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Summary: Harvey is angry about a client he didn't want to take and Mike doesn't know when to stop trying to help. He provokes Harvey into doing something he's going to regret.
Rating: PG-13 for some violence
Disclaimer: I do not own Suits. If I did this foolish Rachel-or-Jenny question wouldn't be an issue – the answer would be Harvey
Note: This was written for a prompt on the Suits Meme. Everyone should head over there and start prompting, and more importantly, filling!
This is the final chapter! I hope you've all enjoyed the story. A final thanks to the readers, reviewers and favoriters for this story. You guys rock.
Chapter Three: Silk Ties and Stapes
Mike managed to avoid the mirror for most of the next morning. He didn't glance in it once when he washed his face, carefully avoiding his nose, and he definitely didn't after his shower. He even went as far as avoiding his own reflection in his stainless steel toaster. He didn't even really need to see it. He could feel it, and god did it hurt.
His nose had been throbbing when he woke up, the aspirin he'd taken the night before having long since worn off. He knew without even looking that he had at least one black eye, but if he knew anything about nose injuries (he'd been something of a child prodigy, so he certainly had experience with getting punched), then it was probably two.
Any bit of good humor he'd had when he'd walked into his apartment the night before had dried up. After having tried and failed to come up with a story to make him sound good and keep Harvey out of it, he'd decided that not saying anything at all would be best. He'd get pestered, definitely by Rachel and probably also by Louis and the other associates, but if he let their imaginations fill in the gaps then maybe they'd do his work for him. Hopefully they landed on a group consensus that didn't make him look like a little girl.
The only thing that hadn't changed from the night before was the fact that he didn't blame Harvey. The other man had warned him to back off, had turned away from him to pull himself together and Mike knew damn well that he'd been drinking and angry.
What had he gone and done? Oh yeah, provoked him and poked repeatedly where it was sore. It was out of the Harvey Spector playbook, the same one that made Mike's stomach twist at the thought of using on other people and he'd used it on his own boss. It was the stupidest thing possible to do and it was wrong.
He'd apologize, even though he knew that it might make the situation worse. It would make him feel better, though, and he was pretty sure he deserved at least that considering the shape his face was in.
Right before he got his bike down to head out, he decided to quit being a baby about it and check a mirror. If he was going to correctly downplay the situation while simultaneously being as mysterious as possible, he was going to have to see what he had to work with.
A lot, as it turned out.
His whole nose was swollen and black with other areas of sick looking colors, which was a gross look. He'd been right about the eyes too, both were black but the one that had borne the brunt of Harvey's fist was worse. He might even be able to get some female sympathy at work, he looked so bad. At least the black eyes covered up the dark circles that he probably would have had from getting such an awful night's sleep. It was a pretty sad silver lining.
When he'd decided that he'd pushed off heading out as long as humanly possible, he headed downstairs. Once he got to the front door, he almost walked right into Harvey.
"How many collisions are we going to have this week?" He quipped, trying for an easy grin that didn't hurt his face. Immediately after having looked at himself in the mirror, he'd taken more painkillers and dropped the whole bottle in his messenger bag.
Harvey didn't respond. He stared at Mike's face in something pretty close to revulsion.
"Wow, that bad?" Mike asked, wincing. He shifted his weight around on his feet, suddenly uncomfortable with the scrutiny. He was screwed for the rest of the day if thirty seconds of staring made him that nervous. "I knew I'd be getting some interesting looks, but I'm pretty sure Frankenstein was looked at with less horror and revulsion than you're giving me right now."
His words, or probably the slightly wobbly tone that he'd used because he couldn't control it, made Harvey's eyes snap onto his own. "It's exactly how I thought it would look."
Mike knew better than to raise an eyebrow. "Then what's wrong?"
Harvey opened his mouth and the closed it a second later, letting out a harsh sigh that sounded angry. "Are you ready to head out?"
"I've got my bike." Mike said a little needlessly considering he had it in his hands.
"Go put it back, I'll give you a ride today." Harvey said, nodding his head to Ray idling in the limo out front. Without another word to Mike he turned around and got into the car.
Forget the whole week that Harvey had been pissed at him for the pot… five minutes in the car now had shattered that previous record for most awkward. Neither one of them said anything as they drove through Mike's neighborhood.
Every once and a while Harvey would glance at him and turn away, obviously unable to look for long. It wasn't long before Mike couldn't take it any more. "I'm sorry."
Harvey turned to look at him, brow furrowed. He looked genuinely surprised. "For what?"
"I shouldn't have kept pushing you. I just wanted to help and I made everything worse." Mike said, the words coming out in one long rush. He wasn't anxious when Harvey didn't respond right away, the other man had probably needed a few extra seconds to insert spaces where Mike had left them out.
But Harvey kept staring, long after the time that Mike had allotted him to sort out the sentence. "Are you joking?" He said finally.
"Um, no?" Mike answered, a little surprised.
"Do you realize how much of a battered wife you sound like? 'God honey, I really deserved to get the shit beaten out of me. I won't take so long getting you your beer next time.'" Harvey said, giving his voice a little sing song quality that made Mike hope it wasn't a direct metaphor. Otherwise he'd be pissed. Insult to injury and all that.
Mike tried to shoot him a dark look, but he was pretty sure that the effect was lost. "I do not mean it like that. You shouldn't have hit me just because I kept asking questions, but I shouldn't have been doing it anyway. You snapped, I get that."
"I did not just snap," Harvey said, contempt for himself dripped from each word. For the first time Mike realized that Harvey hadn't been revolted by his face, but at what Harvey himself had done to his face. "I knew you were trying to help and I wanted you to shut up. You grabbed my arm and I didn't even think about it. I've punched men twice your size the same way and they were actually my opponents."
It didn't strike Mike as odd that he mentally went from apologizing to trying to make Harvey feel better about it. Whether the other man wanted to be or not, he was Mike's friend. Maybe in the past he'd let his friends get away with too much, have too much of him, but this whole thing made Mike sure that Harvey wouldn't do that. The other man wouldn't let himself do that. He'd had one weak moment where he'd done an awful thing to Mike and he could hardly handle it. The other night Harvey had said that it would never happen again and now Mike was sure of it.
"Okay, so you just said it." Mike argued, "You didn't mean to. You weren't thinking about it, not really."
"That doesn't make it okay." Harvey said bitterly, turning away from Mike to stare out the convenient window.
Mike shrugged, glad there was at least one gesture he was still able to do. "No, it doesn't, but you apologized. I know you're sorry. I'm sorry too and I forgive you for punching me. You say it won't happen again and I believe you. It's all good now, Harvey."
"I cannot believe you're trying to make me feel better." Harvey muttered.
"Is it working?" Mike asked.
Harvey glanced at him. "And there we go, overeager puppy again." He drawled, and his voice sounded better.
Mike settled back in his seat, sure that it was going to work out.
Six hours later and he was still sure of it. Just as predicted, everyone wanted to know what had happened, but he'd pushed them off with just the right amount of 'aw shucks' for the ladies and 'dude, you don't even know' for the guys.
By the time he'd come back from lunch, there were some rumors floating around about what had happened. Some of it did make him sound pretty sissy, but a few of them made him sound pretty badass. He was hoping that Donna would take pity on his soul and do her freaky office-magic to get those rumors to come out on top.
Not that he'd gone near her in the last five and a half hours long enough to ask.
He and Harvey had walked to the other man's office and with each step closer to Donna's desk Harvey had gotten quieter and quieter. Not that anyone else would have noticed, because Mike was pretty sure only had had.
Donna had looked up from her desk and gaped at Mike's face. In any other set of circumstances he'd of been kind of proud for having given The Great Donna the sensation of surprise for the first time in what had to be years, but she looked concerned enough that he felt bad about it instead.
"It's really not a big deal." Mike said quickly.
Donna stood up from her desk and stared at him, "It really is." She disagreed. "What happened?"
As he started talking, he was aware of her attention shifting, "I don't really want…" He started and trailed off when her eyes slid passed him and onto Harvey.
She watch him nonchalantly stride passed her desk with nothing more than his usual, "Good morning, Donna."
It was probably cowardly to turn tail and retreat without another word to either of them, but he was pretty sure no man on the universe could blame him, Harvey least of all. Harvey, Mike supposed, would probably have the best shot out of anyone at talking her down and Mike was going to leave him to it.
He could practically feel her eyes on him for the rest of the day, even when he discreetly checked to see if she was around and she wasn't.
It had gotten ridiculously late before he heard anything about Donna at all. He was in the break room, getting his thirtieth cup of coffee and Rachel cornered him.
"Harvey wants to see you." She said.
Mike turned around, surprised, "I talked to him like a half an hour ago. I'm supposed to be proofing the Kellison contract. Even he can't think I'm done yet."
"Well, I don't know. Donna told me to send you to him." Rachel said, "But if you want to stay here and tell me all about your night last night…"
Mike held his hands up in surrender. "I better get to Harvey."
"You'll tell me eventually." She called as he walked out of the room.
"No way." He muttered under his breath, glad to be out of the room. He was pretty sure some sort of betting pool had been started about the whole thing, as per the Pearson Hardman norm.
When he got in view of Donna's desk, he stopped dead. Harvey was there, like Rachel said he would be, but he was having some sort of intense conversation with Donna – he didn't look like he was waiting for Mike at all. There was a new, massive bouquet of flowers on Donna's desk and Mike knew they were from Harvey. Why Donna got flowers when it had been his face to meet Harvey's fist was kind of beyond him though.
Harvey was talking earnestly and Donna just sat primly at her desk, typing on her computer and not even looking at her boss. Mike scanned the hall, glad that most people had left, and crept forward.
He couldn't quite hear what they were saying, but Harvey was definitely not getting anywhere with his assistant, but the key phrases filtered through and made him blush a little awkwardly.
There was the predictable, "We talked about it, I apologized and he's going to be okay." and "It will never happen again."
To the slightly odd, "Well of course I had been drinking, do you honestly think… that was one time and… seriously, Donna?" Harvey pausing in places and responding to things Donna wasn't even saying was strange, but probably not too surprising.
The worst, though, was Harvey's quiet, "You know I'm sorry for kicking our puppy." That Mike had to strain to hear. It made him blush for a number of different reasons that he didn't care to examine too closely. He had a strange sense that he wasn't meant to hear any of it, but then that he was.
Donna still wasn't saying a word, even though she said a lot. Harvey was probably getting even more than Mike.
Finally, Mike could hear Donna say something.
"You apologized?" Donna confirmed, cutting Harvey off. It seemed to be the first time she'd spoken in the conversation, definitely the first time Mike had seen.
Harvey nodded, a little reluctantly.
"I don't even need to check if he accepted it or not, do I?" She asked rhetorically. "Then this is all I'll do."
Mike wasn't sure what to make of that, especially when Donna reached for something that he couldn't see. Lightning quick, quicker than he'd previously thought her capable, Donna stood, grabbed the expensive silk tie that Harvey was wearing, pulled it right out from his vest and used the industrial stapler in her other hand to staple it to the wooden counter around her desk.
With a sweet smile, Donna wished Harvey a great night, "I'll see you tomorrow." As if nothing had just happened.
Harvey stood there, not gaping like Mike was, just smiling like he couldn't muster up any anger over the destruction of yet another tie. "Goodnight, Donna."
Mike closed the distance between his semi-hiding spot and Donna's desk, mouth open. "Where did she even get one of those construction site staplers?"
"I don't know." Harvey answered, watching Donna walk down the hall towards the elevator.
"That doesn't concern you a little?" Mike asked, still a little dumbstruck, he glanced at the staple, deeply imbedded in the wood. There was no way they were prying that thing out or saving Harvey's tie. The best Harvey could do was undo it and hope the cleaning crew got it up before anyone else saw.
The ding from the elevator doors opening caught Mike's attention. He looked up and managed to be in time to see Donna wink at both of them, give a jaunty little wave, salute them with the stapler and then the doors closed.
A week later, when Mike's nose had mostly gone back down to its original size and the bruises were gone, he got a package. He hadn't bought anything, so he was more than a little surprised when he found a pair of black boxing gloves and a note inside.
I meant what I said, you're not going to get smashed in the face again if I have anything to do with it and of course I do. If you had any idea about dodging blows or protecting your soft features, you wouldn't have ended up quite so pathetic looking. Not that your complete ineptitude excuses me using my expertise on you, but it's an important skill.
Donna programmed the address in your phone, meet me there Saturday at noon. Try to remember to bring your gloves and your masculinity.
Don't be late,
That's all folks! I hope everyone enjoyed the story, especially the genius original prompter. If you did, or you have any constructive criticism, lay it on me! Hopefully there will be more Suits stories in my future… keep on the lookout!