Mike found the flier hanging up in the associate's break room Thursday morning. He had been getting his sixth…seventh…fifth cup of coffee that day, his first four coming from his crappy coffee machine at his apartment.
Like always, one of the other associate drank the last of the coffee he made that morning, so he was forced to make another pot. While he had been waiting for the nectar of the gods to finish, he let his eyes flick across the message board against the back wall. It was the same old crap: lost items, the dates for the next mock trail (Mike wasn't looking forward to that at all), and the subtly hidden office pool Greg usually put up. Just random crap Mike did not give two flying shits about. He was about to turn around when he spotted the page thumb tacked in the middle.
"Crap," Mike whispered tearing the page down and rushing toward Harvey's office.
The older man was on his computer when Mike burst into the office. He glanced up, a flicker of annoyance crossing his face, and said, "No, please, don't knock. I wasn't busy or anything."
"Look at this," Mike exclaimed ignoring Harvey's sarcastic comment. He crossed the office, waving the flier in Harvey's face.
Harvey snatched the page out of Mike's hand, looked down at it, and snorted, "So?"
"I-I can't…" Mike sputtered, "I-I'm not even good…" he kept going, "I only w-wrestled because Trevor…"
"Spit it out, Mike," Harvey said slowly, expectantly.
Mike took a breath and said, "Besides fantasy leagues, I suck at sports."
"Okay, first, don't ever admit you are into 'fantasy leagues.' Those leagues are for forty-somethings with no ambition to play any sports other than the ones on X-boxes and Playstations." Harvey raised his hand when Mike made to defend one of his hobbies. "And second, it's just a pickup game between the associates and the partners. And if you sucking at sports helps us win then all the better for us." He flashed Mike a half smile.
"Do I have to go?" Mike asked trying very hard not to sound like he was whining.
"What do you think?" Harvey deadpanned shoving the flier back at his associate.
"This is ridiculous," Mike snapped snatching the flier off Harvey's desk. "I mean we work in a law office for cripes sake." He stormed out of Harvey's office.
"Buy a glove," Harvey called after him and it took all his will power not to flip the older man off…
Saturday morning found Harvey Specter pulling up to Mike's apartment building. He had a feeling the younger man would try and get out of the game if no one bothered to make him go. And, if it was the last thing Harvey did, he was making Mike go. The humiliation alone would make the game a hell of a lot better. Especially with how uncoordinated Mike could be.
Harvey honked the horn twice, refusing to get out in this ghastly neighborhood. He waited almost a full minute before honking again. He didn't care how many people he was waking up, he'd keep honking until Mike got his scrawny ass down there.
Five minutes and six dozen honks later (give or take a few), Mike finally burst out of his apartment. He didn't look happy. He reminded Harvey of a puppy whose toy had been knocked just out of reach. He moved toward Harvey's car, got in, and slammed the door.
"Where's your glove?" Harvey asked noticing the lack of a mitt.
"I was busy working on those files you gave me," Mike answered glaring out the window. "Didn't have time to buy one."
Harvey rolled his eyes, knowing the real reason. Mike figured if he didn't have a glove, he wouldn't have to play. Good thing Harvey thought ahead. He reached into the backseat, withdrew a glove, and shoved it at Mike.
"Always anticipate," he reminded the younger man before throwing his car into drive. He ignored the eye roll Mike threw his way as he maneuvered back into traffic.
It was quiet for a few minutes, but Harvey knew Mike could never stay quiet for long. And, sure enough, the silence was broken with a quick: "Why are you driving?"
"I'm just saying Ray usually drives you…"
"No," Harvey started slowly. "Ray drives me during office hours. I pay him for the week. I do have a driver's license, Mike. I can drive."
"I-I know, I'm just saying…" Mike's voice trailed off, he looked out the window again, absentmindedly toying with the glove. Harvey half smiled, stopping at a red light. "You look weird," Mike continued his blue eyes still locked on the window.
"What?" Harvey questioned glancing at the younger man.
"It's just," Mike started looking over at Harvey. "The last time I saw you dressed casual I was drunk, so I really don't remember…"
"So, me in jeans is weird for you?" Harvey asked slowly, moving forward as the light turned green.
"What… no. No," Mike replied quickly shaking his head. "Of course not." he chuckled awkwardly before taking a breath and admitting, "Okay, a little bit."
"The suit may make the man," Harvey said slowly, "but sometimes the man can wear the occasional pair of jeans." And the car fell silent once more…
Mike let his eyes roam the park some twenty minutes later, leaning against the hood of Harvey's car. It was strange to see his fellow co-workers dressed down. Besides himself and Harvey, the one time he had been drunk, he had only saw Rachel dressed casually. And that had been after she was fired… and he guessed, wearing yoga gear wasn't exactly casual dress but it was different than the pencil skirt and blouse he was used to.
He shook images of Rachel in anything out of his head, letting his eyes skim the crowd for Harvey. He had disappeared when he spotted Louis, probably going to give him some speech about not screwing up. Mike was surprised Harvey hadn't given him a similar speech. But with something along the lines of 'I don't care how much you suck at sports, you are representing me, do not embarrass me.'
"Ross," he heard a familiar voice call and looked up. Greg and his drones were walking toward him. For a fleeting second he flashed back to Harry Potter, when Malfoy would approach Harry, followed by Crabbe and Goyle. Granted, he was pretty sure Ryan and Kyle were twelve times smarter than Crabbe and Goyle.
Once again he shook his head, knowing he shouldn't have bought the entire series at a rummage sale. Lately he had been comparing little things in life to Harry Potter. Like how Harvey was a crueler, younger, less mentor-y version of Dumbledore and he, Mike, was Harry. Wow, conceited much. Next I'll be saying Jenny was Cho and Rachel is Ginny…
"Hey, Mike, you listening," Greg said again. Mike shook his head a third time, and met Greg's eyes. "I said you're left fielder. Not many people hit that way and I'm sure you're awesome at sports…" Mike wanted to smack that smirk off Greg's face, but he was actually grateful for the break. "I would have put you on first, just to embarrass you, but the partners have beaten us four years in a row and I, for one, would like to win this year."
"Is that all?" Mike asked when the other three associates continued to linger.
"Yeah," Greg said and turned to leave, but stopped. "Oh, and between your girlfriend and your keeper, I'd suggest you either bunt or let the ball hit you."
"Specter played baseball in high school, Michael," Greg said patiently, turning back to Mike. Mike nodded, already knowing this. "He may not be as good as he once was, you know, with his shoulder, but he still can pitch. And Rachel played softball all through high school and college. We're stuck with fucking Harold and Seth as pitcher and they get two pros. So, don't suck." And they stalked away.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Mike said under his breath. He shook his head, letting his eyes skim the field for Rachel. He figured, since half the senior and junior partners were up there in years, they had to recruit some of the paralegals. He continued to search out Rachel, wondering if she donned her old softball gear, only to get knocked in the side by a ball.
"Ow," he said lifting his shirt to see a red mark; definitely going to be a bruise in the morning.
"You're supposed to catch it, Ross," a nasally voice said and Louis approached him. Mike hurriedly lowered his shirt. Louis was wearing a polo shirt and shorts. He was nowhere near as impressive as Harvey looked in his jeans and Harvard t-shirt, but he still looked as weird as Harvey did. Mike had to admit, not all these people wore suits all the time. Though, with Harvey and Louis, suits seemed to be like a second skin to them.
"I wasn't ready," Mike said stooping to pick up the ball. He tossed it, underhanded, back at Louis.
"Take it you're not good at sports," Louis commented tossing the ball in the air and catching it.
"I-I dabbled in high school," Mike responded slowly. If dabbled meant wrestling once because Trevor wanted to impress a girl and dragged Mike along with him; then yeah, he totally dabbled.
Louis smirked and said, "Have a good game, Ross." He then walked away, tossing the ball into the air and catching it. Mike covered his face with his hands, breathing deeply. This was going to suck big time.
"Mike, come on," a voice called and Mike looked up to see Sarah, another associate, beckoning him. He took a deep breath, snatched the glove Harvey gave him off the car, and trudged across the field. As long as he kept himself from getting hit again, he'd be fine…
Harvey rolled his shoulder, having downed three Advil before showing up at the park. No doubt, he'd be in pain by the end of the game (he was every year), but it was worth it. Especially when his team won…
He stood with the other partners and the few paralegals that agreed to play, across from the associates. He spotted Mike in the back, trying to not be seen. Harvey smirked at the sight.
"Okay," Jessica said moving to stand between the two teams. In Capri pants and a light, white sweater, she looked so different from usually tight dress and heels power player she portrayed at work. She looked more laid back, relaxed. Maybe he should pitch casual Friday, make her less of a bitch one day of the week. His smirk widened at the thought.
"This year we're doing things a little different," Jessica continued getting everyone's attention. "We usually do partners against associates, but Louis has requested a slight change and I was happy to oblige."
"Ass kissing again, Louis," Harvey cracked when Louis stepped forward. He heard a couple junior partners chuckle and spotted a small smile cross Mike's lips. "You go any deeper your nose will be permanently brown."
"That's enough Harvey," Jessica said meeting his eyes. Although she sounded annoyed, he saw the flicker of amusement in her eyes. Louis merely glared Harvey's way, but allowed Jessica to continue.
"Louis thought it would be interesting if he and Harvey picked teams." Harvey looked at Louis, eyebrows raised. Maybe Louis Litt did have some good ideas once and a while.
"Okay," he said stepping forward. "Let's pick teams…"
After a coin toss, Louis got to pick first. Mike could see the flicker of annoyance cross Harvey's face when he lost, but it was gone before anyone else could see. Mike still lurked in the back, not expecting to get picked for a while. He spotted Donna sitting in the stands (she, too, looked strange in a red t-shirt and black jeans), and he waved only to lower his hand when he heard Louis say, "Michael Ross."
"What?" he said turning to look Louis' way. He pretty much admitted he sucked at sports, yet Louis was picking him first. Why would he…? The irritation in Harvey's eyes quickly answered his question. Louis was doing this to get to Harvey.
"Come on, Mike," Jessica said when Mike made no attempt to move. She sounded a tad irritated that they were kept waiting because of him. So, Mike took a breath and moved forward, avoiding Harvey's eyes as he walked past him. He made a point to stand a good foot and a half from Louis, but still stood behind him. It felt like he was betraying Harvey.
"Fine, Rachel Zaine," Harvey said, his eyes unreadable once more, and Rachel stepped forward. She was in a pair of white shorts and an old softball jersey. She nodded Mike's way before moving to stand behind Harvey.
Twenty minutes later, two teams of nine stood on either side of each other. Mike was not at all pleased to see Ryan, Seth, and Kyle on his team. He would have taken Harold over those three douches any day.
"Louis' team bats first," Jessica said before moving to sit in the stands. "And no cheating boys," she called her eyes shifted between Harvey and Louis. "Have a good game…"
Louis took up an aluminum bat once the rest of his team sat in the dugout (or the bench behind the gate), the sun beating down on them. Mike was certain that, by the end of the game, he would be regretting wearing jeans.
"I'm terrible at sports," Sarah said leaning in to talk to him.
"Me too," Mike whispered back. Out of every associate, Sarah was the only one that had been nice to him from the beginning. Though, he never quite let his guard down around her. She was a third year associate, hadn't gotten that far being nice to everyone, and Mike sensed one day she would turn on him. But between her and Harold, and next to Rachel, she was easy to talk to.
Mike watched as Louis stepped up to the plate. Despite being right handed, Louis swung left. He gripped the bat in his hands, taking two practice swings before getting ready for the pitch. Harvey smiled smugly at Louis before throwing a fast ball right over the plate. To Mike's surprise, Louis hit it. It probably had to do with the fact that he swung a tennis racket half the time.
The ball flew through the air, straight at Harold who stood in center field. Harold just managed to miss it; Louis released the bat and took off. The young associate scooped the ball up, tossing it to the shortstop, but Louis had already made it to second base.
"Louis is a power hitter," Sarah whispered swinging her legs. "Between him and Harvey, the partners rarely lose." Mike nodded, watching as Harvey subtly rolled his shoulder just as Kyle stepped up to the plate.
Harvey waited until Kyle was ready before throwing another fast ball his way. Kyle swung and missed, the ball hitting the catcher's mitt with an audible whump. Mike could see the look of pain cross Greg's face.
Greg tossed the ball back at Harvey, the older man taking a second before throwing a… a change-up or a knuckleball (Mike couldn't be sure). Kyle swung the bat, hitting a grounder. Harvey scooped it up, tossing it to first. Mike noticed Louis shaking his head and Kyle moved back to the 'dugout.'
"You're up," Sarah said nudging Mike's shoulder. It felt as if something slid into Mike's stomach as he stood, taking the bat the umpire offered him. He walked toward the plate, suddenly aware of everyone's eyes on him.
Harvey fixed the Yankees hat he had donned earlier, popping his neck. Mike took the bat in his slightly shaking hands, his knees trembling as he stepped up to the plate. He held the bat awkwardly, trying to remember high school gym class. All he had to do was watch the ball, watch the ball, watch the…
Harvey threw the baseball at him and Mike panicked, nearly dropped the bat, and got hit in the hand. It hurt like hell, probably sprained half of his fingers, and had most of the other players and spectators laughing.
"Go Ross," Greg said pointing to first base. Shaking his hand, Mike put the bat down and walked to the base. He noticed Harvey shaking his head slightly, a smirk on his face, but he couldn't quite mask the worry in his eyes. He was probably thinking about all the paperwork he'd have to do if Mike's hand was broken. So, Mike moved his fingers, showing Harvey he did no damage other than made them sting.
Sarah went next, but she ended up striking out. Louis did not look happy. Seth stepped up next, taking a few practice swings. While he was getting ready to step up to the plate, Mike noticed Louis was leading off. There was no doubt what he was about to do, and before Harvey could throw the ball he took off. He made it to third seconds before Harvey realized what was going on, the younger of the two having already thrown the ball to third.
When the third baseman dropped the ball, much to Harvey's chagrin, Mike took off. He may have been tall and skinny, but he didn't run much. So, he wasn't surprised when the third baseman recovered the ball and threw it at the second baseman before Mike was halfway there. What did surprise Mike, however, was when the ball smacked him in the hip.
He flashed back to dodge ball and kickball, both leaving welts on his body. This time he wouldn't have a welt so much as another bruise. Oh, and he was out, the second baseman tagging him seconds before he could hit the base.
Louis looked pissed as he moved back to get his glove, Mike's other teammates were just shaking their heads. Only Sarah looked mildly concerned as she ran up to Mike, offering him his mitt. "At least you tried," she said softly.
Mike chuckled humorlessly and made his way to left field. He really hoped no one hit a ball his way…
Harvey sat in the middle of the bench, watching as Mike fumbled his third catch. It would have been comical, had the younger guy's hand not been screwed up. Harvey had seen him move his fingers as if nothing happened, but at the time the kid had been running on adrenaline. Now, as it started to wan, there was no doubt his pain was making itself known.
Harvey hadn't meant to hit the kid. He was actually hoping to strike him out, but Mike wasn't a trouble magnet for nothing. Except, this time it was more pain than trouble.
One check at the score told Harvey his team was winning by three; all because the rest of the team kept making it a point to hit the ball into the left field. In law, finding the opponents weakness and exploiting it can get a win most of the time. And Mike was that weakness.
"Harvey," a voice said and Harvey looked up to see a bat being handed to him. He took it, heading toward the plate. Harvey wasn't a power hitter like Louis, no one was a power hitter like that tennis playing douche, but he was no popup hitter either. In high school, his line drives were known to leave fielders' hands stinging after their attempts to catch them; a couple times they even went over the fence.
But, when he hurt his shoulder, he realized he couldn't hit like he used to. Well, he found it out the hard way at the first office game he played in. He swung too hard, nearly knocked his shoulder out of socket again. He had to be careful, even though he did push his limits more times than he should.
He rolled his shoulder before gripping the bat, forgoing the practice swings. He watched as Harold paled drastically, obviously afraid of hitting Harvey. Harvey rolled his eyes, waiting for the younger guy. Finally, the associate nodded, took a breath, and threw the ball.
Harvey swung and knocked the ball toward centerfield, deciding to give Mike a break (it wasn't the kid's fault Louis was a dick), and tossed the bat to the side as he took off. He made it to third base before Kyle found the ball and threw it infield.
"Hi Louis," Harvey said flashing the older man a smug smile. Louis rolled his eyes, but didn't say anything. Harvey, however, just kept talking. "Did you see the score? Three to zip, you're team is awesome." Still nothing, but the vein in Louis' head began ticking. Harvey's grin widened. "Maybe next time you'll just leave the teams the way they were." The ball was hit; Harvey tagged up, and quickly ran home. He gave Louis a two-fingered salute before moving back to his seat.
The score was six-zip before Harvey's team struck out. As the team's switched places, Harvey made it a point to catch Mike's arm. He met his eyes and said, "How's your hand?"
"Fine, don't worry about it," Mike responded but his eyes told a different story. They were hurting, as well as his hip. The poor kid was going to end up in a body cast if he wasn't careful.
"Try to keep the bat off your shoulder and your glove up," Harvey informed the younger man before letting him go and taking his position at the mound again…
Mike's hand was on fire. He was sure his fingers weren't broken, or he hoped they weren't. They did look bigger than they should be, maybe a little purple. And they shook, but he pushed the pain to the back of his head. They still had a few more innings to play; his bitching wouldn't help them win.
They were at the top of the third inning, the score twelve-eight Harvey's team. Mike had struck out the last three times he was at bat, but at least he didn't get hit again. He figured Harvey wasn't throwing the ball as hard as he could be, or his shoulder was starting to bother him.
In fact, a couple times he switched with Rachel (after Donna and Harvey had a few hushed arguments during his team's turn to bat). Rachel pitched like most softball pitchers, but boy was she fast. Mike would be hate to be hit by one of those pitches.
Right now, Harvey was pitching, but he was rotating his shoulder more often than when he started the game. It was only a matter of time before Harvey and Rachel switched positions permanently. Or Donna forced Harvey to switch positions.
"Mike," Sarah whispered and he looked up, realizing it was his turn again. He heaved a deep sigh before getting up and moving toward the plate, taking the bat that was offered him. He weighed it in his hands, wondering if he should just stand there and let the ball fly by or actually swing. He opted to attempt a swing once and if he missed, just to let it fly over the plate.
With a plan in mind, he stepped up to the plate and readied himself for the pitch. Harvey rolled his shoulder again-Mike thought he detected a wince but couldn't be sure-and let the ball go. It flew at Mike, the younger guy blindly swinging as hard as he could. He was surprised when the bat connected with the ball.
He barely had time to be excited about hitting the ball, when he realized where it was headed. His eyes widened, his breath caught in his throat, his heart stilled. Everything slowed down but quickly sped up seconds later as the ball connected with Harvey's bad shoulder…
Harvey's shoulder was bothering him, but he didn't let on just how bad. Donna knew though, she always knew, and several times she made him switch with Rachel. Harvey would never admit it aloud, but those times he was extremely grateful to Donna. He got to rest his shoulder as second baseman only using it when he absolutely had to.
At the moment, he was pitching. His team was up by four, and the look on Louis' face was priceless. Harvey internally laughed, as he struck out another opponent. As Kyle went back to his seat, Mike walked up to the plate. Harvey watched the younger guy, noticing the look on his face. If Harvey wasn't mistaken, he was pretty sure the kid was trying to decide whether or not he should attempt to hit the ball.
When the kid made a decision, Harvey hoping it was what he thought, he stepped up to the plate and readied himself. Harvey rolled his shoulder, trying very hard to keep the wince at bay (the Advil hadn't been doing jack like the commercial said it would), and threw the ball.
It soared at Mike. The kid swung with all his might, and Harvey couldn't help the smile when the ball met the bat. Of course, the smile wilted when the ball flew at Harvey. Before the older man had time to stop it, the ball slammed into his bad shoulder.
Everything went white for what felt like hours, but was probably only a couple seconds. He came back to himself on the ground, several familiar faces surrounding him. Donna and Rachel looked worried, Louis was barely keeping a smirk at bay, Jessica was debating whether or not to call an ambulance, and Mike. Poor Mike was white as paper, his blue eyes wide, looking like he was about ready to throw up.
"Ow," Harvey said drily, though on the inside he was screaming, and he slowly sat up. He felt a little dizzy, raising his uninjured arm to touch the back of his head. He felt a goose egg, realizing he must have hit his head when he went down.
"Okay, game's over," Jessica said turning to the rest of the players.
"Hey, we're not finishing are we?" Harvey asked trying to drag himself to his feet, only to lower himself back down. He felt like Mike looked, not something he'd admit lightly.
"Yes," Jessica responded before moving away from Harvey. Louis had a sour look on his face and Harvey said, "Looks like I am the winner."
"Fuck you," Louis snapped before storming away.
"Hey, kid, how you doing?" Harvey asked letting his eyes rest on Mike. The blond swam in and out of focus for a second before Harvey's eyes adjusted again.
"I am so sorry," Mike finally croaked out, kneeling next to Harvey. "I-I didn't…"
"Just help me up," Harvey said waving the kid's apology off. Mike spared Donna an uncertain look, but she shrugged with a disapproving 'can't fight what he wants' look on her face. Mike nodded, dragged himself to his feet, and offered Harvey his uninjured hand.
Harvey took it, and with their combined effort he was dragged to his feet. He nearly fell again as a wave of dizziness rolled through him, but Mike kept a strong grip on him.
"Let's get you to the emergency room," Donna suggested leading Mike and Harvey toward her car.
"I'm fine," Harvey insisted trying and failing to get out of Mike's grasp. A wave of nausea rolled through him, and it took all his effort not to throw up. His head was thudding against his skull and his shoulder was on fire. But he was fine, he really was.
"You lie to me again and I will get you decaf for the rest of the week," Donna said rounding on Harvey. "And don't you dare think about trying to lie either Mike," she continued as she turned back to keep walking. "I know your hand it bothering you, too."
"Face it kid, you're not getting out of this one," Harvey said slowly.
"I know," Mike muttered with a sigh, looking down at his hand miserably.
They were quiet for a few seconds then Harvey said, "I thought you were exaggerating, but it turns out you really do suck at sports…"
I decided to keep up the theme that Mike sucks at sports. I've read a couple really good ones and wanted to get in on the action :D
Plus, I got to hurt Harvey which is always a plus in my book :D
So, please tell me what you thought, I do not own these characters, and thanks for reading.
P.S. It's been a while since I've actually played baseball, so I apologize if anything is wrong :)