Hey, you beautiful people :D Can I just say that I mean it when I say that without you lovely reviewers, this story wouldn't have made it to the printing press. It was YOUR enthusiasm that inspired my own :)
And also – if you haven't read the story before this, you might want to cause it's kinda important ;)
"Mike?" Mike glanced up from where had been resting at his desk. It was late, and he had been in, trying to finish some files for Louis before he left for the night.
"Harvey, hey," he said softly, rubbing at his eyes tiredly. It had been nearly 2 months after his 'trip to munchkinland' as Donna liked to call it – and Nick as well, who Mike sometimes met up with for beers; much to Harvey's chagrin. In that time, he felt like he had definitely come to terms with all that had happened, but sometimes little things started to creep up on him.
He kept getting small headaches, small aches and pains – and he often left a lamp on when he went to bed; just on the off chance that something was there in the dark, watching him.
And right now, he was just so damn tired. He'd been looking so tired that; after 1 month of going without, Harvey had suggested a nap that day. Mike had taken the chance, but felt no more refreshed than when he had laid down.
"Are you okay?" Harvey asked. It was late at night, and Mike was the only associate in the bullpen. Harvey felt fine with sounding like caring if there weren't any witnesses.
"I'm okay," Mike said, rubbing at his eyes. "I just need more sleep. I'll go home soon."
"Make sure you do," Harvey said lightly, stood there casually with his hands in his pockets. "We have court in the morning. Did you finish my patent?"
Mike nodded and passed it over, rubbing at his eyes again.
"Go home, Mike," Harvey said quietly. "I'll see Louis about the paperwork."
"It's fine," Mike argued. "It's been months, I can do work."
"It's too much," Harvey stated, as if daring Mike to argue back.
Mike held up his hands in a gesture of defeat, causing Harvey to give a small snort. "I'm going," he murmured, grabbing his things and turning his desk lamp off, before quickly turning it back on. "When did all the other lights go out?" Mike asked. He had been so into his work he hadn't noticed.
Harvey sighed and turned Mike's lamp off. He quickly put his hand on the younger man's shoulder as he had suddenly frozen when they were plunged into darkness. "Come on," he manoeuvred Mike through the corridors and towards the elevators. "Go get some sleep," he said.
"Aye aye, Captain," Mike said, giving a tired smile and a small salute.
Harvey rolled his eyes in mock disdain but gave Mike the ghost of a smile as the elevator doors shut. He wandered to Mike's desk and grabbed all the folders that had no doubt been left there by Louis. It was only when he got them back in his office that he let the annoyance show on his face. Harvey had specifically told Louis to go easy on Mike – he still wasn't completely 100% and recently…
Harvey sighed and sat down in his chair. Recently Mike had been slowly going back to how he was just after he changed back. He was getting snappy again if he didn't have enough sleep – and when he did sleep, it didn't seem to help much. And he still had this thing about the dark.
Harvey checked his watch and pulled himself off the chair – Mike wasn't the only one who needed to be sharp for court in the morning.
Mike threw himself onto his bed and turned his bedside lamp on as he did so. He huffed into the pillow as he felt parts of his back release tension he had been feeling all day. He felt frustration build up inside him and frowned, rolling over to face the ceiling. Why was he feeling like this?
He felt like he was on an emotional rollercoaster – one minute he was fine and the next he felt like bawling. And why was his head hurting so much?
"Someone up there hates me," he groaned out loud, before jumping as he thought he heard something scrabbling around underneath his bed. He gave a strangled yelp and drew all of his limbs in to be as tightly around his body as possible, sitting right in the centre of his bed. He trembled as his bed shook slightly, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to even his breathing.
Suddenly, his cell started ringing and he leapt up in shock, before quickly grabbing it and answering in a gasp, "Hello?"
"Mike?" Harvey sounded concerned. "Are you okay?"
"Harvey, there's something in the apartment," Mike said in a hushed voice.
A sigh came on the other end. "Mike, we've talked about this. There is nothing under your bed, in your wardrobe or behind the shower curtain."
"I swear I heard something moving," Mike murmured.
"Mike, there's nothing there," Harvey said firmly. "Do I need to come round?"
"Yes," Mike said instantly, before frowning. Why was he suddenly so eager for Harvey to come back? "Please, please hurry."
He could tell that on the other end, Harvey had no idea what to say in response. After all, most of the time he asked that, Mike would say no, not wanting Harvey to see him as weak or a coward. "I'm on my way, kid – is your door unlocked?"
"Another thing we need to talk about. Okay, I'll be there in 10."
Mike nodded and clutched at his phone as he thought he heard breathing sounds. It's just the boiler, he thought to himself, squeezing his eyes shut. It's just the boiler, and Harvey will get here and tell me how stupid I'm being.
The time seemed to pass with agonising length but soon there was a soft knock on his door and Harvey walked in. He came into the doorway of Mike's bedroom and gave him a sad smile as he saw the way Mike had curled around himself in the middle of the bed.
"Harvey, don't look, there's something there – don't look under," Mike pleaded, his breathing rapid.
"Hey, hey, calm down," Harvey said softly. "Just relax. I'm just going to have a really quick look, okay? Just a quick peek."
Mike watched as Harvey bent down and pulled the covers back so he could see under the bed. Harvey looked back up at Mike significantly and flapped the covers slightly. "Nothing," he said, staying knelt down. "Do you want to come see?"
Mike shook his head, feeling stupid. But still all he wanted right now was to crawl into Harvey's lap and be shushed, gently rocked to sleep. He'd had these thoughts the first few weeks after changing back, but they were suddenly back in full force.
"What did you call me for?" Mike asked, trying to sound normal.
"I was going to ask if you had the papers in the right order for court," Harvey said, now standing from his knelt position. "Do you?"
"Uh… yeah," Mike replied, nodding. "Yeah, I do. Uh… Do you want a coffee or something?"
"No," Harvey shook his head. "I need to get sleep. I'm going to pick you up from here at exactly half past 8 tomorrow morning, got it?"
Mike nodded. "I got it," Harvey nodded and walked towards the front door. "Harvey?" He turned as Mike said his name. "Thanks."
Harvey nodded, giving him a small smile. "No problem, kiddo. Go to sleep."
As Harvey pulled up outside Mike's pitiful excuse of a home, he frowned when he saw that the man in question wasn't outside. He rolled his eyes and pulled out his cell to call him.
Harvey told himself not to worry, but something inside of him was screaming that something wasn't right. He growled and told Ray to hang on, and got out of the car, walking towards Mike's apartment building. He got inside and worked his way up the stairs (the elevator was out of order again), pausing outside of Mike's apartment. He knocked and waited.
He frowned and knocked harder.
He tried the door handle on the off chance that Mike had been very stupid and left it unlocked…
Harvey strode in, glancing around. He spied Mike's old messenger bag on the couch and also his bike stashed behind the door.
Mike must have still been here.
Harvey thought he heard something from the bedroom, and frowned when he saw the door was shut.
Dammit, Mike, if I have to drag you out of sex to come to work I will.
He jimmied the handle and found he couldn't open it. "Mike?" He yelled.
He heard a faint gasp. "You can't – Harvey, I'm not feeling well… I'll come in tomorrow."
"You don't sound… you sound different."
"I'm ill!" Mike insisted. "I'll come in a different day – go, you can't be late for court!"
Mike didn't sound ill. In fact, the way his voice had been wavering… It sounded like he'd been trying not to cry.
"I'm coming in," Harvey decreed, shoving his shoulder against the door. He heard it scrape against something that had been placed underneath the handle. He shoved it one more time (wincing, forgetting about his old shoulder injury) and the door opened.
Harvey's stomach nearly dropped out of his shoes.
There, on the bed, was a small, three year old boy with bright blonde hair, big blue eyes, and tear tracks down his face.
Mike didn't know how long the silence lasted for, but he wasn't really that bothered – all he was bothered about was how had this happened and what would they do now?
"Harvey, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, but I just don't know what happened – you have to go, you'll miss court, I'm sorry, I'll stay here – maybe it'll wear off in a day and then I can – " His burbling was cut off as he was lifted into a hold by a shell-shocked Harvey.
He automatically snuggled into it before realised what he was doing and tried to stop. "I'm sorry," he whispered again.
"Shh," Harvey murmured, running his fingers through Mike's hair. "It's okay… It's alright…"
"No it's not!" Mike sobbed. "This can't be happening again, I barely got over the last time – what if – "
"Mike," Harvey said firmly, jumping the small boy on his hip slightly. "Don't worry. We'll got see Dr Green."
"Anna?" Mike sniffed, rubbing at his eyes.
"Yes," Harvey replied, looking around the room and wondering if there was anything he could wrap Mike in besides a shirt. "Ray's waiting outside."
"But what about court?"
"I'll send Louis."
Mike's eyes bulged out of their sockets but he refused to say anything, and just relished the feeling of being able to snuggle into Harvey's neck again – for however brief a time this odd relapse was, he was determined to get all of the affection he had been starved of before he turned back once more.
"What?" Harvey hissed icily, glaring daggers into Anna Green as she nervously started picking threads from her sleeve. Mike was sat in the room just next door to them, having been plonked into a pen full of puppies by Harvey just so he and Anna could talk in private.
They had gone to Harvey's, where Mike had wordlessly dressed in some clothes that apparently Harvey had 'forgotten' to get rid of; not to mention the bed (which had fresh bedding on it). And then on to Dr Green's lab, where Mike had been unceremoniously placed in a puppy pen and told to 'be quiet while the grown up's talked'.
Mike threw his shoe at Harvey.
And that had Harvey smiling.
"What do you mean?" He hissed at Dr Green.
"I – I thought it might be different with a human specimen," she said softly, looking over at the small boy who couldn't help but giggle as one of the puppies licked his nose. "Those puppies – they relapsed too. I thought maybe it was the dog physiology, that maybe if I tried a human it would – "
"I'm suing you," Harvey assured her. "I'm suing you for ever penny you have, and everything your son worked so hard for – it'll all be gone."
Her eyes filled with tears. "I'm sorry!" She whimpered. "I thought that after so long of being normal it would be fine!"
"And now what?" Harvey said. "What happens?"
"Nothing that I'm aware of," she sniffed, looking mournfully over at the small boy. "He'll just grow normally. You can help him through all the milestones that parents get to go through," she gave a small sob, no doubt thinking of her own son.
"Spare me the tears," Harvey said, too angry to be sympathetic. "Are you telling me that Mike won't turn back?"
"But look at the wonderful opportunity he has now!" She tried to placate him.
"His wonderful opportunity was this job, and the rest of his adult life was looking up," Harvey growled. "How is he supposed to find this a good thing?"
"I'm sorry," she said again, looking down.
Harvey rubbed at his face and started pacing, flicking glances over at Mike occasionally to make sure he wasn't seeing that anything was amiss.
What would he do?
There was always the useless threatening of Anna to make her try harder to find some sort of cure, which would probably not work and wasn't Harvey's style anyway; plus Harvey was pretty sure she was mentally unbalanced – he'd known it before, but it looked like the death of her son had actually driven her somewhat insane. Suing her would be nice, but it wouldn't actually yield any results. Asking other scientists wouldn't help either. Mike would be cut open so fast that Harvey wouldn't have time take the clothes back.
It only left the option that seemed to be his only option.
Mike was going to have to grow up anyway. That was non-negotiable and apparently there was nothing that Anna could do (and shit, how was he going to tell Mike?).
Could he look after Mike?
For the rest of his life?
He'd managed those two weeks, and sure – they'd been a good two weeks (the best), but they were only two weeks out of an endless lifetime.
And this wasn't just his decision to make either.
Even if he did manage to psych himself up to this, there was always the very good chance that Mike wouldn't actually want to live with him (and he still had to tell him, jesus how was he going to tell him?).
"Harvey?" He opened his eyes from their closed position they had taken without his knowledge as he thought hard. Anna was looking at him with dewy eyes.
"Should I tell him?"
Harvey shook his head and walked to the next room, before stopping and looking back. "You're sure there's no way for him to go back to normal?" She shook her head. "But there won't be anything damaging about this?" He checked. "Nothing that would be paining him physically or mentally."
"I don't think so," she said in a quiet, looking as if all she wanted to do was take Mike into a cuddle and not let him go.
Harvey nodded and let out a deep breath before steadying himself and going over to Mike.
The kid was being overrun by the puppies in the pen and Harvey managed to pick him up and take him over to the chairs that were set up around the table. "Dogs have never really liked me that much," Mike told him as Harvey got settled. "I guess those ones were just happy to see a new face."
Harvey shrugged and looked down at Mike. God, he felt like he was about to tell the kid his grandmother had died. "Harvey?" Mike said in a soft voice. "What did Anna say?"
Harvey swallowed but steeled himself, running his hand through Mike's hair. "There's… the animals she tested this on – they relapsed too. Those puppies are in the same position you're in," he said.
"Right," Mike said uneasily. "And?"
"And…" Harvey fidgeted. Do it fast, like a band aid, he thought to himself. "And she doesn't know how to undo it."
There. He'd said it.
"She… what?" Mike's voice cracked and wavered. "What do you mean?"
"I'm sorry, Mike," Harvey said – his own voice sounding off to his ears. "I can't think of anything else – "
"But what am I supposed to do?" Mike asked, a hiccup in his voice. "How am I supposed to live? I can't go live with Grammy, and Jenny doesn't even know any of this happened! I don't have any good friends who would take me in, and I – what about my job? I love my job, I can't just throw it away and – will I grow up? What if I…"
He was sobbing now, and Harvey wasn't feeling that great either. He ran shaking fingers through Mike's hair and rocked him slightly, shushing him occasionally.
"I can't imagine how you're feeling right now," Harvey said softly. "But I'm here for you, okay? If you… if you want, you can…" He couldn't say it, not outright, he just couldn't.
"You can… I – I can live with you?" Mike sniffed.
"I'm not leaving you on your own, Mike," Harvey said seriously. "If you need me, I'm here."
Mike gave a large sniff. He thought back to his first few weeks – when he 'made the best out of a bad situation'. It was what he was good at. And this was definitely a bad situation. But tears weren't going to fix things – he might as well try and act reasonably.
"Okay," he said softly. "If you want me to."
"Of course I want you to," Harvey replied, standing up and walking out of the lab without a backwards glance at the scientist who had been standing there nervously.
"I want to as well," Mike said quietly, rubbing at the tear tracks on his face to try and get rid of them.
After Donna had screamed loudly enough to make both Louis and Jessica come out of their offices, they were all in Harvey's office, with Mike sitting on Harvey's lap in his chair, trying his hardest not to sniff or sob.
"So there's nothing she can do?" Donna asked quietly.
"No," Harvey replied solemnly. "Mike has to grow up. That's it."
"Harvey, you know I can read you like a book," Jessica stated. "And I know what you're thinking. And as much as I hope you know what you're doing, I don't think you do."
Mike frowned, confused, whilst Harvey gazed at her defiantly. "I know what I'm doing," he stated firmly. "I don't care what kind of things come out of it, I want Mike living with me."
"And what does Mike want?" Jessica asked.
"Harvey," Mike said in a wobbly voice.
"Well I'd say that's settled," Donna said, her hands on her hips. "Harvey – don't deny it, you want to look after Mike and he needs to be looked after. And he feels safest around you. Surely this is best for all involved?"
Jessica looked at Harvey, who looked down at Mike rather than looking at her. Mike gazed back up with watery eyes but gave a small, scared smile. "It's okay," he whispered. Harvey squeezed him and looked at Jessica and nodded.
"Okay," she clapped her hands, suddenly business like. "Louis," the man who had so far remained silent in the room snapped to attention. "I need you to draw up some adoption papers as quickly as possible."
"Adoption?" Mike asked, his eyes wide. "No one said anything about adoption."
"You're a minor, Mike," Donna said. "Someone has to be in loco parentis – and the easiest way to do that is for Harvey to adopt you."
"I… Harvey, don't you mind?" Mike squeaked.
"It's only a piece of paper, Mike," Harvey told him.
"You'll have to change your name," Jessica told him. "But that's all that will change."
"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.
"Jessica," Louis said in a low voice, bringing in some paperwork. "I can call in a few favours with some judges. Adoption takes time and questions. We fill these out, and no one will need to know."
Jessica raised an eyebrow and glanced over the papers. She started smiling. "Thank you, Louis. Gentlemen," she turned to Harvey and Mike. "Unfortunately, Michael James Ross was hit by a car today and passed away. And Harvey, the mother of your son Michael James Specter, was also hit by a car, so you have full custody of him. Now, while I will admit that you have a lot on your plate at the minute, I'm happy for you to take custody of your son if you so wish."
Harvey couldn't help but smirk at this story.
Jessica was still waiting. "Well?"
Harvey once more looked down at Mike. "These documents will show me as your biological father," his tone was questioning, still wanting to be sure if Mike was up for it still.
"Okay," Mike said quietly. "I mean… I guess… If you're okay with it."
"Oh for goodness sake!" Donna said, rolling her eyes. "Harvey – Mike can't wait. Mike – Harvey's over the moon. Just sign it already!"
Harvey looked at Mike one more time, who nodded, his eyes wide. Harvey took the pen Jessica was offering and signed a few papers with a trembling hand.
"Harvey, you're a dad!" Donna screamed ecstatically as soon as he laid the pen back down. "Oh, and we get to make Mike a proper bedroom, and there's Christmas to look forward to! And then there are birthday parties, and… Are you okay?"
Harvey nodded, letting Mike put his small hand over his own shaking one. "I'm fine."
"Donna, don't overload him just yet," Jessica said, smiling. "There's still so much to be done. Harvey you're on fewer hours right now to adjust – "
"What about me?" Mike asked. "I can still work, right?"
"I'm sorry, but we can't have a three year old associate," Jessica said gently, in a tone that they couldn't tell if she was being serious or mocking.
"I'll bring work home with me," Harvey promised in a low voice. "You can do all my paperwork."
Mike snorted. "Thanks. Dad."
"Oh that's the most adorable thing ever," Donna cooed. "Although if you want to keep up the illusion of being a three year old, saying 'Daddy' is probably better. Please?"
Harvey shook his head at Donna's insistence, a small smirk on his face. The trembling in his hands had lessened somewhat but it was still a lot to take in.
He was a dad.
"Do I get to pick a colour for my room?" Mike asked sweetly.
"Sure," Harvey replied, reading through some of the forms that he had signed.
"Wait," Mike gasped. "My gram. What's going to happen to her? She'll think her grandson's died. She can't outlive all of her family, Harvey, she just can't – I need to see her, and I still need to keep paying her bills, and – "
"Don't worry, Mike," Harvey said, rubbing his back. "We'll go see her today and explain everything. I'll pay for her bills."
Mike blushed. "You don't have to. I mean, you've done so much as it is, you – "
"Hey," Harvey lifted Mike's face with a finger under his chin. "Don't. It's fine. Anyway," he said, attempting to bring some brightness into the conversation. "I'm your father. You have to do what I say."
Mike gave a watery chuckle. "Sure thing. Daddy."
"You better. Son."
Donna gave what she would later say was something stuck in her throat but what was in actuality a sob and Jessica beamed. "Congratulations, Harvey," she said. "Have the rest of the day to yourselves. I'll see you tomorrow," she paused on her way out of the door. "And while I'm truly sorry about this Mike – I'm also happy for you."
Mike nodded to her and averted his gaze as Louis followed, offering up a hasty apologetic congratulation.
"Take the day, Donna," Harvey said, standing up and making sure Mike was nestled securely on his hip.
"Oh, you're so sweet," she fluttered her eyelids. She was about to ask to go with them, but knew better. Harvey would want to be alone with Mike. Their first night as father and son. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Ready to go home?" Harvey asked Mike softly. The small boy blinked sleepily but nodded, putting his thumb in his mouth. "What have we said about that?" Harvey asked with a smile, pulling it out.
"I'm allowed to do it, I'm 3," Mike argued, resting his cheek on Harvey's shoulder.
"No kid of mine is going to suck his thumb for much longer," Harvey said, patting Mike's back as the kid got closer to sleep.
"Deal with it, I'm your kid now so you have to suck it up," Mike mumbled.
"I know," Harvey replied simply.
Just as Mike fell asleep, Harvey thought back to what Donna had said. There would be a new bedroom to arrange, holidays, birthdays, school, college… Years of Mike growing up to get back to where he once was.
Harvey was sad about losing his associate, sure, but he would also be lying if he said that he wasn't looking forward to the coming years.
He couldn't wait.
So... yeah. Hope you're looking forward to the different chapters - I know I am :D They won't be in chronological order and will be more like oneshots than anything. Hope you will enjoy them though :) Please review if you think you're going to keep reading :)
Oh, and make sure you read CuppaChar's sort of sequel to 'Crayons' - it's called 'Growing up is hard to do, letting go is harder'; it's quite amazing :)