Sweet Thang

Part 2

Harvey makes Mike take the bed.

"I never sleep the night before a case opens," he says. "And this is a case, now, as far as I'm concerned. Besides, someone has to keep an eye on him." He jerks his head at Trevor, passed out on the sofa from pain meds that – just maybe, Mike's not accusing Harvey of anything – might have been a little to strong for a bloody nose.

Mike starts to protest, but something in Harvey's expression shuts him up, fast.

"Good night," he says instead, giving Harvey a cheerless little wave. As he starts to close the bedroom door, Harvey murmurs,

"Pretty dense for a genius, rookie."

Mike pretends not to hear.

On Monday morning, Mike wakes up to an empty apartment and a note taped to the toaster.

Taking your friend in before he pulls it together enough to make trouble. Your suit's in the closet.

If I make it to the office before you, you forfeit Rachel's help for the rest of the month.

When Mike arrives, a cup of coffee and a bacon-and-egg burrito are sitting on his desk, both still steaming. Donna pops her head around the corner of his cubicle.

"Oh good, you're here!" she says brightly. "Harvey called and asked me to get you breakfast the cafeteria downstairs, but I didn't think you'd get here before it got cold."

"Thanks—hey, what are you implying?" Mike asks, eyes narrowed suspiciously. Donna points a stern finger at him.

"Eat and be grateful, you." She whisks off, leaving Mike to his burrito – and the pile of briefs, that, apparently, came with it.

Harvey waltzes in just before noon, looking not at all like a man who just dropped sixty-five grand getting one stranger out of jail and putting another one in. Mike swallows when he walks past, but Harvey barely spares him a glance, except to bark,

"Finished with those briefs yet?"

"It's only been four hours!"

"Tsk tsk, falling down on the job," Harvey calls over his shoulder. Mike pulls a face at his retreating back and resolves not to thank him for breakfast.

He ends up doing it anyway, though, late that evening when even his fellow associates have shut down their computers and toddled off into the night. At first, Mike doesn't notice Harvey leaning over the top of his cubicle. He's got his nose buried in the paperwork for the Grossman case, highlighter cap between his teeth and The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style open beside him.

" 'All the way up to Heaven, and all the way down to Hell,' " Harvey says, making Mike start violently. His highlighter draws a streak of flourescent green across his cheek.


"Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad infernos. But you won't find it in there," he adds, nodding at Mike's book. "But it's mostly defunct now, at least compared to what Blackstone originally meant. Are they seriously trying to rest a claim on it?"

"No. We are."

Harvey winces theatrically.

"Have fun with that." He turns to leave.

"Wait!" The word slips out almost panicky; Mike bites his lip and charges on. "This morning—I mean—"

"Relax." Harvey's soft smile actually seems genuine. "I'm brilliant, remember? Went off without a hitch. And I'll get the money back in a few months, anyway; your girlfriend doesn't seem the kind to skip town."

"Pffff," Mike scoffs, even though he can feel the blush heating his cheeks. "What are you talking about? I just wanted to say thanks for breakfast, man."

"Yeah, yeah. Wrap it up, I'll give you a ride home."

"Hey! Weren't you the one who gave me a lecture on how you worked a hundred hours a week your first year?"

"No, rookie, I said everyone thought I worked a hundred hours a week. Try to keep up." He reaches down into the cubicle and flips Mike's book shut. Mike grabs his stuff; they're halfway out of the parking lot before it occurs to him to ask,

"You'll give me a ride to whose home?"

"…you know, this would be much simpler if you just agreed to move into the new apartment."


-- -- --

On Friday, it all goes to hell.

Mike knows something is up as soon as he sees Louis zipping around the office like a mosquito on crack. The man is only, ever, energetic when someone he doesn't like has gotten screwed – or is about to. Mike tries to convince himself it doesn't have anything to do with him. He can't be the only associate Louis lives to torment, right?


But that faint hope only lasts until Rachel comes by and hands him another folded note.

"Donna has a question for you," she announces loudly. Her delivery isn't nearly as smooth as it was the first time, and she shoots him a worried look as she leaves.

Harvey called to Pearson's office 2 hrs ago. Still not back. Missed Lindner-Vandenburgh mtng.

Technically, it's none of Mike's business.

Because that's totally the way Harvey's been teaching him to think. The Lindner-Vandenburgh contract is one Harvey's actually taken an active interest in, and it's an important account for the firm on top of that. Jessica would have known about the meeting for sure, so for her to haul Harvey in despite it…

It doesn't take much doing for Mike to slip up to Harvey's office on pretense of needing some file or other. Donna is stationed outside, looking as frighteningly competent as always – except for the white-knuckled grip she has on her mouse, and the fraught tangle of her hair where she's clearly been running her hand through it.

She doesn't give an inch, however, even after Mike checks the corridor to both sides before saying quietly,

"What happened to Harvey?"

"Sorry, he's not here at the moment," Donna replies, as though Harvey just stepped out for a late lunch. "You'll have to talk to Louis."

"Say what?"

"He's got the file you wanted – big manila folder with the photographs in it, right? He's in Ms. Pearson's office right now, but you might catch him on his way out if you're quick about it."

"What fol—ohhh, that folder." Mike catches on. "Yeah, that's the one I – I'll just go and—"

He takes off, fighting down a sudden, irrational fear that he's already too late.

Jessica's office is walled in glass on one side and by floor-to-ceiling windows on the other, but being nestled in the crook at the end of a long hallway gives it the illusion of privacy. It also, unfortunately, keeps there from being any convenient place for Mike to stand and eavesdrop unseen. He settles for leaning casually against the opposite wall of the corridor, just barely in sight of the door and as far away from Jessica's secretary as he can manage. She gives him a suspicious look, but after he holds up the case brief he's pretending to be frantically skimming and smiles sheepishly, she seems content to leave him alone.

Mike can't hear much through the glass – but he can see, a little, and what he sees alarms him. Jessica is standing beside a low table, one hand gripping the back of her chair; she looks angry, but also resigned, as she jabs a finger repeatedly at something lying on the table. Harvey is seated, his hands in his lap. Every time he tries to speak, Jessica cuts him off, until he's reduced to shaking his head, emphatically, over and over again.

Louis stands behind him, ill-concealed glee written in every line of his body. When Jessica turns away for a moment, he leans down to whisper something in Harvey's ear that makes him go pale, hands balling into fists underneath the table. Mike is so busy trying to figure out what Harvey's saying in response that he doesn't understand, at first, that Louis has spotted him – until he calls out, loud enough to carry through the closed doors,

"And here he is -- the man of the hour!" Three quick steps and he's throwing open the door, ushering Mike inside with poisonous glee. "Come in, Mike, come in. Maybe you can shed some light on the case that's got our best closer completely stumped."

Harvey doesn't even twitch. He's still staring at the papers on the table.

Mike's first thought is that he's been caught out. That somehow, Louis has figured out his lie (maybe he spoke to his cousin, God, why did Mike even pretend to know the guy?) and now he's going to get fired, and he's going to get Harvey fired, and—

Then he actually gets a look at the papers.

Only they're not papers. They're photographs.

Harvey and him in the park, three weeks ago, Harvey's head thrown back in that raucous, incongruent laugh. Harvey and him coming out of René's after his fitting, Harvey looking pleased and Mike looking stunned. Harvey and him drinking at Jean Georges, Harvey carrying his bags in SoHo, him stealing a piece of sushi off Harvey's plate at Hashi.

Him, asleep, in Harvey's bed, spooned up with his back to Harvey's chest and Harvey's arm curved around his waist, with Harvey's face buried his hair and a look of contentment on Mike's own face that he's never seen there before.

For the first time in his life, Mike's thoughts stutter to a halt. The incessant commentary that runs just behind his eyes, taking in this and binding it to that and showing him how a is connected to forty-seven is connected to blue, is silent. There is only the sound of his heart, beating a tattoo against his ribcage, and somewhere in the distance, Louis asking him—

Asking him—

And everything clicks into place, like the endless map of facts inside his head – except this map is made up of people, Louis and Jessica, himself and Harvey, their actions and reactions spinning out like threads that Mike can read as clearly as words on a page.

He wonders if this is how Harvey feels all the time.

"—care to add?"

"Oh, yes." Mike's voice softens around the edges and slides up a good half-octave. He crosses the few steps to Harvey and stands by his shoulder, hips cocked at an outrageous angle. When Harvey finally looks up, Mike winks and perches himself delicately on Harvey's knee. "With those pictures out all over the place, there's just no point in hiding it any more, is there? Harvey," Mike winds his arms around Harvey's neck and affects the campest lip he can muster, "is my sugar-daddy."

Louis and Jessica both stare at him as though he's lost his mind. It's encouraging.

"Mike," she begins, "are you seriously—"

"What?" Mike shoots to his feet, every inch the steel-spined kid that the great Harvey Spector hand-picked to bring into the firm. "You were ready to believe it before I walked in here, thirty seconds ago, so why not now?"

"I was ready to believe sexual harassment—"

"Harassment?!" In his incredulity, Mike is more than willing to run roughshod over the only surviving Senior Partner to actually bear the Pearson Hardman name. "Have you actually looked at those pictures, or did you just throw them in front of Harvey and ask him how many times he plowed the new rookie? Do I seem harassed to you? Hell, does Harvey?"

"Nonetheless, the imbalance of power between a Senior Partner and the associate he oversees is enough to warrant an investigable presumption," Jessica says, and her stare would have been more than sufficient to sit Mike straight down on his ass, if he'd only been arguing on his own behalf.

"That presumption only holds if there's evidence of a sexual relationship—"

"Do not try to lecture me on the bylaws I helped write, kid. Even if your actions – whatever they were – were entirely consensual, Pearson Hardman still adheres to a strict anti-fraternization policy. Especially between ranks."

"Sorry," Mike backpedals frantically, cutting in before Louis can add his two cents. "Sorry, that's not what I meant. Just – look, I didn't have a lot of money, growing up. I got into college on scholarships and loans that I'm still trying to pay back, and this, all of this," he gestures to his clothes, to Jessica's office, to everything that is Pearson Hardman, "isn't a world I know anything about. Harvey's been taking me out to try to teach me how to fit in, with our clients and our competitors both. That's it, I swear."

Jessica crosses her arms and considers him with narrowed eyes, but Mike thinks he spots just the most fractional relaxation in her stance.

"There's still the small matter of you sharing his bed," she says. It's halfway between an accusation and a challenge: okay, kid. convince me.

"The first time Harvey took me to a restaurant, I didn't know what I was getting into." True enough, so far. "I had a little much to drink, and I was tired. I passed out before I could even tell him my address. Harvey brought me back to his place so that I wouldn't be alone. He stayed in bed with me so I wouldn't be in danger of choking on my own puke. Whatever it looked like when we were both asleep..." Mike shakes his head. "I certainly wouldn't know. Strictly speaking, no one should know – considering that unlike every other photograph here, Harvey and I weren't out in public at the time. We were in his private bedroom, on the fifteenth floor, with the lights turned out."

At last, he turns to Louis.

"Which kind of makes me wonder how you got it in the first place."

Louis starts sputtering, but Jessica just shakes her head.

"I can't tell if you've been spending too much time with Harvey, or not enough," she decides. "Those theatrics might work on a judge, or even one of your peers if he's not too savvy. Trying them on your supervisor and the head of your firm? Not so bright. If you want to get out from under an allegation like this, you have to make people believe it. And people will believe whatever suits their advantage the most."

"All right." Mike shoots a look at Harvey – who still hasn't moved a muscle – and licks his lips. "How's this for advantage: if Harvey gets hauled in front of the ethics board, I guarantee Louis will, too."

"Excuse me?"

"The only photograph that actually suggests anything untoward is this one." He jabs a finger at the bedroom photo. "And like I said, it clearly wasn't taken in a public place. That's wrongful invasion of privacy right there. My privacy. Louis supervises all the new associates; he has a tremendous amount of power over me, power he's already shown himself willing to abuse. Pulling me aside for 'special' drug tests, trying to commandeer my time away from Harvey's cases, and now stalking me in my free time, too? If that's not a textbook pattern of escalating workplace harassment, I don't know what is.

"You'll lose your new Senior Partner – who happens to also be your best closer – and the highest-billing Junior Partner in the firm. Pearson Hardman's reputation will be wrecked. Your billables will plummet, and so will your client base." Mike spreads his arms wide. "All over an itty bitty little rookie associate who might not even make it to next quarter."

Jessica stares at him for a long, breathless moment.

"Louis," she says suddenly, making him start. "Get this stuff out of my office. Now."


"Now. Not that one," Jessica adds, as Louis starts to slip the bedroom photograph into the envelope with the rest. "You know better than that."

The sneer Louis throws at Harvey as he leaves, envelope clutched tightly in his fist, makes it clear that this is far from over.


Harvey looks up at last, expression unreadable.

"You're done for today. If I see you back here before noon on Monday, you'll be doing nothing but pro bono for the foreseeable future."

Harvey's gaze stays fixed on the carpet, all the way to the door. Mike realizes he's been left alone with possibly the most frightening woman he has ever met.

She takes a seat at the table, motions for him to do the same.

"When I first met Harvey," she begins, "he was a complete screw-up. But I saw that he had potential I could put to use. I hauled him out of the mail room, forced a Harvard J.D. down his throat, and rode him so hard I'm still not sure his ass has completely recovered. I even got the board to institute a company-wide random drug testing policy, just to keep him in line." She smiles thinly at Mike's incredulous look. "Four years ago, Harvey brought a man as his plus-one to a city-wide Assocation dinner – and because of who I am, and who he was starting to be, no one batted an eyelash. At least, not where either of us might spot them.

"Louis had just made partner then. I'd only recently started keeping an eye on him, at the time; Hardman brought him in as an associate right before he died, and afterwards I think everyone just sort of forgot about him. Louis clawed his way up the ranks by tooth and nail, and he never hid who he was, even though an open secret like that could have killed his career. When he got to the top, he was rightfully proud of himself – until he found Harvey swanning around in his limelight, seemingly without a single scar on his pretty skin. And Harvey being bisexual just made it worse. Whether Louis was angry because he thought Harvey should have helped him, or because he thought Harvey had it too easy, or because of something else, I don't know. And you know Harvey well enough to understand he's not exactly the type to refrain from throwing fuel on the fire."

Jessica stops, head bowed, leaning forward on her arms. She looks sad, and exhausted – a woman too young to be so worn down, by a struggle that has no end in sight.

"I really thought things were getting better, after that first year. I put Louis in charge of the new associates, hoping that having gone through what he did, he'd be the best man to keep it from happening again. I waited longer than anyone wanted to promote Harvey to Senior Partner. I even," she shoots Mike an ironic, conspiratorial smile, "let Louis mess around with Harvey's new associate, because maybe if he saw another screw-up fighting to turn himself around, he'd have a better idea of what Harvey's path has been like."

She holds up a hand when Mike starts to speak. "I'm going to pull rank on you now and shoo you out of my office without letting you ask any questions. I'd thank you for letting to an old woman prattle on – but I'm not that old yet, and I suspect you've gotten just as much out of listening to me as I have from talking."

Jessica stands, and Mike scrambles to his feet after her.

"I – right," he says, and flees. He's halfway out the door when Jessica calls,

"Oh, and Mike? I don't need to tell you that it's worth more than your ass, and the asses of everyone you know, to take special care that not a word of the past forty-five minutes leaves this room."

Mike nods furiously, not trusting himself to speak.

"Good. Now, go make sure your man gets home safely. He can't drive for shit when he's upset."

Not possibly, Mike decides, as he sprints for the parking garage. Definitely. Jessica Pearson is definitely the most frightening woman he's ever met.

-- -- --

Mike finds Harvey sitting in his car with the ignition on, one hand on the shifter, the other on the wheel as he rests his head against it. He taps on the window, trying to get Harvey's attention

Then he walks around and opens the passenger door.

"You know, hiding in your car is a lot more effective if you don't forget to lock it," he says conversationally. Harvey refuses to look at him. But when Mike reaches over and curls his hand lightly around the back of Harvey's neck, just above the stiff-starched collar of his shirt, Harvey lets out a deep, shuddering sigh and doesn't move away.

They stay like that for a really, really long time.

-- -- --

"You know," Mike says, loose-limbed and happily flopped over on Harvey's sofa, his feet in Harvey's lap. "There's only one thing I regret in all this."

It took a while, but he'd eventually convinced Harvey that the solution to his woes was far more likely to be found at the bottom of a sixpack than in a slowly darkening parking garage. Harvey had stiffly offered to drop Mike off at his own place, but Mike isn't having any of it. There's an inkling of a thought growing in the back of his mind.

Mike likes where it's going.

"You? What do you regret?" Harvey scoffs. He doesn't seem to realize he's gently running his thumb up and down the jut of Mike's ankle bone. He's only had two beers to Mike's three, and he tried to stop Mike from drinking that last one, so Mike doesn't know what his excuse is – but he's not about to call him on it any time soon.

"I regret that after all that drama, we never even got to have sex."

Harvey's thumb stops moving. The next instant, he's shoving Mike's feet off his lap and fixing him with a furious look.

"You are not that drunk," he snaps.

"What, I need to be intoxicated to sleep with you?" There's more challenge in his voice than Mike meant there to be, but there's no taking it back now.

"Don't go there, I'm warning you."

"But I—"

"Leave it, rookie!" Harvey's on his feet and storming into the kitchen, but Mike's not going to let him get away that easily. He grabs for Harvey's arm and catches the back of his waistcoat, which is enough to get his attention even if Mike doesn't have the strength to haul Harvey around to face him.

"What is the matter with you?" he demands. "Okay, I was a little slow on the uptake – but you gotta give me some time, I've never done it with another guy sober before."

Harvey makes a strangled noise and tries to jerk away. Mike just hangs on harder, fingers digging into the richly dyed Assam silk, pulling the threads out of true. He silently apologizes to René, promising to buy Harvey a new one as soon as he can.

Eventually, Harvey stills. Mike rests his head against Harvey's back, and waits.

"Ten years," Harvey says. "Ten years I've spent making sure that everyone, everyone, sees exactly what I want them to see, when and how I want them to see it. And three weeks after I start letting myself pretend that maybe, this time, no one's looking—" He breaks off.

Mike blinks for a moment, processsing. Then he steps swiftly around in front of Harvey, getting a firm grip on his wrist so he can't run away again.

"This is about your job?" he demands, more than a little irritated. "I fixed that, damn it, you saw—"

"My job?" Harvey repeats, incredulous. "Believe me, that's the least of it; I could have gotten out of that hole any time."

"Then what the hell is it?!"

"Well, there's the minor matter of these photographs, you may have seen them—"

"Oh my God, are you serious? You're serious, aren't you—"

"—couldn't miss it, let alone you, you're a goddamn genius—"

"—control freak, I don't even know why I'm surprised—"

"—heart on my sleeve like a complete idiot, don't pretend you'd want anything to do with me after that—"

"Oh my God," Mike says again, and kisses Harvey just to shut him up.

It's clumsy, and awkward, and Mike's nose is jammed up painfully against Harvey's cheekbone because he forgot to account for the lack of height difference, but it works.

"There, okay?" He demands, when they break apart. "That, that is my final input into this conversation, I can't do anything else, you're on your own from here on out."

Harvey looks completely shell-shocked.

Then a slow, stunned grin spreads across his face.

"Final input, huh?"


"Nothing else to add?"


"No addendums, codicils, amendments, or special provisions you forgot about?"

"Not a one."

Slowly, so slowly Mike wants to scream, Harvey's hands come up, one to settle on the small of Mike's back, the other to rest a gentle thumb on the sharp ridge of his cheek.

"Your technique needs a lot of polishing, rookie," Harvey says. "But you've got a lot of potential."

Their first kiss is way, way better the second time around.


       Part 1 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Suits ~~~~~~~~ Epilogue



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