Now that I know you guys don't mind long chapters, I feel better about posting this one.
Thank you guys so much for all the positive feedback. I was blown away by your reviews. I'm sure you've been waiting for this, so I'll leave my talking for the end. Please read and enjoy.
This time, when he opened his eyes, he was able to see.
The first thing Mike saw was the ceiling, tiled with white squares placed flush against each other except where two rectangular lights broke the ranks: one directly above Mike's head; the other illuminating the path in front of the door open to his room, long fluorescent bulbs buzzing with electricity. He blinked against the stale light. It didn't pierce him quite as fiercely as before but it was still a little too bright for his liking.
A long window was set in the wall to his right. Mike turned his head slightly to inspect this next. He could see sunlight peeking through the edges of the closed blinds. Judging by its brightness, Mike estimated it to be late morning.
Morning already? He had to go to work. He was going to be late again and Harvey was not going to be pleased.
He was about to push himself out of bed when his attention shifted to the metal box near his head and his eyes dropped down from the window to examine it. The machine beeped softly with Mike's heartbeat. He could see the glowing numbers that announced his heart rate. It was normal. Below that was his temperature. It was a little high but not enough to be considered dangerous or even threatening.
He followed the wires connecting him to the machine to his chest where he found he was in a hospital gown in a hospital bed, a thin blanket pulled down to his stomach so that he could clearly see several wires slithering under his gown to stick to his chest and the clamp that trapped one finger.
Oh. He wasn't at home. He was in the hospital. Because he had had a heat stroke at work. Well, at least now he didn't have to worry about getting the "if I had wanted someone to show up late to work, I would have hired the White Rabbit" speech from Harvey.
His eyes traveled over to his left arm where he saw a needle imbedded in his flesh. The image made his stomach churn (he never did like needles) and he quickly looked away. To distract himself from the sight, he decided to follow the IV drip to its source to see what was being distributed into his body.
He never made it. Something else distracted him.
On his left was a man.
He sat in a chair set close to Mike's bedside. He wore a white dress shirt that looked like it desperately needed to be ironed and had most likely been worn for longer than a day. A vest was taut over the dress shirt, contrasting strikingly against the white fabric. Mike briefly thought the vest was an unnecessary addition to the outfit but determined it actually fit the look on this man.
A jacket was draped over the back of the chair the man sat in, a thick black tie arranged neatly atop it.
His hair looked like it had once been sleeked back with perfection at one time but now it was mussed as if the man had pushed his hand through it one too many times.
What Mike couldn't see was the man's face. Because he was currently sleeping, hunched over on the bed near Mike's side with his head pillowed on folded arms. One arm extended under the other to cover Mike's hand with his own, fingers limply entwined with Mike's.
It was a familiar weight.
Mike stared at the sleeping man at his side, idly aware that his hearing had recovered to normality so that he could hear the distant footsteps of movement outside his room. He focused on the man's leveled breathing. It was a pleasant sound.
Mike opened his mouth. He didn't want to break the quiet that cocooned them; didn't want to break the spell that stopped time and separated him and this man from the rest of the world, but he wanted to see the man's face, see a smile; hear him speak. It felt like it had been a lifetime since the last time he had.
His fingers slowly gripped the hand that held his.
The man stirred at his side with a mumble. His fingers – remembering what task had been appointed to them – automatically tightened over Mike's. He rubbed his eyes against the inside of his elbow and then sleepily looked over it.
The moment russet eyes met blue-gray, Harvey was awake and he straightened instantly, all signs of tiredness wiped clear from his features.
Mike offered him a tired smile. "That's my name."
A similar smile broke out over Harvey's lips, the light reaching dark eyes. He released a relieved sigh, the tension visibly leaving his shoulders as he sank down to lean forward on his elbows. His eyes searched Mike's for a moment, as if to ensure that Mike was actually looking at him (and was actually seeing him) and that the previous fog had lifted. Mike held his gaze to prove it had.
"How are you feeling?" Harvey asked quietly, his hand refusing to release Mike's.
"Better," Mike answered. "But I don't know if I'll ever be able to play the violin again."
"Give it time, smartass" Harvey chuckled as he rapped Mike on the forehead with a soft fist. "You'll be able to run that marathon too in time. Now, how about a real answer."
"Still tired," Mike answered honestly. He knew he couldn't lie to Harvey even if he wanted to. The man could read people so easily it was like he had a damn lie detector wired into his brain. "And sore. It hurts."
"I know, kid," Harvey said sympathetically. "That's the side effects of a heat stroke: sore muscles, fatigue, all that good stuff."
"Yay," Mike monotoned with an exaggerated lack of enthusiasm.
"Don't worry, it won't last long. And the doctor has already given you pain medication to minimize the worst of it."
"Yay," Mike repeated with an exaggerated excess of enthusiasm.
Harvey chuckled and Mike noted that some of the weariness seeped into the older man's features started to ebb away.
"Hey, can you help me up? I'm tired of lying down," Mike asked, trying to perform the action himself but only managing to push up against the headboard so that his chin dipped towards his chest in an uncomfortable fashion. His muscles felt like jelly.
"Sure," Harvey said and stood up to push Mike's pillow up against the headboard. Then he eased Mike up into a sitting position, guiding him to lean back against the pillow. He kept his hands on his shoulders to guarantee that Mike could stay in the upright position without toppling over before returning to his seat, his hand coming to rest over Mike's.
"Thanks," Mike breathed as he rotated his stiff neck.
Harvey nodded in response, glancing past Mike to the machine on his right to make sure everything was still functioning properly.
Mike broke the quiet first. "If you don't mind my asking–"
"If you have to start a question like that, I probably mind."
"–how long have I been in here?"
Harvey looked down, his focus shifting to Mike's hand encompassed within his own. He distractedly ran his hand through his hair for what Mike guessed to be the hundredth time.
"Only a day?" Mike asked incredulously, making Harvey look back up at him quizzically.
"It just," Mike started sheepishly, settling back against the pillow, "felt longer."
"Well, you were pretty out of it," Harvey explained. "For the first hours, you didn't even wake up. When you finally did–" Mike didn't miss the emphasis put on the word "–it was like you weren't here. Around 8 o'clock was when you started talking."
Mike flushed slightly at this. Yes, he remembered what it was he had said and to whom he had said it to. Harvey noticed and didn't bother hiding his smirk. But he blessedly didn't push the topic or mentioned the words that had been exchanged. He did, however, let the silence linger for longer than it needed to, forcing Mike to relieve the previous night with agonizing clarity; leaving him and his imagination as to what Harvey thought about what he had said run wild. Harvey was willing to give the kid a break from teasing due to his condition, but not enough to let him get away scot-free. He'd let him squirm in embarrassment a little.
"And you stayed the whole time?" Mike asked, looking for a different topic to switch to, eyes flickering everywhere but Harvey.
"I made a promise I would."
Mike looked up in surprise to meet Harvey's level and sincere gaze. Yes, he remembered that part too: the voice of the owner he couldn't see promising to be at his side when he woke up. Harvey had kept that promise, remaining at Mike's side through the night, not leaving even to find a more comfortable place to sleep (most likely threatening the nurses to let him stay as well). And, judging from his suit, Harvey had stayed with him throughout the previous day as well. Without a promise; on his own volition.
"What are you smiling about?" Harvey asked suspiciously, eyes narrowing.
Mike turned his lopsided grin to Harvey. "Oh, you so care."
"I thought I'd made it perfectly clear that I don't," Harvey countered coolly.
"So you stayed all day and night in the hospital with me because it was an excuse to play hooky from work?"
"Because you had to make sure the doctors didn't kill me so that you wouldn't have to suffer through hiring from new applicants?"
"Because you were genuinely concerned about my welfare and wanted to stay to make sure I would be ok?"
"I have to admit, I'm running out of reasons."
"Because Donna told me to."
"Donna." Mike said with obvious skepticism.
"Yes. She couldn't stay so she told me to keep an eye on you."
"Told you to."
"Are you sure you're feeling better? Your hearing doesn't seem to be working."
"I just find it a little odd that you would listen to what someone else told you to do. You're not the type to obey commands easily. You don't even fully do what Jessica tells you to do." Mike shot Harvey a shrewd sidelong glance. "What'd she do? Cry?"
"No." Amusement snuck into the word.
Mike leaned closer towards Harvey and dropped his voice as if he were sharing a secret only he and Harvey could know about. "Does she scare you?"
"Really? I think she does. She scares me."
"Because you're a wuss."
"All right. You don't have to tell me. All the more reason to make assumptions about you."
"You really want to know why?"
"Because Donna is not a force to be reckoned with," a new voice interrupted and both Harvey and Mike looked to the door to see Donna standing there, hands on hips.
Mike grew a shade paler but Harvey calmly greeted Donna with a nod. She acknowledged him with a smile and a silent conversation passed between the two that Mike was excluded from.
"Donna," Mike greeted with a swallow.
"Mike," Donna replied casually as she stepped lightly up to the bed. She walked right up to him and bent down to kiss his forehead. "I'm glad to see you're awake." She stood up again as the color returned to Mike's face twofold. "You gave us a bit of a scare earlier."
"Us?" Mike intoned, raising a brow at Harvey meaningfully.
"Rachel visited yesterday," Harvey answered dismissively.
Mike turned his loaded gaze to Donna and she agreed with a roll of her eyes.
Mike's smile faded, however, when Harvey stood up from his chair. His associate's attention instantly swiveled to him.
"Where are you going?" Mike asked, voice strained in a panicky tone.
"To change. And make a few phone calls." He looked to Donna.
She nodded. "Ray still has your clothes. And today's schedule has already been cleared."
Harvey nodded with gratitude but looked back down at Mike when the kid refused to release his hand. He eyed Mike's suddenly anxious expression and smiled reassuringly. "You're in capable hands. I've never seen Donna fuss over anyone as much as she did you."
"Well, I wouldn't say that," Donna amended, glancing pointedly at Harvey. "But the capable hands part is true. Although, I don't like limitations placed upon my body. My hands aren't the only capable thing about me."
What was meant to arouse humor to lighten Mike's current mood fell on deaf ears. Mike was only looking at Harvey, his fingers tightening around Harvey's. Though he didn't say it aloud, the plea was obvious in his eyes.
Harvey tentatively placed his other hand over Mike's and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "I'll be right back. I promise."
Mike hesitated but reluctantly loosened his grip, allowing his hand to fall from Harvey's.
"Good boy," Harvey smiled and turned to the door. He left without looking back.
Mike watched the door sadly and grew even more disheartened when Harvey didn't turn around and come back.
Donna, all knowing Donna, noticed and wordlessly took Harvey's place beside Mike. She sat on the bed next to him, one arm slipping around his shoulders so she could bring her hand up to stroke his hair. The other took Mike's hand. He held hers back and laid his head on her shoulder. He was suddenly very tired, as if he had actually done something in the short amount of time he had been awake. How was it that he had slept for a full day and was still so tired?
But there was one question buzzing loudly in his head.
"What did you mean by Ray still has his clothes?"
He felt a smile spread over her lips. "Ray brought a change of clothes over for Harvey yesterday but he didn't want to change."
"Why not?" Mike asked, voice quiet. He closed his eyes. He wanted to stay awake; to wait until Harvey came back. He would just rest his eyes for a minute.
"Harvey would tell you that it was because he didn't want to ruin a perfectly good suit by sitting in a chair all day. He'd rather ruin the suit already wrinkled." Donna paused to glance at Mike. "But I'd say it was because he didn't want to leave you. He wanted to stay with you so that you wouldn't wake up alone."
Mike gave a start and smiled.
"He so cares."
"Yes he does."
With that said, Donna stated to hum a familiar tune as she continued to caress Mike's hair. Still smiling, Mike drifted off to sleep.
I think we're a little past the halfway point in the story. I still don't have a definite ending in mind but I'm working on it. As you know, school started and there's a lot of reading to do.
Anyway, that opinion I wanted to share with you is about Donna. I recently watched several youtube videos of her best sarcastic and funny moments with Harvey and Mike and I just had to share this thought with you:
Donna is really a great character and a fantastic addition to the show. The staff really chose a great actress to play her too. Her casual friendship (bordering on more that they unfortunately don't want to pursue) with Harvey and her willingness to look out for Mike when Harvey's otherwise preoccupied, her protectiveness of both, and her sharp wit and sarcasm all make the show even better. Sarah Rafferty plays Donna perfectly.
There, just thought I'd mention that even though I'm sure many of you already knew it. Go watch Donna's clips on youtube. They still make me laugh.
The other thing I mentioned in my last chapter was a question I wanted to ask you guys involving the show and Mike. You see, I've been under the impression (like so many of you judging by the fanfics I've read) that Mike's parents died in a car crash. But a recent fanfic said otherwise. For the sake of a possible future fanfic, did Mike's parent die in a car crash or was it another scenario the show hasn't mentioned yet?
If you read all this, congratulations, and if you answered my question, thank you very much. I'll update as soon as possible. See you then.