(just a little something I drabbled for my darling veritasst. happy birthday verity! ilu!!)
Mike’s skin is warm and smooth beneath his palm. Harvey runs his hand up and down the white plane of his back, traces fingertips over the small mole on the centre of his spine, touch feather light so as not to wake the sleeping man. The only sound in the room is Mike’s steady and rhythmic breathing: in, out, in, out. Harvey listens and touches and looks, his heart beating hard in his chest the whole time.
He’s in love with Mike.
He’s genuinely happy.
And he’s so fucking terrified.
Harvey never really knew what fear was before Mike. In his working life he has experienced stress and anxiety and anger and a whole range of negative emotions. But he was never afraid. Not really. He might be anxious about losing a case, but that emotion was tied to his client, not himself. He cannot recall a time he was genuinely scared.
Because his romantic life thus far has been filled with beautiful and wonderful people – who he didn’t care about. At all. He wasn’t a callous asshole or anything, at least, not on purpose. But both parties were clear from the get-go: this was some fun that lasted however long it lasted and then it was over. Done and dusted. No hard feelings. All the best. Have a good life.
And even the very few times he wanted or tried for something real, a meaningful connection, it never worked out, either burned too bright and fast before sizzling out or never really began in the first place. Nothing has worked so far. He is very nearly forty years old and he has not had one proper, significant, lasting romantic relationship in his whole life.
And he is terrified that this isn’t going to be any different, that this thing between them won’t last, and that’s not an option he even wants to entertain. Because this is Mike. There is no way this can’t be an all or nothing deal. But he can’t help the doubt that surfaces, that little voice saying that it won’t last because nothing ever has.
But then he remembers something Mike said months, maybe even years, ago. He can’t even remember the context, doesn’t have a mind for remembering every detail like Mike can, but he thinks they were talking about one of their clients. And now he can hear Mike’s voice in his mind as clearly as if he was saying the words out loud right now, his voice light and laughing as he says every relationship ends – until you have one that doesn’t and Harvey feels his heart swell with love, so much of it, bursting and swimming in his veins and it’s all Mike.
He can’t help it, moving forward and pressing a soft kiss to the curve of Mike’s shoulder. The younger man doesn’t stir, not even when Harvey shifts closer, rests his head on the same pillow. Harvey thinks he hears a sigh of contentment, but wouldn’t be able to say who it came from.
But even so, he can’t sleep. This is still new enough to be surprising, to be wondrous, and he doesn’t want to miss a minute, is still terrified that one day he will awake to an empty bed, that Mike will leave him like everyone else seems to.
The minutes tick by and Mike sleeps ever on, blissfully unaware of Harvey’s internal natterings. And thank fuck for that. Harvey refuses to imagine Mike’s reaction if he knew everything happening inside his head. Would he be amused by Harvey’s insecurity? Would he freak out by how hard Harvey has fallen, and so quickly? Would he respond with a grin and a kiss and whispered words of love, those three little words Harvey feels but doesn’t think he’s ready to hear from Mike yet anyway?
Harvey doesn’t want to know the answer anyway. Better to leave those thoughts safe within the boundaries of his own mind. Because the possibility of a favourable response isn’t worth the risk of opening himself up to the option of a negative one, and as previously discussed, Harvey is fucking scared enough as it is.
Because he can feel it, humming through his veins, sitting in his stomach, blooming from his chest until he can’t even breathe through the power of his affection for Mike, this young man who is everything he ever wants. And he has never been overly sentimental or cloying but he swears he can feel his feelings for Mike like a physical presence, solid and overwhelming and so very real.
He’ll never be able to get to sleep at this rate. He surrenders to the fact, slipping back over to his side of the bed, resumes his earlier task, fingertips idling over Mike’s skin, everywhere, up his arm, through his hair, down his spine, over the swell of his ass, down the backs of his legs, swirling over a mole on the back of his knee before making his way back up to start all over again.
He can’t stop, refuses to break contact, even for a moment. He would liken the feeling to an addiction, but given their history with drugs (admittedly Mike more than him) he doesn’t think the analogy does anyone any favours. So he decides to not think about it, to just relax, to just breathe.
And then, because he can’t help it, he smiles lazily as his fingertips trace i love you in large cursive writing across the span of Mike’s back, feels his skin spark as it glides along Mike’s, swears if he looks closely enough he can see his writing like a glowing tattoo covering the plane of Mike’s skin, a declaration there for now and evermore.