A/N: Needless to say, when a person writes a piece and shows it to the public, it's a very delicate moment. So many insecurities, especially on this story that I'm already so attached to, but your support has made my heart burst. Thank you so so so much!
I'm super glad you're liking it so far, and even if it's like super angsty, I'm hoping you'll patiently put up with me.
I'm here for every possible theory or comment. Keep them coming, since it's my last year of high school and reading the reviews Monday morning is already my favorite way to start the week :)
Harvey is seated in his office chair, not leaning back against the dark cushioning as he usually would, but bent over his desk, pouring his anger into a motion to dismiss. He glimpses Mike's figure, lingering on the doorstep with a sheepish expression before he decides to cut to the chase first. "I'm busy Mike, go away," he says, sounding almost threatening.
His broad shoulders are tense, his eyes are red from exhaustion, and his hands flinched, probably wishing they could ball into fists and hit something — or someone. That's why Mike doesn't find it hard to believe he could actually hurt him. His latest tantrum the proof he's losing control. Mike decides to tempt fate regardless, as he bluntly ignores Harvey's wishes, and takes a seat opposite to him without an invitation.
"Which part of go away didn't you understand?" Harvey grumbles while typing furiously on the keyboards of his laptop. Each key is suffering the consequences of his inner anger, vehemently hit with each word he types down, putting together probably the maddest motion in the history of the world. If he had the maturity of putting half the effort into heart-to-hearts as he puts into filing motions, most of their problems would be solved. But the man seems galaxies away from getting into tune with his emotions, so here they are.
"I thought I heard Jessica telling you to… get some rest," Mike dares to say, wary of the words he uses, praying not to enrage the beast.
Harvey ceases his typing. His slightly callous fingers are not dancing over the keyboard anymore but frozen in the air. The lawyer throws his friend — even if Mike feels more like the enemy as of right now — a death stare. "Since you seem so ballsy this morning, why don't you stop tiptoeing around the subject? Say it right, she suspended me," he challenges, resuming his typing shortly after.
"And if you know it, why are you still here?"
"Because she needs me, whether she realizes it or not," he says, and it feels like the first genuine thing he's uttered in a really long time. At least, the sentiment is, because deep down there's nothing true in his statement. It's him who doesn't realize that he's doing everything in his power to not leave the office. The reason being, that the longer he stays there, the longer he has something to keep his mind occupied. And if his mind is doing something productive, it can't go and travel to god knows how awful thoughts.
"This is not about her, Harvey. It's about you. You're tired, maybe you should just go home—" Mike tries because he has to. But as the words come out of his mouth, he chastises himself, counting down the seconds before Harvey barks something at him.
As if on cue, he raises one of the expensive pens from his desk. "You have three seconds to get out of my office. Otherwise I'm sticking this where the sun don't shine." He holds up the offending object for him to see. Judging by his temper, Mike takes his word.
He has to change tactics, because this one obviously doesn't work. He has no authority over him — he knows that and Harvey knows that — and even if he had, after the way he addressed Jessica, he's not sure he would be inclined to listen. He has to be smart and figure out a way to get him out of there before Jessica goes ballistic and the situation gets out of hand even more. Mike eyes the room absentmindedly, in search of an idea. His eyes settle on the decanters, more specifically, on the almost finished tumbler of scotch, swearing that it was full two days ago. Then, it's like a switch flips.
"Okay." Mike raises his hands in surrender. "How about a truce? Let's go get a drink," Mike proposes, as casual as he can be, saying that he could really use one, for good measure. It's better to make it about himself, as if Harvey does him a favor.
This seems to catch Harvey's full attention for the first time, as his face breaks into a wide grin. "Why didn't you start with that?" His mood shifts quickly at the mention of the much needed distraction, and, even if it was Mike's plan all along, he vows himself to never use his weakness again against him. Although it's actually to help him, the concept of pulling the strings when he's not lucid enough to figure it out, stings.
"You know, if you're planning an intervention like the other day, you may want to talk on a more neutral ground," he says, his breath smelling of liquid courage.
Harvey walks ahead, and passes Rachel on his way out, almost bumping into the door in the process.
"Hey." The brunette approaches her newly fiancé, whispering the question to be as discreet as possible. "What happened with Harvey?"
"Erm… you know he's not—" Mike tries to put it into words that resemble the truth but are not too raw either. Saying it out loud never gets easy. Luckily for him, Rachel comes to his rescue.
"Himself, yeah. I do know that."
An awkward moment passes between the two, before, "Did you talk to Donna about moving to her place?"
Rachel scoffs and rolls her eyes, "Yes, but you know that woman. She's as stubborn as a mule."
"Reminds me of someone I know," the lawyer exhales.
The whole situation is disturbing, and as much as the young couple tries to dissipate the tension, they both know exactly how alarming Donna and Harvey's predicament is.
"I'm worried, Mike," Rachel says mournfully.
"Which one of them?" Mike asks sardonically.
"Both of them. It's like they're spiraling into oblivion, and while one keeps knocking down glasses of scotch day and night, the other pretends it's all sunshine and rainbows. Which, by the way, scares me even more."
Rachel's hands fly in the air to gesticulate as if to emphasize the gravity of the situation, when Mike notices they are shaking. He reaches out to hold them to prevent them from trembling any further, trying to swallow his own worry in order to help Rachel with her anxiety. He hates what it's happening, cannot possibly think of a single thing to make it better, and witnessing Rachel going crazy over it, on top of it all, only adds to the load.
"I know. I'll try to talk to Harvey as soon as we get out of here," he comforts her, rubbing his thumb on the engagement ring absentmindedly.
Rachel's eyes light up with excitement. Her mouth hangs open with stupefaction and excitement. "You managed to convince him to finally go home?" She smiles. "What did you do, bribe him?"
Rachel knows Mike enough to understand that it means trouble.
"I offered him to go for a drink."
The young lawyer knows what he did was wrong, and that's partly why he didn't want to tell his fiancèe about it in the first place. But he also knew that many times the end justifies the means, and that's why he doesn't totally regret doing it. It's something he learned from Harvey himself, and he knows Rachel doesn't like it. When he shuts off his human part and doesn't look at what's right, but what's useful.
"Don't you think he has already had his fair share for 10 a.m.? And for the past week?"
"Why do you think he agreed?" he says, not daring to look her in the eyes.
"Mike, I'm not sure—" Rachel pauses, biting on her upper lip awkwardly, chewing it so the incriminating words won't come out of her mouth. Like a kid caught doing something she shouldn't, because talking about her boss' bad drinking habits isn't exactly office appropriate. A coworker passes by, and she shifts her weight from one foot to the other, waiting for him to be out of earshot.
Mike keeps a vigilant eye on the corridor before taking her arm and tugging her to a corner.
"Trust me. After his third, he'll start talking," he whispers.
Rachel doesn't look any more convinced, or relieved for the matter, so Mike tries, "It's our last resort."
A moment passes, before the brunette licks her lips and nods her head as to try to convince herself.
"Alright," she exhales. "I trust you," she says because right now it's the only thing she can do.
It's noon, and the sun is set high and bright in the sky by the time Harvey and Mike reach their destination. As they step out of the cab onto the curb, a blinding ray of light hits the older lawyer's face, making him grimace and cover his eyes with the back of his hand. The burning sensation in his corneas unsettles his balance, leaving him confused and unsteady on his own feet. If Mike notices, he's subtle enough to get past it.
Every step on the sidewalk feels like walking through hell, having their soles melt to the scorching pavement. The march of redemption. Mike feels himself already beginning to sweat, and he's glad when they finally find relief in the air conditioning of the 24/7 open bar in Midtown West.
The place is a shitty Irish pub, with wooden interiors painted in aggressive and obnoxious red and black. Big flashy neon signs and stereotypical shamrocks adorn the walls, and the barely lit booths would keep you under the impression that outside is far from a sunny day of July. It's nothing like the place they are used to frequent, and that alone should raise some red flags, but Mike doesn't think Harvey really minds. His friend doesn't seem to notice a lot of things lately, but finding himself in a lame bar, with the sole company of bumbs and drunks, should be a wake-up call.
The Harvey of today is only a ghost of the person he used to be — a cocky, but fair, enterprising lawyer. Mike knows what it feels like to hit rock-bottom. He's been there before, and Harvey's the one who put him back on his feet, showing him the life he could and deserved to have. So, even if he didn't want to help his friend — which he does — it'd only be fair.
As they take a seat on the stools in front of the counter, Harvey dives in first and asks the bartender for a Macallan. The man is a big tattooed fifty-something guy, but he gives them a look which says that he's already tired of his dull life. He would probably prefer to stick his head into the toilet and flush without a second thought than serve cheap booze to miserable other middle-aged men.
He glares at Harvey, visibly annoyed by the man's fancy drink's request. The man informs the lawyer that they don't have whatever shit that was with a scowl, then suggest he just orders a beer.
Harvey says yes, without batting an eye, and accepts the bottle of shoddy alcohol slid across the bar. He doesn't even ask for a coaster.
Mike thinks the world is about to end.
He watches with bewilderment as his mentor takes a swing of his beer, and he marvels over an idea to bring up the subject that has quickly become as unmentionable as Voldemort.
Funny enough, Harvey is the one who cuts the silence.
"So, Rachel took the day off on Tuesday. Any reason?" he says staring at the bottle in his hands, his casual but probing tone granting Mike the chance to figuring out the real reason he's asking about his fiancée.
"Come on, Harvey." Mike tilts his head to the side. "You know as well as I do that you're only asking because Donna didn't come in as well. If you want to find out where they were, you can just come out and admit it."
Mike's comment rings in Harvey's ears. He wants to say he's crazy, but frankly, the boldness of the young man has taken him off guard, and he finds himself quiet as a mouse.
"She's okay, Harvey. One of the twins was breech and they just needed to check it out." Mike's words cause Harvey's face to lose all its color, as he spins his head around and looks his associate dead in the eyes. "But everything's fine now. The baby is in perfect position. They're okay, Harvey. All three of them."
Harvey nods his head, almost trying to convince himself not to worry and to calm his racing heart. He exhales a breath and wipes his mouth with his hand. "Good," he murmurs against it, eyes closed.
He wants to call her. He wants to hear her voice. He wants to hear from her that everything's indeed okay. He wants to know how she feels about this whole situation — if she's overwhelmed, or scared, or excited, or feels everything at the same time.
But he knows he can't.
And that stings.
He knows that, and Mike knows that.
But still… "You know… you could call her and ask how it went yourself."
Harvey lets out a dry laugh. Like there's nothing left for him to do than laugh over his own misery.
His face is chilling cold, it doesn't exude any emotion.
Rock bottom, they call it. But watching Harvey nursing his cheap alcohol in a decadent pub in the middle of the day, as he drowns in self-loathing, Mike thinks his poor friend is already buried underground.
"Right," Harvey scoffs, taking a swing of his beer.
"No, I'm serious. Harvey." He turns in his seat to signal how serious he is about this. "You're the father. You have rights—"
"No, I don't!" Harvey bursts out. Scathingly, tiredly, and painfully. Mike immediately understands he shouldn't have used those words, because as much as it was Harvey's sperm to reach Donna's eggs and make two babies out of it, he feels nothing like a father. He's merely the man who contributed to the genetic heritage. Certainly not the one who will cook them breakfast in the morning and tuck them in at night. "I don't fuckin' have them. I lost them the second I—"
He can't bring himself to finish the sentence, ashamed and hurt by his behavior months prior. It would be admitting his guilt, and he's not ready for that. Not because he doesn't recognize that what he did was wrong, but because it would hurt too much, and he's not sure he can keep going on with that additional load.
Harvey knocks down the rest of his drink. He motions for another one, not asks, because talking would take too much effort. And swallow, swallow, swallow until every last drop is gone. Drinks until his emotions numb, until his memories fade.
He failed her.
And it's not about hiding shredded documents, or keeping Mike's secret, but it's about raising a baby. Two babies. Their babies. And he ran away from them. Like the coward he is.
So maybe he deserves what's coming to him. But Donna definitely doesn't. Except if he's not in their lives it's probably better for everyone involved. She's told him that, and sadly he believed her. It's just…
"It was an eternity ago, Harvey. You regret it. I see it, and Donna will too if you just… try."
"I'm trying. Trying to give her space."
"Maybe she doesn't want space."
The look on Harvey's face tells him that she does.
"She does," he scoffs, his head falling between his shoulder blades. He wants the earth to swallow him whole. He wants to seek refuge. He wants it all to stop. This conversation to stop. Knowing Donna doesn't want to see him is one thing, but acknowledging it out loud is another. And yet, he finds himself responding. "She specifically told me that she wants me away, from her and the kids."
Mike nods in acknowledgment, at a loss for words.
"I just… don't want her to be alone."
She has never felt alone, not even once. She has the babies, he knows that. But maybe he doesn't want her to need him, but he wants her to want him by her side. Their side. He knows he wants that, but expecting her to feel the same way would be presumptuous and unfair. Thinking about it, he's the one who kept her at arm's length first.
"You know we're not leaving her alone, right?" Mike asks.
Harvey nods, but it doesn't look like any of his concerns are relieved. It's a small comfort.
"Tell me about them," Harvey pleads, almost like a poor man asking for a slice of bread. As his life depends on it. As if he craves those five minutes where he can ask questions and get answers about his children. As if he needs those like the very air he breathes.
Mike doesn't want to torture him but doesn't want him to be deprived of this moment either. "They're healthy, and strong, and little trouble makers already," he says with a tight-lipped smile, cautious not to go out on a limb.
"Of course they are." Harvey's mouth breaks into the tiniest smile, and it's the first time he's done that in months. The small grin is laced with proudness, proudness over babies that aren't even born yet.
"Donna is getting huge and definitely short-tempered. Especially when one of the twins jumps on her bladder and she has to rush to the bathroom every three seconds."
Both of them laugh lightly.
"But she's got… she's got that glow, you know?"
Harvey doesn't know. He's barely let himself look at her. At first, his heart skipped a beat at every little change in Donna's figure, the one that has morphed so much in the last months from what he remembered thirteen years ago. But for Harvey to witness her growing his children and not being able to do anything about it was unbearable. So, at some point, he decided that he just couldn't do that anymore.
He stopped looking at her.
Far from the eyes, far from the heart.
As if it was that easy.
"She's taking good care of herself and the twins. She's currently busy decorating the nursery. She's brought this yellow paint, because she doesn't want to spoil us with the sex, but I'm pretty sure she—" Mike stops, seeing Harvey's face fall into a deep expression of sorrow. He coughs out the chuckles that were escaping him telling the story, as he grows serious. "Look, Harvey, she's got all the support she needs. You don't have to worry about that. I'm just saying… she would want yours too. Deep down, even if she says she doesn't, I know she misses you. And if you're not willing to try and make things work, I'm sure you'll regret it for the rest of your life."
Harvey licks his lips and nods his head.
He's well aware of that, he just doesn't know where to start.
As if on cue, Mike says, "Maybe start with toning down the gallons of booze." He eyes the third can of beer in front of his friend with intent. Harvey's gaze drops there too, blinking at his sweet poison. After several seconds, he takes it in his hands, and Mike wonders if he's going to inhale it to prove a point, or rather throw it at him. Instead, he gets up and throws it in the trash.
Things have to change.