Blame It On the Potato Salad
Disclaimer: I still don't own Suits
Notes: I'm back. I'm no medical expert, so all medical information I used is from the internet and what I learned in my food sanitation class. Luckily, I have never experienced what poor Mike is about to, and after learning about it in my class I'm so glad I haven't had personal experience with it. This fic has some medical ickiness and swearing so if you don't like, turn around now. You've been warned.
"Ok, Mrs. Jennings. Everything looks good. I'll get back to you after we schedule your disposition." Mike gets up from his client's couch, and begins to walk to the door.
"Thanks again, Mr. Ross, " Mrs. Jennings says as she ushers him to the door.
"My pleasure, and please call me Mike."
"Okay, Mike. Call me when the disposition is scheduled."
"Will do, have a good day," with that Mike leaves Mrs. Jennings apartment, and jogs down the building stairs. He walks over to his bike, and unlocks it. As he's about to get on his bike, his phone rings.
"Hello?" Mike answers.
"Are you almost done meeting with that pro bono client? I have some briefs that I need you to look at," Harvey says.
"I'm on my way now. I'm just gonna grab something quick to eat, and then I'll be there."
"Okay, make it quick. It's almost 2:30, and I need those briefs done before you leave for the day. I need them for a meeting first thing tomorrow morning." Mike doesn't need a reminder as to how late it is. He actually made it to work on time this morning only to have a pile of work waiting for him about the Jennings pro bono case. He was then told that he had to meet the said client for noon. And now at 2:30, he still hasn't had anything to eat for lunch. He's famished, and is sure that Harvey could probably hear his stomach growling over the phone.
"I'll be there."
"Good," Harvey then hangs up. On Mike's trek back to Pearson Hardman, he sees a small deli named The Corner Deli. He decides that he needs something to eat, and he needs it now. Or he's going to end up crashing his bike because of a case of low blood sugar. He stops in front of the deli, and walks in. He's so hungry that he decides to get the first thing he sees, which in this case is a container of half-way decent looking potato salad. He grabs it eagerly and makes his way to the cash register to pay for it. He's so hungry that he doesn't even notice the red, pus filled cut on the finger of the hand that hands him back his change. But, he does manage to ask for a plastic fork, so that he can have his late lunch on the go.
Less than forty minutes later, Mike is making his way to his cubicle at Pearson Hardman. He's in a good mood. It's a little after three, and the pile of work on his desk isn't too unmanageable, at least for him it isn't. He may actually get home at a halfway decent hour. He sits down and gets to work.
An hour later, he has put a pretty good size dent into his pile of work. But, his good mood quickly vanishes when he sees Louis Litt making his way towards his cubicle, with a huge pile of papers in his hands. "Ross, I need these done before you leave tonight."
"I'll get on them when I'm done with Harvey's work.
"Good, don't take too long on them."
"Okay, Louis. I got it covered." Louis quickly leaves, and Mike goes back to reading and highlighting. He's making good time, and in less than an hour his work for Harvey will be finished. When he does finish the work for Harvey, he heads over to his office. He goes to go in, but is stopped by Donna.
"Sorry, puppy. You can't go in there. That's only for the big dogs." Mike looks into Harvey's glass office, and sees Jessica and other senior partners in there. It must be a big meeting.
He turns back to Donna and says, "Can you give him these for me?"
"Sure thing." He hands over the papers to Donna, and heads back to his desk. On his way back to his cubicle he is stopped dead in his tracks by a violent stomach cramp. Damn, that hurts! Mike walks slowly back to his desk, hoping that sitting down will lessen the pain. When he makes it his desk, he plops down into his chair. Did I run? Why the hell am I so sweaty? Mike touches his forehead and feels a layer of sweat across it. Please, don't tell me I'm getting sick. This is not the time.
Mike wipes the sweat off his forehead with his hand and gets back to work. A sharp pain once again slams into his stomach. It hits so fast that he drops his highlighter onto the desk. Maybe some water will calm his stomach. Mike decides to take the chance and stands up to make his sway to the associate break room. Once he's there, he grabs a cup of water, and greedily chugs it. But, as luck would have it, the same water that he swallowed is now making a return appearance. Mike sprints to the men's room. Well, sprints may be an exaggeration because his stomach is cramping so badly that he can barely walk. He more or less stumbles his way to the men's room.
"Slow down, Ross," Greg yells as Mike's passes him in the hallway. Mike rushes into the bathroom, and kneels down in front of the toilet just in time to expel the potato salad that he had for lunch, along with all the water he just drank. After what feels like hours, Mike finally stops vomiting. He leans back against the refreshing bathroom stall door, giving his burning face a cool reprieve. Mike knows how unsanitary this is, but right now he doesn't care. He just wants the fire in his stomach and the rest of his body to ease up. And right now this stall door is providing him with some comfort. Mike thought that after all that vomiting his stomach discomfort might ease up, no such luck. The pain is still there, as fiery as ever. Mike stands up and makes his way to the sink. He rinses out his mouth and splashes water on his face to help quell the fire. He looks at himself in the mirror, and sees a milky complexion staring back at him.
Mike slowly makes his way back to his desk. He wants to go home, but he knows that the only way that's going to happen is for him to finish the work Louis left for him. The quicker he gets it done, the quicker he can go home.
Two hours later, Mike is still working on the work that Louis left him. He feels awful. If anything Mike feels even worse now than he did before. He's sweating buckets of sweat. He's dying of thirst, but is afraid to drink anything because in the last two hours he's puked five times. His brain is telling him that he needs to drink water, but his stomach is telling him no. And right now, his stomach is winning that fight. Mike knows he must look like shit because the snide comments that are usually directed at him by the other associates have tapered off about forty-five minutes ago. He normally would have been almost done with Louis' work by now, but because of his frequent trips to the men's' room, he's barely half way done with his work load. Mike attempts to shift to get himself in a more comfortable place, but he can't. Instead he's curled up over his stomach, as much as he can be. To add further misery, now his head is pounding in sync with the pulsating cramps in his stomach.
His misery is interrupted by someone clearing their throat. "So, puppy, rumor has it that you developed a sudden major drug problem this afternoon. The Harvard cronies are saying that you've been to the bathroom twenty times this afternoon." Mike looks up to see Donna by his desk. His mind is so fuzzy with the headache, relentless cramping stomach cramping, and the ongoing battle of keeping his innards inside his body, that he doesn't even make a snarky retort.
Any further teasing by Donna takes a back seat when she sees the state that Mike is in. "Jeesh, kid. You look like crap. Why don't you go home?"
"I can't. I need to finish work for Louis."
"You're not going to finish anything, if you keel over," Donna hesitantly touches Mike's forehead. Her disgust is clearly evident when she sees the sweat that is now on her hand, "Jesus Mike, you're burning-"
"Ross, are those briefs done yet? I thought you were supposed to be the golden boy. Why are you taking so long? Is this because they are for me and not for Harvey?" Louis moves towards Mike, getting way too close for Mike's liking.
"Louis, look at him," Donna intervenes. At this point Mike can't hold back the rising nausea that's been steadily rising since his last bout of vomiting. Unfortunately, for Louis, he's in the direct line of fire. Liquid spews out of Mike's mouth and onto Louis' very expensive shoes. Mike looks at Donna for refuge. He doesn't know if the look on her face is from shock of what she just witnessed, or if she's trying to hold back a snicker. Before he can figure this out, his hazy thinking is interrupted.
"ROSS! Go Home! I don't want to see you back here until you are cleared by a doctor."
"But, I'm not-"
"Don't worry about it. I'll have someone else finish up the work you were working on."
"Come on kid, let's get you home." Donna helps Mike get his stuff together and they're on the move. He's so out of it that he doesn't realize that he's sitting in Donna's chair, outside of Harvey's office until he hears Harvey's voice through his opened door.
"What's wrong with Mike? He looks like shit," Harvey asks Donna.
"Well, while you were busy meeting with Jessica and the other senior partners all day, Mike's been becoming fast friends with the toilet in the men's room. And to top it all off, he just chucked up half of what he ate over the last week all over Louis' shoes."
Mike doesn't know if it's the fuzziness in his head, but he's pretty sure that he can hear Harvey chucking at Donna's last comment. "Harvey, call Ray. The kid can't take a cab or ride his bike in the state he's in."
"I will, but give him a garbage can for the ride."
"It's so good to know you care."
"Care? I just don't want to sit in a car that once had puke all over the seats.
"Rigggght." Donna leaves Harvey's office and collects Mike. On their way out Mike sees Harvey's on the phone, probably calling Ray. But, Mike doesn't miss the slight wave Harvey gives him, or the quick passing look of concern that's on Harvey's face.
Mike was hoping that he would feel better once he got home. He was wrong. The only conciliation he has is that now he can get sick in the privacy of his own home. On the bright side, he only got sick twice on the way home from work, and he made it into the garbage can both times. Thank God! He's also a little more comfortable. He's out of his work clothes and is wearing a well worn pair of sweatpants and hoodie. He's so freaken miserable, all he wants to do is sleep. But, his sleep keeps getting interrupted because of the never ending bouts of vomiting. When he does manage to fall into a fitful sleep, his fever of 102.5 does not allow him to rest peacefully. He doesn't know how, but eventually he does drift off.
Mike can faintly hear a noise, but all he wants to do is sleep. The cramping hasn't eased up in the slightest, so he squeezes himself into the fetal position. He feels something once again surge into the back of his throat, but he has no energy to move towards the garbage can that is next to the couch. He drifts sack to sleep.
KNOCK! KNOCK1 KNOCK! "Come on kid, open up!" hollers Harvey. He looks at Donna with a weary look on his face. It's almost nine at night and Mike's been home for a couple of hours. Rachel, Donna, and Harvey have all tried calling Mike, but he hasn't picked up. Harvey tried brushing this off by telling Donna, "The kid has lost most of his stomach lining in the last six hours. He's probably exhausted, and sleeping it off." It was the look in Donna's eyes after he said that statement that has them here outside Mike's apartment.
Donna doesn't take Mike not opening his door lightly. She takes a paperclip out of her purse and move towards the lock.
Harvey raises his eyebrows, "You're going to pick his lock?"
"Do you have any other ideas?" Harvey doesn't have any ideas, and frankly the fact that Donna knows how to pick a lock shouldn't surprise him. The door is quickly opened and both of them walk into Mike's apartment, not knowing exactly what they will find.
The unmistakable stench of sickness fills the small apartment. Both Harvey and Donna wrinkle their noses at the unpleasant odor. They make their way into what serves as Mike's living room, and on the couch there is a small lump. As they get closer they see that Mike is lying in the fetal position. Harvey turns on a light by Mike's head. Donna sits on the couch and lightly touches Mike's face. There's a line of dried vomit running from Mike's mouth down his chin. Donna looks at Harvey in alarm, "Come on, Mike. Wake up, "Donna says sweetly. Mike ignores her calls.
Harvey tries a different approach. "Mike, wake up!" he says loudly, and slaps Mike on his flushed, burning cheek. His methods may seem cruel, but they do the trick. Harvey's actions are rewarded when Mike's glassy eyes open to slits. Donna gives Harvey the thermometer that's on the end table, no words are spoken, but Harvey knows what Donna is asking.
"Open up, Mike." Mike looks at Harvey, but doesn't seem to comprehend what Harvey is saying. He looks at Harvey, and then at Donna but it seems like Mike is not seeing them. He's looking through them and his gaze is fixed on a spot on the wall. Mike's mouth remains closed. Harvey tries again, "Kid, open your mouth. I have to take your temp." Mike still looks confused at Harvey's request, and his mouth stubbornly remains closed. Harvey can't take it anymore, and he gently lowers Mike's bottom jaw, and slips the thermometer in.
"Harvey, he's even paler than he was when Ray picked him up. The smell in this place tells me that his vomiting hasn't stopped-"Donna is stopped by the beeping of the thermometer. She leans closer to Harvey to see what it reads. "104.2"
"Damn it! This is not good!" Harvey replies.
"What's wrong with him? He was fine this morning, it's like it hit him all at once when he got back from meeting with Mrs. Jennings. This is no ordinary stomach bug."
"No it's not. So, the vomiting started abruptly. From the way he's holding his stomach, I say his stomach is cramping. Add fever to that list." Harvey closes his eyes; Mike's raspy breathing is the only sound that fills the small apartment. Suddenly, Harvey's eyes open and the symptoms all make sense. He's experienced them once before during his junior year at Harvard. After one drunken night his friends and he got sandwiches at a questionable 24 hour convenience store. Within hours they were all sick, spewing their guts violently. At first they thought they were hungover. But, then they realized that there was no way that they would all have the same exact symptoms. The only one of their friends that didn't get sick was Steven, who was a vegetarian. It was easy to conclude it must have been food poisoning.
"Food poisoning," Harvey mumbles.
"What did you say?"
Harvey ignores Donna for the time being and turns to Mike, "what did you eat today?"
Mike stares blankly at Harvey, squinting his eyes shut. Great, Harvey thinks, add headache to the checklist. Harvey puts his hands around Mike's neck, forcing him to focus on Harvey. Harvey tries again,"Mike, I know you feel like shit. But, to make you better I need to know what you ate? Tell me."
Finally, Harvey's words seem to penetrate Mike's fevered brain. "Potato salad."
"Okay, good. Now, where did you get it?" Harvey asked.
Mike is fading again. His head is listing to the side. He's about ready to fall asleep, but Harvey shakes him.
"Not yet, Mike. I'll let you go back to sleep after you tell me, where did you get that salad."
"My head hurts."
"I know kid. You're probably dehydrated from all the vomiting. I'm gonna get you to the hospital and pump you full of the good stuff in a bit. But, before I can I need to know where you got the potato salad."
Mike finally answers Harvey's questions, "Got it at a deli near Mrs. Jennings place. I think the place is called The Corner Deli."
Harvey rubs Mike's neck, hoping to give the kid some comfort. "Good job, pup. We got it from here. Rest." And he does, once again Mike closes his eyes and drifts back to sleep. Harvey turns back to Donna who is already on the phone, calling Ray back to Mike's place.
"One step at a time. Come on, Mike," Donna cheers Mike on as they crawl from Mike's apartment down the stairs towards the car. Even with Donna's words of encouragement. The kid is struggling. He looks like a fish out of water. He is tripping over his own feet and his head keeps dropping onto his shoulder. A two minute walk is now up to ten, and they're still on Mike's floor. Two more flights to go. "This is ridiculous," Donna mutters, as she tries to help Harvey out by wrapping her left arm around Mike's waist.
"I'll tell you what's ridiculous. Not having a fucking elevator in this damn rat trap of an apartment," Harvey retorts. His tirade is ended when Mike starts to slip from his grasp and begins a long decent to the ground. His ungraceful landing is stopped by Harvey as he grabs Mike halfway up his back, and readjusts his hold on Mike's right side. They continue what feels like an endless journey down to the ground level.
Finally, ten minutes later the trio makes it to their destination. Ray sees them coming out of the door and rushes over to them to offer a hand. He takes Donna's place on Mike's right side and Donna opens the back door to the car. Together, Harvey and Ray are able to make it the last couple of yards to the car. Once there, the two of them gently place Mike onto the seat. Donna slides in next to Mike, placing the blanket that she brought from Mike's apartment over him.
"Head over to Presbyterian." Harvey says to Ray.
From the car Donna asks, "Where are you going?"
"I'm going to head over to the deli where Mike got that damn potato salad, and see what the hell is going on. I'll meet you at the hospital in a bit. Keep me updated."
"Will do." Donna returns Harvey's reassuring smile with one of her own. The door is then closed, and Ray drives towards the hospital during the dead of night.
Donna looks at Mike, who is now finally resting peacefully in the hospital bed. Donna tries to get into a more comfortable position, but can't seem to do so. She settles for standing up and walking off the kink in her back. As she goes towards the window to look out the window to look at the dark sky, her attention is drawn back to the bed. Mike is moving around and his clear, blue eyes open up., "Donna?"
"Yeah, Mike. It's me," Donna replies.
"Where am I?" It's good to hear Mike talking, especially after finding him so unresponsive in his apartment, mere hours ago. His exhaustion is evident as he seems to struggle with figuring out where he is. His eyes are looking around the room, trying to piece together the clues.
"You're in the hospital, Mike. Apparently, that deli where you got the potato salad is a cesspool of disease. You got food poisoning food. And because of the constant vomiting, you got dehydrated. Hence all of your fancy accessories here."
"Potato salad? That's what caused all of this?" Mike says.
"That's right. You contacted a nasty case of staphylococcal gastroenteritis." Mike looks to see where the new voice is coming from. He finds the source easily. There in the hallway is Harvey. Even at these wee hours he still looks like the confident lawyer that he is. Not a hair out of place, and he glides into the room. "How you doing, kid?"
"Better, I guess." Mike is struggling with keeping his eyes open. He keeps trying to blink, hoping that it would wake him up. But, it doesn't. Harvey knows that the bout of food poisoning really took a lot out of him, but he' s feeling better now looking at Mike struggling to stay awake. This is a lot better than finding Mike unconscious in his apartment, with vomit running down his face. And that torturous walk down to the car was probably the longest twenty minutes of his life.
"Don't fight it kid, go back to sleep. And don't worry about work. You're good," Harvey reassures Mike. Harvey's reassurance seems to do the trick, Mike's eyes drift close. Harvey and Donna both take a seat next to Mike's bed.
"So, where were you after you left me with the sick pup?" Donna asks Harvey in a whisper, trying not to disturb Mike's slumber.
"I went to that damn deli where Mike got that potato salad. Apparently, they're experiencing a staph outbreak. I made it clear that they better take the necessary precautions to ensure that such event won't happen again, and if it does I will personally be representing the parties who will be suing them for damages, pro bono." Harvey says.
"Pro bono? You hate doing pro bono work." Donna replies.
"No one messes with my puppy. I'll even take a pro bono case to make sure that doesn't happen."
"Jees, Harvey. You're making me think that you actually care." Donna says and turns to Harvey. Harvey just gives her a smirk and they both sit back in their chairs and watch Mike sleep, a resting sleep.
I hope you guys like. Please go easy on me.