|Lessons In Parenting
Author: Phoenix on cloud nine PM
"Michael James Specter," Mike said quietly – so quietly he doubted anyone could hear it. Harvey however, did hear it. And damn it, if it didn't stir up some sort of emotion within him that he couldn't pinpoint. Sequel to 'Crayons For Your Associate, Sir'.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family - Harvey S. & Mike R. - Chapters: 25 - Words: 222,514 - Reviews: 715 - Favs: 256 - Follows: 315 - Updated: 03-24-13 - Published: 03-14-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7924705
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N You guys I am so tremendously sorry about the huge wait - Uni has swamped me beyond belief and I got a job so I've had very little time to just sit down and WRITE. I really hope you all understand, so I'm giving you some lovely long Christmas fluff :)
Mike's Age: 3
Harvey was exhausted. He was incredibly happy and had that same, excited fluttering feeling in his stomach he always got when he won at court… but he was exhausted. They had just finished a very huge case that he had put hundreds of hours work into. Now all he wanted to do was create a Harvey-shaped dent in his couch and just never get back up.
The hushed voice didn't make him groan but he felt his stomach sink slightly. He blearily opened his eyes and tilted his head in the direction of the voice.
"Mike," he said in an equally soft voice. "Why aren't you asleep?"
The toddler rubbed at his eyes but dropped his gaze to the floor. "I thought you… I thought…" he started making a pattern on the floor with his foot before shaking his head. "It doesn't matter. I'll go to bed. Good night."
"Woah, wait a second," Harvey managed to pull himself upright and made a gentle grab for the kid's waist, pulling him closer. "What's up? Why aren't you in bed?"
"You haven't put me to bed yet," Mike confessed, blushing slightly. "I was waiting – you said you'd read The Lorax to me and I got it out but then you were taking ages so I was going to just go to sleep but… you hadn't tucked me in, and I thought… it doesn't matter," Mike quickly shook his head, trying to wriggle out of Harvey's grasp.
Harvey held on firmly, however, and pulled Mike onto his lap. "I'm sorry, kiddo," he said, standing up and balancing Mike on his hip. "I'm just tired. C'mon; I'll read you two books to make up for it," he gave Mike a small smile and was glad to receive a beam in response. He felt awful for making the toddler wait before going to bed when he was probably even more tired than Harvey himself. There had been a few instances so far where Mike hadn't been able to get to sleep until Harvey had actually gone through their usual bedtime routine – which surprisingly worked incredibly well and Harvey suspected it was one of Mike's favourite times of the day.
He rubbed at Mike's back as they walked into his bedroom, trying to warm the cold little body up. "We're going to have to get you thicker pyjamas," Harvey told him. "It's getting really cold."
"'Cause it's December," Mike reminded him. Before giving a gasp and squirming until he was finally placed on his bed. "It's nearly Christmas!" He exclaimed, as if Harvey weren't already aware of it. He was in fact very much aware of it. He had been worried about Christmas ever since he'd had to adopt Mike. What if it didn't go well and Mike would wish he'd never started to live with Harvey? What if Harvey couldn't muster up any Christmas spirit? He'd never really enjoyed it since he was about 15.
"What kind of tree are we getting? Can I help decorate it? What do you want for presents? What do you think Donna wants? I don't know what I want yet, can I make a Christmas list? Ooh, can I have a puppy? Can I – " He was suddenly silence when Harvey put his hand over his mouth.
"Breathe," he reminded him. "And calm down – you were tired a minute ago and I'd really like that mood to stay." Harvey picked up the book that Mike had picked out and sat on the bed, not surprised when Mike hopped up from where he had just been tucked in and scampered over to Harvey's side, snuggling into it and making sure he could see the pictures.
All of the time that Harvey was reading, he was only thinking about Christmas. Now that Mike sounded so excited, he had so many expectations of Christmas with Harvey. The older man couldn't screw it up.
He decided to first and foremost ask Donna for advice.
"Donna," he said slowly, waiting for her to take a sip of the coffee he had brought her before continuing, "Mike's expecting an amazing Christmas," he told her, watching her carefully to study her reaction. All she did was nod in agreement and glance up at him.
"I've inexplicably become obsessed with Teen Wolf," she told him. "Oh," she added at his confused face, "I'm sorry – I thought we were stating the obvious."
"The obvious?" Harvey asked, not even bothering to ask about the Teen Wolf thing. "What do you mean?"
"You're Harvey," she said to him slowly. "And he's Mike. You really think he expects you to just buy a pre-decorated tree, give him a few presents and maybe watch a Christmas movie?" She sighed at his 'well, yeah,' face. "Harvey; Mike is an incredibly sweet guy – kid," she corrected herself. "He's going to be grateful and loving regardless of what you do – and I don't think he knows it yet, but I'm pretty sure that he's expecting you to go all out for your first Christmas. I don't mean that he wants you to buy him lots of presents – I mean he expects that you're going to put in 110% effort and thought for it."
"But what does that even mean?" Harvey asked exasperatedly.
Donna stood up and walked into his office, going on his laptop and opening his netflix (he wasn't even surprised that she knew his account). "It means," she stressed, adding a stack of movies to his watch list, "that you are going to study every one of these cheesy, old, adorable Christmas movies and understand what Christmas actually means to kids."
"Donna, believe it or not I liked Christmas when I was young," Harvey rolled his eyes at her. "And I sure as hell don't need to study it and try to replicate what happens in each and every Christmas cliché. I thought you'd want it all to come from the heart?"
Donna beamed at him. "I think you're getting it, Specter. Just try not to oversell it. And make sure you know well in advance what he wants for presents. Oh, and if he's still asking for a puppy, tell him that Santa doesn't bring animals."
Harvey gave her a look. "Really? You want me to tell Mike he can't have a certain present because Santa won't bring it?"
"You'd be surprised what he'll believe now," she told him. "Just the other day, I heard him telling Norma that if she put her dentures underneath her pillow, the tooth fairy would pay her at least $3," she grinned, trying to fight off the 'aw, that was so adorable,' expression on her face.
"You think I should take him to the mall?" Harvey asked, looking serious and slightly worried. "Ask him if he wants to see Santa?"
Donna pursed her lips. "Maybe closer to the time. He'll probably be embarrassed to tell you but you know him," she reminded him. "You'll be able to tell what he wants to do, even if he doesn't tell you."
Harvey scowled and threw himself back into his chair. "That's the worst advice I've ever heard," he grumbled. "I know exactly what he wants. Kid wants lots of decorations, a nice present to give to you and a puppy. And I know he's definitely not getting one of them."
"Well then you just have to figure out what else he wants," she said mystically, before leaving the room, causing him to stay staring at his wall, stumped. What the hell did Mike want?
He knew the kid adored Christmas. That much was obvious when the first Christmas song of that year they had heard came on the radio and Mike had gasped in delight, bouncing in his seat and begging Harvey to turn it up. And now all the shops and streets had Christmas lights on, Harvey couldn't ignore Mike's beam and the light in his eyes as he stared up at them.
He had to admit, he was looking forward to decorating his condo with Mike. The first year in ages he was actually doing something and - not that he would admit it to anyone yet - he couldn't think of anyone else he'd rather decorate it with.
He just had to survive actually shopping and buying all the decorations.
It wasn't the nightmare he had assumed it would be, but it was far from easy. Harvey had (much to Mike's chagrin and had warranted Mike refusing to speak to him for all of ten minutes) insisted that; due to the crowds and how long they'd be out, Mike had to wear a pull-up. The kid was grinding his teeth whenever he was reminded of the 'evil underwear of doom' (as he referred to them) when he walked and refused to hold Harvey's hand, telling him that he was already being forced to act babyishly, so he wouldn't stoop lower.
This just caused Harvey to roll his eyes and pick the kid up, holding him on one hip as he manoeuvred around people, trying to find a shop that wouldn't play cheesy music or have a large, animatronic Santa waving at them as they entered.
He finally chanced upon a store that seemed to fit his criteria of wanting tasteful decorations, and that didn't have screaming kids running around inside. However, he didn't realise that his kid would do his damn hardest to replicate that behaviour, and soon found himself being pulled all around the store.
"Mike, slow down - they aren't going anyway."
"But I want to put decorations up now!" Mike whined slightly. "It's already the 10th of December! You've wasted 9 days already! How do you not already have decorations?"
Harvey shrugged. "I don't really do Christmas."
"Why else do you think I've been forced to bring you here?" Harvey asked him, rolling his eyes. "What colour tinsel do you want?"
"Every colour," Mike decreed, pulling at Harvey's hand towards the brightly coloured aisle. The man raised an eyebrow as he looked around the different shades that Mike was picking out.
"None of this goes together."
"It's not supposed to go together!" Mike informed him. "It's supposed to be messy, and over the top, and mismatched - it's supposed to be homely!"
Harvey sighed but then saw Mike wilt slightly in response. He added different strands of garlands to his basket before throwing in a few different coloured baubles. Mike wanted it to be homely - Harvey desperately wanted Mike to see the condo as home. If creating a completely mismatched, bomb site of a flat could help him achieve that, then he may as well give it a go, right?
"Grammy has a box of decorations we used to use," Mike informed him quietly. "Can we use them?"
And dammit if that didn't hit Harvey straight in the solar plexus. "Sure we can, kiddo," he replied softly, reaching down to hitch Mike onto his hip with one arm as he held their shopping basket in the other hand. This was partly to reassure him and also partly because they were nearing checkout and there was suddenly an alarming number of people in the shop.
He liked to think they were all drawn to his glorious presence.
After seeing him some of them turned and walked out.
He liked to think it was because he had a kid with him, and not because he had a glare on his face when he realised he'd have to push through people (and crowds still made Mike slightly nervous and Harvey didn't want to deal with having to very quickly find a toilet when he was nearly to the front of the line).
Thankfully, everything was fine and they finally emerged from the shop. Harvey stared around for a few seconds as he gained back his bearings and realised Mike was struggling against his side.
"Har-vee, I wanna walk!"
"Kid, I let you loose in here I doubt I'll see you again until you're 15."
"I promise I'll stay right by you! The whole time!" Mike wheedled, his eye line constantly drifting towards something in one of the food courts Harvey couldn't quite make out. He quickly weighed up his opinions before deciding it was easier not to fight and let Mike stand next to him instead. To his surprise, the kid clutched onto him first, instead of Harvey making the first move and grabbing Mike's hand - he soon realised this was simply because he wanted to pull Harvey towards something as quickly as possible.
"Mike, where are we going?" Harvey asked, occasionally pulling Mike's arm to lead him out of the way of much taller shoppers.
"Nowhere, I just want..." he fell silent and stopped, soon trying to draw back and stand behind Harvey. The man looked down, confused, before looking up and seeing what Mike had been wanting to go towards.
There was a large Santa Grotto in the middle of the court and there was a small line of kids all excitedly waiting for their turn to see Santa. A grumpy looking teenage elf was standing by the entrance, gloomily holding a bucket for donations from parents. Mike was staring transfixed at the fairy lights around the gingerbread-esque house but Harvey could tell he was looking from beneath his eyelashes, shyly hiding behind Harvey's leg and occasionally burying his face in it in case Harvey thought that he would want to see Santa.
Even though he really did.
"Mike?" Harvey said gently, slowly pulling the small boy from behind him. Mike looked down at his feet, unwilling to look Harvey in the eye. Harvey sighed. "Mike I can't do anything if you don't tell me what you want."
He knew - of course he knew; but he didn't want to bring it up any more than Mike did. Because whilst Mike had a fear that Harvey would laugh at him or be upset he was becoming more childish, Harvey had a fear that he would suggest seeing Santa and Mike would scorn him, declaring he couldn't think of anything else he'd hate more than to see Santa.
"Nothing," Mike mumbled, hearing Harvey sigh again and feeling a shadow of self-doubt curl up in his stomach. He wanted to go see Santa; he wanted to send him a letter, he wanted to leave out food for him in case he was hungry when he dropped the presents off. Harvey took his hand again and Mike refused to look up at him, not wanting to see either amusement or disappointment on his face.
When they got back to the condo, Mike's mood quickly returned to it's normal state of cheerfulness. With the pull-up gone and the Christmas tree set up in a corner, he was soon bouncing off the walls with excitement. They'd collected the decorations from Grammy (along with a threatening message to take lots of pictures for her) and Mike waited impatiently for Harvey to unravel some of the lights for the tree.
"Har-vee, come on!" He whined, stamping his foot slightly.
"Hey, you keep up with that and you can watch me decorate the tree from the corner," Harvey told him, nodding over to what Harvey had deemed their 'time-out corner'. Mike frowned but stopped whining, instead slowly going over to where Harvey was sitting, unravelling lights. He got to Harvey's knee and rested on it, watching the lights, before Harvey just pulled him onto his lap and placed the garlands of lights over Mike's knees as well. "You might as well help out, kid," Harvey said, taking Mike's small hands in his own and moving them to help get rid of any knots.
After they had finished, Harvey leant over to flick a switch and they sprang to life. He looked down the line, carefully checking that they were all working before letting Mike slide off his knee and wrapping the lights around the tree, making sure he'd covered a fair amount of the branches before looking back to Mike.
"What do you think?" Mike beamed and nodded wildly, before diving into the bag of tinsel. He soon came out, clutching a bunch of red in one hand and gold in the other. He held them out to Harvey, but was surprised when the man just pushed them back at him. "You're the one who wants to do it, kid."
Grinning, Mike found himself being picked up under his armpits and held up so that he could wrap the tinsel around the tree. He giggled the next two trips to the bag to get more colours as Harvey still picked him up to decorate the tree, even when it was easily in his reach. When they finished, they only had one strand of tinsel left, and so Mike strung it around Harvey's neck, ecstatic when the man didn't take it off.
As the afternoon wore on, Mike realised that Harvey was actually enjoying himself. Very soon the entirety of the condo was decorated - apart from Mike's room, and Harvey had reasoned it by saying that he didn't want Mike to 'become an idiot and choke on anything'.
Because of the excitement, Mike had been bouncing around Harvey whenever he put a new decoration up, and had lisped his words a few times.
"I think that's everything," Harvey said, glancing around the room.
"The star, Daddy, the star!" Mike pulled at his leg before freezing and flushing a bright red, his hands going towards his mouth. "Sorry, sorry, sorry - I didn't mean to say that... shit," he muttered, only to get a tap on his head.
"Hey - language," Harvey told him firmly, before kneeling down to they were face to face. "Listen to me, Mike - in the eyes of the law, I'm your father now. You want to acknowledge it's what you feel as well, then do it."
"Do you?" Mike whispered.
"Do you feel it as well?"
Harvey smiled at him and picked him up, bouncing him on his hip. "I'll admit that I'm getting used to introducing you as my son," he said, plucking the star for the top of the tree from where it had been abandoned on the couch. "Here, kiddo - you can put it up there." He reached up so that Mike could touch the top of the tree with ease and watched as the little boy carefully placed the star at the top.
Mike beamed as he placed it before finding himself being slowly taken down, still resting in Harvey's arms. He laid his cheek on Harvey's shoulder and felt the man rock slightly. He had missed nap time but through the excitement of decorating he hadn't even noticed. It was catching up with him and he felt his eyes grow heavy as he stared at the twinkling tree.
"Nap time," Harvey murmured, carefully carrying Mike to the couch and covering him in a blanket.
"Night, Daddy," Mike mumbled, barely aware of what he was doing.
After accidentally calling Harvey 'Daddy' a few times, Mike had grown used to the idea, and he was pretty sure Harvey had too. It made him feel like maybe Harvey wouldn't mind if he acted a bit more childishly - the man had casually mentioned that he still had no idea what Mike wanted for Christmas, and maybe he should write a list.
Mike couldn't really think of what he wanted; all he knew was that he wanted to let Santa know. He knew it was ridiculous - knew that Santa wasn't real.
Part of him knew he was.
He had deliberated for a while before finally deciding to swallow his pride and write a letter. He was sitting in Harvey's office, doodling on pieces of paper, before finally asking Harvey for a nice sheet of paper and some different pens. He ignored Harvey's questioning look and waited until the man was back at his desk doing his own work that he started to write.
Mike chewed on his pen lid in thought, staring down at the blank piece of paper in front of him. What could he write? He felt stupid for even considering writing anything, but something about it just felt right – even the thought of writing and thinking that it would be delivered sent a spike of excitement down his spine.
He started to write the first line, but soon scribbled it out – his handwriting wasn't very good anymore; and sometimes he got confused where some letters went in certain words. And it looks boring as well – all black and white. Letters like this deserved colour.
He slid off the couch and took a new sheet of paper with him, walking out as Harvey stood talking on the phone at Donna's desk, as the woman herself was sitting looking up at him with an almost concerned look on her face. Neither of them noticed him leaving, and so he took this opportunity to go to Rachel's office, glad when she was in.
"Mike!" She said in surprise, but still looking happy that he had come to see her. "What are you doing here?"
"I need some help," he confessed, climbing onto a chair and peering over her desk at her. "I'm trying to write a letter, but I feel stupid doing it."
"Okay…" she gave him a small smile. "What's stupid about it?"
"It needs to be a really good letter," he told her. "And I really want to send it. But at the same time… I know I can't."
"Why not?" She asked softly, wondering if he was maybe writing letters for his parents – he had once mentioned to her that he sometimes did that.
"Because… it's going to sound really weird, and you have to promise not to laugh, okay?" She nodded and crossed her heart. "Alright. So… I want to send a letter to Santa," he said quietly, looking down at his lap. "But… I don't really know what to say, because if I sound really greedy and ungrateful I won't get anything, but I don't want to sound too much like a pussy, y'know?"
Rachel's lips twitched slightly at his words; more at his reasoning than anything, but managed to stay calm. "Okay," she said slowly. "So you came here to try and get me to… what? Write it for you?"
"No!" Mike quickly defended himself. "But… a few tips would be nice, is all. And…" he sighed. "I know he's not real but… but I can't stop myself from thinking that he is, so this is really just covering myself on all bases because I know there'll be some things that Harvey won't want me to have – but if I ask Santa, then maybe he'll bring me them."
He looked excited but ashamed at the same time, and Rachel didn't know what to do. She remembered having to break the news to one of her younger brothers that Santa wasn't real, and she didn't want to do it to Mike so soon; especially as he was already on the fence anyway and trying to hide his hope and enthusiasm. She felt like she should be concerned about him – he had only been a toddler and had only been living with Harvey for maybe a month, and he was already thinking that Santa was real.
She then found herself questioning what was wrong with that.
Hell, she'd help as much as possible.
"Alright," she said, leaning forward slightly to show that she meant business. "Here's what we'll do – you try and write it yourself, but if you're unsure about anything then feel free to ask me. I need to do some research but don't hesitate to ask, alright? And between you and me," she leant forward even more, lowering her voice, "Santa loves it when kids spell things wrong."
"He does?" Mike tilted his head; his child brain reasoning that because Rachel referred to Santa as being real, than that must mean he's real, because she's a grown-up and as such knows everything.
She nodded. "He thinks it's adorable."
"Oh," Mike looked down at his paper again. "Okay." With that he put his head down and started to write slowly; still taking his time so his writing was legible, but at the same time not worrying too much about his spelling. Santa would be able to read it – he'd gotten billions of letters before.
After nearly 10 minutes he sighed and put his pen down. "This is stupid," he muttered. "Santa's not real." It wasn't that he actually thought that – it was that he knew he was supposed to think that; he had only been an official child for maybe a month. He was still very much adult most of the time. He knew that he had to act like it.
Rachel, however, sighed. "Mike – let me ask you something; are you and Harvey going to put milk and cookies out?"
Mike shrugged. "Probably."
"And when you did that before when you were little; what happened?"
Mike thought back. "They were gone," he told her. "I got up and they'd been eaten."
Rachel smiled at him. "And who would have eaten them?"
"Santa?" He ventured, his eyes widening slightly in hope.
"Exactly," Rachel nodded. "Mike; you believe exactly whatever you want to. Have fun before life gets too serious. And ask Santa for something really good because he almost always comes through when it comes to presents."
Mike beamed at her and got off his chair, rushing around the desk to give her a hug around her legs. "Thank you, Rachel!" He said earnestly. "I mean it."
"It's fine," she patted him only slightly awkwardly on the head. "I'll get you an envelope and you can go mail it to Santa, alright?" Mike nodded and bounced up and down excitedly as he waited for Rachel to get the envelope. When she passed it to him he stuck his now finished letter inside and turned it over, before frowning.
"What's the address?" Mike asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "Harvey might. Donna definitely will. You should go back and see if one of them knows."
"Okay," Mike nodded resolutely. "Bye, Rachel – I'll see you later!" With that he quickly scampered out of her office and hurried back to Harvey's, hoping that in the time he'd been gone, the man hadn't organised a search party.
"There you are!" Donna sighed as he got closer. "We wondered where you'd gone. Toilet?" Mike quickly shook his head, blushing. He knew that Donna was only too aware (thanks to Harvey) that his bladder was very small now – and as a result he went to the bathroom a lot. Harvey had a theory that it was because he couldn't always tell when he needed to go, and as such just went numerous times to make sure that he didn't have an accident. Donna seemed to be creepily in love with this theory, and Mike was just awaiting the day he had one accident too many (he'd now had three, not counting night time) and Donna very happily and crazily-maternally put him in diapers.
"No," he said grouchily, before quickly cheering once more. "I was at Rachel's office!"
"Oh?" She asked, picking him up and bouncing him on her hip. "And what were you getting up to?"
"She helped me write my letter!" He told her, waving the envelope which still had yet to have an address. He didn't feel as embarrassed telling her as he thought he would. Maybe because Rachel had been fine with it; she'd even told him to ask Donna or Harvey the address.
"And what letter's that, sweetie?" Donna asked as she walked into Harvey's office, still bouncing Mike.
"Mike, there you are – where did you go? Bathroom?" Harvey interrupted before Mike had a chance to explain his letter.
"Why does everyone keep assuming that?" Mike asked, finding himself being placed on the floor. "No, I didn't go to the bathroom."
To his horror, he saw Harvey checking his watch. "You haven't been in a while, kid," he said seriously, going to take his hand. "You should go now – just in case."
"I don't need to!" Mike protested, yanking his hand away. "I'll tell you when I do, alright?"
"You better," Harvey pointed a warning finger at his face. "Because remember what I told you – one more ruined carpet or couch and it'll be pull-ups 24-7." Mike blushed a deep red and hugged the envelope to him, looking down at the carpet. He heard a sigh and found Harvey crouched in front of him, gently lifting his chin with his index finger. "Alright, kiddo – so where did you go? And what's this?" He softly tugged at the edge of the letter that Mike clutched to his chest.
"I went to see Rachel," he explained. "You were busy."
"Mike, you know you have to tell me if you leave the office," Harvey told him sternly. "I was right outside."
"Sorry," Mike mumbled, before smiling. "But will you help me with something?"
"I'll do my best," Harvey replied, not being able to help his smile as Mike tugged at him in excitement before turning around the envelope to display the blank front.
"What are the co-ordinates for the North Pole?" He asked, blinking up earnestly.
"I… I can't say I've ever needed to know," Harvey told him, glancing up at Donna who seemed to be grinning in delight at having guessed something he himself had yet to figure out. "Why?"
"Well I want it to be really specific, just so it gets sent out properly," Mike told him, pulling the pen he had stored in his pocket out with a flourish and went to the coffee table, writing slowly on the front.
"So you want me to look up the co-ordinates for the North Pole," Harvey checked, making sure he'd actually heard that correctly.
"Uh-huh," he nodded, chewing on the top of the pen. "Or if it's easier, just Santa's address."
"You…" Harvey glanced over at Donna, who was beaming scarily. "You want to know where Santa lives?"
"Well I want to make sure it gets there," Mike told him. "Or do you think if I just put his name and the North Pole it'll find him?"
Harvey really wished Donna wasn't in the room so he could let the gooey, loving feeling he had, let itself be known so that he could sweep Mike into a hug and coo at him. Instead, he sat on the couch and watched Mike. "You want to send a letter to Santa?"
"Yeah – why, is it stupid? It's stupid isn't it; you don't think he's real. I knew this was stupid, he couldn't – "
"Mike, slow down," Harvey told him, pulling him over. "Calm down. It's not stupid. I think it's a great idea."
"Of course I do. In fact, we could even go to the Mall at some point before Christmas so you can see him; you know, just to make sure he got your letter." Harvey's heart was hammering in his chest; he didn't know if Mike would actually want to do that or not. He wasn't an idiot – he'd be able to tell it was some guy dressed up, surely?
"Uh…" Mike bit his lip. Even though he had just admitted to really thinking that Santa exists, and that he wanted to write him a letter; seeing him in person was different. He didn't want Harvey to think he was a baby. He probably already did because of the nervous accidents Mike had – and he was pretty sure they were due to nerves because it was nearly always in social situations he had them. When Harvey had half of the senior partners come to visit and Mike was terrified of going out to mingle with them and had instead hidden in his room, not realising he needed to pee before it was too late. Another time he had been holding Harvey's hand, waiting to use a public bathroom – there was a long line that day – and two guys started having a fight close to them. Harvey quickly took him away, but that too had started him off. He was worrying that the relapse was playing havoc on his body; when this had all first happened, he hadn't had a single accident (apart from at night) and now it seemed like he had to be constantly on guard.
So now Mike wasn't sure if he was ready for Harvey to see even more babyish behaviour from him. "I'll think about it," he mumbled, not ready to completely abolish the idea of going to see Santa. He really wanted to go see him but at the same time, he was worried about what Harvey would say.
"That's fine," Harvey told him, ruffling his hair. "Donna, will you look up Santa's address please?"
She seemed to have already done that while they had been talking and issued Harvey with a post-it which had an 'address' written on it. "You want me to read it out loud, kiddo?" Harvey asked him, knowing that – whilst Mike could still read – he sometimes got frustrated quickly if he couldn't completely read the writing. Donna's writing was more than legible and yet Harvey was wary of letting Mike try. Thankfully, the kid just nodded, and Harvey read out the address and waited patiently (a virtue he'd had to practice frequently now he had Mike) as the kid wrote it all down. He watched him lick the envelope and close it, before Mike watched with a beam as Donna put a stamp on it.
He quickly took it back and hugged it. "Thank you, guys," he babbled, positively sprinting towards the door. "I'm gonna go show Rachel!"
When he was gone Harvey let the wide grin show on his face as Donna almost squealed. "Isn't he adorable? God I've never known anyone so adorable!"
Harvey huffed out a laugh. "He's alright," he joked. "What's this address?" He asked her, looking at the post-it.
"I googled it," she shrugged. "My sister used this for her kids. It's like a Christmas village in the North Pole that usually reply to these letters."
Harvey imagined Mike jumping on him early in the morning, loud, bouncy and hyperactive, babbling about the letter he just got from Santa.
He didn't think he'd ever smiled so widely.
Harvey strolled out of his bedroom that morning to find Mike kneeling on the floor, reading a large law textbook that was lying open in front of him. This wasn't uncommon - it was now just standard for Harvey to find Mike had woken up at least 4 hours before him and started doing his own thing. Usually it culminated in Mike crawling into his bed - if only to wake him up.
Harvey noticed that morning that Mike still had his pull-up on. It was only because of how he was kneeling - he was resting on his elbows and had his butt in the air so Harvey could see the outline of it. Usually Mike couldn't wait to get rid of the thing.
"Mike," he said softly; in case the kid got embarrassed or angry, coming down to a kneel beside him.
"Hey, Harvey," Mike said absent mindedly as he leafed through the book. "Is it breakfast time yet?"
Harvey smiled despite himself. "I'll get food in a second - I just wondered why you were still wearing your pull-up." He saw Mike freeze halfway through turning the pages, before he sniffed and turned bright red, closing the book nonchalantly.
"I just forgot, is all."
Harvey could see through the lie in an instant, but this was the one thing he didn't want to push. "Well go take it off and get dressed - no food until you do it." With that he walked into the kitchen, hoping his display of solidarity and treating him like an adult by leaving him to his own decisions would be enough to either convince Mike to go back to talk to him, or to help the kid just forget about it.
Apparently, after a few moments of Mike standing there biting his lip, it seemed he'd chosen the first option and slowly crept over to Harvey, pulling on his pyjama pants. "Harvey," he said quietly. "I didn't forget."
"I guessed as much, kid," Harvey replied.
"They were... I..." Mike was so red Harvey was worried he was close to passing out. "I woke up and forgot at first, but then I realised I needed the toilet and remembered but I couldn't get them off in time and I had to use them again and now I'm worried in case I have another accident and ruin something and you'll put me in diapers and I'm not a baby so I really don't want them, and I don't want the pull-ups either, but my stupid body is giving me no choice, and - "
"Mike, slow down," Harvey ordered, forgetting about finding food and pulling Mike onto his hip, noticing the slight increase in weight and the added warmth on his hip. Trying not to shudder in distaste - he wasn't the one who had to wear it, after all - Harvey slowly walked into the bathroom and started to run a bath.
"I don't need a bath," Mike whined. It was very half-hearted and probably only because he was so used to rejecting them.
"If you've had this on since last night then yes you do," Harvey told him sternly, putting him on the floor. "And you need to calm down," he instructed, rolling his eyes as he was made to turn away from Mike as the kid took off the pull-up and his pyjamas until he had gotten into the bath (now using the step stool Harvey had gotten for the toilet).
"I'm calm now," Mike replied softly, looking down at the water and frowning.
"Not just now," Harvey said. "You're nervous," he established. "We're a month or so into this and you're still worried something will go wrong and I'll kick you out or give you up. And you're still nervous about being a kid; which is understandable," he assured Mike. "The crowds that are now bigger than you, the bladder that's now too small for you... it'll just take a bit of getting used to."
"But it's stupid," Mike pouted.
"I know," Harvey said - in what he wouldn't admit but was very much a 'coo'. "I know it is. But you have to just put up with it because we're already doing everything we can. I get that you need the toilet early in the morning and that the pull-ups are sometimes hard to take off - but you could have come to me for help."
"I don't want to bother you," Mike mumbled, pushing a rubber duck around the tub. "You were asleep."
"I'd still get up to help you," Harvey promised him. "And that's another thing - even if you don't want to wake me up, I still expect you to change out of it. You know you won't have any accidents during the day. You just need to remember to go."
"I get really into what I'm doing," Mike shrugged. "I can't help it if I zone out."
Harvey raised an eyebrow. "Which is why we have the hour rule," he said, referring to their new rule of Harvey reminding him to use the toilet every hour. "Seriously, kid - next time just take it off. You'll be fine. I might need to get you some sort of cream, sitting in that thing for so long might have given you a rash or something."
Mike blushed even more and refused to reply, giving Harvey time to reflect on how much he sounded like a dad.
Just as Harvey was helping Mike back out of the tub after a while, he heard the mail slip through the door. "Get dried," Harvey said to him, bundling a towel around the small boy on his way out.
He sifted through some of the usual stuff before noticing a red envelope with Mike's name written in curvy writing. Grinning widely as he realised what it was, he put it on the Christmas tree. He still wasn't sure if Mike wanted to have a particularly childish Christmas but decided to just go with his gut and see how it went.
When Mike came back out in clean clothes he went to go over to the kitchen table, before being beckoned over to the tree by Harvey. "Letter came for you, kid," he told the toddler, nodding towards the low branch he had propped it up on.
"Why's it on the tree?" Mike asked, frowning in confusion.
"It was here when I came out," Harvey lied easily.
"I didn't see it when I was out here," Mike said.
"Maybe that's just where it turned up when the rest of the mail came through. Are you going to open it or not?" Harvey left to make breakfast before Mike could poke any more holes in his plan. He was pouring cereal into a bowl when he heard a gasp and tiny, thumping footsteps coming towards him as Mike threw himself at Harvey's legs.
"Harvey, Santa sent me a letter back!"
"He did?" Harvey knelt down to look at the letter. He beamed widely, thanking the stars that Donna had given him that particular address that would send a letter back. "What did he say?" He waited patiently for Mike to slowly decipher the curled writing (and why they thought that was the best font to send to young children, he didn't know).
"He said he's gonna try his best to get me what I asked for," Mike summarised. "And he can't remember if I came to see him at the mall 'cause he's had so many kids and he gets tired."
"... Can we go see him? I know I've already told him what I want, but can we still... can we still go? Just so he doesn't forget?" Harvey nodded, ruffling Mike's hair as he stood back up to finish their breakfast.
"Sure thing, kiddo."
"Mike don't let go of my hand," Harvey told him firmly, clutching onto the little boy's hand in a death-grip as he manoeuvred through the crowds. Donna had been desperate to come with them and so they had to go on a Saturday when both of them were off work. This meant it was incredibly busy and Harvey was contemplating going on a mass-killing spree in the mall.
"He's not going anywhere, kid, we have time," Harvey told him, as Mike started pulling on his hand.
"But he's busy! He might leave soon! There's loads of other people he needs to go visit before Christmas!" Mike argued as they finally got to the line for the grotto.
"It'll be fine," Harvey soothed. He had emailed the letter company Mike had sent his to and had gotten the letter back so he could see what the kid wanted. Mike had been surprisingly cagey with what he wanted for presents and Harvey had been panicking that he would end up giving Mike some socks and a book as the entirety of his present.
He was also intent on asking 'Santa' what Mike had asked for.
"Mike, do you need the toilet?" Donna cooed to him, seeing him bounce nervously in the line.
He scowled at her. "No!" Donna raised her eyebrow at Harvey, who just shook his head. Sometimes it was just easier to go along with Mike, rather than arguing - after all, he was the one who would pay the consequences if he was lying.
After a while Harvey had a headache. There were dozens of excited small children screaming and giggling and running around. Harvey could handle Mike on a high. But any other kid? It took all of his strength and patience not to just leave.
Finally, it was their turn to enter the grotto, and Harvey sighed slightly at the darkness. The twinkling fairy lights didn't bother him much - he had gotten used to them over the past few days when Mike insisted on just having them on rather than the main lights as they watched Christmas films.
"And what's your name?" The guy dressed as Santa sounded very warm and kind - Harvey would have thought that by now he'd be grumpy and couldn't wait to go home.
"Mike," he whispered, clutching onto Harvey's leg, suddenly terrified. Harvey sighed and moved forward, thankful when Mike moved with him.
"Hello, Mike - are you looking forward to Christmas?" Santa asked, giving a wry smile to Harvey who rolled his eyes as he had to move closer for Mike to move.
Mike nodded shyly. "I sent you a letter," he said in a whisper. "You replied."
"I did indeed," he nodded. "I promise to do my best with what you asked for. Would you like to remind me again?"
Mike nodded again and looked over at Harvey, his thumb going towards his mouth. "Go on," Harvey said, as Donna gently removed his thumb and pushed him slightly towards the large man in the red chair. Mike inched closer, and looked towards Harvey again. "It's alright," he nodded, causing Mike to finally go over and climb on the man's lap.
"I didn't..." Mike paused for a bit before shifting closer so he could whisper to Santa. "I didn't think you were real. But I'm glad you are."
The man smiled at him and patted his back. "And I'm glad you came to see me. Would you like to remind me what you asked for? If only for Mom and Dad's benefit," he nodded over to Harvey and Donna - one of whom nodded back and the other sniffed and took a picture.
Mike nodded and whispered into the man's ear. Harvey watched as the man listened attentively, occasionally nodding. When Mike drew back, he smiled. "I'll see what I can do. Would you like to take a small present in the meantime?" He gestured over to his side where there was a pile of small, wrapped presents.
Mike slid off his knee and went over, picking up one that looked like it would be something soft. He quickly made it back to Harvey's side and was pulled up to rest on Harvey's hip. He ripped open the present to discover a small soft toy that was no bigger than Harvey's hand. He smiled shyly at Santa and held the toy reindeer close to him.
"What do we say?" Harvey encouraged him.
"Thank you," Mike said quietly.
"You're very welcome, Mike," Santa said graciously. "Have fun on Christmas day, I'm sure you'll get very good presents."
Harvey nodded. "Donna, will you take Mike to the bathroom, please?" He asked, ignoring Mike's tut and pout. "Michael."
His tone instantly shut Mike up and the kid frowned but allowed himself to be lowered to the ground and took Donna's hand, waving shyly at Santa before leaving. As soon as he was gone Harvey quickly asked: "What did he say he wanted?"
Santa smiled at him. "A puppy."
"Well that's not going to happen."
"And for Harvey to never give him up. Does that mean anything?"
Harvey nodded, feeling a surprisingly thick lump in his throat. "Anything else?"
"That was the bulk of it. And then just some toys. Listen, guy - I got a line a mile long, you mind leaving?"
Harvey shrugged. "Thanks for your help." He left the grotto and made his way to the toilets just as a red-faced Mike was shepherded out of the women's toilets by Donna. "Ready to leave?"
Mike nodded and reached out to take Harvey's hand, only to find himself lifted into a hold. He didn't argue, instead he rested his cheek on Harvey's shoulder. Harvey wasn't sure how to give Mike the knowledge of knowing he would never give him up. He had told him countless times - the kid had nightmares about it and had climbed into Harvey's bed before - but whilst it had calmed the kid down then, apparently he couldn't let go of the small doubts circling his brain.
He guessed he just had to make Christmas the best Christmas Mike had ever had.
"Get the door, kid."
"Harvey I'm busy!"
"No you're not."
"Why can't you do it?"
"Because I'm making the dust you wanted. I could always stop and throw it in the bin seeing as you're not very grateful, but..."
Harvey smiled to himself as he heard Mike quickly run to the door. He was currently stood in the kitchen mixing oats and glitter in a bowl. Not one of the more manly pursuits he had followed over his lifetime, but Mike had requested it.
Well... More like ordered.
He had insisted that Harvey make 'reindeer dust' - something he shyly said that Grammy had done when he was little. Apparently, if you threw the mixture onto your lawn (or the balcony equivalent of one) then the reindeer would spot it and land. And the oats gave them something to eat while they waited. Harvey had tried not to laugh when Mike was explaining this - mostly because he was proud of how much the kid was opening up to him, and had managed to keep his face neutral as he agreed to create the dust.
"Hey, big brother."
Harvey looked up from his stirring to see Nick - although he could only recognise him from the eyes and because he knew his brother's voice too well. The rest of him was transformed. He was wearing a large red coat, a big white beard and he clearly had something down the costume to add a stomach to him.
"What are you - "
"Daddy, look - Santa came early!"
"I can see that," Harvey nodded, keeping his best poker face on as Mike skidded into the room excitedly. "And did Santa say why he got here too early? It's only Christmas Eve."
"Because he said he had something for us!" Mike told him excitedly. "If it's a present, please can I open it now?"
Harvey glanced over at Nick, his eyebrow raised. He knew his brother wasn't planning anything sinister, but he was still slightly wary of what he would do - especially when Mike had so much faith in Santa and Harvey knew his brother well and knew that he would more than likely slip up and take the beard off.
"It depends what it is," Harvey told Mike slowly.
"You should open it now," 'Santa' nodded to Harvey, before kneeling in front of Mike. "What I've got here, is very special," he confided. "When your dad was younger, he had a special Christmas stocking. He would use it every year and would tease his more talented, more handsome, amazing - "
"Nick," Harvey warned, without thinking.
"That's the one," Nick nodded. "His little brother. He would tell his brother stories about it. He would say they would shrink on Christmas Eve and climb inside it, and have adventures while they were waiting for Sa - for me to arrive with presents. But he lost it. There was a fire in their house and he thought he'd lost it. But your incredibly awesome Uncle Nick found it when he was rummaging in the attic one day. And he asked me to bring it here for you."
With that, 'Santa' brought a stocking from inside the small bag he was carrying. It wasn't much - it was just a normal stocking; green wool, with a home made snowflake pattern around the outside. Harvey tilted his head but took it, gazing at it in wonder. He'd thought it had been burnt in the fire. But here it was, as good as new.
Mike clamoured to look at it too, and soon kept a tight hold of it, as if frightened they would lose it a second time.
"Can we keep it?" He asked in a hushed voice. "Can Daddy use it again?"
"Yup," Santa nodded. "And that's not all. Here." With that, he got out another stocking. This one was made from blue wool, with snowmen on the outside. It was in exactly the same make and pattern as Harvey's. "This one's yours."
Mike's eyes widened. "Really?"
"Yeah - I had a word with Mrs Claus and she tracked down the person who made it. That person decided you needed one too. I can't promise all your presents will fit inside it," he joked, "but I'm sure it'll look good on the fireplace."
Mike scampered over to the fireplace and held both stockings up, as if checking to see what looked best. "Thank you, Santa!" He hugged Nick's legs.
Harvey picked up the two stockings, looking at them. The person who had made Harvey's stocking was his own mother. Nick must have told their mother to make an extra one. But Harvey still had yet to tell his parents about Mike. Had Nick already done so? He put them both up on the fireplace so that they hung down, and had to keep shooing Mike away from his old one. The kid kept touching it - and Harvey didn't even know why. He just sometimes rubbed it occasionally, or looked at it as if he'd never seen anything like it before.
"Okay - I have to go," 'Santa' said. "I've got a lot to do before tonight."
"But Uncle Nick's coming round soon!" Mike protested. "Don't you want to meet him?"
Harvey smirked but rested his hand on Mike's hair. "Santa has a lot to do, Mike," he explained. "He needs to leave. Alright?" Mike pouted but nodded, waving as 'Santa' left.
Afterwards, Mike bounced aimlessly around the condo in excitement and nerves - Nick was bringing the present Mike had gotten for Harvey and Mike was worried it wouldn't get there on time. Thankfully, Nick soon got there - suspiciously not long after Santa had left, which Mike commented on morosely until Nick assured him he had bumped into Santa on the way there.
"Did you bring it?" Mike asked him quietly, as Harvey had gone into his bedroom to grab a thicker sweatshirt for Mike to wear before they went out onto the balcony to throw the dust that Mike was insistent on throwing.
Nick scoffed. "Of course!" He pulled out a small, wrapped present that had been housed at his apartment since Mike had made it there one day he was being babysat. Mike quickly put it in Harvey's stocking, just before the man himself walked back in.
"Arms up," he said, pulling the thick sweater that Donna had apparently knitted (Harvey suspected she bought it, but when he presented her with that theory, she made a very cutting threat regarding one of his most prized parts of anatomy) over Mike's head and arms. "Ready?"
Mike nodded and pulled on Harvey's hands. "Uncle Nick, do you want some too?" He asked, indicating to the pot of 'reindeer dust' Harvey had made.
"I'm busy being the wildlife photographer for this," he grinned at Mike, sticking his tongue out in retaliation when Mike stuck his out. They went outside and Mike grabbed a handful from Harvey, sprinkling it around the balcony, his eyes lighting up as he saw some of the glitter twinkle in the darkness, helped by the light from the moon.
"Right, now we know he's coming, we can - " Harvey began saying, before being cut off.
"Wait, the sign, Daddy! The sign!" Mike swung on his hands, pulling on them. He pointed to the sign that was lying on the floor. Harvey smiled indulgently and stood it up, propping it with some plant pots to keep it upright. The words 'Santa Stop Here' were clearly visible, and Mike grinned.
"Right; bed time," Harvey told him. "If you want Santa to get here you might want to start sleeping."
Nick grinned at him as Mike agreed and ran back inside, shivering from the cold December air. "Bet that's the first time you don't need to force him to go to bed."
Harvey rolled his eyes. "He's been wanting to go to bed since 3 this afternoon. I don't know which one's worse."
They went inside and Mike was trying to reach the kitchen counter that held a plate of mince pies. He was stood on his tiptoes and was only just skimming the pies with his fingers. When Harvey and Nick came in he turned and grinned slightly.
"We need to leave one out for Santa! And a glass of milk! Please?"
Harvey smiled at him and grabbed a plate from a cupboard before placing a pie on it, handing it to Mike. The kid eagerly ran to the fireplace and carefully arranged it so that Santa wouldn't knock it over as he came down the chimney, nor would he ignore it. Harvey then handed him the glass of milk, which was also quickly placed next to it.
"Now can I go to bed?" Mike whined, stamping his foot.
Harvey huffed out a laugh but picked him up. "Say goodnight to Uncle Nick," he said, moving over so that Nick could reach the toddler.
"Night night, Unca Nick," Mike beamed at him excitedly.
"Night, munchkin," Nick replied, ruffling his hair. "I'll see you tomorrow." He grinned at Harvey before letting himself out.
"C'mon then, kiddo," Harvey murmured, carrying him to the fully converted bedroom, sitting on the bed with him. "Which story?" He asked, nodding to a pile of books on the bedside table next to the bed; a large blue lamp glowing warmly next to them.
"A Christmas one!" Mike insisted, pointing to one book.
Harvey picked it up and began, pulling Mike closer as he read. "It was Christmas Eve, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - not even a mouse..."
Harvey knew he would be woken up early. And in more than likely an undignified way.
So it wasn't surprising at all when he felt the wind rush out of him as Mike jumped on his stomach, babbling intelligibly. The few words Harvey could pick out were 'Daddy', 'Santa' and 'presents'. He pushed himself up, trying to rub sleep out of his eyes as Mike bounced around him excitedly.
"Slow down, kid," he mumbled, blinking in order to make out the time on his clock. He sighed when he saw it was five o clock. Mike had probably already been up for an hour at least. And he knew he would refuse to nap on Christmas day. Knowing he was headed for a long day, Harvey slid back down in his bed, breathing out slowly.
"Nooooo," Mike whined, pulling at him. "You hafta wake up!"
"Mike I will feel no remorse if I put you in time out before you open a single present," Harvey grumbled.
"What if I bring you breakfast in bed?" Mike asked, bouncing.
"You know you're not allowed to make any food without me there," Harvey reminded him, trying to fall back to sleep.
"But I already brought you it!" Mike said cheerfully. Harvey slowly opened his eyes and sat up warily.
"What did you do?"
Mike shuffled off him and brought up a box of cereal and a carton of milk. "I couldn't reach the bowls," he lamented. "But I managed to get a spoon!" He thrust the spoon into Harvey's hands.
Harvey shook his head, not being able to stop the smile forming. "I think we'll leave breakfast up to me in the future."
"I wanted to do something nice 'cause of waking you up," Mike told him. "Now can I open presents?"
Harvey wanted to suggest trying to sleep for an extra hour. He wanted to suggest making breakfast properly before doing anything. He wanted to just roll over and go back to sleep.
Instead, he just got out of bed and sent Mike to the bathroom to use the toilet. He was also under express orders to put another pull-up on afterwards. Harvey's reasoning being that Mike would be constantly over-excited and he wanted to be on the safe side.
The kid was unusually willing to follow his instructions - he was probably just wanting to open his presents as soon as possible.
Finally (in Mike's words, it had taken forever for Harvey to let him do it, whereas in Harvey's world, it had taken him all of five minutes after Mike had skidded back into the room from the bathroom), Harvey allowed himself to be taken into the living room.
Mike had nearly hyperventilated after seeing the mince pie had been eaten, and the glass of milk was empty as well. He knelt down in front of the Christmas tree and gazed at the presents with wide eyes. He'd never really had many presents at any point in his life. But these large, nicely-wrapped gifts were all for him.
"Merry Christmas, Mikey," Harvey said from his position on the couch, a well-needed cup of coffee in his hand. Mike grinned at him as he twisted to face him. He didn't say anything but gazed at Harvey until he rolled his eyes. "Yes, you can open them now."
Mike dived into his presents, and was at least somewhat mindful of the wrapping that Harvey had spent a whole day doing. He didn't rip into the presents, as Harvey assumed he would, and instead carefully unwrapped them, each time spending a little time exploring the present before Harvey gently reminded him there were more.
Not that he was complaining - although Mike excitedly played with each present and gave a cry of delight at each one, he was generally quite quiet, allowing Harvey to nod off on the couch as he did so.
It wasn't long before Mike shook him awake, a disapproving look on his face. "Harvey," he whined. "You can't sleep now! It's morning!"
Glancing over at the clock, he realised it was now seven am. Still too early in his opinion, but every other morning this was when he decreed was a reasonable time for Mike to be awake. "Okay, kiddo," he pushed himself up some more, finishing off his coffee. "Are you happy with what Santa brought you?"
"I thought these were all from you," Mike frowned, confused.
"Have you checked your stocking?" Harvey asked him. Mike's eyes lit up and he stumbled over to the fireplace, carefully unhooking both his and Harvey's stockings and bringing them both over, climbing onto Harvey's lap. He pulled the present out of the stocking and turned it over in his hands, trying to figure out what it was before he unwrapped it.
He finally did so, and looked at it in bewilderment. "This isn't a puppy."
Harvey laughed slightly. "No. It's not."
"This is my old birth certificate," Mike said slowly. "How did you get this?"
"Santa," Harvey remarked simply. "Look at the next one."
Mike moved the paper so he was looking at a sheet beneath. "It's a new one," Mike whispered. Harvey nodded and moved Mike slightly so that he could look him in the eyes. Mike shuffled a few more papers to see the various forms that Harvey had signed.
"All of this - this shows that I'm your father," Harvey told him. "And don't even think about it," he said, as Mike opened his mouth, no doubt about to join in with a Star Wars quote. "This shows that I will never give you up. You got that? The law says I have to be responsible for you until you're 18. That is exactly what's going to happen. And after - as long as possible, I'm still going to be responsible for you. You're my kid now, and I'm not giving you up."
Mike stared up at him, unblinking.
Harvey coughed slightly uncomfortably. "At least, I'm assuming that's what Santa meant by it." Mike nodded and continued to stare down at the papers. "I hope you're not disappointed with it," Harvey said, now slightly nervous. He'd gotten the kid lots of toys - maybe he'd wanted a few more?
Mike shook his head, turning to bury his face in Harvey's neck, his arms wrapping around him. Harvey rubbed his back and they sat there in silence for a few moments before Mike mumbled: "Don't fall asleep."
Harvey huffed out a laugh and ruffled the toddler's hair. "I won't. Do you want some breakfast?"
"You have to look in your stocking first!" Mike insisted, bouncing slightly on his lap. Harvey raised his eyebrow but did so, surprised to find there was actually something in there. He pulled out the wrapped present, and knew straight away who it was from. It was badly wrapped, but Harvey knew Mike had wrapped it at Nick's house. Mike didn't have the coordination for neat wrapping and Nick was just awful at it; it was more than likely a combination of both of them.
He unwrapped it to find that Mike had gotten him a scarf and some gloves.
"It's not much," Mike mumbled. "But I didn't know what you wanted, and you never wear them anyway so I thought maybe you didn't have any, and I didn't want you to get cold, so I thought if I just bought you this then - "
"Mike," Harvey stopped him before he could go much further. "Stop. This is great. Thank you."
And he meant it. If it was from a distant relative then he would roll his eyes and not think twice about it, but it was nice material with a pale blue that was almost grey colour. Plus it was different. It was from Mike.
He could already see himself wearing it all the time. He knew whenever he wore it, he would end up thinking of Mike.
"Breakfast?" Harvey suggested, moving Mike to one side so that he could stand up and go into the kitchen. Mike nodded and carefully placed his various certificates and paperwork somewhere it wouldn't get ruined and grabbed Harvey's stocking as he followed the man.
He didn't know what the pull of the stocking was, but it felt really nice and soft, and clutching it gave him some kind of sense of peace.
"When's Donna coming round?" Mike asked, keeping one hand firmly wrapped around the stocking whilst the other reached up to pull on Harvey's sleeping pants.
"About midday," he replied, rubbing at his eyes. "She'll leave when you go for a nap."
"I'm not having a nap today," Mike said stubbornly, sounding very sure of himself.
We'll see about that, Harvey thought, raising an eyebrow.
To his surprise, Mike didn't complain about being tired once. Harvey himself managed to sneak in an hour's nap whilst Mike was running around the condo with various new toys. He woke up just as the doorbell went and tried to comb his fingers through his hair in a failed attempt to make it seem like he hadn't just woken up. Donna noticed anyway, but was stopped from commenting, as Mike pulled on her hand and dragged her away to see all the new toys he had received.
Having never properly cooked what Donna had said was a 'real Christmas dinner', Harvey was pushed out of the kitchen and instead lolled on the couch watching cheesy Christmas movies with Mike at his feet; the kid was half paying attention and half creating an elaborate train track for his new trains to speed around. When he was finished, Harvey didn't think he'd be able to get from the couch to anywhere in his condo, it was that big.
Thankfully, when Donna told him that the food was ready, he somehow managed to climb over it without breaking anything, and could then just focus on eating and making sure Mike didn't spill too much down himself.
When the meal was finished, Donna suddenly brought a present out from nowhere, but sensed how much leverage she had.
"Here's the deal," she said, as Mike bounced around her excitedly. "I'll give you this, if you show me that you actually wear the onesie I bought you."
Mike pulled a face and looked over at Harvey with a pout. The man simply shrugged his shoulders. He had kept the onesie she had bought, but Mike had never once worn it. "Your call, kid."
Mike pouted some more and pulled at Donna. "Please can I have my present?" He asked, his eyes wide and pitiful. "I don't wanna wear the onesie."
"Why not? Don't you like it?" Donna asked, and Harvey could tell the fake tears she was pulling forward were making Mike feel guilty. Eventually, he sighed and went into his room, soon coming out in the red onesie Donna had once bought for him.
"Don't laugh," he grumbled at Harvey, before getting swept into a cuddle by Donna.
"Oh you're so adorable!" She gushed. "My little king of the wild things!" Mike's paper crown from the crackers they pulled was sitting lop-sidedly on his head, so he bore some resemblance to Max in Where The Wild Things Are.
"Can I have my present now?" He asked. "Please?"
"Of course," she put him back down (in such a way that it looked like it pained her to do so) and gave him the present. He frowned when he saw that inside it was another onesie, but this time it looked like a dinosaur. He tried to school his features into gratitude but knew he couldn't quite manage it.
"Don't worry, sweetie," she said. "That's just a small one. Your other one's here." She grinned as she pulled another present from the bag she had placed by the door when she first walked in. Upon seeing Harvey's expression, she laughed. "You can't talk, Specter - I know all of these presents are from you!"
Mike excitedly opened the present, this time grinning as he saw that it was a Wii.
"Donna," Harvey said warningly as Mike gazed at it in delight. "You can't give him one of those."
"I can give him whatever I want," Donna replied, drawing herself up to be taller in height.
"Donna he's three!" Harvey said, exasperatedly.
"I'm not giving it to him along with shooting games, Harvey," Donna rolled her eyes. "I'm giving it to him to help improve his coordination. Plus, it's something you can play on with him without feeling any less of a man. I've seen the faces you pull when he makes you play with his soft toys."
"Blocks and trains are fine," he reminded her. "Cars are fine. Hard toys are fine. Soft toys are not masculine."
"Oh like you really care," Donna scoffed. "I've also seen you making one of those toys dance for his entertainment."
"He didn't feel well," Harvey shifted uncomfortably.
"You can only fool so many people," Donna said wisely, her attention getting turned back to Mike as he pulled on her leg. "Yes, sweetie?"
"Can we play on it now?"
"Let Harvey set it up," Donna said to him, smiling sweetly at the man in question. Harvey groaned but got on with it, plugging in various wires (he wouldn't say he was a whiz when it came to technology, but he wasn't too bad) until he had the loaded menu up on screen.
They all took it in turns to verse each other on various games, until after a very fevered and exciting game of car racing, Harvey decreed that they should stop, having just positively sprinted to the toilet with Mike in order to stop him having an accident.
It was getting late, and Mike had still not yet had a nap. Harvey marvelled at how the kid still wasn't cranky. He was yawning, and quite sluggish, but he climbed onto the couch and sat on Harvey's lap and demanded they put BBC America on so they could watch Doctor Who.
When it was finished, Harvey moved Mike onto the couch and ruffled his hair gently as he went into the kitchen to clear up from dinner. Donna gave him a smile and passed him a bin bag to tidy up the various wrapping papers strewn around the place.
"Had a good day?" Donna asked.
"I've had a tiring one," Harvey replied. "Kid woke me up at five and wouldn't let me go back to bed. I think he's about to start a vendetta against sleep."
"And he hasn't had a nap yet?" Donna asked.
"Nope," Harvey sighed. "It's amazing he's in as a good a mood as he is. Any other day the lack of sleep mixed with wearing a pull-up all day would mean I'd have given him about seven time-outs."
Donna smiled. "Well just be glad he liked all the presents. Did Santa come?"
Harvey simply nodded, not elaborating on it. He wearily trudged back into the living room, bracing himself to suggest an early bedtime to Mike.
He stopped short at the sight of Mike lying on his stomach on the couch, sucking his thumb. His backside was sticking in the air slightly, much like a baby's would, and you could just make out the pull-up he was wearing - the red onesie Donna had forced him into adding to the cute scene. The paper hat he had won from his Christmas cracker was still on his head and he curled up with Harvey's stocking, clutching it to his face and rubbing it against his cheek softly as he gave a small, sleepy snuffle.
Harvey didn't think he'd ever seen anything as adorable as that in his whole life.
"Alright, I think it's time for someone to go to bed," Harvey said, his lips quirking into an adoring smile. Donna walked over from where she had been stacking dishes in the dishwasher and beamed.
"I really want to pinch his cheeks," she confided, having to step back in case she tried it. Harvey smiled at her before carefully extracting Mike from the couch, holding him under his armpits before he could bring him closer to his body, slowly rocking and rubbing his back to make sure he had a secure hold and that Mike would be lulled back to sleep if he was awoken.
"Say goodnight to Donna," Harvey murmured, bouncing him slightly and gently pulling the paper crown off his head. As expected, Mike didn't make a sound, instead he chose to drool slightly on Harvey's top. "Lovely," he mumbled, nodding to Donna to show he would be out in a bit before walking slowly into Mike's room.
He carefully unzipped the onesie to check Mike didn't need a new pull-up before zipping it up again and pulling the quilt over him, letting him keep hugging the stocking. "Night, buddy," he whispered, pushing away a few wispy locks of hair and kissing the toddler's forehead.
Mike's hand sleepily came up and grabbed his own, even in his sleep and brought it down to cradle it to his chest. Harvey smiled and crouched down, stroking Mike's head. "I'm gonna need my hand back soon, kiddo," he said quietly. "We need to set up some of the toys that we didn't get to today, don't we?"
Mike snuffled and let Harvey's hand slide out of his grip. "That's my boy," he cooed, ruffling his hair one last time before switching on the night light and and backing out of the door.
He stopped and went back in. "Yeah?"
"Go back to sleep, Mike."
Harvey grinned and watched as Mike went boneless once more.
"Love 'oo, Daddy..."
"Love you too, kiddo."
A/N Guyssss I'm still so, SO sorry about the wait D: You all must hate me right now, and it looks like my workload won't really settle down until Christmas :( I will try my very best to keep updating - I hope this pacifies you in some way because it's my longest chapter ever at about 13,000 words?
Anyway - again I'm so sorry but I hope you enjoyed this chapter nonetheless :)