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“Jesus Christ, Harvey. Your face!”

It’s not the most tactful greeting Harvey has ever received, though he supposes it’s a reasonable reaction. He’s cultivating a bruised cheekbone and a fairly nasty black eye, courtesy Travis Tanner’s surprisingly solid right cross. The contusions have had all day to ripen, the hot ache pulsing rhythmically beneath his skin stoked to a fever pitch, and from the way Mike is gawking they’re an even uglier sight now than they were when Harvey checked before leaving the office.

“Good to see you, too, Mike,” he says, pointedly declining to comment on the state of his person.

Mike either doesn’t notice his blatant side-step or decides he doesn’t care. He goes right on staring, blue eyes wide and brow furrowed. After a moment’s study, he raises his hand like he wants to reach out and touch, but changes his mind midway and drops it abruptly back down to his side.

Harvey appreciates this, as it saves him the trouble of catching Mike in a wrist-lock before he can make contact.

His gaze keeps jumping from Harvey’s cheek, to his eye, to the ruddy chap on his knuckles, and back again, the scandalized disbelief in his expression making Harvey feel vaguely ridiculous, like some kind of circus oddity on display. Much as Harvey usually enjoys being the center of attention, in this context it rankles, and the dull, throbbing ache in his temples is doing very little to enhance his enjoyment of the experience.

He nods to the open doorway at Mike’s back. “This is the part where you invite me in, rookie.”

“I don’t know if I should,” Mike says, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the jamb. “You look like a hoodlum. I’d hate for my neighbors to think I’m associating with the wrong crowd.”

“Please,” Harvey scoffs, low and amused. “You are the wrong crowd. Or am I thinking of some other associate who bought a dimebag from the newspaper guy three days ago?”

“Guilty as charged,” Mike confirms, unperturbed, raising his hand in a lazy, shallow arc that barely skims as high as his shoulder. He cuts Harvey a sharp grin and leans in, close enough that Harvey can feel the heat of his breath. “I know senility is a real concern for a man of your age, so I should probably also remind you that you smoked that weed with me.”

He drops the end of his statement to an overdramatic stage-whisper, cupping a hand around his mouth. Harvey considers rolling his eyes at the juvenile display, but determines that the minor satisfaction wouldn’t be worth exacerbating his headache.

“Peer pressure,” he deflects.

“Oh, so we’re peers now?” When Harvey doesn’t deign to respond to that stellar witticism, Mike smirks in the infuriatingly self-satisfied way that makes Harvey want to put him over a knee. “You plan to tell me why you look like shit, or did you forget that too?”

Harvey can allow that sporting a black eye with a bespoke suit makes for a somewhat incongruous aesthetic, but Mike’s assessment is insulting, verging on defamatory, coming from a man possessed of the gall to answer the door in a faded and well-loved tee-shirt - branded by some hipster band Harvey’s never heard of - and an ill-fitting pair of threadbare sweatpants.

It’s a testament to the begrudging esteem in which he holds his hapless associate that Harvey finds such pedestrian taste strangely charming at the same time as it offends nearly all of his sensibilities, not that he has any intention of letting this transgression slide. Harvey Specter doesn’t take shit from grown men in graphic tees.

He gives Mike a slow, steady once-over and flicks his hand in a gesture meant to encompass the entirety of his - Harvey will condescend to call it an ‘outfit,’  for want of a better term, though he’s positive it doesn’t deserve the distinction.

“That’s a bold appraisal, coming from the lead defendant in Pot v. Kettle.”

“That case got tossed,” Mike replies breezily.

“Really?” Harvey drawls, unimpressed. Mike bobs his head in a nod.

“Yeah,” he says, “the defense was granted an injunction by the venerable Judge What the Fuck Happened?”

Harvey doesn’t laugh, despite what Mike’s sudden, triumphant grin may imply.

He waves Harvey into his apartment and Harvey goes willingly, picking his way through the veritable minefield of bachelor’s clutter, which is just as maddening as he remembers it being last night, before his awareness of the mess was obfuscated by the dreamy haze of quality weed.

There’s half a joint still sitting in an ashtray on the coffee table, grinder beside it, nestled between a severely wrinkled plastic sandwich bag - long empty - and a haphazard jumble of rolling papers. There are green-brown specks scattered over the whole scene like so much stoner confetti, because Mike gets lazy after a few hits and his hand-eye coordination suffers for it.

Harvey’s heart thumps hard against his ribs when he realizes this is something he knows, now, because he spent an evening getting high with his associate. It was stupid, and reckless, and Jessica has already delivered an utterly scathing dressing down vis-a-vis appropriate senior partner behavior, but Harvey can’t bring himself to regret it. He would do worse to have Mike teasing and smirking and pulling him in, some of his inherent spark finally starting to surface from the awful, dazed misery of the last few days.

It’s not that Harvey cares - it would take significantly more scotch for him to even consider openly acknowledging that Mike might matter beyond his utility to the firm, and, more importantly, to Harvey’s reputation - but there are few greater pleasures in life than committing to a risky maneuver and reaping the rewards of its uncertain success. Harvey supposes that being ignominiously ushered past the threshold of Mike’s pitiful excuse for an apartment at ten o’clock on a Thursday night may not seem like much of a prize on paper, but it certainly feels like winning.

There are a variety of empty food containers and beverage bottles littering the main room, at least one of them probably abandoned there by Harvey himself, though he’d be hard-pressed to guess which. He has a vague recollection that at one point he absolutely dominated a bag of dried pretzels, but his memory is a little spotty of anything between Mike’s flushed, amazed face as Harvey lit up in his living room and the sudden, furious indignation of finding Louis Litt scuttling around his office long after business hours.

He does recall the suit jacket he tried to trick-shot onto the wall-mounted coat rack, following his fruitless quest to find a single goddamn hanger anywhere in this hovel. Unsurprisingly, it remains lying crumpled against the baseboard, a hair’s breadth from ruination under the tires of Mike’s bike, which has been wheeled indoors, for some godforsaken reason, and left to lean unsupervised against the wall. Adding insult to insult, the jacket Mike was wearing this morning at the office appears to have been slung haphazardly over the handlebars, one of its sleeves still inside-out.

Harvey stalls mid-stride and points from one jacket to the other, accusatory, before turning to scowl at Mike. “Now you’re just doing it screw with me.”

Mike rolls his eyes.

“Sit down before you fall down, Miss Manners.”

He reaches out to guide Harvey forward, splaying his hand delicately across the small of Harvey’s back. Harvey can’t actually feel the heat of his palm through three separate layers of luxury fabrics - that would be absurd - but he has a harder time dismissing the notion than he should.

The second they wander within range of the sofa, Mike pushes him none too gently onto the sagging cushions. Spikes of pain shoot through every freshly tenderized piece of him, despite the minimal force of the impact, and Harvey grits his teeth against a noise he refuses to classify as a whimper.

“Shit.” Mike’s eyes are broad blue pools of concern floating above him. “You’re really hurt, aren’t you?”

“I’m fine,” Harvey grunts, slightly winded. “Just a little sore.”

“Are you sure? You’re not like, bleeding internally or anything, right?”

“Not to my knowledge.”

Mike hovers for another couple of seconds, brow furrowed over a displeased frown, until he’s deemed Harvey’s assurance suitable by some mysterious internal metric.

“Just, stay there,” he orders, and disappears into the bathroom.

Harvey sits cautiously still while Mike digs through a cabinet, less out of any desire to adhere to Mike’s instruction than because his entire body has gone tense against the aches and pains scattered throughout his frame. It takes a few seconds before his muscles willingly unclench. While Mike continues to rattle around, muttering to himself, Harvey sighs and slowly, carefully unfurls, easing back into the sunken give of the sofa cushions. He doesn’t remember them being quite this distressingly lumpy when he and Mike were lounging across them last night, but weed apparently absolves an abundance of sins.

After a few more bars of muted grumbling Mike wanders back into the room, victoriously presenting a small bottle made of white plastic.

“Aspirin,” he offers, dropping it onto the coffee table in front of Harvey, who doesn’t bother rising out of the sprawl he’s settled into.

“Don’t need it,” he dismisses. He’s been popping over-the-counter painkillers like clockwork since roughly forty minutes after he climbed out of the ring. Medication has done what it can, Harvey just needs to wait this out.

Whether electing to do so in Mike’s company was the correct choice or not remains to be determined, but as a willing participant, it’s Harvey’s responsibility to ensure that the spiral he helped enable is winding down to the tight, final curl of the corkscrew, and there’s no better place to assess that than in Mike’s immediate presence.

Mike snorts at Harvey’s assertion, meandering into his quaint little galley kitchen to paw through whatever indefinable junk he’s hoarding therein.

“Really? Because I bet it feels worse than it looks, and it looks pretty bad.”

“Slander,” Harvey accuses lazily.

“Observation,” Mike corrects. He glances over his shoulder, eyebrows lifted and mouth quirked. “It’s like you’re some kind of experimental Pollock.”

“You think I should submit myself to the MoMA?”

Harvey lets his head fall back and closes his eyes against his better judgment. He’s too wired yet to run the risk of falling asleep, but Mike has a tendency to ambush him whenever he lets his guard down, and there’s not much further it can drop than lounging casually in Mike’s living room, nursing a variety of minor surface wounds.

Harvey takes a deep, slow breath and prays to nobody in particular that Mike doesn’t decide this is the time to accost him with the tragic details of yet another unwinnable pro-bono case. Or worse, but far more likely: to try and swindle Harvey into discussing the feelings he pigheadedly insists that Harvey must have in him, somewhere, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

“You’ll probably get a bigger payout if you go private collection,” Mike says thoughtfully. There’s the creak of the refrigerator door and the gentle tinkling of bottles bumping together, a sharp squeak and the static rush of water from a faucet. “Art collectors love weird ugly shit.”

Harvey flips the bird in Mike’s general direction.

“I bet you have contacts who could hook you up,” Mike continues, voice bobbing nearer as the faucet cuts off. Harvey can hear him grinning. “Or, hey, why not expand my resumé to fake art brokerage? We could turn a tidy profit, assuming you don’t expire from your injuries before I can close a deal.”

“It’s not that bad,” Harvey protests, cracking his eyes open just as Mike drops onto the couch beside him.

“It is that bad, actually,” he assures. “It might even be worse than that bad.” He has a bundled up scrap of dingy blue fabric clutched in one hand that Harvey only recognizes for a washcloth when he sees the darker shading at the bottom where it’s wet. “Now shut up and let me Florence Nightingale you.”

Mike angles himself so that he’s seated facing Harvey, with one of his legs drawn up underneath him and his other foot on the floor. Harvey watches his toes flex against the scuffed floorboards and notes absently that he isn’t wearing any socks. He can’t remember if he’s ever seen Mike barefoot before. The intimacy of it makes his stomach twist.

Mike shifts on the sofa until he’s comfortable and presses the washcloth against Harvey’s face without waiting for permission or invitation. It’s a makeshift ice-pack - because God forbid Mike Ross spend money on anything so novel as actual, functional instruments of first aid - so cold that he jumps slightly at the contact.

“Sorry,” Mike says, not sounding particularly apologetic.

Harvey waves it off with a lazy sweep of his hand. The terrycloth is soft and wonderfully frigid, a soothing counterpoint to the wounded heat under his skin. He heaves a deep, relieved sigh through his nose and relaxes further into the embrace of the sofa, twitching in surprise when Mike’s knuckles nudge up against his chin, so distracted by the icy relief cascading through his face that he failed to notice the other man moving.

“Sorry,” Mike says again, softer this time and more sincere. “Just - ” He presses gently at the blade of Harvey’s jaw until Harvey understands what he’s after and angles his face slightly away, allowing Mike greater access to the bruising. “Yeah, there you go. That’s better.”

Harvey’s heart kicks uptempo where it’s drumming against his ribs, pulse stirred apace by the tender undercurrent in Mike’s tone. He wonders if Mike can feel it where he has his fingers curled against Harvey’s skin, if he knows the thundering tattoo is because of him. Harvey doesn’t ask.

Harvey never asks.

“You wanna tell me what happened, now?” Mike’s voice is very low, and very close.

Harvey tries to glance over at him, but all he can really see around the ice-pack is the slope of Mike’s shoulder, the soft edge of his shirtsleeve. There’s a hole along the topmost seam and most of the hem has unrolled due to popped stitching. The tail of a loose thread is hanging halfway down Mike’s bicep, frayed at the end.

This, Harvey thinks, staring mutinously at that dangling string, is the man who convinced him with a minimum amount of effort not only to overlook one blatant felony, but to willingly participate in another, with a substantially higher capacity for personal fallout. He takes a moment to mourn the untimely death of his dignity before explaining, “I went to see Tanner.”

“Okay,” Mike says, slow and curious. “I knew about that. So, what? You went to see Tanner and he beat the shit out of you?”

I beat the shit out of him,” Harvey corrects. More accurately, they beat the shit out of each other, but this is Harvey’s story to tell and he’ll favor glory over pedantry every time. He shifts, tilting his head a little further, and Mike adjusts the ice-pack accordingly. “Boxing match. Winner took the dirt on Hardman.”

The change in position makes Mike’s thumb slip off the washcloth, a cool point of pressure against the hinge of Harvey’s jaw. He drags the pad of his finger in a short, absent sweep across Harvey’s skin, summoning a ripple of gooseflesh that spills all the way down Harvey’s shoulders. Harvey shivers and closes his eyes again.

“You telling me I should see the other guy?” Mike asks.

“I’m telling you I got the money. All eighty grand,” Harvey quips back, in his best Buscemi.

“Remind me never to ask you to split a cab,” Mike snorts.

“I think the buyout stipulation only applies in the event of vehicle purchase.”

“Oh, good. I’d hate to have to axe-murder you for shortchanging me on the way back from Chelsea.”

Mike’s fingers skate, ghost-light, across Harvey’s forehead and back into his hairline, presumably tucking away a stray lock, though Harvey generally uses enough product to avoid that. He tilts his face into the gentle contact and swallows down a soft, contented sound before it has the chance to hum out into the open air.

“I did kick his ass, though,” he insists, unapologetically smug.

“I’m sure,” Mike agrees, words warped with amusement. “It’s a very Harvey Specter move, fighting your nemesis for a fraud confession”

“He’s not my nemesis,” Harvey scoffs.

“Sorry, your best frenemy.”

“What am I, a preteen girl?”

“You do have a bi-weekly mani-pedi on the books,” Mike demurs.

Strung out as he is on the chill seeping blissfully through his skin and the dangerous proximity of Mike beside him, it takes a second for Harvey to parse the comment. He blinks, lifting his head and turning to glare at Mike, who pulls the ice-pack away in response to Harvey’s fidgeting. It’s no secret that Harvey likes to indulge his vanity, but he doesn’t appreciate Mike’s tone.

“Don’t worry,” Mike assures around a teasing grin. “You’re butch enough to knock Travis Tanner on his ass. Nobody would believe me if I told them how much you covet a good lavender-vanilla sugar scrub.”

Harvey considers cuffing him on principle - they both know the only sugar scrub worth a damn is eucalyptus-spearmint.

“Given your standards of living, I can see how appreciation for a higher tier of personal hygiene might escape you,” he huffs, extending one leg to nudge the toe of his oxford pointedly against Mike’s wasteland of a coffee table.

Mike hefts the ice-pack casually in one hand, like he’s weighing it in preparation to throw it shot put, and replies agreeably, “You say potato, I say crippling narcissism.”

“I can’t help it if I’m prettier than everyone else,” Harvey shrugs.

Mike snorts, “Motion to dismiss.”

“On what grounds?”

“How about the grounds that you look like an uncooked skirt steak?”

“If I’m any cut of beef I’m a filet mignon,” Harvey corrects. “And my verdict stands.”

Mike shifts a little closer, his knee pressing gently against Harvey’s hip. Harvey very carefully doesn’t react.

“My boss says boasting is a mark of insecurity,” Mike offers.

Harvey smirks. “Your boss sounds as smart as he is handsome.”

Mike laughs, returning the ice-pack to Harvey’s cheek, and that small sound does as much to relieve the tension in Harvey’s shoulders as the ice does to soothe the slowly ebbing pain in his face.

The silence they lapse into is familiar and comfortable, a cooperative skill perfected over long nights sequestered in the fishbowl intimacy of Harvey’s office, mining mountains of paperwork in an effort to excavate any and every scrap of information that might bolster whatever impossible case they’ve been assigned. Harvey allows himself to bask for a moment, listening to the soft, electric buzz of Mike’s ancient refrigerator and the steady meter of his breath, occasionally interrupted by a barely-there snatch of some indecipherable and slightly off-key tune whispering by underneath it.

Mike fidgets every now and again, adjusting his weight or switching the hand he has on the ice-pack, shoulder brushing Harvey’s and fingers occasionally skimming the shell of his ear, the plane of his cheek, the arch of his brow. Harvey didn’t come here to be coddled, but there’s a fragile, long-buried part of him - of which he will adamantly deny possession until he is cold in the ground - that’s helplessly, nakedly grateful for the fuss.

It’s been a long time since anybody last tried to take care of Harvey like this. Longer still since he let them.

It’s risky, allowing this kind of vulnerability, and doubly foolish to make Mike, of all people, party to its existence, but Harvey didn’t earn the reputation he has today by betting on safe hands and Mike has already proven more than once that he pays off big dividends, especially when the chips are down. Still, Harvey should probably make at least a token effort to ensure that he isn’t taking advantage of the kid’s goodwill. He’s already in the doghouse with Jessica for the smoking indiscretion. He doesn’t need another black mark on his record so soon.

“You know, rookie,” he says, looking up into the soft, intent gleam of Mike’s gaze, “I can hold my own ice-pack.”

Mike smirks, tilting his head, and rebuts, “I’m your associate. It’s my job to cater blindly to your every need.”

“If that’s what I hired you for, you’re terrible at it,” Harvey snorts. “I should’ve fired you months ago.”

Now that the stabbing immediacy of his injuries has dimmed somewhat, the painful pinch in his temples is more pronounced. He reaches up to dig his fingers carefully into the inner corners of his eyes, screwing them shut against the pressure.

“Headache?” Mike asks.

Harvey hums his confirmation.

Mike clicks his tongue and says pointedly, “Aspirin’s right here.”

“I already took some,” Harvey sighs.


“What are you, my nurse?”

Mike’s tone is flinty when he insists, “Harvey.”

“Calm down, Hot Lips,” Harvey grouses. “I’m already cleared for duty - I‘ve been dosing myself every few hours since I tangled with Tanner.”

“Margaret Houlihan is a gift and you would be lucky to have her,” Mike argues primly, but he sounds vaguely reassured.

They trail off into silence again, and it settles around them for a long, loaded moment. Harvey would swear he can actually hear the gears in Mike’s brain whirring together. He sits back a bit, taking the ice-pack with him and Harvey glances over, curious. He half-expects to see steam pouring from the kid’s ears, but when he turns his head Mike is placidly studying him with the same soft-edged intensity he’s had in his eyes all evening, ice-pack resting forgotten in his lap.

The weight of his attention makes Harvey want to squirm, which he patently refuses to do and resents having to acknowledge. His pulse shudders and his head pounds. The air in the room feels muggy and uncomfortably warm after twenty minutes with his face on ice. He’s sharper than he means to be when he snaps, “What?”

Mike doesn’t respond right away, eyes narrowing the way they do when he has a promising but slightly mad theory and can’t quite settle on the appropriate angle by which to sell it. It’s an expression that Harvey normally loves, because it signifies that events are about to get very interesting, but in this context, against this backdrop, it makes his throat tighten and his mouth run dry.

“I read this study,” Mike says, careful and slow, shifting like he’s nervous. Harvey frowns. He knows that Mike has anxieties, just like anybody else - Harvey himself naturally notwithstanding - but it’s rare that he ever gets cagey about them with Harvey in quite this fashion. The kid wears his heart on his sleeve, for better or worse, and to see him suddenly prevaricate about his feelings is intriguing, made more-so when combined with the faint pink tinge bleeding steadily into his face.

“About?” Harvey presses, voice a little rough, when Mike doesn’t immediately continue.

Mike picks absently at the pilled lint on the sofa cushion between them and heaves a shallow sigh. “It was in this medical journal. They were talking about non-traditional treatments and - ”

Harvey holds up a hand.

“I’m not smoking up with you again,” he warns. It was foolish enough that he allowed the indulgence once, enjoyable and surprisingly productive as it had ultimately been. Neither of them can afford for Harvey to let Mike believe it’s a habit he approves of employing with any regularity.

“No,” Mike says, soft around a laugh, flashing a quick grin. “No, I’m not talking about pot. Although, stoned Harvey was way more fun than I expected.”

“I thought you said I was depressing.”

Mike’s grin goes sharp, blue eyes ablaze with barely contained delight. “That was before you confessed to pissing in Louis’s office.”

Harvey reflects a smirk back at him and says intently, “I trust you understand that’s privileged information, counselor.”

“Don’t worry, your honor,” Mike snorts. “I have no intention of ever entering it into evidence.”

He mimes locking his lips and throwing an invisible key over his shoulder. It’s idiotically juvenile and unbearably charming. Harvey doesn’t blush, because he’s not a tittering schoolboy, but it’s a near thing.

He squints at Mike in mock suspicion, but he’s one-hundred percent serious when he warns, “If you’re about to try and sell me on some bullshit about magic rocks or auras I’m giving you to Louis. Permanently.” He pauses. “In fact, if you imply to me in any way that you believe in magic rocks or auras, I’m giving you to Louis.”

“No,” Mike assures, “no rocks, no auras, no drugs.” He still seems a little flustered, spots of color high on his cheeks and eyes just this side of too wide.

“That doesn’t sound like much of a party,” Harvey observes. Mike rolls his eyes, fighting to keep his amusement from curling the corners of the disapproving scowl he’s struggling to maintain.

“You know what? Nevermind.” He shakes his head and huffs a rueful sigh, tossing the ice-pack onto the coffee table and unseating a half-empty bottle of Gatorade in the process. It falls to the floor with a clatter. Neither of them move to pick it up. “You can suffer. You deserve it. Maybe a few more hours wallowing in pain will finally teach you humility.”

“The great art of life is sensation,” Harvey announces serenely. Mike almost looks impressed, mouth flat and brows quirked upward.

“I didn’t figure you for a Romantic.”

“We can’t all be sad hipsters with hard-ons for Sylvia Plath,” Harvey replies. He squints curiously at Mike. “Weren’t you just babbling about catering to my every whim? It’s bad form to renege on a verbal agreement, rookie. I could pin you with breach of contract.”

“So sue me,” Mike smirks, eyes sparking with humor. “I could use some practice with civil suits.”

“The day I lose a court case to you is the day I retire,” Harvey assures. He briefly considers punctuating the drama of that vow with a riff on the inevitable hara kiri that will follow his resignation, but decides that invoking ritual suicide while Mike is still processing the loss of his last living relative would be in excessively poor taste.

“Better schedule some time with your financial planner, then, old man,” Mike crows. “I’ve got you on certainty of terms, free consent, and lawful purpose, at least.” He ticks the elements off on his fingers as he says them, the cocky little shit.

“Oh yeah, smartass?” Harvey knocks his knee against Mike’s, grinning despite the dull pulse still rattling through his temples. “How about you try on a negligence charge? I could probably even make a case for abuse, with that ‘deserve to suffer’ bullshit.”

Mike tucks his laughter into his shoulder, shaking his head and turning that soft-edged gaze on Harvey.

“If you want to know what I was going to say so bad, you can just admit it.”

“Mike, I don’t give a shit about the minutiae of some article from Science Monthly,” Harvey says easily, “but it’s clear that you’re dying to tell me about it, so spit it out or shut up.”

Mike huffs again, a muted little chuckle, and tilts his head back to peer at the ceiling, as though seeking guidance from a higher power. He still has one foot on the floor, and he starts tapping it in an arrhythmic beat when he looks back down, catching Harvey’s gaze and announcing briskly: “Orgasms.”

Harvey blinks. “Excuse me?”

“Orgasms,” Mike repeats, and a bright spark of heat licks through Harvey’s belly. “They’re good for headaches. That’s what the study said. This research group logged a bunch of data, and it’s supposed to help with the pain if you rub one out.”

To Mike’s credit, he meets Harvey’s eyes when he says it, and there’s no catch or tremor in his voice that would lead Harvey to suspect he’s embarrassed, ashamed, or otherwise uncomfortable with the subject matter he’s elected to introduce. There’s a frisson of some indefinable energy still humming under his skin, but it isn’t nerves.

Harvey’s stomach clenches like he just took a sucker punch straight to gut as he realizes: it’s anticipation that has Mike fidgeting and twitching and slowly flooding pink.

“Are you inviting me to jerk off on your couch?”

“If that’s what you want,” Mike responds, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. The heat in his face is blooming all down his throat, past his lopsided collar and spilling on into territory Harvey has only ever imagined. Harvey can almost feel it pouring off of him, want radiating out in warm waves. “Although, I think we could probably do better than a self-inflicted hand-job.”

This is far from the first time Harvey has ever been propositioned by a subordinate, but it’s the first time he hasn’t shut the offer down immediately and with prejudice. The only reason he’s even entertaining the notion at all is because Mike has managed to catch him off his game, which is so rare an occurrence as to be nearly impossible. Of course, if anyone was going to manage it, he should have known it would be Mike.

From the way Mike is watching him, flushed and wary, blue eyes brighter than usual against the rosy glow in his face, Harvey suspects he might have surprised himself with the suggestion, too.

He’s hardly the picture of a premeditated seduction, in his frankly despicable loungewear, blonde hair already starting to tuft rebelliously free of its workday coif. The collar of his shirt is lopsided and stretched with years of abuse, baring more of his throat than Harvey usually sees over his crisp lapels and awful skinny ties. He’s not quite scruffy, but the way his pale skin shades darker toward the curve of his jaw suggests that Mike has grown lax with his personal grooming under the stress of the past several days.

Understandable and unremarkable, but for the way Harvey wonders what it might feel like under his tongue.

He licks his lips, pleasantly gratified by the resultant hitch in Mike’s breath, and says soberly, “That’s an interesting hypothesis.”

Mike’s voice is hoarse, but strong, as he ventures, “Worth testing?”

Harvey has to admire his commitment. He sighs, trying to temper his libido by imagining the face Jessica will make when she finds out - because if they do this, she will find out, and no time or distance or last-second invocation of obscure precedent will protect them from her wrath.

“Mike - ”

“I know it’s a bad idea,” Mike says, cutting Harvey off and curling a hand tentatively over his knee. He drags his thumb along the inside arc and Harvey’s traitorous dick twitches against his thigh. “I know. But come on, Harvey. We’re like, the kings of bad ideas.”

And damned if that isn’t the truth.

Harvey has never been a creature of indecision. It’s an innate facet of his personality that makes him at once an excellent lawyer, a somewhat polarizing individual, and an occasionally disappointing object of romantic interest. He knows, in this moment, poised before a smorgasbord of potential missteps and risky maneuvers, that his best - read: safest - course of action would be to patiently remove Mike’s hand, explain in firm but polite terminology that this is a level of intimacy from which the two of them will be forever barred, and assure him that their, admittedly unique, relationship will effectively weather the rocky terrain they’ve been experiencing, present unexpected come-on included. It’s what he knows everyone in a position of power at the firm would expect him to do, if he gave more than half a shit about most of their good opinions.

Harvey, it must be said, has also never been a particularly devout parishioner of the church of good behavior.

So while Harvey should turn Mike down, make his excuses, and beat a hasty retreat, what he does is spend a long, frozen moment staring into the hopeful, shaded blue of Mike’s gaze, the sweet, wanting tilt of his grin, and croak, “Tell me you’re not high right now.”

Mike smiles, bliss-bright and beautiful, as he shakes his head.

“Not even a little. Last time I smoked was with you, before we left for the office last night.”

It was technically very early this morning that they implemented their short-lived plan to exact vengeance unto the carpeting of their enemies, but Harvey will allow it, because it means that Mike is no more compromised in his judgement than Harvey is, grief and injury-related hormonal imbalances aside.

“Good,” Harvey says, and Mike shifts nearer, sliding his palm up Harvey’s leg toward his hip. Harvey doesn’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse that he happens to be tucking to the side that puts Mike’s thumb less than a centimeter from his cock, which is stirring with interest despite the throbbing pain in Harvey’s head.

“Good?” Mike echoes, voice faint and absent. Harvey nods, but he doubts that Mike notices. His attention has slipped down Harvey’s frame to rest on the placket of his trousers and the slight, telling swell where he’s already half-hard. Mike licks his lips, mouth a little chapped but still dark and pink and soft, and shifts his hand over.

Harvey’s dick jumps at the sweet, sudden brush of Mike’s palm and he sucks a breath past his teeth, legs falling open a little wider on instinct. Mike is staring, mouth slack, eyes sharp and intent, like he might be able to see through Harvey’s pants and the silk-blend briefs underneath if he only focuses hard enough. Before he can move any further, Harvey reaches up and plucks at Mike’s shirt over his chest.

“I have one condition,” he says. “This comes off.”

Harvey may be scraping the bottom of the barrel for dignity at the moment, but sleeping with someone who looks like a dispirited undergrad is a level of abasement to which he refuses to stoop. Mike, it seems, has elected to forego any pretense of self-respect altogether - he yanks his shirt off over his head without his usual token argument, dropping it unceremoniously onto the floor before Harvey has time to blink.

“Anything else?” he asks, hands resting on his knees, hot blue gaze skating hungrily over Harvey’s face, his shoulders, the lazy sprawl of his legs. His voice catches, rough-edged, and the gritty drag of it pulls heat through Harvey’s belly.

He takes his time to appreciate the freshly exposed expanse, the flush spilling nearly to Mike’s navel, pale complexion stained with want. There’s a sparse spray of hair across his chest and a similar trail leading temptingly down beyond the rolled waistband of his sweats. Harvey tucks his fingers over the fabric, knuckles brushing coarse curls and warm, smooth, bare skin.

Harvey feels the wicked way his grin curls as he murmurs, “Commando?”

He scrubs his thumb along the low plane of Mike’s abdomen, marveling at the way his stomach clenches, ribs expanding as he gasps into the contact, hips shifting forward in search of more.

“When I found out I could get my hands on you - ” Mike starts, trailing off into a choked-back laugh when Harvey tugs his waistband, urging him forward.

“Smartass,” Harvey smirks, and Mike melts into motion, following the domineering pull until he’s straddling Harvey’s hips, grey cotton tented obscenely between his thighs. He brings his hands up to curl around Harvey’s neck, careful of the damage to his face, and sighs Harvey’s name.

“Yeah,” Harvey breathes. “Yeah, Mike, come on.”

Mike succumbs beautifully to Harvey’s goading. He’s not entirely clear as to how he’s fallen into the role of aggressor to Mike’s ingenue, but he certainly isn’t complaining. Not when Mike’s mouth is brushing his, sweet and curious. He opens up, slick and giddy around a moan, when Harvey tilts his head just so and brings his free hand up to cup Mike’s jaw.

He kisses like a dream, pliant and enthusiastic but practiced enough that he meets Harvey’s rhythm easily, the slight, stinging grit of his two-day stubble a delectable counterpoint to the soft give of his mouth. There’s a familiar, human taste to kissing that Harvey has always loved for the way it hooks behind his sternum and makes his chest go tight with need, and whatever individual spice Mike is adding to the recipe sends a bolt of electric delight crackling down his spine. Mike’s fingers tighten against the nape of Harvey’s neck and he slides them up into his hair, thumbs curled tenderly around his skull, tucked into the soft divots behind his ears. Mike rocks his hips forward and Harvey thrills at the warm, welcome weight of him.

“I’ve thought about this,” Mike admits, pulling away just enough to speak, nose tucked against Harvey’s cheek, breath drifting hot across his mouth.

“Of course you have,” Harvey agrees, unsurprised, and when Mike laughs he can feel the way his grin curves, flush against Harvey’s skin.

“You’re such an asshole.” Mike shifts one of his hands, snaking his fingers beneath the silk of Harvey’s tie, digging in to loosen the knot. He leaves the other splayed proprietarily across the back of Harvey’s neck. “You’re lucky you’re so hot.”

You’re lucky I’m so hot,” Harvey rebuts, leaning up for another sweet, slow kiss and swallowing down Mike’s laughter.

It’s easy with him, here in the moment, in a way Harvey had never quite imagined it would be, on the rare occasion that he wondered if they would ever address the tension between them. He figured that if they did, it would be rough, demanding, maybe a little demeaning, because Mike seems to like it when the people whose affection he craves most treat him poorly. It’s an honest revelation to have this Mike instead - grinning, and teasing, and laughing.

Harvey is surprised by how much he enjoys it.

He’s harder than he usually gets from just kissing, and he grinds up into Mike a couple of times, lazy and slow, reveling in the little punched-out breaths Mike stutters through before collapsing forward to kiss him again. There’s an edge of desperation in the way he licks past Harvey’s teeth, and Harvey rewards him by tugging his sweatpants further down, just enough to tease.

Mike’s cock brushes Harvey’s wrist, damp even through the fabric, and he whimpers, bucking forward. The sway of it starts them into a steady, rolling rhythm. Harvey resettles his hands over the trim curve of Mike’s hips, guiding his motion, rutting flush against the glorious curve of Mike’s ass while Mike’s cock, still trapped in those hideous sweats, rocks against his belly.

“Will you let me blow you?” Mike asks breathlessly, pulling back and spreading his thighs to settle his weight down onto Harvey with a slow grind. His eyes are glassy and heavy-lidded, mouth bitten red even against his flushed face, and Harvey’s brain nearly whites out for a second at the thought of it stretched around him.

He reaches up to dig his thumb into Mike’s lower lip, plush and wet. Mike gasps, a tiny, desperate sound of desire, and his blown pupils gleam obsidian dark.

“Yeah,” Harvey breathes. “You can suck me.”

Mike shudders with his whole body, tremor starting in his shoulders and rattling its way down. He starts to shift his weight, pushing up off Harvey’s lap, but Harvey squeezes his hip, holds him in place.

He grins up at Mike’s face, gently drawn with the soft glaze of confusion, and murmurs, “But before you do…”

He tugs at Mike’s waistband again, but this time he pulls it all the way down.

Mike whimpers, cock springing free. It’s blood-dark and glistening, average size, circumcised, and with a slight leftward lean. Harvey wraps his hand around it and marvels at how perfectly it suits his grip.

“Harvey,” Mike moans, and rolls his hips. It’s a little dry, even with the precum already beginning to slick the way, but from the way his eyes roll back, Mike doesn’t seem to mind the friction. “Oh, fuck.”

Harvey works his hand, gliding up and down Mike’s length, slow and exploratory. He tightens his fingers a little over the head, creating greater resistance for Mike to push through when he fucks up into Harvey’s grasp, and Mike whines at the sensation, clutching furiously at his shoulders.

“Oh,” he moans in a low, wanting warble that ignites sparks in Harvey’s chest. His eyes are hooded dark, fixed firmly to where Harvey has him in hand, mouth slack and open. “Oh, fuck, yeah.”

“You look good in my hand,” Harvey agrees, with all the satisfaction of a canary-fed cat, circling his thumb over the purpled head. He ruts up against Mike, building a counterpoint harmony to the rhythm of his fist, and Mike’s thighs start to tremble.

“Harvey, you - oh - you have to - fuck, Harvey, stop, or I’m - I - ” he chokes on a gasp when Harvey twists his wrist, thumbing the silk-soft ridge where the head of Mike’s dick meets the shaft. A thick bead of precum drools down over his fingers.

“Get on the floor,” Harvey orders, hoarse, and pulls his hand away.

Mike scrambles off his lap so fast he nearly takes a header into the coffee table, yanking his sweatpants off with almost no finesse and balling them up to shove haphazardly under his knees as he sinks down. It should be funny, Harvey thinks, but mostly it’s just hot - this singular man with his singular mind so desperately focused on getting Harvey’s dick in his mouth that all his composure is stripped away, desire whittled down to animal urge.

He does his part to help while Mike situates himself, unfastening his slacks and shifting up on his hips to draw them down his thighs a little. His cock is throbbing, hard as hell and already leaking through his briefs. Harvey goes to palm it, take off some of the edge, but Mike slaps his hand away, murmuring, “No, let me, just - ”

Harvey leans back, letting Mike guide his underwear down and reveling in the way he seems to savor the act.

Harvey knows he has a nice dick - thick and smooth and uncut, rising from a dark thatch of curls to which Harvey tends just as scrupulously as any matter of personal grooming - but it’s incredibly gratifying to see the way Mike looks at it, eyes dark and glazed and slightly awed, teeth dug hard into his own lip like he might not be able to help himself if he opens his mouth.

He curls those long fingers around the base and drags his hand to the head and back down, pulling the foreskin back even further with a gentle sweep of his thumb. Harvey can’t quite swallow down the moan the motion pulls out of him, and Mike’s gaze flicks up to meet his, the blue of his eyes a thin, sapphire sliver around his blown-out pupils.

“Jesus, Harvey,” Mike breathes, and then that beautiful mouth is closing over Harvey’s cock.

Harvey moans again, reaching down to slip a hand into Mike’s hair before he can think better of it. The shorn locks are a little too short to get a good grip, but Mike doesn’t seem to mind either way. He shivers down to his toes when Harvey brushes a thumb across his temple with a tenderness he doesn’t think either of them expect.

He makes such a pretty picture, naked between the spread of Harvey’s clothed thighs, pale skin nearly glowing against the rich navy of his slacks. All of his usual defiance has dwindled to embers, making room for a more willing heat, and the elegant bow of his head reminds Harvey vaguely of the works of the old masters - hazy figures picked out in lush oils, forms curled prostrate in the euphoria of worship. He wants to tell Mike, to explain the way it makes his blood sing to see him like this, a pornographic parody of supplication, but Harvey has only ever mastered the art of using words as a weapon and that kind of violence has no place here.

“Fuck, Mike,” Harvey murmurs. “Look at you.”

His voice is low and heavy, and the simple sentiment is nowhere close to capturing the raw breadth of what Harvey’s feeling but it’s the best he can manage. Maybe Mike understands, anyway, because he makes a soft, desperate sound around Harvey’s dick and closes his eyes, taking Harvey in deeper. Harvey tilts his hips forward, a tiny, testing motion, and the line of Mike’s spine goes liquid in a way that makes his balls draw up tight.

It becomes readily apparent that Harvey isn’t going to last, despite his best efforts at control, so he adjusts his plan of attack accordingly.

He curves his other hand around Mike’s head so that his face is cradled between Harvey’s palms, and pushes into his mouth, careful and slow. Mike catches on immediately, dropping his hand away and relaxing into the motion, opening up a little wider to allow Harvey to chase the slick, wet heat of his mouth at his own leisure.

“Fuck, you feel so goddamn good,” Harvey breathes. He shifts his grip just enough to press his thumb against the corner of Mike’s mouth. Mike groans around him, and the reverberation is so good it makes Harvey’s toes curl in his shoes. He pushes gently, working his thumb in alongside his cock, and Mike makes soft, desperate noises, and does his best to accommodate. “That’s it, sweetheart, open up for me.”

Mike shudders again at the diminutive, dropping one of his arms down past the sofa cushions. From the way that his shoulder is moving Harvey can tell he’s touching himself. He pulls at Mike’s lip, maybe a little meaner than he needs to, because Mike whimpers and nearly gags around his cock, but he doesn’t protest.

Harvey can feel his orgasm starting to gather at the base of his spine, sparking like lightning in a bottle with every choked, wanting noise Mike makes, every telling dip of his shoulder. He drives in, as deep as he can manage without being cruel, relishing the stretched-firm give where the added pressure of his thumb is pulling the line of Mike’s lip taut, and thrusts in a short, shallow rhythm.

Mike’s whole body pulls in like a bowstring, and Harvey gasps, “Look at me, Mike. I want to see you when you come, look at me.”

Mike obliges, eyes snapping open and dazedly searching out Harvey’s face even as he shudders. His eyelashes are wet - from the way Harvey’s fucking his mouth or from his imminent orgasm, Harvey can’t be sure - and his gaze is glassy, face sweaty and flushed. He looks so goddamn good like this, wrecked and well-fucked, and Harvey’s orgasm ricochets violently through him like a sudden shot.

When Harvey comes down, his dick is softening against his thigh while Mike presses his face against Harvey’s knee, breath gusting in loud, ruined gasps. Harvey is surprised to discover that he still has one hand curled tenderly over Mike’s head, absently stroking his hair while Mike quakes against him.

“Holy fuck,” Mike breathes. He sounds like he’s been eating glass, and a part of Harvey thrills to know that he’s responsible. “That was so much better than I thought it would be.”

Harvey huffs a laugh, feeling boneless and lazy and sleepy like he always does after a particularly good lay.

“I don’t know if I should be flattered or offended.”

“Definitely the first thing,” Mike assures. He turns his head so that he can look up at Harvey, with his cheek still pressed against Harvey’s knee.

His jaw is wet, and so are his eyes, already mussed hair worked to cockatiel absurdity by the selfish pull of Harvey’s fingers. He cups Mike’s jaw with his hand, running his thumb over Mike’s cheek, and Mike turns to drop an absent kiss against the meat of his palm. Something soft hooks hard behind Harvey’s ribs and makes his stomach swoop, like a dead drop on a rollercoaster.

Mike sighs out a hum, letting his eyes fall closed and basking under the silent weight of Harvey’s attention. He stays there for a few long minutes, kneeling at Harvey’s feet like there isn’t anywhere else he’d rather be. Harvey is used to power trips but this one gets under his skin in a way that makes his pulse pound. When Mike finally stretches and sits up, grumbling under his breath about his age and the related fortitude of his joints, Harvey is surprised by the possessive wave of affection that floods through him.

He doesn’t allow Mike all the way to his feet, hooking an arm around his waist and pulling the other man down into his lap. Mike goes willingly, if wide-eyed, and meets the kiss that Harvey plants on him with just as much enthusiasm as the ones before he’d had Harvey’s dick in his mouth.

“That was - ” Harvey starts, and feels Mike grin against his lips.

“Amazing?” he offers, punctuating each suggestion with a kiss. “Mind-blowing? Life-changing?”

“Adequate,” Harvey supplies, and tries not to shiver at the warm rush of Mike’s breath when he collapses into giggles against Harvey’s throat.

Such an asshole,” Mike sighs, fond and amused.

“You’re totally hot for it,” Harvey assures easily, and Mike rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah,” he grouses, and rubs his cheek against Harvey’s jaw. Harvey shivers a little at the raw drag. “You have some pretty righteous beard burn, by the way.”

Harvey hums his acknowledgment and pulls Mike in tighter, nuzzling against his temple. Harvey has always been more tactile after sex, and thankfully Mike doesn’t seem to mind. He submits willingly to the absent wander of Harvey’s hands over his skin, the gentle kisses Harvey trails down his throat, across the curve of his shoulder, content to let himself be coddled for a few long moments before he mutters something about being sticky and wriggles his way out of Harvey’s grip, rising to his feet.

He offers Harvey a hand, standing naked and absolutely unashamed in the middle of his living room in a way that Harvey both respects and finds stunningly attractive, and says, “C’mon. If you can make your legs work I’ll show you why I insist on living in this shithole despite my cushy new salary.”

Harvey arches a deeply skeptical eyebrow, because there are no words to adequately convey how little he believes there’s anything in this place that would be worth sticking around for - present company excluded - and Mike raises his other hand with two fingers extended.

“Soaking,” he announces, tucking one finger away. “Tub.” And there goes the other.

“There’s no way a single bathtub makes up for all this,” Harvey says, gesturing to the room at large. He thinks he should probably feel ridiculous, in full three-piece trappings except for where his dick is hanging in the breeze, but it’s shockingly normal to be lying here, taking the piss out of Mike for his terrible dwelling on the other side of some truly spectacular orgasms.

“I was right about the headache thing, wasn’t I?” Mike insists, staring Harvey expectantly down.

Harvey considers and is surprised to discover that the headache beating against his temples has indeed dimmed to a soft, distant ache. Perfectly manageable, and a long soak would probably kill it off entirely. Mike must see Harvey’s answer in his face because his mouth quirks, smug.

“How much you want to bet I’m right about this too?” he asks, with a jaunty tilt of his head. He wags his fingers, beckoning Harvey up off the couch.

“That depends,” Harvey says, reaching out to clasp their palms together and allowing Mike to haul him to his feet. He doesn’t let go once he’s standing, just steps in close and delights in the pleased gleam of Mike’s gaze. “What currencies are you willing to accept?”

Mike’s grin arches sharp and wicked. He leans in and murmurs against Harvey’s mouth, low and sweet.

“I’m sure we can work something out.”