It starts slowly.
He has to pause in the middle of writing or typing, clenching his fist a couple of times before carrying on. It happens occasionally, only to his left hand so no big deal. He's in the middle of two mergers and high-profile corruption investigation, so it's not like he's sleeping enough and he'll admit he had ingested a dangerous amount of caffeine over the last couple of weeks. He closes the cases, wins the rounds and takes Mike home for the first time since the cases landed on his desk. As he kisses Mike and presses him into his kitchen counter, he's already forgotten them.
The pauses continue, but he's not really worried. They don't last long, don't interfere with his work, and he carries on. He doesn't acknowledge the fact that they're becoming more frequent.
Harvey doesn't pay any mind to them until Jessica frowns at him over a case file. She comments on his handwriting. It's a little sharper, more haphazard than it used to be, but Harvey shrugs it off. He's been spending more time typing that actually writing recently so he's probably just out of practice.
The next comment comes from Louis, of all people. They're walking down the corridor to Jessica's office and he grabs Harvey's arm, pulling him around. He narrows his eyes and Harvey returns the look as he always does. When Louis says something about his left arm, how something about his swagger had … stilled, Harvey rolls his eyes and side-steps him.
He adapts, unconsciously, as time goes on. He's learning that keeping his hand busy stops the tremors and putting his hands in his pockets hides the occasional lack of swing in his arm when he walks. He's still not concerned, it's most likely stress and caffeine related so he makes a mental note to get Donna to switch some of his coffees to decaf.
It's easy to forget, to focus on other things. The situation with Mike begins to progress past a celebratory fuck after a close and he finds himself waking up beside him most weekends. Harvey can't feel guilty about that and Mike doesn't seem to care either. It's good and easy and leaning over to kiss him 'good-morning' in a lazy kind of way is pretty close to perfection.
The domestic changes disrupt him a little, but he knew that would happen. He's a creature of habit and it's always taken him time to get used to new scenarios. With Mike becoming increasingly crucial to his way of life, he finds his sleep is the first thing to suffer as he adjusts.
He's always had a degree of insomnia, the severity of it like a tide – it got worse with stress and eases when he'd relaxed, and it had been that way since he was fifteen. When it takes hold again this time, Harvey puts it down to his upcoming performance review. Of course, Mike notices but he says nothing, just drags him back to bed whenever he catches him. Their weekend arrangement starts to bleed into the week days. One or the other of them finds a reason to stay together and it's easy for the insomnia to be put out of mind. Even after a month, he doesn't pay it any mind because moving house was stressful and tiring, particularly when you have as many books as Mike did.
He's fine now, everything's going well. His review went perfectly and Jessica tells him that Mike is looking like the favourite for Partner track when the choice comes around. She mentions his handwriting again, laughing this time, and he doesn't even realise that he's flexing his hand compulsively until Jessica glances at it. He avoids the look and turns attention back to their upcoming case.
He starts to notice the interruptions a little more then. He hadn't realised quite how often his latest habits happened, but they begin to catch his attention now. He frowns a little when his fingers refuse to co-operate or when his arm seems to turn to lead for no reason at all. It's late on a Wednesday evening when he gets caught out for the first time. He's just trying to put on a record, to try and unwind a little before he draws up a finalised merger deal. He's standing by his records, one of his favourites in his hands, but his left is shaking and he knows that if he tries to pull out the vinyl, if he tries to lie the needle in place it'll all go to hell. He knows that if he moves from where he is, moves from that moment, he'll regret it. He can see Donna in the doorway and carefully slides the record back onto the shelf. He turns to her, hand sliding into his pocket, and the evening carries on as if nothing happened.
Things like that happen more often, multiple times a day, and he finds himself avoiding doing things that need a light touch. He ignores the looks he catches on Donna's face when she thinks he's not looking.
His record collection begins to gather dust on the shelves. He doesn't toss his baseball up in the air anymore. His texts get shorter and he avoids emailing from his blackberry at all costs. He hasn't been to the car club for a while.
It's almost two years after the first tremors in his hand that he admits to himself that there's something wrong. The worried glances and shuttered expressions from those around him are getting too hard to ignore, even for him. He gets Donna to clear an afternoon and heads across town in a taxi. He'd turned his phone off as he left the office.
He gets home before Mike that evening and tries to digest what his doctor has said. He tries to do things normally, but his arm and hand are going haywire and panic is beginning to set in deep, deep in his stomach. He crushes it down and carries on, getting changed into sweats and a t-shirt. He ignores how it took almost three times as long to unbutton his shirt. He ignores the way he can barely grip the coffee bag as he measures the grounds out and fills the machine.
He tries to ignore the way his fingers won't tighten around the mug he's reaching for, but he can't ignore the way it slips from the shelf and crashes to the ground. The sound of shattering ceramic brings everything in too close and the panic starts to rise. His new, altered reality is pressing in and it's too much.
He hears the front door open and slam, footsteps loud and hurried before Mike's there, wide-eyed and a little manic. He's aware of Mike taking in the scene in front of him and the slow creep of confusion into his features. Harvey focusses on keeping his left arm in a tight grip and his hand in a fist. He focusses on getting himself back under control.
A long, painful moment swells between them and Harvey can't stop the helpless frustration that grips him as the seconds tick by and his arm and hand refuse to be anything but glaringly obvious. He gives up and slams his good hand hard against the cupboard, an angry yell ripping from him in desperation as tears immediately begin burning behind his eyes. He turns away and presses his good hand hard to his face, his fingers digging into his eyes and making them ache.
He hears the sound of footsteps and crunching as Mike walks straight through the shards of broken mug. Fingers link with his, a hand gripping tight and urging him to squeeze back until the tremors can't break through. Harvey sighs, because of course Mike knew.
Mike's free arm winds round his waist and Harvey lets go of his face to wrap his arm around Mike's neck, pressing his face into his shoulder. He can feel the helplessness rise again.
Mike would've noticed before Jessica and Donna, long before Louis, yet he'd done this all anyway. He realises that he's not the only one who's adapted to changing circumstances – Mike holding onto things a beat longer to make sure Harvey had a hold of them, his coffees turning up a little cooler in case he spilled them, Mike cooking dinner most nights before Harvey had even entertained the idea of eating.
Nothing gets said as they pull apart and Mike sweeps the floor as Harvey orders something in. They sip coffee and eat in silence, watching television curled together on the sofa. They go to bed and Harvey lets Mike take care of him and for the first time since it had all started, he doesn't ignore the way Mike grips his treacherous hand before they come, hard. He collapsed against Mike and tries to stop himself from crying - but its too much, there are too many emotions boiling inside him and he curls closer and Mike holds him tighter until it finally passes.
He doesn't want things to change, he doesn't need a carer. He refuses to let Mike help him with his shirts or his ties and he still insists on an immaculate appearance. The only chinks in his armour are the days when he's too exhausted from battling with his shirt than he doesn't have the energy for a vest. Mike leaves him be and they have breakfast as if nothing has changed – though Mike's sitting in the taxi with him on the way to the neurologist.
Mike's there the week after when he gets the results and is handed a series of prescriptions that look a hell of a lot like a death sentence wrapped in pharmacological jargon. Mike's there to stop him punching the doctor out cold when he smiles and says at least there was no sign of cognitive impairment.
He's there as Harvey falls into his new routine, with the pill timer and the seemingly endless pill bottles that sit on the shelf beside the TV. They sit in full view so Mike doesn't forget and Harvey can't let him. With their help, things go back to how they were. He doesn't have to cope with tremors every day and when he does, they're no-where near as violent. He's back to pausing, every so often, to shake it off before carrying on. No-one at work knows but Donna and Jessica - Louis finds out, but only a few months later and Harvey's surprised by his subtlety and tact. Mike's there the whole time, covering on the bad days, always ready with just the right sarcastic or idiotic remark.
Mike's still there eighteen months later when Harvey is forced to take his first sick day because he can barely get to his feet in the morning, let alone across the room. Even though he brings him his meds, they'd barely managed to take the edge off. It's then that he realises how lucky he is to have Jessica as his friend, as well as his boss. She understands and doesn't bring it up when he's back in the next day. She understands every time he has to change and she adapts with him.
Harvey loves Mike, more than he thought possible, but some days he hates him. He spent his youth caring from his grandmother and it hurts him sometimes to think that Mike had never entertained the idea of leaving. He isn't sure he wouldn't have at least considered it if the tables were turned.
But they were only some days, and they didn't happen often. Most of the time they carried on with as little interruption as possible. Habits changed and schedules altered, but Harvey's disease didn't consume them. Things weren't okay – they'd never be 'okay' again – but more often than not, the forced changes to his life helped.
He may not take as many clients as before, but his time had only become more sought after and more valuable. He closed cases in half the time and billed out at twice the price. Mike now worked exclusively for him, and they both worked significantly fewer hours as a result. It wasn't perfect, but he'd never expected it to be. He usually struggles getting out of bed in the morning, but he can still walk across the condo and he can still make them both the first coffee of the day. More often than not, he can still pull Mike close and kiss him a long, slow 'good-morning' and it doesn't seem to even occur to Mike to treat him any differently.
No matter what follows, so long as he can start the day like that, Harvey still counts it as a win.