fox_confessor: (Moony)
[personal profile] fox_confessor
Title: Hot In the City
Fandom: Suits
Pairing: Mike Ross / Harvey Specter
Rating: PG-13 (mostly for impure thoughts)
Word Count: 3740
Summary Mike owns a hot dog cart and Harvey really loves hot dogs, and while that sounds like the beginning of a porno, there is no actual sex. There's just two guys falling in love over a shared love of wieners.



The hot dog stand technically belonged to Louie Padaskinski, Mike's grandmother's neighbor's uncle from the old neighborhood. He had sold hot dogs, hot pretzels, coffee, little bags of chips, and cans of soda for nearly twenty-three years in downtown Manhattan before he finally retired to Boca the winter before. He offered Mike the cart with a slap on the back and a rambling speech about hard work and the American dream.

Mike had it on good authority that it wasn't so much hard work as a string of luck, both good and bad, that led to Mike standing on a street corner selling dirty water hot dogs to rich Manhattanites. The former owner had actually won a grande in the New York State Lotto, which he placed seven to nothing on a horse called Lickity Split. He then drove down to spend the weekend in Atlantic City with his long time girlfriend, Laverne, and lost all but ten bucks playing roulette. He'd never played roulette before and wasted an hour at the bar drinking shots of Tequila because he knew Laverne was going to call him a schmuck for losing seven G’s because he kept doubling his losing bets per his system. Or rather, the guy next to him had a system that he sold to Louie for five hundred dollars and a handshake. It was a system alright, just a losing one. Louie was a schmuck. He knew he was a schmuck. Luckily for him, he'd given Laverne a fifty to play the slots. She won $50,000 in a jackpot and they'd packed up everything they owned in their nine year old Chevy Seville and headed south.

It was those turn of events that led to Mike gaining possession of the stand and ownership of prime hot dog selling real estate. Well, those were part of the events. Mike had his own set that included being left an orphan, getting kicked out of NYU during his first year, serving nine months for selling pot, and seeing his grandmother left in the care of the state. He was trying to change that last. Hence the hot dogs.

It turned out, Mike liked his corner. There was a bag of dicks three blocks down who had tried once to squeeze him out by offering Italian sausages at a deep discount but Mike understood there was a science here: all beef wieners, bakery buns stored nearest the steamer to keep them soft, full condiments. His coffee was generally fresh, definitely strong. The chips were local. Mike could smile and chat, schmooze, Trevor said once, and he wasn't wrong though he'd been wrong about nearly everything else in his life. Mike knew all the sports stats, the name of every pop song on the radio for the last ten years, the names of all the Kardashians, along with a string of other pop culture minutiae that helped people keep their minds off the cold or the heat or their jobs, whichever was worse on any given day.

Mike knew a lot of lawyers now, too, which would help in the event that he ever got pinched for selling weed again.

He'd tried selling dogs down by the hospital a couple of times on the weekends, figuring that the health care professionals catching a smoke break might like a hot dog with all the fixings while they were about the business of destroying their own health but he'd been wrong. They'd been strangely health conscious, questioning him between deep inhales on unfiltered Marlbaros as if they were working for the health department and frowning at his tip jar. They wanted a vegetarian option. They wanted to know how often he changed the water in his steamer. They wanted espresso.

Lawyers were different.

Lawyers wanted coffee and a dog or sometimes a bagel if Mike got to the bakery early enough. They had shiny shoes and pressed suits but innate abilities to not drip mustard on their silk ties. They thought nothing of shoving the change from a twenty into his tip jar and the only questions they asked involved who Mike favored in the pennant race, who Mike thought would win the next election, or if Mike thought he could get some more of those chips, you know the ones. And Mike did.

Inside of a year, Mike had his grandma in a private nursing home, one that overlooked a small park in Brooklyn. She was doing better. She even recognized him on her good days. Mike liked the lawyers.

Mike particularly liked one lawyer.

***

Harvey Specter fully grasped the concept of my body is a temple. He had an all inclusive membership to a very exclusive gym in midtown Manhattan and a personal trainer—better yet, he actually put good use to both. He ran on the weekends—ten miles to Brooklyn and back—and sparred in another, less exclusive gym. He ate goddamned kale and took a multivitamin every morning, swallowing it down with a bowl of organic fruit and a cup of rich, black coffee. He had a tailor who could tell if he’d gained a pound and a wardrobe of bespoke suits that was fairly unforgiving.

Still, he was a man of contradictions and a true hot dog connoisseur. 

He liked them steamed, not grilled. All beef because a hot dog wasn’t a hot dog if it was turkey or, god forbid, tofurkey but he still had his standards, so all beef was good and kosher was best. He liked the buns to be fresh and yeasty, soft but not too soft. He liked ketchup and mustard, one striped down each side. He liked a touch of relish and a sprinkling of hot onions when he could get away with it. He thought they tasted best with a cold beer in his free hand and the Yankees leading by at least three. He liked them as a quick lunch, as a reward for winning a case, as solace for the rare occasion when things didn’t go his way. He liked hot dogs and not Italian sausages masquerading as lunch. They’re too big, the buns too hard, and the peppers and onions slop grease. Sausages have their place but wasn’t on the corner in front of his building, no matter how cheap.



Lately, the thing he liked most about hot dogs was Mike, the hot dog guy. The hot dog guy used to be a balding, paunchy guy in his late fifties who kept up a prattle about horse racing, beer, and how much the Sox sucked. He didn’t know anybody’s name but he knew who liked a bit of hot sauce, which he kept beneath the counter, and who wanted a soda from the bottom of the cooler. He was a good guy but there’s no argument that Mike was better. Mike remembered everything, had no problem calling bullshit but could do it without offending anyone, and he smiled in a way that made Harvey feel downright squishy in his hand sewn Italian leather wingtips.

Today was a one of those rare days when things were not going Harvey’s way. It was Tuesday in mid-September at not quite three in the afternoon when Donna shooed him out the door, knowing where he would go to escape and promising to call his cell if a) his client facing indictment on a number charges that showcased his innate stupidity actually showed up for his ten o’clock meeting, now only five hours late, b) his somewhat incompetent but Harvard educated associate actually found precedence for a case that was set to go to trial in three weeks, or c) his brother managed to find a working cell signal in East Africa, where he was currently saving lives or some such bullshit and remembered that he had a brother who worried who he should call like he promised. His plan was to grab a dog, chat with Mike, and refrain from pitching himself into the East River.

Actually, just seeing Mike was doing wonders for his disposition at the moment, even if he had to wait behind two tourists and the opposing counsel for a securities fraud case he’d won some five years ago. They chatted in a non-committal way about the rumored affair between Judge Brindy and the clerk in the records office at the municipal courthouse until the guy finally had a dog in his hand and kind of wandered off a haze of mustard and sauerkraut joy to savor his meal in the only bit of sun left in the courtyard.

Mike smiled at Harvey, flashing his pretty straight, white teeth. Harvey kinda wanted to kiss them, lick straight across them but luckily the feeling was tempered before he could act. He could see the wind up in Mike’s eyes, like he’d been waiting all day to yank Harvey’s chain. The Yankees had lost both games in a double header the night before, which Harvey had listened to alone in his office while he finished up paperwork that his associate had sworn had been completed and filed the day before. It was hard to say if he was more bitter about the games or the work but being cute and having a pair of stunning eyes was not going to give Mike a pass on the subject of baseball. At least not today.


“So I have this case,” was Harvey's opening gambit, and Harvey enjoyed the moment when Mike forgot all about baseball and widened his eyes in delight. The kid had a strange love of the law and probably would have made a hell of a lawyer if he didn’t have a felony conviction sitting on his record.

Yes, Harvey looked.

No, he wasn’t sorry about it.

It prevented him from strong arming the guy into the nearest pre-law program but not from finding him ridiculously appealing. At this point in the story, Donna, if Donna could actually read minds, would tell him to nut up and actually ask the guy out, and honestly Harvey had been working up to it for months, but there were problems. Like what if Mike was a con man, waiting for an opportunity to steal Harvey’s kidneys and leave him in a bathtub full of ice? What if he was actually a hit man for the Russian mafia? Or a burned spy trying to get back in with his agency? What if he was in witness protection? It could happen. Harvey had known a lot of criminals in his lifetime who looked like regular guys, even if this regular guy had a heart of gold and an ass you could bounce a quarter off of. Of course, the scariest thing of all, what if Mike had a girlfriend he adored and turned Harvey down. What if he didn’t and just said that Harvey wasn’t his type? It was a scary world.

Mike was poised in front of him, bun in one hand, tongs in the other, gently fishing out a dog from the steamer. He had a blue watch cap pulled down low over his forehead, an apron over jeans and layers of t shirt, henley, and unbuttoned flannel shirt, and an expectant look in bright blue eyes. Harvey cleared his throat, shook loose the image of Mike sprawled out naked in his bed, and refocused.

“So, I have this case,” he said again, watching Mike give the tongs three delicate shakes before slipping the dog into the bun.


“You have got to quit coming to me for legal advice.”


“I don’t need legal advice, counselor. My Harvard degree and I have that covered.”


“Smart ass,” Mike says, but he’s still smiling. “You want mustard?”


“You have to ask?”


“Keeping you on your toes.”

“So, I have this case.”

***

There were few genuine pleasures in Mike’s life. To say it had been a hard road would be a grand understatement. Mike had spent his entire teen years finding new ways to put gray hairs on his sainted grandmother’s head. By the time he’d yanked his head out of his ass and realized that he wasn’t the only person in the world, his future lay in ruins around his tattered All Stars. He worked hard all through his mid to late twenties to make up for his sins and keep his grandma in yarn, Chuck Palahniuk books on tape, and meds. His last relationship was a distant and not altogether pleasant memory. His last hook-up had been some really awesome sex with a cute trans guy he’d met down in the village but there had been snow on the ground that night so basically it was down to Mike, his left hand, and his rent controlled three story walk-up. And hot dogs.

The stand had been a blessing, and along with it came Harvey who was basically every wet dream Mike had had since age twelve when he became fully conscious of the implications of little Mike. Smart, hot, funny, physically imposing in a way that said he'd be really good at holding Mike down and fucking him into the mattress. Some nights all he needed to come like a teenager was to imagine Harvey dressed up in his slick three piece suits and Mike, naked, on his knees sucking cock. Mike liked the basics. Mike also liked to indulge in the odd Harvey related domestic fantasy—having brunch, shopping for fresh vegetables down at the New Amsterdam Market, holding hands while ice skating in Central Park.

Right now, Mike struggled to focus on the hot dog in his hand, trying to remember the precise architecture of the perfect dirty water dog and not—definitely not—trying to lay down odds on how long and thick Harvey would be in comparison. Damn hot dogs. What was wrong with kebabs?


“So I have this case.”

Mike nodded along, dashing down a stripe of mustard then ketchup before he reached for the sauerkraut. Harvey touched his wrist and shook his head. No sauerkraut. Mike looked up and saw that Harvey was looking at him over the pickled cabbage as if could see into Mike’s soul, and Mike wanted nothing more to be flayed open. It was disconcerting. There were problems with that scenario. To start, Harvey was rich. Actually, Mike would have to end with that, too—the gulf between them felt too wide.

Bantering. Right. Mike could do that. “Wait a minute, I want you to define our relationship.” Wait. What?


“The last time someone said that to me, I found out three days later she was fucking my personal trainer.”

“Geoff?”

“Eric, before Geoff. It turned out okay. I'd been looking for a way to dump him for months. He never spent enough time on my abs.”

Mike shook his head and focused back on the dog in his hand. Relish. He could do relish. “I can’t get past the thought that someone willingly lived with you.”

“For nearly a solid six months.”

“Is that a record?”

“I dated a guy in college for nearly three years before he joined the Peace Corps and went to build orphanages in Guatemala.”

“I don’t think that’s true. That doesn’t seem your type.”

“I’m like an onion.”

“Ha hahaha ha. Speaking of.” Mike picked up the spoon of hot onions (not sweet, thank you very much) that he had painstakingly chopped that morning. The pieces were
uniform and almost like a relish, having cooked slightly in proximity to the steamer.

“Hold them. I’ve got a client coming in later. Maybe.”

“So about us.”

“I promise I’m not seeing the Italian sausage guy on the side.”

“What is it with him?” Mike handed over the hot dog in exchange for a twenty. Harvey didn’t expect change and nodded toward the tip jar before Mike could count it out.

“So what am I? And before you answer, let me remind you of a cold winter’s day just last March when I told you of the ruling in Bates v. Leesburg, a legal precedence that won you your case.”

“Helped speed along my case. My associate would have found it eventually.”


“Close enough. I have it on good authority that one of your colleagues frequently takes advantage of my keen legal mind and free advice.”

“I’ve told him to stop before he gets himself disbarred.”

Mike grinned and watched, slightly fascinated as Harvey ate half his dog in one bite, swiping his napkin ineffectually against the mustard on his upper lip.

“So what am I?” Mike persisted. What he wanted to say was let’s go out for drinks on Friday and then move in together and adopt a bichon frise puppy. He wasn’t sure how he expected Harvey to answer either question but he suddenly had a bone deep need to find out.


“My assistant says your my moral compass.”


“Really? Is yours broken? Better question, your assistant knows about me?”

Harvey stopped in mid-bite, the last bite actually—the best one. The bun was kind a mashed between his fingers, his other hand scooped beneath to catch any neon green relish that might dare to fall off. There was a dot of ketchup on his thumb. It was all Mike could do to keep from leaning over and licking it off. The look on Harvey’s face was what stopped him.

Harvey chewed, swallowed, became really occupied with his crumpled napkin. There was a smear of mustard on his cheek, microscopic really. Mike actually might be imagining it, but it doesn’t stop him from reaching out this time and rubbing the pad of his thumb against Harvey’s face.

***

This was kind of a moment of truth. Nut up, indeed. The Harvey of nearly two years ago--the one who didn’t know Mike’s history, didn’t know Mike’s childhood stories gleaned over shared bags of McClure’s garlic and dill pickle chips, wasn't half in love already--would have angled his head and sucked Mike’s thumb into his mouth, made a lewd remark, and arranged a date for the night. The Harvey of nearly two years ago definitely would have gotten lucky. He suspected Mike of being bendy. He was sure the sex would be phenomenal.

The Harvey of now felt his eyes widen and his last bite catch in his throat. He felt caught out, sure that Mike was going to turn to him and say, you know, I think you’re a great guy, Harv’, and I’m sure there’s someone special out there waiting for you. Someone that isn’t Mike. Harvey really couldn’t figure out why he felt so gutted at the thought. The hot dog guy? Really? Did Harvey respect his ingenuity and gumption so much, his stunning blue eyes, his long fingers, his loyalty, his witty repartees so much that he was ready to bring this guy to the office Christmas party? To introduce him to his managing partner as his partner? To drive him down to Long Island to have dinner with his brother’s family whenever his brother decided to come back into the country?

Yes, yes, and yes.

He was saved at the last minute from having to act on that rather stunning revelation by another lawyer in an ill fitting suit stepping up to order two plain dogs from Mike. Neophyte. Mike cracked a joke about the game last night, asked about the guy’s daughter, wished him well on an upcoming case. He was Mike, and Harvey felt kind of stupid for having imagined that for just a moment Mike would ever be interested in what Harvey was selling.

Harvey took another swipe at his face with his crumpled napkin, balling it and his hot dog wrapper tightly in his fist, and started to turn away. He was pissed at himself for—for what, exactly? For taking a chance? He took chances all the time. For putting himself out there for an almost guaranteed rejection from the best guy he had met in a long time? He had swung and missed more times than he’d care to talk about. The important thing is that he kept stepping up to the plate. Or something.

Harvey turned back toward Mike and found him still watching with that expectant look on his face.

“So you have this case,” Mike reminded him, and Harvey took a step closer. Squared his shoulders.

“Yeah. This guy, he’s kind of a dick, but he’s been thinking about asking this other guy out for a long time.”

Mike carefully put his tongs the sink, peeled off his plastic gloves, tossed them into the trash, and put his hands on his hip. He was squinting, looking off down Fifth Avenue, watching the taxis crawl past. His mouth was doing that thing where he was trying not to smile but failing when he turned back. “How long?”

“Since he watched the guy hawk dirty water dogs in a raging snowstorm while the guy selling sausage slunk off down the street to get under an awning.”

“Yeah, that was kind of an awesome day, right? Small business man crushing the competition with savviness and the clear superiority of product.”

“Truly a David and…David story.”

“Pluck. I’ve been told I have it in spades. I mean, this guy.”

“Yeah.”

“Absolutely.”

“Are you going to ask me out or just clutter up the sidewalk in front of my stand being pretty.”

Harvey smiled back, tucked his hands into his pockets. “You think I’m pretty?”

“I think you’re gorgeous, and I think you’re going to regret introducing me to your friends as the hot dog guy.”

Mike's face has that pinched look again, like he was telling Harvey a truth he hadn't figured out for himself yet. Harvey kinda wanted to kiss it off his face, and then he figured, why not. Nut up.

“My hot dog guy’s awesome," Harvey whispered against his lips. "Everyone I know already knows that.”

***

So, the hot dog stand belongs to Mike. He sells hot dogs, hot pretzels, coffee, little bags of chips, and cans of soda in downtown Manhattan five days a week. If you ask, he’ll give you a rambling speech about hard work and the American dream but point out that sometimes it’s really about luck.

He never did adopt that dog but he did move in with Harvey, who never fails to tell everyone he meets that he knows exactly where to get the best hot dogs in the city.




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