Disclaimer: Say it with me now ~ me ... don't ... own.
Summary: This is the story of the night Harvey and Mike get engaged.
Authors Notes: Fourth fic in the Exclusively Yours verse. As always, the fic can be read as a stand alone – but if you haven’t read the previous fics you need to know that this is the quote that is referenced. Enjoy.
There It Shall Remain Forever
"Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever." - Unknown
"In here," Mike calls from where he has sequestered himself away in the study. He can hear Harvey move about the apartment so he returns to his work, the piles of paperwork and files he has been drowning in since leaving the office three hours previous.
And then he feels Harvey's hands, warm and light on his shoulders. He tilts his head back, looking up at Harvey, who leans down and kisses him, upside down and perfect.
"How did it go?" Harvey asks, moving around him and perching on the edge of the desk.
"How do you think?" Mike replies with a groan.
Harvey chuckles. "That's what you get for letting Louis make the call."
"It's not like-" Mike starts to protest, but he stops himself. Partly because he can't really be bothered but mainly because they've had this conversation before and they just end up talking in circles. He sighs. "I miss working with you."
"You still do work with me."
"You know what I mean. I stand by the decision to move away from your direct purview after we started dating, but I miss when it was you and me against Louis. I hate having no viable reason to not work with Louis."
"The things we do for love," Harvey says lightly.
Mike smiles. "Yeah."
"Did you eat?" Harvey asks. Because he knows Mike, and his assumption that while Harvey has been out at a work dinner Mike has been sitting in this room, so absorbed by his case that he forgot to eat, is confirmed when Mike shakes his head.
"Thought so. I brought you home a pizza. It's in the kitchen."
"Yeah, yeah," Harvey laughs. "I'm turning in. Please don't work too late."
Mike nods, though they both know Mike will keep working for as long as he needs to. Harvey leaves him alone and Mike continues his proofing for another few hours.
Mike actually really loves this room. It's small, but inviting, and since Harvey prefers big spaces and glass windows (as evidenced by his office and lounge room) he has practically taken over the office for himself. His books now outnumber Harvey's on the shelf. He repainted the room from its original beige to a cool grey. He installed an ipod dock in the corner of the room, so the silence doesn’t overwhelm him.
But there are still touches of Harvey to be found. There's an old wingback chair in the corner of the room (the only piece of furniture remaining from his first apartment). A photo of Harvey and his brother from when they were kids still sits on the bookshelf. The print of the Goethe quote Harvey loves is still on the wall.
Mike stares at the print as he wills his mind to shut off from work so he can go to bed and get some sleep. Only his mind doesn't shut off. Quite the opposite in fact…
Harvey is drawn from the land of nod by a firm pressure on his shoulder and the sound of his name repeating over and over. He finally opens his eyes groggily to see Mike sitting on the bed beside him, looking slightly manic.
"Is everything okay?" Harvey asks, reaching out to Mike.
"Will you marry me?" Mike replies, quick and desperate.
Harvey rubs his hands over his face, trying to become more alert and awake, because in his sluggish state he could swear that Mike just proposed. Clearly he was still asleep and dreaming. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I'm asking you to marry me, Harvey."
Harvey suddenly feels very awake. He sits up, leans against the headboard, uses the time to try and (unsuccessfully) process the thousands of thoughts running through his mind.
"Where has this come from?" he asks.
Mike deflates slightly and Harvey feels a slight pang. He has seen enough movies and read enough books to know that that is probably not the most appropriate response to one's partner asking them to share their life for now and ever more, but he and Mike have never really been appropriate or typical. (And really, going off the books and movies theme, Mike should be proposing over a candlelit dinner or some shit, not when Harvey is in bed, half naked, while Mike is still wearing the same clothes he put on eighteen hours previous and looking like a madman.)
And besides, he is genuinely surprised by this. They've only been living together for three months (Mike's lease was up, and since he was only there about one night a week anyway it seemed logical for Mike to move in) and they've never once talked about marriage before. It's not that he's opposed to the idea, but a lifetime of going with his head before his heart is a hard habit to break, so he needs to talk about this first.
He can see Mike's face starting to calm from whatever frantic thought had him rushing in here and waking him from a deep sleep to propose (before he loses his nerve, Harvey assumes, and the thought of Mike being so desperate to ask that he couldn’t wait til tomorrow is so endearing Harvey can't help but reach over and grip Mike's knee in a small show of affection and encouragement).
"Do you love me?" Mike asks instead.
There is something quiet and uncertain in his voice which makes Harvey's insides twist painfully. "Yes," he says in reply, quick and firm and reassuring in a million ways.
"I am so in love you. I can't imagine ever not loving you. Even the mere idea of ever not loving you or not being with you, it literally makes me feel sick to my stomach. And I was sitting in the study staring at that fucking Goethe quote and it suddenly occurred to me that that is how you feel. That despite this," he gestures to the space between them, "you still feel like you are alone in this world. And it broke my heart, because I'm not sure if you know that for as long as I breathe you will never be alone. "
"I know it," Harvey says, quickly and desperate to make him understand. "I do."
"Then why do you still have that print hanging on you wall?"
"Because for the thirty-nine years before you crashed into my life that was how I felt. And I left it there as a reminder that that part of my life is over." And it is. He knows he doesn't say it a lot, but he loves Mike more than he has ever loved any other person he wasn't legally obligated to, and he doesn’t ever want to let him go. He breathes in deep. "So. Yeah."
"Yes, Mike, I'll marry you," Harvey says with a grin, and the words are so easy and right he can't believe there was ever an alternate answer to his question.
Joy and relief flood Mike's face and he is suddenly there, hands on Harvey's chest and lips desperately dancing with Harvey's, and Harvey's last coherent thought is that sleep is going to be a long way off for both of them tonight.
"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet." – Plato.
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