Mike had fetched his bag from his desk and they were almost to the elevator when he grabbed a handful of Harvey's suit to stop him.
"I forgot my phone in your office," he said. Harvey rolled his eyes, vexed.
"Is it really that important? It'll still be there tomorrow." Mike fixed him with a pleading expression and Harvey knew he was putting up a token protest at best. The kid did have a way of getting what he wanted.
"What if something happens to my Grams? The hospital can't reach me without my phone," he said, and Harvey capitulated gracefully. They hurriedly made their way back to the office, the sparsely lit hall beginning to make them uneasy. The elevator had dinged as Louis left while they were still occupied at Mike's desk, and the pervasive silence in such a typically noisy space was eerie, making the hall seem much longer and more ominous than usual.
Harvey's office, like his home, always gave him a center to focus on and some peace of mind. He was dismayed when it failed to do so this time, and he cast an eye over it warily as Mike dug under the couch cushions. He looked back to Mike just in time to see him yank his hand out triumphantly, phone clutched in one fist.
"Ha! I knew it was there," Mike crowed, inordinately pleased. He turned to Harvey, extending one hand for his bag, but clenched it tightly in a fist and pulled it back before making contact. Harvey watched with dread as Mike's pupils shrank to a pinpoint in fear when the ominous and unmistakable sound of splintering glass came from behind them both. He met Mike's eyes over the suddenly vast space of a few feet between them, his heart beating double time as his mind blanked for the first time in his recent memory. The knowledge of what was coming was dark in Mike's vulnerable blue eyes, and Harvey was overcome by the urge to protect Mike from the weariness creasing his brow.
The walls and windows all around shattered with a resounding crash, and Harvey leaped into action, launching himself at Mike, dragging him into a crouch and wrapping him in a desperate embrace. Harvey cradled the back of Mike's head in one hand as he forced him to bury his face in Harvey's shoulder to protect his eyes, shrugging out of his sling and ignoring the pain to curl the other arm around Mike's shoulders. The fingers of that hand clawed into the thick muscle of Mike's bicep so hard it had to hurt Mike as well, the heat of Mike's skin burning hot into Harvey through all the clothes between them.
The roar of the wind grew so loud that Harvey could feel it as a physical pressure against his eardrums, and he tucked Mike against himself as firmly as he could. The terror was growing with every beat of his heart, the glass skimming over his flesh flirtatiously, and he was almost grateful for the adrenaline that enabled him to push the pain away. He flinched with every touch and could feel Mike trembling and doing the same, damp warmth soaking through the heavy cloth of the shoulder of his jacket.
Mike cried out and Harvey's grip spasmed as a stray shard dealt them both the first deep blow, slicing its way across the top of Mike's shoulder and catching Harvey in the delicate flesh between middle and ring finger and trailing down the back of his hand. Mike's hands came up to clutch at the lapels of Harvey's jacket, his back arching in a futile attempt to get away from the glass focusing on his flanks and lower back. The glass was doing substantial damage now, and Harvey felt frustrated tears press between his own lashes, his inability to protect Mike from this rending him from the inside out.
Harvey panted against the pain and anger, unable to see a way out of this for either of them. Mike beat a fist against Harvey's chest as a piece of glass gouged its way across his stomach, a gut-wrenching whine ripping from his throat. Harvey slipped his grip down to Mike's waist and pulled him flush against his torso, blocking off at least one more angle of attack, inordinately pleased at the ability to help even in such a small manner. Mike's chest shuddered in a sob and Harvey prayed for this to end, prayed that this was all a mistake and he really was just losing his mind, anything to mean that he and Mike weren't going to die here like this.
He buried his face into Mike's shoulder and hugged him to his chest as tightly as he could. He pressed his lips to Mike's jaw, rough with stubble, and murmured the words he couldn't say but felt with all he had into the pale skin. Mike's grip twitched and Harvey almost thought the younger man had heard him, the moment seeming almost an eye in the storm, but there was simply no way. He pressed a fervent kiss to the spot warm from his breath and Mike's breath hiccoughed in his chest, his face nuzzling further into Harvey's shoulder.
A shotgun blast fractured their violent reality, all the glass suddenly getting whipped into the hall by the strong wind blowing in through the gaping hole where the windows had once stood. Harvey sucked in a surprised breath and wrenched his face from its hiding place to stare in shock at the unexpected but welcome sight of Sam and Dean, back-lit against the low lights in the hall. Sam wasted no time in striding over to the both of them and forcing them to their feet, pulling them stumbling along behind him to the relative safety of the hall.
"We need an interior room, no windows. Now!" Dean barked, and Harvey snapped back to his senses. The inane thought that he had no idea how to explain the holes in the wall from the shotgun blast to Jessica occurred to him, as though he was going to be able to find a reasonable explanation for any of the damage incurred on the Pearson Hardman facilities tonight, and he shook it away. He dismissed the bathroom as a viable choice, the large sheet mirror presenting too great a threat.
"The copy room," Harvey said, taking Mike by the wrist and quickly tugging him with him away from the wreck of his once pristine office. The further from the mess they moved, the more glass walls they found intact, and it set Harvey's teeth on edge. Dean kept pace with Harvey, his shotgun brandished before him and whipping back and forth as he peered around corners for any signs of the ghost. They managed to reach the copy room in peace, and the men wasted no time in slamming the door shut and laying salt lines at all the entrances.
Harvey caught his breath and gave Mike a worried once-over; while Harvey had numerous superficial cuts, Mike's shirt and pants were gaping in places and liberally splattered with blood. He still looked shell-shocked and was gaping at their rescuers with dazed disbelief, swaying on his feet and losing copious amounts of blood. Harvey reached out for him, realizing they needed to get the bleeding stopped, and that there were no first aid supplies readily at hand.
A lump choked off his throat, and Harvey funneled the unwanted emotion into anger, remembering that these men had promised that they were going to take care of this problem. He didn't have the energy to tell himself that it was all some elaborate plot, there was no rational explanation he could think of to explain the behavior of the glass. He pivoted to pin Dean with his sharpest glare.
"What the hell happened? You said you were going to take care of this, and that? That is not taken care of!" he snapped, and Dean bristled.
"Yeah, well we did what we were supposed to do! This isn't exactly a science, ya know," he said gruffly, and Sam held up a mollifying hand. Dean looked disgruntled, but he backed off, turning his back on the three of them with a huff and peering down the short hall to the back entrance to the room. Sam heaved a put-upon sigh and Harvey jerked his jacket as straight as he could, refusing to feel guilty over his harsh treatment of the men who had undeniably just saved both his and Mike's life.
"These things don't always go the way they're supposed to, but that doesn't matter," Sam started, turning his attention to Mike. "Do you know if there was anything left that was important to this guy, or if someone had a lock of his hair or something like that?"
Mike turned a blank look on him for a moment while his mind caught up, and then blinked in confusion.
"It's not like the guy was my friend. I have no idea about anything like that."
"What the hell kind of question is that, anyway? What does his hair have to do with this?" Harvey asked belligerently, and Mike's gaze seemed to clear as he turned his eyes on him.
"They must have burned Aaron's body. Some lore says that if you burn the body, it puts the spirit to rest, but if there's any part of the body left behind the ghost can come back. Something like a lock of hair or teeth or substantial amounts of blood will do," he explained, and then the light of understanding dawned in his eyes. "The blood! The clothes I was wearing the day he was hit, they're in my desk. I couldn't throw them away after what happened."
Harvey took one look at his regret-filled eyes and gripped the back of his neck in support. Dean had rejoined them, coming closer to fully hear Mike, impressed by any such knowledge in a layman. Sam shared a look with his brother before smiling sympathetically at Mike.
"It's okay, you couldn't have known. Where are the clothes?" Sam asked.
"They're here in my bottom left desk drawer," Mike said, looking relieved that they were so easy to reach. He swayed and Harvey wrapped a careful arm around his waist, dragging him over to a chair sitting unobtrusively in the corner and forcing him into it. While Harvey pulled off his jacket and pressed it against the cut on Mike's stomach, Sam and Dean argued quietly, Dean clutching a drab green canvas bag protectively. Harvey kept watch on them out of the corner of his eye, trying to figure out what they were arguing about and help Mike at the same time. Whatever it was, Sam emerged victorious and Dean sighed angrily, glaring at Harvey.
"You. Know how to handle a shotgun?" he asked brusquely. Harvey refrained from sneering and nodded. The guy opened the bag and yanked out another shotgun almost identical to the one held in his free hand, and Harvey almost regretted his answer. Sam took the gun from his brother and brought it over to Harvey, double-checking to be sure that it was loaded and bringing up a question in Harvey's mind.
"It could really tear up your shoulder, but it's not like there's a better option," Sam said apologetically.
"What's in these things anyway? Does shooting buckshot at a ghost really work?" Harvey was getting tired of being the one asking questions and getting coddled like an amateur. He was not an amateur. Regardless, Sam looked amused.
"Salt rounds," he replied dryly, and Harvey squinted up at him from where he was still crouched at Mike's side.
"We make our own ammo, for ghosts it's salt rounds. It weakens them and forces them to disappear for a while," Dean piped up, still clearly disgruntled over having to hand over a weapon to someone he didn't know. Maybe it was the whole civilian thing, he seemed like the military type.
"We need to go," he added to Sam. Sam nodded and passed a canister of salt out of his own bag to Harvey.
"Re-do the line at the door if it gets messed up when we open the door," he ordered. Harvey didn't argue, figuring it was a good enough order with the way things were headed tonight.
With the door closed behind them, silence fell in the small, cold room. Harvey leaned back against the door wearily, more than ready for the madness to end. As soon as it was all over, he and Mike had a date with some quality Scotch. He met Mike's tired eyes from across the room and Mike quirked a smile, thoughts obviously running in the same direction. Mike tilted his head back against the wall and shifted in the chair with discomfort, pressing the jacket against his stomach still. Harvey pushed away from the wall, intent on doing a more thorough examination now that they had a moment to breathe sans audience.
Harvey had Mike lean away from the wall as he prodded as gently as he could at the scrapes and cuts on his back, thankful that none of them seemed to be serious enough for stitches. Except for the cut on his stomach Mike seemed to have walked away from this encounter practically scot-free, at least compared to the night before.
"How did you know that stuff about the hair? You don't really believe in this crap, do you?" Harvey asked, unable to shake his disdain for the supernatural even with the evidence staring him in the face. Mike looked at him wryly over his shoulder and Harvey made a face back.
"My Grams has a thing for it, she loves all those ghost hunter shows. They mention this stuff sometimes. The hellhoundslair website had some stuff on the salt, these douchebags thought they were real ghost hunters. Called themselves the Ghostfacers," he said distractedly, gazing at the door thoughtfully.
"Did you notice how they didn't ask where my desk was?" he asked bemusedly, and Harvey blinked. He hadn't, and it was a clear sign that the stress was getting to him. He fought not to let up on the pressure he was putting on the few cuts that needed it on Mike's back while he answered, his shoulder making its protests loud and clear.
"I don't think I want to know."
Mike hummed in agreement, mind still focused on what they could be doing out there. Harvey could tell that the wind had picked up again outside and shifted to look over his shoulder; even though he knew Mike would say something if the salt line was disturbed, it made him feel better to look for himself. He'd no sooner turned to look than there was a great crash, audible even over the sound of the wind through the door, and he felt Mike jump under his hands.
"I hope they're going to be okay," Mike murmured. Harvey scoffed.
"Yesterday we thought they were stalking you, why the hell are you worried about them?"
Mike glanced up at him, eyes dark with worry, and Harvey melted. Just a little.
"Buck up, kid. You should be worrying about yourself."
The door slammed open and Sam came barreling through, bloody clothes gripped tightly in one hand, other occupied by a bottle of lighter fluid. Harvey didn't have time to react before Dean was through the door and slamming it shut, but it still wasn't fast enough to keep some of the glass out. Dean didn't bother laying another salt line, instead crouching next to his brother with a Zippo as Sam liberally doused the clothes with the lighter fluid. It took a few tries to get the lighter to stay lit, the wind whipping through the room doing its best to throttle the flames, but Dean somehow managed and tossed it on the clothes.
The flame caught with a soft whoomph, and the wind stopped almost instantaneously. Mike winced at the tink of the glass impacting the hard floor, and Harvey realized he was still in the same position he'd been in when they'd burst through the door. He pulled in a shaky breath, staring at the small fire in disbelief, transfixed.
"Well. That was anticlimactic," Mike said, voice warbling. Sam chuckled, standing and coming over to Mike while Dean did his best to put out the fire before the rug caught the flame. Harvey pulled his eyes away from the flame with some difficulty to find Sam pulling a humble first aid kit from his bag. He figured he shouldn't really be surprised at this point by anything they pulled out of their bag of tricks, but they hadn't had any first aid kits with them the night before. Then again, maybe they just hadn't wanted to use their own if Harvey had one handy. It was hard to imagine that this kind of job left time for something more realistic, and he sure as hell wasn't going to pay them.
Harvey reigned in his thoughts, realizing that he was getting sidetracked. He helped Sam pull off Mike's tattered shirt and clean and dress the cuts. It didn't take as long as he'd have expected, and it wasn't long before he was left standing there at a loss, arm cradled close against his side. What exactly were they supposed to do now? It irritated him how often he was finding himself in this position, it didn't mesh with his world view well at all. Almost like he could read Harvey's mind, Mike spoke up.
"What do we do now?" he asked rhetorically, but Dean looked up at him from where he was trying to move a fax machine to cover the charred spot on the carpet. His features softened with some sort of protective instinct and Harvey could feel his eye twitch possessively.
"You do whatever you want," Dean said succinctly. "You can let this bother you, or you can move on. Tons of people believe in this stuff and go about living with no problem."
Sam looked at him in surprise, but didn't say anything to countermand it. He just shrugged and packed away his first aid kit, then slung his bag over his shoulder.
"We'd better get out of here before the cops show up. Someone's going to notice the damage, if they haven't already. You might want to clear out yourselves, it's kinda difficult to explain this kind of scene to the cops," Sam told them, the voice of experience.
Just like that, they turned and left. Harvey found himself alone with Mike in a disaster zone on possibly the strangest night of his entire life.
Harvey flicked on the light in the living room and stared happily until Mike nudged his back.
"What is it?" Mike asked nervously, peeking around Harvey to get a look. His mouth dropped in awe and he threw an arm over Harvey's shoulders for support.
"What, do you have an army of elves you've never told me about?" he demanded. The room was spotless; the window wall had been replaced, as had the couch, the table, and everything else that had suffered a grisly death. If Mike hadn't seen the absolute disaster the night before, he never would have believed that it had happened.
Harvey rolled his eyes and shrugged him off to set his briefcase down on the new coffee table, leaving Mike wobbling for balance in the entryway.
"My cleaning crew spend all year looking forward to their Christmas bonuses," he said to Mike with a smirk. "The promise of a few weeks paid vacation didn't hurt, either."
"You're actually going to clean your own place?" Mike asked, affecting shock. Harvey turned an evil expression on him and Mike took an instinctive step back.
"No. You're going to, while you stay here so that I can keep an eye on you and make sure you don't do anything stupid while you're recuperating," Harvey said, averting his eyes so they wouldn't give away his lie. He was finding the idea of letting Mike out of his sight at all a highly distasteful prospect, and earlier he'd come to the conclusion that he was Harvey Specter. If he didn't want to let Mike out of his sight, then Mike was damn well going to stay by his side. He saw Mike's face soften out of the corner of his eye, and grabbed up the plastic bag filled with their food as a distraction.
He was expecting a protest, at least about the cleaning if not the staying at Harvey's place, but Mike didn't say a word, just settled into one of the padded chairs with his bag. Harvey watched the cartons of food spin in microwave, mind blank after the overwhelming day, until he was startled by a light touch on his arm. He looked up into Mike's warmly amused expression with a small smile, contented just by Mike's presence. At least, until Mike opened his big fat mouth.
"By the way, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. After all this time you've spent starving me, now you're worried that I'm not eating enough, really?"
Harvey stared, incredulous.
"Seriously. Every time I go to eat or drink, you stop me. Afraid I'll lose my girlish figure?" he finished, lips twitching, and Harvey couldn't help it. He laughed.
"Yeah, right. The same way I'm afraid I'll come to work one morning and find you actually bought yourself a half-decent suit and tie," Harvey said wryly, and Mike grinned cheekily.
"I have this theory about that. See, you and Louis both do this snapping thing," Mike said, imitating their snap as an example. "But you never do it to me. I always wonder if you're afraid it'll damage my delicate sensibilities, since I'm obviously too incapable to dress myself properly."
Harvey gave him a Look and Mike settled back against the counter, pleased with himself.
"I was afraid of this. You're obviously brain-damaged," Harvey said flatly, digging some silverware out of a drawer and passing it and the chow mein to Mike. He dug in immediately and Harvey leaned against the counter next to him, pushing his fork through his chicken as he took a brief moment of pleasure from seeing Mike taking care of himself. Harvey didn't bother to control the feeling, figuring he'd earned the right to this happiness by virtue of keeping Mike's ass alive.
They finished their food in the peaceful ambiance, the weight of a long day's work followed by the adrenaline of the attack catching up to them and keeping their minds clear of any troublesome thoughts. Harvey couldn't help thinking it was only a fleeting moment, but he'd learned to take his breaks wherever he found them.
They moved into the living room, containers in the trash and utensils in the sink, and Harvey sat on the arm of the couch. He watched the play of emotions across Mike's face as he gazed out the window at the ever-shifting lights of the city below. It was strange, seeing Mike quiet and still for so long, but Harvey couldn't say that it was a bad thing – just different.
Harvey leaned forward to wrap his arm around Mike's hips and Mike turned so that Harvey's head could rest against his chest, careful to avoid any sore spots or cuts. Mike settled a hand on Harvey's shoulder and his nape, lightly clutching at him in an awkward hug. Harvey breathed in the residual traces of fear-sweat and antiseptic and kept Mike in place, thankful that he was still there and needing the comfort, the closeness.
Mike kept quiet, eventually shifting Harvey back so that he could press a soft kiss against his hair. Harvey allowed it, but pulled Mike back in, rolling his head to the side to gaze out the window. He sighed and reluctantly broke the silence, echoing his words from what felt like a lifetime ago.
"I'm just glad you're safe."
His words sounded like a ripple in the silence, echoing quietly in the restful space. Mike hummed in agreement and ran his fingers soothingly through the hair at the base of Harvey's neck.
"You realize you're signing up for health insurance tomorrow, right?" Harvey said. Mike groaned and dropped his hands to his sides in disgust.
"Are you happy now? You ruined the moment," he whined, and Harvey pulled back to look him in the face.
"We were having a moment? I must not have realized," Harvey said, feigning surprise. Mike glowered at him suspiciously.
"I know damn well that you know that we were having a moment," Mike said irritably. He turned his glare on his messenger bag, where his phone was buzzing and chiming wildly. Disentangling himself from Harvey with a sigh, he fished around in the bag until he found it. Mike looked at the screen and grimaced.
"It's my grandmother," he told Harvey. Harvey looked amused and waved for him to pick it up, and Mike grudgingly obliged.
"Hello?" he said warily, and Harvey could hear the voice coming through the receiver even from several feet away. Mike winced and yanked the phone from his ear, immediately trying to soothe the irate woman on the other end.
"I'm sorry, Grammy, I was busy with work, and – " He jerked in surprise when Harvey snatched the phone out of his hand and calmly addressed his grandmother.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Ross? Yes, hello, my name is Harvey Specter. Yes, that's right, I am your grandson's boss."
Mike reverently watched as his grandmother instantly seemed to calm, Harvey appearing utterly in his element as he spoke on the phone with an ailing old woman, Mike's ailing old woman.
"I'm sorry, but it's my fault that Mike didn't call you. He stayed with me last night – " She interrupted him and Harvey's eyes cut sharply to Mike, a shark smile forming on his lips. Mike's stomach flipped.
"Why, yes, of course," he said slowly, and Mike felt like a mouse being eyed by a particularly fearsome mouse. "He will be staying with me for a while."
He listened for a moment more before hanging up with a simple, "The same to you, Mrs. Ross." He handed Mike's phone back to him, eyes dark and predatory, and Mike swallowed hard.
"So, uh, what was that all about?" Mike asked, voice pitchy.
"Oh, you know. She wanted to know if I was taking good care of you, meeting all your needs. She said something about being a very open-minded and progressive woman," Harvey said, and Mike paused, eyes roving over Harvey's face as his mind ran back over the conversation. He hadn't heard the word no in there.
Harvey met his hopeful eyes and nodded, bringing his hand up to cup Mike's cheek. Mike turned his face into it happily, grinning like a fool, cupping it with his own hand. Harvey stepped in and wrapped his arm around Mike's waist, tenderly capturing his lips, and Mike melted into the embrace.
Harvey slid his lips across Mike's again and again, slow and gentle, letting Mike experience everything he'd tried to say before and couldn't. Warmth pooled low in his gut as Mike pressed back enthusiastically, snaking his arms around Harvey's neck and licking at his lips to deepen the kiss. Harvey let his mouth fall open under the gentle onslaught, sliding his tongue into Mike's mouth to caress and explore, and Mike groaned, dropping a hand to flutter it gently against the bandage peeking through his shirt.
"Ow," Mike said, muffled against his lips, and Harvey pulled himself away, panting slightly.
Mike's lips were glistening in the low light, cheeks flushed and eyes bright, and Harvey was hard pressed not to go right back to kissing him senseless, but he knew his limits. Right now going any further would do more harm than good, what with at least 50 stitches and a bum arm between them. Mike read the regret in his eyes and thumped his head against the wall.
"Why do you always have to be so damn sensible, Harvey?" Mike sighed, and Harvey pressed a soft close-mouthed kiss to his lips.
"I wasn't sensible when I hired you, was I?" he pointed out, and Mike sighed again.
Harvey helped Mike lever himself off the wall and peered down the hall at the bedroom wistfully.
"Bed," Mike agreed.
They made their way into Harvey's bedroom, and Harvey stared at his bed – the epitome of sinful decadence, even more so than the shower – mournfully. Mike paused in his stripping to look at him questioningly and Harvey rubbed a hand over his face.
"The salt," he said, and Mike tilted his head in consideration.
"It can't hurt to be too careful, can it?" Mike offered, and Harvey experienced déjà vu.
"Do we have to have a talk about you saying that? Again?" he asked, and Mike laughed.
"No one will know besides the cleaners."
"I can see it now. The tabloids, headlines read 'Harvey Specter, best closer in New York develops paralyzing paranoia about ghosts.'"
Mike stared at him with wide, disbelieving eyes.
"You really are as full of yourself as you seem," he said, and Harvey sighed. Harvey stood there, torn, until Mike finishing shucking his pants and pulled back the covers to sit down.
"Come to bed, Harvey," he said quietly, and Harvey didn't argue. He stripped and climbed into bed, bad shoulder towards Mike, and they lay there staring at the ceiling side by side. Mike snorted and pressed as close to Harvey's side as he could, unable to curl up like he wanted thanks to the stitches. He shifted uncomfortably and Harvey rolled his head to look at him in amazement.
"Do you ever stop moving?"
Mike pouted and deliberately shifted again. Harvey rolled his eyes at the childish behavior and looked back up at the ceiling. Silence reigned for thirty seconds, tops.
"You didn't brush your teeth," Mike pointed out, and Harvey laughed in exasperation.
"Neither did you!"
Harvey thumped his good hand against Mike's chest and Mike buried his face in his pillow to stifle a laugh. One happy blue eye peeked out at him and Harvey smiled, leaving his hand where it lay. Mike nuzzled further into the pillow and sighed contentedly, dropping off into sleep almost immediately. Harvey drifted away slowly, feeling all was good in his world.
He could really get used to this.