”Jacket,” Donna said, snapping her fingers to get his attention when Mike walked past her desk. Mike turned around and walked back to her.
”I'm sorry, what?”
Donna didn't look up from the computer, just tapped the desk with her finger, indicating that he should place the jacket there. Mike frowned but did as she asked, dropping his bag to the floor and pulling the jacket off. He folded it on the desk, and waited for a moment to see if she would like to explain this. Donna said nothing, so he picked his bag again and turned to leave.
”Tie,” she said, when he reached the door for the second time. Mike sighed and turned, walking back to her. He pulled the knot loose and slid the tie off.
"What is this? Why do I have to..."
Donna glanced up, and Mike hurried to place the tie on top of the jacket.
"Shirt too," Donna added, after glancing at the computer.
"No, seriously, I'm not taking off my shirt!"
Donna looked up, staring at him. "You defy me, you defy Harvey. Do you want to defy Harvey, Mike?"
Mike unbuttoned his shirt with shaking fingers and pulled it off, placing it on top of the pile. He shivered when the ventilation breeze hit his bare skin. His mouth was dry and he clutched the strap of his bag, afraid to let go of it.
Donna had turned her attention back to the computer and she didn't seem to care that Mike stood there. The silence stretched on, and Mike glanced around. People came and left at the odd hours, and anyone could walk past here at any moment.
"Belt and pants."
Mike opened his mouth to say no, but then he considered what that would mean. He snapped his mouth shut. He took a deep breath and let go of the bag like he was letting go of his lifeline. He opened the belt and pulled it from the loops, folding it in half and put it on the counter. He took of his shoes, then the pants and put them on the pile as well. He felt exposed and stupid standing there with nothing but his boxers and socks. He was sure he saw Donna smile slightly.
The intercom bleeped and Donna turned to him. "You can go in now."
"I meant...Thank you, Miss."
"You are very welcome," Donna said and nodded, reaching for his clothes and pulling the pile out of his reach.
Mike didn't dare to comment on that, he simply turned around and went to the door. He hesitated for a moment, but there was no other comments from Donna, so he opened it and walked inside.
Harvey sat on his chair, his back turned to the door. He spoke on the phone. Mike didn't know what to do. He was still unsure what the rules were, and so far Harvey had been...kind. Supportive. Strangely enough.
Mike decided that it was safest to just wait. He listened Harvey's side of the conversation, but it didn't mean anything to him. It was about a car, or a house, it was hard to say. Harvey sounded pleased, however, and that made Mike relax.
He waited for so long that his mind started to wander, and so it took him a moment to realize that Harvey had turned around and was now staring at him expectantly, waving him to come closer. He took a hesitant step, but that wasn't correct, for Harvey frowned disappointingly. Mike blushed and rushed to his side, barely missing the sharp corner of the desk. Harvey grabbed his arm and yanked him down hard, and Mike crashed on his knees next to his chair.
His hand was warm against his skin, and his hold was firm. Tomorrow he would have a bruise shaped like Harvey's hand, Mike was sure of it. The thought made him shiver.
The call went on and Mike tried not to fidget, but it was hard. He breathed too shallow, his head swimming in anticipation. He tried to think why this was happening. He had been obedient and played by the rules, or by the rules that mattered, and rest of it... Well, it had been a bit difficult case. But he had won, hadn't he? Still, was Harvey disappointed? Angry? What was happening?
Finally, when Mike was about to scream to break the moment, Harvey ended the call. Mike took a deep breath, ready to defend against anything Harvey would accuse him of, but before he could say anything, Harvey turned to look at him. Mike snapped his mouth shut.
"Did you refuse to do what Donna asked you to do?"
"No, I asked why I should..."
"I thought you understood the rules, Mike."
"I do, I mean, I did memorize the dossier and..."
"I didn't ask if you can recite the rules, I asked if you understood them."
"I do. Sir."
"And why did you argue with Donna?"
Mike shook his head and stared at the floor in silence.
“Nothing? Hm. Take off the rest, and stay there,” Harvey said, releasing his hold and turning to look at the files open at his desk. Mike obeyed, balling the boxers and the socks together and setting them aside. He crouched at Harvey's feet, waiting again. It was uncomfortable to be naked, but at the same time, it felt good to be close to Harvey.
Mike waited, staring at the carpet. Suddenly Harvey patted his head, a soft and gentle gesture. Mike bit his lip and looked up.
“Good work on the Connor case, Mike.”
Mike nodded, so relieved that he felt like crying. He stayed still as Harvey kept stroking his hair, reading the case file to him in quiet voice, glancing at him ever so often.
Mike wasn't sure, but it felt like love.