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Harvey walked by Mike's desk and, without looking at him, said, "Come," in a pretty bang-up impression of Jean-Luc Picard. Mike snort-laughed, yanked out his headphones and hurried after him. He nodded at Louis walking towards them at the end of the hall.

"Captain, there's a Romulan warbird converging on our location at warp eight. What are your commands?"

"Full power to the—" Harvey shook his head. "I don't like this new dynamic, cut it out."

"You started it."

"Then don't just mime my lead. Consider being better."

"You don't think I can be better than you."

"No, I don't." He slapped a file against Mike's chest. "Got a workplace discrimination case for you. It's a longtime client of ours so I'll make the intros, but it's all yours."

"Ooh, exciting." He flipped open the folder and started rifling through it as they walked. "Oh, what? We represent the employer?"

"Cassandra Sacchi, Chief People Officer at Everafter Fine Goods and Apparel."

"The people who make those flowery dresses?"

"Well, look at you go."

"Believe it or not, I have spoken to women before."

"Could've fooled me. The plaintiff, Jacob Gilbert, was turned down for a promotion he claims to have been the only qualified candidate for, and a woman named Tonya Flores was given the role instead. He's suing and claiming he was denied the promotion because he's a man, citing the company's 'discriminatory' rah-rah girl power culture."

"You don't hear that every day."

"I thought you'd like it. Cassandra claims that Mr. Gilbert was unqualified for the role and that's why he wasn't chosen, and it has nothing to do with his obviously fragile masculinity."

"Fantastic. So we just prove that the guy sucks and the lady rules and we're done."

"Basically. We're going to meet her tomorrow, dress nice. She likes fashion."

"Any advice?"

"The blue suit's your least shitty one. Brings out your eyes. Did you go through the financials for that son of a bitch McLellan case yet?"

"Not yet, Louis gave me—"

"3 PM. On my desk. Seriously. Don't fuck this up."

 

 

Mike got buried in digging for files for Louis, elbow-deep in boxes in the file room, and forgot about the McLellan financials Harvey asked for until quarter after five. When he came around the edge of Harvey's office he was already half out of his chair and visibly incensed.

"Sorry I'm—"

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Harvey barked. "Where were you?"

"In the—"

"I said 3 PM, what part of that didn't you understand? I was calling, is your phone off?"

"I—" Mike pulled his phone from his pocket and clicked at it; it was dead. "It's dead. Listen, you didn't make it sound like it—"

"I didn't say 'get them to me by three' for fun, we needed time to submit those for tomorrow and now we're fucked." He snatched the files out of Mike's hands. "I don't ask you to do things for the hell of it, I ask you because they need to get done. I don't care if they're not cool."

Against his better judgement, Mike got up in his face. "I was busy, okay? I didn't blow it off 'cause it's boring, I just—"

"You don't get to just anything, you do what I tell you."

"I'm not allowed make mistakes?"

"I don't. So, no."

Harvey glared at him from only a couple feet away, his eyes dark, jaw set, daring him to flinch in that way that said he'd kill him if he did, and then—something new happened.

His eyes flickered from Mike's for a fraction of a second, down to his mouth, and back up.

It should have been nothing but it was everything because Mike saw it and started connecting a thousand little nodes in his mind until he had an inkling of something so incredible, so profoundly hilarious, that he could hardly speak.

"No…" he whispered in awe, a wide grin spreading over his face. The second he saw Harvey realize what he'd done, what Mike had seen, was the most delicious moment of Mike's life. "No!"

Harvey whirled around and busied himself at his desk.

"Get out of my office."

Mike started to laugh. "You're kidding me!"

"Go."

"You! Of all people!"

"Now, Mike."

He hurried out of his office and down the hall, barely keeping a straight face in light of his new and exciting revelation.

 

 

Mike thought extremely hard about who he could tell that Harvey, clearly, had a crush on him.

He wanted to tell Rachel more than anything in the world because she knew Harvey and would get a massive kick out of it. But, he didn't actually want to tell anyone at the office in a way that would affect Harvey, and The Thing with Rachel was still fresh enough that he didn't think he should wag any other suitors in her face, even if it was Harvey.

He also wasn't sure if he was right, anyways. He was very, very close to sure, but he hadn't heard him say it. And he shouldn't gloat until he was sure.

 

 

Mike woke up early the next morning, donned the blue suit that brought out his eyes, and decided on his way to the office that the best person to gloat to about Harvey having a crush on him was Harvey himself. He waited in his office and splayed on a couch with a cup of coffee and the Everafter files for their meeting with Cassandra later.

When he saw Harvey through the glass, he slid down to prop himself up on one elbow and struck a pose of faux-sultriness.

"Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Specter?"

Harvey didn't even look at him as he went to his desk and began setting up his laptop.

"He actually says, 'Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?' It's been misquoted over the years."

"That's fine, it doesn't fit the situation anyways. Because I already know you're trying to seduce me."

"Do you need something? I know for a fact Louis gave you three cases yesterday on top of the one you didn't do for me."

"I need you to tell me I'm right."

"About what?"

"About… you."

Harvey turned slowly to face him, his expression stony. There was a long silence, and then he turned away and sat at his desk. He flipped open his laptop with a kind of angry panache.

"You can't even say it, you child."

Mike hauled himself off the couch and sauntered over, immensely pleased with himself.

"Do you, uh, bat for the other team, slugger?"

"Mature. Thank you." Harvey looked back down at his computer. "If it were anyone else I'd lie, but you'll dig up dinner reservations and security camera footage, grill my doorman, call my college roommates, and make my life hell until you find what you want." Tak tak tak. He typed idly. Petulantly. Mike stared and waited. "So, yeah. Occasionally. It's the twenty-first century and we're never talking about this again."

Mike let go of the breath he'd been holding in a loud bark of a laugh.

"This is incredible news."

"It's irrelevant news. Go do your job."

"What about yesterday?"

“How many times do you want to be kicked out of my office in a week?”

"Do you bat for… me? Specifically? Do you want me to, uh, pitch a—I'm losing this metaphor, help me out."

"Mike."

"This is beyond flattering." Mike risked life and limb by tapping his fingers impishly on his desk as he made his way out of his office. "Bold of you to think I won't bring it up again."

He heard the very distinct sound of Harvey picking up a heavy paperweight as he stepped through the door and shut it behind him. He didn't think about much else all day.

 

 

Ray's car was a melange of rich people's perfume on a cloud of leather. Harvey didn't say much as they got in and took off towards Cassandra Saachi's Tribeca loft, but Mike kept sneaking looks at him, trying to judge his mood. Quiet usually meant mad, but not always, and mad didn't always mean mad at him.

He'd been thinking about him all day and it was starting to grate on him. Not the usual thoughts about wanting to impress him or kill him, but new, upsetting thoughts. He was so curious it physically pained him.

He said, "So you're not trying to seduce me, then."

Harvey grimaced at him. "If I wanted to seduce you, trust me, you'd be seduced."

"If you meant that, you would've said so this morning. You'd call me vain and ugly and rub my nose in it, but you didn't."

"Maybe I was being nice."

"Don't insult me. Maybe you were intentionally not lying."

Harvey sighed. "What are you getting out of this, Mike?"

A valid question. Mike turned it over in his head as he watched lamp posts whiz by out the window behind Harvey's shoulder.

"Why don't you tell anyone you like guys?"

"I also like shiny shoes and fast cars, and I don't tell people that all the time, either."

"You tell people both those things at literally every opportunity." Mike made a face that he hoped conveyed gentle trust. "Seriously, man. Why hide it?"

"You really don't get it, do you?"

"Get what?"

"It's a weakness. I have a dumb little secret that many people, for millennia, have found morally reprehensible. You're gonna learn quick that every single facet of your life is something another lawyer could use against you when it matters."

"So… what, is the lesson here not to have facets?"

"It's to keep quiet about your facets. Nothing is anyone's business."

"You realize that the reverse is also true, right? You're making a case for having no secrets, because if you don't have secrets, no one can use anything against you."

Harvey shook his head and smiled. "Oh, Mike. So naive."

They hit traffic. The quiet inside the car was stifling and Mike was filled with doom, temporarily distracted from his new obsession with Harvey's sexuality to dwell unhelpfully on what parts of his life someone could use to ruin him. There were so many. The weed, taking tests for money, Trevor, the thing with Jenny and Rachel, to not even touch the Harvard thing. His life was a Jenga tower of bad decisions and nudging any one thing would send all of it toppling over. At the very best, someone could make him out to be an asshole, which he was coming to terms with being mostly true anyways.

Harvey said, apropos of nothing, or maybe everything, "You look like a lot of mistakes I made in college."

Mike whipped around to look at him; he was staring out his window, turned away. "Wh—"

"Don't get a big head. I'd also fuck Carol in Mergers and Acquisitions, Samantha at the front desk, half of all associates, that one stacked security guard with the big hair, etcetera. It doesn't mean I will."

ALSO fuck, he said. Mike's world tipped on its axis. "You're joking."

"Hey, you asked."

"And you're telling me why?"

"Because you've been fishing for compliments all day and it's pissing me off." Harvey shrugged. "And also to keep you on your toes."

"How is knowing that you like me going to keep me on my toes?"

"Oh my God, this isn't high school, I said fuck, not like."

"That's even worse!"

"It'll keep you on your toes because it muddles my motives. You'll question all your decisions because you'll worry you're leading me on. Or not leading me on enough." Harvey smiled at him, blatantly mocking. "It's another layer."

"What is it with you and secrets?" Mike hissed. "Is this how you get off? Layering secrets that would get me fired 'til our lives are so disgustingly dark and intertwined that I couldn't leave if I tried?"

"Do I strike you as a get out while I'm ahead kind of guy?" He paused. "Why would this get you fired?"

"If we—"

"Stop." He leaned his head against the window to get a better look down the street. "Don't go there. That's not why I told you." He slid his briefcase over his lap and slapped a hand on it. "Look alive, we're there."

 

 

"Is this off the record?" Cassandra asked, leaning over to ash her cigarette into a crystal ashtray on the coffee table. 

Harvey laughed. "Depends on what you're gonna say."

Mike couldn't stop looking around her loft; it was massive, open, all wood and colour and light. They sat on emerald green sofas under glowing bulbs suspended from the high ceiling and a bright, patterned carpet danced under their feet.

Cassandra sighed. "Jacob is… a very stupid man. Obviously, I didn't hire him."

She was an incredibly small woman in her mid forties. Her chin-length hair was cut sharp under her chin and she wore a big woolen sweater tucked into cuffed slacks. She had a gold bangle around her wrist that looked like it cost more than Mike made in a year.

"Stupid how?" Mike asked. Harvey shot him a look, but Cassandra laughed politely.

"I shouldn't have said that. He's, uh… he didn't make Director for a reason. Steph hired him because she liked his confidence, but that's really all he has. One of those people who think if they speak loudly enough and confidently enough, no one will notice that they're always wrong."

"I think I know a guy like that," Mike said. Under the coffee table, Harvey kicked him.

He listened distantly as the two of them talked about the plaintiff, his history at the company, his work ethic, and so on.

'All yours' my ass, Mike thought. Even on the simplest cases, he can't give up the spotlight.

He watched Harvey talk. He was wearing one of his fourteen identical gray suits, lighter than his stable of identical charcoal suits. His eyes crinkled as he smiled; he clearly liked Cassandra in some real way, or as close as Harvey got to real. He could practically see the two of them drinking Aperol spritzes together on a rooftop bar in Soho.

Harvey wants to have sex with me, Mike thought for the tenth time in the twenty minutes since the car. Or he would, anyways.

He couldn't stop thinking about it. No one looked at anyone else when Harvey was in a room and it was incomprehensible that Harvey was looking at him.

It was… interesting. Unbelievable. Vaguely upsetting. It was another layer of complication in his tangled web and he couldn't figure out if Harvey was being genuine or if he was pulling the weirdest grift of all time. No matter how he looked at it, it didn't make sense. He had so little that Harvey wanted that he wasn't already getting from him (his time, his brain, his blood, sweat, and tears) that it didn't make sense to play sex into it, not when Mike had given no indication whatsoever that he wanted it, or that there was anything for Harvey to get out of pursuing it. And if it was just some cruel mind game, he didn't think Harvey would actually be so mean as to stress him out like that. Either he wanted something, or it was some kind of test of Mike's integrity.

Or Harvey just wanted to have sex with him for no reason other than why people usually wanted to have sex with each other, and then he was back to square one. He entertained that thought less than the others.

 

 

It was dark when they got back to the office and still balmy from the day's heat. He rode the elevator up with Harvey to talk through a few things before he would go back to his desk to work on his other cases. The office was quiet but not empty; he doubted it was ever fully empty with so many people burning the midnight oil, holed up in nooks and crannies scrambling to get things done before daybreak.

He followed Harvey into his office and shut the door behind him.

"I feel like this door is useless," he said, mostly to himself. "It's a glass wall with a glass door. Definitely doesn't keep the sound out. Why even…"

He turned around to find Harvey watching him. Harvey was often watching him, now that he thought about it. He always assumed he was waiting for him to fuck up, or found him interesting in the way that it's interesting to see a dog run into a screen door. Their earlier conversations made him think that maybe it was something else.

"You look mad," Mike said. "Is this about the door?"

"You've been prying into my life all day. It's my turn."

He nodded, bristling, waiting stiffly. Harvey wandered closer, leaned on the edge of the table.

"Are you obsessing over this because you're interested?"

Mike's palms sweat. He shoved them into his pockets.

"Interested in…"

"In me. Don't play dumb." He crossed his arms. "I didn't want to tell you any of this, and if I thought you'd lose your mind over it I wouldn't have told you at all."

Mike shrugged. "I've never thought about it."

"About me, or anyone?"

"Not about any guy."

"You're lying."

"Because you want me to be lying?"

"Because that's always a bullshit line. You're the guy who says he 'can't tell' if another guy's attractive. It's knuckle-dragging posturing."

"Like you're one to talk. Harvey 'Balls on the Window Sill' Specter, with his whiskey and sports and suits. Don't even talk to me about posturing, you're like the poster boy for performative masculinity."

"If you think I like that stuff to appeal to my fellow man or something, you're an idiot. It's not my fault I radiate a genuine, powerful masculinity, and like cool things."

"Oh, shut up."

"You shut up."

"Whatever. I know you want me to be Harvey 2: The Sequel, but you can't force me to…" None of the words he could say next sounded good. "... want you."

It was like an out of body experience. Someone was standing in front of Harvey saying all this, and it looked like him, but he wasn't in there. He'd gotten so used to dealing with the everyday stress of life at Pearson-Hardman that he didn't think he could still get that stressed out, but he was wrong, apparently. Harvey wasn't saying anything. Every second that ticked by was excruciating. He had to leave. Harvey was waiting for him to leave. He had to say something cool, make fun of him, brush it off, anything.

He's waiting! Mike's thoughts bounced off the inside of his empty head. He expects something! Anything! Find something to playfully insult about him! Make a quip! Curl up into a ball and cry! Just MOVE!

Harvey pushed himself off the table and suddenly he was in his space. Mike couldn't back up without conceding defeat and watched in a confusing mix of pure horror and gut-wrenching thrill as Harvey reached out and pulled him in by the front of his shirt.

There was a sharp metallic taste in his mouth that felt a lot like fear. He was so close they breathed the same breath, or would have if he weren't holding his. Harvey's fist twisted in his shirt and brought him infinitesimally closer.

"Tell me to stop."

"Harvey…"

"I'll stop."

His heart thundered in his ears until he couldn't hear anything else. He didn't know what to do with his hands. 

"I don't…" He searched for his next words and everything slipped through his fingers as if he were high. He could say anything and Harvey would listen. It was exhilarating. "… want that."

Then, Mike kissed him. Which, later, he'd be proud of. At the time, his only thought was: Well, this can't be good.

Harvey's lips slid against his and he kissed like he argued, hard and mean and infuriatingly well. He fisted his hand in the knot of Mike's tie and dragged him closer, and Mike… melted. It was humiliating and in retrospect he should have known better—of course Harvey could kiss and God, what was he like in bed? His brain liquified just thinking about it, and suddenly things he'd never wanted before were things he'd die if he didn't get, his stupid little life becoming more complicated every second he stood there and let Harvey touch him with his mouth, kissed him back, slid his hands up his arms and definitely did not wrinkle his suit.

After what felt like two seconds and also a lifetime, Harvey eased back. He stayed in close and Mike kept his eyes shut, dizzy, waiting. When Harvey spoke, his voice was a low, warm rumble that he felt against his lips.

"That's being seduced, Mr. Ross." Harvey put a palm on his chest and shoved him back. He caught a glimpse of his smile before he turned around. "Now leave me alone."

 

 

Mike called Donna when he woke up the next day.

"I'm sick."

"We don't get sick at Pearson-Hardman. Winners don't get sick."

"Please just tell Harvey I'm home sick."

"Tell him yourself!"

"I tried," Mike lied, "he didn't answer."

"Harvey answers his phone in his sleep. Try again."

"I… thought I'd take this opportunity to hear your lovely voice?" he tried. Donna made a noise like a sputtering car.

"Gross. Wrong answer." There was a short pause, the clink of something glass over the line. "What did he do to you?"

"Nothing."

"What did you do to him? Other than not get him the financials for that horrible McLellan case the other day. He hated that."

"I didn't do anything! Donna, I'm really sick."

He made sure the plate of leftover pizza he was setting in the microwave didn't make a sound. He coughed for good measure. When she didn't say anything, he coughed again.

"See? Sick."

"Don't ever call me again, Mike."

 

 

"Rachel, hi."

"Mike! What's up, are you okay?"

"I'm really sick, actually."

"What? That's awful, what are you—"

"Could you tell Harvey that I'm not coming in?"

Mike could physically feel her disappointment through his phone.

"That is so beyond pathetic, Mike."

"Even if I say please?"

"Especially if you say please. What did he do to you?"

"Why does everyone assume he's done something to me?"

"Because he lives to terrorize you. What was it this time?"

He considered telling her. There's no way she'd believe him. He didn't believe him.

"Just the usual. But because you insist, I'll drag myself in. Despite my, you know. Horrible sickness."

"That's probably good," Rachel said. "If he smells weakness on you, he'll cull you from the herd."

"If only."

 

 

He impressed himself with his ability to avoid Harvey nearly all day. Mostly he seemed to be out of the office, and once he saw him down at the end of a hall, so he turned and took the long way around. Was it cowardly? Yes. But it was also the path of least resistance. His plan going forward was to treat it like somewhere between a joke and a punishment. Ha ha, I pried into your personal life, so you kissed me to teach me a lesson. What a classic prank. I'm glad things are 100% back to normal between us and that I'm not still thinking about it. Thank God for that. Imagine how awkward it would be if I were still thinking about it? About how you kissed me on the mouth in your office yesterday? That would be really, really bad. It would be almost impossible for us to work together if I were obsessing over my own sexuality like an awkward teenager, alongside the everyday impending doom of knowing that you have my nuts in a jar on your desk.

It wasn't going well.

It started to go worse at the end of the day when he ran directly into Harvey, who, as soon as he realized who he was, looked incredibly smug.

"Mike Ross," he said, jovially. "It's been a while."

"Hi," Mike said, like an extremely suave person. "I've been, uh—those cases that Louis—"

He could hardly look at him and it was so humiliating. He felt like he was five years old. Harvey was barely containing his laughter.

"Wow, you are handling this very poorly."

"What did you expect?" Mike hissed, looking around furtively. "You think you can just—"

"We don't have time for you to pull my pigtails. Get it together." He handed him a file. "Cassandra's coming in tomorrow to prep for the deposition and I want it ready."

He couldn't tell if Harvey was actually handsome or if he was just so confident that it was like hypnotism. He was handsome because he exuded the thought that he was. They were virtually the same height, maybe Harvey was a little taller, a little bigger. Cheekbones and a hawkish nose. Mike had never seen the pit of his throat or his wrists; maybe he didn't even have a body under the suits.

"Mike."

"Hm?"

"Tomorrow."

His eyes were so dark they were practically black and it was unsettling. And maybe a little cool.

"Tomorrow," he said back.

 

 

Mike was half-watching True Stories and halfway through his second beer that night when his phone buzzed against his hip. It was Harvey. His stomach dropped and he answered it with a grimace.

"What's up?"

"I need you to look at these McLellan files with me. Something's not adding up."

Mike looked at his watch. "It's ten-thirty."

"Aw, you can tell time! Someone's been studying. Be here in twenty minutes."

He groaned and let his head fall back on the couch. "Fine. You're at the office?"

"My place."

Mike froze. There was a long silence.

Harvey added, "I can also meet you at the office," and because he rarely offered to do anything for no reason, Mike realized it was a kind of truce, or a peace offering. Nothing would happen at the office and they both knew it.

But because Mike was a tumbleweed that rolled around collecting bad decisions and opportunities for self-sabotage, and because he had never once in his life let a sleeping dog lie, he said, "Does your building have bike parking?"

 

 

Harvey's apartment was too nice. The valet insisted on taking his bike and he got the unparalleled pleasure of watching the man ride it awkwardly into the parkade. The lobby was too nice, the elevator was too nice, and his hallway was too nice. Walking into the suite was being assaulted by the fact that Harvey had an absolutely cartoonish amount of wealth that Mike couldn't even begin to conceptualize. 

"Alright, Daddy Warbucks," he mumbled to himself as he toed off his shoes and followed Harvey in.

"What?"

"Nothing."

He tried not to think about the insane wealthiness of the higher-ups at the firm because he risked slipping back into bumbling-little-boy mode; he'd been poor for so long and he couldn't just brush aside that kind of money. He looked around and didn't say anything, clinging to whatever scrap of dignity he had left by not going Gee, Harvey, swell place you got here. No sound of traffic or garbage trucks or shouting from the street below. It smelled like Harvey's cologne and pomade and he wondered if anyone had ever spent enough time there to make it smell like anything else. There was an open kitchen and bar lit by bluish light, a big black leather sofa in front of a flatscreen. There was a stereo playing something that sounded like, but was not, Bob Dylan.

"Who's this?"

"Daniel Romano. Modern Pressure."

"It's cool."

Harvey hummed. He took a seat at the kitchen bar in front of a spread of papers and a glass of whiskey. He was wearing a t-shirt, of all things, which was disarming; he did have a body under his suits and Mike wished he never knew about it. Harvey's physical form was not, and never should be, his business.

"Beer in the fridge if you want it," Harvey said, not looking up. Mike nodded in thanks and got one, taking a quick scan of the sparsely-stocked fridge; milk, salad greens, a wedge of cheese, little jars of olives and pickles and sundried tomatoes and pepperoncini. Not the fridge of a guy who was home often. Harvey didn't say anything about the files, so Mike took the opportunity to walk a lazy loop of his living room. The city glittering on the other side of the glass walls was dizzying and he had to force himself to look away. There was a plush rug in front of the couch and a stack of books on the end table that were too unbattered to have been read.

"I would have put down cold, hard cash on you having a Noguchi table."

"Louis already had one and I try to limit the amount of things we have in common."

"Good move."

There was a half-open door at the end of the hall. Harvey's bedroom: forbidden territory. It was dark and he couldn't make anything out through the slice of space between the door and the jamb. He looked away and came face to face with a massive, tacky, black and white print of a sports car. 

"Wow, masculine," Mike leered. "Is that a giant picture of a car? Sick, dude. I wonder if a man lives here. A cool guy really secure in his masculinity. All this chrome and black leather."

A bar stool scraped against the floor. "You're just mad that I made fun of your shitty panda painting."

"And you're mad that I can tell you furnished this place off suggestions from GQ." Mike cocked his head and kept squinting at the print. "What's it like to have so much money and so little taste? Get a real painting here or something. Would it kill you to have some colour? Some organic materials? Like a real human being?"

"Some of us evolve beyond the aesthetics of our high school bedroom."

Harvey was right behind him. Before he could say anything, he felt teeth graze the back of his neck; his cologne, warm breath. Goosebumps. He didn't turn around.

"You don't actually want to go over case files."

"We can if you want." Hands slid up his sides. "But I don't actually need your help, no."

There it is, he thought. The admission. He hadn't been invited over on business. It was obvious in retrospect and he was naive to think otherwise. He felt Harvey's chest warm and solid against his back and his head was spinning.

"I finally have better uses than being your paper pusher?"

"Remains to be seen." Lips grazed against his skin, just above his collar. "You're gonna be begging to do my paperwork when I'm done with you."

Mike laughed hoarsely. "You think?"

"You'll be begging for a lot of things."

He shuddered and started to turn around.

"Does that line ever actually—"

Harvey kissed him. It was even worse than the first time; the heat was unbearable with no one around to catch them and he finally came to terms with the fact that whatever Harvey's motives were, he wasn't just messing with him. It still seemed like it had to be wrong, but the evidence was mounting. And could a person conjure up that kind of passion as a joke? Harvey had a hand at the small of his back, pulling him in, his other hand on his jaw, guiding him, and it was all he could do to keep up. He kissed like the world was ending, with the same crippling intensity and hard-headed stubbornness that he approached everything else. It turned him on in a way he didn't know how to deal with, to be someone's entire universe for a handful of minutes.

"We should talk about this," he said against Harvey's mouth, trying halfheartedly to ease him back. He made a vaguely nuh-uh noise.

"Braver souls than you have tried that." He bit his lower lip and tugged. "C'mon. Have your crisis later."

He wasn't given the privilege of seeing Harvey's bedroom. Harvey pushed him down on the couch, braced over him and kissed him until he was dizzy and breathless. He couldn't think and didn't want to, focusing instead on not drowning, on the hands on him, his weight over him.

"What do you—"

"Don't worry about it," Harvey said into his neck, pulling his belt free.

He slid to the floor and sucked him off. Mike spent most of it with his eyes screwed shut or looking at the ceiling, trying to stay quiet. He was always embarrassed about how his hands shook during sex, something about the adrenaline, he could never make it go away.

"God," he choked. He gingerly put his hand on Harvey's head, then snatched it away. It was Harvey. It wouldn't stop being Harvey. He had his fingers inside him while he blew him, stroking over and over again, and it was achingly, devastatingly good—maybe his best, something he'd never admit for all the money in the world. He came in nothing flat, which he was sure would not escape Harvey's cruel notice.

He searched through everything he'd ever read or seen in his whole lifetime for anything that could help with 'how to be chill around your boss after you come in his mouth.' The only helpful thing he found was the concept of seppuku, a Japanese ritual suicide for when you've brought shame on your lord or family. Or maybe that time Trevor found someone on the dark web willing to make an entire suite of forged documents for people wanting to run away from their lives; they talked about moving to the Mediterranean and becoming fire-eaters on tourist cruise ships. He was going to be Hans Jonas Grunfeld and Trevor was Massimo Carnucci.

"You alright?"

Harvey. Mike opened his eyes. How long had they been shut? He looked down to where Harvey sat on the floor between his legs, running the back of his hand over his mouth. Making eye contact was like pulling teeth.

"Fine," Mike said carefully. He watched as Harvey hauled himself up off the floor and sat next to him on the couch. He could see through his slacks that he was blatantly, gloriously hard. Mike grinned.

"Is that for me? Flattering."

He rolled his eyes. Was this what he looked like when he was embarrassed? Did he get embarrassed? He never thought he'd see the day.

"Shut up."

"Sick burn."

Harvey kissed him to shut him up, his mouth warm and raw. He didn't complain when Mike pulled on the front of his shirt and tugged him closer; after a few moments, he turned his head and spoke low into Mike's ear.

"I don't care how you do it, but get me off."

Mike kissed him again, feeling sappy and loopy. He started to jerk him off but it was alarmingly intimate to have their faces so close for so long, kissing or just listening to each other breathe, so he used his mouth instead. He'd had it done to him enough times that he could make out the mechanics, and he was a quick study. He had no idea if it was alright: Harvey was so quiet he hardly made a sound at all. His only display of emotion—Mike had to search for it—was his hand clenched to a fist on the couch next to his hip. He exhaled sharply when he came, as Mike tried not to choke.

Afterwards, he sat back against the coffee table and tried to catch his breath. Harvey's ears had gone red, which he found oddly sweet. Without the heat and urgency from earlier, a painful, screeching awkwardness filled the room. He was filled with white hot-regret and was suddenly, after the fact, unsure if he could actually keep working with Harvey after this. If Harvey even wanted him to. All the secrets and near misses to keep their fraud alive and in the end, he wasn't going to be a lawyer because he couldn't keep his dick in his pants. He didn't know who was to blame, him or Harvey. It took two.

With nothing else to do and resigned to his fate, he got up, went to the kitchen and washed his hands. Harvey hiked his pants back up and stood, watching him. Again, the eye contact was awful. He coughed.

"It's, uh. Late. I'm sure you want me to… How do I get my bike back out? The valet took it. Do I just—"

"Sit," Harvey ordered, pointing at the couch. "If you leave now, you'll never be able to talk to me again."

"That's not—"

"Drink your beer. Live into your discomfort."

Mike slunk over to where he'd left his beer on the sideboard while looking at the ugly car photo, then took a seat with it on the far end of the couch in a silent admission of defeat. Harvey was right: better to relearn how to be around each other now than at the office tomorrow if, as Harvey was suggesting, he wasn't planning on firing him.

He decided to go with what he knew.

"You're so freakishly quiet. That was like blowing Spock." He did his best Nimoy: "Displaying signs of sexual pleasure would be… illogical, captain."

It got an amused huff out of Harvey. He went to the kitchen to find his drink and perched on one of the bar stools. "At least I've had sex before. You were so worked up I thought you'd come in your pants."

"I have never."

"Congratulations. You want a medal?"

"If you've got one handy."

He examined the label on the beer for something to do. It was bright and gold and had illustrations on it; he didn't know the brewery, it was good.

"How is the McLellan case going, by the way?" he tried. "I don't know a ton about it, just that everyone says it sucks. Is it going poorly, or just boring?"

"Little bit of column A, little bit of column B. Not even worth talking about, it'll be wrapped up this week." Harvey paused. "So, with your memory. Do you remember every kiss you've ever had?"

"In vivid technicolor."

He shook his head and laughed. "Figures."

Mike almost choked on his beer. "Is that a compliment? Am I a good kisser?"

"Don't put words in my mouth."

"Wow. Harvey Specter, bowled over by my sexual prowess. This changes everything. You're my associate now."

A chuckle from Harvey, but nothing else. They were alternately ignoring and making light of the elephant in the room and Mike couldn't live with the uncertainty. He didn't do great with uncertainty, since he had so little of it. He sighed.

"Seriously, Harvey. Why are you doing this?"

"Does it matter?"

"Kind of, yeah. This puts my ass on the line more than yours, given everything."

"You know damn well that if I wanted to fire you, I already have a laundry list of reasons. This doesn't change anything."

"Then why do any of it?"

There had to be a motive Mike wasn't seeing. The kiss in his office, now this: Harvey had made the first move, all moves. He wasn't stupid and sleeping with a direct report was, by all accounts, extremely stupid. Mike settled into the silence and waited for him to say something, prepared to call him out if it was another joke. Harvey just kept looking at him with this implacable expression.

"I'll tell you the truth, and then I really, really need you to stop asking me about it," he said finally, his voice firm. "I don't care if you don't like it, you don't get another answer."

"That's… alarmingly intense." He put his beer down and turned to face him properly. "So, what? Tell me someone didn't pay you to S my D."

Harvey smiled a small, cryptic smile, and shrugged like it was nothing. "I thought it would be fun."

 

 

Mike was dead tired the next morning and still got in early. When he made his way to Harvey's office, he was already sitting at the table reading.

"I brought you a coffee," he said in greeting, holding it out to him. It was from the cart he liked, with the Anthora cups. Harvey squinted at him.

"You can't bring me coffee."

"What, I bring Donna coffee all the time! It's totally innocent."

"It doesn't matter. Don't bring me anything."

He still took the coffee from him. 

"Well, excuse me for being so honoured to be the pen you're dipping in your company ink."

"Uh, I'm the pen, you're the ink. Don't you forget it."

"Asshole," Mike laughed. "If you didn't want me bringing you coffee, maybe you should have thought of that before you had fun, as you put it, su—"

"I'm not your boyfriend, Mike," Harvey snapped. He caught himself and lowered his voice, with a furtive glance into the hallway. "You're twenty-five, you give passable head and you're around all the goddamn time. Don't project your high standards onto me, because I don't have them. Now leave me alone. Cassandra's going to be here in an hour and you'd better be ready."

"Passable?"

"Leave, Mike."

 

 

Cassandra was perfectly on time and arrived with a cup of black cold brew, smelling of cigarettes. She had the aura of a Cool Aunt and Mike decided that he liked her.

"Ms. Sacchi! Hi, come in, thank you for coming."

"Oh, it's nothing. I know you can't be doing house calls all day long."

Harvey said, "Trust me, I'd rather be on a patio."

As Cassandra put her bag down, Mike elbowed him and muttered, "You sound like a wine mom," and Harvey elbowed him back.

Cassandra settled on one end of the sofa and Mike sat in the armchair.

"So, you want to ask me about Jacob?"

"Exactly," Mike said. "You shared some the other night but we've got him coming in for a deposition tomorrow and I want to make sure we can keep him on the ropes."

"Perfect," she laughed. "That's what I like to hear."

Harvey didn't say anything; he really was letting him run things this time.

"So, Jacob Gilbert. Thirty-four, Manager of Fulfillment Operations at Everafter Apparel," Mike began. "He applied to be Director of Ecommerce Operations last month and made it through three rounds of interviews before the role ultimately went to Tonya Flores, then Manager of Retail Technology. That's all right so far?" He paused, letting his finger trace a date on the document in front of him. "Tonya's only twenty-seven?"

"Young for a director, I know," Cassandra said. The hint of pride was unmistakable. "She started as a sales associate in one of our stores, Everafter is all she's ever known. She's shot up through the company because of it."

"Likely why Jacob thinks the promotion wasn't deserved," Harvey noted. "Someone significantly younger than you beating you out for a role like that? That's gotta sting."

"No kidding," Mike mumbled. "Casssandra, you said the other day that Jacob's worked for the company for only two years?"

"Good memory. Yes. He was an external hire, from… I want to say the Gap, but don't quote me on that. Initially he was covering a mat leave for our manager of Ecom Content Operations, and was kept on after the contract as a product owner for our back-end fulfillment app."

"Was he kept on because he was qualified?"

"Qualified, technically, but not stellar. He was well-liked, somehow, but he has a number of habits that my team finds concerning."

"Such as?"

"His team is notoriously hard to work with. Those people who just don't say yes, you know? You ask for a report and they ask why you need it. You ask for an ETA and they ask why it's so urgent. No organizational responsibility."

"That sounds frustrating."

"Very. I always felt he was distrustful of the company, or didn't like senior leadership, or something like that. There's challenging your peers in order to put out the best possible product, and then there's teaching your team to be actively antagonistic."

"And this has been documented in performance reviews?"

"Oh, I'd assume so, yes. I can get you access to those if you'd like."

"That would be great, thank you." He rifled through his papers. "Ok, so…"

There was a loud glassy knock. Louis stuck his head into the office. Donna was not at her desk.

"Mike." He snapped his fingers. "Come with me."

Mike hissed through his teeth, "I am busy, Louis."

Louis seemed to notice Cassandra for the first time. "Oh, a client. My mistake. Here I was thinking the cases you were working on for me were your top priority, but that's never how it is with you, is it, Mike?"

Harvey said, "Cassandra, this is Louis Litt. Louis, Cassandra Sacchi."

Cassandra was a good sport. She smiled and rose to shake Louis's hand.

"Hi, Louis. Nice to meet you."

"Likewise." He looked at Mike. "What's the case in five words or less?"

"Uh—denied promotion for… discrimination… suit?"

Louis cocked his head at Cassandra. "Who could discriminate against you? You're obviously a very wealthy white woman in the prime of her life. Weak case."

"I'm the alleged discriminator, unfortunately." She gestured to the couch. "Sit, join us! Mr. Ross will be done shortly."

Mike waved his hands. "No no no, Louis doesn't need to—"

Cassandra insisted, "Nonsense, the more lawyers the better. I always liked that about Pearson-Hardman, you really make a woman feel supported."

"Yeah, Mike," Louis said, leaning on the shelf behind her, obviously there to stay. "Try supporting women some time."

"Anyways," Harvey drawled. "Mike's got a few more questions."

"Yes! Right." He shuffled through his papers, put off by Louis's presence. "I wanted to ask you a bit more about Tonya Flores. It's likely that Jacob will make this about her, and we'll want to get her in to do a deposition as well."

"Ah, right. Sure. What do you want to know?"

"How long has she worked for the company?"

"About five years."

"And she reports into you?"

"As director, she reports into our EVP, who reports into me, and as a manager she reported into the former director."

"Great. So what can you tell me about her? Her history at the company, work ethic, anything that comes to mind."

"Oh, she's one of our most exemplary employees. Not only good at her job but a real, genuine person. We talk a lot about 'creating culture' at Everafter, and women like Tonya are our culture. She grew up in Chicago with a single mother, and worked her way through college…"

Harvey was standing behind the armchair Mike was sitting in. Slowly, Mike leaned until he felt Harvey's knuckles against the back of his shoulder. Harvey didn't move them away. It would have been invisible to anyone else in the room, but he moved his knuckles back and forth once, a silent check-in and, for him, a surprisingly intimate gesture.

Mike had forgotten Louis was there and his voice shocked him to attention.

"Oh my God, you're sleeping together."

It felt like he was shot in the chest. Everything went in slo-mo. His throat was dry, his hands started to sweat. His body leapt into action before his brain could catch up and he was half out of his seat, babbling with denial.

"What are you talking about, that—"

Cassandra cut him off with a hissing inhale.

"How did you know?"

"Oh, please," Louis said. "When it comes to relationships I'm like a seeing eye dog. I'm on the scent. I just know. Plus, you're talking about her like she hung the moon. No C-suite exec should know that much about a director."

Mike froze. Cassandra had her hands over her mouth. Mike did not look at Harvey.

"Ah, fuck," she sighed. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have tried to hide it."

Louis rapped his knuckles on the bookshelf and slipped out of the room. "You're welcome. Good luck with the case, find me when you're done."

Mike glared daggers at him as he left.

Harvey barked at Cassandra, "You're sleeping with the woman you promoted ahead of the plaintiff?"

"I… I've been dating her for five years. Since shortly after she joined the company."

Mike tensed. Don't look at Harvey, don't look at Harvey, don't look at Harvey

He looked up at Harvey, who was, of course, looking back at him. His expression was stern, disappointed, and maybe a little amused. Mike had no idea what his own face was doing, but he hoped it expressed shock over the case and not the mind-numbing relief he actually felt. His heart was still beating out of his chest.

Harvey said, "Mike, go get us some coffee. Cassandra, we need to get the whole story."

The whole story was not good. Cassandra's relationship with Tonya had started shortly after she became the assistant of one of Cassandra's subordinates—a C-suite executive and an EA. Hardly anyone knew, within the company or without; just Cassandra's family and a few close friends. Tonya was a little older than Mike and Cassandra was a little older than Harvey. Mike listened to her story with a pained grimace on his face that he tried to school into an understanding smile, but the irony was too much. It was humiliating. He feared Harvey would be getting a kick out of the parallels, but he seemed too annoyed with Cassandra for hiding it to be enjoying much of anything.

"And she genuinely is the best person for the job," Cassandra was pleading. "I wasn't the sole decision-maker on the promotion decision, I can give you names. I didn't think anyone would argue with the decision, certainly not that idiot Jacob, for God's sake—"

Mike said, "I understand, Ms. Sacchi, but—"

"And believe me, I know what this looks like. Tonya being so much younger than me, and so beautiful, I just… it's not like that. We're truly partners, and she deserved that promotion. It's not what it looks like."

Mike nodded seriously. "I… I believe you, that this isn't what it looks like. I'm sure you—you respect her, she's your partner, and even though she works for you, there's just that… spark. You can't help it."

Cassandra nodded miserably.

Mike didn't dare look at Harvey.

"That's not the point," Harvey said from above him, his voice flat, "and I didn't think of it that way won't hold up in court. If they find out that not only did Tonya get promoted above Jacob, but you've been dating her for half a decade, Jacob's incompetence won't matter. Wouldn't matter if Tonya was the only semi-qualified candidate in the city, you hid a relationship with one of your underlings and gave her perks."

"Nothing I wouldn't have given any other qualified candidate!"

"No one can know that for sure, your relationship with her colours everything. Assuming Jacob doesn't know about your relationship with Tonya, which you say he doesn't, he really does just think he was more qualified. Which, while insanely naive, is good. We settle and avoid having this come up in trial." Harvey huffed, out of steam. "You're not stupid, Cassandra."

She laughed. Mike was always fascinated by how clients either loved or hated Harvey, with very little space in between. All he had were admirers and enemies.

"Everyone's stupid sometimes," she said, and he swore he saw Harvey glance at him.

 

 

Two nights later, he got the privilege of seeing Harvey's bedroom. Harvey called him, free of pretense this time, and he went. He refused to examine it any further than that, unwilling to look a gift horse in the mouth: Harvey said it was nothing, so it was nothing. It was 'fun.' Mike liked fun. He also liked Harvey's bike valet and his nice apartment, the view from his patio, his expensive whiskey and, in a surprising new development, having sex with him.

"I figured it out," he said, a little breathless from having jogged down the hall, when Harvey opened the door.

"What?"

"You're doing this because you trust me."

Harvey glanced behind him to make sure the coast was clear, then grabbed his arm and yanked him inside. He shoved him against the door and kissed him so hard their teeth nearly hit.

"Don't get cocky."

Harvey fucked him from behind in his airy bedroom on his bright white duvet, on his king sized bed, the frame banging into the wall in what Mike could only assume was a very well-worn rut. He could hardly breathe, face burning, body aching, fists clutching uselessly in the sheets as he bucked into him. It answered a lot of questions about himself that he never bothered asking. He came twice, once by accident and once by design, and afterwards, Harvey was immeasurably smug.

"We can't keep doing this," Mike said idly, inspecting a spot under his jaw in a mirror that hung on the wall of the bedroom. He knew he'd have a hickey there the next morning. Harvey was lying with his head at the wrong end of the bed, his feet propped up on the wall and a glass of whiskey balancing on his sternum.

"What makes you think that's your big idea?"

"Uh, because I said it first? Now if you also say it, it'll sound like you're just bandwagoning on my cool, aloof statement from earlier."

"Obviously we can't keep doing this."

"Is there an echo in here?"

"But we can't keep doing this because I won't let us. Because very few people are so privileged as to keep doing this with me."

"Not anything to do with the legal ramifications of sleeping with a direct report that it was illegal to have hired in the first place?"

Mike flopped onto the bed a respectful distance from Harvey; before they had sex he couldn't keep his hands off him, and after, he seemed to want more distance. Mike was learning.

Harvey scoffed. "An afterthought to my emotional unavailability, your gender, and the fact that you're half my age."

"Hey, those last two don't matter! I'm not dateable 'cause I'm young, and a guy? I can't change those."

"Are you saying you want to date me?"

"God, no, but that's not the point."

"So what's the point?"

"That I'm extremely dateable, and could totally hold my own as your arm candy at whatever black tie cocktail functions you parade your dates around at."

"You don't even own a tux."

"Money can be exchanged for goods and services. I am wildly charming, and your stuffy, moneyed friends would find me just like, full of youthful exuberance." Mike rolled over. "You're not put off by all this stuff with Cassandra?"

"Nope. She's getting away with it, and we will too."

"I don't think that's the lesson you should've taken from that."

"Well, it's the lesson I got," Harvey said cheerfully, passing Mike his drink from the nightstand.

Mike shook his head and laughed. It made him nervous. When he thought Louis knew, he imagined in a split second all the ways he could use it against them. If Mike got fired from Pearson-Hardman, there was nowhere else. It could damage Harvey's career, a scandal, and it would mean exposing one of his carefully guarded facets. Instead of voicing any of that, he reached down and fumbled a bottle of lube from the sheets. 

"Everything you own is a brand I've never heard of." He squinted at it. "Is this German lube?"

"Das gute schmiermittel," Harvey said, very poorly. Mike laughed again, and he gave him a funny look. "You're handling this surprisingly well for someone who couldn't look me in the eye on Tuesday."

He shrugged. "I got used to it. I'm a prodigy, remember?"

"Getting over a life-altering sexual crisis in two days. Impressive."

"How long did it take you?"

"I didn't have a crisis." Harvey rolled out of bed, pulled on his briefs and trotted out into the living room. "And longer than two days."

Mike figured that was his cue to go. He was determined to never overstay his welcome, Harvey would flay him for it. He found his jeans and boxers, but couldn't find his hoodie or shirt after a quick scan of the bedroom. He wandered out into the living room.

"Have you seen my…"

He stopped. Harvey was still just in his underwear, his shirt and slacks lying—with Mike's hoodie—between the hall door and the bedroom. He was refilling their glasses; Mike hadn't noticed him take them.

"You're dressed," Harvey said.

"You're… not."

There was a long, pregnant pause. Had he under-stayed his welcome? Harvey spoke first.

"Stay if you want." He picked up his glass and went to the couch, leaving Mike's on the counter as an opportunity to take or leave. "I will be watching the Coen brothers' masterpiece O Brother Where Art Thou whether you're here or not."

"I've actually never seen that."

"You're missing out."

Even outside of this week, outside of their new, precarious arrangement, Mike would have jumped pathetically quick at the chance to hang out with Harvey. Almost as if they were friends. He pulled off his jeans and kicked them with a flourish back towards the bedroom.

"If you're pantsless, I get to be pantsless."

He sat on the couch closer to Harvey than he might have earlier, testing the waters. The second glass of whiskey was going to his head and made everything seem urgent and exciting. Harvey pulled up the movie from a seemingly endless library of alphabetized movie files streamed to his TV. While the movie started up, Harvey gave him a quick glance out of the corner of his eye, then bent down and picked up an ornate, flat tin box from the bottom of the end table. Mike would recognize the shape and concept anywhere.

"Wow, the great Harvey Specter. A no-good stoner."

Harvey huffed at him. He set the box on the table and flipped it open to reveal a little bag of weed, a grinder, a BIC and a neatly rolled joint.

"You know I smoke." He picked up the joint and twiddled it between his fingers. "You know how many lawyers have coke or drinking problems?"

"All of them?"

"Right. Smoking a joint and watching a movie is tame by comparison."

Mike leaned over to peer into the box. "I was perma-stoned for so many years I forget that people can just like, do it regularly. Like for fun."

"You want some?" Harvey asked. "Not to make a thing of it, but…"

"No, yeah. That would be cool. If you want."

"I want," Harvey said. Mike watched him light the joint, only half paying attention to the opening scenes of the movie. It was juvenile, but he kept looking at his mouth. "You said I trust you."

Mike snapped to attention. "Hm?"

"Earlier." He let smoke pour from his lips, a ribbon drifting up towards the ceiling in the still of the room. "Have you considered that you were right the first time?"

"That… you're layering secrets until our lives are so disgustingly dark and intertwined that I couldn't leave if I tried?"

"Yeah."

He passed Mike the joint and he took it. Examined it. It was exceedingly well-rolled.

"It's definitely still a contender." He breathed it in. No better than the stuff he got, which was an ego boost; he always wondered if rich people had secret good weed that plebs like him didn't have access to. And it reminded him of high school to be passed a joint and think of the lips that had been on it before his. "You're not gonna tell me which it is, are you."

Harvey laughed, his eyes fixed on the screen, face glowing in profile.

"Where's the fun in that?"

Mike saw for the first time the funny little life he could have with him, in some other universe where he wasn't too busy fumbling around his own hang-ups about masculinity, sex and women to give it a shot, or, more importantly, a universe where Harvey would find value in it. He'd never dated a real friend before, not really; things were good with Jenny, but it had always been Too Much to be fun for long, and sometimes he doubted that they'd been friends at all. But maybe he could be friends with Harvey. Anything with him would be a mentor, friend and lover rolled into one, and it would be disgustingly satisfying. He thought of the terrible symbiotic relationship he had with Trevor and wondered whether some part of him would always want that possessive completeness. To be everything to someone, and vice versa; he wasn't great at half-measures.

And neither was Harvey, which he foresaw causing problems. As Harvey often did. 

The movie was fantastic and strange and they watched in a comfortable sort of silence, talking when they felt like it, quiet when they didn't, pleasantly buzzed and stoned and comfy.

"This is the best fight scene in all of cinema," Harvey said, gesturing at the screen. "Nobody gets punched in the face like Clooney."

Somewhere around the forty minute mark, Mike rested his knee against Harvey's to see if he would let him. He did. And he thought he got away with it, until a few seconds after, Harvey said, "Why don't you just yawn-and-stretch me, Casanova," which he didn't dignify with a response. But he didn't pull his knee away, either. Near the end, Harvey plucked the joint from the ashtray and lit it again. He offered it to Mike, who waved him away. After he stubbed it out again, he rested his head back against the couch. His eyes were black in the dark.

"What's it like to remember everything you've ever looked at?" he asked. "Seriously. What's the actual process look like? How do you have room in your brain?"

Mike laughed and rubbed his face. "I don't know, it's hard to describe. Just watch the movie."

"Try me."

People had asked him before, but not recently. He tried to place it beyond saying I just know things. It had never been easy and he'd never gotten the feeling right.

"It's like that episode of Futurama where Fry drinks a hundred coffees."

Harvey laughed, which was nice of him.

"It's like everything goes slow," he went on, "or I speed up. Like rifling through a rolodex of word associations to find what I want."

Harvey snapped his fingers and pointed at him. "First lines of the diner scene in Heat."

Mike said, "Seven years in Folsom. In the hole for three. McNeil before that. McNeil as tough as they say? You looking to become a penologist? You looking to go back? You know I—"

"Year the first McDonald's was opened."

"1940, San Bernardino, California."

"Jude 1:7."

"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh—"

"Enough."

"Classy. Thanks."

"It was topical." He laughed again. Mike felt an unpleasant twang of pride when he made Harvey laugh. "So you just keep all that up there. You keep the script to Heat and the entire King James Bible in your head, along with my address and shirt size and a map of Brooklyn. And you can find them all whenever you want."

"Basically, yeah."

"Did you ever see that insanely bad Stephen King alien movie?"

"Dreamcatcher. You're thinking of the guy with the memory warehouse."

"Yeah, that's you. I always imagine you pushing a little cart through your warehouse of legal knowledge whenever I ask you something."

"It's not far off." Mike let his leg rest a little more heavily against Harvey's. "That movie sucked."

"It did," he agreed.

The one they were watching was good, though. Mike tried to pay attention but his head was elsewhere. Something rose in him, a quiet kind of longing at first, and then more urgent as he thought about how rarely he might get a pliant, stoned, agreeable Harvey in the future. Harvey would get bored or un-stimulated or whatever else it was that made him seek the next new thing, and how many chances would Mike get? How often would he get to be in the blinding little spotlight Harvey was good enough to place on him?

He reached out and ran his fingers over Harvey's nape. The hair at the back of his neck was soft, his skin warm.

"You got another round in you?" he said quietly.

Harvey looked at him without turning his head. "Movie's not over."

"What, you're tired?"

"I thought you'd be sore."

"It's cool if you're tired."

Harvey's shoulders blocked out the screen as he rose above him, smoke sweet and acrid on his breath, in his hair. Mike's hands wandered up his bare back and he risked a clutch, digging his fingers in, knowing that Harvey noticed everything and would know how much he wanted it.

"I'll show you tired," Harvey said, and crushed him into a kiss.

 

 

Afterwards, he flicked off the bathroom light and went back to Harvey's bedroom, and Harvey was still in bed. Afterwards, Harvey seemed different: a little funnier, a little less locked-down. Sometimes he even said things that seemed genuine. It lasted for the better part of ten minutes before he regained whatever left him during an orgasm and made him, however briefly, almost pleasant. So far, it had always been a fun, weird ten minutes.

"Did you comb your hair while I was in there?"

Harvey was sprawled on the sheets, still blotchy and undignified, which was exciting. To see him unpolished was always a pleasure. His hair was objectively more coiffed than when Mike left.

"Donna knows, by the way," he said, like it was nothing. "Don't let her get the drop on you, she'll try to."

"Answer the question, I—wait, you told her?"

"She can tell whether I've eaten breakfast by what I do with my eyebrows. It's not about telling."

"Jesus Christ. You make fun of me for being emotional but I'm begging you to keep something from Donna one single time."

Mike sat next to him on the bed, fluffing a big pillow behind his back. Just to rest for a second, he'd go soon.

"It's not my fault!" Harvey said. "She told me, I quote: 'I can't believe you want to sully your track record for him.'"

"Track record?"

"Not sleeping with colleagues. Or specifically subordinates, I don't know."

Mike stayed quiet. If Harvey had taught him anything, it was not to speak until he was sure it wasn't stupid.

Harvey cracked a smile and added, "She also said, 'I bet he cries after sex,' which we had a good laugh over."

"I do not."

"Do you want me to report back to her?"

"Please don't." Mike looked down at him. "Want to sully, she said. Not… will?"

"You caught that, eh. She didn't think you'd go for it even if I tried. I knew you would."

"What was her case?"

"That you were too dedicated to your job to do anything to jeopardize it, and too far up my ass to do anything to jeopardize me."

"And you said…"

"I saw those cogs turning in your perpetual motion machine, chugging over this. One of the many exits in your rush hour traffic of a brain." He rolled over and, after a spell, reached up and tapped Mike's forehead with his index finger. "I said you couldn't stand not knowing."

Mike snorted and batted his hand away. "Only you would think someone couldn't live without knowing what you're like in bed."

"Was I wrong?"

He said nothing. Harvey flopped onto his back and he let himself look down at him for a moment. He was still smiling faintly; he had time.

"It sounds like you had that conversation with Donna before we actually slept together," Mike said slowly. "Which means you weren't bragging about a conquest, and you said you didn't tell her anything, so…"

"So?"

"So, what? How'd it come up? You're telling me she just knew?"

Harvey sighed and rolled until he reached the side of the bed, then stood. It was wildly inelegant and Mike reminded himself to commit the image to memory, not that there was anyone he could tell about it. And he wanted to tell someone about it so much it hurt. Who would believe him? He watched Harvey stretch his arms over his head as he made his way around the footboard. The low light did him favours and the pull of muscle across his back was good. Mike didn't even care that he had his neck craned around to watch him go.

When he was almost out the door, he said, "She said she saw how I looked at you," and it took Mike a second to remember what they were talking about. "Drink?"

"Don't deflect! How do you look at me?" Mike called after him.

"On the rocks?"

"Harvey!"

 

 

Pale afternoon light streamed in the windows of the empty conference room.

"Can I tell you something, Ms. Sacchi?"

Harvey was elsewhere and Mike was with Cassandra, wearing his blue suit. He leaned on the edge of the table as she sat and read over the extremely decent settlement they'd gotten her.

"Attorney-client privilege only goes one way, but yes."

She didn't look up from the paper. He leaned over and spoke quietly.

"Harvey and I are sleeping together."

Saying it out loud made him feel ten feet tall. Her pen paused and she slowly looked up at him as a shit-eating grin spread over his face.

"You're kidding me."

"Nope."

She laughed and shook her head. "My God. How long?"

"About a week."

"With Harvey Specter? You might as well be married."

"I know."

She laughed again and shook her head. Her pen looped her neat signature onto the dotted line. "He's going to make you wish you were never born."

He hadn't stayed the night, but Harvey had walked him to the door and given his shoulder an especially firm squeeze that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He didn't foresee it going anywhere, but there was a time when he never thought he'd be a lawyer, either. He grinned.

"It's a distinct possibility, yeah."