Title: Mike, the Lamest Werewolf Ever
Part: 1 of 3
Pairings&Characters: Harvey/Mike (w/ Jessica, Donna, Jenny, Louis, and Mike's grandmother)
Word Count: ~8,100 / 16,500
Summary: Mike is a werewolf. Harvey finds out. Harvey's not sure what he expected out of a real-life werewolf, but it definitely wasn't this. There should be more snarling, less whimpering and begging for treats. More foaming at the mouth, less rolling over for tummy scratchies. More stoic hunter, less making Harvey fall in lo- Wait a minute. Dammit, Mike!
Warning: Slash (Pre-slash here in Part One). Naughty words. Unintentional self-harm. Fluff.
AN: I've only seen a few episodes of Suits, so if you think my rendition of the boys is OoC, you may be right. Concrit is welcome, but be warned, that means constructive criticism, and if you're being an asshat ("I hate your face.", "Your story's stupid. Goodbye."), I will not hesitate to delete you.
All that aside, thank you for flying Air Kira, and please enjoy the fic.
"You're late again, Mike. Is it that time of the month? I'm sure Donna has some chocolate if you need some," Harvey says, barely looking up from his texting.
"Haha, Harvey. That joke just gets funnier every month," Mike replies with a wry smile. He looks tired and hastily thrown together, the same way he does every month around this time. Harvey's not sure what Mike does on that one night a month, but there's no way it's good for his health.
"Yeah, yeah. But I'm serious - you can't keep doing this and expect to keep up with the other associates. You know that, right?" Harvey says, finally deigning to give Mike the honor of eye contact.
"And since I am undoubtedly the best, that means YOU have to be the best. you don't want to embarrass me, do you Mike? I'd have to send Donna after you," Harvey says, giving Mike his insincere smile.
"Dude. Don't even joke about that," Mike says.
"It's not a joke if you keep coming in late and expecting special treatment. Promise me you won't do this again," Harvey says, the smile slipping away.
"...I'll try, Harvey." Mike looks at the floor.
"Do or do not. There is no try."
"...Did you seriously just quote Yoda at me?"
"Get to work, hotshot. I need the research on the Umver case by eleven," Harvey says, going back to his phone.
"Of course, Jedi Master sir," Mike says, smirking and walking out. Harvey shakes his head at Mike's retreating back. Punk.
Harvey didn't really think about his exchange with Mike for the rest of the month. That conversation was almost routine at this point. Mike comes in a couple hours later than he should once a month, almost like clockwork. Harvey makes a couple of pointed comments, then lets it go. Mike comes in early and stays late the rest of the month, working on the weekends too.
Harvey considers it a fair enough trade (not that he'll tell Mike that), and he gets to keep the smartest and least annoying associate at his beck and call.
Of course, Harvey had been really pissed off the first couple of times. Where did Mike get off, thinking he could just come and go as he pleased? As far as Harvey was concerned, the firm owned Mike's ass until the day he became a partner. Even then, he'd better be humbly grateful to have the opportunity to work at the best firm in the city, and to have been trained by the best lawyer in the city. Nothing could be more important than proving his worth to the firm.
Except, apparently there was something. Something important enough to risk Louis' wrath on a regular basis. Something that made the disapproving looks from Rachel and Donna worth it.
And damn if Harvey wasn't itching to find out what it was.
He doesn't usually let it affect him or the way he works with Mike, but every month, there's that little niggling thought at the back of his head. What has Mike been up to?
Is it drugs, again? No, that can't be right. Mike just looks tired and worn out, and he hasn't come to work high since that incident months ago. Does he go bar-hopping, clubbing? Mike doesn't really seem the type, but he is a young man living in the city, making pretty decent money. Is it a girl? Maybe it's fight club. Once, a couple of months ago, Mike's collar had slipped down and Harvey had glimpsed a real nasty scratch running down his neck. Though, that could also be from a girl.
Seriously, what the hell is Mike up to?
So when, the next month, Harvey is late leaving the office and he sees Mike getting on that stupid bicycle of his and leaving early (for Mike), he just sort of snaps a little. He grabs a taxi, and tells the driver to follow the kid on the bike. The driver gives him a look, but Harvey backs up his demand with a couple of twenties up front. The cabbie shrugs, then pulls into traffic.
They follow Mike to his apartment, Mike none the wiser, and Harvey watches Mike let himself into the building. Harvey's a little surprised to see him in the same place as before. He would have expected someone with Mike's paycheck to take the first chance they could to get out of this frankly shitty neighborhood. And, alright, it's not exactly the worst neighborhood ever, but Mike could be doing a lot better right now. It makes Harvey wonder why he isn't.
Is he spending his money somewhere else? Maybe it's connected to Mike's monthly disappearing act.
Harvey waits ten minutes with the meter running, but Mike doesn't come back out. He considers his course for a split second before deciding to pay Mike a personal visit. He's already come all this way, and if he gets up there now, he should be able to catch Mike before he goes wherever it is he goes.
He pays the cabbie his fare, plus another ten for still not asking questions or trying to talk to him at all. He steps out, straightens his suit, then strides over to the building. He's already planning a little speech in his head to get Mike to buzz him up, but finds he doesn't need to. Not only is the buzzer broken, but so is the lock on the door. He deducts points from Mike's IQ for not getting out of this dump at the first opportunity.
The elevator is, of course, also broken. It's on the way up the stairs that Harvey has the first inkling of doubt. Maybe this wasn't the best plan. If, that is, you can call a spur-of-the-moment decision to stalk one's employee a "plan."
He pauses before Mike's door. He can still back out now, go home, and pretend he didn't follow his associate home out of an overgrown sense of competitive curiosity. He could, and there's no shame in that.
But, hey. What the hell. He's here already.
He knocks on the door, and waits. After a minute he hears muffled cursing and thumping, then footfalls coming nearer. Finally Mike opens the door, just a crack, only enough to see half his face. Harvey raises an eyebrow.
"Shit, Harvey," Mike says, his one eye growing large with surprise and... fear? Maybe his secret really is that bad.
"Are you going to let me in?" Harvey asks.
"Um..." Mike says. His eyes flicker to the room behind him, then back. Harvey's already tired of this bullshit, so he narrows his eyes and gives Mike his best 'Don't Fuck With Me' stare. Mike's eyes widen even more and he quickly averts his gaze to the side.
"Mike," Harvey says, "Let me in."
Mike swallows thickly and shuffles back, opening the door just enough for Harvey to squeeze in. By the time Harvey's shut the door, Mike's already moved away. He's pacing, and the only things he's wearing are a white t-shirt and a pair of blue boxers. He looks pale and not well at all.
That's not the weird part. The weird part is that all of Mike's crappy furniture is pushed up against the walls, leaving a clear space right in the middle of the apartment. The weird part is that the couch, the TV, and the fridge are covered in tarps. And Mike's still pacing.
"Mike?" Harvey says. There's a lot wrong with this situation, and no polite way to ask his associate when he went crazy.
"Hi, Harvey. Look, you gotta go. I've, uh, got cleaners coming, so, the apartment's going to be pretty impassable, I'll talk to you tomorrow, yeah?" Mike rushes out, still pacing and scratching the back of his head. Harvey gives him an incredulous look.
"Kid, that is the worst lie you have ever told me. What the hell is going on?" Harvey asks, crossing his arms. Whatever this is, it's turning out to be pretty damn weird. Harvey's not leaving until he gets an explanation.
Mike groans and digs the heels of his hands into his eyes. He's still pacing, and that's starting to make Harvey nervous. Ever since Mike opened the door, he's been making the tight, repetitive little movements of someone not in complete control of themselves.
"You really, really, shouldn't have come here, Harvey," Mike says, voice muffled by the hands covering his face. He hasn't looked at Harvey once since Harvey walked in here.
"Mike, tell me what's going on," Harvey says. He's edged out of outrage and curiosity, and straight into concern.
"I can't!" Mike shouts, finally looking at Harvey. Harvey blinks at the sudden aggression, but before he can get a word out, Mike is trembling all over and then running towards the far corner of the room. Harvey stays right where he is.
Mike is breathing heavily, crouched in the corner, and all of a sudden he's ripping his shirt off, pushing down the boxers, and
and Harvey has no words. He can't say, can't think what he's looking at. Reality took a left turn somewhere, and this is where it left him.
There, laying on top of Mike's shirt and Mike's boxers in Mike's apartment, right where Mike used to be, is a wolf. A brown wolf.
Harvey can't move.
The wolf shivers and then sits up, blinks. It seems to be reorienting itself. It turns its great, furry head toward Harvey. It stares, and Harvey stares back.
The wolf's eyes are Mike's. They're the same faded green-blue, the color of old dollar bills. They look away, and the wolf starts sniffing around itself.
Now, Harvey's a pretty smart guy. He can follow the signs, he knows what realization they're leading up to.
Mike is a werewolf.
Or Harvey's crazy. That might be better.
Either way, right this second Harvey is still staring at a wolf where Mike used to be, and it's moving towards him. It's finished investigating Mike's clothes, and is now trotting right over. Harvey decides to be very, very still and hope he doesn't get his throat ripped out.
Except... the wolf – Mike's tongue is lolling out of his mouth, and he's sort of... prancing. He's prancing over to Harvey, and instead of beginning a bloodcurdling slaughter, he's sniffing at Harvey's shoes. Then he sits right down in front of Harvey and stares up at him in that adoring way dogs do, like Harvey's the best and coolest thing since fried bacon.
Harvey is at a loss.
"Uh... Mike?" he asks, deciding to go for broke and just roll with Mike's sudden fluffiness. Mike barks, once, then goes back to grinning up at him. Oh.
The thing is, that bark, that exact tone of eagerness... it sounds exactly like Mike.
...The fuck? How, how does a wolf sound like Mike? How does Mike turn into a wolf? How is this his life?
And now Mike's sniffing at him again, which now that Harvey thinks about it, is awkward as hell. He investigates Harvey's pockets, and his hands, and then seems to lose interest. He stands and looks around, then bounds over to the coffee table. Sniffs. He investigates the floor around it for good measure.
Seriously, did Harvey do something, that this should happen? He's never been particularly concerned with being good before, but this is just ridiculous.
Mike loses interest in the floor and moves on to the couch. Except this time, when he sniffs at the tarp covering it, he backs up right away and sits down hard. Harvey's almost worried, but then Mike... sneezes. Hard.
It's kind of funny. Mike-the-wolf has this surprised look on his face, like 'whoa, how did that happen?' Harvey cracks a smile.
It continues like that for a while, Mike looking around and sniffing everything. He stays away from the tarp-covered objects after that first big sneeze. Finally he seems satisfied by the state of his apartment, and he trots back over to his clothes and picks up his t-shirt. He bounds over to Harvey with it in his mouth, and drops it at his feet.
Harvey blinks at him. Mike picks the shirt up, then drops it again right on his shoes. He's doing that doggie grin thing again, like this is the most fun he's ever had, ever.
"You're not big on dignity, are you?" he asks. He can't believe he's even thinking about doing this. He is not about to play a stupid game with his associate-turned-wolf, as if it were all normal, and -
Mike barks, then picks up the shirt again. "Alright, alright." Harvey removes his jacket, waistcoat, tie, and shirt and puts them on top of the couch, leaving himself in his undershirt and pants. He considers, then takes off his Italian leather loafers and puts them next to his clothes. He turns back to Mike, whose tail is wagging.
"Come on, you overgrown puppy. We'll play."
When Mike's finally done with him, it's hours later and Harvey is ridiculously tired. They played fetch. They played tug-of-war. They played tag. They played, and they played, and then they started over. And of course once Harvey started playing with him, he couldn't be the one to stop first. Mike was still his hotshot underling, and Harvey still has that goddamn competitive streak.
Mike's finally winding down now, though. He's laid down right in the middle of the room, and Harvey has collapsed gratefully next to him. Mike is panting, but not as hard as Harvey. Harvey is ready to go to sleep. He's drifting off, but then Mike moves beside him, and he's snapped back awake.
Mike stands, then sits back down. He lays down. He gets back up. He lays down. He jumps up and runs in a tight circle, then lays back down. Harvey's starting to get annoyed. Mike stands again, walks away, stops abruptly, and comes back. He takes a step away, a step back.
"Make up your mind," Harvey snaps. He just wants to take a nap, but of course Mike has to be annoying.
Mike whines and walks over to the front door. He pats at it, butts his head against it, and sighs. He gives Harvey a pleading look over his shoulder.
"Mike, I don't think that's a good idea," Harvey says. Mike whines, and butts the door again.
"No, Mike," Harvey says, frowning. There's no way he's letting the werewolf out into the city. He just doesn't see it ending well for anyone involved. He has no idea how much of Mike is in there, and he has no way to really communicate with Mike-the-human at the moment.
Mike doesn't listen, though, and keeps headbutting the door like he can break through with just his thick skull and force of will. It's nauseating to watch, and he just keeps going.
"Mike, I said no!" Harvey says, sitting up. Mike flinches, but stops. He whines, this awful, pitiful sound. It's a good think Harvey's such a hardass, or that would have gotten to him.
Mike backs away from the door and slinks back over to Harvey, his head down and ears flat.
It gets worse from there.
Mike is twitchy, and restless. Then he does that walking-in-circles thing over and over until he makes himself dizzy and flops on the floor. He stays there for a little bit, then rolls back to standing. He wanders aimlessly around the room, nosing things here and there before losing interest again. He stays away from the front door.
Finally he settles in the far corner, on top of his boxers. Just about when Harvey thinks he's finally gone to sleep, the real fun begins.
Harvey's almost asleep right there on the floor, just glances over to check on Mike, but he can't because Mike is trying to eat himself.
"Mike!" Harvey says, and Mike stops, eyes flashing guiltily over at Harvey. Mike's teeth are deep in his own back leg, and it's clear that he's been worrying at it. There's blood dripping down onto the floor, dark against Mike's fur.
"Mike, stop that," Harvey whispers. Mike releases his jaws, and flops down, listless. So that's where that scratch had come from. No fight club, no secret girlfriend, just... just a trapped wolf.
Harvey watches him, after that. Mike gets restless again, stares holes in the front door, and gets a quick nip into his foreleg before Harvey can stop him. Harvey tells him to stop, and he does.
Harvey starts inching closer to him, but Mike doesn't seem to care at all where Harvey is. When Mike starts the restless twitching again, Harvey is right there. He eases down beside him, and then smacks Mike's muzzle when he goes back for the same foreleg. Mike whines, then settles.
Harvey considers for a moment, then gently pats Mike on the back. Mike sighs and closes his eyes. Harvey starts petting him, and he can feel Mike relaxing bit by bit. They spend the rest of the night like that, and Harvey falls asleep.
When he wakes up, he's alone in the corner and sunlight is coming in faint through the windows. He yawns heavily and blinks, looking around. A pair of legs comes into view, and he looks up to see Mike clothed in sweats, offering a cup of coffee to him. Harvey accepts it, inhaling the scent greedily.
"Uh, about last night," Mike says.
"I swear to god, if you say it was a one-time deal and you're not into relationships, I will punch you in the face," Harvey warns. Mike chuckles.
"No. I was actually going to say thanks," Mike says.
"You're welcome," Harvey says. He takes a sip of coffee, content to just sit there for a while. It feels like his head's not screwed on all the way. He probably only got a couple hours of sleep.
"About last night," Mike says again.
"I already gave you a chance to make a one night stand joke, and you missed it. This better not be it," Harvey says. Mike smiles weakly, looking into his coffee cup. He clears his throat.
"You won't... tell anyone, will you?" he asks. Harvey glares up at him.
"No. I won't tell anyone," he says. Mike releases a breath, but before he can say anything, Harvey gets to his feet and takes a big gulp of coffee. He hands the mug to Mike on his way to the closet and starts pulling on his clothes.
"However," Harvey says, pulling on his shirt. He glances over to see Mike with big worried eyes, and snorts. "After work today, you're coming over to my place, and we're going to have a Talk. You're going to tell me exactly what the hell is going on, and what happened last night."
"Okay. Your place?" Mike asks, eyes even wider.
"Yes. My place. The place with the really good booze. Can't have a Talk without booze," Harvey says, pulling on his jacket and tying his shoes. He pulls open Mike's front door and departs with, "And don't think this means you get to miss work today."
The day at Pearson Hardman is shockingly normal. Harvey almost expects his coworkers to all start turning into mythical animals, but thankfully that doesn't happen. He does his job, and Mike does his, and they don't say anything about werewolves.
It's pretty nice, actually.
The day ends, though, and Harvey finds himself carting his associate home with him. Once again, he can't believe he's about to do this. That seems to happen a lot around Mike.
They get inside, Harvey changes into something more comfortable, and then he pours them both a generous amount of scotch. He refuses to speak until they've finished off their glasses. Then he pours them another, and he looks at Mike, who's fidgeting nervously.
"So. You're a werewolf," Harvey says. Start off simple and crazy.
"Yep," Mike says, staring at his drink.
"And you just, what? Mope around your apartment all night? Every month?" Harvey asks. Somewhere in the back of his mind, thoughts and questions have been bubbling up all day. Now he'll finally get his answers.
"Well, I wouldn't put it that way, but, uh, yeah. Basically." Mike shrugs.
"But... you're a werewolf. You could be out wreaking havoc and... doing whatever it is wolves do."
"Not really. I mean, I'm still myself, so no havoc, but there's the fact that I'm not exactly myself when I'm a wolf. Things are sort of... condensed, and it's really easy to get sidetracked by a new smell or some dog intruding on my territory. Besides, I've locked myself out of my apartment before on the full moon. It's not exactly fun asking the super for an extra key while you're naked."
"Ah. I see. But, pardon me if I'm wrong... that can't be all that healthy for your other half. I mean, I know the big dog breeds aren't meant to be cooped up in tiny apartments like that. Has to be even worse when you're a wolf."
"Well, yeah. But it's not like I have much choice in the matter. Like I said, it's way too easy to get lost and sidetracked."
"Has it always been this way? You spend one night every month clawing at the walls?" And at yourself, but Harvey doesn't add that last part. The image is still too fresh in his mind.
"Well, when I was little, I'd go running with my parents. And when I lived with my grandmother, she'd take me out for walks," Mike says. He sounds... nostalgic.
"She wasn't a werewolf?" Harvey asks.
"Females don't have to shift after menopause, and shifting's kind of hard on the body. It was hell on her joints, and near impossible after her hip surgery. Plus, it was easier for her to keep up with a puppy if she could keep me leashed."
"Ah. Why didn't you just ask one of your friends? I'm sure that blonde you have a thing for would be happy to take you walkies."
"...I never told them."
They're both silent for a moment, Harvey sipping at his drink and Mike staring down into his empty glass. Harvey looks at Mike, at the circles under his eyes and the scratches and bites that had yet to heal.
Harvey had gotten to know Mike a little since they started working together, had seen how damn near impossible it was for him to open up and really trust people. He could see how hard it would be for Mike to make himself vulnerable by telling someone he was a werewolf.
Mike would just keep doing this, month after month. He'd lock himself away and then tear himself apart trying to get out. He'd played it down just now, but Harvey had seen how terrified he'd been by being trapped. And then he went to work, and pretended he couldn't remember that fear.
Harvey makes a choice.
"Is there any particular... protocol when going walkies with a werewolf?" he asks, nonchalant. Mike looks at him quizzically.
"Not really. I mean, I'm still in there, just with more instinct. I have to smell the person first, then I can wait for the harness and leash to be attached. I always used to try to run off after squirrels and whatever, but Grandma was always firm, and since she was dominant to me, I did what she said.
"Oh, and she never let me eat anything she didn't make me herself. The food stays in the stomach after we shift, and some things a wolf is cool with with having, have me puking the rest of the day."
"Interesting. Do you still have the leash and harness?" Harvey asks, taking another sip. He watches Mike carefully.
"Yeah, I do. Um, Harvey? Why are you asking?" Mike asks, brow furrowed. Harvey gives him his 'don't be stupid' look.
"Because I'm taking you out next month. There's no way I'm letting you do this again," Harvey says, gesturing to Mike's appearance. "Besides, if you get to come in late once a month, I should be able to to."
"But... you always come in late," Mike says, frowning.
"But this way, we both know my lack of sleep is your fault, and then you get to be my bitch all day, " Harvey says, grinning.
"Okay, first of all, again, you do that anyway," Mike says. Harvey notes that, curiously, Mike is blushing. "Second of all, uh, I should probably tell you... Um, 'Bitch' means something different to werewolves. Basically it means a female wolf, but if you uh, say 'my bitch,' it means you're in a romantic relationship with them and they're the submissive. Just... so you know."
"...Ah," Harvey says.
"So have you ever been anyone's bitch before?" The words just come tumbling out of Harvey's mouth before he can stop them, and he wants to smack himself. Mike blushes even harder. Okay, it's obviously time for them both to stop drinking.
Mike mumbles something.
"What?" Harvey asked, frowning.
"There aren't any gay werewolves," Mike says, staring miserably into his glass.
"What," Harvey says, his face completely blank.
"I can't be someone's bitch, because there aren't any gay werewolves around here," Mike repeats, a little too loudly. Harvey wasn't too sure what to say to that.
"You're a gay werewolf?" he blurts out. Dammit. Stupid alcohol.
"Yeah," Mike says quietly.
"Yeah," Mike says, and grabs the bottle to refill his glass.
"Then what was that thing with the blonde? Jessie?" Harvey asks, confused.
"Jenny. She was... my only real friend, for a while. She was nice, she was sweet, she was warm, she never judged me. Plus she smelled really nice," Mike says, smiling. "With her and Trevor, it was like having a pack, sort of. There was less, well, crushing loneliness. Jenny was a fantasy. She was normal. She seemed perfect."
"Seemed?" Harvey asks, honestly curious. Who knew his associate's life would turn out to be more interesting than cable?
"She... got tired of me keeping things from her. The cheating, the stuff with Trevor, and she knew there was something, something I was still holding back. I told her I was gay, and she said we could still be friends. I hoped that would distract her. But she knew there was something else," Mike says, and takes a drink. "We haven't talked in a couple of weeks. I don't blame her."
"Is there some kind of taboo against telling other people?" Harvey asks.
"Not really. It's just, we know we have to be careful. People like to pretend this is an age of reason, but..." Mike shrugs. "It's just not. It's easier, better not to tell people and not get hunted down by pitchfork or government agency."
"Makes sense," Harvey says.
"Yep. We only tell people we really trust, people we know will keep the secret," Mike says, gazing meditatively at the coffee table.
Something warm fills Harvey's chest at that statement. He'd like to blame the alcohol for that, too, but he knows it's from Mike placing his trust in him. Even if it was an accident in the first place, even if Harvey knows in his head that Mike is drunk as a skunk by now and probably doesn't mean it... Everything still seems a little brighter.
People don't trust Harvey. Clients trust Harvey Specter to do his job, and so does Jessica. Other lawyers trust him to be an arrogant asshole. They all trust him to keep their secrets as long as he gets paid.
But people don't trust him with their real, personal secrets. Little things like their guilty pleasure movie, or their preferred brand of toothpaste. Big things like being a werewolf. Everything he knows about other people, he's figured out for himself. And here Mike is, just sharing his secrets and memories and life. Harvey can't help but smile.
Definitely time to put the scotch away.
"Alright," Harvey says, standing and stretching. "Bout time for all good little werewolves to be in bed. You can take the guest room. Third door on the left."
Mike nods and stands, then shuffles off. His gait is a little wobbly and unsure from the drink, like the big fluffy puppy he really is. Harvey shakes his head at the both of them and goes to bed.
The next morning, Harvey makes them coffee and sets out water and aspirin. Harvey takes a moment to savor that first hit of caffeine, then he turns to Mike.
"So. Next month. Should I bring treats, or do you have your own stash for when you manage not to chase after squirrels? I bet it's what, bacon-flavored?" Harvey says.
"Harvey, seriously, you don't have to do anything," Mike says, but before he can continue, Harvey glares him down. It is too early in the goddamn morning for Harvey to be dealing with stupid werewolves, but he is, so Mike is just going to have to shut up and listen.
"You're right, Mike, I don't have to do anything. I can do whatever I damn well please. And I am going to take you on a walk next month, so suck it up and tell me what I need to bring," Harvey says. Mike's eyes are cast to the side, and he nods.
"Um, comfortable shoes? Just, no three-piece suits or anything," Mike says, shrugging. Harvey rolls his eyes.
"No shit. I'm not stupid, Mike. Anything else?" Harvey says. Mike shakes his head. "All right. Give me a heads up next month, and then we'll take the puppy walkies."
"Did you have to say that so condescendingly?" Mike asks.
"Yes," Harvey says, draining the last of his coffee. "Hurry up. If we're late I'll have to put you in time out."
"Harvey, that's toddlers, not puppies."
"Sure it is."
It's five o'clock, and Mike and Harvey are ass-deep in paperwork. Harvey's starting to get that particularly frustrated look that means he's worn out (and thus likely to be pissy). So Mike doesn't even pretend to make eye contact with his boss when he says,
"So, um, it's full moon tonight."
"What?" Harvey snaps, glaring distractedly at Mike. Mike swallows and finds himself tilting his head instinctively, baring the side of his neck to Harvey. Harvey just glares harder, obviously waiting for Mike to tell him what the hell is important enough to be interrupting him with.
"Full moon tonight," Mike says, wishing he hadn't spoken. Harvey had told him to tell him about the next full moon, but maybe he'd changed his mind, and anyway this case is pretty important for the firm...
"Oh," Harvey says, frowning off into space for a moment. He rubs a hand over his face. "Okay. Thanks for telling me."
"How do you know, by the way?" Harvey asks, looking curiously over at Mike. "Do you have some sort of special werewolf sense that tells you when the full moon is?"
"Huh? Oh, no. I have an app on my phone," Mike says, "It tells me the current phase of the moon."
Harvey gives him a disappointed look and shakes his head.
"What?" Mike asks.
"You don't rampage, you don't devour the flesh of the innocent, and you have no mystical superpowers. Yet you call yourself a werewolf?" Harvey says.
"Haha. Yes, I call myself a werewolf," Mike says. Harvey smirks.
"Right. When are you going to transform?" Harvey asks, checking his watch.
"I usually do it around eight, at the latest," Mike says, and Harvey nods.
"Right. Well, we'll wrap this up in an hour. I'll meet you back at your place after that," Harvey says. Mike nods, then they both sigh and dive back into the mountains of paperwork.
Two hours later, Mike lets Harvey into his apartment, then spends a moment staring at him.
"What?" Harvey asks, annoyed. Mike gestures at his clothing.
"There's nothing wrong with what I'm wearing. Your only stipulation was no three-piece suit," Harvey says.
"So, what, you don't have any ratty old sweats, like a normal person?" Mike says, raising his eyebrows at Harvey's designer tracksuit. Harvey gives him a look that obviously means 'No.'
"Do you have the harness and leash ready?" Harvey asks, clearly changing the subject. Mike rolls his eyes, but retrieves them from the couch. They look at each other for a moment, then Harvey says, "So are you going to do it, or what?"
"Um, yeah. If you could just turn around?" Mike says. "I, um, have to get naked first."
Harvey obligingly turns around (because yes, he's completely capable of being a gentleman) and listens as Mike's clothes hit the ground, then the oddly muted sound of bone and muscle shifting. Then there's a bark, and when Harvey turns around there stands the light brown wolf from before. He grins at Harvey and barks again.
"Yeah, yeah," Harvey mutters. He crouches down and offers his hand to Mike, who sniffs it delightedly. Then he offers the leash and harness for the wolf to sniff for good measure. Mike seems less interested in the harness than in Harvey's hand, but he sits quietly as Harvey wrangles it onto him.
Finally, they're out the door and on the street. Harvey's starting to think that he should have asked Mike if there was a park nearby, or if he had a route in mind. But Mike just looks so damn happy to be outside, prancing around at the end of the leash and sniffing everything in reach, that Harvey decides that Mike will probably be okay with anything, and starts walking. He figures they can do a few leisurely strolls around the block and call it good.
It's actually pretty nice out. Summer's ending, and the sun just set, so the temperature's almost perfect. The streetlamps are on, and the windows around are bright with light, but Harvey can still see some stars if he cranes his neck a bit. There are cars going past and TVs blaring up above, but all the same it's almost peaceful for the city.
To top it all off, Mike seems to be in ecstasy. He hasn't stopped grinning and his tail hasn't stopped wagging since they got out here, and he bounces from fire hydrant to streetlight to crack in the sidewalk with eager energy. His form is clearly that of a fierce warrior, but he still resembles nothing so much as a hyperactive puppy.
Harvey can't help but chuckle, watching him, and he misses the two toughs coming out of the alleyway ahead of him. He starts paying attention when one of them points a gun at him.
"Give us your shit," says the one holding the gun. He's pale, blond, and wearing a wife beater and pants twelve sizes too big. The other guy brandishes a knife at Harvey, a sneer on his face. Harvey wants to groan, or maybe growl. Of course this is what happens.
"Don't pretend like you don't have nothing, either. Hair and clothes like that, you've gotta have something," says the one with the gun, gesturing with it.
Harvey's already decided that his life is, of course, much more important than the contents of his wallet, so he gets it from his pocket and tosses it to the muggers, moving slowly so as not to spook the idiot with the gun.
"The watch too," says the guy with the knife, pointing at Harvey's Rolex. Harvey sighs and reaches to undo it, which is when Mike starts barking. The punk with the gun points it at Mike, obviously spooked, and Mike lunges for him. Harvey's grip on the leash fails, and Mike goes flying towards their attackers. He collides full-force with the knees of the guy with the gun, and it goes off.
Harvey's heart stops. 'What a stupid way to lose my associate,' he thinks.
Then Mike jumps up and it's the punk moaning in pain, not him, and Harvey can breathe again. The one with the knife curses and rushes to his friend's aid, quickly hauling the other boy to his feet and dragging him away, back into the alley. It looks like the punk is bleeding from his thigh.
Mike barks after them as they run away, then turns and prances back over to Harvey. He's grinning again and is clearly pleased with himself.
Harvey is not impressed. He grabs Mike's leash, picks up his wallet, and starts walking them back to the apartment.
"I had fun! Did you have fun? That was fun!" Mike says, bouncing around. Harvey levels a glare at him.
"We're never doing that again," Harvey says. Mike's grin dims, and he stops moving.
"Oh. Okay. I mean, I understand. It's cool," he says, looking at the floor. Harvey rolls his eyes.
"I didn't mean we'd stop walking. I mean, we're never doing it in this neighborhood again. I don't think you almost getting shot is 'fun.'"
"Oh," Mike says, looking up. "That makes sense I guess."
"Good," Harvey says, taking off his jacket. He deserves a beer, and he'd even take some of the swill Mike has in his fridge.
"Except... Uh, that might be a bad idea," Mike says, scratching the back of his head. Harvey stops halfway to the fridge and glares at him.
"And why would that be?" he asks. Mike's eyes are cast at the ground, and he fidgets nervously.
"I – the wolf – it's not safe outside our territory," Mike says.
"What are you talking about?" Harvey demands, frustrated. Did Mike's wolf just love to make Harvey's life more complicated? "We just proved that anywhere else is safer than your 'territory.'"
Mike flinches a little at the harsh tone in Harvey's voice, then tilts his head to the side and exposes his throat completely. When Harvey just stares at him, he whines quietly in the back of his throat. Harvey blinks.
"Hey, stop that," he says, quieter this time. "I'm not... I'm not mad at you. I just need you to explain this to me. I'm just human, Mike. You have to help me understand."
Mike swallows heavily, then risks a glance up at Harvey's face. He seems reassured, and his posture straightens.
"It's kind of hard to explain," he says, scratching the back of his neck. Harvey sighs and gestures toward the couch, then grabs them both beers and joins Mike. Mike accepts the bottle gratefully and takes a long pull.
"It's like..." Mike starts, then trails off. He takes another drink and tries again. "This place, it's mine. Mine. I can't... I can't leave, and I definitely can't be the wolf anywhere else. It just freaks me out."
"Freaks you out?"
"It feels wrong, and really, really unsafe," Mike says.
Harvey runs a hand over his face, frustrated. Mike gives him a sheepish look.
"I really don't like being outside my territory," Mike says apologetically.
"And you can't, what, change your territory? Move?" Harvey asks. Mike looks pained.
"Making a new den is hard. You need pack. It's almost impossible for lone wolves to settle down," Mike says. Right. Of course it couldn't be that easy. "I was only able to move in here because my grandma stayed for a while."
"So... you need family? Friends?" Harvey asks.
"Yeah," Mike says. They drink their beers in silence for a moment.
Harvey's thinking furiously. He has an idea that might work, but it would mean inviting Mike into his personal life, and giving even more time and energy to him. Harvey's not sure he could handle that.
But... he still can't help but remember the self-inflicted wounds, and the forlorn whimpers. He thinks about how happy Mike had been just smelling the shitty city air and walking around in this crappy neighborhood. It's probably been years since Mike let himself out of this apartment.
"Would I count?" Harvey asks, quietly. Mike looks confused, so he elaborates. "Would you be able to move into my... territory?"
Mike's eyes have gone big now, and it'd almost be amusing if Harvey weren't so serious. Mike hasn't responded, so Harvey glares at him, causing him to splutter out,
"Um, uh, yeah, I think so."
Harvey takes a heavy drink of beer.
"Would you want to?" he asks Mike.
"Well, I, ah," Mike starts to say. Harvey overrides him.
"Do you have any objections to living in a neighborhood where you don't have to wear a Kevlar vest to go walkies?"
"...Well, when you put it that way, no. But, uh, are you sure? You don't have to-" Mike says.
"I'm sure," Harvey says. He's not sure.
But... what the hell. They spend most of their time together anyway. Most of Harvey's 'dates' happen at hotels or at the other person's place. And Harvey can probably guilt Mike into cooking, cleaning, and making coffee whenever he feels like it.
Mike scrutinizes Harvey's expression for a moment, his own face serious and intent.
"If you're sure... Then, yes, I would love to move in with you... Sweetheart," Mike says. Harvey snorts and punches him in the arm.
A week later, Mike's stuff is all moved in. Harvey's trying not to let himself have second thoughts about this. Doubts mean a weak position, and Harvey isn't weak.
Instead, he focuses on Mike, who is currently taking his clothes off.
"What are you doing?" he asks. Mike looks slightly embarrassed.
"I have to shift into wolf and familiarize myself with the place before the next full moon, so you don't have to deal with a freaked out werewolf then," Mike says. "And um, I have to... markitasmine."
"...What?" Harvey asks. Mike sighs.
"I have to mark it as mine," he says.
"...How?" Harvey asks.
"I, um, have to, kind of rub up against things, and leave my scent around. It'll help me get to know the scents already here too," Mike says. He's looking at the ground again, which Harvey has already figured out means that he's afraid of Harvey's reaction. He makes a side-note to himself to google wolf behavior.
Harvey doesn't want to make Mike feel even more awkward, but still...
"Really, Mike? You're going to leave fur all over?" Harvey asks. His cleaning lady is going to kill him.
"Well, it's either that or pissing on your thousand-dollar drapes. I mean, I can do it the right way if you want me to..." Mike says.
"...Never mind," Harvey says. Mike smirks, the smartass. Harvey glares, then turns around and continues glaring at the wall when Mike finishes shucking his clothes. He hears the same strange, almost liquid sound that means Mike's shifting into the wolf, then everything's silent. He turns around to see wolf-Mike looking nervously around Harvey's apartment, like he's expecting something to attack him.
Mike's ears prick at the sound of Harvey's movement, and he gives him a once-over, seeming to recognize him. He creeps carefully over to Harvey, eyes flicking around, then gently sniffs his pant leg. Harvey crouches, moving slowly, and offers his hand, which Mike investigates thoroughly. He relaxes minutely at the smell, then gives the hand a sloppy lick.
"Gross," Harvey says, taking his hand away. He stands then heads into the kitchen to grab a washcloth. When he comes back he sees Mike practically inhaling his living room, sniffing everything in sight. Every so often he'll stop, consider some corner or wall or piece of furniture, then rub vigorously up against it. Harvey snorts. Mike just grins his puppy grin at him and continues on.
It goes like that for the next half hour or so, with Harvey opening doors so Mike can give the treatment to every room. Harvey glares when Mike gives special attention to the guest and Harvey's bed, rubbing extra long against them, but Mike just ignores him and moves on.
Finally they end up in the entryway. Harvey looks at his watch, glad it's almost over. Harvey's tired, and he just wants to go to bed and forget he has a punk-ass associate living in his home.
Mike's ears are pricked, and he's looking curiously at the front door. He trots towards it, his nose waving back and forth above the floor. He moves slower the closer he gets to the door, and Harvey can see him getting more and more tense. He stops half a foot away, shakes his head, and sneezes. He regards the door warily.
Harvey wonders if there's something actually wrong, or if it's just the surfeit of unfamiliar scents making him leery. Then a strange noise echoes from downstairs, making Mike whine and start backing away, and Harvey figures it's the latter. Mike takes one last look at the door, then turns and lopes back into the living room. Harvey watches him go. He's probably gone to hide under the couch or something.
Harvey takes a moment to make sure everything's locked up for the night, then heads into his bedroom. Mike will change back when he wants to. In the meantime, Harvey's going to get some fucking sleep.
He changes out of his suit and performs his nightly routine, grateful that everything is quiet. It's only when he returns from the bathroom that he notices that one of his pillows is a lot furrier than normal. He stalks over to the side of the bed and sees that yes, his associate is indeed curled up in his bed.
He glares and points to the open door.
"Out," he says. Mike lifts his head from where it'd been hiding under his (stupidly fluffy) tail. His blue eyes are huge and glistening, and he looks absolutely pitiful. He whines and snuggles deeper into Harvey's duvet. Harvey teeters, briefly, then firms his resolve. He has been ridiculously nice, and courteous, and helpful to his beleaguered associate, but this is one thing he will not do.
"No. I am sleeping in this bed, and you. Are. Not," he says, gritting his teeth. Mike just whines again and rolls over, exposing his belly. Harvey pinches the bridge of his nose and squeezes his eyes shut. How is this his life?
He opens his eyes to see Mike giving him the big blues again. It is the most devastating attack that Harvey has ever encountered, making him feel guilty and mean, and he is just too tired to fight it right now. He sighs.
Harvey can hardly believe what he's about to do. Donna had better not hear about this, because she'd never let him live it down. The best legal mind in the city shouldn't be letting an overgrown puppy tell him where to sleep.
Mike hits him with the sad eyes again. Harvey grumbles and pulls the covers back.
"All right, but just this once. And you'd better not tell anybody about it, either."
Mike pants happily as Harvey climbs into his bed, and when Harvey turns off the lights he pretends that he can't feel the warm body curling up against his back.
(And there's no way Harvey's feeling that warmth in his chest again, either.)
CONTINUED IN PART 2
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