Disclaimer: I do not own Suits, but if I did Trevor would get hit with a semi-truck right before he tells Jessica. (Yes, I DO realize that he is twenty or more stories up. Is that relevant?)
Summary: Inspired by the quote: "I had a difficult relationship with my father.."-Mike "Identity Crisis". AU: Mike thought he would never see his father again. (Live!Dad) Hurt!Angst!Mike, Protector!Caring!Harvey, No Slash!
Sorry about taking it down, guys. But I realized that I really didn't like how sudden my ending was. And then I was GOING to re-post it yesterday, but we had no internet at my house. But its all good now! So on with the story.
It was the first slow day Mike had had in over a month. They had recently closed a easy-win case, but the unusual amount of research that had been needed to be done had left Mike's week full of all-nighters and he had quickly lost count of the number of Red Bulls he had drank. In fact, his entire month had been filled with constant cases, often three or more overlapping between Harvey and Louis. Mike didn't dare complain to Louis, and his heavy sighs were pointedly ignored by the senior partner. Last night was the first night he had gotten a decent amount of sleep before going to the office.
He felt kind of bad, actually, considering he fell asleep while talking to Jenny. He woke up to the sound of an alarm clock and Jenny, curled up in a ball against his chest. Mike got ready and left, leaving his girlfriend to sleep in peace, expecting another day that would leave him falling asleep at his desk. Mike was pleasantly surprised when his day consisted of little more than proofing briefs and drinking coffee.
Mike was on his third trip to Louis's office, having been called by him to work on more files, when Harvey stopped him.
"Hey, come here," Harvey barked as Mike was passing the entrance to his office.
Mike walked to the doorway, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. "Louis needs me to—"
"Don't care." Harvey didn't even look up from the file sitting on his desk, motioning with his hand to come in and sit. "I need you to stay here and take care of a meeting with a new client," Harvey said as Mike walked in.
"Okay," Mike said slowly, accepting the file that his boss handed him to him. "Why?"
Harvey stood, buttoning his suit jacket. "Do I need a reason?"
"I guess not, but it'd be nice," Mike replied.
Harvey smirked. "When am I ever nice, kid?" He paused. "But if you must know, I have an unexpected meeting with Jessica. Happy?"
"Very," Mike replied, the word lacking in its usual sarcasm due to his distraction as he flipped open the case file, thumbing the pages and scanning the contents. "When is he-and-or-she coming?" he asked, referring to the client.
"He will be here in about three...two...one."
Mike's head shot up when he heard the client entering. The young man sent the senior partner an exasperated look. Thanks for the notice.
"Mr. Waters. I'm Harvey Specter," Harvey greeted with his signature smile as he shook the man's hand.
Mike closed the file, standing up and turning around to meet the client.
Mike froze, his breath caught in his throat. His hands started to shake and Mike clamped his grip down hard on the file he was holding as he recognized the long mess of shaggy dirty-blonde hair, the sharp gray eyes, the long face. Mike hadn't seen him in eight years, hadn't wanted to ever see him again. But here Mike's father stood, shaking hands with his mentor.
Memories that Mike had tried to repress for years suddenly came rushing back to him. His father was here, from out of nowhere, standing before him.
And Mike was about to be left alone with him.
"My associate," Harvey introduced. Mike's father turned to face him and Mike forced himself to breathe. It had been years since Mike had last seen his father. There was a small hope that his father wouldn't recognize him, and Mike held onto it with both hands. "Mike Ross."
The spark of recognition that Mike had been praying wouldn't come lit in the man's eyes. Mr. Waters held out his hand, a subtle look in his eyes that made Mike's gut clench painfully. Mike stared at his father, not accepting the outstretched hand, until the older man dropped his hand limply.
With a herculean effort, Mike tore his gaze away to look at Harvey. "Harvey, can I talk to you out in the hall?" he asked; his voice deceptively calm, if a bit tight.
Harvey gave him a quizzical look, but excused them from the office. Mike made sure that the door was firmly closed before grabbing Harvey's elbow and leading him down the hall so that there was no chance that Mike's father might watch them.
"What?" Harvey sighed when they had stopped walking, irritation coloring his voice.
Mike swallowed. "Don't make me do this, Harvey."
"Go in there, alone...with him..." Mike glanced over Harvey's shoulder towards the office.
"Why?" Harvey asked, Mike's tone not registering with Harvey's distracted mind.
"I know that guy—"
"Then you two should get along swimmingly," Harvey interrupted.
Mike was shaking his head. "No, you don't—"
Harvey was already walking away from him. "Deal with it, Mike," he called over his shoulder.
Mike cursed and bit his lip, trying to come up with a plan. He couldn't go in there alone. He didn't trust himself or his father to keep things civil for very long. And though Mike would do anything to skip this meeting, it would cost him the one thing he was not willing to give up. His job. Mike raked a hand through his hair, his eyes scanning the hallway and surrounding rooms for any sign of help. His eyes locked onto Donna, who was now sitting at her desk. Mike jogged over to her.
"Donna," Mike sighed, the profound relief in his voice causing Donna to turn around in her chair and eye the young man skeptically.
"What did you do?" she asked.
"What? Nothing," Mike frowned. "Can you do me a huge, huge favor?"
Donna's suspicion grew. "And that would be?"
Mike glanced at his father through the plexi-glass wall into Harvey's office. Mike had never been so grateful that the wall was see-through before. "Promise me that you won't leave this desk until Harvey comes back?"
Donna nodded slowly, still eyeing Mike. "Yeah. Sure. Are you okay?"
Mike took a deep breath, giving Donna a meager smile. "Not really. Just...don't worry about it too much, okay?"
Donna pursed her lips but nodded. Mike gave her a thankful smile, turning to go back into Harvey's office. Donna watched him go, now paying more attention to what was coming through the intercom on her desk than the e-mail she was pretending to write.
Mike closed the door behind him, taking a deep breath as his father turned around.
"Michael," his father greeted, with an air of forced civility. "Never thought I'd see you here."
Mike shrugged. "A lot can change in eight years."
Mr. Waters chuckled. "Yes, yes it can."
Mike walked stiffly over to the couch and sat down on the side closest to the door. "So, I've read over your case file, and I need to ask you a few questions."
Mike's father nodded. "Ask away."
"How long have you been a part of Fredrickson?" Mike asked.
The older man furrowed his brow, looking pensive as he leaned back. "About...seven years?"
Mike nodded, writing that down. "Your bank statements and employee record say that you made about $30,000 dollars a year, correct?"
Mike father shifted against the couch uncomfortably. "Yes," he answered hesitantly.
"But starting at January in 2004 your bank statements show that you starting depositing over triple that."
"Are you accusing me of something, Michael?" Mr. Waters demanded.
"I'm just trying to get all of the facts," Mike appeased. "Now please answer the question."
His father sat up angrily. "You're supposed to be defending me. Not accusing—"
"Look," Mike stated. "You can bet that we aren't going to be the only ones asking you these questions. The opposing council will, for one. And if you don't answer them now, then we won't have any way to defend you against these claims. Answer them now, and we won't get caught off guard if this evidence is brought against you."
There was a beat of silence as Mike waited for his father's answer. When none came, Mike pressed. "Answer the question."
"Yes, I started getting more money in 2004."
"But you didn't get a raise, or another job. Correct?" Mike asked, calmly.
"Then how did you get the money?"
Mike's father shot to his feet. "You haven't changed one bit."
Mike looked up, startled and a little confused. "What?"
Mr. Waters rolled his eyes. "You always asked too many questions. You never knew when to shut up, did you?"
Some emotion that was between irritation and anger swept over Mike and he took a deep breath to collect himself. "We're not here to talk about this. We're here to talk about your case."
"I don't see my son for eight years and at our first meeting he is accusing me of fraud. I think that this is the perfect time to talk about this." The older many took a step closer towards his son.
Mike stood up, slowly and purposefully. "This isn't the time or place, Mr. Waters."
Mike's father rolled his eyes, letting out a profanity that echoed the man's annoyance.
"I don't have to take this case," Mike retorted flatly. "We can just as easily give it to another lawyer. But believe me when I tell you, that with as weak of a case as you have, no one but Harvey Specter is gonna be able to win it."
Mr. Waters sneered. "You have quite a lot of faith in this boss of yours."
"You got that right," Mike snapped, his overwhelming emotions seeping into his voice.
The older man took another, more threatening step towards Mike. "You know, that's your problem. You never showed your old man respect."
Mike let out a laugh that was more threatening than humored. "You never once gave me a reason to."
Mr. Waters closed the distance between himself and his son so they were standing almost nose to nose. "What did you just say?"
Mike leveled his father with a defiant glare that would have put Harvey Specter to shame. "Back off."
The tension in the room was almost suffocating as Mike's father ignored his son's demand. "Do you always talk to your superiors like this?"
"Only those that don't deserve respect," Mike articulated.
Cold fury flamed in the older man's eyes. "Do you tell Harvey Specter that?"
"I've never had to," Mike noted, his jaw clenched. "Because if there is any man that has ever deserved my respect, it's Harvey."
"Really?" Mr. Waters shot sardonically as he spun away from his son. He took a couple of steps away from Mike, who let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Mike's father continued. "Does he know that you killed your own mother?"
Silence echoed in the room as Mike paled. "I...I didn't—"
"Of course you did," the older man spat. "Just because no one else blamed you doesn't mean it wasn't your fault. You're a grown man, Michael. Suck it up and accept it."
"I didn't kill Mom!" Mike nearly shouted as the last shreds of his composure vanished.
Mike's father whirled around on him, his eyes narrowed and his fists clenched. He crossed the short distance between himself and Mike in a few short strides. Mike didn't have time to react before he felt the blindingly painful fist collide with the side of his face, knocking him to the ground.
Mike didn't think he had passed out, but the next thing he was competent of understanding was Harvey kneeling beside him.
Mike blinked hard. "Hmm?" he asked, trying and failing to ask what had happened. He felt a little disoriented, and the pounding throb below his left eye and his nose made his entire face feel a bit numb.
Harvey looked down at Mike with evident concern. Mike found it oddly misplaced on the older man's face. Harvey looked over his shoulder, saying in a low voice, "Donna, get me some ice?"
Mike heard the clacks of Donna's heels as she complied. Mike groaned in pain as he realized the pounding headache he had, and that the numbness in his face was being overridden by the painful throbbing. Mike tried to sit up, but a hand restrained his shoulder. He looked over at Harvey, who shook his head. "Not yet, Mike. Donna says you hit your head pretty hard." Harvey shook his head again, this time in disbelief. "I leave you alone for twenty minutes and this is what happens?"
Suddenly, the scene with his father came back to Mike. "Ah," he groaned again. "What happened?"
Harvey looked down at Mike, guilt flashing across his face for a brief moment. Mike caught it though, and became confused by it. Why was Harvey feeling guilty? Mike was brought back from his thoughts as Harvey answered his question.
"Ask Donna. I get a call from her in the middle of my meeting with Jessica yelling at me to get down to my office and I get back to find you like this."
Harvey didn't mention how genuinely panicked Donna had sounded, or how Harvey had immediately left Jessica's office without an explanation because it had been a long time since he'd ever heard Donna that close to real fear. He didn't mention the almost murderous gleam in Donna's eyes as she watched their client be dragged by security out of Harvey's office just as Harvey showed up. He didn't mention how he had forgotten about his meeting his Jessica when he saw his associate flat on his back and groaning in pain. He didn't mention any of it, because he knew it sounded dangerously close to caring.
"Ask me what?" Donna's voice chimed as she dropped the bag of ice into Harvey's lap, and neither man answered her question as Harvey placed it under Mike's left eye and against the site of his nose. Mike hissed in pain, jerking away.
Harvey sighed. "Come on, kid. Quit being a pansy. Besides, it'll hurt more later if it doesn't get ice on it now."
Mike gritted his teeth. "I doubt that." Mike was fully conscious now, and the pain had reached a new level.
"Mike?" Donna asked, waiting until the younger man's gaze locked on hers. "Are you okay?"
"Your nose might be broken, kid," Harvey interjected.
But both Mike and Donna knew that she wasn't talking about the physical pain. Mike gave her a gentle smile. A look that told her "yes, I am fine", "thanks for being there", and "I don't really want to talk about it" all wrapped up in one. Donna smiled and took a deep breath. This exchange was not lost on the senior partner, who looked at both of them.
"What am I missing?" he asked, his suspicion increasing when he caught the shared glance between his secretary and his associate. He looked at Mike. "What happened?" he asked, quieter.
Harvey didn't get his answer though, because suddenly the paramedics needed to take a look at Mike, and when Harvey turned to ask Donna, she was nowhere to be found.
"Give the client to another lawyer."
Jessica Pearson quirked an eyebrow at Harvey, who had returned to her office after the client had been escorted off of the premises.
"You heard me, Jessica. Can you really believe that the client will want to work with Mike after what happened?" Harvey said stubbornly.
"And what exactly did happen, Harvey?" Jessica asked, almost condescendingly. "Because as far as I know, Mr. Ross provoked the client, who did the only natural thing."
"To punch him?"
"Did it occur to you that it may have been Mr. Ross's fault?" Jessica asked.
"Yes. But last I checked, this client didn't have a scratch on him while my associate might have a broken nose. I don't care how much Mike may or may not have provoked him."
Jessica stood. "This client has offered us a lot of money for the best, Harvey. Last time I checked, that was you. Take Mike off the case, if you think it's necessary. But I want you to take this client."
Harvey favored her with a look that was dangerously similar to a glare, and before Jessica could send him a warning, turned around and walked out of her office. He didn't stop until he was in his own, and was pleasantly surprised when Donna remained at her desk. He made it to the door of his office and stood there for a moment, contemplating.
Sighing, Harvey turned back around and walked to Donna's desk. Donna glanced up at him quickly before her gaze returned back to the computer screen. "I'm not telling you anything, Harvey."
Harvey wasn't surprised that she knew what he wanted. "I need to know what happened, Donna."
"Then talk to Mike," she said shortly. Harvey blinked at her, surprised at her tone. Donna glanced up again, and read his surprise through his indifferent demeanor. "It's not my story to tell," she explained, her voice softening a little.
Harvey didn't reply, instead returning back to his office. He didn't want to talk to the kid yet. He had a feeling that whatever went down was personal, and that meant emotions. Emotions were something to be used, not to be had or to deal with. Harvey just. Didn't. Do. Emotions.
So he avoided Mike for the rest of the day.
Mike seemed to avoid him just as easily, so Harvey hadn't seen any sign that his associate was even still in the building. His only reassurance was a stack of finished file folders on his desk when he returned from a bathroom break. They had been done flawlessly, and Harvey had the vague notion that Mike had probably thrown himself into his work, working through his dinner break. In that aspect, Harvey had to acknowledge that he was clearly beginning to rub off on the kid.
Harvey had every intention of pretending that nothing had happened, and to go about business normally. He would take Mike off the case, win the case in a way that gave the client a clear win and but gained him as little as possible, and never mention it again.
Still, his curiosity was gnawing at him and demanded to know what went down in his office earlier that afternoon. He knew he could easily access the security tapes, but they wouldn't have sound. Harvey already knew what he would see. Mike and Mr. Waters would argue, and then the client would punch his associate. What he needed to know was what was being said.
Donna had ignored him for a fair portion of the day, her way of being silently persistent that he talk to Mike. More than that, however, Donna had been glued to her computer. She had taken an abnormally short dinner break and had gone for either a refill of coffee or bathroom break a total of three times the entire day. Harvey had the gut feeling that whatever Donna was pursuing on her computer, it had nothing to do with her job.
Mike's day had gone from pretty good to utterly terrible in a matter of twenty minutes. All because of his father.
Mike couldn't seem to distract himself, no matter how many files he threw himself into. His brain always took him to memories that he didn't want to remember, thoughts he didn't want to think, and emotions that he tried desperately to push away and close off. He threw himself into his work, hoping that the time consuming act of editing briefs and typing summaries would prove to be enough of a distraction to keep him busy for the several hours he needed to remain at work.
He also ignored people the rest of the day. He felt kind of bad for some, like Rachel. But he knew Rachel and her morbid curiosity. She might not be Donna, but word travels fast in a law firm, and especially when it dealt with either Harvey or his associate. He knew that Rachel knew what had happened, he knew that she would ask questions and demand answers. He also knew that her heart would be in the right place. But he just didn't feel like talking about it.
He was oddly grateful to Louis, who had dropped a mountain of paperwork on his desk without so much as a "get these on my desk by 10:00, Mr. Ross". Even Kyle and Gregory seemed to leave him alone, but only after Mike had pointedly ignored their jibes and taunts for several hours.
When it hit 9:30, Mike stood up and gathered the files Louis had needed, tossed them on his desk, and left.
He had avoided Harvey surprisingly well.
He hadn't thought that it would be that easy, but then again he knew that Harvey was disappointed in him. Harvey had trusted him to take care of the meeting with the client, who Mike had provoked into punching him. Sure, Mike could justify his own actions to his heart's content, but Harvey wouldn't want to hear it. Mike was a reflection of Harvey, and Mike looked weak.
So the younger man wanted nothing more than to get out of Pearson Hardman. He had almost made it to, exiting the elevator and approaching the doors when his phone rang. With a heaving sigh, because he really just wanted to get home, he dug it out of his backpack.
"Mike Ross," he answered.
"Mike," Donna's voice came through the speaker, and Mike felt his eyebrows shoot up in surprise. "Harvey needs to see you."
Mike pinched the bridge of his nose. "Yeah, okay."
Donna hung up and Mike listened to static buzz of his phone for several seconds before he snapped it shut and turned around to walk back to the elevator.
Mike rounded the corner into Harvey's office, and was confused by the confusion on the older man's face.
"Donna said you wanted to see me," Mike said slowly.
Harvey sent an exasperated look at the back of the redhead, who was still sitting at her desk. "Donna?"
"Yes?" came her voice through the speaker.
"Is this really necessary?"
"Donna," Mike said, his voice taking on an edge that Harvey wasn't sure suited the kid. Donna didn't reply, and Mike felt his emotions slowly start to well up. He knew what Donna wanted him to do, and he wasn't sure he was ready to talk about it. Especially not with Harvey. It didn't help that Donna was doing this because she cared, and Mike knew that. For some reason, it made Mike feel even more emotional. He knew he was minutes away from cracking under the pressure of it all.
So he did what he knew how: he became angry. Because anger was a much easier emotion to deal with than whatever was about to override Mike at that point.
"I'm done with this," Mike stated flatly. "If you actually need me, Harvey, I'll be at my apartment."
"Doing what?" Harvey asked, a little put off by Mike's anger.
"Hating the world and everyone in it," Mike muttered under his breath as he turned to leave.
"Hey," Harvey said, grabbing Mike's elbow. "What's gotten into you?"
Mike whipped around to face Harvey, his eyes narrowed.
"I'm fine, Harvey," he bit back. "And I don't need you or Donna's faked concern, alright?"
Harvey was taken aback by the acid in the younger man's tone, but he refused to step down. "Look," Harvey stated, "I don't care about people. Fake or for real. But you're out of it. You have been ever since that client came in."
A flash of pain and hurt crossed Mike's eyes for a very brief second before the steely glare shielded it, but Harvey caught it. The senior partner wasn't entirely sure whether it was because of something he had said or a memory triggered, but Harvey's gut told him it was the latter.
Before he could say anything, however, Mike had turned away and tried to leave again. Harvey couldn't keep the frustration out of his voice. "Stop running from everything, Mike."
The effect Harvey's words had on Mike were startling. Mike froze, his shoulders tensing. His hands balled into fists and his jaw clenched together with an audible snap. "Shut it, Harvey."
"No," Harvey said simply. Press till it hurts. "Didn't know all it would take for you to fall apart on me was a measly punch from an angry client."
"It probably wasn't even that hard."
"Harvey—" Mike tried, his voice rising. Harvey ignored him.
"and I was beginning to think you had some spine."
"Odds are you deserved it," Harvey said, with a humorless laugh.
"Shut up!" Mike nearly shouted. Mike whirled on him, and Harvey noticed immediately that Mike's steely resolve had crumbled. Harvey had expected any wide range of emotions from Mike. But not the angry, hurt, above all betrayed look that reflected back to him now.
Harvey was silent for a long minute, trying to figure out his associate as Mike tried to get his emotions back under his control. If the moisture filling his eyes was anything to go by, the kid was coming apart at the seams.
"Sit down," Harvey said, his voice firm while managing to have an underlying layer of gentleness.
This time, Mike didn't try to argue. He sat down on the couch wordlessly and Harvey sat down next to him.
"I know something happened in here that was more than just the client punching you, Mike."
"And I want to know what."
There was a long stretch of silence. Mike stared at the carpet, not looking at Harvey, his voice barely above a whisper. "I told you I knew that guy, Harvey. I didn't say we had a good relationship." Mike swallowed, and had stopped talking. He seemed to be lost in memories.
"Who was he?" Harvey prompted quietly.
"He was my dad."
Harvey felt his eyes go wide with surprise, and couldn't quite regain his composure before Mike turned to gauge his reaction. Mike nodded like he had expected as much and added bitterly, "Pretty great dad, isn't he?"
A heavy silence filled the office as Harvey tried to sort out his buzzing thoughts. The only thing his mind could immediately come up with was, "I'm sorry, Mike."
Mike didn't say anything, instead rubbing his hands on his pants before standing up and going over to look out at the New York skyline. Harvey remained sitting on the couch. The older man knew that he should say something else, ask him a question. But he wasn't sure how much Mike was willing to tell him.
But he had to know.
"What happened between you two?" Harvey asked softly.
Mike took a deep breath before he answered. "We never got along well. I was the remarkable kid that somehow managed to outshine his dad even at 6 years old, and my dad was sick of hearing about how I was going to be better than him. Still, we managed to keep the arguing to a minimal, for Mom's sake."
Harvey was watching Mike carefully, and picked up immediately that his eyes became haunted and distant suddenly, like he wasn't just remembering, but he was almost reliving.
"I was eight. Mom was driving me home from our annual zoo trip. Dad hadn't wanted to come. Mom tried to make me buy into the fact that he had a lot going on at work. I pretended to, just like every year. Mom tried to compensate for Dad's absence, buying me ice cream and letting me feed the giraffes." A ghost of a smile passed Mike's face before it vanished.
"I was telling her about my science project when it happened. Mile marker 130. She never saw the car coming." Mike closed his eyes and bit his bottom lip as the tears he had tried to keep at bay flooded over and spilled. "Glass was everywhere. I don't know how long I was out of it. All I know is that I can't hear Mom. I think I can hear sirens in the distance, but that might just be the ringing in my ears..."
Harvey jumped to his feet the second he realized the kid was speaking in the present tense. Harvey crossed the room and clapped a hand on Mike's shoulder. "Mike!"
Mike blinked hard and shook his head, coming out of his flashback. "Sorry," he apologized. "Photographic memory and all..."
Harvey nodded, indicating he understood.
Mike took a closer look at Harvey's pale features. "I'm freaking you out."
Harvey shook his head. It wasn't the story so much as when Mike had started speaking in the present tense that Harvey had started to panic just a little. "Keep going."
Mike nodded and sighed. "I survived the crash. Mom had died on impact. That was the last straw for dad."
Harvey's head shot up. "What do you mean?"
Mike ran a shaking hand through his hair. "Dad...he never got over Mom's death. He blamed me for it. Demanded to know why the worthless kid survived and not the beautiful woman he actually loved."
"Don't Harvey," Mike said in a low toneless voice, surprising his boss. "Just...don't."
Silence fell over the office like a heavy blanket, as Mike stared at the city's night skyline and Harvey watched his associate's reflection in the window.
"So how did you end up with your grandmother?" Harvey finally asked.
Mike didn't answer right away, showed no inclination that he had even heard the question, but Harvey wasn't going to repeat it. If Mike didn't want to answer, then Harvey would be fine with that. He knew Mike had already revealed plenty. But Harvey wanted to give the associate some time to get it out, because who knows how long he'd had to keep this bottled up.
"I lived with my dad for six years after my mom died. I tried to avoid being in the house as much as possible. Most of the time I was hanging out with Trevor. I didn't like being in the house. Dad was drunk a lot, said some things that he would never say otherwise. He never let go..." Mike's voice trailed off, and Harvey knew that the younger man was leaving something out. Harvey's gut twisted a little as thoughts ran through his head.
"That wasn't the first time he punched you, was it?"
Mike was silent. "No. Once before. After he did it I ran out of the house to Trevor's, and the next morning my neighbor is picking me up because my dad had attempted suicide and wasn't fit to care for me anymore. That's when I went to live with Gram."
Another long pause. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Mike met Harvey's gaze through the reflection in the window. "I tried, Harvey. You told me to deal with it." Mike wanted to be mad. He really did. But right now, he just felt resigned.
Harvey swallowed. "Mike," he began, sounding just a bit exasperated. "You should have made me listen."
"When? I tried, and you walked away. What did you want me to do? Follow you like a lost puppy?"
"You got punched," Harvey said. "Because you didn't make me listen."
Mike finally turned to face his boss. "Now it's my fault?" His tone wasn't mad, but the underlying accusation and hurt was evident enough.
"No," Harvey replied. "It's not."
Mike's retort froze in his throat, because it occurred to him that Harvey had basically said that he cared. And suddenly, Mike realized that he didn't want to call Harvey out on it, because he would deny it and Mike really didn't want to argue with anyone anymore. Mike and Harvey stared at each other for a long moment before Mike broke it.
"Thank you, Harvey."
Harvey raised an eyebrow in confusion, but Mike didn't elaborate. To tell him everything he was thanking him for would bring up the emotions that Mike had just gotten under control and the younger man knew better than anyone that Harvey didn't do emotions. Frankly, Mike wasn't a big fan of them right now either.
"Mike," Harvey said suddenly, "I'm taking you off of the case."
Mike opened his mouth to argue, but seeing that Harvey was right, sighed and nodded. "Okay."
Mike rolled his eyes, but the tension had lessened considerably. "Really, Harvey? The puppy analogy?"
"That which acts as one, becomes one," Harvey replied, a small smile spreading across face.
"Stop speaking in riddles, Yoda."
"Star Trek is superior to Star Wars, Mike," Harvey corrected, now gathering his things to leave for the night.
"Fine. Then, 'live long and prosper.'" Mike smiled, the first genuine smile he had given all day, as he followed his boss out of the office.
"I am not Spock," Harvey argued.
Mike raised his eyebrows as the elevator doors closed. "Really? Because you got that whole 'no emotions' thing down pretty well."
"Says the kid with the Vulcan memory."