The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold
It’s quiet in the apartment, the TV on low, the few lamps that are lit emit a soft glow that lends a gentleness to the place that Mike knows Harvey will never admit was intentional. Harvey’s in the kitchen and Mike can hear, when he listens for it from his spot on the sofa in the lounge surrounded by sheets of paper that make up his lawsuit, the soft “thk thk” sound of Harvey slicing vegetables on the wooden chopping block.
It’s a domestic scene, one that’s been well crafted over the four and half years they’ve been together. It’s like any other of a multitude of nights that Mike can remember in perfect detail.
He knows, though, that it’s not.
He’s not read any of the sheets in front of him for over ten minutes and Harvey’s been slicing and dicing for much longer than that, both silent. Mike’s lip is tender from where he’s been nibbling at it for days; his shoulders ache with the tension held within them.
The sound of chopping ceases and Mike closes his eyes when he hears Harvey heave a sigh, then another and then there’s the soft pad of feet across the hardwood floor and Mike smiles as he remembers the first time he ever heard the sound, the first night he’d spent at casa Specter.
He turns when Harvey doesn’t say anything and it’s to find Harvey leaning casually against the doorjamb, his arms folded across his chest and Mike returns to half bittersweet, half fond smile that he can see on Harvey’s lips.
He knows what’s coming.
“I love you,” Harvey says and Mike nods even as his chest constricts as it always does when Harvey says the rarely uttered words. Harvey nods again and looks to his feet, all traces of the lawyer in him fleeing as he battles with the words that Mike knows are banging against his chest, desperate to break free. He breathes, the inhale huge, the exhale quiet. “I love you, but I can’t do this anymore.”
Mike doesn’t move out straight away. Harvey insists he stay until he could get a decent apartment sorted out, until things settle down between them and Mike doesn’t really have any energy to argue.
The first few nights he tries sleeping in the guest room but it’s cold and impersonal and he hates that he’s sleeping in the guest room. After the fourth night of no sleep, when he’s lying in the bed staring out over the city he hears the door open and the semi-darkness is split apart by a shard of light from the hallway.
“Come to bed,” Harvey murmurs and Mike turns then, and stares at Harvey at the words. “I hate that you’re sleeping in here.”
And Mike gets it.
He settles in beside Harvey, not touching, and their noses are separated by a good few inches. It’s strange because he still wants Harvey, still loves him but this is also the most right anything has felt between them for such a long time; no expectations, no worries, no tension.
Mike falls asleep.
The day that the divorce is finalised is the day that Mike moves into his new apartment. It’s only a few blocks from their- from Harvey’s place and the movers take care of most of it. Harvey stands in the middle of the room directing everything and Mike watches him from the kitchen and feels a fond smile creep across his lips even as something pangs in his chest, threatening to dislodge the carefully placed lid he has covering the simmering ache there.
Harvey offers to stay and help him set up but Mike can’t- he declines and Harvey watches him for a few moments before nodding. He leaves a few minutes after the movers and Mike pretends he doesn’t see the way he lingers in the door, and Mike has to quell the urge to throw his arms around his ex-husband and just hold on.
He doesn’t unpack (doesn’t like the finality of it) and sleeps on the sofa in the lounge in his jeans and t-shirt. It’s the first time he’s cried in the sixty-three days since that night.
“Honestly, you would never think you two had ever gotten a divorce,” Jessica (Dickens, not Pearson) says over lunch in Mike’s office and it’s the first time anyone has mentioned that word in front of him despite it being four months since it was finalised.
She rolls her eyes.
“You still do that… gravity thing.”
Mike scoffs to hide his laugh.
“Gravity thing? Really? What even is that?”
She cocks her head and levels him with a stare.
“You know the thing where there’s a force of nature between you that makes you orbit one another? That thing where you both at each other look like the other hung the moon and stole the stars?”
Mike stills. There’s that ache simmering in his chest again and it’s ridiculous because he wanted this. He’s happier now than he’s been in nearly a year. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t still love Harvey, and he’ll admit that to anyone who asks. He thinks Harvey would, too.
“I think that’s all Harvey and I were ever meant to do.” She frowns. “Orbit each other,” he clarifies and has to look away from the pitying look on her face.
“Mike-“ she begins but is cut off by Harvey saying the same thing.
“Ah, sorry,” Harvey apologises. “I was going to ask if you wanted to grab lunch before heading over to Champan’s but-“ he waves to the ensemble in front of him, which Mike sees from the corner of his eyes because he can’t quite bring himself to look up at Harvey. “I’ll get Ray to swing back in about an hour and pick you up.”
Then he’s gone.
Jessica leaves not long after and Mike uses the rest of the allotted hour to look through jobs ads online.
“You don’t have to leave.”
Mike’s getting beer from the fridge when Harvey calls through to him from the sofa and Mike rolls his eyes.
“I know I don’t have to. I want to,” he says as he returns from the kitchen and he catches Harvey’s wince at the words. He thinks over them quickly and rolls his eyes. “It’s not about you, Harvey.”
“I didn’t say it was.” Mike raises his eyebrow and Harvey scowls. “You have to admit that the timing’s a bit… convenient. People are going to think-“
“I don’t care what people will think.” He settles back into the sofa, turning his attention back to the game (Giants at the Jets that neither Harvey nor Mike had managed to get tickets for). Harvey’s silent for so long that Mike turns to him, to find Harvey staring at him with the pinched expression that Mike knows well. He sets his beer bottle down and turns to Harvey. “I’m not leaving you, Harvey.”
Harvey snorts and turns away, “That ship’s already sailed, Mike.”
“I didn’t leave you, Harvey. You were the one who brought it up. You were the one who-“
“Don’t try and put all of this on me. You’d left a long time before I ever said the words. Why do you think- No. It doesn’t matter, just watch the game.”
But Mike’s stuck somewhere between shock and anger and he grabs onto Harvey’s arm to turn him.
“What? Harvey-“ Harvey sighs and pulls away from Mike’s grip but he doesn’t move to stand. “What do you mean? I thought you wanted-“
“I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you, Michael, but only if you wanted to spend yours with me, too. I could see you weren’t… I was suffocating under the weight of you not wanting it.” Mike can’t breathe and there’s an ache that starts on the left hand side of his body that is spreading out across his chest and down his arms and legs and his fingers are tingling and his eyes are burning and- “That’s what I couldn’t do anymore.” Harvey sighs and tilts his head back against the couch, stares up at the ceiling.
People think that Harvey doesn’t feel and for the most part, they are right. But when he does, he really does. Mike knows this, which is why the weight of Harvey’s words almost crushes him.
“And now you’re leaving me again.” He pushes himself to stand and Mike doesn’t stop him. Can’t. “I don’t want your pity because for the past six months I’ve actually been able to breathe but the thought of not seeing you every day is- Christ, I’m terrified I’m never going to see you again.”
Mike can’t help it. He laughs. It’s soft and fond and Harvey glares at him but Mike reaches out, catches his wrists and pulls him back down to the sofa. Harvey’s reluctant but Mike draws him into a loose hug and laughs into his neck.
“Turn the drama down a notch, Juliet.” Harvey makes a noise of protest at having his words repeated back to him but doesn’t try to pull away. “Maybe without me hanging around all the time you might get laid.” Harvey stiffens and Mike winces, tightening his arms slightly. “Too soon?”
“Christ, I must have really done a number on you, huh?”
Harvey pushes away then but he’s smiling, even if only slightly.
“Don’t let it go to your head, rookie,” and that’s a nickname that Mike’s not heard in years and it makes him smile. “We both know you’re as broken up on the inside as I am about this.”
Mike snorts but doesn’t deny it.
Mike’s first week as a lecturer at NYU (he’s not sure how he bagged that one and he’s dying to see what Harvey and Jessica (Pearson) wrote in his references that had NYU calling up three days after he submitted his application) is hard and Harvey’s there on Friday night with beer and a DVD and it’s good.
On Monday, week two as an imparter of knowledge, he meets Claire. She teaches English (language and literature because she couldn’t decide which she preferred) and she asks him out on Tuesday night but he declines on the grounds that he’s tired but really, he’s freaking out because he’s not been on a date with anyone but Harvey for over five years.
She asks again a week later. He says yes.
The days are getting longer,
The tea-leaf in the tea-cup
Is herald of a stranger.
He’s been seeing Claire for nearly three months before he tells Harvey. They’re in Harvey’s having a Sunday lunch in preparation for the football game and Mike can’t hold it in anymore. All he gets in response is a small smirk (and Mike pretends not to notice how it doesn’t reach Harvey’s eyes) and an indulgent:
“You say that like I don’t know.”
Mike tries to joke, tries to laugh it off with an “I thought only Donna knows all?”
But all Harvey says is “Donna knows all,” and turns back to the oven before continuing, “but I know you.”
Mike hasn’t anything to say to that, really.
He’s in bed with Claire later that month when he broaches the subject that Harvey keeps badgering him about.
“Harvey wants to meet you.”
He feels Claire push herself up to her arms and he tilts his head to look at her.
“The infamous Harvey. I was starting to think you’d made him up,” she says but she’s smiling and Mike returns it, lifts his hands and trails his knuckles down her cheek. She really is gorgeous, the lights of the city outside glittering against her skin, setting it alight. “When and where? I feel like I need to make a stop off at a salon before I meet the big-wig.”
And Mike laughs – how can he not? – but there’s something tugging on the inside of chest. He’s not quite told her who exactly Harvey is, only that the man is his best friend and they’ve got a shared past. He tells himself it’s simply because it’s not come up but really, how do you tell the woman you’re starting to fall for that you were married, and that that man is also your best friend whose condo you stay over at every Sunday night.
“I’ll let him know you said yes and let you know.”
To his surprise, Harvey suggests his condo and Mike’s reluctant but also grateful – they’re both comfortable there and Mike hopes that will be enough to dissuade any potential awkwardness.
Mike loves Harvey.
It’s just a fact. It’s there, right in the centre of his chest and it’s there right down to his toes.
It’s both warm and settled, and hot and passionate. It’s never cooled and Mike is under no illusion that it ever will.
He loves Harvey. It’s part of the basic fabric of his being, just as he’s sure that Harvey loves him.
They were never ones for grand displays and even Harvey’s proposal (yes, Harvey’s proposal) was a muted affair, spoken in the deep shadows of night against Mike’s shoulder. Their wedding had been happy, and Mike remembers it with a sort of hazy sepia-toned filter, all muted colours and gentle smiles and softly spoken vows that said, essentially, what both Harvey and Mike knew.
Mike loves Harvey and Harvey loves Mike.
That’s something that’s never changed.
Mike’s surprised to find Donna in the condo when he and Claire arrive. Claire’s a bubble of excitement and Mike can’t help but sling his arm around her waist as they travel up the glass elevator (he’s no longer awed by the view but Claire is practically vibrating out of her skin as she presses herself up against the glass and looks out over the city). He watches in fond amusement as she does the same when they enter the apartment and Donna takes their jackets (which is weird for Mike but he doesn’t live here anymore, he gets it).
Harvey’s not ready yet so Mike goes into the bedroom where he can hear the faint sounds of the shower running in the ensuite to let Harvey know they’ve arrived.
“Good. There’s wine in the fridge, I ordered from Daluciano’s down the road.”
Mike nods and leans against the sink, crossing his arms over his chest as he listens to the water battering down against Harvey’s skin.
Harvey sticks his head around the half wall and smirks.
“Well spotted, detective.”
Mike rolls his eyes and shifts slightly and Harvey disappears back behind the wall.
The water shuts off and Harvey’s hand appears and Mike rolls his eyes again, steps forward and passes him the towel that’s well within grabbing distance. Harvey appears a few seconds later, still dripping, and shrugs.
“You brought a date.” Mike’s eyebrow rises and Harvey rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “You know what I mean.” He purses his lips, moves passed Mike into the bedroom and Mike follows. “I didn’t want it to be…” he shrugs again and Mike gets it. He shuffles his feet slightly and wants to say something but can’t think what, but Harvey’s speaking again. “Speaking of – where is your… Claire?”
“Gawking at the view, no doubt.”
Harvey glances at Mike over his shoulder as he stands in front of the door to the closet, the smile small and affectionate and familiar.
“Hadn’t you better rescue her from Donna?”
Mike nods and spins on his heel.
Harvey’s immaculately put together in a soft shirt and a pair of jeans, his feet clad only in socks (Mike can’t help but smile at the loose set of his hair without gel in it) by the time the food arrives. They’re gathered in the kitchen and Mike has told Donna and Claire to sit this one out and he and Harvey dish out the food, moving around each other to reach plates and cutlery and organise orders.
Mike doesn’t think anything of it.
“He touches you a lot,” Claire says in the cab on the way back to his (they could have walked but Mike may or may not have had a bit too much wine) and Mike turns to her.
“Harvey. He touches you a lot.”
“Not that I’ve noticed.”
“No.” He turns to her then at her tone but she’s looking out to the city around her. Everything, even with the alcohol, is so sharp – the colours, the sounds, the shapes. “He’s very attractive.”
Mike smirks and nods.
“That’s Harvey.” Her laughter is a tinkle, loud and clear and he grins at her. “Should I be jealous?” It’s a joke and she’s smiling but there’s a truth to her next words that Mike doesn’t like.
Donna demands dinner with him and when Mike sits down, he’s not sure that dinner is something he is going to be able to eat.
“What are you doing, Mike?”
“What do you mean?” She just looks at him and Mike tries not to shift. “Donna…”
“He’s hurting. And you’re flaunting just how over him you are.”
Mike sighs. This isn’t the first conversation like this he’s had and he hates it. Hates that he’s getting the blame for everything.
“He left me, Donna. He told me he wanted out; he told me he wants to be friends; he invited me and Claire around because he wanted to meet her. How is any of that my fault?”
Donna stares at him for a long moment before she stands from the table and picks up her bag. She turns, pauses a moment then turns back to him.
“Did you ever love him?”
“What?” Mike glares at her. “Of course I did!”
Donna purses her lips, blinks a few times and if it wasn’t Donna in front of him, he’d think she was trying to blink back tears.
“Harvey asked you to spend the rest of his life with him, Mike. Think about that next time you bring your happiness into his – into what he considers your - home.” She leans down, her tone dangerous. “Let him get over you, Mike. Let him move on.”
“Harvey and I were married for three and a half years. We got a divorce last year.”
Claire stares at him and he can see her trying to battle a smile.
“Right,” she says with a bell like laugh.
“Seriously.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wedding ring, slips it onto his finger and shows it to her. “Harvey still has his, he wears it on his other hand now. You would have seen it last month when we had dinner at his place.”
“I should have told you before now and for that I’m sorry but…” He shrugs and there’s nothing really to say.
For the first time in a long, long time, Mike considers getting high.
He’s drunk when he calls Harvey, drunk when he demands answers to questions that he refuses to think about when he’s sober.
“Everyone keeps telling me how much you loved me, Harvey.” He can hear Harvey start to speak but he pushes on, pushes over the sound. “But you let me leave. You let me walk out-“
“Mike, I’m hanging up.”
He does and Mike spends longer than he cares to admit glaring at his phone. It’s only when he throws it against the wall and it breaks apart that he realises just how angry he is.
He doesn’t speak to Harvey for two months. Doesn’t see him and Mike misses him so much it hurts.
Claire came back, only to leave again when Mike had told her that if he’s going to spend the rest of his life with someone, he can’t imagine it being anyone other than Harvey. There are no kids, not even a house in the Hamptons. Just Harvey and Mike in their condo, living the rest of their lives together in hazy, sepia toned happiness.
He’s slowly starting to get it.
And not expecting pardon,
When Mike’s gram had died, Harvey’d been there. They’d not long started their thing (as Mike had liked to call it, back then) and he’d been surprised at the way Harvey had taken him to bed and mapped Mike’s body with his lips, with his fingertips, with his eyelashes. With his love. (Mike can see that now, but not then). He’d been there when Mike had cried and trashed his apartment; when he’d been so distraught that he hadn’t gone into work for nearly a month. He’d just been there.
When his gram had died, Harvey had told Mike he loved him. Mike had just been too blind to see it.
It had been weird, for Mike, to have so much money.
He’d brought up moving to a nicer apartment and Harvey had frowned and told him to move in.
He started buying Harvey things. Ridiculous things like the Sonia Spencer novelty cufflinks that he’d thought Harvey would never wear but that he wore with the blue Tom Ford suit (and when the Tom Ford suit went out of fashion, with the blue suit he had Rene style in colour to match the cufflinks), to cliché things like an old vintage pocket watch to go with his three piece suits, to the absurd things like shares in international soccer teams (where the idea had come for that, Mike doesn’t know). A crazy old Tiffany lamp that Harvey hated but put in the home office anyway. A kit car. A four month round the world trip that they cut down to two months and used for their honeymoon.
When Mike’s gram had died, Harvey’d become his whole world.
So when Harvey’s dad dies, Donna calls Mike.
It’s the night before the funeral and the sweat isn’t drying in the Palm Beach humidity. Harvey’s lying on his back and Mike can’t stop looking at him. His longer than normal hair is a mess, his skin is glistening despite the air conditioning in the room and his chest is heaving as he tries to catch his breath. He groans, the sound almost despairing, and digs the heel of his palm into his eyes while his fingers claw at his hair.
“That shouldn’t have happened.” Mike looks away, rolls onto his back. “I’m sorry.”
He turns to Harvey then and asks, “For what?”
Harvey pulls his hands away and sighs but he doesn’t look at Mike.
“I’m seeing someone.”
“Oh.” He glances around the room. “I’m sor-“
“If there was any reason for you to be sorry, she’d be here.”
It kind of makes sense, in that way that many things Harvey says do. Mike gets it, at least.
“Right.” Mike pushes himself up onto his elbows, looks about the dim room and tries to figure out which of the clothes strewn about are his. He’s about to stand when he feels fingers skim across his forearm, the warm hardness of Harvey’s ring almost comforting. “What?” He asks as he turns his head slightly, watches Harvey’s fingers curl around his wrist.
“You don’t have to leave.”
He turns then and Harvey’s looking at him, sort of pleading, sort of blank. Mike wants to stay, doesn’t think it’s a good idea. He glances back to Harvey’s fingers, tanned against his pale skin and sighs.
The service is long and Mike’s sure he’s going to pass out from heat stroke when they finally slide back into the family car (Harvey had insisted, his fingers an iron fist on Mike’s hand) and the almost arctic temperatures is a welcome relief.
Mike sighs and closes his eyes, working his tie loose and unbuttoning the first few buttons of his shirt. He wants to take his jacket off but he knows his shirt is practically soaked through. The heat emanating from Harvey, who is practically plastered to his side, isn’t helping either.
It’s on the ride back to the house before anyone speaks, and when she does, Harvey’s sister-in-law is the first person to actually question Mike’s presence.
“I thought you boys were separated?”
Mike imagines there’s spite in Harvey’s words, searches for it really but there’s not. A note of resigned defeat, a hollow sadness that makes Mike lock up for a moment, unable to look at Harvey.
He turns back to Grace just as she glances briefly between him and Harvey, before she frowns subtly and nods.
“Right.” There’s no accusation, no pointedness to the word. Just a sound to fill the oppressive silence.
When Mike shifts, he realises he’s holding Harvey’s hand.
Donna demands dinner again, a few weeks later.
“You’re an idiot.” Mike frowns. “You had sex with him at his father’s funeral.”
“How can you know- No. Never mind.” He sighs. “I know. I’m sorry.”
He frowns again.
“Why what? Why am I sorry or why did I have sex with him?”
“I don’t know. It’s Harvey.”
Donna watches him for a long moment before she nods, sips at her water.
“I’m going to tell you something, Mike, and you are going to listen to me.” Mike nods, even though he knows she wasn’t asking his permission. “You can’t keep doing this to him. You can’t keep jumping back in and out of his life. I can’t keep picking up the pieces of the mess you leave behind.”
Mike holds up a hand to interrupt her, “You called me, Donna! I wouldn’t even have known if you hadn’t called me and told me to go to him.”
Donna nods, once, sagely and sadly.
“Yes, and I realise now that that was a mistake. I thought you’d be mature enough not to jump straight back into bed with him, especially when he was… like that.” Mike doesn’t know what to say to that, a cold sharp edge pressing against his chest from the inside. “Can I ask you something, Mike?”
Mike tries to smirk.
“You’re asking?” She tilts her head, gives him a patented Donna stare and he sighs. “Sure.”
“What went wrong?”
The sharp edge slices and he feels like all the air is leaking out of his body though the ragged gouge in his chest. He closes his eyes.
“I don’t know.”
When he opens them, Donna looks almost sympathetic. She tilts her head again and smiles a little, sadly.
“Neither does he.”
“We’re talking about this now?”
Mike sighs because yeah, he deserves the passive aggressive bullshit but it’s still annoying.
“Yeah, we are.” Harvey doesn’t move from his place at the window and Mike sits down. “I asked you once why you let me leave. You didn’t answer me.”
“You were drunk.” Mike nods and Harvey sighs and when Mike looks over at him, he’s got his forehead pressed to the glass. “And besides, I’ve already told you.” Mike frowns because he’s pretty sure he hasn’t. Harvey laughs, and it’s not a pleasant sound. “How many times have I told you I love you?”
Harvey turns then, never lifting his head from the glass, and slides down the window and drapes his forearms over his knees.
“Do you know how many times you’ve told me you love me?” Mike tries to think back. “I’ll tell you. Three times. Once when I proposed, twice on our wedding day.”
“I didn’t think I had to tell you. I thought you knew.”
“Of course I knew,” he says with an eye roll and Mike can’t help but smirk slightly at that.
“Don’t go to court unless you can win, right?”
“Exactly.” Harvey sighs, scrubs his hands over his face. He’s not wearing his ring. “Sometimes saying something out loud just… confirms what the evidence says.” Harvey shrugs. “I had to do all the reading, after a while it’s possible to start misinterpreting.”
“I love you.”
Harvey shrugs again, a tiny movement.
“Doesn’t help me now, Mike,” he says and the tone is bland but there’s tears in his eyes. “Contradicts the evidence that starting saying you wanted out.” He shrugs again and the gesture is really fucking irritating. “I tried to… Loving someone as much as I loved you and knowing that they wanted out for no reason that you could understand, no reason that you could see? It’s soul destroying Mike. Nothing had changed. I could either live with you and see that every day, or I could give you the out you wanted and...” He tilts his head back and Mike can see the streaks down his face, the silver tracks that catch the moonlight.
“I don’t know why…”
Harvey lets out a sound that’s half a laugh, half a watery breath and Mike feels his own tears dripping down his neck.
“That… doesn’t help me, either, Mike. That’s even worse than if you’d cheate- Oh God, no, it’s not actually.”
“I would never-“
“I know.” Mike doesn’t know what to say. He feels sick, actually, his whole chest feels like it’s burning up from the inside and there’s this huge, ugly lump in his throat that won’t let him breathe, or speak, or cry. “When I got the call about my dad, I was with Anabel. She tried to talk to me, tried to… I don’t know. The whole time, I’d had your number typed out on my phone and all I could think was that I needed to hear your voice.” He shakes his head and Mike drops to his knees, crawls across the floor until his knees bump Harvey’s feet. “What are you doing?”
“I love you, Harvey.” It comes out crooked, broken and he can feel Harvey try to pull himself away, try to push through the glass behind him. “I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I am so sorry that I forgot that.”
“No. Don’t. I just need to tell you this and then I’ll go.” Harvey nods and Mike feels like his throat has closed up, feels like the skin of his body has shrunk by half and he wants to claw his way out, wants to throw himself at Harvey and beg for forgiveness. He won’t thought, knows it won’t help. “When I think about us, I see us through this filter. Everything is blurred around the edges, and everything is muted. When I think about our wedding day, I see you with this fuzzy gold glow around you, like an old home movie that’s been watched too many times.” Harvey’s watching him now, listening, and the tears have stopped flowing. Mike’s haven’t. He feels like his face is drowning, to be honest, and he hates it. “Our future is here, in this condo, with this view and the same fuzzy glow. You’re right. Nothing had changed. I don’t have any answers for you, Harvey. We could say it was a hangover from my gram dying, we could say that it was me being scared but the truth is I don’t remember feeling any of those things. I don’t remember feeling anything.” Harvey’s gaze flickers, his throat works against itself. “I know I loved you because it is the only thing that stands out in perfect detail in the image I have of us. I think I just forgot that, for a while.” He looks down, away from Harvey’s face even as his hands find purchase on Harvey’s knees. “I don’t know.”
He leans forward quickly, presses his lips to Harvey’s forehead, right between his eyebrows. He sighs, pushes himself to his feet and brushes his hands against his jeans and moves towards the door.
“Mike…” But his whisper barely carries and Mike pretends not to hear it.
“The only thing I know is that I love you.” He doesn’t turn back to Harvey, can’t. “And that I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life without you.” He blinks back tears, swipes at his face. “But I will, if you need to me.” He pauses for a second but Harvey’s silent. “Good bye, Harvey.”
He’s almost out of the door, is pulling it shut behind him when he hears Harvey call out his name. He stops.
“I don’t know if… I can’t-“ Mike listens as Harvey struggles for breath, has to fight the urge not to turn around and go back to him. It’s hard and it hurts.
“Good bye, Harvey.”
When Mikes wakes, he’s aching. He stretches, winces at the stretch in his shoulder and groans before dropping bonelessly back to the bed.
He grunts and pushes his head under the pillow even as he feels warm fingertips dance down his spine.
“I feel like I think I was young enough to attempt a ten kilometre race but am actually nearly forty and can’t.”
Harvey snorts, his lips skimming across Mike’s shoulders. He smiles.
“You’re not nearly forty. You’re thirty four.”
Mike groans and shimmies across the bed when he feels Harvey flop back down and moulds himself into Harvey’s side, his tongue flicking out to taste skin.
“Close enough,” he murmurs with a laugh. They’re silent for a while, Sunday morning coming to life outside the window’s of Mike’s apartment and Mike melts under the gentle brush of Harvey’s fingers against his bicep. “I’ve been thinking.”
Mike smiles and laughs.
He gets a squeeze for that, and a kiss. Not exactly a deterrent.
“Yeah.” He pushes away slightly, turning his head so he can look down at Mike. The rising sun casts him half aglow and Mike smiles slightly, his eyes skipping over the halo surrounding Harvey’s upper body. “We should move.” Mike feels his eyebrows rise, his surprise. “Out of the city. Get a house or something.”
“In the Hamptons?” Mike asks with a snort and he can practically feel Harvey roll his eyes.
“No. But… somewhere… new.” He shrugs. “It’ll be a bitch driving back into the city every day but…”
Mike surges up, silences him with a kiss and a smile that Harvey returns.
“I think that sounds like a good idea.” He takes a breath. Since it’s a morning of revelations anyway… “I’ve been thinking, too.”
“Uh-oh,” Harvey mimics and Mike slaps him on the chest and Harvey laughs, grabbing his hand and flattening it against the skin there. Their rings clink together and Mike stares at them, before lifting Harvey’s hand and turning his own so they are palm to palm.
“Maybe we could… Get these,” he says as he bumps his ring against Harvey’s so that they clink again, “put back on the fingers they’re supposed to be on?”
The words are barely out and Harvey’s freezing, trying to cover it by forcibly relaxing his muscles. Mike winces, pulls his hand from Harvey’s and curls it around his hip instead.
“I don’t think… I-“
He pushes himself up onto his elbow again, looking down a Harvey.
“I get it, Harvey. It’s fine.” He brings his hand up (ring and all) and holds Harvey’s face with it, lowering his own so that nose nudges Harvey’s. “I’m sorry.”
And he is. He will spend the rest of his life being sorry, for hurting Harvey the way he did.
Harvey’s hand finds its way to Mike’s neck, fingering the hairs there.
“I want to spend the rest of my life you, Mike.” Mike nods, the motion brining his lips into the briefest contact with Harvey’s. “We’ll get a house,” Mike nods again – an excuse to kiss – “then we’ll see about making you Mr Michael Specter again.”
“I like the sound of that.”
Harvey smiles, his other hand coming up to cradle Mike’s face, to draw it closer.
“You didn’t six years ago.”
Mike smiles, glances up to Harvey’s eyes.
“I do now.”
Harvey takes a moment, then nods.
This, Mike will remember in perfect, filter-less clarity – the quietness of their murmured I love you’s, the brush of the early morning sun reflecting golden off Harvey’s sweating skin, the slow dance of skin against skin, of lips against lips, of heart against heart…
And winding through it, holding the whole scene together is the burning certainty that he loves, and is loved return.