Direct sequel to Five Times Mike Explains His Situation And The One Time Donna Makes Sure People Listen, because people asked me to, and I am a sucker for things like that.
How Harvey Tried To Fix His Mistake
After Donna had not-so-politely-put-him-in-his-place, Harvey had immediately left his office to try and locate Mike. The first place that he checked was Mike's cubical, which was completely empty, no jacket or bag, no briefs or files, and most importantly, no Mike. As Harvey paused, trying to decide where Mike could have disappeared to, his least favorite associate appeared next to him.
"Mr. Specter, did you need something?" Gregory was smiling, wide and obviously filled with false eagerness. The associate glanced at Mike's messy desk with a poorly hidden hint of scorn.
'Nothing like Mike,' Harvey thought, giving the man a once over. 'Mike never has to pretend to be eager to work, or to belittle someone so that he felt better.' That was one of the reasons that Harvey got along so well with Mike, despite all the younger man's mistakes. Harvey didn't need someone that wouldn't be completely loyal to him. "No, I'm looking for Mike."
"Oh..." The tone in Gregory voice changed to almost gleeful. "Mike left already. He stopped by his desk long enough to grab a bunch of files then took off for the elevator."
It was plain to Harvey, who read people as easily as some actors read their scripts, that Gregory was overly happy that Mike, supposedly, wasn't where he was supposed to be. Harvey knew that Mike didn't get along with any of the other associates, but he had no idea that it was to the point that some were willing to act like third graders denied their afternoon snack. "That's good. I was making sure that he took the files with him before he left on my errand." Secretly, the senior partner reveled in the overly disappointed look that was stamped on the associates face. Not sparing the man another glance, Harvey strode down the hall toward the elevator, hoping he could catch Mike on the street.
When Harvey exited the building, he scanned the street carefully, remembering what Donna had said about Mike no longer having a bike, and reasoned that his associate couldn't have gotten too far. He smiled, noticing a very familiar blond head moving down the sidewalk. Abandoning most, or all, of his dignity, Harvey broke into a sprint, for the second time since he had known Mike, chasing down the younger man.
"Mike!" When Harvey got close enough, he caught the sleeve of Mike's jacket, which made the younger man stop. "Where are you going?"
Mike turned slightly toward his boss, keeping his eyes off to the side. "To get a briefcase." His reply was simple, like there couldn't have been any doubt about where he was headed.
Harvey frowned. Mike sounded just like he had in the office, soft and resigned. That wouldn't do. That was not the associate he hired. His associate wasn't afraid to call him on his bull, or to speak his mind. "Really, kid?" The older man tried to keep his voice friendly, to help put Mike at ease, to let the kid know that Harvey really was there for him.
"Really, Harvey." The younger man insisted. "Jessica told me that I needed to get one immediately, so I'll just go get one and come back. No big deal, right?" Now, Mike forced a smile, raising his eyes to Harvey's.
"Don't think so, kid. Come on." Harvey kept his grip on Mike's sleeve, tugging his associate along until Mike started to follow on his own, weakly protesting the entire time, which Harvey ignored until they were standing around the corner from the firm building. The lawyer then started trying to catch a cab.
"Harvey...?" The owner of the name winced at the confused, monotone. "I.."
"Not right now, Mike." Harvey glanced over his shoulder, noting that the tight, painful looking grip the kid had on his bag had returned. "We'll talk after we get you your briefcase."
Mike shrugged, resigning himself to spending a long time with Harvey lecturing him on exactly what he needed in a briefcase and to spending far more money than he should on something he didn't even want. So he kept his mouth closed, during the entire cab ride, he flipped through the files instead, and most of the time the two were in the store, he forced himself to look at the briefcases not the prices, until Harvey started frowning again.
"Mike, what are you doing?" The lawyer was confused. Normally, it was nearly impossible to keep Mike quiet very long, especially when they were out of the office. His associate seemed to enjoy being able to talk more freely than he could at the office.
"Shopping." As before, the answer was simple. "Which one would make Jessica happiest?"
A small part of Harvey was irritated that the kid wasn't trying harder, but the rest of him, the part that listened when Donna lectured because it was far worse if you didn't, wondered how he had missed it so long and allowed it to get to this point. "Don't worry about that, kid. Just pick one that you like... or don't hate as much as the rest?"
Mike smiled politely, appreciating the fact that Harvey had accidentally given him a blanket pass to buy the cheapest one in the store. He moved toward the cashier, motioning. "That one, please."
It took every ounce of self control that Harvey had not to visibly flinch at the briefcase Mike picked. It was tacky. There really was no other word for it. It wasn't black or even a nice shade of brown, no, it was beige, honestly, and until this point, Harvey had no idea they were even made that color. An image of Jessica's reaction if Mike showed up with such a thing, flashed before his eyes, quickly followed by the thought of exactly what Donna might do if he messed this up any further. "Mike? A suggestion?"
The look the associate shot his boss was suspicious. "You said to get whatever one I liked, or hated the least."
"Yes... I did but..."
Mike sighed, motioning for Harvey to go ahead. "Just tell me which one I should get, so we can go back to work."
The older man suppressed a sigh at the words. "Listen, Mike, I'm just trying to help..."
"You can't, Harvey. You just can't." Mike stressed, shaking his head. "Never mind, sir." He addressed the cashier again. "I'll take that one." He motioned to a different one, not leather but black and presentable enough, although much more expensive. "Happy? Can we go back to work now? I have a lot to do." The blond refused to look at Harvey, instead focusing on retrieving his wallet from his pocket.
Harvey moved faster than Mike could, handing the cashier his card instead. He ignored the startled look Mike gave him, taking the briefcase and passing it over to his associate before ushering him outside. Harvey knew that he owed his associate an apology, if only for the fact that he didn't notice. "Mike, I want to tell you..."
"I'll pay you back." Mike blurted out, looking overly nervous. He continued on without taking a breath. "I promise, I will. I promise that it will never happen again, Harvey. I won't make you keep having to bail me out." The blond took Harvey's stunned silence for more disapproval and blindly bolted, darting across the traffic and vanishing from sight.
Harvey stood there for a moment more, unsure which part he was having more trouble believing, that Mike really felt he had to pay Harvey back, or that Mike had just actually ran into traffic. Smothering a groan at the thought of what Donna was going to say, Harvey headed back to the office.