monkeys in my heart are rattling their cages
Disclaimer: I do not own Suits. Or Curious George.
Note: Mike's aforementioned sick day from "I'm drifting out over deep oceans," because I put it in there like the masochist that I am and everyone seemed to be on board with the idea. :)
Set pre-season 2, so let's just pretend this is the first time Harvey's set foot in Mike's apartment, yes?
Because Curious George and I died inside.
Because I had to channel my post-Asterick feelings into something, and I've been working on this for days.
I still can't talk about it okay?
"Send him home. Right now."
Harvey stares a moment at his intercom, but doesn't have time to raise his head to question Donna through the glass, because suddenly Mike fills his vision—Mike, who is so pale and then flushed and trembling in the three seconds he stands there with a manila folder in his hands.
"Jesus kid," he manages after a pause, "Did you take on the virus just to save the human race?"
Mike looks confused, so confused it's actually kind of sad (and maybe a little adorable). But then again Harvey just made the whole line up, and the kid looks like he's about to keel over at any moment, so he lets it slide.
"The Mikaelson file," Mike says, dropping the folder onto Harvey's desk. There is no satisfying thump today. "Sorry it took so long, I—"
"Mike." He starts a little, as if Harvey had shouted. Harvey tries not to let his forehead crease. "Just, sit down. You look like death warmed over."
"Harvey, I'm fine—"
He's about to rip the boy a new one, because seriously? But then Mike coughs, and he doesn't stop coughing, his entire body shaking with the force of it. Harvey's on his feet, putting a hand on his shoulder and shoving him into a sitting position in his chair, until at last Mike stops convulsing.
Harvey doesn't waste time worrying about the alarm on his face.
"Donna!" he calls, but it's wasted breath—she's already halfway into the room. "Cancel my morning appointments. Get the kid some water."
"Jessica's expecting you," she replies, bending to place a hand on Mike's neck; he jumps and she pulls back with a jerk. "God, Mike you're like the freaking sun!"
"If you could sound less like a loud speaker," the boy interjects roughly, putting one hand to his head, "that would be greatly appreciated."
Harvey opens his mouth to argue—he really doesn't care if he's supposed to be meeting with Jessica right now, but Donna shoots him a pointed look, and oh.
"Be right back," he says, looking down at his associate. How did he get here on his bike without falling over? "Don't die while I'm gone."
Mike makes a wheezing noise and gives a small wave.
Donna practically has to push him out the door.
He walks as quickly as his professionalism will allow, stamping down the urge to barge into Jessica's office without knocking. Her gaze is vaguely suspicious as she waves him in.
"What can I do for you, Harvey? Donna sounded quite urgent."
"I need the morning off, please," he adds as an afterthought. Jessica's eyebrows shoot up.
"Why, pray tell?"
"My associate is in the midst of infecting my office with a plague. He needs to go home."
Jessica's one eyebrow shifts higher. "Still waiting for a reason."
Harvey almost sighs in frustration. "He's on his own. His girlfriend is away, his only family lives in a nursing home, and he lives in a terrible part of town. Wouldn't do me any good to have my associate get hit by a car riding that damn bike of his because he can't see straight."
"For me, has been completed and the rest can be handled by the rest of Louis' minions."
There is a long pause. Harvey Specter does not sweat.
If Jessica wants to accuse him of caring, so be it.
"You and Louis have a meeting with a client at one. I'll see you then."
He nods once, turns on his heel, and does not look back.
When Harvey turns the corner to find Mike slumped in his seat, he will never admit to how hard his heart slams in his chest.
But Donna's already there, already easing him up and wrapping her own hand around Mike's that holds a trembling glass. He's sipping, he's breathing, he's okay.
"Ray's downstairs," she says without preamble. "I called Dr. Kingston - he doesn't need to go to the hospital, but we should stay with him in case his fever spikes any higher."
"Remind me to give you a raise."
Donna laughs lightly—the sound fills Harvey with warmth, what would he do without her? "We're not out of the woods yet. Mike," she says gently, "can you stand?"
"''m not invalid," is the gruntled reply. But Mike is still shaking as he stands, so hard that he stumbles, but Harvey catches him by the arm and just slides beneath it, supporting his associate with one arm around Mike's thin frame. Mike's eyes are glassy, but the confusion remains.
"This never happened," Harvey says shortly. Mike's lips quirk and together they move as quickly as Mike's legs will allow to the elevator, with Donna shooting glares at anyone who dares look too long.
Ray is waiting on the curb; his normally cheerful grin is replaced with a grimace, which only deepens as he catches sight of the normally equally enthusiastic Mike, his head lolling every so slightly onto Harvey's shoulder.
"Jesus, kid." Ray whistles low in his mouth. "Boss finally run you into the ground?"
Mike's laugh is a choked wheeze. Harvey frowns, mostly from the sound and only partly from the insinuation.
"Hilarious. Can we get going now?"
Harvey and Donna exchange somewhat panicked looks. "Parents," she says, just as he replies, "House cleaning."
So it's with some trepidation that Harvey gives Ray Mike's address, reasoning that Mike has never called in sick with mold poisoning, so they should be fine. Right? The kid's paler than ever against the dark upholstery of the backseat; every jarring corner elects a tiny whimper.
The puppy metaphor has never been more accurate.
"C'mere sweetie." Donna guides Mike to rest his head on her lap, running her fingers through his hair and gripping one of his hands in hers. The car jostles again and they can hear a muffled Ray swearing from the front seat. Mike's eyes are screwed shut, his knuckles gripping Donna's hand stark white.
"I know honey, I know, almost there okay?"
Harvey is too busy grappling with this strange tightening in his chest to be bothered to comment, even when Donna sends him a look that dares him to. The drive is silent save for the warm hum of Donna's voice, punctuated only by Mike's occasional moan. By the time Mike's apartment building comes into view, Mike has almost stopped responding.
This time it's Harvey and Ray who half-lead, half-carry Mike up to his apartment, with Donna trailing anxiously behind.
"Bedroom, Mike which is yours?"
Mike points feebly, while Harvey tries not to think about how light his associate is—does he ever eat? The men dutifully head in that direction while the sounds of Donna rummaging through cupboards follows them down the hall. Mike falls onto his bed with all the grace of a sac of potatoes.
Harvey glances at Ray, who looks profoundly uncomfortable.
"Wasn't it your day off?"
He glares until the other man looks at the floor.
Is it too early to be thinking of Christmas bonuses? "Go home, Ray. Thank you."
Ray's lips quirk and he exists with a salute. Clearly Mike has been rubbing off on Harvey's second oldest employee. He isn't sure how he feels about that.
Speaking of Mike…
"Didn't I buy you that suit?"
He takes the faint groan as a yes. With a sigh Harvey sits down on the bed next to a prone Mike, his face in the pillow. "Come on kid, let's not talk about what that thing cost and what Donna's going to say when she comes in here in a minute and you're not at least covered in blankets like an eight year old."
There is an indignant noise at this, but Mike peels himself into a sitting position, tugging with shaking hands at his tie—until Harvey swats his hands away and loosens the knot himself. He pushes Mike's jacket off his shoulders and pulls the tie from his neck, folding each over his arm before turning to the closet to find a hanger.
"This never happened," he says again, and is rewarded with a small huff of laughter. When he turns back, Mike is struggling with the buttons of his dress shirt, his face scrunched in frowning concentration. It is so terribly pathetic (adorable) that Harvey wants to laugh, but he catches himself at the last second.
For the sake of Mike's dignity Harvey doesn't help this time, but steps closer in an anxious jerk when Mike's head lolls towards his chest. "C'mon Mike, stay with me here."
"-m tired Dad can't I sleep?"
Harvey's mouth falls open.
His heart does that weird, tightening thing again.
He's surprised by how painful it is.
"Mike. Mike." Harvey has to put a hand on Mike's shoulder, waiting anxiously until wandering over-bright eyes find his. "What's your name?"
His associate looks bemused at the sudden turn in conversation. "Mike Ross." His voice is scratched and hoarse.
"Where do you live?"
"Manhattan." He keeps pressing his 'M's, squinting—is it too bright?
"What's my name?"
Mike's lips twitch and Harvey is suddenly, inexplicably, afraid. "Harvey Specter."
"And how do you know me?"
"I pretend to practice law for you at Pearson Hardman."
Harvey lets out a breath. "Okay. Good. Now get out of those pants. You're going to ruin them. And put this on."
They're thrown in his direction a minute later, which is precisely when Donna chooses to appear.
"You," she says, pointing at Mike, newly dressed in a plain t shirt. "Bed. Now." There is a bottle in her hand that rattles with the promise of pills, a glass of water in the other, but the sound just causes Mike to shrink away from them as he crawls beneath his blanket. "Oh come on Mike, don't do this."
"Sorry," is the muffled reply. "Weird hate for pills. Mom would just—"
It's only from his vantage point on the other side of the bed that Harvey can see the tips of Mike's ears go red. He looks at Donna, whose lips are pressed together in what he recognizes as her go-to reach for control. Her eyes are full of something he chooses not to recognize.
"She would just what?" she prompts softly.
There is a very long pause, in which Harvey almost tells Mike he doesn't have to say it, doesn't have to divulge yet another horribly intimate detail of his life before being an orphan, but some awful part of Harvey wants to hear it, too.
"Read to me."
Donna's lips become so thin they almost disappear. She puts down the bottle of pills and the water before turning to Mike's bookshelf, so tightly crammed it's a wonder the whole thing hasn't collapsed yet. Out comes a book so obviously well loved, still so brightly yellow that even Harvey recognizes it.
"Curious George okay?"
Harvey almost tells her to put it back.
"Yeah," says Mike, still sounding so very pained. He sits up, or tries to, and so it's with only a small exasperated breath that Harvey toes out of his shoes and sits down on the bed next to his associate to help him take the pills. Mike slides back into his pillow but Harvey just stays upright, leaning against the headboard.
Donna pulls down the window blinds, leaving the room cool and dim before sitting at the foot of the bed. The sun traces warm lines around the window frames, just enough to see by. The mattress creaks with her weight and Mike's head tips towards Harvey's side, his eyes screwed shut.
Before Harvey even knows it his fingers are weaving through Mike's hair as Donna's had in the car. The boy makes a weak noise and leans into his hand, eyes still closed.
Harvey can feel Donna's eyes on him, and suddenly the same challenge for a remark sparks in the air. But Donna doesn't say anything, just clears her throat, opens the book and begins to read.
"This is George. He lived in Africa. He was a good little monkey and always curious."
They're on the fourth page when Harvey glances back down at his associate to find Mike's eyes open, tears sliding over the slope of his nose. Donna is still reading softly, whether from obliviousness or pity, it isn't clear, so the only thing Harvey can think to do is slide his hand to the nape of Mike's neck and let his thumb follow the curve just behind his ear.
Mike just closes his eyes and presses his forehead into Harvey's side.
And Harvey just keeps carding his fingers through Mike's hair in a slow, even rhythm until the tension eases out of his face and the only sound in the room is Donna's voice. Mike is quiet and still when the story ends, chest rising and falling so steadily that Harvey looks at Donna and silently asks if they should just leave him be.
He tries to extract his arm, but before he's free, Mike shifts and latches onto his wrist, eyes still closed and speech slow with sleep.
"Don't go, please?"
Harvey is nearly overwhelmed by the sharp pang in his chest. When was the last time someone took care of this kid?
He tries really, really hard not to look at her, but it seems all his resolve is gone.
Donna blinks twice, four times fast. "I'm right here, sweetie." It comes out barely a whisper.
Harvey puts his hand back against Mike's neck, running his fingers over his scalp one more time. "Go back to sleep, kid."
Apparently satisfied, Mike drops off, though his grip on Harvey's wrist just barely loosens. After a moment Donna rises, her eyelashes still brushing too quickly over the swells of her cheeks. Her eyes are bright even the dark.
"There's soup in the cupboard," she says, and all he can do is nod. Her heels barely click on the floor, and it is quiet again.
Harvey's eyes rove over the sleeping face of his brilliant associate, slack and untroubled in the dim light. He feels, for the first time in what may be ages, a strange sense of peace; it folds around them like a warm blanket at the end of a terrible night— Harvey is surprised to find his eyelids growing heavy.
He leans back against the headboard and reasons that just closing his eyes for a minute wouldn't hurt.
The faint pressure of Mike's fingers against his heartbeat follows him down into the dark.
And then Donna is shaking him awake, hand on his shoulder, a familiar set to her mouth.
"You have to go. That meeting with Louis. Jessica'll kill you."
She won't by any means, and they both know it, but the sentiment is there, at least? It's momentarily hard to focus, but at last Harvey's mind whirs back into the present.
Mike, still asleep, still curved into Harvey, still open and honest when all Harvey asks him to do is not.
"I called a cab," Donna says softly. And as of she can sense his reluctance, (and who are they kidding, of course she can) "I'll stay. He'll be alright."
So it's with a strange qualm in his gut that Harvey eases himself away from Mike and off the bed. As he stands, Mike's body curves into the warmth he left behind, and there it is again.
Donna has to push again to get him out the door.
He leaves with strict instructions for Mike not to return to work for at least two days. Harvey even writes a threatening note, setting it on the counter next to Donna's fresh pot of chicken noodle soup. He returns to Pearson Hardman with his mind largely elsewhere.
Donna returns long after everyone has gone home (he's up with a case and a distinct lack of chattering associate) and returns his schooled expression with something equally cryptic.
She drops a note on his desk and leaves without a word.
He forces himself to wait till she's out of sight before opening the simple folded paper to a familiar, slanted scrawl.
There's a tiny drawing of two monkeys, one large, one small, in the corner of the page.
Harvey stares a long time before opening last drawer in his desk and slipping the note inside.
When Mike returns exactly who days later, face full of colour and eyes once again sharp and clear, he pauses at Donna's desk with a single bright sunflower in hand.
He also pauses just a moment at the door of Harvey's office, and catches Harvey's gaze through the glass.
Harvey nods, once, and that's it.
Mike bursts in with news of Louis' latest haul of briefs, and Harvey reminds him, complete with hand gestures, exactly where they both stand in the firm's food chain.
And the day goes on.
Author's Note: and here I thought I was just going to write some nice little sick!Mike fluff and go on with my day.
Seriously why do you guys let me do this to myself? My god this is almost 3 000 words long.
I'll let you Marvey shippers do with this what you will. Because I know you will. :P
Also, if any of you are on Tumblr, my URL matches my pen name - come let me smother you in my feels.