Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted. Paul Pearshall
Mike was still stinging from being thrown out of the meeting. Yes, he knew that Harvey thought this particular client was pond scum, that he was trying to keep that "ridiculous idealism" that Mike harbored alive. It still felt like he had been shunned to the kids' table.
"Hey," The man who touched his arm was maybe a year or two older than Mike, with a handsome face and shit-eating grin that was naggingly familiar. "You don't happen to know Harvey Specter, do you?"
Mike, who had just been about to walk into Pearson Hardman to (hopefully) finish some of the never-ending paperwork, was more than glad for a reason to come out of his funk. "Don't worry, you have the right place. If you make an appointment I'm sure Harvey will see you by the end of the week."
"Is he in right now?" The man asked hopefully, smile fading when Mike shook his head. "Damn. I was going to surprise him."
Mike adjusted his shoulder bag, squinting at that frustratingly familiar face. "I'm sorry…who are you?"
"Josh Specter." He shook Mike's hand, smiling at his surprise. "How well do you know my big brother?"
Mike called up to Donna and told her to make up whatever excuse to Harvey so he would actually get an hour for lunch. "What's going on?" Donna had demanded, because she could sense a secret like a shark sensed blood.
That's when Josh took the phone. "Donna?"
Even Mike, standing a foot away, could hear Donna squeal like a little girl. "Joshua! Is that you?"
"I'm going to take the new associate out for lunch and disillusion him about my big brother. You can have him back when he knows that Harvey is not a God." Josh winked at Mike, who could only gape at him. This was definitely Harvey's brother alright. Only a Specter could commandeer him so easily.
Josh took him to one of the most expensive restaurants in one of the most expensive hotels in New York, chatting the whole way there. "I don't know anything about you, but you're exactly the type Harv would pick." He said, looking Mike up and down. "Plucky. You're one of those self-made guys, aren't you? Harvey is such a sucker for the American Dream." He smiled as they sat down at a table in a hidden corner of the room. "I bet he never talked about me, huh?"
"He mentioned he had a brother." Once, and that was when talking to a client so Mike didn't know if he was bullshitting or not. To see the actual thing in front of him (with a suit similar to Harvey's, down to the vest, but his hair was light, almost as light as Mike's, and he was slimmer, built like a runner, not a baseball player, and his face…Mike didn't realize he thought something was off with his face until he noticed with a start that one eye was green like wet grass and the other was the pale blue the sky turns after it'd been bleached with rain) was alarming.
"Harv likes to put the past behind him. Like the Lion King?" He laughed at Mike's expression, the one that was like you-so-did-not-just-quote-a-Disney-movie. "What? Harvey's favorite method of distraction was to pop in that movie. It was his favorite."
"You guys were close, then?" Mike asked, unable to help himself. He'd always wanted a brother, had spent many hours of his life imagining what one might be like. Just to have someone to share experiences with, someone to talk to that was his own age and gave a damn. Someone to have inside jokes with and teach him about girls and…
Josh shot him a curious look. "Harvey…Harvey never told you about us?"
"He doesn't talk about his personal life." Mike said, so curious he felt like he was going to burst.
Josh smiled a little and shook his head, "No, he doesn't." He stared at Mike, appraising him frankly, "You're not going to spread this all over the firm? Because I won't let Harv's back story become water cooler gossip."
"Harvey's kept my secrets," Mike said, shrugging, "Of course I would keep his." Which was kind of like saying I care about him and would never hurt him like that except in a way that wasn't completely gay.
Josh pulled his chair closer so he could lean over the table. Like his brother, he didn't usually talk about ancient history (lessons from the Lion King rubbed off on him, too) and it's not like he told every Joe Schmo off the street his life story, but something about Mike, about his curiosity, about the compassion he could sense from just a few minutes conversation, told him that this was a worthwhile person to tell.
"I was nine when my dad died. It wasn't a sudden thing – my parents had me late in life. Mom died giving birth. I'm eleven years younger than Harvey, and he graduated both high school and college a year early, which just made him seem very grown up, you know? He was always more like a fun uncle to me than a brother. When dad died I could have just been turned over to CPS and shuttled around foster homes. It's happened before. Harvey took me in, even though he was in law school and didn't need a kid on his hands. Not everyone would do that, and he never once complained about it. He'd moan about lack of money, but he always made sure I knew I wasn't a burden, you know?"
Mike had just assumed that Harvey had come from money (a Harvard education wasn't cheap) and was suddenly seeing the huge apartment and collections of priceless sports paraphernalia in a new light. Once Harvey had money, he wanted to put it into things that would last. Mike understood that compulsion.
"He was already in law school by then. Twenty-one years old and the youngest in his class. It took him seven years to graduate because he had to keep dropping out to work." Josh's lips twitched into a smile. "I remember telling him I would drop out and get a job. I was no great shakes at school myself – I always say Harvey got the brains, I got the looks. He said no one would hire a twelve-year-old."
Josh looked at Mike, who was so engrossed in the story he was nearly falling off his chair. "I made it through high school about the same time Harv graduated Harvard. We went to each other's graduations and then high tailed it out of Boston. Never really liked the city anyway. Too cold, and it's a very serious town. Not like New York.
"Harv moved down here for business, and I guess I did, too. Just kind of fell into drawing, you know? Harv would take me with him whenever he had to work, and he was…oh, a waiter, mostly, sometimes he'd do some work on cars. I'd sit in a booth or a corner and sketch the people. And Harv was always hilarious. I used to write down the stuff he'd say when we were kids. I put them together and when I got to the city I submitted my cartoon."
"You draw cartoons?" Mike asked, dumbfounded. Without ever having met Josh, if someone had asked him what he thought Harvey Specter's little brother might do for a living, he would have said lawyer, of course, or doctor, or maybe professional athlete in something like baseball or tennis. "Really?"
"Sure," Josh patted his coat pockets and eventually withdrew a small, battered sketch book. "I came up with The Cuckoo's Nest when I was…oh, about sixteen, seventeen. I perfected it and it's been in print for a decade now."
"It's one of my favorite comics." Mike said honestly, flipping open the book to a pencil sketch of the two main characters, a pair of brothers living together in a city, where one kept odd jobs and went to night school and the other chased girls and teased his older brother. "I didn't know it was based off of real life. But I should have connected the name…Joshua Specter. God, I read this comic every morning. No kidding. I pick up a paper just to get it. I never thought…"
"Yeah, no one ever believes Harv and I share genetics." Josh said, smiling at the sketch before slipping the book back into the pocket. "But he was one hell of a brother. I like to take him out to lunch a couple of times a month."
"Sorry you had to settle for me," Mike said, smirking. "Do you live in the city?"
"It's my base of operations, but I travel a lot. Don't get to see Harvey nearly as much as I'd like." Josh looked down at his sandwich and then up at Mike, "He saved my life. I could have just bounced around in foster care. He could have just gone to school without a nine-year-old tag-along. I owe him everything."
"I understand completely." Mike said, and for the first time since he met Harvey, he felt like he did.
"Josh!" Harvey said, wrapping his brother into the only appropriate greeting he could give him in public – a kind of awkward man hug that ended up in a half-wrestling match between the two of them. "You didn't say you were coming! I would have gotten out of the meeting."
"I wanted to surprise you. And Mike was a good substitute." He grinned at his brother so cheekily that Mike was sure he adopted that expression often. "He's a good listener."
"You telling stories again, kid?" Harvey asked, his tone so affectionate that Mike felt himself get hot and cold at once at the sound of it. How he'd always wished for a relationship like the one between the brothers.
"He needed to know," Josh said, shrugging, and then took something out of the slim briefcase he'd been carrying. "Something for you. Just for fun."
Harvey flipped open the book to a picture of him. Not cartoonish, exaggerated, nearly unrecognizable like the characters in The Cuckoo's Nest. This was Harvey as Mike often saw him, bent in concentration over his desk, twiddling a pencil in his hands and staring at a sheaf of papers with a look of intense concentration.
"Wow," Mike gasped, completely unable to help himself. He'd only ever seen the cartoons after all. This was talent like he'd never seen with a simple pencil and blank paper. It was gorgeous. "That's really good."
"You told me you were sketching Louis in an unfavorable light." Harvey said, but he couldn't even fake being affronted. He flipped the page. This one: Donna, head tilted to the side, hands clasped in front of her, as if she'd been clapping, her face happy and teasing as she stared at someone just on the outside of the paper. "She'll appreciate that."
"It's the least I could do. She's the one who gives me the best gossip." Josh flipped the page, this time to Jessica, staring out the window at the beautiful view, caught in a look of absolute happiness. Mike tried to tell himself to get over it, that these pictures could not be as beautiful as he thought they were. And with each new one, he was proven wrong.
Harvey touched Jessica's glowing face with the pad of one finger. He'd been around Josh and his art long enough to know now to press too hard, or else his brother would start to growl in the back of his throat and Harvey would draw back quick before he could possibly ruin the drawing.
"And one more," Josh said, flipping to the last page. No one said anything.
It was another simple sketch, just a pencil, of Mike and Harvey walking together down the hallway. Somehow, Josh had managed to capture Harvey's desire to perform well and his desire to live up to his own expectations, his long, confident stride and his dancing eyes. He was laughing at something Mike had just said.
And Mike, in the picture, was looking at Harvey with a look of such open adoration that the real Mike felt himself blushing. He was also smirking slightly in the way Mike always did when he tried to stifle his laughter.
"I thought you'd never met me before today," Mike said, the only words he could get out that didn't sound completely out of line.
"I said I didn't know anything about you. I visited Harv a couple weeks ago and happened to catch this. It's one of my favorite pieces I've ever drawn, actually."
Harvey wondered if that's how everyone saw them – him mentoring. Mike, the avid student, hanging on his every word. And every emotion in the drawing stood out and managed to coalesce into one big feeling – friendship. Complete and utter loyalty and trust.
"It's perfect." Harvey said, staring straight at Mike. The poor kid was blushing, meeting Harvey's eyes for a second and then darting away. "Can you part with it? I want to hang it in my office."
Mike gaped at him (Harvey putting up a simple sketch in his immaculate office?) but Josh just grinned like he knew that would be Harvey's response all along. "I think I can make do without it."
Good, because Harvey really wanted this. He wanted people to know what he and Mike were before they even started talking to him.
He wanted everyone, but especially Mike, to know that he cared.
we cannot express our appreciation and undying gratitude for the multitude of reviews we recieved for this story. it was truly inspirational. not that this story was hard to write - it's one of our favorites ever, actually. these two have one of the greatest relationship dynamics on television, and it's great to borrow them for our own little world. we hope ya'll enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed writing it. and thanks again for the wonderful, wonderful reviews.