They've had this conversation before, about squeezing your way around the truth, making people think things without expressly saying them. Because saying them would be lying, and lying is bad. Mike is aware that he's been doing a lot of squeezing the last few days, some of it when he was supposed to be doing other things. Harvey-related things. Which explains the look he's getting at the moment.
"Because you didn't give it to me in writing and -"
Harvey cuts him off with a look, Mike has no idea how he does that. How he manages to get across 'stop talking' without saying a word.
"Take off your shirt."
Mike stares at him blankly, because he's only halfway through the apology. He hasn't even worked up to the bit about how sorry he is yet. Being derailed halfway through an apology is never a good sign to start with and - what? He tries to work out some way in which that request could possibly be relevant.
"Am I going to be flogged?"
"Don't tempt me," Harvey says flatly, and Mike thinks it's probably best not to make any more jokes.
He stares for a beat, then tugs his tie to one side, until it slithers free, and then starts working on the buttons of his shirt, still not entirely sure how nudity can possibly help the situation. Harvey beckons him over with a wave of his hand. Mike eyeballs him - but Harvey seems to be immune, and so much better at it than he is. He ends up shuffling across the carpet, shirt held out. He's going for cautious obedience, though he's pretty sure the expression he's wearing hits nervous wariness and stays there.
There's a hand on his waist, pulling him towards the edge of the desk. His hip bangs into the wood, in a way that overrides his complaints, for a long painful handful of seconds. The hand is gone, leaving a strange echo of fingers behind. Harvey reaches over and snatches a pen from the neat row along his desk.
"What are you doing?" Mike can't help but ask.
"I'm giving it to you in writing." The lid of the pen clatters across the desk, there's a shoe suddenly hooked behind his ankle, and Mike knows it's going to be painful for him if he attempts to step back.
"That's - ah, cold, and is that really necessary." It's a marker, Mike can tell by the slithery wet texture of it. He hopes to God it isn't permanent.
"Oh, I think you were right, it is very necessary. For someone with an astonishing memory, it's amazing how many things you've forgotten lately. I think what we have is a failure to communicate, communication is important." Harvey is writing on him, actually writing on him, and not slowly. Mike's strident protest that he's not a day planner is marred somewhat by the way his voice drops to something soft and scratchy every time ink flows its way across his skin. Which Harvey is ignoring, with the sort of focused indifference that's just making everything worse. Mike can't help but assume that's part of his punishment too. Everyone is going to ignore his inappropriate arousal, and the quasi-sexual nature of the whole situation, everyone but him. He's pretty sure Harvey's handwriting doesn't normally have so many artistic flourishes. So many artistic flourishes, in so many sensitive places.
"You're enjoying this," he chokes out, and isn't even sure what he's implying. "This is completely insane."
Harvey tilts him, with not the slightest care as to whether he wants to be tilted or not. One brief press of fingers against his waist that pulls a strangled noise of complaint out of him.
"I can change my mind about the flogging, just so you know."
"Jessica wouldn't let you flog me."
Harvey's mouth is doing something at the corner, something devious.
"She wouldn't," Mike insists, though it's somehow less certain, more of a question. Which is ludicrous because people do not get strung up to the light fixtures in expensive offices and stripped with a belt because -
Fuck, what the hell was he talking about again?
"This is assault, you know."
"Do not make me add addendums," Harvey says, from somewhere in the vicinity of his fifth rib. The side of his hand sliding back with every letter, and Mike honestly isn't sure if he's being tickled or fighting some sort of involuntary sexual response. Which is confusing, because Harvey is - Harvey, and it's already too easy for him to tell Mike to do things. He shouldn't encourage...things like this. And Harvey's hair really is immaculate from this angle. Mike suspects nanotechnology.
"How am I even supposed to read this?" He's trying to look down at himself, but Harvey prods him and complains that he's 'scrunching.'
"You're clever, I'm sure you'll figure something out." There's a quick, wet scribble of pen, across the curve of his stomach, which clenches disobediently.
"Are you going to write it all down?" Mike asks, because he only has so much skin, and he's worried - he's worried that he's going to end up sprawled naked over a desk come morning, covered in notations and highlights. Which is a really disturbing mental image for reasons he's not quite sure about.
"I want to make sure you'll remember everything." Harvey's stressing the words like Mike has some sort of learning difficulty. "There's a notation here -" there's a quick, unpleasant prod with a finger. "Concerning what I will do to you the next time you pull this shit."
"I'll remember," Mike promises.
"Hmm." Harvey doesn't sound convinced.
"I'll remember, I swear."
Harvey is still writing, and he's not gentle with his punctuation. Mike finds himself bracing for every comma, a flickering slash of movement that goes straight to his central nervous system. This day has been a strange and disturbing trip through his subconscious, that he possibly needs to go and have a serious think about. Drinking might be involved. Drinking will be involved.
He takes a slow shuddering breath when Harvey replaces the cap on the pen, leans back in his chair. His skin is still prickling like it doesn't know what's going on and everything smells like ink - and possibly wounded pride, whatever that smells like.
"Consider yourself notified in writing of my displeasure."
Mike frowns at the scattering of words and numbers that litter his torso. "This is going to come off, isn't it?"
Harvey shakes his head. "I don't care."
Great, this just gets worse and worse.
"Can I have my shirt back?" He holds a hand out.
Harvey smiles in a way that Mike knows immediately isn't going to make him happy.
"No, no you cannot."