Actions

Work Header

what's behind and what's before

Chapter Text

“I still can’t believe that you’re here.”

Harvey smiles when Rachel puts down a glass in front of him and shakes her head. “I was so happy when Mike told me you were coming. I thought he was joking at first, actually. I just never saw either of you leaving New York. Especially you, Harvey.”

“Well, the plan is to eventually convince all of the original Pearson Hardman team that Seattle is the place to be so we can start up the firm again,” he tells her, and she chuckles. It’s nothing but wishful thinking of course, but it’s still a nice idea to contemplate.

“We didn’t really plan on leaving,” Donna adds, lifting her shoulders. “Never talked about it before. But once it came up, we just knew it was what we needed to do. Start over somewhere new. And I think we were right. Just look at Harvey.”

He glances at her. “What about me?”

“You’re actually smiling.”

“So? Harvey smiles sometimes,” Mike points out as he carries over the lasagna from the oven, raising an eyebrow. “Especially when he’s mocking someone or destroying an opponent, as I distinctly remember.”

“That looks amazing,” Harvey says, glancing up at Mike. “You helped with that?”

“As a matter of fact, I did.”

“Good to know. I appreciate the warning.”

Donna chuckles. “This, see? This is what I mean. He does smile, yes, but lately he hasn’t had much reason to. We’ve been here for two days and that’s already changed.”

She takes his hand, and Harvey concedes the point with a nod, turning to Mike. “You saw it when you were there. Things haven’t been easy at the firm, and after a while… it seemed like the right time to leave. I had a good run, but when you know, you know, right?”

“We’ve been there,” Rachel agrees. “I’m just glad you decided to include us in your fresh start. I know Mike and I haven’t exactly been great about keeping in touch.”

Harvey waves his hand. “It’s fine. Forgiven and forgotten.”

Forgotten is pushing it a little, truthfully, but the hollow feeling in his chest he’s been carrying around ever since they left and Mike stopped returning his calls has finally eased enough for him to look past it.

Donna nods. “We get it. Especially now that we’re going through the same thing with the move and the new jobs. It’s a lot to deal with. Other things just get pushed to the background.”

“They do.” Rachel shakes her head. “They shouldn’t, but they do.”

“It’s fine. We’re still friends, nothing changed about that. We did miss you guys though, a lot. It just wasn’t the same after you left, for any of us.”

Rachel hums in agreement as she cuts the lasagna, taking Donna’s plate.

“It was hard for us too. I didn’t struggle with anything else we left behind, but the people…” She sighs. “I need to do better when it comes to keeping in touch. There’s so much I wanted to tell you all and never got the chance to. And so much I wanted to hear, too. The last time I talked to Louis Sheila wasn’t even pregnant yet, and now his daughter is already a month old. I missed his entire journey of becoming a father. And this, too,” she adds, waving between Harvey and Donna.

“Well, it’s a good thing we’re here now. We can catch you up on everything.”

Rachel smiles. “I’d love that. We do have a lot of catching up to do.”

“Don’t worry, there’s time,” Donna says, accepting the plate back and humming appreciatively. “God, that smells amazing. I always forget how good a homecooked meal is every once in a while.”

“I really hope you enjoy it. It’s a new recipe I’ve been meaning to make for ages and just never got to.” Putting a generous serving on Harvey’s plate, Rachel adds, “We try to cook as often as possible, at least on the weekends, but even that we don’t always manage.”

“I’d take care of it more often, but my hours aren’t exactly better than Rachel’s,” Mike says. “And when I do cook, I face a lot of criticism, so I tend not to.”

“Oh, sure, just put your laziness on me.”

“You complain about my cooking all the time.”

“Yeah, because you’re terrible at it.”

“See?” Mike turns to Harvey and Donna, shaking his head. “No matter what I do, it’s wrong.”

Donna chuckles. “It’s like you two turned into an old married couple. Adorable.”

“The new jobs are keeping you busy then?” Harvey enquires.

“Very much so.” Rachel hands Mike his plate, then takes her own. “It’s good work, and I don’t mind putting in all these hours, but there isn’t much left of the day when you get home after sundown.”

She nods towards the food. “Well, don’t wait on my account. Dig in, everyone.”

They don’t have to be told twice.

Donna sighs. “Rachel, this is amazing.”

“Fantastic,” Harvey agrees after the first bite.

Rachel lights up with a smile. “I’m glad to hear it.”

Cutting another piece, Harvey asks, “So, is the work how you imagined it to be? I don’t really know what to expect from it apart from what it says on the tin.”

“Not really, no.” She chuckles. “That’s what Mike always goes on about, how different it is from what Andy told us and how he lured us here under false pretenses.”

“But you’re still enjoying it?” Harvey asks, glancing at him with a raised eyebrow.

“I mean, it’s definitely important work and it’s good to be able to contribute to that. It’s just… so much less than it could be.”

Rachel sighs. “He goes on about that too. I keep reminding him that we’re a brand-new firm and that it takes time to find our flow and best practice, but he just loves complaining about it.”

“Well, it’s not gonna get better by not talking about it, is it?”

“Talking about it is one thing. Developing an obsession, on the other hand…”

She doesn’t finish, but the short silence that follows is a little too heavy for it to come across as a joke.

“How do you think things could be improved, exactly?” Harvey wants to know, but before Mike can reply, Rachel sighs.

“Do we really have to talk about work all night? It’s bad enough that Mike and I constantly do.”

“You’re right. Rachel hasn’t seen us in over a year, Harvey. Let’s find something else to discuss, hm?”

Harvey glances at Donna, then nods. “Sure. We’ll have plenty of time for all that later on. Especially now that we’ll be working together again.”

“And finally the right way around.” Mike’s frown dissolves, making way for a grin. “I always knew you were meant to be my employee, not vice versa.”

“Right, you’re my boss now. Something tells me you aren’t going to let me forget it.”

“Are you kidding? This is, like, the best thing that happened to me since I left.”

“Because you’re finally getting a competent guy to do all the dirty work for you?”

“Oh, you bet your ass you will.”

“You’re entirely too gleeful about that, you know.”

“No, no, I think I’ve earned this. I’m very excited for you to get started. Showing up at 8 sharp, wearing your best suit, eagerly awaiting my instructions… music to my ears.”

Donna snorts and shakes her head. “You were right, Rachel. He does go on and on about work.”

“I’m gonna go ahead and blame Harvey this time, since I’m just too thrilled to have him work for me, but I will admit that I’ve turned into something of a workaholic. Which, now that I think about it, I can also blame on Harvey.”

“There’s a compliment somewhere in there,” Harvey mutters.

“Is there?” Donna sounds doubtful. “We all work too much, I think we can agree on that. It’s a bad habit that is very hard to shake, and from what I’m hearing chances of getting out of it after moving here are disappointingly slim.”

She halts, her eyes narrowing before a slow smile spreads on her lips. “Actually, you know what we should do? We should all go on a trip together. Harvey and I never even got to think about our honeymoon, much less have it, and neither did you, right?”

“Right,” Mike agrees. “I mean, Seattle is nice and all, but I rather had something different in mind for a honeymoon. I’m sure you did, too,” he adds, turning to Rachel.

She bites her lip. “Of course,” she admits. “But it’s not like we were in a hurry. We already rushed the wedding, I thought we could take it slow now and wait for a good opportunity once the dust had settled.”

“Well, this is it.” The corner of Mike’s mouth lifts. “We’ve never gone on a real vacation, and you did want some time to catch up with Donna and Harvey. Why not do it with a drink by the sea?”

Rachel scratches her neck.

“Well, I for one am dying to have a vacation,” Donna declares before she can say anything and holds up her hands. “Moving is stressful, everyone. I could really use some time off. I know Harvey could, too, and from the sound of it the two of you aren’t faring much better.”

Harvey turns to Rachel, who is glancing at Mike.

“It’s just… I don’t know. This is very sudden. I don’t…”

“What? Are you worried about work?” Mike shakes his head. “They’ll survive without us for a week or two. Whether we leave now or in a few months, it won’t make a difference. Might as well go for it before this turns into one of those things that we keep pushing back and never actually do.”

She doesn’t look convinced, but mutters, “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

“Your dedication to your job is admirable,” Harvey remarks gently. “But you deserve some time off, probably more than anyone. I think you’ve earned this.”

Mike lifts an expectant eyebrow. “So? What do you think?”

She takes a deep breath, then smiles and nods. “You’re right,” she repeats. “I think it’s a wonderful idea.”

“Well, I guess that settles it,” Mike declares. “We’re taking a vacation.”

He puts an arm around her shoulders, smiling at her before he reaches for his wine glass. She does the same, Mike’s arm falling away when she leans forward.

“Oh, this is amazing,” Donna gushes at his side, taking his hand. “We’re going to have the best time. All of us together, could it get better than that?”

“We could leave Harvey behind,” Mike suggests, a shit-eating grin on his face when Harvey sends him a withering glare.

“I have an even better idea. We should leave you behind. Give poor Rachel a break.”

Donna snorts. “Like you wouldn’t be the first to mope about your buddy not being there.”

Harvey opens his mouth to protest despite the fact that she’s right and they all know it, but he’s cut off by Mike’s laughter, so he contents himself with just glaring at him.

Rachel offers a brief smile when he meets her eyes, then looks down at her plate.

“Where should we go?” she asks, cutting her lasagna. “I’m voting for a nice beach somewhere, if we’re doing this already.”

“No complaints from me,” Mike says.

“Agreed. Who knows when we’ll get another chance to take some time off? I heard my new boss is kind of a hardass.”

Mike shoots him a look, and he smirks.

“Yeah, you just enjoy your little vacation while you still can. You don’t know what’s coming at you, Robin.”

“No. Absolutely not. You’re not Batman, and I’m definitely not Robin.”

“What you gonna do about it? You wanna quit before you even had your first day?”

“Oh, you’re gonna wish I’d quit once I’m done with you,” Harvey threatens, which only makes Mike laugh again.

“Alright, while these two sort out their little quarrel…” Donna throws Harvey a look, then turns to Rachel. “Why don’t we think of somewhere we’d like to go?”

“No, wait. I want a say.”

Donna shushes him. “Only the grown-ups get a say, Mike. Or those who act like it.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m being perfectly serious. It’s Harvey who’s throwing a temper tantrum.”

“I’ll give you a temper tantrum right now if you don’t cut it out.”

“Please don’t.” Donna rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “So, Rachel? Any ideas?”

“I’m not particularly picky, but Europe does sound nice. It’s been a while.”

“Oh, yeah. For me too. If we’re sticking with the beach theme, a cute Greek island or something like that sounds just about perfect right now.”

“Well, why not?” Harvey lifts his shoulders. “I’d like to see Greece. I’ve never been.”

“Yeah, me neither,” Mike says, then adds, “Obviously. I’ve never been anywhere.”

“I went with my family once, years ago. But I’d love to see it again. Maybe to a different island this time?”

“Sure. Where did you go last time?”

“Rhodes,” Rachel says. “But there’s plenty of beautiful places in Greece that we could visit.”

“I’m sure we’ll find one,” Donna agrees. She raises her glass, smiling. “Let’s drink to that. This is a big moment, after all. To our first proper vacation, our honeymoons, and… to old friends.”

“And Greece,” Harvey adds.

“And Greek food,” Mike helpfully contributes. Rachel rolls her eyes, but smiles too as she picks up her glass.

“To a lovely vacation,” she says, and when they clink their glasses they’re all grinning.

*

The rest of the night is spent brainstorming ideas and researching options, and in the end they settle on the island of Santorini, which draws all of them in with its lovely white buildings and the clear blue water.

They find a nice place to stay and a good deal for a flight at the end of the month, and Donna and Harvey have barely unpacked their belongings in the new apartment when they pack their suitcases again and make their way through the still foreign city to get to the airport.

Mike and Rachel arrive almost twenty minutes after them. Harvey puts his phone back into his pocket after having checked for any messages about their whereabouts and gets up from his seat when he spots them.

“You look about ready for this vacation.”

Rachel sighs, impatiently brushing a loose strand of her behind her ear. “Sorry we’re late.”

“You’re with Mike. I get it.”

“Hey! You think this was my fault?”

“Wasn’t it?”

“To be fair, not entirely,” Rachel amends, but she still sounds annoyed. Her eyes fall on Donna, returning from the nearby coffee place with a cup in each hand.

“There you are,” she greets them, giving her and Mike a once-over before lifting an eyebrow and holding out one of the cups. “Here, take this. I got it for myself, but you look like you can use it more.”

Rachel accepts it gratefully. “Thank you.”

“If you think I’m giving up mine too, you’re mistaken,” Harvey informs Mike, who rolls his eyes.

“As if I would want that bitter, black brew you insist on calling coffee.”

“I put sugar in it now, actually.”

“Really? Since when?”

“Since last summer. Accidentally grabbed the wrong order and it turned out to not be terrible.” He shrugs. “You’re still not getting mine.”

Before Mike can say anything, Rachel touches his arm.

“Come on. You’ll have enough time to talk later. Let’s check in first.”

Mike nods and excuses himself, following Rachel to the kiosk.

“They work too much,” Donna says as she steps next to him, her eyes on their backs. “They must be exhausted. I’m glad they’re getting some time off now.”

“Thanks to you,” Harvey adds, wrapping an arm around her shoulders when she smiles. “You see what happens to people when they don’t have you around to meddle anymore? They overwork themselves. They lose their way. Things fall apart.”

Donna snorts. “First of all, I don’t meddle.”

“Of course you don’t.”

“Second, I don’t think it’s quite that bad, but it will probably still do them a world of good.”

Harvey glances at her, wanting to ask what she means, if she’s picked up on something or if the slightly off air between them is just a product of his imagination, but changes his mind when he sees them coming back.

“And us,” he says instead. “We haven’t exactly been idle either these past few years.”

“I don’t think you’ve been idle in over a decade,” Donna muses, the corner of her mouth lifting. “But don’t worry. I have my ways to make you unwind, in case you forgot how to.”

“I think I’ll probably manage, but if you want to give me a hand, I won’t stop you.”

“Is that a dirty pun?” Mike asks, taking his backpack off to put his passport away.

“Mike,” Rachel scolds him, rolling her eyes when Harvey chuckles. “Don’t encourage him. He’s like a teenager. Can you hold this for me?”

She hands her bag to Mike before turning towards the restrooms. Donna is looking for something in her purse, not paying attention to them, and Harvey uses the moment of relative privacy to conversationally ask, “Stressful morning, huh?”

“You don’t know the half of it.”

He doesn’t, but Mike doesn’t seem particularly willing to share any more details with him either, so he just says, “Well, you’re here now, and we have lots of time before boarding starts. You can relax.”

Mike lets out a deep breath, but nods, the corner of his mouth lifting. “Yeah, you’re right. I can’t wait to just… get there and have a good time, though.”

“Soon,” Harvey assures him.

“What about you? Ready to get a nice tan as well?”

“You know it. Though I do feel a little weird. I haven’t taken an actual vacation in years, and now that I’m starting a new job it’s the first thing I do.”

“Good thing your new boss is so lenient, huh?”

Harvey gives him a look, but anything he might have said in response sticks in his throat when his eyes catch on Mike’s profile, so very familiar and yet different somehow. He’s not just older, he looks changed too – by what, Harvey can only guess. They may talk again, but there is still a large period of Mike’s life that he knows nothing about, nothing but the fact that the first time he saw him again after it, he was different. He was harder, more goal-oriented, less inclined to stop and listen to reason.

Anything could have happened to provoke that change and Harvey wouldn’t have the first idea. It must be work, probably, the new position at a brand-new firm taking its toll on him, but he can’t know for sure.

They keep talking about it, work is busy here and he’s always at the office there, but Mike never once told him how it feels. What it’s like to be in charge of people. If he likes the work he’s doing. If he’s happy.

Granted, they haven’t really gotten a chance to talk since they put their most recent dispute to rest. It’s not that they can’t discuss these things in their group of four, but it still strikes him as something… personal. Something he’d rather talk about with just him. They’ve barley had a moment to themselves, without anyone around. There’s always someone else alongside them, or some other place they have to be, or some urgent matter demanding to be taken care of, and never a minute to just sit back and be together.

It’s almost ridiculous how much Harvey misses it.

This is not the time and place, though. Not with Donna right next to him and Rachel returning from the restroom, already craning her neck to see where they can drop off their baggage. But they’ll have time, later. Once they actually make it to Greece and everyone starts relaxing.

Donna puts a hand on his shoulder, ripping him from his thoughts.

“You alright?”

He nods. “Sure. You think we should go and drop off our luggage before Rachel gets a stroke?”

She chuckles, elbowing him gently. Harvey accepts the kiss she places on his lips before drawing back.

“Come on then. Let’s get moving.”

*

“Just a warning, the first thing I’ll do once we’ve unpacked is find us some Samos.”

“The dessert wine?” Donna asks, amused. Rachel nods.

“It’s amazing. I tried it the first time we came to Greece. My parents let me have a glass with dinner. I never forgot it.”

“Aw. I love that we have someone in our group who’s been here before and knows all the insider tips,” Donna says, smiling at her.

“I’ll do my best to remember everything,” Rachel promises, watching the view passing them by. It’s a short transfer to the house they rented, and there isn’t much time to take in the scenery, but from what Harvey has seen so far, they made a good choice in coming here.

“Greece is wonderful,” Rachel agrees when he says as much. “The quality of life is so different here. Even when you’re just visiting, you notice it right away.”

“Probably because the US is a train wreck and everywhere seems heavenly compared to that, but I get your point.”

“Also true,” Rachel concedes and sighs. “But let’s not think about that and just enjoy being here while it lasts.”

“Agreed,” Donna says, throwing him a stern look. “We’re here to relax, remember? That kind of talk is not relaxing.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Mike snorts. “Look at you two. Who’s the boss now?”

“Careful. We don’t want to start this vacation with me smacking you over the head.”

“Like you’d dare,” Mike retorts cheekily, clearly unbothered by the threat. Harvey didn’t mean it anyway. He pushes down the slightly uneasy feeling in his stomach and leans back, wrapping an arm around Donna’s shoulders as he enjoys the view.

“Is that it?” Rachel asks when they drive around a corner and a house appears in sight.

“I think it is,” Mike says, craning his head. “Looks like the pictures.”

“That view really is gorgeous. They weren’t promising too much.”

Harvey has to agree as they pull up at the narrow drive leading to the house. Stepping out of the taxi, he pays the driver before taking a proper look. Donna has already gone ahead, and he grabs his suitcase and follows, the cool breeze and the chirping of the birds putting a smile on his face as he heads towards the door.

Mike has punched in the code for the door before either of them gets the chance to look it up, and the distant exclamation of “nice!” makes him chuckle.

It’s pretty much his first thought when he enters the house too.

There are no separate rooms on the first floor, just a wide, open space illuminated by the sunlight falling in from the windows that make up the opposite wall. There’s a back door leading to a pool spanning so much of the backyard that he can only catch a glimpse of it from here, though they’d hardly need it, with the sea so close that it expands right behind it. The beach must only be a few minutes away, and with the bars and restaurants they just passed on the way here, they should have everything they need in walking distance.

Donna turns around and smiles. “Wonderful, isn’t it?”

“Like a dream,” Harvey agrees. “Let’s check out the second floor, before Mike and Rachel claim the best bedroom.”

“I’m afraid we’re already too late for that, but let’s take a look anyway.”

Mike and Rachel have indeed chosen a bedroom already, but Harvey needn’t have worried, because all of them are equally spacious and beautifully decorated. The same large windows from downstairs let the light flood in, allowing for a clear view of the sea that will make for a nice way to start the day every morning.

“Yeah, this will do.”

Donna chuckles at the understatement, and he smiles, adding, “We probably won’t spend much time in here anyway.”

“Are you sure about that?” Donna asks, smirking when she lets go of her suitcase to wrap her arms around his waist.

Harvey lifts an eyebrow. She leans in to kiss him, then does it again, and again until he pulls back slightly. “Don’t you wanna unpack first?”

“Not particularly, no.”

She kisses him again, her hands sliding down his sides, and when they dip beneath his shirt he breaks the touch.

“Well, as nice as this is, I kind of do want to unpack first.”

When she lifts an eyebrow, he adds, “When we get back here tonight, we sure as hell won’t be in the mood to do it.”

“Well, I’m sure as hell not in the mood to do it now. You wanna know what I am in the mood for?”

Harvey’s eyes drop to her hands, deftly unbuttoning her blouse.

“I can take a wild guess,” he remarks dryly.

“Well? Still want to say no?”

Looking at the expression on her face, he knows that he already lost.

“When have I ever said no?” he asks, thinking that if he has to yield already, this is as good a way to go as any.

Donna smirks, already seeking his lips again, and he just so manages to kick the door shut before she’s all over him.

It only occurs to him when they’re getting dressed again, checking his hair in the mirror – Donna got the worst of it, though she doesn’t look too put out by the fact – that they never made plans for the rest of the day with Rachel and Mike, and neither of them came looking for them.

Or they did, and got a little more of a show than they bargained for.

“We should check in with the others,” he says, turning around as Donna pulls her hair into a ponytail. “See what they’ve been up to.”

“Probably the same thing we’ve been up to,” she remarks, but the door to their room is open when they pass it and there’s no one inside.

They’re not anywhere in the house and not on the balcony Harvey is only now discovering, nor are they by the pool. He’s about to send Mike a text asking where they went when the door opens and they come inside, carrying a few plastic bags.

Rachel grins as soon as she sees them.

“Look, the two lovebirds resurfaced.” Confirming his suspicions, she adds, “I trust that you found a room you like? It certainly seemed like you were… enjoying yourselves.”

Donna chuckles. Harvey smiles briefly, clearing his throat when he meets Mike’s eyes.

“It’s a nice room, yeah. Where have you two been?”

She holds up the bag. “Samos.”

“I did tell her that we could just have some with dinner, but that wasn’t enough for her.”

She rolls her eyes. “It’s for after dinner, when we’re back here but don’t want to sleep yet. You’ll thank me later.”

“I don’t doubt it,” Donna says, smirking. “What else did you get?”

“Just some snacks. At Mike’s insistence, because he’s a child who can’t go two hours without food.”

“I can, I just don’t want to,” Mike disputes. “I mean, why should I put myself through that if I don’t have to?”

Rachel exchanges a longsuffering look with Donna, which makes him frown. She turns around to unpack, and he asks, “I’m serious. What’s the big deal?”

“There is no big deal, Mike.”

“Then why are you always going on and on about what I’m eating?”

Normally Harvey might have teased him about the way his frame has filled out since they first met, but it doesn’t seem appropriate now, not in the big group and with the way Mike is looking at Rachel.

“It’s a joke. I thought you liked those, considering that you can barely go a minute without making one.”

“Okay, well, it just didn’t seem like you actually thought it was funny. If something’s bothering you, just say so.”

“Of course I’ll say so,” Rachel gives back, all traces of amusement leaving her voice now. “When have I ever not said when something was bothering me?”

“I can think of a few times, actually,” Mike gives back, looking like he’s about to rattle down a list of incidents that is no doubt going to ruin the mood thoroughly.

“Before you get into that, could I borrow one of those snacks?” Harvey cuts in. “I haven’t eaten in a while, and I can’t say that I loved what they served us on the plane. I could use something solid in my stomach.”

Donna snorts. “See, Rachel? Maybe it’s not Mike. Maybe it’s just men.”

“Feeling hunger is a masculine trait, is it?”

“Don’t twist my words.” Donna rolls her eyes. “Lawyers.”

“You’re the one who voluntarily went on vacation with three of those,” Rachel points out, the corner of her mouth lifting.

Mike’s eyes are still narrowed, but his shoulders sag when he turns to Harvey, the tension leaving him.

“We thought we could grab an early dinner soon, but if you still want something, take whatever you like.” He glances at Rachel. “That’s what I bought it for, after all.”

She lets out a deep breath, but doesn’t comment.

“Have you unpacked yet?” she asks instead, setting the bags down on the kitchen counter. “I took care of that right away. Mike doesn’t see the point though, since we’re only staying for a week.”

Mike holds out his hands. “It makes no sense. I have no problem living out of a suitcase for a few days. At least I won’t have to repack everything, only to unpack it again once we’re home. It’s efficient.”

“We’re not on a class trip, Mike. This is supposed to be an actual, fancy vacation. As well as our honeymoon.”

“What, and how fancy it is depends on whether or not I unpack my suitcase?”

Rachel sighs. “No, I guess not.”

“We haven’t really unpacked either,” Harvey answers her question, ignoring the suggestive smirk on Donna’s lips.

“Maybe you should get to that before we head out for dinner, unless you think you’ll want to do it tonight.”

“Probably not. You know what, we’ll take care of it right now and then we’ll meet you back here in… say, twenty minutes?”

“Sounds good.” The corner of Rachel’s mouth lifts. “Sure you don’t wanna make it thirty?”

“I think we’re good,” Harvey says. “Donna, you coming?”

It turns out to be mostly him doing the unpacking, as Donna decides to put on a different outfit and do something about her hair after all, but they make it downstairs within twenty minutes, joining Mike and Rachel, who are already waiting in the kitchen.

“Ready to go?” Mike asks, jumping up from the counter.

“More than. I’m starving.”

“I could eat, too,” Donna agrees, and Rachel nods.

“We saw some really nice restaurants earlier. I think we’ll find something that suits us.”

They do, settling on a charming little place ten minutes from their house that doesn’t just overlook the sea, but a good part of the island too. The menu sounds heavenly as well, and Harvey leans back with a sigh when the waitress takes their orders and puts their drinks in front of them, thinking that he could get used to this. Sitting here with people he loves, for once not having to worry about anything except what to order for dessert, he can’t for the life of him remember why it took him so long to do this. He used to think that working all the time was a sign of how serious he took his job, of how tough he was. That all work and no play was an acceptable trade for the upscale lifestyle he got in return, never mind that he rarely got to enjoy it with the amount of time he spent at the office.

He doesn’t understand why, looking back now. Then again, there’s a lot of things he did that he doesn’t get anymore.

“So,” he says, shaking the train of thought, “tell us about Seattle. What’s it like? Be honest. If we’re going to regret moving there, I wanna know now.”

It’s meant as a joke, but neither Mike nor Rachel offer as much as a smile.

“Well, I love it,” Rachel begins just as the silence starts to stretch. Mike reaches for his glass, twisting it without picking it up. “I never lived anywhere other than New York before, but I think it’s a perfect alternative. I was never really all that attached to the city anyway, you know? Sure, my family is there and I didn’t mind it, but I think it’s nice to see something else for a change and not spend your whole life in one spot.”

Donna nods. “I think so too.”

“I don’t know,” Harvey says. “I mean, I get where you’re coming from, but I never thought of New York as just one spot. You have all the variety you need right at your fingertips there, don’t you? If you go somewhere else just so you won’t stay in one spot your whole life, only to give up all those options and downgrade to a smaller city… you’ll be somewhere else, but you’ll still have less than before.”

“Harvey.”

Donna throws him a look, and he holds out his hands. “What? I’m not saying that I feel that way about Seattle. I don’t know Seattle yet. I’m just saying, if you were to get tired of a place, it would probably be the smaller one that you’ve seen everything of in a few weeks or months.”

Mike hums, but doesn’t contribute anything else. His eyes stay on his glass. Harvey wonders if he is even listening.

Rachel clears her throat. “Yeah, well. Maybe you’re right. I don’t know, maybe I’ll grow tired of it one day and realize it wasn’t the right place after all. But right now I’m enjoying it.” She lifts her shoulders. “Seattle is great. It’s a really fun city. Mike always says that it’s so quiet there, and I guess when you compare it to New York it is, but there’s amazing places to go if you want to have a night out. On the rare occasion that we do, that is.”

Again, Mike fails to add anything. Harvey glances at him, but he’s still engrossed in his wine. It must be really good, to hold his attention for so long.

“Well, we’re going to change that now that I’m there. You’ll have to show me all your favorite spots,” Donna declares.

Rachel smiles. “I would love that.” She sighs. “It’ll be good to have another reason to get out of work early for once. We made some friends, but most of them have the same insane hours we do. We could use someone to drag us out of the office every once in a while.”

“Sounds like it’s a good thing I followed you to Seattle,” Donna says dryly.

“For so many reasons.” Rachel reaches across the table, squeezing her hand with a smile. “Not least because I’ll finally get to spend some time at the wonderful bars in our neighborhood. There are amazing places in all parts of the city though. And, of course, there’s great coffee wherever you go. Which is a godsend with the hours we’re working. There’s a bunch of coffee shops right around the block from the firm that will get you through any shift, no matter how hard.”

Harvey hums. “But do any of those shops reach the coffee cart guy’s level?”

Rachel snorts, taking his remark for a joke, but when he glances at Mike he’s finally looking up, smirking and bowing his head slightly in understanding.

“You can find his services in Seattle, no need to worry about that.”

“Hm. And do you? Frequently?”

Mike tilts his head. “Not as frequently as I would like. Do I want to? Sure. But I’m a grown-up now, you see. I watch my… intake.”

“Is that so.” Harvey smirks as he lifts his glass. “Well, we are on vacation. Think we should go looking for some around here?”

“Oh, definitely.”

Rachel frowns at them, but Harvey preempts her questions and, with one last glance at Mike, turns to her and asks, “So, what else is there to like about Seattle?”

“Well, it’s… a lot greener than New York, for example. I love that. You don’t just have the parks, there’s nature everywhere. And it’s cleaner. Far less rushed too. It was actually a little jarring when we first got here and still had all that momentum.”

Harvey wonders if she realizes that most of her points are just emphasizing how different Seattle is from New York. She did say she never had an issue with the city, but it still makes him wonder.

“You’re saying that like we’ve lost it,” Mike points out dryly. “I don’t see you slowing down at work. I’m telling you,” he says, turning to Harvey and Donna, “she knows no mercy. She really took a page from Louis’ book.”

“Well, I… not exactly,” Rachel tries to amend, which makes Donna snort in amusement.

“Oh, he’s gonna love hearing about this.”

“She’s more humane, I’ll give her that,” Mike concedes. “If someone is crying at their desk, it’s not because she yelled at them. Just because she’s giving them more work than they can handle.”

“They can handle it. It’s not my fault they don’t know it yet.”

“Well, if they didn’t before, they sure as hell know after working for you,” Mike says, patting her shoulder.

“Rachel, I gotta say. Hearing that makes me so proud.”

She chuckles, meeting Harvey’s eyes. “Yeah, well, I learned from the best.”

The waitress interrupts the conversation as she arrives with their plates, and any thoughts about Seattle or the firm inevitably get pushed to the background for the time being.

“Is it just the view that makes it so good or is this actually perfect?” Rachel muses, taking another bite.

“No, this actually is really good,” Harvey agrees, waving towards his plate.

“But the view is fucking sweet, man, you gotta admit it.”

Harvey smirks at Mike. “That’s right, Dorothy. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Or Coney Island.”

Mike snorts. “I do love Coney Island,” he remarks. “Love the corn dogs there. And the saltwater taffy.”

“That’s terrible. I see your taste hasn’t improved since we last spoke.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. I bet you haven’t even been to Coney Island in the last decade. Or ever.”

“I have, too,” Harvey argues. “Once. And it was eight years ago, not ten. Also, you do realize that speaks for and not against me, right? Because it proves I’m a responsible adult and all that?”

“Yeah, a responsible adult who doesn’t know how to have fun.”

“Says the guy who stays late at the office every night,” Rachel remarks.

“Well, since apparently none of us remember how to have fun, I think it was high time we did something like this,” Donna says. “To remind us of what’s really important.”

She covers Harvey’s hand with hers, smiling as she looks around. Harvey meets Mike’s eyes briefly before he reaches for his glass and her hand falls away.

The conversation returns to the days ahead as they eat, and they gather ideas about what they could do until their plates are empty and the waitress hands them the dessert menu. Rachel hesitates, but agrees when Donna suggests to share. Harvey and Mike each order one for themselves.

“So, what’s the plan?” Rachel asks when she puts down her spoon. “Should we get drinks here? Somewhere else? Or do you guys want to go back?”

“Drinks sound good,” Harvey says. “I saw the menu earlier, there’s definitely something on there for me.”

“I could have a drink too,” Donna agrees.

“Great. Mike and I saw this amazingly cute bar earlier, actually. I thought maybe we could try that? Unless you want to stay here.”

Mike shrugs. “I don’t really care either way.”

“Well, why don’t we make it a girls’ night then and leave these two here?” Donna suggests. “I’m sure they have some catching up to do that they don’t need us around for. I know you and I do.”

“That sounds like a great plan, actually. You two don’t mind splitting up?”

Harvey shakes his head. “By all means, go ahead. There is no need for us to spend every minute of this trip together, and like Donna said, we probably all have some catching up to do.”

He has a feeling that Rachel in particular does, judging by the grateful look she shoots him, and since it means he’ll get to spend the rest of the night with Mike, that suits him just fine.

Donna and Rachel finish their wine before they get up and gather their things.

“Meet you back at the house?”

“Sure,” Harvey says, accepting the kiss Donna drops on his lips. “See you later. Have fun!”

“You too.”

He looks after them as they leave the restaurant, already deep in conversation. Then he turns to Mike, lifting an eyebrow.

“I’m gonna get myself some ouzo. You want something too?”

Mike gulps down the rest of his wine and nods. “You know it.”

They wave the waitress over, and she takes their empty plates and promises to be back in a minute. Harvey crosses his legs and sits back, folding his hands over his stomach.

“So. You don’t love Seattle, do you?”

Mike raises his eyebrows. “No foreplay?” he asks dryly.

“You’re the one who always goes straight for the prostate.”

“Fair enough.”

When he doesn’t say anything else, Harvey tilts his head expectantly. “Well?”

Sighing, Mike shifts in his seat. “What do you want me to say, Harvey?”

“I don’t know, yes? Or no?”

“Alright, no, I don’t love Seattle. I don’t hate it, either. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a good place to live. Not my favorite, but certainly preferable to, say, the Bronx. I don’t have to love it. It is what it is.”

The waitress brings their drinks. The rich flavor of the booze bites Harvey’s tongue as he takes a sip. It’s a welcome burn.

“Nobody said you had to love it,” he remarks as he sets it down.

Mike huffs. “You sure about that?”

Part of Harvey wants to ask, but there’s really no need to.

“Sometimes it takes a while to get there, you know,” he says instead. “One day you look back and realize that what you wanted is what you had all along.”

“I didn’t know you took motivational speaking classes in my absence.”

“Maybe I just got more mature. You ever think about that? Not all of us can stay young and carefree forever.”

“So… what you’re saying is that you got old.”

“I’m sorry, did you just say something? I was too distracted by the sight of those poorly hidden grey streaks in your hair to listen.”

“At least I can wear them with pride and don’t feel the need to cover them up.”

“Now you’re getting too personal.”

“There’s no too personal for us,” Mike points out, smirking before raises his ouzo.

Harvey regards him quietly, his own smile fading slowly.

“Just give yourself some time. There’s no rush to get anywhere.”

Mike lets out a deep breath. “I am, yeah.”

He doesn’t look convinced, but Harvey lets it slide. One thing at a time.

“So, Seattle, the jury’s still out. But the work is good?”

“Of course it’s good. All of it’s pro bono. It’s the best work you’ll ever do.”

Harvey lifts an eyebrow. “Is it fun though?”

Mike holds his eyes before he looks away, glancing into his glass. “Sometimes.”

Harvey tilts his head. How strange this entire conversation is. Not just to an outsider, which it undoubtedly is, but for them specifically. For Mike.

When did he get so closed off? When did he stop staying what he really means?

It’s weird. It’s still Mike in front of him, and they’re still talking, still having a good time, but it’s different now. Mike is rougher around the edges. He’s not unkind, but not exactly friendly either. There’s something rugged about him, a harshness that Harvey can’t quite pinpoint or make sense of. 

Whatever is at the bottom of it, there’s no way for Harvey to find out. Not with how reluctant he is to open up about the time in his life that he missed.

“Is it the firm? Or the line of work in general you’re not happy with?”

It’s not that he expects Mike to spill his guts, but maybe he’ll share something. It’s worth a try.

“What difference does it make? I’m stuck with both.”

Harvey throws him a doubtful look, but Mike just shrugs, waving his hand like he expected him not to get it.

“Who can even tell? I mean, do you know what exactly the discontentment you’re experiencing is made of every single time you feel it? What you would have to change, precisely, to make it go away? Does anyone ever?”

“I think some people do. It’s called emotional intelligence or something. I wouldn’t know.”

Mike snorts.

“I guess neither would I then.”

“I used to think you would.”

Mike’s eyes snap to his before he makes a noncommittal sound.

Pursing his lips in thought, Harvey taps the rim of his glass.

“You know, it’s kinda funny.”

“What?”

“When you came back to visit, you said I lost my way.”

It still stings, even now that he’s only repeating the words back to him. It never quite stopped stinging.

“You did lose your way.”

“Yes,” Harvey agrees. “But you didn’t?”

Mike cracks a smile that Harvey doesn’t think holds any amusement. He raises his glass, drinking until it’s empty. When he sets it down, he still hasn’t said a word.

Harvey realizes quickly that he’s not going to.

“The booze is good, isn’t it?” he changes the topic. Trivial, but safe.

“Yeah.”

“Goes nicely with the view.”

“I’ll say. If this is what vacations are like, I should have gone sooner.”

“What stopped you?”

He chuckles. “You, my hardass boss of seven years, who thought that taking a day off should be punishable by death.”

“Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but hyperbole is a close second.”

“And jealousy is unbecoming, so I guess we’re even.”

Harvey huffs out a laugh. “I guess we are.” He glances at Mike, hesitating before he says, “You’re different, you know.”

Mike looks at him, his eyes searching his face like he’s trying to determine if Harvey is still joking around. As if the tone of his voice didn’t make it clear.

“And that’s a bad thing?”

A bunch of conflicting answers are on the tip of Harvey’s tongue. He takes his time dissecting them one by one, sorting through them before he has to admit that it got him nowhere.

“I’m not sure yet,” he eventually tells him.

Mike accepts that with more grace than he expected.

“It just is what it is,” he says, if to himself or to Harvey, he can’t begin to guess. His eyes are on the sea behind him, watching the waves come and go. The corner of his mouth lifts at some point.

“You’re gonna laugh at me, but I did love going to Coney Island as a kid. It was the only time I ever got to see the ocean. And the only ‘vacation’ we ever really got to go on.”

When he looks back at Harvey, he smiles too.

“I’m not laughing,” he promises. “It’s not funny.”

“Grammy used to pack an entire backpack of food when we went. Since the ride took so long from where we lived, we always made a day of it. We woke up at the crack of dawn and didn’t leave until dusk, usually with a bit of a sunburn despite her best efforts to keep me in the shade.”

He looks younger as he talks, as if the memories are coming over him like a veil that erases all marks of the time gone by from his face, all that ruggedness that Harvey can’t get behind. It aches, the sight of him, in ways he couldn’t begin to put into words, so he doesn’t try to.

“I used to like getting them, actually. Isn’t that stupid? Of course it was super uncomfortable, and I looked like a clown, but it was… proof of the nice day we’d had. Of the vacation that I kept telling myself was way better than anything my classmates ever did with their families.”

He turns back to him, a challenging look in his eyes. Like he honestly expects Harvey to make fun of him.

It’s the farthest thing from his mind right now.

“It’s not stupid,” he tells him. “I think it makes a whole lot of sense, actually.”

Mike hums. “Where did you go, as a kid? Ever went on any family trips?”

“Depends on what you count as a trip.”

Harvey picks up his drink, sits back, and begins to talk.

He hasn’t thought about those memories in a long time, even after his mother’s death, not since before he even considered forgiving her, and revisiting them now brings up a lot of things he buried somewhere he wouldn’t have to look at them.

He doesn’t know how he feels about them now, but with Mike being the one sitting across from him, he doesn’t think he needs to try to put it into words. He’ll get it, probably more than anyone. He’ll understand.

Things may have changed, as has Mike, but at least this has stayed the same. They still get each other, in some ways at least. In those that count.

Maybe the rest will come, too.

The words do, at any rate. They talk over their first drink, then another one, until the last of the sunlight has vanished from the sky and the moon shines bright over the sea like he’s only ever seen in pictures.

It was a good idea, this vacation. He can feel it as he looks out on the waves, a distant sense of importance, of rightness. They needed to come here.

Rachel and Donna aren’t back yet when they reach the house, a little tipsy but in good spirits despite the rather bleak nature of what they talked about earlier.

Companionship, Harvey thinks. That’s another thing that hasn’t changed between them. He missed it. A lot.

He’s not exactly sad to find the house empty upon their return. He’s fairly certain Donna would have wanted a repeat performance of before, and he’s even more certain that he couldn’t have delivered, not with all the alcohol in his system and the exhaustion from the journey finally catching up with him.

As it is, he wishes Mike a good night before brushing his teeth and slipping into his pajamas, his eyes closing as soon as his head hits the pillow.

It feels heavenly to give in to the tiredness, to know that there is no alarm waking him up barely six hours from now and no catastrophe waiting for him, no responsibility other than deciding where to go for breakfast and what to see afterwards.

Maybe Mike was right and he did get soft in his old age.

But who is he to judge himself for it? This feels too damn good to regret anything that led him here. And this time off might be the first thing in months, if not years, that he did just for himself. Just because he wanted to. If that makes him soft, then so be it. There are much worse things to be.

It really was a good idea to come here, he thinks, the last thing on his mind before he drifts off. He can already feel himself relaxing like he hasn’t done in ages. This vacation is going to be amazing, and nothing and no one will ruin that for him.

Chapter Text

“Good morning. Finally awake, are you?”

“Is that any way to greet a friend?” Harvey mutters, narrowing his eyes at Mike’s grin as he joins him in the kitchen. “I thought your grandmother taught you some manners. Whatever happened to those?”

“I haven’t even said anything, old man.”

“See, that? That’s what I’m talking about. Also, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

“Aw, am I talking too loud? Is someone a little hungover?”

“Definitely not.”

“No? No symptoms at all? Feeling as fresh as the day you were born, all the way back in 1952?”

“Wow. It is too early to be dealing with someone so rude. Where’s everyone else, anyway?”

Mike nods towards the pool. “Out for a morning swim. You know, like young people do.”

“Explains why you’re in here then,” Harvey mutters as he turns to head outside.

Donna looks over her shoulder when he calls out a greeting, smiling. “Morning, sleepyhead.”

“Not you too.”

Rachel chuckles. “Morning, Harvey. Looks like you got some well-deserved rest last night. I’m glad.”

“Thank you, Rachel. The question is, why didn’t any of you?”

“Oh, I woke up pretty early, and when I grabbed some water from the kitchen I saw that Rachel was already doing her rounds, so I thought I might as well join and get a good morning workout in. We can sleep later, right?”

Harvey shrugs. “You can also sleep now. Either way, I think we’re all ready for some breakfast soon.”

“Absolutely. I’m starving,” Rachel announces, pushing herself out of the water. “How about Donna and I take a quick shower and meet you in the kitchen in… say, 30 minutes?”

“Sounds good to me.”

Donna gets out of the pool too, grabbing her towel and heading inside after a quick kiss on his lips.

“If you hadn’t looked so peaceful, I would have woken you up myself,” she murmurs.

He lifts an eyebrow. “Promises, promises.”

Following her into the house, he joins Mike in the kitchen, who is holding a cup of coffee in one hand and his phone in the other.

“Been up a while too, huh?”

“Nah. Just long enough to grab a bite to eat while no one was looking.”

“Smart thinking. It’s gonna take them another 30 minutes before we can leave, and then we still have to decide on a place to eat.”

“If Sleeping Beauty had risen earlier, I would have been happy to share.” He grins. “So, really, you only have yourself to blame for your suffering.”

“That’s okay, because you just called me beautiful and that’s going to keep me overwater until we get some actual food.”

Mike rolls his eyes. “So vain.”

“You’re not even denying it.”

“I’m sorry, are you talking to me? I wasn’t listening because I’m too engrossed in this captivating article I’m reading.”

“Yeah, you keep that up all you want. I know what you said.”

Mike keeps pretending to ignore him, and Harvey uses the time and steals a nut bar from his stash of snacks to tide him over until Rachel and Donna make it downstairs.

“We saw the cutest place on our way back last night,” Rachel declares as they step outside and walk down the drive. “They had a nice breakfast menu. I think we’d all find something.”

“Let’s check it out,” Harvey agrees readily. Donna lifts an eyebrow when he catches her eyes.

“Starving, are we?”

“You’re saying that like you aren’t, even though you must have worked up an appetite with those kinds of morning activities.”

“Oh, I sure did. Not my preferred way of working one up, granted, but since certain people were all passed out…”

Rachel snickers. “Oh, it’s so wonderful you two could have your honeymoon so soon after the wedding. I wish Mike and I had gotten to enjoy that time more.”

There’s a brief silence before Mike looks up, like he didn’t realize it was his turn to say something.

“Well, we’re enjoying ourselves now, aren’t we? We didn’t lose any time, we just… pushed it back. We’re here now, that’s all that matters.”

He smiles at Rachel and wraps an arm around her waist. She smiles too. They both look ahead, neither saying more on the subject.

Clearing his throat, Harvey asks, “So, did you have a good time last night?”

“Oh, it was wonderful.” Rachel turns to him. Mike’s arm falls away at the motion. “The bar we went to is a dream. You should check it out sometime before we leave.”

“Well, seeing as we only just got here, I’m sure that can be arranged.”

“But first, breakfast,” Mike adds.

Donna snorts. “Keeping this one fed must be quite the job on top of your actual work, Rachel.”

“You’re assuming I’m not keeping myself fed.” Mike turns around, lifting an eyebrow. “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.”

“I would be offended, but it’s true. He’s taking care of getting us food more times than not. To be honest, I tend to forget it’s time for the next meal far too often.”

“How do you forget to eat?” Mike shakes his head. “That’s crazy.”

“Well, it’s a good thing we have you with to remind us all then. And I trust the breakfast buffet will satisfy you until lunch.”

Reaching the restaurant, Harvey has to agree. The huge selection of foods looks mouthwatering. There’s definitely something for everyone.

“I’m so glad she just said that,” Mike mutters when they grab their plates, leaning closer to Harvey. “I was worried they would pull the old ‘oh, we had such a big breakfast, there’s no way we can eat lunch’.”

“Well, if they ever try that, you and I are just going to split from the group and have lunch by ourselves.”

Mike grins. “I knew I could count on you,” he says, clapping his shoulders.

Harvey’s smile softens as he drops his eyes. “Always.”

“I think we should do some sightseeing today,” Rachel announces once they’ve all returned to their table. “I read about this amazing folklore museum that I really want to see… but I’m guessing you don’t feel the same way?” she asks, looking between them at the lack of response.

“I mean, I’d go, but I don’t need to,” Harvey says with a shrug. “There are other things I’d like to see while we’re here that I’m more interested in.”

“I thought you liked museums?”

“I do. I was just thinking along the lines of art rather than folklore.”

“Well, why don’t we just split up after this?” Donna suggests. “I mean, this is supposed to be a honeymoon-like situation for all of us, and no offense to you guys, but I think some alone time with my husband is in order.”

She takes Harvey’s hand and smirks at him. “We can meet up again for dinner somewhere tonight.”

“Good idea.” Rachel turns to Mike. “Are you up for the folklore museum?”

“Sure. Sounds interesting.”

“Great, then everyone’s happy, right? Harvey?”

He returns the smile Donna gives him and squeezes her hand. “If that works for all of us, why not?”

He would have liked to spend the day as a group as well, because it always feels like there’s more they need to catch up on, more things to talk about, but this is nice too. It will be fun. And it’ll make Donna happy. What more could he ask for?

Besides, they’ll meet each other for dinner, which means they’ll only be separated for a few hours.

“So, I guess we’ll see you later,” he says once they’re outside the restaurant.

Mike nods. “Right. Have fun with your… art.”

“You don’t have to say it like that, you know. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not real art. Maybe you should come with us instead, acquire a taste for the finer things in life.”

Rachel snorts. “I’m afraid that’s a lost cause, but it’s cute that you still have hope.”

“Funny,” Mike says dryly. “Love when you team up against me.”

“Oh, so do we.” Rachel smiles, then adds, “Let’s text later about where we should meet for dinner. You two… enjoy yourselves.”

She winks at them, and Harvey suppresses the urge to scoff. What does she think they’re going to do, take off to immediately have sex at some semi-public place just because this is their honeymoon?

Not that he minds the sex, of course. It’s just hardly the main reason they came here.

Donna chuckles and takes his hand, and he half expects her to actually drag him to some corner and demand that they make out, but thankfully she contents herself with a few kisses as they figure out the way. There’ll be time for plenty of that later on after all, and he really wants to see that gallery.

The museum they go to offers a wide selection of pieces that don’t exactly match Harvey’s taste, but are close enough to still intrigue him. Donna jokes that he had better not drag any of this home, as they have enough ‘weird art’ in their apartment already, which he finds rather hard not to take offence at, but she just laughs at his face and pulls him along, the pieces on display distracting him soon enough.

It’s a nice outing. The sun is shining hot upon them, but there’s a light breeze coming from the sea that makes it bearable. They stop by a nice little café after the museum, and once Donna has taken enough pictures of them to satisfy her, Harvey asks, “Has Rachel texted you? Or Mike?”

“Not yet.”

“You wanna check in with them?”

She nods, and a few minutes later announces, “Rachel found a nice restaurant. We’re supposed to meet them there around six.”

“Sounds great.” He checks the time. “That’s still a while. What do you wanna do until then?”

“Do you really have to ask? Because I can think of a thing or two,” she drawls, running her finger up and down his arm.

Harvey lifts an amused eyebrow. “You wanna go all the way back to the house?”

“If you’d rather find a private place around here, I’m not saying no.”

He snorts. “I do think the bedroom is more convenient. I just thought we could use the time to explore the area a little, if we’re here already. The house isn’t running away, is it?”

“Fine. Suit yourself. But you’re missing out, Mister Specter,” she declares, chuckling when he smiles.

“Forbearance is not acquittance,” Harvey says, leaning in to give her an appeasing kiss.

Strolling through the streets, they stumble over some nice shops and even nicer buildings before they make their way to the restaurant. They’re in no rush, and they try to stick to the shade as they walk, the prolonged exposure to the sun starting to take its toll on both of them.

They are the first to arrive at the restaurant, but Mike and Rachel show up soon after, joining them at the table they picked by the windows.

“Hey. Sorry, I hope you guys didn’t have to wait long.”

“Don’t worry about it. It gave us time to check out the menu already.”

“Something good in there?” Mike wants to know as he sits down, and Harvey nods.

“You bet.”

“Awesome. Can I have yours?”

Harvey hands it to him, and Rachel leans in, reading over his shoulder.

“How was your museum?” he asks as they scan the menu.

“I really enjoyed it,” Rachel says, smiling. “How was yours?”

“Not really my style, but Harvey seems to have liked it. I got to choose where we stopped for coffee afterwards, so I’m not complaining,” Donna adds, smirking. “What else did you two get up to?”

“Oh, not much. Mike got talking with this guy who was singing on the street with his dog. He took a liking to him when he gave him some cash. I slipped into the nearby shops at some point.”

“You did find that dress while we were talking, so I think it’s safe to say it was a nice afternoon for everyone.”

“Not a bad start.” She smiles briefly, then cranes her head. “God, I’m getting hungry. Anyone see a waiter?”

Mike locates one when he’s made his choice too, and they enjoy some Samos as they wait, showing each other the pictures they took during the day to pass the time.

“You look so beautiful here, Rach,” Donna says when she shows her a selfie she took in front of the sea.

“Thank you. I was going to send that to my parents, actually. Thanks for reminding me.”

“Tell them I said hi,” Mike says, watching her compose the message, and she nods.

“How are they doing, anyway?” Donna asks, supporting her chin on her hands. “We’ve seen Robert around, of course, but there hasn’t been much time to chat.”

“Oh, he’s doing well. My mom even more so, since she doesn’t have as much stress as he does. They still don’t seem… happy about the fact that we moved, but I mean, what parents would be? It just makes me feel bad sometimes, because I don’t talk to them nearly as often as I want to.”

“Letting a child go must be hard no matter how,” Donna says, nodding. “But I’m sure they understand you’re busy. And you’re doing amazing work. They could hardly fault you for that.”

“No, of course not. They would never.” She huffs out something like a laugh. “I do, though. Just… sometimes. I feel awful for not making more time for them.”

“I get it.” Donna smiles at her. “But I’m sure the longer you’re here, the more you’ll develop a routine that works for you. And I guess things will change up again anyway once you have kids yourself.” She leans back. “Have you thought about when you want to get pregnant yet?”

The sudden question is unexpected even to Harvey, but the reaction to it even more so. Or better, the lack of reaction.

Because the words are met with silence. Mike and Rachel aren’t looking at each other, but they aren’t looking at Donna either, instead focusing intently on the decoration of the table, neither of them saying a word.

“I’m… did I say something wrong?” Donna asks slowly, glancing at Harvey, who just shakes his head.

“No, no. It’s just… it’s a complicated situation,” Rachel tells her, her lips pinched. “We’re not… there won’t be any kids anytime soon.”

“Oh, god. Did you change your minds? I’m sorry, I just assumed because you always used to talk about starting a family and…”

She trails off, for once lost for words, but Rachel just shakes her head.

“Well, we’re not… not starting one. It’s just… not the right time.”

“Oh. No, I totally get that. There’s no rush, right? Most people have kids later in life these days.”

“Exactly.” Picking at her rice, Rachel purses her lips before asking, “What about you? Are you two going to try for children?”

Harvey feels a rather sudden hot rush coming over him. He should have seen this coming after the direction their conversation took, but the question still manages to catch him off guard.

Rachel is looking at Donna, but he can feel Mike’s eyes on him like a physical weight, leaving him burning beneath his gaze.

Harvey coughs. “Well, you know, we haven’t talked about that.”

Donna smiles at him and laces their hands together.

“Yeah, you know, everything is still fresh, and we’ve been so busy with the move and all. But maybe it’s time to talk about it, now that we’re finally here. We have a few years on you two, after all. The clock is ticking.”

Something flares up in Harvey that can only be described as panic. He didn’t know Donna wanted children. He didn’t think it would even come up, that there was any possibility that they weren’t on the same page about that.

“I mean, we’re not the youngest anymore,” he says. “There’s a time for everything, and if we’re past that, we’re past it.”

Donna blinks at him, her face twitching before she squeezes his hand and lets go. “See, nothing’s decided yet,” she tells them, a tight smile on her lips. She turns to Rachel. “By the way, where did you buy that cute dress you showed me earlier? I’ll have to go there myself before we leave.”

The conversation carries on without any further incidents after that. Rachel and Donna talk about the store and Mike tells them about the guy he chatted with earlier, all of them – if by unspoken agreement or pure coincidence – steering clear of the subject of children from then on. The longer they sit there, the more Harvey relaxes, and by the time they make it back to the house he has convinced himself that he read too much into the situation.

Donna, however, clearly hasn’t done the same.

He has barely closed the door to their bedroom before she turns around and crosses her arms.

“What the hell was that?”

It takes Harvey a moment to catch up. “What was… oh, god. Seriously? Are you talking about the pregnancy thing?”

“The pregnancy thing?” she echoes, incredulous. “Harvey, this is our future we’re talking about. Could you be a little less dismissive?”

“I’m sorry, I just wasn’t aware our future even held the possibility of children.”

Her jaw drops. “What are you talking about?” She shakes her head. “You don’t want children, is that it? You’re hell bent on not having any, even though this is the first I’m hearing about this, and that’s the end of it?”

“What do you expect me to say? You’re right, we never even talked about kids. I thought it was clear that we were past that point in our lives. I’m sorry if I made a wrong assumption, and I certainly never meant to lead you on, but come on. Look at us. I mean, did you seriously think the answer to that question would be an enthusiastic yes?”

“I thought it at least wouldn’t be a hard no, but if you’ve made up your mind without even making me part of that decision…”

“Donna, this is- neither of us are young anymore. We’re both working all the time. I never saw myself as a parent, especially not once I was past a certain age and none of my relationships had lasted long enough to even have that conversation.”

“Oh, so you thought this one probably wouldn’t either, so why bother talking about it?”

“What?” Harvey shakes his head. “That’s ridiculous, Donna. This isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that I just don’t see any kids in my future.”

She presses her lips together, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Well, maybe that’s something you should have told me before we got serious.”

“You kidding me? Maybe you should have told me that you wanted children before we got serious, Donna. How the hell was I supposed to know this was something you wanted? And when were you going to tell me, anyway? Aren’t you supposed to start trying sooner rather than later? Or were you just gonna assume I was on board with that too and stop taking your contraception, see what happens?”

She swallows. “You’re not being fair to me right now.”

Harvey lets out a deep breath. “Maybe, but neither are you. I never even thought about becoming a parent, for god’s sake. I barely thought about getting married before we did.”

Her mouth turns into a thin line. “That’s a great thing to say to your wife.”

“Donna…” He sighs. “Look, this is getting ridiculous. I don’t wanna fight with you. If this is something you really want, then we should talk about it. Rationally. I can’t promise it’s going to change anything, but let’s at least have a conversation instead of a fight over it.”

He takes a step towards her, putting a hand on her arm. She doesn’t reciprocate the touch in any way, but at least she’s not pushing him away.

Instead, she releases a deep breath and nods. “Fine. Let’s talk about it once we’re back home. I don’t want our honeymoon to be ruined by this.”

“No, let’s not let it get to that.”

He looks at her, her lips still pursed, staring at a point somewhere past his shoulder.

“Hey. Are we okay?”

She sighs, but finally drops her arms. “Yeah. Let’s just drop it. I’m tired.”

“Alright. Me too.”

They get ready for bed in silence. Donna turns onto her side right away, which answers the question of whether or not they’re going to catch up on the sex they missed out on today.

Fine by him. He’s not exactly in the mood anyway.

*

“God, I missed the beach.”

Harvey shields his eyes from the sun as he looks up at Rachel. “Have you gone to one in Seattle since you moved there?”

“No, we never really had time for it.” She sighs. “It’s probably like it was back in New York. If it’s always nearby, you never actually go to see it.”

“Which is why we’re using an entire day of our precious time here for it,” Mike says, stepping next to her. His hands are on his hips as he looks out on the sea, and Harvey allows his eyes to move down the length of his body while his gaze is averted, taking in the surprisingly broad set of his shoulders, the moles on his chest, the trail of hair on his belly leading down to his trunks.

Harvey has never seen him like this. He’s never even seen him without a shirt on, just that one time when he stayed with him after Rachel kissed Logan Sanders and he came out of the bathroom, the fresh shirt he was putting on still over his head. Harvey barely dared to look then, but he can’t help himself now that he’s right in front of him.

It’s not that he has a body straight out of a magazine, but he’s far from unpleasant to look at. On the contrary. Harvey quite likes the sight of him like this, something about his relaxed shoulders and the pleased look on his face as he watches the waves drawing his eyes to him again and again.

Focused on concealing his own stolen glances as he is, it catches him completely off guard when, the next time he gazes at Mike, he raises his eyes and finds him looking straight at him.

It might just be his imagination, but he thinks that Mike looks caught for a split second before he lifts an eyebrow and asks, “Have you actually gotten any work done lately, or were you too focused on your strict workout routine?”

Harvey snorts. “You really need to work on your compliments,” he remarks dryly.

Mike cracks a smile. The expression looks slightly off, but he drops his eyes and turns away before Harvey can get behind it.

Donna taps his shoulder, handing him a bottle of sunscreen when he turns to her, and once they’ve taken care of their backs, they get up and head towards the crystal blue waves.

The water is cool where it laps at his feet, but he knows it’ll get better once he goes all in. Donna sucks in a sharp breath next to him, and he grins at her before he picks up his pace and heads straight into the water.

The cold water steals the air out of his lungs when he lets himself fall into it, but it only takes a few deep breaths until his body starts adjusting to the temperature. He turns around and waves Donna closer, who still hasn’t gone farther than where the water meets her calves.

“Come on. It’s not that bad.”

“Easy for you to say,” she mutters, but takes a deep breath and moves on until she’s close enough for him to grab her by the waist and pull her along. She gasps incredulously, shaking the water out of her ponytail, but allows herself a smile when she sees his grin.

“See? Not so bad.”

“Shut up,” she says, proceeding to take care of the matter herself by kissing him before she pushes herself back and starts paddling her feet.

“God, this feels wonderful,” she sighs, drifting on her back with her eyes closed. Behind her, Harvey can see Mike on the beach, scanning the water. When he meets Harvey’s eyes he grins and waves at him, then claps his hands as if to spur him on to actually start swimming.

He grins and nods, then looks back at her. “It’s great, isn’t it?”

He lets himself fall back, enjoying the sun on his face and the cool water surrounding him before he turns over and starts moving. Donna joins in soon, and they swim for a while, just going where the waves take them.

The people on the beach are almost too far away to make out when Harvey turns around, but he thinks he can still recognize Mike’s silhouette, making its way to the water.

Donna swims into his field of vision, and he smiles, asking, “Still cold?”

“A little.” She raises an eyebrow, the corner of her mouth lifting. “I can think of something to warm me up though.”

Pushing herself towards him, she wraps her arms and legs around him, gazing at him before she leans in for a kiss. Harvey supports her with an arm around her waist, his mind only half on the kiss as he scrambles for footing, but it doesn’t seem to put a damp on her enthusiasm. Parting her lips, she drags her foot up and down the back of Harvey’s leg before she drops her hand to cup him through his trunks.

Harvey breaks the kiss.

“Seriously?”

“What?” she mutters, a teasing smile on her lips. “Are you saying you don’t like it?”

“You know damn well that I like it, but maybe this isn’t the best place.”

“When did you turn into a coward?”

“I’m not a coward. But I’m also not about to traumatize any of the kids around here by giving them a show they’re entirely too young for.”

None of the children from the beach are in immediate proximity, but he’d rather not risk anything. Donna sighs, but eases off.

“Fair enough. You’re not getting away from me later, though.”

“I don’t intend to.”

He smiles when she chuckles, then pushes himself backwards.

“I think I’ll swim a few rounds, get some exercise in. Do you mind?”

“Go ahead. I’ll meet you back at the beach.”

She heads back, and Harvey only watches briefly before he turns around and moves out into the open sea, going as far as the waves will take him.

*

As nice as an idle day at the beach is, they agree to spend the next day sightseeing. Rachel picked a route after dinner and suggested that they all be up and ready to go by nine – which wouldn’t be a problem, had Harvey not stayed out with Mike once the others went back to the house for another drink or two.

Probably a little more than that, if he’s honest.

He half expected Donna to be mad because he stayed out longer, but she was fast asleep when he came home and, after returning from her morning swim to wake him up, perfectly friendly, if a little gleeful about his obvious discomfort after a night of drinking.

The resulting lack of sleep doesn’t exactly help with his headache, but far be it from him to complain about it. The evening he had was worth it. Mike and he didn’t do anything special, merely watching the soccer game that was on at the bar with a running commentary, despite the fact that neither of them knows much about soccer. It was just fun, and a rather perfect ending to the day as far as he was concerned, the hours spent in the sun leaving them warm and languid even then, long after it had set.

Thankfully, the dull pounding subsides as they stroll through the streets, exploring the city center and what it has to offer. They split up twice; first when Donna and Rachel check out a few stores while Harvey and Mike retreat into an ice cream parlor nearby, and again when Donna spots a jeweler’s shop that Harvey agrees to scout with her while Rachel and Mike move on to a museum.

After meeting up again for a nice dinner at an even lovelier restaurant, Harvey turns to Mike when Rachel starts yawning.

“You up for a drink, or are you tired too?”

“Not so tired that I couldn’t drink you under the table if I wanted,” Mike gives back and empties his coke. “I’m game. How about that little bar with the terrace we passed yesterday?”

“Good idea. Maybe they’ll have that liquor the other one was out of.”

“How can a bar be out of a liquor?” Mike asks, shaking his head. “It’s a damn bar.”

Rachel chuckles. “Right. You two, have fun. You wanna come back with me, Donna, or are you staying?”

“I’ll go with you,” Donna says after a slight pause, flashing her a smile. “Another ladies’ night it is. If you’re up for a glass on the terrace before you sleep, that is.”

“Absolutely,” Rachel agrees, getting up. Harvey waves them goodbye, then calls over their waitress to pay the bill.

“So it’s just us again,” Mike says as they look for a free spot at the bar. “Guess this is turning into a routine.”

“If you want me to go…”

Mike lets out a short laugh. “Sit down.”

Harvey doesn’t need to be told twice.

“For what it’s worth, this is a routine I could get used to,” he adds as they get comfortable.

He doesn’t just mean here, on this island where everything is different from how it is at home – or whatever home is going to become in the following weeks and months. He wants to keep this, wants to encapsulate the precious time that Mike and he get to spend together, just the two of them, and make sure that it doesn’t disappear once they’re back in Seattle.

“Can’t say that I mind it either,” Mike agrees. “Weird honeymoon where the brides and grooms are separated though.”

Harvey chuckles. “It’s fine. It’s not like this is conventional anyway.”

“No, definitely not. It’s good, though. I’m having a great time.” He wrinkles his nose. “Even though I still can’t believe I’m the only one who got a sunburn at the beach yesterday.”

“And I still think it’s hilarious. You would think someone with your brain would know how to apply sunscreen by now.”

“I do know how to apply sunscreen! And I did. It’s not my fault my skin is apparently… extremely white.”

Harvey sighs. “A burden we both must bear.”

Mike raises his glass to that and takes a sip.

“So,” he says, sitting back with a slight smile. “Harvey out of the big city. I’ve been meaning to ask. How did Rogers take it?”

Harvey snorts. “He's been attached to my hip since I started out at Pearson Hardman. How do you think he took it?”

Rogers is a rather particular client in many ways, one of them being that he seems to confuse the duties of a lawyer with those of a babysitter on a regular basis. To say that he’s clingy would be an understatement and that he’s annoying vastly unprofessional, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Harvey had to put strict rules into place about when it was acceptable to call his personal number, and while he eventually accepted those, he never stopped demanding special attention.

At least he paid him generously for it.

“Did he cry?”

“Might have. I couldn’t tell over the phone.”

Mike chuckles. “I’m surprised he hasn’t been blowing it up.”

“Well, I wouldn’t know.” Harvey raises his glass. “I blocked his number.”

Mike bursts into laughter. The sound makes him smile into his drink.

“Needs must.” He shakes his head. “If everyone I had to inform about my departure acted like him, I’d never be able to actually leave. I only just finished calling all my clients as it is. Literally the day before we came here.”

“Well, it’s done now. The past is officially… in the past.”

Harvey snorts. “Is it ever, though?”

He says it lightly, like a joke, but when Mike meets his eyes he thinks that he must have heard something underneath it.

“Isn’t it?” he asks.

He wouldn’t know.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you.”

“Hm.” Mike takes another sip, then raises his glass. “To the past, then. Whether we let it go or it always beats inside us like a second heart.”

“Are you drunk already? That’s rather poetic for this time of the evening.”

“Tell that to John Banville. It’s his line.”

Harvey narrows his eyes. “The guy who wrote ‘The Sea’?”

“That’s the one.”

He hums. “Very well. To the past.”

They clink glasses, and once he puts it back down, Harvey continues, “It wouldn’t be right anyway, would it? If we could just leave it behind and be done with it. In one way or another it’s always there. Affecting us. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

“Of what?”

“Of anything.”

Mike purses his lips. “I guess you’re right.” The corner of his mouth lifts. “Look at you. Who’s being poetic now?”

Harvey chuckles softly. “Drink your liquor,” he orders, but it’s without heat.

Mike is happy to comply.

“Do you remember that one time Rogers called while we were in a deposition and threatened Donna when she didn’t put him through?”

“As if I could ever forget. I don’t think he did, either.”

“Judging by the way he looked at her when he came around after that, my guess is no.”

The longer they sit together, the more stories of the past come to light, things that Harvey hasn’t thought of in years suddenly returning to the front of his mind like it was just last week.

It’s fun to take a trip down memory lane, but it’s also serious, at least to Harvey.

Because the past does beat inside him, relentlessly, permanently, even when he doesn’t make an effort to keep it alive in his mind’s eye. Now he is, and it’s a bit like sticking his finger into an open wound, giving everything a certain weight, a meaning that he’s not sure Mike is even aware of.

He doesn’t notice the time that passes, doesn’t pay attention to it either way, not until they make it home long past midnight to a quiet house. He would have gladly gone on longer, but his body isn’t as happy to stay out several times in a row as it used to be.

Surprisingly, Donna is still up when he returns this time. She sits in the armchair in the corner of the room, lowering the book she’s been reading when he comes in.

“Look what the cat dragged in.”

“Hey. Rachel’s asleep, I take it?”

“Yeah. For a while now. Had fun, did you?”

“Of course.”

He smiles, but she doesn’t return it, instead shutting her book with more force than necessary before she gets up.

“I’m so glad to hear it.” She sounds anything but. “Well, if you think the fun’s going to continue now, think again.”

Harvey blinks at her.

It’s fine, he said to Mike earlier when they talked about spending time together, firmly believing that it was, the idea that it might not be never even crossing his mind.

Apparently it isn’t fine after all.

“Are you… mad?”

She huffs. “The fact that you have to ask…”

“Okay, let me rephrase that. Clearly you’re mad. I don’t know why, though. Care to explain to me what’s going on?”

She crosses her arms. “You do realize this is our honeymoon, right?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“This is our fourth night here, Harvey, and the third time you’ve wandered off with Mike.”

He frowns at her, shaking his head. The alcohol in his system isn’t making it any easier to follow this conversation. “I wasn’t aware you had an issue with that. You were the one who wanted to be alone with Rachel that first night. How come you can make those decisions, but when I make them it’s a federal offence all of a sudden?”

She lets out a deep breath, brimming with barely concealed frustration.

“You don’t get it. It’s not the fact that you were with him, but that you just assumed it would be fine. Again. Do you even realize you’ve spent more time alone with him than with me since we got here?”

“I don’t, because I’m not keeping track. I didn’t think I’d have to.” He holds out his hands. “We said this was sort of a honeymoon, yes, but it was also meant to be a trip among friends to do some desperately needed catching up. I didn’t realize I was wrong in spending time with my best friend, who I’ve barely seen or talked to in the past year.”

Donna runs a hand through her hair, shaking her head.

“Harvey, I know that this is Mike we’re talking about, and that you think you need him. And you must be so happy to have him back, and I don’t want to ruin this whole reunion phase for you, but if it’s more than a phase…”

A phase? He doesn’t even know what that’s supposed to mean, but it’s not the most important thing to focus on by far.

“What then?”

She purses her lips, letting out a deep breath before she looks away.

“I’m starting to think that we made a mistake in moving to Seattle.”

“What are you talking about?” He shakes his head. “Donna, where is this coming from?”

She gnaws her lip, then says, “He can’t be your number one priority anymore. I get it, okay? I get it. He’s always been at the top of your list, and you love him, and you’re so glad to have him back. But you’re married now. He can’t be your number one anymore. Your priorities should lie somewhere else.”

She drops her arms. “And you’d do well to remember that you only stopped talking because he left you. I’m not saying this to ruin the fun, or because I think it’s not a good thing that you’re talking again. It’s a wonderful thing. Just think about how close you want to let him get this time. How you feel about him may not have changed for you, but can you say the same about him?”

Harvey blinks at her, taken aback. A distinct sense of hurt spreads in him at her word, and something else he doesn’t want to examine too closely right now, or ever; something that tastes a lot like fear in his suddenly too dry mouth.

Donna is looking at him, and the weight of her eyes makes him want to squirm as she waits, clearly expecting him to say something.

Everything that’s running through his head sounds entirely too defensive, too revealing, and so what he eventually tells her is, “I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m sorry about that. Let’s not make things any worse, alright?”

His answer doesn’t satisfy her, he can tell.

Her shoulders sag, and she sighs. “Fine. I’m tired anyway. You were out for quite a while.”

Does she expect another apology?

“Let’s just go to bed,” she says when he doesn’t offer one.

“You go ahead. I’ll join you in a bit.”

He needs to get some damn air first if he’s going to sleep tonight.

Donna doesn’t ask, just nods curtly. “Don’t be too loud when you come in,” is all she says.

It’s rather presumptuous of her to assume that he’s going to leave the room just because she wants to sleep, but Harvey doesn’t have the energy to fight with her about it. They’ve done enough of that for one night. For the whole trip, really. And he does want to step outside, so he lets it go and leaves the door slightly ajar as he goes.

He debates heading out for a walk, but it’s late already and he just wants to clear his head. The balcony will do. He crosses the hall and opens the slide door, closing it behind him to keep the mosquitos out. He startles when he turns around and sees the figure at the other end of the balcony, so still and silent that at first he doesn’t recognize it as a person.

A second look reveals that it’s Rachel, hunched over the railing in the far corner. She must be lost in thought if she didn’t hear him.

He clears his throat to announce himself.

“Hey. Didn’t see you there for a second.”

She turns around at his words. It’s too dark to see properly, but her voice is warm when she says, “Harvey. Hi. Did you have a good night?”

“Yeah, I did. Until now, at least. What about you? I thought you’d be in bed by now.”

The corner of her mouth lifts. “Couldn’t sleep.”

Humming, he comes a little closer, meaning to stand next to her, but something about her makes him halt before he can.

“I’m… do you want to be alone?”

She shakes her head and smiles. Harvey wonders if it’s a trick of the light, or if it really doesn’t reach her eyes.

“Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind if you stay. Unless you want to be alone?”

He did, initially, but standing here with her, he finds that he doesn’t mind the company.

“You were here first. I’m not about to kick you out.”

He does join her then, and she smiles, looking ahead. Harvey follows her gaze, watches the waves in the distance, the reflection of the moonlight on the surface of the sea. It’s peaceful, the quiet, the hypnotizing dance of the water, the company that, for once, doesn’t seem to expect anything from him.

“You said you had a good night until now?” Rachel asks after a while. “What happened?”

Harvey lets out a deep breath. “Donna and I had a fight.”

She glances at him. “You want to talk about it? I won’t take sides, promise.”

“I know you won’t.” His lips curve up in a cynical smile. “It was about Mike, actually. Or, well, the fact that I’m apparently spending too much time with him. I don’t know if she talked to you about this, but she wasn’t happy.”

“I see. And are you?”

He frowns. “I mean, I was. Now I… I don’t know,” he finishes lamely, but Rachel accepts it.

“You missed him,” she states.

Harvey lets out a deep breath. “Yeah.”

“He did too, you know. More than he’d like to admit, I think.”

Harvey looks at her. She smiles wryly, shaking her head. “You know, it’s funny. As soon as you announced you were coming to Seattle, Mike was a changed man. He was… happy, suddenly.”

He raises his eyebrows, but she doesn’t go on, seemingly lost in thought about what she just said.

What’s more peculiar, perhaps, is what she doesn’t say. It hangs between them like mist on a cool autumn morning, intangible and yet undeniable; that before, Mike wasn’t happy.

Was Rachel?

Harvey doesn’t find the words to ask her.

Everything is always so complicated. He’s sure things used to be easier once, before a certain kid stumbled into his hotel room and spilled a suitcase full of weed all over the floor. It was so long ago that he barely remembers what it was like before. He doesn’t think any of them do.

“I can see where Donna is coming from. I’m not saying she’s wrong, but she still should have expected it. You and Mike, you’ve always been… like that. You were always two sides of the same coin. The rest of us had to see where we fit into that constellation. That was the deal. That was always the deal.”

She sounds far away, like she’s uttering the words to herself rather than him.

Harvey opens his mouth, then closes it again.

“It doesn’t mean I don’t care about her too.”

He doesn’t deny what she said. He couldn’t, because they both know she’s right.

Rachel just smiles a little. “No, of course not. I think she may just have forgotten that for the moment. I’m sure you can remind her, though.”

“Hm.”

She turns to face him, giving his arm a gentle squeeze. “You’ll be okay, Harvey.”

Me or us? he wants to ask, but ends up just nodding. “Of course.” He hesitates. “Are you? Okay?”

“Of course,” she echoes. It might just be him, but it doesn’t sound all that sincere. He’s not sure though, and even if he’s right, if she doesn’t want to talk about it then he isn’t going to force her.

“I think I’ll go back inside,” she says, smiling at him as she straightens. “See you tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Have a good night, Rachel. And thank you. For listening.”

“Anytime.”

He looks after her, letting out a deep breath when she’s disappeared and his eyes return to the view before him. There’s something hypnotic about the never-ending dance of the waves, a sense of comfort that is hard to put into words but holds him in place all the same. He lowers himself into one of the chairs and just breathes deeply, watching it go on and on.

Only a few minutes have passed when he hears the door sliding open again. Half expecting to see Rachel again, he is surprised to find Mike coming towards him.

“Thought you’d be sleeping by now,” he greets him.

“Likewise. Your wife tell you I was here?”

Would be one hell of a coincidence if all three of them came out here to clear their head and met by accident tonight.

Mike nods. “Heard there was trouble in paradise. I was going to save this until the end of this trip, but I think I have something that’ll cheer you up. If you’re game, of course.”

Harvey raises an eyebrow when he lifts his hand to reveal the joint he’s holding.

“Seriously?”

“You did promise there was time for that once you came to Seattle. After our conversation the other day, I thought I should hold you to that.”

“I did, didn’t it? Where did you even find this?”

“I have my ways.”

“That raises more questions than it answers.”

Mike chuckles. “That street artist I got talking with sold me some.”

He reaches into his pocket for a lighter, taking the first pull before offering it to Harvey. “Oh yeah. This is good stuff.”

Harvey takes the joint between his lips. The familiar scratch in his throat as he inhales brings back a load of memories from a different time in an instant.

God, how very long it’s been. How incredibly unlikely it is that they’re here now, doing this together.

And yet.

“It sure is.” He passes it back to Mike, who has taken a seat in the chair next to him. “You done a lot of this in Seattle?”

“No. It’s not as much fun by myself,” he jokes, but Harvey thinks he can hear a certain warmth in it, almost like an admission. He smiles, accepting the joint back.

Mike waits until he has pulled the smoke into his lungs before he asks, “So. What’s the deal with Donna?”

Harvey scoffs, exhaling the smoke slowly. “Apparently I’m not spending enough time with her. And too much with you.”

Mike blinks at him. “Seriously?”

“Yup.”

“Wow. Okay. I feel bad now.”

“Don’t. You didn’t do anything wrong. And I don’t think I did, either. I mean, I can see where she’s coming from. But I don’t… feel it, you know?”

Mike hums.

There’s a prolonged pause as they pass the joint back and forth. It might be the topic of their conversation, or just the weed kicking in, but Harvey doesn’t mind the silence.

“She’s worried that you’ll continue to be my number one priority now that we’re… talking again. Despite the fact that I’m married to her now,” Harvey eventually goes on.

The longer he thinks about it, the more ridiculous it gets. As if this vacation is any indication about how things will be when they get back to Seattle. Mike is married too, after all, and he said time and time again how busy he is with his work. Nothing about this trip is normal, but they’re barely halfway through and already Donna has lost all faith in him. Off to a great start, their marriage.

He huffs out a laugh, and then another one, because he knows it’s not funny but by god, it really is.

“Would you look at that. I guess you aren’t the only one who thinks I lost my way anymore.”

Mike inhales deeply, then gives the joint back. They’re already halfway through, and Harvey definitely feels it.

“You didn’t think it was so funny at the time.”

“No, I really didn’t.” He takes a pull. “God, you were so mad.” The smile slips from his lips. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you that mad at me, and I’ve done some crap that you were pissed about.”

“That’s the first time I’m hearing you admit that out loud.”

Harvey takes another drag, holding the smoke before he releases it. He plays with the cig, then looks up at Mike, because this is the first time he’s admitting this out loud, and he’s not going to hide from it. Not any longer.

“You were right, you know. I did lose my way. In one way or another.”

Mike lifts his eyebrows, but doesn’t let his surprise show otherwise. What is he surprised about, anyway? That he was right, or that Harvey is admitting to it?

He always wondered if he just said what he said because he was mad and couldn’t find another argument. He didn’t agree, not with the way Mike had meant it, but that didn’t mean he was wrong altogether.

“I did,” he repeats. “But that wasn’t why I didn’t get mad at you in return. I was just so damn grateful to have you back at all that it didn’t even matter whether you were pissed at me or not.”

It takes a disproportionally long time to get the sentence out, due to the content of it and the weed in equal parts, but the silence Mike meets it with is even longer. It gives Harvey time to work his way through his muddled thoughts and phrase his next sentence. There’s a golden thread, a clear path in there somewhere that he knows he needs to follow. It’s just a matter of figuring it out.

“That’s how I lost my way. You left, and things just… stopped making sense. I don’t know why. It was messed up.” He lets out a deep breath. “I was messed up.”

His words catch up with him in the pregnant pause that follows. They are uncharacteristic for him, as the prolonged silence is uncharacteristic for Mike, who always has something to say.

“Damn, that’s some strong shit,” he mutters, regarding the joint intently. It must be. Otherwise those words would never have come out. This entire conversation would have taken another turn.

Mike accepts it back, his narrowed eyes on Harvey as he takes a deep pull and, once he’s exhaled the smoke, says, “It wasn’t easy for me either, I can tell you that much.”

Wasn’t it? Funny, that. Looked like the easiest thing in the world from where he was standing.

The corner of Harvey’s mouth lifts as Mike passes him the joint. He taps the filter and raises it to his mouth, wondering if his lips are where Mike’s were just a moment ago.

“I don’t think you know,” he says.

The sound of his own breathing is loud in his ears. Does Mike hear it too? Does he listen to it, catching every irregularity, every hitch and prolonged exhale? Is that why he barely speaks?

There’s confusion in his voice when he asks, “What?”

“What it was like when you rode off into the metaphorical sunset.” Harvey shakes his head. “You don’t know.”

He couldn’t.

He expects Mike to fight him on the matter, but is instead met with silence again. Fine, then. He’ll continue monologuing if that’s what he wants. Now that he’s started speaking, it’s all too easy to go on.

“Remember how I used to tell you that I wasn’t about caring, I was about winning? Should have stuck to that. Maybe my wife wouldn’t be mad at me now if I hadn’t started caring about you. Not that I could have done anything about that. You were… inevitable.”

Funny thing to say, considering that their entire relationship was founded on a chance meeting. And yet it rings true. From the moment their lives touched for the first time they were firmly entwined, everything that followed in hindsight entirely inevitable.

Harvey sighs.

“I don’t know when I started caring so damn much. But I do know that it was because of you. About you, too, most of the time.”

He chuckles. It feels good, and he doesn’t hold back when the desire to laugh and keep laughing builds in his stomach.

“I mean, how ironic is that? I was fine before you came along. Then you… literally stumbled into my life. Changed everything, and me. And then you left. And I was totally thrown for a loop.”

He glances at Mike, huffing. “Life is so fucking funny. You decided to pack your bags a good year ago, and because of that my wife essentially kicked me out of our room tonight. Hell, I wouldn’t even have a wife, if it weren’t for you. That’s goddamn hilarious.”

Mike throws him a look, raising an eyebrow.

“You would have found someone else to officiate the wedding eventually.”

Harvey lets out a short laugh. “Not what I meant.”

Frowning, Mike pinches his lips as he shakes his head slowly. “I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me.”

“I don’t blame you.”

He’s making perfect sense in his head, but out loud may very well be a different matter.

Mike regards him intently.

“Walk me through it. What I’m getting is… that I left. And you were sad. And that’s why you’re married now? But I’m also the reason your marriage is in trouble.”

Harvey chuckles. Mike’s frown deepens as he tries to figure out two plus two and comes up with five.

“Got it in one.”

“I don’t get anything,” Mike dissents, shaking his head impatiently. “I mean, I get why you were kinda fucked up when I left. But what does that have to do with you and Donna?”

The question hangs in the air heavily, refusing to evaporate, and as forthcoming as Harvey has been tonight, he fails to come up with an answer to it now.

There’s so much he could say, so much he wants to, but there’s a reason he shouldn’t, and the longer he thinks about it, the more he remembers why it mattered. Why it used to be important to keep all the things he just spilled between them inside.

There are some things he can’t have, plain and simple. Pretending that there aren’t doesn’t make that go away. It’s still there. It’s a warning, a reminder to himself to drop it now, let it go before it’s all out in the open and ruins everything. It means he doesn’t get the luxury of telling the truth, of talking about his feelings with his best friend when he wants to. Not if he wants to keep him.

He needs to keep him. He can’t lose him again, not for a third time.

Harvey takes a deep breath to ground himself, fighting against the haze around his mind. The hilarity has long vanished. He isn’t laughing anymore.

Narrowing his eyes, he looks out at the sea. He’s craving a drink suddenly, or at least another pull of the joint, but the remains of it are hanging loosely from Mike’s hand, stubbed out a while ago and thus totally useless.

“Harvey,” Mike says and waits until he meets his eyes, the look in them entirely too sharp. He was high just a moment ago. How long have they been sitting out here in silence? “What does that have to do with the two of you?”

“Everything, I think.”

The words fall from his lips before he can stop them. Mike blinks at him, and it finally dawns on Harvey that this is where he needs to put a stop to this. He already said too much, and the thought is sobering, the adrenaline shooting through him at his sudden alarm thankfully clearing the fog in his brain enough to think clearly again.

He almost flinches when Mike asks, “What does that mean?”

Harvey swallows, holding in the words trying to crawl up his throat, and rises from his chair before any of them can slip out. That was rather enough for one night. He can only hope that, with Mike being as stoned as him, what he said made a different kind of sense to him than what he really meant.

“It’s late. We should catch some sleep.”

He can feel Mike’s eyes on his back, following him to the door. He opens it, then looks back at him.

“Coming?”

“In a minute.”

There’s nothing he can say in response, nothing he could do to stop him from thinking about their conversation.

Harvey just nods and goes back inside.

Chapter Text

Harvey is the first to wake the next morning. He could use another hour of sleep or two, but his bladder is demanding attention, and so he rises as quietly as he can to go to the bathroom.

Despite his efforts to be silent, Donna’s eyes are open when he returns. She doesn’t look up when he enters the room, but doesn’t turn away from him either. Harvey slips back into bed and, getting on his side, leans in to leave a gentle kiss on her cheek.

“Morning.”

“Good morning,” she replies neutrally. Harvey places another kiss on the same spot, hovering close until she looks at him.

“Alright?” he asks.

She lets out a deep breath, but nods. “Yeah. Well. More or less.”

He lifts an eyebrow, and she elaborates, “You stink.”

“Oh.”

Harvey didn’t consider that the smell of pot would still cling to him. In hindsight he should have taken a shower before coming back, though he’s mostly just relieved that this is her only complaint.

“Sorry about that.” He leans in for a proper kiss, murmuring, “Let me make it up to you.”

“Just that?”

“All of it,” he says, even though he still doesn’t feel any remorse about what she seems to consider high treason. But they’ve got to start somewhere if they ever want to get anywhere.

She doesn’t respond, but is clearly not opposed to his touch and, when he pulls her closer, follows his lead and returns the kiss. He lets his hand wander down her body, swinging a leg over her when she spreads her knees and makes room for him to settle between them. He kisses her again once he’s swiftly gotten rid of her panties, nuzzling at her neck as his hand continues its exploration, waiting for his own arousal to kick in.

It doesn’t.

It becomes rather apparent soon that he’s just not up for it today – quite literally. It’s been known to happen before, though not with any regularity and never at such an inconvenient moment.

Donna picks up on it too. Her hand travels downwards, intending to find his erection, only to be met with nothing instead.

“What’s wrong?” she asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Tired, I think,” Harvey brushes it off, refusing to be embarrassed despite the uncomfortable feeling in his stomach. It’s only awkward if he allows it to be, and he’s got a job to do here. “I don’t mind just taking care of you, though.”

She doesn’t comment, but he can see the displeasure in her eyes. He berates his body for letting him down now of all times and swiftly moves lower, hell-bent on making up for his shortcoming and distracting her enough to stop thinking about it.

It takes a while for her to really relax and give herself over to his ministrations, but Harvey is determined to keep going until he wrings an orgasm out of her.

He eventually succeeds, and while she does smile at him afterwards, he can tell that she’s still not happy, if because of his lack of physical reaction or their fight, he doesn’t know. He rather wouldn’t, anyway. Doesn’t really make a difference.

They make it downstairs later than planned, making vague apologies – even Donna isn’t in the mood to gloat about the fact that they just had sex, it seems – although Rachel and Mike probably know exactly what they’ve been up to. Ignoring the discomfort the thought gives him, he clears his throat and enquires where they want to go for breakfast, pretending that he doesn’t notice Mike’s eyes boring holes into his skull.

It doesn’t stop all day. Harvey keeps avoiding his gaze, telling himself that if he doesn’t let on that anything’s wrong, Mike will eventually believe it and drop the whole thing.

Once they’ve gotten breakfast, they spend most of the afternoon at Caldera, the volcanic crater filled by the sea these days. The boat tour they booked includes the opportunity to bathe in the hot springs, which is so relaxing that even Harvey manages to untense after a while.

He decidedly does not look at Mike there in particular; it’s bad enough to know that he keeps staring at him, he doesn’t need to catch him ogling his half-naked body while he’s doing so.

They return in time for dinner, which is a rather quiet affair. It’s not unpleasant, though Harvey wonders what it is that all of them are thinking about so intently that no one strikes up a conversation. But it’s probably natural to lapse into silence after a few days spent together, so he tries not to read too much into it.

It gives him time to think, though. And he’s not sure the direction his thoughts are taking him is one he particularly cares to examine right now.

He heaves a sigh of relief when none of them order a dessert, thus cutting his mulling short as they get up and head back to the house.

In the end it’s just Mike and him again, as Donna does the very thing she accused him of – seeking out Rachel’s company rather than his. Despite Mike’s constant looks throughout the day and the worry gnawing at Harvey, he still can’t say that he minds. Donna has been consistently quiet with him today, and if the choice is between being silent with her and being silent with Mike, she doesn’t come out victorious, even after their fight last night.

Maybe especially after their fight last night.

They stay at the house this time, since neither of them had the chance to shower after their excursion and they’re starting to get uncomfortable. A night in doesn’t sound too bad to Harvey, on the contrary. He slips into the shower and washes the salt off his skin, the warm water so cleansing and comforting that he gladly stays in there a little longer than strictly necessary.

Mike is nowhere to be seen when he leaves his bedroom in a fresh set of clothes, but the door to the second bathroom is closed and, when he listens closely, he can hear the water running.

Heading downstairs, he grabs two glasses from the kitchen and a bottle of wine. When Mike comes down a few minutes later, a generously filled glass is already waiting for him on the counter.

“Thanks.”

“Of course. You wanna sit outside? Or put on a game?”

“A game sounds good.”

Harvey switches on the TV and promptly finds a soccer game from the same team they watched the other night. The commentary is in Greek, so he turns down the volume until it becomes white noise, and leans back in his chair to watch.

Mike doesn’t seem overly interested in the proceedings, alternating between looking at the screen, looking at his phone, and looking at Harvey. They talk a little, and they read when they aren’t following what’s happening on the TV, and if by coincidence or careful planning on both sides, neither of them touches on any subjects of substance whatsoever.

Maybe it’s not the right time, or maybe Mike just doesn’t know how to get the conversation started. Harvey certainly isn’t going to. He doesn’t know what exactly is keeping Mike from asking, but whatever it is, he’s grateful for it.

Even though it means he has nothing distracting him from his thoughts again.

There’s a restlessness in him he can’t quite put his finger on, making his leg bounce until he forces it to stay still and his eyes move to Mike’s face again and again, hoping against all reason that he’ll catch his gaze and start talking.

It’s not that he wants Mike to needle him about last night. It would almost certainly ruin the tentative relationship that they only just rebuilt, not to mention make things awkward for the remainder of the trip and at the office after that. It would cause nothing but trouble all around and, worse, expose him in a way he’s never been laid bare before.

Grotesquely enough, there’s still a small part of him that wants to tell him.

It’s stupid, it’s a terrible, whimsical idea, and he’s not about to give in to it, and yet his thoughts keep coming back to it. It’s probably exactly that, the lure of disaster, that’s intriguing him. Like watching a car crash in slow motion; you know something terrible is about to happen, and still you can’t look away.

It’s all purely hypothetical, of course. But in the quiet of the room, Harvey can’t help but wonder.

The night progresses calmly, neither of them feeling the need to speak much and fill the silence. Hanging after his own thoughts, Harvey has almost forgotten that it’s not just the two of them when Donna and Rachel return.

It’s not all that late yet, but he still goes up to their room with Donna when she says goodnight, because there isn’t really any way to justify not doing so. He’s still reeling from their last fight, he doesn’t need another one anytime soon.

She’s quiet again, answering his questions about her night willingly, albeit without much detail. They get under the covers together, Donna with a magazine, Harvey with his phone to continue the article from the New York Times he started earlier. They read side by side, their bodies not touching at any point save for the one time Harvey shifts his leg and accidentally bumps her knee.

She doesn’t initiate anything, and Harvey would be lying if he said he wasn’t relieved. When she’s done reading, she switches off the light and turns onto her side without asking if he’ll be okay in the dark – he will, of course, but that’s beside the point.

“Good night,” he says after a pause, almost like a question.

“Night,” she gives back, already half asleep from the sound of it. That’s that, then. Harvey blinks at her back, the screen of his phone dimming before it goes dark. Part of him wants to say something, to call her out on how unfair this is, but the words stick in his throat because what could he say, really?

She isn’t even particularly cold towards him, just not exactly warm either, and it’s more than a little hypocritical of him to be mad at her for that when just a few minutes ago he was glad that they weren’t going to have sex tonight. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

But maybe that’s not what this is about at all, or what it should be about. Maybe what matters more is why he desperately wants to have one. Because he doesn’t wanna pick a fight, he’s quite glad that they managed to get through the day without one, but even so they didn’t exactly have a great time with each other, did they?

Maybe what he’s really looking for is a disruption of this less-than-ideal middle ground they seem to have settled on, because truthfully he’d rather fight than live like this once they make it back to Seattle.

He’s never felt so wrong-footed in their relationship before. They haven’t even been seeing each other that long, and still he can’t help but mourn what feels like a loss of the early days, the feeling that came with the knowledge that they were together and secure in their partnership, and for the first time in a long while, things were finally fine.

Then again, fine isn’t exactly the best they can do, is it?

Only that it is, apparently.

Harvey has tried to fight the fact, stifling the thought every time it raised its ugly head, but in the darkness of the room, it’s like he just forgot how. All his defenses have disappeared, swallowed up by the quiet around them, and what he’s left with is just the hard and unforgiving truth.

He wasn’t unhappy, but he wasn’t… happy, either. He was relieved, mostly.

It’s something. But it’s not what it should be, is it? Not nearly enough for a marriage, or any kind of romantic relationship. And lately, since the move and the vacation and everything that came with it, even that has started to vanish.

What does that leave him with?

Harvey realizes that he’s still staring at Donna’s back, and he blinks and looks away, swallowing against the trepidation rising in his throat. The oppressive silence is stirring him up, and it’s only when he hears his own harsh breaths that he even becomes aware of them.

It’s not a panic attack, but it’s not entirely unrelated either, and he’s not sure that it won’t turn into one if he stays here.

Closing his eyes, he takes a deep breath and listens to the pounding of his heart.

There was a reason he did everything in his power not to think about this, did it for so long and so thoroughly that he believed himself to be shielded and secure from the truth.

But it’s still out there, right around the corner, and it’s enduring, more so than he ever could be. And it won’t let itself be ignored any longer, the knowledge that there is something fundamentally flawed about their relationship, that this is wrong and he needs to get the hell out of here.

Throwing back the covers, Harvey slips out of bed, opening the door to their room as quietly as he can. Outside, he takes a deep breath, gazing down the dim hall. He didn’t have a specific destination in mind when he got up, but his feet carry him to the slide door he’s become so familiar with on instinct.

The cool breeze hitting his face is a relief when he steps out on the balcony. The nights are always colder here, not so much that he’d need a jacket, but enough to clear his head. God knows he can use it right now.

The tightness of his chest still persists, but he feels like he can breathe through it out here.

Don’t think. Don’t think. Just breathe.

Easier said than done, but Harvey is determined not to give up so easily. He looks around and grounds himself with the sight of his surroundings, the undeniable here and now, and then does the same with the sounds he hears and the scents carried over by the wind. He takes deep breath after deep breath until only the pounding of his heart remains. He can’t make it stop, can only listen to it, and feel it, and the ache it pumps through his veins until it’s spread into every part of his body.

Why is he hurting like this? What wound is his body tending to that he hasn’t even noticed yet?

He sinks into one of the chairs, the same one he sat in when he was out here with Mike not all that long ago. In some ways, it feels like years have passed since then. In others it’s almost like he’s still there, right next to him.

Isn’t that how it always is with them? Never quite together, never quite apart. It has become so normal for him, he didn’t even realize there was anything to talk about until Donna brought it up.

Then again, he didn’t realize there was anything to talk about when it came to his relationship with her either. Or he didn’t want to, at any rate.

It would almost be funny how bad he is at dealing with the people he loves, if it weren’t such a goddamn tragedy.

He’s still hurting, the pain only becoming more present now that he allows it to exist, but the distant sound of the sea calms his nerves at least a little, and he just sits and listens to it, hoping it will tell him something that will ease the raw ache inside him.

He has no idea how long he’s been out there when the silence he’s surrounded himself with is disturbed by a gentle voice, mildly stating, “We gotta stop meeting like this.”

Harvey looks up, finding Mike leaning in the doorway. He must have been too lost in thought to hear him. That’s typical for Mike. Always catching him off guard.

He doesn’t mind, though. He’s never minded that.

He huffs out a quiet laugh. A beat of silence passes before Mike asks, “Did you fight again?”

“Not this time, no. I snuck out.”

He doesn’t need to look to feel Mike’s eyes on him. After a few seconds of silence, he hears his feet on the tiles before he sits down in the chair next to him.

“Something on your mind?”

Harvey hums. “You could say that.”

Again Mike waits, but when he doesn’t go on he asks, “Care to share with the rest of the class?”

That wrings a dry smile out of him.

“What do you know about classes?”

Mike smiles too but doesn’t respond, giving him the time he needs to sort out his thoughts.

“I made a mistake, Mike,” he eventually admits, and it’s scary to say that out loud because it means he can’t take it back, can’t pretend it’s not real any longer. But he couldn’t do that anyway, could he? “A bad one. And I know I’m usually great at fixing shit that went wrong, but this time I really don’t think I can.”

Mike listens in silence, taking a moment to think his words through before he responds.

“You’re talking about your marriage.”

It’s not a question, and Harvey can’t tell if he really knows or if it’s a shot in the dark, but if it’s the latter, it’s a damn good one. Not that he’s surprised. Mike has always been all too perceptive. Not about everything, which Harvey certainly benefited from, but he supposes they all have their blind spots.

He definitely does.

Harvey inhales sharply, blinking up at the sky above them. It’s incredible how many stars you can see out here. It’s entirely different from the one he used to live under for so long in New York. He never wasted a thought on the stars back then, or the fact that he couldn’t see them, but now they’re shining above him bright and clear, and he wonders how it ever could have escaped him that he’s been living under a cover, a fog that was keeping him from seeing what was really there with sharp, painful clarity.

There’s a metaphor somewhere in there, he thinks dryly.

“Do you remember at the wedding? I said that without her, I’m empty.”

It’s a redundant question; of course Mike remembers. To his credit, he abstains from any comments, perhaps sensing that this is too serious a conversation for jokes, and just nods.

Harvey chuckles, shaking his head as he looks down at his empty hands. He wishes he had a drink, if only to have something to hold on to.

“It’s true, if you squint. But it’s not really her who fills that emptiness. I mean, it is, but not her specifically, you know? It’s… knowing that there’s someone by my side. Anyone. Who isn’t going to leave me.”

He holds his breath, his heart pounding so hard that he can hear it in the silence as he awaits Mike’s reaction to what he just revealed.

It’s terrible, surely among the worst things he could admit about himself, but Mike just takes it, neither outraged nor horrified. He does sound a little confused when he responds, but otherwise stays calm and neutral. Harvey couldn’t be more grateful for it.

“You said she was your everything.”

“Because she was all I had left,” he gives back quietly. His voice is gentle, like it’s going to soften the blow, like it will make the truth any less terrible.

He lets out a deep breath. A futile effort. Nothing is going to make this less terrible. It just is what it is.

“I did what they tell you to do. Literally married my best friend. Well, one of them. And I like being with her. It’s fine. It’s nice. But that’s it. It was the comfortable choice. It was the only choice, if I didn’t want to end up alone.”

Mike says nothing, and Harvey appreciates the silence. It makes it easier to continue, to say what pains him to even think and yet needs to get out there, to be voiced at last. No more running. He’s tired of it.

“I said I kept my feelings for her inside before because I was afraid. And I was. But I still lied to myself. And to her, and everyone else. It wasn’t my feelings for her that scared me. I used them to cover up the ones I was really afraid of.”

He doesn’t go into detail and gets away with it for the moment, which gives him the courage to softly add, “I still am. Afraid.”

The breeze carries over the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach, amplified in the silence.

Mike shifts beside him.

“Harvey, I’m… I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry.”

Harvey nods, not taking his eyes off the sea.

“Me too.”

“I mean, this is a fucked up situation. God knows that doesn’t help you, but shit, it really is.”

“Yeah,” he mutters. “It is.”

“It sounds like you’ve made up your mind, though.”

He exhales deeply. “I don’t know.”

Maybe he has.

Mike watches him from the side, sucking in his lower lip. “What are you going to do?”

Sighing, Harvey sits up and shakes his head.

“Catch some sleep for now. If I can. I’ll think about everything else when I’ve had some rest.” He lifts an eyebrow. “What about you, though? Why did you come out here in the first place?”

“Maybe my best-friend-senses were tingling.”

Harvey snorts. “I don’t know how to tell you this, buddy, but if they’re only tingling now then they aren’t worth shit. This has been going on for a while.”

Mike huffs. “You sit up all night listening to your friend’s problems, offering support, and that’s what you get.”

Harvey chuckles. It feels surprisingly good, even with the sound sticking in his throat.

“I’m serious, though. You alright?”

“Yeah. Just didn’t feel like sleeping yet, that’s all.” Mike looks at him, narrowing his eyes in thought. “It wasn’t all bad, was it?”

“No. Not at all. It’s just that none of it was great, you know?”

Mike blinks, looking struck before his eyes shift away from him. Harvey can’t begin to guess what he’s thinking, but he doesn’t dwell on it. He’s got his own thoughts to figure out.

He exhales deeply before he pulls himself together and gets up to head inside. He stops at the door, looking back.

“Thanks for listening. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Mike turns his head, nodding once. “Good night, Harvey.”

Inside, he stops to brace himself to open the door to the bedroom, even though there’s no confrontation awaiting him just yet. All he’ll have to do is get into bed with Donna and try to catch some sleep.

Somehow that already feels like too much.

There’s absolutely no reason for him to flinch when he steps inside and finds that Donna is not just awake, but sitting up in bed and, with her arms crossed, looking at him.

So much for that.

“Jesus, Donna. You scared the hell out of me.”

She doesn’t sound particularly apologetic when she asks, “Where were you?”

Harvey presses his lips together, his face burning as he tries to think of an answer that’s not going to incriminate him. There’s a rather insistent part of him that is seriously considering lying to her, or at least omitting certain details of the truth, which is just ridiculous.

He didn’t sneak out to be with Mike; he snuck out, and Mike just happened to be there. Even so, why should he feel guilty about seeing his best friend? Why does it feel like he did something shameful, something forbidden?

“I was on the balcony. With Mike,” he adds reluctantly and hates how much it feels like he just admitted to cheating on her.

Donna’s jaw clenches like she’s thinking the same thing.

There are dozens of things Harvey could say to fill the tense silence, most of them sounding like excuses he isn’t even sure what for, but what eventually comes out is, “What are we doing here, Donna?”

Her frown deepens. Harvey wonders if the lines will ever smooth out again.

“What are you talking about?”

He sighs, closing the door and switching the light on. The sudden brightness is jarring, and he has to blink a few times until he has adjusted to it. When his eyes find Donna again, she’s staring at him, her hands forming fists around the fabric of the covers.

Harvey takes a deep breath and makes himself say what he needs to say.

“You know what I’m talking about. Maybe we just want different things out of this.”

She blinks at him, shaking her head once. “What do you mean?”

He just returns her look. Her throat bobs, and she shakes her head again, more determined this time.

“No.”

“Come on, Donna,” he says gently. “Haven’t you felt it too?”

She swallows compulsively.

“Don’t do this to me, Harvey. Don’t- you don’t get to do this. Not after everything I’ve done for you. I gave up my job, my friends, my family just so I could follow you across the country. I’ve given up everything for you. I lived my goddamn life for you.”

“I never asked you to.”

She blinks, shutting her mouth with a click. Her knuckles are white, a stark contrast to the burning red of her cheeks. Harvey doesn’t think he has ever seen her like this.

The room feels too small all of a sudden, too constricted to breathe.

He thinks of the light breeze outside, of the sound of the sea and the cool night air. He thinks of the balcony, and Mike beside him, and wishes he was still out there or anywhere but here right now, and yet he knows that this is where he needs to be. This conversation is long overdue, even if neither of them wanted to acknowledge it. They owe it to each other now.

“Are you breaking up with me? Is that it?”

“I don’t know. Look, all I know is that the way things were before we got married, that’s all I can give you. That is… all I ever wanted from you, and I thought that was enough for both of us. But if it isn’t…”

Her throat bobs as she swallows roughly.

“You are breaking up with me.”

The denial sticks in his throat.

“Maybe just a break for now,” he suggests, but even so he feels the truth pulling him down like an invisible weight on his shoulders. “Reevaluate what we want. Or, I don’t know, get couples therapy. See if we can find common ground.”

It’s not an answer, and he knows that she knows. There is no point in looking the other way anymore. No matter how long they drag this out, they’re just delaying the inevitable, and when he looks at her he can see that she feels it too.

Donna laughs hollowly at his suggestion. “Yes, bring another one of your exes into this, why don’t you?”

Harvey frowns. “I obviously wasn’t talking about Paula, and what the hell is that supposed to mean, another one?”

She scoffs. “I think we can drop the pretense now. If Mike can’t see it, that’s his own damn problem. But you and I both know what’s really going on here, and why you want to throw everything away now that you’re back with him all of a sudden.”

“Donna…”

He trails off, anything he could have said in response dying on his lips unspoken. Donna’s mouth curls into the bitter impression of a smile.

“Still can’t say it? Fine. If you’re not even going to be honest with me, much less yourself, then this conversation is over.”

She pushes the covers back and breezes past him, her shoulder knocking into him as she storms off.

The door shuts with a bang that would have been loud enough to wake Rachel and Mike, if Harvey believed that either of them were asleep.

Well. That went about as well as expected.

Standing uselessly in the middle of the room, Harvey hesitates, wondering if he ought to go after her. He probably should, but the desire to actually do so is… vanishingly small. And he thinks he might be done doing things he doesn’t really want to.

It’s rather ironic how right now, standing in the ruins of his failed marriage, not having the first idea what’s going to happen next, Harvey feels more in tune with himself than he has in weeks. Months, maybe.

He knows what Donna would say since when exactly, and maybe she’d be right.

Turning away from the door, Harvey goes to the chair in the corner of the room and sits down. It’s late, and he should get some rest, but he’s almost certain he won’t be able to sleep. He’s tired, but his mind is running a mile a minute, thinking about the things he put into motion that can’t be stopped anymore.

And they shouldn’t. He sees that now.

He sits and stares at the wall for a while. Eventually his bladder makes itself felt, and he splashes some cold water on his face once he’s relieved himself, hoping it will clear his head a little.

It does, and when he steps out of the bathroom he decides that he’s been sitting around here long enough and goes downstairs to grab some water.

His gaze moves to the balcony on instinct when he leaves the bedroom, and indeed the door isn’t closed entirely, but when he goes to check it’s not Mike he finds out there. It’s Rachel, supporting herself on the railing as she stares out at the sea, a complicated expression on her face that Harvey suspects he was never meant to see.

He lifts his hand to knock on the glass, crossing the threshold when she turns to look at him.

“Hey.”

“Hi, Harvey.”

Approaching her slowly, he points out, “It’s the middle of the night.”

She smiles. “Yeah,” is all she says. Glancing at him, she adds, “I don’t have to ask why you’re awake. I ran into Donna when she- left your room.”

The slight hesitation doesn’t escape him.

“Did you two talk?”

“A little, but she said she needed to think, so I left her alone.”

Harvey sighs. “Yeah, I guess she needs that right now.”

He considers her, then asks, “What about you? Why are you out here?”

Rachel looks away. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“Something troubling you?”

She laughs, a surprising sound in the quiet of the night. Surprisingly sad, too.

“You could say that,” she agrees quietly. She glances at him, taking a deep breath, and something in her expression changes when she says, “Harvey, I’m not…”

He nods, even though she never finds an end to that sentence. It’s all there, in the look in her eyes and the set of her shoulders. It’s in all the days they spent together, every night on the balcony, every silence between her and Mike, every time a joke fell flat because the quip came out a little too serious.

“I know,” he says. Because he does.

She lets out a deep breath.

“I thought it would be different. I thought… I don’t know. He’s different. Ever since we left, it’s like all he’s been trying to do is get back to you. I don’t blame you for that,” she adds at his expression. “Not at all. It’s just… always been about you. I should have realized what that meant sooner.”

It’s a curious thought, that the months since their ways parted have been just as difficult for Mike as they have been for him. That he felt the same way Harvey did, and he never knew.

She sighs, shaking her head.

“I don’t wanna put the blame on him entirely. Maybe it’s my fault too. I think we just weren’t ready to take this step. We were a good team, we still are, but… I think getting married ruined it.”

“Yeah,” Harvey mutters. “I know the feeling.”

They both look ahead, watching the waves move closer in a silence that, even as it stretches, never grows uncomfortable.

He doesn’t ask if she knows what she’s going to do, because he’s fairly certain she wouldn’t be out here if she did. He just stands there with her, and they share in their pain, so unsettlingly similar and inseparably interwoven, until the colors of the sky start to change and the darkness gives way to a hint of dawn.

Rachel takes a deep breath and straightens. “I should go back inside.”

Harvey nods, and she regards him quietly before she says, “Thank you.”

He’s not sure what for, but he nods again anyway, and he means it when he replies, “Anytime.”

He stays a while longer, watching the light creep back in slowly. When he goes inside, he’s exhausted enough to fall into bed right away.

The room is empty when he returns, and he’s not going to pretend he isn’t glad about it.

He gets between the sheets and closes his eyes, falling asleep instantly.

*

The other side of the bed is still empty when he wakes up to a room flooded with light, but he expected nothing else.

Harvey brushes his teeth and heads downstairs to look for something edible – it’s too late for breakfast, but not quite lunch time either. He doubts they’re going to spend the day together and go somewhere to eat as a group, but he doesn’t want to be the one to presume they aren’t and end up being the bad guy.

He grabs a banana and one of the little pastries they took home from the bakery down the street to tide him over, and sits down to eat by himself in the living room.

Donna is nowhere to be seen, but he doesn’t specifically look for her either. When he eventually hears footsteps coming down the stairs, it’s Mike who turns up instead of her.

It’s a relief, if he’s honest.

“Morning,” he says.

“Not technically, but to you too,” Mike gives back. He lifts a sympathetic eyebrow. “Heard the rest of the night didn’t go so well. You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Harvey agrees, surprised by how much he means it.

Mike hums. He pads to the coffee machine and presses the button for a latte, asking, “So, you and Donna…”

“It’s over. I think. I’m fairly sure, actually.” Harvey lifts his shoulders. “Not gonna lie, this sucks, and I think it will continue to suck for a good long while. But it would have sucked more to be trapped in a marriage like that. So in a way this is… I don’t wanna say good, but I guess it’s right.”

Mike makes a noncommittal sound. Harvey notices how he never looks up from his mug, stirring his latte so long that all the foam disappears. He opens his mouth, hesitates, but then makes up his mind and asks, “Mike, have you talked to Rachel?”

Mike stops briefly as he raises the cup to his lips before he takes a deliberate sip and finally looks at him. “About what?”

“I mean in general. I met her on the balcony yesterday. Again. I think she’s out there every night. There’s clearly something on her mind.”

There’s no need to add that he knows exactly what it is; Mike looks like he already knows anyway.

Harvey wonders briefly if there’s anyone in this goddamn house who is actually honest about their feelings.

“There’s nothing going on with her,” Mike says, like that settles it.

“Are you sure about that, or are you just lying to end this conversation?”

Mike sets down his cup with enough force for its contents to splash over the counter, but he either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.

Harvey holds up his hands. “I’m not trying to accuse you of anything,” he explains calmly before he can say anything. “I’m just genuinely curious. When did you stop feeling like you could talk to me?”

“What the hell are you on about? We’ve been talking every night since we got here, Harvey.”

“No, we haven’t.” Harvey shakes his head. “You don’t talk to me anymore, Mike. Not really. Not about the things that matter. You’ve turned silent and closed off, and you try to cover it up with jokes and too much noise about other things, but that doesn’t change the fact that you never speak about what’s going on with you anymore. That used to be your whole thing, remember?”

Mike’s jaw clenches.

“I’m not the only one who lost his way,” Harvey continues. “I never was. But I can admit that I did. Can you say the same thing about yourself?”

He speaks without heat, because the words aren’t a reproach. They’re not meant to hurt him, just to make him see.

“Look, these past few days with you, they’ve been… amazing. And I’m beyond grateful that we’re good again, believe me, but good just isn’t good enough. Good isn’t how it used to be, and even if we can’t go back to that, I’d at least like to feel like we can trust each other. Like we actually do. Right now, all I see is me trusting you, and you tolerating me. It’s better than nothing, but it sure as hell isn’t ideal. For either of us.” He shrugs. “And I don’t get it. With Donna, I know where I went wrong. With you? Couldn’t tell you if you put a gun to my head.”

Mike is silent. Harvey lets out a deep breath. “Right now, I don’t really know where I stand with her. I don’t know where you stand with Rachel, and I think maybe you don’t quite know either. At least you and I should be clear about where we are, and I still don’t-“

He breaks off as he looks at Mike and the frown on his face and realizes what he was about to say. He’s been talking too much, filling Mike’s silence with his own words until he got to the one thing he never said out loud, and it’s too close all of a sudden, too personal, too real.

This time there is no weed to help him with the words. No cloak of the night hiding him away, lulling him into a false sense of security. This is here, now, in broad daylight.

Could he say it, if he tried?

Should he?

Mike is staring at him, every second of silence ticking by stretching into the immeasurable, and he doesn’t. Instead he takes a deep breath and says, “Mike, I think you should talk to Rachel. And once you’ve done that, you and I should talk to each other.”

He empties the rest of his coffee into the sink before he turns around to leave. It’s gone cold anyway.

Mike doesn’t speak or try to stop him. From the sound of it, he doesn’t even move. Harvey doesn’t look back to check. He said his part. He did what he could. The ball is in his court now.

He didn’t bring his phone with him, but he doesn’t go back upstairs to get it. It’s surprisingly liberating to be entirely by himself for once, to know that no one can reach him until he decides to change that. He doesn’t feel like doing so for a while.

The sun is high in the sky when he steps outside, and the first beads of sweat form on his brow before long, even though he’s taking his time strolling through the streets. There’s still loads to see, and he’s got nothing but time on his hands right now.

As he takes in his surroundings, he tries to remember the last time he went exploring like this on his own. He has rarely taken vacations at all, and most of them were too filled with other things – work, usually – to do this.

It’s nice, in a strange way. It’s not how he imagined this vacation to play out in the slightest, but as he walks in the shade of the beautiful buildings framing the street, he finds that he isn’t all that sad about it. Or at least not just sad – he’s calm too, and more settled than he has felt in months. Most importantly, he’s at peace.

He didn’t think he could be after what happened last night.

He turns back around when he grows thirsty and realizes that he didn’t bring any money for something to drink. The kitchen is deserted when he returns, and he can’t see anyone on the terrace. He wonders if he’s alone in the house, and if he is, where everyone else has gone to sort out their feelings.

Grabbing some water, he goes up the stairs to check and finds the bedroom door slightly ajar. He forces himself not to slow down or turn back around, and instead goes inside. Donna is sitting on the bed, her back rigid, her hands clasped together. She’s still as a statue, and he almost would have believed the façade if her knuckles weren’t white from how hard she’s pressing her hands together.

“Hi,” he says quietly.

Her jaw clenches.

The silence stretches, and when it becomes clear that she isn’t going to answer he closes the door behind him. His hand rests on the frame as he takes a steadying breath.

“You didn’t come back.”

He turns to her.

“Sorry?”

“Last night. You were gone when I’d cleared my head, and I waited, and waited, and you never showed up.”

Donna shakes her head.

“I thought to myself, if he comes back by midnight, I’ll give him another chance. Then it was midnight, and I thought, if he comes back by one, I’ll take him back, and so on. Eventually I thought, if I don’t see him by the first light of dawn, then he’s really gone. Then it’s over.”

She swallows roughly. Harvey can see the tears in her eyes, and he gives her great credit for holding his gaze anyway instead of turning away.

It looks like they’re both done hiding.

“Dawn came. And you didn’t. And I finally realized that you weren’t coming back. Of course you weren’t. Even if you had come back to this room, it was already over. I just didn’t want to acknowledge that, and who knows, maybe you didn’t either, but that didn’t make it any less true. You were gone, because you’d never really been with me in the first place. I wanted you to be, so badly. But you weren’t.”

Harvey can’t do anything but take it in silence, because she’s not wrong. It may not be the whole story, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

“I didn’t come back, but you were the one who left first.”

She watches him cross the room and sit down on the edge of the bed, not so close that they’re touching, but close enough that neither of them can escape the reality of this conversation anymore.

“So both of us are to blame for this? Is that what you’re saying?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we are. Or maybe it wasn’t our fault at all and it just wasn’t meant to be.”

“No, I think it really is down to both of us. We both saw the truth and we did nothing. But you know what? I’m done lying to myself. I’m done being lied to, whether it was intentional or not. And I would really like to believe that it wasn’t, because if that’s all that’s left… I want to hold on to it.”

She lets out a deep breath and finishes, “I just hope you’re finally done lying to yourself too.”

Holding her gaze, Harvey nods. “I am.”

He lifts his shoulders in a light shrug, gentle but unapologetic.

“I love Mike. I’m in love with him. I always have been, and I’m more sorry than I can tell you that I let things get this far despite that. I love you too, and I thought that could be enough, but it wasn’t and I wish I hadn’t put you through all that. If I could go back…”

It doesn’t matter. He can’t go back. What’s done is done, and Donna just presses her lips together, shaking her head.

They’re both going to have to live with it now.

“I’m sorry, too. I knew, I- suspected, with Mike, but I turned a blind eye. I told myself that with him gone, and then with us being married, that would be enough for you, even though he was back in our lives. I should have been honest with myself too.”

She lets out a deep breath, the corner of her mouth lifting in something that’s nowhere near a smile, but it might be acceptance, and that’s good enough for the moment.

“I guess this really is on both of us.”

“Yeah, maybe. For what it’s worth, I really am sorry for the part I played in it. I was the one who started this. If I hadn’t…”

“It doesn’t matter,” Donna says quietly. “If you hadn’t, I probably would have. I already did, back when I kissed you and you were with Paula and- we’re both to blame. Let’s not go down that road.”

He nods. More than fine by him.

Silence spreads between them. Harvey presses his palms together, pursing his lips.

“What’s going to happen now?”

Donna sighs. “I changed my flights while you were out. I’m going back to Seattle tonight to pack up my things. I’ll be gone by the time you return.”

“You’re going back to New York?”

She confirms with a brief nod. “I think I need to. Even if… I don’t know what you’re going to do now, if you’re coming back too or not, but this is what I need to do. If you want to do the same, don’t stay away on my account. I’m just asking you to respect that I’m doing this for myself, and if you’re doing it too, we’ll figure something out that works for both of us.”

So that they won’t run into each other all the time? Or that they can peacefully coexist like they used to before this whole mess?

He wants it to be the latter badly, but he doesn’t know if Donna wants that too. If they could get there, even if she did.

“Is this it? Are we done with each other for good?”

She doesn’t look away, letting him see exactly what she’s thinking. It’s not pretty, but at least they’re really honest with each other now.

“I want to come back to us. The us we were before. But I need time.”

There’s no promise for anything in there. Harvey takes a deep breath as he nods and tries his hardest to be alright with that.

“Okay. Okay.”

Donna swallows. Her eyes shine before she finally averts them. Harvey doesn’t pretend that he’s faring any better when his voice breaks as he says, “Hey.”

She looks back up when he covers her hand with his, and he smiles despite the tears in his eyes as he tells her, “Anytime you need me. Anytime. I mean it. You know how to reach me.”

Her lip trembles as she nods. He smiles, brushing her cheek to wipe an errant tear away.

“I’ll let you pack,” he says. She’ll probably want to deal with her feelings alone, and he could use a moment to himself too.

She doesn’t hold him back when he gets up to leave, and he doesn’t expect her to. They’re past that. What’s ahead for them, he can only guess.

His feet carry him downstairs and outside. The house is eerily quiet, but Mike and Rachel’s door is closed, suggesting that they’re here too, probably having an equally unpleasant but overdue conversation.

The pool is where he gets stuck. He could go out, sit by the sea, but he’s not really in any shape to deal with people right now, and chances of someone coming out here to take a swim are marginal given their current situation.

How quickly this vacation disintegrated into the negative of the perfect polaroid picture it was supposed to be.

He takes off his shoes and sits down, letting his feet dangle over the edge, the cool water lapping at them a welcome distraction that grounds him amidst the chaos of his feelings.

It was never supposed to come to this.

The tears gather and fall before he can do anything about them, and he doesn’t try to hold them back, instead staring out at the water in stoic silence as they drip into his shirt. There’s a rawness to this feeling inside him that he’s rarely experienced, much less dealt with in a constructive way, but this seems right. Even more than that, it feels necessary – like he needs to come undone so that he can come back together later. So he allows himself to not be okay, to cry and hurt and exist in the pain, with no hopes of solace or relief, only with the intention to feel it, and feel it properly, so that at one point it may cease.

And it does. Not entirely, as he’s sure it won’t for quite some time, but that’s alright. There’s space for both grief and gratitude in him, a distinct relief that persists despite the pain, and it grows stronger the longer he sits there.

What’s ahead is anything but pretty, and god knows if Donna and he will ever recover from this failed attempt at a relationship, but even if they don’t, it’s going to be okay. He’s going to be okay. It’s still terrifying, to think of a life in solitude without the people he loves, but it doesn’t paralyze him like it used to anymore. What he was most afraid of has already come true; Jessica left, Mike left, and now Donna too, and somehow he’s still breathing, and the earth is still turning, and life will go on and he’ll be okay. It might be a long journey, but it’s alright. The first step is already taken.

After a while, Mike finds him.

The tears have long dried, the ache behind his chest giving way to a tranquility that allows him to look at everything with enough distance to clear his head a little.

He’s sure that one glance at him is enough to give away what he’s been doing out here, but he couldn’t care less. He’s done hiding his feelings, pretending that he’s fine when he’s anything but.

Besides, this is Mike. There isn’t much he wouldn’t let him see.

“Hey.” Mike’s voice is rough, and he clears his throat before he continues, “Mind if I join you?”

Harvey holds out his hand, inviting him to sit down. Mike lowers himself, sighing quietly when he dips his feet into the pool. There are only a few inches between them. Of all the spots Mike could have chosen, this is where he decided to sit.

It’s quiet between them. Mike’s breathing is loud over the rustling of the nearby trees in the wind. His legs swing back and forth in the water.

“So Rachel and I talked.”

“I figured.”

Mike purses his lips.

“It’s over,” he says.

The only surprise Harvey feels is at how calm he sounds, considering that he was still in denial only a few hours ago. It’s fascinating how fast things can unravel once you stop pretending.

“Yeah. For us too.”

Mike huffs, shaking his head a little.

“This would be funny if it weren’t so messed up.”

“A bit like something out of a really terrible soap opera,” Harvey agrees. He nudges Mike’s knee with his. “I’m sorry to hear it, for what it’s worth.”

“Yeah. Me too.” He glances at him. “How are you feeling?”

“Not terrible, to be honest. I guess I just realized that it had to happen sooner or later. Better now than five years down the line, right?”

“Yeah. I kind of feel the same. But I guess it’s better that way. Makes the whole thing easier to get past.”

“It is,” Harvey agrees.

Mike is still looking at him. He can see him biting his lip from the corner of his eye, debating whether he should speak or not before he finally makes up his mind.

“Harvey, you said we should talk.”

He did, didn’t he? That’s going to be another unpleasant conversation. Can he get through a second one of those in one day?

Then again, if he doesn’t do it now, he may never do it at all. And he doesn’t think that’s an option at this point.

“Yeah. I think we should. If you’re ready for it.”

Mike doesn’t say anything for a good long while. Finally, he says, “I think I am. I think we both are.”

Harvey lets out a small laugh. “I sure hope so, because this is about the last good thing I’ve got going for me.” He takes a deep breath, then says, “I want to be honest. Is that alright?”

“Of course. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“I think you know.”

Mike swallows and says nothing.

He watches the water splashing against their calves, making the hair on their legs stick to their skin where it laps and recedes.

“Let’s be honest,” Mike says.

Harvey looks at him. “You sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Alright then.” He takes a deep breath. “Do I go first?”

“If you want.”

It’s nonchalant enough, but Harvey hears the plea behind it loud and clear.

“You probably already know,” he begins. “I think everyone and their mother knows by now, actually, but I’m going to tell you anyway. And you can do with it whatever you want, or nothing at all, but I think I need to say it at least this once.”

Mike is looking at him, just watching, waiting, and before Harvey can figure out if he seems more worried or expectant, he gathers all his courage and tells him, “I love you.”

And there it is. And the world doesn’t stop turning, and Mike doesn’t recoil in horror, and the water is still splashing softly against his feet, offering a cool relief in the summer heat.

How easy it was, in the end.

“Hm.” Mike regards him intently, then turns to look at the pool. “I thought you might, yeah.” He throws him a glance. “You do mean like that, right?”

Harvey huffs out a quiet laugh. “Yeah, I do mean like that.”

The amusement fades as he looks at Mike, ignoring the heat in his cheeks, the prickling in his stomach as he says, “I’m in love with you. I have been for years, and I never told you because there was always Rachel, and I assumed you didn’t swing that way anyway. Besides, I wasn’t going to risk the friendship we had. But things change, don’t they? I never thought it would feel right to say that to you, but here we are anyway. So, there you have it. I love you. And I’m done pretending.”

Mike listens quietly, his eyes narrowed as he thinks.

“Yeah, that makes sense. A lot of sense, actually. Explains so many things.”

“I felt the same way when I finally admitted it to myself.”

“I bet.” He glances at him again, waiting until he meets his eyes before he asks, “You do know the feeling is mutual, right?”

Harvey blinks. “What?”

“Do you really need me to repeat that?”

“No, I… I got it.” Harvey squints at him. “I did not know that, actually. Or at least not… like that.”

Mike chuckles. “Yeah, like that.” He huffs. “Funny, isn’t it?”

Harvey lifts an eyebrow, and he elaborates, “I mean, objectively, this is hilarious. Both of us getting a divorce from the wife we married even though we were in love with each other, at the same time. Both of us taking forever to get to this point when we could have gotten here years ago, without all the pain.” He lets out a deep breath. “We’re both far from stupid, and still all of that had to happen before we got to this point. How weird is that?”

“I don’t know. Really fucking weird.”

“I’ll say.”

They both fall silent. Mike steals a glance at him, pursing his lips, and Harvey turns his head, and then they’re looking at each other, and it’s almost hilarious how both of them want the exact same thing but neither wants to be the one to say it.

“Harvey.”

“Mike.”

He tilts his head a little, looking a lot younger than he is these days when he bites his lip. “Can we try something?”

Harvey holds back a smile. “Whatever you want. But only if you’re sure.”

The corner of Mike’s mouth lifts. “Pretty sure, yeah.”

His gaze drops to Harvey’s lips. Lifting his eyebrows, Harvey hesitates before he leans in slightly, stopping a few inches from his face. He waits until Mike meets his eyes, then says, “Hey.”

“Hey yourself.”

“Still sure?”

“Yep. More than, actually.”

“Okay then. Stop me anytime.”

“Absolutely,” Mike agrees, and the slightly breathless tone of his voice is the last thing that registers before Harvey closes the distance between them, and then that’s all there is.

No explosions, no sudden shift of the world’s axis, nothing except the feeling of Mike kissing him overwriting everything else that’s happening.

Nothing except the primal sense of rightness, like the last puzzle piece slotting into place to reveal the complete image he never quite managed to grasp before.

It’s as brief as it is heartfelt, as intense as Harvey can bear in that moment, and when they both draw back they hover in each other’s sphere for a beat or two before pulling back entirely, blinking against the bright sunlight.

“Hm,” Mike makes. He looks back out on the water.

Harvey bites his lip to hide his smile. “And how was that?”

“It was… yeah. Alright. Not bad.”

Harvey snorts softly. “I think we can do better than that.”

“I have no doubt.”

They don’t, though. They exchange a long look, neither of them leaning in as they search each other’s face, and Mike bites his lip before he asks, “Are we really doing this? Now, of all times?”

“I don’t know. Are we?”

“I mean, I want to.”

“Me too.”

“Good. That’s good.”

“Yeah.” It’s a start. “It’s too soon, though.”

“It absolutely is,” Mike agrees.

“Let’s leave it at that then,” Harvey suggests. “Take it slow. Figure it out as we go along.”

“Seems like a good plan.”

Harvey nods, swinging his feet back and forth as he examines the strange fluttering sensation in his chest. He’s not sure, but he thinks it might be happiness.

Funny, that.

“There’s no rush. We’ll just do what feels right for us, when it feels right. Does that work for you?”

“Yup,” Mike affirms. “We’ll get there when we get there. We waited this long, we can take it slow a little longer.”

“Sounds like a deal.”

Harvey smiles at him, and Mike returns it, his eyes dropping to his lips. Harvey knows he wants to kiss him again, but he doesn’t. Instead he just takes his hand, squeezing it firmly as he nudges Harvey’s foot with his.

It’s an absolutely ridiculous scene to an outsider. To Harvey, holding hands with Mike mere hours after they both ended their marriages might just be in the top ten favorite moments of his life.

“Where’s there?” Harvey asks.

“Hm?”

“When you say that we’ll get there, where do you see us? Do we stay in Seattle? Do we move back to New York?”

“I don’t know. Only that we’re together.”

Harvey snorts softly. “Obviously,” he says, even though it’s not obvious at all, or it wasn’t until five minutes ago. “Do you want to stay in Seattle?”

“Not necessarily. I never really warmed up to it. I don’t hate it, but… there’s nothing holding me there. What about you?”

“I haven’t even really started my life there. There’s nothing I could miss if I left.”

Mike hums thoughtfully.

“Do you want to go back to New York?”

“I do,” Harvey says slowly, “but I also don’t. Donna’s going back there. I think it might make things easier for all of us if we didn’t constantly run into each other.”

“You’re probably right. Same goes for me and Rachel in Seattle.”

“Somewhere new then?”

“Might be for the best.”

“A fresh start. Doesn’t sound terrible, actually,” Harvey muses. “It’s what Donna and I were looking for in Seattle, after all. Maybe it’s time to take it one step further.”

Mike shrugs. “I’ve done it before. I’m not opposed to trying again.”

“Better luck this time?”

“I should hope so.”

“And me.” Harvey watches the water lap at his feet as an idea forms in his mind. “How do you feel about Chicago?”

Mike glances at him, considering, and the corner of his mouth lifts when he says, “I think I could get used to it.”

The longer he contemplates the idea, the more he likes it. Whether they work together or not, it would be nice to be close to Jessica again. They’d be near the city and the firm, enough for a spontaneous visit every now and then while still giving Donna and him some space from each other.

Chicago. Why the hell not?

Harvey smiles. “Yeah. I think I could, too.”

*

The idea sticks, and even though they don’t have a definite plan yet, no timeline to follow, Chicago becomes a beacon of light in the midst of the chaos around them.

The first stop after their vacation, however, is still Seattle. Mike has a job to quit and a household to dissolve, and while Harvey has barely been there long enough to unpack, there are still things he needs to take care of. People to call. Positions to look for. It’s a good thing there’s no rush. One thing after the other is the only way leading forward. And for now, the first thing is still picking up the pieces of last night’s disaster.

Donna leaves that evening once her suitcase is packed. Harvey accompanies her to the airport when she’s said goodbye to Rachel and, a little stiffly, to Mike. They don’t talk much on the drive, and he doesn’t tell her about the kiss or Chicago or anything else that happened since they last spoke. She’ll find out soon enough, and she deserves to have a little while that is just about her before that.

There’s an awkward moment when it’s time for them to separate, but Harvey refuses to let the tension win. He opens his arms for a hug, and she swallows, but steps into his embrace after a brief pause.

“Safe travels.”

“Thank you.”

He takes a deep breath, inhaling the familiar scent of her perfume one last time before he lets her go.

“We’ll talk soon, alright?”

She nods. “I’ll let you know when I’m at the apartment.”

“Sounds good.”

She searches his face, then raises her chin, her shoulders straight.

“Goodbye, Harvey.”

“Bye, Donna.”

She turns around, and he doesn’t stick around to watch before he leaves too. They don’t need to see each other walk away.

The taxi he takes back to the house is quiet, but the silence suits him perfectly.

When he returns, Mike and Rachel are sitting in the kitchen with a bottle of wine between them. It’s not entirely dark outside, but they’ve switched on the dim kitchen lights, giving the scene a strangely intimate air.

“Sorry,” Harvey says, closing the door behind him. “I didn’t mean to interrupt anything.”

“You’re not.” Rachel smiles at him. “Come, sit down with us,” she asks. “Grab a glass if you want. There’s plenty to share.”

He does, taking a seat at the head of the table, Mike to his right, Rachel to his left. She takes the bottle and fills up his glass. “So you’ve dropped Donna off?”

He nods. “She should be on the plane by now. She’ll text when she’s made it home.”

“How was she holding up?”

“Okay, I think. You know her. Stiff upper lip and all that.”

“Yeah, that’s Donna.” Rachel glances at him. “And you. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. It’s… goddamn sad, not gonna lie about that, but it’s also a relief.” He lifts his shoulders. “I guess you know what I’m talking about.”

She and Mike nod. Lifting his glass, he hesitates before he takes a sip. “What about you, though? I know we’re all in the same boat, but…”

“I’m better now. Better than I’ve been in a long time, actually, and I forgot how good that felt.”

Mike reaches for her hand and squeezes it. Harvey looks between them, the smile they exchange. He can only hope that he and Donna will one day get to where they are right now.

“I’m glad to hear it. I’m… I think we all deserve to feel that again after the rough patch we’ve had.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” Rachel remarks. “It’s going to get better from here on, though. It’s going to be okay.” The corner of her mouth lifts. “And I’m guessing it will be a little more than just okay for you two.”

Harvey freezes, and she adds, “Don’t worry, it’s fine. I know.”

“Oh.” He glances at Mike. “Did you…”

“I told her, yeah. We agreed, no more secrets.”

“Not that he needed to,” Rachel adds. “There was no way this wasn’t going to happen.”

He raises his eyebrows. “So you did know how I really felt. I always wondered.”

“Wait, you did?” Mike asks, perplexed.

“Suspected, at the very least. Both of you, at different points, but ultimately… it was obvious if you cared to look.”

Mike narrows his eyes, somewhat put out. “It wasn’t obvious to me,” he mutters.

Rachel snorts softly. “Clearly. Otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here right now. Though I have to admit that I’m almost glad that we are. Despite everything. Is that weird? Even though Donna didn’t want to stay, which I truly understand, this is… nice, in a way.”

“I don’t think it’s weird,” Harvey tells her.

She smiles as she looks between them. “You know, you’re my friends. Both of you. And if it took all of this to make me remember that, then I’m not mad it happened. Not staying in touch with you was one of the things I regretted most after we moved, Harvey. I hope that this time we’ll do better.”

Harvey nods. “I think we will. I missed you too, you know. Let’s not let it get that far again.”

“Let’s not,” she agrees. Then her eyes move to Mike. “And you. I think you’ll always be my best friend, or at least a very special one. The divorce isn’t going to change that. On the contrary.”

“I think so too. Maybe we weren’t meant to be together like this,” Mike adds, lifting his shoulders. “Married, or something other than friends.”

She nods. “Just like you two weren’t meant to be just friends.”

Harvey clears his throat. “Speaking of… how do you feel about that? Knowing that Mike and I are together, or will be, I mean.”

She huffs out a quiet laugh. “If you think I secretly resent you for that, you can stop worrying. I thought it through quite thoroughly, and I’m… long past that. All I know is that it seems right. Who am I to argue with that?” She shrugs lightly. “I want you both to be happy, and myself, and I think this might finally be the right constellation for that to happen. Even if it weren’t for you, Mike and I probably wouldn’t have worked out. I don’t blame you for anything that happened. Just as I hope you don’t blame me for anything.”

Harvey blinks at her. “God, no. I’m not- I never did. I wanted you to be happy too. But still. You’re handling this with such grace. I don’t think I could do it.”

Rachel smiles. “You could. For your friends. And if it were the right thing. It’s not that I’m some sort of angel. It’s that you’re a better man than you think sometimes.”

Harvey swallows. He glances at his hands and then, realizing that it’s stupid, makes himself meet her gaze as he says, “Thank you for saying that. I appreciate it.”

He doesn’t have to see Mike to know that he’s looking at him, his eyes on him so heavy that he feels them like a physical weight. To hide the flush in his cheeks, he takes a sip of his wine before he asks Rachel, “Have you thought about what’s next for you? Are you going to stay in Seattle?”

She nods. “For the time being, yes. I’ve settled in, found my place. For now, that’s where I want to be.” She tilts her head. “I assume you aren’t staying? Since Mike isn’t.”

“No, I’m not. I’ll be happy to visit, though. If you’ll have me.”

“Of course. My door is always open for you. Both of you.” She refills her glass, passing the bottle on to Mike before she asks, “So where’s the road leading you?”

“Chicago, I think.”

The corner of her mouth lifts. “Should have guessed. Does Jessica know yet?”

“I haven’t told her, no. I’ll give her a call once we’re back on American soil. I think it’s going to be a longer conversation.”

Mike snorts softly. “I can already hear her voice. ‘Goddamn Mike Ross. The kid is nothing but trouble.’”

“Well, you are,” Harvey points out. Rachel chuckles, raising her glass slightly in acknowledgement.

“To trouble,” she says. Harvey smiles.

“Indeed.”

Ignoring Mike’s questioning glance, Rachel takes a sip before she announces, “Well, with you two and Jessica in the same place, I’m really going to have to visit now.”

“No way around it,” Mike agrees, nodding solemnly. “Andy will just have to survive without you for a few days.”

“Good god,” Rachel mutters. “Let’s see how he survives without you first.”

Harvey reaches for his glass and leans back. They sit together well into the night, the sky growing dark outside behind them. One glass of wine turns into two, and between the three of them the bottle is empty before they know it.

Mike goes to fetch another one, and they nurse their last glass for a while, neither of them in a hurry to let this evening come to an end.

It’s only when Rachel heads upstairs to get ready for bed that Harvey realizes how little time he spent thinking about Donna. The thought brings with it a trickle of guilt, but it’s overshadowed by the overwhelming relief he feels that he didn’t have to spend the night alone. It did him a world of good to just be with Mike and Rachel, to really see that they still get along, that everyone is forgiven for their shortcomings and no one blames anyone for what happened.

It’s more than he dared to hope for, more than he ever would have asked, and it leaves him surprisingly touched.

Mike is quiet, turning his glass over and over in his hands once Rachel is gone.

Harvey doesn’t mind the silence. It’s comfortable, and he relishes the calm companionship as he allows his thoughts to wander and himself to feel whatever he’s feeling without trying to work against it for once. It’s surprisingly relaxing.

“She’s not wrong, you know,” Mike eventually breaks the quiet.

“I’m sure you’re right, but what about in particular?”

“That you’re a better man than you think sometimes.”

Harvey blinks at him. “You think so?”

It wasn’t meant to come out as hesitant as it sounds. His voice is rough, betraying how much he wanted to hear those words, more than he realized until he did.

Mike presses his lips together, a frown creasing his forehead.

“I’m… I should have told you that sooner. I should have apologized for what I said when I came to New York. I meant it at the time, but I realize now that I wasn’t getting the full picture at all. Least of all the part I played in it.”

He swallows, shaking his head. “I wasn’t fair to you. At all. I had some issues with myself, and I let it out on you when you didn’t deserve it. I’m… really sorry about that, and beyond grateful that you’re having me in spite of it, but I also want to take this opportunity to promise you something.”

Shrugging, he says, “I can’t change how I acted before. But what I can do is promise to not let it get that far again. I’ll be better, especially to you, and I’ll work on myself and my… misplaced anger. You deserve more than someone who can’t deal with his emotions.”

Harvey huffs out a laugh. “It’s not like I’m great at that either.”

“Maybe not. But you’re making an effort. And you’re getting better. The Harvey Specter I met a decade ago? Never would have said to me what you said at the pool.” He lifts his shoulders. “It’s not about being perfect, is it? It’s about trying. You are, and I need to be too. And I will.”

“I never had a doubt about it.”

“Yeah, well, maybe you’re ahead of me in that regard too.” Mike lets out a deep breath. “I do believe what Rachel said. Things are going to get better from here on. But there’s still a lot that I need to work through. And it’s gonna take some time, and effort, but I am willing to put that in. I don’t want us to end up the same way Rachel and I did, or Donna and you, just because I couldn’t face what I was feeling.”

Harvey searches his face, a half-smile spreading on his lips. “How about we face it together?”

Mike nods slowly. “I think I’d like that. Really like it, actually.”

Harvey hums, never taking his eyes off him. He knows he shouldn’t ask, but the sight of Mike’s hunched shoulders and the vulnerable look in his eyes triggers an urge to comfort him that he’s simply not equipped to fight.

“Is it okay if I kiss you? Just for a second.”

It’s not the right time, not the right place in the slightest with Rachel upstairs and everything still so fresh. But Mike just huffs, and when he smiles it looks genuine.

“I think I’d really like that too.”

Harvey leans in, and Mike meets him halfway, his lips parted and so warm and soft that Harvey can’t help but melt against them as he returns the gentle pressure.

It’s a slow kiss, deeper than their first one, every second of their lips being connected feeling significant somehow. The house is entirely quiet around them, making their breathing even more prominent, just a little too elevated in the silence. Mike’s hand comes up to his waist, the touch sending far too many shivers down his spine for how innocent it actually is.

Harvey is very aware of the sudden desire flaring up in him, the arousal coiling in his stomach, and he only lingers against Mike’s lips for another beat before he reluctantly draws back. Mike sighs, but lets him. Harvey hides his smile.

“We should go upstairs,” he murmurs. “Separately, I mean.”

“Probably,” Mike agrees.

“Definitely.”

Mike exhales deeply. “You’re right.” He licks his lips. “Good night then.”

Harvey nods solemnly. “Night,” he gives back.

They look at each other, neither of them moving, and the next moment Harvey leans in again, powerless against the pull towards him.

He can still barely wrap his head around the fact that he gets to do this now, that kissing Mike is not some farfetched fantasy anymore but rather a promised part of his future. And with him right there, looking so infuriatingly attractive, how could he refuse?

They fail to break apart after that as well, the already sparked desire bringing them together again and again. Harvey has half a mind to start undressing him right then and there, but despite the fact that both of them clearly want to take this further, they don’t.

There will be a time and a place for this, but it’s not now, and as hard as it is to stop what they both want to happen, they adhere to the instinctive understanding that it shouldn’t just yet.

The kiss slows down again before it comes to a halt eventually, and when they part they are both flushed and breathing heavily.

Mike makes a disgruntled noise.

“I know,” Harvey sighs.

On the bright side, their first time is going to be out of this world with all that unresolved tension building up.

He clears his throat, straightening his shoulders to look more determined than he really is. “Good night then.”

“You said that before.”

“I mean it this time.”

Mike gazes at his lips, a contemplative look on his face.

The corner of Harvey’s mouth lifts. “Soon,” he promises. “We’ll get there. But we should do it properly. When there’s nothing on our minds expect you and me.”

Mike nods reluctantly. “Well, off you go then,” he says, vaguely waving towards the stairs. “Before I change my mind.”

Harvey snorts softly as he gets up. “Should I be locking my door tonight?”

Mike shoots him a dry look, but he can still see the smile playing on his lips. “Good night,” he says demonstratively.

Harvey chuckles softly as he gets up, covering his hand briefly on his way upstairs.

“Night, Mike.”

*

Their vacation draws to a close quietly. The bags are packed in no time, the last bottle of wine bought and safely stored away in their suitcases, and then they’re sitting in the car taking them to the airport, watching the scenery pass them by one last time.

It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Greece. Harvey never thought he’d enjoy the rest of their days here, but finds himself pleasantly surprised by how peaceful the remaining time with Mike and Rachel was. For all the pain this trip brought them, they’re doing so much better now than when they came here.

He already sees it, the change in Rachel’s stance, how something seems to have settled inside her. To say that she’s happy would be an overstatement, but she’s calm, and as he watches her once they wait for boarding to start, he thinks that she might be well on her way to getting there.

She smiles when she catches his eyes, lifting an eyebrow. “What?”

“Nothing. Just thinking about our time here.”

She hums, looking around. “Hard to believe it’s only been a week since we landed, isn’t it?”

“Hard to believe how much has changed since then,” Harvey adds.

“Quite the vacation, huh?” Mike regards them, his hands on his sides, lifting his eyebrows dryly. “Well, we should do that again soon.”

Harvey snorts, and Rachel grins, rolling her eyes.

“I mean… it was good, though,” Harvey points out. “Despite everything. It wasn’t all bad.”

“Not at all,” Mike agrees, and Harvey only meets his eyes briefly before he has to look away, biting his lip to hide his smile.

“I did enjoy myself,” Rachel agrees. “Certainly not all the time, but especially the last days, that was… it did me good, to just lay down everything and be among friends.”

Harvey nods. “I think that goes for all of us.”

Mike looks between them, lifting an eyebrow. “So… maybe we really should do it again.”

“If we leave the drama out next time, I’ll gladly say yes.”

Harvey nods. “Let’s see where it takes us now. What’s in store for us in Chicago, and Seattle, or wherever else we go. Once we’ve figured all that out… I don’t see why not.”

“Sounds like a deal.”

Mike nods, but his eyes stay on Harvey’s even when Rachel glances at the time and sighs.

“I think I’ll get some coffee while we wait. Anyone want something?”

“Could you grab me a donut while you’re at it? Or something else, just make it sweet.”

She huffs out a laugh and shakes her head. “Sure.” She glances at Harvey as if to say, that’s gonna be your problem now, then gets up and disappears in the crowd.

“You’ll give me a bite of that donut, won’t you?”

“Only if you’re nice.”

“I’m always nice.”

Mike snorts. “Yeah. Right.”

His eyes linger on him, and just when Harvey wants to ask, he says, “Does it bother you? Not knowing what’s going to happen next?”

Harvey lifts his eyebrows. “I do know what’s going to happen next. You and I are going to start over, together.”

He reaches for his hand, a smirk playing on his lips. Mike smiles, but shakes his head.

“You know what I mean.”

“Yes. But I don’t mind.” Harvey shrugs, squeezing his hand. “No matter where we end up going, or what we end up doing, I know it’s going to be amazing. With the two of us together, how couldn’t it be?”

Mike snorts. “Cheesy.”

“Come on, let me have this. I’ve earned it, haven’t I?”

“Fine.” Mike glances at him, biting his lip. “You have a lot of faith in us.”

“Well, why the hell not? Look at where we are, and where we started out, and how unlikely it is that we got here, and yet we still did. That’s pretty damn impressive if you ask me.”

“We did get here,” Mike agrees quietly. Harvey looks at him, and he can tell by his expression that he’s not there yet, that he hasn’t quite forgiven himself for what happened and that this will be an uphill battle. But uphill it is, and that’s what matters.

He tightens his hold on Mike’s hand.

“It’s fine if it bothers you, you know. And it’s fine if you have doubts. We’ve got nothing but time to figure it out. And you know what else we got?”

He lifts their connected hands. “This. We were always at our best together. And when I think about what’s ahead, then I’m quite sure that the best is yet to come for us.”

The corner of Mike’s mouth lifts. “Maybe you’re right,” he agrees, straightening with a deep breath. “And you know what? Whatever the hell that looks like, I can’t goddamn wait for it.”