Mike was not nearly so subtle as he thought he was, so Harvey knew almost instantly that he and Donna were plotting something. Whatever plan was in the works, it had started sometime before lunch and had involved Donna actually leaving her desk. The only place she would go would be to conspire with Mike, and Harvey's suspicions were confirmed when Donna returned with reservations for lunch for him and Mike. Harvey hadn't asked and it was nowhere near any significant relationship milestone that might have merited such a lunch.
Harvey also noticed that Mike was conspicuously nervous, and wasn't working on any cases that would have deserved that much twitching or potential groveling, so again Harvey was at a loss. Still, they ended up in a secluded booth, pressed together knee-to-ankle, as close as was proper for what appeared to be nothing more than two colleagues out for a working lunch.
They ordered drinks, and then their meals, with Mike content to do little more than sit there, legs pressed together, and Harvey allowed himself to enjoy the comfort of it. He never would have thought, even a few months ago, that he would have been able to enjoy this, but now that Mike had worked his way into yet another facet of Harvey's life, he couldn't imagine letting him go.
Still, as far as pre-groveling silence went, lunch had gone on long enough. "Alright, out with it, or I'll feed you to Louis."
"You wouldn't," Mike answered, too damn confident. Kid was getting cocky in his position; Harvey supposed that was the natural consequence of him actually treating the kid like a boyfriend. "But since you asked so nicely..."
Harvey smirked, but the look faded as soon as he saw the paper Mike pulled out from the inner pocket of his suit. It was a wedding invitation for William Specter and Joanna Lansing.
"Donna." Harvey bit out his assistant's name and took the envelope and the neatly printed and embossed cards and letters. "She and I are going to have a little conversation about personal boundaries and using my boyfriend for leverage."
"Harvey, I know the two of you have had your problems, but it's your dad." Mike was looking up at him with those stupidly blue eyes he had that made Harvey unable to be too irritated with him. They were a deadly weapon.
Harvey had never much considered himself to be susceptible to emotional blackmail, but with Mike staring up at him he was trying to figure out how to really explain rather than shut him down. Mike really only knew the most general explanation of the issues between him and his father, and Harvey had always been loathe to change that. He blamed his current weakness on the fact that Mike was very hot, and always very cuddly; it was a terrible combination. Sometimes they even talked about their feelings, for fuck's sake, as far as Harvey concerned he appeared to have caught terminal monogamy and seemed unlikely to be cured.
"Dad didn't get over my mother cheating on him for a very long time," Harvey started, trying to fill in the cursory story Harvey had told before. "Chris and I were very protective of him while he was... dating around." Mike knew him, he would see the euphemism for exactly what it was. "Eventually he met her."
"Joanna Lansing?" Mike asked, taking the invitation and running his thumb over the embossing even though Harvey knew he had long since memorized every detail. "So what's wrong with her?"
"She's seventeen years younger than him!" Which in Harvey's case meant she was only eight years older than Harvey, which definitely had some ick factor involved.
"Yeah," Mike said a moment later. "Older men, totally not attractive." And now Mike was smirking at him. "You must be seriously wound up, you walked right into that."
Harvey glowered at him. The twelve years between him and Mike was completely different. For one, Harvey didn't have children, and for two, their age gap was a natural consequence of the fact that there was no one else who fit Harvey the way Mike did. He was younger, but that didn't actually matter when it came to the easy way they worked and fit together.
"Did you just imply that my dad was potentially 'doable'?" He asked.
"This from the guy who asked if my grandmother was hot." Mike reached out and gave Harvey a squeeze just above the knee. "I'm just going to say you don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to liking your lovers a bit on the young side."
Harvey did his best to not actively grumble at Mike's point, especially if he was choosing to punctuate it by running a hand up and down his thigh. Just because he was the best damn closer in the city didn't mean he didn't like to have that grounding source of affection at his side. Mike wore his heart on his sleeve, he felt everything, and that tendency meant that he knew exactly when, and how, Harvey needed comforting even when Harvey didn't.
"I think he just... he has this thing for smart. It blindsides him every time and Joanna's smart." It pained Harvey to admit it, but she was clever and enterprising. His mother, who had been similarly brilliant, had always rested on that, never really tackling a job beyond 'doctor's wife' and on rare occasions she tried her hand at the job of 'mother'; she'd never been particularly good at either.
"Mmhmm..." Mike nodded, vaguely sympathetic, but he still looked more amused than understanding. "So you're worried about what? Sandra Specter, round two?"
"He and Joanna have been together about four years. She's not in it for a quick score, but... dad would do anything, buy her anything, and mom always took advantage." As far as Harvey could tell, his mother had only ever loved his father for the money, not any real affection. The ensuing messy divorce had locked up both of their assets and had almost completely torpedoed Harvey's educational funding. If Harvey had ever really been able to forgive his mother for the marriage-long cheating, that would have been the thing to eventually break them.
"So you're worried she's in it for... a long con?"
"Dad buys women gifts, it's just the way he shows affection, and mom took advantage and Joanna takes advantage and when you're like my father you attract people who want the glitz. That's fine for a night or a week, but that's not what you base forever on." Harvey had very firm opinions on this. His father had always shown his affection that way, gifts and toys rather than his presence, and it had stung when Harvey was younger, but he had eventually managed to read between the lines that said that was how his father said he cared.
"You think Joanna doesn't actually love your dad, she's just with him for his sexy cardiac surgeon money?"
Harvey gave Mike a face that strongly implied his answer was 'well duh'. Mike was too good a lawyer to be asking dumb questions, even if the way he continued to stroke his thumb down the seam of Harvey's pant leg was just the right side of comforting.
"I think that would lead to you implying I'm a high-end hooker, Harvey. Just this week I'm distinctly remembering... the Aston Martin around town, dinner at that new restaurant, Rene molesting me for a fall wardrobe, the cufflinks, and the new bike. This week." Mike jostled a knee against his. "And Louis does occasionally imply I am a hooker, but I'd take offense if my boyfriend did."
"That's different." Harvey took a sip of water, annoyed. "I buy you nice things because you'd live like a monk who took a vow of poverty if I didn't take you out."
"Better than a vow of chastity," Mike answered.
"You're not with me for the Aston Martin."
"Come on! My dad works long hours, sucks at being emotionally available, and all he has going for him is his money and the fact that he ages pretty well." Harvey loved his dad, he did, but it was true. He'd all but raised Chris when his father checked out after the separation. Dad did not do emotions.
"Wow," Mike said. "Just wow. Absolutely no one would fall in love with an emotionally unavailable, yet attractive, asshole... like ever?" Mike punctuated his point with another squeeze to Harvey's knee. "I'm not saying she's not a money-grubbing gold digger, but have you considered the crazy possibility that they love each other?"
Harvey hadn't really given it much thought. "Love, huh?"
"It's been known to happen." Mike looked up at him now, expectant. "Really the only issue that seems to come with emotionally unavailable assholes is that sometimes they're not particularly good at saying it back."
Harvey was nearly caught up in the moment, and almost said something incredibly sappy, but instead he just glowered over at Mike. "I took you to that concert that made my ears bleed."
"Just say it, Harvey."
"Yeah, yeah." Harvey shook his head, but he did place his hand over Mike's where it rested on his knee and squeezed. "I love you, sometimes, when you aren't being the worst boyfriend ever."
"I'm the best boyfriend ever, no contest. But... you should probably stop holding your former tendency of dating women who only want you for the lifestyle against your father."
"Are you dating me for the lifestyle, Mike?"
Mike seemed to consider it, chewing over the question as he chewed a bite of food. "Million hour work weeks, constant emergencies, a secondary supervisor who treats me like a prostitute and he's a pimp? Oh yeah, Harvey, your lifestyle rocks."
"No perks?" Harvey asked - not that he was actually nervous about Mike liking the life Harvey had helped get him. Maybe just a little.
"Well... there is this guy..." Mike answered, trailing off. "Sort of handsome, asshole, takes me to lunch, great in bed... and he loves me. So it's totally worth it."
"Good." Harvey took a slight risk and wrapped his arm around Mike's waist. The gesture was hidden behind the table, but it was still far more daring than they usually engaged in in public. "I have it on good authority he loves you too." Harvey leaned in, close enough that his nose was teasing with the shell of Mike's ear. "And you can tell my nosy Executive Assistant that I will think about going to the wedding."
"Do I get to be your plus one?"
That was an entirely different issue.
Harvey ignored the problem of the rogue wedding invitation until he got home from work. Mike followed a good two hours later, after he'd finished up the last of the mess that Louis had left for him. Mike came over to the couch and took the brandy Harvey had been nursing, before very comfortably sliding down to straddle Harvey, and then take a sip of the brandy.
"Are you going to roll your eyes at me if I say I want grilled cheese for dinner?" Mike asked.
"Yes," Harvey answered, but he slid a hand along Mike's waist and then pulled him in for a kiss. "But we can have it anyway. Want to get started? I have to make a phone call."
"Welcome home, Mike. I know you work longer hours than me but I'm just going to swan around all day." But Mike rolled his eyes and kissed Harvey along his jaw.
"I'm sorry, did you mistake me for someone who cares?" He asked, grinning up at Mike. It was easy, it was comfortable, and Harvey getting to pretend he didn't care was the only thing that kept him from running screaming for the hills. Everything else was perfect.
Mike paid him back by nipping his ear, and the two of them laughed while Mike headed back to the bedroom to strip out of his suit and change into something a bit more comfortable. Harvey didn't bother to wait for Mike, and grabbed his phone and his headset while he pulled down everything Mike would need for dinner, including the tomato soup that Harvey hated but Mike liked because it was all... comforting or something. He finally punched the speed dial button on his phone and waited, pulling down the panini press - because if he was going to eat a damn grilled cheese it was going to be at least vaguely gourmet.
"William Specter, Cardiology." His father's voice was, as always, authoritative and commanding. Sometimes it was hard to believe the guy actually had a softer side, but Harvey remembered him from right after the divorce, he knew his father, knew where he was slightly vulnerable and needed Harvey's protection.
"Hey, dad." Harvey waited.
"Harvey?" Clearly he wasn't expected. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
Whatever Harvey had been about to say was interrupted by Mike coming out of the bedroom, iPhone hooked to his belt, dressed ridiculously casually in jeans and a painted on band t-shirt for a band Harvey had never heard of, rocking out. "I..." Harvey thought his brain might be leaking out of his ears. "I got the invitation to your and Joanna's wedding."
"Harvey, I had a long day." His father's tone suggested the possibility of someone dying, or at least a particularly straining time in surgery, and he knew his father expected a fight, must have known it was coming the minute he let Joanna send Harvey a wedding invite.
"Me too," Harvey lied. "It's..." Harvey had no idea how to do this. Caring was anathema; he wouldn't have even bothered if it weren't for Mike. Mike who was currently head banging while cutting a loaf of bread, leaving Harvey slightly concerned for the integrity of his boyfriend's fingers. "Does she make you happy?"
"What?" His dad asked, disbelief obvious. He supposed he deserved that. "Does Joanna... make me happy? Nothing else?"
"I reserve the right to ask followup questions, but yes, that's it. Does she make you happy?" He waited, watched Mike dance about the kitchen, somehow managing to yank the pull top off the soup can and not spill a drop before up-ending it over a pot Harvey had put on the stove.
"Then yes, Harvey, she makes me happy." The other end went silent for a moment and Harvey let himself nod, trying to be content with that. His father eventually added: "She's made me happy for a long time."
The accusation in his father's words was obvious, but Harvey didn't get to be an unfeeling and emotionally distant closer if he let something as simple as his dad being pissed that he wouldn't rubber stamp his girlfriend years ago get to him. "Okay."
"Okay?" His father asked. "Are you alright, Harvey?"
"Yeah," Harvey assured him. "Everything's fine, just making dinner."
Mike continued to dance around the kitchen, leaving the panini press to preheat and otherwise finish with everything else. Harvey went over and wrapped his arms around Mike to keep him from moving around quite as much. He then pressed his chin to Mike's shoulder and the two of them began to sway lazily while Mike worked. Harvey couldn't imagine anything quite as perfect as his idiot-genius boyfriend dancing around their kitchen with Harvey's arms around him. It made him... more than a little bit happy.
"Not that I'm not thrilled for the show of magnanimity, but what exactly brought this on?" His father's voice was actually suspicious, and he supposed it wasn't unwarranted. His father had known him for a very long time and Harvey was behaving... atypically, to say the least.
"I was just recently reminded that... we're very similar," Harvey said, and he knew that his father would know exactly what that meant, the dating, the gifts, the other ridiculousness that William used to say that he cared. "So I was advised to give you a break."
"Who do I owe the fruit basket? Jessica or Donna?"
Harvey laughed. "Donna was the one who meddled," he admitted. "Nice touch sending the invitation to the office, by the way."
"Clever, she knows the mighty power an Executive Assistant wields over her cowering Senior Partner." Harvey allowed himself to admit it, Joanna had always known how to play the game, and Harvey had always held it against her. Her skill in that area had always made Harvey worry that Joanna was playing his father, too. "She had help, though."
Harvey brushed a finger over the shell of Mike's ear, tugged out the ear bud. Mike looked over his shoulder for a moment, frowning, but he clicked off his music, obviously taking the cue to listen and pay attention even as he continued to assemble sandwiches.
"From..." Harvey paused, ran his fingers over Mike's back and neatened the ratty t-shirt he was wearing. "From my plus one. Jessica and Donna can't threaten to withhold sex."
Mike snorted, soft enough that he probably didn't get picked up on the mic, but then he made a face, like he was considering whether or not Jessica and Donna ordering him could make Mike withhold sex. Harvey stuck his tongue out.
"You're... dating?" His dad asked. "You're dating someone seriously enough to think about bringing them to my wedding?"
"Mmhmm..." And Harvey, in a fit of what he was sure he would later claim was emotional duress, he put a hand on Mike's hip and looked him straight in the eyes. "Plus one of my life."
Mike melted visibly, and responded by mouthing 'I love you, too'.
He could hear the gears moving on the other end of the line as his father considered an appropriate response to that. "I realize I'm a bit out of practice with this, with your brother having been married for years, but... do I get to hear about her?"
Moment of truth. Harvey took a deep breath and looked Mike square in the eyes. "Him."
The other end of the line was silent. Harvey waited. Mike had managed to pick up the undercurrent of the moment and could obviously hear nothing was being said. He waited; Mike picked up Harvey's hand and massaged it gently before he pressed his lips to the pad of Harvey's thumb.
"That's a new one," his father said, finally breaking the silence, his tone tentative, feeling out the space between them.
"Not really, it just didn't seem important to mention before." Harvey tried to keep his tone lighter than he was used to, not the defensive bite he saved for Jessica and her accusations when they'd told her about the relationship. This was his father, there was some sort of rule about unconditional love maybe.
Mike wrapped his arms around Harvey and relaxed, resting his head gently on Harvey's shoulder, the two of them curled around each other in the kitchen, waiting.
The pause stretched on, and he heard his father clear his throat. "Well, tell me about him?"
Harvey sagged, relieved. "He's a lawyer; we work together. He's completely fashion challenged and can barely dress himself. He's smarter than me, although you wouldn't think it to look at him, and... one day he might even be a better lawyer than me." He pulled away, let Mike get back to making dinner. "Not that that's my personal opinion. Jessica thinks he might beat me, but... what does Jessica know, really?"
He, his father, and Mike all knew exactly what that meant. Harvey didn't play tennis, but he was the king of backhanded compliments and Mike had long since learned to take them as they came.
"Does he make you happy?" His father asked, obviously echoing Harvey's earlier question.
"Oh yeah. And..." He smiled, watched Mike as he tucked an ear bud back in place and turned his music on, going back to swaying in the kitchen. "He keeps me young."
His father was a smart guy, he read between the lines. "Younger?"
"Just... a few years."
"Twelve!" Mike said, very much loud enough to carry through the phone mic.
"Yeah, yeah," Harvey said. "Shut up before you burn the paninis."
Mike laughed, and he could hear his father laughing on the other end of the phone, loud and rich and... surprisingly happy. "Like father, like son?"
"Maybe just a little bit," Harvey admitted.
"Can I tell Jo to put you down for a 'yes' for the wedding?" His father asked, sobering them both.
Harvey thought about it; there really was no reason he'd called other than to answer that question. Was knowing that Joanna made his father happy, and accepting that maybe - just maybe - the woman who'd been making his father happy for over four years might actually love him, enough? "Yeah, we'll be there."
"Harvey plus one. Does he have a name?"
"Mike. Mike Ross."
"I'll let you go before he burns your dinner... and, tell him thanks. It will be good to see you."
Harvey nodded, even though his father couldn't see him. "Tell him yourself when you meet him. He's easily bribed with Red Bull and minimal displays of actual affection. If you hug him he might faint."
He hung up the phone, leaving the bluetooth headset on the counter, and pulled Mike into a hug. Mike went, and the two of them stayed twined in each other's arms. "Admit it, that totally wasn't that hard."
"I'll admit no such thing," Harvey answered. "I'm still worried about him getting hurt."
"Maybe he's worried about the same thing." Mike pressed his nose against Harvey's sternum, nuzzling at his chest. "I could be a gold digger. I might be toying with your heart. You're getting particularly egregious with your examples of caring lately, Harvey."
"You're a bad influence."
"The best influence," Mike shot back.
Harvey wouldn't say it out loud, but he was hard-pressed not to agree. Mike had been an overwhelmingly positive influence, even Harvey could see that. The fond, warm feelings that Harvey found himself allowing were becoming more frequent, and there seemed to be no good reason to fight that. He and Mike were solid, and if he was looking forward to the pleasure of seeing Mike dressed in a tux, his, that was on him.