Mike lay awake in bed, staring up at the bland ceiling. Moonlight peeped through the gaps in the curtains, highlighting the tacky paintjob from years ago, something Mike knew he should fix.
But no, Mike wasn’t thinking about that. He was thinking about Harvey.
Seven years it had been since Mike walked into that interview room, seven years since his life had been turned upside down. The first time they shook hands Mike had felt something he had never really felt before, but boiled it down to nerves. After all, running from the cops with a briefcase full of weed isn’t exactly a stress-free scenario. But as time went on, Mike began to realise those feelings weren’t just because of the police, it was because of someone else and he was too afraid to admit that.
In the beginning he tried to kid himself. He’d told himself he was just appreciative that Harvey had helped him, and once he busied himself in work those feelings would fade. But they never did, instead with every passing day they grew. After Harvey managed to get Mike out of prison, they had often said that Mike was no longer living a lie but Mike knew better. Sure, he was finally a lawyer now and he didn’t have to lie about that, but he was still lying to Harvey every goddamn day and that was tearing him up inside.
Seven years he had wasted pretending not to love someone who meant the world to him.
Mike knew better than to have hope; all throughout his life people had let him down time and time again. There was no way that Harvey Specter could ever feel the same way about him.
When Harvey’s relationship with Scottie became serious, Mike was gutted. At that point, although they had only known each other for two years, he could’ve sworn that maybe Harvey was beginning to feel something. But in came Scottie, and any chance Mike had came crashing down. So, he dove into his relationship with Rachel. He liked Rachel – they got along well and respected one another. The next three years passed relatively smoothly, as smoothly as it could be working in corporate law. When Harvey broke up with Scottie, Mike felt a small spark of hope reignite, however he pushed it down and focused on his relationship with Rachel. Things were good and he was happy, but he could never quite push his feelings for Harvey down far enough.
After Mike quit at Pearson Specter Litt and eventually got rehired, he and Rachel mutually broke things off. It wasn’t messy - they had been drifting apart romantically for a while and consequently they both felt they had more of a friendship than a relationship. Rachel deserved more than that. Mike was glad it was mutual, he liked Rachel, loved her as a friend, but he never felt how he did when he was around Harvey. And though she never said anything, Mike knew she knew how he felt.
And then prison happened.
The trial was awful, Mike could see that Harvey was hurting, how he blamed himself and desperately wanted to take the fall instead. Mike wanted to comfort Harvey; he hated seeing someone he cared so much about so upset. He wanted to tell him everything would be ok, but shit, not even Mike believed that it would be. But if there was anything worse than Harvey blaming himself, it would be Harvey taking the fall for him and Mike would be damned if he let Harvey throw away his career, his life. Harvey had stood by him on so many occasions, fought for him when Mike couldn’t fight for himself. The desperation he saw on Harvey’s face when he told him he had taken the deal nearly broke him, followed by the anguish he knew they both felt when Mike walked through those prison gates.
Prison was another kind of hell. He got used to the days, to watching his back and making sure he never overstepped, but nights were a different hell. Unable to get to sleep, he would lie awake for hour after hour. The isolation from everyone back at Pearson Specter Litt gave Mike time to think. For all he knew, his sentence could’ve been two years. And every cold and lonely night he spent in there gave him the opportunity to reflect his choices. Getting kicked out of school, taking the LSAT’s for money, agreeing to deliver Trevor’s drugs. But ultimately those choices are what lead him to meeting Harvey, and that is something he would not trade for the world. Maybe if he had gone to law school and graduated he still could’ve met Harvey, who knows. But despite everything that has happened, despite the decisions he made, he would do it all again in a heartbeat. Because all those choices, right and wrong, led him to what has been the best seven years of his life.
Early morning, sleep would finally come. And if he was lucky, so would the dreams. The days when Harvey didn’t visit him were the loneliest, and his dreams became a sort of sanctuary from everything else, sometimes the only time he could see Harvey for days. In his dreams, Harvey was always smiling. Every detail was so clear, so perfect, and the following morning he would promise himself that once he was out, things would be different.
He vowed to tell Harvey the truth.
The next year went by too fast, and Mike knew he was running out of time. People move on, and he was worried that one day he would wake up and find that Harvey had too. He knew he had to tell him; he couldn’t live like this anymore. The last thing Mike wanted was to lose Harvey and doing this could be the very thing that pushes him away. But he must know. And maybe, just maybe, there was a sliver of hope that Harvey felt the same way. The odds were small but he had to try.
So here he was, unable to sleep at quarter past three in the morning, working up the courage to finally admit to Harvey something that he’s wanted to say for many, many years.
“What will be will be” he muttered to himself before rolling over, begging his mind to allow him sleep in the three hours left he had.
Mike crawled into the office early that morning. Or he felt like he did. Stress and anxiety pulsed through his body, and he felt very self-aware. He greeted Harvey as per normal, and they got on with their day, finishing up a case. But Mike struggled to bring the same level of enthusiasm that he normally would and he was sure Harvey picked up on it as he sent Mike multiple questioning glances throughout the day.
The case they had finished working on was about a man who had built his company on a series of mistruths and as he was about to sell, lies which were discovered which consequently led to him getting sued. It had been a tough case and they both felt they had barely scraped the win. The case had struck a nerve with Mike, however. Although he condoned what the guy had done, and he strongly disapproved that the guy had not come forward earlier, he couldn’t help but see the similarities in his own life. First with lying about his law degree, now with being too scared to admit the truth about his feeling towards Harvey. He could vaguely see why this guy did what he did and Mike didn’t want to follow down the same path, again. He couldn’t hide his feelings away forever, sooner or later they would come out and he wanted to tell Harvey on his own terms. He just needed to find the courage to do so.
Watching the guy leave Harvey’s office, the pair stood side by side, their shoulders almost brushing. The closeness was sending a tingling feeling through Mike’s body, and he was sure he could feel a blush creeping into his cheeks, so he kept his head down, firmly focusing on the carpet.
"I guess he was just too afraid of what could come to admit the truth,” Harvey muttered as he moved back to his chair.
“Maybe he was worried that everything would change, for the worse,” Mike countered. Harvey sat down, tilting his head to face Mike.
“I reckon it’s better to take the risk. Say the truth. There’s nothing worse than keeping something like that hidden for so long.” Mike rolled his eyes finally lifted his head up to look Harvey in the eyes.
“Easier said than done,” he grumbled before turning and walking out. He knew Harvey would be confused by his actions, but Mike wasn’t ready to explain himself just yet. Tonight. If Harvey thought that things were better out in the open then best be done sooner rather than later.
Mike plonked himself down in his chair, resting his head between his hands. He needed, wanted more time. More mornings where he could walk into work with the certainty of seeing Harvey, how his smile would send butterflies through his stomach. More nights where they stayed late working on a case, how Harvey scrunched up his forehead reading through files, and how sometimes Mike could see Harvey out of the corner of his eye, looking at him. It was times like these that gave Mike hope, the possibility that these feelings might be reciprocated. That every drink, every smile, every laugh truly meant something.
Going to prison for the man he loved was one thing, but actually telling that person? That’s a hell of a lot harder.
“Hey, wanna go grab a drink?”
Mike spun round in his chair. Just hearing Harvey’s voice sent a wave of anxiety through his gut.
“Nah, you go ahead but I’ll pass”. He looked at Harvey, trying to absorb every little detail of his calm face. Harvey looked at him quizzically.
“Are you ok, Mike? You seemed a bit off this afternoon”.
Mike sighed. This was not the time nor the place.
“Yeah, totally fine. See you tomorrow” he said, forcing out a smile.
Watching Harvey leave the room, his mind begun to finally feel at peace. Even if things didn’t work out, even if Harvey didn’t feel the same way and their whole relationship started to crumble, Mike knew he could still look back on the memories. Although some were tinged with sadness, and others anger, they all brought a strange sense of comfort and he hoped that would never change.
The look on Harvey’s face after he closed their first case. Harvey’s hand on his shoulder, making his shit awful day not so shit. How horrible their first fight was with Harvey sending him to Louis, but the utter relief he felt when Harvey wanted him back. Many, many shared looks which carried on for too long to be purely platonic. The warmth that had spread through his body the first time they hugged, and how the worry that Harvey wouldn’t understand why he was leaving just melted away.
The night before prison when Mike went around to Harvey’s, a part of him had wanted to tell him there and then. That way if things didn’t work out then at least he could run away to prison. But he knew it wasn’t the right time. Instead they fought, and it ended with Mike in tears. The emotional turmoil of the day that he had been trying so hard to bottle up all came tumbling out and Mike had finally broken in front of Harvey. He hadn’t felt ashamed or embarrassed however. He had suspected that Harvey was just as scared as he was about prison.
He remembered the joy on Harvey’s face when he finally got out, a look that made Mike smile from ear to ear. They’d had so many great moments since then, so many times where Mike had thought, what if? Maybe he had more than just a small slither of hope, after all he had always prided himself on his intuition, and a small voice at the back of his head was telling him that those long glances and banter was more than just friendly. He was ready.
Packing up his things, he knew that Harvey would be at home. Harvey was not the kind of person to drink alone in a public place. Mike knew he should probably text, but the number of times he had shown up on Harvey’s doorstep unannounced, and vice versa, they were past that.
Knocking three times, Mike focused on his breathing as he waited for Harvey to reach the door. Any composure he had previously felt left him the moment he stepped into Harvey’s building.
In and out. In and out. In and…
“Mike! Hey, come in. What are you doing here?” A smile spread across Harvey’s face, but there was a flicker of confusion in his eyes. As far as Harvey knew, they didn’t really have anything to discuss; there were no cases, and nothing notably eventful had happened in their lives.
He followed Harvey into the dimly lit apartment, ignoring Harvey’s previous question. Not intentionally, but he was worried what noise might come out if he started speaking.
“Mike, what is going on? You look really worried,” Harvey asked quizzically. Mike took a deep breath in. Now or never.
“There’s something I need to tell you Harvey. Something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time, but I’m worried it might ruin what we have.”
“Mike,” Harvey started, in the same tone he always uses when trying to reassure him of something.
“Whatever it is, I promise you it won’t ruin anything”
“You don’t know that Harvey.” Harvey was silent, waiting for Mike to continue.
“You mean a lot to me Harvey, and…and the thing is, well, we have this great thing going on. We’re good friends, we work so well as a team, and you know I would do anything to protect you.” He paused, trying to work out how to phrase the next bit when Harvey spoke.
“Mike, I feel the same. You know that.”
“That’s not what I mean Harvey”
Harvey stared at Mike, his eyes full of concern now. Mike knew what he wanted to say. He planned it out, word for word in order to minimise the chances of any disastrous consequences, but he couldn’t remember. Ironic for someone with his memory.
“I..I um..” he coughed, trying to push back down the quiver in his voice that was threatening to give him away. You can do this, he thought to himself. Lifting his head up and staring Harvey straight in the eyes he said it. Not his grand speech, but just three words.
“I love you”
Mike ducked his eyes and stared determinedly at the legs on Harvey’s couch. He couldn’t bring himself to look up and see whatever expression was on Harvey’s face, if it was relief or shock. Despite the tenseness of the situation and the incredibly long silence that followed, he felt his body relaxing. After all these years of pushing aside feelings, he had finally said it. Harvey knew, and the ball was in his court.
“Mike listen to me,” Harvey finally said, breaking the silence. “You’re not going to lose me, and as cheesy as this sounds, I can’t imagine my life without you.” Mike took a deep breath in. Was Harvey saying what he thought he was saying?
“Ever since I hired you, you’ve been beside me the whole goddamn time. Every step of the way, I’ve always known that you had my back.
I’ve met many people in my life, but none of them have been quite as remarkable as you. You made every loss a bit more manageable, every win more enjoyable. And throughout all of it, there’s no one else I would’ve wanted by my side.
When you were in prison, I thought about you every night. I couldn’t stand the idea that you were in there, suffering and alone, for things that both of us did. If it wasn’t for Cahill, I would’ve hired a tank and knocked those walls down to get you out myself.
The relationship that I have with you is real, and that’s something I have not experienced in a very long time. I said that whatever you were going to tell me wouldn’t ruin anything. And I meant it. Because I goddamn love you too.”
Mike looked up at Harvey to see that there were tears in his eyes. Harvey looked at him with so much uncertainty, he had never seen the man look so vulnerable.
“That was a really good speech Harvey.” Mike internally kicked himself, he didn’t know why he said that, but truth be told he was at a loss for words. Harvey felt the same way. The realisation was slowly setting in and Mike was shocked. Seven years of waiting, and those feelings weren’t just one sided.
“Thanks, I’d been practicing it a lot’” Harvey replied, snapping Mike out of his thoughts.
And with that Harvey stepped forward. He took Mike’s face in his hands and kissed him, without any hesitation. His kiss was gentle, almost as if he was waiting to see if Mike was ok with this. This was new for Mike and he sure as hell did not want to screw it up. But Harvey had been right, like always - telling him how he felt, finally taking that risk had paid off in the end. Everything had led to this moment, and it was so worth it.
Harvey pulled back, his face only inches away and gazed directly into Mikes eyes, waiting.
Mike wasn’t sure what the future held. His life had been full of ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, and truth be told the thought of what was still to come scared him a little. Yet after so many years of searching Mike finally felt as if he had found a home. No, not New York; home wasn’t a place for him, it was a person. And he was certain about one thing. No matter what challenges or victories lay ahead, there was no one else he wanted to experience it with but the man standing opposite him, the man he had fallen completely and utterly in love with.
Mike leaned in and kissed him back.