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Afternoon

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Mike lay on the soft mat in the steel cage that had been custom ordered by Harvey for him. It was bigger than a regular puppy cage and more comfortable, thanks to the soft mat and throw pillow that he had to lie on. Harvey had put the cage in the living room of his condo and made sure that he was always where Mike could see him while he was inside it.

That afternoon, Harvey had put Mike in the cage to try to help his boy let go of the stress his new pro-bono case had been causing him. Mike sighed internally as he started to think about the pro-bono case as he watched Harvey sit on the couch looking over paperwork. Dressed in only his boxers, Mike shivered slightly from the air conditioning but it was a refreshing cool from the warm sunlight coming through the windows. Mike closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing. He heard the papers being shuffled and put away but paid no heed to it.

Hearing footsteps walking toward him, Mike opened his eyes and looked at the feet of his master. He sat up, hunched over, and looked at his master.

Harvey smiled and reached a hand into the cage. He ran a hand through Mike's hair and petted his head for a couple of minutes. Harvey stopped his petting and crouched down so he was eye level with Mike and asked, "Do you know why you are in there?" 

'Because it is your will for me to be in my cage,' thought Mike but only nodded in response to Harvey's question. He did not meet Harvey's eyes until Harvey lifted his chin up.

"You have permission to speak," said Harvey. He watched Mike swallow and nod. "Answer my question, do you know why you are in there?" Harvey asked again.

"Because it is your will for me to be here," said Mike voicing his thoughts.

"That's right. You needed to be reminded that I will always take care of you and give you what you need," whispered Harvey, reaching to pet Mike again. 

This time Mike leaned forward against the bars so that Harvey could reach him more easily. 

“Are you hungry?” asked Harvey. 

Mike shook his head ‘no’ and asked, “May I have more water, Sir?” 

Harvey nodded. “I need to go to the kitchen to get you water. Will you be ok?” he asked.

Mike nodded and replied, “Yes, sir.”

Harvey nodded, stood up and walked to the kitchen.

Mike watched Harvey leave. After a couple of minutes alone, Mike started to feel anxious. 'He’ll be back,' he thought, 'he wouldn’t leave me alone for long.' “Trust him,” he whispered under his breath. Harvey had been right, Mike needed to let go of his worry and stress over the case. Just knowing that Harvey was out of sight for a couple of minutes wouldn’t have ordinarily caused him to panic but the new case had made him question their relationship and he’d started to push at the boundaries. After just one day of pushing at Harvey, he’d put Mike in the cage to remind him that he could trust Harvey to show him his place and to help him let go of his doubts. 

Focusing on the present helped to subdue the anxiety. The feel of the silk from his mat felt smooth against his skin. He touched the metal bars of his cage, which felt cold under his fingers. Yes, this was a cage and Mike had felt confined and punished the first time that Harvey had showed him the cage and then placed him inside it. But things were different now.

The first few times had felt like punishment to Mike: not being able to talk and instead having to put his trust in Harvey to know what he needed and when. He’d had to learn that it was a display of Harvey’s love for him and accepting it showed the complete trust that Mike had in Harvey. The cage was more comfortable than some of the ones that Mike had seen on the internet. The fact that Harvey had had it custom made to be comfortable for Mike made him love Harvey even more, especially as it had now become a place where nothing was required or expected of him, he could relax and simply ‘be’, he could forget work, let go of everything and de-stress; he could put himself completely in Harvey’s hands.

Now, it was a safe place for him, a place where he didn’t have to think about work or being ‘Michael Ross, associate to Harvey Specter’. A place where he could just be Mike, Harvey Specter’s submissive; a place where nothing else mattered but that. 

Lost in his thoughts, Mike didn’t notice when Harvey came back and crouched in front of him until he heard a chuckle. Mike looked up and smiled reassuringly at caring and fond look on Harvey's face. The affection in Harvey's smile made Mike's stomach flip, the rarity of those smiles made them all the more special and he treasured every one. He thanked Harvey when he took the glass of water from him.

Harvey got up and opened the cage. He waited until Mike finished drinking before motioning for him to come out. 

Mike put the glass on the floor outside of the cage, crawled out and knelt by Harvey. He looked back at his cage and, even with its feeling of confinement, he wanted to go back into it because of the security that it provided. 

“Mike,” said Harvey trying draw him out of his submissive headspace. He took Mike’s hand and pulled him up. Harvey pulled him into a hug and held Mike for several minutes. "That's my good boy," he said as he let Mike lean into him and tuck his head under Harvey's chin. Harvey picked up Mike and carried him to the couch. 

Harvey helped Mike lie on the couch and covered him with a throw. Then he squeezed in behind Mike. He wrapped an arm around Mike's waist and kissed the back of Mike's neck. "Rest for a while. I'll be right here," Harvey whispered. 

Mike smiled and closed his eyes. He snuggled closer to Harvey and whispered "I love you." It wasn’t long before he fell asleep, the familiar sound of Harvey's breathing and "I love you, too".