Standard disclaimers apply

Part 3

The room has filled with silence, buffeting around them, but doing nothing to soften the blows.

Mike seems completely taken aback by the revelation, and realisation that it's now out in the open, and is doing his best impression of a fish out of water; eyes darting around, mouth half open, the edge of words forming but never materialising.

"Mike?" Harvey demands of him.

"I... I... what...?" Mike stutters his way through Harvey's lasered gaze before his eyes squint suspiciously and his face hardens. "You had no right."

"I... what?" Harvey parrots back. Now it's his turn to be floundering and flabbergasted. Frustrated anger (at himself, at Mike, at whoever was responsible) turns incredulous and he fires it back. "Excuse me?"

"I said .." Mike says firmly. He moves forwards towards Harvey's desk but then appears to change tactics and shifts off to the side. He ends up, briefly looking out of the side of Harvey's window, enough time to take in a heaving breath before whirling around and facing him again. "What was it Harvey. Keeping tabs on me? Did you think you'd find something on me? What? Did you think I was in contact with Trevor?"

Mike shakes his head and suddenly decides to move off again, towards the door, apparently terminating their not-conversation, but stalls and glances at him with a raised hand, finger jabbing the air between them. "Fuck you, Harvey. Fuck you."

Harvey shifts around his desk with enough force that the move comes across as aggressive, almost violent, causing Mike to flinch and back up slightly, halfway through the already opened door

"I have every right," Harvey spits at him, rounding on him and grabbing at his arm. He manages to roughly pull him back in, shake his head in Donna's direction who was half raised from her desk – worry plastered across her face – and kick the door shut with a small flick of the foot.

Mike stumbles slightly and Harvey rights him a with a more gentle bracing hand, aware that he is coming across as over-bearing and hinging on violence. Once Mike is back to standing straight, he lets go and steps further away, allowing his associate some space to breath in.

"This has nothing to do with Trevor," Harvey says, levelling his voice out more evenly. He sees Mike's expression change as he processes the changing emotions, practically sees the cogs move behind his roaming eyes. Mike's breathing appears to try and match Harvey's (levelling) voice as one defence mechanism falls. "And you know that I know that."

Mike folds his arms across his chest (new mechanism falls into place, but Harvey knows the kid and is pretty sure he can break it down eventually) and levels his still angered eyes on to him, full of betrayal, hate and anger. Harvey thinks – hopes – that, along with Harvey's anger and confusion, it's misdirected.

"You went through my stuff, Harvey," he mutters. Any evidence of the fiestiness he'd heard before, had slowly drifted away, leaving a soft and wavering voice. "My emails! It's private. You had no right, no right at all."

"I had every right," Harvey repeats just as softly, aware his tone was dipping into a dangerously bewildered disappointment (which was the last thing he wanted the kid to feel). "When you started acting weird, I had a right. When your performance started to be lacklustre, I had a right. When you started acting like someone was kicking your ass, I had a right. And this morning's drama? Guess what? I had a god damn right."

Mike doesn't say anything to Harvey's quiet tirade, just shifts his gaze up and away, avoiding eye-contact. There's an obvious shake building within his smaller frame, one that Harvey is familiar with – building in waves and spreading out like a phoenix from the ashes – and hopes that it doesn't disintegrate into anything else.

" Christ, kid...why the hell didn't you tell me?" Harvey questions with a sigh and sags against the desk, buttocks resting against cool glass.

Mike's wilting frame turns rigid again, red flares across his checks and Harvey's feels the heat from the sudden, renewed anger before he even hears the words.

"I FUCKING DID!" He shouts, a semblance of a phoenix rising before loosing its momentum and Mike stumbles over to Harvey's couch and drops heavily into it.

Harvey's left in a surprised stupor – not because of the sudden unleash of anger or the fact that Donna and most probably half of the people milling around the offices could hear it too – but because with a sudden painful clarity, he realises the kid had. Told him. Amongst pizza-boxes and briefs and idiotic 'rights of passage.'

'I can take it.'

Files clasped abusively tight in trembling hands

"Straighten it out."

Shit. Fucking god damn shit.

Anger, that deep down, he already had partly reserved for himself, internalised for the briefest of seconds – burned deep within – until automatic self-preservation won out and small words fell from wet lips, "I didn't realise it was that bad."

"It wasn't," he hears softly from the couch. Harvey can't see Mike's face because he has it buried in hands and so he doesn't know how to tread. There's still evidence of shaking as trembles shake out through his arms. Shit... and now the kid is trying to make him feel better. "I mean, it got worse. Besides... I kind of brushed it off really. How would you-"

"It was bad enough," Harvey says with a sigh, cutting Mike off, and joining his associate on the couch. "Haven't I taught you anything about being a closer. You tell the Jury what you want – have to – and make them believe. You make them listen."

Mike chuckles dryly and drops one hand to give Harvey a wry grin. Thankfully, there's no tears. Yet.

"Is everything you have to teach related to court etiquette?"

Despite not wanting to make light of the situation, Harvey manages to offer Mike a small grin back and nods, "Pretty much."

Their eyes linger, just for mere seconds, but it fills both of them with similar understandings and apologies. No words needed. Not for now, anyway.

Mike breaks the hold first and waves a hand in the direction of Harvey's desk.

"How did you manage all of that?"

"I had a little bit of help," Harvey admits slowly, unsure of Mike's reaction. "I needed someone from IT to remote access, Benjamin something..."

"Ben knows?" Mike's startled voice interrupts him, before throwing his head back into his hands.

"... which is why I had to get you to go with Louis."

"Oh, god! Louis knows about this?"

"No-" Harvey quickly reassures him with a shake of his head. "Just me and the IT guy. Donna knows something is wrong, but doesn't know what yet. She seems positive this IT kid is trustworthy."

"Ben," Mike automatically corrects him before continuing in a rush. "I trust him. I think, but maybe, you can have him sign something, just to make sure."

"Wait a minute," Harvey states, unsure where Mike was going with this. "If you want this Ben guy to sign something, I'll make it happen, but that doesn't mean I am going to ignore what's been happening."

"Harvey..." Mike starts, body tensing, limbs fidgeting in his distress.

"Mike-" Harvey cuts him off. "A serious issue has been raised here. I have to be seen to do something."

"No- no, no, no, shit, no," Mike panicky breathes out. He attempts to dart from the couch but Harvey entangles his hand around his arm and pulls him roughly back down.


"Don't you see?" Mike says, refusing to let Harvey get a word in. "It will only make things worse. They already think I'm your golden boy. They'll just think that I came running to you."

"What is is this? High school?" Harvey asks with a dry chuckle before considering the situation again and who was most probably responsible. "On second thoughts..."

Mike attempts to pull away from Harvey's tight grasp but only manages to wriggle further into the couch. "I'm serious, Harvey."

"So, am I," Harvey says seriously while pushing Mike against the back of the couch with his free arm. "Even if you weren't my associate, and this was brought to my attention, I would have to deal with it and take it further. As a mentor, as a senior partner, as a responsible person..."

Mike shifts his head away and looks in the opposite direction.

"... but, just so you know, it also means something to me. You're my associate, all puppy analogies put aside, my responsibility and I have your back."

Mike turns and studies Harvey. This would be the time, in any other circumstance, that Mike would proclaim 'you so care', but his his face is too open and his eyes too soft and wet for their usual banter and simply utters 'Thanks' instead.

Harvey releases his hold over Mike, pushes up from the couch and ejects the disc from the computer. He turns and holds it out between between the tips of his fingers.

"Pearson Hardman are a law firm, Mike. We work within the confines of law, sometimes questionably, but generally within it. And this-" He says, waving the disc between them, "is definitely not within the law. I can't ignore it."

"Okay," Mike sighs, wipes a weary hand down his face and nods. "What now?"

"Now?" Harvey says, stepping forward, "now, I have to take this to Jessica and, unfortunately, Louis."

Mike nods again and folds his arms across his stomach. From this angle, with Harvey, looking down at him, he looks small and way too young.

"What do I do?" he asks, soft and defeated and lost.

"You stay here and work on some of your case files."

Harvey makes to move off out of his office and immediately feels Mike following.

"Where do you think you're going?" Harvey asks, turning to find Mike behind him.

"To get my bag and files." Mike responds straight away. Harvey doesn't want that, for one – he doesn't want any of the other associates (or whoever was responsible) to realise the game was up and secondly – he didn't want Mike walking back into their den, now knowing what they were capable of and most definitely not with the red-eyed world weariness that the kid seemed to be seeping with.

"Donna will get those," Harvey said firmly, shooing Mike back inside, while calling over his shoulder - "Donna, will you-?"

"Already done," She replied before magically pulling Mike's distinctive messenger bag and a wad of files from under her desk.

"Thanks," he tells her, collecting them from her desk before heading into his office and directing Mike back to the couch with a pointed finger. "Sit and stay. No matter the circumstances, you're not to leave this office. Got it?"

Mike jumps slightly as Harvey dumps the bag and files into his waiting lap.

"Ey Ey Captain," Mike says with a grunt and an eye roll but none of the flare.