It’s not that dinner is uncomfortable or quiet or anything like that. They talk and joke and any outside observer wouldn’t be able to see anything amiss.
But Mike knows the truth. It’s weird and strained and they are both trying like hell to pretend it’s not weird and strained, which is just making it worse. The silences linger just a touch too long, sentences are started but quickly aborted, their postures are just a shade too formal…
He knows why it’s like this. He’s not an idiot. Harvey might never say it, but he’s going to miss Mike, just as Mike is going to miss Harvey. Sure, it’s not like they’re never going to see each other again. Even if Mike was going into a new job that didn’t require the use of Harvey as his lawyer, even if there was nothing officially connecting them anymore, Harvey was stuck with him, for now and ever more. But it’s going to be different. Everything is going to be different now. And as much as this was his decision, as much as he knows this is what needs to be done, that doesn’t mean he’s entirely ready for it either.
"Harvey," Mike says at last, long hours into the dinner, the third course sitting untouched before them. "It’s gonna be okay, you know."
"Of course it is," Harvey says dismissively.
Mike’s tempted to let it slide, but he can’t. Not now. This is too important. Mike has left Pearson Specter, their relationship is going to be completely different from now on. And he wants it to get off on the right foot. He needs them to be honest with each other.
"You can admit that you’re gonna miss me, you know. I’m going to miss you."
Harvey rolls his eyes, but Mike can tell the movement is forced.
“Harvey,” he insists.
"I don’t want you to go," Harvey admits, words rolling off his tongue in a rush, like if he didn’t say it now he never would. "And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that earlier. I tried. I just…"
Mike swallows thickly. It’s everything he wanted to hear, but it doesn’t make him feel better. In fact, he can’t believe how much worse he feels. Assuming and knowing are two completely different things, and knowing how Harvey feels makes leaving so much harder. “I’m glad you’re telling me now. Even if it doesn’t change anything, I’m glad you told me the truth.”
Harvey smiles weakly, running a hand through his hair. “Jessica asked me today if I was going to replace you.”
"Wow, she doesn’t mess around, does she? What did you say?" Mike asks, more apprehensive over the answer than he probably has any right to be.
"I told her no. You’re my guy. I don’t want another one."
Mike can’t help the rush of warm affection that rolls though his body at that, nor the small smile that plays at his lips. He tries to look Harvey in the eyes but doesn’t quite manage it, not even when he replies with, “I’ll always be your guy, Harvey.”
The rest of the dinner is decidedly less tense after that.
Mike loves his new job. It’s interesting and dynamic and he’s really fucking good at it. He breathes freer, not feeling the weight of his secret every single day.
The first time he sees Harvey after leaving Pearson Specter he’s returning to their building not as an employee but as a client. It’s weird, having to check in at reception, being announced to Donna and then to Harvey, when part of him still feels like this is home. But when Donna shows him into Harvey’s office with exaggerated professionalism and Harvey stands from his desk, grinning widely, everything is instantly better.
Their meeting runs for over an hour, less than a quarter of which is devoted to the actual work required from Harvey. The rest of it is just talking, catching up, throwing a baseball back and forth like they’ve done a hundred times before.
It’s a relief, to know that they’re okay, that things haven’t changed that much between them.
Mike leaves with the promise of a contract to be delivered by the end of the day and dinner plans for the weekend.
Mike would like to say he didn’t see it coming.
Things haven’t been going well for months now. He and Rachel never see each other anymore, and the few times they do they end up fighting over stupid things. Like right now. She’s stressed trying to juggle school and work, Mike’s busy with his job, and now that they aren’t working in the same building together their lives are slowly drifting apart.
It’s the end of a long week, both of them too exhausted to pretend this isn’t them on the verge of splitting up. This is it, the crossroads, the point in which they need to decide if they are going to try and save their relationship or tap out. Mike looks at Rachel, her eyes shining with tears, her lips red from where she’s worried them, and she is beautiful and amazing and Mike knows that they are never going to work.
He walks out the door, out of the apartment they share, into the dark of the city streets. He feels frayed and lost and he doesn’t know what to do. He should get a hotel room for the night, because he needs somewhere to stay, but he ends up roaming the streets, ostensibly trying to clear his head but really just ignoring the feeling in his chest that there is really only one place he wants to be right now.
It doesn’t take too long to give in, and he soon finds himself standing outside Harvey’s apartment, knocking softly on the door. He hasn’t turned up here unannounced since he left Pearson Specter. He and Harvey have still seen a lot of each other - granted it wasn’t as much as when they were working together for twelve hours a day, but there have been meetings and dinners and movies, not to mention random emails and texts and the occasional phone call. They’re friends, good friends, and Mike will never use the term best friends out loud to Harvey (partly because of the way Harvey always made a face whenever Mike used that term in reference to Trevor but mostly because he knows Harvey will laugh at how juvenile it is) but that doesn’t make the sentiment any less true.
Harvey definitely looks surprised when he opens to door to find Mike standing there, but the more obvious (to Mike, anyway) emotion is concern.
"Rachel and I broke up," Mike tells him before Harvey has a chance to ask.
Harvey gives him a sympathetic look, taking a step forward and placing a hand on his arm.
"I didn’t really have anywhere else to go," Mike says, and then he finds himself closing the gap between them, wrapping his arms around Harvey.
It shouldn’t mean as much as it does, the way that Harvey’s arms unhesitatingly encircle him in a firm hug, the way Harvey lets him bury into his neck, the softness of Harvey’s voice when he says, “You can stay as long as you want.”
I used to be picked in high school. People were like “You look like Jason Priestley!”