Mike wanted to fall asleep the second his body collided with the couch, today had felt like the longest day ever, like it was never going to end, and he was still feeling that way. Louis had stopped by his desk and unloaded work on him at the end of the day, and when he tried to explain that he was already swamped, Louis had just wished him a sarcastic 'Good luck', and walked away.
To make matters worse, Harvey came by 10 minutes later, tossing a stack of papers on his desk and demanding he find a loophole, and that he have it on his desk before he arrived at the office tomorrow. When Mike tried to explain that Louis already had him doing something, Harvey made it known that he didn't care, and to just have it done. Or else. So with an 'or else' hanging over his head, he figured it was going to be a long night, and sleep probably wasn't in his near future.
His mind felt like it was going in a million different directions, which made it hard to focus on the task at hand. He sat back, and dragged his hand through his hair out of frustration. Maybe he just needed a snack to settle himself down. And a beer. Definitely a beer. He walked into the kitchen and grabbed a bag of pretzels from the cupboard, and a beer from the fridge, before returning to his place on the couch.
After an hour, he had accomplished next to nothing. Maybe he'd just give up and let Harvey fire him, at least then he'd get some sleep. Of course, then he, nor his Grammy, would have a place to live, so he nixed that idea as quickly as it had come to him, and went back to staring at tiny print until his eyes blurred, in the same way his mind felt like it was blurred.
There was a knock at the door, which he was weird, because it's not like he really ever got visitors.
"Mikey! What's up, dude?" Trevor said, as he pushed his way into the apartment.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was in the area and thought I'd drop by."
"Because I missed you, man. What's with you?"
"Trevor, this really isn't a good time. I have a lot of work to do."
"Come on, Mikey. I haven't seen you in ages, it's not like I'm asking to move in with you. I just want to visit and catch up."
"You're right. I'm sorry. But you can't stay long, because like I said, I have a lot of work to do tonight."
"A lot of work, huh? Is the beer part of your work? Because if so, I'd be happy to help you with your work," Trevor said, as he waved around the empty bottle Mike had polished off.
"Yeah..that. I was just trying to get my mind to relax a bit. Been a long day."
"Relax your mind? You know what can help with that..."
"Yeah, right," Mike laughed.
"I'm serious, Mike. I got some with me if you want to..."
"Trevor, no. I can't do that any more. I almost lost my job the last time I got high."
"Come on, Mike. It can be like old time's, and it's not like your boss is going to swing by. Is he?"
"What? No. Of course not."
"So? What's stopping you then?"
"I just really shouldn't. I don't want to let Harvey down."
"Jesus, Mike. Quit being such a pussy!"
"Okay. Fine. But just this once. This can't become a thing again. And only because I need something to relax my mind."
"There's my friend!"
Mike was already feeling guilty just for agreeing to it. He shouldn't be doing it. He knew he shouldn't be doing it, and yet he was. But like he'd told Trevor, it was just this once, and only because he needed to relax his mind. He needed to if he was ever going to finish all the work he had. Besides, it's not like Harvey would ever know.
Trevor had just left, and Mike was sprawled out on the couch. All the directions his mind had been being pulled were no longer an issue. His mind was completely relaxed, only now he was feeling a little sleepy, so he set the alarm on his watch, and figured he'd grab a quick nap, and then he'd be able to tackle the work.
He was just starting to doze off when his phone rang and startled him awake. 'Shit,' he thought, when he saw Harvey's name on the screen of his phone.
"I need you to get to the office. Stat."
"I'll give you two reasons; number one, because I said so. And number two, because I said so."
"Harvey, I really can't. I'm uh, really busy working on something."
"Whatever bullshit it is you're supposedly working on, just forget about it, and have your ass here in less than 20 or you're fired."
"Harvey, I-" Mike heard the sound of the phone clicking on the other end.
"I am so screwed," Mike said to himself.
"That was longer than 20 minutes."
"I can't control how fast a cab driver drives."
"Why'd you take a cab? Actually don't answer that, because I don't care. Just sit. I need you to help me with something."
"What is it?" Mike asked, before walking past Harvey and sitting on the black leather couch.
"Do you remember when I told you about that Jefferson lawsuit? Well it turns out we still have a lot more digging to do on that, because now he's trying to ch- What in the hell is that smell?"
"What smell?" Mike asked, trying his best to sound nonchalant. He was pretty sure his heart had already stopped beating the second he heard the question though. He was so busted.
"It smells like...," Harvey paused for a moment. "Look at me, Mike."
Mike swallowed hard, and hesitated a moment, before moving his eye's up to meet Harvey's. There was a long pause and Mike could see the realization and disappointment completely wash over Harvey's face.
"I can't believe you'd do this to me."
"Harvey, I'm sorry, but you don't understand."
"Don't understand what, Mike? That you can't stop getting high? The fact that I put my ass on the line for you, and in return I asked you to do one god damn thing for me, and you can't even do that. What exactly is it that you think I don't understand?"
"It's just I was so stressed about not being able to get the work done that you and Louis gave me, and then Trevor showed up and I ju-"
"Trevor? You know what, it's obvious you never listen to a damn word I say to you, so just get out of my office and go home. We're done."
"Harvey, please. I made a mistake. I'm sorry that I can't be perfect like you are."
"No, Mike, a mistake is something you make once, but when it happens over and over, it's no longer a mistake, it's a choice. And you clearly made yours, so get out. Now."
Mike briefly considered saying something else, maybe getting on his knees and literally begging forgiveness, but the tone of Harvey's voice, and the way he was looking at him right now, like Mike hadn't even had the decency to stab him in the back this time, but rather drove the knife right through his heart as he watched. That look was enough to make Mike swallow the words he couldn't say, slouch his shoulders in defeat, and leave Harvey's office.
He immediately threw himself on the couch when he got home. He rubbed a hand over his face, and let out a frustrated sigh. The frustration was directed only at himself. As much as he'd like to blame Trevor, or blame the work load, he was the only one to blame for this situation. It was a moment of weakness. He figures admitting that to Harvey wouldn't garner much sympathy, because he doubts Harvey can even relate to those kind of moments much. He needed to figure out how to fix this, however he was leaning more towards there not being an actual fix for the situation. Maybe he'd just broken it for good this time. Harvey had given him a second chance, and this is what he'd done with it. It'd feel wrong to ask him for a third chance, when he wasn't even sure if he deserved it.
After all, the rules had been laid out in front of him from the very beginning; stop smoking weed, and never talk to Trevor again. Two things that he had yet been able to give up completely. It's not like he hadn't tried though, it was just a constant battle, one that he always seemed to be on the losing end of, one way or another. He knew trying to give up both of those things while working his ass off was going to be hard, it's not like he had any illusions about it, but he wasn't quite prepared for how hard and entirely overwhelming it all could be on some days.
Undecided about what he was going to do, he decided he could, at the very least, finish the work that Harvey and Louis had given to him earlier. He rolled off the couch and walked to the kitchen, grabbing an ice cold bottle of water from the fridge, and downing the majority of it, in an attempt to sober up as best he could. He returned to the couch, and laid out his work in front of him, and got started on it. If nothing else, smoking the weed had helped, though, now he wasn't sure if that was because the stress of work had been shifted, and changed into something entirely different. It felt more like worry now. Worry that sat at the very pit of his stomach, twisting it into knots, and making him feel slightly nauseous. He tried to bury that feeling with work, which had seemed to work well enough.
It was a little after 5 in the morning when he had finished the last of the work up. Instead of bothering with moving himself into his own bed, he settled for just moving his legs up and laying down across the couch. He'd spend the next few hours flipping the tv on, only to turn it off again, staring at the ceiling, counting every crack in it, and listening to how wide awake the clock had sounded with each tick of the hand.
He had just started to doze off, when the alarm clock on his watch startled him back to reality. It was a sound he normally hated, but even more so now, since it meant that he had to make a decision on what he was going to do. And fast. Out of all the choices that had run through his head between Harvey's office and now, only one really seemed viable, and that was to turn in his badge and resign from the job. It's not what he wanted, but it was probably the only thing that he had deserved.
He planned to arrive at the office before Harvey did, because just remembering the way Harvey had looked at him last night, was enough for him to know that he couldn't handle seeing it again and reliving it. So he'd get there before him to avoid it completely, and he'd turn in the work he'd finished, as if it was some sort of final apology, and then he'd quit. It'd all be over. No more dream job, and no more Harvey. Mike wasn't sure which of those losses hurt him more.
Mike had curled himself up into the bed the moment he got home. He wanted to sleep, not even as a means to cure how exhausted he felt, but rather just to be able to not feel anything at all for a few hours. The tears were able to spill freely from his eyes now, and they continued to do so, until Mike was sure the only reason he had stopped was because there weren't any more left.
He squeezed his eyes shut tight, and had just started to drift off when a loud knock at the door startled him back awake, his eyes shooting open instantaneously. He laid motionless, hoping that that whomever it was would just go away, as he certainly didn't plan on dragging himself out of the warmth of his bed.
Silence. Maybe they had gotten the message.
Mike was just allowing his eyes to flutter shut again when there were 3 more hard knocks at the door.
"Mike! Open the damn door," a voice shouted from the other side of the door.
'Fuck,' Mike said to himself, immediately recognizing the voice. It was Harvey. What the hell was he even doing here?
As much as Mike would have loved to just pretend he wasn't there, he knew Harvey was persistent, and wasn't going to go away until he had answered the door. So reluctantly, he dragged himself from bed and to the door.
"Brought you something. Just wondering, exactly how many times do you plan to turn this thing in?" Harvey asked, holding out Mike's badge in front of him.
"This is the last time. Now can you please just go?"
"No. Not until we talk about this."
"Fine, just come in, because I'm not going to do this with you in the hallway of my apartment," Mike said as he swung the door open so Harvey could step through. Mike closed the door right behind them.
"So what do you want, Harvey? If it's to tell me how disappointed you are in me, I'm well aware, so you can save your breath on that one."
"Did you get high again today?"
"What? No.," Mike said defensively. "I fucked up and made a mistake Harvey, it's not like I'm sitting around smoking all the time."
"Then why are your eyes so red right now?"
"Harvey, just stop it."
"That's it, isn't it? You figured as long as you officially threw in the towel, it's okay to go back to all the old habits and the same life you told me you so desperately wanted to get away from."
"My eyes are red because I was crying. Is that okay with you, Harvey? Or am I supposed to be an uncaring asshole just like you?"
"I do care," Harvey said, surprising himself with how quickly those words had come from his mouth.
"Right," Mike scoffed. "You care about winning, and cars, and your stupid expensive suits. You weren't even in my presence more than 5 minutes just now before accusing me of doing drugs, so you don't even trust me, let alone give a damn about me."
"I'm sorry I accused you, I didn't mean to, I jumped to conclusions and I apologize for that. As far as not trusting you or giving a damn about you? I had Donna clear my entire schedule this afternoon just so I could come here and try to get you to come back. I'm willing to give you another shot, Mike. But I guess that doesn't count for anything, does it?"
"So what? Where was your caring before today? Were you caring when you were piling endless amounts of work on me when you know I'm already stressed out and buried under work from Louis? Were you caring when you tell me to cancel plans on my sick Grammy to come help you? Were you caring when-"
"Okay. I get what you're saying, Mike," Harvey interrupted. "But what you fail to understand is that I'm trying to prepare you. I pile endless amounts of work on you because you're going to need to be able to handle that, and I know you can handle it. I make you cancel your plans because when you're a lawyer, there's going to be times when you have to cancel on family and friends in favor of working, not because you want to, but because it's part of the job. So, I'm sorry if you think I'm being tough on you, or you think I'm an uncaring asshole as you put it, but I need to be, for your own good. I'm just trying to look out for you."
Mike swallowed hard, and he could feel the tears welling in his eyes again, threatening to spill at any moment. He quickly wiped his hand up across both his eyes, hoping to keep the tears at bay, at least momentarily. Long enough to get Harvey away from him. He didn't want Harvey to see him cry.
"Leave," he said to Harvey.
"Fine. But I'm going to leave this here with you though," Harvey said, before placing Mike's name badge onto his coffee table. "I think you'll need it. I hope you'll need it, anyway."
Harvey was halfway out the door when he paused for a moment, and then spun back around to face the inside of Mike's apartment again. "Call me if you need anything, Mike. No matter what you decide, just..well, just call me. Let me know you're okay."
Mike didn't give any kind of acknowledgement one way or the other to what Harvey had just said, instead he just waited for the door to close so he could slide down on the floor, and allow himself to cry, for the second time, turns out he still had plenty of tears left.
Harvey had just given him the verbal confirmation to the fact that he cared, the very thing that Mike had wanted him to do since the beginning, and Mike had kicked him out of his apartment after he had done it. It wasn't how Mike ever pictured that particular conversation going, but then again, the way Mike pictured things and the way things turned out were always entirely different things.
Mike needed time though, and he needed to sleep on it. He managed to pull himself off the floor, and drag himself back to the bedroom, and onto the bed. His heart felt as heavy as his eyelids did, and despite his mind usually racing a thousand different directions, it had been narrowed down to one singular thought; Harvey. He was fast asleep within 5 minutes of hitting the bed, finally catching up on the sleep he had been long overdue for.
Harvey had waited outside of Mike's apartment for nearly an hour, half expecting, and half hoping that Mike would give him a call and ask him to come back so they could work things out between the two of them. Harvey knew that he wasn't the best with expressing his feelings, which could be why they were in this whole mess to begin with, but he was pretty sure he had just told the kid he cared about him, and had gotten asked to leave in return. That definitely stung a bit, but he knew that he probably deserved it, and Mike probably just needed some time to figure things out.
There wasn't any sense in standing outside his apartment all day though, so Harvey headed back to the office and figured he could at least try to get some work done, and hope that maybe Mike would show up there, or maybe just give him a call or even a text, he wasn't picky, he just wanted some form of contact with him. He didn't want to lose Mike.
It was a little after 7, and Harvey was still at the office, for it being the city that never sleeps, darkness seemed to swallow the city whole quickly these days. That was always the worst part about winter. He had given up on getting anything accomplished hours ago and instead settled for just pretending to look busy instead.
He couldn't stop thinking about Mike. He'd dialed his number twice after being back at the office, just to hang up the phone before it even had a chance to ring. Maybe he'd try again, and this time he'd let Mike pick up.
He wasn't sure when this whole thing had turned into him being the bad guy. After all, Mike was the one who had betrayed his trust, Mike was the one that screwed up, but maybe if he had paid more attention to him or given him more positive reinforcement this wouldn't have happened. Sometimes Harvey forgot how much Mike seemed to need his approval.
Harvey picked up the phone and dialed the number again. He felt a strange mixture of relief and disappointment when it cut to Mike's answering machine.
"Mike..I just wanted to thank you for getting that work done for me last night, same for getting what Louis needed done as well. You did a good job, and I appreciate it..I just..well, I hope that's not the last thing you ever do for me. So just..call me back when you get a chance."
Harvey ended the call and switched the phone off of vibrate mode, he didn't want to chance missing Mike's call. He stuffed the phone into his coat pocket and grabbed his things, before calling Ray to take him back to his condo.
Mike had woken up to see his phone flashing on the nightstand by the bed. He reached over and grabbed it, flipping the light by the bed on and allowing his eyes to adjust before looking at the screen of the phone. 'One new voice mail.' Mike dialed the number, and listened to Harvey's message. Mike thought he might cry again, but it was a smile that made his way to his face instead. Harvey being appreciative, he couldn't not smile at that. They needed to talk. Not yell, not accuse each other of things, not blame each other. Just talk. Mike didn't want to do it over the phone though.
It was cold outside, and Mike briefly considered opting for a cab the second he stepped through the door and took a breath of the icy air. He decided against it though, he's rode his bike in much colder before, and it wouldn't take him long to get to Harvey's. He'd looked over a map before and figured out the shortest distance to Harvey's place, shortcuts included, not for any real reason other than wanting to know exactly how close he was to Harvey. Maybe that was a weird thing to do, but the knowledge was comforting to Mike.
Harvey had all but given up on the idea that his phone was going to ring any time soon, so he was surprised to hear a faint knock at his door. He sat down the glass of scotch that he had firmly grasped in his hand, and tossed the blanket from his lap to answer the door.
"Mike," he said, his voice sounding surprised, as if it could have been anybody else knocking at his door at 11 at night.
"Hey," Mike said quietly.
"You rode your bike here?" Harvey asked. The question was completely rhetorical, as Harvey could feel the cold radiating from Mike's body, and it took every fiber of his being not to pull Mike into a warm embrace. Instead he settled for leading Mike into the condo and getting him to sit down on the sofa, giving him a blanket to wrap himself in, and ordering him to stay put.
Harvey disappeared for awhile, but when he returned he had a mug of hot chocolate in hand. He sat it on the coffee table in front of Mike, and then sat down on the opposite end of the couch with him. Mike picked up the mug and took a sip from it. It was the perfect temperature, and seemed to immediately start to warm him from the inside out.
"You put cinnamon in it."
"Just the way you like it," Harvey half-smiled.
"Harvey,' Mike said, glancing up from behind the mug, before setting it back down on the table, and letting out a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry."
"You don't have to apologize, Mike. I know you're sorry."
"I don't want to let you down anymore. I can't let you down anymore."
"You can't possibly know that, Harvey."
"Maybe I can't, but you can. It's up to you. Look Mike, I realize that you're not perfect, but neither am I. But you're also more than your mistakes, and I think you're deserving of another chance. Under a few conditions though."
"If the thought of smoking weed even crosses your mind at all, I don't care how god damn brief the thought is, you either call me, or you come and get me immediately, and we will figure things out, together. That sound fair?"
"Yes, that's more than fair. Thank you, Harvey."
"Also, let me know if Louis is bugging you. And I'm talking really bugging you, not just the usual way him simply existing bugs people. I can get him to back off of you. You should know that."
"I promise to do that."
"I'm also sorry I called you an uncaring asshole earlier too."
"I've been called worse. Water under the bridge though. You still cold?" Harvey asked, noticing Mike had gripped the blanket around himself tighter, and also wanting to change the subject and move on from it.
"I'm mostly warm. I should probably head back home soon though."
"It's snowing," Harvey pointed out. He had noticed the snow coming down like confetti over the city through his window about 10 minutes ago.
"All the more reason to get going," Mike argued.
"All the more reason to stay," Harvey countered.
"I wouldn't want to impose."
"Mike. Just stay. Please."
"All right." It's hard enough to say no to Harvey in general, let alone when he throws the 'please' word around like that.
"Good. I'll go find you something to wear, you just finish your hot chocolate," Harvey said, before reaching over and giving Mike's knee a light squeeze before getting up. Harvey's touch seemed to linger there long after he had disappeared down the hallway.
Mike picked up his hot chocolate and took another gulp, before sitting it down again, then standing up and walking over to the obscenely large windows highlighting the gorgeous view of the city. Despite the hustle and bustle that seemed to never stop in the city, it looked so serene and quiet from where he stood.
"These should fit," Harvey said as he returned to the room, clothes in hand. "Think fast," he said before tossing the clothes to Mike. Mike managed to catch neither of the items, which made Harvey laugh as they fell to the floor.
"Yeah, I was never good at sports."
"Catching clothes isn't a sport last I checked."
"You know what I meant. I'll just, uh, go get changed now, I guess."
Mike came back wearing the clothes Harvey had picked out for him, the powder blue shirt made Mike's eyes stand out, just as Harvey thought it would. Mike sat down next to him on the couch and they watched some tv together. Mike had slowly inched closer to Harvey on the couch as time progressed, until he was practically on his lap. Mike rested his head on Harvey's shoulder, causing Harvey to let out a content sigh.
"Want to call it a night?" Harvey asked, looking down at his watch.
"Yeah, I'm beat. It's been a long day."
"Too long," Harvey added.
Once in the bedroom, Mike immediately climbed into bed, burying himself under the covers. "You coming?"
"In a few, I have to turn out the lights and brush my teeth," Harvey responded.
When he came back, he slid under the covers and he could feel Mike's cold feet immediately find their way to his skin.
"Jesus, Mike, your feet are freezing. Do you want some socks or something?"
"No, I just plan on stealing your body heat instead."
"Not a bad plan," Harvey said before reaching over and switching off the light.
"How bad would you have missed me if I didn't come back?"
Harvey thought for a moment before answering, "About as bad as you would have missed me."
That was the last thing he said before drifting off to sleep. Harvey eventually laid his head against Mike's chest, and let the steady rhythm of Mike's heartbeat lull him off to sleep.