The next day was exceedingly awkward and consisted mainly of Harvey trying not to be too obvious about his watching over Mike.
He put Mike’s assortment of pills into a long blue pill case and had timers set on his phone and everything. Mike knew that he felt incredibly guilty for what happened, and he wasn’t sure how to assuage that guilt.
What happened was not Harvey’s fault, but any time that Mike even thought of bringing it up, he couldn’t put his feelings into words. And the realization that Harvey would have rather taken the bullet than let Mike get hurt…well, that really said something. And Mike wanted to say it back.
They struggled in this sort of limbo for a week. Harvey would work in the living room. They’d order food in or he’d cook. They’d go for short walks or just sit around watching movies. And while there moments when the awkwardness seemed to dissipate, there was an unspoken tension right beneath the surface.
It gave Mike the same feeling he’d have as a kid when he went ice skating, but he knew it was too warm out. He would convince himself the ice could hold, ignoring the bubbles of air and swirling mass of liquid just below. It was dangerous, thrilling, potentially deadly, and so was this situation with Harvey.
If Mike came right out and told Harvey how he felt, told Harvey that he needed him like oxygen, what effect would that have on their dynamic? Would it even matter at this point? They were practically domestic.
But it would risk their work, their friendship and possibly Mike’s sanity. And even worse, what if Mike came clean about his feelings and out of pity Harvey appeased his desires? He didn’t want pity. He also didn’t want to put Harvey in any more impossibly awkward situations.
So they continued this dance for nearly two weeks.
Mike was set to return to his apartment in two days and he dreaded it. Harvey offered to extend his stay, but he couldn’t possibly accept.
He dreaded returning home. He dreaded opening the door to that empty apartment and being swallowed by silence. But it was his reality, and he would face in 48 hours.
The ice seemed to be getting thinner and thinner. The tension between Mike and Harvey was practically palpable as they both grappled with Mike’s leaving in a few days. Neither of them really knew how to handle any of this.
And the dread of the looming familiarity of reality that hung over them both was what was keeping Mike up tonight.
He lay in bed, eyes open, staring up at the dark ceiling, listening to his own breathing. He couldn’t lay on his side so he couldn’t physically toss and turn, but he could mentally. And by the end of the night he decided that there was no way he could tell Harvey how he really felt.
He would get through the next two stifling days and then return to work and try to regain some sense of normalcy.
It was a miracle that Mike survived the shooting, an event that provided him with nightmares every time he closed his eyes. But if Harvey weren’t to return the feelings that Mike had for him…well…that would be one trauma that Ross would not recover from.
He let a sigh out into the pitch black room and closed his eyes tight, praying that this in fact was the nightmare, and that when he awoke, he would be in Harvey’s arms.