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A Sweet Surrender

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"Please tell me you're kidding."

Harvey’s head snaps up from where he’d been studying the papers in front of him at his desk. He can’t help surveying the younger man, focusing on the bags under his eyes and the heavy set of his shoulders. Mike is exhausted and it’s showing through his overworked muscles. The contrast to his devilish grin is alarming.

"What?"

"Please tell me you didn't leave him alone in the kitchen again?"

Harvey's up and out of his seat before Mike can even blink, bumping Mike's shoulder with his own in his rush to reach the kitchen.

Harvey's eyes widen as he stops short at the sight before him.

There's mess everywhere. A spattering of chocolate powder is covering the counter and broken eggshells and squishy little reds things that look suspiciously like they used to be fruit are mixed amongst the mess covering the counter and the floor. A quiet trickle of split milk drips slowly onto the tiles as Jake stands before them, staring into the baking oven, red globules stuck in his hair. There are two matching patches of white running across the front of the kid's jeans, handprints of flour a stark contrast to the dark denim.

How in the hell the kid made so much mess without Harvey hearing a single sound is beyond him.

"Um… Jake?" Harvey tiptoes into the kitchen, carefully avoiding the ever increasing puddle of milk mixing with the various types of powder that have found their home on the floor, "What are you cooking?"

Harvey kneels beside his son, careful not to sound angry. Really, he's having trouble not laughing even though he knows the mess will be hell to try and clean up.

Jake beams as he turns to face Harvey, two teeth missing but pride evident in his voice, "Chocolate cake!"

"I didn't know you knew how to make chocolate cake?" This close Harvey can see the chocolate powder stuck to the kid's eyebrows and the tiny piece of eggshell caked into the too-long fringe that covers his forehead.

"Aunty Donna taught me!" Jake turns back towards the oven, watching the cake as it sits within the warm confines, not looking half-bad.

"Well any chance she taught you how to clean up as well?" Harvey hears Mike snort behind him but refuses to turn around. He knows he won't be able to contain his own laughter if he sees Mike losing it.

"I don't have to clean up with Aunty Donna, she's always clean anyway."

"Of course she is." Harvey mutters under his breath, chancing a glance back at Mike before he turns to face his son again. Harvey clears his throat before speaking, making sure he has his son's attention, "Okay, buddy, so we're not quite like Aunty Donna and we've made a lot of mess. So how about you go with Daddy to have a bath and I'll clean up the floor?"

Before Harvey can react he has two disgustingly sticky hands framing his face, tiny little palms pressing into his cheeks as Jake drops a kiss onto the end of his nose, "Okay Papa."

Mike roars with laughter behind them. Harvey has no doubt Mike's finding his scowl and now flour-covered cheeks all too hilarious, "Can you help?"

"Nu-uh, he's your son right now."

"You either get the kitchen or the kid, so which is it?"

Mike doesn't answer. Instead he moves into the kitchen to pick up Jake underneath the armpits, his laughter echoing as he carries their son down the hall towards the bathroom, all the while careful to keep a safe distance between himself and his chocolate-covered child.