Mike was uncertain if he had done any work the last few days. With the way Louis continued to crow over him and the way the other Partners were clawing after him to work their cases, Mike supposed whatever work he was doing must have been excellent. Even in the extended fugue state he found himself in the middle of, apparently his work was hands-down the best among the Associates. Mike should have been pleased; having the other Partners recognize his work and abilities was the next step in his career, it was the way to eventually make Partner.
It was ashen in his mouth. He didn't taste things, he didn't feel things. He remembered things though, everything constantly bombarding him and winding up neatly tucked away in spite of how little he was truly paying attention.
Donna - his lifeline, tethered at the corner of the fiftieth floor - sat only a few doors down from where he was standing, and yet he couldn't quite make his feet move. He pushed forward, finally, after minutes had passed and billable time had been wasted. He couldn't quite tell how long it took him to get to Donna's office, but he remembered each of the offices he had passed, which filings the lawyers there were working on, everything. "Any change?"
"You could go see him, Mike."
Mike turned his head towards Harvey's office - lights off even in the mid-day - but Harvey wasn't there. Harvey was at St. Vincent's in the long-term care ward, comatose. "No, I... I can't."
Even if he didn't indelibly associate the sterile smell of alcohol, disinfectant, and plastic tubes with his parents' deaths, even if Harvey's injury hadn't been caused by a drunk driver, even then Mike wasn't certain he would have been able to go, but those two factors took precedence over everything else.
"I'll work through it," he assured her.
A hand, Donna's hand, touched his where he had left it resting on the edge of her cubicle. She squeezed while Mike bowed his head, tears welling up again, enough to make him feel weak and pathetic all over again for letting it get to him that much. "He wouldn't mind you using his office."
"I can't." This time his answer was barely a whisper, forced out with breath he didn't have. He felt a whimpering sound force its way out of his throat. "How can you...?"
"I miss him, too, Mike, but the office would collapse without me." Mike could hear the edge around it. She was upset too, Donna just didn't wear her heart on her sleeve, not like him.
He wasn't quite able to move, just stuck there, hand curled so tight around Donna's cubicle divider that his arm was starting to ache. Donna's hand continued to rest on his as though they both needed that touch to stay grounded. Mike felt so selfish, he'd known Harvey just over a year now, Donna had known him for over a decade, Jessica even longer, and yet Jessica prowled around the floors the same as always, Donna carefully took messages for 'Mr. Specter' and handed his cases off to this Partner or that, to Mike, to whoever seemed most appropriate. Donna consulted him constantly, reviewing what they knew about the clients or cases and whether or not Mike could handle what was needed or if another Partner was required. It sucked.
"Mr. Ross." Mike turned around, barely remembering to pinch the welling tears out of his eyes before he turned completely. He was claiming allergies - everyone knew he was lying. Jessica was standing only a few feet from him, but she allowed him a few moments to wipe his eyes, to collect himself. "I need to speak to you and Donna in my office." She waited for the two of them, Donna stood and walked next to Mike as they headed down the hall and into Jessica's office.
Without really conferring with each other, he and Donna sat down only a few inches from each other, the feeling of dread seeping into the room.
"There has been no change in Harvey's condition," Jessica said. Sadly, for Mike in that moment, that was a reassurance. "There has been a change in his circumstances, however."
"What does that mean?" Mike bit out the question immediately, not quite able to stifle himself. He and Jessica had an uneasy truce at best, and he shouldn't have antagonized her.
Jessica nodded to Donna before speaking. "The circumstance is this: Harvey has a living will which indicates his brother, Charles, should be contacted in the event of his... incapacitation. He and Harvey are cut from slightly different cloth, however. Charles is currently in Africa, somewhere, on a humanitarian mission. I'm certain Harvey would have had some idea of where, but you can see why that might be a problem. Neither Donna nor I know exactly where he is and his program does not keep active tabs on him."
Mike felt himself frown, the lawyerly part of his brain kicking in in spite of the circumstances. "If there's a medical decision to be made, we just petition for a medical power of attorney of some sort. An informed decision of a friend or coworker is better than no decision, right?"
"It's not quite that simple," Jessica answered. "Harvey's mother has arrived in town two hours ago."
"That's good," Mike said, trying to stay positive. Having family visit could only help. Donna and Jessica's faces said he was woefully under-informed. "That's... bad?"
"Harvey doesn't want anything do with his mother," Donna said, finally taking the reins and putting it to Mike bluntly. He couldn't stand any more beating around the bush, not when it came to Harvey and his condition. "He kicked her out of his life when he turned fifteen and never looked back. Just her being near him is enough to mess with Harvey's equilibrium."
"She's already filed a petition to be given power of attorney." Jessica clearly thought that was a bad thing.
"It's not like she's going to use it to..." He couldn't even say the words, could barely force them through his mind. Harvey was breathing on his own, Donna had said as much, he was somewhat responsive to pain and light, and there was every indication that he might, eventually, get better.
"Obviously making any decision against Harvey's medical directives, which are very clear on the distinction between 'coma' and 'persistent vegetative state', would be a non-starter," Jessica assured him. "But Marie is... not above taking advantage of the circumstances to, for example, pay for her reservation at the Plaza where she is staying, or dining out."
"His mother is using his coma to take a fucking Manhattan holiday?!" Mike was on his feet already, his mind buzzing through precedents they could use to fight her claim. "Jessi- Ms. Pearson, you can't let her..."
Donna wrapped an arm around him, tugged him back down to the couch, and wrapped him in a hug. That was... sick, it was revolting, Mike couldn't think of any decent human being who would do that to another, much less to their own son. The very idea made him nauseous and made his head spin.
"Obviously we'd love to fight this, Mr. Ross, but Harvey's generalized animosity isn't admissible in court, and who are we supposed to put forward as a viable candidate to handle Harvey's bills and his other financial and medical obligations in the meantime?"
Mike pointed to Donna, he was fairly certain she ran Harvey's life regardless.
"At the end of the day, he still has to sign the checks," Donna answered. "I'm not above forging his signature, but if I do it while he's comatose, eventually someone will notice."
"We have no idea when Charles will become available, and although I can safely tell you that Harvey could afford to put his mother and stepfather up in the Plaza indefinitely, the idea of it isn't going to sit well with him when he wakes up." Jessica looked Mike straight in the eyes. "She is not above screwing her son over, as unbelievable as that sounds."
"You..." Mike took a deep breath. "Why are you telling me this? I can't even visit him, you know why." Just thinking about Harvey lying there, wires and tubes and heart monitors all over him, made him want to cry and curl into a ball. "What am I supposed to do about it?"
Donna looked just as confused as Mike, which gave him no comfort. Donna was supposed to know everything.
"The one person who would be able to challenge his mother's claim would be a spouse." Jessica fixed him with a level gaze. Mike just looked confused.
"Harvey's not married."
"I can fix that," Donna said, far too chipper and cheerful about this. Mike looked at her. "Retroactively, at least."
"You're going to have Donna fake-coma-marry Harvey?" Mike was still confused by this, and why he was even here. It was much better that he didn't know, one more lie that he would have to keep straight with everyone.
"If Harvey had actually married me, there wouldn't be any reason for him to keep it a secret. I assume Jessica is suggesting you fake-coma-marry your boss."
Mike sometimes liked to consider himself smart, but even he couldn't think of a way that this made sense. "So you want me to... come out as gay, out Harvey as gay, and have everyone at Pearson Hardman think I slept my way into my position just to save him the emotional damage of his mother going on a shopping spree while he's in a coma?" Not that Mike wouldn't do it, because he would, but hell if he was going to make that sort of decision for Harvey while he was in a damn coma. As Harvey was so fond of telling him, you couldn't go back from revealing something like that. It would change everything at work and his life. "I can't do that to him."
"Mike," Donna said, squeezing his shoulder. "Give us a minute?"
"Oh, no," Mike answered. "You're just going to figure out some way to team up and emotionally manipulate me into doing this for reasons I can't even begin to fathom."
Donna took a deep breath, looked Mike straight in the eyes, and said: "Mike, I can absolutely guarantee you that Harvey would rather be married to you than have his mother running around on a shopping spree on his dime while he was in a coma."
"The fact that you think Harvey has in any way prioritized those two possibilities worries me."
Mike was a sucker.
One call to Lola Jensen later, he and Harvey were... married. He had no idea how this had really happened, but after making the executive decision that he and Harvey had been married on the one year anniversary of the day they met, and Mike signed some papers and Lola made internet magic, he was actually married. He'd just coma-married his boss.
"I just coma-married my boss." He put his head in his hands. "I'm married."
Jessica just patted him on the shoulder. "Pearson Hardman has a very liberal family leave policy... usually it's paternity leave, but this fits the criteria."
Mike found himself absent-mindedly rambling off the exact portion of the family leave policy that related to their current circumstances. "I can't stop working," Mike said. "I'll work... twenty or thirty hours a week?"
"Worry about selling the fretting husband act first," Donna told him. "Not that anyone on the floor would doubt it if you said as much."
"Come on," Jessica nodded him toward the door. "We have a petition to fight."
Apparently Jessica's idea of fighting the petition was dragging Mike to the hospital and all but frog marching him into Harvey's room. Every step Mike took, he could feel panic and dread and terror well up in his chest. Every beep, every hiss of a ventilator, every lungful of air made his feet subconsciously skate across the floor, as though he could curl his toes into the tiles and keep Jessica from walking him forward. She kept him calm with a whispered briefing.
"Your mother and stepfather-in-law are named Marie and Taylor. Marie cheated on your father-in-law, Gordon - deceased, five years - their entire marriage with a variety of men until she finally divorced him when Harvey was fifteen. Harvey calls them 'Marie' and 'Taylor' and would have told you about them that way, he does not otherwise have fond memories of his childhood that he would share. He likes to pretend he hatched out of an egg as a 1L at law school." The idea made Mike grin enough that he stopped scrabbling for a way to keep Jessica from marching him forward.
Mike came up short, actually grabbed Jessica around the arm and held her. "Why did he marry me?!" He made a gesture, indicating his person, dressed well enough but with a five o'clock shadow and a distinct lack of 'it'. Mike knew how Harvey dated, and Mike had no delusions about the fact that Harvey would have had to trade way down to marry Mike.
Jessica appeared to consider it for a moment, before putting a hand on top of his head and patting. "Brains, heart, and your innate decency and occasional modesty."
And then she left him there, blinking and confused, before sweeping into a room five doors down.
Mike thought he might have to act, might have to bite his cheek or pinch himself, but the second he walked into the room his eyes welled with tears, and after a few blinks to clear them, tears fell down his cheeks in earnest. Harvey's usual tan was now a slightly waxy pallor, he had tubes everywhere, oxygen at his nose, IV in his arm, catheter hidden under the sheets. "... Harvey."
Behind him, someone said something; it wasn't Jessica. Jessica he might have tried to pay attention to, but instead he walked over, feet shuffling through concrete, weighing him down, before he bent and pressed a soft, chaste kiss to Harvey's forehead.
"You look like shit." Harvey probably would have appreciated that. Mike laughed, shaking his head as he took stock of all of the injuries, visible and hidden, the bruising on the side of his face and head was the most obvious, and likely what had caused the coma. Ribs were cracked and bandaged under the sheet, arm broken. What kept drawing Mike's eyes was the absolute mess of hair on Harvey's head. The gel in his hair had been maybe half rinsed out, but four days of bed washing only had done little to make it presentable, a large swath of hair had been buzzed and was now wrapped in a bandage. Harvey really did look like shit.
Finally, he was able to move and came around to the other side - the one with fewer tubes and wires in it - and picked up his good hand.
"Who the hell are you?"
Mike looked up and saw the neatly dressed woman, dark hair and eyes with a pinched face. She looked just familiar enough that Mike was almost certain of his guess, but he ignored the cheap shot and said simply: "Harvey's husband."
He enjoyed the hard, pinched look for a moment, before the room exploded into yelling. Jessica, Marie and Taylor ended up being ejected for disturbing the floor, and Mike just stayed, curled all but plastered to Harvey's side. Intellectually, Mike knew he was trying to sell an act: concerned husband, but it was far too easy. Mike had expected to feel something; he knew he would look at Harvey and see his parents or just more immediately remember what it was like to wait those few days while his mother slowly slipped away. Instead he saw Harvey, and somehow that made it even worse. Losing his parents he'd long since made peace with, seeing Harvey laying there unmoving wasn't something he was ready for. Tears fell from Mike's face and landed on the blanket. He couldn't lose Harvey, not now. Harvey was all he had.
A few minutes after Jessica and the others had been herded out, a nurse came in to check on Harvey and look at his vitals. "What was that all about?"
"Surprise in-laws," Mike answered, squeezing Harvey's hand again. "Not what the mother-in-law expected to get sprung on her, you know? But... uh... that's what you get when you're not the best of mothers."
"Oh." The nurse's eyes were wide and surprised, flicking down between Mike's face and where he was clinging to Harvey's hand. "I didn't know Mr. Specter was married."
Mike tried to shrug it off. If he'd learned anything from his year of pretending to be a lawyer, the best lie was either the audacious or the simple. "We work together. That's one of the only ways you can really have a relationship as a young Associate and..." He sighed. "I feel so horrible for not coming sooner." Mike didn't wait for an answer. "I just couldn't. I lost my parents in a car accident and the idea of losing Harvey like this..." An uncomfortable laugh burbled up in his chest and he pressed his forehead to Harvey's shoulder. "He always thought it was weird that I would voluntarily ride a bike in Manhattan."
"I don't think Mr. Specter would blame you, Mr...."
"Ross, Mike Ross. Thank you. I was at work thinking of how horrible I am, but Harvey wouldn't want me to let my work suffer." He wouldn't. The idea that Harvey was missing so much work probably would give the man hives when he finally woke up. Harvey might act like he wasn't paying attention, but Mike knew better now. "I know it's silly, and that he can't really tell, but he really likes his hair." It was a mess. There was no way to recover from the buzzed hair that had been required for surgery, but the rest at least could have been washed and made to look presentable. "Do you think I could wash his hair? He'd hate to think of visitors seeing him... less than put together."
"I'll check with the doctor, Mr. Ross."
He ended up being allowed to scrub the worst of the remaining hair gel out of Harvey's hair, and Jessica did something to get Marie's petition for power of attorney trashed. Mike received a text to that effect late in the afternoon. He tried not to think about the fact that there had likely been some perjury involved. Harvey would not be thrilled, but, then again, Harvey seemed willing to make an exception for lying when it came to Mike. Mike could at least return the favor.
Donna arrived around seven to drag him home.
By 'home' she apparently meant Harvey's home. "I can't stay here."
"You're married. You should be living together. Give me your keys," Donna said, almost ignoring him as they swept into Harvey's condo and Mike started by raiding the refrigerator, found it empty, and then raided the delivery menu drawer. Mike left his keys on the counter. "I'll have a reasonable amount of your stuff moved in tomorrow. You have a spare suit in the office, right?"
The two of them made short work of turning down the bed, going through mail - federal violation, certainly - paying a few bills over the phone, and then Mike signed for the delivery Japanese. He and Donna ate at the breakfast bar.
"It's a testament to your skill as an Executive Assistant that Harvey's life is still going on even while he's in a coma." Mike wasn't certain he could have continued the charade if Donna hadn't been there to help.
"I've been running his life since he graduated law school," Donna answered. "I did think if he ever got married I'd be able to leave some of the work to his better half. No luck there."
Mike still couldn't quite wrap his mind around the fact he'd let Donna and Jessica talk him into this. "Sorry, our marriage works best when both parties pretend we're not married. Oh God." Mike banged his head against the island counter top. "Is this already around at work?"
Donna winced. "Oh yeah."
Mike just groaned.
"The office gossip is that it's about time the two of you stopped hiding it, even if the circumstances aren't the best."
"Wha--?" He grabbed a piece of edamame and sucked on it to avoid making an even weirder face.
"Yup." Donna sighed.
"Harvey and my relationship was completely professional," Mike protested. "We... work cases together all the time. I work hard. The other Partners and Jessica think my work is awesome - Jessica in spite of herself, and the office gossip, not ten hours after we're outed is 'it figures'?"
Maybe in a weird way it did sort of figure. Mike wouldn't have said he was into Harvey, not in that way, but he was bent or whatever enough to admit that his boss was really hot, especially for someone pushing forty. Really Harvey was hot, no age-qualifier necessary, but hotness didn't make a relationship.
"Yeah. Prepare for some ragging." Donna looked sympathetic, but she also looked just amused enough, as well. "Jessica wants you to set up in Harvey's office. You're handling most of his clients, the ones who need easier things that can be handled by a baby lawyer."
Mike groaned again. "One thing I didn't really hear addressed this morning... Harvey's..." Mike took his hand and wiggled it slightly. "Bi?"
"Never make that hand gesture again or you will lose it, Mike Ross."
Mike tugged his hand to his chest, cradling it slightly. "I just meant I've never seen him with a guy, he's always with women."
"Path of least resistance," Donna answered, but she was eyeing him now, speculative. "I didn't hear you complaining. I've only seen you date women."
"Yeah I'm... kinda straight." He winced, wishing that wasn't what his answer was. "I mean I guess I'm gay for Harvey, right?"
Donna arched an eyebrow, lip quirked.
"I just mean... he's given me everything. If he needs me to be married to him, then that's what we do. I really would do anything for him, Donna." Mike tucked his leg up under his thigh and picked at his sushi. "But if you asked me a week ago I would have said I never really looked at Harvey like that. He's attractive, but I'm straight."
They fell into a silence that Mike couldn't help but think of as awkward. Donna was probably chewing over that revelation, or information, and trying to decide what to do with it.
"I don't mind that he's bi," Mike said, finally, clarifying. "He's my boss and I owe him everything and his personal life isn't my business."
"And you're going to go back to being straight when he wakes up?"
Mike shrugged. "Well, not right away. We can't exactly file for divorce the day he wakes up, Marie would be all over that. Harvey should have made me sign a prenup." In spite of himself, Mike snickered.
"I'm sure Jessica would have advised him to if she knew he was eloping." The two of them turned back to their food, a long moment of silence passing between them. "People do stupid things for love."
The thing that Mike kept getting hung up on was that Harvey was in his late thirties, he didn't really date, he didn't seem to fall in love, and yet Donna was completely certain that this whole lie was all going to be fine by Harvey. Mike was trying to imagine the Harvey he knew, his Harvey, and how he would react to finding out his Associate and his Executive Assistant had married him while he was in a coma. "You're sure he's not going to be mad about this?"
"He'll be mad at me and Jessica for strong arming you into it. The rest..." Donna didn't answer, thought about it for a little while, "he'll forgive us for. And no matter what he says, he doesn't know how to stay mad at you."
"Harvey gets mad at me all the time."
"But he doesn't stay mad. Trust me."
Mike wanted to believe this wasn't going to mess up everything, but even in the most obvious ways it would. Work was going to be a mess, everything was going to be a mess, and Harvey... "We don't even know if he's ever going to wake up."
That was what twisted in Mike's gut as he tried to sleep on Harvey's luxurious sheets and bed, as he showered in the morning, and as he walked downstairs to climb into Harvey's car - driven by Ray - and headed to work. He didn't want to know what the world without Harvey would be like. To Mike that was a terrifying possibility he never wanted to contemplate.
Work was a nightmare. Almost every Associate had a catty comment of some sort to share, only a very small few felt the urge to behave like humans and actually give Mike their condolences, and by nine Mike had already given up on the idea that work was going to be anything but an unending mess of harassment.
"Mr. Ross." Jessica stood at the end of the Associate bullpen that housed Mike's cubicle. "You'll be using Mr. Specter's office until he returns. Pick two Associates, they'll be detailed to you while you take over Harvey's workload."
Mike didn't pick immediately, instead running to trail after Jessica, walking side by side. "Jessica, I appreciate the false show of confidence, but contrary to what the Associate rumor mill is churning up, Harvey Specter hasn't actually 'fucked real lawyering' into me."
He should have been shocked at his language, but Jessica wasn't, she just chuckled before sliding them both into Harvey's office. "This pains me to say, so I'll only say it once. Me? I could do all of Harvey's work, probably do most of it better than him, but as far as handling Harvey's clients, giving them the Harvey Specter treatment, knowing whatever half-assed, hair-brained idea Harvey would put together for them? That's what Harvey hired you for." Jessica reached out, touched him on the shoulder. "When Harvey gets back, I don't want him reading me the riot act because I didn't get his clients treated right. You need a Partner's heft for something you come to me, but I'm going to give you a lot of rope here, Mike."
"So... when I don’t hang myself, your ass is covered because I'm awesome. No one can say I got where I am because I'm married to Harvey?" Mike could follow the logic. "Are you going to have me keep up with the other Partner's work as well?"
"I'm giving you two Associates."
Mike smirked. "Harvey said I do the work of two Associates." It was a bluff, Harvey never said nice things like that, but he knew he did do that much work.
"Actually he said it was four. Don't lie to me, kid." She quirked her lip at him and then headed out of the office.
"... Harvey said that about me?"
By two he'd gotten his two Associates, closed a nuisance lawsuit that cleaned house to neaten up an IPO, and got called in by Wyatt and SunTech to discuss a future acquisition. Mike took a perverse pleasure of stopping by Jessica's office at four, informing her he'd be taking the Kellogg briefs and going to visit Harvey. He assigned Gregory and Russell to summarize a few precedents and past filings, as well as looking into some company financials, and then he took his banker's box and a car to the hospital.
Harvey looked no better, face still purpling and waxy, still breathing on his own, but not responsive - not in any way that really counted. He felt a bit like a pervert, sweeping the sweat-curled hair off his forehead and giving him a soft peck, but there were nurses out in the hall who could see him. Mike settled into the somewhat comfortable visitor's chair, took the rolling table, and set it at a good height to work briefs.
Techs and nurses filtered in an out, hospitalists and specialists filtered in and out. Harvey was taken away for an MRI or something and returned just as impassive, and Mike knew his jaw twitched and tightened as he listened to the progress and the prognosis. The swelling in Harvey's skull was greatly reduced, the reduced pressure was good for healing, but there was unlikely to be a change in the near future. His ribs and arm were healing nicely, the cuts on his face, shoulders, and chest were unlikely to scar too badly.
He watched as a physical therapist came through and worked each of Harvey's muscle groups to avoid clots and checked for pressure sores. Mike found that watching them all created a strange sort of intimate distance; Mike was subjected to more of Harvey's body and fluids than he'd really would have thought possible, but at the same time he was clearly an outsider and unable to help or do anything productive.
Mike told Harvey about stealing his office, working on his cases, and generally getting ragged on by the Associates. Recounting the trials of his day took almost an hour. After that, he started to read briefs to Harvey. It was mostly legalese rambling about 'the party to the first part' and all that. He considered stopping. If he'd been comatose he probably would have stayed that way just to avoid proofing briefs.
"How is he?" Donna startled him, so much so that he glanced at the clock and was shocked to see it was almost eight.
"The swelling in his head is reducing... but with Harvey, who knows, he always had a big head." Mike gave her a weak smirk that he didn't quite feel. Hours in the hospital had finally allowed him a certain amount of desensitization, but the medical equipment still filled him with some of the same terror it had a day ago.
Donna laughed, actually laughed, and came in to wrap an arm around him, helping him up. "Come on, Mr. Ross-Specter, you need to eat and sleep."
Pizza arrived almost as soon as they arrived at Harvey's. Harvey's closet was now half-filled with Mike's cheaper suits and ties, his shoes, and his casual clothes. Several boxes of books had been emptied out onto neat and modern bookshelves. A few pictures of Mike and his family from when he was younger sat on the bedroom dresser. And that was it; Mike's entire life had been boxed and moved in a matter of hours. It was depressing.
"Any word from Charles?"
Donna shook her head. "He's sometimes out of contact for weeks at a stretch, at least from what Harvey told me. It's not unusual or worrisome."
"And my mother-in-law?"
"You're in the clear on that front, for the moment." Donna placed a slice of pepperoni in front of Mike on a plate and uncapped them both beers. "She'll probably try again, but it's only worth so much effort, especially with Jessica Pearson representing you pro bono."
Donna put a envelope on the breakfast bar and Mike took it, pulled it open, and discovered a copy of his and Harvey's birth certificates and their marriage license. "I can't believe you married me to my boss."
"I still can't believe you agreed." Mike could agree on that. Them nodded, chewing slowly on their pizzas. "It will be a bit awkward when he wakes up."
"As long as he wakes up," Mike answered. Both of them could agree and drink to that.
Mike's days took on a pattern. Ray took him to work, arriving at seven. He stomped every single problem that had come up overnight and he checked up on 'his' Associates' work. Mike accepted anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes from Louis implying that he earned his position on his back and that he was an opportunistic slut. After that, he called any clients without an emergency issue, but who had paperwork or some legal issue in the works to give the client or their admins an update. Once or twice a week he was called in to administer the Harvey Specter treatment on a moderately cooperating witness, or work a deposition, and then he was back to his office. Every day he left around four with a stack of paperwork that he then took to St. Vincent's Hospital.
He ate a crappy sandwich or burger from the hospital around four-thirty, did paperwork through nine, stopping only to meet the tech and nurse going off duty or coming on duty at six. The therapist who came in to make sure Harvey didn't get DVT or lose muscle tone came somewhere between four-thirty and six every day, the day hospitalist gave him an update on Harvey's progress, Mike told Harvey about his day and massaged away any twitches or muscle spasms Harvey developed where Mike could see.
At work, everyone who wasn't Louis started to circle around him, avoid him, or ask him only for a polite update on Harvey's condition.
Week three he signed a new biotech startup who had just entered phase one clinical trials. Mike met the CEO while the two of them were in the waiting room outside of radiology.
Mike got sort of creepily used to sleeping in Harvey's comfortable bed. He got a notice that Harvey's food co-op was moving into summer food pick ups, grabbed a random basket of veggies on the weekends, and started packing lunch and eating kale chips.
Marie attempted to get Harvey and Mike's marriage annulled on the grounds of it not being a real marriage. The judge who handled the motion 'laughed his ass off', Jessica's words. It made Mike vaguely uncomfortable. Lying had become weirdly second nature in his life. Jokes about lawyers and ambulance chasers aside, Mike had always considered himself an honest and open person. That might have been part of what compelled him to make a more-than-token effort to bring verisimilitude to his fake-gay-coma-marriage.
Mike liked Harvey. Even when he was being a complete dick, Mike liked him. Telling Harvey about his day became weirdly natural, grabbing his hand and holding on through the hospitalist and neurologist updates became second nature. Each of the half-dozen techs and nurses who were on rotation had asked for and heard at least some part of the story of 'Mike and Harvey'. A few weeks in, he had become unsurprised by the warm, anxious feeling in his chest whenever the neurologist or the therapist or any other number of specialists came through. It had started as an act, but just like the other act of his life, Mike stepped into the lie and made it his own.
He could answer almost anything about Harvard, and after a few weeks, the same could be said of Harvey. The little pieces that Donna shared became his own, even though they had never come to him from Harvey. A vague attachment to his boss became an affection and an affection became... something else.
All of that would have been completely and totally fine. Mike could manage that. And then, all very suddenly, Harvey woke up.
Of course, in the moment the most logical thing Mike could think to do was babble. "It's August third, you were in a coma, we've been married since July 10th, let me get the doctor." And then he kissed Harvey square on the forehead and fled the hospital room.
It was now August fourth, Harvey had been in the hospital in a coma for a little under four weeks, and apparently Jessica and Donna had somehow strong-armed Mike into marrying him. Also Mike was now doing most of the work of a Junior Partner. Harvey really should have been having a harder time with the coma part, but the one his head kept circling back to was that Donna and Jessica had browbeaten Mike into marrying him. He was going to kill Donna, just as soon as he had his arm and ribs out of cast, and could walk more than two feet.
He commended Mike for his dedication to the lie, mostly because it meant when the neurologist showed up less than a half hour after he'd regained conscience and Dr. Newberg said 'your husband has been here every day' Harvey didn't answer with 'what the fuck are you talking about?' and thus create the impression that he was suffering from severe retrograde amnesia. He didn't remember the accident itself, which the doctors assured him was normal, Mike informed him that Jessica was in the process of making sure the driver who hit him was prosecuted to the full extent of the law and had his pants sued off, and Donna cried, a lot, and hugged him, a lot.
Jessica visited him early in the morning before work and filled him in on the details of Marie's attempt to crash into his life and cash in on his misfortune. He really needed to rewrite his living will. He was a lawyer, having a secret fake gay marriage shouldn't have been the first line of defense against his mother being an opportunistic asshole.
Harvey was subjected to various pokes and prods all day, and the excited twitterings of a handful of techs and nurses. Apparently he was 'just as charming as Mike had said'. Harvey had no idea what to do with that. Donna visited at lunchtime, and helped him through a round of full liquids.
"You can't tell me this was the best you could come up with." He didn't even have to elaborate on what 'this' meant, Donna knew exactly what he meant and exactly why he was upset with Donna and Jessica's overreach.
"Under the circumstances, it was." Donna looked... guilty at least. "Jessica would have done anything else if she could have."
"And Mike?" Jessica suggesting it was ridiculous, Donna backing her was understandable but weird, but Mike... Mike actually deciding to follow their lead was mind-boggling to Harvey.
"Is... straight." Both of them sighed in unison. "I mean he said he'd be gay for you, but not in the fun way, just because he figured if this was what you would have wanted, he'd do it."
"So instead of having an inappropriate and unrequited crush on my Associate, I now have an inappropriate and unrequited crush on my husband. That's just brilliant."
As much as Harvey felt like he wanted to wring Donna's neck, he couldn't deny that the option she'd gotten him was the better of two bad options. He wouldn't have wanted to be married to anyone else, Donna included, and he certainly wouldn't have wanted to know that his mother had spent four weeks in Manhattan on his dime, all but dancing on his future grave. He was glad the kid got a few weeks of sleep and comfort out of it. If he'd... not woken up, he would have appreciated Mike getting a piece of the Harvey Specter estate as well.
"He cares for you, Harvey. You know that." Donna's voice was soft and comforting. It was an unusual tone for her, they usually subsisted on sarcasm, but Harvey needed that right now.
Harvey didn't want to think about Mike caring for him; that wasn't what he wanted from Mike. What he wanted he couldn't have. "And Charles?"
Donna shrugged. "Still haven't heard back from him."
"I need to get my will redrawn. You're getting power of attorney if I'm in a coma." Because obviously the legal tedium of his medical circumstances was a far safer topic than the fact that he was now married to Mike.
Donna reached out and gave his good shoulder a squeeze. "That can wait until after the divorce. Mike did a great job, actually. And Harvey Specter, if you divorce the guy who sat by you for weeks while you were in a coma, pretty much everyone in Pearson Hardman and Manhattan in general are going to think you're a huge dick."
"And how is that different from any other day of the week?" Harvey knew she had a point. It would be awkward, but even for the most cursory of appearances sake, he and Mike would need to stay married for several months. "Did you make him sign a prenup?"
Donna smirked at him before she started to inappropriately giggle. "He was thinking about the same thing." She was right, it was funny.
Mike arrived at four-thirty with a pile full of paperwork, sat down in the chair next to Harvey, and dragged his table so that he could put the files on it. "Jessica, Donna, and I decided that you could be allowed your Blackberry. Don't text while stoned." Mike dangled the thing just close enough for Harvey to reach, and although it took him a few moments, he did manage to wrap his hands around it and hold it loosely. "Don't worry about any cases, I have everything handled. Everything I don't have handled, Jessica has. No leaving against medical advice."
Harvey could agree to those terms, so he nodded.
"Tiffany said you're supposed to be trying to get up and walk a bit. Let me know if you want to while I'm here."
"Tiffany?" Mike pointed to the whiteboard that announced that his tech was named 'Tiffany'. "Maybe after dinner."
He needed to be upgraded to an actual diet soon, but for right now he was stuck with pureed carrots and pudding, which was far more embarrassing to have Mike help him with instead of Donna. Mike mixed his time between ignoring Harvey and offering to tell him everything he'd missed while he was in a coma.
"I signed a client. Jessica said I'm awesome."
Harvey decided he could blame it on brain damage, but he allowed Mike the courtesy of a fist-bump to celebrate. "You've been doing my work, doing your work, supervising two Associates, and playing husband-slash-nursemaid. How did you have any time to woo a new client?"
"We met in the MRI waiting area. His wife has MS."
"You bonded over your sick spouses. Sharp thinking, kid."
A complicated look that Harvey couldn't quite figure out passed over Mike's face. "It wasn't... you know, sharp thinking, I was just telling him how I was feeling about what you were going through. And... the nurses already think you're a cradle-robber, you might want to go with 'Mike' instead of 'kid' or 'rookie', just a point of advice."
"I'm only eleven years older than you!" Harvey wasn't certain why that was what was bothering him. "But still, good work. Your tendency to fall in love with everyone you meet will help you get new business eventually. So, tell me about our new client."
"My client. Jessica wanted me to start collecting my own roster." Mike looked far too pleased with himself. "After you're back on your feet - physically and metaphorically - they're going to see about moving me to Partner track. Word on the street is that it's a foregone conclusion."
"But you're my Associate." Harvey felt sick - more sick than a post-coma person should feel - and the anxiety was coiled tightly in his chest, nowhere near his broken ribs. They were an amazing team, Harvey didn't want to break that up. He didn't want Mike pulled away from him to another floor or another department. He wanted Mike there.
"Harvey, we're married. The only reason people don't think I slept my way into the position is because I'm that good. Jessica and I talked about it and she decided that I needed to get out from under you as soon as possible to avoid any further allegations of impropriety." Mike just said it like it was obvious, a foregone conclusions. "I'm going to be there while you do more recruiting and get yourself a new Associate, Frank Williams is even moving offices. I'll be right next door. We're going to have joint custody of Donna."
Harvey paled. It wasn't the change that was the issue, it was how willing Mike seemed to embrace getting away from him. It stung. Harvey's world had shifted upside down in the past month, and Mike had been the center of his world too long to lose him both as an Associate and eventually as a fake husband. Harvey didn't even know if their collection of lies could hold up after Mike spread his lawyer wings, he wasn't jealous of Mike's success, he just thought they would have more time.
"Coma you can deal with, but joint custody of Donna is a bridge too far?" Mike was grinning at him, but a few moments later his face fell. "Hey... you knew I wouldn't be your Associate forever."
Mike put out his hand, and Harvey, for some reason he couldn't quite comprehend, took it. "I'm proud of you, Mike."
"And hey, it's still months off. Docs say you're going to be in the hospital a little longer, and then getting back into the swing, recruiting, all that." Mike squeezed Harvey's hand, and then leaned in to give him a hug that Harvey allowed, letting his good arm wrap around Mike. "You want to go for a walk and flirt with all the nurses?"
Not really. Harvey let himself cling to Mike for just a few moments longer before he finally let go. "It's... sort of a production."
But Mike seemed well-versed in the amount of hassle it was for Harvey to get around, and was not deterred by Harvey's deflection. He went and unplugged Harvey's IV from the wall, wrapped all the tubing neatly up into a bundle, hooked his foley to the IV machine and helped him sit up.
"Make sure you dangle your legs until you feel steady. If you fall they get dinged in a performance measure." Mike grinned at him, and of course Mike knew absolutely everything there was to know about the damn hospital now. If Harvey had to guess it was probably the kid's coping mechanism for even having to be there.
"Are you ready to become a fake doctor?"
"Hey, don't knock it, I could probably pass the MCATs easy." Mike pulled out a pair of socks - ones that had grips on the bottom - and then got down on his knees to tug them on to Harvey's feet and then massaged Harvey's ankles and calves as thought that was a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do. "This is good, though, you don't want to get a clot. That's one of the big dangers for being bedridden for so long."
Harvey let his legs dangle, tugging on his gown to make sure it was closed. "I'm just looking forward to pissing on my own."
"Someone's got to write orders for that." Mike shrugged. "The hospitalist should be around for the evening handoff in about an hour. If they know you can wander around on your own maybe they'll let you pee on your own."
His goals shouldn't have been so ridiculously small, but they were. With one arm wrapped tightly around the rolling IV pole, and the other firmly threaded through Mike's arm, Harvey slowly wandered the halls, feeling at least twenty-five years older than he was. Mike behaved for all the world like an over-enthusiastic puppy, eager to show off his geriatric human. Harvey did his best to be charming, but what little patience he had for Mike being brightly flirtatious with every woman on the floor was worn out barely twenty minutes and a few dozen meters from his room. When Harvey asked, they dutifully made a u-turn and Mike helped him back to his room and into bed.
Mike chatted easily about a few of the cases he was handling, and although Harvey had some amount of input, he felt sluggish. Mike was running circles around him. Mike assured him that he wasn't supposed to be working hard, and he was on the good drugs, but it was little consolation.
Harvey found that Mike knew more about his condition than Harvey did, and asked several questions of the doctors and specialists who stopped by to see him before the evening shift came on. He was allowed to have the huge tube up his dick removed, thankfully, but only had a few moments to feel that relief when the tech - Tiffany - asked, completely guileless:
"If you're up for it, we can wrap your bandages and get you into the shower. At this point you'll still need Mike's help, but you might actually feel clean."
Harvey couldn't think of a single thing he wanted to deal with less.
Mike's brain vaguely shorted out from the potential implications. It wasn't that he found hospital-shower-sex particularly appealing or likely under the circumstances, but as much as Mike had slowly become aware of the fact that Harvey had a body between his throat and his ankles, actually showering with him felt like a bridge too far. Instead he sort of shook his head and tried to come up with a good answer.
"Why don't you get some plastic wrap and tape and Harvey can decide if he feels up for it?"
Which left him and Harvey alone, with the prospect of Mike helping Harvey in the shower.
"You are not showering me," Harvey said as soon as Tiffany was out of immediate hearing range.
"Are you going to shower yourself with three broken ribs and a broken arm?" That was the salient point in Mike's mind. There was no way that Harvey could shower himself any time soon, and Mike completely begging off spending some time with the 'husband' he'd come to see every day would seem completely out of character.
"I'll manage." Harvey's jaw was set, locked in a stubborn sort of way more reminiscent of a three year old than a Senior Partner at a major law firm.
Mike leaned in. "The only reason she's letting you shower at all is because I'd be helping." He wasn't certain why he was this insistent on it, maybe because they would just have the same awkward round-about tomorrow if Harvey didn't cave today. This was about setting a precedent, Harvey and Mike could shower together like grownups and not be awkward about it the next day.
Mike could see the gears whirling in Harvey's head. His bed was gross, he smelled like hospital, he hadn't changed his gown in three days. His hair was getting a bit disgusting again. "You wash my hair, you keep your eyes closed, and we never speak of this again."
Tiffany arrived again before Mike was able to agree to the terms. She was carrying medical tape and a few medical bags as well that would do alright for covering up the worst of the dressing and wounds. "What have we decided?"
"Get him new linens and we have a deal." Mike traded Tiffany for the plastic wrap and dragged Harvey - slowly - into the bathroom.
It felt like it took forever just to get Harvey stripped out of the hospital gown and perched on the seat in the shower still wearing his boxers. Mike started by wrapping up the arm cast. Harvey was actually pouting.
"Seriously? Pouting?" Mike sighed and began his wrapping of Harvey's arm and the IV line in his arm. As much as he thought it would be weird, Mike found it impossible to really think of Harvey in a particularly sexual way at the moment, no matter how much skin he had on display. "Be mature about this."
"How do you not have a problem with this?" Harvey asked, but still he held his arm out for Mike to work on. "I don't think you've ever seen my collarbone before you got fake-married to me."
"I did once," Mike reminded him. "Gabby Stone case." It probably should have been creepy that he remembered, but this was Mike. He figured it was just fairly normal for him to remember the last time he'd seen his boss in anything other than a suit. "And it's not that this is totally normal or something, but I've been washing your hair and helping with your physical therapy for weeks. The mystery has gone out of our marriage, Harvey."
"Is that your way of saying you've already seen me naked?" Harvey's question was surprisingly unflirty, but not an interrogation either.
"Mostly." Mike sighed. "It wasn't like I was looking, but you can't not look. I'm supposed to be your husband, no blushing virgins allowed. Besides, you're not the one who's had to have jokes about you fucking legal knowledge into me thrown at you behind your back for the past four weeks. You can be safe in the knowledge that everyone thinks you're the boss in the relationship."
Harvey didn't seem to find that particularly comforting. "Right, that's what I was losing sleep over last night, who the Associate rumor mill thought topped most often. You can't be alright with this, Mike."
Mike wasn't. It was damn weird. He felt something for Harvey, it was a comforting over-protectiveness that he wanted to wrap around Harvey. He felt affection even if he didn't know what, exactly, to do with it. "I knew what I was signing up for, alright? Arms up."
Harvey did as he was told, for once, and Mike wrapped his ribs as well. "So you're playing nursemaid and letting everyone at Pearson Hardman other than Jessica and Donna think we've been secretly having a relationship and that doesn't bother you at all?"
"Take off your boxers." Mike stepped out of the shower and started to strip. "Look, I'm not going to pretend it's not a little weird, but what's one more lie, you know? As long as we're not lying to each other I figure we're fine." When he checked over his shoulders, Harvey was still staring at him, boxers on. "Come on, boxers off. I even brought your ridiculous hypoallergenic Columbian goat milk soap from home, so you can't be a prima donna about soap scum."
"You brought me soap from home?"
This new piece of information was apparently what spurred Harvey into action, and he shucked his own boxers, leaving a hand covering him to preserve his modesty, and Mike let him, because he wasn't going to make a big deal over whether or not Mike got to actually see Harvey's dick. Mike turned on the shower, finally, water almost instantly warm. "Close your eyes."
Mike started by blasting Harvey's crazy-hair in a proper shower spray for the first time in weeks. And then Harvey asked him about the new SunTech Digital patent.
He accepted it for what it was. Harvey absolutely didn't want to think about the fact that Mike was showering him, Mike was having a hard enough time with that on his own, and so Mike stole Harvey's free hand and used it to hold the hand-shower while he scrubbed Harvey's hair, conditioned, scrubbed his face and further down. They talked about work, Mike could answer any question Harvey had, and Mike didn't think about the fact that he was showering his boss, and his boss didn't think about the fact that his Associate was showering him. Mike figured that would work for them.
In the end, he left Harvey to take care of himself between the belt and upper thigh, back facing him, and then Harvey stumbled out of the shower and Mike rinsed himself off. The two of them stood there, silent, Mike with a towel wrapped around his waist, Harvey with a towel loosely draped over his lap.
"Boxers." Mike shook his head. "I brought you clean boxers. Hang on."
He stumbled out of the bathroom only to come face-to-face with Donna, who was looking at him like he had grown two heads, which Mike didn't think was quite fair because he wasn't as gawky as he'd been a year ago. Mike closed the door.
"In my defense, although this is exactly what it looks like, Harvey did want a shower." Mike then proceeded to do his very best to pretend that Donna wasn't watching his every move as Mike went to his messenger bag and raided it to remove a pair of Harvey's black, cotton boxers from the bag. "Could you... maybe come back in a half hour? I think he'd prefer to not have an audience."
Mike wasted time combing out Harvey's hair and thinking about how badly Harvey needed a haircut.
"Feel any cleaner?" Mike asked, helping Harvey back out onto the - freshly made - bed and helping him back into a clean hospital gown.
"Vaguely. I need a toothbrush and a shave."
"Oh, I am the master of shaving. Master." But Mike handed over everything Harvey would need to brush his teeth.
"You have a permanent five o'clock shadow," Harvey protested.
Mike stuck his tongue out, feeling playful, happy that the weirdness between them hadn't completely dissolved that easy playfulness that Mike had always loved between them. "That's a lifestyle choice. And I meant I could shave you if you needed." He left Harvey's shaving kit on the bed next to Harvey's hip.
Harvey stopped brushing his teeth, toothbrush dangling unappealingly out of his mouth while Harvey looked at him. "You have really been attending to my personal grooming for the last four weeks?"
"I expect my nomination for my 'best husband ever' award later."
"Yeah, it's in the mail."
As soon as Donna arrived again, he fled. The cafeteria was almost closed for the night, but he managed to convince the grill man to put together a reuben and pickle on part of the grill he hadn't washed yet. He joined the dozens of other family members who were just trying to pass the time between now and whatever new scrap of news would come for them. Mike hadn't thought he would be able to be so... comfortable in a hospital. After his parents' death, he'd never wanted to see a doctor or go to a hospital again, but there was something about it being Harvey, about Harvey needing him, that made him push passed his reservations and do what needed to be done.
"Mike!" Sheryl, one of the usual morning nurses, was curled up in a cafeteria booth eating a cheeseburger. "How are you? How's Harvey? We rotate around so I haven't seen you in a few days."
"Harvey's... great. He's awake, since yesterday."
"You must be so happy."
Mike nodded, reaching subconsciously for the tie that wasn't there. He'd left it in Harvey's room after their shower. "Yeah. He's... he's still Harvey, you know?"
"Still the man you married?" She was grinning now. "Good, head injuries can be tricky, but he's talking? Up and around?"
"A bit." Mike shrugged. "He's so used to being fit, he goes to the gym every day. I think he's going to take a while before he's used to how hard it is to get up and around. He wants to be back to work yesterday."
It felt... weird. He was so glad that Harvey was awake, that he was up and walking, that his marbles seemed to still be mostly there. Things had changed, though. It wasn't just that Harvey was more annoying when he could actually talk back, it was just that things were much more confusing with Harvey actually reacting. Maybe he had become too familiar with Harvey, too used to the casual touches and familiarity that him being comatose had allowed him.
Mike hadn't even thought about how strange it would be to shower with Harvey until he'd seen Donna staring at him fresh out of the shower. People around the office acting as though he was a whore he could somehow deal with, but Donna's silent semi-judgement was too much. He'd taken advantage, that was the only way he could think to frame it. Harvey was weak and vulnerable, and as much as he liked to think that Harvey would tell him to back off if he needed to, Harvey was barely twenty-four hours out of a coma. He wasn't on top of his game. If he could have figured out what he'd gotten out of it, it would have made more sense, but Mike hadn't even really... looked. Yeah he'd accidentally seen his boss' ass a few times over the last few weeks, but Mike hadn't even taken advantage of the opportunity to check him out. It was a complete mystery to him why he'd even wanted to take advantage.
"I took advantage of him." Harvey couldn't think of a better way to say it. "He was naked and trying to be helpful. I was checking out his ass." And other bits. "And I know that technically we're married, but I'm fairly certain he didn't sign up for me to ogle him. He's straight, you said it yourself."
Donna sat perched on Harvey's bed, carefully wiping away shaving cream from where Harvey was doing his damnedest not to cut himself while he shaved, again. "I'm just impressed you could think about checking him out after you'd had a plastic tube pulled out of your dick."
"I'm an opportunist." A horrible opportunist. "I have to just... not give in again, even if he offers."
"Let me get this straight." Donna was looking at him square in the eyes now. "If your nubile young husband offers to shower you again, because you're sort of an invalid right now, you're going to say no?"
"I thought the neurologist said you weren't brain damaged."
She wiped his jaw again, and then went to the sink to rinse the cloth. "All I'm saying is if he offers, why not? You're not going to be able to get a quickie divorce anyway. Enjoy it."
Harvey couldn't really justify that to himself, not even in his most opportunistic and fevered imaginings had he thought he would get this chance, but he was completely opposed to using it. "I thought of all the people in the world who might recommend 'tis better to have loved and lost', you'd be at the bottom."
"No, it's better to love and then love some more, but you're the best damn closer in the city. Are you seriously telling me you can't manage to seal the deal on a guy who's already voluntarily married you?"
When she put it like that, Harvey thought that might have made him one of the crappiest closers in the city. "I was in a coma. I'm pretty sure I'm less of an asshole when I'm in a coma."
"You're also more charming when you're not in a coma. You can do it, boss." Donna came back to sit on the bed again, running a hand up and down his arm. "He's a sweet kid."
Harvey came to accept his goal as slightly creepy, but potentially attainable. He needed to seduce his husband. Mike would no doubt make it both ridiculously easy and incredibly hard.
Harvey spent much of his morning and mid-afternoon being poked and prodded by a variety of neurologists and other specialists, forced to point at things and determine what order a story went in. He went for walks around the hospital floor, attempting to get his wind back and mostly failing, he read the news off of his tiny little Blackberry screen, and in a few particular fits of pique, texted Mike to inform him how boring having nothing but a Blackberry for entertainment was. When Mike came that afternoon he brought the Times and a legal handbook, 'just to make sure you get that mind of yours revved up again'.
Mike came just as Harvey was starting dinner. He'd graduated to solid foods - finally - and Mike wordlessly pulled off the top of pudding and then carefully sat on the edge of the bed, massaging Harvey's calves.
"So... how was your day, dear?" Mike asked, with a startlingly attractive smirk.
Harvey rolled his eyes. "More neurologists. I wish I felt... sharper."
"You will when you get out of here. Laying in bed and being lazy doesn't help, being on the good drugs doesn't help." Mike continued to massage his legs, not really looking Harvey in the eyes as he did it. "Are you in pain?"
"The ribs a bit, the arms, and I just feel sore." He ached and he wished he could actually move. Everything was stiff, and although he knew it could have been far worse, he didn't feel like himself. "Getting back to the gym is going to be difficult."
They walked around the hospital, probably farther than they should have, but Harvey stayed pasted to Mike's side, arms linked together. Mike offered to help him shower, again, which Harvey tried not to respond too enthusiastically to, and then Mike proceeded to awkwardly offer him a massage. Their afternoon and evening felt natural, Harvey and Mike curled up next to each other proofing briefs and discussing cases. It helped him feel less useless to actually use his mind.
Routine served Harvey well. The casual intimacy of it meant he and Mike picked up a variety of touches that they used together, even alone in the room, for fear that some tech or nurse would visit while they were curled together working. Even a kiss at the corner of Harvey's mouth was apparently fair game when they had an audience. It worked, at least until Harvey was finally sprung from the hospital and allowed to go home, and which point he realized that the routine had hidden a creeping truth: Harvey wanted Mike around, he had started to rely on having Mike around, and he wasn't certain how he was going to handle being on his own in a cavernous condo that was too big for a family of four, much less a man of one.
And yet when Mike helped him through the door and sat him down on his couch and then went about sorting the things Mike had brought of Harvey's back to the condo, he made every appearance of staying. Mike lazily sorted through the mail. "Hungry?"
Ravenous, apparently. "Yeah."
"Omelet? Fruit platter? Kale chips?"
"Why the hell are there kale chips in my house?" Although, he supposed technically it was 'their' house at the moment. The idea should have been intensely distressing, but instead it made him feel warm and happy.
Mike actually brought over a sealed gallon bag of green, fried things that looked suspicious, and then deposited an apple next to it. "Because I kept up your co-op membership and they keep giving me kale, so I googled it. Kale chips. They're good."
"I highly doubt that." But he opened the bag anyway and pulled one out. "How about eggs and whatever?"
"Coming right up." And Mike headed back to the kitchen. Harvey could still see him moving around, picking up pans and raiding the refrigerator. Harvey sat on the couch and eat the chip. It actually wasn't bad. "Fried? Scrambled?"
"I'm trying to learn how to poach." Mike continued to work at the counter, using several of Harvey's knives while he continued to be in and out of the refrigerator. "How are the chips?"
Harvey realized he'd already eaten about seven of them. "Terrible. Aren't you supposed to be at work?" It was barely lunch time. Admittedly he'd gotten discharged pretty early in the morning, and Harvey wasn't allowed to just take the car service home.
"Jessica gave me the day off to make sure you were settled and tomorrow and Friday I'm working from home. If you're feeling up to it, she's going to consider limited hours for you on Monday," Mike said over his shoulder.
Mike looked terrifyingly domestic like that, continuing to move around Harvey's kitchen. The kid obviously knew where everything was, never bothering to even look over his shoulder to check with Harvey where something might be. Donna and Jessica had told him that Mike had taken up residence in Harvey's place at their insistence, and it was easy to see it wasn't so much a crash as a dedicated occupation. His mantle actually had pictures on it. He stood - taking his kale chips with him - and then headed over to look. A blond haired kid stood mashed between a pair of older parents. Mike's parents, obviously.
The condo was no longer quite his own. Everything that was his was exactly where he had left it, but there were pieces and bits of stuff that were crammed into available space: books, more books, a few little knickknacks that had overtaken Harvey's relatively expensive art pieces. He prodded his stereo system and it started to blare Mike's music from the iPod that was plugged into it. He had to fiddle with it for several seconds to actually produce something soft and jazz-y to actually provide relaxing ambiance. "I don't know how you can work listening to something that loud."
"It helps me focus." Mike set a pair of plates on the breakfast bar and Harvey headed in that direction, finally sitting down. "I see the kale chips sucked."
Harvey ignored Mike and put the half-finished bag on the counter. "They were all I had to eat."
"I gave you an apple." Which was still on the living room table, untouched. "I'll make more tonight. Anyway, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, and garlic spinach, enjoy. Maybe today you can schedule a haircut."
Harvey's hair was a nightmare. At least the sides had grown out enough that Harvey might be able to make a style out of it. "I need something lower maintenance while I wait for the cast to come off." He had another day in the full cast, but he'd need a floating cast that would limit mobility for another two or three weeks, and his stamina was just not what it used to be, either. "Get a workout schedule going again, personal trainer." He usually didn't like to use them, he had the motivation to work out on his own, but he should find someone who specialized in rehab medicine for the next few weeks. "See Rene."
"You know you're adorably vain, right?" Mike asked, chewing on his own egg slice.
"Well, I am a cradle robber. I have to keep up my appearance if I expect you to stay faithful." Mike didn't have the best track record with that, actually, now that Harvey thought about it. The question of whether or not Mike had taken advantage of the extended use of his condo in order to bring home women floated up in his mind. "You haven't..."
"Had anyone over."
"Donna and Jessica, mostly Donna." Which was a 'no', actually. Harvey was surprised. He wouldn't have been able to resist the opportunity to get laid if he'd had access to his condo. "Work's been crazy and..." Mike trailed off, prodding his food. "I hadn't really been in the mood for entertaining."
After they ate, Mike did the dishes and Harvey called to make an appointment for a haircut and pay the bills Mike put in front of him. Mike listened to his iPod and read, Harvey fell asleep on his thigh somewhere in the mid-afternoon, and awoke later in the evening with Mike gently running his fingers through his hair. Never let it be said that Mike didn't embrace his lies completely.
Takeout Chinese was followed by a shower - together - and Mike helping him into bed, checking that Harvey had water, had pain meds for if he needed them, and then Mike neatly tucked Harvey in, blankets pulled up to his chin. "Unless you think you need me to stay, I'll be in the guest bedroom."
Harvey tried to be good, really he did. "I am used to having a nurse call button."
Mike just snorted and rolled his eyes. "I'm not wearing scrubs for you, you kinky bastard." But after he went to the restroom and brushed his teeth, he slid under the covers on the opposite side of the bed from Harvey. "Good night, Harvey."
He woke up in the middle of the night, spooned to Mike's back, and even though he told himself he probably should, he didn't let go of his Associate, and instead snuggled up to him and continued to doze.
Mike woke a little after dawn - it was a side effect of Harvey's condo. The light that streamed into the floor-to-ceiling windows of the bedroom had a particularly rousing effect. Harvey had curled around him in the night and was now squeezing Mike between his cast-clad arm and his chest. It was... weird. Mike hadn't been in a proper relationship since Jenny, and even then they were so torn between 'your place or mine' that they rarely spent a whole night together. Jenny was also not a snuggler; Mike had done his best to avoid ending up with his arms wrapped around Harvey in the morning, but apparently his husband-slash-senior-partner had no such qualms.
This was the beginning of the end. After this point, he and Harvey could safely begin some sort of faked prolonged estrangement and end in divorce. After Harvey got his cast off, he could groom himself to his satisfaction and there would be nothing that would keep him and Mike together anymore. Unlike Harvard, this lie had a limited shelf life. But... Mike liked working with Harvey.
The transition from colleagues to husbands had been... abrupt. He wondered if this was even something they could back down from. Did anyone really stay on speaking terms with their ex-husband?
"Stop moving," Harvey growled at him, squeezing him.
"I have to work today. You need a haircut." Mike wiggled again so he was flat on his back rather than curled away from Harvey.
Harvey finally let go, scooting away and running his fingers through his hair and over his t-shirt. "Right." He looked... frazzled. Mike wasn't used to Harvey being frazzled.
The answer was either 'yes' or 'no, but there's no way I'm going to talk about it' because Harvey turned away from Mike and sat on the bed, leaving his feet to dangle for a moment. Mike waited, and then long enough passed that Mike assumed Harvey wasn't going to broach whatever was bothering him.
He and Harvey ended up standing shoulder to shoulder in the bathroom, shaving, brushing teeth, and generally going through a morning routine side-by-side. Mike was in the way, he could tell, but Harvey never made a comment on how he was standing in the wrong place or making Harvey's life more difficult; instead he just picked up several of his toiletries and claimed the left master sink where before they had been strewn about both sides. It was surprisingly comfortable.
The grand problem with Mike's plan to marry his boss was that apparently Mike actually liked Harvey.
That didn't mean it wasn't a bit strange to see him in the morning before he was shaved and with his hair lopsided. That didn't mean it made him slightly uncomfortable to know that their lie had become a two-sided affair in the last week. Harvey had never told him, not outright, that he was even fine with Mike going along with Jessica and Donna's idea.
"Do you want to go to work on Monday?" He asked, finally, scraping the last of his stubble off his jaw.
Harvey was a good deal behind him on shaving, perhaps because he naturally took more time with the task, or more likely he was still hamstrung by the cast on his arm. By Monday he should have a floating cast, at least. "I haven't been to work in over a month, I would go in today if I didn't think Jessica would run me right back out."
"I promise, Harvey. I haven't lost you any clients." A month was both forever and not very long in the legal profession, thankfully, and although Mike wasn't ready to say it out loud, he was worried that Harvey might not be as ready to go back to work as he seemed. There was plenty that a neurologist asking you to put pictures in order to tell a story couldn't measure. Harvey had been reserved since waking up. Mike was worried that Harvey wasn't quite ready to slide immediately back into place as the big dog. "Besides, you wouldn't stand for any of the Associates seeing you without Rene and your stylist making sure you looked good in your suits."
"Except you," Harvey answered.
"Spousal privilege." He'd seen Harvey dressed up, dressed down, naked, and everything in between at this point. "Still... probably want to see the stylist before Rene, he might dump you if you show up with that hair."
Harvey arched an eyebrow at him, and then reached out with his good hand, still covered in hair gel, and started to tug at the strands of Mike's hair, leaving his usually slightly messy hair sticking up at all angles. "You should grow that out, get it done properly."
"So it was alright when I was just your Associate, but now that I'm your husband I have to look more expensive?" Mike brushed Harvey's hand away and started to neaten up the mess Harvey had made of his hair. "Still a reflection on you."
"I don't want to be accused of having crappy taste in men."
And suddenly Mike was reminded that all of Pearson Hardman thought he and Harvey were fucking. "Too late for that. The Associate rumor mill has decided that I traded way up. You were smitten by my boyish charms, Harvey."
"Boyish charms, incredibly large..." Harvey leaned in, lips far too close to his ear, "brain. It's a toss up."
Mike shivered slightly, but didn't back away. "So... yeah... I've mostly deflected but we need a cover story."
"Easy," Harvey said. And he finally backed away, just enough, and Mike could breathe easier again. "You've admired me since day one, and I'm narcissistic enough to find that appealing." Harvey went back to fixing his hair so it looked less like a trainwreck.
"Harvey! That is not how two people fall in love. I wouldn't have married you if I just thought this was about how much I remind you of you, but thanks for reminding me that you do totally see me as a younger, slightly more fashion challenged, version of yourself." Mike rinsed his hands and then maneuvered Harvey over so he was sitting on a chair and started to attack Harvey's hilariously poorly cut hair. "You need to think of something that you actually like about me, something that made you willing to be all out and gay for me. There's these crazy things called 'feelings', all the kids are having them now-a-days."
Harvey didn't answer, so Mike grabbed a comb and fixed Harvey's hair so the part was actually in the right place and Harvey had ridiculously voluminous hair sometimes.
"If you're such an expert on these 'feelings' things, maybe you should go first, Mike."
"What, so you can squash my idea like a bug - like you always do - and then laugh over the fact that I actually do admire you?" Because Mike was sick of playing that game. It was fine, sort of, when it was his boss, his Partner, but now that it was his (fake) husband it felt even more damaging.
Mike glanced down, Harvey was staring at his stomach, mostly at eye level from how he was sitting. "Fine, you want a story? You had the nod from Donna before we even met, admittedly she thought your thing about the cops was a joke. Still, you impressed Donna, which is not easy to do. Then you impressed me, which is even harder. You challenge me to kick even more ass than I usually do. You fight me every goddamn day and you still respect me, even when you hate me. You see through the bullshit. That's not unappealing, Mike."
Associate or husband, the answer could have been for either, and it made Mike feel proud and warm. "I get to see the real Harvey Specter. No matter what anyone else says, he can be pretty awesome. Close your eyes, I have to hairspray this wreck in place so you can go to the hair salon unashamed."
Harvey did, and Mike turned his back on him, went to the sink, and looked himself square in the eyes. Harvey had never said anything quite that nice to him. Trust, the occasional bit of admiration that Mike stole from him, grudgingly, that was all on the table, but Harvey was talking about so much more than that.
Mike grabbed the hairspray and the comb and went to work cementing Harvey's hair in place. "My turn." Although he had no idea what he might say that could match that. "You... make me better. You gave me everything, and you never make me think there's a price for it beyond my best. You're an egotistical asshole sometimes, and smug; you wouldn't be you without that, but I can hear you caring. You just needed someone to give you the excuse."
Harvey smirked, snorted slightly. For a second Mike thought maybe he'd said too much. "And for that you fell in love with me?"
"Yeah..." Mike let loose a burst of hairspray, combing it through slowly. "I guess I did."
It took several minutes, Mike trying to get something resembling artistry into Harvey's hair, in spite of it not wanting to cooperate at all. In the end, he thought it didn't look horrible.
Harvey agreed. "This doesn't look entirely tragic." He then rinsed his hands and then dried them on a towel. "We made out on the couch in my office after the Pressman case. You came onto me, Jessica doesn't need sexual harassment allegations to come with our cover story. I remember all our anniversaries, which you know just means that Donna keeps track of them, reminds me, and then buys you whatever thing you most want. It's no one's business when we started sleeping together. I asked you to marry me after you won the McMillan trial. My likes include you being smugly confident and spotting my mistakes, but if you ever imply to an Associate that I make mistakes, you're sleeping on the couch."
"My likes include when you boss me around a little bit and smirk when you're dressed up all sexy." Mike then did the incredibly manly thing to do under such circumstances and fled the bathroom to get dressed.
Mike set himself up on the breakfast bar, laptop perched neatly on the counter, papers stacked in a pile right on the end, and Mike worked his way through them while Harvey actually bothered to get dressed for the day. Harvey came out into the kitchen more than a half hour later and looked in the refrigerator. "You really did pick up my food co-op basket every week."
"Uh, yeah? Do you have something against leafy-green vegetables?"
Harvey didn't answer, instead about twenty minutes later Mike received a delicious spinach and feta omelet, courtesy of Harvey.
"See," Mike said, around his omelet. "This is the part that's not fair. Everyone thinks that I'm the housewife because I make less money than you, but you totally cook better. My cooking involves ordering a pizza."
"Well." Harvey stole a bite of Mike's omelet, and then started toward the door. "Have a good day, dear. I'm going shopping and getting my hair and nails done, but I'll be home in time to make sure you have a nice, home cooked meal."
Mike just stared after Harvey's retreating form, gaping like a fish.
After a haircut and visiting Rene, Harvey actually felt like a human being again. Mike might knock it frequently but there was something deeply calming about being dressed in a suit of armor. Five and a half weeks off his fitness schedule had done him no favors. He'd dropped a handful of pounds, but a good portion of his weight had decided to relocate to his stomach. He needed to get back into the habit of running as soon as possibly, probably on the treadmill at the condo before he risked heading out into the streets again.
Rene had not had nice things to say about his wardrobe. "Harvey, you look like your wardrobe was also in a coma for five weeks."
"Four and a half."
"And then I find out you got married without me. I hope you didn't use that same tux you wear out with all your arm candy. That's just tacky."
"City Hall, I made Donna file the paperwork."
"Harvey, no!" Apparently Harvey's lovelife was just as much a tragedy for Rene as it was for Harvey. "You can't tell me you didn't at least want your fashion trainwreck of a husband to get a nicely fitting tux."
There were any number of responses that would have been appropriate, but instead Harvey just smiled and shook his head. "We were going for quiet. If we have a vows renewal I promise you can dress both of us." Which wouldn't happen, but made Rene thrilled.
Between the two of them they managed to get his wardrobe to look... acceptable while Harvey worked back to fighting trim, even though Rene assured him that Mike probably loved him regardless. He went to the orthopedist that he'd apparently picked up - while in a coma - and got his cast off and replaced with a floating cast. He felt almost human again, but that didn't change the fact that Mike was... Mike. The little punk was a serious twist in his sobriety. Mike seemed ready to do damn near anything - including lie about being married - for Harvey, and that level of devotion was terrifying.
He always knew that he held an immense amount of power over Mike's life, but to see it so casually wielded against Mike by others was a wakeup call. Donna had wielded his authority by proxy over Mike enough for him to come out as bisexual even though he was straight, and put up with what Harvey could only assume was an intense amount of ragging. Yet he seemed comfortable making jokes about their whole arrangement. It would be good for Mike to make Partner track, that would replace Harvey with Jessica as the person who could make or break Mike's career. The divorce would suck.
Harvey stopped at the market and picked up some lamb for dinner and some potatoes. Mike would appreciate that, he was a meat and potatoes type of guy. He shouldn't have been making dinner ingredient purchasing based on what Mike would like.
"Love a man who can cook."
He must have been off his game, because it took him several moments before he realized the comment was directed at him. His quarry was a thin, leggy blond, dressed in a delightfully painted on dress that flirted with the edge of appropriate for daywear. "It's an acquired habit," he answered, flirty enough. There was nothing wrong with that.
Harvey could see exactly how this was supposed to go: 'oh, I don't have a girlfriend', 'well, that's unfortunate, seeing as you're really hot'. And then it would end up with him in bed with her and him feeling pretty damn good until Mike found out. "Husband."
"What?" She blinked up at him, confused.
"Lucky husband." Harvey seriously considered buying a huge fucking bottle of wine, because he was going to need it. Sadly it didn't mix well with the narcotics. "Excuse me."
That felt entirely too nice to say. Husband. Harvey sort of wanted to go home and cook dinner for his husband. This was why he didn't like having feelings. He picked up some more fruit and some mint. Mike actually using the co-op meant he had more vegetables than he ever really thought possible. Red Bull was on sale, he picked up a six pack. When he got back home, Mike gave every impression of not having moved in hours.
"Did you eat any big kid food since I left?"
"Kale chips are food."
"Where are you hiding more kale chips?"
"Aha! I knew you were totally hot for my kale chips. They're awesome, right?" Harvey frowned at him. "And no, I didn't eat anything, it's only... how did it get to be two?"
Harvey rolled his eyes as well, the kid was hopeless sometimes. "We're having lamb for dinner." He started to load up the refrigerator and pulled out the fixings of a turkey sandwich, putting that together while he worked, greatly enjoying the thrill of actually being able to use both arms. His left didn't have any power to actually really lever, but it was better than before. Harvey then put the sandwich in front of Mike and went back to putting things away.
"Are you seriously trolling me on the wife thing?"
"Just are you really cooking me breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Because that's sort of awesome, but at the same time terrifying." Mike pushed his work to the side, and Harvey took the opportunity to put a Red Bull in front of him. "When I... came to your place four days after... you know, your house was devoid of food."
"I have a cleaning service, they come in on Tuesdays and clean out everything."
"I guess I just thought you were more the personal chef type." Mike shrugged. "I mean I didn't find the button to summon Gordon Ramsay, but I figured it was only a matter of time."
Harvey took stock of his potential plans of action for a moment before he spoke. "You eat like a college kid, which is fine when you're an Associate, but once you're Partner track and you're expected to make more of your own clients and contacts complete with the pay raise, that's not really an option anymore. As long as you live in this house, you're going to be eating things other than pizza and crappy chinese food."
"This from the guy who is a connoisseur of the entire hot dog cart network of Manhattan."
"I also like pizza and nachos, but there's a time and a place." And Harvey couldn't help but notice that Mike was hardly running for the door. "I'm going down to the gym."
"Take your phone in case you need anything," Mike shot over his shoulder.
Harvey changed, headed downstairs, and pushed himself too hard. He wasn't stupid enough to work on the bag, not with his arm still in a floating cast, but for the first time, possibly in his whole life, he was actually feeling old. Mike usually made him feel young, his exuberance, his mission to do what was right even if it drove Harvey crazy, and his sweet occasional naivite. Now Mike was making him feel old. He'd never felt old, never felt so dedicated to making certain that one person, and only one person, thought he was attractive. Mike made him want to be a better person, and it didn't even matter because Harvey had the wrong damn parts to even get Mike to look twice at him. Harvey was way too old and way too married to be this sexually frustrated.
He ended up back in the room closer to four-thirty than three, tired, sore, sweaty, and probably not smelling particularly good.
"Need help with a shower?" Mike asked, not even looking up from his work.
"I got a floating cast. I should be fine."
Mike looked over at him, maybe for the first time all day, really. The guy who noticed and remembered everything hadn't noticed; he wasn't a teenage girl, this shouldn't have bothered him. "Oh, well... yeah." The kid looked like Harvey had kicked him. "Let me know if you need anything."
Realizing that two and a half hours in the gym had made him so sore he could barely lift his arms over his head did not make him feel any younger. Mike seemed weirdly alright with having to take over his shower duties. Afterward, Mike returned to the counter without comment and Harvey set to work on cooking dinner.
Only the fact that he was worried about Mike leaving an ass-shaped imprint on his barstools made him actually drag Mike over to the dining room table while they ate.
"Can you be the boss of cooking?" Mike asked around a mouthful of potato, causing Harvey to arch an eyebrow at him, unimpressed. "It's just... actually awesome. Rachel tried to explain being a foodie once."
And the moment was lost. Harvey felt slightly off his feed. He was jealous of Rachel. Harvey always made fun of Mike, of his stupid way he fell in love with people, Rachel especially, but hearing Mike talk about her so casually... stung in a way it shouldn't have. Their marriage was a paper sham, Mike was under no obligation to coddle Harvey and flatter him.
Mike continued to ramble on, completely ignorant of Harvey's change in mood. "She was completely unimpressed with my love of burgers, but... if you grow up on that it's what you like. I can't help that I like mac and cheese from a box, and I wouldn't know what to do with an octopus. What's wrong with liking burgers?"
Harvey prodded the spinach on his plate for a moment. "Are we going to need to expand your palate, Michael?"
Mike just snorted. "If it's going to taste like this? Sure. I mean that's what our relationship is, right? You drag me in way over my head and make sure I don't drown... much."
The warm little half-smile that Mike had on his face after he said it carried Harvey through several moments of awkwardness that weekend as they ran around Manhattan and generally did things that gave them an appearance of coupleness. They shopped, they jogged in the park, Harvey didn't bring up the divorce and Mike didn't either, and by Monday he felt as though he actually had his feet under him more than he'd expected.
He and Mike showered - separately - and got ready for the day, Harvey made them both breakfast while Mike tried to find his phone - it was under the sofa pillow, and Ray drove them in while the two of them talked game plan. "We're going for happy couple, right?"
Harvey had no intention of dissuading Mike from that. "You should probably look like you got laid. Do you have a 'got laid' face? I don't think I've ever seen that one on you."
Mike just responded with his mocking laugh. "I've gotten laid before. You just haven't noticed."
"Rare event," Harvey answered. And Mike, to his complete distress, started doing something that looked vaguely like head-banging, bobbing his head, and sticking his lips out in a over-generous pout. "There will be no duck-lips in your celebratory dance, Mike."
Mike just pouted at him.
"And that's really not going to work on me."
"Haaarvey!" Mike whined, Harvey was going to distinctly term that a whine.
"Here we go, how about dazed and slightly confused? You do that look so well: look in awe of my prowess."
"Always," Mike answered. "But at this point most of the mystery and awe has faded, don't you think? It's been replaced with overwhelming fondness."
Harvey finally got out of the car while Mike came around from the other side. "Then I don't know what to do with you. Fondness?"
But instead of take that as the final word on the matter, Mike followed after Harvey, bobbing and weaving his head slightly. Harvey snorted, and Mike joined him as they walked into the building to a murmur of 'Mr. Specter's from the guards and got to the elevator. Every time he thought he might have had his urge to snort, or look at Mike in an overly fond manner, he glanced toward Mike and found him staring back. Whenever he caught Harvey looking he started to dance again. By the time they were on the top floor, they were both laughing.
And then they caught the receptionist staring at them and Mike coughed. "Mature and responsible adult."
Harvey shook his head. "Come on, dear. I'll drop you in the bullpen."
"With the baby sharks." Mike huffed. "It's going to suck being back there. It's a demotion."
"I'm sure you'll get called to the principal's office before the end of the day."
Harvey couldn't help it that he still had a ridiculously fond expression and his face when he and Mike were almost to the bullpen. Mike had given up on his actual celebratory whatever, but he did look like he'd been grinning, with the corners of his mouth upturned and his head cocked just slightly in case Harvey said something. The bullpen, currently half-filled with Associates milling about or putting their time to good use, fell completely silent when he and Mike walked in. Mike looked perfectly comfortable walking the few feet into the area and circling around to sit at his desk, slinging his bag over his shoulder and putting it on the desk.
"I'll talk to you after the Partners meeting," Harvey said. He had to go see Jessica first anyway.
Mike nodded and made every appearance of getting down to work. "Oh, Harvey." He beckoned Harvey over with the twitch of a finger. Harvey considering leaving Mike hanging, but decided that would be cruel; he leaned against the wall divider while Mike pushed very close to him, close enough to bring his mouth almost flush to Harvey's ear. "Doubloons."
Harvey couldn't help but snort, but when he pulled away from Mike he was grinning, before he finally pulled away, patting the cubicle wall right next to Mike's hand and then went to his office, just down the hall. Damn kid was going to drive him crazy, but he had a smirk on his lips when he made it the rest of his way to the office, only to be greeted by a very enthusiastic hug from Donna.
"I think I'm in love with him."
"Harvey, we're having a friendship moment. Don't ruin it with obvious statements."
At least one other person in the world knew exactly how screwed he was.
The entire Associate bullpen was staring at Mike. Mike thought this was highly unfair, as he was dressed properly, his hair looked awesome - Harvey had made Mike let him style it - and he hadn't even done something wildly inappropriate with Harvey. Mike waited a few moments for someone to say something, but then finally decided that work would have to be the first order of business, and he sat down at his desk. It was as though no one had actually believed Mike was married to Harvey until that moment. Certainly the other Associates had ragged him and teased him, sometimes in good fun and other times particularly viciously, but this was different. Everyone actually thought that maybe Mike Ross had something going on if he could make Harvey smile like that. Knowing another human being for a year would create in-jokes, though, and doubloons was a particularly silly word that also happened to encompass their grand act of lying about every facet of their lives.
Mike pulled his bag over and pulled out the actual work he'd done over the last two days and proofed it just to make sure it was good to go to Louis or the client. The bullpen was still silent. Mike looked up over his cube and saw several of the Associates still staring at him.
"Question?" He asked the room at large.
"Did you just make Harvey Specter giggle?" Harold asked, and of course Harold would ask.
"Harvey does not giggle." Mike actually thought about it for a moment, no, definitely not a giggle, but he would laugh and have one of those vaguely fond smiles that Harvey sometimes had for him. "He snorted, and that's because I'm witty and brilliant."
No one moved. Gregory finally broke the silence. "You're actually fucking a Senior Partner."
"Did you think I took family medical leave for my health?" Mike shot back, because he wasn't actually fucking a Senior Partner, he was married to a Senior Partner. "Should I start start racking up a hostile workplace statute violations now, Gregory?"
Whatever Gregory 'just' thought went unsaid, however, as Louis swept into the bullpen and snapped in the general direction of several of the Associates in a way that distinctly said 'get back to work'. "I don't suppose you actually got any of my work done last week, Mike."
"Harvey was very demanding, but..." Mike flipped through his stack of last week's work, placing one folder after the other on the cubicle wall. "Precedents on the Walstein Case motion, discovery summaries, justification for exclusions of all those things we want excluded, rewrite and proofing of the new AllTech bylaws, stickies where I made changes or fixed things, and..." He continued to flip through his papers that he had. "Nope, that's it. The rest are for my cases."
Louis took the files and flipped through them, not able to give them a complete read through, but he did tap them against the divider and nodded. "Spoken like a man who knows that being married to a Senior Partner doesn't mean you get to skate by. What else were you working on?"
"Pro bonos and cases for Harvey and my clients." Mike barely resisted the urge to add: 'you did know I was taking care of all of Harvey's clients while he was in a coma, right Louis?' He wasn't quite that secure in his footing, and even though he had some modicum of protection via Harvey right now, they would eventually get divorced, and that would open him up to all manner of abuse from Louis, he was certain.
Louis left without a parting shot, which made Mike nervous, but maybe the fact that Harvey was actually back left him more protected than normal. Mike wasn't certain what it was about showing up to work with Harvey that made people actually think he was seriously married whereas the last five weeks had seemed more like some sort of elaborate hoax, but Mike wasn't going to question it. He put his headphones in and got to work running through briefs he hadn't thought it prudent to drag back to Harvey's for the weekend.
He was over one hundred pages through his reading when someone tugged an earbud out of his ear and paused the music he was listening to. "My office, now."
Mike left the briefs and grabbed his phone before chasing after Harvey and sliding into his office and closing the door. "Did something blow up over the weekend? Everything was fine on Friday."
"I just wanted to see how many Associates were going to follow us and spy on us." Harvey smirked, before he headed back to his desk and sat. "This chair is so uncomfortable."
"Ha!" Mike leaned against the desk. "I always knew that chair sucked and you just kept it around because it looked cool. How many groupies do we have?"
Harvey glanced over Mike's shoulder. "Four. Apparently they're arguing over who gets to stay and report to the others."
Mike tried to avoid glancing over his shoulder, and instead walked over to the opposite side of Harvey's desk and leaning there, leaving them only a foot or so apart. "Do they really think that we're going to have sex over your desk or something? Your entire office is made of glass!"
"Yup." Harvey was smirking and it was terribly endearing.
"You didn't call me here just so you can conspicuously flirt with me in front of my coworkers. Are you alright?" Maybe it was a sign of just how close they had gotten, at least within the confines of Mike's own head, because he put his hand out, running the back of his hand against Harvey's shoulder gently. "A week of pushing yourself doesn't necessarily make you ready to get back into the courtroom."
"I'm fine. On that front I'm fine." Harvey didn't look fine, he looked... pained. "My wrist hurts."
"That's what you get for using your arm so damn much." Mike circled around behind Harvey so he was on his left side, catching Gregory, Tammy, and Kyle all still spying on the two of them. "Out of the jacket."
Harvey gave him the 'are you serious' face, but Mike just waved his hand and stood, Mike stripped him out of the jacket and slung it neatly over the chair. "Striptease. Did you have to deal with this for a month?"
"Five weeks." Mike hopped up onto Harvey's desk and took his wrist, lightly massaging along his muscles there. "But you didn't call me in here to have me massage your wrist, or to make sure everyone thought I was your beck and call boy."
"Pretty Woman, really?"
"Down on his luck boy from the wrong side of the tracks, pretty boy rich guy who doesn't know what hit him?" It was sort of inappropriately apt in Mike's estimation. Harvey had it all, he'd dragged Mike into that world. "I thought it was appropriate. Shut up and brief me in what's actually bothering you."
Harvey didn't answer, frowned so hard even the natural quirk of his mouth couldn't compensate. "Jessica threw a softball at me. Right over the plate... right in the strike zone."
"You're feeling coddled." Mike said, slowly working his way up Harvey's arm. "You want to go back to the starting lineup even though you've been on the DL for a month. She's gotta make sure you still can throw the heat."
"No more sports metaphors."
"You started it." Mike started in on the buttons of Harvey's cuff, rolling it up. "So what do you need me to do? Feed you grapes and fan you while you do legal greatness?" The image was at least amusing, even if the idea of going back to sub-gruntwork seemed a bit unappealing.
"I need a real case, something with meat. If Jessica's not going to let me get back into things with both feet, I'm going to do it for her."
Mike considered the cases on his own plate, and he considered Harvey, sitting there looking - at least as far as Harvey was involved - pathetic. He looked down and out and screaming for something to do. Mike understood only too well, a few weeks in Harvey's life, in Harvey's condo, taking care of Harvey's clients, playing the game of big time Senior Partner was addictive, but Harvey wasn't quite back on his feet. Mike knew it.
"I have a merger, an IP dispute, and an IPO... none of them really need a Harvey Specter treatment, but..." Mike shrugged, all of them were boring. "I have a few pro bonos, too, if you want to look over them."
"You're trying to pawn pro bono off on me? That's what Jessica did. Can't someone embezzle a huge amount of money or need me to do impossible things before lunch?" Harvey was actually... whining.
Mike was sensing an impending Harvey meltdown if something wasn't done soon. Harvey needed to put blood in the water for Harvey to feed on. "How about this? You take the IP dispute, you win, you sue the opposing council for your legal fees, and you throw the pro bono at me, I'll do it over lunch or something." Mike finished up by massaging at Harvey's elbow, and he watched his fingers twitch slightly. It wasn't nerve damage, the doctor's assured him, but that didn't make Mike feel any better about it.
"And in return for this magnanimous gestures?"
"You cook us something awesome for dinner. We're married, Harvey, it doesn't have to be all quid pro quo. I, unfortunately, have work to do. I'll come around and steal your case after you've acquainted yourself well enough to lie to Jessica that you actually handled it yourself, and you're buying me lunch."
Mike finished by rolling Harvey's sleeve back down and buttoning it neatly at the wrist.
When Mike turned around, he discovered their audience had grown to almost twelve, and Mike studiously pretended to ignore them while Donna grabbed him by the tie and tugged him over his cubicle. "Did you seriously just talk him into taking an IP dispute where he just has to stand in a boardroom and yell at people while you handled a several billion dollar merger that involved very fast cars?"
"He's off his game," Mike said, soft enough for Donna alone. "See if it's the accident, being back at work, what."
His next move was to cut through the swath of Associates who were pretending not to be milling around watching him and Harvey through the glass of Harvey's office, getting back to his desk and pouring through the paperwork he had on Wyatt's intellectual property issue - round two - and prioritized his other cases in order of Harvey most likely being interested in them. It didn't look good. He couldn't blame Harvey for wanting to get back in the game, but the reason Harvey was so good at what he did was because he was a true shark, he could smell blood, and pounce on it. Harvey's instincts seemed dulled.
It only took him twenty minutes before he decided this was not something he could handle even with just him and Donna at the helm. He headed to Jessica's office, knocked, and waited for her to gesture him in.
"He thinks you gave him a bullshit, nothing case and it's bothering him."
"It's funny because I gave him a bullshit, nothing case because he was in a coma up until a few days ago," Jessica answered. She put down the case she was thumbing through and nodded for Mike to sit down.
"I think he needs something a little less... bloodless." Mike sat, and considered the wisdom of talking to Jessica in such a frank manner, but he supposed he was going to have to go in for it all anyway. "I know what you're doing, and why you're doing it, and I mostly agree. Harvey's not ready to jump in with both feet, but he does need to do something that gets him to attack."
"Mike, I know you think you know Harvey, but just because he thinks he wants a tougher case or more to sink his teeth into doesn't mean I'm ready to give him that. And I am the Managing Partner here."
"And I'm... his Associate, and his husband. At least give him someone to wine and dine." Mike rubbed his fingers through his hair, finding it slightly tacky from this morning's hair gel. "He needs to feel back in the game, even if you're just handling him until he's ready."
Jessica did not seem pleased with the defense, if anything she looked unimpressed, cocking her head at him and arching an eyebrow. "The husband thing would carry more weight if you'd actually dated him or been in a relationship. Harvey doesn't get relationships."
Mike shrugged. "I'd say I've seen him naked, but I get the impression that Harvey doesn't put much emotional stock in that." He sighed and finally actually took a seat in one of Jessica's very comfortable chairs. "Believe it or not, I do understand him pretty well. I've been his Associate for over a year and I'm pretty well versed in what Harvey would do and how he responds. Harvey when he's being backed against the wall on something is... scary bad. He'll do something stupid and impulsive, you'll call him a bad puppy and put him in the dog house and then he'll do something even more ridiculous to get back out again."
"I take it back. You do know him pretty well, but the point remains that I can't have him doing anything too high profile. He was in a coma, Mike. He's got to walk before he can run again."
"At least give him a brisk jog."
"Fine." Jessica swept over to her desk and thumbed through a few files, finally handing him one. "I was going to give this to you, actually. You need a roster, Mike, and right now you don't have much by way of billable clients."
"Half of Tom Keller, all of McKernen Motors, and those are just the big ticket items. I bill more solo work than any of the other Associates, far and away." Mike flipped open the file and started to read. "I get us nice pro bono, too. And, honestly, if you're sending the married gay guys to woo the gay entrepreneur, it really does deserve to be Harvey who wins that on the sake of his rainbow cred."
"Says the man who voluntarily admits to seeing Harvey naked."
Mike shrugged. "Not like he's got anything to be ashamed of." Mike shook his head, not quite able to believe he'd said that. "When are we wining and dining this guy?"
"We'll knock it out of the park."
Socializing as a gay couple. What harm could that possibly do?
Harvey had finally decided that the pro bono case Jessica was throwing at him was not entirely horrible. He objected on general principle, of course, because he was far too awesome to do actual pro bono work. Maybe he'd keep it, though. It seemed right up Mike's alley...
Of course, Mike did pro bono work for the fun of it, or just the warm, squishy feeling it gave him. Harvey had no such predilections, and yet he found himself wondering exactly what it might feel like to actually give a shit on that front. It wasn't that he was incapable of feeling, certainly his history suggested he was more than capable of having emotions, but the idea of putting that much effort into caring about another human being seemed... superfluous. It was fairly obvious that Mike found that to be one of his greatest failings, however.
"Who wants to make money?" Mike asked, sliding in the office and waving a file. "Jessica wants us to use our superior rainbow powers to woo this client."
Harvey just looked at him and cocked an eyebrow. "You do realize I would still be this well dressed if I were completely straight, right?"
"Argumentative," Mike answered, smirking. "Apparently the guy's big into the whole gay advocacy scene, and thus we are the perfect power couple to convince him of Pearson Hardman's progressive stance on... things."
Harvey went back to thumbing through his file. "You do realize that if anyone was going to convince someone that they did all this lawyering thing for the children, it'd be you, right?" Mike didn't even have to pretend, really. Harvey, Harvey had to pretend. "You weren't really into that until your Managing Partner and my legal secretary convinced you to marry me in a coma right?"
"Which is why I convinced Jessica to make this more a 'we' thing than an 'I' thing."
"Blatant attempt to make me feel like Jessica isn't coddling me aside, let me take a look." Harvey held out his hand and took the file from Mike, browsing. "Donna!"
"Calling Vanessa for you," Donna's voice came through the intercom and Harvey nodded. It was wonderful to have competent staff. He was really going to miss it whenever Mike got stolen out from under him.
"Thank you." And then Harvey put the file on the desk and started to read in earnest.
"Vanessa?" Mike asked, always curious. Kid was always curious.
Harvey sighed. "PI, a personal favorite of mine."
"Is that your first instinct when you're trying to get a new client? Having them investigated?"
"Pretty much." Harvey knew that was the best way to avoid getting surprised by something unexpected. "The key to a good representation is knowing where your client is vulnerable. Do they have any vices? Mistresses? After you know, you let them know that you know, and then you protect them. After you know where your client is weak, you can protect them. I know you're far too nice to consider this a valid tactic, but trust me, it's saved me far more grief than you can imagine."
"Vanessa must be good at what she does." Mike did look troubled by the idea, more than a bit, but thankfully he was chewing it over rather than just dismiss it out of hand.
"Very." Harvey leaned his head on his hand for a moment, considering Mike. "You should come with me when we meet, get to know her. Jessica wanted Mr. Wilson to be your client, not mine, so you should know your client's dirty laundry." Mike answered with one of his shrugs, the one that Harvey interpreted as 'whatever you say, Harvey'. "Vanessa and I used to have a bit of a thing."
Mike's face went through a rapid set of emotions. Harvey easily caught Mike's annoyance, exasperation was a typical look on him, and then a certain amount of curiosity. "And you're telling me this because--?"
"Looking for an honest reaction," Harvey answered, and boy was that an honest reaction. He'd almost think Mike was upset, jealous even. That was good, it would be better to sell their lie while people needed to believe it if Mike actually had some measure of jealousy.
"Are you...?" Mike looked over his shoulder before he sat down at one of the chairs in Harvey's office, looking serious. "If you want me out of the condo for that, you just need to ask. I still have my apartment."
It was Harvey's turn for his face to go through a weird play of emotions. Mike was offering to... Harvey honestly hadn't even considered the possibility. As much as he enjoyed having someone over for the night, there was no way he would. "I'll give you a pass on suggesting it, since we haven't really talked about it but... I'm not the cheating type, period. We're married."
Mike was obviously surprised by that level of response. "Well... Is that because of Daniel Hardman?"
"No, I don't trust Daniel because... Marie cheated on my father for their whole marriage. If you need time to yourself..." The idea of offering that, of knowing Mike was looking to score, made Harvey slightly sick to his stomach, but Mike was straight, and young, and he had a lot of time to find someone but that didn't mean he had forever.
"Hey, I'm a second year Associate, barely. It's hard enough to date without all the issues." Mike looked down, a soft smile across his face, amused with himself. "Besides, you're on a very short list as far as people I could seriously date."
Mike needed to not say things like that. "Oh?" He kept his tone curious, just lightly so.
"People who know about me? Jenny, Jessica, Donna, and you." Mike held up four fingers as he rattled off the problems with the four options. "Jenny hates me, Donna - even if she were into me, which I don't think she is - would be violating girl code to date me, Jessica barely tolerates me and would be the only person who would make me look even more guilty of trying to sleep my way into a better job, which leaves us with... you. You're probably the only person who knows how ridiculously fucked up my life is and you still keep me in it, so... pretty much stuck with you, I guess."
Harvey could have done with a better justification for why he was the best spouse material than 'because everyone else is a worse idea' but for now he could take it. Mike cared about his job too much to risk anything else. Harvey had noticed, as much as someone could without being completely creepy, and he knew Mike didn't often come in after a rough night that he'd obviously spent with a woman. He doubted Mike had been celibate, but he certainly hadn't made a habit of it. The kid wasn't wrong, it was pretty damn near impossible to keep up a relationship with someone as a young Associate. "Well, with a proposal like that, how can I say no?"
Mike blushed. "Sorry."
"If our marriage is working for you, that's fine, Mike." Harvey shouldn't have been concerned about it, but he was.
"Well, on the plus side, Rachel has decided that my dark secret was that I'm secretly gay, so even though I admire her I was never going to be that into her."
"You're life is such a soap opera."
"Hey, I married you while you were in a coma, you can't get much more soap opera than that."
Against his better judgement, Harvey did drag Mike along with him for the meet with Vanessa, and he got to witness first hand the fact that Mike was either not a jealous person, or he didn't even consider himself and Vanessa to be competition. The first was a benefit, considering Harvey was an incorrigible flirt no matter his marital status, the second boded ill for his eventual attempts to actually close his husband-slash-Associate.
After the initial introductions, and the shocked look on Vanessa's face when he dropped the 'husband' bombshell, they talked Mr. Wilson for a few minutes while Mike thumbed through the information that Vanessa had been able to gather and glanced her and Harvey's way from time to time. "Why don't I look through this and let you two catch up?"
"Vanessa, it's been lovely. It's obvious why Harvey thinks so highly of your work." And with a very brief handshake, he headed over to the bar and settled in there with a beer.
Vanessa watched him leave, and Harvey watched her watch him. "Husband? Harvey Specter?"
"What? I don't seem the type?"
"No. If I thought you had that in you I might not have given up on you so easily."
Harvey had to admit he wasn't the type, but then again it seemed more because of Mike than because of any fundamental change in his own perspective. Mike was pretty much the exact combination of everything Harvey was inclined to allow passed his defenses. "Mike's... special."
"I can tell. So special you didn't even have me investigate him?"
"Didn't need to." Harvey's answer was slight bravado, but also the truth. "I already know his worst; I'm the one who pulled the wool over his eyes with that whole 'for better or worse' line." But Mike did know most of his demons, the DA's office, the worst of it with his parents, and a few other points besides. "And he knows that, but he married me anyway. I must be doing something right."
Vanessa had a pensive look on her face, one he was unused to, but eventually she nodded. "And not the jealous type, which is probably for the best given your history, Harvey."
"Lucky me." Really the only thing that wasn't lucky about it was the fact that Mike didn't actually really want to be married to Harvey, he was just an acceptable substitute in the absence of anyone else he could really bring into his lie. "Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to get black-tied up and go to a fundraiser."
The best part of being married to Mike - since he wasn't getting sex out of the arrangement - was that he got to dress Mike up. Rene had balked at the time frame, but he had gotten Mike a very nicely fitted tux for the event and Harvey was currently enjoying the view of his husband making the rounds and having to suppress a grin every time the kid got flirted with.
All that meant was that eventually Mike retreated to Harvey's side and grabbed him around the waist. "I have never felt so sexually harassed."
"I promise I love you for your mind, Mike."
"And my twinkish good looks?"
"Those too." Harvey couldn't resist the urge to tug Mike closer, and he went willingly, his chin pressed against Harvey's shoulder and his arm slung over the other shoulder. "You do realize that I need to sexually harass you a bit, right?"
"Mmmm, appearances." Mike didn't answer by telling him that was fine, instead he turned and brushed his nose against Harvey's jaw before planting a soft kiss there.
Harvey took advantage of the surprisingly complaint Mike and kissed his temple. "You're a bit drunk, aren't you?"
"Bubbles," Mike answered. Of course, champagne. And then he leaned against Harvey again. "But don't worry, no one's allowed to take advantage of me but you."
Harvey's life just really wasn't fair.
Mike woke up mildly hungover with his arms wrapped so tight around Harvey he was concerned about crushing his ribs again. Harvey did not seem to be in pain, instead he was still sleeping with an arm wrapped under Mike's neck and his hand splayed against Mike's shoulder, holding him tight to his side. Both of them were topless, Mike wearing only boxers and Harvey likely wearing little more than that. He resisted the urge to groan, barely.
He had indulged in more than a bit of champagne and not enough canapés to make up for it. Mike had always known himself to be a particularly loud - and sometimes snuggly - drunk, but he didn't think he'd been overly embarrassing, just a bit flustered. The benefit of his memory - as well as the curse - was that he somehow managed to retain every fact, and was able to spit it back on command, in spite of his inebriation, and that had impressed Mr. Wilson enough when mixed with Harvey's smooth talking. All-in-all it was a profitable evening.
Finally making it out of the party and into a cab towards home was something he wished he could forget. He'd pressed his face into Harvey's neck and mumbled, rather distinctly that Harvey needed to buy him a ring if he was going to be dragged to any more gay parties.
Mike had always considered himself particularly attracted to soft, curvy people with smooth skin and pretty, red lips; finding the hard planes of Harvey's body at all appealing was not something he'd really expected. Harvey was fit, every inch of him hard - minus some extra around the waist and ass, which Mike should not have noticed, remarked upon, or admired, but he had. It was just not the sort of thing Mike would consider himself attracted to. When it came to it, Mike generally expected... women. Harvey was most definitely not a woman.
The very idea of an attraction to his boss was somewhat unsettling. He considered himself relatively open-minded so it wasn't exactly the gay part that was the issue, although that was obviously part of it. The core of it seemed to be Harvey, and the fact that it hadn't happened until after their fake-coma-marriage. Mike had never looked at Harvey that way before; he could have said that Harvey was attractive in an objective sense, but not in the way where 'attractive' became 'I'd hit it'. He'd never picked up another man, never even thought about it, and the few times he'd had a man make a pass at him in a bar he'd just shrugged it off. He'd been on a wrestling team, for fuck's sake, he should have had a sexuality crisis ages ago.
There was a line, damn it, a 'no sex with the boss' line, a 'no men' line, a something line that he'd never thought he would cross for Harvey or anyone else, because that wasn't who he was. Maybe he'd crossed that line ages ago and hadn't realized it. Harvey was his entire world now: his boss, his friend, his mentor, his crush, his husband, and Mike wasn't even certain when it had happened.
He needed something else. He needed a life. He needed something outside of Harvey or he was going to get sucked into a black hole of codependency that he'd lived in once before and had only escaped because he found someone more magnetic and solid.
So Mike found himself - arms wrapped around Harvey, face pressed against his chest, nose teasing somewhere in the vicinity of Harvey's nipple - considering how to get a life. Foodie-ing with Rachel, more happy hours with Associates, maybe he could try to figure out how to have non-legal friends, Lola was nice when she wasn't trying to out him to the world. He might be able to acquire two, maybe even three friends that way. He'd read a theory once that said when you got married you lost two close friendships to compensate for the depth of that relationship; he had no close friendships to start, that should put his friendships in negative numbers. When the inevitable crushing divorce happened he needed to be prepared for somewhere to go with ice cream and beer. His plan would have been better if he weren't sort of running his nose down Harvey's chest.
Mike fled to the bathroom where he masturbated in the shower and tried to pretend he hadn't just been molesting his boss and kinda liking it.
Harvey came into the bathroom a few minutes after he finished showering after a soft knock and the usual inquiry of 'decent?' Mike had a towel wrapped around his waist and was in the process of trying to get his hair to sit in a manner that was professional yet cool. Eventually Harvey just sort of tugged on his hair until it looked right. He waited until Mike was in the middle of brushing his teeth before he said anything conversational for the morning.
"Do you really want a ring?"
Mike sort of faked his sputter as an attempt to spit into the sink that went slightly off. He used the cover of wiping the vanity off to consider the question legitimately before actually rinsing out his mouth. "If we're going to go to more parties as a couple." It took the pressure off of him; it wasn't about him wanting it even if a very small part of him did want it. If Harvey wanted them to go to parties together, and if Harvey wanted them to stay married for a decent length of time, then Mike would be more than happy to wear Harvey's ring.
Harvey's face was its usual unreadable sort of every-emotion that Mike always had a hard time with. "That's going to cut into your ability to pick someone up."
He had a point. "That's alright. I'd feel weird doing that if you weren't... you know, reciprocating. Open marriage I could maybe deal with, but not that." He never would have thought himself the type for an open marriage, but it might have made sense in his and Harvey's case. Harvey wasn't really interested in settling down and Mike knew he wasn't really ever going to be able to have a relationship, he had too many secrets to allow himself that honesty with another person.
They both seemed to accept that. They were signing up for a currently indefinite celibacy, and both of them seemed to be mostly alright with it. Mike didn't like to think too hard about why he was alright with that.
"I'll pick out something and ask if you like it," Harvey said, finishing up his own teeth brushing.
"No, you're going to ask Donna to do it and then pretend like you did because you have loads of taste but you're not a jewelry guy."
Harvey arched an eyebrow in a way that Mike took to mean that Mike knew his habits far too well. "We can claim we didn't bother with rings because we thought we were going to be in the closet at work for longer."
That was agreeable. "The Associates are having a happy hour tonight assuming we don't get slammed with some massive case. I was thinking of joining."
"Partner poker games are far more dignified."
"No one likes an uppity Associate, and I can count cards." Mike finished up with his washing up and then headed for the door to leave Harvey privacy to shower. "I'll... come home less drunk and snuggly."
He only caught Harvey's face at an angle, but he saw the way his head tilted just slightly, his momentarily frozen thinking pose, but he didn't say anything one way or another.
"Fruit and yogurt alright for breakfast?" He asked.
After hopping into most of his suit, Mike headed to the kitchen and put together breakfast for both of them. His papers were mostly in order, as was his bag and Harvey's things. He was most of the way through chopping up strawberries and artfully arranging blueberries when Harvey came into the kitchen.
"Am I making you lunch?"
"Only if it's delicious." Which, of course, it always was, so Harvey set to work on pulling together some food for Mike. "I-- am going to hang out with Grammy tomorrow night. I've been slacking in the grandson department lately."
"Drinks with the Associates, dinner with your grandmother, I don't know what to do with you living it up so much, Mike."
"Haha." His life was pretty dull, no reason for Harvey to point it out, though. "Well, if you want... you could come visit with Grammy. I'm sure she'd love to meet you." Mike had thought about it a few times - more than a few. Grammy had heard many stories about Harvey - too many, really - and she knew that Mike had gotten a second lease on life from Harvey's willingness to bend the rules for him. The only thing that had really kept him from asking before was that Harvey could be fairly cruel sometimes, even when he didn't mean to, and even if they were friends they never really... well it was a big step.
"Most people don't bring their bosses to meet their grandmothers," Harvey answered, spreading something red and pasty on a piece of bread, probably tomato related. "And most grandmothers aren't thrilled by meeting their son's husband, either. I think I'll pass."
"Her favorite nurse is gay. She tells me about his love-life way too often." Come to think of it... "I'm pretty sure she might have been trying to set me up with him. Why does everyone think I'm gay?"
"Twinkish good looks, also you're married to a man."
"Your argument is compelling, counselor." Mike sat their ridiculously frou frou breakfast plates at the bar and then poured them coffee, creamer for Harvey, sugar and creamer for himself, and then plopped down at the bar. "He was one of the fifty you tried to fire the last time we had a contract renegotiation, though. I think he might think you're the devil."
Harvey wrapped whatever sandwich he'd made up in foil and then shoved it into Mike's bag before he slid down next to him in a chair and drank his own coffee. "If you can figure out a way to get more workers to be paid the same amount of money - or more - on a company that's already on a razor's edge of profit margins while maintaining standards of care and still attracting research grants, you should have been an enterprise management consultant, not a lawyer."
"And this is why Jessica makes you do pro bono and you make me stick it to nurses." Sometimes he wondered if Harvey was ever capable of not thinking he was right. Maybe self-doubt wasn't productive. "Still, Grammy would love to meet you."
"I'll consider it." Mike had a feeling that meant 'no'.
The two of them went to work, Mike generally was awesome and put up with far too much shit from Louis. Around eleven, Donna came and stole his left hand for several seconds and tied a string around his ring finger before snipping the string off with nail clippers and then leaving without a word. He was just sort of used to that from Donna at this point.
At nearly three, Donna came and dragged him to Harvey's office and then neatly deposited a ring in each of their palms. He watched as he and Harvey both made the natural assumption and tried to put the ring on. Mike's was far too lose and Harvey's didn't fit.
"Seriously?" Harvey did not look impressed.
"No one says you can't have trappings."
Harvey sighed, and Mike watched him look down at the ring for a moment and then looked over at Mike. "Michael James Ross, would you do me the honor of participating in slightly more realistic trappings of a marriage?"
"Well when you put it like that!" Mike offered Harvey his left hand and Harvey actually slid the ring on, and then used his fingers to rotate it, looking at it from all angles even though there was no difference in the band. A few seconds later, Harvey dropped his hand and Mike actually looked at Harvey. "Harvey Reginald Specter, would you do me the honor of wearing this really awesome ring that Donna got us so we can pretend we have good taste in jewelry?"
There was something a bit awkward about the actual symbolism of it, of actually putting a ring on someone, that Mike couldn't help but find intimate. Harvey nodded, and Mike took his hand and slid the ring on neatly before he copied Harvey's gesture of turning the ring just slightly before he finally let go.
"And the grooms may kiss!" Donna said, far too enthusiastic for a fake proposal-ring-giving-vow-renewal.
But when Mike looked up at Harvey's face he saw... something, something that made him think that maybe Harvey would be game for it if he bothered, and Mike... Mike was starting to think maybe he might be just a little bit game for it. So Mike leaned forward and pressed his lips just to the corner of Harvey's mouth, where it sort of always was turned into a smirk. Their lips definitely touched, but it wasn't anything that Mike would have termed a kiss if he had been pressed for a description.
"I'll see you after drinks." And then he fled.
He didn't see Harvey for the rest of the day, but that wasn't unusual. The ring, probably platinum or something if he had to guess, felt warm against his skin even though he knew it wasn't really. He played with it while he proofed and suggested arguments. Around six Harvey stopped by his desk and tugged his iPhone earbud out of his ear.
"Court in the morning, don't stay out too late."
Must have been the pro bono. Mike frowned up at Harvey for a second. "You need me?"
"Always." Harvey's answer was a weird mix of earnest and sarcastic, just the right edge that you could believe that was the way someone like Harvey Specter said something incredibly sappy, or the way Harvey would say it when he knew a dozen Associates were listening and knew they had to play to an audience.
He heard a gagging noise from the direction of Kyle - although he wasn't certain it was actually Kyle who'd made the noise. Mike ignored it. Don't engage.
"What did he mean 'don't stay out late'?" Harold asked.
"Specter and Ross have a daddy kink." Ahh, Gregory, king of the neanderthals. "If Ross stays out late, Specter is going to spank him."
"I'm going to the Associates' happy hour," Mike answered, completely ignoring Gregory. "And since I have court in the morning, Harvey is simply saying - as my boss - that I'd better not be hung over tomorrow."
When he got home from the bar, all he could think about was how much he didn't really want to think about the other Associates ragging him about Harvey. It wasn't the cruel ribbing he'd expected, more surprise, a few over-personal questions on how Harvey was in bed. He only barely had resisted the urge to say 'warm and snuggly', but it was a close thing. He knew he flushed, knew he sort of stammered and looked embarrassed when they asked, and he knew his voice got way too fond about Harvey when he talked, even at loud volume and hammered.
Harvey was still waiting up for him when he came in the door, dressed in sweatpants and a thin t-shirt that some time in the gym had finally filled out again. He looked good enough to eat. He picked up a glass of water and offered it to Mike.
"You are the best husband."
Harvey snorted. "I just wanted to make sure you didn't climb into bed smelling like stripper and bar funk."
"No strippers..." Just pretty waitresses, one of which didn't even back off when she saw the ring. He'd had to tell her he was also gay, that finally worked. Mike actually sniffed his jacket - now that he was out of the dingy bar he actually realized he did smell of bar funk. Mike peeled off the jacket and vaguely folded it before throwing it over his shoulder and taking the glass of water. "My liver is sad at me."
Harvey didn't even say anything that time, just maneuvered him towards the bathroom and started to tug off his tie and work on the buttons of his shirt. Mike ended up leaning against the cool glass of the shower while Harvey turned it on and started to let it get hot, his hands finally fumbling to get rid of his pants.
He ended up naked, still leaning against the shower door.
"It works better if you actually get under the water, Mike."
"This is all your fault."
Harvey took him around the shoulders and forced him to walk into the shower stall. "This I have to hear. How is it my fault that you're so plastered you don't even remember how to take a shower?"
Because he was pretty... "I can just fall into bed naked if you weren't here to care that I smell like funk."
"Mmmhmm..." Harvey didn't say anything else, just waited, and Mike finally got with the program and started to scrub.
"And waaaay too many Associates wanted to know what you look like naked."
"This drove you to drink?" Harvey's voice was muffled by the roar of water around his ears.
"Naked Harvey is mine and mine alone," Mike answered. It was true, though, he liked that.
"Of course." Harvey reached in and turned off the shower before drying him and pointing him roughly in the direction of bed. Mike went.
Harvey followed after him, picking up his suit and leaving it somewhere it wouldn't offend the rest of their clothes with its smell. A few minutes after that, Harvey climbed into bed and Mike immediately grabbed onto him, using him as a full body pillow. Harvey let him, and a few minutes later, warm arms wrapped around him and tugged him a bit closer. He fell asleep easily after that.
Harvey stayed up far later than he should have, hands stroking over Mike's back, feeling slightly like a pervert for molesting his Associate like that. It wasn't his fault that Mike was so damn snuggly when he was drunk - a fact that made Harvey want to abuse it and make sure Mike got slightly blizzed far more often. Mike's left hand rested casually on Harvey's chest, fingers curled in just possessively enough that Harvey could almost imagine it was for him rather than just the way Mike slept naturally.
His own hand knitted through Mike's, fingers stroking against the ring that now rested on Mike's finger. His. Mike had asked him for a ring, admittedly to fend off pawing gay men, but the thing would work just as well for women. There would be assholes who saw the ring and didn't care, but for a huge portion of the world, Mike was now... off limits, Harvey's.
Mike had just been so blunt when it came time to decide that he didn't actually need to have anyone on the side, that he'd be voluntarily abstinent if Harvey was going to be. Harvey couldn't imagine replacing Mike in his bed under any circumstances, but Mike... Mike could have had a lot more than he seemed to give himself credit for. The kid was cute as hell. Maybe Harvey just had a thing for insufferable geniuses.
Harvey brushed Mike's hair out of his eyes, and the kid snuggled closer, close enough that Harvey could move his head and kiss him on the forehead. Harvey was so damn gone.
"We could stay like this," Harvey said, voice soft so he wouldn't actually wake Mike.
If only Harvey Specter, husband, was nearly as good a deal as Harvey Specter, Senior Partner. He had no idea why Mike would want that first one; Harvey was shit at relationships, he was shit at meaningful emotional connections. Mike hadn't been wrong when he'd accused Harvey, ages ago, of thinking he had all the time in the world to find the right person. There had never been anyone - not even Scotty - who he'd felt this overwhelmingly connected with. It was almost tragic.
The one person he was really, completely and totally head over heels for was married to him, and probably counting the days until they could reasonably get a divorce. Life just wasn't fair sometimes. Harvey could have had anything, anyone, except for the person he really wanted.
He woke up before Mike, to Mike sprawled on top of him again, face mashed against his chest, and he couldn't quite resist the urge to brush his fingers along the shell of Mike's ear before he fled the bedroom and took up residence in the bathroom, where he guiltily scrubbed clean and then started to shave. Mike was still sleeping when Harvey came back into the bedroom.
"Come on, sleepyhead." Harvey nudged Mike, finally getting him rolled over.
"So hungover." But he did actually get out of bed.
Harvey headed to the kitchen in boxers and a t-shirt to good some heart-violating greasy breakfast food for his idiot-husband's hangover. He fried Mike some eggs, and cooked bacon, and then, because he was amazing, he raided his freezer for some frozen fries that he completely would never admit to owning while sober and made some makeshift hash browns as well. He was finished plating and had enough time to slip into most of his clothing before Mike finally stumbled out of the bathroom and pulled on his slacks.
"Did you make bacon?"
"And hash browns and fried eggs."
"Who are you and what have you done with my Harvey?" Mike didn't seem to mind one bit, however, and he started to truly plow through the food as soon as he sat down at the bar. "I need to get hungover more often."
Even though that would mean more drunken and snuggly Mike beforehand, Harvey had to disagree. "I'm only being nice this once."
He knew Mike didn't buy it, he knew he didn't buy it. No one was buying, and yet Harvey continued to feel the need for half-hearted resistance to admitting that he care for Mike. Maybe he might actually believe it someday. Of course, a year out, his tendency to care for Mike had only gotten worse. Somehow he doubted he was going to stop caring anytime soon.
Still, they made it to court on time, Harvey rocked, as per usual, and won his two motions, and then they headed back to work.
Donna noticed, even though he had done his level best to avoid any telling ticks in his clothing choice.
"Out with it." She was in the office almost as soon as he was, leaning against his desk with her very obvious 'tell me everything' look that Harvey was surprisingly weak to for a man who was a lawyer and generally considered a scary asshole by most of his opponents.
"Tell me it's a bad idea to leave my Associate in a constant state of semi-inebriation because he's very snuggly and affectionate in that state."
Donna didn't even dignify him with an actual answer, instead she just gawked at him for a moment before shaking her head and leaving, heading back to her desk and probably actually working on things. Harvey checked in with Wyatt after that, and then for the first time in the history of Harvey, he actually went looking for more work to do. Donna snagged him before he got anywhere.
"You do know he's going to visit his grandmother tonight, right? Maybe you could pout at him, get invited along, get in good with the in-laws?" Donna always had the best suggestions. "I mean he has voluntarily married you, kissed you, is wearing your ring..."
"He invited me to dinner with Grammy already," Harvey admitted. He just didn't want to be a part of that lie to Mike's grandmother, she was probably a fundamentally decent human, if a little old to have raised her grandson with as much attention as he probably needed. "She's just... old... and probably wouldn't want her son to be gay... and I'm kind of a dick."
Donna didn't even have to say 'kind of', his own mind provided it easily enough.
"Mike wants to do... charity work for a cause he fake married into." Harvey leaned against her desk. "He's too good for me."
"Yes. You forget he sort of likes you the way you are." Donna handed him a sheet of paper and Harvey opened it, it was a list of shit a good grandson-in-law should know about his grandmother-in-law. "Go accept his invitation you stupid idiot."
Ethel Ross, 83, heart condition. Harvey reconsidered the wisdom of springing 'surprise gay grandson-in-law' on a 83 year old woman with a heart condition. Well, it was up to Mike, he'd invited Harvey... He walked over to the Associate bullpen, and then reconsidered the wisdom of spreading Mike's personal business around, then again pretty much everyone knew Mike had a grandmother - the whole fucking company knew about Mike's grandmother, he generally wouldn't shut up about how awesome she was.
Harvey went over and tapped on the edge of Mike's cubicle. He looked up, tugged out his earbuds.
"When are we going to see Ethel tonight?"
Mike looked surprised only for a moment, but then he recovered by clearing his throat. "Sev-en?" Mike asked, obviously struggling to find his feet in the slightly murky water that was discussing their personal life, at work, in front of others who were not Donna. "Thirty?"
"Seven should be fine." Harvey really should pretend he was here for work, too. "McKenna briefs?"
Mike knew that Harvey didn't actually want the briefs, the damn things were easily three cartons of paper, instead he handed over a small stack of summaries and other information that Harvey would need for his meeting this afternoon. Harvey responded with a tried and tested nod that generally meant 'adequate, Rookie' before he headed back to his office, ignoring as best he could the variety of whispers coming from the bullpen.
Harvey's phone buzzed inaudibly in his pocket. Mike had texted: 'Apparently I'm in the doghouse for some perceived slight, now.'
'Coming home smelling like stripper.'
'I smelled like bar, not stripper. Take me to lunch or they're going to smell blood in the water.'
Harvey had a thousand things to worry about that were far more pressing than his husband's standing with the Associates when it came to the happiness of his marriage, but apparently this farce mattered to Mike. Harvey should have been thrilled, but of all the times for Mike to realize that it was important to think about appearances, he would choose for it to be when it revolved around a fake marriage that Harvey was trying not to put his all into. 'Finish the Valenko summaries as well and I'll even pat your ass, Mike'
He doubted Mike would have been able to finish that, even under the best of circumstances, but it was... well... Harvey wasn't opposed to flirting with his husband if the damn kid was going to reciprocate. He spent the rest of his morning going over files and hunting down a case that was more interesting. Mike had stolen all the cool stuff, and although Harvey was fairly proud of him, it also meant Harvey didn't have nearly enough work to do, and he actually ended up doing a small amount of Associate work for Mike.
"Did you get me my engagement letter?"
Harvey looked up from his sofa to find Jessica standing in his doorway. "Technically it's my engagement letter, or really Mike's." Twinkish good looks. "Wilson's coming in tomorrow to hash out the final details, but I don't expect anything exceptional to come up. He's a socially conscious do-gooder, and everything Vanessa has on him says the same thing. He's more Mike's league."
"He's been here a year," Jessica answered. Harvey wasn't certain what that had to do with anything. "He's done more pro bono and socially conscious work than you have in over twelve years."
"I'm wounded, Jessica. But, as Mike reminded me earlier, this is why you make me do pro bono and I make him be an asshole from time to time. What's the old saying? Opposites attract?"
Jessica just shook her head and sat down next to him, and Harvey made himself accept the fact that he was going to get analyzed by Jessica for at least a few minutes. "He's a kid, he'll toughen up."
Harvey hoped he didn't, not as much as Harvey had since he was that much of a pushover. He wouldn't say as much to Jessica, of course, but there was something nice about Mike staying more... wholesome. "Is there a reason for this visit other than hounding me about the one thing you asked me to handle that's beyond my actual control? Unless you want me to go find new clients by actually forging their signatures on engagement letters. I figured you'd frown on that. Don't worry, he's in the bag."
"I wanted to know how you're holding up, Harvey."
"Less made of glass than you seem to think." Even Mike was on a certain amount of pins-and-needles with him that seemed entirely related to work and the way Harvey maneuvered around a courtroom and conference room. "You're worried I've lost my edge."
"Yeah," Jessica said. She even rolled her eyes slightly with it, clearly she thought that much would have been obvious.
She was right, though, going for the kill wasn't coming as easily for him as it once did. He'd like to have blamed it on the coma, and to some extent he knew that was part of it, but he also knew the other part of it. "Mike..." Jessica's eyes widened slightly, but she didn't seem to catch the real heart of it. "He was never a fan of my more... dickish qualities. It's hard to put him back in a subordinate position."
"Harvey, you think everyone's in a subordinate position to you."
"That's not true. I do absolutely everything you say." And he gave Jessica his best and most beseeching puppy dog look, which only made her roll her eyes, because they both knew it wasn't true, and if Harvey thought he had something better than Jessica, he'd damn well do it. To be fair, Jessica mostly just told him to not do it unless he was going to win, and then he went and won, so it wasn't like she really had disagreed... "You I can escape by going home."
"Ah," Jessica said. "Trouble in paradise? You two do eventually need grounds for separation. I doubt either of you are up for a long term commitment."
Harvey pressed his fingers together, thoughts troubled. After a few moments he started to fumble with the ring on his finger, trying not to think about the fact that they did need a plan of escape, they did need grounds for a divorce, and yet... Harvey really didn't want a divorce.
"You got rings?" Jessica took his palm between her fingers and tilted it so she could look. "Platinum?"
He nodded in answer to both questions. "We didn't bother before because we were going to remain under wraps at work."
"Why do you even need a cover story for why you weren't wearing rings? You don't need wedding rings, Harvey. A lot of people don't even wear them."
"Mike asked." Pure, simple answer.
Jessica knew something was off, Harvey could tell, but he ignored her in a mostly subtle way, picking up one of his papers and leafing through it. Mike had done good work, as always, Harvey couldn't wait until the kid actually got some competent staff under him and could work his own cases. Harvey had no delusions that Mike was a completely formed lawyer, but there were more than enough problems Mike could handle on his own, even if he did have a tendency to get more browbeaten by Jessica than Harvey did.
She sighed, sitting back. "I know you've always had... a soft-spot for the kid, but if you're already going soft after this, I'm worried about how this is going to play out. I can't say I ever thought about what you'd look like heartbroken."
"Mike and I have lunch." Harvey stood. "Apparently Mike is concerned the Associates think we're having a tiff. I know what this is, I do, just let me have this while I can."
"I didn't take you for the sort to get lost in the fantasy, Harvey."
"Please, I filled the last ten years of my life with cars I don't own and woman I don't date, my closest personal relationships were with my boss, my secretary, and my brother. It's a fantasy, I also know it is." Just because Jessica had slowly become privy to Harvey's - ridiculous - crush on his Associate didn't mean he was going to put up with Jessica pointing out exactly how screwed he was.
Mike's world had slowly been getting more and more weird. He was married to his boss, which was weird, he was slowly getting buried in caseload and yet handling it well, which was weird, and everyone seemed to have finally decided that he'd actually earned his position from his ass being in a chair not on his back. So Mike's ability to handle weirdness was growing by leaps and bounds, but when Harvey came over earlier that day and suggested - in front of the whole damn Associate population - that he wanted to spend dinner with his grandmother, Mike felt tapped out of weirdness.
And then Harvey had offered to... well, to say that Mike put some extra work into finishing the Valenko briefs before lunch would not have been wrong. Mike sort of wondered if Harvey would actually...
He was just finishing printing up his summaries when Harvey arrived at his desk. "Ready for lunch?"
"Mmhmm... just putting the finishing touches on the Valenko summaries you asked for."
Mike gave him a cheeky grin, the best he had, and although he thought Harvey looked slightly surprised by that, but when Mike came to join him on the other side of his cubicle, Harvey did wrap an arm low around Mike's waist - really his hip with a bit of ass - Mike had to admit he enjoyed that, and the casual sweep of a thumb over his hip bone before Harvey returned to a more professional distance. "Better?"
Absolutely, Mike was fairly certain his brain had stopped functioning for a split second. "Yup. Where are we going, anyway?"
"Just across the street. We need to be back in less than an hour so I can dominate my way into a settlement for McKenna." Harvey had more of his usual spark back, the part that made him so good at forcing outrageous settlements. Mike was glad to see it.
"Do I get to be there?"
Harvey seemed almost surprised by the request, which was odd, because not only was Harvey a master at exactly that, he was fun to watch, and it was a good learning experience for Mike, as he hadn't yet figured out a way to have the same level of casual confidence at it that Harvey seemed born with. "It would be cruel to hold out on you like that."
Mike snorted, two paralegals who hadn't heard the front end of the conversation gave the two of them a look like Harvey and Mike were talking about casual voyeuristic sex or something. Well, that was alright, Mike would totally have watched that too... actually now he was wondering if Harvey was secretly a voyeur. "You know I like to watch."
Now it was Harvey's turn to smirk, and the two of them took the elevator down and then crossed the street for a nice, polite, and mostly work-related lunch. They never used to check in, not at this level, but Harvey hadn't exactly started off as a particularly active mentor, now that Mike had almost a month of 'playing Harvey' under his belt, it made far more sense for them to be on the same page and tag-team some of the issues that Mike had handled while Harvey had been 'indisposed'.
Work over - non-alcoholic - drinks and apps turned into personal as they made their way through sandwiches. "You can't tell me you actually want to come see Grammy tonight."
"She's your grandmother, my... grandmother-in-law, we should get to know each other." Harvey prodded several leaves of his weird spinach salad thing, how weird was it to be dating a foodie? "Charles will be coming home in another month or two. I will allow you to meet him."
Mike tried to both not react to the total weirdness of Harvey's request and consider what the fuck that actually meant. He nodded, trying to have a certain amount of 'yup, I totally understand' on his face. "I still can't get over the fact that apparently you have a hippy brother who goes around Africa doing medical things. Which one of you is the black sheep?"
Harvey didn't dignify his question with an obvious reaction, which just made it all the more satisfying. Harvey usually let little reactions go through, and sometimes a big one was written large over his face, but this was just the sort of thing he was trying not to react to too obviously. "Neither, and I paid for his medical school so he could do whatever he wanted to with his degree."
"You paid for your brother's schooling?" Mike was now fascinated by this glimpse into Harvey actually sharing.
"Med School, he had scholarships for college." Harvey looked down at his food and took a deep breath. "He wanted to help people, so he helps people."
Mike picked up another square of his sandwich and chewed on it before asking: "So is he going to tell me about your secretly caring and soft, squishy side I sometimes get to see? Are you a good big brother?" Mike tried to keep his voice serious, as much as he had the urge to tease Harvey about it. The idea of Harvey as an older brother was... endearing. Mike could see it thought, Harvey cared, even when he pretended he didn't.
"Maybe you shouldn't meet him," Harvey shot back, perhaps half-serious.
"Harvey, I'll still love you even if I know you're a mix of caring and asshole instead of pure asshole. It's good, you know? Actually admitting you care is a good thing."
Harvey just went back to ignoring Mike and Mike was slightly concerned that the magic of the moment had been lost. "Yeah, I care about him. He's a good kid and I'm glad he can do what he wants with his life. Before I went to Pearson Hardman he was going to join the army, become a medic."
Apparently they were still in a sharing mode, much to Mike's surprise. "Army medic?"
Harvey chewed on saying something. Harvey never looked like he was trying to figure out what to say, but he did right now. "We didn't have a lot of money growing up. Finish your sandwich, we need to get back to work."
Harvey apparently channeled whatever angst or embarrassment he felt about his revelations - Mike was still chewing on them - into dominating the hell out of the opposing counsel. It was - in Mike's not-so-humble opinion - really hot. There was something magnificent about the way Harvey just steamrolled people, brought them to their knees, and all but made them cry like a baby. He wondered if Harvey was the sort who liked victory sex, because Mike was seriously considering his willingness to try it for Harvey.
Mike would do pretty much anything for Harvey, as witnessed by the fact that they were married. Mike was pretty sure he'd reconsider his sexuality completely if Harvey always looked that delightfully smug. The buzz of vague arousal stuck with him for most of the day. Ok, forget about vaguely reconsidering his sexuality, he was sort of gay for Harvey, maybe no one else, but definitely Harvey.
When Harvey dragged him out of the office at six-thirty, and then went down and got to sit in the back of Ray's car, Mike took a chance and dropped his head on Harvey's shoulder.
"When do I get to stop being a baby lawyer?" Because he was awesome at making arguments, and he had been getting much better at making his case before a judge - although usually in pro bonos, not stuff where huge amounts of money was on the line.
"When Jessica and the other Partners say so." Harvey answered, and then put his hand on Mike's neck, fingers playing, digging in enough to provide slight relief to the tension there. "Don't be too eager, Rookie. Junior Partners don't have the same safety net."
Mike knew that, and he knew that going about a month without falling off the tightrope didn't mean he was ready for the big time all the time, but he was learning, and fast. Becoming a lawyer had been his passion since he was a kid and he knew the law, but Harvey was a fantastic teacher of lawyering.
"You'll have my back though, right? You'll just make me make the call when Wyatt has a panic attack."
Harvey answered with a non-committal 'mmm' and the two of them fell back into silence. Harvey continued to rub Mike's neck and Mike continued to allow his head to rest on Harvey's shoulder. It was way too comfortable, in more ways than one.
The warm and fuzzy feeling lasted only until they got to Grammy's home, and Ray left them for the evening, content in the obvious lie of husbands on the way to dinner with the in-laws. Harvey actually looked at the facility on the outside for a few moments, before he started to charge inside like he owned the joint.
"Harvey, wait... we should..." Mike took a deep breath, steeling himself for a conversation he'd been avoiding having for days. "... decide about how we're doing this with Grammy."
Harvey made a 'get on with it' gesture and Mike coughed, continuing, making his argument at break-neck speed.
"I mean whether or not we're going to be 'Mike and Harvey' or 'Mike and Harvey', obviously there are benefits and difficulties to each. Grammy really should know if I got married, if only so she'll stop pestering me about my prospects - which suck by the way - and then that's fine but it also comes with the downside of... hello, divorce. I really don't want Grammy to have to deal with that, and I don't want to deal with it." Truth in rambling, apparently. "There's also be the whole 'gay grandson' thing which she's not had to deal with before because I've never been gay before..."
"Technically you'd be bisexual," Harvey answered, just to be a damn lawyer apparently.
Right, bisexually gay for Harvey. Mike took another deep breath. "She really does want to meet you, married or not, so you could just be here as my boss... friend... person." And then in a fit of complete and total honesty, he looked right into Harvey's eyes and asked, very earnestly: "Why do we even need to get a divorce?"
Harvey didn't answer right away, which weirdly meant he must have actually been considering the question rather than ridiculing him and saying something about doubloons. Mike tried to not feel weirdly hopeful from that. "There's just one tiny problem with your plan, Mike: you aren't actually attracted to me."
Oh that was so not the problem. Harvey even had really silky hair when it wasn't bathed in hair gel, Mike could get behind silky hair, or in front. Damn, he wanted to kiss Harvey. Harvey had this vaguely soft sort of look on his face, the reluctantly fond one that Mike was used to whenever Harvey had just done something nice and was pretending he hadn't actually done something nice, and sometimes Mike caught him looking like that because Harvey liked him, no matter what he said.
What... he'd said. "You said I'm not attracted to you."
"Yes? And?" Harvey was... waiting.
"You didn't say you weren't attracted to me."
Mike had wondered, for over a year, what an actually bashful, actually evasive Harvey who didn't respond to an accusation by yelling or deflecting or any other number of things might look like. Now he knew. Harvey looked down at his hands for a moment, before he looked back up at Mike, with a defiant set of his jaw, as if to say 'so what?' and Mike knew exactly what it was.
"Because... you're attracted to me?" Mike asked.
Harvey shrugged. "I was recently informed you have a twinkish sort of hotness."
"Recently?" Mike tried to not feel too hopeful about the answer. He almost hoped that Harvey had found him attractive for longer than a month, that would have meant that at least one of them had put some thought into their attraction. Harvey had admitted, in a backhanded sort of way, that he found Mike hot. Mike felt warm and slightly flustered, as thought the pieces of his weird admiration-turned-affection-turned-crush had finally paid off in some weird way, but Mike didn't want this to just be because Mike had been there for a few months. He wanted it to be more than that.
"One of the many rules of good lawyering, Mike: don't ask questions you don't want to know the answer to."
The whiplash of the moment was almost startling; Harvey seemed to be copping to a long-running attraction, something that predated their marriage, something that might even have been the reason Donna felt certain Harvey would be alright with Mike coma-marrying him. Harvey didn't run away, didn't try to get back next to the street to hail a cab, instead he just stood there, waiting.
"I'm attracted to you, too," Mike blurted out, and now all that remained was to wait to see if he had ruined everything. He held his breath.
Harvey blinked, looked completely startled, and then mildly offended. "You're straight. You told Donna and Jessica you were straight," Harvey protested; Harvey was... trying to argue him out of being attracted to him.
"I know you have an ego the size of Manhattan but, you totally turned me gay, or bi or something. Have you met you? You're hot! And even cuter when you're all helpless and not actually growling at me like I'm an idiot all the time."
"Mike, you're an idiot."
"Apparently you're taking lessons from me in how to ruin it." Mike glowered at him. "Come on, like I was going to tell you I was having a sexuality crisis because you were snuggling me and look kind of appealing naked. I've never even kissed you and I think I'm in love with you!"
Harvey's response to that was to lean forward and kiss him, hard. Mike flailed only for a moment before his arms wrapped around Harvey's neck and tugged him closer because kissing Harvey Specter was way better than imagining kissing Harvey Specter. He could do this, he could definitely do this. It was Mike who opened his lips and let Harvey in. Even though he sort of thought he would end up as a puddle of goo on the wall from the kiss, Harvey was apparently a gentleman, because rather than press his - smoking hot - advantage, he pulled away.
Mike was surprised to see Harvey look tentative and nervous. He was actually worrying his lip while waiting for Mike to say something, maybe, or pass judgement.
"Addendum to the previous statement: I've totally kissed you and now I'm pretty sure I'm in love with you."
Harvey relaxed. "Well, now that divorce is about fifty percent less likely, I say we can be gay husbands for your grandmother."
He was married to Harvey and they hadn't even had sex yet! Mike tried to think of something witty. "You just don't want me getting half of everything you own."
Harvey smirked and then kissed him on the temple. "I seduced you to protect my bank account. It had nothing to do with... loving you just a little bit, too."
"Did you just say love?"
"Get used to it, Rookie."
Mike decided he could maybe get used to it. A little bit. "You loooooove me. Love, love, lov---" Harvey shut him up again, with tongue.
Harvey told Donna the next day. He figured that the woman had been running interference on Harvey and Mike's feelings for almost five months, the least he could do would be to inform her of when her intervention was no longer required. He'd dropped Mike off at his desk, no more or less affectionately than most other days since Harvey's return to work, and then he'd headed to his own office, where Donna was typing away, perhaps working, perhaps otherwise engaged with doing something like cultivating contacts.
"My husband loves me." He said it the way mere mortal men might have said the same phrase, proud at their awesome and loving behavior that had made their spouse pleased with them, but for Harvey it obviously double meaning. After he said it, he went the rest of the way into his office, waiting for Donna to catch the clue.
Donna took exactly twelve seconds to walk in and make a 'go on, spill' face.
"I made him gay. I have skills." His persuasive skills were admittedly confined to making out and handjobs, but he had a feeling they would eventually graduate further into the realm of gay sex, and Harvey had every intention of abusing Mike's sexual attraction to him to keep them married for a very long time. "In a fit of passion he may have admitted to Harveysexuality."
"You used my Grammy list to close your husband?"
"What? No. I used honesty, forthrightness, and charm."
Donna arched an eyebrow at him. "Haha."
"No, really. He told me I was attractive and then we made out." And then had an intensely awkward dinner with Grammy. It was mostly awkward because Grammy kept looking at him, and may have pinched his cheeks at least three times, not that Harvey was counting. Grammy was alright with Mike being gay, apparently, and yes she had been trying to set Mike up with her nurse, which was not alright. Harvey should have fired him when he had the chance. "The one major drawback to seducing your husband is it feels a little weird to take him out on dates."
"Keeps the spark alive," Donna answered. Harvey frowned. "Dating while married, it makes you feel like you're still winning him over... or something."
Harvey decided that wasn't the dumbest idea ever. Unfortunately, Mike didn't seem like a flowers guy and neither of them were much into jewelry - somehow cufflinks didn't have the same allure. "Donna, figure out what the hell you buy husbands to woo them."
She didn't even dignify that with an embarrassing eyebrow arch. "You're so cute when you're smitten."
Harvey still couldn't quite believe his luck. He was arrogant, but not enough to actually blame his good fortune on his own skill. Mike had fallen for him for some incomprehensible reason and Harvey wasn't too proud to take it for all it was worth.
He was nervous now because he had no idea how to do a relationship right, and really Mike didn't either, but they'd been married for two months - really more like two weeks of conscious time, but Harvey was going to take it - and they'd been coworkers and sort of friends for almost a year before that. If there was anyone Harvey could manage to live with, sleep with, and not want to kick out in the morning, it would be Mike.
It turned out that Harvey was cute when he was smitten, and he didn't think anyone else at the firm really noticed, but Mike did. Harvey did ending up getting Mike cufflinks, and tie clips, but Mike was fairly easy and was easily wooed by anything from fancy home cooked meals, fancy meals out, fancy scotch and whiskey - wine was wasted on him, and driving around in nice cars from the car club. So really Harvey just put all of the effort he usually put into picking up someone for the night, and focused it on Mike.
Sometimes it made him feel like a slightly lecherous old man, especially whenever Mike offered further tentative forays into the further joys of gay sex. Harvey took great pride in the fact that the tentativeness was almost always gone by the end of round one, if not somewhere in the middle. Mike also made exceptionally nice whimpering noises all throughout sex.
Harvey was also slowly discovering what Mike knew all along: sex was even more awesome when you weren't trying to impress anyone. It seemed counter-intuitive, but it worked, and there was nothing quite so sweet as having your husband, giggly from too little sleep, pawing at you while claiming he can't decide if he wants sleep, food, or sex more, and then Harvey convincing him rather spectacularly that sex should always come first. Mike also had a weakness for victory sex, which was fantastic because Harvey did too, especially his victories, although Mike's were sometimes pretty damn awesome as well, especially after the third time he turned a pro bono case into a successful class action lawsuit. Hot.
Mike was also... exceptionally forgiving. This was something that Harvey had always known, knew it because he knew how much Someone - never to be named, even in thought - had taken advantage of Mike for that over the years. Harvey had resolved not to take too much advantage of Mike's forgiving nature, but Harvey had to admit it came in handy when his eyes - and only his eyes - occasionally wandered. It also meant that when some ex-flame showed up and expected Harvey to be up for another round of litigation between the sheets that Harvey had to decline, Mike didn't get too jealous; that fact came in particularly handy when it was time for a fifteen year reunion and Harvey might have taken a tiny smidge of glee in having a hotter husband than Scotty. Harvey might have been married, but that didn't mean he wasn't a competitive asshole sometimes; Mike liked him that way.
The guy who loved Harvey's competitive asshole side was currently fussing around the kitchen, trying to peel apples while Harvey was dividing his attention between groping Mike and making fried rice.
"If one more thing went wrong with the Marks case today, I thought I was going to break my brain."
Harvey leaned over and kissed Mike's temple. "I happen to like your brain."
"No, you love my brain."
"Are you going to be this insufferable all day tomorrow? I love your brain, and the rest of you." Tomorrow was Thanksgiving, and Harvey was actually voluntarily subjecting himself - and Mike - to Charles and his wife. "Although... speaking of breaking your brain--"
Mike just groaned. "Please, no more work. My head is full, and Thanksgiving is the one holiday that I actually really wanted off this year, we'll go see your brother and sister-in-law, we'll go get whupped by Gram in backgammon, and then we're coming home and having sex on every surface of the condo, thus appreciating all the things I am thankful for. Work has gotten enough thanks this week."
"Jessica called me into her office today."
Mike cored another apple and then smirked at him. "Were you naughty, Harvey?"
"Actually she wanted to talk to me about you, and remind me that it would be a lot easier on my taxes if we were married and divorced in the same calendar year." Harvey frowned into the fried rice, fumbling with the beaten egg to finish up the cooking. The whole thing had... really made him angry, honestly, but Jessica got a lot more latitude from Harvey than perhaps he would have given someone else.
"Wow, see if I give her my best work. Did she seriously tell you you should dump me?!"
A tiny little sliver out doubt that had not truly been shaken from his chest disappeared, and Harvey sighed. "She was actually worried about me. Somehow she completely managed to miss the fact that we're actually in a relationship. I told her I was shocked she missed your ridiculously obvious 'I got laid' face, which she hadn't, but apparently she assumed you were going around with Rachel."
"I don't even know how I became her sassy gay friend. I'm not sassy, Harvey."
Harvey did try not to be jealous, mostly because Mike always gave him the benefit of the doubt, but the fact that Rachel respected and feared Harvey and Donna generally meant she could be trusted not to try to go after Mike... again. Harvey decided that secret gay coma marriages were all the soap opera that he could take, secret love children and previous flames need not apply. "No one knows how unsassy you are like I do, Mike."
"Rene had some choice words about my lack of sassiness as well..." Mike shivered, apparently still remembering the trauma of the three month anniversary wardrobe upgrade, which delighted Rene and had probably scarred Mike. "So I assume you informed her, possibly with hand gestures, that we're solid?"
"The hand gestures were a little overboard," Harvey admitted. "You might want to pop your head into her office and inform her that you're mutually participating in our relationship. There's probably still a bit of doubt that I haven't just imagined the whole thing."
"Check. Monday morning, going to Jessica's office, walking in, and saying I totally had sex with you yesterday."
"She'll love that."
Harvey would appreciate her stopping the look that she had, because Mike was a lot of things, but he was giving his all to this relationship, even if he was still awkward about defining his sexuality or more blatant displays of affection. Harvey was also giving the relationship his all, which was surprisingly satisfying for how intensely frustrating Mike could be sometimes. He shook himself out of his introspection and poured the egg into the little pocket of the wok. Mike slid past him and pulled out spoons and stole his soy sauce that he'd been using for cooking.
"This is okay, right?" Mike asked; he wasn't asking about the soy sauce.
"More than okay," Harvey answered. "I couldn't be happier."
The two of them ended up curled on the couch, legs tangled together as they ate dinner. Harvey really couldn't have imagined being happier. He'd always cared for Mike, more than was wise, but to have that reciprocated, rather passionately, had been a surprise.
"We should do a recommitment ceremony next year, Gram and Charles and Jessica can come. She can be totally surprised that we're still actually married and happy." Mike curled up against Harvey's side. "Admit it, she's only confused because you don't exactly have a record for solid relationship choices."
"I will admit no such thing!" Harvey shot back.
"Whatever, best part about the recommitment thing? Presents. Everyone at work completely short changed us on awesome wedding gifts. We need a china pattern, Harvey!"
Harvey rolled his eyes, not entirely sure why he put up with Mike, but then he remembered the love, the affection, and the enthusiastic sex, and he knew exactly why he put up with the dorkier parts. "You already got the best present out of marrying me."
Mike looked over at Harvey, confused. Harvey pointed a thumb towards himself.
"You pompous egotistical asshole," Mike laughed.
"Hey, you're the one who married me." He was also the idiot who stayed married to him, so Harvey figured he could give the kid a break now and again, so he just dragged Mike over to him and kissed him lightly on the jaw. It left him feeling pretty much perfect.