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It’s been three months since his life fell apart.

Ninety days since Trevor walked into Pearson Hardman and betrayed him to Jessica, a lifetime of friendship over in the blink of an eye. Two thousand, one hundred and sixty hours since he was called into Jessica’s office and she confronted him with the truth he couldn’t deny, couldn’t talk his way out of. One hundred and twenty nine thousand, six hundred minutes since he fell on his metaphorical sword to protect Harvey, the only thing he could do to save the man who put everything on the line for him. Seven million, seven hundred and seventy six thousand seconds since he walked out of Pearson Hardman for the last time.

Mike hasn’t seen anyone from the office since he left, not Rachel or Louis or Donna, and certainly not Harvey. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, on their part anyway (and when he says they of course he means Rachel and Donna. Louis has probably found a new associate to torture and Harvey, well, Harvey’s silence is deafening). But he ignored their calls and deleted their texts and left them knocking on the other side of his door.

It took a solid week for the shock to wear off. He just sat in his apartment, numb with grief. He had known it had to happen eventually, not even the greatest of fools would have said the truth would never come out. But Mike did think he would have more time. Time to learn and grow, time to make a plan for the rest of his life, time to be by Harvey’s side because for some undiscernible reason sometimes that was the only time he felt home.

After a week the reality set in. He had no job, no friends, no support, and the bills weren’t going to pay themselves. He had a contingency of course, money he had put aside for when the inevitable occurred. But it wouldn’t last long, maybe four months tops.

He had to figure out what he was going to do with the rest of his life. He briefly toyed with the idea of actually going to law school, getting his JD for real. But he was kicked out of school once and fired from a law firm and he didn’t feel like tempting fate for a third time.

But the problem was, he had never wanted to do anything else.

He wanted to call Harvey and talk to him about it but every time he reached for his cell he couldn’t bring himself to dial. Because Harvey didn’t believe in emotional attachments or putting someone else before him, which if he didn’t believe before he certainly did now that he had been gone a fortnight and Harvey hadn’t bothered to call once. So he went to the only other person he trusted but in the end he couldn’t tell Grammy about it either. Because she looked at him with such pride and he couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing her.

What he did know was that whatever he decided he was going to do it right this time. He was going to go to school and get a qualification and never again be put in the situation where he could lose something that meant the world to him.

So he spent his days searching the wanted ads and pounding the pavement looking for work and he spent the evenings looking at colleges and universities online. Turned out the job thing was easier. About two months into unemployment he got a job working at a bookstore. The commute was a bitch but he liked the store (new, second hand and rare books – whatever the heart desires) and the staff and the customers and it eased his financial burden somewhat.

But he still hadn’t figured out the bigger picture. He told Harvey once that he wanted to help people so he considered a range of areas – nursing, psychology, law enforcement, aged care, armed forces – but none of them had the appeal that the law did. He didn’t think anything ever would.

He settled into his new life with surprising ease. The phone calls and texts from Rachel and Donna eased up, to the point where he might get one only every other day. His body acclimated to regular and full night’s sleep and he settled into a routine that came with work that had defined start and end times. The old life, where the highlight of his day was making Harvey smile at him with pride or cajoling a high five or fist bump from him began to feel like a dream. He could almost imagine that it was, that he’d hallucinated the whole thing, if it weren’t for the tangible reminders – the Mike doll Joy created, the fake JD Lola made for him, the distinctly non-skinny tie that somehow magically ended up in his possession even though Harvey went nuts trying to find the mislaid material.

It’s been three months now. It’s been three months and he was finally in an okay place but he still missed that life. He missed Harvey.

 

 

 

Mike sits behind the counter reading a novel that was published thirty years before he was born, the yellowing and dog-eared book in one hand and a highlighter in the other. He must have a weird look on his face because a customer asks, “Bad book?”

He sits up straighter and puts everything down, feeling guilty for not realising she was waiting sooner. “No,” he says, taking her purchases and processing them. “Not bad exactly. Just … not good. It was clearly written before they invented spell-check or thesauruses or, you know, editors, because the amount of spelling and grammar errors in it is actually pretty funny.”

She tilts her head, examines him. He hasn’t been under an inscrutable gaze like that since Harvey and he gets a sudden pain in his stomach. “May I?” she asks, reaching for the book.

He nods, continues ringing up her purchases as she flicks through his book. She sees all his highlights – pink for spelling errors, blue for grammar errors, green for continuity errors and yellow for things that just make no damn sense. He explains his system as she pays and when she asks why he did it he almost says habit but instead just shrugs.

She puts her books into her bag and pulls out a business card. “I’ve seriously never done this before but here. If you feel like a change of pace give me a call. I could definitely use someone like you on my payroll.”

He takes the card without looking at it and holds out his hand. “Mike,” he says, because he figures if this random stranger is going to offer him a job they should at least know each other’s names (real names, not assumed ones just to get him through the door).

“Claire,” she replies, taking his hand and shaking it. “Good to meet you, Mike. Call me if you ever get bored of selling books.”

And just like that she is gone and when he finally looks down at her card he sees: Claire Lee, Senior Editor, Random House.

He spends the better part of the evening staring at her card and researching her company online and googling editing qualifications. He goes into work the next day and spends eight hours helping customers find what they need and ringing up their purchases and thinking about this new opportunity and wondering what Harvey would say about it. He hates himself for even caring but he can’t let the idea of him go, even though reality has shown there is nothing left to hold onto.

He had never thought about editing or publishing before yesterday so it’s obviously not something he ever envisioned himself doing but he can’t deny there is something intriguing about it. After his shift he spends the train ride home working up the courage to make the call and as soon as he gets off and reaches street level he punches the number into his cell and calls.

The phone is answered after two rings, a clipped voice on the other end.

“Claire Lee, please. Mike Ross calling.”

He gets put on hold for a minute before Claire picks up.

“Claire Lee speaking.”

“Ms Lee, hi, it’s Mike Ross from Second Best Bookstore.”

“Mike, hi, I’m so glad you called. Does this mean you’re interested in coming to work with us?”

“It means I’m interested in finding out more,” he replies. He might not be a lawyer anymore but the lessons are still there: don’t agree to anything without knowing the full terms and conditions.

“How about you come into the office and we talk about it?”

“I’d like that. But you know that I have no qualifications. In anything.” Because yeah, so not going down the same road twice.

He can hear her chuckling. “I had an inkling. I assume you’re at the bookstore during the day so how about six o’clock on Tuesday?”

But Mike doesn’t reply, can’t even speak, because he has just gotten close enough to his place to see someone sitting on the steps outside his apartment. No, not just someone. Harvey.

“Mike?”

He shakes his head. “Sorry. Yeah, Tuesday is perfect.”

“Okay, see you then.”

“Bye.” He hangs up the phone and stops dead in his tracks. Harvey hasn’t seen him yet, giving Mike the chance to fully take in the sight before him. He is dressed in dark jeans and a grey pea coat and his hair is dishevelled and he somehow manages to look casual and immaculate all at once.

He starts walking, approaches slowly, and Harvey finally looks up and sees him. His face is a mask and Mike takes a deep breath as he silently sits beside him on the concrete steps. It’s getting dark out but even in the low light he can see the stubble on Harvey’s face (he has never seen him unshaved before and he has to admit it looks good) and the sudden desire to reach over and touch it is strong but Mike is stronger. He wraps his arms around his knees and keeps his voice even as he says, “Harvey.”

“Why did you do it?” Harvey asks. He doesn’t look at him, just stares straight ahead as he comes right out with it, and his voice is low and indecipherable and Mike can’t tell whether he is mad or confused or simply curious. He used to be able to read Harvey pretty well but he supposes that their time apart has had many consequences.

“Why do you think?” Mike replies, and he honestly doesn’t mean it in a smartass or petulant way. That clearly doesn't come across to Harvey who turns and glares at him. “I did it to protect you.”

It’s the truth, but what surprises him is how easy it was to say so. He did what he did to protect Harvey because Harvey had so much further to fall, so much more to lose. He did what he did because Harvey risked everything for him and he couldn’t bear to bring him down too. He did what he did and he would do it again without a second thought.

“I don’t need your protection,” he says and he almost sounds annoyed. And Mike doesn’t understand, because it’s been months since he left and, yes, leaving without so much as a goodbye was a douche move but since Harvey had made no attempt to contact him in the interim he didn’t think he cared.

“What do you want, Harvey?” Mike asks and it comes out much more tired and resigned than he intended but he is confused and overwhelmed and he just needs to know.

It takes a long time for Harvey to reply, so long in fact Mike begins to think he won’t answer at all. “I don’t know. I just wanted to see you.”

Mike doesn’t know how to respond to that, the surprise overwhelming him. But apparently his default stance is pissed off because he replies with, “Why do you want to see me? Why do you want to see me now? I left three months ago and you haven’t tried to contact me once in all that time and I’m no longer your responsibility or burden so I’ll ask again – what do you want, Harvey?”

Harvey sighs. “Three months and one day.” His voice is so low Mike can’t hear, and at Mike’s continued stare he repeats, loud enough for Mike to hear, “It’s been three months and one day.”

Mike doesn’t know how to deal with this. He can’t fathom why Harvey has been counting the time like he has. And the admission from Harvey feels significant, the air between them suddenly heady and tense. So he ignores this train of conversation and changes the topic in an attempt at levity.

“So, tell me about the Harvard clone you hired to replace me. Do you have him housebroken yet?”

“I haven’t hired anyone to replace you. Jessica tried to make me but she gave up after a month or so.”

“Harvey, why didn’t you hire someone? You need an associate.”

“I don’t know, okay.” He sounds angry now, standing and walking down the steps onto the sidewalk. He is putting a physical distance between them. “I don’t know why I couldn’t bring myself to replace you and I don’t know why I couldn’t bear to call you even after you threw yourself under the bus for me and I don’t know why I’m here right now. Okay?”

“Are you angry with me?” Mike asks, because it sure as hell sounds like it but he doesn’t understand why because Harvey doesn’t do emotions, especially when it comes to him.

“Yes! Yes, I’m angry at you, Mike. What the fuck were you thinking? We could have talked our way out of Trevor’s accusations but you just let him destroy your life. Again. And then you disappear without a word and you ignore everyone and don’t try to fight for the life you deserve.”

“The life I deserve?" Mike repeats numbly, standing and joining Harvey on the sidewalk. “And what exactly do I deserve, Harvey? I committed fraud and I got caught. How the hell was I supposed to fight that? I was completely alone and I did the only thing I could. So tell me, what the hell was I supposed to say?”

“You were supposed to get me so I could vouch for you. You were supposed to know we were in this together and there was nothing that Trevor did that you and I couldn’t undo.”

It’s too much. He doesn’t understand what is happening and he feels angry at Harvey, so mad that after months of silence he has returned simply to lecture him on letting him down again. But more than that, he is angry that Harvey is telling him that there was a way out that he didn’t take, hates that Harvey is making him doubt himself. Because the one thing that has gotten him through was the knowledge that he did the right thing, the only thing he could.

“And how the hell was I supposed to know that? How many times have you told me that you don't give a damn about me? How many times did you leave me floundering to find my own way out? Well guess what, that was me cleaning up my own mess like a good fucking puppy. Okay?”

Mike is shocked to suddenly find himself inches from Harvey. He can’t even remember moving, the anger blocking everything else out. He stares Harvey down and even in the faint streetlight he can see the expression on Harvey’s face. He can’t ever recall seeing Harvey look at him like that. It worries Mike, because it means he has no idea what Harvey is thinking or feeling. He has no idea what’s coming next.

Harvey reaches over and places a hand to the back of Mike’s neck. His thumb traces back and forth over his jaw and Mike stills, tries to not show his surprise. He feels like any movement or display of uncertainty will break them out of this moment, will cause him to lose this battle of wills. But he can’t stop the quickening of his breath, can’t help looking away from Harvey’s heavy gaze.

“I thought you knew,” Harvey says, his voice low and there is something sad about it. It shocks Mike and he looks back up to try and find clues in Harvey’s face. But all he sees are the same eyes, lips, moles, wrinkles, the same everything.

“Knew what?”

Harvey just smiles ruefully, dropping his hand and walking away. Mike watches him for a moment, stunned, but then he gets his voice back and repeats, “Knew what?”

But Harvey just keeps walking and Mike is suddenly terrified that this is it. That Harvey will walk away and he will never see him again and something inside him breaks.

“Don’t you dare walk away from this, Harvey.” His voice is loud and hard and Harvey stops walking but doesn’t turn back.

And Mike doesn’t know why he said that. He meant to say don’t walk away from me, come back so we can keep talking. But that’s not what came out and there is an implication in the words he actually used. Don’t walk away from this. This thing between them, whatever it is, it’s strong and undeniable and he doesn’t fully understand yet but he thinks he’s starting to.

Mike hastens down the street, walks around Harvey to stand in front of him. And looking at Harvey standing there he sees everything Harvey has said and all the words that have gone unspoken. He reaches over and slowly wraps his fingers around Harvey’s hand. His skin is cold and Mike briefly wonders how long Harvey was sitting on his doorstep, waiting for him.

“Come on,” he says gently, tugging at his hand. “It’s cold. Let’s get inside.”

Harvey nods, lets Mike lead him back down the street, let's him keep hold of his hand the whole time.

 

 

 

Mike is exhausted but there is literally no force on this earth that could make him close his eyes and go to sleep.

Instead, he simply stares at Harvey, sleeping in the bed beside him. Harvey sleeps on his stomach, arms wrapped around his pillow, and Mike's eyes wander from the smooth plane of his back to the angles of his shoulder blades and then up to the serene expression on his face. He looks completely relaxed and at ease as he sleeps, and Mike hates that he has never seen that face during Harvey's waking hours. He suddenly remembers his earlier urge to run his fingers over Harvey's stubble and he gives into that temptation now, fingertips light on his skin for the briefest of moments.

Looking at Harvey he still can't believe they ended up here. Even without eidetic memory he would never be able to forget the events of this evening for the rest of his days. He shifts slightly, twinges from the best kind of soreness and his hand automatically goes to his hip, fingers lightly tracing the mark Harvey left there which still throbs lightly in rhythm with his heartbeat. So yeah, he can remember what happened and he can smell the sex and sweat in the air and he has the tangible proof on his body, but he still can't believe it. Because they are Mike Ross and Harvey Specter and this was not the way their story was supposed to play out.

So he won't sleep, can't close his eyes because he knows as soon as he does then in a heartbeat the night will be over and he will wake alone and he can't bear that. Because he has just gotten Harvey back and if Harvey is going to disappear again as soon as the sun comes up then he will take every moment he can in between.

It's moments like this that he wishes he could shut his damn brain off. He wants nothing more than silence and stillness, just a moment to appreciate the wonder that is Harvey and enjoy the memory of the previous few hours. But his mind doesn’t work like that. Instead all he can think about is what happens next. What happens when Harvey inevitably walks out the door? Will that be it? Was this just some elaborate farewell, a way to close the book on their whole weird association? Because Harvey doesn’t do relationships, and despite his earlier confession (well, what counts for a confession when it comes to Harvey) it's not enough to erase the previous year and every time he told or showed Mike he didn't do emotions.

And it's so like Harvey to turn up today of all days. He had just made his first step into a new career and a new life and Harvey appeared and turned his world upside down and he feels adrift, lost at sea with no northern lights to guide him. He feels torn between two worlds, the old and the new. And it's not even that he thinks he can go back to the old life, even if he wanted to (and a part of him still does, always will, but he knows he will never set foot inside Pearson Hardman again) but he was finally starting to move on and then this happened.

Harvey stirs, opens his eyes blearily and sees Mike, clearly still wide awake. He groans, reaching over and wrapping his long fingers softly around Mike's wrist. "Close your eyes, Mike," he says, and as if to lead by example he shuts his eyes again. "Don't worry; I'll still be here in the morning."

Harvey's fingers on his skin are warm and solid and, as much as he hates to admit it, reassuring. And apparently there is only one force on this earth that could make him go to sleep and its name is Harvey Specter because he soon finds himself drifting off to sleep.

 

 

 

Mike wakes early. At least, what he now considers early (if you’d have asked him three months and two days ago he would have told you that 6am was practically a sleep in). He is drawn back into the world of the living by the feel of large hands roaming over his chest and stomach, the press of lips and tongue to his skin. He stretches, finally opens his eyes.

"Hey," he murmurs, and Harvey looks up from where his attention has been focused.

"Nice of you to join us," Harvey replies in a tone Mike has heard a thousand times before, but the quirk at the corner of his mouth takes the bite from his words.

"You're still here," Mike says, and he tries to hide the wonder in his voice, replace it with matter-of-factness, but if the way Harvey is looking at him is any indication he didn't do a very good job.

"I told you I'd stay, didn’t I?"

Mike smiles brightly and as if that was his cue Harvey is suddenly there, pressing their mouths together. Mike responds hungrily, as though the only sustenance he needs to get through the day is Harvey's tongue in his mouth, his body covering his own. He throws a leg over Harvey's hip, aligns their bodies. Harvey moans in appreciation, rocking his body slightly, but a sudden need overtakes Mike and he pulls back, breaks their kiss, and Harvey's entire body stills in response to this surprising act. Mike stares at him, looking for his answers in Harvey's face, and Harvey returns the stare, even as his forehead crinkles in confusion. Mike reaches up and runs his fingertips lightly over his cheek, the stubble rough under his skin, and he lets out a long low breath.

"What do you want, Harvey?"

It's such an echo of the previous night, as though the last ten hours hadn't even happened and they are still sitting there on the steps outside his building, angry for their own reasons. Harvey rolls off him, returns back to the empty space in the bed with a groan. But Mike needs to know, can't go any further down this path without this. Because really, this is the conversation they should have had last night, this is what they should have talked about before all the kissing and touching and fucking. And this is what he meant to do when he invited Harvey in, have this conversation, but as soon as they walked into his apartment Mike couldn’t find the words and there was a tension between them that threatened to suck all the oxygen from the room and before he knew it Harvey's hands were hard on his hips and his body was pressed between the kitchen counter and Harvey's body and all thought of rational conversation went swiftly out the nearest window.

Harvey nods, resigned to finally finishing their conversation from the previous night. He settles himself on his side, head lifted up by the flat of his palm, and Mike mirrors his movement (and he can't help but think about how ridiculous it is that they are about to have this conversation when they are both lying naked in his bed but hey, who is he to question the wisdom of the fates).

"I lied to you," Harvey says, and that was not at all what Mike was expecting to hear. "When I told you I don’t know why I didn’t hire an associate to replace you. I do know why."

"Okay. Tell me."

"I didn’t even want an associate. When I first got promoted to Senior Partner and Jessica told me I needed to hire an associate I couldn't think of anything worse. Because I couldn’t imagine ever finding anyone who was … worthwhile. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that no recent Harvard graduate could be what I needed. And I was right, because instead I found you, and you were brilliant and bold and completely ill-qualified and I risked the life I had taken so long to build for myself for this random kid."

"Yeah, thanks for that," Mike says, and he means it sardonically since Harvey knows how he feels about being referred to as 'kid' and 'rookie' and 'puppy', but it comes out much more heartfelt because Harvey put everything on the line for a screw-up he knew nothing about and even now Mike still can't believe that he did.

"When you left, and Jessica tried to make me hire someone else, I tried to imagine someone sitting at your cubicle and helping with my cases and striding into my office but it was like the image wouldn’t compute. I couldn’t envisage anyone else sitting on my couch and chuckling to themselves as I hurled insults at Louis." Harvey pauses for a moment, reaching over and touching Mike's arm lightly. He breathes deep, closes his eyes as though he can't bear to say this out loud and maybe if he closes his eyes and says it into the darkness that will make it easier. "Because I was looking for another me and instead I found you and I can't go looking for another you because I know I'll never find it."

Mike has never met anyone as maddening and confusing as Harvey. He is just beginning to understand the duality of Harvey; how he can tell Mike he's not ready for the adult table one day and then pay for his Rookie Dinner the next, how he can bet him away to Louis one day and then trust him to help rectify the biggest mistake in his career the next, how he can keep his distance for three months and then show up and tell Mike he was someone he couldn’t replace.

He knows he should say something, that the silence is stretching out too long between them, that Harvey is probably interpreting his silence as rejection, but it's taking him a moment to process everything and when he has he still can't find the words. So instead he surges forward and kisses Harvey like he never wants to kiss anyone else.

Harvey chuckles, murmurs, "I thought we were supposed to be talking," against his lips, but he doesn't pull away, in fact he grips onto Mike and pulls him closer, so Mike knows he is protesting just because he thinks that is what Mike would want him to do.

"Talk later," Mike replies, and Harvey doesn't object.

 

 

 

"Won't you be late for work?" Mike asks.

They have just sat down at the corner table at Mike's favourite café, two blocks from his apartment. After they finally managed to drag themselves out of bed and into the shower (Mike's claim that he joined Harvey merely to save water was met with a chuckle and a bruising kiss) they dressed and headed out to breakfast, because Harvey insisted that sugary cereal, the only breakfast food in Mike's kitchen, was no way to start the day.

"How quickly one forgets that as Senior Partner I can get in whatever time I like and no one will bat an eye."

Mike smiles and nods and they both know it's forced but neither comments on it. Mike feels stupid, but he is still hit with a pang of loss and regret whenever the old life is mentioned.

The waitress comes and takes their order and when they are alone Mike knows they really need to finish the conversation they keep interrupting and he doesn’t know if Harvey bringing him somewhere public is so he can force them to have the conversation without getting distracted or so when he lets Mike down he won't be subjected to any overly emotional reactions. Both options seem completely viable.

"I was offered a job, kind of, a couple of days ago," Mike says, thinking this is a good way to ease them into the bigger talk they need to have.

"Really?" Harvey says, tilting his head with curiosity. "Doing what?"

"Not sure," Mike replies, and Harvey can't help the eye-roll. "I met someone who works in editing. She noticed my eye for detail and thinks she could use me for something."

"So that's it, huh?" Harvey says, and the reply doesn't really match what Mike just told him and he sounds disappointed and Mike tenses. "You're just going to give up on everything you worked so hard for?"

"Harvey, we’ve been through this, okay," Mike replies wearily, because he gets it now. "I would love nothing more than to come back and work for you but we both know that there is no way that is ever going to happen."

"Maybe you can't come back to Pearson Hardman but you could still get your JD and work somewhere else."

And Mike has thought about that before and all the reasons he didn’t go down that road are all completely valid but sitting here opposite Harvey he realises that they were just the lies he told himself because the truth was too hard to deal with. Because he knows now that he doesn't want to work within the legal world unless it's with Harvey.

"I just can't, Harvey. Please." He hates the desperation in his voice but he can't even think about this and he fully expects Harvey to keep pressing because that’s just what Harvey does.

"Okay," Harvey says gently and it’s the first time he has seen Harvey relent like that and his heartbeat quickens in response.

But then their food arrives and they start eating in silence. The quiet feels strange so Mike asks after Donna and Rachel and Harvey regales him with tales of life at Pearson Hardman over the last few months. Mike can picture every detail in his mind's eye as Harvey's mellifluous voice fills the air and when Mike laughs when Harvey repeats the insults he has hurled at Louis it's almost the same as being there. But not quite.

Their plates are cleared away and they've avoided the topic for as long as they can and one of them has to be the brave one and Mike decides to volunteer. "So what happens now?"

Harvey straightens, looks at Mike hard as he replies, "What do you want to happen?"

It's a challenge. And it's not that Mike doesn’t want to answer, it's that he honestly doesn’t know. He has thought about little else since the moment Harvey's lips touched his but this all happened so fast and it was so unexpected and he hasn’t had the time or the brainpower to process it all yet. But there is one thing he does know for sure, and he thinks he owes Harvey that much.

"I don't know," Mike replies. "I just don’t want this to be over."

"This?" Harvey asks, head tilted slightly.

"This. Us. You and me. I don’t know what is happening between us and I don’t know how you feel about it and, to be honest, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. But I just don't want you to walk out of my life again."

Harvey is silent for a moment and Mike expects him to come back with a comment about how it was Mike that did the walking last time. Instead he simply regards him and then asks, "Are you free for dinner tonight?" His lips quirk in a slow smile and Mike finds himself returning it, nodding.

And of course that’s when Mike's phone rings. He doesn’t answer it but it does draw his attention to the phone and then he realises the time and if he doesn’t leave soon he'll be late for work. He tells Harvey so ("Not all of us can swan in and out as we choose") so Harvey leaves some cash on the table and they stand and leave the restaurant.

The air is cool as they stand on the sidewalk and Mike doesn’t know what to say.

"Go on. I know how annoying it is when you turn up late for work and I wouldn't want to inflict that on anyone else," Harvey says, eyes sparkling.

Mike can't help but grin and breach the gap between them, pressing his lips to Harvey's. His fingers grip at the front of his coat and Harvey's hands cover his own, thumb shifting back and forth lightly.

"For the record," Harvey says when they finally pull apart. "Whatever happens, it will never be over with us."

Mike feels small under the power of his words. He nods in reply, doesn’t say anything, couldn't possibly form the words, so instead he leans forward and presses a fleeting kiss to his lips.

"I'll call you later," Mike tells Harvey and Harvey nods in response.

Mike turns and starts walking away. He feels overwhelmed and terrified but more than that he feels hopeful and that feeling conquers everything else. Halfway down the block he turns, looks back, and Harvey is still there, watching him walk away. Mike smiles and it doesn’t leave his face for the rest of the day.