Re-post! Lol, now that I have a category to put this in I had to re-post it O.o Oh well!
A/N: Okay, I don't know why the asthma wouldn't act up while Mike was smoking pot or being around people that smoked; I don't really have an answer for that. It was something I kinda skipped over to help with the story O.o
I own nothing! :(
He hadn't really noticed it at first; it certainly wasn't one of his biggest concerns at the moment. He'd been so involved in the Anderson lawsuit that the annoying tickle in the back of his throat was nothing more than a minor irritation as far as he was concerned. It had started last night, just barely noticable and easy enough to forget. He thought it would have gone away by now but he wasn't about to drop what he was doing to worry about it. Besides, if he had to tell Harvey that he didn't finish the case files because he felt like he needed to cough all day he was pretty sure he would get fired. Mike pushed it to the back of his mind and kept reading.
As the day progressed, the tickle became worse and much harder to ignore. Mike kept clearing his throat, coughing quietly into the back of his hand when no one was looking, and downing water like a fish that had found itself on dry land. He still wasn't too concerned; he'd seen Douglas, one of the other Associates, coughing the other day and figured he'd picked something up from him. With as hard as he'd been working combined with the lack of sleep, he wouldn't be surprised if he was coming down with something. He didn't feel feverish but he'd read a sign on the back of a bathroom door several months ago that said a fever wasn't always the first sign of a cold.
He made a mental note to get a gallon of orange juice on the way home later that night and chug it before bed. It had always worked in the past. He couldn't worry about it right now though; it was just barely 3 o'clock and he had at least eight more files to go through before he could leave tonight.
Mike cleared his throat again, a bit more irritably this time, loosened his tie a bit, and went back to work.
By 5:30 it was getting to the point where he couldn't ignore it anymore. His chest felt tight and he could mentally picture the fluid and mucus building up in the linings of his lung. It was a disgusting thought and he shook his head to rid himself of the mental image. He loosened his tie a bit more, noticing belatedly that it was now nearly halfway down his chest. It still felt like it was strangling him though, the silky fabric forming a very pretty Italian noose around his neck. He unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and coughed.
The coughing had gotten worse over the past few hours to the point where it was hard to diguise it anymore. He was glad Louis hadn't walked by or he mightv'e had some kind of snarky comment to add to Mike's distress. Rachel had passed by earlier, give him a once over and asked if he was alright but that had been about the extent of her concern. Mike was silently glad she hadn't made a big deal about it; the last thing he needed was to be publicly sent home because he was feeling a bit under the weather. God, between Louis and Harvey it would be social suicide in the very small social standing he'd earned while working there.
He coughed again and finished the third bottle of water he'd had since 2:45. Stay hydrated, wasn't that the biggest part of fighting a cold? He just needed to make it through the rest of day and he could stop by the drug store to get medicine. Just a few more hours...just a few more files.
By 7:15 nearly everyone had left and Mike still felt like he was the victim of manual strangulation. It was hard to concentrate and even harder to focus on the file that demanded nothing but his undivided attention. He'd re-read several paragraphs, something he hardly ever had to do, and was going back over another with with a highlighter when Rachel appeared by his desk.
"Try not to take too long, Harvey's-" She stopped when she saw him, her eyebrows drawing together just a bit. "Hey, are you okay?"
Mike nodded, covering a cough. "Yeah, just allergies I think." He said, noting a very slight wheeze as he spoke. Well, that was new.
Rachel frowned and didn't move. Mike wished she would leave so he could done a bit faster and be on his way as well. "Maybe you should head home-"
"I'll be fine." He said quickly, cutting her off before she could finish and interject anything else. "I'm just trying to get all of this done and get out of here before midnight so I don't have to come back to it tomorrow." It was mostly true because he knew there would more than likely be another stack of files on his desk identical to this one in the morning.
Rachel hesitated for a split second longer before stepping away from his desk. "Don't stay here too late or you'll get locked in." She called over her shoulder and Mike guessed it was her way of saying hope you feel better.
His chest felt tighter, the muscles in his throat constricting a bit more and he coughed again. He didn't have to cover it anymore. He knew Jessica and Harvey were still here but both had their doors closed so he wouldn't be disturbing anyone even if he started gagging and sputtering on the floor (which he kind of felt like doing).
He needed to get up and get away from his desk, anything to take his mind off the pressure in his chest. The last file wasn't complete, he needed to get some copies from the filing room and a little walk might help him clear his mind.
He stepped away from his desk, shaky legs making unsteady strides down the hallway. It was dark, the building nearly empty, and he was glad no one would see him like this.
It took every bit of strength he had not to collapse when he entered the filing room. The short walk it had taken him to get there had nearly been his downfall. He was breathing hard now, the air intake short and labored and he could hear the faint wheeze of each breath he took.
He stumbled to the table, hands gripping the edges as he fought to stay upright. It was getting harder to breathe and that made it harder to avoid panicking. Something occured to him then, something way back in the dark recesses of his mind...something he'd been avoiding thinking about all day. There was no way...there was no fucking way he was having an asthma attack in the filing room of Pearson Harden. It was just so...lame.
He hadn't had an asthma attack since high school and that one had been bad. Really bad, like "put-him-in-the-hospital-overnight" bad. But he hadn't had one since, not even when he was smoking pot, and he absolutely could not believe he was having one now. The tightness in his chest said otherwise though and he felt his knees begin to buckle from the lack of oxygen the rest of his body was getting.
He barely had time to register he was on the floor before another fit of coughing broke free. It was sharp, painful, and useless. Each cough stole more air from his lungs and the instinctive inhale did nothing to help remedy this problem. He could feel his heart pounding, blood rushing in his ears behind the constant wheeze.
He remembered a bit too late that he'd left his cell phone upstairs in his bag along with the emergency inhaler he kept way at the bottom. He hadn't had to use it in years but he still kept it with him just in case. Right now though, the attack was so bad he doubted it would do anything.
He couldn't breathe; each breath felt like it was being pulled through a straw that was lined with mud. His back was pressed against something, the wall for all he knew, and he kept gripping the top of his shirt and his tie in an effort to get some relief. In the back of his mind he knew this was completely ineffective but it didn't stop him from trying.
Mike could have laughed at the irony if he had the lung capacity to do so. He'd landed a dream job, finally gotten an ounce of respect from his boss, and was here he was, about to die on the floor of the building's filing room. It was disappointing really...he'd always hoping he'd go out in a fiery motorcycle accident with a smokin' hot readhead at his side...
Harvey sighed heavily and pushed away from his desk. He wasn't finished with the file yet but it could wait until morning. He glanced at his watch, the expensive hands reading 8:03 on the equally expensive face. He'd worked another 13-hour day and for some reason it felt like it could have been a lot longer. He walked out of his office, closing the door behind him and making his way down the hall.
He hadn't seen Mike since that morning when he'd given him the files he needed completed and was midly surprised that they weren't on his desk by the end of the day. The kid usually had better timing than that. He figured he's stop by his desk for a minute to harass him about it before he left. Still had to keep him in line and all that.
Harvey frowned when he got to Mike's desk. The younger man wasn't there but his bag was which meant he couldn't be far. He figured he'd disappeared off to the restroom but noticed the stack of files still sitting on his desk, the ones that hadn't been completed. If Mike was anywhere it was probably in the filing room looking for the remaining papers he'd need to finish the file. With that in mind, Harvey turned and headed down the hall to find his associate.
The door was cracked and the light was turned on but Harvey didn't see Mike as he passed. Maybe he'd been wrong. He was about to head back toward Mike's desk when he heard a strange, gasping sort of sound. It was a mix between a wheeze and gasp and he frowned, realizing it was coming from the room. He stepped closer and pushed open the door.
"Jesus Christ!" He hissed, rushing into the room and dropping to his knees next to Mike. The younger man was sprawled against the wall, his eyes barely open and his face alarmingly pale. There was a disturbing blue tinge to his lips and he barely registered Harvey was next to him until the older man grabbed his face, forcing him to look at him. "Mike! Mike, can you hear me? Answer me, kid!"
Mike blinked in repsonse, a horrible gasping noise coming from his mouth. "Har-" He tried but the words were lost in the shadow of a wheeze.
"Mike, what's wrong? What's going on?" Harvey demanded, hoping like hell the sound of the kid's gasping was drowning out the concern and panic in his voice. It was a sickening thought but he'd never been much for sugar-coating anything.
Mike didn't answer him though, his eyes fluttering a bit and he struggled to take a breath. It was getting harder to stay awake and little black dots were beginning to dance in his vision. His eyes closed briefly and he was startled awake by a sharp smack to the side of his face.
"No you don't!" Harvey growled from above him, his face just inches away from Mike's. "You stay with me, you hear me? You stay with me!" He'd already pulled out his phone and dialed 911, keeping one hand on Mike's shoulder. "I need an ambulance here now!" He barked into the phone, giving the address before glancing over at Mike. The younger man's eyes were beginning to close again.
He shook him roughly, rewarded when Mike's eyes fluttered open again. "Mike!" He demanded, forcing the younger man to look at him.
Mike swallowed visibly, his face pinched from the strain of trying to breathe. "My bag..." He gasped, the words coming out harsh and breathless. "Inhaler...bag..."
Harvey nodded wordlessly and ran out into the hall, making a beeline to Mike's desk. He dumped the contents of his bag out onto the floor, sorting through the sundry mix of crap Mike kept inside and found an inhaler. It was old, like it hadn't been used in a long time, but it was the best thing he had to work with for now. He grabbed it and ran back to the store room, dropping to his knees next to the barely conscious young man.
He doubted Mike could hold it even if he wanted to so he snaked an arm around the younger man's shoulders, holding him steady as he placed the inhaler in his mouth. He pressed down on the bottle a few times, the slight hiss of the medicine being released a welcome sound.
For a terrible second nothing happened and Harvey was afraid Mike was going to go into full respiratory arrest while he watched. Then, just as quickly as it happened, the younger man took a painful, deep breath and began coughing raggedly. He gripped Harvey's sleeve with enough force to ruin it forever but the older man hardly seemed to notice. All he could concentrate on was the desperate, shuddering gasps coming from Mike.
A bit of the color had returned to his face by now but he was still pale and a bit panicky. He kept a shaky grip on Harvey's arm like it was the only thing anchoring him to the floor. Mike squeezed his eyes shut, struggling to take another deep breath and was a bit surprised when Harvey pressed the inhaler against his lips again. He managed to grab it with one hand and release more of the medicine, the effects almost instant as they worked to loosen his constricted throat and chest.
When he could take a deep breath without feeling like he was going to suffocate, he blinked his eyes open and focused on Harvey, a weak smile on his face. "Thanks." He said, still a bit breathlessly but nowhere near as bad as it had been before.
Harvey said nothing as he reached forward and unbuttoned the rest of the buttons in Mike's shirt. He took his tie off completely and dropped it to the floor; had he been anymore coherent Mike mightv'e said something about Harvey's lack of respect for fine clothing but he was still trying to focus on controlling his breathing. Warm fingers pressed against the side of his throat and he could feel his own pulse beating hard and fast against them.
Harvey shook his head finally and sat back on his heels, glaring at Mike angrily. "What the hell was that?" He demanded, the instant anger in his voice taking over to mask the panic and concern that had filled him only a few seconds earlier.
Mike shook his head weakly, suddenly exhausted. "Asthma attack..." He muttered with a weak cough. "I haven't had one since high school..."
"Why the hell didn't you tell me you had asthma?" Harvey growled, disbelief crossing his face. "Did it never cross your mind that this was something I might need to know? What if I hadn't found you? What if no one found you? You could have died, Mike! Did you ever think about that?"
Mike was stunned by the outburst and wanted to say something snappy along the lines of "well, you never asked asshole!" but what came out instead was a strangled "I'm sorry..."
"Sorry?" Harvey let out a sharp, bark of laugh and shook his head. The anger was quickly leaving him though and he noticed with a bit of distaste that his hands were shaking. The fear and adrenaline was beginning to wear off and he realized how close he came to losing Mike because of some stupid disorder he hadn't had to deal with in years. "Jesus kid..." He muttered, reaching out and tentatively cupping the younger man's face. He was surprised when Mike leaned into the touch.
"I'm sorry." Mike said again, his voice softer this time. "I didn't think...I just-"
He was interrupted when a pair of paramedics pushed through the door behind them and came to kneel next to him. Harvey took a step backward, giving them room to work but his eyes never left Mike's face.
After a few minutes of questions and poking and prodding, the paramedics gave him a clean bill of health and gave Harvey additional instructions if he needed them. The female paramedic mentioned in passing that someone should probably keep an eye on Mike just in case but Harvey had already determined that he wasn't letting him out of his sight if he could help it.
Once they'd left, he carefully gathered Mike off the floor, keeping one hand twisted in the back of his shirt before leading him to the elevator. He told him to stay put, ignoring Mike's half-hearted complaint that he was nearly done with the file, and walked back to his desk. He gathered the contents of Mike's bag and piled them back inside, flipping off the desk lamp and walking back to the elevator. "Come on kid, that's enough excitement for one night." He said, getting a grip on the back of his shirt once more before steering him into the elevator.
Harvey said nothing as they drove away from the building and Mike said nothing about the fact that Harvey kept one hand on him the entire time. He didn't have to tell him that they were going to Harvey's apartment, he'd guessed that much already. One look from Harvey made it clear that any kind of arguement would go unheeded.
Harvey steered him through the lobby of the building, into another elevator and then into an empty hallway. It was a bit like navigating your way through a labyrinth if the labyrinth happened to be located in a luxury highrise.
The inside of Harvey's apartment was cold and sterile, like a hospital room with better furniture. It smelled clean and Mike vaguely wondered if that had anything to do with the fact that Harvey was probably hardly ever here. It was only when he had properly dropped Mike onto the couch did Harvey reliquish the death grip he had on the back of his shirt. The pointed look he gave him though made it clear that Mike was staying the night, protests be damned.
Harvey left him on the couch for a minute, disappearing into his bedroom and returning a few seconds later with a t-shirt and a pair of sleep pants. Mike gave him a funny look. "I didn't think you owned anything that didn't come with a vest." He joked and Harvey just rolled his eyes.
"Cute." He muttered, tossing the clothes at him before disappearing into his room again. "I figured if I'm going to hold you hostage for the evening I might as well try to make you comfortable." He called from the other room, talking above the sounds of clothing being taken off and dropped to the floor uncermoniously.
Mike looked down at himself, noticing he was only half-dressed anyway. His shirt was still open from where Harvey had unbuttoned it earlier and his tie had been left back at the office. There was a problem though; his apartment was halfway across town and he'd left his bike at the office. Mike wasn't sure but he couldn't imagine showing up in a rumpled dress shirt and slacks he'd worn the day before going over very well with Louis and Jessica. "I have a spare suit for you in the morning." Harvey called, answering his follow up question about what he was going to do about work in the morning. He sighed softly, relieved that his breathing was almost completely back to normal by now, and changed into the clothes Harvey had given him.
Harvey appeared in the living room again, dressed in a t-shirt and black sweatpants. Mike blinked. "Wow...you look..."
"Judge your next words very carefully, kid."
"Normal." Mike said finally, struggling to come up with a better word but failing miserably. His brain still felt a bit fuzzy from being oxygen deprived and he was more tired than he'd felt in a long time. He guessed near death experiences often had that effect on people. "I've just never seen you without a suit on, that's all." He said, literally falling onto the couch with the last word.
Harvey shrugged half-heartedly. "I don't sleep in them." He said with a hint of something that sounded a bit like indignation in his voice. Mike smiled a bit.
"I never said you did. Just commenting."
The older man said nothing before walking over to the couch and taking a seat next to Mike. They sat like that, side by side, silently, for several minutes before Harvey spoke. "I'm sorry...you know, for yelling at you earlier. I was just...worried." The last bit came out as a muffled whisper and Mike had to replay it in his head a few times to make sure he'd heard it right.
"You were worried about me?" He asked, hating the disbelief in his voice as it made Harvey look like he was ready to crawl under a rock.
"Look kid," The older man said, turning to him and looking him directly in the eye. "I know I said I didn't care about other people and that the only reason I stuck my neck out for you was because I was looking out for number one and if you ever say anything about what I'm about to tell you to anyone I will personally throw you out the front door and under a taxi but...yes, I was worried about you."
Mike was speechless. Most of the time Harvey treated him like the hired help and for the first couple weeks he worked for him, that's all he thought he was good for, but to hear him say he was actually worried about him, concerned for his well being, made him feel strangely happy.
"Like I said, I will personally murder you if you ever tell anyone I said that but seeing you struggling to breathe in the filing room was probably one of the most terrifying moments of my life." Harvey wasn't looking at him, he was staring across the room at the black and silver wall clock and no amount of coersion was going to make him turn to face Mike.
Mike nodded slowly, a small smile on his face. "I won't say anything...and thank you again, you know, for saving my life."
Harvey smiled then, a genuine smile. "Just make sure it doesn't happen again." He patted Mike on the shoulder lightly before standing. "Get some sleep, kid. The paramedic said you're going to be pretty out of it for a while."
Mike didn't have the energy to argue; he knew better anyway. Harvey Specter was the best closer in the city and any arguement he put up in his defense would be ripped apart in a matter of seconds. Instead he just leaned back against the amazingly comfortable couch and closed his eyes, letting himself drift off into a dark, almost dreamless sleep. He was nearly there when he felt a blanket being dropped on his chest and the lights being turned off overhead and then nothing.
The next morning, Harvey let Mike borrow one of his suits and ushered him into the car at roughly 6:45. He dropped him off a block away from the office because he simply wasn't going to answer the questions involved if someone saw him show up to work with Mike in his car.
Mike didn't question it though, he kept his mouth shut and gave Harvey the distance he knew was required of him. He didn't say anything about the several times he'd woken up the night before to Harvey kneeling by the couch, one hand pressed against Mike's chest to make sure he was still breathing. Harvey never knew he was awake and Mike prefered to keep it that way.
He also didn't say anything about the fact that he'd seen at least two more inhalers tucked in one of the side drawers in Harvey's desk later that day. He didn't know when or where he'd gotten them but the medications matched the one Mike had used in his inhaler the night before. Harvey knew people and getting two more rescue inhalers just in case was like a walk in the park.
He didn't say anything about the carefully concealed packet of papers hidden beneath the inhalers detailing the signs, symptoms and treatments of asthma attacks. He didn't know whether it was Harvey or Donna who had printed them out but he knew better than to ask.
And he also had nothing to say when Louis walked by later that morning, asking him why his tie was found on the floor in the filing room in an oil-slick voice. Mike just shrugged and smiled, finishing the last case file he'd been working on from the night before. He took a deep breath and let it out with a contented sigh.
Pffftt, Harvey doesn't care. Right! XD