A big thank you to Imaybesomeone for editing/betaing this chapter. You were an awesome help!
Harvey's gaze swept across the room. Donna was sitting on his bar stool, legs crossed, fingers playing absently at the strap of her purse; Mike was sunk into the armchair, a bag of ice wrapped around his bruised knuckles and a look of utter exhaustion on his face. Harvey was reclining on the couch, willing himself to be still, mind racing through unasked questions while silence weighed heavily on them all.
"I really wished you'd killed that bastard," Donna spoke up, eyes steely as she looked over to Harvey.
"I would have if you'd just done your job."
"Don't blame me. Louis was the one who tipped him off."
Harvey rolled his eyes. Louis had sworn he'd distract Mike, but he must have been too obvious about it. The man never did have much of an imagination.
Harvey looked at his own fist, knuckles stained red from Ford's bloody nose. He'd hit him with everything he had, his callused fist tight with rage and the desire to protect what Harvey saw as his.
He looked over at Mike, who was eyeing his own darkening fist under the bag of ice, a contemplative frown on his face. Harvey winced when he saw the discoloration on Mike's hand. The kid was never supposed to have been there, never supposed to have been hurt by that scumbag again. His only consolation was that it seemed to have helped Mike to stand up to Ford, like he'd gotten past some invisible hurdle. Harvey just hoped things wouldn't deteriorate. He'd come to realize over the past few weeks that Mike was ingrained into his life, and worst of all, he was happy about it. Somehow, this skinny genius had wormed his way past all of Harvey's defenses. He couldn't remember the last time he'd wanted to punch anyone for someone other than himself.
"What was in the envelope?" Mike asked quietly from the chair.
The words broke through the silence that had resettled itself, startling Harvey. He looked up, his eyes catching Donna's for a brief moment. She'd collected the photos at the bar, after all.
"Incriminating photos," she said, and tugged the envelope out of her purse. But she didn't hand it over, just played with the edges a bit. Mike didn't ask further about them, and the silence resettled itself.
"I should probably go. We all have work in the morning," Donna said softly, though she didn't move from her seat.
"Harvey," Mike said suddenly.
Harvey snapped his attention to Mike, noticing Donna doing the same. "Yeah?"
"Do you want me to…Should I go home?"
Harvey hadn't even thought about Mike's apartment in the last few weeks. He'd been so busy trying to make sure Mike was safe and not suicidal, and that Curtiss Ford got his 'just deserts', that he'd overlooked the fact that Mike actually had another place to go.
Mike had come to call it home, and even in the bar he'd referred to it as his and Harvey's residence. And Harvey could no longer imagine the place without him. He'd grown used to the sight of Mike on the couch working late on case files, or cooking breakfast in the kitchen. And the entire list of recorded items on the television were Mike's favored programs. All his books were here, his clothes, his pictures. What did Mike's apartment have anymore, besides a few crappy appliances, some pieces of mismatched furniture, and a handful of bad memories? "You are," he said simply.
Mike was quiet for a few minutes and Donna cleared her throat. They looked up at her sharply.
"Well, I guess I should go. So long as you two don't do anything else that's stupid."
"Me? It was Harvey who—"
"Wait a minute! You agreed with—"
She held up a hand to stop them. "It was stupid. Necessary and I totally approve. But stupid. I'll see you boys tomorrow." She smiled at them and waltzed out the door before they could recover.
"Damn it. She still has those pictures," Harvey grumbled.
"Yeah, but it's Donna. Doesn't she hold everyone's blackmail materials?"
Harvey gave a smile. "Yeah, I guess she does."
"So…you, uh, really want me to stay?"
Harvey gave him a look. "You already live here."
"Well, yeah, but I'd always assumed that was more of a temporary thing."
Harvey glared at him. "Mike, you're staying here until I know you won't do anything stupid on your own."
Mike gave him a look of mock terror. "I'm never going to have any personal freedom again, am I?"
"No more skinny ties," Harvey grinned in delight.
"I'm guessing my bike's off the list of acceptable items, as well."
"It's right up there with heavy alarm clocks and access to balconies."
"I never agreed to those terms," Mike argued lightly.
"My mistake. I'll draw up a contract later."
"You mean I'll draw one up later."
"Now you're getting it," Harvey grinned.
Well, there it is. The end. Ta-da! Hope you all liked it! I know it's been an emotional ride, so thanks for all the wonderful reviews on this story! You guys have been awesome readers!