|Synopsis||A couple of days after the trainwreck… it's chemo appointment time.|
|Location||Private Oncology Clinic - London|
|Date||August 19, 1996|
|Watch For||Harvey almost keeling over in shock.|
When Jake had slept longer than could qualify as a nap, Harvey slipped quietly out of the castle - though not, as anyone who saw him could attest, with anything resembling his tail between his legs. Business called him to London. It was as simple as that. Except it wasn't, not really. Twenty years of thinking one way can't ever just be reversed overnight. So Harvey stayed in London over the course of the next few days, even took Jake's newly acquired cousin-in-law for some much-needed fashion upgrades.
But today is different.
Today finds Harvey in the waiting room of an exceptionally well-known oncology clinic, leaning in one of the door frames dressed in one of his sharp suits and looking for all the world like GQ decided to do some kind of hospital shoot. Once - and only the once - does he check his watch. Right on schedule.
And no matter what that cousin-in-law says, it was not nearly as traumatic as his dramatics would make it out to be.
Did Jake oversleep? Find himself unable to work up an appetite for dinner? Or did he just need more time. Certainly, nobody has asked. And nobody has even mentioned the trainwreck in his presence since it happened. (Because they are all very smart people). But, today it was time to return to London.
And yes, right on time, another sharply dressed man walks in through the main doors and looks at his watch. (Look! Right on time). If he’s surprised to see Harvey leaning against the doorframe that leads to the treatment area, he manages not to show it. “Are you ever late for anything? I’m starting to suspect you were a Drill Sargent in your last life.” That’s actually a compliment. No really! “You know you don’t have to be here. Chemo sucks as much in London as it did back home.” Or, in Jake-speak … I hate people watching me puke.
"I'm late sometimes," Harvey admits, that little half smile just playing around the corners of his mouth. "When it suits me." This time it didn't suit him. There's a sharp glance over the retired SEAL; a good suit hides a lot from almost everyone. It doesn't hide it from Harvey. Still, he's got enough good grace to keep what he sees and doesn't see to himself. Mostly. "Yeah I do." His first answer is quiet, spoken low and with just a little bit of weight; he's not letting his stubborn ass of a best friend do this by himself. "Someone's gotta haul your drunk ass home after the party." Because that's what Harvey does. Everything's a joke so no one can see where it hurts and where it doesn't.
“When it’s fashionably?” … late? Fashionably late. Jake can definitely see Harvey doing that. There’s even a sort of wry humor in the comment that reaches his eyes this time. And if Harvey had asked around anywhere, he’d have heard that humor was definitely lacking the past couple of days. And a good suit –does- hide a lot. Like the track marks that will be exacerbated after his visit today. Showing that weakness is definitely not allowable. Here, though. Well, here, he’s already shrugging his jacket off and nodding towards the room that’s already been prepped. May as well get this over with right?
“Speaking of hauling asses home. I hear you disabused poor Cianan of the notion that you’d be a co-conspirator in his delinquency.” Oh there’s definitely a laugh hidden in there somewhere. “Poor kid. He looked dazed by the time he was seen slinking back.”
That makes Harvey snort. "I'm always fashionable, late or not." Modest, too. He falls easily into step with Jake, reaching out to take the jacket as it's removed and slinging it over one arm. "He's no shark, that kid." But Harvey's smiling in his lopsided way when he says it. "Not even a baby one like that Ross kid. Funny, though." He uses his free hand to push open their door, gesturing Jake through before following. "I'm sure he'll try and tell you the daze came from Rene, but my man knows his suits. We were in and out in less than twenty minutes." That smile turns a little sly, then, like he knows a secret no one else does - and he leans in just enough to share it with Jake. "Donna's the one that found him in reception." Which, to anyone who knows Donna, should explain just exactly what kind of daze Cianan had been in.
“Touche.” Because Harvey is right. He –is- always fashionable. Jake gives the nurse a brief nod when she walks past them to ready the poison machine, and undoes the cuff of his shirt so it can be rolled up. It’s the world’s most unpleasant routine, and he looks so resigned to it. Like the crappiest morning drive-thru ever. “Less than twenty minutes? Well, at least his punishment was shorter than normal. You’d think it takes hours the way the kid carries on when he’s dragged to the city with Siobhan and Maura.” Well duh. The problem there are the women in the equation. But when the secret is spilled? Oh does he laugh. He laaaaaughs hard enough that it makes him cough before they walk right through and he drapes himself in the appointed chair. “So what you’re telling me is the kid has a huge crush on her. Just like anyone else who’s ever met her.”
"Long shopping trips are good for him. Builds character." Harvey's humor is sharp and smug here. "Teaches him the value of handing over the credit cards." And the kind of work that makes such escape routes financially possible. That laugh, though… It's a sound Harvey's pretty sure neither of them have heard in a very long time. It makes his face light up like a kid who just got exactly what he wanted Christmas morning. "Just like everyone who meets her," he corrects, laughter in his own voice, too. "The only woman to turn both of us down flat. That kid didn't stand a chance." Poor Kee.
“Do you really blame him though? Besides, we both know what you’re really teaching him is to find a better hiding spot next time. And *then* go to Rene so it only takes 20 minutes.” Jake points out. The kid may not be a shark, but they don’t get many idiots in Ravenclaw that he’s heard of. “Pretty sure he doesn’t like credit cards. Shopping is like pulling teeth, because he couldn’t afford it on his own so he doesn’t want it.” He slides Harvey a look there. The one that says ‘and we know how successful that gambit would be with the family in question’. It’s his wince when the port is hooked up that makes him turn back, settling for a grim sort of smile. “And weren’t we disappointed.” He laments, with a dramatic sigh. “He’ll get over it quick enough. Or maybe not. It –is- Donna afterall. ”
"The point was not to involve me unless he's got a damn good reason. Which he didn't. I don't need any more fights with your wife than I've already got." Mostly because he doesn't really dislike her. In another circumstance, they could have been great friends. (If he's entirely honest - which he almost never is - in another circumstance he'd have totally tapped that, which doesn't help anything.) "That family takes care of its own - like a family's meant to. It's awkward now, but he'll get used to it." Turning, Harvey hangs Jake's jacket on the back of the door and shrugs out of his own to toss up there too before dragging one of the "visitor" chairs over next to the patient table and sprawling in it with the kind of grace that always makes other people jealous. He ignores the glare and the cleared throat of the nurse setting up the chemo. If she actually has the balls to say anything outright, he'll deal with it. Until then, he's right here. "Are you kidding me?" he retorts on a low laugh. "It's been twelve years and I'm still not over it." Which they both know isn't true, but Harvey saw that wince and this is the comfort he knows is safe to give.
“She’s scary when she’s mad.” Jake agrees. He doesn’t like to pick fights with her either. Mostly because she knows way more hexes than anyone ever ought to. “That they do, Harvey. That they do. That’s how I know Cole will be just fine. “ And since this high end oncology clinic charges out the wazoo for the private rooms and secluded area with an entrance hidden from view – he pins the nurse with a look when she tries to glare and clear her throat. It’s a chair. Chairs are sat in. She can deal. “It’s the withering look she gives when she’s turning you down. Gets you right in the gut. Especially if she makes it worse and tells you just why you’ll never have a chance. We can never let her near the school you know. She’d wreak more havoc then a Dementor.”
"Hey, never let it be said I can't appreciate a strong woman," Harvey counters. "I just prefer to have them with me rather than against me." Jake's glare makes something in Harvey's chest go warm and tight at the same time as it makes him laugh, soft and low and understated - as most of his mirth is anymore. The thought of turning Donna loose in the school, however, makes his whole expression go distant in thought before a slow grin breaks out over his face, the inner prankster getting free of his chains for one shining moment. "That would be beautiful."
There’s definitely a lurid joke in there. With, against.. it’s right on the tip of Jake’s tongue. But he holds that sucker back. Or maybe it’s that the steady drip of toxins is now making its way through his bloodstream. And the nurse is dismissed with a wave of his free hand until his treatment is over. “That wasn’t supposed to be a suggestion, Harvey. It was more of an anti-suggestion. McGonagall would transfigure your ass into a rat and send Filch’s cat after you if you actually did it.” And there he pauses. “And SHE… she is scary even when she’s not mad.” Has he met the woman yet? Yikes.
Harvey knew the lurid joke was coming, had set Jake up for it even. So that fact that it never made it out of his friend's mouth makes a cold weight settle deep in the pit of his stomach. He watches the nurse leave and then rests his hand over the back of Jake's wrist. He doesn't say anything about the poison being pumped in and he doesn't even draw attention to that hand, just leaves it there as a warm - silent - support. "I've heard stories about the Deputy Headmistress. Sounds like exactly my kind of woman. Think I could persuade her to make an honest man out of me?"
Predictably, Jake is far more relaxed when the nurse just leaves them alone. And maybe not so predictably, there’s not even an ounce of awkward with the silent show of support. Instead, he lets his head fall back against the thoughtfully provided cheapass patient pillow and closes his eyes. Does anyone else get to see him vulnerable like this? Hellllllllll no they don’t. “Jesus, Harvey. I think I’d be tempted to pay serious cash to watch you try and flirt with the Deputy Headmistress. Her doorway is apparently a spirit portrait of some Noble ancestor. Shirtless, in a kilt. So maybe you should show up like that and try your hand at it.” His smirk now is almost as good as a giggle, considering. “And her tea mug, I swear I’m telling the truth, has a picture of Patrick Stewart on one side, and Sean Connery on the other.” So basically he just dared Harv to turn on the charm and see if it earns him more than a shriveling glare in return.
There's real concern in Harvey's dark eyes when Jake just collapses back against the pillow. It's not a concern to which he gives voice, however, simply offering a small smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. "Aw c'mon, Morgan. You know if I showed up in just a kilt it'd all be over." That small smile is just a little crooked, the way Jake and not many others have seen it. "I thought you were all about fighting fair."
“Hey, if I’m here and there’s a pillow I may as well make some use of it. I’ve got plenty of fight left in me, Harvey.” It’s meant to be reassuring, even if it implies that eventually he’ll run out. “Nothin in this shit can be worse than the slop they feed us during basic, afterall.” Yep, there he is. Easier to be military man than cancer patient. Which is why he’s able to rally a good humored snort. “So you’re saying I shouldn’t let Sir Michael know you’ll be stopping by to pick up a bolt of the family tartan?” Look at his fake sad face. The one trying not to chuckle. “All Hallow’s Eve will be here in a few months. It would make a real splash at the school dance.”
"And even more in me." Because Harvey Specter never simply accepts a defeat. "So if you ever need to borrow some, you come find me. I'm sure Jessica will send you a house full of flowers." His poor boss has to deal with his fighting spirit more than anyone. Well except Donna, but she likes it. Mention of slop makes Harvey pull a truly disgusted face, but he doesn't pull away. "Now you know why I chose my career and not yours." He likes his creature comforts - namely Tom Ford and food that he can recognize as edible. "Oh no. Ohhh no. No way are you dragging me to a school dance." He thinks about that a second, then considers Jake's track record for being able to rope Harvey into things he didn't plan on doing, then adds. "And even if you did, there's no way in hell I'm wearing a costume."
Now Jake makes a face. Because really. A house full of flowers? Ugh. Just no. “I still have MRE’s. Just in case I get nostalgic.” Show that totally grossed out face again! “But the school dance needs chaperones, Harvey. And do you really want all the kids to suffer with only Snape and McGonagall and the crazy Divinations woman as their chaperones? No, wait. Don’t answer that.” Because he knows the answer would be ‘Uh, yes?’ “And here I was, planning to show up in my dress blues.” But Harvey will have to MISS OUT on that fantastic sight if he doesn’t show.
Harvey does, in fact, have his mouth open to give that very answer when Jake stops him. Then he just looks smug. It doesn't last long, however, before fading rapidly into shock and then a low groan (because he's a male and so of course he pictured that) before fading into an expression of rueful respect. "That's playing dirty, Morgan, and you know it."
And now, now it is Jake's turn to look smug. "I know." he agrees, readily. "And it's perfectly ok to admit you're a little proud of me for playing dirty. I've obviously picked up a few tricks hanging around so many lawyers." And Slytherin. Lawyers and Slytherin. Some might even call them synonymous.
The look Jake gets is openly appreciative, though it doesn't quite stray into lewd. "Proud isn't quite the word I'd use," he begins dryly. "But it's close enough."
Jake's still not over being smug. His smile might even be called impish. But then it's quiet, because after awhile doing -anything- other then maybe pretending you're on a beach in tahiti somewhere is uncomfortable. And he really, really prefers not to puke on anyone's shoes. Especially the really expensive ones. If he can last until it's safe to take the vial of pepper-up, he's golden.
And in a display not replicated ever outside these doors, Harvey Specter is patient. He sits where he is, relaxing back into the uncomfortable chair without losing his hold on Jake. He tells him stories from the last few days at work, thumb rubbing soothing circles on the inside of his friend's wrist as he talks. "… and so I told Louis if he could convince her, he'd have my blessing. Donna put on such a good show that he ran off cursing with his tail between his legs." His smile is appropriately smug, but it's warmer here with just Jake than it is outside the two of them. "But I'd fulfilled my end of the bargain, so in the end I got everything I needed without giving up a single thing in return." His grin goes playfully arrogant here, designed to distract Jake with a bit of ridiculousness. "I'm just that good."
Seriously. What would Jake do without Harvey there to distract him with both the ridiculous stories and calming gestures. "I think you mean Donna is just that good." See. He can play along just fine. "But Harvey? Thank you. You make all this bearable." It's a costly confession for him. But he times it pretty damn well, since the nurse strides back in right afterwards to unhook him. And give The requisite instructions.
"It's a team effort," Harvey allows, rolling his eyes good-naturedly. Jake's admission catches him off-guard and he is saved from sticking his foot in his mouth and saying too much only by the timely arrival of the nurse. Even so, while she's talking to Jake, Harvey is staring, eyes hooded and gaze intense. He remains silent, but that comment is not (and will not be) forgotten. He releases Jake's wrist, looking down at his own hands for a moment before standing and pulling Jake's jacket off the hook
As usual, Jake wants out of the clinic as fast as humanly possible. So he makes all the right nods and grunts of agreement at the nurse while rolling down and rebuttoning his sleeve cuff, straightening his tie, and taking the jacket from Harvey. "Let's get out of here before it really hits. And maybe avoid any road that goes past a fast food joint. I swear they pump a specially designed nauseating burger scent into the air on chemo days." If he could manage pleading he would totally do it.
Harvey hands off the jacket to Jake before shrugging into his own. "You got it, boss." His voice is still quiet and he hovers at Jake's side as they walk out, clearing their path with nothing more than a sharp, stern glare. No one in their right mind crosses Harvey on a mission. Only when they're outside without incident does he fish his keys out of his pocket and dangle them in front of Jake. "Mustang today, Morgan. Your place or mine?"
"How many cars did you bring with you?" Trust Jake to find amusement in that as he shakes his head. "Yours is closer. And I need the rest before heading back. You know how much I hate people seeing me like this." Even though not a single one of them would judge him poorly for it. It just chafes. "They know. But they don't… Know."
"Car club." Those are the two magic words so far as Harvey is concerned. Settling Jake in the passenger side, he walks around to slide in behind the wheel. His driving is altogether too fast - especially for someone who normally drives on the other side of the road, but he executes the trip smoothly - no jarring bumps or turns and they don't come within a mile of a single fast food place. Which, being London, is beyond impressive. One might think he had planned this out ahead of time. He's quiet on the drive and he's quiet when they come past Canary Wharf to the high rise building that houses his London flat. Pulling the car into the garage at its highest level, he idles the engine and walks around to open the door for Jake. "Come on, Morgan. Not far now."
Unable to help at least a little good natured snark, Jake speaks up when they finally arrive. "You'll wind up a chauffer after you quit lawyering, I bet." He holds back the groan that threatens when the car halts and he has to get out. But at least he's only looking a little green instead of acting on it.
Harvey lifts one of Jake's arms around his shoulders and wraps his around his friend's too-thin waist. "Sure, I'll be the first zombie chauffeur in wizarding history. Everyone will want one."
Not too proud to accept the help, at least until they get where they're going. "Zombie chauffer. There's a good Halloween costume in there somewhere." Because misery loves company.
Harvey has enough practice at this that to anyone they happen to pass on the way it looks more like he's a possessive lover than like Jake is sick enough to need the help. It doesn't stop a few raised eyebrows, but it does keep the pity out of their eyes and to him that's all that matters. He knows his best friend's pride; he's the same damn way, after all. It's only when they're in the elevator and safely on their way up that he turns toward Jake with a lopsided grin. "Somehow I don't think zombie chauffeur is going to fly if I've got to one-up your dress blues."
A few raised eyebrows just means more to joke about later. “Never gonna happen, pal. You just can’t one-up dress blues. It’s impossible.” They both know that’s a dare, right? Because it’s accompanied by a bit of a smirk. A smirk that fades into a grimace, because when the elevator stops your stomach always has that weird sensation like it’s still going up and you’re not following. And that just ain’t right when you’re already nauseous. “But maybe something with a cape.”
Challenging Harvey is as good as seeing it done. He gets a wicked gleam in his eye and his grin becomes something vaguely… predatory. "I can and I will," he purrs, already piecing together what he'll need to fulfill his grand master plan. Jake Morgan should be proud - there's not another person on the planet who could so easily get Harvey Specter to do what he wants. Not on the whole damn planet. "No capes." But he doesn't miss the fade from smirk to grimace and stops, resting his free hand against Jake's torso - partly to steady Jake and partly to steady himself - as he twists enough to search that familiar face. "All good now?" he asks after a moment. He's not going to make them move until he gets some kind of green light.
Somehow, in the back of his mind, Jake knows that predatory is probably something he should be watching out for. But since in the forefront he’s mostly thinking ‘Don’t puke, don’t puke, don’t puke’… welllllll, he misses his chance to backpedal. “Yeah, yeah I’m good now.” He’s totally lying. Or at least half lying. But knowing how stubborn he is? Harv is probably safer just getting him in the door and somewhere flat as soon as possible. “You know they use some derivative from mustard gas in some of the treatments? No wonder it makes you feel like your insides are trying to crawl out of you. It’s all trying to escape.” His version of babble is not like anyone else’s version of babble.
Harvey's not fooled by the lie, but Jake's a grown ass man. If he says he's ready, Harvey will take him at his word. At least in the little things. At least it's not a long walk. Harvey's flat is the only one on this level. Because even his spare home has to be the penthouse. Of course it does. He gets the door unlocked and the two of them over the threshold in short order. "Couch or bed?" Which is to say, awake and relaxing or asleep and relaxing?
Of course it has to be the Penthouse. It’s Harvey. Later, Jake will snort and crack a joke about that. Honest. Not that he has room to talk since he has how many houses now? “Couch is fine.” It takes a second to decide on that. Which probably means he’ll pass out asleep on it anyway. But, he’ll do that while pretending he’s trying to stay awake. Because stubborn. “And I need to call Cole. Told him I’d let him know when I was done.”
"His hotel have a Floo?" In other words, is it a wizarding establishment? Because there are a couple ways to get word to the kid, all of which have Harvey frowning as he considers the logistics. "Come on, then." Gently, almost tenderly (well, for Harvey) he settles Jake on the couch and then pulls his wand to transfigure the suit into comfortable lounge pants and t shirt. Because he's safe inside Harvey's domain now; there's no need for armor. Plus lounging in a suit can't be comfortable.
“He’s at the Inn in Hogsmeade until the school term starts.” In other words – yes, there’s a floo. And the owl post nearby. Along with people looking to keep an eye on him. Leaning back on the couch is about as close to divine as it gets after the morning torture session, and so Jake is remarkably more relaxed. Enough to let the lawyer get away with transfiguring his suit and not even make a peep of protest. “Just a couple hours and I’ll be ready to go back.”
Harvey looks a little smug when Jake doesn't protest, but it's really only to cover the worry lines between his brows. He turns on his heel, shedding his own suit jacket in the other room as he goes to make coffee. He's comfortable enough in shirt and vest for now. "Why isn't he staying with your mother-in-law? The other kid's there, isn't he?"
"Cianan drifts between his parents place, The Noble's estate, Hogsmeade…" Jake sighs, rubbing the back of his neck. "Cole doesn't want to make that transition. So I told him he could have the rest of the summer, get used to the idea. But that starting the Christmas break he'd just have to deal." Okay, so he's a softie when it comes to his nephew.
"Not Tyler," Harvey corrects from the other room, lining up two mugs and setting about doctoring his own before pouring hot coffee into both. "The other one I filed all that paperwork for, the Legume kid." He walks back into the living room and hands over the mug with plain black coffee. Not that he expects Jake to drink it straight after chemo, but it's warm in his hands and it smells nice. Because of course Harvey stocks gourmet coffee. "The longer he puts it off," he adds softly - almost gently, for Harvey - the harder it's going to be."
It's true. Coffee is like a wonder drug. Jake inhales deeply at the scent, and exhales slowly. Which is a good way to help with the nausea anyhow. "Ah yes, Bean. Scary smart, that kid." he mumbles, considering. "And yes, he's with Siobhan's family." And he knows, oh how he knows, that the longer Cole puts off the transition the harder it's going to be. A haggard expression of grief takes over the man's expression before he looks down into the coffee mug and grunts a thanks for it. "He won't talk to me about it. I've tried."
Harvey pauses for a second, a small frown creasing his brow as habit almost drives him into the safe seat of his armchair. It's Jake's haggard expression that decides for him and Harvey collapses onto the sofa next to his friend in a lazy sprawl - managing to do so without spilling a drop of coffee. He sips his drink in thoughtful silence, letting his continued presence be his offer of comfort. "I can try if you like. You know he always did think I was cooler than you," he teases lightly, though after a sip of his coffee his expression sobers. "But if you really want some progress, I suggest you let Siobhan have a crack at it." Another, longer drink of his coffee (perhaps a spare wish that he'd thought to make it Irish) and he shakes his head. "I make a living reading people, Jake, and that woman gets people to do exactly as she wants them to with a scarily high success rate." There's a sidelong grin there. "Under different circumstances, it'd be hot."
Jake laughs, and not just because Harvey expects him to. The fact that's he's right, just makes him laugh a little bit harder. "He thinks I'm some kind of boy scout. Never took a wrong turn in my life. But you, the shark lawyer…" he just shakes his head. "He'd listen to you. But I agree. Siobhan needs to take a crack at it, because she's going to be his legal guardian. He has to learn he can trust her now." So he has someone to urn to later. Stubborn-ass kid. No idea where he gets THAT from. Obviously, obviously, he grins back. "Right? Why do you think I approached her. She knows what she's doing. Can't get a damn thing by her unnoticed."
Harvey is quiet for a while, listening without interjecting his own comments - which for him is almost unheard of - and sipping at his coffee. "You're his hero, Jake." That's spoken very softly indeed. "I mean you saved that kid from a really terrible situation, you are basically Steve Rogers as far as he's concerned. Shield and all. Of course he thinks you're some kind of boy scout - you're basically the dad he should have had from the start. Me? I'm the cool uncle who swoops in once in a while with fantastic presents and chances to do things he's not normally allowed to do. He likes me better, but you better believe he loves you more." And that's the most important distinction as far as Harvey's concerned. And he should know. "At least she has more tact than the rest of your team," is his only dry comment about Siobhan not missing a thing.
Jake snorts, taking an experimental sip of the coffee. Warm liquid is soothing to an upset stomach right? Forget the caffeine! "Doctor Brennan." He grits his teeth for a moment, because. Well… because. "Absolutely textbook brlliant. But Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, the woman obviously has no sense of boundaries once she opens her mouth to expound on her observations." SIGH. He definitely sighs. "And Jethro. He's just determined to point out right from wrong." No matter who he's talking to. He's also not ignoring anything Harvey said about Cole and Captain America (CAPTAIN AMERIPANTS), but that is just THE most difficult subject for him to talk about. So he just looks broody instead of making any comment about it.
That makes Harvey laugh, the sound low and rich as it reverberates from his chest. "Take out the qualifier and you'll be closer to the truth, Morgan. She just has no sense of boundaries." Which has simultaneously made his life easier and so very much harder. "Hey now," he protests lightly, that little crooked grin curling up one side of his mouth. "I was pretty sure you'd be pissed at me, too. Can't fault a man for trying to stick up for me, even if 'going easy' wasn't quite what I had in mind." Harvey? Flirting? Look how not a single soul is at all surprised.
"Well both of you should've known better, then." Jake mutters, verbally sticking out his tongue as it were. That Harvey is irrepressable in his humor, timing, and flirting… nope, not a surprise at all. He just looks sidelong at the man and smirks in a sardonic way. "And nothing keeps you down for long, right?" Ah, double entendres. How many have they bantered over the past twenty years or so?
Harvey has the good grace to look sheepish at that first remark, reaching one hand up to rub at the back of his neck. "You know how I was raised, Jake." His voice is quiet and serious for once. "It's just not… Kids got killed in my neighborhood over stuff like this. Rationally I get that most witches and wizards don't care - I mean what's the point in getting huffy about gender when you're really just a charm or potion away from either or both - but I dunno. Guess it never sunk in where it counted." Even the sardonic smirk and the suggestive comment only pull a tired kind of smile and it never quite reaches his eyes. "Yeah, legendary stamina. It's what keeps 'em coming back wanting more." He tries to match the quip and return to their easy banter, but his eyes are dark and distant and the attempt falls flat.
There's a sigh mingled in with Jake's words when he speaks up again. "I know." he agrees, letting the statement just sit there as it, applying to everything Harvey's said. And maybe a few things he's left out, too. "I wish I had something witty and relevant to say. But I just don''t. I can't." Setting the now cooled cup of coffee on the side table, he clasps his hands together and then puts them behind his neck to brace there when leaning back. "Letting myself get.. involved, right now, with anyone… it would just be selfish of me. It would just cause more hurt in the end."
The silence between them at first is weighted but not uncomfortable. It's only when Jake sets his coffee down and speaks again that the tension slowly seeps back into Harvey's body until he feels like a coiled spring with ice heavy in his gut. There's a look at Jake like Really? That's what you're going with? and then he shoots to his feet and crosses the room under the pretext of more coffee, but really it's because he needs space to keep his flash of hurt and anger in check. "Don't coddle me, Morgan." His tone is flat and bitter on those four words, but by the time he's back over at the coffee maker, enough of the real Harvey is back behind the 'shark' that his tone is much more level, matter of fact, even. "If you're not interested, you're not interested. I figured that much going in." Or else he might have braved his upbringing and said something much sooner. "I get that. I respect that. But you ought to respect me enough to tell me so, Jake. Don't feed me bullshit about causing more hurt in the end because no matter what colonial pretty boy act you put on for most of the people around here, I know you're not stupid enough to think that keeping that distance is going to make me miss you any goddamn less." He lets that statement sit in the air between them for a minute before his last quiet addition, stirring cream and sugar into his second cup of coffee and leaning heavily on his counter with slightly slumped shoulders. "And you know I'm not stupid enough to buy it." He sounds so… tired. "I'm a grown ass man, Jake."
Not being dumb, Jake doesn't make a move to get up and stop Harvey. That, and, he's seriously too tired to play chase at all right now. "If I had no interest at all, I'd say so." The 'colonial pretty boy' makes him snort though. Cause, for real. Someone muttered that under their breath at one of those stupid dinners he and Siobhan have to go to. That the person who said it found themselves sitting on a whoppee cushion afterwards had nothing at all to do with him. Nope. "And maybe I'm fooling myself into thinking that keeping my distance is the right thing to do. Okay, probably. I probably am. But just what do you suggest I do? I'm too damn tired to give a relationship the attention it needs. I could never manage one before, and I'd make an even lousier partner now. What with a fake marriage, a nephew that understandably doesn't want to let go, a business to transition, a madman to find, and a fucking muggle disease eating me from the inside out."
That, that right there stops Harvey dead in his tracks. Well, not that he was moving all that much before, but it's gone from a kind of exhausted stillness to a freeze so total that he looks more like a photograph than a man for a moment. He doesn't breathe, he doesn't think, he doesn't even feel his own heartbeat. Everything just… stops. Because out of everything Jake Morgan could possibly have said, Harvey had not expected this. It's only when he starts listing the reasons why not that time and reality come rushing back in with a speed that leaves him feeling slightly dizzy. Or maybe that's oxygen deprivation. Yeah, probably the oxygen. Something tightens behind his lungs and he can feel a weight dissolving that he hadn't even realized he'd been carrying. Turning around to finally look at Jake, he's once again got that softer version of his usual crooked smile as he continues that ridiculous list. "A wedding to plan, your wife to murder and Gildor to frame for it. You're swamped." He crosses the room again and sets his mug on the coffee table, using the now-free hand to brace himself against the back of the couch as the other gently cups Jake's jaw, holding him steady as a slow, chaste kiss is pressed to his temple. "You're an idiot, Jake Morgan," he murmurs, fond amusement lacing the tone even as he pulls back and lets his hand slowly drop away. "But then again I guess that makes two of us."
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