Author's Notes: I apologize again for the long wait, but you lucky lucky readers get two new chapters instead of just one. I decided that a return to work/status quo was the appropriate way to tie this story up and I've put them both up at once. Enjoy!
Thank you, everyone, for reading and review! I hope you enjoy these two chapters.
Donna strode through the halls of the hospital with a duffel, a cup of steaming coffee, and a paper bag with a glazed donut and all the hospital personnel fell out of her way as they saw her coming. She was a woman on a mission. She had walked through the hospital doors at 8:00am on the dot. She had spent the entire night formulating a plan of action to defuse Harvey. She had to have options because he could be finicky and intractable at the best of times.
She rounded the corner, with the precise words she was going to say on her lips, only to stop in her tracks and gasp. His room was empty. Not empty in that it was clear someone was staying there – perhaps the sheets were ruffled and strewn about – but obviously vacant. The sheets were new, crisp and clean, and the monitors were dark. She thought she felt her heart stutter to a halt and her blood ran cold as the possibilities of what could have happened ran through her head, none of them with happy endings.
Stop right there, Donna, she began to lecture herself. You're his emergency contact. They would have called if anything happened. Donna drew in a deep breath and centered herself; she'd had her phone by her side at all times and she hadn't heard it go off once. She turned on her heel and went straight o the nurse's station.
"Excuse me?" She asked the only woman there who was on the phone and she merely received a slightly disgruntled look of acknowledgement. The conversation continued for several minutes until Donna finally had enough and reached over to disconnect.
"What – ?" The nurse's eyes flashed angrily. "Excuse me, that call involved important business – "
"I would hardly say having a girl's chat with another nurse is important business," Donna snapped. The woman blushed and Donna congratulated herself on her excellent instincts and continued before the nurse could answer. "Now, I happen to know the best lawyer in New York City, and I guarantee he'd be more than happy to sue you personally and this hospital bankrupt for shitty patient care, service, and food. Now, where is the patient Harvey Specter?"
The woman paled until her skin looked gray and she leafed through the records and stammered, "He, uh, he checked out AMA around 7:15 this morning."
Donna closed her eyes and cursed the closer's complete lack of patience. Harvey may not like hospitals but he wasn't irrational. He must've been much more miserable the night before than she could have imagined. However, there was no reason for his not calling her – he had no grudge against her – and he would have called if he was checking out early. She checked her phone and swore again. She had missed one call and, of course, he'd called while she was in the shower. It would be just like him. The secretary stood there, considering her next move when the screen lit up with a name: Ray.
Donna didn't even let the phone finish its first ring; "Please tell me you know where Harvey is."
"I'm with him at his condo right now. I'd pick you up but…I'm afraid to leave him alone. He looks…pretty bad."
She left the lukewarm coffee on the counter and rushed out to catch the first cab she saw. It didn't take more than fifteen minutes to reach his condo, even factoring in rush hour, but Donna couldn't help but feel that if she took one minute longer than necessary, then he might drop dead in the interim.
Donna took his private elevator up to the condo and found Ray standing, nervous and awkward, at the entrance to Harvey's bedroom. "How is he?" She asked, trying to be controlled and calm, but there was tension in her voice.
"He's…all right," Ray soothed her. "He tried to take a shower though and he never got the water running. I checked on him and when I told him you were on the way, he said he'd just wait for you."
"Well, that's one smart decision today. Thanks, Ray," Donna replied with a relieve smile. "Give me a minute to speak to him."
Right," Ray said and walked out to the living room and stiffly sat down on the expensive leather couch, acting like a child told not to touch anything. She knew, though, that many people might find it unfathomable to watch over their sick boss.
Donna knocked on the bathroom door and then opened it to find Harvey sitting naked in his own bath tub, with his knees drawn up so that he was hugging them and his eyes were closed as he pillowed his knees. She bit her lip to keep from gasping at the dark blue bruise that had developed on the back of his right shoulder, wondering where in the world he could have gotten it. He also happened to be breathing hard as if he'd done some heavy lifting. She bent down quietly and tentatively reached out to brush his forehead, which was slick with sweat. He stirred and opened fevered eyes that gazed dully at her.
"Hey," he mumbled in a croaking voice.
"Hey," she replied, not bothering to hide her worry.
"Sorry I couldn't wait for you," he said. "But I couldn't stand to be at that place another minute alone. Didn't sleep at all and I felt like shit. I wanted to go home."
"Can't say I was terribly impressed with the nursing staff when I saw them this morning," Donna said in a dark tone.
"They were awful." He fell silent and closed his eyes, keeping them closed so long that she thought he had fallen asleep but then he opened them again and shook his head. "I still can't believe they kicked you out. And they tried to feed me Jell-O; you know how much I hate that stuff."
"You asked for something else?" It was more of a statement than a question, but he answered anyway.
"Yes," his tone was bitter, but she knew it wasn't directed at her. "'The chefs have already gone home, so we'll see what we can do,'" he said in a mock girly voice, but he spoke the next sentence like it was toxic. "Cold soup. Couldn't even heat it up in the microwave." He shuddered as if the very thought made him cold.
Donna rubbed circles on his arm as he talked and, while outwardly she was composed, inwardly she was more than a little shaken. Harvey was in much worse shape than she initially realized. He had seemed fine the other night, if a little groggy, but leaving him in the hospital with just his thoughts to occupy him made his true state emerge, exacerbated by lack of food and the pneumonia that was creeping back up on him. Ray could not have said it better; Harvey was in bad shape.
"Hey, she whispered, shaking him lightly to get his attention again. "Let's get you cleaned up and into some clean clothes."
He chuckled which turned into a chest deep cough, but then said, "Sounds good. Any chance I can persuade you to let me burn those clothes in my sink?" He nodded at the dress shirt, pants, and vest he had been forced to wear out of the hospital and everything as completely smudged with dirt and wrinkled beyond repair.
"I'm sure that's the best way to keep from contaminating your condo, but not the safest," Donna replied, wrinkling her nose at them before returning her attention back to him. "Can you stand?"
He shook his head slowly. "No, I tried twice and almost fainted," he said bitterly.
"Harvey, you were just rescued from a dire situation. You're lucky to be alive! There's nothing to be ashamed of. Now, wait a moment so I can speak to Ray." She couldn't resist squeezing his bicep in a comforting gesture.
"Tell Ray he's going to get the biggest bonus of his life when I feel up to writing a check."
Donna found the driver where she left him and they quickly discussed their next move. She managed to convince him to stay for at least another half hour in case Harvey actually needed help getting out and dressed, and then she returned with the duffel bag she had picked up for him the other day with fresh clothes. Then she turned to stare down at him with her hands on her hips.
"So, how do you want to go about doing this?"
"Just turn on the water and give me the showerhead. I can wash myself, I just needed the spray."
"If you couldn't even get the water on, then I'm not leaving you to your own devices."
"Of course I could get the water on. I just couldn't reach my showerhead, so trying to wash would have been pointless. But now I can, so you don't need to babysit me."
"I wish I could agree with you, but I don't. Now, hold still and we can get this over with," Donna said, rolling up her sleeves. Harvey turned out better behaved than she anticipated, but then she thought he might have felt more mischievous if he wasn't feeling so sick. He had shown a little of the old Harvey when he insisted on washing his own hair. She had helped him wash his back, but then she tossed the sodden towel onto his head and deliberately walked to the door with her back turned.
"Your back is washed; you can wash everything else."
"Thanks, but do you really have to act like you've never seen a naked man before?"
"There's a difference between seeing just any naked man and my boss! I'd rather keep the two separate."
"Suit yourself, but I thought you were supposed to be the grown-up in this relationship."
"Only when you're acting like a spoiled brat."
"Weak," he replied. Even as much as she wanted to retort with something acidic, she was fighting a smile as the conversation fell into their normal dynamic. "I'm done," he declared and she heard him shut off the water. "Can you hand me my towel?"
"You need me to get Ray?" Donna asked, tossing him the towel.
"I can crawl out of here," he replied with a little indignation. She made a mental note that showers were a good way to make him feel better.
"Well, you can't exactly crawl onto your bed."
He made no reply and she decided to fetch Ray anyway as a precaution. She was almost surprised to come back and find that Harvey had crawled out of the tub and actually pulled on a pair of boxers.
"I thought you didn't care."
"I'd like to keep some dignity with my employees," he said, nodding at Ray.
"I'm your employee too!"
He gave her a bland stare and then finished toweling the water out of his hair.
She took that as a cue that now was not the time to banter with him and instead asked, "So, what's your plan of action?"
"Sleep. I want to sleep!"
"Are you sure you shouldn't get something to eat first?" Donna asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Didn't Ray tell you? He raided my kitchen and made me eat cheese and crackers."
"Well, thank God one of you has some common sense," she replied, glancing at Ray with an expression of thanks.
Harvey leveraged himself up onto his feet using the toilet but he swayed dangerously and both Donna and Ray rushed to catch him before he fell face first into the bathroom rug. "You got him, Ray?"
"Yeah, I've got him. Come on, Harvey, you need to sleep."
The lawyer grumbled something unintelligible but he allowed himself to be led out into his bedroom, even taking a few steps himself, but when they finally set him down, he fell back in exhaustion.
"Thanks, Ray, I can handle him from here."
"If you say so, Donna. Don't hesitate to call if you need me again," Ray replied and started out the condo. "Feel better, Harvey. You're still my favorite backseat driver."
"I don't tell you how to drive," Harvey said, raising his head up weakly and staring after him with a mystified expression.
"That's why you're my favorite."
The lawyer rolled his eyes and laid back; he shivered from the frigid air in the apartment.
"You need more than just your boxers, Harvey. Here are sleep pants and a shirt." She tossed them onto them and he slowly pulled them on before curling up on the bed, but he flinched when he initially rolled onto his right shoulder and then turned over to curl up on his left side. Donna sat down on his bed and then asked, "Where'd you get that bruise?"
"Hmm? On my shoulder? I was using it to make noise in the container. I was hoping if someone heard the echo of me slamming my shoulder into the door, we'd be rescued. Well…it didn't work."
"Yes it did."
He lazily cracked an eye open at her in question.
"Mike told me that's what he was doing when you were hallucinating at the end. It's how Brad found you."
Harvey snorted. "Mike told me that wouldn't work!"
Donna smiled weakly at him as thoughts of where they'd be right now if they hadn't been found flooded her mind. She was almost certain Harvey would actually be dead and the thought alone was enough to make tears well up into her eyes, though she cursed herself as she tried to keep them from falling. It had taken all of her strength to keep up a brave front when she came across Mike, driven half-insane by lack of food and the panic, when all she wanted to do herself was camp out and hover over her best friend so that she could watch and manage every minute of his recovery. It had scared her more than she could say when the hospital staff had booted her from his room.
"Hey." She was only jostled from her thoughts when she felt his hand on hers. "I'm all right. A little under the weather, but I'll live. You don't need to get all weepy on me."
"I would hardly call this weepy, but Harvey…damn it! You scared the hell out of me! I nearly pulled my hair out worrying about you and Mike when you disappeared. I was afraid I would never see you again. I – I didn't want to think about it, but with you gone, I didn't have much work to do so I had all kinds of time to myself," she snapped and then she rubbed her eyes. It wasn't like her to lose control, but she was exhausted of her control and nearly four days without a good night's sleep. Damn it, she thought as she felt a few tears slip out down her cheeks and she did her best to hide them from him before he could see.
But of course he saw them. He was looking right at her and he reached up to swipe at least one of them away with his thumb, then he inched his hand up her arm until he had good leverage and pulled her down until she was lying next to him. It was then she decided that as long as she was embarrassing herself, she might as well go all the way and she curled in to use his better shoulder as a pillow. She was a little surprised when he wrapped his arms around her in a hug.
"If it makes you feel better," he began in a low voice, "I couldn't stop worrying about you."
"Because of Lucio's threat?"
"Yeah. It might sound ridiculous now, but at the time it seemed very real."
She felt him shudder beneath her and she had to wonder what exactly Lucio had said that unnerved him enough to fret to the point of panic. I don't think I want to know, she finally concluded and left the thought to rest.
They were quiet for a moment as their exhaustion crept up on them, but before Harvey could drift off, Donna spoke up once more: "Just so you know, if you call me from the hospital again and I don't answer and you don't try to call me back, I'm going to shove your phone down your throat."
The last thing she felt was the vibration in his chest as he hummed in amusement.
Mike was having difficulty hiding his grin as he watched Rachel's jaw drop as they stepped into Harvey's private elevator. He'd never admit it but it still impressed him. The ride was smooth, as always, and as unnerving as he thought it would be to live in a place that was almost entirely glass, he did find it handy that he could immediately see Donna putting dishes away in the kitchen and he saw Harvey stretched out on his leather couch asleep.
The secretary had dropped what she was doing in the kitchen to greet them and she said, "Hey, Mike. You're already looking better than you did last night," she said, pleased to see color in his cheeks and, even despite the nightmare that she suspected he'd had, the dark circles around his eyes were still not as pronounced.
"Hi, Donna. You…are actually looking better too. I mean, you looked so tired last night," he said as he watched her expression turn from content to mock threatening. "How's Harvey? He hasn't, uh, been too hard on you, has he?"
A strange look passed over her, but it was gone in the next instant and she smiled again. "He actually wasn't too grumpy this morning, but he's still pretty sick. We just ate, so don't expect him to be an amazing conversationalist."
"Only as long as he's willing to let me talk at him," Mike replied with a wry smile.
"You can talk all you want, pup, but I might not catch it all," Harvey suddenly said from the couch. The associate stepped closer to get a better look at him. The older lawyer was still looking far too pale and groggy to be considered normal, but he already sounded better than he had the night before and a shower had done wonders for his originally haggard appearance.
Mike still appeared exhausted and hungry and far too thin, but there was a light in his eyes that spoke of being in much better shape than he had originally been. Harvey nodded approvingly. "Well, you look better, but you really need to figure out a way to gain weight. It makes you look unhealthy and that reflects poorly on me."
"Going senile old man? I mean, now many times have we had this conversation?" Mike said, trying to smother a grin as Harvey scowled at him.
"I can have Donna throw you out. It wouldn't be hard."
"I'm not in the mood to argue with you on this."
"Not as great a lawyer as you think you are then."
"Whoa. Our relationship is not a democracy, it's a dictatorship. What I say goes, so you better watch yourself or I'll bury you in another set of bylaws when we get back," Harvey shot at him, but Mike could see that just this little back and forth seemed to be wearing the older lawyer out and he slumped back against the couch with a sigh.
"I'll be good. I called Donna last night because I was really worried about you and then I was even more worried when she said you had to spend the night alone. Are you holding up okay?"
Harvey and Donna had decided simultaneously that they would leave out the part about him ditching the hospital and having a relapse in his sickness. His associate had not told Donna what inspired him to call at three in the morning, but the lateness of the hour pointed directly towards a nightmare that had obviously disturbed him enough to want to hear that Harvey's health was not in question. "I'm fine, Mike. Just trying to get rid of this damn cold," the lawyer said and yawned widely as if to emphasize his exhaustion.
"Pneumonia isn't something that you can just get over, Harvey," Mike replied with a grin. "I think you'll be disappointed in how quickly it'll go away."
The lawyer only grunted and then said, "Just make sure you sleep and eat enough to keep yourself from getting it."
"Right," Mike replied. It sounded hesitant if not a little disgruntled.
"You had a nightmare last night, didn't you?" Mike started and looked around, but the women were in the kitchen and he and Harvey were talking low enough that they wouldn't be heard. "I can read you like a book, pup. You had a nightmare."
"So? So what if I did?"
"You're the one acting ashamed. Dodging the subject. I haven't said anything to make you ashamed of it, have I?"
"It was stupid. It was nothing. Just a dream; a very obvious dream."
"You had to call Donna at three in the morning for reassurance. It was not just a dream to you. Now if you want to talk about it, talk, otherwise I'm going to fall asleep on you."
Mike ran a hand through his hair and sighed, shifting uneasily in the chair opposite Harvey. "Okay, in my dream, you were…dead. Already rotted to the bone and you were laughing at me and making fun of me as all of my skin started to rot off." He shuddered but before Harvey could even say anything he said, "It's stupid I know, it was just…so…so…"
"Terrifying," Harvey finally supplied, yawning again.
The associate sighed. "Yes, yes it was terrifying. Did you have any nightmares?"
"You're implying that I got any sleep at all last night."
"You didn't sleep?"
"I didn't sleep."
If anyone else were to listen on the conversation, they would have thought Harvey's admittance to not sleeping would not be a big deal, but to Mike it meant everything. Harvey revealed that even he, after four days stuck in a shipping container with his associate, had not wanted to be left alone. He had confessed to a very human quality of craving social contact and, as a result, could not sleep at all. Mike desperately fought the grin that was struggling to break out all over his face, but he was comforted; it now felt like he was not actually the only person struggling mentally, not just physically, to recover from the ordeal.
"I have to say, I am glad I was not you last night," Mike said, hoping to find a more comfortable ground to stand on but he found himself waiting in vain for a response. As he had mulled over Harvey's unspoken words, the lawyer had drifted off to sleep.
I just love writing Harvey/Donna banter. I hope you all enjoyed this.
Thank you for reading and any future reviews! =)