They'd been in Harvey's office for hours, pouring over hundreds of settlements made by the insurance firm their client was convinced had been committing fraud, and it had been so long Mike's eyes were no-doubt tiring as he searched the pages. Donna had long since stopped listening in, after Harvey had closed the door and conversation had petered out; after he'd grown frustrated by the silence and applied some soft, low swing to the background of their work; after Mike had slipped off the office sofa to sit on the floor amongst a sea of paper-stacks like the puppy who'd gotten into Daddy's study.
It wasn't a poor analogy.
For her part, she'd turned to planning out her summer of theatre excursions, anticipating which she could entice a partner (or two) along, and which she wished to see alone.
She'll forever protest that it was the seriousness of her decision over a new production of Titus Andronicus which led to her almost - almost - jump out of her seat when Harvey strode out and pinned her with a fierce gaze.
Trouble was afoot, and that muscle in Harvey's jaw only ever twitched like that when Mike was in some sort of peril.
"Donna, I need you to call Ray," his voice was low and rushed, and his eyes darted briefly down the corridor to ensure they weren't being overheard. "And then I'll need you to switch all incoming calls to voicemail and join me until he arrives."
She nodded, hands already reaching out to speed-dial Harvey's driver of choice, and pushed down the questions bubbling up. She watched as the senior partner turned on his heel and stalked back into his office, Mike out of sight now. Ray would be twenty minutes, and in a flurry of button pressing and clicking she was ready to leave her desk.
Mike was curled into the foetal position on the sofa. It wasn't the most comfortable sofa in the world, but what it lacked in squish it certainly made up in an imposing nature, enough to make pale, vacant-eyed Mike look like a lost little boy among the black leather. Harvey was crouched by Mike's head, stroking fingers through his hair and murmuring lowly in an uncharacteristic show of care in this setting.
Donna closed the door behind her and crossed to Harvey's side. "Harvey?"
"I don't know, Donna," he replied in a whisper, "but I have a guess." He pointed without looking over his shoulder to a single file on the coffee table, the rest having migrated to the floor long ago. "Look at the incident report attached to the insurance claim."
It didn't take a brain like the puppy's to connect the dots here. "Oh, Mike," she breathed. "Harvey, he's stuck."
"We need to get him out of here."
They managed to walk Mike out, not without a few funny looks but this was New York - stranger things were frequently seen than the city's best closer and his legal secretary supporting a spaced-out associate into a private chauffeured car; it was tame. Mike put up no resistance, his hands shaking and gaze unfocussed, and he showed no sign of understanding what was going on until they entered the private elevator to Harvey's condo.
"Won't stop," he muttered, pushing his face into Harvey's chest.
Donna keyed in the code for them to rise and pressed herself against Mike's back.
"Don-" Mike swallowed thickly, cutting off her name; she laced her fingers through Mike's and stared up at Harvey as she answered.
"I'm here, Mike."
"Won't stop. Too fast, over and over and," she heard him sob through gritted teeth and squeezed his hand, "Won't stop."
They reached Harvey's condo and with difficulty they separated enough to leave the elevator. Harvey cradled the back of Mike's head with his hand, holding the younger man against him, as Donna locked up the elevator and pushed forward to the bedroom. She pulled the comforter down and quickly pulled a t-shirt from one of Harvey's drawers. She shed her dress in a pool of lined silk and kicked off her heels; Harvey would just have to deal with the mess later. As she pulled the shirt over her head, Harvey guided Mike into the room, speaking softly.
"...right here, just settle. We'll get you out of that suit first."
Mike shuddered, eyes clenched tightly shut, "Just keep talking."
Donna stepped forward to take over, as she made quick work of stripping Mike to his boxers and watching out of the corner of her eye as Harvey did the same for himself. Mike stood, passive and trembling until Donna wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled him to her chest; he instinctively buried his face in her neck just as he'd done with Harvey and she could feel damp tears squeezed out from the corners of Mike's eyes against her skin.
She hushed him gently, stroking fingers through her hair. "Come on, pup, we'll get you into bed with us. I promise everything is going to be just fine. It happened, but it's not happening any more and you're perfectly safe with me and Harvey..."
Guided with slow, careful steps while she continued to speak, Donna guided Mike to the Super King bed which took up most of Harvey's bedroom space and had since they started this unconventional but wholly brilliant arrangement. When the back of Mike's knees hit the edge of the bed, he sat immediately. Donna leaned down to kiss him gently on the mouth, his tense and white-lipped mouth which barely softened at all; she climbed onto the mattress and pulled Mike to the centre of the bed.
Harvey finished removing his shirt, leaving him in his under-shirt and boxers to move behind Mike and throw an arm around both Mike and Donna. With Mike shaking between them, his eyes screwed shut, they waited.
Donna stroked her fingers against Mike's hipbone above the waistline of his underwear, and Harvey pressed his lips to Mike's hairline at the back of his skull. They breathed in tandem, not out of practice but certainly out of familiarity, and they waited.
They waited until Mike's tremors stopped; then they waited until his breathing matched theirs; and finally they waited until the tears stopped rolling down Mike's cheeks.
But even calmed, Mike's eyes remained tightly shut, his face tense with pained concentration. As Harvey kept a constant presence at Mike's back, Donna brushed her lips against Mike's, and this time his mouth slackened under the light pressure. She did it again and again, over and over, with the same firm but undemanding press of lips until Mike was kissing back, his bottom lip glistening in the afternoon light and his face relaxing in increments.
And still he wouldn't open his eyes.
"Mike, I need you to open your eyes," Donna said softly, "Show me those puppy-dog baby blues."
He made a wounded noise as he shook his head lightly and Donna saw Harvey's face take on a stricken expression. "What are you seeing?" Harvey asked, barely more than a whisper against Mike's neck.
Mike pressed his back against Harvey's torso but kept his forehead pressed to Donna's. "I'm in the crash with them again, and I can't stop seeing it. The glass. And the metal twisting and-"
"Open your eyes, Mike."
"I can't," he insisted.
Donna reached up between them to brush her thumb over Mike's cheek, "I promise we're right here; you're not there."
"You can," Harvey said firmly, his grip on Mike's hip tightening. "Open your eyes."
Mike tensed and gasped and did as he was told, too used to responding to that low, insistent tone in Harvey's voice. Donna brushed her lips against his one more time, gentle and reassuring, while Harvey breathed evenly at Mike's back.
Just as before, they waited for Mike to relax in small increments until he was boneless between them, barely blinking but thoroughly with them.
"Welcome back," Harvey murmured and Donna smiled.
Mike shuddered out a deep sigh and finally moved of his own volition; he put a hand over Harvey's on his hip and twined their fingers, then pulled their arms over Donna until they were pulling her in closer. He squeezed Harvey's hand and felt Harvey smile against the base of his neck, and he dipped his head to cross the scant centimetres to kiss Donna. Lying between the two of them on Harvey's ridiculously sized bed was one of Mike's favourite places to be. They often slept like this, with Harvey cuddled up behind Mike (despite Harvey's insistence that he did no such thing) and Donna usually on her back but indulging Mike's need for skin-to-skin contact with their legs tangled together. This was home, more than any place on earth had ever been - save probably his Grammy's kitchen on a Sunday afternoon when he was younger - and it was a place he could never mistake for another.
He couldn't have possibly mistook it for the twisted wreck he'd had to be dragged from, overheating from the fire of the other car and soaked from the rain which had partially caused the accident and screaming, screaming so hard for his parents who wouldn't move, couldn't move. The passenger side door had been smashed in by the other driver's vehicle and the driver's side by the tree he'd been told later by some insensitive jerk of a uniformed traffic cop that they'd been "lucky to miss head on".
They'd managed to get him all of ten feet from the car before the tank blew.
And he could never forget it. The smell of fuel made him gag even now and it was a good day if the sight of an open fire didn't trigger his memory. The similarities to the claim he had read were astounding, and he hadn't been able to stop the dive down into his own, traitorous brain. Every moment he spent in the back seat of a car was a roulette wheel of emotional torture but he knew the chances of a freak accident like that robbing him of someone else he loved were microscopic.
He still biked to work, even if he spent up to six nights out of seven in this bed with these two exquisitely perfect people.
He let his eyes follow the flow of Donna's hair over her shoulder, cataloguing the way her eyelashes curled today and the way her lips had taken on a relieved turn. "Thank you," he said, though he knew the words were woefully inadequate. He turned onto his back to catch Harvey's eyes and repeated himself, pressing his mouth to the other man's chastely. "Thank you."
They lay in silence, Mike keeping his eyes fixed on the ceiling, on his bed partners, on dust-motes in the air, even as Donna drifted into a nap with her head on Mike's chest and Harvey breathed steadily with him for the rest of the afternoon.