"You haven't been in to see me for a little while," Helena admonishes when Mike goes to visit her the next week.
Mike winces, because yes, it's been a few weeks, which is longer than he's gone before, and he already feels pretty bad about it. Helena's casual remark just makes him feel guiltier. "I know, Grammy," he says quietly. "I'm sorry."
Helena sighs. "Sit down," she says, reaching out as if to pat the bed next to her—but finding herself gesturing aimlessly at the side of bed. "Pull up a chair," she amends.
Mike smiles and finds a chair over the opposite wall. He pulls it over to Helena's bedside and sits down in a heap. "So," he says. "What's new?"
Helena gives him a dry look, and an expressive glance at the sparse room.
"Right," Mike laughs, "I guess that means nothing, then?"
"Actually," Helena says, "Jenny came to visit me on Monday."
"Really?" Mike says, blinking. "That's nice." He actually doesn't know what to think.
"It was," Helena says. "And she mentioned something."
"She said that the two of you had...broken up?" Helena looks piercingly at Mike.
Mike grimaces. "Yeah."
"You broke up before you had even told me you were dating?"
"Yeah," Mike says again, uselessly.
"You can't have been dating for long, then," Helena purses her lips.
"About a few months, actually," Mike says hesitantly.
Helena sighs. "What happened? Trevor again?"
"Not Trevor, actually," Mike says. "It was Harvey."
"Harvey," Helena says, frowning. "Why—" her eyes narrow. "He found out, didn't he."
"What—no," Mike says. "I wouldn't keep that from you!"
Helena gives him a look, and Mike sighs. "I know, but I just—couldn't figure out how to bring this up. But that—I would never hide that from you."
"Then why didn't it work out?" Helena asks.
"It didn't feel right," Mike says. "It's not even the whole Destiny thing—it's that I've really fallen in love with him. With him, not just Arthur."
"Isn't that how it should be?"
"Yes," Mike says. "Exactly as it should be. Which is why I couldn't stay with Jenny. I couldn't—I couldn't lie to her like that."
"So you told her," Helena says.
"Just about Harvey," Mike says, "and now. Not about all the times before. That would—she wouldn't believe me anyway."
"No," Helena agrees, "probably not." She sighs, and struggles to sit up farther in her bed. Mike swoops in and places a few pillows carefully behind her back, so she isn't lying down. "So," she says, starting to smile wickedly, "you love him."
"Yeah," Mike says, blushing and ducking his head as he sits back down.
"Does he love you back?" Helena asks.
"I don't know," Mike says honestly. "I really can't tell. He...could? I think there's some attraction there, but—" He stops, shrugs.
"But?" Helena prompts.
"I just don't want to chance it," Mike says, "if he only feels attraction right now. If that's it, I don't—I don't want to take the risk."
"All right," Helena says. "So you're waiting for him."
"I guess," Mike says, smiling. "I kind of always am, aren't I? He's driving me crazy."
"You should drive him crazy back," Helena says wisely.
Mike's smile starts to grow a little broader. "I should, shouldn't I?"
"That's my boy," Helena says proudly.
On Monday, when Harvey comes and stands behind Mike's chair, Mike leans back a slight amount, just forceful enough that his back presses against Harvey's arm, but light enough that it could be an accident. It's not an accident.
Harvey stiffens, then leans forward a little more, and Mike smiles.
"What are you doing," Donna whispers conspiratorially to Mike that evening. "He's going insane."
"Sorry?" Mike offers, struggling not to laugh as he spies Harvey pacing back and forth inside his office, speaking sharply and quickly into his phone.
"Don't be," Donna says, sounding very smug. "It's hilarious."
"I'm glad I amuse you," Mike says dryly.
"I'm glad you amuse me, too," Donna says. "There's very little that does so nowadays."
"That's sad," Mike says.
"Good thing you're around," Donna replies.
"So, is he busy?" Mike asks, watching Harvey clench his jaw and pinch the bridge of his nose.
"Yeah," Donna says, "he's been on the phone for an hour. Some client isn't listening to him—wants to do things 'their way'. I think Harvey's going to hang up any minute now."
"Mm-hmm," Mike says, snorting. "Is he tense?"
"Uh-huh," Donna says. "I think he did something to his shoulder, too, he's been shifting it all day."
As if on cue, Harvey rolls his right shoulder back, a faint furrow of discomfort appearing on his forehead.
"Ah," Mike says, grinning. "Thanks."
"And that's my cue to go home," Donna says, grinning back. She grabs her coat and her bag and walks out. Mike waves at her and turns back to the office.
He slips in as Harvey firmly hangs up the cell, walking up to him with a quiet, "Everything all right?"
"Yeah," Harvey says, flickering a small glance at him. "Just people being idiots."
"Ah," Mike says. "I see." Harvey winces almost imperceptibly, and Mike asks, "Headache?"
Harvey shakes his head. "Shoulder."
"Sprained it?" Mike asks, stepping a little more into Harvey's space and planting a hand on his shoulder.
"Yeah," Harvey says, after a second too long of a hesitation.
"Mm," Mike says. He presses down with the hand, digging his thumb into the back of Harvey's shoulder and moving it. Harvey tenses and then relaxes. "I would offer to give you a massage," Mike says.
There's a pause, and then Harvey asks softly, "But?"
"Hmm?" Mike asks as he loosens the knots in Harvey's shoulder.
"You said that you would. There was an implied 'but'. But?" Harvey sighs, and Mike can't see his face, but can imagine it all too well with his eyes closed and his mouth slack and slightly parted.
Mike steps back, hands falling back to his sides, useless. "But I'm not very good at it," he finishes lamely. "You should go see someone about that shoulder if it keeps hurting."
"It's fine," Harvey says inscrutably, sitting back down at his desk. "Thanks."
"Any time," Mike says, looking away. He swallows. "I'm going to go home now, unless there's anything you need me for—"
"No, no, it's all right," Harvey says. "I'm pretty much done here anyway."
Mike looks around, bemused. The office is uncharacteristically quiet, but also busier than normal. None of the associates even glance at him (not even a sneer—he thinks he should be insulted) as he sticks his briefcase underneath his desk. He frowns, and walks over to Harvey's office.
Harvey isn't in, and Mike turns to Donna. "What's going on?" he asks.
"The elusive Mr. Hardman is coming for his semiannual visit," Donna says dryly, typing away at her computer.
"Semiannual?" Mike asks.
"Pretty much, yeah," Donna says. "He'll walk around a little, talk to the partners, quietly observe the associates, and then leave for another six months."
"Ah," Mike says. "That sounds...methodical."
"It is kind of routine, at this point," Donna says.
It's at that moment that Harvey comes striding back, disappearing into his office with a careless "Jessica wants to see you" thrown at Mike.
Mike raises his eyebrows at Donna, who shrugs expressively.
"You wanted to see me, Ms. Pearson?" Mike asks politely, stepping into Jessica's office.
"Mike, come here," Jessica says, standing up. There's a man sitting in the chair in front of her desk, and he stands up too. He's older, perhaps in his mid-sixties, and Mike gets the feeling, as he walks over to the desk, that this is the mysterious Mr. Hardman. "I'd like you to meet Gary Hardman," Jessica says, gesturing at the man.
Mr. Hardman holds out his hand, and Mike shakes it, saying, "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
"Please," Mr. Hardman says, "call me Gary." He pauses, hesitating. "I'm sorry," he says, sharing an indecipherable look with Jessica, "but you wouldn't happen to be related to Helena Ross, would you?"
Mike blinks. "I—yes, I'm her grandson," he says.
"Oh," Gary says, smiling widely, as if he knows something Mike doesn't. "You have her eyes, that's why I thought you might be."
"Yes," Mike says, flickering a glance at Jessica, who stares impassively back at him, seated now, the slight upturn of the corner of her mouth suggesting amusement. "May I ask how you know her?"
"Distant cousin," Gary says, waving a hand. "Although I haven't heard from her in years. How is dear Helena?"
"Pretty well," Mike says softly. "She's in a nursing home nearby."
"Oh," Gary says, seeming to deflate a little. He turns back to Jessica, who clears her throat.
"I thought, perhaps, that you two had some...important things to discuss," Jessica says pointedly, and Mike's eyes widen.
"Oh," he says. "Oh."
"Oh good," Gaius says in Gary's voice, sounding immensely relieved, "you do remember, then."
"Of course," Mike says, sitting down heavily in one of the chairs. No need for courtesy now, he figures. "I just—I've been looking for you, Gaius. All my life."
"Yes," Gary says, sitting down as well. "As have I." His speech sounds oddly formal—or it would, to someone who hadn't spent a lifetime listening to and speaking the same type of language.
Mike laughs happily. "This is—this is incredible, I—" He closes his eyes tightly, feeling suddenly choked up with emotion. "I missed you," he whispers, feeling suddenly years younger.
There is the sound of Gary standing up, then a warm hand lands reassuringly on Mike's arm, drawing him up into a rough hug. "I know, dear boy," Gary says, sounding older than their time.
Mike comes back from Jessica's office a few minutes later smiling broadly, ignoring the looks that other people send him. He stops by Donna's desk, and she looks at him once before pulling off her headset and saying, "Okay, what happened?"
"Did you know?" Mike asks quietly, leaning forward. "Did you know who he was?"
"Who who was?" Donna asks.
"Mr. Hardman, did you know who he was?" Mike says impatiently.
"What do you mean who he was?" Donna asks. When Mike just stares at her, she says, comprehending, "Oh. Yes, yes I did."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Mike asks.
"Well, I thought you'd want to figure it out for yourself, like you always do," Donna says.
"Oh. Well," Mike says. "I know now."
"I can see that," Donna says. Mike grins, unable to hold it in. "He's free," she adds, motioning to Harvey's office.
"Does he need anything?" Mike asks.
"I don't know, go ask him," Donna says exasperatedly, but with a smile of her own.
Mike does so, making an effort to tone down the smile as he walks into Harvey's office and over to his desk. "Hey, Harvey, did you need anything?"
"Yeah," Harvey says, looking up. "What did Jessica want?"
"She wanted me to meet Mr. Hardman," Mike says, tamping down his excitement a notch.
"Oh," Harvey says, blinking. "Did she say why?"
"No," Mike lies.
"Oh," Harvey says again, looking back at his desk. "I need you to look at this file," he says, changing the subject and holding up a file. Mike reaches out and takes it, brushing fingers with Harvey on the way. Harvey very carefully and visibly does not jerk back. Harvey clears his throat. "Find out what you can about that person."
"All right," Mike says, going back to his desk.
Mike goes to visit Helena right after work that day. "Hi Grammy," he says, smiling fiercely.
"Hi," Helena says, sitting up. "Did something happen?"
"I met someone today," Mike says, placing a few pillows under her back.
"Oh?" Helena says, raising her eyebrows. "Who?"
"Does the name 'Gary Hardman' mean anything to you?" Mike asks, and watches in delight as Helena's eyes widen.
"Gaius?" she breathes. "You found him?" Mike nods, and her face breaks out into a smile. "Oh," she says. "Oh. Did you tell him to come see me?"
"I did," Mike confirms. "He says he'll be by tomorrow."
"Oh," Helena says again, clasping her hands tightly on her lap. "I take it he knows?"
"Yes," Mike says. "I can't stop smiling," he says quietly, leaning forward so his arms are braced on her bed.
Helena reaches an arm down and strokes his hair back from his face. "My boy," she says, voice a little choked, and swipes at her eyes with the other hand.
"I know, Mum," Mike says quietly, because times like these require a different sort of acknowledgement. "I know."
The thing is, riling Harvey up is fun, it really is. But after more than a couple weeks of it, Mike himself is holding his breath at every touch, hands shaking from a brush of shoulders, chest clenching when their eyes meet for too long.
It's more than a little painful.
It gets to be so that Harvey clenches his jaw and stiffens whenever Mike walks into the room, and speaks to him in shorter and shorter sentences, until the banter is gone, and the only words left are terse and uncomfortable.
"Maybe you should make a move," Donna suggests at one point, uncharacteristically hesitant.
"But I can't," Mike says, voice cracking. He drops his head into his hands with a muffled groan. "It's got to be him."
"You could be waiting for a long time," Donna warns.
"It's been twenty-five years," Mike says, lifting his head. "A little longer isn't that much."
"Yeah," Donna says, but she sounds unconvinced.
Mike grimaces and doesn't respond.
Mike sighs, closing his eyes and dropping his head into one hand.
"Mike," Harvey says from behind him, touching him lightly on the shoulder, making him jump. Mike straightens, blinking his eyes open. He turns around in his chair, gazing calmly up at Harvey.
"Hmm?" he says fuzzily.
"Not falling asleep, were you?" Harvey asks casually, looking at him with an indecipherable expression on his face.
"No," Mike says, waving a hand. "No, just—it's just been one of those days, y'know?"
Harvey huffs out something between a laugh and a sigh. "Yeah, kid, I know." He passes a hand over his face. "It's late," he says.
"I know," Mike replies. "Did you need something?"
"No," Harvey says. "It's not busy here. You can—go home, if you like."
Mike tilts his head at him. "All right," he says slowly. "Thanks."
"Yeah," Harvey says awkwardly, and walks away. Mike stares after him for a long time, even after he's gone.
They barely have a chance to tell Merlin that Arthur's been hurt ("grievously injured", they say solemnly, and he goes cold with fear) before he's gone, running through the corridors, feet skidding on the stone floors until he reaches Arthur's chambers.He hesitates at the door, then pushes it open. "Arthur?" he calls out, softly.Gaius, sitting at his bedside, looks up. "He's sleeping," he says. "I'll go now." He gestures to a small vial on the table by Arthur's bed and says, "Give him all of that when he wakes up." He stands up, starts to walk past Merlin to the door, but Merlin grabs him by the arm."Will he be all right?" Merlin asks.Gaius's mouth thins. "It's a bit hard to tell now, Merlin," he says, and leaves.Merlin sits down heavily in the chair Gaius vacated. "Oh, Arthur," he says, voice cracking. "Why do you do this to me?"
That's the first dream of the night, the first one Mike has had in a few months. It's extraordinarily painful, shockingly so. He almost lost Arthur that day, Merlin did. He was so close to losing him.
It's the first dream of the night, but not the only one.
"You're a sorcerer," Arthur says flatly. His eyes are unreadable as he stares at Merlin, and Merlin knows that his own eyes are still gold."Arthur," he says numbly."You're a sorcerer, all this time—everything, it's all been a lie. All of it!" Arthur tosses his sword to the ground with a clatter, running a hand through his hair agitatedly. Merlin steps forward to help him with his armor, but Arthur whirls on him, pushing him away with a firm hand. "Don't touch me.""Arthur," Merlin pleads, though he doesn't even know what he's pleading for at this point. What had he expected, if not this—this violent reaction?"Don't, Merlin," Arthur snaps. "You lied to me.""I know," Merlin says desperately, "but you've got to understand, I—I would never do anything to harm you, never. Everything I did, everything I ever did was for you.""How am I supposed to believe you?" Arthur shouts. "Is there anything you could tell me to make this right?"Merlin opens his mouth, then closes it. He sags. "No," he whispers. "There's nothing I can tell you—nothing I can do to make this right.""Then what do you want from me?"Merlin can't say anything.Arthur curses, strides forward, and punches him square on the jaw. Merlin staggers, hand flying to his face, but he doesn't make a sound. There's only silence in the room, silence and the sound of Arthur's labored breathing.After a long moment, Arthur deflates, stepping back. "I know you wouldn't hurt me," he says slowly.Merlin, who has been staring at the floor until now, looks up sharply, hope growing in his chest."I know that," Arthur says, coming forward again. "But you lied to me.""I know," Merlin says. "I'm so—so sorry, Arthur.""Yeah," Arthur says softly, and kisses him.
Mike jerks awake at that, sitting upright and breathing hard. "Arthur," he breathes, closing his eyes tightly.
Mike is off-balance when he walks into work the next morning, and he knows it's plainly there for anyone to see.
Donna walks past him on his way to his desk, and her eyes widen dramatically. "Whoa," she says. "What happened to you?" Her eyes flicker over him, taking in the not-ironed shirt, the crooked tie, the messed up hair, the shadowed eyes.
Mike sighs. "Didn't get much sleep," he says. "I had—dreams."
"Ah," Donna says with comprehension. She looks harried, like she has somewhere to be, and sure enough, she asks, "You'll be all right?"
"Yeah, no, I'm fine," Mike assures, waving a hand and smiling. He knows it must sound weak, because Donna shoots him an unconvinced look, before leaving anyway. Mike sighs and goes to sit at his desk.
Thirty minutes later, Harvey walks past. He claps a hand on Mike's shoulder and pulls him out of his seat. Mike catches his breath, because after the previous night, he feels more than a little raw. "Come with me, rookie," Harvey says, and Mike swallows.
Later, Mike makes a break in their case. He sits at his computer, pointing something out to Harvey. Harvey leans over him, looking over his shoulder, his hand pressed to the middle of Mike's back, and the skin around it seems to burn, even through Mike's suit. He can feel the heat radiating from Harvey behind him.
Mike has to close his eyes for a moment.
"All right," Harvey says, finally. "That's good, that's—good." The hand on Mike's back slides up to grasp the back of his neck. Mike shivers. "Good boy," Harvey says, and walks away.
Mike stares at his hands, and clasps them together tightly, trying to stop them from shaking.
Mike knows he's not doing a good job of hiding what he's feeling. To be honest, he's never been very good at it—but usually he's better than this. Every time Harvey looks at him, Mike knows everything he's thinking is etched clearly on his face.
It's nine o'clock, and Harvey has his suit jacket off and his sleeves rolled up, and Mike's sitting on the couch staring at him, and the sound of jazz fills the air incongruously, something Mike has come to associate closely with Harvey. He feels like something's suffocating him slowly, and thanks god that Harvey isn't looking at him.
And then Harvey starts to say "Mike, can you—" and looks up. Mike isn't fast enough.
He thinks that Harvey can see everything, can see the want and the naked longing on his face—and Harvey must see it, because he stops speaking abruptly, the breath leaving him in a rush.
Mike stops breathing.
Harvey stands up slowly—or it feels slow, it feels achingly slow—and comes forward. When he stands in front of Mike, he pulls him up by the arm, and Mike has to fight not to close his eyes.
"Harvey," he says, if only to break the silence.
Harvey draws in a sharp breath and seals his mouth over Mike's own.
Mike gasps and goes still for a brief, brief moment, before instinct (and a lifetime of waiting) kicks in, and he presses against Harvey, kissing back desperately. One of Harvey's arms goes around his waist, pulling him in closer, and Mike gives in and closes his eyes.
Harvey breaks away after what feels like years of them kissing, though it's only been moments. "Mike," he says, sounding breathless for the first time Mike can remember.
"Harvey," Mike returns, resting his forehead against Harvey's shoulder.
"Come home with me," Harvey says.
"Yeah," Mike says, smiling.
When Mike wakes up the next morning, he smells bacon. That's the first conscious thought that he has. The second is that he's more comfortable than he's ever been.
Granted, Harvey's bed is considerably softer than Mike's own, but Mike doubts that's all of it. He thinks—he thinks that this is the first true good night's sleep he's had since—well, since a while back.
It's warm, and it's Saturday, and Mike could stay in bed. But Harvey made him breakfast.
Mike smiles, and gets up.
He pads over to the kitchen in just socks and pajama pants, yawning and stretching. "Morning," he says to Harvey, who smiles at him softly and hands him a cup of coffee. Their fingers brush, and Mike leans forward to press a kiss to the corner of Harvey's mouth. Harvey hums, turning back to the stove.
"Breakfast's almost done," he says.
"Mm," Mike says. "Bacon and eggs, yum." He sips at his coffee—black, cream, no sugar, just how he likes it. He smiles.
"Sleep well?" Harvey asks.
"Better than I have in ages," Mike replies.
"Must be the bed," Harvey says.
"Could be the company." Mike sips at his coffee again. Harvey puts the eggs and bacon on two plates and hands Mike his. "Thanks," Mike says, and starts to eat.
Harvey watches him for a moment, a familiar look of fondness on his face, before he starts to eat, too. They eat in companionable silence for a moment, before Harvey sets down his fork with a clatter. He exhales, not quite a sigh, but almost there.
Mike puts down his fork more gently, swallows, and waits.
Sure enough, Harvey says, "Look, Mike—" but then cuts himself off. It's an ominous start, but somehow, Mike isn't worried. Harvey continues, "I don't—I don't want you to think that—" Mike wonders where Harvey's smoothness has gone.
When it seems like he might not continue, Mike prompts, "That?"
"This isn't just a one-time thing," Harvey says. "At least, not for me."
"I didn't think it was," Mike says honestly.
Harvey looks startled at that, but recovers quickly. He smirks. "Presumptuous."
"No, I just know you," Mike says seriously. "There's a certain way you flirt with people. You know what you want, and they know what you want, and there are no complications. It was different with me—you didn't just move in, like you might do for someone else. It mattered—imatters/i—to you."
Harvey tilts his head. "You noticed all that?"
"Yeah," Mike says.
"Then why didn't you just make the move first?" Harvey asks, a little bit of impatience creeping into his voice.
Mike mulls that over for a moment, because he can't really tell Harvey the truth (ibecause being with you would hurt too much, when I wanted Arthur too). Finally, he settles for saying, "I didn't know how." There's a silence, and then Mike says, sipping his coffee innocently, "So—are we going steady now?"
Harvey snorts, and picks up his fork again. "Yeah, rookie, something like that."
But it's still not right, everything's not falling into place—something's still missing, and, momentary relief aside, being with Harvey only removes a little of the ache in Mike's heart.
He still doesn't remember. Mike can see that with every second that passes by, with every glance at Harvey's eyes, so sharp and yet so dull compared to what they could look like. What they should look like.
It's not getting better, but what else can Mike do but wait?
It's a week later, and they're at a hot dog stand getting lunch, when some guy looks them over (Mike's hand on Harvey's arm, Harvey's hand placed at the small of Mike's back) and makes a nasty remark. Mike rolls his eyes and opens his mouth to tell the guy to kindly fuck off, but Harvey narrows his eyes and steps away from Mike, toward the guy. Mike stops, confused.
Harvey stands over the man, drawn up to his full height, menacing, until the guy backs down, says insincerely, "I'm sorry, all right?" and walks quickly away. Harvey snorts and buys the hot dogs.
Later that night, when they're back at Harvey's apartment, he pins Mike to the wall and kisses him firmly, until Mike is dizzy.
"What was that for?" Mike asks dazedly.
"Nothing," Harvey says, but then he murmurs, "I love you."
Mike blinks, eyes widening. It's not that he didn't know, because he did, he does—it's just that he didn't expect Harvey to say it this soon.
"I love you too," Mike says softly, kissing him again, and it tastes a little sweeter than it ever has before.
Harvey relaxes, and lets Mike step away from the wall. Mike kisses his cheek again, and goes to order pizza.
"Any sign of him remembering?" Donna asks him casually one day.
"No," Mike sighs. "But it's all right."
"Is it any easier now?" Donna asks.
"No," Mike says again. Donna nods and clasps his hand comfortingly.
"He'll remember," she reassures.
"I know," Mike says, but he's still waiting, isn't he?
Monday morning, a man strolls into Harvey's office. He's about Mike's age, maybe a few years older, with brown hair and brown eyes, and he seems weirdly familiar. He greets Donna with familiarity and affection, and Mike finds his curiosity piqued.
As the man walks through the door and shuts it behind him, Mike walks up to Donna, head tilted speculatively. "Who's he?" he asks casually.
Donna seems to hesitate, but turns and catches Harvey's eye through the glass wall, and he nods. She turns back and says, "Harvey's little brother."
"William," Mike says, remembering Harvey mentioning him.
"Yes," Donna says. "He's in town for the week, so he dropped by to visit."
"Is he a lawyer, too?" Mike asks.
"No," Donna replies. "He's a journalist."
"Oh," Mike says. "That's nice."
"He's good, too," Donna says proudly, and Mike wonders if she's known William as long as she has Harvey. He really wants to meet this man.
Donna's gaze sharpens, for a moment, as if she's listening to something, and then she says, "You can go in."
"Harvey wants me?" Mike asks.
"Yes," Donna says, and waves him in.
"Mike," Harvey says warmly. "I'd like you to meet my brother, William."
William turns and looks at Mike, and his eyes widen nearly—nearly—imperceptibly. Mike considers that carefully, as he reaches out a hand to shake his. "Mike Ross," he says.
"Liam Specter," William—iLiam/i, and doesn't that seem to fit better—says, and smiles. "I've heard a lot about you," he adds mischievously, flickering a glance at Harvey.
"All good things, I hope?" Mike grins.
"I don't think he's capable of saying bad things about you," Liam says conspiratorially.
"Hey," Harvey says, and Mike pats him on the shoulder.
"I'm sure you insult me enough to my face, Harvey," he says.
"Well," Harvey says consideringly. "Yes."
"Harvey," Liam says, "can I talk to Mike for a bit?"
"This is my office," Harvey says dryly, "where am I supposed to go?"
"I don't know, go talk to Donna or something," Liam says.
Harvey rolls his eyes, but goes obediently. Mike smiles after him, then turns back to Liam, who switches off the intercom.
"So," he says to Liam, purposely obtuse, "is this the part where you tell me that you'll kill me if I hurt your brother?"
Liam smiles in a way that reads "fond", and says, "There's no point in pretending, I know you recognize me."
Mike shrugs. "Actually, no, but I noticed that you recognized me, so I'm pretty sure you're someone important."
"Something like that," Liam says dryly. "Come on, really? Think, Mer—Mike." He makes a face, as if the name will take him a while to get used to. Mike knows the feeling. He thinks.
"You wouldn't happen to be Leon, would you?" Mike asks, after a second.
"There it is," Liam says, grinning and slapping Mike on the shoulder. "Took you long enough."
"Sorry," Mike says, "it's just that you—well, you're his brother. Which, um, actually makes sense, doesn't it."
"Yes," Liam says.
"I'm just a bit off my game," Mike says. "So, how long have you known?"
"Since I was—" Liam visibly thinks back, "—probably about nine."
"Ah," Mike says, surprised. "That long?"
"Yeah," Liam says matter-of-factly. "The first time I came to visit Harvey at work was kind of a relief. I met Donna, and she was the only person so far who knew, you know?"
"I know exactly what you mean," Mike says. "I mean, my grandma is one thing, but she didn't really—well, she never really knew Arthur. Not well."
"Yes," Liam agrees. He grimaces for a moment, and says, "Look, I know it's not going to happen, but I feel like I should say that if you hurt my brother, I'll make your life miserable." He looks slightly apologetic, but altogether sincere. Mike smiles.
"You don't have to worry about that," Mike says, "but I'm glad, anyway."
"Oh, and," Liam says, "if he hurts you, I'll make his life miserable."
Mike laughs delightedly. "Thanks," he says. He jerks his head at the door. "Shall we?"
"Sure," Liam says. He walks over to the desk and pushes the button on Harvey's phone to turn the intercom back on. "Donna, he can come in now."
"You didn't intimidate him too much, did you?" Harvey asks as he comes back in.
"Harvey," Liam says, "give the kid some credit. He's a lot stronger than you'd think."
Harvey smiles. "I know," he says, and Mike jostles his shoulder with his own.
"Rachel and I are having a girls' night out," Donna says one day. "You should come."
"Wouldn't that kind of defeat the purpose of a girls' night out?" Mike asks.
"Hmm," Donna says, smirking. "Your soft features get you a free pass."
"I'm flattered," Mike says dryly. "I could put on some makeup, get all dolled up."
"Oh, no, honey," Donna says, eyes wide, "I don't think we could handle it."
"Probably not," Mike admits, grinning.
"You should bring Jenny along," Donna adds, startling Mike.
"Really, you think so?" Mike frowns in thought. He wouldn't have thought to do it, but he knows by now to trust Donna when she suggests something.
"It was Rachel's idea," Donna says. "And yes, I think so."
"Okay," Mike says, and goes back to work.
"Pizza and movie, tonight?" Harvey suggests later that day, and Mike is about to open his mouth to reply, when Donna beats him to it.
"Sorry, boss," she says, "no can do."
Harvey narrows his eyes. "Why not," he says, and Mike stifles a laugh, because Harvey is very, very obviously trying hard not to pout. And then Mike has to stifle another, more sobering urge to kiss him on the cheek and call him a prat.
Mike doesn't let his smile falter, though, and says, "Girls' night out, Harvey. Sorry."
"I feel like there's something I'm missing," Harvey says, deadpan.
"I have soft features," Mike says, by way of explanation.
Before he leaves for the night ("Yes, Harvey, Jenny's picking me up, I'm not dumb enough to bike to a restaurant on a night out."), Harvey kisses him slowly and says, "Any chance I could make you stay?"
"Mm," Mike says. "No. But I'll be home later."
Harvey sighs, and looks slightly disappointed. Mike smiles fondly and shakes his head.
"You'll miss me," he says. It's not a question. "You care."
Harvey rolls his eyes, and pushes him out the door, with a careless, "Don't be such a girl, Mike."
Mike laughs and makes it all the way to the ground floor before he realizes why that sounded so familiar, and he almost trips on his way out of the elevator. He stops dead, heart beating frantically, because that—well, that was something Arthur would say.
It's a nice restaurant, well-lit and just noisy enough to be comfortable. Rachel waves at them from a table close by, and Jenny and Mike head toward her.
"Hey," she says cheerfully as they sit down. "Donna's going to be here in five." She smiles genuinely at Jenny, and gives a little awkward-but-friendly one-armed hug to Mike. Mike grins.
"That's cool," he says, "I'm sure we can manage for five minutes."
And sure enough, when Donna arrives, they are happily chatting, sipping at the wine they've ordered, waiting for the appetizers. Jenny is laughing at something disparaging Rachel is saying about "the idiots we work with, god, you have no idea," when Mike looks over, and waves at Donna.
She sits down, an eyebrow raised amusedly. She looks like Harvey, Mike thinks, grinning. "Having fun, she says?"
"Yes," Mike says. "But we missed you."
"Mm, of course you did," Donna says loftily. She grabs the glass of wine they'd got for her, and sips delicately. She waves a hand at Rachel. "You were saying?"
"All the associates are stupid," Rachel says bluntly.
"Hey," Mike says.
"Not you," Rachel admits. "Most of the time. But you always get Elliot to do your work instead of me, so I don't really get to be exposed to your genius." It sounds a lot less sardonic than Mike expects, and he blinks, then smiles.
"I'll have to amend that, maybe balance my time between the two of you. There's enough of me to go around." His smile turns into a grin, even as he feels realizes how much he's missed Rachel.
"Tell that to Harvey," Jenny mutters, and Mike hits her on the arm, even as Rachel chokes, spluttering.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Jenny says to Mike, "did she not know? Did you not know?" she asks Rachel.
"Oh, no, I knew," Rachel says, still laughing. "He just didn't know that I knew."
"Wait—wait, how did you know?" Mike asks.
"You're not very subtle, honey," Donna says sympathetically.
"Gah," Mike says. "Can we change the subject?"
"Okay," Donna says promptly. "I saw this book, today."
"Uh-huh?" Rachel says, as their appetizers arrive. She picks up a piece of fried shrimp and bites down, making the universal motion for "go on".
"And it was talking about how to 'dress for success', you know, make people see you as 'feminine but professional', like there's some kind of style everybody should have, which is total bullshit—" Donna continues, "—and anyway I flipped through it in the bookstore out of some kind of morbid curiosity..."
"That was fun," Jenny says, as she drives him back to Harvey's place. "Donna and Rachel are awesome."
"I'm glad," Mike says, still grinning a little. "I thought you'd like them."
"Why's that?" Jenny asks, glancing at him.
"Because you're all awesome," he says, looking at her. "You're a lot alike."
Jenny smiles at him. "You're sweet," she says, as they pull up at Harvey's building. "Go home to your boyfriend."
Mike leans over and kisses her on the cheek. "Thank you."
"For the ride? No problem."
"No, for—for putting up with me. When I was still—" he winces, "—pining."
"No problem," Jenny says again, squeezing his hand. "Now go."
Mike goes, feeling warm inside.
When he gets up to the top floor, Harvey is asleep on the couch, head pillowed on his arms, a movie playing forgotten in the background.
Mike smiles and shuts the movie off, then shakes Harvey's gently.
"Mm?" Harvey says, blinking. "Mike. I take it the girls' night out was a success?" he murmurs sleepily, lifting his head.
"Yeah," Mike says, kissing him softly and pulling him to his feet. "C'mon, it's time for bed."
"You know," Donna says, mock-appalled, "he actually snapped at me yesterday. Snapped. It's like he thinks he can get away with it or something."
Mike snorts, a little preoccupied. "Sibling rivalry," he says without thinking. Then he stares at her, eyes wide, when he realizes—
"Yes," Donna says. "Exactly. But he doesn't know that."
Mike catches Harvey looking at him thoughtfully, and smiles, a little self-conscious. "What?" he asks, laughing.
"Nothing," Harvey says. "It's just—there's just something about you."
Mike very, very carefully does not tense, even as he hears, as an echo, the exasperatedly fond There's something about you, Merlin that he used to hear so often.
"Mike," Rachel says, a faint flicker of apprehension crossing her features, "I think we need to talk."
Mike frowns in concern, but follows her to the empty file room. "Yeah, sure, what's up?"
"I accidentally referred to Elliot as my brother, today," Rachel says, and Mike looks sharply at her. "I mean, I've always thought of him as like my brother, but I've never—it's never slipped out, like that." She looks up at Mike with eyes that are suddenly glinting with knowledge. "You wouldn't happen to know why that is, would you?"
Mike grins. "Hi, Gwen, I've missed you, how's it going?"
Rachel hits him on the shoulder and rolls her eyes. "How do you think? I suddenly have a whole other lifetime to remember. It's a little unnerving," she says, but she's grinning, too.
"Yeah, I can imagine," Mike says, laughing. "You're being kind of chill about all this."
"Well, how am I supposed to act?" Rachel asks. "It's not like it hasn't happened before. How did everybody else act? I kind of figured out who they were supposed to be. Well, most of them, anyway."
"I don't know," Mike says honestly. "Elliot and Donna and Ray had already remembered when I met them, and I think Jessica always knew. Oh, and Liam."
"Harvey's little brother?" Rachel asks. "Huh."
"Leon," Mike says by way of explanation.
"Oh," Rachel says. "Well, that makes sense. And Harvey?"
Mike stiffens, flinching the tiniest bit. It's a good question, he should have expected it. "He hasn't, um, yet."
Rachel frowns. "Still? I could have sworn—" She cuts herself off, shakes her head. "Never mind."
"No, what?" Mike asks.
"It's just—he barely even talks to me normally, you know, but today we had—well, we had an actual conversation. It was out of the blue, but it looked like he might be, somehow, remembering?" She looks at Mike then, who is sure his eyes are wide, stupidly hopeful.
"Do you think," he starts.
"I don't know," Rachel says hastily. "It was just a thought."
"Yeah," Mike says, shaking his head to snap himself out of his thoughts. "I'm so glad you remember," he says, smiling. "I—I really missed you."
Rachel smiles and hugs him tightly. "I missed you too," she says, then steps away, clearing her throat. "Come on, time to get back to work."
Mike laughs and follows her out.
Damn, Harvey walks fast.
Mike catches sight of him in the afternoon, over by the hot dog stand he frequents, and tries to catch up to him, because he really, really needs to talk to Harvey—but Harvey's on the phone, and evidently doesn't hear Mike yelling for him, because he keeps walking.
"Harvey," Mike shouts, when he sees him hang up, and Harvey—reacts. He doesn't turn slowly, he doesn't keep walking, he doesn't roll his eyes and tap his foot impatiently. He stops dead, and whirls in the blink of an eye, handing reaching to his side for something that isn't there.
Mike recognizes that move perfectly. It's what Arthur used to do after a few years of being king, after commanding the armies. People knew better than to startle him, after a while, because loud noises and shouts and surprises made him reach on instinct for his sword, even when it wasn't there.
Mike jogs up to Harvey, and hopes Harvey doesn't notice the way his hands are trembling. "You okay?" he says.
"Yeah," Harvey says, shaking his head as if to clear it. "You just—startled me." His hand flexes and clenches at his side, and he says, "So, you called?"
"He still doesn't remember, does he?" Helena asks as Mike sits down next to her bedside.
"No," Mike says.
"Even though he loves you?" Helena sits up a little, and Mike places a pillow under her back.
Mike smiles. "No," he says, "but I think he's starting to."
"How do you mean?" Helena frowns in thought.
"Little things," Mike says. "Things he says, ways he acts, gestures—they're things Arthur used to do, and they weren't there before."
"So he's almost there." Helena says. She doesn't seem surprised, as if she's been expecting this since Mike told her Harvey said he loved him.
"Maybe," Mike says, still smiling.
It happens more and more. Over the next couple of weeks, details start popping out, things Mike hasn't seen in a lifetime.
Harvey forgets to slick his hair back in the mornings, and even if he remembers, he runs his hand through it when he's frustrated, something that he never used to before. By the end of the day, it's softer, a little haphazard (as haphazard as Harvey can ever be).
He rubs at the back of his neck when he's uncomfortable and with people he trusts, a little gesture that opens him up more than normal.
He throws back his head when he laughs, really laughs, open-mouthed and bright.
He puts a hand on Mike's cheek when he kisses him, rubs a thumb over a cheekbone that isn't as sharp as he's used to, and Mike leans into it every time.
It's the little things that Mike sees.
But after all that, it's something ridiculously simple that does it.
"Come on, let's head out," Harvey says, dropping his hand down onto Mike's shoulder. It's Friday, and the office is almost empty, but it's still only 8:00.
Mike tilts his head back to look up at him. "Already?"
Harvey makes an affirmative noise. "We're going out for dinner."
"Ooh," says Mike, standing up, "what's the occasion?"
"No occasion," Harvey says. "But I got cheated when you went on your girls' night out, so I figured I should get a dinner, too."
"All right," Mike says, grinning and putting on his coat.
He glances down and swears. "I got something on my pants, one second." He drops to one knee and brushes futilely at his pant leg, which has some sort of unrecognizable dirt on it. After a moment, he sighs. "I don't think it's going to come off Harvey, you're just going to have to—" He breaks off when he looks up.
Harvey stands there, staring at him, looking shell-shocked. He closes his eyes as Mike watches, and sways where he stands, like he's being buffeted by wind. Mike very slowly stands up. He waits. He doesn't realize he's stopped breathing until Harvey takes in a deep, shuddering breath, and Mike finds himself doing the same.
Harvey opens his eyes.
They're distant for a moment, foggy with memory, but then they clear, sharp and bright with new knowledge, and Mike has to close his own eyes for a moment.
Even with his eyes closed, though, he knows the minute Harvey comes toward him, feels the warmth curling inside of him in an instinctive response. Harvey pulls him forward, and Mike opens his eyes.
Harvey kisses him, deep and all-consuming, and Mike grabs onto his shoulders. "Merlin," Harvey gasps into his mouth, and Mike shudders and collapses against him. "Merlin."
"Arthur," Mike says back, desperate, like an answer to a question. He shuts his eyes, gathering his bearings, then opens them again, straightening. "Not here," he says breathlessly.
Harvey nods, still breathing harshly. "Home," he says.
"Home," Mike confirms, and grabs him by the hand firmly as they walk out, as much of an anchor for himself as for Harvey.
"Ray," Mike says, as he pushes Harvey into the backseat of the car.
It's all he needs to say, since Ray takes one look at Harvey and says, "Oh—yeah, I'll take you guys home, now."
"Thanks," Mike says, because Harvey has his eyes closed and his head resting against the seat. His jaw is clenched. Mike hasn't let go of his hand yet, and he doesn't, rubbing circles on the back with his thumb.
Mike sits next to Harvey on the couch, hands itching to touch him, but he holds back. He knows how overwhelming this can be. Mike's had years, but Harvey—Harvey's had less than an hour.
He's staring at his lap, but his thoughts are obviously far away. After a few moments, he drops his head into his hands and says, choked, "God."
Mike does reach out, then, and places a cool hand on the side of Harvey's face, cupping his cheek. "Headache?" he inquires.
"No," Harvey says, looking up. "Don't do that."
"Do what?" Mike snatches his hand back.
"No, not—" Harvey exhales sharply. "You're taking care of me, when you've been waiting longer than I have."
"It's okay," Mike says, "I know how hard this can be."
"It's not hard," Harvey says exasperatedly, "not with you."
"No," Mike says, "it's fine, I understand, you need time to—"
"The hell I do," Harvey says, and pulls him in by the arm. He kisses him again, and Mike feels steady, warm, and he puts his hand on the back of Harvey's neck, pulling him closer still.
"All right," he says, pulling back as he works on the knot of Harvey's tie. "We can do this instead."
Later—when they've made it to the bedroom and are lying down, sated, legs tangled together—Mike lifts his head from Harvey's shoulder and asks, "What was it that did it?"
Harvey looks down at him drowsily. "You, kneeling."
"Why this in particular?" Mike says, then adds, with as close to a lascivious grin as he has the energy for, "I do a lot of kneeling."
Harvey snorts, then sobers. "It was—you were on one knee, and I looked down at you, and you had your eyes on the ground, and then you just—you looked up at me, and—" He breaks off helplessly.
"It reminded you of something." Mike says, putting his head back down.
"Yeah," Harvey says, and then, "Coronation." It's his only explanation, but it's all Mike needs, and he smiles, remembering.
"My king," he mumbles, and feels Harvey kiss his temple softly before he drifts off to sleep.