Chapter 1: Part 1
"You're late again, Mike. Is it that time of the month? I'm sure Donna has some chocolate if you need some," Harvey says, barely looking up from his texting.
"Haha, Harvey. That joke just gets funnier every month," Mike replies with a wry smile. He looks tired and hastily thrown together, the same way he does every month around this time. Harvey's not sure what Mike does on that one night a month, but there's no way it's good for his health.
"Yeah, yeah. But I'm serious - you can't keep doing this and expect to keep up with the other associates. You know that, right?" Harvey says, finally deigning to give Mike the honor of eye contact.
"And since I am undoubtedly the best, that means YOU have to be the best. you don't want to embarrass me, do you Mike? I'd have to send Donna after you," Harvey says, giving Mike his insincere smile.
"Dude. Don't even joke about that,” Mike says.
"It's not a joke if you keep coming in late and expecting special treatment. Promise me you won't do this again," Harvey says, the smile slipping away.
"...I'll try, Harvey." Mike looks at the floor.
"Do or do not. There is no try."
"...Did you seriously just quote Yoda at me?"
"Get to work, hotshot. I need the research on the Umver case by eleven," Harvey says, going back to his phone.
“Of course, Jedi Master sir,” Mike says, smirking and walking out. Harvey shakes his head at Mike's retreating back. Punk.
Harvey didn't really think about his exchange with Mike for the rest of the month. That conversation was almost routine at this point. Mike comes in a couple hours later than he should once a month, almost like clockwork. Harvey makes a couple of pointed comments, then lets it go. Mike comes in early and stays late the rest of the month, working on the weekends too.
Harvey considers it a fair enough trade (not that he'll tell Mike that), and he gets to keep the smartest and least annoying associate at his beck and call.
Of course, Harvey had been really pissed off the first couple of times. Where did Mike get off, thinking he could just come and go as he pleased? As far as Harvey was concerned, the firm owned Mike's ass until the day he became a partner. Even then, he'd better be humbly grateful to have the opportunity to work at the best firm in the city, and to have been trained by the best lawyer in the city. Nothing could be more important than proving his worth to the firm.
Except, apparently there was something. Something important enough to risk Louis' wrath on a regular basis. Something that made the disapproving looks from Rachel and Donna worth it.
And damn if Harvey wasn't itching to find out what it was.
He doesn't usually let it affect him or the way he works with Mike, but every month, there's that little niggling thought at the back of his head. What has Mike been up to?
Is it drugs, again? No, that can't be right. Mike just looks tired and worn out, and he hasn't come to work high since that incident months ago. Does he go bar-hopping, clubbing? Mike doesn't really seem the type, but he is a young man living in the city, making pretty decent money. Is it a girl? Maybe it's fight club. Once, a couple of months ago, Mike's collar had slipped down and Harvey had glimpsed a real nasty scratch running down his neck. Though, that could also be from a girl.
Seriously, what the hell is Mike up to?
So when, the next month, Harvey is late leaving the office and he sees Mike getting on that stupid bicycle of his and leaving early (for Mike), he just sort of snaps a little. He grabs a taxi, and tells the driver to follow the kid on the bike. The driver gives him a look, but Harvey backs up his demand with a couple of twenties up front. The cabbie shrugs, then pulls into traffic.
They follow Mike to his apartment, Mike none the wiser, and Harvey watches Mike let himself into the building. Harvey's a little surprised to see him in the same place as before. He would have expected someone with Mike's paycheck to take the first chance they could to get out of this frankly shitty neighborhood. And, alright, it's not exactly the worst neighborhood ever, but Mike could be doing a lot better right now. It makes Harvey wonder why he isn't.
Is he spending his money somewhere else? Maybe it's connected to Mike's monthly disappearing act.
Harvey waits ten minutes with the meter running, but Mike doesn't come back out. He considers his course for a split second before deciding to pay Mike a personal visit. He's already come all this way, and if he gets up there now, he should be able to catch Mike before he goes wherever it is he goes.
He pays the cabbie his fare, plus another ten for still not asking questions or trying to talk to him at all. He steps out, straightens his suit, then strides over to the building. He's already planning a little speech in his head to get Mike to buzz him up, but finds he doesn't need to. Not only is the buzzer broken, but so is the lock on the door. He deducts points from Mike's IQ for not getting out of this dump at the first opportunity.
The elevator is, of course, also broken. It's on the way up the stairs that Harvey has the first inkling of doubt. Maybe this wasn't the best plan. If, that is, you can call a spur-of-the-moment decision to stalk one's employee a “plan.”
He pauses before Mike's door. He can still back out now, go home, and pretend he didn't follow his associate home out of an overgrown sense of competitive curiosity. He could, and there's no shame in that.
But, hey. What the hell. He's here already.
He knocks on the door, and waits. After a minute he hears muffled cursing and thumping, then footfalls coming nearer. Finally Mike opens the door, just a crack, only enough to see half his face. Harvey raises an eyebrow.
“Shit, Harvey,” Mike says, his one eye growing large with surprise and... fear? Maybe his secret really is that bad.
“Are you going to let me in?” Harvey asks.
“Um...” Mike says. His eyes flicker to the room behind him, then back. Harvey's already tired of this bullshit, so he narrows his eyes and gives Mike his best 'Don't Fuck With Me' stare. Mike's eyes widen even more and he quickly averts his gaze to the side.
“Mike,” Harvey says, “Let me in.”
Mike swallows thickly and shuffles back, opening the door just enough for Harvey to squeeze in. By the time Harvey's shut the door, Mike's already moved away. He's pacing, and the only things he's wearing are a white t-shirt and a pair of blue boxers. He looks pale and not well at all.
That's not the weird part. The weird part is that all of Mike's crappy furniture is pushed up against the walls, leaving a clear space right in the middle of the apartment. The weird part is that the couch, the TV, and the fridge are covered in tarps. And Mike's still pacing.
“Mike?” Harvey says. There's a lot wrong with this situation, and no polite way to ask his associate when he went crazy.
“Hi, Harvey. Look, you gotta go. I've, uh, got cleaners coming, so, the apartment's going to be pretty impassable, I'll talk to you tomorrow, yeah?” Mike rushes out, still pacing and scratching the back of his head. Harvey gives him an incredulous look.
“Kid, that is the worst lie you have ever told me. What the hell is going on?” Harvey asks, crossing his arms. Whatever this is, it's turning out to be pretty damn weird. Harvey's not leaving until he gets an explanation.
Mike groans and digs the heels of his hands into his eyes. He's still pacing, and that's starting to make Harvey nervous. Ever since Mike opened the door, he's been making the tight, repetitive little movements of someone not in complete control of themselves.
“You really, really, shouldn't have come here, Harvey,” Mike says, voice muffled by the hands covering his face. He hasn't looked at Harvey once since Harvey walked in here.
“Mike, tell me what's going on,” Harvey says. He's edged out of outrage and curiosity, and straight into concern.
“I can't!” Mike shouts, finally looking at Harvey. Harvey blinks at the sudden aggression, but before he can get a word out, Mike is trembling all over and then running towards the far corner of the room. Harvey stays right where he is.
Mike is breathing heavily, crouched in the corner, and all of a sudden he's ripping his shirt off, pushing down the boxers, and
and Harvey has no words. He can't say, can't think what he's looking at. Reality took a left turn somewhere, and this is where it left him.
There, laying on top of Mike's shirt and Mike's boxers in Mike's apartment, right where Mike used to be, is a wolf. A brown wolf.
Harvey can't move.
The wolf shivers and then sits up, blinks. It seems to be reorienting itself. It turns its great, furry head toward Harvey. It stares, and Harvey stares back.
The wolf's eyes are Mike's. They're the same faded green-blue, the color of old dollar bills. They look away, and the wolf starts sniffing around itself.
Now, Harvey's a pretty smart guy. He can follow the signs, he knows what realization they're leading up to.
Mike is a werewolf.
Or Harvey's crazy. That might be better.
Either way, right this second Harvey is still staring at a wolf where Mike used to be, and it's moving towards him. It's finished investigating Mike's clothes, and is now trotting right over. Harvey decides to be very, very still and hope he doesn't get his throat ripped out.
Except... the wolf – Mike's tongue is lolling out of his mouth, and he's sort of... prancing. He's prancing over to Harvey, and instead of beginning a bloodcurdling slaughter, he's sniffing at Harvey's shoes. Then he sits right down in front of Harvey and stares up at him in that adoring way dogs do, like Harvey's the best and coolest thing since fried bacon.
Harvey is at a loss.
“Uh... Mike?” he asks, deciding to go for broke and just roll with Mike's sudden fluffiness. Mike barks, once, then goes back to grinning up at him. Oh.
The thing is, that bark, that exact tone of eagerness... it sounds exactly like Mike.
...The fuck? How, how does a wolf sound like Mike? How does Mike turn into a wolf? How is this his life?!
And now Mike's sniffing at him again, which now that Harvey thinks about it, is awkward as hell. He investigates Harvey's pockets, and his hands, and then seems to lose interest. He stands and looks around, then bounds over to the coffee table. Sniffs. He investigates the floor around it for good measure.
Seriously, did Harvey do something, that this should happen? He's never been particularly concerned with being good before, but this is just ridiculous.
Mike loses interest in the floor and moves on to the couch. Except this time, when he sniffs at the tarp covering it, he backs up right away and sits down hard. Harvey's almost worried, but then Mike... sneezes. Hard.
It's kind of funny. Mike-the-wolf has this surprised look on his face, like 'whoa, how did that happen?' Harvey cracks a smile.
It continues like that for a while, Mike looking around and sniffing everything. He stays away from the tarp-covered objects after that first big sneeze. Finally he seems satisfied by the state of his apartment, and he trots back over to his clothes and picks up his t-shirt. He bounds over to Harvey with it in his mouth, and drops it at his feet.
Harvey blinks at him. Mike picks the shirt up, then drops it again right on his shoes. He's doing that doggie grin thing again, like this is the most fun he's ever had, ever.
“You're not big on dignity, are you?” he asks. He can't believe he's even thinking about doing this. He is not about to play a stupid game with his associate-turned-wolf, as if it were all normal, and -
Mike barks, then picks up the shirt again. “Alright, alright.” Harvey removes his jacket, waistcoat, tie, and shirt and puts them on top of the couch, leaving himself in his undershirt and pants. He considers, then takes off his Italian leather loafers and puts them next to his clothes. He turns back to Mike, whose tail is wagging.
“Come on, you overgrown puppy. We'll play.”
When Mike's finally done with him, it's hours later and Harvey is ridiculously tired. They played fetch. They played tug-of-war. They played tag. They played, and they played, and then they started over. And of course once Harvey started playing with him, he couldn't be the one to stop first. Mike was still his hotshot underling, and Harvey still has that goddamn competitive streak.
Mike's finally winding down now, though. He's laid down right in the middle of the room, and Harvey has collapsed gratefully next to him. Mike is panting, but not as hard as Harvey. Harvey is ready to go to sleep. He's drifting off, but then Mike moves beside him, and he's snapped back awake.
Mike stands, then sits back down. He lays down. He gets back up. He lays down. He jumps up and runs in a tight circle, then lays back down. Harvey's starting to get annoyed. Mike stands again, walks away, stops abruptly, and comes back. He takes a step away, a step back.
“Make up your mind,” Harvey snaps. He just wants to take a nap, but of course Mike has to be annoying.
Mike whines and walks over to the front door. He pats at it, butts his head against it, and sighs. He gives Harvey a pleading look over his shoulder.
“Mike, I don't think that's a good idea,” Harvey says. Mike whines, and butts the door again.
“No, Mike,” Harvey says, frowning. There's no way he's letting the werewolf out into the city. He just doesn't see it ending well for anyone involved. He has no idea how much of Mike is in there, and he has no way to really communicate with Mike-the-human at the moment.
Mike doesn't listen, though, and keeps headbutting the door like he can break through with just his thick skull and force of will. It's nauseating to watch, and he just keeps going.
“Mike, I said no!” Harvey says, sitting up. Mike flinches, but stops. He whines, this awful, pitiful sound. It's a good think Harvey's such a hardass, or that would have gotten to him.
Mike backs away from the door and slinks back over to Harvey, his head down and ears flat.
It gets worse from there.
Mike is twitchy, and restless. Then he does that walking-in-circles thing over and over until he makes himself dizzy and flops on the floor. He stays there for a little bit, then rolls back to standing. He wanders aimlessly around the room, nosing things here and there before losing interest again. He stays away from the front door.
Finally he settles in the far corner, on top of his boxers. Just about when Harvey thinks he's finally gone to sleep, the real fun begins.
Harvey's almost asleep right there on the floor, just glances over to check on Mike, but he can't because Mike is trying to eat himself.
“Mike!” Harvey says, and Mike stops, eyes flashing guiltily over at Harvey. Mike's teeth are deep in his own back leg, and it's clear that he's been worrying at it. There's blood dripping down onto the floor, dark against Mike's fur.
“Mike, stop that,” Harvey whispers. Mike releases his jaws, and flops down, listless. So that's where that scratch had come from. No fight club, no secret girlfriend, just... just a trapped wolf.
Harvey watches him, after that. Mike gets restless again, stares holes in the front door, and gets a quick nip into his foreleg before Harvey can stop him. Harvey tells him to stop, and he does.
Harvey starts inching closer to him, but Mike doesn't seem to care at all where Harvey is. When Mike starts the restless twitching again, Harvey is right there. He eases down beside him, and then smacks Mike's muzzle when he goes back for the same foreleg. Mike whines, then settles.
Harvey considers for a moment, then gently pats Mike on the back. Mike sighs and closes his eyes. Harvey starts petting him, and he can feel Mike relaxing bit by bit. They spend the rest of the night like that, and Harvey falls asleep.
When he wakes up, he's alone in the corner and sunlight is coming in faint through the windows. He yawns heavily and blinks, looking around. A pair of legs comes into view, and he looks up to see Mike clothed in sweats, offering a cup of coffee to him. Harvey accepts it, inhaling the scent greedily.
“Uh, about last night,” Mike says.
“I swear to god, if you say it was a one-time deal and you're not into relationships, I will punch you in the face,” Harvey warns. Mike chuckles.
“No. I was actually going to say thanks,” Mike says.
“You're welcome,” Harvey says. He takes a sip of coffee, content to just sit there for a while. It feels like his head's not screwed on all the way. He probably only got a couple hours of sleep.
“About last night,” Mike says again.
“I already gave you a chance to make a one night stand joke, and you missed it. This better not be it,” Harvey says. Mike smiles weakly, looking into his coffee cup. He clears his throat.
“You won't... tell anyone, will you?” he asks. Harvey glares up at him.
“No. I won't tell anyone,” he says. Mike releases a breath, but before he can say anything, Harvey gets to his feet and takes a big gulp of coffee. He hands the mug to Mike on his way to the closet and starts pulling on his clothes.
“However,” Harvey says, pulling on his shirt. He glances over to see Mike with big worried eyes, and snorts. “After work today, you're coming over to my place, and we're going to have a Talk. You're going to tell me exactly what the hell is going on, and what happened last night.”
“Okay. Your place?” Mike asks, eyes even wider.
“Yes. My place. The place with the really good booze. Can't have a Talk without booze,” Harvey says, pulling on his jacket and tying his shoes. He pulls open Mike's front door and departs with, “And don't think this means you get to miss work today.”
The day at Pearson Hardman is shockingly normal. Harvey almost expects his coworkers to all start turning into mythical animals, but thankfully that doesn't happen. He does his job, and Mike does his, and they don't say anything about werewolves.
It's pretty nice, actually.
The day ends, though, and Harvey finds himself carting his associate home with him. Once again, he can't believe he's about to do this. That seems to happen a lot around Mike.
They get inside, Harvey changes into something more comfortable, and then he pours them both a generous amount of scotch. He refuses to speak until they've finished off their glasses. Then he pours them another, and he looks at Mike, who's fidgeting nervously.
“So. You're a werewolf,” Harvey says. Start off simple and crazy.
“Yep,” Mike says, staring at his drink.
“And you just, what? Mope around your apartment all night? Every month?” Harvey asks. Somewhere in the back of his mind, thoughts and questions have been bubbling up all day. Now he'll finally get his answers.
“Well, I wouldn't put it that way, but, uh, yeah. Basically.” Mike shrugs.
“But... you're a werewolf. You could be out wreaking havoc and... doing whatever it is wolves do.”
“Not really. I mean, I'm still myself, so no havoc, but there's the fact that I'm not exactly myself when I'm a wolf. Things are sort of... condensed, and it's really easy to get sidetracked by a new smell or some dog intruding on my territory. Besides, I've locked myself out of my apartment before on the full moon. It's not exactly fun asking the super for an extra key while you're naked.”
“Ah. I see. But, pardon me if I'm wrong... that can't be all that healthy for your other half. I mean, I know the big dog breeds aren't meant to be cooped up in tiny apartments like that. Has to be even worse when you're a wolf.”
“Well, yeah. But it's not like I have much choice in the matter. Like I said, it's way too easy to get lost and sidetracked.”
“Has it always been this way? You spend one night every month clawing at the walls?” And at yourself, but Harvey doesn't add that last part. The image is still too fresh in his mind.
“Well, when I was little, I'd go running with my parents. And when I lived with my grandmother, she'd take me out for walks,” Mike says. He sounds... nostalgic.
“She wasn't a werewolf?” Harvey asks.
“Females don't have to shift after menopause, and shifting's kind of hard on the body. It was hell on her joints, and near impossible after her hip surgery. Plus, it was easier for her to keep up with a puppy if she could keep me leashed.”
“Ah. Why didn't you just ask one of your friends? I'm sure that blonde you have a thing for would be happy to take you walkies.”
“...I never told them.”
They're both silent for a moment, Harvey sipping at his drink and Mike staring down into his empty glass. Harvey looks at Mike, at the circles under his eyes and the scratches and bites that had yet to heal.
Harvey had gotten to know Mike a little since they started working together, had seen how damn near impossible it was for him to open up and really trust people. He could see how hard it would be for Mike to make himself vulnerable by telling someone he was a werewolf.
Mike would just keep doing this, month after month. He'd lock himself away and then tear himself apart trying to get out. He'd played it down just now, but Harvey had seen how terrified he'd been by being trapped. And then he went to work, and pretended he couldn't remember that fear.
Harvey makes a choice.
“Is there any particular... protocol when going walkies with a werewolf?” he asks, nonchalant. Mike looks at him quizzically.
“Not really. I mean, I'm still in there, just with more instinct. I have to smell the person first, then I can wait for the harness and leash to be attached. I always used to try to run off after squirrels and whatever, but Grandma was always firm, and since she was dominant to me, I did what she said.
“Oh, and she never let me eat anything she didn't make me herself. The food stays in the stomach after we shift, and some things a wolf is cool with with having, have me puking the rest of the day.”
“Interesting. Do you still have the leash and harness?” Harvey asks, taking another sip. He watches Mike carefully.
“Yeah, I do. Um, Harvey? Why are you asking?” Mike asks, brow furrowed. Harvey gives him his 'don't be stupid' look.
“Because I'm taking you out next month. There's no way I'm letting you do this again,” Harvey says, gesturing to Mike's appearance. “Besides, if you get to come in late once a month, I should be able to to.”
“But... you always come in late,” Mike says, frowning.
“But this way, we both know my lack of sleep is your fault, and then you get to be my bitch all day, “ Harvey says, grinning.
“Okay, first of all, again, you do that anyway,” Mike says. Harvey notes that, curiously, Mike is blushing. “Second of all, uh, I should probably tell you... Um, 'Bitch' means something different to werewolves. Basically it means a female wolf, but if you uh, say 'my bitch,' it means you're in a romantic relationship with them and they're the submissive. Just... so you know.”
“...Ah,” Harvey says.
“So have you ever been anyone's bitch before?” The words just come tumbling out of Harvey's mouth before he can stop them, and he wants to smack himself. Mike blushes even harder. Okay, it’s obviously time for them both to stop drinking.
Mike mumbles something.
“What?” Harvey asked, frowning.
“There aren't any gay werewolves,” Mike says, staring miserably into his glass.
“What,” Harvey says, his face completely blank.
“I can't be someone's bitch, because there aren't any gay werewolves around here,” Mike repeats, a little too loudly. Harvey wasn't too sure what to say to that.
“You're a gay werewolf?” he blurts out. Dammit. Stupid alcohol.
“Yeah,” Mike says quietly.
“Yeah,” Mike says, and grabs the bottle to refill his glass.
“Then what was that thing with the blonde? Jessie?” Harvey asks, confused.
“Jenny. She was... my only real friend, for a while. She was nice, she was sweet, she was warm, she never judged me. Plus she smelled really nice,” Mike says, smiling. “With her and Trevor, it was like having a pack, sort of. There was less, well, crushing loneliness. Jenny was a fantasy. She was normal. She seemed perfect.”
“Seemed?” Harvey asks, honestly curious. Who knew his associate's life would turn out to be more interesting than cable?
“She... got tired of me keeping things from her. The cheating, the stuff with Trevor, and she knew there was something, something I was still holding back. I told her I was gay, and she said we could still be friends. I hoped that would distract her. But she knew there was something else,” Mike says, and takes a drink. “We haven't talked in a couple of weeks. I don't blame her.”
“Is there some kind of taboo against telling other people?” Harvey asks.
“Not really. It's just, we know we have to be careful. People like to pretend this is an age of reason, but...” Mike shrugs. “It's just not. It's easier, better not to tell people and not get hunted down by pitchfork or government agency.”
“Makes sense,” Harvey says.
“Yep. We only tell people we really trust, people we know will keep the secret,” Mike says, gazing meditatively at the coffee table.
Something warm fills Harvey's chest at that statement. He'd like to blame the alcohol for that, too, but he knows it's from Mike placing his trust in him. Even if it was an accident in the first place, even if Harvey knows in his head that Mike is drunk as a skunk by now and probably doesn't mean it... Everything still seems a little brighter.
People don't trust Harvey. Clients trust Harvey Specter to do his job, and so does Jessica. Other lawyers trust him to be an arrogant asshole. They all trust him to keep their secrets as long as he gets paid.
But people don't trust him with their real, personal secrets. Little things like their guilty pleasure movie, or their preferred brand of toothpaste. Big things like being a werewolf. Everything he knows about other people, he's figured out for himself. And here Mike is, just sharing his secrets and memories and life. Harvey can't help but smile.
Definitely time to put the scotch away.
“Alright,” Harvey says, standing and stretching. “Bout time for all good little werewolves to be in bed. You can take the guest room. Third door on the left.”
Mike nods and stands, then shuffles off. His gait is a little wobbly and unsure from the drink, like the big fluffy puppy he really is. Harvey shakes his head at the both of them and goes to bed.
The next morning, Harvey makes them coffee and sets out water and aspirin. Harvey takes a moment to savor that first hit of caffeine, then he turns to Mike.
“So. Next month. Should I bring treats, or do you have your own stash for when you manage not to chase after squirrels? I bet it's what, bacon-flavored?” Harvey says.
“Harvey, seriously, you don't have to do anything,” Mike says, but before he can continue, Harvey glares him down. It is too early in the goddamn morning for Harvey to be dealing with stupid werewolves, but he is, so Mike is just going to have to shut up and listen.
“You're right, Mike, I don't have to do anything. I can do whatever I damn well please. And I am going to take you on a walk next month, so suck it up and tell me what I need to bring,” Harvey says. Mike's eyes are cast to the side, and he nods.
“Um, comfortable shoes? Just, no three-piece suits or anything,” Mike says, shrugging. Harvey rolls his eyes.
“No shit. I'm not stupid, Mike. Anything else?” Harvey says. Mike shakes his head. “All right. Give me a heads up next month, and then we'll take the puppy walkies.”
“Did you have to say that so condescendingly?” Mike asks.
“Yes,” Harvey says, draining the last of his coffee. “Hurry up. If we're late I'll have to put you in time out.”
“Harvey, that's toddlers, not puppies.”
“Sure it is.”
It's five o'clock, and Mike and Harvey are ass-deep in paperwork. Harvey's starting to get that particularly frustrated look that means he's worn out (and thus likely to be pissy). So Mike doesn't even pretend to make eye contact with his boss when he says,
“So, um, it's full moon tonight.”
“What?” Harvey snaps, glaring distractedly at Mike. Mike swallows and finds himself tilting his head instinctively, baring the side of his neck to Harvey. Harvey just glares harder, obviously waiting for Mike to tell him what the hell is important enough to be interrupting him with.
“Full moon tonight,” Mike says, wishing he hadn't spoken. Harvey had told him to tell him about the next full moon, but maybe he'd changed his mind, and anyway this case is pretty important for the firm...
“Oh,” Harvey says, frowning off into space for a moment. He rubs a hand over his face. “Okay. Thanks for telling me.”
“How do you know, by the way?” Harvey asks, looking curiously over at Mike. “Do you have some sort of special werewolf sense that tells you when the full moon is?”
“Huh? Oh, no. I have an app on my phone,” Mike says, “It tells me the current phase of the moon.”
Harvey gives him a disappointed look and shakes his head.
“What?” Mike asks.
“You don't rampage, you don't devour the flesh of the innocent, and you have no mystical superpowers. Yet you call yourself a werewolf?” Harvey says.
“Haha. Yes, I call myself a werewolf,” Mike says. Harvey smirks.
“Right. When are you going to transform?” Harvey asks, checking his watch.
“I usually do it around eight, at the latest,” Mike says, and Harvey nods.
“Right. Well, we'll wrap this up in an hour. I'll meet you back at your place after that,” Harvey says. Mike nods, then they both sigh and dive back into the mountains of paperwork.
Two hours later, Mike lets Harvey into his apartment, then spends a moment staring at him.
“What?” Harvey asks, annoyed. Mike gestures at his clothing.
“There's nothing wrong with what I'm wearing. Your only stipulation was no three-piece suit,” Harvey says.
“So, what, you don't have any ratty old sweats, like a normal person?” Mike says, raising his eyebrows at Harvey's designer tracksuit. Harvey gives him a look that obviously means 'No.'
“Do you have the harness and leash ready?” Harvey asks, clearly changing the subject. Mike rolls his eyes, but retrieves them from the couch. They look at each other for a moment, then Harvey says, “So are you going to do it, or what?”
“Um, yeah. If you could just turn around?” Mike says. “I, um, have to get naked first.”
Harvey obligingly turns around (because yes, he's completely capable of being a gentleman) and listens as Mike's clothes hit the ground, then the oddly muted sound of bone and muscle shifting. Then there's a bark, and when Harvey turns around there stands the light brown wolf from before. He grins at Harvey and barks again.
“Yeah, yeah,” Harvey mutters. He crouches down and offers his hand to Mike, who sniffs it delightedly. Then he offers the leash and harness for the wolf to sniff for good measure. Mike seems less interested in the harness than in Harvey's hand, but he sits quietly as Harvey wrangles it onto him.
Finally, they're out the door and on the street. Harvey's starting to think that he should have asked Mike if there was a park nearby, or if he had a route in mind. But Mike just looks so damn happy to be outside, prancing around at the end of the leash and sniffing everything in reach, that Harvey decides that Mike will probably be okay with anything, and starts walking. He figures they can do a few leisurely strolls around the block and call it good.
It's actually pretty nice out. Summer's ending, and the sun just set, so the temperature's almost perfect. The streetlamps are on, and the windows around are bright with light, but Harvey can still see some stars if he cranes his neck a bit. There are cars going past and TVs blaring up above, but all the same it's almost peaceful for the city.
To top it all off, Mike seems to be in ecstasy. He hasn't stopped grinning and his tail hasn't stopped wagging since they got out here, and he bounces from fire hydrant to streetlight to crack in the sidewalk with eager energy. His form is clearly that of a fierce warrior, but he still resembles nothing so much as a hyperactive puppy.
Harvey can’t help but chuckle, watching him, and he misses the two toughs coming out of the alleyway ahead of him. He starts paying attention when one of them points a gun at him.
“Give us your shit,” says the one holding the gun. He's pale, blond, and wearing a wife beater and pants twelve sizes too big. The other guy brandishes a knife at Harvey, a sneer on his face. Harvey wants to groan, or maybe growl. Of course this is what happens.
“Don't pretend like you don't have nothing, either. Hair and clothes like that, you've gotta have something,” says the one with the gun, gesturing with it.
Harvey's already decided that his life is, of course, much more important than the contents of his wallet, so he gets it from his pocket and tosses it to the muggers, moving slowly so as not to spook the idiot with the gun.
“The watch too,” says the guy with the knife, pointing at Harvey's Rolex. Harvey sighs and reaches to undo it, which is when Mike starts barking. The punk with the gun points it at Mike, obviously spooked, and Mike lunges for him. Harvey's grip on the leash fails, and Mike goes flying towards their attackers. He collides full-force with the knees of the guy with the gun, and it goes off.
Harvey's heart stops. 'What a stupid way to lose my associate,' he thinks.
Then Mike jumps up and it's the punk moaning in pain, not him, and Harvey can breathe again. The one with the knife curses and rushes to his friend's aid, quickly hauling the other boy to his feet and dragging him away, back into the alley. It looks like the punk is bleeding from his thigh.
Mike barks after them as they run away, then turns and prances back over to Harvey. He's grinning again and is clearly pleased with himself.
Harvey is not impressed. He grabs Mike's leash, picks up his wallet, and starts walking them back to the apartment.
“I had fun! Did you have fun? That was fun!” Mike says, bouncing around. Harvey levels a glare at him.
“We're never doing that again,” Harvey says. Mike's grin dims, and he stops moving.
“Oh. Okay. I mean, I understand. It's cool,” he says, looking at the floor. Harvey rolls his eyes.
“I didn't mean we'd stop walking. I mean, we're never doing it in this neighborhood again. I don't think you almost getting shot is 'fun.'”
“Oh,” Mike says, looking up. “That makes sense I guess.”
“Good,” Harvey says, taking off his jacket. He deserves a beer, and he'd even take some of the swill Mike has in his fridge.
“Except... Uh, that might be a bad idea,” Mike says, scratching the back of his head. Harvey stops halfway to the fridge and glares at him.
“And why would that be?” he asks. Mike's eyes are cast at the ground, and he fidgets nervously.
“I – the wolf – it's not safe outside our territory,” Mike says.
“What are you talking about?” Harvey demands, frustrated. Did Mike's wolf just love to make Harvey's life more complicated? “We just proved that anywhere else is safer than your 'territory.'”
Mike flinches a little at the harsh tone in Harvey's voice, then tilts his head to the side and exposes his throat completely. When Harvey just stares at him, he whines quietly in the back of his throat. Harvey blinks.
“Hey, stop that,” he says, quieter this time. “I'm not... I'm not mad at you. I just need you to explain this to me. I'm just human, Mike. You have to help me understand.”
Mike swallows heavily, then risks a glance up at Harvey's face. He seems reassured, and his posture straightens.
“It's kind of hard to explain,” he says, scratching the back of his neck. Harvey sighs and gestures toward the couch, then grabs them both beers and joins Mike. Mike accepts the bottle gratefully and takes a long pull.
“It's like...” Mike starts, then trails off. He takes another drink and tries again. “This place, it's mine. Mine. I can't... I can't leave, and I definitely can't be the wolf anywhere else. It just freaks me out.”
“Freaks you out?”
“It feels wrong, and really, really unsafe,” Mike says.
Harvey runs a hand over his face, frustrated. Mike gives him a sheepish look.
“I really don't like being outside my territory,” Mike says apologetically.
“And you can't, what, change your territory? Move?” Harvey asks. Mike looks pained.
“Making a new den is hard. You need pack. It's almost impossible for lone wolves to settle down,” Mike says. Right. Of course it couldn't be that easy. “I was only able to move in here because my grandma stayed for a while.”
“So... you need family? Friends?” Harvey asks.
“Yeah,” Mike says. They drink their beers in silence for a moment.
Harvey's thinking furiously. He has an idea that might work, but it would mean inviting Mike into his personal life, and giving even more time and energy to him. Harvey's not sure he could handle that.
But... he still can't help but remember the self-inflicted wounds, and the forlorn whimpers. He thinks about how happy Mike had been just smelling the shitty city air and walking around in this crappy neighborhood. It's probably been years since Mike let himself out of this apartment.
“Would I count?” Harvey asks, quietly. Mike looks confused, so he elaborates. “Would you be able to move into my... territory?”
Mike's eyes have gone big now, and it'd almost be amusing if Harvey weren't so serious. Mike hasn't responded, so Harvey glares at him, causing him to splutter out,
“Um, uh, yeah, I think so.”
Harvey takes a heavy drink of beer.
“Would you want to?” he asks Mike.
“Well, I, ah,” Mike starts to say. Harvey overrides him.
“Do you have any objections to living in a neighborhood where you don't have to wear a Kevlar vest to go walkies?”
“...Well, when you put it that way, no. But, uh, are you sure? You don't have to-” Mike says.
“I'm sure,” Harvey says. He's not sure.
But... what the hell. They spend most of their time together anyway. Most of Harvey's 'dates' happen at hotels or at the other person's place. And Harvey can probably guilt Mike into cooking, cleaning, and making coffee whenever he feels like it.
Mike scrutinizes Harvey's expression for a moment, his own face serious and intent.
“If you're sure... Then, yes, I would love to move in with you... Sweetheart,” Mike says. Harvey snorts and punches him in the arm.
A week later, Mike's stuff is all moved in. Harvey's trying not to let himself have second thoughts about this. Doubts mean a weak position, and Harvey isn't weak.
Instead, he focuses on Mike, who is currently taking his clothes off.
“What are you doing?” he asks. Mike looks slightly embarrassed.
“I have to shift into wolf and familiarize myself with the place before the next full moon, so you don't have to deal with a freaked out werewolf then,” Mike says. “And um, I have to... markitasmine.”
“...What?” Harvey asks. Mike sighs.
“I have to mark it as mine,” he says.
“...How?” Harvey asks.
“I, um, have to, kind of rub up against things, and leave my scent around. It'll help me get to know the scents already here too,” Mike says. He's looking at the ground again, which Harvey has already figured out means that he's afraid of Harvey's reaction. He makes a side-note to himself to google wolf behavior.
Harvey doesn't want to make Mike feel even more awkward, but still...
“Really, Mike? You're going to leave fur all over?” Harvey asks. His cleaning lady is going to kill him.
“Well, it's either that or pissing on your thousand-dollar drapes. I mean, I can do it the right way if you want me to...” Mike says.
“...Never mind,” Harvey says. Mike smirks, the smartass. Harvey glares, then turns around and continues glaring at the wall when Mike finishes shucking his clothes. He hears the same strange, almost liquid sound that means Mike's shifting into the wolf, then everything's silent. He turns around to see wolf-Mike looking nervously around Harvey's apartment, like he's expecting something to attack him.
Mike's ears prick at the sound of Harvey's movement, and he gives him a once-over, seeming to recognize him. He creeps carefully over to Harvey, eyes flicking around, then gently sniffs his pant leg. Harvey crouches, moving slowly, and offers his hand, which Mike investigates thoroughly. He relaxes minutely at the smell, then gives the hand a sloppy lick.
“Gross,” Harvey says, taking his hand away. He stands then heads into the kitchen to grab a washcloth. When he comes back he sees Mike practically inhaling his living room, sniffing everything in sight. Every so often he'll stop, consider some corner or wall or piece of furniture, then rub vigorously up against it. Harvey snorts. Mike just grins his puppy grin at him and continues on.
It goes like that for the next half hour or so, with Harvey opening doors so Mike can give the treatment to every room. Harvey glares when Mike gives special attention to the guest and Harvey's bed, rubbing extra long against them, but Mike just ignores him and moves on.
Finally they end up in the entryway. Harvey looks at his watch, glad it's almost over. Harvey's tired, and he just wants to go to bed and forget he has a punk-ass associate living in his home.
Mike's ears are pricked, and he's looking curiously at the front door. He trots towards it, his nose waving back and forth above the floor. He moves slower the closer he gets to the door, and Harvey can see him getting more and more tense. He stops half a foot away, shakes his head, and sneezes. He regards the door warily.
Harvey wonders if there's something actually wrong, or if it's just the surfeit of unfamiliar scents making him leery. Then a strange noise echoes from downstairs, making Mike whine and start backing away, and Harvey figures it’s the latter. Mike takes one last look at the door, then turns and lopes back into the living room. Harvey watches him go. He's probably gone to hide under the couch or something.
Harvey takes a moment to make sure everything's locked up for the night, then heads into his bedroom. Mike will change back when he wants to. In the meantime, Harvey's going to get some fucking sleep.
He changes out of his suit and performs his nightly routine, grateful that everything is quiet. It's only when he returns from the bathroom that he notices that one of his pillows is a lot furrier than normal. He stalks over to the side of the bed and sees that yes, his associate is indeed curled up in his bed.
He glares and points to the open door.
“Out,” he says. Mike lifts his head from where it'd been hiding under his (stupidly fluffy) tail. His blue eyes are huge and glistening, and he looks absolutely pitiful. He whines and snuggles deeper into Harvey's duvet. Harvey teeters, briefly, then firms his resolve. He has been ridiculously nice, and courteous, and helpful to his beleaguered associate, but this is one thing he will not do.
“No. I am sleeping in this bed, and you. Are. Not,” he says, gritting his teeth. Mike just whines again and rolls over, exposing his belly. Harvey pinches the bridge of his nose and squeezes his eyes shut. How is this his life?
He opens his eyes to see Mike giving him the big blues again. It is the most devastating attack that Harvey has ever encountered, making him feel guilty and mean, and he is just too tired to fight it right now. He sighs.
Harvey can hardly believe what he's about to do. Donna had better not hear about this, because she'd never let him live it down. The best legal mind in the city shouldn't be letting an overgrown puppy tell him where to sleep.
Mike hits him with the sad eyes again. Harvey grumbles and pulls the covers back.
“All right, but just this once. And you'd better not tell anybody about it, either.”
Mike pants happily as Harvey climbs into his bed, and when Harvey turns off the lights he pretends that he can't feel the warm body curling up against his back.
(And there's no way Harvey's feeling that warmth in his chest again, either.)
CONTINUED IN PART 2
Chapter 2: Part 2
“We need to tell Jessica,” Harvey says as he buttons his waistcoat the next morning.
“Whu?” Mike says blearily, blinking up at Harvey from the kitchen table.
“Hurry up and finish your Cheerios,” Harvey says, checking his cufflinks. “We have to get to the office early today.”
“Oh. Kay. Why?” Mike says.
“Because. We have to tell Jessica that we've moved in together, or she will find a creative way to punish me for keeping important things from her,” Harvey says. “I'd rather not have to attend another sexual harassment seminar taught by Handsy Dave.”
“Oh. Okay,” Mike says, then finishes his cereal. Harvey makes a note to always approach Mike with terrifying ideas before he's had coffee.
Mike is much less calm by the time they walk in the door, and Harvey is pretending to be smug. Though, truthfully, Harvey completely sympathizes with Mike's. Jessica is managing partner for very good reasons, one of which is her frankly frightening nature.
Harvey's not scared of Jessica Pearson. Really. He's just smart.
Harvey can hear Mike taking deep breaths, and he gives the puppy a sharp-teeth grin before breezing past Jessica's secretary and into her office. Jessica glares at them both and motions distractedly for them to sit down, then continues with her phone conversation. She's not even really talking to the person on the other end, just a few 'mm-hm's and 'ah's. It sounds like Mike has stopped breathing altogether, or might be doing it so shallowly that the other predator in the room can't hear him.
Harvey smirks to himself. He can appreciate a good power play.
Jessica finally hangs up, places her cell precisely on her desk, and gives Harvey a capital-L Look. Harvey smiles benignly back.
When it becomes obvious that Jessica isn't going to be the one to speak first, Harvey sighs and starts,
“As I'm sure you may have heard by now, Mike is now living with me. He - “
Jessica cuts him off with a wave of her hand, somehow making it look regal instead of impatient.
“Harvey. Mike,” she says, giving them each another Look, “As of yet, your... personal relationship has yet to interfere with your working one. As long as that remains unchanged, I see no reason to invoke certain company policies. I'm given to understand that your relationship is not coercive, in which case it is none of my business as your superior.”
Jessica finishes, and sits back to give them time to think that over. How nice of her. Mike is looking more relaxed, but Harvey has already wrapped his head around what she's casually insinuating.
“Well. That's good to hear,” Harvey says, giving her another smirk. Jessica just raises an eyebrow in return.
Mike starts to say something, but Harvey cuts him off, saying,
“Thanks for being so understanding.”
Harvey touches Mike on the shoulder and turns to give him an insincere smile.
“Donna has our next case ready for us. Go on, I'll be right behind you,” he says. Mike just nods and scampers off, clearly happy to escape. Harvey amuses himself for a moment by imagining Mike's face when he tells him their boss thinks they're fucking, then turns back to Jessica.
“Alright. Now tell me why we're getting a free pass. Wasn't it you who threatened me with a sexual harassment seminar if I broke the no-fraternization policy? I believe it went, 'I don't care how leggy the secretary or associate or partner is, I will have you by your balls'?”
Harvey is surprised when Jessica stays quiet instead of joining in their usual banter. She just brings her elbows up to rest on her desk, and rests her chin on her laced fingers. She doesn't say anything, just studies him. Just as Harvey's starting to feel really disturbed, she sighs and sits back in her chair.
“Harvey, I've never seen you last this long in a relationship, let alone have someone move in with you. Mike... makes you better than you are, at times, and I admit that I'm curious to see what happens,” she says. She sounds amused.
“I'm so glad my personal life is so entertaining for you,” Harvey says drily. Jessica just chuckles.
“Better than cable,” she quips back, letting him get away with the dodge. Harvey just shakes his head and stands.
“Harvey,” Jessica says, and Harvey looks up from straightening his cuffs. “Don't make me regret this.”
Harvey just smirks and walks out.
“Harvey?” Mike asks the next morning over breakfast. Harvey looks up from the brief he's perusing. “Have you seen any of my skinny ties? I can't find any.”
“Huh,” says Harvey, looking back to the paper in his hands. “They must have gotten lost in the move.”
“What do you mean, they got lost in the move? I put them in all in the same box, clearly labeled TIES, and you said the moving company you recommended was trustworthy. How can they have disap -”
Mike stops talking, finally catching the look on Harvey's face. Mike's brow furrows and his mouth turns down, and Harvey can't hold back his smirk any longer.
“Harvey,” Mike finally says. “Did you steal my skinny ties?”
“No, of course not,” Harvey says. Mike still looks dubious, so Harvey elaborates. “The word 'stealing' implies that I would want them, for any reason. The correct phrase is, 'set them free of this mortal coil.'”
Mike just stares at him blankly. Then his eyes narrow.
“This... means war,” Mike says. Harvey grins, spreading his hands.
“Bring it on, puppy,” Harvey says.
The morning after that, Harvey stumbles into his bathroom, then into his wonderful state-of-the-art massage shower, then back out into the steamy room. His eyes are still mostly closed, as Harvey's pretty terrible at waking up. He's operating on autopilot, simply going through his routine, reaching for his shaving cream... His shaving cream is gone. Or, rather, it's not where it's supposed to be. It's five feet away, on the other side of the second sink.
This confuses Harvey. The cleaning service knows better than to mess with Harvey's products and the exact placement of them.
Someone's been in here. And since Mike is the only one Harvey's brought home recently...
Harvey blinks and finally looks up, clearing the last of the sleep and shower steam from his eyes.
'Hello Harvey' is written in surprisingly neat cursive, with Harvey's shaving cream, on Harvey's previously pristine bathroom mirror, presumably by Harvey's punk associate. Surrounding the message are swirls and whorls of shaving cream, tooth paste, and hair gel. Harvey allows himself one brief snarl.
It, as they say, is on.
Mike's not nervous. Honest. What's to be scared of? Harvey can't be that great a prankster. Right? 'Cause, Mike's been through some pretty epic prank wars with Trevor and Jenny, and Trevor was pretty vindictive, and Jenny just got downright creative. Mike's pretty much old hand at this by now.
Except... Mike did invade Harvey's personal territory, and he did mess up Harvey's perfectly clean bathroom, and judging by just how perfectly clean everything in Harvey's place is, Mike might have just crossed a line.
Also Harvey is really really ruthless.
But, hey. It's been a week at least since the bathroom incident, and Harvey's probably forgotten all about pranking Mike. They do have a new case, and Harvey might be too busy to try and get back at Mike.
That still doesn't stop Mike from pausing outside the door to Harvey's condo and biting his lip, just like he's done every day for the past week. Then he takes a deep breath, firms his resolve, and walks through the door.
So far, so good. Mike walks briskly past the living room and the kitchen, past Harvey's bedroom, and into the guest room. It's technically Mike's now, but he's still not quite comfortable claiming it as his own. He's only unpacked a few boxes yet, and the rest are stacked up along one wall, waiting for him to have the energy to put it all away.
No they're not. All the boxes are gone. Did... Did Harvey just steal Mike's shit?!
Mike's eyes are wide and he might be hyperventilating not that he can tell how much he's breathing or not breathing and, and,
Oh, hey. There's a new dresser across from the bed.
So... Harvey did something nice? ...Ha, no. So what did he do?
Mike approaches the dresser with all the caution of a hazmat technician, brain feverishly selecting and rejecting possible retaliations. After a moment he's left standing in front of a harmless dresser, glaring at it like an idiot. Mike sighs in frustration, rubs a hand through his hair, and pulls one of the drawers open. Or tries to.
On closer inspection, Mike can see that the drawers are taped closed with packaging tape. Mike rips off enough strips to get the drawer open, yanks at the handle, and,
“Haha, Harvey,” Mike mutters. Everything that was in the drawer has fallen out, as apparently the drawer was put in upside-down. Compared to what Mike had half-expected from Harvey, this is almost child's play. Mike rolls his eyes and goes to change into something more comfortable.
Okay. Maybe 'childish' was... definitely the wrong word. Because that same prank has happened every day for the last three days. Every day when Mike gets home, his room has been ruthlessly organized, and put just slightly out of place.
Finally, fed up, Mike stomps out of his room and into the living room where Harvey's sitting. Mike's only wearing a towel and a thunderous expression, but he just doesn't care, because,
“I CAN'T FIND MY UNDERWEAR, HARVEY!” Mike yells. Harvey just smirks and doesn't even look up from the book he's reading.
“And where else would they be but in the top left-hand drawer in your dresser?” Harvey asks. Mike just wants to be able to, just once, slap that stupid smirk off Harvey's face.
“Argh! They're supposed to be in a pile next to the bathroom door, so that when I wander by on my way to the bathroom in the morning, I can grab a pair. It's my system, and it works!” Mike shouts without thinking. Harvey blinks and finally looks up at him.
“...you sleep naked?” Harvey asks.
“That's not the point!” Mike says, flushed. Harvey just gives him his shark grin. “Gah! Fine! Whatever! Just stop touching my stuff!”
Harvey just chuckles and goes back to his book, the smug bastard. The rearrangement continues the same for the next two days, only now Mike's underwear is neatly folded and stacked together. Underneath Mike's bed.
Mike fumes quietly to himself, already planning his revenge.
Thus follows the Epic Prank War, including stalker clowns, hundreds of cunningly placed lollipops, and a shockingly elaborate castle gate made of Legos, which happens to block Harvey's way into his bedroom (“None shall pass!” “Goddammit, Mike!”).
It all comes to a head the day that Harvey hides all of Mike's clothes except for a pinstriped pencil skirt, dressy red blouse, black stiletto pumps, and a note that says, 'Do you cede defeat, sir?'
Mike can't help but laugh. He has to hand it to Harvey, the man is devious and vindictive and creative, and a worthy opponent for any roommate or prankster. And he's about to text Harvey his graceful withdrawal... when he has an idea. A hilarious, wonderful, very possibly terrible idea.
He calls Rachel instead and tells her about the prank war and his idea. Predictably, she laughs for about four minutes straight and makes Mike promise to tell her everything, then agrees to help him.
Mike arrives at work exactly on time the next day, and if Harvey was hoping to see a chagrined and defeated Mike, he is to be sorely disappointed. Mike is walking with confidence and grace in his three-inch heels, clearly expensive and tasteful clothes, and flawless makeup. Goddammit.
Someone has even managed to tame his hair so that it lies mostly flat against his head, except for a slight wave that compliments the smokey eyeshadow and smug look. And the bright, red red lipstick is really more distracting than Harvey would like to admit. God fucking dammit.
Harvey, finally unable to stand his plan gone awry and Mike's self-satisfied smirk, slinks back to his office to contemplate some form of retribution. Donna gives him the half-indulgent look she gets when she thinks he's pouting. He's not pouting. He's just going to sit at his desk, trying to get back to the case at hand.
Harvey sits down in his chair and is about to get to work, and... his chair definitely feels colder, wetter, and more... squishy than normal. What?
Harvey stands up, looks down at his chair, and... GODDAMMIT MIKE PUT WHIPPED CREAM ON HARVEY'S CHAIR. It had been covered by a piece of black cloth, but as soon as Harvey sat down, it soaked through, and into Harvey's thousand-dollar suit.
Harvey's phone buzzes, and he sees that Mike has texted, 'I have a clean pair of pants waiting for you. Ready to give up yet?' He texts back, 'Never.' Then, after a moment of thought, 'Come to my office. Now.'
A moment passes, then Mike walks in, still looking smug. Harvey is about to open his mouth, when Donna walks in right behind Mike and says,
“Do you boys never listen?”
Mike looks guilty. Harvey knows he looks shifty.
“I don't know what you're talking about,” Harvey lies. Donna looks unimpressed.
“Right. And Jessica didn't say anything about no flirting at the office,” Donna says drily, hands on hips. “I don't care if you two have moved in together, and don't give me that look, of course I know about that, how stupid do you think I am? But - this is a business, and you are professionals, and if you don't keep your kinky power games out of the office in the future, I swear to god I will let Louis tattle on you to Jessica. Nod yes. Good. Now back to work, chop chop.”
Donna then walks out, smirking to herself. Harvey wishes he had some rebuttal to her speech, but, well, he doesn't.
Mike silently hands Harvey his clean pair of pants from where he'd hidden them under a couch cushion, then walks back toward his cubicle, mumbling an apology to Donna on the way.
Mike has only just settled back into reading proofs after changing clothes and removing the make-up, and is ready to drown Donna's chastisement in legalese. But then he's forced to groan when Rachel texts him, 'We are so going for drinks later. You owe me a story.'
He'd managed to forget, in his preoccupation with a certain prank war, how intimidating (scary) Rachel can be sometimes. He just knows he's going to regret that.
There's also the fact that he hadn't been able to remove the lipstick completely, his lips are still really red, and Kyle keeps glancing at his mouth and blushing.
More importantly, though, those fucking heels gave him blisters the size of Rhode Island.
Mike's not really sure how his life got to this point.
Mike forgets that he's going out to be interrogated right up until the moment Rachel pushes him down to sit in a corner booth, shoves a shot at him, and gives him a disturbingly gleeful grin. Mike takes one look at the grin, downs the shot, and starts talking.
“So. Well. Basically, Harvey came to give me some briefs a few months ago, and yell at me in person for my monthly late act, and saw me being mugged. He was furious, and said that he didn't spend all this time and effort training me just to have to start all over, and it would be nice to have a live-in minion besides,” Mike says. His face is, miraculously, completely straight. He still silently thanks the fact that the bar is poorly lit, and Rachel got here before him and is already slightly drunker than him. Small favors, but still. He's not exactly ready to out himself as a werewolf to Rachel. He's about to continue on to the subsequent prank war, when Rachel snorts and interrupts.
“Uh-huh. Because he's Harvey and can't admit that he wants you to move in with him. You sure can pick 'em, Mike,” Rachel says, shaking her head. Um. Oh. So apparently Rachel was going for a different kind of 'outing' tonight. Sure. Okay. Mike can roll with that. After he finishes this drink.
Harvey had said to let people think they were dating, that it would be easier that way than trying to convince people that Harvey had suddenly grown a heart-like organ and started sort of caring for his underling. Mike's not entirely on board for this plan for various reasons that he really doesn't want to talk about, so he's not faking at all when he sighs into his (third? Fourth?) drink and downs it in one go.
“Yeah. I sure can,” Mike says. Rachel looks immediately guilty.
“Aw, honey. I shouldn't have said that. I'm just, y'know. Worried about you. I mean, after your last boyfriend, you deserve someone who treats you right,” Rachel says, carefully patting Mike on the shoulder. Mike blinks stupidly at her and tries to figure out who else she could possibly think he's gay for. Then he remembers another night much like this one and groans.
“Trevor wasn't my boyfriend,” Mike says, furious to feel himself blushing.
“Right. Because you dragged me out to a shitty bar and got ridiculously drunk after he dumped you and skipped town, because of your codependent, unhealthy, platonic love. Suuuuure,” Rachel says. Mike doesn't know how to argue with that.
“Anyway, I'm allowed to be worried about you breaking your stupid heart over a stupid guy who doesn't deserve it. 'Cause that's what friends do and stuff,” Rachel says, refusing to make eye-contact. Mike feels a silly grin cross his face.
“Aww. That's so sweet! You're my bestest friend too, Rachie!” Mike says, slinging his arm across her shoulders. Rachel snorts and shoves him a little.
An hour later, Rachel is laughing hysterically at Mike's story about when Harvey hired the stalker clown to follow him around, fully knowing that clowns creep Mike the fuck out. She's laughing so hard that she's snorting and choking on her own giggles, which just sets Mike off too. He nearly falls off his bar stool, but manages not to. He straightens himself, tries to straighten the rumpled mess of his suit, fails, and says,
“Well. Alright. I'd better be getting home. Some of us have work in the morning.”
Rachel waves him off with a promise to make fun of his hangover the next day, and Mike starts the trek back home.
He doesn't wonder at all how he and Harvey are going to live together for the foreseeable future when they don't have the prank war to focus on. He doesn't think about how up until recent full moons, he maybe thought that Harvey thought he wasn't even worth the effort of disliking. How even then Mike had been trying (failing) to squash the stupid crush he's had since he first met Harvey. He doesn't think about it at all. He actually does quite a good job of it.
As the days go by without any sort of trick or gag, both Mike and Harvey come to realize something.
It turns out that in all the mayhem of the Epic Prank War, Mike and Harvey have actually learned to live with each other. Somehow, between pushing at each others buttons and boundaries, and learning what makes each other furious, giggly, and impressed, they've actually worked it out.
Happily, the guest room has become more Mike's Room than Harvey's Home Office with a Bed. Neither will admit that they're both relieved that Mike's wolf has accepted this place.
Ridiculously, in Harvey's opinion, they've actually become friends outside of work. They both enjoy books (Harvey owns a bunch of old Louis L'Amour westerns that he won't admit to loving, and Mike has a much-abused library card). They can just relax with each other when they both get back late from work - too late to do anything with other people, just enough time to watch a game or a movie before they pass out.
Harvey even finds himself stealing Mike's phone one night and dialing 'Jenny.' He's not even drunk when he asks her to invite Mike to coffee because he's been acting mopey and annoying. Then again, he also told Jenny that if she asks, Mike might finally tell her that thing he's been holding back. So, he's not really trying to make things easier or comfortable for Mike. He's actually being an underhanded bastard.
So, you know. Donna can just stop looking like she thinks they're just so adorable. And the smirking. She can definitely stop smirking any day now.
Mike goes out on a Saturday morning a week later, and comes back looking shell-shocked. He says, in a manner especially dazed even for Mike,
“Um. Jenny and I made up. We're doing coffee next week too. She's going to ask more questions about werewolves.”
Whatever. Doesn't matter to Harvey. He just nods and goes back to reading the newspaper while Mike stares out a window.
Of course, there's still the fact that Mike is the most ridiculous werewolf ever, and they spend one night a month walking around the neighborhood with Mike prancing around like the world's most ridiculous pony.
This leads to a spot of trouble one time when Harvey's slightly slimy building manager pays a visit.
“I hope you know that there's a fee associated with having a pet in the building. It's due to other residents' allergies, you understand,” says Frank or maybe Fred. “It's especially important with the large-breed dogs, you know. You've been seen walking a rather large animal, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to pay the fine or find a new home for your pet.”
Harvey thinks about how happy Mike had been the last full moon to just get out and play fetch over and over at the local park, and he glares perhaps harder than necessary at the other man.
“I've agreed to babysit a friend's dog once a month. I know that one day a month does not qualify me for the fee. I read the contract. And excuse me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I've paid more than enough for you to let me do whatever I want short of murder. Goodnight,” Harvey says, then slams the door shut. Harvey feels a small, petty thrill curl through him.
Maybe it is a little bit satisfying to defend the puppy from stupid scumbags. Though he still wishes that Donna would stop smirking so goddamn much.
The next time Louis tries to bully and wheedle Mike into doing some work for him, Harvey is standing just outside the associate's bullpen, waiting for the moment when he has to jump in and yank Mike away from the other man. He can't decide whether or not he's looking forward to the ensuing lecture about doing Harvey's work and no one else's.
But Mike just says calmly, “Sorry, I'm working on something for Harvey,” and then completely ignores Louis. Louis looks shocked, then stalks back to his own office, fuming. Harvey observes quietly, pleased and amused. He leaves before Mike can see him.
Later that day, Mike comes home to find a single skinny tie laying across his bed. He valiantly tries to push down the upwelling of affection, but can't stop himself from smiling dopily and stroking the tie before putting it away.
Oh, and on full moon nights Mike-the-puppy always ends up sleeping in Harvey's bed with him.
Four and a half months after Mike moves in, Harvey gets an invitation to a dinner party.
That in itself is not that unusual. Harvey's success tends to attract social climbers, debutantes, and others of similar ilk. Harvey himself barely even glances at it, and starts to throw it away after seeing that the date of the party is on the next full moon.
But then a name catches his eye, and he gives it a second look. It's signed,
I look forward to your presence,
Constance Randall. The Constance Randall. The Constance Randall that politicians, artists, and those same social climbers and debutantes would literally kill to impress. In certain circles it's said that if Constance Randall doesn't know who you are, you aren't worth knowing.
Now, Harvey doesn't usually let anyone or anything interfere with the health of his ego. He usually could care less about what some old society hag thinks about him. But the fact is, the opportunity to go to one of Constance Randall's dinner parties is an opportunity to meet and schmooze with undeniably lucrative potential clients. People Harvey would have to spend a lot less time and effort wooing if he could show that Constance Randall knew his name.
If he can seduce even one of those people away from their current legal support, it would be a huge coup for himself and the firm. In which case, the invitation in Harvey's hand is worth its weight in gold.
There's nothing stopping him from gleefully showing the invitation to Donna so she can make all the arrangements, except...
It's the night of the full moon. He can't leave Mike alone on the full moon. Except...
Harvey's not just the best closer in the city, he loves the thrill of what he does and how skillfully he does it. And Harvey really, really wants to bring in a truly impressive client. The looks on Louis and Jessica's faces alone... And Mike's really settled in here. Mike-the-wolf really seems to love this place, and there hasn't been a single instance of the wolf hurting himself in the past four months. Granted, that might be because Harvey's taken him walkies for the past five, but...
Mike will just have to understand.
Harvey waits until they've gotten home from work the next day to ask.
“Mike,” Harvey says, studiedly casual.
“Yeah?” Mike asks distractedly. He's simultaneously pulling off his tie and peering into the fridge, probably looking for the liter of Mountain Dew that Harvey exiled behind the no-pulp orange juice.
“I'm planning on going out this full moon. That's... alright?” Harvey asks and nearly winces. He hadn't meant to make that a question.
Mike turns around and stares blankly at Harvey for a moment, then shrugs and turns back to the fridge.
“Sure. Should be alright,” Mike says absently. He continues to rummage around the inside of the fridge. Harvey blinks and decides he feels... relieved that Mike agreed so quickly.
“I've been invited to a dinner party hosted by Constance Randall. It's an impressive opportunity. Could lead to us getting some important clients,” Harvey finds himself explaining. He's not sure why.
“Sounds cool,” Mike says, turning around with Mountain Dew in hand. He gives Harvey a half-smile that looks convincing enough, but...
“You’re sure?” Harvey asks, again without meaning to. Mike just rolls his eyes.
“Honestly, Harvey. I know you think I'm a helpless puppy most of the time, but I'll be fine. I swear,” Mike says. Harvey scrutinizes his expression while he gets down a glass and pours himself some of his disturbingly colored drink. Mike catches his stare and asks, “What? You want some of this?”
Harvey mentally shakes himself. He's being ridiculous. If Mike says he's going to be fine, he'll be fine. Harvey doesn't even know why he started worrying to begin with.
Harvey waves off Mike's offer and goes to pick out the suit he's going to wear to the dinner. Though maybe he should have Rene fit him for a new one...
Harvey thought he was worried before. He'd thought the shifting, uneasy feeling from earlier was worry. Maybe it was.
What he's feeling now must be terror. His gut keeps clenching and his mind keeps flipping back to Mike and the first full moon they spent together. He can’t stop thinking about it, and he honestly thinks he might be about to throw up.
He's managed to sit through the actual dinner part of the dinner party and make some promising contacts, though he's itching to leave. He knows that very few people would be able to see how unfocused he is.
Which is lucky, because he's about ready to bang his head against the nearest wall. Why did he think leaving Mike alone on the full moon was a good idea? Why? How could he forget, even for a second, the sight of Mike tearing his own flesh? How could he forget that he knows that Mike is more guarded than he lets on?
Of course Mike said he'd be alright. Of course Harvey couldn't see past his own plans to actually use his fucking brain.
And of course now is when he realizes this.
Thankfully dinner is already over, and he's spent a polite enough amount of time socializing. He texts Ray then makes his excuses, claiming a family emergency, and he's not even lying.
He doesn't feel better even when he's racing back toward home.
When he gets home, the place is quiet. Harvey would like to be happy about that, but he doesn't see Mike anywhere. He doesn't see Mike, and he never should have left him alone.
Mike isn't in the living room. He's not in the kitchen or his bedroom or bathroom. Harvey still has that sick feeling in the bottom of his stomach, and it only gets worse when he pushes open the door to his bedroom and can finally hear the whimpering.
Harvey moves reluctantly toward the sound, and ends up crouching so that he can see underneath his bed. What he sees just about breaks his heart.
The wolf is curled up, twisted in tight against himself, and he has his foreleg caught between his teeth. He freezes and goes quiet at the sight of Harvey. Harvey flinches, and the wolf's eyes slide off him and to the floor. He drops his foreleg, but only so he can get at the other one. It takes Harvey a moment to realize that he and the wolf are both shaking. Harvey almost can't stand to look at Mike.
His muzzle and paws are covered in blood, and he looks so scared.
Harvey clenches his jaw and his fists, makes himself look at what has happened here. Then he takes a deep breath and spends the next forty minutes coaxing Mike out from under the bed and onto his lap. He strokes him for the rest of the night.
“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. It'll never happen again.” Harvey wouldn't be surprised if his promises no longer hold any weight with Mike. That's okay. Harvey's just done lying to himself.
When Harvey wakes, he and Mike are wrapped around each other on the bed, and Mike is naked. Neither moves away.
CONTINUED IN PART 3
Chapter 3: Part 3
“Jesus, you're stupid,” Harvey says, shaking his head. Seeing the stricken look on Mike's face, he huffs a laugh. “And you're going to make me say it out loud, aren't you?”
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
After the night of the charity dinner, things are a little different between Mike and Harvey. Harvey seems more... relaxed. They eat dinner at home together more often than not now. Donna looks smugly pleased when she talks to them together.
Mike still can't believe that, for all intents and purposes, Harvey chose Mike over his career. That they're spending more and more time together. And when Harvey smiles at him now...
Well, Mike knows what he would like this all to mean. And it had seemed to be heading that way the morning after the last full moon. They'd woken up together, literally wrapped in each other’s' arms, staring deeply into each other’s' eyes, and... nothing happened. Harvey had smiled, or maybe smirked, and they had both fallen back asleep. When Mike woke up after that, he'd been overwhelmed by the lingering smell of his own blood, and by the tacky feeling of it covering his arms.
When he got done washing up, Harvey had already woken up and started the coffee. And when Harvey didn't say anything about the night before, Mike decided that it wasn't worth it to him either to pursue it. Harvey had come back. He'd held him for the rest of the night. That's what was important.
Mike's not-insignificant feelings for his boss don’t matter, because Harvey is here now and that's all.
After the morning after the last full moon, when Mike had quietly slipped out of bed before Harvey and not returned, Harvey had, finally, taken some time to think about his relationship with Mike.
Just the fact that he used the word 'relationship' in reference to Mike, even in his own head, was somewhat revealing.
Here's the thing. Harvey wouldn't have consciously chosen to bring Mike this far into his life and space if it had been up to him. He would have kept Mike in his little associate-shaped box in Harvey's head and left him there.
Now, Harvey refuses to imagine his life without Mike. Not can't – refuses. As far as Harvey's concerned, Harvey promised never to leave Mike again, so Mike is not allowed to leave either. So there.
And even if Mike isn't ready to realize that yet, even if he continues to run away like he did that morning, even if Harvey has to wait months or years for Mike to be ready, well... Harvey already said he's never leaving again.
Besides, he'd hate to lose in anything, even love (yes, he said it), to a skinny puppy like Mike. So... there.
Remember how Harvey said he was content to wait for Mike to be ready to face this thing between them? Well, he still is. Mostly.
It’s just really, really frustrating to keep spending all his time with Mike, and want to hold and touch him, but only be able to go so far. Now that Harvey’s no longer actively blocking his feelings towards Mike, he can’t stop noticing things about him. He keeps wanting to turn every pat on the back he gives Mike into an extended caress. The few, friendly hugs he’s given Mike in the past few weeks each only lasted a few seconds, when he just wanted to hold Mike close, pull him down onto some flat surface and –
It’s just very frustrating. Especially since right now Harvey is moping alone at home, waiting pathetically for Mike to get back. Rachel had kidnapped Mike right after work to do drinks, and Harvey had been left at loose ends. Which is, again, pathetic. Harvey knows people, knows where all the hotspots are in this city. He could go out too.
Only he might have been looking forward to spending the night at home with Mike, watching bad movies and eating greasy pizza. And apparently he’s so far gone that the simple fact that Mike has other friends who want to spend time with him is enough to turn Harvey into a twelve-year-old girl.
Thankfully, just when Harvey is thinking about breaking into his most expensive bottle of scotch and putting on some Sinatra, his phone goes off. It’s not a number he recognizes, but it could always be one of the high-maintenance clients he gave his personal number.
“Hi!” says an unfamiliar voice. Harvey frowns. “This is Jenny.”
“Ah. You’re Mike’s… ex,” Harvey says.
“More his... awkward hetero experimental phase,” Jenny says, laughing. “Don't worry. I mean, you have nothing to worry about.”
“You're kind of all he talks about, so. You know. I wouldn't worry.”
“Right,” Harvey says, wondering where this is going.
“Yeah. So, I know we’ve never really met, and I kind of had to steal your number from Mike’s phone, but I just wanted to call and say thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t have my best friend back, and there’s really nothing I can say to tell you how much that means to me,” Jenny says. She sounds earnest, and honestly grateful.
“You’re… welcome,” Harvey says.
“And, again, I know you don’t know me, but I know Mike. And I can see how happy you’ve made him. Like I said, you’re all he talks about. And judging by the fact that Mike doesn’t know it was you who suggested I invite him for coffee, I’d say you care about him too,” Jenny says. “And I just… from what I can see, you make each other happy. And I think Mike deserves that more than anyone, and I’m so grateful to you for being part of that.”
“I…” Harvey says, feeling strange. He hadn’t been expecting this. He never expected to hear these words from anyone, to be approved of because he makes someone happy. He didn’t expect this warm, pleased feeling Jenny’s declarations have inspired. Jenny chuckles.
“Anyway. I don’t mean to sound… interfering, or anything. I just wanted to put that out there,” Jenny says. Harvey clears his throat.
“Yes. I… appreciate that,” he says.
“Cool. So, now that you know you have my seal of approval, I have a message for you,” Jenny says.
“Oh?” Harvey asks.
“Elaine wants to meet you,” Jenny says. Harvey blinks, surprised.
“Elaine? Mike’s grandmother?” he asks.
“Yep. She says she wants to meet the man her boy has fallen for. She said she’d ask Mike to bring you, but ‘Mike’s so shy about his feelings, the poor dear,’” Jenny says. Harvey can’t help but chuckle. Jenny laughs, saying, “Yeah. So, are you busy this tonight?”
“What, right now?”
“Yep. I turned down drinks with Mike and Rachel, so I know he's out. And since you haven't hung up on me yet, I'm forced to assume you're free,” Jenny says. Harvey snorts. She's right, of course, that's the thing.
“Fine. Yes, I will be glad to meet Mike's grandmother,” Harvey says, deciding to be gracious.
“Great! Let me give you the address, and I'll meet you there in an hour. I'll have to introduce you to the staff so they'll let you in,” Jenny says, then rattles off the address. Harvey grabs the pen and pad of paper from the kitchen island and jots it down. After Jenny cheerfully says goodbye and hangs up, he spends a moment staring down at it. Then he shakes his head and gets ready to go.
Jenny, as promised, got Harvey through and to see Mike's grandmother. Harvey feels strangely nervous as they stroll down the white hallways towards her room.
“Hello, sweetheart,” she says as they walk through the door. She's sitting in a chair next to the bed, the remote to a small TV in the corner forgotten in her lap. “And you must be Harvey. I've heard so much about you.”
“Oh? I hope it was all good.” Harvey gives her his most charming smile and offers his hand. Her grip is strong and her gaze is direct. She has a white bun high on her head, and is wearing gold earrings and necklace and a soft green cardigan.
“You must call me Elaine, dear,” she says, smiling back at him.
“Of course,” Harvey says, and going with his impulse, kisses the top of her hand. Her eyes crinkle and she chuckles, flapping a hand at him. Harvey winks and releases her hand, taking a step back.
“Oh, I can see you're quite the charmer. Take a seat, dear, and tell me how Michael is doing. He seemed tired the last time I saw him,” Elaine says, gesturing at another comfy chair across from her. Harvey obligingly sits and settles back into the worn cushions. There's an afghan folded across the back of his chair, and he finds himself thinking that Elaine is the charming one.
“Elaine? I'm sorry, but I won't be able to stay,” Jenny says. She doesn't exactly sound regretful, and Elaine grins at her.
“That's alright, sweetheart. I'm quiet happy to be left to interrogate Harvey in peace,” Elaine says. Jenny grins back and gives her a kiss on the cheek.
“All right then. I'll leave it in your capable hands. I'll see you next week?” Jenny says.
“Of course,” Elaine says, giving Jenny's hand a squeeze.
“I'll even sneak you a sticky bun if you promise not to tell the nurse,” Jenny says.
“Now that is something to look forward to,” Elaine says.
“Thanks,” Jenny says, rolling her eyes. “All right, see you next week. Try not to break Harvey too bad, Mike likes him. Bye!”
Harvey watches Jenny casually abandon him, then his eyes snap back to Elaine, who's regarding him with amusement.
“Don't worry, dear, I'll be gentle,” she says, and honest to god, her eyes twinkle. That shocks a laugh out of Harvey, and she smiles at him. “Good. Now that we've gotten a real smile out of you, I really do want to know about Michael. Is he alright?”
“Yeah, I think he is,” Harvey says, relaxing back into his chair. Elaine, it seems, is just one of those people who really know how to talk to people. Harvey can't help but admire that. “We've started a big case this week, and he's been running around gathering information and witness accounts. I made him take tonight off, though, to decompress and get some sleep.”
“And then you decided to spend this Friday night with a little old lady you barely know,” Elaine says knowingly.
“I... yes,” Harvey says.
“Does Michael make you happy?” Elaine asks. Harvey blinks at her.
“Yes. He does,” he says, because what else is he to say but the truth? Elaine observes him for a moment.
“Do you make him happy?” she asks next.
“I think so,” Harvey answers honestly. He gives a slight shrug.
“You think so?” she says, raising her brows.
“I... I don't know how to make him understand. I don't know how to make him see. That I... That I care for him,” Harvey admits.
“Ah,” Elaine says. Harvey watches his fingers pick at a loose thread on the arm of his chair.
“I might be afraid that I care more for him than he does for me,” Harvey admits sheepishly.
“Oh, sweetheart,” Elaine says, “That's stupid.”
Harvey looks up to see her face, her serious expression, and he laughs.
“Yeah. I guess it is,” he says.
“Now. You seem like a very nice young man, and I can tell you that Michael clearly adores you. Why don't you go home and make him a nice meal. It's what my husband used to do when he couldn't find the words. And if that fails, remember that dinner's a winner, but liquor is quicker, so I'd suggest serving a nice wine too,” Elaine says. She's giving Harvey a cheeky grin, one Harvey matches.
“Thank you. I will,” Harvey says. He glances surreptitiously at a clock on the wall, but Elaine just laughs and waves him off.
“Go on. Shoo. You have plans to make,” she says. Harvey smiles at her and stands, and it only feels natural to give her a kiss on the same cheek Jenny did.
“Oh, get on with you,” she says, patting Harvey on the shoulder.
“Thank you, Elaine. Mike and I will visit soon,” Harvey says. He's already got ideas of dishes he could make and wine to pair it with whirling through his head, and he makes quick work of getting back to his condo so he can size up what he has in the kitchen.
Twenty minutes after he gets home, Harvey gets a call from Jenny.
“Yes?” he asks, staring critically at some baby spinach and wondering if it will last until Sunday.
“How did it go?” she asks. Harvey barely spares any attention to her voice, still poking through the greenery in his fridge. Some of which, unfortunately wasn't meant to be green.
“Hm? I think if she kept me any longer, I would have told her my entire life story and shoe size,” Harvey says absently. Jenny laughs.
“Yeah, she has that effect on people,” Jenny says, sounding fond. Harvey pokes at a carton of month-old fried rice, and then quickly retreats. Something definitely moved in there. Then his brain actually connects the voice he's talking to with the person.
“Jenny. You know Mike,” Harvey says.
“Tall, funny-looking guy? Has an embarrassingly huge crush on Harrison Ford? Yeah, I know him,” Jenny says.
“Yes. Him. You know what food he likes,” Harvey says, undeterred.
“Yes...” Jenny says.
“Good. I need your help with something.”
Mike's feelings still don't matter. Really. But, if they did, he’d be freaking out right now. The good kind of freaking out. Probably.
Harvey had caught Mike right before he left to have coffee with Jenny Saturday morning.
“Mike. You don't have any plans for Sunday evening,” he'd said.
“No. You don't,” Harvey had said, giving Mike an intense look.
“O... kay,” Mike said, feeling his eyebrows go up. Then Harvey grinned. It was disconcerting.
“Have fun with Jenny.”
Mike got out of there quick.
The weirdness didn't end there. While he was talking with Jenny later, she asked, apropos of nothing,
“Hey, there's a new gallery opening Sunday. You want to go?”
Since they had previously been discussing the various merits of lolcatz, Mike had given her a confused look and said,
“Cool. But I'm only free early afternoon. That cool?” Jenny said.
“Uh, yeah. I, kinda, have plans Sunday evening anyway. I think,” Mike said.
“Cool,” Jenny said.
That should have been a tip-off.
Now, Mike is standing in the doorway of the kitchen, staring incredulously at Harvey. There is a rich red tablecloth spread over the dining table, what looks like real china plates and silver utensils, and candles, actual candles. Mike has no idea what is going on here.
“Harvey?” Mike asks.
“Good. You're just in time,” Harvey says, looking up from where he's setting the last of the silverware. He smiles softly. Mike nearly takes a step back.
“Just say 'oranges' if you're being held at gunpoint,” Mike says, not breaking eye contact.
“What?” Harvey asks, looking confused.
“Oranges,” Mike says, completely serious.
“...No,” Harvey says. “Put your bag away, and I'll start serving.”
“Fine,” Mike says, eyes narrowed. He does ask Harvey asked, and when he comes back Harvey has filled their plates with some salad, steak, and those little potatoes that always amuse Mike when he eats them (they're just so tiny!). “You... made this?”
“Yes,” Harvey says simply, and starts eating. After a moment, Mike does too. He has to admit, it is pretty delicious. Though the whole Stepford Harvey thing continues to freak him out a bit. Especially when Harvey says,
“Oh, and I baked a cake.”
Harvey feels that this evening has gone gratifyingly well. Mike had looked pleasingly shocked when he'd walked in, and seemed to like the food if the way he cleaned his plate is anything to go by. Harvey maybe thinks he even heard a moan when Mike tasted his cake.
Once they finish, Mike sits staring at the table while Harvey cleans up. Finally, he says,
“I don't get it. I mean... why? Candles?” For some reason, that's what he's really stuck on.
“Jesus, you're stupid,” Harvey says, shaking his head. Seeing the stricken look on Mike's face, he huffs a laugh. “And you're going to make me say it out loud, aren't you?”
Now Mike just looks confused. Harvey looks at him for a moment, trying to convince himself that this isn't the hardest thing he's ever done, even if it feels like it. He takes a quiet breath, fortifying himself, then looks Mike dead in the eye and says,
“Mike. I'm in love with you. Hopelessly, completely in love with you.”
Mike looks gratifyingly gobsmacked. Harvey can't help but smirk.
“There. Are you happy now?”
Mike continues to look absolutely shocked for one nerve-wracking minute. Then, when Harvey doesn't look away, doesn't play it off, he starts to smile. Then he grins.
“Yeah. I'm happy now.”
Just so you know, I do have a sequel planned and started. When it will be finished is anyone's guess, but rest assured that it is coming.