The thing is, it’s not that Mike was discontent with his and Harvey’s relationship before it massively imploded. He loved their relationship. He liked that they worked well together and trusted each other and had each other’s backs and could banter and tease and everything always felt so real and important.
But working with Louis, even for so brief a time, put his relationship with Harvey into sharp relief and Mike realised two very important things:
- As much as he respects (and yes, sometimes even likes) Louis, he never wants to work with anyone but Harvey.
- As much as he likes his relationship with Harvey, he wants more.
Because he knows that Louis was just using the meals and mudding as pretty wrapping to make the idea of them working together more appealing. But the thing is, Mike wants that with Harvey. Okay, maybe not the mudding (although obviously Mike wouldn’t say no if the option was put on the table) but he wants all the rest of it. He wants them to grab a drink together after work. He wants to have lunches and dinners with Harvey, whether they are talking about work or not. He wants them to turn up on each other’s doorsteps for reasons that aren’t work related.
He feels ridiculously nervous, asking Harvey to get lunch, because their relationship has very pointedly not gone there before. But now that they are back together, he doesn’t want everything to be as they were before. He wants more, and he just hopes Harvey does too.
Harvey, big surprise, shuts him down. Mike’s not gonna lie, it stings slightly. But Mike catches Harvey’s small smile when he slides into the car, and he thinks maybe it wasn’t as a definitive ‘no’ as Harvey’s tone implied.
Mike doesn’t bring the whole meals thing up again. They are still reacquainting themselves with each other (and maybe it was too soon to bring up expanding their relationship into new areas). And then they are dealing with Ava’s case and Katrina’s petulant behaviour and Harvey confessing that he’s trying to take down Jessica (what the actual fuck?) and Mike doesn’t really have a chance to think about it anymore.
It’s nearly a month later before the idea reforms in his mind. And it’s not even that today is any different from normal. They are in the middle of a big case (aren’t they always?) and they’ve been working long hours (situation normal) and they’ve been cooped up in Harvey’s office all day (okay, so that one was new, but Mike wasn’t going to point it out for fear of being kicked back to the bullpen) so Mike knows that Harvey hasn’t eaten all day. It’s past eight, Mike is starving, and the contracts are all starting to blur into one another. He chances a glance at Harvey across the office, and he’s still concentrating, but Mike can see his gaze is less focused than it was an hour previous. So Mike decides that maybe he just needs to take the initiative, and doing just that he stands and announces, “Okay, Harvey, let’s go. We’re going to go get some dinner.”
Harvey looks up at him, an expression Mike has seen too many times lining his features. “It’s cute that you think you can tell me what to do,” Harvey grins.
"Come on, Harvey," Mike presses, refusing to back down. “It’s late, we’re both starving, let’s just go get some food and if you really want to we can come back afterwards and keep working."
Harvey looks like he’s about to protest, but Mike has picked up a few things from him over their year together, and he just stares Harvey down until the older man relents, standing from his desk and slipping on his suit jacket as he says, “You better be paying then.”
When they are comfortably seated in the corner booth at a restaurant absolutely nowhere near work, eating pretentious and overpriced but still delicious food, Harvey grinning and gesticulating wildly as he tells Mike about some of the more stranger cases he worked on back in the DA’s office, all Mike can think is that this was totally worth the wait. He soaks it all up, their playful banter, the way Harvey continually holds his gaze, the way his body relaxes like the stress of their jobs is suddenly a million miles away.
They aren’t drunk (it is a weeknight, after all, and they still have to get up and go into work tomorrow not hung-over) but they’ve definitely had enough alcohol that returning to work isn’t really an option. So when they settle the bill (Mike does indeed pay) and hail a cab Harvey opens the door but before he gets in says, “Wanna split?” and Mike, not really thinking, just shrugs and slides into the car after Harvey.
It occurs to Mike once they’re in traffic that they actually live in opposite directions, but in the face of sitting beside Harvey, the line of his body pressed against Mike’s, he’s finding it hard to care. The cab is dark, the only light coming from the lights of the city, and later Mike will think it was the relative safety of darkness that lead to Harvey murmuring, “There’s a reason why we’ve never had dinner together before.”
Mike looks over to see Harvey already looking at him, so close. His mouth suddenly feels very dry. “Yeah?” Mike asks, voice wavering slightly. “Why’s that?”
"Do you remember that first time you asked me to go get lunch, after the Louis thing? Remember me saying we could talk about lunch or dinner or anything else?" At Mike’s nod, he continues with, “That’s why. The anything else is why. Because I knew if we did this, if we got away from the confines of our work relationship, that I’d want more.”
Mike swallows. His heart is pounding in his chest and he wants to just grab Harvey and kiss the life out of him. But he still isn’t sure that that’s what Harvey is talking about, so he asks, “How much more?”
Harvey smiles slowly. His hand tentatively reaches up, touches Mike’s face, and Mike is gone. “All of it.”
Mike inches forward, waits for Harvey to do the same, and when he does, when their mouths are millimetres apart, Mike whispers, “So take it,” before pressing their mouths together.