Pain With The Thousand Teeth

A/N: I have not abandoned Hindenberg, Cyber-Bully, mini!mike2 or in Difficulty - just RL (e.g. work schedule) is really hampering my attempts at writing. All of those deserve a proper amount of writing time, which I don't have due to rostering they have me on. As soon – a week or so – I should have some time off that enables me to dedicate some time to writing. However, today I had some time to sit down (not enough to actually do that) but enough time to do a small one-shot.

What happens to Mike in this happened to me at work one Friday night. By the time morning rolled round my face was so swollen I looked like the Churchill dog (UK adverts) and drooled. A lot. A little girl actually pointed at my face in alarm. So please get that image in your head to understand how out of whack Mike is.

Disclaimer: Suits is not mine. No infringement intended.

Pain with the thousand teeth

William Watson, 1892

A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.

Herb Caen

The glass is always empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And cracked a tooth.

Janeane Garofalo

xxx

It starts just as a niggle really. A little bit of pressure. A sting to the gum.

It's nothing different to the usual discomfort he's had before when one of his wisdom teeth remind him of their presence. A little bit of pain. A little bit of pressure. Nothing more than a passing nuisance that faded away after a day or two.

That's what he thought at the time.

He'd fingered his jaw and had felt the familiar pinch to the gum around it (admittedly a bit more tender than usual) as the ache had grown through all the teeth. He'd thought, as before, that it was just all his other teeth being made aware of the new presence of his slowly emerging tooth.

He became aware, too late to do anything really, that this was fast becoming more than a standard wisdom-tooth ache when the usual painkillers did nothing to shift the discomfort which was fast becoming actual pain.

It was bad timing too. He had a shit-load of files to wade through and knew from early on in the day that this would be a late one, if not an all-nighter.

It was probably a short time after 10:00 pm, long after the last remaining associate had left, that the pain intensified. Teeth felt like they were being ground into each other, an invisible torture device pushing down hard enough that Mike thought several teeth would snap in two. The pain wasn't just situated in one area though. It shot up and down between the top and bottom teeth and gums on his right side, winding its way into the deep crevices of his jaw and spiking out.

There were a few seconds here and there that he thought the pain had tailored off and he'd hoped – prayed – that it would dampen down and remain at level that was manageable. The seconds never lasted though, the pain coming back in crashing waves, peaking higher each time.

At times he would, foolishly, exploratory probe at the most troublesome points with his tongue as though it was some medical tool of measurement. Of, course, each time he would regret it as pain exploded through the line of teeth at the top and shoot into his jaw.

Sleep, he knew, would not come, so there was no point in going home. He'd probably never make it.

Efficient and functional performance wasn't forthcoming either. Every time he picked up a highlighter and tried to focus his eyes he'd end up groaning in despair, eyes widening as a particular sharp jab made its presence known.

Instead he ends up padding up and down in a defeated shuffle and trying to ignore the (very obvious) pull to his cheek and tightness to his mouth.

xxx

Harvey arrives at the firm earlier today due to fate.

The gym was closed due to a burst pipe that soaked practically every inch of the proprietary and it's equipment and there was absolutely hardly any traffic on the road meaning Ray could zip right through their usual route.

So Harvey is taken by surprise to see that Mike's bike is firmly secured in it's usual space. Harvey had figured, apart from security and cleaners, there would be no one else here yet. Yes, he's there that early, but he had mentally prepared to get some paperwork out of the way which would free his evening up. He'd also been thinking that he might take pity on his associate and let him knock off early.

The fact that Mike's bike is already in place tells him he'd probably done one his all nighters. Harvey appreciates Mike's thoroughness and dedication but the amount of hours he pulls alarms him and is something he'd planned on actually discussing with the kid.

Instead of heading to his office he makes his way to the associate area and spots Mike straight away. He's slumped on his desk in a mess, his hair ruffled to within an inch of it's life, as though Mike has repeatedly run his fingers through it.

He grimaces at the sight.

Knowing it's cruel, he grins evilly before raising his voice,"Ross!"

Mike shoots up immediately, his eyes comically wide, before quickly snatching his hand up and clutching at the side of his face.

The smug grin slides off Harvey's face and the planned mocking rebuke abandoned because as fast as Mike is, Harvey still catches the monstrosity of the kid's face.

"Jesus Christ, Mike!" Harvey gasps and strides forward, dumping his briefcase on a cubicle desk. Even with Mike's hand splayed there he can see that the entire side of the younger man's face is swollen from just under his eye, over his cheek and around his mouth. The right side of Mike's mouth is pulled so wide Harvey swears Mike is doing half an impression of Brando's Godfather. "You look like you've gone a round in the ring."

Mike makes some incoherent noises in the back of his throat. He tries to bat Harvey away when he exploratory attempts to pry Mike's hand from his cheek. "Ow, ow, ow-"

"Let me see," Harvey admonishes him and Mike reluctantly releases his hold. Harvey replaces it with his own, laying his fingers gently against the side of his face.

"Toothache," Mike manages through a hardly moving mouth.

Harvey winces because he can see, quite plainly, that this is more than a toothache.

He can feel the heat radiating into his hand and takes note of the further flush across Mike's face. Mike seems to find some solace in Harvey's' gesture, closing his eyes and leaning into his cooler hand until he grimaces and stalls the movement.

Harvey pulls his hand back and Mike moans his displeasure until he drops it down across his forehead. Mike blinks up at him in confusion, befuddled with pain and clearly perturbed by Harvey's uncharacteristic behaviour.

"You're warm," Harvey tells him.

"Thanks," Mike croaks at him and attempts to grin. He aborts it straight away, eyes actually filling with moisture. He dumps himself back down across his desk, cradling his face in between his hands. Harvey can just about about hear the muffled moans. It's a testament to how off Mike must be feeling to get his come-backs so confused but Harvey rolls his eyes at the sentiment.

"Wait here," Harvey tells him.

Mike huffs in his displeasure.

xxx

Harvey returns with a pack of frozen peas from the associate break room (he does wonder when the poor shmucks actually get time to cook, let alone eat it) and makes a mental note to remind Mike to replace it.

When he places it against the side of Mike's face, the kid practically jumps a foot out of his chair and shoots daggers at Harvey for increasing his pain.

"For the swelling," Harvey tells him, pushing it further against his face, already pulling his phone out of his pocket. "Take it."

"Hmm," Mike says distractedly and looks longingly at Harvey's hand before reluctantly taking the pack from him.

"Have you got a dentist?" he asks, thumbing through his phone.

"Huh?" Mike asks dumbly. His eyes look a bit glazed by now.

"Dentist?" Harvey repeats slower.

Mike shakes his head miserably.

"No?"

"I barely cover Grammy's bills. What I have left is for emergencies."

"And you never conceived this-" Harvey asks incredulously with a wave of the phone towards Mike - " as an emergency?"

"It's hurts," Mike says instead and Harvey's sure that the kid sounds all of five years old, wobbly voice and emotional over-kill.

"I know, kid" Harvey says, turning his attention back to his phone as his fingers track through his contacts.

"No," Mike huffs out in distress, "It hurts my hand to hold this. My fingers are numb. Harvey, it's hurting me more!"

Oh. My. God. The kid is whining. At him

With a roll of his eyes, he plants the phone against his ear, and plasters his free hand against the frozen peas.

"Happy now?" Harvey asks as Mike clenches his newly freed hand into a fist and turns watery eyes on him. Clearly not.

"Hi," Harvey says into the phone as he gets through to his required contact. "I need to make a appointment for my associate..."

By the time Harvey is done with the call, Mike is clearly none the wiser and pain makes him seemingly unquestionably compliant.

"C'mon, kid," Harvey tells him, pulling him up from the chair. Mike rises with trepidation and obediently lets Harvey manoeuvre him about. Harvey takes a second to take Mike's bag. He supposes Mike thinks it's 'vintage'. Harvey just thinks 'atrocious'.

"Huh?" Mike asks a few seconds later. He's still clearly bewildered – Harvey's not sure if it's the pain or the obvious fever that is starting into place. "What-?"

Harvey has to admit befuddled Mike is pretty adorable and amusing and can't help but slide his arm up around the kid's shoulders to steer him into place. If anyone asked he'd deny it of course. And there was no close proximity. None what so ever.

"Don't worry about it, kid," Harvey tells him as he steers him through the door. "But, I think this warrants the good drugs."

xxx

By the time Mike's been seen, Mike looks more pained than before thanks to copious amounts of prodding and probing, but dopey as well.

"Hey," Harvey greets him, placing his newspaper down. "What's the prognosis?"

He watches him as he makes his way over to the small waiting area on what looks like new-born limbs.

"Tooth abscess," Mike attempts to smile dopily and then frowns as though he'd forgotten. "I got some antibiotics and pain meds. They want to extract the tooth when it's all clear. Bad wisdom tooth."

Harvey chuckles because the kid is clearly out of it and still frowning.

"Yeah, it's evil," Harvey says, gathering his charge, medication included, and heading back out. He nods at the receptionist who had already informed him she would bill him the charge. He knows, right now, Mike really hasn't a clue he's paying for this and sometime in the near-future they'll have an epic fight over pride.

He manages to dump him in the waiting open door of the car and climbs in after him.

"Hey, Ray," Mike says, realising Harvey's driver is there and then giggles despite the pain it causes. "Oh. Hey, that rhymes."

"Yeah, you're such a poet," Harvey murmurs at him sarcastically.

"So," Ray asks, sliding into the front and eyeing Harvey in the rear view mirror. "I take it we're not going to the office?"

"No," Harvey agrees, already thumbing through his phone again.

"What?" Mike asks, becoming 'aware' all of the sudden, "Why?"

"Because you're as a high as a kite-"

"Seriously?" Mike snorts at the statement as though it's the most absurd thing he's ever heard. "I've had better stuff than that."

He goes silent then, face still flushed, and glances at Harvey with what he presumes is supposed to be a sheepish look (kind of hard to tell with the amount of swelling still evident.)

"I probably shouldn't have said that out loud, right?"

"Like I said-" Harvey says, turning his attention back his phone and texting a quick message to Donna. "you're as high a kite. Plus I don't want you scaring any clients with that face."

"Fine. Whatever," Mike huffs out and plants the unaffected side of his face against the window of the car. "I'm not going to yours though. If I'm as monstrous as you're making me out to be, I don't want to see my reflection in every surface I see. You might like to look at yourself, but I don't."

Ray actually sniggers from the front.

"He's adorable," Ray tells him. "Congratulations."

Harvey just rolls his eyes at him.

xxx

Harvey has Ray wait for him for half an hour.

Mike looks at him questionably but heads up to his apartment anyway, leaving the door open for Harvey to follow him in.

Mike sinks face down into the couch, kicking his shoes off and clutches at one of the worn cushions. Harvey would have objected to the abuse of a half-decent suit, but considering the rumpled state it's already in, he lets it slide.

Harvey's been to Mike's apartment on a couple of occasions and despite the outside looking like a death-trap, his actual apartment doesn't look too bad and Mike's made good of what he has. It's tidy and a bit cramped (although anything would look cluttered in comparison to Harvey's minimalistic condo) and Harvey can spare the kid a few minutes to make sure he's settled.

He's just finished clinking away in the kitchen (ignoring Mike's sleepy 'What are you doing?') and stands in front of his associate.

"Eat," he tells him with a prod against his shoulder.

Mike turns and looks at him blearily.

"Eggs. Scrambled?" Mike asks in confusion.

"It's what we call food, Mike," Harvey tells him as though he's talking to another species and pointedly ignores the small smile trying to tug at Mike's pained and swollen face. "Now eat."

"You can cook," Mike says in bemusement.

"I'm alive, aren't I?"

Mike is completely thrown by this revelation, but proceeds to spoon the mashed egg into his mouth tentatively, testing the mechanisms of his jaw as he did so.

"It's good," he says through the egg.

Harvey rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

"I'm going back to work," Harvey tells him. "Try and stay out of trouble."

He's by the door when Mike calls him (sounding more distorted with the effort of raising his voice).

"Harvey?"

He turns and looks back at the doped up look across the idiotic kid's face and raises an eyebrow.

"Thanks."

Harvey just shakes his head in response and exits before he can get in 'you so care'.

He knows that this isn't the last time he'd be taking the pup to the vets. It's not usual practice, but for Mike at least, it seems as though associate health care had become a norm. He nearly chokes on the word in his head.

Care! Pfft, right...