Again for dome reason I have this head fandom that Harvey's office overlooks the associate area. Clearly I know this is no the case, but I'd like it to be. (it's also very convenient for Mike!Surveillance)...Cyber-Bully: The Associate's Den
Suitsmeme prompt: Mike gets cyberbullied and Harvey says he needs to toughen up. Then Harvey realizes how bad it is and goes off on the bullies.
Characters: Mike, Harvey, Kyle, Greg, assortment of others
disclaimer: Not mine, not for profit. No infringement intended.
There's been something off about Mike for around two weeks now. He'd never really been on, of course, but he's more off than usual. Jumpy, twitchy, rattled, irritable. He doesn't bounce around the office nearly as much as Harvey's accustomed to or exasperatedly grown to.
The kid, it seems, is getting sloppy too. He'd handed in briefs and case notes with glaringly obvious errors and oversights and on one occasion had got two by-laws mixed up. Not the usual standard the kid churned out daily.
Which is why Mike is in his office now and naturally having nothing to do with the glaringly obvious need to prod and poke the young associate out of some answers for said behaviour.
"Not your usual standard, rookie." Harvey says, flicking through the manilla folder on his desk.
Mike stands in front of the desk. His face is blank and he rolls his shoulder's in a half shrug gesture but comes across as indignant instead.
Harvey continues to thumb through the folder and raises a half brow at him.
"Forgetting which law goes with what? I expected more from you, Rain Man."
Less prodding and poking for some disclosure, more prodding a bear with a stick, it seemed because Mike suddenly sneers and shakes his head angrily before a stony look slides into place. Harvey can read people like books but Mike's getting better into sliding into blank and emotionless around him... he just needs to work on the expressions before and after.
"What do you expect, Harvey?" Mike forces out between clenched teeth. "I can't be a supper brain freak 24/7."
He ends up flinging a new folder – actually flinging it – across the desk haphazardly in Harvey's direction, a flair of a tantrum evident. A couple of the loose paper's try and make a run for it in their trajectory and end up sliding into Harvey's lap, "Here's the new – corrected – version. In an order you can understand. I even put post it notes on for you," he pauses and takes a breath that sounds a bit too shaky despite the determined and painted face he wore. "I recalculated the Simmond's finances. There's a discrepancy in their accounts that might mean leverage against their accountant."
A semblance of regret hangs heavy in the air because he'd be damned if that wasn't actual tears building in the kid's eyes, but as quick as they developed, they were blinked away and the hardened look to his face shifts into place.
"Mike..." Harvey starts but falls short when Mike turns on his heel quickly and storms out of his office, door banging heavily against fixtures.
By the time Harvey's extricated himself from behind his desk and makes to follow, Mike's already stormed past Donna's desk in a puppy-fied flappable anger.
Donna turns and raises both eyebrows and quirks her mouth in surprise.
"What did you do to the puppy?"
Harvey doesn't think he's done anything to the pup. He ends up watching him from his office just to make sure... or at least try and figure out the source for his uncharacteristic behaviour. He's dimmed the lights and tweaked the blinds so that it's not obvious he's standing and staring at his associate.
Donna comes in at the twenty minute mark with a fresh coffee.
"Ooh, are we staking out the pup?" she whispers. " Good thing I brought doughnuts too."
Harvey takes the offered cup of coffee from her and grimaces at the sound of it, never once taking his eyes off Mike. "Why are you whispering?"
She doesn't say anything, just smiles brightly and shrugs before turning her attention to the charge in front of them.
"Seriously," she says, blowing on her own coffee. "Anything to note."
Harvey was reluctant to admit that there wasn't. Mike had been at his desk for the entire time, head down and scribbling away into his notebook, occasional glance at the folders spread across his desk. Intermittently he would lift his head in the direction of another associate. A look passing across his face that Harvey couldn't quite place but unsettled him nonetheless. The kid is becoming increasingly rattled.
It's at the twenty-five minute mark that something stirs even deeper in Harvey.
Mike suddenly flinches and glances at his computer.
A hesitant hand clicks at his mouse.
An unmistakable paleness washes down his face.
He stands abruptly – chair roughly hitting the cubicle wall – and hands flex reflexively at his sides.
Harvey sees him whirl, anger fuelling movements. He can see that he's saying something – maybe even shouting with the way his chest is rising and falling and how his mouth turns up into a snarl – but he can't make out the words.
Harvey makes the snap decision to move – pushing past Donna and shoving himself out of the door. He needs an in and there was one opening up right now.
"... one of you was it?" He hears the tail of Mike's raised voice. Thankfully Louis and Jessica were in a meeting and would not hear it. "Which one of you?"
"I don't know what your talking about, Ross." Greg hisses at him as Harvey rounds the corner. "Sit down. Specter's here."
"Yeah, Mike," Kyle drawls. "Be a good boy and sit."
Mike's still standing though, shoulder's still rising and falling in hurried breath's, hand's still bunching and flexing out. But a second later he snaps to and quickly shuts down whatever was on his screen.
They've all shut up and Harvey regrets not going more stealth like. Instead he'd charged in way too early.
"What's going on?" Harvey says, voice raised with inquisition. He purposely eyes each and everyone one of the associates – maybe lingering on Harold for a second longer (because the kid was jittery as hell) – until they finally settle back on Mike.
There's a blotched flush over his face - seeping down his neck and reddening his cheeks – but does nothing to dampen down the still evident paleness there. His adam apple bops up and down several times and for a second he thinks the kid might loose his lunch (which was probably nothing to begin with) right there in cubicle monkey hell.
"Nothing." Mike says quietly. Harvey can hear the thinness to his voice.
Instead he offers a bemused smirk.
"Yeah, Harvey!... absolutely nothing!" Mike snaps harshly with a similar snarl to his face as he had offered his fellow associates and drops heavily into his chair, stabbing harshly at his keyboard. Harvey steps back and tilts his head in surprise. So the kid sometimes – sometimes – snipes at him in the safe confines of the office. Most definitely not in public. And usually when said puppy was hungry or tired or stressed. But never, in a million years, in public. In front of carnivorous associates ready to eat their own.
The kid was throwing the gauntlet down. Only Harvey wasn't entirely sure what Mike wanted him to do with it
Someone wolf-whistles and another sing-songed the words 'Love Paradise Lost'.
Harvey doesn't know who because he's still looking at Mike hard. Mike is still angrily abusing the key-board, the only thing visible on the screen an innocuous spreadsheet, and sucking in a breath that sounds too much like an aborted choke of a sob
Someone sniggers near-by. Harvey's head snaps up and scans the small crowd around him, eyes narrowing in pissed off anger.
"Get back to work!" he tells them icily.
Head's bob down quickly.
He turns and looks at his associate again, now fidgeting with a highlighter and shuffling papers around.
"You want something from me?" Mike says. His voice is quieter now and taken on an even more dangerous and thinner edge. He spins the highlighter between fingers and purses his lips as he scans, or least pretends to scan the papers in front of him. " 'Cause I have your cases and Louis' to finish."
Harvey stares at Mike for a second longer before straightening slightly and shaking his head.
"No, do what you have to do."
The highlighter stills between his fingers and silence surrounds them. Mike glances up at Harvey for just a second (and damn it, there's those god-damn tears again) before looking away and staring at some non de-script part of the cubicle wall and murmuring a shaky "Okay."
Harvey's already formulating some strategy in his head by the time he's made his way back to his office .There was no way he was going to let the gauntlet lie there and rust and break any further. Once he knew what he was dealing with, he'd pick it up, dust it off and hand it back. And then they would break the fucker open. Because there was always options, no matter what the situation.
"So," Donna asks, following him into his office and folding her arms. "From your face... and what I overheard, we don't have any answers. What's the plan?"
Harvey slides down into his own chair behind his desk and sighs.
"Get me someone from IT."
Donna waits for an explanation but doesn't get one.
"Phone or office?"
"Phone, for now," Harvey replies – picking up Mike's discarded folder from earlier and then dropping it, feeling useless but determined. Donna nods at him and turns to leave. "Make sure it's someone we can trust."
Donna turns and raises her eyebrow questionably.
"What am I? CIA?"
"C'mon Donna" Harvey smiles at her. "You know you have ninja skills when it comes to personnel."
Donna smiles too, although both are pale imitations of their usual banter, and flicks her hair.
"Don't you know it," she tells him from over shoulder.
Once Donna has gone, Harvey starts to put in to place the second part of his plan, which in hindsight is actually the first. And involves Louis. Because remote access of the ninja kind fails epically when the person in question is sat at the monitor.