For suitsmeme prompt by phreakycat
Prompt: Orphan Issues - Mike's an orphan. We know this. I just want something that sort of explores that. How hard it is being an orphan, the ways losing your parents effects you and changes you and how you see the world, the insecurities and grief you carry with you, the million little mundane things you miss out on throughout your life (dad teaching you to shave, mom meeting your girlfriends, your kids having grandparents, etc), the way that pain never really fades because there are things every day that remind you of the people that SHOULD be there but aren't. I want Harvey sort of slowly realizing the depth of the impact Mike's parents' deaths had on him, how much it changed his life and what a deep wound it is to carry. Like he knows intellectually that Mike's an orphan, he just never really thought about what the MEANS to the kid in actuality. But then something (up to you) happens and he sort of gets a wake-up call about what a huge, all-encompassing, isolating thing it is to be an orphan. Because losing your parents, especially as a young child, has a HUGE effect on you and your development and it affects almost every part of your life and relationships, but it's obviously something that it's hard for other people to really grasp the scope of. And of course comfort is required as well!
I want Harvey sort of slowly realizing the depth of the impact Mike's parents' deaths had on him, how much it changed his life and what a deep wound it is to carry. Like he knows intellectually that Mike's an orphan, he just never really thought about what the MEANS to the kid in actuality. But then something (up to you) happens and he sort of gets a wake-up call about what a huge, all-encompassing, isolating thing it is to be an orphan. Because losing your parents, especially as a young child, has a HUGE effect on you and your development and it affects almost every part of your life and relationships, but it's obviously something that it's hard for other people to really grasp the scope of.
And of course comfort is required as well!
Warning: Spoilers for Identity Crisis
A/N: Missing scenes from Identity Crisis. Lola clues Harvey into the fact that Mike has some unresolved issues. Sorry... couldn't vibe Donna in this. I need to be in a certain mind-set for that, besides... Lola is very conveniently available. After seeing this episode I just could not ignore the fact that Harvey kind of was a complete douche in not realising Mike might have some issues in mediating their clients family therapy session. Then I saw the above prompt and got typing.
Disclaimer: Suits or the characters do not belong to me. No infringement intended
Mike is an orphan.
It should be obvious.
Both his parents are dead.
Harvey can't see beyond the word itself.
He's never really considered the implications.
Mike is an orphan.
His parents are dead.
And it takes Lola Jenson to clue him in.
Between Mike convincing Lola Jenson to help Harvey and Louis case, and effectively sticking it to the man, and Harvey and Louis victory, Mike finds himself at Lola's mercy again. This time for completely different reasons.
He ends up at her small modest apartment on his very small break.
She opens her door to him midst bagel hanging from her mouth as she juggles with a bag.
"Mike," She says sounding surprised, taking the remainder of the bagel from her mouth. "What are you doing here?"
"Uh... hey," Mike says. He smiles at her nervously and adjusts the bag over his shoulder. "Just wanted to say thanks for today. I don't have a lot time – got to get back to crunch some numbers."
"Really?" Lola asks as her eyes squint suspiciously. She steps back and points. He takes it as invitation and slides in. "An email would have done."
"Right," Mike chuckles again.
"Are you worried that I might still blow your little secret?"
Lola's folded her arms and despite the fact that she allowed him in she doesn't actually appear very welcoming.
In all honesty he doesn't have a clue. He's still petrified Lola can take this higher. Hell, she could take it viral. However, Harvey didn't seem as fazed as Mike was and because of that Mike was still tasked – or was it dumped – with trying to smooth things over between father and daughter.
If he persisted it could be the end of his career and since the beginning of this ridiculous 'case' (and yes he'd use metaphorical air quotes in his head if he wanted to because what exactly did Jerome Jenson want from Harvey and he in return from Mike. Lola was going off the rails with her daddy's money and giving it to the poor. Was that his problem? Why the hell was Harvey making it his problem? Why was Harvey making him facilitate a happy ever after between the two?)
The whole thing was giving him a headache and the more he thought about it the more angry he gets and the more angry he gets the more he realises that this wasn't just about the potential risk to his non-existent career.
It leaves him a little breathless and if he'd had any sense he'd walk away right now but Lola's staring at him with folded arms and he's still got a friggin' job to to do. If he was going to go out in blaze of (not even) glory, he might as well not piss off his mentor.
Right now it sounds so absurd that he nearly laughs out loud.
"Harvey gave a me a job to do," he says, ignoring the need to laugh hysterically.
"Seriously?" Lola asks and laughs. She gives him an evaluating look before adding with a small smile "Well, I'll give you something – you have some balls on you."
Mike smiles thinly back at her.
"I'd be worried if you thought I didn't have any."
"Oh you have some and right now they are in my hands. Do you really want to risk it?"
"If you expect me to run," Mike tells her, straightening up and trying to calm his features. "I wont. I have better things to do then see someone with more money then sense and a daughter who wants her daddy's attention butt heads, but as it is, it is apparently my job to try and re-conceal you."
"Say what you mean, why don't you," Lola tells him. Her laugh is more relaxed and amused now. Mike has no clue if that is bad or good. For all he knew she was one click away from destroying him. "I don't understand why two lawyers are so concerned if me and my father are playing happy families or not."
"I don't know either," Mike says hotly and a tad pissy. "If I could I'd tell Harvey to do it himself or stick it right up his ass."
"Ooh, so adult-like and lawyerly," Lola says, raising her hand in mock shock before looking at him with a more serious face. "If it was Harvey, I'd probably wouldn't have been convinced to help yesterday."
He's not really sure how to respond to that but it dawns on him something is changing.
"The money's back in the firms account. Happy?" Lola suddenly asks, defensive all of the sudden as though she realised she'd softened around him.
"No," Mike tells her. "Because, that's not what this is about."
"What's it about then, Mike?" Lola's voice rises in frustration. "Enlighten me."
"It's about you and your dad," he feels himself getting angry and confused. It mingles with his and Lola's frustration. "It's about you two actually talking to each other and I... I don't know... I... can't relate..."
He might as well have robotically said 'I can't compute'.
It's true though.
He can't relate to it.
What's missing more though is the need and desire to try and help Lola and her father bury the hatchet. He'd rather be anywhere else – even be Louis dogsbody a million times over – than willingly submerge himself into someone else's family drama.
Lola doesn't seem to have picked up on his own little personal faux pas though. She looks angry again and moves off near to her window, sitting down stiffly on the ledge.
"If you think that now I have put the money back that everything is going to be okay between me and my father, think again."
Mike doesn't have the reading skills that Harvey has, but he had thought that he had grown and been quite decent with the skills he did have, but right now Mike realises he really didn't know the motives of either Jerome or Lola. Did Jerome really want his daughter back or was he just concerned with the money she took and how it would affect the firm? Was Lola, like Harvey thought, simply trying to get her father's attention or doing a greater good?
"I put the money back because you made me realise there were other, bigger, things that deserved my attention," she tells him. Her head is lowered, her eyes avoiding his. "None of what happened has made me like my father any more."
Something in Mike snaps. The emotional thread between his head and his lips and a torrent of words fall from them.
"Some people would do anything for what you have, Lola," Mike snaps at her and moves across the small room back towards the door. He's vaguely aware that his actions are filled with anger and he shit shit shit feels the repressed surge that he has tried so hard to avoid. "Not all us have that."
Like the joy that they might have felt when he got in to college... Or the the disappointment that they would have shown when he was thrown out or when he'd taken pot or lost a job or taken a test for cash or generally used his gift for anything of a dubious nature.
Or the the disappointment that they would have shown when he was thrown out or when he'd taken pot or lost a job or taken a test for cash or generally used his gift for anything of a dubious nature.
Mike knows that there would be more disappointment then joy or praise and maybe that's why he repressed it so much. Mike knows though, that whatever would have happened, he wouldn't have let it get to the stage that Lola and Jerome were in now. Of course, earlier, Mike had told Jerome that things had been difficult with his father, that much was true. Things had always been stormy, hard to relate to and never seeing eye to eye, but despite all these things Mike still loved him and they had at least tried.
He also knew that since he'd walked into Harvey's office with a briefcase full of pot, life had got better and it would have been something Mike would have wanted them to see. As it were they weren't and instead he's in Lola's apartment beating his head against her wall and loosing the brain to mouth filter.
"You got a second chance to set things right. Don't be a fucking martyr."
Lola looks at him as though she's seeing him for the first time.
"Better than a pariah, right?"
Mike stares at her as the anger recedes and he resigns himself to just let it it go.
Defeat is inevitable.
Lola must have seen the change in him too because her face softens.
"What's this really ab-" she starts to say as she rises from the window ledge.
"You know what?" Mike says, shaking his head and waving her off with a smile. "I don't actually care any more. Do what you want, rip each other to pieces if you want. I'm done."
He doesn't give her an opportunity to respond and takes off before she can move.
Consequences be damned.
Somewhere between Mike and Louis crunching numbers in their heads, and Harvey and Louis standing as one, Harvey finds Lola Jenson outside Pearson and Hardman. She's sitting on a low rise wall not far from the side of the firm and is bathed in the glow of the late hour moon and dancing street lamps.
Harvey had been all set to hail a cab – at this late hour he had sent Ray home – when he had seen her.
He wonders why she would be here so late, if she had come to wait for Mike to continue to bait him or to find out more about her attempt in tracking the money they had been looking for. He considers going over to her to simply try and wheedle out what exactly she has on his associate but then remembers Mike telling him that Lola hadn't mentioned Harvey at all in her discovery, so maybe she hadn't factored him in. Yet. Best not throw himself into the picture.
Besides, he'd known Lola for quite some time now. If she truly would reveal their little secret he was sure she would have done it by now. Which again makes him wonder why she is here now. Was this a fraternisation he should worry about?
"Lola?" he calls, trying to make his voice sound inquisitive as though he had not been studying her for the last few minutes.
She turns and looks at him, hesitating a second before jumping the short distance to the ground.
"Hey," she says, nodding at him.
He walks the remaining distance to her.
"If you're looking for Mike, I sent him home a few hours ago," Harvey tells her. He tries reading her, which with Lola could go either way. Some days she was stony and emotionless, a blank canvas while other days she was pretty easy, especially when riled up.
Today was an easy day, not because she was riled up, but because she looked a little bit nervous, twitchy and, if not mistaken, annoyed.
"Actually," Lola says, looking up at him. "I wanted to speak you."
She was still looking at him. He felt a bit drowned in her eyes. He really hoped this was to do with her father's company or the case she had helped with and nothing too personal. He'd known Lola, and the Jenson's, for a while and while he'd never been known to become particularly fond of any clients (okay, Wyatt's an exception) he had seen a teenager finding her feet and voice grow into a young woman with determination, strong views and an even stronger voice, too proud to consider anything different to her own views and an attitude to boot. Her father was exactly the same. And he hated both of them for dragging him into it. When the hell did he start caring if they were talking? He didn't, of course, but a happy client meant a happy Jessica (and Harvey).
"Have you spoken to Mike this afternoon?"
"Of course. Why?"
"Is he okay?"
This makes Harvey stare. Was his associate okay? Why was Lola asking? The kid had appeared a bit stressed out this evening – head buried in his hands as he had studied all the bank details and records spread out in front of him and the junior and senior partner – morose, tired and tense, but he'd put it down to the fact that Mike was still worried Lola would spill his secret.
"Why?" he repeats, voice hardening.
"He stopped by my apartment this afternoon," Lola goes on to explain. She pulls her jacket around her tighter. "To talk to me about my dad, I guess. He seemed really on edge. I mean, I've only met him a few times. I thought he was just an empty suit, but it just wasn't a normal reaction..."
Harvey is clearly baffled. He hasn't a clue what Lola is referring to.
"Does he have issues? Like with his family or something? Because it wasn't a suit talking."
That makes Harvey do a double take. He- what?
"Beginning. Middle. End." He tells her, voice insistent and firm.
"I was giving him a bit of a hard time," she admits a bit regretfully. "I told him no matter what happened, me and my dad were kind of finished."
"You didn't mean that," Harvey interrupts her softly, despite his need to know what she meant regarding the well-being of his associate, he also felt he needed to reassure the young girl in front of him and not because she was simply his client's daughter.
"Maybe not," Lola shrugs. "Mike seemed really riled about it, like the concept was completely alien to him. He told me he couldn't relate it it, that not everybody had what I had..."
Harvey thinks his eyes might have actually widened. He wills them back down.
The unuttered 'Oh, shit' stays firmly within his mouth.
He is an idiot. A great big insensitive ignorant idiot who'd fucked things up. Of course Mike was riled up. The kid had been reluctant to do Harvey's (and Jerome's) dirty work. He, at the time, had thought it was because Mike didn't think it was their job and he had other, more important things to do. It didn't register for one second that the younger man may have found the whole experience uncomfortable and a reminder to what he had lost.
From what he gathered, Mike's parents had died when he was quite young – not quite a teen. They had never reached that milestone together. It kind of hit him hard – like Donna had hit him upside the head for not noticing sooner (and why the hell didn't she herself see this coming... ) at how much Mike had lost and what he would not experience. Fights and reconciliation's, relationships and dilemmas, new journey's and paths, marriage and children. He wondered how each and everyone would affect Mike, how knowing that his parent's were not there to talk him through it or rejoice in those steps. Was having his Grandmother the same? Would she even live long enough to see half of the things life had mapped out for him? Probably not.
And what had he done? He'd thrown the kid to wolves. Merrily hung distant memories in front of him and taunted him with both the memory and cruel fact that he'd never have it again. He'd never even considered an alternative because he was too blinded by the need to keep his client satisfied and the personal need to keep face.
Mike's surly attitude from earlier this morning – at the time Harvey had thought it was nothing more than the younger man simply throwing his toys out of the pram because Harvey refused to be drawn into the drama that Harvey was adamant would not happen – was now completely understood.
You told me to fix my case. Why don't you fix yours?
Shit. He is such a fucking idiot...and he may have just said that out loud.
Lola stops mid-sentence and looks at him with a confused smile. "I think I might have broken him."
She looks a bit glum and it doesn't suit her. He's only ever seen her feisty and fierce. He can't deal with being responsible for that too.
"No," He tells her. That was all on him. He had taken the little bit that was and broke it a little bit further.
Somewhere between Harvey and Louis standing as one solid team and then falling back to old (thanks to Louis inability to allow himself to believe in Harvey's honesty and bad timing on his part) Harvey calls Mike to his office.
"Hey?" Mike greets him eagerly.
He kind of feels bad that they hadn't let Mike come to play at the adult table, seeing him bounce and smile in front of him. He can still see that he's troubled though.
"Sit." He tells the younger man, pointing at his couch.
"Oh," Mike says a little dejectedly but sits down immediately. "Am I being fired?"
Harvey quirks his mouth at him and shakes his head.
"Why?" Mike asks, clearly confused. "It makes sense. Fire me now before any of this gets out in the open. Throw me under the bus."
Harvey rests his elbow on his desk and leans his hand into his palm as he studies Mike. The kid is looking exhausted and not from the usual 'work all night and crash later' exhaustion he had come accustomed to. It was more of the tiredness that came from thinking too much. Which he knew Mike did. A lot.
"I don't think you have to worry about Lola taking it further,"
"And why do you think that?" Mike asks, seemingly bored with Harvey's refusal to believe that this was probably the end of their arrangement.
"Because someone who is ready to take this public wouldn't be coming to me with concern for your welfare."
"Excuse me," Mike asks stupidly. Harvey actually grins at the dumb look across the kid's face. "She did what now?"
"She told me about your little rendezvous yesterday," Harvey tells him, "You want to tell me about it?"
"There's nothing to tell-" Mike starts to say. Straight away Harvey can see he's on the defensive.
"She told me what you said," Harvey said simply, bluntly.
Mike doesn't say anything.
He shrugs and looks down.
"I shouldn't have put you in that situation. I was a a douche."
Harvey can't see Mike's face but goes still when he sees the shaking to Mike's shoulders. Shit, has he made the kid cry?
He's saved from dealing with an emotional associate though when Mike lifts his head, laughter clearly fuelling the shakes, and wipes at his eyes.
"Okay. If that's what you're calling it."
"It's not an apology. It's an acceptance."
"That you're a douche. Right."
Harvey finds himself grinning despite the fact that they are skirting around the real issue.
"I was completely blinded by the fact that I was trying to please a client and I..." Harvey dips his head and shrugs. "- might have been a little bit distracted with Louis Wars."
Mike snorts at that and Harvey smirks.
"I dumped you in a impossible situation and it didn't even occur to me what it might actually have meant for you."
"It's okay, Harvey. Really, it is. It's not something I like to talk about."
Mike says it so quietly Harvey nearly misses it. The kid tenses his hands around the edge of the couch.
"You yelled at a client's daughter," Harvey tells him.
"I did," Mike agrees softly, before raising his head and looking at him questionably. "Are you firing me for that?"
"Let me get this through to you, Mike. I'm not firing you, okay?" He stares at him for a few seconds until the younger man nods. "I know you don't want to talk about it, but you still yelled at my client's daughter. I think that deserves some explanation, don't you?"
Mike nods at him and wipes a shaky hand down his face.
Cruel move Specter, but the kid's fallen for it.
"I don't know Harvey. I guess I was kind of a little bit mad at Jerome and Lola. They were both acting like the other didn't realise they were … you know – father and daughter? I wanted them to fight for each other. Not against one another."
Harvey nods and accepts the kid's answer but before he can move on, Mike's small voice continues with uncertainty, "My parents died when I was quite young, but I remember fighting with my dad. I'm not sure how we would be now, but back then we'd fight over everything, never see eye to eye. I don't think I was what he expected. But as much as we fought, I always knew that my parents loved me. That they always had my back."
Mike seems surprised by how much he has revealed. His eyes look a little bit wide. Harvey just nods at him again.
"This might sound stupid," Mike says. He fidgets on the couch. Mike's always been a fidgeter, especially in Harvey's office, but his moves now seem more twitchy and nervous than usual.
" - but, I kind of miss it, you know? The fighting, I mean. I guess that's why I got a bit snappy with Lola."
Harvey studies Mike for a bit longer. He doesn't doubt for a second that it's partly true, but Harvey knows the kid and he knows when he's leaving things unsaid. He can read it right across his face.
"Are you sure it's not something else?"
"I don't know. Maybe?" Mike says quietly. He shrugs before turning accusing eyes on him. "Was this a manipulative way at getting me to talk?"
"I don't know. Maybe," Harvey uses the kid's word back at him. "Did it work?"
Mike looks put out for a few seconds before muttering "It shouldn't have been that easy."
"No, it shouldn't," Harvey agrees but he did pride himself on talking Mike into anything. The kid was too obedient sometimes. Which didn't help when Harvey's completely blind to his puppy's needs.
Mike suddenly grins at him and Harvey feels relieved. He's looking more like his rookie now.
"Was this a 'talk'?"
"I think it was," Harvey agrees.
"And you're a douche," Mike reminds him.
"If I hear that fall from your mouth one more time I might reconsider not firing you."
"Duly noted," Mike says nodding, his mouth twitches as it tries to hide a grin. "Just relishing the moment. It's up there with 'mistake'."
Harvey's mouth twitches too and he runs his tongue across his teeth, "Not one of my best moments."
Mike nods again and rises from the couch.
"Can I get back to work now? I want to send an email to Lola to let her know how we 'stuck it to the man' and actually won."
Harvey wants to remind Mike that sending emails to Lola Jenson did not entail actual work but nods anyway.
Mike's just about to shoot off in that damn ridiculous bouncy way that Harvey can't help but smile at when he stalls him again.
He stops straight away and turns in the doorway.
"Just to let you know, kid," Harvey tells him seriously. "Our 'thing' is not getting out. Lola would never have done it anyway. She was calling your bluff. But if – if – there was an inkling of it - I have your back. You were never at risk because I wont let it happen. Okay?"
Mike nods and gulps and stares and Harvey can't bear to see the gratitude in the kids eyes, "Scram, already."
Mike's out of the doorway and past Donna's desk, whose looking mightily pissed at Harvey, when he hears Mike throw over his shoulder "Douche!"
Donna spends the next twenty minutes in a tirade in front of Harvey's desk.
"I'm surprised you didn't know. I was expecting a whack around the head."
Donna suddenly leans across the desk, smiling, before slapping the side of his head. It's not as vicious as she would have liked, Harvey can tell, but it's done with enough force to tell him she's not impressed.
"Ow! What the hell was that for?"
"For leaving out very important details to the Jenson case," Donna tells him hotly. "I knew what the problem was I just didn't know you'd set Mike up as the fixer."
"Wow! The all seeing and knowing oracle is off her game."
"Seriously? What I just did was mild to the one I have planned for what you actually did to Mike. I suggest you shut up right now."
"Okay. Shutting up right now," Harvey tells her and then makes a zipping up motion against the quirk of his lips.
"I had to find out from Norma," Donna tells him pissily. Her tone is in contrast to the calm and graceful way she lowers herself to his couch. She drapes one leg over her knee, "Louis was griping about the 'irreverent' and 'irrelevant' task you'd given Mike. Seriously Harvey, what were you thinking? It was all kinds of inappropriate. You don't need a Harvard degree to know that."
"Where were you when I needed you?" He asks his secretary with mock sorrow. Seriously, where were you?
"You didn't need me for that," Donna shakes her head and then seemingly takes pity on him because her face softens. "Well, you shouldn't anyway. You just need to know your puppy better. And learn to think before you speak."
"Touché," Harvey tells her and she dips her head in recognition.
Donna stands and straightens her neat pencil skirt.
"At least you tried to smooth things over and make amends. Nicely done, Specter."
She goes with a flourish and he grins after her.
He thinks about Mike and his words – and Harvey's own too – and knows that whatever new milestones Mike would go through he, and Donna too, would see him through it and, although never probably mentioned again, they would always have his back.
Sometime after Harvey and Mike's little 'talk', but before Harvey heads home, Harvey finds himself looking at Mike in his cubicle. Lola's there, talking to him and leaning across his desk.
Harvey is standing at a distance so he can't hear what's being said, and safely tucked away so can't been seen (more to do with the embarrassing fact that he spent the last few minutes staring at his associate then anything else. It's something he's promised himself to do at least once per day. Really look, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time) and Mike's clearly relaxed and laughing so Harvey guesses that Lola has finally put the kid at ease over the whole 'I know who you really are' shenanigans.
When she finally goes, Rachel appears as Mike readies himself to leave. Harvey catches the look of suspicion almost immediately, tracking Rachel's eyes movements as she eyeballs Lola on the way out.
Mike relaxes further in Rachel's company as they fall into step next to each other.
Damn, Harvey thought to himself, another fraternisation he had to worry about.
He really hates having to have someone else's back.
Tightness fills his chest, worrying him further.
Was this how milestones were supposed to fill?