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Loving Him Was Red

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“The Devil is real and he’s not some little red man with horns and a tail. He can be beautiful because he's a fallen angel and he used to be God's favourite."

“Harvey. I need you here. Now.”

In any other circumstances Mike would never have dared say that to his boss and then promptly hang up, but given the time and how he’s expected to be at Donna’s in an hour, he just doesn’t have time for pleasantries and explanations.

It only takes 20 minutes and Harvey’s banging on his door violently. Mike’s careful as he walks through the apartment, cautious not to drip too much on any of his belongings.

The second he opens the door Harvey looks ready to rant at him, to reprimand him on the inappropriateness of his phone call (and Mike is secretly pleased with himself that Harvey came anyway), but one glance at Mike and the older man falls silent. Mike can’t really blame him.

He’d planned his costume weeks ago for Donna’s annual Halloween party, excited for the excuse to dress up however pleased him and to get stupidly drunk. At the time the devil seemed like a good idea, simple red shorts and red body paint, coupled with horns and a tail, was all he was going to need. He hadn’t, however, considered the logistics of painting his own body.

“I need you to paint my back.” Mike held out the paint and brush he’d been using on himself before Harvey had shown up. He’d managed to cover his entire front, as well as his legs and most of his arms, but there was no way he was going to be able to paint his own back properly. Mike watches Harvey’s eyes roam incredulously over his body, apparently appalled at his associate’s choice of costume.

“Wait, what? The paint’s supposed to go where?”

“My back. Come on, Harvey, get with it, we have to be there soon. You know Donna will kill us if we’re late.”

“I’m expected to be late.”

“Yeah but I’m not and being punished for the next three months isn’t my idea of a good time.”

Harvey retains eye contact before he sighs dramatically and holds his palm out flat, “Give me the brush.”

They move just far enough into the apartment for Harvey to shut the door behind him and then he’s suddenly faced with his associates bare back and Harvey forgets to do anything else but stare.

“Come on,” Mike wriggles his whole body impatiently, “We don’t have all day.”

Harvey shakes himself out of his thoughts and begins his work on Mike’s body. He can’t quite believe this is the costume his associate has chosen, that he thinks turning up at a party at Donna’s apartment half-naked is an acceptable choice, but from where Harvey’s standing there are definitely no complaints coming from him. He refocuses his thoughts onto what he’s actually doing, his gaze following the pattern of the brush as he ever so slowly paints Mike’s skin a shocking red.

If judging by the way Mike keeps fidgeting under Harvey’s actions, the strokes of the bristles must tickle; the younger man keeps jumping slightly, his body reacting to the sensations sparking across his skin. Harvey moves a hand onto the younger man’s hip as a way of stilling him. He’s not even completely aware he’s done it until Mike’s body freezes completely, Harvey had been too focused on making sure he didn’t miss a spot across Mike’s shoulders. He stops the brush for a moment, eyes suddenly locked on where his hand rests against Mike’s bare skin, the younger man breathing shallow before him.

Harvey doesn’t want to ignore it, he wants to spin Mike around and stick his tongue into the younger man’s mouth, but he’s still not convinced the action would be completely welcome, so he stays as he is, returning to the job at hand. He begins swiping the brush up and down the ridges of Mike’s spine, relishing in the occasional jump Mike can’t quite suppress. The closer Harvey gets to the edge of Mike’s pants, the closer he gets to the tip of Mike’s crack peaking out over the top of the offending fabric, the more difficult Harvey finds it to keep his breathing regular.

He can feel his own hand shaking as he moves the brush further down Mike’s spine, his spare hand moving to push down Mike’s pants just a fraction before he is able to stop himself. He swears he stops breathing for a moment as he waits for Mike to react, to see whether the younger man will accept the movement as necessary for Harvey to do his job properly or whether he’ll see it as an outrageously inappropriate come on.

Mike’s aware of the stutter of Harvey’s breath, he can feel the uneasy exhalation against his bare skin and Mike fights to suppress yet another shudder. The feel of Harvey’s hands slipping closer to his ass brings forth a sharp inhale and Mike feels like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Harvey to start laughing at him like this is all some incomprehensible, elaborate practical joke. Mike definitely doesn’t find the whole ordeal funny.

He hopes like hell Harvey doesn’t suddenly pull away, that he doesn’t spin Mike around to face him, because there is definitely no way he’d be able to hide the hard on he has raging in his pants.

Harvey’s fingers tickle along the edge of Mike’s pants once again, sliding across the top of his ass and the minute backwards thrust of Mike’s hips is instinctual and obviously pervert and there’s no way he can hide anymore just how much the touch of Harvey’s hands is effecting him.

The hand is suddenly gone from his back, the brush moving over skin once again at a more regular pace, direct in it’s effort to cover Mike’s skin in shockingly red paint. Being this close to a half-naked Mike is messing with Harvey’s senses, so he resolves his focus and concentrates on the stroke of the brush rather than the skin underneath it, desperate to get the job done so he can escape the thickening atmosphere. Mike’s breath begins to settle once again and the two men remain silent until the job is done and they leave for Donna’s much-anticipated party.

*

The whole night Harvey can’t stop staring at Mike, he can’t stop thinking about the way his skin felt underneath Harvey’s hands and the way his muscles looked flexing underneath the bristles of the paintbrush. He watches his associate move about the room, completely at ease with himself despite being half-naked in a room full of strangers, not a glimmer of self-doubt evident in his actions or his words. Mike’s working the room like he was made to do this and like he knows that everyone in the room has checked him out at least once and he’s flourishing under the attention.

The thought makes Harvey clench his teeth and an uncomfortable riot settles low in his belly. He doesn’t want others to see Mike this way, he doesn’t want Mike showing himself off for everyone else to see. This is Harvey’s… this should be Harvey’s.

Mike knows Harvey’s been watching him, the older man hasn’t exactly been subtle and Mike can feel the stares burning through his skin. It makes him restless in a way he hasn’t been in a long time, anxious but excited, not quite sure what’s going to happen but looking forward to it anyway, despite the threat of potential disaster. Mike knows he wants Harvey, he has for a long time, and with the way Harvey’s been watching him tonight, Mike’s now pretty sure the feeling is returned.

Mike works the room a while longer, keeping a look out for Harvey just out of the corner of his eye. When he’s sure Harvey’s broken his stare for a few moments, when the older man finally looks away, Mike makes his way over to his boss.

“Hey stranger.” Mike delights in the way the older man jumps slightly before turning to face him, scowl crossing his features.

Harvey raises an eyebrow and looks Mike up and down like he hasn’t been watching him all night, feigning disinterest in whatever the younger man has to say. Mike would say it’s almost cute the way Harvey thinks he’s being suave and indifferent and Mike has to fight to keep his face passive.

“You still walking around dressed like that?” Harvey frowns, trying to keep his gaze on Mike’s face.

“I don’t hear anyone else complaining.”

Harvey glances around the room, noticing people from all directions swinging their appreciative eyes over Mike’s half-naked body. He spots Donna in the corner of the room speaking with one of her friends, occasionally glancing over at him and Mike, eyes swinging between the two before turning her attention back to her friend. There are others too, scattered throughout the room, both men and women, some more subtle than others, but each one still obviously checking out the younger man. It makes Harvey’s stomach flip once again and he has to clench his teeth to prevent himself from lashing out.

Harvey takes a few moments to study Mike once again as the younger man surveys the room, completely at peace while Harvey struggles with fighting an internal battle, torn between telling Mike the truth and playing the whole night off as a joke and never speaking of it again. The coward within him puts up a tough fight, almost winning out, but ultimately that’s not who Harvey is, and he can’t resist taking the chance.

“I never said it was a bad thing.”

Mike’s head snaps back around to face Harvey, their eyes locking as Mike struggles to determine whether Harvey’s being serious or trying to catch Mike in an elaborate prank. He can’t find any trace of a lie though as he studies Harvey, the older man’s shuffling and barely noticeable nervous ticks giving away just how tense he is in that very moment.

Once Mike figures it out he can’t stop the wide grin from spreading over his face and allows his own eyes to travel over Harvey’s body. He’s steps closer to Harvey, that one step all they need to be practically touching one another, sharing a breath as Mike’s tongue slips out to lick at his lips. Harvey’s gaze follows the movement and Mike delights in the shaky breath that follows.

“Maybe we could get out of here? You could check out the spots where the paint didn’t quite reach?”

Harvey grins wickedly in response and takes Mike by the hand, pulling the younger man towards the door, barely even taking the time to wave Donna goodbye before they’re gone from the apartment, not even making it to the elevator before hands and lips find one another’s and they lose themselves to a flurry of touches and panting breaths.