All things considered, Mike and Harvey didn’t have many rules. There was the Always Tell the Truth rule, the Show Respect rule, the Don’t Interrupt Me rule, but other than that, the boundaries and lines in the sand between them were natural and understood without explanation. The only one Mike didn’t understand was the rule instituted the night he turned up drunk at Harvey’s condo, the Don’t Turn Up at My House rule, that was so onesided it made Mike’s head spin sometimes. He found out a couple weeks later that Harvey had actually moved since then, though Donna assured him it had nothing to do with his spontaneous arrival that night, but other personal reasons. But Harvey didn’t have personal reasons, so Mike took the rejection for what it was and moved on.
But the rule was a constant. He wasn’t invited over or allowed to stop by. If anything, he’d call Harvey and Harvey would be on his doorstep an hour later, if not sooner. It had bothered him at first but then everything with Hardman and Tanner and then Darby had been dumped in their laps and he hadn’t had time to feel disappointed or left out or unwanted, because Harvey needed him at his best, so at his best he would be.
He did note however, that along with the cagey behavior regarding his homelife, Harvey’s work hours had always been a bit strange, and despite his dedication to his work, his outright devotion, there were days when he just wouldn’t come into the office, and Mike would skype with him, or talk to him over the phone, if he had any questions. Jessica had said it was simply the way things needed to be, and being the little fish in the big pond that Mike was, he didn’t ask. Harvey would wander in late some days, claiming he’d spent the night with a perfect woman and she’d let him eat breakfast off her stomach (yeah right Mike had never met a woman willing to do that because it was sticky and gross and unsanitary). He’d leave early claiming he had dinner with a client, when his calendar was empty. Donna never said a word and Mike didn’t bother to ask Jessica, but it irked him. He didn’t like knowing that Harvey was actively lying to him about something.
The last clue that something wasn’t right in their little pristine world came right after Harvey’s infamous fight with Stephen Huntley, when he attacked him in the Men’s Room and threw him into the full mirror. Harvey had gone home with a nice gash over his left eyebrow.
The next morning, it was covered.
“Why is there a Rapunzel band-aid on your face?”
Harvey didn’t even look up from his computer. There was a faint bruise on his cheekbone, which meant Stephen had a shitty arm or Donna had slathered some concealer on his face to help with his seemingly normal appearance. But above his eyebrow was a pink and purple band-aid with Disney’s rendition of Rapunzel on it. And Mike had no idea why his boss, manliest macho asshole that he was, would be wearing it willingly.
“Harvey?” Mike asked again, standing in front of Harvey’s desk with a frown, files in hand.
“Do you have something against Rapunzel, Mike?”
“I uh no,” Mike said quickly. “No just… Why?”
“It’s a band-aid what does it matter?”
“It’s a Disney Princess Band-Aid and you are Mr. Macho Lawyer, that’s why it matters.”
“Are you saying a man can’t like Disney? That sounds like gender discrimination.”
“Oh my god, seriously.”
Harvey sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Do you know anything about the movie?”
“Just that she’s in it? And the dude is kinda hot. According to Rachel,” Mike added quickly when Harvey raised an eyebrow. “And something about a frog?”
“Her hair has healing powers,” Harvey snapped.
“Her. Hair. Has. Healing. Powers.”
Mike fought the urge to break out in a fit of giggles. “And that means you, grown man of 39, are wearing the band-aid with her likeness, because of something her hair does in a story?” he lost it at the end and the look of pure murderous hate on Harvey’s face. He covered his mouth to stifle his laughter and dropped onto the couch, all while Harvey was contemplating the best way to throw him out a window.
Luckily, Jessica chose that moment to stop by his office.
“Harvey, there you are I was-” She looked up from the papers in her hand and saw the band-aid. Her ruby red lips curled into a fond and thoroughly amused smile. “I see you’re healing quite well.”
“If you’re here to laugh at me, save it.” Harvey grumbled, sitting back in his chair. Jessica glanced at Mike and he saw her shake her head, but it was a fond and weak attempt at shielding a laugh.
“I’m not. I wanted you to know that the FBI has been brought in on this. Stephen doesn’t know yet but they’ll be dropping in tomorrow afternoon to ask some questions. We’re keeping it as low key as possible, until there’s enough evidence to arrest him.” She handed him the papers. “And luckily, he feels humiliated enough not to press charges against you.”
“Wouldn’t matter if he did. I’d kick his ass all over again.” Harvey said with a shrug.
“And I’d help,” Donna added from the intercom. Harvey smiled.
“And I’d kick him, sir,” Mike added. Harvey’s eyes flickered to him and the smile grew teasing.
“Anastasia? Really?” he asked.
“Hey, it’s a good historically inaccurate movie. Plus Christopher Lloyd played Rasputin I mean come on.”
Jessica cleared her throat to end the conversation. “One other thing, Harvey.”
“What would that be, vasha Svetlost'?”
“Do you know what tomorrow is?”
“I’d like a visit.”
Harvey scowled. “Why?”
Mike looked from Jessica to Harvey in confusion, even glancing out at Donna for a clue, but she was hurrying away from her desk.
“You’ve avoided it for the past five years for plenty of good reasons.” She sat on the edge of his desk and leaned in. “But I have had a shit week and would like one good thing.”
“Hiding,” she said, touching the band-aid lightly. “Is only going to hurt everyone later. Trust me.”
“I expect a visit first thing tomorrow morning, understood?”
Jessica rolled her eyes and patted Harvey’s head, before slinking out of the room with all the grace of a monarch. Mike just stared at Harvey.
“What was that about?”
“I said nothing no go do your work.”
Mike sighed and got to his feet, setting his files on Harvey’s desk. His boss was sitting with his head resting on the cool glass surface of his desk, eyes closed and his shoulders tense. Miike reached out and rested a hand on the broad span of Harvey’s shoulders and felt him relax ever so slightly.
“You know you can tell me if shit’s bothering you, right?” Mike asked gently.
“I know.” Harvey muttered.
Harvey sat back in his chair and looked up at Mike with a weak smile. “You’ll find out tomorrow. I promise. I’ll tell you everything tomorrow.”
“Yes now get out.”
By the time Mike was finished for the night, Harvey had already vanished. Donna handed Mike a note when he came to drop off his findings.
“He left you that,” she said, before returning to her purse.
“He’s being weird.” Mike commented, reading the note.
Get a lot of sleep. Trust me. You’ll need it.
And wear a blue tie.
And please, whatever happens, don’t hate me.
“Do I even want to know?” He asked.
Donna smiled and kissed his cheek. “You’ll be fine. Just cut Harvey some slack, okay? He’s going to need you tomorrow.”
“He claims to need me everyday.”
“Tomorrow will be different. Trust me.”
Donna left him with a smile and Mike didn’t know what to think.
The next morning, when Harvey arrived at work, Mike felt like the ground had been ripped out from under him.
And he thought to himself - Holy Shit.
Every morning, Harvey had a blessed thirty minutes to himself, to cherish and revel in, before the day officially started. His phone alarm would go off, soft enough so that it wouldn’t be heard outside of his bedroom, loud enough to rouse him into consciousness. He would curl under the covers, listen to the silence of the condo, the muted noise of the world so far away outside his windows. It gave him a moment to breathe, to get his thoughts together, steady himself for the day, before he had to slip into his armor and face a world of expectations.
That morning in particular, the blessed thirty minutes were filled with hushed prayers and mumbled reminders, things he’d have to do, people he’d need to speak with, changes he’d have to make. All because Jessica still somehow managed to run his entire world. And then there was the muttered worry that Mike would hate him, would feel betrayed and hurt and would walk away without a word, instead of staying by Harvey’s side the way he always did. It wasn’t in the kid’s nature, but the thought terrified him. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to be Harvey Specter, World’s greatest Closer, without Mike Ross the Wonder Kid.
They were a set now, a pair, a perfect match. And it still scared him.
He poked his head out from under the covers and squinted at the clock. He had five minutes of peace left. So he closed his eyes and told himself everything was going to be completely and totally fine.
The actual alarm sounded.
The thunderous sound of tiny footsteps filled the air.
Harvey closed his eyes, pulled the covers over his head, and braced himself.
His bedroom door swung open with a crash and the girls came running in.
“Papa! Papa! It’s time to get up!” screeched Rosemary, the only warning he got before she jumped, landed on top of him and kneed him in the ribs. “Papa, I know you aren’t sleeping.”
“Is he awake?” Ella asked, her voice softer as she waited by the door for her sister’s answer.
He groaned when a second heavy weight, Ella, landed on top of him. “Papa it’s time to wake up we have to go to work.”
Harvey stayed deathly still.
“Papa are you sleeping?”
With a roar Harvey launched himself out from under the covers and tackled the two girls to the bed. “Psyche!”
They shrieked and laughed and wriggled in his grasp. Harvey held them tight and dropped back onto the bed. “Let us go!”
“Nah I think we’ll just stay here.” He mumbled, pulling them close and burying his face in Rosemary’s messy hair.
“Papa you promised Auntie Jessica you’d take us to work today.” Ella twisted to face him, curling up in the crook of his arm. She poked his cheek with her tiny finger. “You didn’t lie to her did you?”
Harvey shook his head. “No I didn’t lie.”
“Then get up we need to get dressed,” Rosemary demanded. She wiggled out of his grasp and proceeded to stand on his chest, her arms crossed the way she’d learned from him. He grinned up at her, trying to breathe while her little feet dug into his ribcage.
“I thought you two liked dressing yourselves. Like big girls?”
“Well duh.” Rosemary said. “But we need help picking out our dresses.”
“We need special dresses,” Ella added.
“And why is that?” Harvey asked.
“We want to make uh… uh… good first imperson.” Rosemary said, her face scrunched up as she tried to say the word.
“Impression, but very good.” Harvey booped her nose and she giggled. “You two will make the best first impression fancy dresses or no.”
“But Papa we need dresses.”
“Okay, let’s get your dresses.”
One miraculous hour later, the twins were dressed and eating breakfast while Harvey got ready for work. Rosemary had decided her emerald green Merida dress was appropriate for the occasion, but she had asked for the big petticoat to go under it, so it looked “fluffier”. Her hair was pulled up in a set of wild pigtails, shiny green ribbons matching her dress. Usually she went for Ariel’s blue dress, or one of her colorful outfits, but when asked she said-
“We have to dress fancy like you, Papa. These are our fanciest dresses.”
Never mind that they were supposed to be Halloween costumes.
Ella had spent thirty minutes debating between Belle and Rapunzel, but Rapunzel’s purple dress won out in the end, her long hair pulled back into a neat braid. It had taken Harvey a while to learn out to do it properly, to keep it from falling out every five minutes. He’d admit it, Donna had helped. A lot.
Eventually, he got the girls to the front door, each with their backpack of activities, their tiaras in place, Rosemary in her rainboots and Ella in her ballet slippers and had somehow managed to get all of his things together too, his briefcase packed without fuss, hair in order, suit immaculate. He just prayed the rest of the day would be as simple as their morning routine.
Ray’s face, a beaming smile of pure joy, when he saw the girls running out of the building to greet him made Harvey feel much better about the whole ordeal. Taking the girls into the office had been something he’d avoided ever since they were born, mostly because they were just too young. But apparently Jessica thought five years old was a fine age to introduce his girls to the nasty world outside their condo.
“My ladies,” Ray said with a lavish bow. The girls each tried to curtsy, before hugging him tightly. “I see today is quite the occasion.” He glanced at Harvey and winked.
“We get to go to work today, Ray,” Rosemary informed him.
“We get to be big girls.” Ella added.
“And you look ready for the ball,” he said opening the back door of the sedan. The girls climbed in, Ray stayed on the curb to buckle Ella into her car seat while Harvey carefully edged around to the other side to strap Rosemary in. He climbed into the front seat, an odd occurrence for him, and took one last deep breath.
“You alright boss?” Ray asked softly.
“I’m not supposed to lie in front of the girls,” Harvey muttered in reply and Ray smiled at him. He patted his knee.
“You’ll be fine, Harvey.”
Harvey twisted in his seat. “Ladies, do you remember the rules we talked about?”
“Be good, be quiet, listen to Donna, listen to Auntie Jessica, and Listen to Papa.” The twins recited in unison. “Be helpful when we can. And Always be polite.”
“And we get ice cream if we behave,” Rosemary added.
“I don’t remember that rule,” Harvey said, trying to suppress a grin.
“It’s in the fine print.” Ella replied.
“That it is, Harvey,” Ray said, pulling the sedan into traffic.
“Okay fine. You two be on your best behavior and we’ll get ice cream on the way home.”
God, he was definitely going soft.
But the squeals of delight were definitely worth it.
The girls were quiet for the remainder of the ride, Ella counting the number of billboards on her fingers while Rosemary counted pizza shops. Each time they climbed in the car they would choose something to count. Then when they had arrived they would compare numbers and whoever had counted the most would win the “prize” which was really nothing more than leftovers or extra dessert if they could sneak it past Harvey. They had gotten good at the sneaking bit too. Harvey took the twenty minute drive to text Donna, to let her know they’d have guests for the day. Her enthusiastic reply, severely lacking in death threats for him having not told her earlier, put him at ease. Donna would make everything alright, even if it all blew up in his face. And really, if someone couldn’t stomach the fact he had children, those people didn’t deserve his attention or effort. He just kept telling himself that Jessica and Donna would make it all okay.
“Alright, ladies, we’re here,” Ray called as they pulled up outside the office. “Do you need help getting out of the car?”
“No thank you.” They replied together.
“Okay then have a good day with your dad alright? And I’ll see you after work.”
The girls unbuckled and leaned around the driver’s seat to kiss Ray goodbye. Harvey stowed his phone, took one last fortifying breath, and climbed out of the car to face the world. He opened the back door and waited for Ella to hop out, Rosemary whispering something in Ray’s ear. Their driver laughed and they hooked pinkies. When he caught Harvey’s confused frown he waved it off and mouthed “later”.
“You girls ready?” Harvey asked, closing the door and waving to Ray, who pulled off into traffic, effectively stranding them.
“Yes Papa,” Ella said, fixing her dress and smiling up at him. Rosemary was busy watching water work its way into a sewer grate.
“Rosie come on.” He called gently, taking Ella’s hand in his.
“Coming!” Rosemary grabbed her sisters hand and Harvey led the way inside. Frank, the security guard at the desk, smiled at them and raised a questioning eyebrow when he saw the girls.
“I have a couple guests with me today, Frank. Jessica’s orders,” Harvey explained. “Do they need-”
“No worries Mr. Specter. I doubt they’ll be leaving with anyone other than you or your associate. I’ll keep a wary eye out.”
“Thanks Frank, have a good day.”
“Bye Mr. Officer!” Rosemary called as they walked away. The old guard waved at her. Ella clung to the leg of his trousers and hid her face.
“You okay, pumpkin?” Harvey asked, petting her hair. She just clung tighter as they waited for the elevator. The doors opened and he scooped Ella into his arms, Rosemary following with a goofy smile on her face. “No you will not press all the buttons.”
She pouted, but when other people joined them in the carriage, she forgot her disappointment and stared at the other passengers with the kind of wonder one only sees in a five year old’s eyes. She held tightly to Harvey’s pant leg and watched them in stunned silence. The ride was quick, the carriage emptying on various floors, until they reached the Pearson Darby Specter lobby and Harvey led the way out.
From the moment they entered the lobby, people were staring. Whether it was because Harvey Specter was escorting children through the floor, or because they were twins dressed as princesses, or they looked like him enough that anyone glancing for more than a moment would probably put two and two together and realize they were in fact his children. Ella didn’t seem to like the attention much, she hid her face in his neck as they made their way to Jessica’s office. Rosemary on the other hand was buzzing as she held his hand.
“Papa, Papa, Papa,” she whispered. “Papa they’re so pretty.”
He smiled. “Yes they are.”
“Is that your name on the wall?”
“Yes it is.”
“Papa your name is on the wall!”
“That’s important right?”
“Yes it it.”
“I knew you were important.”
“Duh, of course he’s important,” Ella snapped looking down at her sister. Rosemary blew a raspberry at her and Ella giggled.
“Alright girls, who wants to see Aunt Jessica?”
Harvey shot a glare at one of the associates who was staring, before turning the corner and heading straight for Jessica’s office. She was seated at her desk, brow knit together in a tense, unhappy scowl, lips pulled into a tight line as she focused on a file that was spread out over her desk. She looked up, reaching for her phone, when she caught sight of them and Harvey’s heart almost broke at the look of joy that spread it’s way across her face.
Since the girls had be born she had done her best to be a constant in their lives, even when things between the two of them weren’t going so well. But this would be the first time she’d seen them since the merger and Harvey would have been lying if he said that hadn’t made him a tiny bit nervous. But all pain and frustration left her face as she rose from her chair and came around her desk, Rosemary running into her office to hug her. Ella squirmed in Harvey’s grip until he set her down and she went to join her sister, throwing her arms around Jessica’s neck.
“How are my girls?” She asked, kneeling down to reach them. She pulled them close and let out a deep breath. Her gaze met Harvey’s and something he couldn’t name crossed her face, before the smile returned.
“We’re good. Do you like our dresses?” Rosemary asked. “We wanted to dress fancy like you and Papa.”
“You both look absolutely beautiful. Did Papa fix your hair?”
“Yes he’s gotten much better,” Ella said in a soft voice. “But sometimes he still needs help.”
Jessica laughed. “Sometimes we all need help.” She stood and straightened her skirt. “Now, who wants a present?”
“Jessica-” Harvey started to argue but she raised a delicate eyebrow and he fell silent with a grin. The girls let out excited babbling squeals and went to sit on her couch. Jessica came to Harvey’s side and took his wrist in a tight grip, leaning in to whisper in his ear.
“The FBI will be here later today. Stephen has yet to make a run for it but we need to act fast. Darby will be here by tomorrow at the latest. I will not let this one go, am I understood?” she said in a deadly voice. At one point it would have scared Harvey, made him shrink away and run for the hills. Instead he entwined their fingers and held tight.
“I’ll take care of it, Jessica. Spend some time with your girls. I know you missed them.” He said and he felt her smile.
“I’ll fix this.”
“I’m going to talk to Donna and then I’ll be back, alright?” he said to the girls, who nodded, still sitting perfectly still on Jessica’s cream sofa. “Be good for Aunt Jessica.”
He kissed them both goodbye as Jessica pulled out several wrapped presents form a drawer in her desk, and went to find Donna.
“Are they here?” She asked quickly when she saw him coming. “Which dresses did they wear? Did they pick the ones I got them? Do I need to fix their hair? I got you an extra coffee with triple espresso.” She handed him the cup and followed him into his office.
“They’re being spoiled by Jessica right now,” Harvey said, settling down on his couch. Donna sat next to him. “What’s the rumor mill turning up?”
“That you stole someone’s kids as a ploy to win a case.”
Harvey choked on his coffee. “What?”
Donna shrugged. “Don’t look at me I didn’t start it. I think one of the associates did. Greg maybe, I’m not sure. Want me to get rid of him?”
“Maybe.” Harvey sighed. “Though I suppose it’s better than everyone thinking they’re our kids.”
“Please they’d be redheads if they were. Kind of obvious.”
“Genetics are a bitch, you don’t know that.”
“My entire family is made up of gingers, Harvey. I think my genetics would win that fight.”
“They are your genetics after all.” That earned him a laugh and a light kiss on the cheek.
“Have you told Mike yet?” she asked.
“No.” Harvey was dreading it.
“The kid isn’t going to hate you Harvey. And if he does I’ll throw him out a goddamn window.” She took his hand in hers. “He’ll love the girls as much as he loves you.”
“Harvey. Really. We have to have this conversation again?” When Harvey sighed she rubbed the back of his hand with her thumb, slow easy circles to calm him. “He cares. He sucks at hiding it. And he has a bleeding heart of gold, you know this. The worst that could happen is he’s a bit mad you didn’t tell him. But a short conversation and he’ll understand.”
“Course I am.” She patted his shoulder and stood. “Oh and I would take the girls to meet Louis too. He’ll be glad you made the effort and you don’t want him adding to the rumor mill.”
“It’s going to be fine, Harvey.” She promised from the door. “The files you need for the FBI meeting are on your desk and your day is cleared save for that. you may have a hearing with Judge McAllister at 3 but they haven’t decided if they can fit you in yet.”
“Alright. Thank you, Donna.”
“And bring my girls to visit as soon as they’re done killing Louis with kindness.”
“Yes your grace.”
She laughed and left him in the comforting silence of his office.
He could do this.
How hard could it really be?
When he returned to Jessica’s office to gather the twins, they were sitting in Jessica’s lap, examining the books she had bought them, each of the girls clutching a stuffed animal under their arms. Ella had a rabbit with a blue ribbon around it’s ear, Rosemary a tiger with a yellow ribbon around it’s neck. On the coffee table were several other books she had bought them, along with a new set of markers and crayons for them to share. Harvey stood outside for a moment to watch them, a fond warmth humming in his chest as he did. Jessica was smiling, a gentle smile he rarely saw these days. She had her arms around the girls, holding them close like a mother would, as if to protect them from the unseen evils that filled their offices.
“Ladies?” he called, poking his head in. All three looked up and the twins climbed off Jessica’s lap to show him their new toys. Jessica watched, carefully marking the page in the book and closing it on her lap.
“Papa this is Xavier,” Ella said, offering him the bunny.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Xavier,” Harvey said, kneeling down to shake the little stuffed paw. “And this is?” He asked, turning to Rosemary and her tiger.
“This is… uhm… hang on.” Rosemary held the tiger to her ear, as if it were whispering to her. “This is Rawry.”
“Nice to meet you.” He stood and moved over to the table. “What else did you get?”
“A buncha books and art stuff.”
“Did you say thank you?”
“Yes Papa. But we can say it again.” Rosemary and Ella climbed back onto the couch and kissed Jessica on the cheek, hugging her, and thanking her for the gifts. “Thank you Auntie Jessica.”
“You’re welcome girls,” she replied, kissing them both. “Maybe we can all go out and get lunch together later today. Would you like that?”
“Can we Papa?”
“We’ll see. Can you pack up your books? I have someone I want you both to meet.”
The girls packed up their new books, Jessica handing Ella her new copy of Matilda, before moving back to her desk, Harvey following.
“Well I can say one thing,” Jessica whispered.
“For all the terrible things we’ve done, we managed to do one thing right.” She looked over at the girls. Rosemary was holding Ella’s bag open for her while her sister stuffed books into it.
Harvey smiled. “Yeah. Yeah we did.”
“You taking them to meet the kid?”
“Really?” She sounded surprised.
“He deserves to know and I really don’t want him adding to the rumor that I stole someone’s children.” Harvey said with a roll of his eyes. Jessica laughed. “Seriously though that’s the rumor. Not that Donna and I had kids but that I stole them!”
“It’s too perfect,” Jessica forced out, still laughing. “Okay go, go meet him and crush the rumors. Wouldn’t want your precious reputation tarnished.”
“Ha, ha.” Harvey stuck his tongue out at her in a rare display of juvenile behavior and she just laughed harder. “Alright girls, come on. We have someone important to meet.”
“Is it Mikey?” Rosemary asked.
“No not yet. Mike is working right now so we’ll see him later.”
“Aww.” The girls whined.
“Come on munchkins.” He waved to Jessica. “Lunch?”
“Lunch. I’ll figure out what time and let Donna know.”
People were still staring as he led the girls to Louis’ office. He could hear them muttering to each other, feel their gaze on them. It normally would have made him pleased, being the center of attention, having something to show off. But his daughters were different. And maybe it was the slight condensation he was sensing from certain people, the hint of mockery in their voices, but their gawking angered him. Thankfully, and he never thought he’d regard Louis’ office with a grateful tone, Louis’ office was just ahead and the man he was looking for was seated at his desk, muttering into his stupid dict-o-phone.
“Papa who’s that?” Ella asked.
“That’s Louis. He’s a friend of mine. We work together. He’s very smart and I want you both to be polite when you say hello, alright?”
“He’s scary,” Rosemary muttered, hiding behind Harvey’s legs. Ella nodded her agreement and did the same.
“He’s not don’t worry.” Harvey knocked on Louis’ door. “You got a minute?”
Louis scowled. “I don’t know it depends on whether you’re here to embarrass me.”
“I have someone I’d like you to meet, Louis.” Harvey said. “This is important.”
“Oh is it.”
“Louis, please,” he almost pleaded. “Just cut me some slack for the ten minutes that this will take.”
“Alright what’s-” Louis froze when he caught sight of the twins hiding behind Harvey’s legs, their bright dresses in sharp contrast with the cool gray of his suit trousers. “You didn’t.”
“No I didn’t steal children,” Harvey said, trying to be patient. “Girls, come out and say hello.”
It took a minute, but soon, Rosemary moved to stand in front of Harvey, her chin held high as she stared at Louis, holding her tiger close to her chest. Ella took a moment longer, but once her sister had moved, she joined her. Louis looked like he might have a stroke.
“Louis, I would like you to meet my daughters, Ella and Rosemary.” Harvey rested his hands on the girl’s shoulders. “Jessica hadn’t seen them in a while and asked me to bring them into work with me today. She thought it would be a nice change of pace. Girls?”
“It’s nice to meet you Mr. Louis,” the twins said in unison, their little voices squeaky with nerves.
The tense silence held. Harvey was ready for Louis to start interrogating him, to get nasty about having lied and not bother telling him, or to snap about children being a distraction and god forbid he make the girls cry. Louis gaped like a beached whale while the girls stared back, until finally Louis managed to find his words.
And they were not at all what Harvey had been expecting.
“Harvey how dare you not tell me we had royalty visiting today?” He demanded. “I would have worn a nicer suit and fixed my hair better.” Rosemary giggled at that. “Honestly I’m underdressed, this is embarrassing.”
He moved quickly around his desk and knelt down on one knee in front of the girls, who startled and started to back away. Harvey was speechless.
“My ladies, may I welcome you to Pearson Darby Specter,” Louis said in a somewhat ridiculous accented voice. “It is an honor to have such lovely princesses as yourselves in our meager presence.” He bowed his head to them, still on one knee.
“Louis what are-” Harvey started to ask, but Ella stepped forward and did her best to curtsy. Rosemary did the same, though hers was much more wobbly and she grabbed Harvey’s leg to keep from falling.
“It’s good to meet you, Sir Louis,” Ella said in a crisp, clear voice that made her sound much older than five. “I’m Princess Ella.”
“And is this Princess Rosemary?” Louis asked, looking to her sister. Rosemary nodded and hid her smile in Harvey’s trouser leg. “I see you’ve brought your brave knight to keep you safe,” He said, indicating the tiger. “Very smart.”
Harvey was still staring dumbfounded when Louis rose from his knee and straightened his jacket. “What?” Louis asked.
“I just… you…” Harvey couldn’t even find words.
“You have beautiful daughters, Harvey. you must be unbearably proud.” Louis sounded so sincere it made Harvey’s stomach tighten.
“I am.” Harvey cleared his throat. “Girls do you remember how to get back to Aunt Jessica’s office?”
“I do, Papa,” Ella said.
“Take your sister and see if you can find Donna, okay? She’s very excited to see your dresses.”
“Okay,” Ella turned back to Louis and gave him another well executed curtsy. “A pleasure, Sir Louis.”
“Good Day, your highnesses. Please come see me if you need anything at all.”
“Be careful,” Harvey called after them, Ella taking her sister’s hand and running off towards Jessica’s office. Donna was hopefully waiting outside for them, feigning the need to give Jessica some documents so that she could intercept them. “Look Louis-”
“It-” Harvey frowned. “It is?”
Louis shrugged. “I don’t know the story and I don’t need to, unless you feel like sharing. They’re sweet girls, absolutely beautiful.”
“Can I ask why you didn’t bring them before?”
“They just turned five in October. Before then it just seemed too soon, they were young and I was… I don’t know.”
Harvey huffed. “Maybe.”
“Nothing wrong with that. Its part of being a parent, so I’m told.”
“You were surprisingly good with them.”
Louis smiled. “I have a few nieces I see at the holidays. Yours are much nicer, and much better behaved. You didn’t do too shabby a job.”
Harvey felt himself smiling. “Thanks Louis.”
“Look uh, if you ever need someone to watch them, let me know, ok? I don’t just mean today.” He scratched the back of his neck. “If you need help let me know.”
“Really?” Harvey tried to hide the disbelief in his voice. “I thought you didn’t do shit like that if there wasn’t anything in it for you?”
“I don’t. But if you felt the need to hide them from us for five years then something tells me the mother isn’t in the picture, which makes you a single parent and I believe that single parents, no matter their income or status deserve help. And,” Louis shrugged. “I’d like to think we’ve known each other long enough to be something akin to friends.”
Harvey stepped forward and offered his hand. “Thanks, Louis.”
“Of course.” He took Harvey’s hand and shook it, his grip tight and sure and steady. “Besides someone has to introduce them to the wonders of theater, since a heathen like you won’t bother.”
Harvey laughed. “Anything but Spring Awakening or Chicago. They’re a little too young for that kind of show.”
“How about The Little Mermaid?” Harvey frowned at him. “It’s a broadway musical now, Harvey, don’t you read the paper?”
“I think they’d like that.”
“There’s a show next month I can get tickets for. You’re welcome to tag along if you don’t trust me.”
“I’ll ask the girls and see what they say.” He gave Louis a mock salute. “Thanks again Louis.”
“Have you told Mike yet?”
Harvey sighed as he turned for the door. “That’s next on the list.”
“I‘ll say a prayer for you.”
“You do that.”
Donna was waiting for him when he returned to his office. “I hear they met Sir Louis.”
“Add him to the unbearably short list of people allowed to babysit,” Harvey said, leaning against her cubicle wall. He glanced into his office where the girls were playing with their stuffed animals.
Donna stared at him. “Seriously?”
Harvey shrugged. “He likes them. I think they like him. He wants to take them to see The Little Mermaid on broadway next month.”
“Oh my god that’s adorable.”
“I’m still reeling from it.”
“And you said he could?”
“I said I would talk to the girls. They doing alright?”
“Perfect angels. I found them by Jessica’s office and once they were finished showing off they went to play.” Donna sat back in her chair. “No phone calls have come in. you have two emails that need your attention but they aren’t time sensitive. And Mike is on his way here.”
“How do you-” but all Harvey needed was the slight tilt of her head to know that Mike was coming up behind him.
“Harvey!” Mike called, sounding so goddamn delighted at seeing him. “There you are, I was wondering when you’d get in this morning.”
Harvey gave Donna a pleading look before turning to face Mike, carefully stepping to the side, blocking Mike’s view of his office and the girls. “You know my hours are my choice Mike.”
“I know I just… The note and… yeah,” Mike cleared his throat and handed him a stapled pile of papers. “I pulled together the last couple things for the meeting with the FBI. That way we can give them the actual files and we have copies and summaries to work with.”
“Good, that’ll make this afternoon easier.”
“And I wore the uh, blue tie?”
Harvey glanced away from the papers. Mike was indeed wearing a blue tie, the particular one Harvey had hoped he’d wear. Donna had gotten it for Mike as a christmas present, which meant it was actually from Harvey, which meant the girls had picked it out. Ella had declared that Mike needed a pretty blue tie to match the perfect blue eyes that Papa always talked about. So she and her sister had picked a sky blue silk tie that made Mike’s eyes shine with a beautiful light. He had only worn it one other time, to a function Harvey had dragged him to in the summer. Harvey had been so distracted by the way it made his eyes even more blue than normal, that he almost spilled his drink on the woman he had been flirting with.
Donna cleared her throat and Harvey looked away from Mike’s throat, where the blue silk sat mixed with the stark white of his shirt against his pale throat. He swallowed and nodded, trying to pull himself together.
“Good, thanks for that. I know it probably seemed weird.”
“You’ve asked me for weirder.”
“Have you forgotten atlantic city?”
Mike smiled. “So come on, what’s the big occasion that has be wearing a special tie?”
“I’m going to get a coffee, you boys want anything?” Donna asked, getting up quickly. “No? Okay be right back?”
Harvey groaned inwardly as they watched her practically run down the hallway. “What’s with her?” Mike asked.
“It’s Donna, I don’t ask.”
“Your face looks good. Not as swollen,” Mike commented, touching Harvey’s brow where the rapunzel band-aid had been. Harvey winced despite himself and Mike apologized.
“Gonna be sore for a while I expect,” he muttered. “So what-”
“Promise me you won’t freak out?” Harvey asked.
“Uh that sounds foreboding.”
“Yeah okay,” Mike frowned. “Harvey what’s wrong?”
“I have someone I want you to meet.” He turned on his heel and waved for Mike to follow him into his office, which Mike did as he always had. “Girls? Can I interrupt for a second?” They nodded and looked up. Upon seeing Mike they let out a squeak a piece and hurried to hide behind Harvey’s legs. “Oh don’t be like that.”
“Harvey?” Mike asked, voice tight as he tilted his head the way he always did when he was confused. Harvey knew the girls were peering around his legs, staring up at Mike, just as he stared back.He could feel their small hands tugging on his trousers. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth to start explaining, but Rosemary beat him to it.
“Papa, thats the tie we picked out!” She said in an awed attempt at a whisper.
“It is isn’t it?” Ella echoed.
“Yes, girls, it is.” He knelt down and they stood next to him, Rosemary staring at Mike, Ella focused on him. “Do you know who this is?”
“You’re Mikey,” Rosemary said confidently. “You’re Papa’s friend.” When all Mike did was nod dumbly, she stepped forward and offered her hand. “I’m Rosemary Specter. It’s nice to meet you.”
Mike swallowed thickly and shook her hand. “Nice to meet you too, Rosemary Specter.”
Rosemary grinned. “My sister’s name is Ella. But she’s shy.”
“I am not!” Ella snapped.
“I wanted to tell him my name!”
“Then don’t be a baby.”
“Girls,” Harvey warned and they fell quiet. Ella made a huffing noise and moved away from Harvey, offering her hand to Mike.
Mike shook her hand as well. “Nice to meet you, Ella.” He seemed to be running on repeat. He looked at Harvey then, a million questions in his eyes, effectively hiding any actual emotion Harvey had hoped to find there.
“They’re my daughters.” Harvey offered.
“Yea I got that.” Mike cleared his throat. “How old are you two?”
“Five,” Rosemary said. “We don’t know who is older.”
“I am,” Ella whispered to Mike. Rosemary was too busy asking questions to notice.
“Do you like your tie? Do you like working for Papa? How come you haven’t had dinner with us? How old are you? Do you like tigers? I like tigers. Do you like hot dogs? Papa says you do. He said-”
“Girls, can you go help Aunt Donna for a minute please?” Harvey asked. The girls nodded and hurried past Mike to see Donna, who had returned to her desk some time earlier. Ella climbed onto her lap while Rosemary somehow managed to climb up the back of her chair. That left Mike and Harvey in an uneasy silence. Harvey stood and smoothed the wrinkles out of his trousers, a nervous twitch more than anything. Mike just stood and stared at the floor where the girls had just stood.
“Mike?” Harvey asked softly. “C’mon you have to say something here.”
“Why… Why didn’t you tell me?” Mike’s voice was tight and on the verge of breaking. It terrified Harvey more than if Mike would have started shouting.
“No one knew.” Harvey said quickly. “I swear it wasn’t just you. No one knew except Jessica and Donna.”
“That’s not an answer, Harvey,” Mike said. It was weak, Harvey couldn’t hear an ounce of anger in it. Just pain, maybe a hint of betrayal. That wasn’t what he had wanted.
“I didn’t tell you because…” Harvey sighed and moved to sit on the couch. “Because I was worried. Worried they’d like you too much and then if this fell through, if something went wrong, you’d be gone and it’d break their hearts.” He rubbed his forehead. “And I didn’t know how you’d react if you found out I was a father.”
“How I’d-” Mike let out a forced, biting laugh. “You thought I’d treat you differently because you had kids? Really Harvey are you that insecure?”
“The circumstances are exactly great, Mike, and it wouldn’t be the first time someone cracked a joke at my girls’ expense.” Harvey snapped. Mike flinched at that. “Sorry.”
“What did they say?” Mike asked. “When they cracked a joke.”
“That I was a fool. A careless fool who got some girl knocked up. That I shouldn’t have bothered because I wasn’t cut out for fatherhood.” He sighed. “People like to show their true colors the moment you let yourself be vulnerable.”
“You know I’d never think that, don’t you?”
“I didn’t think they’d think that either, but here we are.”
“Did you not trust me?” Mike asked, moving to stand in front of him.
Harvey thought a moment. “I trust you more than I trust myself.”
He forced himself to look up at Mike. His eyes told Harvey how hurt he ways, and the thin film of tears there made Harvey’s chest ache. “I didn’t want them to love you only to have you leave just like everyone else.” He shook his head. “I’m sorry.”
“What changed your mind?”
“I… I was planning on telling you in a month or so, at Christmas. We were going to invite you over for dinner, at the girls’ request, and that would be when I told you. But Jessica… She wanted to see them, she’s been a part of their lives from the beginning, asked me to bring them in today to give her and Donna bit of joy in their day after what happened with Stephen.” He shrugged. “I had hoped to tell you last night but I had to pick them up from ballet.”
Mike was quiet for a moment, staring out the window at the city. Harvey sat there, head bowed in simple submission, waiting for Mike to shout at him, for call him a coward, waiting for him to leave, to do what Scotty had done. But he should have known Mike was never going to be like Scotty.
“Okay,” Mike said finally.
“Okay?” Harvey repeated, looking up at him.
“I’m still upset you didn’t tell me, but I understand why you didn’t.” Mike rubbed his eyes and offered Harvey a tired smile. “You just wanted to protect your girls, right?”
Harvey nodded, trying to find words, but relief washed over him and he couldn’t find any. So he stood and offered Mike his hand. Mike looked at it, rolled his eyes, and pulled Harvey into a tight hug.
“You’re a goddamn idiot,” he muttered against Harvey’s shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m working on it.” He gave Mike a squeeze before letting him go and calling to the intercom. “Girls, come back in here please, Mike wants to get to know you both.”
With delighted squeals, the twins hurried back into the office. Rosemary reached Mike first, practically climbing up his leg to reach him. Mike didn’t miss a beat and leaned down to gather her in his arms as she began to rattle off a million questions. Ella stayed by Harvey, tugging at his trousers so he would pick her up. He did, balancing her on his hip so she could be closer to Mike’s level as he tried to answer her sister’s questions. A sense of ease settled over Harvey.
They were going to be fine.