A/N Hey guys :D I'm glad you liked the last chapter :) So I've had this chapter in my head for AGES now and I've only just gotten round to writing it :P I've also got another chapter of this on the go as well, not to mention the next chapter of my new story 'Behind The Mask' (which I highly suggest you read ;))
Oh, and I've stolen a character from CuppaChar's 'Growing Up Is Hard To Do, Letting Go Is Harder' because even though he was there for a tiny bit I think he's awesome (and anyone who's good friends with Nick is one of my good friends ;)) :)
Mike's Age: 5
"Hey, buddy - wake up..."
Mike made a small mewling sound and buried his head underneath his pillow, not wanting to wake up.
"C'mon, Mike... You need to get up..."
Mike gave a huff but finally extracted himself, although he let some tired, frustrated tears loose at not being able to get his sleep.
"Aw, c'mon, Monkey - no tears today," Harvey said softly, pulling him up to let him get on his lap. He started rubbing Mike's back as he sniffled, hiding his face in Harvey's collar bone. "You need to get up and get dressed."
"Don't wanna," Mike mumbled. Usually he was like any other five year old - eager to get out of bed and usually waking around 6 in the morning and already wired up with energy and ready to go. But he had gone to sleep late that night - Harvey's parents had been round and Mike had wanted to stay up until they left; just about managing it but then practically passing out at half past 10.
He felt Harvey stand up and carefully carry him out in the main room, still holding him as he went into the kitchen to get breakfast.
"What do you want for breakfast, Mikey?"
"Nuthin'," he said sullenly, angry at being woken. He heard Harvey sigh and rock him slightly.
"Mike, you need to eat breakfast," Harvey paused, before shrugging and saying casually; "I was going to make pancakes, but if you don't want anything, I guess I'll have to eat them on my own."
Mike slowly moved his face out of Harvey's chest. "Pancakes...?"
"Yeah, I even got some whipped cream, but - "
"Chocolate chip pancakes?" Mike asked, pulling at Harvey's shirt slightly.
"Possibly," Harvey rubbed his back. "You think you can go get dressed while I make these?"
Mike nodded - the pull of food much stronger than tiredness; which was quickly going as he was faced with the smell of a good breakfast. Just as he was pulling a t-shirt on, he paused.
Why was Daddy making pancakes?
They were for celebrations or commiserations.
Or if he wanted him to be really good...
Mike frowned, betting he knew what he was supposed to be good for.
Harvey had met a woman.
At least three times a week he would tell Mike to be good, have him be minded by Donna or Nick and leave to see this woman. At first Mike didn't mind - he'd gotten used to the idea that Harvey would have girlfriends and he'd actually really liked a few of them. The only thing different about this one, was that she lived on the other side of the city, so Mike hadn't met her yet.
Mike left his room, clutching onto H.B and chewing on his ear, worrying slightly.
"What's wrong?" Harvey glanced down, seeing that Mike was a) holding his teddy like it was his last day with it, and b) only wearing a t-shirt. "You need any help with your pants, buddy?"
"No!" He said stubbornly; having genuinely forgotten he still had yet to put them on. "I can dress myself! I'm not a baby!"
"I know," Harvey said gently, ushering him back into his room to finish dressing. "How about you keep at it, okay? You can have your pancakes when you're dressed."
"Where are we going?" Mike suddenly asked, deciding his questions were a lot more important than soon-to-be-burnt pancakes or being half naked. "You never make pancakes. What's happening?"
Harvey gave a small laugh and ruffled Mike's hair. "Too smart for your own good, you know that?" Mike stuck his tongue out. "Go get dressed and I'll tell you, okay?"
Mike pouted but left, this time pulling all of his clothes on and quickly rushing back and climbing onto a chair, eagerly digging into his pancakes.
"Slow down, kiddo, you want to choke?" Harvey asked, slightly amused as he drank some coffee.
"Where are we going?" Mike demanded to know. "Is it Disneyland?"
"Not today, buddy," Harvey laughed. "We're going to go see Lauren today. I've told you about her, haven't I?"
"She's one of your friends," Mike said cautiously, looking at him suspiciously and ignoring his food. "Right?"
"She's a very good friend of mine," Harvey replied. "You'll like her. She has a son as well," he said, hoping to calm him but only serving to make Mike's eyes narrow. "He's a little older than you but I think you'll like him."
"What's his name?" Mike asked.
"Alex," Harvey replied. "And he's a great kid, so you should get on well."
"But I'm a greater kid, right?" Mike asked, pulling on Harvey's shirt.
Harvey laughed and ruffled his hair. "Sure you are, buddy. But don't tell him I said that. You ready to go?"
Mike shrugged but pulled his shoes on, as Harvey waited patiently for him to tie them into a weak knot. He attempted a double knot but it fell apart, and he looked up at Harvey with sad eyes.
"It's okay, monkey - you did really well," Harvey praised him. "We're getting there, huh?"
"Can Alex tie his shoes?" Mike asked, taking Harvey's hand as they left to go down to the car.
"Alex is six," Harvey reminded him. "But yes, he can."
Mike frowned slightly but didn't say anything else, unsure of whether or not he wanted to actually meet these people.
"Mike, this is Lauren. Lauren - this is Mike."
The pretty woman smiled at him, bending her knees so that she could look him in the eye as she spoke to him. "Hi, Mike. Your Dad talks about you all the time."
"He does?" Mike said - and Harvey frowned at how excited and surprised that had sounded. "He hasn't ever talked about you."
Harvey wanted to hit his head off the wall because it seemed like he was finally getting the cock-blocking that Mike seemed to keep in reserve for Nick - which was probably only because he'd accepted that Daddy had to have other friends too, but why on earth should that be the same for Uncle Nick?
"Well now you've met me, so I guess he doesn't have to talk about me, huh?" Mike shrugged and wasn't very forthcoming with conversation, but in all honesty Harvey was just happy he hadn't just stuck to him like glue, refusing to talk. "Would you like to meet my little boy?"
"I'm not little!" A voice piped up from behind her.
She laughed. "Sorry, honey. Mike, this is my big boy, Alex."
Mike watched with slight interest as she pulled him in front of her. Alex had short brown hair, a contrast to Mike's in-need-of-a-haircut blonde locks, and the older boy had brown eyes to match. He seemed the polar opposite of Mike - he was tall for a six year old, whereas Mike was small for his age. He was also quite dumpy, whereas Mike was thin; apart from some of the lingering baby fat on his face that Harvey knew would soon vanish. He looked at Mike curiously for a second before beaming and waving eagerly at Harvey.
Mike looked up at Harvey, who had smiled and bent to ruffle the boy's hair. "Hey, Alex. You okay?"
"Yep! You said you'd play catch with me next time you came!"
Mike felt an odd squeezing in his stomach as the boy said that. Harvey had been here before and met Alex? And this was only the first time Mike was meeting them? It was almost as if Harvey was embarrassed about him.
"That's right, I did. You have your glove?" The boy nodded and ran upstairs; presumably to get his glove and a ball.
Mike bit his lip slightly.
Harvey had never offered to play catch with him.
"So, Mike - are you in school?" Lauren asked, trying to keep him involved. Mike, however, didn't really want to be involved with her, and just nodded, moving back slightly to be closer to Harvey. "What's your favourite thing in school?" He shrugged, looking at the floor. "Harvey said you like reading," she encouraged, apparently not swayed by his lack of communication. "Do you have a favourite book?"
Mike glanced up at Harvey, who sighed. "Mike, don't tell me you've finally become shy. It's polite to reply to someone when they ask you a question," he put his hand on Mike's shoulder.
"I like Harry Potter," he murmured, taking a firm hold of Harvey's pants leg.
"Me too," she nodded, looking very serious. "Which one's your favourite?"
"I like the dragons in the Goblet of Fire," Mike said, growing only slightly more animated but still refusing to let go of Harvey. "And Quidditch. And I like..." He trailed off, not sure what else to say. He liked everything but had only babbled endlessly at Harvey.
"He told me he likes the Room of Requirement," Harvey replied for him. "And the spells."
"Which spells do you like?" Lauren asked him and - for the first time in a while, Mike noticed that he was being talked down to and wished she wouldn't.
"Patronus," he whispered, looking at his feet. "Gets rid of bad things."
"It does," she agreed, nodding. "I think dementors are scary."
Mike nodded as well. "I'd want a dinosaur as my patronus. Or a puppy, 'cause I really want one but Daddy says I can't."
"You said you wanted a monkey," Harvey chipped in.
"But you already have one so we don't need another," Mike replied cheekily, grinning at Harvey who flashed a smile in return and tickled him slightly.
At that moment, Alex bounced down the stairs holding his glove. "Can we play now?" He asked.
"Actually," Lauren said. "I have an idea. How about you and Mike play a game? Hmm? Harvey and I will chat for a while as you do that. What do you think, Mike?" She asked softly.
The smaller boy shrugged but was pushed forward slightly by Harvey. "Okay," he whispered, quickly losing any spark he had gained whilst talking with Lauren. He crept forward and shyly held out his hand and was soon given the baseball by the older child.
"Go out back," Lauren told him, so Mike just followed Alex's lead, leaving the adults to themselves.
Harvey heaved out a long breath and closed his eyes for a second.
"He's as adorable as you say he is," Lauren told him, putting her arm around his waist and walking over to the couch so they could sit and watch the kids play.
"I've never said he's adorable."
"You talk about him all the time," she reminded him wryly. "I was starting to think he was that perfect he was just in your imagination," she teased him, before glancing outside. "You didn't say he was so shy."
"I didn't think he was," Harvey sighed. "Usually you can't get him to shut up. I don't know which one's worse."
She gave a small laugh. "Alex hasn't stopped talking about you," she informed him. "He can't wait for you to play catch again."
Harvey nodded. "It'll be nice - I've tried with Mike a few times but... kid's not very coordinated. And he doesn't seem to have much interest."
"Go play with them," she said, pushing him off the couch and outside. "He might surprise you."
Harvey kissed her and got up, walking outside, quite proud when both small boys looked happy that he was there.
"Daddy, I caught the ball!" Mike told him, running over and pulling on his legs.
He laughed and ruffled his hair. "That's great, kiddo. Think I can have a go?" Mike nodded eagerly, but the smile left his face when he realised that Harvey was taking the glove off him so that he could play against Alex.
After watching for a few moments, Mike realised he probably wouldn't get another go and left, not wanting to stay and watch Harvey play with someone else. He trudged inside, and didn't even notice Lauren, until she saw him loitering by the door.
"Did you have fun, Mike?" He gave a non-committal shrug. "Let those two play and come tell me more about your favourite book," she encouraged, slowly coaxing him onto the couch. "Does your Dad read you it as a bedtime story?"
Mike nodded. "Sometimes," he said quietly. "Sometimes he makes them up too."
"He does?" Lauren said in an excited gasp, as if she couldn't - in her wildest dreams - imagine anything better. "About what?"
"Anything," Mike said. "Dinosaurs or superheroes or... or pirates or knights..."
"That sounds good," she said indulgently. "So if he doesn't always read you Harry Potter, does someone else?"
Mike shook his head. "I read it myself."
"There are lots of big words in it," she said, disbelieving.
Mike shrugged. "I'm good at reading," she told her, pulling himself into a small ball on the couch, before realising he still had his shoes on and pulled them off, rubbing at his eyes.
"Are you tired, Mike?" Lauren asked him softly.
He shrugged. "We got up early," he told her, rubbing at his eyes. "I don't need naps anymore," he said sternly. "Really. But Daddy makes me have them anyway."
"Silly daddy," she said, happy when he gifted her with a small smile. "Don't worry, I'm sure when you're a big boy of six you won't have to take naps."
She shook her head. "No, he doesn't need them anymore. But if you were awake early, maybe you should have a nap."
Mike shook his head, rubbing his eyes. "Don't need one."
"Alright," she said placatingly. "Well just let me know if you get tired, alright?" Mike sniffed but nodded, gazing outside forlornly.
Why did Harvey like this other kid so much? It didn't make any sense to him - the kid was boring; Mike tried to talk to him and push past his shyness but he just thought he was better than Mike because he was six. And he was greasing up to Harvey; surely he could see that? Just cause Alex didn't have his father in his life, didn't mean he had steal Mike's. He didn't see him trying to steal Lauren, did he?
Should he try that?
He immediately decided against it. She was nice and everything, but he much preferred Donna.
He now really wanted Donna.
He knew he was five - he knew that he should act older than this, but he couldn't help it. He was upset and Harvey was ignoring him for some other kid. And if Alex was acting older to get the attention, maybe acting younger would get him some as well?
He rooted through the bag that Harvey had packed; apparently under the impression they would be spending the whole day here - there was even one of his books and H.B in there; and a blanket from home that was presumably for naptime (which he was still adamant he didn't need, and only did it grudgingly once every week or so and apparently Harvey was convinced he'd need one today). He finally found Harvey's phone and put it in his own pocket before turning back to Lauren, who hadn't really noticed.
"I need the potty," he announced. She went to stand up and he flushed slightly. "I can go on my own," he told her quickly, stepping back.
"Okay, sweetie," she smiled. "It's this way," she walked him to the bathroom and opened the door. "There's a step if you need it," she told him, closing the door and walking away.
He scowled at the door in response but realised he did kind of need to go dammit, and quickly did so, washing his hands before calling Donna.
"Harvey? I thought you were seeing Lauren today?"
"Donna?" As soon as he heard her voice, Mike felt tears welling up. He really wanted her right now.
"Mike? Sweetie what are you calling for?"
"Donna I miss you," he said - not quite bawling but close enough. "I want you, not Lauren! Please come get me and Daddy, I want to go home!"
"Mike, calm down," she instructed softly. "What's wrong? Why do you want to go home?"
"Daddy's playing with Alex and I don't want him to, but everyone's saying he's a big boy and now I'm stuck with Lauren but I want you!" He wailed down the phone.
"Is Harvey there, Mike?" She asked him. "Can I talk to him?"
"No, he's outside playing," he sobbed. "Come get me - please, Mommy!"
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. "Mike?" That was Harvey. "Buddy, are you okay?"
He sniffed and tried to stop crying, but couldn't hide the phone in time for Harvey to walk in.
"What are you doing?" He asked, crouching to look Mike in the eyes. "Mike?"
"I want to go home!" He cried, rubbing at his face, letting Harvey take the phone off him.
"How many times have I told you not to steal my phone?" Harvey asked him. "You don't make calls on Daddy's phone!" If Mike was acting like a toddler, Harvey was going to treat him like one. He quickly read the caller ID and groaned. "Donna, everything's under control, I'll call you later." He hung up and surveyed Mike. "You're tired," he remarked. "You're going to lie down for an hour and then you're going to be good. Come on," he grabbed Mike's hand, regardless of the crying and pulled him out of the room.
"Lauren do you have somewhere he can sleep for an hour?" Harvey asked, having to raise his voice over Mike's cries. She nodded and took them to a spare bedroom. Harvey made him get on the bed, passing him the blanket he had brought. Mike sobbed into the soft fabric, curling into a tight ball. Harvey sighed and rested a hand on his back.
"What's up, kiddo? Huh? Are you just tired?"
Mike shook his head - he was exhausted but that was only part of the reason. He wanted to go home. Where Harvey wouldn't ignore him for someone else.
But now he was getting attention. Maybe if he kept acting like this Harvey would forget about Alex and stay with him.
He continued sobbing but wriggled down the bed and crawled onto Harvey's lap. The man sighed but started running his fingers through his hair, rocking him gently. As much as Mike wanted to make this moment last, he realised how tired he actually was and very soon fell asleep, chewing on his blanket.
An hour later, when he woke up, he was in a slightly better mood, but it didn't stop him clinging to Harvey. When he realised that Alex was glaring at him he couldn't help but snuggle closer to Harvey, for once glad that he was younger and smaller than the other boy.
Finally, Mike realised they were leaving and was soon animated, happy to be going back to where it was just them. He chattered happily with Lauren and even started playing slightly with Alex - although the kid didn't look happy at sharing his toys.
"Bye, Mike," Lauren said, smiling at him as he pulled his shoes on. He held a foot out to Harvey, who rolled his eyes but knelt to die the lace.
"I can tie my laces, Harvey," Alex said smugly. Mike tried to tug his feet away and tie the laces himself, glaring at Alex. Harvey saw this and let him, knowing how important it was to Mike to not be seen as a little kid to the older boy. He didn't know that Mike was deliberately acting younger to get more attention though, so wasn't prepared for Mike to hold his arms out to be picked up when he'd tied his shoes.
Harvey did so though; knowing the kid was still tired and rubbed his back as he gave Lauren a small kiss on the lips and ruffled Alex's hair.
"We'll see you another time," Harvey said, smiling. "Hopefully we won't have such an early morning or late night, huh?" He looked at Mike who hid his face in Harvey's neck.
"We'll come to see you," Lauren promised. "Maybe at work as well - we'd love to meet Donna after everything you've said about her, wouldn't we, Alex?" The boy nodded and Mike ground his teeth.
He was determined not to share Donna as well.
They seemed to constantly be meeting up with each other. Lauren would come round on her own or Harvey would go round hers; and then sometimes both Lauren and Alex would show up at their house, making Harvey push them both into Mike's room to play.
It wasn't like Alex was a bad kid either - he was like any other six year old boy and Mike realised he actually had fun playing with another boy who didn't care if he made a mess or dirtied his clothes. But there was still a small, niggling doubt in the back of his mind about how Harvey would soon make this permanent and Mike would have a sibling and a mother.
And as much as he didn't mind Harvey seeing women - he wasn't ready for that.
He especially wasn't ready for Alex to 'accidentally' slip up and call Harvey 'daddy'. Mike's jaw dropped when he said it and he gazed over at Harvey with wide eyes, wondering what he was going to do. The man blinked before smiling and ruffling Alex's hair, acting as if it was normal. They had been eating dinner at the time and Mike had just slid off his chair and walked out of the room, going into his own bedroom and pulling H.B close to him - wanting comfort from Harvey, whatever form he chose to get it from.
Mike also noticed that Harvey was taking Alex out a lot more as well. He would ask to go as well, and sometimes Harvey would let him - only to find out they were going to the batting cages. He tried hard, tried to swing but missed more times than both Harvey and Alex put together. Harvey always consoled him and told him he'd get better - told him that when he was older it would be easier, but rather than it being encouraging, it cause Mike to become even more upset.
So he stopped acting younger for Harvey's attention - no more making him help Mike use the toilet, or get dressed and tie his laces, and no more tantrums and being clingy. He was going to act older instead. Because then Harvey would do more things with him, like he does with Alex.
Except this doesn't work either. Because he eagerly runs his own bath, only to get distracted and leave it running - and it was only luck that caused Harvey to walk in and see the bath close to overflowing, hurriedly turning the taps off and putting Mike in a time out.
He tries to put himself to bed, but this doesn't work either, because he doesn't like not being tucked in anymore and walks out only twenty minutes later and pulls Harvey to his room so he could be put to bed properly.
The last straw for Harvey was when Mike attempted to make his own food. Thankfully Harvey had been close to the kitchen anyway, and knew the sound of the gas stove being turned on, and quickly went in to shut it off, giving a very stern lecture to Mike about how he shouldn't try to make food without an adult there (again, going for the patronising tactic because he assumed it annoyed Mike the most) which was followed by a lengthy time out.
Harvey had even added Alex to the board in the kitchen - Mike's board, which had a memo board on one side, and the other had room for magnets. Mike climbed up one day and found that Alex had more stars than he did - and that on the memo part, there were reminders to take Alex to different places.
Mike felt his lip wobble and he decided to go back to acting childishly. Maybe if he did that, then Harvey wouldn't want to leave him and go somewhere with Alex - maybe he would stay instead, and send Alex home?
Mike clung to Harvey as much as possible, whenever he had a chance. Whether it was getting on his lap, taking his hand or making grabbing motions to demonstrate that he wanted to be picked up. And it seemed to work. Harvey would have no choice but to give him attention - even if Alex was there, Mike was taking up most of his attention and he couldn't really do anything about it.
But there were times when Harvey simply moved Mike to one side, or refused to pick him up, and he would make sure he paid attention to Alex and Lauren. Lauren who was there constantly, and no matter how Mike acted towards her, she would always act very magnanimous towards him. And she and Harvey must have talked, because she decided she knew everything about him, regardless of how much they actually interacted.
Donna didn't seem to enjoy this. It was proven when Lauren and Alex visited the firm one day. Donna watched from outside as Mike curled up in a corner reading, chewing on his thumb and glaring over at Alex who was excitedly talking about the different baseballs Harvey had on show.
"That's so cool, Harvey!" Alex gushed, picking up one that made both Mike and Donna's eyes widen. It was one of his most prized possessions and he didn't even tell the kid not to touch it.
Mike huffed and put his book down, leaving the room and clinging onto Donna instead as Harvey humoured the other boy, talking to both him and Lauren. Feeling very familiar tears come to his eyes, Mike buried his face in Donna's legs and let himself cry slightly in frustration - resigning himself to living in a world where he had a mom and a big brother that his dad liked more than himself.
Donna rubbed his back, knowing exactly what he was feeling and thinking. It amazed her that both herself and Nick could tell what Mike thought about Harvey's current romance and yet the man in question had no idea that Mike wasn't happy. He just thought he was acting up and put it down to him being tired sometimes.
She wished she could actually tell Harvey what she knew, but it wasn't hers to tell - and every time she finally gave up and tried... something always interrupted them.
She glanced over to the office, where Harvey was kissing Lauren and hugging Alex goodbye. Donna gently pulled Mike off her and gave a fake smile to Lauren when she approached
However, Donna raised an eyebrow as Lauren picked Mike up and cuddled him, stroking his hair and planting a kiss on his temple. "Goodbye, sweetie - we'll see you soon, alright?" She beamed at him and put him down, before glancing at Donna. "He likes getting affection," she explained. "I noticed how much he likes getting Harvey's attention, so if I were you, I'd give him a few extra hugs every once in a while." She smiled and left.
Donna had given her a fake smile, and was grinding her teeth. "'He likes getting affection'," she mimicked, growling as she picked Mike up - who hadn't been ready for it and gave a small squeak but nonetheless clung onto her. "Who does she think she is? I'm perfectly aware of what you like, aren't I?" She asked Mike as she walked into Harvey's office. The small boy nodded (half out of fear) and chewed on his thumb as Harvey glanced up, wondering what on earth Donna was angry about.
"Are you alright?"
"It's like she's decided she's his mother! Am I no longer good enough? What, I don't know him like she does, is that it?"
"Donna what are you talking about?"
"She can't give me parenting advice! That kid of hers could do with a few extra hugs and a few less desserts! At least you're healthy," she said to Mike seriously, who nodded in agreement, glancing over at Harvey. "I give you enough hugs, don't I?" Mike nodded frantically as she squeezed him in a bid to show off her hugging skills.
"Okay, Donna - how about you pass me the kid before you break him?" Harvey suggested, slowly reaching out and taking Mike from her, putting him down and letting him stand up. "What was that about?"
"You know I've done a lot for Mike," she told him. "You may be a good dad and sometimes you're a good mom but there'll come a time that he needs an actual mother and I'm sure I'm adequate for the role, don't you?" Harvey simply nodded. "And when that time comes, Specter - if you're not offering me the position and you're giving it to her, then I'll know where we stand!"
With that she flounced out of the room, leaving Harvey to stare at Mike. "What was that?"
Mike shrugged but got in a glower of his own as he retreated to the couch to grab his book. "Ask Alex, you like talking to him."
Harvey's eyes widened.
Everyone had gone mad.
The final straw for Mike came on a day when he believed Harvey had genuinely abandoned him in his hour of need.
Regardless of how dramatic he had made it sound, Mike still felt betrayed.
Lauren and Alex had come over one day and were sleeping over. This had happened a few times and - whenever Mike tried to protest, he was silenced by a look given to him by Harvey. When it came to going to bed Mike had demanded an epic rivalling The Aeneid for his bedtime story and Harvey had made something up, talked for maybe half an hour before both Mike and Alex finally fell asleep.
Mike was woken in the early morning, however, by a loud crash of thunder. He managed to keep his squeak mildly quiet, and glanced over at the other boy, who hadn't woken. Mike could hear the rain lashing down on the windows and all too soon the room was momentarily lit up by a flash of lightning.
Mike quickly grabbed H.B - he never left it anywhere when Alex and Lauren were round on the off chance the other boy tried to play with it - and made his way quickly to Harvey's room. He went onto his tiptoes and managed to open the door, making a beeline for the usual side of the bed.
However, Lauren was taking up that side. Another roll of thunder and Mike dashed to the other side, tugging at Harvey desperately.
He mumbled something before rolling over, blinking blearily at the five year old. "Mike? Y'okay, kiddo?" He managed to make out the storm sounds and instantly understood, pulling Mike up under his armpits when the kid held his arms out in desperation. "It's alright, buddy," he soothed, rocking gently as Mike cuddled into his chest. "It's just a storm..."
"Harvey?" Lauren murmured, evidently having been woken. She sat up and saw Mike in Harvey's arms. "Is he okay?"
Harvey nodded. "He doesn't like thunderstorms... It's okay," he whispered as Mike tried to bolt when more lightning appeared. "Wanna stay in here tonight?"
Mike nodded quickly - he didn't even mind that Lauren would also be in the bed, as long as he could be closer to Harvey during the storm. Harvey moved him between the two adults and Mike quickly continued his cuddling, sucking his thumb and clutching H.B with his other hand.
"Are you sure keeping him in the bed's a good idea?" Lauren asked sleepily, still sitting up. Mike stiffened and looked up at her.
"What do you mean?" Harvey asked, frowning slightly.
"Well he should really learn to sleep in his own bed - I have a friend whose son did exactly the same thing and now he's 10 and they're still trying to make him sleep on his own."
Harvey frowned. Surely it wouldn't make much difference? It was only on rare occasions that Mike climbed into his bed. And it was for legitimate reasons - if he'd had a nightmare or felt sick, or if there was something bothering him; like the storm. Harvey usually selfishly liked it - it meant Mike looked to him first and foremost for comfort and protection.
Not that he didn't already know that but it was still nice to have it clarified every so often.
"I made the same mistake, believe me," Lauren told him, seeing him hesitate. "Alex only very recently stopped with his pacifiers after I let him carry on, thinking he'd grow out of them on his own. You keep up with this, and I guarantee he'll still be crawling into your bed when he's 10."
Mike snuffled and tightened his grip on Harvey, not wanting to be taken back to his own room. Unfortunately, Harvey seemed to have been somewhat swayed by what she had to say.
"C'mon, buddy - let's see if we can get you settled in your own bed," Harvey whispered, standing up.
"But Daddy!" Mike wailed, tears coming to his eyes. "I want you! I don't like the storm!" He dissolved into sobs and Harvey had no choice but to sit back down and attempt to calm him.
"It's alright... you know it can't hurt you. It's just noise," Harvey soothed, rocking the small boy and looking over to Lauren for help.
"Mike, sweetie - don't you want to be a big boy like Alex? He doesn't cry at something as silly as a thunderstorm," she cooed - trying to be helpful. Most kids would strive to be seen as a big kid - and Mike, with his competitiveness with the slightly older boy, should have acted the same.
If anything, it just made him feel worse. He knew how much Harvey liked the other boy, and trying to be like him had gotten him told off for being 'silly' or doing things he wasn't allowed to do without an adult there. He was sick of them expecting him to act like the other, seemingly perfect, boy - he had tried to act older and they hadn't noticed, and acting younger had just gotten him a telling off.
He wanted them to leave.
He wanted Lauren and Alex to leave their lives and leave Mike alone with Harvey - to have his attention again and not have to try and live up to anyone else; to still look like the perfect son in his dad's eyes.
It seemed like he couldn't do anything right anymore.
He just cried more, refusing to let Harvey take him back to his room - and if he did, then he would just wake Alex up and no one would get any sleep.
"Mikey, just try to calm down," Harvey sighed, rubbing at his own face in slight frustration - something Mike picked up on. Maybe Harvey did want him acting more like the older boy?
He sucked in a breath to try and calm himself and held his hands over his ears whenever he heard thunder. The storm was thankfully moving away and soon his cries were just sniffles.
"Well done, buddy," Harvey praised, rubbing his back. "Back to bed."
Mike's bottom lip stuck out at not being allowed to sleep in Harvey's bed but was too worn out to complain as he was quietly taken back to his room and gently placed in bed - tucked in softly. Harvey's fingers brushed through his hair in an attempt to soothe him into sleep and - as much as Mike hated to admit it - it was working.
"Wanna stay with you, Daddy," he murmured. "Want Lauren to go - my bed."
Harvey gave a small smile that was marred by the ghost of a worried frown. "I think you'll find it's my bed, kiddo. You like Lauren - you're just tired. Go to sleep," he hushed, waiting until it looked like Mike had done so before leaving.
As soon as he had left and Mike heard the bedroom door close, he got back up, going through his wardrobe quietly in an attempt to find his 'Finding Nemo' Wellington boots.
"What are you doing?" Alex roused from his sleep, rubbing at his eyes.
"Nothing," Mike mumbled, sticking them on his feet - not bothering with socks - and also pulling on a warm jacket.
"Are you running away?"
"Go to sleep."
"You're such a baby!" Alex scoffed. "I bet you won't even do it! You can't go anywhere anyway! You only have your Daddy - I have my Mommy and my Daddy and lots of grandparents and other people."
"Shut up," Mike whispered, feeling scared. He no longer wanted to leave, but now that Alex had bet he wouldn't, he had to prove him wrong.
"Is this just because you think your Daddy likes me better?"
"He doesn't," Mike argued, although even the six year old could tell Mike didn't believe it.
"It's raining," Alex said, actually sounding quite concerned when Mike slowly crept out of the room and towards the front door. "There's a storm. I'll tell my Mommy!"
"Don't care," Mike sniffed, managing to get the door open. "They won't care either. They want me to be like you - but I don't want to be like you; so I'm going to be grown up and leave home and then they won't care anymore."
With that, Mike left, leaving an open-mouthed six year old in his wake.
Mike had been terrified, walking in the middle of the night and in the storm - although it was quickly going - but his stubbornness made him plough on, knowing exactly where he was going. His 'Finding Nemo' rubber boots splashed in the puddles and he could feel the rain steadily falling onto the hood of his jacket. He hadn't grabbed his water-proof; just a warm hoodie - which was a very bad idea considering it was soaking up the water like a sponge.
Regardless of the fact that he was only five, he managed to find his way to the familiar bar. He could hear music and talking, along with laughing and shouting and he pushed the heavy door open, dodging past people and finding his way to the bar.
He'd been here a few times before - once very memorably before his relapse; he'd gone for drinks that ended in a rather spectacular bar fight and was only (kind of) saved by Nick, who had been working there that night. He had found out afterwards that Nick worked part time as a bartender, and was apparently very good friends with the manager and owner, Mo. Nick was practically co-owner, and had even helped with the name - which Harvey scoffed at and rolled his eyes but Mike was amused no end by it. So Nick and Mo had christened 'The Stagger Inn' - colloquially known to patrons and employees as 'The Stagger' - with a large party.
One time Nick had been babysitting him and had work as well, which led to Mike being introduced to Mo. The man had grudgingly allowed Mike to sit in the back room whilst his uncle worked, before being thoroughly charmed by him and giving him food from the kitchens and trying to keep him entertained whilst Nick was on shift.
So now, Mike stood on his tip toes and waved dramatically until the bartender spotted him.
"The hell? Kid what are you doing in here? Where are your parents?"
"'S Unca Nick working tonight?"
"Nick? You're... shit - Mike?" The small boy nodded enthusiastically. The bartender swiftly came round the bar and grabbed him by the armpits, yelling at someone to watch the bar as he went into the back room.
"Hiya, Mr. Mo," Mike grinned at his Uncle's boss/business partner.
The bartender stared at him for a second. "Why are you here?"
"I'm runnin' 'way from home," Mike told him, feeling happier now that he was with someone he knew.
"And you came to The Stagger?" Mo asked, confused.
"'S closer than Unca Nick's house. I thought he could take me back to his."
"He ain't working tonight, kid," Mo said gruffly, grabbing a clean dish cloth and rubbing at his hair that had come free of his hood, trying to dry it slightly. "Look, how about you tell me where your Dad lives so we can take you back home."
"No! I wanna go to Unca Nick's!" Mike persisted, grabbing Mo's arms. "Will you call him? I know his number!"
"So do I, kid," Mo replied, rolling his eyes. "You thirsty?" Mike nodded and was rewarded with a glass of lemonade. "Alright, I'll call that idiot uncle of yours," although the affectionate tone in his voice belied the words. "You just sit tight."
Mike nodded, rubbing his eyes. He wanted to go back to bed. He wanted to sleep next to Harvey, but obviously he couldn't do that. And he was still angry that he'd listened to Lauren and tried to make him sleep on his own.
He was angry that he constantly paid more attention to his new girlfriend and Alex than he did to his own son.
Uncle Nick wouldn't do that.
"Alright, kid - he's on his way down, he'll be here soon," Mo told him. "You want to tell me why you're wearing pyjamas, wellingtons and a wet jacket?"
"'S raining," Mike explained, drinking some of his lemonade.
"Yeah, I know that," Mo rolled his eyes. "Why did you decide to 'run away'?"
"'Cause Daddy doesn't like me anymore," Mike said, frowning. "He likes Lauren and Alex more than me, and he doesn't want me sleeping in his bed - he wants me to be a big kid, but when I try to act like Alex he tells me not to be silly," Mike looked up at Mo with watering eyes and a wobbly lip. "Can I stay with you instead?"
Mo laughed - something that didn't happen very often but Nick's nephew had a penchant for coming out with odd things and Mo had gotten kind of attached to him. "I thought you wanted to stay with your Uncle."
"He'll take me back to Daddy after making a fort and letting me eat sweets," Mike said. "You'd let me have a big meal from the kitchen, wouldn't you?" Mike looked like he was drooling slightly, clearly remembering the time Nick had to take him to work and Mike was allowed to sit in the back and have a meal from the kitchens.
"I'm sure your Daddy wants you home safe and sound, kid," Mo told him.
"Nuh-uh," Mike shook his head, finishing his drink. "He'd rather have Alex as his son. I don't care," he pouted.
"Sure you don't, kid," Mo rolled his eyes.
After a few more minutes, the door opened and Nick came in, looking drenched and worried. "Mike, what are you thinking of?" He asked, going over and taking Mike's face in his hands. "Are you okay?"
Mike nodded. "Mr. Mo gave me a drink and dried my hair."
"You're soaked!" Nick said, feeling the pyjamas Mike was wearing. "C'mon, I have spare clothes at mine," he shook his own hair slightly, wetting the small boy some more as flecks of rain flew out of it. "Thanks, Mo - I owe you big time!"
"Yeah, yeah," he muttered. "You can owe me some more in a second," he reached into a drawer and pulled out a set of keys. "Take the truck - you probably drove down here on your bike, didn't you?" He rolled his eyes as Nick bit his lip. "Exactly - where'd you think you can put the kid when you're driving that, you idjit?" He sighed. "Give me your keys, I'll keep your bike round the back 'til you can come pick it up."
"You're the best, Mo," Nick gushed.
"Unca Nick, can we make a fort?" Mike asked, rubbing at his eyes.
"Maybe later, kiddo," Nick replied, taking his hand. "I'll work an extra shift whenever you want, Mo, thanks," he said sincerely.
"Don't worry about it," Mo waved his hand. "Just get that kid someplace warm. Don't forget to get yourself warm too," he cast a disparaging glance at Nick's dripping wet frame.
Nick grinned. "I won't, Mo - thanks."
"Thank you, Mr. Mo," Mike smiled at him cutely.
"You're welcome, Mike," Mo said, managing a smile in return.
When they got back to Nick's, he quickly took Mike's boots off and stripped him of his clothes before practically swaddling him in a blanket. "Wait here," he said, letting Mike curl up on an armchair. "I'll go get you some clothes."
Thankfully, the last time Mike had stayed round, he had left some clothes which Nick kept forgetting to take back to Harvey's. He quickly grabbed the pyjamas he had left and took them back to the kid. "Here - put these on, kiddo; I'm gonna change as well."
"Are you mad at me?" Mike asked in a quiet voice, holding the pyjamas.
"What? No, of course not!" Nick told him. "Why would you think I would be?"
"'Cause I ran away," Mike sniffled.
"I'm not mad," Nick insisted. "I promise. I got a bit scared when Mo called and told me, but I'm not mad."
"Didn't I just say that?" Nick asked, tapping Mike's nose. "Get dressed, buddy - I'll be back in a minute."
Nick quickly changed back into his pyjamas that he had hurriedly switched for clothes after Mo had called him. He then checked his phone but didn't find any missed calls or texts from Harvey. He debated for a while whether to call him, but Mike needed sleep - he could confront Harvey in the morning. Instead, he sent a single text saying that Mike was fine and hoped Harvey wouldn't find it until the morning, when he would probably find out that Mike had left.
"Alright, kiddo - it's late, what say me and you hit the sack?" Nick suggested, walking back into his living room. Mike nodded and rubbed at his eyes, holding his arms out to be picked up. "Aren't you a little old for this?" Nick asked him, a smirk on his face as he acquiesced and picked the five year old up. He didn't really think that Mike was too old for it - it was just the usual banter between the two, but he felt Mike stiffen his hold. "What's up, munchkin?"
"I didn't like the storm, so I went to Daddy's room to climb into his bed," Mike told him.
"Understandable," Nick nodded, having done exactly the same when he was younger.
"But Lauren said I shouldn't do it, 'cause I'm too big to do it, and that I should be like Alex," Mike continued, his lips wobbling.
Nick frowned. "Please try not to be. Slimy kid," he shuddered, which got a small laugh from Mike before he became sombre once more.
"So Daddy took me back to my bed - but I didn't want to sleep on my own," he was half crying, half babbling now. "And the storm was scary but Daddy doesn't like me anymore, he wants me to be like Alex so now I want to live with you!"
"Isn't that a bit extreme?" Nick asked, taking Mike to his (water)bed. "And I'm sure you'd have a lot more fun living with me, but I can't promise I'll remember when to feed you."
"Daddy uses my board," Mike explained as he cuddled into Nick's side. "And he writes a timetable of what we're going to do."
"He's very organised like that," Nick said in agreement, nodding.
"But he started using it for Alex!" Mike wailed. "He wrote down times that they were going to go to the batting cages! And I had to stay with Lauren!"
"Was she nice to you?" Nick asked - knowing she would have been but wanting to be reassured. He knew Mike was more than likely over-exaggerating about this, but he still wanted to make sure that he wasn't acting like this for a good reason.
Mike sniffed but nodded. "But I wanted Daddy!"
"He's just trying to make everyone feel involved," Nick shushed, him, rubbing his back and wishing he was asleep.
"But he's not involving me!" Mike cried. "I want him back! I don't want Alex or Lauren with us, I just want it to be him and me again!"
"It's okay, Mikey," Nick said softly, awkwardly trying to rock him as they lay next to each other.
"No it's not!" Mike cried. "I want my Daddy back!"
"Have you told him any of this?" Nick asked, wishing it was as easy as that - he knew Harvey liked Lauren, and just because Mike was getting jealous; he wouldn't just give her up.
Mike shook his head at Nick's question. "He'll get angry. He already doesn't like me anymore."
"Buddy, you know that's not true," Nick scolded lightly. "He loves you more than anything else in the world!"
Mike gave a sniff and looked up at him. "Weally?" He whispered, lisping the word because of how upset he was.
"Really," Nick said firmly. "We'll all talk loads about it in the morning, alright? Right now - you need to sleep."
Only an hour after this and Nick opened his eyes blearily. Someone was knocking on his door, and his phone was going off as well.
"Wuz goin' on, Unca Nick?" Mike asked blearily, peeping over the covers to watch as Nick stood up.
"Nothing much, munchkin - go back to sleep," he smiled at Mike, hesitantly leaving the room but grabbing his phone as well. He was at first nervous about opening the door but when he saw the amount of missed calls he had from Harvey, he relaxed and opened the door - now fairly confident about who was on the other side.
"Hey, Harv," he said, ruffling his own hair.
"Don't 'hey, Harv' me," Harvey growled, storming in. "Where the hell is Mike and why is he here?"
"Woah, easy," Nick held his hands up. "It's not like I've kidnapped him! I was responsible! Look, just go sit down and I'll bring the kid out, alright?" Harvey nodded slowly and went to sit on Nick's Cadillac themed couch. "Don't sit on the callicow," Nick warned him quickly, "it's got a wobbly leg. I'll fix it soon."
Harvey couldn't help but let his lips curve upwards slightly at the word they now associated with the couch, ever since three year old Mike tried and failed to call it the 'Cadillac couch'. He waited impatiently for Nick to bring Mike out from where he was presumably asleep.
Harvey ran his fingers through his hair. He had no idea what had happened. He and Lauren had nearly fallen back to sleep after being woken by Mike when Alex crashed into the room, running to Lauren and babbling for about ten minutes before they calmed him down enough for him to tell them that Mike had ran away. Harvey leapt out of bed - quickly checking Mike's room just in case Alex had been dreaming - before running out the door, topless, wearing only his pyjama pants and very barefoot.
He had sprinted to Donna's house - not managing to think clearly when his five year old was wandering the streets in the rain in the early hours of the morning. Under the misguided impression that that would be where Mike had ran to (he knew how to get there from their condo) he hammered on her door, only for her to gape at him when he asked her if Mike was there.
When she asked him if he'd called anyone else, he realised he didn't even have his phone or even glanced at it before he ran out. He hastily went back home, ignoring Donna's plea that he get a taxi and when he arrived back at the condo, Lauren was dressing, saying they would just go back to theirs, and for him to call if he had any news.
Bristling slightly at the fact that she was leaving him to deal with this on his own, Harvey had checked his phone, his heart soaring as he realised he had a text from Nick and that Mike was presumably with his brother. He had stopped to put a top and shoes on before hurrying back out, frantically trying to call him.
"Daddy?" A tired voice came from the doorway to Nick's bedroom, and Mike appeared, wearing old clothes he had left at Nick's one time, and was rubbing his eyes in exhaustion, holding onto Nick's hand for the few moments he walked into the room, before being swept into a hug.
"Mikey, are you okay?" He gasped, pulling Mike onto his lap and hugging him tightly, running his fingers through the blonde hair.
Mike nodded, sucking his thumb - which Harvey immediately pulled out of his mouth. "What're you doin' here?" He asked quietly, resting his head on Harvey's shoulder.
"What do you think I'm doing?" Harvey asked exasperatedly - although it was nothing compared to the relief he felt that Mike was here and fine and in his arms. "I came to get you - what were you thinking of, running away like that? You know how worried I was?"
Mike snuffled and clutched onto his top. "You don't want me at home anymore," Mike whispered.
"What?" Harvey looked over to Nick, who sombrely went into the kitchen to make some coffee to leave them alone for a few minutes. "Mike what are you talking about?"
"You like Alex a lot better than me," Mike said quietly, looking down at his hands. "He's a better son, and Lauren doesn't want you to like me either, and you listened to her," his voice picked up some volume slightly. "I just wanted to sleep in your bed! There was a storm and I didn't like it and she didn't let me and you left me alone in my room! So I left."
"Mike do you know how dangerous that was?" Harvey asked.
"Not really the most important topic right now, Harv?" Nick called from the kitchen.
"Shut up, Nicholas," Harvey growled, before realising his brother was right. "Buddy - you listen to me very carefully," he made Mike scoot back slightly on his lap so he could look him in the eyes. "If I ever get anyone new in my life - regardless of how I treat them or what I feel about them; you're always going to come first. Remember what I promised you when we talked about me getting girlfriends?" Mike nodded. "Mike you're the most important person in my life, you hear me? Yeah, I like Alex - he's a good kid - "
"Suck-up!" Nick tried to disguise his insult to the six year old boy as a cough, making Mike giggle slightly.
"Nick," Harvey said in warning, before turning back to Mike. "And I included him a lot because he doesn't have a dad that he gets to see. I thought you of all people would understand that," Mike gazed up at him with watery eyes.
"You're replacing me," Mike whispered, uncovering his biggest fear. "You don't want me anymore because Alex is a lot better than me and Lauren doesn't like me - "
"Lauren loves you," Harvey reassured him. "Is that what all the fuss over the past few months has been about? All the tantrums?"
Mike sniffed. "I thought if I was littler you'd want me more," he hiccuped. "Or if I was big, like Alex."
"Please don't ever be as big as Alex!" Nick shouted over.
"What? I'm just pointing out that the kid could stand to lose a few pounds!"
"Shut up," Harvey growled, turning back once more to Mike. "Whatever age you are, however you act - I'll still want you more than I can say," Harvey told him, saying it quietly because regardless of how much he'd grown in regards of showing affection, he still only liked Mike to hear it. "I'd prefer it if you acted the age you are," he said, raising an eyebrow, making Mike give a weak giggle.
"I thought you were gonna forget about me and spend all your time with them," Mike sniffed. "You've been doing loads of things with Alex and nothing with me."
This time, Nick actually coughed delicately before speaking. "That's right, Harv," he said quietly. "Sorry, man - but I could give you a dozen examples of when you left Mike with me or Donna to go do something with Alex."
Harvey looked down at Mike, his face horrified. If it was something serious enough for Nick to become serious about it, then it must be bad. "I... I didn't even realise," he bracketed Mike's face with his palms and gently stroked his cheeks with his thumbs. "Mike I'm so sorry," he said quietly. "I... You never said anything so I just assumed..."
"You know what they say about assuming," Mike told him shakily, just happy that Harvey finally knew what had made him so upset.
Harvey laughed. "They say bad things about assuming, I know," he cupped the back of Mike's head with one of his hands and kissed his forehead. "God, Mike - I'm so sorry... I promised you - remember? I promised I'd always be there for you and now..."
Mike clutched onto him, remembering the card Harvey had given him for his fourth birthday. He had promised that no matter what happened, Harvey would always be there.
"You were," Mike said, throwing his arms around Harvey's neck, not being able to stand seeing him upset. "You were there."
"No I wasn't," Harvey shook his head. "But I'll never break that promise again, buddy - starting right now. This weekend, it's just going to be me and you, doing whatever you want," he promised.
"What about Lauren and Alex?" Mike asked, rubbing at his runny nose.
"I really like Lauren," Harvey told him quietly. "If anything she does hurts you then she's gone but... I can't just give her up that easily. And Alex... I'll let you in on a little secret," he whispered into Mike's ear, "the kid's nothing compared to you. If I got to choose between having him as my son or you - you'd win every time, kiddo."
Mike tried to shuffle closer to Harvey - not yet seeing it wasn't quite possible. "Missed you, Daddy," he whispered.
"I missed you too, Mikey," Harvey replied. "Don't worry, it's all going to change, I promise."
"Oh my god is it all over yet?" Nick asked dramatically, throwing himself down onto the rug in front of the other two. "Stop being so chick-flicky and girly and get over it! You're both sorry, no more confessions of love, alright?"
Harvey rolled his eyes but continued to rub Mike's back as the kid rested his head on his shoulder. "Sorry, am I disturbing your beauty sleep?"
"Yes," Nick pouted. "I had to get out of my very comfortable bed and rescue your kid from Mo!"
"Mo?" Harvey frowned, trying to place the name. "Your boss?"
"Co-owner," Nick said adamantly. "And yeah - Mike went to The Stagger thinking I was working. He charmed Mo into calling me down. I think one of these days you're going to have a fight over custody with him," Nick smirked.
"You went to a bar?" Harvey said, prising Mike away from his shoulder. He was intending on not-quite-shouting (he still needed to punish the kid for running away) but found that Mike had already fallen asleep against him. Tutting, Harvey decided he would just have to wait and stood up.
"Harvey, you probably ran here, how are you planning on taking the kid back?" Nick asked, smirking when Harvey realised he was right (he also decided not to mention he had been planning on taking Mike back to his on his bike). "Stay the night," Nick went on to say. "It's late, we're all tired. You can't really sleep on the callicow but I guess you can have my bed."
"Nicky, it's your bed, we can't - "
Nick shrugged. "I've slept one worse things than my own floor. Trust me, I'll be fine." He got up to lock his door and turn some lights off. "Anything you need to do before you're left to your own devices?" He asked, an eyebrow raised.
"I need to call Donna," Harvey said, suddenly realising. "She'll be going mad. And Lauren."
"Is she still at yours?"
"No, she left and told me to keep her updated," Harvey replied, and Nick could see the bitterness his brother felt about that. He knew that Harvey liked the woman, but also knew that - she could like Mike all she wanted - if she didn't really care about the kid's well-being, she wouldn't last that long in his life.
"Alright, I'll call Donna for you, you go to bed," Nick told him, grabbing his phone.
"I owe you, little brother," Harvey said, carefully standing up and walking with Mike to Nick's bedroom.
"Yeah, yeah," Nick waved him away. "Add it to the list."
Harvey grinned and closed the bedroom door, carefully lowering Mike onto the 'mattress' (and he needed to talk to Nick about buying a proper bed) before sliding in beside him. He breathed out. He had almost forgotten what it was like, to have Mike cuddled close for not other reason than to be close to him - not because Mike craved attention, not because he wanted to make another kid jealous - just because he wanted to be close to him.
Harvey vowed to never let Mike feel that way again. He knew how much Mike battled with his self-confidence on a daily basis, and shivered at the thought of what he went through, thinking that Harvey no longer cared for him.
He pressed a small kiss to Mike's hair and let his eyes drift closed, realising that for the first time in weeks, he felt completely relaxed as he drifted off to sleep.
A/N So... this may be my least favourite chapter. I'm not sure why, but it fought me so hard it's unbelievable. In all honesty I kind of think it's quite shoddy, but please tell me what you think :) I really hope you liked it, regardless of my feelings towards it :)
And this was never originally going to be THIS chapter - I was writing another one that I was going to publish first but this one insisted it be written. Which is why there isn't much on Mo - he's going to be explored further in the next chapter (about the babysitting) :)
Oh, and I was also very torn regarding the age of Alex. I thought there would be more angst if he was suddenly given a younger sibling because then Harvey would be spending more time looking after it - but then I thought Mike could act out MORE if Alex was older. So either striving to be seen as older so he got the same amount of attention, or acting younger to get more attention. And I'm very tired and not making much sense so please just ignore me :')