the pounding rain continued it's bleak fall
Harvey comes home to a sad image that day. He would even call it pathetic but he doesn’t kick people when they are down. And Mike is down.
He sits in the hallway in front of Harvey’s door. His suit is rumpled into oblivion. How he manages to have his short hair stick up into every possible direction is beyond Harvey. And next to him sits a cardboard box that holds his career.
Mike doesn’t even look up when Harvey goes to unlock the door. He just sits there, head bowed, elbows on his knees, fingers lazily toying with the end of his tie.
Harvey leaves the door open as he goes inside.
When Mike finally follows, a glass of expensive single malt waits for him on the kitchen counter. Next to it is a stack of take-out menus.
Mike eyes Harvey quizzically.
“You look like you haven’t eaten anything all day,” Harvey replies.
“I had a bagel this morning.”
“I’m having what you’re having.” He nods at the pile of flyers, then heads for his bedroom to change. When he returns in chinos and a Henley shirt, Mike is still glued to the spot next to the counter, his pathetic little cardboard box in hand. For a moment, Harvey regards him, then takes the box from him and replaces it with the drink. “Indian okay with you?”
He doesn’t receive an answer so he just makes the call. He feels Mike’s gaze on him, feels his silent demand to ask him what is going on. Harvey won’t give in to that. Mike came here on his own accord, he can very well open his mouth and talk. So Harvey ignores him, goes through his mail, scans the headline of the newspaper he didn’t get to read this morning, then sets out two plates and cutlery. All the while Mike doesn’t move a muscle.
It isn’t until the doorbell rings to announce their food has arrived that Mike twitches and almost spills the untouched drink. The scent of spices fills the apartment shortly after.
By the time Harvey has filled his plate with food and begins to eat, he starts to get worried. Only a little worried but still worried. He has never seen Mike this quiet, not even after this grandma’s death.
“I got fired,” Mike finally says, and his voice bland as if he hasn’t used it in a long while.
That much Harvey has already figured but he doesn’t say it.
“And Rachel kissed Sanders.” As if it makes the words any less bitter, Mike washes down the drink in one go and doesn't even cringe.
And suddenly, everything falls into place and the past twenty-four hours begin to make sense.
“Mike…,” Harvey begins although he doesn’t really know what he wants to say.
Part of him is angry because this whole thing - this quadrangle between him and Mike and Logan and Rachel - was a ticking time bomb from the beginning. He is actually surprised how long it remained somewhat stable before it blew up in their faces.
The other part of him just feels sorry for Mike.
He just isn’t sure yet which part is stronger.
“Eat,” he says finally. Of all things, he says that because it makes the most sense right now.
Mike slumps down on the opposite site of the kitchen counter, heaps a pile of food on his plate and starts wolfing it down as if he is starving. For a moment Harvey wonders if Mike might be high but then he realizes that he is actually eating so he won’t have to talk. Like he will be getting off the hook that easily.
When Mike is done (and he looks like he might throw up any second), Harvey pours him another drink and waits.
“Did you know?” Mike asks then, glass in hand, ready to throw it or drink it.
“No.” Harvey can only hope Mike believes him, but won’t blame him if he doesn’t.
Mike nods as an answer, slips off the stool and walks over to the windows. He nurses his drink for a moment, then downs it in one long pull.
“I thought about getting high.”
Mike scoffs at that. “Believe it or not, I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to get high.”
“So instead you come here to get a cheap drink.” Harvey doesn’t know why he says that but he is glad he does because it makes Mike smile, if only a little second.
“This morning, I thought it would all work out. Even this afternoon, I thought it would be alright. That I could actually win this thing.” He twists the empty glass in his hand. “And now I’ve lost everything.”
Seeing Mike like that hurts. There is more to it than pity. There is guilt now, too, and a whole lot of it. Seeing him standing there, little more than a sad little silhouette against the Manhattan sky, makes Harvey realize that it’s all his fault. Most of it by proxy, really, but that first initial shove has been his. If he hadn’t employed Mike as his associate in the first place, none of this would have happened. Mike still would have been a college drop-out slash drug courier slash professional cheat, but he wouldn’t be standing in front of a shattered career and upside down relationship.
“Not everything,” Harvey hears himself say before it passes his better judgement.
Mike turns slightly to look over his shoulder. “You can’t fix this one, Harvey.”
“Then why are you here?” Mike’s answer hits right to the core. Harvey gets up from his chair, and walks over to him, anger in his wake. He wants to fix it, needs to fix it.
“Because I have nowhere else to go.” Mike looks so young right now, blue eyes shining with hurt and fear. “Because everything is for shit and I don’t know what to do. Because I could really use a friend right now and your name is the only one of a very short list. and I’m not even sure...”
Harvey hugs him then. It isn’t so much a hug as it is a way to shut Mike up, to stifle what is about to become a bubbling panic attack. He holds Mike tightly against his chest, and still feels him trembling.
He wants to tell him that everything is going to be alright but he won’t lie to him. He wants to tell him he has a plan but he doesn’t. He wants to tell him that he is his friend but he can’t.
So they stay like that - Mike slowly giving in to him, relaxing a little - for a long while.
And somewhere along the line something changes and Harvey isn’t sure what it is until Mike’s fingers claw into the back of his shirt, tugging at it. Before he can say anything, the young man has his mouth pressed on his, tasting of curry and scotch and despair.
Harvey snakes a hand between their bodies, pushing Mike a few inches away. “Don’t.” is all he can manage. He is lying when he says it because he really, really doesn’t want it to stop.
Mike steps away from him then. “Why the hell not?”
“Because I am not your ticket to get back at Rachel for kissing Logan.” Somehow Harvey sounds so sad saying that, and he hates that. If anything, he should be angry or disappointed or something in between but not sad.
“You said I was your guy.” Mike should know better than to make such a ridiculous argument.
“But I am not your moral high road in this.” Harvey’s shoulders sag. “Mike, I can be your rebound lawyer but I will not be your rebound.”
Suddenly, Mike looks even younger, even more lost. A violent blush erupts on his face and he shies away from Harvey, clearly embarrassed by his advance. “I’m sorry, Harvey. I am so sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry, just be smart. I get that you’re angry, that you’re hurt. And you just had two glasses of my best scotch. None of which makes for very good advice.”
“I should go,” Mike stammers, all but reeling backwards.
“Where do you want to go?” Harvey reaches out, his hand closing on Mike’s arm. “Stay.”
“Stay. Get some rest.”
“And then what?”
“Then, we figure out what we’re going to do. And if this…,” his grip tightens on Mike’s arm, “should ever happen, it’ll happen for the right reasons.”
Mike stares at him as if Harvey has just grown a second head. And he might as well have, now that he himself begins to realize what he has just said. While he still debates when it’s a good time to let go of Mike’s arm, the young man has already caught his bearings again.
“Thanks,” he says simply, and he is almost smiling.
“What for?” Now Harvey does let go. And it’s not even that awkward.
“For not making a fool out of me.”
“I have Louis for that.”
This gets a grin from Mike and he nods. His mood sobers quickly, though. “Were you serious? Can I stay the night?”
“Stay as long as you need.” Somewhere inside of him, there is a slight sting Harvey can’t quite place as he continues. “But I think you should talk to Rachel.”
“I can’t. At least not right now.” Mike walks over to the couch, sits and slumps back, running a hand over his face. “It was her idea, you know, to get Logan to agree to those terms.”
“She knew I would choose you.” Harvey knows that is not what this is about and tries to stir the conversation away from that direction.
“She wanted to get rid of him.”
“Can you blame her?”
He sits down next to Mike, looking at him. Right now, he doesn’t look much like the cocky boy who stumbled into the job interview with a briefcase full of dope. He doesn’t look like the somewhat overconfident kid busting with unused knowledge. Now he is just a lost child and it hurts Harvey more than he likes to admit.
And he wants to go back to five minutes ago when Mike was still clinging to him, still kissing him. If that is what he needs right now, if that’s his way of coping… And where the hell do these thoughts come from?
“How did we end up here?” Mike asks then, tearing Harvey out of his reverie.
“I don’t know.” It’s the answer neither of them wants to or needs to here.
Mike nods solemnly. “I didn’t expect it to feel this way.”
Harvey looks at him, waiting for him to continue.
“I mean, I’ve been out of a job more often than I wasn’t so this shouldn’t… To be found out was supposed to be the worst thing that could happen to me.That’s what I thought for the past two years. Turns out, I was wrong. This…,” he makes a vague circular gesture in front of him, “this is worse.”
Harvey regards him for a long moment. “Mike, you won’t believe what I’m about to say, and I will only say it this once.” He pauses, makes sure he has the young man’s attention. “You are the strongest person I know. After everything that’s happened in the past months, you’re still here and you are still you. That’s what’s important. You may not see it yet but it is.”
Mike huffs a wry little laugh. He lets his head roll back against the couch. “You’re right. I don’t believe you. And I definitely don’t see it that way.” There isn’t much energy behind his words. At least he doesn’t sound so desperate and helpless anymore. Now he just sounds tired.
“Tomorrow, I will talk to Jessica. I can’t promise you anything but we’ll figure it out.”
“What if you can’t?” By now, Mike’s voice is little more than an exhausted slur.
“Then we’ll figure out something else.”
Harvey waits for an answer, a comeback, but he doesn’t get one because Mike has fallen asleep on his couch. He can’t help but smile at the image in front of him. For the first time in days, if not weeks, he sees Mike completely relaxed again, looking almost like his old self.
Carefully, so he won’t disturb Mike, Harvey rises from the couch and reaches for the folded up blanket on the armrest behind him. He drapes it over Mike’s knees and regards him for a long moment. Then he puts a hand lightly on his shoulder, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
“It’ll be alright, kid.” His fingers brush the back of Mike’s neck as Harvey heads toward his bedroom. “It’ll be alright.”