He should have expected this. He should have known.

― * ―*― * ―

Three Months before

― •―

"Donna," Mike started, "I need a favour."

Donna started to speak, but Mike talked over her.

"I know that you hate me right now, but this is more important. I don't care if you don't use it, but just take it as a gift." Mike says to Donna. This clearly threw Donna off her track, because she didn't say anything immediately.

Donna found her voice a moment later, "And how is that supposed to be gift? I thought that you were trying to get Harvey's forgiveness, but bribery will never work on him."

"It's not a bribe," Mike says. "It's a farewell gift. I've given back my office, and I've handed Louis and Jessica my letter of resignation, effective immediately. I'm leaving and I wanted to help before I go."

"Go?" Donna asks. "What do you mean go? I thought you wanted Harvey's forgiveness. If you leave then that's never going to happen then."

It was that question that derailed Mike. His time is running out and he knows that what he has will never be enough to fix his mistake, but he wants to try. If it doesn't work, then he'll leave a broken man, but at least he'll leave knowing he tried to fix everything.

"You think I don't know that?" Mike asked, defending himself. "I know that this will never fix anything, and my leaving will make it even more unfixable, but I need to leave. I can't handle this anymore."

Donna's face remained carefully blank. He wasn't going to get anything from her expression. He left the blue folder with his findings on her desk. The ball has already left his court; it is Donna's turn now.

"If you choose to use it, be my guest. I won't force you to. But tell Harvey that I'm sorry and I have to do this." Mike says as he leaves.

― •―

He passed by his desk as he was leaving. There wasn't anything particularly important to him on his desk, except for a few photos of him and Harvey and him and his gram. He wonders if anyone would notice if he left. Mike doubted that anyone would even care. He never made any real friends here. Too busy with work, and the antagonistic feelings of his co-workers for him from being Harvey's associate, left no doubt that he would never have made friends with anyone in the bullpen.

He wonders why he ever took the job. He knew that time was against him and he was hanging by the hair. It's been a six months since he found out and his time's is coming to an end.

He knew that one day everything would blow up in his face. That day has come, and he knows that he wouldn't survive it fully intact.

― * ―

Harvey valued loyalty over everything else.

Once he hired Mike, he expected that the kid wouldn't betray him. But apparently, he was wrong.

― •―

It was a little past ten when he arrived at Pearson Hardman (Darby now – don't forget).

He passed by Donna as always with a hello. But something made him stop in his tracks. Donna never looked dishevelled, she was the prime example of a woman in control, but today she just simply wasn't. He had to know why.

"Mike asked me to give you this." Donna says before Harvey could say anything.

"What's this?" He asks as he took the blue folder Donna handed him.

"That's everything you need. He asked me to give it to you," was her answer.

"Is this supposed to be a bribe? I didn't think he stooped that low."

"It's not a bribe Harvey. He made that quite clear when he handed it to me this morning."

"Where is he then? Not brave enough to hand it to me himself?" Harvey asks with a carefully blank mask.

"He's gone." Donna answered.

"Gone? What do you mean gone? It's only ten, he should be in the bull–"

Donna cut him off.

"He's gone, Harvey. He told me he handed his resignation already."

Harvey's thoughts were buzzing through his head. Nothing made sense anymore. Mike wouldn't just leave.

He looked at Donna, wondering if she knew this would happen, but the look on her face told him that this completely blindsided her. It didn't make sense. Donna should have known. Donna knew everything.

But apparently, the world likes to prove him wrong sometimes.

― * ―*― * ―

― •―

It started one week ago, when he felt out-of-breath just pedalling from his apartment to the store a couple of blocks away. He never got out-of-breath. He could bike from his apartment to Pearson Hardman without even breaking a sweat and the office was at least five blocks away. The second clue was when he had trouble concentrating. Sure he could still do stellar performances for Harvey, but he needed to physically make himself focus on the paper.

He knew something was up so he scheduled an appointment the following day with Dr Grey at New York Presbyterian Hospital to fix the bug that he seemed to have caught.

Two days after, Dr Grey called him asking him to come to his office. Mike left Pearson Hardman as soon as he could and what greeted him at the hospital was not something he particularly wanted to hear. Dr Grey found a tumour in his lung.

It was a small tumour, his doctor said; we might have a chance. But we have to run test to find out if the tumour is malignant – which means it's cancerous and practically irrecoverable, or if it's benign – which means it can be cured. Chances are if it is malignant, we might only be able to slow the damage. It's a slim chance but we have to take it if you want to survive.

And because it was him, it was malignant. It was even already in Stage II for Small Lung Cancer. There was no turning back now. He just had to breathe and keep moving on with what is remaining of his life.

It was a slow process doing treatments. He tried to not do them, but that little voice inside his head was making him do it just for the sake of living out what he has left. What pushed him though to do treatments was what he lost with Harvey. He didn't have to keep up appearance anymore at work so he started the treatments.

― •―

Mike listed down Harvey as his emergency contact, ever since his grandmother died. He also gave Harvey power of attorney if he ever succumbed to his disease. Harvey is the only person Mike trusts to make the right decision for him if he can't make it himself.

He didn't want to write a will. It made the disease even more real. He remembered that Harvey always said to make everything concrete and irrefutable, so he made one. He didn't really have any personal effects, but he left everything to Harvey. He knew that Harvey would know who to give them to.

― * ―

There were a handful of people that could claim that Harvey cared about them. His brother Will and Donna were the only ones left of those handful of people. But what he didn't expect, when Mike Ross came barrelling into his interviews for an associate with a briefcase full of weed, was that he'll come to care for this kid like a brother. It completely blindsided him one morning when he realised it. He didn't let it get to him though. So what if he treated the kid a little nicer, it's not like anyone noticed anyways.

He didn't see this coming though. Not even from afar.