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Chapter Text

Just 24 hours ago Mike had been living a normal, boring life.
Just 24 hours ago he had been sitting at the table, eating breakfast with his family.
And just 24 hours ago his parents had been alive.
Now he was sitting in his room, his back against the wall, sobbing as his grandmother softly knocked on the door, begging for him to let her in.
His parents were gone, he would never see them again or hear their voices.
Mike wished he had been with them, he wished he had died too because he couldn’t handle this pain. He didn’t know how he could ever live a single day without them in his life, it felt impossible.
When the sobs had died down to sniffles and he could finally breathe normally again, he slowly got up and opened the door where his grandmother was still waiting, patiently.
He didn’t even look at her, instead he just walked over to his bed and sat down on it, wiping at his eyes.
His grandmother sat down next to him, lovingly stroking his back.
“I know this isn’t a good time, but I need to tell you something Michael”
“Are you going to die too?”
He asked in a quiet, frightened voice. He knew his grandmother was sick, she had been for a while.
Dad said she was only getting sicker and sicker.
“No not yet”
She said and Mike sighed in relief. He couldn’t lose her too, if grammy died then he would be alone.
The thought made his stomach turn and he didn’t even want to begin to imagine what would happen the day his grandma left him too.
“I thought it would be best if you heard this from me and not someone else”
His grandmother seemed to be struggling with finding the right words, which scared him. What was happening?
“Your dad, he’s not- “
She interrupted herself and Mike felt his heart start to beat faster in his chest.
“My dad is not what?”
“He’s not your dad”
Mike must have heard that wrong. His dad wasn’t his dad? That was just not possible. He had heard the stories about a million times, of how his parents met and fell in love before deciding to have a kid together. He also knew that his mother would never cheat on his father. They loved each other.
It seemed like grammy knew exactly what he was thinking about.
“They lied in their stories. Your dad met your mom when she was already 5 months pregnant”
Mike didn’t answer her. He couldn’t find the words.
He had been awake for less than an hour and he had not only lost his parents but found out that in a way his life had been a lie.
Grammy pleaded as he started to get up from the bed.
“I need to get some fresh air”
Mike mumbled before leaving his grandmother alone in his room.

His grandmother threw her arms around him as he entered through the door, and she hugged him so tightly that he could barely breathe.
“I thought I’d lost you too”
She said which caused him to feel an immense guilt over leaving the house not to return until hours later.
At first, he had just been walking, waiting for it all to sink in, but then eventually he ended up going to Trevor’s house.
His best friend had recently gotten his hands on a new video game and what started as just trying the game had ended up being hours of the boys playing together.
Mike had completely forgotten about the events of today but now it all came crashing down on him again.
“I’m sorry. I just went to Trevor’s house”
“Never disappear like that again. Never”
She lightly scolded while releasing the boy.
“I promise”

Mike clutched the photo tightly in his hand as he stared at the man with his arm over his mother’s shoulders. The man that was apparently his father.
Without really wanting to he located a few similarities between the man’s face and his own.
He turned the picture around and on the back, someone had written ‘Nina and Harvey’ with a heart next to it.
He turned the picture around again and studied the young version of his mother and his biological father, they looked so happy.
“What happened between them?”
Mike asked and his grandmother sighed. If it was one thing that was clear, it was that she did not like Harvey Specter.
“Your mother was madly in love with Harvey. She wanted to marry him and build a family with him, but Harvey broke her heart. He never loved her, he cheated on her and then he left when he found out about you”
Mike frowned, his real dad sounded like a total douche. It sounds like his mother was really lucky to find his dad, someone who treated her right.

The next morning when Mike made his way down the stairs, he was met by the smell of coffee and his grandmother cleaning up in the living room.
She rarely drank coffee herself so it would often mean that she was expecting a guest.
“Who’s coming?”
He asked, thinking that it would be one of his grandmother’s friends.
“Harvey Specter is coming by”
Mike froze in place, why was he coming by? Mike didn’t want anything to do with him, not after learning what kind of person he was.
Suddenly his grandmother adapted the same struggling expression she had yesterday when she told him about the man. It looked like things were just getting worse.
“I want to see if he’s willing to take custody over you”
Mike exploded, she wanted to just dump him over to a douche stranger? Father or not, he was still a douche.
“I’m not going to stay with him!”
“Michael. He might not be the best man in the world, but he is your father and it’s better than ending up in the foster system”
Mike couldn’t believe his ears, how could his grandmother do this to him? How could she just throw him out as if he was nothing but trash?
“I want to stay with you”
“You can’t”
“Why? Because you’re not technically my grandmother? Well that’s bullshit!”
He couldn’t even remember the last time he yelled at his grammy like this, and he could see a mixture of shock and exasperation on her face.
“No because I’m sick, Michael and I might not be around for much longer”
All his anger disappeared at her words. His dad had warned him over and over again about the fact that his grandmother could leave them soon, but grammy had never admitted it herself.
She always kept insisting that she was fine.
Mike opened his mouth to apologize but was interrupted by the doorbell ringing and his grandmother walked past him.
He sat down on the couch as he heard the door open.
“Mr. Specter”
He heard his grandmother say in an ice-cold tone.

Chapter Text

Harvey groaned as the phone rang and he hoped that Donna would handle whatever it was.
He was in the middle of a big, difficult case and had just spent two hours in a meeting and he had even more meetings to come, this was his only chance to relax.
He groaned again when he heard Donna’s voice over the intercom.
“Whatever it is, handle it”
“I think it’s important”
Harvey looked through the glass at his secretary that was giving him a serious look and he sighed before telling her to let the call through.
At first Harvey was barely listening, just humming in acknowledgment in the right places but soon he heard exactly what made the phone call so important and by the time the phone call was over he was still in complete shock.
He slowly put the receiver down while the woman’s word slowly started to sink in.
As soon as he put it down Donna got up from her desk and walked into his office.
“What was it about?”
Harvey looked up at her, disbelief written all over his face.
“I have a son”
Donna looked just as shocked as he felt and she slowly sank back on the couch, both of them just sitting in silence for a minute.
“Who’s the mother?”
Donna nodded and they both fell silent again.
His secretary had never met Nina but Harvey had told her about his ex- girlfriend.
It had been 12 years since Harvey met Nina in a coffeeshop and the two had felt an instant connection.
Their romance had been brief but intense, Harvey had loved her and she had loved him but eventually they had ended up being toxic to each other so they made a mutual decision to break it all off. They had said goodbye and then both of them had walked away with broken hearts.
Nina had never contacted him again, no calls, no texts and not a single word about her being pregnant with his child.
“Why contact you now?”
Donna suddenly asked in a suspicious tone, probably thinking that Nina had decided she wanted child support or something like that.
“There was a car accident last night, Nina and her husband both died at the scene”
It felt strange knowing that the girl he once loved was gone from this earth, despite his current feelings about her. What felt even stranger though was the thought that her husband had taken his place, the place he never even got the chance to take.
“What’s his name?”
“Michael. His name is Michael James Ross”
His son had another man’s name. Harvey wished Nina wasn’t gone, so that he could yell at her, sue her or just something.
She was gone though and now he didn’t know what to do. Did his son even know about him?
“Are you going to visit him?”
“I don’t know Donna”
“Harvey, you have to. I’ll get you the phone number”
The secretary got up from the couch and left the room before Harvey even had the chance to protest.

Harvey stared at the phone, trying to get his hand to just pick it up and call already.
He didn’t think he’d ever been this nervous over a simple phone call before but then again, he had never been in this kind of situation before.
Did his son even want to meet him? Did he even know about all of this or did Harvey have to be the one to tell the kid that a big part of his life had been a huge lie?
He looked through the glass at Donna and she gave him an encouraging nod and he sighed before deciding to just get it over with.
After the fifth tone, he started to think that no one would pick up but then finally he heard an old woman’s voice.
“You’ve reached Edith Ross”
The woman said in a warm, gentle voice and Harvey thought that this wouldn’t be that bad.
“Hello Mrs. Ross, my name is Harvey Specter”
“Mr. Specter, I was wondering if I would get a call from you”
Harvey raised his eyebrows in confusion as the woman’s voice suddenly turned cold. He couldn’t understand why the woman seemed mad at him, if anyone was going to be mad about this situation it should be him.
“Mrs. Ross, I heard about Nina and James, and I’m really sorry for your loss.”
Edith didn’t answer but he could hear her scoff. Harvey cleared his throat before continuing.
“I just wanted to-“
“You want to meet Michael”
She interrupted, not sounding too happy about it but then she sighed deeply.
“I need to talk to you anyway, and I’d rather not do it over the phone.”
He agreed on coming by the next morning and after giving him the address the woman hung up without even saying goodbye.

The next morning Harvey was standing outside the house that had belonged to his ex-girlfriend and her husband. He had to take a minute to breathe before ringing the doorbell.
The door opened and he came face to face with Edith Ross. She looked like a sweet old grandmother, but the look in her eyes told him that she could kill a man and not think twice about it.
“Mr. Specter”
She greeted, her voice just as cold as it had been on the phone.
“Mrs. Ross”
He answered, giving her a smile that she did not return, instead she just made a gesture that told him to come in.
He took of his coat before following the old lady into the living room where a blonde boy was sitting on the couch, fiddling absently with a cushion.
“Do you want some coffee?”
“Yes please”
Edith disappeared into the kitchen and Harvey sat down on the couch next to the boy, his boy.
He was sitting next to his son, his own flesh and blood, he couldn’t believe it.
“You must be Michael”
He said in a polite tone and the kid lifted his head and looked at him for the first time. He was taken aback by how much he looked like his mother, with the blue eyes and the innocent, young face but he could also see parts of himself in the boy’s face.
“It’s Mike”
The boy corrected him, his voice just as cold as his grandmother’s. Why were they so cold towards him?
He wanted to ask the kid but before he had the chance Edith returned with two cups of coffee in her hands and a folder under her arm.
She placed the cups on the coffee table before sitting down in one of the armchairs opposite the couch.
Harvey took a sip of his coffee as he glanced at the folder, Edith noticed his gaze and decided to just bring it up instead of beating around the bush.
“As you know James and Nina both passed away, and that leaves just us two, there’s no other family”
Edith grabbed the folder and handed it over to Harvey who opened it and looked at the papers inside. Edith wanted him to take custody.
“I’m sick and I have been for a long time. I am not a fit guardian”
She looked sad over this fact, which he could understand. Mike might not be her biological grandson but in every other way he was and it was probably hard for her to just hand her grandson off to a stranger.
Harvey flipped through the pages, this was not what he had expected. He had been willing to form a relationship with the boy but this was way bigger than that. Harvey knew nothing about being a father, he barely had any experiences with kids. He had taken care of his brother’s kids a couple of times but that was in the role of an uncle, and that was totally different from being a dad.
“You need some time to think about it?”
She questioned and Harvey nodded.
“Of course, you do”
Edith remarked, sounding as if she had fully expected that. Harvey really couldn’t understand the coldness from both Edith and Mike.
He decided to ignore her remark and instead glanced down at the papers again.
Was he ready to become a father?

Chapter Text

Mike could hear the footsteps coming into the living room but he didn’t dare to lift his head and look at the man. This whole situation still felt so unreal and he discretely pinched his arm just to be totally sure that this wasn’t a dream. Unfortunately, this was all real and his parents were really dead and he was really about to meet his father for the first time.
His grandmother disappeared into the kitchen and he could feel the dip of the couch as the man sat down.
“You must be Michael”
Mike slowly lifted his head and looked at the man. It was without a doubt the man from the photo, except he looked a decade older and he was wearing a fancy suit that looked like it was worth a fortune.
“It’s Mike”
He corrected before adverting his gaze from Harvey. His grandmother returned with the coffee and the folder containing all the paperwork needed for Harvey to become Mike’s legal guardian.
Harvey opened the folder and looked at the papers and Mike glanced at the lawyer, trying to see his reaction but the man didn’t show anything.
“You need some time to think about it?”
Harvey nodded and Mike couldn’t help feeling disappointed, despite knowing better.
The man didn’t want him eleven years ago so why would he want him now?
Sure Harvey hadn’t said no yet but he expected him to and the look in his grandmother’s eyes told him that she was thinking it too.
After Harvey had received the folder, the tension in the room was so thick you could cut it with a knife and as soon as Harvey had finished his coffee he fled the house claiming he had a meeting.
He said goodbye to Mike but it wasn’t returned.
As soon as the door was closed he looked up at his grandmother.
“What happens if he says no?”
He had expected his grandmother to smile and say that it was all going to be okay, just like she always did, but this time she didn’t smile.
“I don’t know, Michael. I don’t know”

That night he was unable to fall asleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about the future and all the uncertainty surrounding it. Mike didn’t want to go to a foster home and he didn’t want to leave his grandmother. There had to be some way to fix this, perhaps he could live at Trevor’s house or he could run away and return to his grandmother as soon as people stopped looking for him.
He knew that his ideas were stupid but if there was even a chance that they would work then he needed to come up with plans.
He needed to be prepared for Harvey rejecting him, just like he had done eleven years earlier.

When he walked down the stairs the next morning he heard a man’s voice from the living room and he was sure that it didn’t belong to Harvey.
He carefully avoided the step he knew used to creak as he made his way down, trying to hear what was being said.
The man mentioned his parents’ names and he got a sinking feeling in his stomach. What if the man was here regarding the custody situation, what if he was already being separated from his grandmother. Mike was thinking about running out the door and follow through on his previous ideas when he heard the man mentioning money.
“If you pursue this in court, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive anything”
He realized that the man was a lawyer and he sat down on one of the steps, listening to the conversation that were taking place in the living room.
The amount of money being offered was just a year’s rent, give or take, and that gave him a sickening feeling. It was bad enough that the man was putting a value on his parents’ lives, but the fact that his grandmother couldn’t get more than that was horrible.
His grandmother ended up accepting the money and the lawyer walked towards the door with a smile on his face. Just as he was about to leave he turned around and smiled at Mike.
Mike got up from the step and walked into the living room where his grandmother was sitting.
“Grammy, are you okay?”
He asked and his grandmother immediately wiped away a tear from her cheek before she smiled at him and nodded.
“Everything’s okay”
“How do you know?”
His grandmother’s smile widened and he realized that it was a genuine smile and not a fake smile used to give him security.
“Harvey called earlier and he said yes”
Mike sat down on the couch while he tried to process her words. Harvey had decided to take custody of him. It meant that he wouldn’t have to go to a foster home, it meant that he could still visit his grandmother but at the same time it meant that he would have to move and the scariest part was that it meant that his biological father, that he just had found out about, was going to become a part of his life.

It turns out that Harvey being a hot shot lawyer was a big advantage and the process that normally could take months or even years were scaled down to two weeks thanks to Harvey’s many contacts.
It was a big advantage considering the fact that just a week after his parents passed away, his grandmother collapsed and had to go to the hospital.
Luckily she could go home the very same day but with the order of bedrest which meant it was hard for her to take care of Mike.
So in that way the short process time was good because even though Mike was reluctant to be separated from his grandmother he knew that she was too sick to take care of him at the moment and without him around she could focus on getting better instead of focusing on him.

Mike hugged his grandmother tightly as he said goodbye to her, trying not to cry. He wanted to appear strong so that his grandmother wouldn’t feel bad about sending him away.
He knew his grandmother was holding back her tears as well in order to not make him feel bad about leaving her.
When he finally released her she smiled lovingly at him.
“Promise me that you’ll visit as often as you can”
“I promise grammy”
She then turned to Harvey, who had patiently been waiting while they said their goodbyes, and she gave him a stern look.
“You better take care of him, Mr. Specter”
“I promise”
Harvey then shook her hand before lifting Mike’s heavy bag.
“Ready, kid?”
Mike wasn’t ready at all, he wasn’t ready to leave his old home and old life behind but he had to be strong for his grammy, therefore he nodded.
Harvey smiled at him before saying goodbye to grammy and walking out the door, Mike followed him and got in to the car that would take him to his new home.

Chapter Text

The tension in the room was unbearable and even though he usually prided himself with being able to handle awkward situations, he now found himself at loss with words.
He had no idea what to say to lighten the mood, and they both managed to make him feel unwanted so he excused himself by claiming he had a meeting to get to.
He said goodbye to Mike but the kid didn’t even look at him and he couldn’t help to feel slightly disappointed.
Harvey didn’t have a meeting until the afternoon which meant he was now forced to meet Donna, who would without a doubt pester him with a million questions.
As expected, the first thing he heard when he reached Donna’s desk was her excited voice.
“How did it go? How was he? Was he cute?”
“It went terrible and I’m pretty sure my son hates me”
He answered and her face fell.
Harvey walked into his office and sat down at his desk with a sigh, placing the folder on his desk.
Donna followed him inside and of course she immediately reached for the folder and he didn’t stop her.
“You’re going to take custody?”
“I don’t know”
“Harvey, you have to”
He sighed, of course she would try to convince him to go through with it, just like she had convinced him to visit Mike.
“Harvey, he’s your son”
“Did you miss the part where he hates me? The only reason they’re even asking is because Edith Ross is sick and can’t take care of him. They need me, but they don’t want me”
It was a difficult situation to say the least and Donna sat down.
“Tell me everything”
There wasn’t much to tell really but he told her about how both Edith and Mike had acted cold towards him and how it was painfully obvious that Edith really didn’t want to ask him to take custody but had no other choice.
“He’s only 11 and he just got a new dad. He’ll get over it and you’ll get along in no time”
“I don’t know if I’m going to do this”
“You will”
Donna gave him that smile that she always had every time she knew she was right, which was more often than not.

Of course, to no one’s surprise Donna was right yet again.
He decided to go through with it the same night when he sat alone in his apartment and his mind started to imagine what it would be like to have another person there.
He didn’t know how to be a father but he could learn along the way just like he and Mike had to learn to get along.
It wouldn’t be easy but it would be better than abandoning the kid when he needed him.
He knew enough about foster care to know that too many people was foster parents for the wrong reasons, and many times it could end with neglect or even abuse.
He just couldn’t let that happen to the poor boy.
That’s why he called Edith the first thing he did the next morning, just to make sure that they knew and could stop worry about it.
Hopefully it would take some weight of their shoulders and they could enjoy their last months living together without fearing for the future.

That had been the plan at least, to let it take it’s time so that he wouldn’t rip the boy away from his grandmother sooner than needed but the plans changed drastically as he got a phone call from Edith, who had been brought to the hospital after a collapse.
“They say it’s bad, Mr. Specter”
She told him and the old woman sounded like she was going to break apart any second.
“It’s really bad and I don’t know how much time I have left”
Despite having only met the woman once his heart broke at her words.
Harvey couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like for Mike when his grandmother died, especially if it would happen this close to his parents’ deaths.
He offered her all the help he could give but she only wanted one thing. She wanted him to take care of Mike and as soon as they hung up he started to pull all the strings he could to speed it all up.
Donna was delighted by the fact that Mike was going to come sooner because that meant that she could start remake his home office to a bedroom.
Harvey didn’t dare to stand in her way as she picked out everything from the wallpaper to the bed and he already knew that Donna would be spoiling the kid.
Mike wasn’t even living with him yet but his secretary was already making notes about all the things she could buy the kid if he needed or wanted them and Harvey made a mental note to make sure he got his credit card back from her.

A week after Edith’s pleading to take care of the kid, everything was ready thanks to Harvey’s many contacts and after work on Friday he went to pick the boy up.
He felt nervous, after today his life would forever be changed, after today he would no longer be a bachelor but he would be a single father.
For the next seven years he would be responsible for another life and that was a terrifying thought, he could easily mess up the kid forever.
However, he had reached the point of no return and he had no other choice but to push the anxiety aside and appear confident.
He patiently waited for Mike to say goodbye to his grandmother, and even though they were both trying their best to appear strong, it was painfully obvious that they were just seconds away from falling apart.
Edith then turned to him and gave him a stern look before making him promise to take care of Mike and he had every intention to honor that promise.
Then for the first time since they met the coldness disappeared completely and instead she gave him a small, grateful smile while they shook hands.
He then grabbed Mike’s heavy bag and asked if he was ready and even if it was clear that he wasn’t, he nodded and they walked out and left Mike’s old home behind.

After a car ride spent in awkward silence they finally made it back to Harvey’s condo.
He let the kid go in first and even though he tried to appear nonchalant, Harvey could see the wonder in the blue eyes as the kid saw his new home for the first time.
“Welcome home, Mike”
He said and smiled at the boy, but as expected the smile wasn’t returned so instead he cleared his throat and showed him to his new room.
“My secretary picked all the stuff out, if you don’t like it we can change it”
“I like it, it’s nice”
Harvey nodded before putting the luggage down before turning around to go back to the kitchen and figure out what they should eat for dinner.
He was stopped by Mike’s voice
“Mr. Specter?”
He corrected, he didn’t expect Mike to call him dad but he didn’t want his son to use a formal title either.
Mike anxiously looked down at his hands as if he dreaded asking the question, or rather dreading the answer.
“You will let me visit grammy, right?”
He looked up again and his eyes were filled with fear and Harvey realized that Mike was genuinely afraid that he wouldn’t be allowed to see his grandmother.
Jesus, how cruel did the kid think he was?
“Of course, you can see her whenever you want”
Mike visibly relaxed and mumbled a thank you.
Harvey smiled at him again and this time it was actually returned, with a very small smile.
He then left the room and let Mike settle in.

Chapter Text

It was no surprise that Harvey’s apartment was luxurious but Mike was still in awe of the apartment who looked like it costed a fortune.
He couldn’t help but wonder what his life would have been like if Harvey had stuck around and been his father.
Perhaps he would have been a spoiled little brat whose dad bought him everything he pointed at.
Harvey showed him to the room that from now on would be his bedroom.
He had expected to be given an old guest room or something but instead he was met by brand new, expensive looking, furniture and even the wallpaper seemed new.
“My secretary picked all the stuff out, if you don’t like it we can change it.”
“I like it, it’s nice.”
He answered while he carefully sat down on the bed, running his hand over the blue covers.
The room really was nice, his secretary had done a good job and created a good base.
Mike just needed to personalize it a bit and then maybe it would feel more like home, it would never feel like his old room but hopefully something close to it.
Harvey put down his luggage and turned around to walk away but Mike stopped him, feeling a little stupid when he used the formal title instead of his name.
“You will let me visit grammy, right?”
The thought had popped out of nowhere when they left the house, that maybe Harvey would decide to control his life completely and not let him see his grandmother. Maybe it was an irrational fear but if there was even a small chance that it would turn out to be the truth, he needed to know.
“Of course, you can see her whenever you want.”
The man seemed to be telling the truth and Mike relaxed, he even managed to force a smile when Harvey smiled at him.
He left the room, only to return a minute later asking if he wanted pizza and Mike said yes, but only if he could have cheese in the crust.

While eating their pizza, Harvey tried to have a conversation by asking questions like how he was doing in school or what he liked to do for fun. Mike wasn’t really in the mood for small talk but he didn’t want to be rude either, so he answered the questions but didn’t go into details and soon Harvey realized that he couldn’t get a real conversation going so he started telling him a little about his work instead.
His job didn’t sound as boring as Mike had thought and he ended up listening intently, he even laughed at a story about some guy named Louis.
For a second Mike thought that Harvey actually wasn’t that bad, but then a voice in his head reminded him of his grammy’s story and his good mood disappeared as fast as it had come.
He excused himself, claiming that he had a lot of homework.
Mike walked into his room and decided to unpack his bags, frowning when he found a picture frame underneath some clothes. He knew he hadn’t packed it so it must’ve been his grandmother, and when he saw the picture in the frame he knew why.
It was one of the few pictures that existed with both his parents, his grandmother and himself, normally his dad was behind the camera but not on this one.
They had taken the picture last year to use it as a Christmas card and despite wearing the ugliest Christmas sweaters that existed, they all hade big, genuine smiles on their faces.
Mike smiled and made a mental note to thank grammy before placing the photo on the nightstand.
After unpacking he spent the rest of the evening reading and texting Trevor until Harvey opened the door and said he should go to bed, making it sound more like a suggestion than an actual order.
He guessed that it would take some time for Harvey to get that parental authority, and even longer for Mike to actually respect that authority, if he ever would.
They said goodnight and Mike did go to bed, but he didn’t fall asleep.
He had learned that the nights were the worst, it was then his mind started to think about his parents and it was then the grief hit him full force.
When it all got too much for him, he would usually leave his room and go sleep in his grandmother’s bed but that was no longer an option and he would definitely not go to Harvey’s room.
So, after lying awake, being tortured by his own mind for hours he finally cried himself to sleep.

When Mike woke up the next day, he was surprised to see that it was already 10 AM.
His parents, and his grandmother, would never let him sleep for that long even if it was the weekend.
Mike got out of bed and got dressed before walking out to the kitchen, where Harvey was sitting with a cup of coffee and looking through some folder.
“Good morning, Mike.”
Harvey instructed him where everything was so that he could grab a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice.
He then sat down next to the man, quietly eating his breakfast while texting Trevor, who wanted to hang out this afternoon. Grammy had told him that Harvey wanted to pick him up on a Friday so that they’d have the weekend to ‘bond’, but Mike really wanted to hang out with Trevor and while in the neighbourhood he could check in on his grandmother.
“Hey, is it okay if I go hang out with a friend today, and maybe visit my grandma as well?”
He asked and Harvey turned to look at him, and for a second he thought he saw disappointment in the man’s eyes before he smiled.
“Yes of course.”
Harvey answered and Mike almost felt guilty for wanting to spend time with Trevor instead of Harvey, but they did have the entire Sunday together and besides they lived together now, so they would meet almost every single day for the next couple of years.
“But I want us to exchange phone numbers, and you should be home by- “
Harvey interrupted himself, probably wondering what curfew an eleven-year-old should have.
Mike suggested, which was a whole hour longer than his overprotective parents used to let him be out. The man agreed to the time and they exchanged numbers before Mike got ready to leave.
Harvey even gave him money for a cab, since his bike was still at his old house and it was a long way to walk.

His grandmother looked so small and frail in the big bed, and the sight scared Mike.
It reminded him of how sick she really was and how close to death she could really be.
Despite the fact that she was having a bad day, her face lit up when her grandson walked in the room and she insisted on getting a hug, even if she couldn’t even sit up without feeling an incredible pain.
“How’s everything going with Harvey?”
“It’s going great.”
He exaggerated a bit to avoid making her worry, things weren’t great with Harvey but at least it was better than he had expected.
They started to talk and Mike found out that grammy would be on bed rest for longer than she expected, but luckily one of grammy’s closest friend, a sweet lady named Rose, was moving in to take care of her.
Her friend was a couple of years older than grammy but she had the energy of someone half her age, and she was happy to help in exchange for living in the house for free.
Grammy was very happy as well, not only would she have her best friend with her all the time but she wouldn’t have to hire someone to take care of her or stay at a nursing home, which would have been way more expensive.
When Mike left his grandmother’s house a couple of hours later, they both felt calmer knowing that the other one was being taken care of.
He grabbed his bike and went over to Trevor’s house, where they had a fun time playing video games until Trevor suggested that they would go out and meet up with some of Trevor’s buddies.
Mike agreed to come along, even if he wasn’t that fond of Trevor’s friends who were older and supposedly ‘cooler’ than them.
It was the way their friendship worked though, Trevor was ‘the cool one’ and he was the boss and decision maker. Everything Trevor did, Mike did too even if he didn’t want to do it or if it was really stupid. It was the way it had always worked, and the few times that Mike had said no they had started a huge fight, where Trevor made it clear that their friendship could be over within seconds.
Mike didn’t have any other friends and he wanted to avoid losing his only friend, even if it meant that he sometimes had to do things he didn’t want to do.
This became clearer than ever when they had been hanging out with the older guys for a while and they suddenly decided that it was time for a smoke break.
Trevor happily grabbed two cigarettes from the pack and offered one to Mike.
Every part of him told him no, his grandfather used to smoke everyday and had died in lung cancer a couple of years back. Mike could remember every single word in the anti-smoking pamphlets he had read at the hospital but those words disappeared when Trevor spoke.
“Come on Mike, don’t be a baby.”
Trevor looked at him with a judging look on his face, and so did the older guys, and that was all it took for Mike to fall for the peer pressure and accept the poisonous stick.

When they returned to Trevor’s house Mike just felt sick while Trevor acted as if he was the coolest person on earth just because he had smoked.
As soon as they got inside, Trevor’s mother came down the stairs and told Mike that Harvey had called asking for him and it wasn’t until that moment that he realized how late it was.
Trevor’s parents weren’t that strict and they never really cared if their son stayed out late, which meant that Trevor didn’t think about what time it was.
Mike felt his pockets but realized that his phone wasn’t there, it was still on Trevor’s bedside table where he had placed it hours before.
He felt a sinking feeling in his stomach as he saw all the missed calls and text messages, he really didn’t care about the ones from Harvey but the ones from his grammy made him want to punch both Trevor and himself.
His poor grandmother must be worried sick and she didn’t need that right now. He felt so incredibly stupid when he texted Harvey saying that he was fine and that he would tell grammy that, feeling too guilty to actually call her himself.
Trevor’s mother offered to give him a ride back to Harvey’s apartment and she even offered to bring his bike, and he probably thanked her for the ride a million times when they arrived at their destination.

Harvey was sitting in the kitchen, with his arms crossed and an angry look on his face.
“I’m pretty sure we said 8.30, right?”
The man said with a calm, low voice that reminded Mike too much of his dad. When his dad got really mad he always got that voice, and it was so much worse than yelling.
“Yeah, sorry I forgot.”
Mike mumbled while Harvey stood up, still with his arms crossed.
“You forgot?”
Harvey shook his head in disbelief and yet again the man reminded him of James, which made him angry. James should be the one to stand there being mad and not this man who didn’t even want to be a father.
“Do you know how worried I was? Or how worried your grandmother was?”
“You shouldn’t have talked to her, she shouldn’t get worked up over nothing.”
Harvey opened his mouth to say something, but quickly shut it as he sniffed the air and then he took a step closer to Mike, sniffing again as to make sure that the smell was really coming from him.
“Have you been smoking?”
Mike wanted to lie but his eyes betrayed him and Harvey shook his head again.
“Michael, you’re eleven years old you shouldn’t be out late and you definitely shouldn’t be smoking!”
It sounded exactly like something James would have said, and it made Mike even angrier.
“Why do you even care?”
“Because I’m your father.”
Mike had tried not to let his anger control him but Harvey made it hard for him. The man just showed up after eleven years and tried to take over James’ role, despite the fact that he hadn’t wanted to fill the role from the beginning. That just didn’t sit right with him.
“You might be biologically but in other way James is my dad and he will always be. He gladly took the job that you didn’t even want.”
The anger disappeared from Harvey’s face and it was replaced by confusion.
“What are you talking about? Of course I wanted it.”
“Then why did you abandon me?!”
Mike yelled, suddenly unable to hold back the anger or the tears that had formed in his eyes.
Harvey’s face softened even more and so did his voice.
“Mike, your mother never told me about you. I didn’t even know that you existed until I got that phone call.”
It was Mike’s turn to be surprised, did Harvey tell the truth?
If Harvey hadn’t abandoned him, then he had been angry at the wrong person this entire time.
Mike shook his head, it couldn’t be the truth because if Harvey was telling the truth then it meant that his grandmother was the one who was lying and that just wasn’t right.
She would never lie to him, never.
Harvey showed no sign of lying, but he was a freaking lawyer and they lied all the time.
“You’re lying.”
Mike said before pushing past the man and storming off to his room while the tears started to roll down his cheeks.
“I’m not lying, Mike!”
Harvey called after him, but Mike knew he was. He trusted his grandmother and his parents more than he trusted Harvey.
He yelled at Harvey before he slammed the door shut behind him.

Chapter Text

Harvey would be lying if he said that he wasn’t a little disappointed when Mike asked him if he could visit his grandmother and his friend, instead of spending the day with him.
He had made sure he had no obligations this weekend so that he could get to know his son but apparently his son didn’t want the same thing.
He had to remind himself that this must be very hard for Mike and that there was still Sunday.
“But I want us to exchange phone numbers, and you should be home by- “
Harvey was trying to create some rules like any good, responsible parent did but he realized that he didn’t even know how long he should let the kid be out, or any other rules you should set for an eleven-year-old.
Mike suggested and it sounded fair enough, at least for the weekend and he accepted it as a curfew.
When Mike had finished eating he disappeared into his room, emerging a minute later in a new set of clothes.
“Hey Mike?”
Harvey asked when the boy opened the door, ready to leave without thinking about a very important detail.
“How were you planning on getting there?”
Mike stopped and looked at him sheepishly while mumbling that he hadn’t thought about that. Harvey chuckled and took some cash from his wallet and gave to the kid so that he could take a cab.
Mike thanked him before rushing out of the apartment and leaving Harvey alone.

Since he suddenly had an entire day off he decided to swing by the office to pick up some work.
He wanted to do work at home just in case Mike decided to come back earlier than his curfew.
The day went by pretty fast, Harvey spent his time working, talking to Donna on the phone, eating some leftover pizza and watching some baseball game on the TV.
As the evening came along he found himself constantly glancing at the clock and the door, expecting Mike to walk through it any minute now, but suddenly it was 8.30 and there was still no sign of the boy.
He tried not to worry, he had probably just forgot about the time or he was on his way home right now.
Harvey sent a text reminding Mike about what time it was but he received no answer.
Thirty minutes and a dozen of texts and calls later Harvey did start to worry.
What if something had happened to him?
He could’ve been in an accident, or been kidnapped, or god forbid he could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere.
It was that thought that made him call Mike’s grandmother, hoping that she would be awake and that she would know where Mike could be.
“I’m sorry to bother you Mrs. Ross, but is Mike with you?”
“No, he left hours ago. I thought he’d be home by now?”
“He was going to a friend after visiting you but he should have been back half an hour ago and he won’t answer his phone.”
Harvey surprised himself with how he already managed to sound like a worried parent, even if he had just been one for a little over a week.
“He’s with that damn Trevor.”
Edith said, and it was clear by the old woman’s voice that she did not like Mike’s friend.
“I take it you’re not very fond of Trevor?”
“He’s not a good kid, you should make sure Mike stays away from him.”
Harvey didn’t think he was in the position to decide who Mike should be friends with and not, but he still promised Edith to do his best before she gave him the phone number to Trevor’s house.
Trevor’s mother did nothing to still his worry when she said that the boys were out and she didn’t know where they were but she would send Mike home as soon as they returned.
Harvey soon found himself pacing the apartment, looking at his phone every other second just in case he had somehow missed an answer from Mike.
It was 9.25 and Harvey was thinking about going out to look for the kid when he finally received a simple text saying that Mike was fine and that he should let his grammy know.
Now that he was certain that his son was okay, the worry was replaced with anger and he sat down on a chair, waiting for Mike to return.

As soon as he heard the door open, he crossed his arms and made himself ready to scold the boy.
He had been spending some time thinking about how he should react to all of this, and he had decided to not go too easy on him, and make him believe that Harvey was a pushover, instead he had decided to assert his authority.
“I’m pretty sure we said 8.30, right?”
“Yeah, sorry I forgot.”
“You forgot?”
Harvey got up while he shook his head in disbelief, he would have accepted that an hour ago but now it just wasn’t a good enough excuse.
“Do you know how worried I was? Or how worried your grandmother was?”
Mike didn’t even seem to feel guilty about the fact that he had worried him, so he decided to bring up his grandmother and that did the trick.
Mike suddenly looked guilty before he said that Harvey shouldn’t have talked to her and gotten her worked up, as if it wasn’t him that had been the cause of her getting worked up.
Harvey was about to point this out to him when he picked up a sudden smell, it smelled like cigarette smoke. It seemed to be coming from Mike and he took a step closer, sniffing to make sure that it really was coming from the boy.
“Have you been smoking?”
He could see the guilt in his son’s eyes and Harvey shook his head in disbelief again.
Weren’t these kinds of behaviors supposed to come with teenagers, not eleven-year-olds?
Harvey had thought that he would get a couple of years before this kind of thing happened.
“Michael, you’re eleven years old you shouldn’t be out late and you definitely shouldn’t be smoking!”
“Why do you even care?”
“Because I’m your father.”
The guilt disappeared from Mike’s eyes and was replaced by anger.
“You might be biologically but in other way James is my dad and he will always be. He gladly took the job that you didn’t even want.”
Harvey was taken aback by Mike’s words, why would he think that he didn’t want to be his father?
He had taken on the job now, and if he had known about Mike eleven years ago he would have done the same.
Sure, it would’ve been scary and a big change, but he would never have let Nina raise him without him in the picture.
“What are you talking about? Of course, I wanted it.”
“Then why did you abandon me?!”
Mike’s yell surprised him, he wasn’t surprised by the anger but by the pain he could hear in his son’s voice.
It all suddenly made sense, why both Mike and Edith had been so cold towards him because they believed that he had left.
Oh god, Mike really believed the lie someone fed him, and he was really asking his father why he abandoned him, and it broke Harvey’s heart.
“Mike, your mother never told me about you. I didn’t even know that you existed until I got that phone call.”
The kid looked surprised at his words, and Harvey felt guilty for not even thinking about talking about the past with him, instead he just let his son believe that he was abandoned.
He could see the internal struggle on his face, he went from surprised to puzzled and then finally he landed in denial.
“You’re lying.”
He said before he pushed past him and stormed off to his room.
“I’m not lying, Mike!”
The door slammed behind Mike and Harvey sat down again, releasing a deep sigh.
He wanted to go after him but it would only make things worse, so instead he decided to go to bed and deal with this in the morning.

The next morning he decided to call Edith since he wanted to talk to her too, since she seemed to believe the same thing Mike did. They agreed that Mike and Harvey would drop by later and Harvey hung up before reading the newspaper while waiting for the kid to get up.
Once he did, it was obvious that he was still angry about last night.
Mike was pouting and did everything he could to show Harvey that he was still mad and Harvey had to keep himself from laughing at the kid’s dramatics.
“I was thinking about visiting your grandmother today, do you want to come?”
He asked, doubting that Mike would ever say no to visiting his grandmother even if he knew that there would be a serious conversation waiting.
Mike proved this by quickly glancing at Harvey and then nodding.
“Sorry, I didn’t hear that.”
Mike rolled his eyes, and Harvey wondered if Mike really was eleven and not a teenager.
“Yes, I would like to come.”
He said, with a faked polite voice.
“Great, we’ll go as soon as you’ve had breakfast.”

Half an hour later they arrived at their destination where Edith’s friend welcomed them.
They were shown upstairs where Edith were lying in her bed, looking much paler and sicker than Harvey could’ve imagined.
Despite her weakness, she managed to greet them with a smile and even got Mike to hug her before she lightly scolded him for yesterday.
Harvey sat down in an armchair while Mike took a seat on the edge of the bed.
“It has come to my attention that there’s two sides of the story here, and I would just at least get the opportunity to tell you my side.”
Mike rolled his eyes again, clearly not ready to listen to him but Edith looked at him with curious eyes and prompted him to continue with a nod.
“I’m not entirely sure about what exactly you’ve been told but I never left Nina and I never left you, Mike.”
He tried to establish eye contact with him but the kid refused to look at him.
“I met your mother 12 years ago and we fell in love. We really loved each other but we ended up being bad for each other. We made a mutual decision to break up and then we walked away from each other and I never heard from her ever again. She never told me that she was pregnant, I never even got the chance to be your father.”
Both of them were quiet and for a second he thought that they had really understood, until Mike looked at him and there was still denial written all over his face.
He got up from the bed and looked at Harvey with anger in his eyes.
“You’re still lying! You’re just trying to justify it because you’re a coward!”
For a moment the room went silence while Harvey desperately tried to come up with an answer that wouldn’t make him even more upset.
They both turned and looked at the old woman in the bed. She slowly reached out her hand and took Mike’s hand in hers.
“I think I believe him.”

Chapter Text

Surely, he must have heard her wrong, how could she so easily believe his story when she was the one telling him the other side of the story, and when she carried so much dislike for the man.
“Are you serious?”
He asked, but she didn’t answer instead she just gestured for him to sit down again and after a few seconds of hesitation, he reluctantly sat down.
“First of all, the story I told you was what your mother told us and just because it’s the story we chose to believe for all these years, doesn’t mean it’s the truth. To be completely honest I’ve always had my doubts about it but I have never questioned it before since I trusted your mother. Second of all I do think that Nina would lie about something like that.”
Mike frowned at her words, he didn’t know what she meant by that.
His mother had always been a kind, honest person and he was more willing to believe that Harvey would lie than his mother.
“What do you mean by that?”
He asked his grandmother in an accusing tone which caused her to sigh.
“Your mother always had very strong beliefs that a child could not be happy with separated parents, since her own parents got divorced and she was truly unhappy with the situation.”
His mother’s parents had both died when he was very young and he had no memory of them at all, but he was sure that his mother never mentioned that they were divorced or that they were anything but the perfect parents that never gave her a reason to be unhappy.
“I can easily imagine that she wouldn’t want to involve you Harvey, because if you wanted to be a part of it, then Mike would have separated parents and to Nina that meant that Mike would not be happy and not feel safe.”
“Did she really think that?”
Mike questioned as his grandmother painted up a picture of his mother that he didn’t recognize at all.
“When you were five, James wanted to get a divorce but Nina wouldn’t let that happen and they fought constantly, I honestly thought they would end up killing each other. Your mother just wouldn’t let him leave.”
The only thing he remembered was that his dad started to drink a lot when he was five, but he never knew that it was because of his mother and a possible divorce.
In his eyes his parents had always been the perfect couple, but it seemed as if another part of his life had been a complete lie.
“I just need to be alone and think.”
Mike said before he got up and walked out of the room.

He fled to the room that he once knew as his and sat down on the bed. The room was small and kind of cramped, it had been a guest room before his parents had decided to move his sick grandma in to the house. Mike had been more than happy to trade his bedroom for the smaller guest room in order to give his grandmother the bigger room.
He didn’t know why but he had always had a special bond with his grammy, and he had always been close to her and ready to do everything to make sure that she was alright, but now for the first time in his life he was unsure if he could trust her.
His head was spinning, someone had been lying to him but he didn’t know who.
The first option was that Harvey was lying and he had actually abandoned him, which of course raised the question if the man had changed or if he was doing this because he felt like he had to.
Even if the man had changed, the thought of being abandoned, of being unwanted really hurt and he wasn’t sure if he could ever get over that if that was the truth.
The second option was that Harvey was telling the truth and his mother had been the one lying.
If that was the case then Mike had treated Harvey unfairly, when the man was just trying to connect to the son he never knew he had.
Mike really wished that his mother could still be here so that he could confront her and ask her why she had kept this from him, why she let him live a lie and ask if she had ever planned to tell him.
He wanted to know if his mother had never told him the truth in order to protect him from knowing that he was unwanted or if it had been for her own selfish reasons.
The thought of his mother, mixed with all of the confused feelings, caused tears to escape his eyes.
He cried because he wanted his mother back, even if it was to just confront her, and he wanted the man he’d known as his father back too.
He cried because he didn’t know what to do or who to believe, he was lost and his parents weren’t there to guide him.
All he had now was his grammy and his new dad, and he didn’t know even if he could trust them right now.
A part of him desperately wanted someone to come in and tell him that it was going to be okay and provide him a magical solution to this trust dilemma, but the other part of him didn’t want to show how much this affected him.
Luckily when Harvey knocked on the door a while longer, the tears had dried and Mike didn’t have to show his weakness in front of him.

Several kids stared at the car as it stopped in front of the school building, it wasn’t often that you saw someone arrive in a car as nice as the one Mike was in.
He took a deep breath before he opened the door and stepped out of the car.
“Thanks for the ride, Ray.”
Mike politely said to the driver, who he had really taken a liking to despite having only met the man this morning.
“Have a good day.”
Harvey said and Mike answered with a quick ‘you too’. They hadn’t really talked to each other since they returned from his grandmother, mostly because Mike had shut himself in his room and Harvey had respected his will to be alone.
The car left and Mike walked into the school building, ignoring the way people whispered about him.
He couldn’t really blame them for wondering, he usually arrived to school in his father’s old Volvo and not an expensive, classy car like he had today.
They would wonder about it for a while and then forget about it, or at least that’s what he thought.
Mike was on his way to his second lesson of the day when Kyle and his minions showed up out of nowhere, circling around him like predators circling their pray.
“What do you want?”
He asked, trying to sound tough despite feeling like a zebra cornered by a group of lions.
“I heard you had a new daddy.”
Kyle said and Mike couldn’t help but frown. He hadn’t told anyone about Harvey, well apart from Trevor but his best friend would never tell anyone else if Mike didn’t want him to.
Mike sighed, Kyle’s try to taunt him was just pathetic, pointing out that he had a new dad wouldn’t annoy him or hurt him since he was simply stating a fact.
He would just have to wait for Kyle to realize that he wouldn’t succeed in his bullying attempt today and leave him alone so that he could go to his lesson.
Kyle however was not done, instead he managed to press just the right button.
“Are you sure that it’s your real daddy this time? I mean you have had two now, who’s to say there aren’t more options out there? Your mother seemed to be a real who-“
Kyle didn’t get the chance to finish that word before Mike’s fist connected with his face.
Mike had never been the violent type but Kyle’s words really made him see red, Kyle knew that his mother was dead and still he dared to speak of her that way.
No matter how he felt for his mother at the moment, he wouldn’t let anyone speak ill of her.
Despite the fact that Kyle was both bigger and stronger than him, he managed to tackle him to the ground and he ended up on top of him as he continued to hit him in blind rage.
Kyle managed to get in a few blows himself but it was Mike who dominated the fight, too engulfed by rage to stop.
Kyle’s minions stood like frozen next to them, they were too shocked by the sudden attack to help their leader.
The minions were suddenly pushed aside as two teachers rushed to the scene, one of them pulled Mike off of Kyle while the other teacher helped Kyle up.
“Don’t you talk about my mother ever again.”
Mike threatened as the teacher had to hold him back from Kyle, and he couldn’t help but feel a little proud when he noticed that he had managed to make the toughest kid in school look like a terrified little puppy.