraint at last. “Okay, now we’re in famous duos territory. Holmes and Watson? No, the movie just came out, there are bound to be others.” He thought for a moment. “How do you feel about the Doctor?”
Harvey tilted his head. “Doctor who?”
That night, Mike appeared on Harvey’s doorstep unannounced, his backpack suspiciously stretched by what seemed to be a large pile of DVD boxed sets inside—with one 400-page brief on Stark Industries in-hand to camouflage his real intent.
Giving Mike a spare key had clearly been a dreadful idea, Harvey reflected. Within minutes, Mike had toed off his sneakers and was sitting cross-legged on the couch, rambling about the evolution of Stark’s company since the weapons production debacle.
“You’re not fooling me, rookie,” Harvey interrupted. Mike grinned.
“The special effects are crap, the storytelling is uneven at best, but believe me, it’s still awesome,” he said, switching gears without batting an eye. “Come on, give it a try—I swear it grows on you. You have to trust me on this: there are several excellent costume ideas in Doctor Who. It has enough geek cred to get you in Tony Stark’s good graces, and it’s not mainstream enough in America that you’ll find lookalikes. Plus, if someone does wear a Doctor Who costume these days, it’s probably Eleven and Amy, and I’m thinking more Ten for you, or Jack Hark—”
Harvey lifted his hand, and Mike’s mouth snapped shut mid-sentence. He stared at Harvey with clear eagerness, like an overenthusiastic puppy waiting to be rewarded for prompt obedience.
“Order some pizza,” Harvey commanded, taking off his tie. “I’ll take a shower, and then we’re watching one episode—one. And then I want you gone.”
Six hours and one lengthy argument on the ethical merits of the genocide of all Daleks later, Harvey was ready to regard the show with some grudging respect.
Harvey was acutely aware that it was nearly morning, and that his associate had just spent the night for no sensible work-related reason—quite by accident, of course, and nothing untoward had happened, but it was still yet another line they’d never thought to cross before.
He reasoned with himself that his behavior throughout the night had been perfectly appropriate, and that the prolonged marathon had been Mike’s idea. At no point had Harvey allowed his gaze to linger on the way Mike’s t-shirt slid up, on the legs wide open in clear provocation, or on the suggestive tilt of his hips.
“Not very Spock, is it, just asking?” Mike happily quoted along with the episode. He threw Harvey an earnest look, expecting him to appreciate the reference.
The corners of Harvey’s lips twitched. Mike’s desire to please was at once entertaining and a stern reminder of the hierarchy between them. No matter how intelligent Mike proved himself to be, he was still a rookie—a rookie over whom Harvey had absolute power at the firm—and ignoring his increasingly unsubtle entendres and advances was an unquestionable necessity.
The bottom line, of course, had to be that Harvey didn’t really want Mike. If he did, he would find a way to have him, subordinate or no. They’d already made it clear to each other that most usual rules did not apply to their partnership, after all; and Mike was the one who was pushing for breaking this particular rule.
Harvey didn’t want this. He was...curious, that was it, and from time to time he was indeed slightly tempted, but on a purely physical level. This alone wasn’t enough to cause any real trouble, because Harvey was not in the habit of thinking with his dick.
However, his admiration for Mike was, above all, intellectual, tempered with no small amount of self-identification; and therein lay the real problem: no one fascinated Harvey Specter more than himself.
René was not pleased to heed Harvey’s request—he couldn’t understand why someone who could sport a perfectly fabulous suit would lower himself to wear a military uniform from the 1940s—but his work was, as always, flawless.
Harvey eyed himself in the mirror and smiled. The cap wasn’t all that graceful, but he could suffer it for the superbly-cut overcoat. Jack Harkness’s RAF uniform looked perfect, and would do very well for Stark’s party.
Mike wolf-whistled when he came over from his own fitting to spy on Harvey. “Impressive,” he complimented. He spun to show off his uniform: white Oxford, black tie, double-breasted naval jacket. He twirled his sea-captain’s hat and put it on, waiting for Harvey’s opinion.
“Not bad,” Harvey said. His gaze or tone must’ve come out softer than he’d intended, because Mike’s entire face lit up; he groaned inwardly. “Go back to the office, rookie—I’m going to Palm Springs for the weekend to golf with the Francorp board of directors, so I’m lending you out to Louis.”
Mike left the room with a scowl, happiness forgotten.
Harvey was not easy to impress, but even he had to admit that the interior of Stark Tower was something to behold. Tony Stark’s stamp was evident in every inch of the sleek architecture, and the décor, while extravagant, was stylish to a fault.
“Whoa,” said Mike, staring at the elevator panel. It looked like an impossibly complex interface, but before they could puzzle out how to reach the proper floor, the machine seemed to guess on its own. He grinned. “Sweet.”
After a moment, the lift doors slid open, revealing a fantastic likeness of Jack Sparrow, down to the inebriated swagger, bottle in hand. Closer inspection revealed it to be Stark himself, who had evidently built the robot monkey perched on his shoulder.
As they stepped out of the elevator, Stark stared blankly at them for a moment, and then snapped his fingers. “Jack Harkness and Allons-y Alonso! Nice. But don’t forget I’m the only Captain Jack in the room,” he said threateningly, eyes narrowed. His face quickly shifted to a smile, more than a little manic, and he added, “I’m more of a Classic Who fan myself, of course, but you gotta love the revamped technobabble and all the paradoxes. I should really make myself a sonic screwdriver one of these days, it’s bound to be useful for something. Jarvis,” he called out to no one in particular, “make a note, compile the best usage scenarios and let me know.”
“Yes, sir,” a polite voice from the elevator’s sound box replied. “Would you like a time machine as well?” it asked, not without spite.
“Sure, why not, put it on the list,” he said, unfazed. “In fact, a chameleon circuit—”
An enormous man in a Buzz Lightyear suit walked up behind him and interrupted with a muffled, “Tony?”
It was Captain America, who was apparently having issues getting the hemisphere covering his head to disappear. There were dozens of buttons on his chestplate, and he appeared to be pressing them haphazardly in the hopes that one would achieve the desired result.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Stark chortled, and pressed the correct button. “There you go.”
The Captain took a deep breath of fresh air and grinned. “I forgot which button to use,” he confessed, sheepish. “By the way, I had no idea one of them would—” his face went bright red when he saw they had company, and he fell silent at once. “I was—uh, startled.”
“Just sad I wasn’t there to see it, Cap,” Stark replied, all feigned innocence and wiggling eyebrows. “Oh well, I should’ve added a voice command interface; I would’ve, too, if you’d listened to me and watched the goddamn movie before this morning. Of course you were bound to love it. I’m heartbroken you didn’t ask me to build you a rocket ship, though.”
There was a fond smile on Tony Stark’s face. The expression, so completely at odds with his trademark smirk, was unsettling. Harvey glanced at the Captain’s unguarded, earnest expression, and at the hand the man was casually resting on Stark’s back; it wasn’t difficult to draw a conclusion. Harvey stored this new tidbit for future use.
He was about to remind the couple of his presence when Mike blurted out, “I’m a huge fan, Captain.” He seemed fit to burst with barely restrained glee—so much for following Harvey’s lead at all times. “My Gram used to tell me all about you when I was growing up. You punched Hitler 74 times!”
“So I did!” America’s—and apparently Mike’s—favorite hero held out his hand, saying, “Steve Rogers, nice to meet you.” He probably met hundreds of fans every day, but the puppy-like delight on his face was sincere. It was impossible to fake this level of naïve elation—he and Mike were bound to get along swimmingly.
“Mike Ross. And this here is Harvey Specter.”
They shook hands, and Steve turned to introduce Tony Stark, only to find the man had wandered off with a gorgeous vampire dressed in black. “And that was Tony Stark,” he said with an indulgent grin, without a trace of jealousy. “Sorry about that. He doesn’t really stand still very long.”
Harvey realized the quickest way to Stark’s good graces was via Rogers—but even Harvey had some qualms about manipulating Captain America, who was by all accounts the last truly decent man on Earth. Plus, Mike would never forgive him if he did—so perhaps his best option was to bend the truth a little.
He slid a hand around Mike’s wrist and squeezed. To an outsider, it would seem like an affectionate gesture, but Mike just blinked at him in confusion.
“You two make an unlikely couple,” Harvey said to the Captain with deceptive lightness. “I’d imagine there’s never a dull day with him.”
Rogers’s eyes widened comically. Harvey increased his pressure on Mike’s wrist, hoping the kid wouldn’t do anything stupid. Mike leaned against Harvey’s arm to reassure him: he understood the gamble.
“Well, he’s a fantastic man,” Rogers said with a gentle grin. “And yes, definitely never a dull moment. Keeps me on my toes!” He let out a nervous chuckle. “You know, Tony tells me people are a lot more relaxed about this kind of thing nowadays, but I’d never...met with anyone else who...you know.” His voice trailed off, embarrassed. He cleared his throat. “It’s good. You two make a lovely couple, too.”
“Thank you!” Mike said, basking in the compliment even though it had been received under false pretenses. “You know, if you’d like to talk to someone about it—it can be challenging. I can imagine you’d find yourself a little bewildered.”
Rogers seemed thoroughly charmed; but then he suddenly snapped to attention, staring off into the distance. “I’m on my way,” he said to no one and, after throwing Mike an apologetic look, ran off, presumably to save the world somewhere. Mike let out a dreamy sigh.
“Hopeless,” Harvey scoffed.
“So, you want me to bond with Captain America over the fact that we’re both gay for brilliant sociopaths,” Mike noted.
“May I cut in?”
Harvey grudgingly looked away from the gorgeous heiress dancing with him and faced Mike, who was standing next to them, looking annoyed. Brenda threw Harvey a questioning look.
“You trying to make me jealous, darling?” Mike asked snippily, scowling at Brenda. She raised her hands defensively and walked away at once, throwing Harvey an amused look. Several people had watched the exchange—within minutes, everyone at the party would hear the (inevitably embellished) story.
“That was unnecessary.” Harvey bristled, but took the lead anyway, his hand light on Mike’s lower back. Surprisingly, the kid wasn’t a half-bad dancer.
After a twirl, Mike pressed a quick, daring kiss to the corner of Harvey’s lips, and grinned impishly. “How can you expect us to sell this if you’re off dancing with pretty girls?”
“Stark’s not even here.”
“Everyone else is—it’ll get back to him.”
Harvey was unimpressed by the transparent excuses. “Mike.”
“Okay, you caught me.” Mike snuggled closer, wrapping his arms around Harvey’s neck and staring at him from barely three inches away, eyes warm and guileless. “You’re my boyfriend for the night, and I’m taking full advantage of this. You always keep me at arm’s length, and I get it, you’re a professional and you’re my boss—but tonight you’re neither, and I’ll be damned if I stand by and watch you take some random girl back to your condo.”
Harvey raised his eyebrows. “I’m not taking you home.”
“Of course you’re not. But I can tempt you.”
“You can try.”
Mike smirked. “Worried?”
Harvey knew this was a monumentally bad idea. They didn’t need this to convince Stark and Rogers; and Mike’s naïve charm, while easily resistible under normal circumstances, would be amped up to a thousand. Nevertheless, he almost laughed. “I can handle anything you throw at me, rookie.”
“That feels like a dare. So—how would you like me to begin, Harvey? Let’s see. How do you feel about dirty talk?”
“I’m not discussing my sexual preferences with you,” he replied, caught off-guard by Mike’s candor.
“Oh, you like it! Naturally. You’re not shy; you’re a lawyer.” He had a shameless shit-eating grin on his face, and of course he made his point by quoting a movie about a BDSM relationship between a woman and her boss. Touché. “Exhibitionist streak, is it? Would you enjoy it if I started saying the filthiest things to you here, in front of everyone?”
He’d expected flirting, but not this—this, he wasn’t quite sure he would be able to withstand for very long. And really, Harvey had dug his own grave: he’d taught Mike to play up his own confidence, to read people and use any chink in their armor to get under their skin.
Harvey, who under normal circumstances was excellent at hiding his reactions from everyone, knew that his every muscle was taut, his breathing rapid—and Mike knew it, too.
“Would you like me to confess the filthy things I fantasize about when we’re working late and you’re riding me so hard I can barely see straight? Do you think I don’t notice when you forget yourself and end up staring for just a second too long? Did you know that every time you do that I have to get myself off in the associates’ bathroom just so I can face you without making a fool of myself? Do you want to hear just how curious I am to know if you’re as bossy in bed as you are out of it? Do you want me to say just how much you drive me crazy when you look at me like you’re about to spank me just because I made the tiniest mistake? Yes, just like that,” he purred, gaze drifting from Harvey’s clenched jaw to his narrowed eyes with satisfaction.
Harvey was getting hard despite himself, and Mike’s smug grin made it clear that he’d noticed. Harvey took a deep breath to steady himself, and focused on the dance steps: one, two, three, one, two, three.
Jesus Christ, he’d never imagined Mike could be this forward—if he had been, Harvey wouldn’t have held out for this long.
The idea of using tonight’s cover as a get-out-of-jail-free card was getting more appealing by the second.
“Would you prefer it if we got out of here? This place is huge. We could find a dark corner to spend some time before Stark gets back.”
Harvey rolled his eyes.
“Hey, you could tie me up, if you want. You can use my tie,” Mike suggested matter-of-factly, as if Harvey hadn’t fantasized about doing exactly that a thousand times, as if he didn’t know Harvey would remember this exact moment every goddamned time he saw Mike in a suit.
Mike tilted his hips forward, the slow friction growing more maddening as they continued to dance. For the first time in his life, Harvey regretted being competitive; if he weren’t quite so stubborn, he would’ve backed down from this stupid round of dirty talk chicken long ago.
“Would you enjoy that, Harvey? Tying me to the bedpost, or to the leg of your office desk, bending me over and wrenching obscene sounds out of me? Asking me just how much I want your cock inside me, and then teasing and torturing me just because you know I love it when you do? Do you want to make me beg, to keep me desperate on your bed for hours on end? Or would you prefer to order me around and watch while I take care of myself? Or maybe you’d like to lounge in your chair while I crawl over on my knees to blow you?”
Harvey’s throat was dry; he was painfully aware of every point of contact between their bodies. His higher brain functions had all but shut down. His hand was splayed flat on the small of Mike’s back, and not using it to pull Mike to him took every ounce of self-control Harvey possessed. He could barely force out a snarled, “No.”
“You’re dying to, aren’t you? All your power plays, the punishments and the rewards, that gleam in your eyes when I obey a direct order without question—that’s all you trying to deal with a really badly suppressed desire to hold me down and fuck me, isn’t it? I’d love it if you did, in case you haven’t gathered that.”
Okay, that was enough. The stakes were rising too fast, and Harvey couldn’t afford to keep playing this game.
“It may have crossed my mind, yes,” he replied sardonically. “Mike. Stop.”
Mike stilled immediately. Harvey hissed, more turned on by the obedience than he could ever rationally explain. He turned and walked away from the dance floor, with Mike close in tow.
“We can’t do this,” Harvey stated once they reached a secluded corner. “I know you want it, but this sort of thing doesn’t work in the long run—you can never go back. It complicates things. It destroys reputations, and we really don’t need this on top of everything else. It’s simply not going to happen.”
“You said I could try,” Mike retorted, ignoring Harvey’s rational exposition.
“I obviously misjudged your dedication to the matter at hand. I wasn’t expecting you to hump my leg in public like a puppy in heat.” He grimaced. “It’s unsavory.”
“You really like the puppy analogy, huh?” Mike asked. That damned cocky grin was back—Harvey’s contempt wasn’t fooling him. “Let the record show that I’m starting to think you have a slight fixation with the idea of housebreaking me. And anyway, you may think it’s not going to happen, but the rest of your body seems to agree with me that it will.”
Harvey didn’t bother disagreeing. “Fortunately, I don’t think with my dick, and neither should you.”
“My entire career is already in your hands, for obvious reasons.” Mike shrugged. “We’re already so messed up that this would barely register as yet another complication. I trust you, Harvey—with all of it.”
How on Earth was a sane man supposed to reply to something like that? “You’re my responsibility, Mike,” he said neutrally, buying himself time to think.
“And I’m never afraid of asking or even occasionally begging for your help when I need it, but this isn’t one of those times. This is a decision I can make on my own. Don’t treat me like a kid; I sit at the grown-up table now, remember?”
“Not for this one, you don’t, kiddo.” Mike glowered; Harvey shook his head. “I just heard a commotion out there—go check if Stark’s back.”
Once more, Mike obeyed without hesitation, and Harvey set out to drown his sorrows in a glass of Stark’s finest whisky.
After confirming that Stark and the others had returned, Mike disappeared to the balcony, deep in conversation with Captain America. Harvey watched them from afar, reviewing the night’s events and wondering just how everything had spun so completely out of control. His resolve had been hanging by a thread, and he’d barely managed to push Mike away before they’d gone too far.
Harvey wasn’t keen on lying to himself, and he hated being indecisive. Drawing this out was starting to feel like delaying the inevitable. Perhaps the most sensible course of action would be to lay some steadfast ground rules before giving in; that would get the urges out of both their systems, at least.
Harvey had had plenty of sex in the months since Mike had started working at Pearson and Hardman—several fantastic one-night stands with gorgeous men and women, and Scotty, who was a category all of her own—but that hadn’t been enough to rid his brain of the inconvenient desire to see his goddamned associate sprawled on his bed.
Mike desperate, sweaty, loose-limbed, and his: the thought alone was enough to—
“Is there anything you want to share with the class, Harvey?” Jessica asked from behind him.
He didn’t let his shock at her sudden appearance show on his face. He bought himself time by examining her costume: a tight-fitting leather blouse and beige jeans, with an old-fashioned pistol in a holster tied to her thigh. She looked like she could kill him with her pinky.
“Everyone seems to be under the impression that the great Harvey Specter has finally found love,” she said, raising her glass in a mock salute. “And that was quite a show you two put on just now. Tell me you’re playing an angle and that I have nothing to worry about.”
“I’m playing an angle,” he replied, leaving out the rest; she could draw her own conclusions.
Jessica knew him too well to not notice the omission. Her gaze sought out Mike—he was still talking to the Captain on the balcony, their profiles barely visible from this distance. “He seems anxious to please.”
“That’s just the way he is.”
"He worships the floor you walk on, Harvey.”
“If you take sexual advantage of him, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell,” she said sternly. “A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."
“If there’s one rule you don’t break, that’s the rule you don’t break.”
“This kid shows promise, Harvey. If this thing went south, his reputation wouldn’t make it through intact.”
Harvey shrugged in a half-hearted attempt at his usual egotism. “Mine would.”
Jessica threw him a look that plainly stated otherwise, and walked away without another word.
Jessica’s warning inspired Harvey to steel himself anew. Mike would never see reason, of course; but Harvey could not allow himself to be so easily swayed. He vowed to focus his efforts on his real—his only—objective for the night: securing Tony Stark’s contract with Pearson and Hardman.
Stark was standing at the entrance to the balcony, drink in hand, watching Mike, who was still deep in conversation with Steve Rogers. As Harvey approached, he said, “You know, at first I thought your jailbait there was trying to score a Captain America sandwich for the two of you, but now I’m thinking you need to keep an eye out, or else I’m the one getting a jailbait sandwich.”
Before Harvey could react, Stark had made his way to the other two men. He wrapped an arm around Mike’s waist, gave him a lewd grin, and asked, “Did he brag about his super-stamina? Believe me, it’s the stuff of legend.”
Rogers flushed a deep shade of red.
“Don’t even bother pretending you’re not interested, Cap,” Stark said. “I know that look. I’m flattered that ‘brilliant asshole’ seems to have become your type, by the way.”
“Hey, I’m not an asshole!” Mike complained.
“He—oh, God, Tony, he has a boyfriend, who’s right there,” Rogers stammered, blushing even more. “We were just talking! Old baseball, mostly—he has a fantastic memory.”
Stark curled his fingers around Mike’s hips, ignoring the Captain’s weak protests for decency. “One-time offer, Ross,” he drawled.
“Taken, sorry!” Mike said cheerfully. He slipped out of Stark’s grasp to stand in front of his fake boyfriend, who took the hint and hugged him from behind, his arms lingering to hold Mike in place.
“Mike, you do realize this is Captain America you’re kicking out of bed,” Harvey pointed out, amused.
Mike smiled. “You do realize you’re Harvey Specter,” he retorted fondly, and Harvey suddenly decided it would be an unacceptable break of character not to spin Mike around and kiss him.
It didn’t last long, but when they parted, Mike’s eyes were triumphant. If they had been at the office, he would have probably been doing a ridiculously juvenile victory dance.
At that exact moment, Harvey’s phone buzzed, and he let go of Mike to fetch it from the breast pocket of his coat. There was one new message from Jessica, which read simply, Special hell. Harvey grimaced, and took a guilty step away from Mike, whose face fell.
Stark watched them, curious. “Tell me, Ross,” he said off-handedly, “why should I hire an asshole who used Captain America to get to me and a kid with a fake Harvard diploma?”
Mike froze; Harvey, too, was alarmed. Stark had seen through their little ruse—and he was angry.
“Why didn’t you go for an actual diploma, by the way?” Stark continued, seemingly oblivious to their shock. “Your LSATs were pretty damn impressive.”
“I—I never took the LSATs,” Mike stammered.
Stark grinned, all teeth. “That’s cute, you’re absolutely adorable. No, but really. Why should I hire you?” Harvey opened his mouth to speak, but Stark raised a hand, effectively silencing him. “Not you, Specter. Why don’t you put your money where your dick wants to be and let Ross do the talking?”
Harvey threw Mike a stern glance meant to communicate both go on, you can do this and don’t fuck this up—mostly the latter.
It worked: Mike took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, lifted his chin. “We’re the best,” he stated simply. “You currently have Milton, Chadwick & Waters on retainer. In the past ten years, they’ve gone to court with 682 of the 917 cases in which you were a party, with a further 113 of those resulting in a settlement during the proceedings. Your losses in court—which amount to 467 of the aforementioned 917 cases, which, by the way, means they only won 102 times, and that’s counting all the partial victories, that’s sad—average upwards of 13 million dollars in punitive damages alone, let alone the exorbitant amounts in actual damage judges often see fit to slap you with just because you’re Tony Stark. Harvey takes roughly 6.4% of his cases to court. He nearly always settles—and he’s very, very good at it.” Mike grinned, calm and cocksure. Harvey felt a rush of pride. “You do the math.”
Stark laughed. “Like I said, impressive. You sure your talents aren’t wasted on law, Mike? We could use you at Stark Industries.”
“Definitely sure,” Mike replied.
“Pity. You need to cover your tracks better, anyway—the patch-up hack that got your name into the Harvard database wasn’t nearly thorough enough. Jarvis, fix it, won’t you? Give him good grades, join the best groups, ‘shop him into the class photos, give him a byline or two in the school paper, make a sizable donation in his name to the alumni association, add his year’s roster to his Facebook friends list, the works.”
Jarvis, whoever he was, seemed to take the insane request in stride. “Should I add his number to their phones as well?”
“Obviously. And change his LSAT scores to show up under his real name. Now, you.” Stark turned to Harvey. “If you don’t get off your high horse and fuck the kid, Specter, rest assured that I will—or Steve, whichever.” Harvey’s nostrils flared, and he forced himself to ignore the anger swelling inside him. “The point is: I don’t like the idea of having a wimp for a lawyer. Get it together.”
Tony Stark was clearly not the sort of man who cared about sexual harassment and ethical conduct in the workplace. Harvey considered several responses before beckoning Mike closer with a head tilt and kissing him savagely, thoroughly staking his claim.
Mike didn’t simply melt into the kiss; he moved with unselfconscious, feverish hunger, kissing like they were alone and in bed, reaching down to palm Harvey’s cock through his pants. Harvey let out a growl that wasn’t at all feigned, but made sure not to touch Mike—that was definitely a line he couldn’t cross.
“You’re welcome, kid,” Stark called out, laughing, as he dragged Rogers away to the party.
As soon as they were alone, Harvey took a resolute a step back.
“No—don’t,” Mike complained, leaning his forehead against Harvey’s. “Fuck, don’t. Harvey.”
“We can’t. I’m not denying I want to,” Harvey admitted, and in a moment of weakness didn’t move away. “But we can’t.“
“Please,” Mike breathed.
“The legal ramifications alone—I’m your boss. This is sexual harassment.”
Mike’s eyes snapped open. “Bullshit,” he spat, his hand sliding up Harvey’s chest and grabbing his collar. “You’re not taking advantage. If anything, I’m harassing you. ”
“It doesn’t work like that. Sexual harassment is not about sex. It’s about power. I have it; you don’t.”
“Oh, don’t go all Disclosure on me. I wouldn’t have sex with you just because you’re my boss, and we both know it. And for God’s sake, I’m not going to sue you. The firm doesn’t forbid it, either—I checked. So what’s the matter?”
Harvey had to keep talking; it was the only way to ignore how close Mike was, and how easy it would be to stop resisting. Special hell, special hell, he repeated to himself, like a mantra.
“I’m your mentor,” he said. “I have a responsibility to keep you on track.”
“How would it be at all different from this cat-and-mouse thing we’ve got going on? Okay, I’d probably waste fewer billable hours dealing with the consequences of the oh-so-very casual touches and looks you let slip from time to time, but that’s about it. It sure as hell won’t make me think of you in a less professional capacity any more than I already do.” He smirked. “I’ll still respect you in the morning, I promise—unless you’re really, really awful, in which case I’d probably kill myself out of sheer disappointment.”
Harvey scoffed. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Maybe people are too scared to tell you just how dreadful in bed you really are,” Mike teased, wiggling his eyebrows. “How can I possibly be sure unless I check for myself?”
Harvey didn’t even dignify that with an answer.
“I’ll be honest with you,” Mike vowed, smiling.
“Doing this would endanger your career, and mine,” Harvey pointed out.
“You already put your career on the line for me every time I walk into that office. You already trust me that much—why can’t you trust me with this?” Mike rolled his eyes. “Look. Worst-case scenario, we’re both completely brilliant at this and we manage to get it out of our systems for good. Best-case scenario, we have a new way of celebrating our most awesome victories from time to time. Nothing’s going to change at the firm. We both like women too much to give them up, and you’re you besides; I’m not thinking white-picket fence here. I’m an adult—I can handle casual sex.”
Harvey gave himself a mental pat on the back. He’d taught Mike self-assurance, and how to build a good argument—clearly, the lessons had been put to excellent use.
Special hell, he thought weakly, but not even the memory of Jessica’s glare seemed all that convincing at the moment.
Mike tilted his head to the side and traced the outline of Harvey’s ear with his tongue. “So, councilor, we’ve established no one is going to cry Oncale v. Sundowner,” he said softly. “Any further objections?”
“You honestly think courtroom jargon is going to turn me on?” Harvey asked with a smirk.
Mike chuckled, his breath warm. “Oh, Harvey, you’re deflecting,” he pointed out, giddy. “How the mighty have fallen! You know how good I am with details; you think I missed how hard you are right now? You want me, Harvey. I could be saying anything here and you’d still be every bit as turned on as you are. Am I wrong?”
Mike correctly interpreted Harvey’s silence as a reluctant agreement.
“We the People of the United States,” he began, lips brushing against Harvey’s ear, “in order to form a more perfect union,” he began swaying in a slight grind, their bodies pressing against each other in all the right places, “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,” he reached down, wrapped his hand around the outline of Harvey’s dick and stroked him slowly, squeezing hard with each word, “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” He laughed. “See?”
Well, he had a point.
Mike wrapped his argument with, “Don’t try to pretend there aren’t a thousand other lines we cross every day without a second thought. It’s not like everything else about us isn’t already extraordinary. I see no reason not to do this.”
He was hand-picking his words; his tone was cocksure and seductive. The little fucker was actually trying to close Harvey Specter. The sheer audacity of it would be offensive if it weren’t insanely hot.
“This is a horrible idea,” Harvey lied, wrapping his hand around Mike’s neck and kissing him fervently.
Tension began draining out of Mike’s body at once, and Harvey appreciated just how difficult it had been for him to fake that much confidence for the whole night. It had been a good strategy, but they both liked it better when Harvey was calling the shots; he ran his fingers through Mike’s hair, making a soothing noise, and the little tension remaining disappeared.
“Ah, fuck, yes,” Mike grunted. “Can’t believe it took you this long.”
“Shut up, rookie,” Harvey snapped with a grin.
“Don’t call me—”
Harvey wrapped his fingers around Mike’s throat, and tightened his grip—Mike stopped talking at once and let out a moan.
“Well, well,” Jessica’s voice said from behind Mike. “Isn’t this special.”
Mike froze. Harvey squared his shoulders and faced her, trying to look as dignified as possible for a man caught with his proverbial pants down.
“Mr. Ross,” she began, “if you choose to sue Harvey for sexual harassment—”
“I won’t. If anything, I’m harassing him, I swear—” Mike hurried to clarify, but his voice trailed off when Harvey squeezed his hand in warning.
She threw Harvey an incredulous look, shocked that his puppy wasn’t well-trained enough not to interrupt Jessica Pearson. “He’s now a liability, Harvey,” she stated, disappointed.
“You’ll have two signed affidavits stating there’s no harassment on your desk by Monday,” Harvey replied.
“If you screw this up, I’m firing both of you.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Mike.
Harvey shrugged; he’d cross that bridge when—if—he came to it. “Don’t worry.”
“That being said, Tony Stark just told me he’s hired new representation.” She grinned. “Congratulations.”
She left, and Mike let out a nervous laugh. “That was awful.”
There was no point in reassuring him—if something went wrong, Jessica might not fire them, but she certainly would eat their livers with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
“We’re leaving,” Harvey announced.
Mike followed him out of the party. They slipped past all the other guests and went straight for the elevator. Once inside, Mike leaned against Harvey, angling for a kiss.
“Have a good evening, Mr. Specter,” Jarvis’s disembodied voice said, nearly causing Mike to jump.
“Jarvis, you’re a fucking creepy AI, I hope you don’t mind me saying so,” Mike said, glowering.
“Not at all.” Jarvis seemed rather inappropriately amused, for a computer. But then again, it had probably been programmed by Tony Stark. “Have an excellent evening, Mr. Ross.”
“Open the pod bay doors, HAL,” Harvey instructed, and the elevator doors opened.
“I can’t believe I gave my panties to a geek,” Mike quoted fondly.
Harvey threw him a look.
Mike fluttered his eyelashes and said, in his best impression of a teenage Dustin Hoffman, “Mr. Specter, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?”
“That’s the most appalling thing I’ve ever witnessed,” Harvey said, disgusted. “There’s no way I’m taking you back to my condo after this. Go get your bike.”
Mike just ignored him and slid his arm around Harvey’s waist. “You know, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful partnership.”
“Don’t butcher Casablanca. It’s tacky.”
Mike grinned. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."