Harvey stepped in a courtroom like a predator slinking behind its prey. Mike remembered the feeling. Sitting on the edge of his seat taking in the display, it was like a stage and they were all actors in a play.
He resisted the urge to give a standing ovation during the verdict.
The contrast between he and Harvey was that Harvey won and he lost. Simple.
Harvey applied a lot of pressure to Mike in blind hope this jagged rock would turn into a diamond. All he ended up was a bloody mess smashed deep in the floor.
Right now, He felt failure twisting and turning into his stomach, slithering like a leech sucking his life from his body. That is why he was sitting limply on his couch staring blankly at his TV watching some sappy lifetime movie.
His eyes were gazing far past the screen. A crying girl in the background buzzed in and out of his ears.
After today, Harvey would never look at him the same way again. If there was any hope to bring any semblance of trust, he had to keep his situation hidden from Harvey.
Bzzzt. His phone vibrated next to him.
A little life surged through him maintaining enough energy to grab his phone.
He flipped it open, regarding the dimly lit text message with a sigh. While snapping his phone shut, he grabbed his bag and left
Harvey prided himself in knowing things that he shouldn't He loved to wait to reveal it at the most advantageous moments to get the best shock value. That may be why he was so pissed that he couldn't figure out what was going on with his associate this very moment.
He strummed his fingers impatiently on his desk, before sitting up and fixing a pointed look on the squirming figure before him, "How do you expect me to read this? These scribbles look like they belong in a preschool coloring contest." Harvey flicked the papers across his desk with a look of disgust.
"I can rewrite it." Mike didn't even protest Harvey's assertion, with his voice so subdued it made Harvey almost pity him. He was not used to this feeling, he always endeavored to be around people he didn't need to pity.
Harvey did what he did best and became a bigger asshole attempting to a rise out of the lifeless figure in front of him, "No, forget it, I don't know why I gave this to you in the first place if you're going screw it up." He spat out.
Mike's shoulders just slumped in defeat. Harvey felt another undesirable emotion, sympathy. Before he could act on any of it he waved his hand.
"Get out and get the patent for Mr. Garrison." He shooed him away, irritation laced in his words. Mike stood up slowly like he was thirty years older, and walked out with his eyes trained on the floor.
Harvey felt like calling him back in but he didn't. Mike needed to prove that he was Pearson Hardman material. If Harvey went soft on him for even a second, he would never reach his full potential.
He'd given up on the notion that he could be anything like Harvey, laughing quietly at the idea. It didn't really explain why he was here, again.
What did explain it, was his Grandma's rising hospital fees. The home seemed intent on raising all the monthly fees for his Grandma's quickly fading health. He made a good amount at Pearson Hardman but it wasn't nearly enough to cover the cost.
He had taken out a loan that he couldn't pay ages ago, and now he was desperate for money. It was the least he could do for her.
After pleading with Trevor for some help over the phone, Trevor reluctantly handed him some addresses to the tamer dealers in the city.
It was risky; he knew it – if anyone found out there would be no turning back. He had to do it. If he could do a few runs successfully he'd have her covered for the next year. It was the only solution. He ignored the niggling voice in the back of his head. It was screaming there was another way.
Mike rubbed his sweaty hand on his jeans and rang the doorbell. No there wasn't.
"Did you finally decide to crawl out of your casket?" Harvey bit out with his eyes scanning across Mike's mediocre appearance. Donna glared at Harvey and stood up to straighten Mike's tie.
Great, now Donna was taking in Mike like he was some little lost puppy. If Harvey was honest with himself, He couldn't blame her. He was wavering between shaking the boy and hugging him. He had lost weight in the past week and he looked so goddamn pale.
On top of that, it was like he was afraid of something, jumping whenever Harvey walked unexpectedly behind him. Harvey thought he was intoxicated at first but his eyes were alert and he spoke normally. He just looked heartbroken.
He attempted to toss that blame on Rachel, walking into her office the other day with a whole basket full of accusations. Rachel responded with such fury that he thought she was going to slap him.
"I don't know what you're implying but I would never hurt Mike!" She lashed out angrily, "I would do anything to get the old Mike back."
She was just as worried as he was.
Not that he was worried. He just needed his associate in top shape.
Mike gave him an apologetic look, "Sorry, I was up pretty late looking over those briefs." Harvey knew when someone was lying, or even half lying. Everyone had tells. Mike tended to widen his eyes and scratch his neck. When had Mike stopped trusting him?
At some point, this month, the unquestioning eyes were replaced with listless gazes that told him nothing. "Are they finished?" Harvey grilled, his voice far harsher than he intended.
Mike bit his lip, and looked down shaking his head. Atlas himself was not carrying a heavier load than the one that Mike appeared to be shouldering. Harvey felt something strange twist in the pit of his stomach.
He sighed, and ran his hand through his hair, "Fine, get it finished by the end of the day."
Mike smothered a scream, his face get very familiar with the grayish green shag carpet. He wasn't cut out for this stuff. His heart hammered so hard he could hear it inside his ears. The cold metal was trained on the back of his neck.
"Where's the rest of it?" The man currently holding him at gun point was at least a hundred pounds heavier than Mike. He was obviously hyped up on something and not the something that Mike was selling.
"That's all of it, I swear!" He said in a breathless voice, feeling like he was nearly hyperventilating. The man brought his head close to Mike's cheek. His breath hot against the back of his neck.
"Let's check to make sure, alright." He ran his hands across his back and then under his arms. He slowly brought them lower and then Mike started struggling, his eyes shut so tight tears leaked out.
"Please stop! That's all of it!" He cried out. The man continued whispering into his ear but Mike couldn't hear anything as kicked as hard as he could
The man slapped him with the butt of his gun, the stinging blow didn't knock him out but burned with pain.
He then laughed and got up leaving Mike to scramble up. The guy threw a small plastic bag of money at Mike's feet.
"Thanks for the fun, pretty boy. I hope to do business again." The man leered menacingly. Mike shakily ran out of the building and grabbed his bike. He biked two blocks before jumping off his bike and throwing up on the street.
His body vibrated with disgust and fear.
He screamed out and curled his fingers into a tight fist, slamming on brick fence that surrounded the run-down neighborhood. He gasped attempting to smother the overpowering emotions. He took a deep breath and brought his hand to his stinging forehead.
It was a slow bleed but the blood felt rather sticky on his fingers. Just a few more of these and he would never have to do this again. He said it over and over like a calming Mantra.
When Harvey saw Mike sleeping on his desk he honestly felt his heart stop. Not because the kid was sleeping but because he looked like he died. His skin was almost colorless, a pale sheen of white, and with an unknown nasty scar marring his forehead.
Before Harvey could even figure out how to react, he was already shaking Mike's shoulder. Mike shot up so fast that his head nearly collided with Harvey's. It took a few seconds before he remembered where he was and he relaxed.
That didn't last very long because once he saw Harvey stand there he immediately tensed, "I-uh-," He stuttered.
Harvey shook his head, "It defeats the purpose to come in on time if you just fall asleep." Nevertheless, Harvey wanted to grab Mike by the collar and force him to sleep on the couch in his office. It physically hurt to see how tired Mike looked.
Mike continued to stare at him with those large blue eyes, and Harvey dropped the hardass routine. "What's with your face? Where'd you get that.." he motioned to Mike's forehead. Mikes hand shot up to the scar and licked his lips.
"I slipped and knocked it on the counter." Mike lied.
Harvey narrowed his eyes, "What are you, eighty years old?"
Mike laughed but it sounded so hollow that Harvey was strongly inclined to check Mike's pulse.
All he could do was give Mike one last searching look and walk away.
"How is he?" Jessica materialized in the middle of the hallway.
Harvey walked around her, "Who?" He asked, playing stupid. Jessica grabbed his arm .
"I don't know what's going on with you two but I want you to fix it." She demanded. Harvey wanted to scream out, "How?" But he held back matching her challenging stare.
"I'll fix it." Harvey replied with a confidence that he wasn't feeling and moved to his office.
He gave a half hearted wave to Donna and flopped down, exhausted into his chair. He rubbed his face tiredly, and suddenly, as if an angel dropped it on his desk, there was a slip of paper that had a phone number on it. It had Trevor's name on it, as well. Why hadn't he thought of that?
He looked up to see Donna giving him a triumphant smirk, "Have I told you how much I love you?" Harvey yelled out.
"I know." She said airily returning back to her work.
Mike fingered his new can of pepper spray, reading the label intently. He thought about getting a gun the other night but he knew he never be able to pull the trigger. Pepper spray on the other hand was a pretty safe bet.
He yawned, looking at the moonlit road, his bike swerving in and out of the street. He was tired and the adrenaline was already coursing through his body. This was his fourth delivery and he didn't think he was getting used to it at all.
He still soaked his shirts with sweat, his breathing labored – every bone ached with exhaustion.
As an added bonus, everyone was treating him like he was about to break at the slightest touch. Rachel kept on bringing him food at every turn. Most of the time Mike could barely eat it without feeling like it was going to come back up.
Then there was Harvey, who was getting fed up with Mike's behavior, he could just tell. It was a matter of time before he got a pink slip. Mike held back a shuddering breath. What a disappointment he had become.
He looked up at the ritzy hotel that gleamed with golden lights and beautiful arching balconies. He parked his bike into the metal bike rack and took a deep breath to calm himself down.
His hand gripped his briefcase but then he abruptly flashed to the night before making him shiver. His stomach turned dangerously. He hunched over holding his chest and finally, a few minutes later he regained his composure.
He could do this.
Nervously, he hopped foot to foot waiting for the elevator to open. The elevators here were so slow that he wouldn't be surprised if a man was behind them pulling a rope to lift the damn things up and down.
When they opened he jumped in pressing the button multiple times as if it would make it ascend faster. He fiddled with the briefcase and walked down the hotel hallway.
He knocked on the door, and stood as tall as he could attempting to hide any vulnerability.
The door opened and the world must've turn upside-down. The blood drained from his face and he was sure that he looked a nice shade of green.
"So it's true." The voice was caught between disappointment and regret.
Mike choked at the sight or Harvey, and took a step back. The sound that escaped his lips was sound Harvey was never meant to hear and never wanted to remember.
He caught Mike's arm before he could bolt away which was obviously what he was preparing to do. The look on Harvey face chilled Mike to the bones. Cold and uncaring, as if Mike was a bug he intended to smash.
"Come on, you came here for a reason." Harvey's voice hardened, "You know I never like to leave a job unfinished." his hand held so tight around Mike's arm that it surely left a bruise.
He dragged him in but Mike was still in shock, barely able to gain any sense. He licked his lips and they tasted salty and moist, he belatedly realized there were tears dropping down his face.
Harvey let go of Mike, and turned to lock the door giving Mike a second to rub the emotion off his face. If he was going out, he might as well go out strong.
Harvey turned to Mike who nod donned a blank look, if he was being generous he'd call it brave. The only giveaway was the tremoring briefcase in his hand.
"I have the money, do you have the drugs." Harvey asked, his voice emotionless. This is where they were going to end. All the trust, the friendship, everything was being flushed down in one single moment.
Mike felt himself deflate, "Harvey, please."
"Mr. Specter." Harvey corrected grabbing and envelope out of his jacket and slapping it in Mike's hand. The fiery anger flashed in Harvey's eyes and Mike swallowed the rising lump in his throat. The enevelope felt like an anchor sinking him to his death. It was all he could do to not fall to his knees in defeat.
Mike looked down to the floor and pushed the envelope out, gripping it so hard it crumpled, "Please, just take it back." His voice cracked.
Harvey slapped Mike's hands down and moved uncomfortably close. He lifted Mike's chin in a firm grip so they were eye to eye,
"You wanted this, and you get the consequences." He huffed in exasperation, "Do you remember anything I've told you?"
Mike was defensive.
Where was Harvey whenever he needed help? Harvey only helped him when things would serve his purpose. What right did he have coming here, acting like he was infallible?
Mike was so angry, so helpless, he couldn't even describe what he was feeling. His whole body was tensed and his face colored to a strange shade of red.
Mike pulled away, before throwing the briefcase and envelope on the floor, "What else could I have done? I have no one!" He waved a hand out, "This was the only way!" He screamed not even bothering to wipe the warm tears running down his face.
He pushed Harvey backwards but Harvey returned the push and Mike's back collided with the wall. With an open hand, Harvey slammed the wall right next to his face. Mike flinched, his heart beat banging against his chest.
"You could have asked ME! " He jabbed his finger into Mike's chest,
"Instead of gallivanting around the city as criminal" He sneered, "You. Could. Have. Come. To. Me." His voice was strong and angry, his chest was heaving. Harvey's usually coifed hair was disheveled and he gripped the lapels of Mike coat so hard that Mike feared that he would rip them off.
"How could you be so stupid?" He shook Mike, who was now speechless.
They just stood there, staring each other down like a western standoff, all you could hear was their breathing. Mike gently extricated himself from Harvey's grip and sat down on one of the closest beds.
His body sagged with fatigue, "If I could go back, I would." Mike spoke so low that Harvey could hardly hear him. Mike rubbed his hands on his jeans, feeling inexplicably dirty.
He was looking for something for so long, a void had just grown. He had been figuring stuff out alone for so long he couldn't remember someone being ever being here.
He was tired, and the world felt perfectly still. Here he was hanging in the balance, broken farther than he could prepare for.
He looked up at Harvey, with such a haunted face that Harvey nearly gasped, "I can't. I never will be able – " He broke off his vision blurred and deep within his stomach he felt a sob bubble up, wracking his body.
Harvey did the only thing he could think of and wrapped his arms around the kid, tightly hugging him. If possible it just made Mike cry harder whether out of shock or the first genuine human contact he had in weeks, he wasn't sure.
When he finally was able to stop crying he pulled away, palming away any moisture from his face.
"How do I look?" Mike turned to Harvey who just quirked a corner of his lip.
"Like shit." He replied.
Mike half laughed his voice still scratchy, but instantly sobered remembering why they were here, "I-I guess I should grab my stuff from my desk tomorrow." He hazarded. He kicked his feet on the floor tentatively eyeing Harvey.
Harvey made an exuberant show of rolling his eyes, "I got snot all over my two-thousand dollar suit and that's all you get from this?" He asked incredulously. Mike had the decency to look sheepish.
"Mike, we can't keep ending up here. That large brain of yours can't solve any problems with some damn common sense."
Mike flushed but did not say anything. Harvey got up and picked up the crinkled up envelope. He tossed it to Mike and looked at him expectantly.
Mike cautiously open the envelope, there were a few hundred dollars and a blank check. Mike gave Harvey a confused look.
"Give that to the nursing home, the charge for your grandmother's care will go through my account." Mike made to protest but Harvey's stern face made him stop, "I can't have you moonlighting when I need you alert and ready." He furrowed his eyebrows, "You take that, no questions asked."
All Mike could do was nod, he took the check and handed back the rest of the money. Harvey sighed and patiently pushed the envelope back "Keep it all and buy yourself a decent suit." Harvey muttered derisively.
"Thank-." He broke off with a huge yawn and he shook it away. The bed suddenly looked unreasonably comfortable.
"Get some sleep." Harvey suddenly let out a cry of relief, "You don't know how long I've been waiting to say that!"
Mike smiled, "It's okay if I – here." Unable to speak a coherent sentence.
"Well I paid for it – might as well have someone sleep in it." Mike immediately toed off his shoes and curled up on the bed, pulling the duvet over him.
Harvey took an armchair, sitting there staring at Mike's sleeping figure. Unsure if he would be able to sleep at all. When had this hardass become so soft?
A/N: Thank you for reading! I hope y'all liked it - It's a bit outlandish but that's fanfiction for you. Please let me know what you think! ^.^