He knew that something was wrong because he couldn't seem to wake up. He was stuck in the realm of dreams and almost-wakefulness. Voices floated in and out of his consciousness, though most of the time he existed in a pleasant, dreamless world. In this world, time had no meaning. He only knew that he existed, and perhaps because pain seemed far away, his worldly troubles – not that he could even recall them – didn't matter at all.
Then, one day, he was wrenched out of this pleasant limbo state when he heard someone crying. He didn't know how, but his eyes opened – just a crack – and what he saw alarmed him. It was Grammy crying into his hand. He wondered what could have possibly made her cry that way. The only other time that he saw her break down was at his parents' funeral. When they had walked past his father's still body in the coffin and that veneer of will and strength crumbled. As she cupped her dead son's face in her hands, she had sobbed then, and allowed her tears to flow down her cheeks. It only lasted for a few minutes, and then the Grammy he came to know returned. The Grammy who would not cave under pressure, no matter how dire the circumstance.
He knew that he was the cause of her tears even if he didn't remember why.
"Grammy, please don't cry," he said. Though it came out more like an indistinguishable whisper.
It worked. She stopped crying immediately and stared at him, amazed. Then, she smiled, eventhough her tears were still falling like rainfall.
"Michael," she said. "Oh, goodness, you're awake. They said – " she took a deep, shuddering breath. And Mike recognised that gesture – it was what she did when she was steeling herself to face something difficult.
"Never mind what they said. You're going to be fine, do you hear?"
When Grammy spoke like that, you could only obey. So, he nodded. He was so weak he wasn't sure if his head actually moved, but Grammy seemed pleased with his response.
Against his will, he floated away.
He knew he came awake again a few times because he had memories of different faces floating before him. Some smiling, some looking uncomfortable. Donna was always smiling while Harvey looked as if he wanted to bolt, but didn't know how. Some, he questioned if they were real – what in the world was Louis Litt doing by his bedside, talking to him about ginseng teas and its benefits to virility? Then there was Jessica, who actually called him by his name – he was sure that she'd forgotten he had one – and who assured him that the firm would take care of him. She nearly gave him a heart attack when she patted his shoulder. Their relationship had progressed in a heartbeat from him just being a tiny microbe in her universe to one that she deigned to touch. He was climbing up the corporate ladder, all right.
But the one he found the most difficult to digest was Trevor. He was standing beside him now, looking down at him with tears in his eyes. Because Trevor never cried nor did he ever looked sorry. There was always "fake sorry" which he was used to. And this wasn't fake sorry.
What do you say to a man who, just a few months ago, wanted to ruin your life and almost did? Who drove Jenny away and nearly killed him in a rage? You don't say a word, because there are just no words.
He merely stared up at him with half-opened eyes which slowly widened as he realised what Trevor standing next to him meant. He took in the sharp oxygen pouring through the nasal canula in shallow breaths and willed the tremors that shook his body to go away. Because despite being suddenly really aware that he was completely vulnerable and at Trevor's mercy, he was still determined to show Trevor that he was the bigger man.
Trevor paled for some reason. He shuffled a few steps back and gave him a shaky smile.
"Hey, it's okay. I'm uh … not going to hurt you. Promise," he said.
If he had been stronger, he would have told Trevor to shut the hell up and that he wasn't afraid. But that would be an utter lie right now.
After what Trevor did to him a few months ago, he had excised him from his life, finally accepting that what Harvey and Grammy said about Trevor was true: He was an anchor – one that was determined to drag the boat down with it. And he needed to set sail.
He shifted uneasily in the bed as Trevor reached forward and squeezed his hand gently.
"I just want to say sorry. I … what I did ..." he looked away, blinking away his tears.
"I messed up, okay?" he said quietly.
Mike had the curious urge to assure him that all was well and this wasn't needed. Fortunately, he was saved from himself when sleep whisked him away again. Mike thought he managed to squeeze his hand in reply, but sleep took him so quickly that he wasn't sure.
He was sorry, however, that he didn't get to ask Trevor if he was going to come back. Because despite what Trevor did – there will always be a part of him who would remember the guy who was by his side when his parents died and his world came crashing down.
- S - S - S -
"What the hell are you doing here?" Harvey growled.
Trevor whirled around in surprise and flinched under his furious glare, but lifted his chin in defiance. "Visiting a sick friend. You've got a problem with that?"
"Sure. Because you're not his friend. Not by a long shot."
"Look, we have had a history that you possibly – "
"I don't care, and I don't want to hear it. Friends do not do what you did. Especially not after the lengths Mike went to save your pathetic ass."
"I was angry. Jenny – "
"Is in Bolivia, soaking in the sun after the mess you've made of her life. You took Jenny from Mike, nearly destroyed his career, and when that didn't work, you nearly made him into road kill by pushing him into ongoing traffic. What a pal," he said, his voice dripping with scorn.
"That was an accident. And that snapped me out if, I swear. I was just so angry – "
"That you screwed up your own life? Look, I'm wasting my breath even talking to you. I would have slapped an injunction on you – hell, dragged you through criminal court – if it weren't for Mike here. Even after all that, he still saved your ass. You did this to yourself. And if you have not even realised that yet – you're not fit to be near Mike. Because you're still a danger to him. So. Get out."
Trevor laughed bitterly. "So ... what? Are you saying that you're a better friend to him? Don't make me laugh. You don't even know half the things we went through together."
Harvey snorted. "I know enough. Get out or I'll call security on you."
Trevor hesitated, then turned to Mike, and tenderly touched his forehead. With one last, longing look, he left, not bothering to even give Harvey a glance as he went out.
When he was gone, Harvey went hastily to Mike's side, lowering the blankets and studying his body for any signs of injury. He sighed in relief. None. Gently, he adjusted his blankets.
It has been two weeks since the surgery, and Mike was still frighteningly weak, unable to even sit up on his own. If he was awake, he mostly stared at them – the only assurance that he was anywhere in his skull was that he smiled at the right moments. The doctors had seriously wondered if he had lost the ability to speak until Mike asked two days ago, in a barely-there whisper, if everyone would stop staring at him like he was a zoo exhibit already.
That was when they knew he was going to turn the corner.
Rollins said that the powerful antibiotics coursing through Mike's system was doing their job, and the MRSA is on the retreat. And now that the abscess has been drained, the seizures and disorientation that had plagued him before would no longer be a problem. However, they did not know how much of a recovery he would make, or if he'd ever fully recover. Or be himself again.
That sent a shudder through him. Mike, his second chance at life shot to pieces by an invisible bug.
All they could do was wait, and wait they did. There was business to attend to at Pearson Hardman, and during Mike's long recuperation period, he had distracted himself with several cases which he had won with usual ease. But he found himself missing the unpredictability and crazy drama that Mike almost always brought to their cases.
The thought that that could probably be a thing of the past unnerved him – only because he actually cared that much.