How Donna succeeds in taking photos of Mike’s reaction the first time snow falls during his first winter at Pearson Hardman he’ll never know. He misses it initially because he was ensconced in the archives with Rachel, a Chinese and a dense stack of proofs. Over highlighting, soy sauce and laughs over shared winter stories, Mike appreciates how glad he is that they stuck to being friends. Harvey reprimands him for getting fingerprints on the glass of his window where he’d immediately pressed himself against it upon noticing the swirling white. He’s smiling slightly as he does it. He asks Mike what there is to be happy about with the arrival of flu season, wet suit leg weather and Hallmark pleasantries. Mike ignores him to take in the sight of his city being slowly bathed in white.
New York in December is beautiful. Mike’s always loved New York the most in winter, when snow has fallen deep enough to be a bother and the air is crisp enough to chill your lungs with each breath. Before she got too old Grammy used to take him ice-skating or pelt him, Trevor and Jenny with snowballs. As they grew up a bit she used to just sit and watch with Jenny while Trevor and Mike raced around shoving snow down each other’s jackets and tackling each other into fluffy drifts that were more ice than snow with a thousand other New York children. They grew up even more and Grammy found it too bothersome to stay still for hours in the cold and it was just Jenny watching, though she was always watching Trevor.
The Christmases have been quiet affairs with just him and Grammy, Trevor and Jenny separately and then in more recent years together, swinging by to make awkward conversation around lunch, departing again before dinner. Boxing Day is far better, Grammy’s niece Elizabeth and her husband Peter come round and contribute to the already huge amount of leftovers with some of Peter’s stress baking.
An addition was made two years ago; Peter introduced his work colleague and now family friend, Neal. Neal was charming, intelligent, unfairly handsome and, as Mike knew from reading Peter’s files when he wasn’t looking, an internationally wanted criminal turned FBI consultant. While Elizabeth, Peter and Suzanne swapped familial problems, things Mike had little interest in, the two younger men wound up in the kitchen and picked at the desserts while talking. They struck up a friendship that amused Elizabeth and frightened Peter who had wrung his hands at the prospect of two minds like that spending so much time together.
“I don’t disapprove, I’d just never catch them” he assured a bemused Suzanne.
While Neal and Mike rarely spent time together the following year due to Neal’s increasing involvement in the FBI they exchanged emails, occasional phone calls and managed a few hours to catch up face to face every month. When Christmas rolled around a year later Neal was again present come Boxing Day. Mimicking the previous year’s behaviour they worked their way through a rum chocolate pudding and, because it was a holiday, half a bottle of port that Neal had rescued from a gallery during an art forgery investigation in October. They had been a giggling chocolate covered mess by the time the other three members of the party realised that they hadn’t gotten dessert and, thanks to the boys, now weren’t going to get any.
They’d spent New Year’s at Neal’s drinking his wine which is an experience to Mike. There is beer in the fridge but it’s from Peter; for Peter, God forbid Neal have to buy any of the stuff. There are more people than just them there obviously, Neal’s is labelled a pre-drinks event and everyone heads off to the real party at just before 11. Shouting that they’d meet them there Neal closed the door on the departing guests and turned just to be shoved into the door by Mike rushing at him to kiss him. They don’t make it to the real party.
The door to the balcony is open during that first kiss and during the first time they have sex, because it’s the same night. It’s Mike’s favourite memory of winter, the cold air from the balcony window on his skin, the glimpse of the snow through that window as he shifts for Neal on the luxurious coach, the heat of Neal over him and around him as they move.
Neal is winter to him; it’s when they met and when they arrived at the conclusion that they could have more than just an awesome friendship. Neal appears cold but is deceptively warm like winter. The same could be said of Harvey in that respect, though Mike doesn’t go weak in the knees when Harvey says his name and doesn’t want to tear Harvey’s clothes off so they can fuck every time he see him, like with Neal.
He doesn’t tell Harvey this in response to his question though, he shrugs, “I just love winter.”
When he leaves the office he sends a quick text, he doesn’t need speed dial like -Harvey does, “How do you feel about ice-skating?”
The reply comes moments later, “If I say I enjoy it may I have a guarantee of hot chocolate being made for me after spending time in the freezing cold with my adorably uncoordinated lawyer-boyfriend?”
“Your skates are in your spare suit bag. The closest rink to you is closes at 9. It’s ours from 8.”