Author's Notes: Throwing in my contribution to the array of fics to tide us over until next season (a friggin YEAR? Suck.) Anyone up for inventing a time machine that can jump forward?
Written for a prompt by phreakycat on suitsmeme. To avoid spoilers, prompt will be posted at the end of the story. Thanks for the brilliant idea! (and before I'm whacked over the head with the suitsmeme!modstick of doom and destruction, I do have every intent of posting the story to LJ once I have the time to sit down and format it properly). Hope you enjoy.
"Another such victory and I am undone." - one translation of the words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, after a victory over the Romans. He lost a third of his army in the battle.
Harvey's voice was quiet and leaden, accusatory, even. "You were a disappointment."
Mike flinched at the words. "No."
"You were given the opportunity of a lifetime. You were given a chance when you deserved nothing. And you threw it all away for some quick cash."
Every word, no, every syllable cut straight through to his core and clenched around his heart.
The room was so goddamn hot. He could feel the harsh lights beating down on him, and his throat was constricting - there wasn't enough air. He was the focal point, and the room was canting alarmingly, whirling around him, a blur of bright colors and heavy, leather-bound books, a blur of dark suits, of unfriendly, hungry eyes.
Sharks. They were all bloodthirsty sharks.
Blindly, desperately, he looked at Harvey, Harvey, who had always been his rock of stability in this unfamiliar world. But it was a stranger who reflected back at him, a stranger whose face was set in hard lines, a stranger damning him with uncompromising dark eyes.
And he was defenseless. Every word was ripping him apart.
"You were a disappointment," Harvey repeated softly, and Mike felt something well up within him, some great emotional upheaval. Because it was Harvey saying these things, to him, and all he could feel was the ground slipping away, the gaping grasp of the dark abyss reaching forward eagerly to claim him whole.
His lips were frozen. He couldn't speak. It was all he could do to breathe.
"Please state your name and occupation for the court."
Mike shifted slightly in the chair, leaning forward to speak into the microphone. "Chris Carlsen. I'm an undergrad at UC Berkeley."
"Mr. Carlsen," Harvey smiled with every appearance of friendliness. "Your story is one that warm hearts."
Mike clearly hadn't been expecting the words. His brow furrowed slightly, and he darted a quick, nervous glance at where Louis Litt sat, at the defense table.
Good. The kid had no idea how suspicious that had made him look to the jury of senior partners. Harvey suppressed a smirk as Louis made a small, panicked motion with his hands, trying to gesture Mike to look back at him. Anything that put that sort of expression on Louis' face was always satisfying.
Harvey moved forward a few steps toward the witness stand. "Mr. Carlsen. Born to Lucile Carlsen and Thomas Shaw. Your father left when you were very young, is that correct?"
"And your mother worked three jobs simply to make ends meet."
"Objection, relevance." Louis said, "Where is this going?"
"If defense counsel would be as patient as I was during his lengthy diatribe masquerading as direct ex -" and here Louis' lips twisted with annoyance - "I promise I have a point."
"Arrive at it, counsel," Jessica said. She favored him with a look that any outsider might regard as neutral, but Harvey knew her well enough to recognize the warning.
"Mr. Carlsen," he addressed Mike, "Please describe how you met the plaintiff, Professor John Russell."
Mike cleared his throat. "We met at the Berkeley Bowl. It's a local supermarket."
"That's being a bit loose with the details, isn't it?"
Resolutely, Mike stared back at him.
"Describe precisely your encounter with Professor Russell."
"Professor Russell was shopping. I tried to nick a few items from him, and he noticed."
"Or to rephrase, you attempted to steal his wallet and he caught you. Is that correct?"
Rick Sorkin. A briefcase of pot spilling to the ground. Whoa. What's this?
"Yes." Mike's face flushed with color.
Another rookie mistake. Harvey was almost discouraged; he had thought Louis would have somewhat better prepared the kid to act as a witness.
"What happened then?"
"He asked me for my name and he asked me why I was trying to steal from him. I told him, my mom and I needed some money for food and rent, the bills. He said he was a professor of EECS - that's electrical engineering and computer science - at UC Berkeley, and offered me a job in his lab."
"He offered you a job?" Harvey affected surprise, "When by rights, he should have called the police on you?"
I'm inclined to give you a shot.
"Objection, hearsay." Louis. "The defendant cannot possibly presume to speak to the psychology and thought processes of Professor Russell to an event that happened more than a half-decade ago - "
"I'll rephrase," Harvey cut him off. "After Professor Russell caught you attempting to steal from you, he did not call the police. Instead, he offered you a job. Would you consider that a generous action?"
There was a nod.
"A verbal answer, please. For the record."
"For the record," Mike looked at him steadfastly, "I owe him everything."
Harvey suspected something was off from the second he had heard about the case, if 'case' was even an adequate descriptor. Jessica called it a mock trial, Louis practically purred as he referred to 'the wager to end all wagers', and Harvey -
Well honestly, Harvey termed the whole damn exercise as a colossal waste of time.
He had said as such, when Jessica had first called the two partners into her office and brought up the idea.
"Jessica, this is a wonderful idea," Louis said eagerly, "This is an excellent, excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the junior associates precisely how a real trial should be done."
"This is a goddamn waste of time," Harvey said, in the same breath.
Jessica looked severely at him. "Would you care to repeat that?"
He was more than willing to repeat himself, and had just opened his mouth to do so, when she cut him off.
"Regardless, the decision has been made." She held up two leather-bound briefs. "The case, gentlemen."
"Jessica," he was obligated to protest.
An eyebrow arched skyward. "Harvey."
"I have a dozen actual high-profile cases I should be working on, and even Louis might have enough pieces of a case to make one. Is this really the best use of firm resources?"
"For your information, my financials exceed yours by at least tenfold - " Louis began.
"Gentlemen," Jessica said firmly, "Harvey, I must apologize."
Thank God she was willing to listen to reason after all. "Accepted," he said, easily.
And then faltered under the weight of her glower. "I must apologize," she continued, through tightly pressed lips, "because it seems I have been unclear in some fashion. Whether or not you participate in this mock trial is not up for debate. You are both participating, and I will not abide by you putting in any less than your full effort. Is that understood?"
Fine. If that was the way it had to be. Harvey made a mental note to track down Mike and pass this off to the kid at the first opportunity.
"I have decided that Mike Ross will be working with Louis. He will play the part of the defendant."
It took a moment for the implication of her words to sink in, and then dismay - interspersed with a fair amount of complete and utter disbelief - coursed through him. There was an annoying, smug little grin on Louis' face that wasn't helping.
It really wasn't helping.
"Mike is my associate," he began.
"I'm in charge of all the associates," Louis countered swiftly.
Jessica cleared her throat rather pointedly. "Are you two partners at one of New York's most prestigious law firms or two boys squabbling in a schoolyard?"
He made every attempt to look absolutely affronted. She saw right through his pretense and smiled serenely back at him. Damn if he was going to go down quietly though! "You assigning my associate to Louis...is this some form of revenge because I wouldn't let you eat my chili-cheese fries at the last game?"
Her expression went from exasperated to dangerous.
You wouldn't dare, her eyes warned.
He did dare.
"Next Yankees game, Jessica," he said, "Hey, maybe you go with Louis for a change? I'm sure he'd let you eat all his nachos. He'd probably even order extra cheese, just the way you like it."
Louis puffed his chest out proudly, Jessica's face froze into a rigid smile, and Harvey hastily ducked out while he still had his head firmly attached to his body.
After all, he much preferred it that way.
Harvey picked up a copy of some loose yellow, gridded paper that looked as if it had been ripped from some engineering notebook. "Permission to approach the witness."
"You may," Jessica said.
He handed the paper to Mike. "Please identify this to the court, Mr. Carlsen."
"It's the first draft of the algorithm."
"It's our face detection algorithm. Professor Russell researches artificial intelligence."
"Without entering too many technical details, can you briefly describe how such an algorithm works?"
Right on cue, Mike started spewing information. Harvey briefly caught mentions of various terms like skin color model, binary pattern-classification, Haar basis functions, cascading classifiers...
He suppressed a smile as he said, "That is quite an impressive amount of information. And who taught you all that?"
"Professor Russell," Mike said, reluctantly.
"How did you go from being a kid he picked up off the streets to helping him research?"
"He started me off with some simple database work. Then he realized I was pretty snappy at picking up computer languages and figuring out algorithms."
What if I told you I consume knowledge like no one you've ever met?
"Such as the algorithm on that sheet of paper in your hands." Harvey returned to his desk, and picked up a copy of the evidence. "Your Honor, I move to have the notes, previously marked as Plaintiff's Exhibit 3, entered into evidence at this time."
Harvey addressed Mike again. "Mr. Carlsen. Can you please identify who wrote these notes?"
"Professor Russell did."
"Is this, to the best of your knowledge, the first time this algorithm was written down?"
"Yes, but – "
"Where were you when these notes were made?"
"I was working on a Python script to scrape a web database."
"To surmise: nothing to do with face detection algorithms."
"I had previously spoken to him about my idea – "
"But there is no record of such a conversation, is there?"
"No, but I – "
"I need a direct answer, not excuses."
Someone in the audience snickered. The tips of Mike's ears went red.
"There is no record of such a conversation?" Harvey repeated. Jesus, the kid was allowing himself to be led far too easily.
"I know what happened."
"An answer, please."
Mike's jaw jutted out. "The record's in my mind."
That was better. At least the kid was putting up some semblance of resistance (futile as it was), and this entire cross-examination was far less embarrassing for all involved.
"Short of a mind meld, do you acknowledge that there is no evidence besides your word that such a conversation between yourself and Professor Russell regarding this face detection algorithm ever happened prior to these notes being written down?"
"I'd be willing to submit to a lie detector test," Mike said.
A smile tugged at his lips at the ridiculousness of the offer. "Plaintiff does not stipulate to admissibility of such evidence. Besides, for obvious reasons, polygraph evidence is not valid within the confines of this mock trial."
"That's convenient. For you."
"Mr. Carlsen, I didn't ask for your opinion."
"You're twisting what happened."
"Your Honor," Harvey appealed to Jessica, "Witness is deflecting."
"Sustained. Answer the question, Mr. Carlsen."
Mike's face was pinched as he reluctantly said, "No. There is no evidence. Besides my word."
Louis looked about ready to breathe fire at that admittance, and though there was nothing Harvey disliked more in the world than agreeing with Louis, he was fairly sure that had Mike been his witness, he would be fairly aggravated as well.
"This algorithm wasn't yours to sell, was it?" he said quietly.
"It was my idea," Mike stubbornly maintained.
"We've just established that fact can't be proven."
"It can't be disproven either."
He smiled thinly. "We'll see."
"I need to talk to you," Mike said, as he walked inside of Harvey's office and plopped down on the couch. When exactly had the kid become so comfortable in his office anyhow?
"And I don't need to hear it," Harvey said, deliberately keeping his attention fixed on the mock trial case files.
"Can you cut the arrogant asshat act for a second?"
Well, that settled that; the kid was definitely far too comfortable around him. He set down his pen and said offered blithely, "Please come in."
"There. Your second's over." He returned his attention to the papers.
"Listen to me," Mike insisted, "You've read the case. Don't you find it a bit coincidental?"
He did. He found everything about the damn case suspicious.
Christopher Carlsen, the quintessential screw-up. He'd been raised by a single mother, in a poor household, and had resorted to petty theft to make his means. He had attempted to steal Professor John Russell's wallet, and been caught in the act. But oddly, the professor had felt sorry for the kid and tried to turn him into an honest man. He'd given the kid a job in his lab, and when Chris had shown promise, mentored and guided him. Thanks to his influence, the kid had been accepted to UC Berkeley, where he had continued researching AI in Russell's lab.
The two had been working on a more intelligent face-detection algorithm, and just finalized it, when Chris had sold it to a startup for several million dollars. And now Professor Russell was suing for IP theft.
The parallels of the relationship between Chris and Professor Russell and himself and Mike were only too glaring. The fact that Louis, the one man he detested most in the entire firm, the one man he absolutely could not lose to, was his opponent was just the cherry topping to the obvious.
Jessica had set this up.
Harvey knew that, Louis knew that, and judging from the look on Mike's face, the kid had figured it out, too.
"She's punishing me," Mike said, "for backing off of Rachel during the associate's mock trial. She's trying to make this an object lesson. She's using you, and she's using me."
Right on the money. He knew he had hired the kid for a reason. But given the delicacies of the situation, he could neither confirm nor deny, and so he kept his voice carefully controlled. "Will that bit of speculation help you win the case?"
"No, but - "
"Then stop speculating."
"We're being manipulated here. Doesn't that bother you?"
"Dial down on the paranoia, Captain Queeg."
"Harvey," Mike sounded frustrated, "Why won't you look at me?"
With deliberateness, Harvey tossed the file he was reading to the desk and angled back in his chair, favoring his associate with an expression that was a cross between bemused and patronizing. "What do you want me to say, Mike? What can I say that will get your ass out of my office so I can get back to work?"
The tactic worked. Mike's expression turned flinty. "You've said enough," he said, before he pushed himself to his feet and strode out of the office. Every step radiated with silent fury, and Harvey was momentarily grateful for the fact that the doors at Pearson Hardman couldn't slam, because he was pretty damn sure that all the glass walls would have been shattered.
You've said enough.
He hadn't said enough. He hadn't said any of the vast number of things that he wanted to say.
Because he couldn't.
Harvey exhaled slowly as the angry footsteps receded. Oh hell. He knew exactly why the kid had come in here. Mike had come in wanting his advice, wanting his reassurance, wanting to hear that they were a team, and that Harvey had his back. And he did have the kid's back, he justified to himself, in any real world situation - but this was different. This was a trial (and the fact that it was a mock trial was absolutely irrelevant because even mock trials had winners and losers), and Harvey simply didn't do defeat.
His hands tightened around the papers, his knuckles whitening. Though his rational mind, his lawyer mind, argued it fiercely, he knew exactly what he had to do to win. That annoying little realization had been exactly why he hadn't been able to look Mike in the eyes and why he'd been so quick to try to throw him out of his office.
Guilt - like a knife, twisting in his gut.
Damn this trial.
"Did you regard Professor Russell as your mentor?"
"I did. I do."
"You said you owe him everything. Why is that?"
"He gave me a job, he tutored me in computer science, he paved the way for my admission to Cal."
"Are you in the habit, Mr. Carlsen, of repaying individuals by stealing from them?"
"I didn't," Mike said tightly.
"But you do have a history of stealing, do you not?"
"Objection, argumentative," Louis said.
"Sustained," Jessica said, "Move on, counsel."
He had been ready to anyway. Harvey held up several sheets of paper. "Your bank statements, Mr. Carlsen, for the five months prior to the incident. I see a net balance of scarcely a hundred dollars in all five statements. Would you say that you were low on money?"
"I'm a college student. That's a given."
"What were you spending all this money on? Professor Russell had gotten you in on a full scholarship, plus room and board. You were also receiving a fairly generous stipend for your work in his lab."
"Personal expenses. I don't recall Ramen noodles being quite that expensive. But marijuana, on the other hand..."
Mike's Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed.
"You smoked pot when you were younger, didn't you?" Harvey pressed.
"That's a yes?"
"Perhaps you had the misguided idea that selling the algorithm was the only way you could earn enough money to fuel your growing addiction."
"Objection," Louis stood up so quickly he overturned his chair, "Counsel is speculating. Move to strike."
"Sustained. Jury will disregard last statement by plaintiff," she looked at Harvey levelly, recognizing the tactic for what it was.
He had been expecting that. Any lawyer worth his salt damn well knew what the rules of direct and cross examination were. And any good lawyer also knew that such rules were meant to be strategically broken. After all, a jury could be ordered to disregard illicit questions or ignore inadmissible evidence, but it was another matter entirely for them to actually prevent what they'd heard from biasing their judgment.
The damage had been done, anyway. He had put the idea for a motive up in the air.
Donna intercepted him on his way to the research library that doubled as the mock trial courtroom.
"I think the saying goes 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'," she said, falling into step next to him, "But the saying never accounted for the situation where the hand does the biting."
"Hands don't have teeth."
"So I'm guilty of a bad analogy. The point still stands."
He paused and regarded her. "You know, Donna, I'm getting the vaguest feeling that there's something you want to tell me. "
She put her hands on her hips and said sarcastically, "Your Harvard education is showing."
"I have two minutes before my opening statement. Could I please get the succinct version?"
"Don't be an ass."
Considering the rather disconcerting level of respect he had been receiving from his subordinates lately, being a boss and a senior partner was certainly overrated. "That's pithy," he acknowledged dryly.
Her expression completely serious now, she leaned in closer and lowered her voice. "I mean it, Harvey. You can break Mike. Everyone here knows you can; you know him better than anyone, and the kid is incredibly vulnerable - and especially to you."
That was nonsense. It absolutely, obviously was not in the game plan to take advantage of Mike's weaknesses - his pathological need for approval, his fear of letting people down - in order to destroy his credibility as a witness.
Except it was.
"Donna," he began, uncomfortably.
"But the reason he's vulnerable to you is the same reason why you can't abuse that trust. The kid worships you, okay?"
"He's a grown man, he can handle himself, and this isn't even real," Harvey argued. Immediately, he could tell from the look on her face that excuse wasn't working. He tried a different tactic: "I won't be attacking him, all right? I'm attacking a Mr. Christopher Carlsen."
She looked at him fiercely. "You go on telling yourself that."
He would. He would if he damn well pleased, and if truth dared do something so inconvenient such as beg to disagree, then Harvey was going to leave truth groveling on its knees. "I'll see you after the trial."
"If you win, I can promise you that it won't feel like one," she snapped.
"I'll be able to hold this over Louis for all eternity," Harvey said, throwing her one of his patented smiles, "Trust me, Donna, it'll feel like a win."
The mood was jubilant, eager, ravenous. Associates chattered animatedly as they filed into the mock trial 'courtroom' and took their seats along the back row. By all outward appearances, they were simply eager to see the match-up of two of Pearson Hardman's most notorious lawyers - but underneath the bright smiles and blithe jokes was a voracious, buzzing undercurrent.
This was the day, finally, that Harvey's golden boy would fall. This was the day that Harvey himself would tear him apart. Because everyone knew that Harvey Specter was going to win this case.
No matter the cost.
"How were relations between yourself and Professor Russell prior to you selling the algorithm?"
"They were fine."
"You are under oath, Mr. Carlsen," Harvey said mildly.
"They were fine," Mike repeated.
"Interesting." Harvey returned to his desk where he picked up several documents. "Your Honor, I would like to mark the following emails exchanged between Professor Russell and Mr. Carlsen as Plaintiff's Exhibits 8, 9, and 10."
"Yes," Jessica nodded.
"Permission to approach the witness?"
Harvey handed the three printouts to Mike. "Can you please identify these exhibits to the court?"
"Yes, Mr. Carlsen, they are, in fact, emails," Harvey said dryly. There were a few titters from the audience. "Exhibit 8 is an email from Professor Russell demanding to know why you haven't been showing up to work for over two weeks. Exhibit 9 is an email warning you to stop showing up at work high. Exhibit 10 is an email pointing out various bugs that you introduced into the code, bugs which significantly setback progress, and an accusation that you were high while you were working."
Mike stared back at him defiantly.
"Your definition of fine?"
"I didn't say they were stupendous."
"They are concerning though." Harvey looked him in the eye, with significance, and moved into Mike's space, obstructing his peripheral view. It was just the two of them now, face-to-face. There was no judge, no jury, no panel of associates and partners watching.
Play the man.
"You were given a chance."
Mike's gaze was fixated on Harvey.
"You lacked qualifications, and you were hired anyway."
Those blue eyes were wide now, wide and anxious - and guilty.
"But you couldn't keep yourself out of trouble. You couldn't keep yourself from your old habits. You started showing up at work late. Your work became sloppy. You fell back into your drug habits. You blew all your money. Do you deny any of that?"
You're high. Get out.
"I - "
You and I had a deal.
"Consider the evidence before you speak."
Hesitantly, Mike's mouth opened and closed.
"Let the record reflect no answer." Harvey narrowed his eyes. "You were a disappointment."
The effect was startling. Mike's face instantly drained of all color. "No," he said, thickly.
He had been expecting a response, but he hadn't been expecting that sort of vehemence. A bit taken aback, Harvey nevertheless continued harshly: "You were given the opportunity of a lifetime. You were given a chance when you deserved nothing. And you threw it all away for some quick cash."
Mike was still holding the printouts in his hands. The papers trembled. The kid quickly set them down and pressed his palms together, looking flustered.
The plan was working. It was working exactly as Harvey had hoped it would. He felt sick inside.
"You were a disappointment," he said again, very quietly, as if he were disappointed.
Mike flinched as if Harvey had hit him.
And as he saw those blue eyes, at the wounded, betrayed look, a memory that he had long since suffocated beneath layers and layers of repressed emotion tore violently through the years.
"Harvey? Harvey, please don't tell Dad. He'll be so angry. He was so mad that time I got pushed off the swing."
"Relax, squirt. I'll handle the bully, all right? Dad'll never find out."
But their father had found out.
"You are such a fucking disappointment!" The roar, filled with anger. "Goddamn!"
His little brother, cowering, tears in his eyes.
"Stop it! Shut up!" Harvey's shout, desperate. "Leave him alone!"
Their father flung an arm out accusingly. "See that? See how Harvey at least has some spine?"
"He's just a kid," Harvey protested.
"That's bullshit. What good is a son who can't even stand up for himself? You, boy, you're no son of mine. You're such a disappointment."
His brother's lower lip wobbled, his blue eyes wide and glassy with tears. "Please," he whimpered.
There was a taste like iron in his mouth, cloying.
The bright lights of the research library and Mike's ashen face and overly glassy eyes came sharply back into focus, and Harvey shuddered violently as the memory faded. There was something like ice seizing through his body, chilling him to the bone with stone cold realization. Or maybe it was a fire, a fire burning so hot it was deceptive.
His brother's face, crumpled, wet with tears.
The mock trial. The case. The cross-examination. Mr. Carlsen. The case he had to win.
His associate. His associate. The kid who looked up to him, who trusted him. The kid who so desperately always wanted his approval.
With a sinking feeling, Harvey realized that all that admiration was unwarranted. Shit, but he was abusing Mike's trust. And for what? To win a mock trial? A mock trial? With nothing on the line but his pride...but no, that was everything. And after all, the kid had to learn. He had to learn that real lawyers didn't back off just because it was the easy thing to do. That was why Jessica had even instigated this entire trial. To teach that very lesson.
He couldn't back off, but he couldn't continue.
Mike's blue eyes were blinking rapidly. Suspiciously rapidly. His jaw worked.
He had a duty to protect this kid, this screw-up kid with the crazy memory that he had thrown into the high-stakes corporate world. Mike depended on him for protection, and that realization was all it took. Something in him cracked. He wasn't sure what, but his steely resolve sure as hell was gone, and it had taken with it some piece of him.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't do it.
Feeling oddly hollow inside, Harvey took a step backwards. "Objection," he said hoarsely, "Badgering the witness."
Silence. The room was deadly silent.
All Harvey could hear was the sound of his own breathing, ragged, dissonant.
"You are not the defense counsel," Jessica finally said, impassively. "It isn't your prerogative to raise objections."
He met her disapproval dully. "Louis isn't doing his job. I was badgering the witness."
"That isn't your call."
Bull fucking shit. Harvey leveled his gaze at Louis. "Raise the objection," he said. There was nothing in his voice that betrayed his inner thoughts: no anger, no emotion - but he could still feel the guilt slicing through him like a knife. He could feel the humiliation, heavy and heated, like molten rock.
"Raise the goddamn objection," he repeated tonelessly.
The junior partner blinked a few times, glancing around as if suddenly aware that everyone was staring at him. The air was thick with tension as he cleared his throat loudly, his mouth briefly splitting into a smile. "Objection. Badgering the witness."
Harvey stared stone-faced at Jessica, daring her to deny it.
"Sustained," Jessica paused, a pause laden with meaning, "I move to recess until tomorrow."
Her word was authority, and the room began emptying of occupants. Harvey felt as if he was moving on autopilot as he slowly returned to his desk and began gathering his files and folders. He was only too keenly aware of the condescending stares from the partners, the stunned expressions on the faces of the junior associates. There were hushed whispers, judgmental whispers.
The great Harvey Specter. Fallen.
Louis looked at him as if he wanted to speak, and then quickly thought better of it.
Mike was still sitting at the witness stand, looking shell-shocked.
And Jessica...Jessica was suddenly at his side. Her voice was soft and burred as she brushed past him. "My office. Now."
Author's Note: I must confess...I rarely publish a story until I have most of it written. This isn't the case here. I've been stuck at this point for DAYS because I've written myself into a hole. Ideas on what the heck to do now would be much appreciated. And of course, I always love to hear what you guys think. ;D Thanks for reading!
Harvey is put in a situation where he has to cross-examine Mike for some reason (Jessica has the partners do mock trials to show the associates how it's done, since the associate's mock trial ended so poorly? Some far-fetched real trial?Whatevs!). A la "Play the Man," Harvey zeros in on some sensitive issue for Mike and "presses til it hurts" (Preferably Mike's almost pathological need for approval and his fear of letting Harvey down). Because Harvey is all about winning, and this is him showing Mike what it takes to be a lawyer. Only, Mike gets all flustered, and upset, and wounded looking, and Harvey can see him digging his nails into his palms and shaking and SWEET JEBUS ARE THOSE TEARS?
And Harvey CAN'T DO IT. He can't break Mike just to win - god help him, he cares more about his associate than winning, and when the fuck did that happen?
Bonus points for Mike being all YOU CARE YOU PICKED ME YOU'RE TOTALLY A GOOD PERSON DON'T DENY IT and Harvey being STFU THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED BUT IT TOTALLY IS.