Genre- gen, character study
Wordcount- exactly 1000
Disclaimer- I do not own Suits, no profit is being made from this.
Summary- Post 2.08 Rewind. Harvey questions whether what he's doing is right.
By the time he’s left Jessica’s side and is seated behind his desk, Harvey’s already feeling guilty for concealing their plan from Mike. He rationalizes the deception by telling himself that a foot soldier need not be privy to his general’s plans. Jessica, uncertain of Mike’s ability to feign innocence, had thought it best to keep him in the dark. And Harvey is loyal to Jessica, of course. But not only to Jessica.
Harvey’s thoughts are interrupted when the very man knocks lightly on the door of his office. He motions for Mike to come in, cringing in anticipation of hearing his associate apologize for Jessica’s discovering their “secret.” The expression on Mike’s face is uncertain—uncertain, but not, Harvey judges, the expression of a man who knows he’s made a mistake and is trying to own up to it. He frowns at Mike, wondering what he’s come for if not to apologize.
“I, um…” Mike tries to speak and fails. He glances away, takes a breath, and tries again. “About your father… I just wanted to say, I’m sorry.” He turned sympathetic eyes on Harvey, who can only stare back in shock. “I know what it’s like to lose a parent.”
Harvey’s first thought is to wonder how Mike knows where he went, because Harvey sure as hell didn’t tell him. But then he remembers how clever his protégé is, why he hired him in the first place, and he figures he shouldn’t be so surprised.
The sympathy in Mike’s words is almost a slap to the face; Harvey has always done everything he can to be strong, to earn people’s respect and admiration, and never, ever their pity. There was a reason he hadn’t told anyone where he was going.
It brings back memories. Zoë giving him a look of mixed pity and disgust, though whether the pity was for his father’s death or his “lost soul” he still isn’t sure. He’d always tried to not seem weak; and walking away with a job half-finished to tend to personal business is nothing if not weak. Harvey threw himself into his work, trying to muscle through the pain, to bury it under other things until he couldn’t feel it anymore, all to keep from seeming weak.
And then Zoë called him on it. Her words made him doubt himself, made him feel guilty for his constant need to appear strong. Made him question not only why he wasn’t mourning his father’s death, but why he had been so quick to condemn Daniel even when he’d though the man’s wife was dying, why he’d tricked Louis into tracking the embezzlement without a second thought, using him, and then later using Monica to blackmail Daniel. Zoë made him question whether the man he was pretending to be –the one who worked tirelessly to his own advantage without a care for his father’s death or his co-workers’ careers- was truly the man he wanted to be. She made him doubt himself. Made him feel… weak.
“Jessica knew.” The words are out of Harvey’s mouth before he can stop them.
Mike gives him an innocent, confused look, one that makes Harvey’s belly churn with annoyance and guilt. “That you were visiting your father’s grave?”
Harvey waves the question away without answer. “About the meeting with Monica.”
Again the confused look from Mike. “Then why did she…” He trails off, and Harvey can see the dimming of his eyes and the twisting of his mouth as he figures it out for himself. “You didn’t think I could play the part if I didn’t believe it.” The silence Mike receives is as good as a confirmation, and betrayal changes to anger. “Jesus, Harvey! I thought she was really upset! And the whole time, all you wanted was for everyone to know about the affair!”
Mike glares at Harvey, who stares back dispassionately. He can see in Mike’s eyes that his first instinct is to question Harvey’s trust in him. Then he remembers just how much Harvey’s put on the line for Mike to keep his job, and the question dies on his lips. With a grimace, Mike finally settles on something he can ask, and spits it out. “Do you keep me here because you care about me, or because it’s amusing to you?”
Harvey’s jaw clenches, closing his teeth on the words that fight to get out. He won’t degrade himself to say to the younger man’s face how much he values him. At the same time, the look of betrayal on Mike’s face when he says nothing is almost physically painful.
Mike turns on his heel and storms out of the office. Harvey watches him go until he disappears around a corner, then bows his head and lets his eyes fall shut. He won’t put his face in his hands- not here with only glass walls separating him from the rest of the floor, like he’s some caged animal on display for their constant scrutiny.
Harvey finds himself wishing he could turn back time just a few months, back to before Daniel Hardman came back to the firm. Back when Mike was so eager to interpret every action as a sign of Harvey’s care for him, rather than doubting that the care even existed. Back when Harvey had felt like Mike was making him a better person, instead of him corrupting the younger man. When he didn’t feel like he was weighing his own well-being against that of the people he cared for, didn’t feel like his every move was being analyzed and one misstep might spell his downfall- and theirs.
It’s in that moment that Harvey makes his resolution. He doesn’t care how what it takes; he doesn’t care whom he steps on; how far he has to go; how ruthless he has to be- Harvey will do whatever it takes to protect him and his.
But what’s his doesn’t just mean his position and his possessions.
He’s definitely getting Donna back.