So. I'm back again. :D With another short one...definitely at least a two-shot, possible three.
Don't have much to say, really. This was beta'd by the totally awesome Phoenix on cloud nine. Animallover15243 also looked over it for me.
Summary: Mike is trapped in a collapsed building. When Harvey gets ahold of him on the phone, will they be able to keep it together long enough to rescue Mike? TONS of Hurt!Mike and Caring!Harvey. Beta'd by Phoenix on cloud nine.
Mike groaned in pain as he sat up.
Well, attempted to. The sharp pain in his stomach combined with the fact that something really heavy was pinning him to the floor made Mike realize that remaining in his previous position was probably a better idea. Mike blinked slowly, trying to clear his muddled thoughts.
As his vision slowly came back into focus, the numbness in his body faded away. Mike gasped in pain and grit his teeth as his vision threatened to leave him again. Pain was radiating from everywhere. And with a panicked jolt, Mike realized that he had no idea where he was or how he got there. Mike's breath quickened at the realization.
It didn't help that something was making it really hard to breathe. Whether it was the pressure on his chest, the dust in the air, Mike's fear, or a twisted combination of all three, something was making it increasingly difficult for the young man to get enough oxygen.
And it was really dark.
Mike racked his memory frantically for an answer to any of the number of questions he had, primarily being where on earth was he? But nothing.
This was not good.
Harvey was getting frustrated. He knew that the kid could handle a simple meeting with a client, and there was no way that Mike could be having a difficult time with such a simple case. The meeting had started at 3:30, and the longest it should have lasted was an hour, max.
"Donna," Harvey called, "have you seen Mike?"
"No," she replied through the intercom. "Not yet. Have you tried calling him?"
Harvey rolled his eyes, knowing Donna couldn't see him. "Yes. At least 10 times in the last hour."
Harvey couldn't shake the feeling that something was off...wrong. And by the look Donna was now giving him through the plexi-glass wall, she felt the same thing too. In the very least, Harvey knew Mike was smart enough to call them, tell them what was going on and why he was running late.
Why he was running over 2 hours late.
Harvey opened his mouth to say just that, when Louis rounded into his office, a look of annoyance on his face.
"Where's your associate?"
Harvey shot him a quick glare. He really wasn't in the mood to deal with Louis Litt right now. "Gee, Louis, you make it sound like you don't know. Last time I checked, it was your job to babysit all of our associates."
Louis quirked an eyebrow in irritation. "So where is he, Harvey?"
"Why do you care?" He flipped a page of the brief with exaggerated casualness. Harvey was stalling now. For what, he wasn't sure, but he knew that the last thing he wanted to do was admit to Louis that he had lost his associate. In the background, he heard Donna's office phone ring.
Louis tilted his head subtly, his face splitting into a knowing smile. "You don't know where he is, do you?"
Harvey opened his mouth to shoot back a jibe that would wipe that smile right off Louis's face, but Donna cut him off, standing just inside the door. "Harvey, a word?"
Harvey sighed. "Donna—"
"It's about Mike."
Surprised, Harvey met Donna's gaze, trying to gauge her reaction. He saw several emotions brewing in them, not the least of which was fear. That was enough for Harvey to tell Louis that he had better get out of his office.
"Or what? I'm in charge of Mike too," was the brisk reply.
Harvey looked at Donna, who caught the message and walked over to stand next to him. Louis opened his mouth to speak, but Donna hardened her glare and Louis ducked his head and left wordlessly.
Harvey smiled triumphantly. "One of these days, Donna, you have got to teach me how you do that." Remembering her entire reason for interrupting them, Harvey turned to look at the redhead fully. "Who called you?"
"NYPD," she said softly. "You remember that building that was under question in the Flynn case?"
Harvey looked at her blankly for a second before he remembered. Jeffery Flynn. Pro-Bono. Jeffery Flynn, age 43, was suing the company that sold him the property on which his office supply store was located. He was doing so with the claim that the company failed to notify him of the unstable foundation, thus putting both him and his customers in danger. It was a relatively simple pro-bono case.
Donna swallowed. "The building collapsed." The senior partner froze, and Donna answered his unasked question. "The security tapes showed that Jeffery was inside...with Mike."
You've got to calm down, Mike told himself as he tried to slow his breathing. It took several minutes—at least, Mike was pretty sure it was minutes. Right now, how much time passed was the least of his growing concerns—but Mike managed to breathe slower. The fact that his breaths were shaking was completely irrelevant.
Start simple, Mike thought to himself. What is my name?
Michael James Ross.
Where do I live?
Manhattan, New York.
Where am I?
How did I get here?
Mike drew a blank again. Perhaps the two most important questions, the ones he had to remember, Mike couldn't come up with an answer for. He searched his memory frantically, but he just. Couldn't. Remember.
This scared Mike more than the fact that he couldn't move or the unbearable pain radiating from his torso. It scared him more than the fact that he didn't think he could contact anyone or that he couldn't see a thing.
Because Mike Ross had never not been able to remember. His photographic memory had never failed him before. It had been his saving grace throughout school and it was what got him the life he had now. Mike had come to think of his memory almost as a companion, as odd as that sounded.
His memory meant that he would never, could never, forget. But he couldn't remember now, and Mike had to remind himself to breathe slowly again.
"Where are you going?"
This was the question that Harvey chose to ignore as he passed Jessica Pearson in his single minded determination to get to his associate.
Jessica had noticed the strange demeanor of the senior partner—the determination almost as evident as another emotion that Harvey would never call concern—and knew immediately that something was very wrong. Jessica followed the man to the elevators, where Harvey waited impatiently for one to arrive.
"You know that pro-bono case you gave to me?" Harvey asked evenly.
The senior partner glanced at her briefly. "Flynn was right. Foundation was unstable."
On any other occasion, if Harvey was wearing any other expression, Jessica would have been happy. "What happened?" she asked, more of a formality considering she was pretty sure what had happened. She just hoped she was wrong.
"The building collapsed."
"With Mr. Flynn inside?"
The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. "And Mike," Harvey told her right before he stepped inside and the doors slid shut.
6: 15 PM
Mike was trying to distract himself, but it wasn't going well.
He had done everything from reciting, word for word, all of the Burke files he had summarized for Louis several hours prior to naming all of the organelles in a human cheek cell. He had also slept (because he was exhausted, and it had gotten to the point that the vague knowledge that sleeping when there was a very prominent possibility of a concussion was no match for Mike's tiredness), but for how long he wasn't entirely sure.
He was brought out from one of these naps by a furious buzzing that made his head ring. He had a pounding headache, and Mike was fairly sure that he was maybe thirty minutes from a For all that is good and wonderful PLEASE KILL ME kind of headache.
The pressure on his chest wasn't lessening any either, making Mike focus on his breathing. If the headache didn't kill him, he was pretty sure that the increased difficulty to breathe would. Or maybe the dull ache in his stomach that was slowly becoming more pronounced would kill him first.
Either way, Mike was pretty sure that he was going to die.
Shaking him from his horrid thoughts, there was another angry vibration that seemed to come from somewhere right next to Mike's left hand. It suddenly dawned on Mike that it could be a phone. Gritting his teeth against the pain, he searched with his hand to see if he could locate it.
Mike cried out as fire laced from his shoulder down to his wrist as his hand finally closed around the device he had been searching for. Tears welled up in his eyes, both from pain and relief, and he flipped his phone open.
Mike's eyes grew round as the light from his phone lit the area around him. There was a wooden beam across his chest, which explained the pressure. His white dress shirt was dark around his stomach, and Mike suddenly realized that his shirt was wet. That, and he was surrounded by what looked like wreckage from a building or ship or something.
His phone buzzed again.
Mike blinked slowly, looking at the caller ID.
Mike sighed in profound relief, and then realized that his arms were pinned down by the same wooden beam that was across his chest. Mike's eyes went wide with panic before he remembered that he could put his phone on speaker.
"Mike!" Was it just Mike, or did Harvey sound relieved? "You okay?"
Mike had to consider it for a second. "I...I'm not sure."
"Don't hang up," Harvey stated. "I'm on my way over."
"Just..." Harvey's slow exhale sounded shaky to Mike, but it was probably just the incessant ringing in Mike's ears. "Stay on this phone, Mike. Please?"
Did Harvey just say please? "Okay."
This was bad.
Mike's responses were too slow, his speech too uncertain. "How badly are you injured?"
There was a very long pause on the other end of the line, and Harvey had to remind himself to remain patient. Worrying every time his associate didn't answer right away was going to make this very difficult. Still, he wished that Ray could hurry up, despite the knowledge that it wasn't his driver's fault that New York traffic was more packed than usual.
"I don't know. It's hard to tell," finally came the reply.
"What hurts?" he asked, trying a different tactic.
"My head..." Harvey had already been fairly certain of the presence of a concussion. "...my shoulder hurts whenever I move it..." Possibly a dislocated shoulder. Not completely unexpected given that he is trapped in a collapsed building. "And...the beam won't let me breathe, Harvey."
Harvey's frown deepened. "What beam?"
"How do you expect me to answer a question like that?"
"Never mind." The kid did have a point. "What else?"
Another pause. "My...stomach." Mike sounded surprised, like the thought had just occurred to him.
Harvey nodded, though the idea that Mike hadn't realized that his stomach was injured concerned him. "Okay. Anything else?"
The silence seemed to drag on forever. "No."
Harvey tried to quickly come up with something else to say. Anything to keep Mike talking. He opened his mouth to speak when Mike cut him off.
"I can't remember where I am."
The kid sounded scared. Actually, Mike sounded downright terrified. Harvey took a deep breath. "It's okay, Mike. Calm down."
"But...I'm not supposed to forget things...like this."
"What's your name?" Harvey asked, suddenly worried. The kid had a point. Mike didn't forget things that important.
"Michael James Ross," the younger man recited immediately.
"What's my name?"
"Who do you work for?"
Harvey rolled his eyes, but the action was forced. It felt strangely good though, because Harvey was grasping for anything to keep his emotions in check. Flippancy gave him a strange sense of normality, which was more welcome than Harvey could ever remember it being. "Which company?"
"Where do we live?"
"Manhattan, New York."
The two continued like this for several long minutes, Harvey coming up with random questions and Mike doing his best to answer. Some questions Harvey didn't know the answer to, like what is your grandmother's name?, but he knew that as long as Mike didn't pause for too long, he would be okay. Mike could be coming up with fake answers for all Harvey knew, but he figured that as long as the kid's brain was functioning enough to lie, then Mike wasn't in any immediate danger.
Okay, the kid was in immediate danger. He was trapped in a collapsed building for crying out loud, but Harvey's biggest concern right now was keeping Mike awake and talking.
As much as Mike was glad he wasn't alone anymore, he really wished Harvey would shut up. It wasn't that Mike wanted Harvey to stop talking, really, it was that Mike wanted to stop talking, and he couldn't do that as long as Harvey kept asking him questions.
Really, the reason he wanted to stop talking was that his headache was pretty much at the kill me NOW stage, and the more Mike talked, the more drained he felt.
"I'm tired, Harvey," he complained.
Mike blinked at the vehemence in his boss's tone. "You stay awake, Mike, or so help me you will be working for Louis for the rest of your life."
Mike laughed, which turned into a cough, which left him feeling even more tired.
"What's wrong with sleeping, Harvey?"
Even through his foggy brain, Mike could hear the small, teasing smile on the older man's face. "It's not 9 o'clock yet, kid. You're still working, and I am pretty sure that I can fire you for sleeping on the job."
Mike rolled his eyes. "You could fire me for anything, as long as you word it right. I doubt you would have a problem with that."
"Stay awake and you won't need to worry about it."
Unexpectedly, the rubble that was surrounding Mike shifted downward. Mike jumped, hitting his chest with a painful crack against the wooden beam that was across it. Before Mike could even feel the pain of the collision, several twisted metal poles crashed down and landed hard on his stomach. Mike cried out in pain.
"Harvey," Mike tried to say more, but a grimace cut him off. Panting through the pain, Mike managed to grit out, "I'm okay."
Harvey cursed. "I'm almost there, kid. Sit tight."
Mike almost pointed out that he wasn't sitting, exactly, but he thought better of it. Instead, he commented, "Can't really do much else, can I?"
Harvey had finally reached the site. It had taken longer than Harvey really had the patience for, but he had to deal. Harvey had opened the door and was halfway out before Ray stopped him. "Mr. Specter?"
Ray hesitated, not entirely sure what he wanted to say. Mike had grown on him, though their interaction was still professional. But he appreciated the kid, almost as much as he appreciated the affect he had on Harvey (the way Harvey carried himself with more assurance, seemed more responsible, and Ray knew it was because Mike had given Harvey someone to be responsible for) "Bring Mr. Ross back."
Harvey nodded, and probably would have smiled a little if smiling didn't feel so wrong. "Thanks for the ride, Ray," he said as he slid out of the seat and closed the door behind him.
"You still there Mike?" he asked into his phone.
He heard a slight gasp. "Yeah. More or less."
"Let's try for "more"," the older man said before he launched into a coughing fit. The air was thick and dusty and even after several coughs, Harvey still felt like he already had dirt lodged in his throat.
"Harvey, you okay?"
Harvey shook his head in disbelief. "Shouldn't I be asking you that?"
"What you are referring to is called caring. Six letter word. Means showing concern for others." Mike's voice was raspy and quiet, but the comment made Harvey smile just a bit. At least the kid still had the ability to tease. Harvey had reached the outskirts of a crowd that had gathered around the scene.
"Hey, Harvey?" Mike asked suddenly.
"Yeah?" Harvey replied, a little distracted as he tried to come up with the fastest way to get to the front of the crowd before deciding that he ought to just shove his way to the front. He started weaving and elbowing people out of his way as Mike replied.
"Have you ever thought about death?"
The question caught Harvey so off guard that Harvey actually stumbled. "What?"
"Have you ever thought about death?" Mike repeated with such flippancy that he might as well have asked Harvey about their upcoming case or how the Yankees lost last night's baseball game.
"What about death?" he said more than asked, frustration making his speed increase and, admittedly, causing him to elbow people a little harder.
"You know...like, how you would die?"
Harvey opened his mouth to tell Mike that he had better stop thinking along those lines right now, but he suddenly realized that if he were in Mike's position, he would be having the same thoughts. He had, of course, thought about death. Not in any deep, philosophical way, but sure. Harvey had thought about it. But he didn't like thinking about it, much less talking about it.
Harvey emerged from the crowd, approaching the yellow CAUTION tape that encompassed the scene. He said confidently, "We're getting you out of there, Mike."
Mike took a breath. "I know," the younger man said certainly.
For some odd reason, that brought Harvey up short. He knew that the kid had faith in him. Had known it ever since the young man had stated simply "I think Harvey wins his cases," to Clifford Danner when they were trying to talk him into going to trial. But the two words that the kid had just said made Harvey realize just how much of that faith was blind faith.
When Mike had said that Harvey won his cases, there was evidence to back it up. Solid proof. But Harvey had no way to prove to Mike that the older man would get him out of this alive, and Mike had trusted him with such ease that it made Harvey feel this very odd surge of protectiveness.
A construction worker approached him just as Harvey ducked under the tape. "Sir, you can't—"
"Don't care," Harvey growled.
"Are you the owner of the company that sold Mr. Flynn the building?"
The man blinked. "Uh, well...y-yes..."
"Then I wouldn't say another word," Harvey said in his signature lawyer-voice with a withering glare to match. The younger man flushed slightly.
"I-I really can't allow you on the grounds."
"Mr. Haldin," Harvey said, "I think that you are in enough trouble, don't you?"
"We're doing our best—"
"Which won't be anywhere near enough once I'm through with you," Harvey interrupted. "Are you familiar with New York Code Article 216 Section 28?"
"What?" he asked, confused.
Harvey pressed on. "It says that any structure that might, at any time, become dangerous, must be demolished or made safe. There also must be a notice to anyone wishing to purchase said structure."
"Not to mention the execution that needed to be filed, legally saying that the owner has noticed the unsafe state of such a building." Harvey didn't wait to hear any of the stuttering response that Mr. Haldin was trying to put together. "And your contract with Mr. Flynn states that you have rightful ownership of this building until the 21st of May. So, it was, by law, your duty to do these things. But you didn't."
"Well, no, but—"
"And do you know what civil penalty that can add up to? Two thousand dollars," Harvey informed him. "Now, I know that that's not much, but add that to the punitive damages—you know, everything in that store, plus the mountain of medical bills for both Mr. Flynn and my associate..." Harvey paused. "Let's just say that you will probably die from drowning in your own self-pity before you manage to crawl out of the legal trouble that I will happily bring to court. And good luck getting a lawyer that will take your case."
"Who...who are you?"
Harvey smirked. "I'm Harvey Specter. Nice to meet you."
Mr. Haldin didn't move, and Harvey glared even more harshly at him. "I wasn't lying when I said that you have people alive in that rubble."
"What?" Apparently, he had failed to hear Harvey's implication.
"If I were you," Harvey suggested, "I would stop gawking at me and work on getting those people out—"
Harvey didn't even have to finish his sentence before the company owner had spun around and sprinted back towards to site, shouting at people to stop digging.
Suddenly, Donna appeared beside him, appearing out of nowhere. "Tell me you got a hold of Mike."
Harvey jumped slightly, but quickly recovered, nodding. "Mike, we're getting you out of there," Harvey said into the phone.
"You've told me that, Harvey. I know..." Harvey really didn't like how weak the kid's voice was getting. "And by the way, that was really awesome."
Harvey furrowed his brow. "What was?"
"The...the way you totally just told him off." Harvey smiled in spite of himself. It had felt good, too.
"Well, that's how it's done. You should be taking notes."
Harvey looked at Donna quickly out of the corner of his eye. "Hey, kid. I think Donna wants to say hello."
Donna blinked, but nodded at Harvey's raised eyebrows, taking the phone from him.
"Hi, Donna," Mike managed weakly.
"Oh, kid," Donna sighed. Mike was pretty sure that there was some sort of emotion there, but right now he was in too much pain for him to focus on such a small detail. Ever since the rubble shifted, Mike's stomach had been a constant pulse of white-hot agony, and his head had spiked to levels that Mike hadn't even known existed. And it didn't help that Mike was so exhausted he could barely keep his eyes open.
"How're you doing?" Donna asked.
Horribly, Mike wanted to reply, but didn't. "Okay," he said.
"No you aren't," Donna said disapprovingly. "Be honest."
Mike really didn't want to tell her, because he knew that she was plenty worried about him already. But lying to Donna when she tells you specifically not to is just suicide. "It hurts, but it could be worse."
I could be dead. Though, Mike wasn't entirely sure that it would be worse. After the rubble crashed down on top of him, shock had initially kept Mike from feeling most of the pain. But the shock had long since worn off.
Somehow, Donna seemed to understand everything that Mike wasn't saying. She always did. "You're gonna be okay, Mike. Hang in there."
"But I'm tired."
"I know. We're getting you out."
Mike coughed, and bit his lip to keep back a cry as his stomach shook. "Glad to see that you and Harvey agree."
"Speaking of," Donna said, "Harvey needs to talk to you, Mike."
"Mike?" Harvey asked the second Donna had returned the phone to him. Donna hovered next to him, a silent support for both Mike and Harvey.
"Yeeaah?" Mike's voice was barely above a whisper and Harvey honestly couldn't hold back the clench of his gut. The kid was fading way too fast.
"I need you to do something for me, okay?" Harvey waited for Mike to reply, but the associate didn't say anything. Praying that this didn't mean that Mike had passed out, Harvey continued. "I need you to describe to me what is around you."
"There's...a wooden beam sitting on...my chest," Mike managed, between painful pauses. "And...lots of metal stuff."
"What kind of metal stuff?" Harvey asked as he started to walk towards Mr. Haldin, who had requested that Harvey ask his associate to describe where he was so that the construction workers would know where to look.
"They're all...like...bent and twisted." Mike's voice was slurred. "Like a pretzel."
"Like a pretzel," Harvey repeated.
"Uh-huh," Mike affirmed. The younger man was launched into a coughing fit, ending in a strangled gasp. Harvey opened his mouth to ask if he was okay, but stopped himself. Harvey was not a man for idle questions, and it was pretty clear that Mike was not okay.
"Anything else?" Harvey said instead. He was now standing next to Mr. Haldin, who had heard the question.
"Ask him if he can see any glimpse of a sky," the company owner suggested. Harvey nodded.
"Mike, can you see the sky?"
Mike didn't answer right away. "I...maybe?" he said, his uncertainty making it a question. "It's...dark."
Harvey took a deep breath. "Yeah. Can you see any light?"
Harvey clenched his fist around his cell phone. He really didn't have the patience to deal with a delirious Mike. "Besides that?"
"This is really gonna run up my phone bill," Mike pointed out, misplaced concern ringing clearly in his tone.
"I'll pay your phone bill, Mike. You stay on this phone."
Mike thought about it again. "But that's...not fair to you, Harvey."
Harvey barked a laugh that sounded forced, even to himself. "Kid, don't worry about it. I've got the money. Do you see any light besides your phone?"
"Y-ye...yeah. I think."
"What does it look like?"
"It's...looks like...like..." Mike coughed weakly. "I dunno, Harvey. It's...a lighter color than everything else...I think it's the sky."
Harvey sighed. "We need you to be absolutely sure, kid."
He heard Mike swear under his breath. "I'm trying, Harvey..."
"Try harder." The words tumbled out of Harvey's mouth before he could stop them. Harvey exhaled sharply and pinched his eyes shut, already regretting what he had said even before he caught Donna's stricken look.
Mike was quiet for a minute. "I'm sure." Mike finally said, as confident as his feeble voice could sound.
"Good boy," Harvey said quietly. Then, to Mr. Haldin, "he can see the sky."
Mr. Haldin nodded once, indicating he had heard, and ran to go talk about a plan with other construction rescue workers.
"Harvey?" Mike's voice was hoarse and Harvey had to strain to hear him.
A very long stretch of silence, long enough that Harvey was worried that Mike had passed out on him, when Mike finally said, "I'm scared."
Harvey sighed. "I know you are, kid. Just hang on, okay? We're coming for you."