Harvey had seen the little looks that Mike and Rachel had given each other. Even just in the brief moments he'd seen them together, he had seen it. He would mentally roll his eyes at it and move along with his day because he had more important things to deal with and watching Mike make heart eyes at the pretty paralegal was definitely not on his list of important things.
Then Mike would bring Rachel's name up when they were going over a case or files, or she'd be the reason Mike would use when he was late for something, and Harvey couldn't help but roll his eyes, not mentally this time, because he wanted to make sure Mike saw it. He wanted Mike to know that he didn't care and not to bring her name up unless it was strictly related to the case, and it almost never was.
Harvey had expected whatever it was that Mike and Rachel had together to end before it began, so he's a bit taken back when he hears him continue to bring up her name time and time again.
"She took me to this amazing sushi place last night."
"Rachel. We went on another date last night."
"And what loophole did you find me in the Andrews' case while on this date?"
"Well in that case your little conversation about your date with Rachel is over."
"Would it kill you to even just pretend to be interested in my life at all?"
"Maybe. I haven't tried it and quite frankly, it's not a risk I'm willing to take."
"You're such a dick. I'm going to go look at these files back at my cubicle."
Harvey shrugs. "Suit yourself."
As time goes on, Harvey notices that Mike hasn't stopped working Rachel's name into their conversations any less, and the more and more he talks about how much he cares for Rachel or really likes her, Harvey realizes that Rachel is right where he wants to be.
Harvey also realizes that aside from how often Mike is still bringing up her name, the way he says her name when he does it has also changed. He's suddenly saying it like there's no end in sight for them.
Harvey feels his heart catch in this throat when Mike says her name like that, because maybe it's the first time he's ever felt like he was truly in a situation that he could actually lose Mike, which in itself makes him feel a little bit ridiculous, because he's technically never really had Mike in the first place. Either way, he knows that he wants, or rather needs it to stop.
"I asked you a question."
"Sorry. Didn't hear you, just kind focused on getting this case closed. It's gone on too long."
"Right. So about that new restaurant? Would you be able to get me reservations?"
"You mean you and Rachel reservations?"
"Uh, of course, who else would I be taking?"
"I don't think that's a good idea."
"Are you kidding me? Have you seen the menu and reviews? She'd love it!"
"That's not what I meant."
"So what did you mean then?"
"I don't think you should see Rachel anymore."
Mike laughs, but then notices the look on Harvey's face and stops immediately. "You're actually serious?"
"It's not professional. The stupid teenager in love looks you give each other. The kissing in the library while on the clock. Yeah, that's right. I heard about that. And if I heard about it without even trying, that means other people could easily find out. It makes you look bad, and it makes me look bad."
"Why don't you just say what this is really about, Harvey? Instead of hiding behind some lame excuse about being worried that you'll look bad."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Really? Because I think you're jealous."
It's Harvey who let's out a laugh this time. "What exactly is there to be jealous of? Your ridiculous relationship with Rachel? Give me a god damn break, Mike. We all know that isn't going to last, and if you think it is, than you're delusional." Harvey hoped that didn't sound as defensive as he was suddenly feeling.
"You know what, just because you're miserable and lonely, doesn't mean you have to be a dick to everyone who isn't," Mike said as he quickly scooped up the papers laid out in front of him and walked towards the door of Harvey's office. Before leaving he paused at the door, and turned back to Harvey. "Thanks for nothing," he added before opening and slamming the door shut behind him.
The worst part about that conversation was that Mike had been right. On all three accounts, no less. Harvey was jealous. He was lonely. He did act like a dick. He definitely owed Mike an apology, but he was never any good at those, so instead he tried to pretend that whole conversation had never happened in the first place and instead focus on the never-ending amount of work he had to do.
It worked for awhile, but you can only pretend guilt doesn't exist for so long before it catches up to you. It didn't help that he gave his guilt a running start when he took a quick glance at Mike's cubicle while running some paper's across Pearson Hardman. The kid looked like his last dollar wouldn't by him a lucky break, so when Harvey got back to his office he called and made the reservations at the restaurant Mike had asked for earlier.
He thought he couldn't feel any worse then he did after making that phone call, but that was before realizing that he would have to tell Mike about them.
"Hey," Harvey said softly, as he leaned over top of Mike's cubicle.
"Don't worry, Harvey. I'm working, I'm not writing a love letter to Rachel or anything. So you can leave now."
"I understand you're mad at me. You have every right to be."
"You know, if you're done stating the obvious I really would like to get back to my work. Just leave me alone, Harvey."
"Yeah. Sure. If that's what you want. I just wanted to let you know that I made you those reservations for you. They're under your name."
Harvey waited to see if Mike was going to say anything, but he didn't, not a thank you (not that he thought he deserved one) or any kind of acknowledgement that he'd even heard what Harvey just said to him, even though Harvey knew he had heard him.
Mike just kept his head down, marking the paper in front of him with a highlighter as if Harvey had already left. Harvey got the message and made himself as gone as Mike had already made him.
Harvey tries to drown whatever it was he was feeling for Mike in a bottle of whiskey when he gets back to his condo that night, turns out what he's feeling for Mike is stronger than any proof alcohol. Instead of being able to drink away that feeling, he's left with a nagging headache that is a constant reminder of the exact thing he had tried to forget in the first place.
The headache doesn't get any better when he gets to the office and sees Mike sitting in his office already. He rubs at his temples, sucks a breath in and enters.
"Who let you in?"
"Good morning to you too," Mike replies.
"I didn't really think we were exactly on a good morning basis after yesterday," Harvey says, unbuttoning his jacket and taking a seat behind his desk.
"About that..I just wanted to apologize for yesterday and thank you for the reservations."
"It's fine, Mike."
"Rachel loved it."
"Like I said, Mike. It's fine. You can spare me the details."
"Right. Sorry. As a thank you for doing that for me though, I finished these briefs for you," Mike says as he tosses a stack of papers on Harvey's desk with a thud.
Harvey picks them up and rifles through them. "When did you find the time to do these?"
"When I got home. And this morning. I didn't really get much sleep last night. Couldn't shut my mind off."
"Too busy thinking about your little girlfriend?"
"Her name's Rachel, Harvey. And actually..I was thinking about you. I just felt bad about what happened yesterday, I guess.."
"Oh," Harvey says. He doesn't know what else to follow that up with so he chooses to let that be the end and just pretends to be busy looking at something on his computer and hopes Mike speaks before awkward silence overtakes the room. Luckily, he doesn't have to wait long.
"Well..I guess I'll go back to my cubicle and get to work. If you need me for anything, I'll be there."
"All right," Harvey says as he watches Mike walk out of his office and down the hallway. It always feels like Mike is walking away from him these days.
Harvey hopes that after that conversation things will go back to something that resembles normalcy, and maybe he could even fool himself into believing that it was normal. The way things used to be. Except there was nothing normal about the way his stomach twisted or the way his heart would ache inside his chest just from hearing somebody else's name coming from Mike's lips. That wasn't normal.
He wants to tell Mike to just shut the fuck up most days. After all, how many times does he have to tell the damn kid that he does not want to hear about his personal life? Instead he resides to clenching his jaw and swallowing back down the words he knows he can't say to him because he knows those exact words could ruin everything, ruin everything they are, and everything they're not.
Harvey doesn't know how long he can do this for.
Two more weeks is the answer to that.
The day starts off on a bad note, and then it snowballs from there, and nothing is going right and the day gets off track and ends up all but derailed by the end of it . It's headache after headache and one of the rare times Harvey thinks about just going home early and trying to salvage the day from his home office.
He rubs at his temples and tries to alleviate the migraine that's been nagging him all day long so he can focus on getting the last bit of paperwork he needs done for the day. It doesn't help much, all the lines blur and everything's almost unreadable at this point.
It's Friday and most of the associates have already filed out of the building, not Mike though, never Mike. He's standing by Harvey's office door, waiting for an invite in.
"Not now, Mike."
"Trust me, you're going to want to see this," he says as he approaches Harvey's desk.
"Just leave it there, I'll look over it later."
"Harvey, I spent the last three hours going over this with a fine-toothed comb. I even got Rachel to help out, the least you could do is have the decency look at it."
That comment is enough to get Harvey up out of his chair and position himself directly in front of Mike.
"Jesus Christ, Mike. Decency? You want to come into my office and talk about me having decency? Why don't youtry having some god damn decency for once and quit doing the one thing I asked you not to do."
Mike's caught off guard by how laden with anger Harvey's voice is.
"Harvey…I don't understand what I did wrong."
"It's not what you did, Mike. It's what you're doing. Rachel this, Rachel that, you think I want to hear about how she knows how to say all the right things to you, or how she can make you laugh, or how teaches you about new foods you never tried. I don't."
"I don't understand why it's such a big deal."
"You know what..just forget it. Go home," Harvey says, turning away from Mike to walk back to his desk.
Harvey is stopped in his tracks when he feels a hard grip on his arm spinning him back around. "No. You don't get to walk away from me on this. Answer my question, Harvey. Why does it upset you so much that I talk about Rachel?"
"Let go of my arm, Mike. Now."
"Not until you answer my question."
They're standing only mere inches from each other, their breathing is heavy and their chests are rising and falling almost in synch with each other. Harvey's eyes are fixated on Mike's for what seems like forever, and then he shifts his eyes down to Mike's mouth and without thinking he moves his head forward and captures Mike's mouth with his own. Mike moves a half of a step backwards, just enough that it indicates he was caught off guard by it.
Harvey's kiss is rough at first, needy, like he's desperate for Mike and can't get enough of him fast enough. It eventually eases into something more gentle, passionate, and Mike feels himself getting completely lost in the moment.
When they break apart, they both spend the first minute in silence, trying to catch their breath. Wondering if the other can hear the way their heart is pounding in their chest.
"I…need to go," Mike all but whispers as he finally releases his grip from Harvey's arm, and disappears from Harvey's office.
Harvey's made a living out of knowing exactly how to use his words to get exactly what he wants. And yet, when it comes to Mike his words are like lead, heavy on his tongue and making sure he can't ever just say what he wants to say to him.
Mike..I love you.
It sounds so simple, perfect and so damn easy when he says it in his head. But in his head he doesn't have to worry about Mike telling him he doesn't feel the same way, even though Harvey believes with everything he is that Mike does feel the same way. The kiss had acted as a final confirmation of everything he'd felt up until this point.
He's not sure what the right move is now, so he decides he'd go home and sleep on it. Before the sleep part comes the part where he sits on the couch and downs a few beers just in a futile attempt to take off the edge happens.
It doesn't take off the edge like he'd hope, but it does a good enough job dulling it that he feels like the thoughts aren't suffocating him and he has some room to breathe again.
And then there's a knock at the door, and even though he knows it's late he checks his wristwatch before getting up off of the couch to answer it.
He doesn't even have time to say anything before Mike is literally shoving his way past him and into his condo.
"Why would you do this to me?"
"Mike," Harvey offers, as if it's some sort of explanation for everything that's happened.
"You knew I was with Rachel. You fucking knew, Harvey. And you kissed me anyway. How am I supposed to feel about that? Or did how I would feel not even cross your mind?"
"I didn't really think about it," Harvey admits.
"Of course not. Because you're fucking selfish. You only ever think about yourself."
"That's not it."
"Then what is it? Why can't you quit skirting around the question and just be honest with me for once?"
"You want to know why I kissed you? You want honesty? I kissed you because I was desperate."
Mike scoffs like Harvey Specter suggesting that he of all people was desperate is the most ridiculous thing he's ever heard in his entire life.
"I'm serious. I feel like all I've been doing is watching you slip away from me ever since you started dating her. It kills me to hear you talking about her the way you do. So maybe it's not fair that I kissed you, but it's not fair that she gets to be with you just because she says everything I meant to."
"That sounds a lot like caring, and I thought you didn't care about me. I mean, how many times have you told that to me right to my face?"
"And you've always seen straight through my bullshit, so don't pull that shit on me now."
"I just…it's..." Mike stops, allowing himself a moment to regain his composure enough to continue, "she told me she loves me."
Harvey steps forward and places a hand on Mike's chest, allowing himself the assurance of actually feeling the way Mike's heart is beating hard against the fabric of his shirt.
"Icould have told you that," Harvey breathes against Mike's mouth.
"But you didn't," Mike whispers back before starting to pull away from Harvey and walk towards the door.
Harvey reaches out and grabs his arm, stopping him in his tracks. "Listen, you can walk out that door Mike, but you can't walk away from me. You can't walk away from us. I know it, and I know you know it."
Those words are nothing but cement to Mike, he immediately feels the weight of them anchoring him to the floor and he feels like it's taking everything he has just to put one foot in front of the other and walk out that door.
Even though he manages to walk out, back in his own apartment it feels like the words have followed him home. He feels overwhelmed, like he's trying to breathe under water and that feeling is showing no signs of relenting anytime soon.
Harvey just told him that he loved him. Loved. Mike thought he'd never hear that from Harvey, because Harvey just didn't say things like that. Harvey couldn't even bring himself to admit he cared. Of course, Mike knew he cared though because Harvey's actions always said everything his words didn't.
Except sometimes the actions aren't enough and Mike just needsto hear things. Harvey never gave Mike that, and despite everything that Mike felt towards Harvey, a future with him seemed like nothing but a dream. The kind of dream you wake up from unexpectedly and try to will yourself back to sleep so it'll continue because everything in that dream is better than anything reality could ever offer to you.
Harvey was Mike's dream that he couldn't fall back asleep to.
So Mike moved on.
Rachel was pretty, smart, strong, and had a great personality. They had chemistry together, and maybe it wasn't the same as it was with Harvey, because it never is, but it was good. Mike could use the good.
And things had been good between him and Rachel. That is, until she had thrown those three words at him.
They had finished a nice dinner and had decided to take the scenic route back to where they had parked the car. It was a beautiful summer's night, the temperature paused right at the place where it's not too hot, but not too cold. The moon was bright and looked like that it could light the city on it's own merits.
They stopped at a bench in the park to take a break, while Rachel looked exquisite in the heels she was wearing, apparently they took a toll on her feet.
They had been seated a few moment's before she leaned over and used the lapels of Mike's suit jacket to pull him into a kiss. Mike kissed her back, sucking ever so gently at the bottom of her lip before she pulled away from him just enough to create room to talk.
"I love you," she says.
Mike completely freezes up upon hearing those words fall from her lips.
Mike knows she's waiting for him to say something back and all he can think of is 'thank you' and he knows it's a bad idea to say that but in the absence of good ideas he goes forward with it anyway.
"Uh…thank you for saying that about me."
"Not really the response I was looking for."
"I know, but I just-"
"Just please do not finish that sentence. I know what you're going to say, and I think your 'thanks' was enough to get the message."
"Rachel, I'm really sorry."
"I want you to take me home."
"You know you're being unfair to me."
"Really? I'm being unfair to you? How is that?"
"Well you're mad at me because I'm not..you know, ready to say that to you."
"Maybe you can just stop talking because you're making it worse."
"Sorry. I'll take you home," Mike says, getting up from the bench and extended a hand to help Rachel off, she brushes past his hand and walks ahead of him back to the car.
Mike isn't sure how many times he apologies to her after that incident, and Rachel loses count of how many times she assures Mike that it's okay and that she's willing to wait until he's ready to say it.
After that things between them go back to what normal would feel like if it weren't for the three word cloud looming over their heads. Mike feels a constant pressure to say it to her, and Rachel feels like she's holding her breath waiting for him to say it, and it starts to put an unspoken strain on their relationship.
Dates become less frequent and they find reasons to avoid seeing each other in the office the way they used to.
Mike had tried to bring it up to Harvey once but Harvey had dismissed him immediately, not wanting to hear anything having to do with Rachel, so Mike kept it to himself and was stuck dealing with it on his own from there on out.
Mike doesn't hear from Harvey the entire weekend, and when he goes back to work he fully expects there to be some sort of lingering awkwardness between the two based on how their last conversation had ended, it isn't there though. Not even a trace of it.
Harvey greets him the very same way he always has, and when a Fight Club quote is thrown out within the first hour of them being back at the office Mike feels himself push out a breath he didn't even know he had been holding in until then.
The day moved on like all other days had before, and if it weren't for Mike feeling like he were drowning in his own thoughts things would almost feel like they had before everything had happened.
Mike and Rachel continue to date for a few weeks after that until Rachel gets the feeling that Mike is hiding something from her and confronts him about it.
Mike denies it at first, the same way he'd been denying it to himself until he finally can't bring himself to do it anymore and confesses to the fact that he and Harvey had kissed.
Rachel immediately dumps him, calls him a liar, cheater, all the words he'd called himself since it had happened and all the words he knew he deserved to hear from her.
She deserves a lot better than some guy who can't give her half the attention and affection she deserves because he's too busy falling upside down head over heels in love with his boss.
Even though it was probably inevitable from the get go, and definitely inevitable after the kiss, Mike can't help feel down and out after the break-up. He doesn't have anybody to talk to about it, and he doesn't want to tell Harvey about it because Harvey hasn't bothered to say one word to him about anything other than work since that night in his condo.
Of course, Harvey doesn't really need to say anything because his words have never stopped running through his brain.
Listen, you can walk out that door Mike, but you can't walk away from me.
It's always so clear, like Harvey is whispering the words up against his ear, and Mike can feel a chill run through his body every time he thinks about it.
It's almost two weeks later, Harvey and Mike are mulling over an all hands on deck case after hours when Harvey finally brings it up.
"When were you going to tell me?"
Mike wrinkles his forehead in confusion and looks up at Harvey. "Trust me, Harvey, when I find the smoking gun you'll be the first to know."
"I'm not talking about that."
"Then what are you talking about?"
"You and Rachel. I heard."
Mike just shoots him an exasperated look, because it was only a matter of time, he just hoped that when it was time for this conversation it wouldn't be when he was running on nothing but the sediment of the bottom of a coffee pot and fumes.
"We just decided that we're better off as friends."
"She dumped you," Harvey says knowingly.
"Does it matter?"
"Matters to me. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you don't want to hear about Rachel or my problems. Or do you not remember the million times you told me that exact same thing?"
"And do you not remember the million times you didn't listen to me for telling you that exact same thing? Besides, this is a little different don't you think?"
Mike sighs. "I know," he admits. "I just didn't know if I was ready for this. For you."
Harvey reaches his hand over and rests it on Mike's thigh, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "I'm willing to wait until you're completely ready. I don't want you to rush into anything you're not ready for."
Maybe it's the caffeine of the day suddenly kicking in, maybe it's the lack of sleep, or maybe it's just Harvey, the way it's always Harvey, but Mike can't stop himself from reaching a hand over, grabbing Harvey's suit jacket, and using it to reel Harvey into a kiss.
Mike uses his kiss to articulate everything he wants to say to Harvey, and he knows Harvey gets it when he kisses him back, using the force of all the words he'd always meant to say.
When Mike wakes up in the morning, it's unfamiliarity that welcomes him. The unfamiliar feel of the Egyptian cotton sheets underneath him. The unfamiliar feel of sun welcoming him to morning through the absurdly large windows that surround the room. His apartment definitely doesn't get light like this.
He looks to his left he sees the empty spot where Harvey had been, and he remembers the way Harvey's body was pressed tight up against his, and the way his arms wrapped around him even tighter. The memory instantly brings a smile to his face.
He drags himself from the bed and pads his way across the cold hardwood floor, down the hallway and out in the kitchen where he's greeted with the view of Harvey standing at the stove in the kitchen.
He has on a t-shirt, it's wrinkled and well-worn , and his hair is tousled with sleep. Mike realizes that there's probably only been a handful of people to see Harvey like this, so he stands back and keeps quiet, just allowing himself a moment to drink in every little detail of the view that he can store away in his memory.
The moment is interrupted when Harvey catches a glimpse of Mike out of his peripheral. "Good morning," Harvey says, before turning back to face the stove.
"Morning," Mike says as he fights back a yawn.
"Your timing is perfect by the way. Something I don't think I've eversaid to you," Harvey informs.
"Very funny," Mike says before moving quickly behind Harvey and placing a soft kiss on the nape of Harvey's neck.
Harvey shifts his body and reaches a hand up and places it on the back of Mike's head, holding him in place while he kisses him in a way where Mike knew that it was going to linger long after it was over.
"Now that we've taken care of that order of business; Sit. Eat."
"Yes, sir," Mike says, taking a seat at the table.
Harvey sets a plate of food down in front of Mike, before grabbing his own and joining him at the table.
"I didn't know you could cook."
"Maybe I can't. You haven't tried it yet."
Mike cuts and then shoves of a forkful of waffle into his mouth.
"How are you so good at everything you do?"
Harvey smiles. "I'm afraid I can't let you in on my secret."
"I thought I was your secret?"
"I have many secrets, you just happen to be my favorite one."
"As long it stays that way."
They end up both going into work two hours late that morning, which draws an 'about time' from Donna, to which Harvey just rolls his eyes, before replacing it's quickly replaced with a smile when he turns his back to her. Because she's right, it was about time.
Truth is, Harvey had been waiting all his life for something like this.