Freaking out was probably the best way to describe what was happening at the moment. And Benjamin was the one doing most, if not all, of the freaking.
One of the more idiotic and self-entitled of the undergrad Computer Science interns had spilled their mochaccino or whatever the hell those too complicated and too expensive drinks were called these days all over his workstation. He had barely managed to save the company laptop he had be repairing, but everything else that was there was a complete loss. Everything. Including his laptop and with it the code for the most recent update to the company's security system. And the backup of it that was on his thumb drive. Which had also been on his desk.
The interns had cleared out pretty quickly after that along with what seemed to be the remainder of the IT department leaving him to deal with the situation on his own. If it wouldn't have been utterly pointless, he would have screamed. That was months of hard work down the drain and the deadline for that particular project was very quickly approaching. Could his day get any worse?
And as if the world had been waiting to deliver the punchline to its own little joke, the one person that Benjamin did not want to see at the moment just stepped out of the elevator.
By all means, Mike Ross wasn't the worst of the associates. In fact, if he was being completely honest with himself Mike was probably one of his favourite people who worked on that floor (which in all honesty why he didn't want to see him. Anyone else he could just ignore, but not Mike. Never Mike.) Most of the other associates were complete douchebags, the partners were too uptight, and quite frankly he was terrified of the support staff (He'd seen that glare that Harvey Specter's secretary had given that rat-faced man that one time. Downright terrifying.) Mike was the most genuine one of them by far, but that didn't mean he wanted him here and in the way while he fervently tried to salvage what he could of his code and, by extension, his job.
"Hi Benjamin," the associate greeted cheerfully, seemingly oblivious to the drama he had just walked in on.
"Not now, Ross," he growled, hurriedly snatching a spare laptop from a small pile on a nearby table.
"O...kay," he drew out, unable to understand where all the hostility was coming from and if he had possibly done something to have it directed at him.
In confusion he scanned the room looking for other signs of life or a source for all of his colleague's (friend's?) irritation. He stood there for a few moments, eyes taking in the still damp and coffee-stained workstation, the obviously demolished electronics, and the irate IT specialist.
"What do you want?" Benjamin asked attempting to calm himself just a little bit. There was no use taking it out on Mike, he didn't have anything to do with it.
"Kyle's computer isn't working. I'm pretty sure it's just a loose display cable and he's just a moron, but Louis practically chased me down here, so I might as well tell you about it," he replied candidly. And in one breath. That was actually a little bit impressive.
"I'll come up and check later, but now is not a good time."
"What happened?" he asked, somehow managing to sound more concerned than idiotic despite the obvious signs of what happened in front of him.
Regardless, Benjamin didn't even justify that with an answer. If he couldn't figure it out on his own, then he was an idiot and then they couldn't be friends. Still seething a bit, he booted up the spare computer.
"Besides the obvious, of course," he elaborated. "What's with the mad scrambling?"
"The one reason I was hired at this firm is now drowned in nine dollar coffee and my project deadline is in two days," he sullenly explained.
Finally, the startup menu appeared and he opened Notepad.
"That was the code on the three-screen display, right?"
"Yep," he replied, now only half paying attention to the brunette.
And of course he didn't quite remember how to start. It would be a long two days and even then he might not even get back to his starting point. He'd have to recreate it all from scratch.
Internally, he groaned. This was impossible. He couldn't do months worth of work in two days. Especially not when he couldn't remember how he had first approached the code. There was just no possible way to do it.
Mike was silent for a moment and Benjamin prayed that he would get the hint and just leave already (but come back later, of course, he actually found him to be quite stimulating conversation on the rare occasions they talked).
"Is there anything I can do to help?" he offered pleasantly.
He wanted to smile, but couldn't quite find the emotion needed to do so. It was a sweet gesture, but utterly useless.
"Not unless you can magically produce three months worth of code."
Mike looked pensive for a second.
"Did all of the code fit on the tri-screen? Was it all up there?"
A bit puzzled, he answered the question. He couldn't really see what that had to do with anything.
"The code was the point of the tri-screen. It was so I could see it all at once and not waste time scrolling all over the place."
"I think I can help."
And with that he grabbed a rolling chair and pulled it up to the still-slightly-soggy desk.
"May I?" he asked, gesturing to the laptop he had sitting against his legs.
Benjamin shrugged. Why the hell not? It wasn't like he was getting anywhere at the moment anyways.
"Go for it," he acquiesced, absently passing over the computer.
He watched as the brunette stared at the screen for a moment, eyebrows furrowed in concentration. Blue eyes stared intently at the screen as though looking at something that only he could see. To his surprise, the man began to type slowly at first, but rapidly gained speed every second. Disbelievingly, he looked at the screen over his shoulder.
Yep. That was his code alright.
"How are you…?"
He cut himself off. It was probably a good idea not to distract him too much with stupid questions. He wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth. If Mike remembered the code, then he remembered the code and questioning it would be not be useful.
"Do you even know what you're typing?" he asked curiously after a few moments with only the sounds of the keyboard as background.
"Kind of. My best friend was a software engineer. Guess who helped him not fail his classes," he replied, smiling a bit.
Benjamin just made a small, contemplative sound and watched in amazement as his code was rebuilt in front of him. He watched as the other man's fingers danced across the keys, each movement striking with precision and purpose. He stared, hypnotized.
In a way, the way he was moving was like the code itself. Purposeful, to the point. No motion was wasted. If anyone could ever be elegant hunched over a laptop it would be Mike in this moment.
He didn't know how long he sat there just watching Mike work, but after what seemed like only a few moments his code, all of it, was there on the screen in front of him.
"That's as much as I saw," Mike murmured quietly. He looked regretful, like he was sorry that he couldn't be more help as ridiculous as that was.
"No! Thank you. This'll save me so much time," he said, eyes scanning the screen in wonder. That was actually a good bit of it that he had redone, most of it in fact.
"I can finish this now," he mumbled more to himself than anyone else.
"I had just made a few minor adjustments since this version," he explained as he typed. "You know, getting rid of the extraneous code, making it look pretty."
He took the computer back and began tapping away at the keys.
"There. That's exactly where I was this morning," he declared after a few minutes, sounding simultaneously grateful and triumphant.
Mike grinned and stood, glancing at his watch.
"Oh God. I need to get back to work now or Harvey will end me," he blurted abruptly.
"Hold on a second. I'll come up with you so I can check out this 'broken computer'," he said, adding an emphasis on the words that clearly showed that he thought that the computer was fine and the user was probably just an idiot. That was usually the case.
He stood and grabbed his bag, stretching a bit as rose.
Mike beamed, face glowing earnestly and eyes alight with pure happiness.
And Benjamin, despite himself, found himself smiling back.