A/N: Hey guys! I am back with a new fanfiction! This was inspired by that quote in one of the last episodes where Mike quotes a previous conversation between himself and Harvey by telling Harvey, "...when they put the gun to your head, it's not just give in or get killed. There are 146 other options" and I was like, "I seriously need to write a fanfiction about what happens if that became a non-analogy". So I started to write it, but I got stuck...but then one of my best friends, animallover15243, (and you should totally read her story "The Final Shot") unintentionally gave me an idea. So here it is, for real this time.
Also, this was beta'd by: the totally awesome animallover15243 (who is my Suits buddy even though she thinks of Harvey as infallible ;) ) and the completely amazing Pheonix on cloud nine (who has yet to write a fanfic for suits that I have not liked...seriously. :) )
Disclaimer: I do not own Suits. The magnificent Aaron Korsh does. If I did, Trevor would repeated get kicked in the shin before being run over with a truck...this is why I shouldn't own Suits. ;)
Mike swallowed hard and tried to take a deep breath, but panic and fear prevented anything deeper than shallow gulps of air.
For all the distraction that Mike had, the young man was surprised by how hyper-aware he was of his surroundings. He was in Harvey's office, the windows across from Mike displaying the New York skyline in all its late-afternoon glory. The ticking of the clock on Harvey's wall—usually easily ignored—seemed to echo and pound against the associate's eardrums, making Mike think that the clock wanted him to remember what were probably his last seconds alive—way to think positive, Mike—as the hands on the clock moved.
And movement was another thing that Mike was exceedingly alert to. He was aware of every move—every step, every flick of a wrist—that the man standing behind him made. Mike knew that Donna was standing outside the office beyond the plexi-glass wall, hopefully with security. The office itself was several times warmer than it was outside—but maybe that was just Mike. After all, Harvey seemed perfectly fine with the temperature.
Actually, Harvey seemed to be keeping his composure remarkably well given the situation currently unfolding. Maybe that was why Mike kept his gaze steadily locked on his boss. If Harvey could be that calm, then maybe things weren't as bad as they seemed. Though Mike knew that it absolutely was as bad as it seemed, downplaying the situation was probably the only thing keeping Mike from full-blown terror. Mike closed his eyes briefly and looked at the ceiling.
This is normal, Mike told himself lamely. Happens every day. Mike nearly laughed at the absurdity of the lie.
People didn't barge into law firms and hold a gun against the side of an associate's head every day.
3 Hours Prior
"Harvey needed to see you five minutes ago," Rachel informed Mike the second he stepped off the elevator. The associate sighed as Rachel placed a file against his chest as she continued walking, not slowing her stride. Mike rolled his eyes at Rachel's behavior, but brushed it off as he glanced at his watch.
He was exactly ten minutes late. At least this time it wasn't his fault. The meeting with the client—which was to brief her on the update from the meeting with Judge Bomer that had occurred earlier that morning—had gone over the allotted time.
Mike took off at a slow jog to Harvey's office, only slowing as he approached Donna's desk and smiled at her. Donna glanced up at him and shook her head. "You're late."
"Yeah," Mike sighed. "Can I go in?"
Donna jerked her head in the direction of the office. "Go."
Mike walked in, and Harvey glanced up at him briefly before turning his attention back to the file laid out on his desk. "You're late."
Mike wondered idly if Donna and Harvey communicated telepathically. "Sorry," Mike apologized as he sat on the leather couch and pulled the files out of his messenger bag. "The meeting ran over—"
"Don't care," Harvey dismissed. "Punctuality is everything, Mike."
"I thought that was appearance," Mike deadpanned.
Harvey looked at him. "Both," Harvey said pointedly, and Mike was relieved at the finality the word had. No lecture this time.
"Did you find anything?" Mike asked Harvey as he picked up one of the files he had laid out on the table as he scanned the already-memorized contents.
"Working on it..." Harvey replied, his voice dropping off as a file demanded his attention.
The men worked in silence for several minutes before an embarrassingly obnoxious growl sounded in the office. Mike looked down at his stomach and ducked his head at Harvey's raised eyebrows.
"Did you eat anything?" Harvey asked with a hint of amused exasperation.
Mike looked up at Harvey before looking back down at the file. "Nah. But I'm okay."
Harvey rolled his eyes. "I'm not having an associate pass out in my office because he didn't eat. Go grab something—fast," Harvey added for emphasis. "And then come back."
Mike nodded and left the room. Harvey just shook his head and bit back a smile.
Mike returned about fifteen minutes later and Harvey eyed him skeptically.
"Did you actually eat something, or did you go flirt with Rachel for fifteen minutes?"
Mike smirked. "Both."
Harvey smiled briefly before nodding back to the pile of files. "Alright, hot shot. Get back to work."
Mike grinned but complied, sitting on the couch and scanning the files as he picked up a highlighter. Mike chewed on the cap in concentration.
"This doesn't make any sense..." he muttered to himself, sifting through the files spread out on the table.
Harvey glanced at him, waiting for Mike to elaborate.
"The company's income doesn't match their expenses," Mike explained, but more to himself than to his boss. "I can't find where it's all going...it's like it just disappears."
"How much is gone?" Harvey asked, frowning when he noticed a similar problem in the financial report in his lap.
"Over..." Mike furrowed his brow in concentration. "20 grand. Embezzlement?" he suggested, though he seriously doubted their client, Bill Rowland, would be behind it.
Harvey shook his head. "He's rich enough. And he wouldn't embezzle from his own company; he cares about it too much."
There was a brief pensive silence before Mike broke it. "Maybe it's not him."
"Someone from inside the company?" Harvey said before he shook his head. "Rowland oversees all monetary income—"
"But Rowland only sees what gets to him." Mike looked up from the couch and slid a file across Harvey's desk to the senior partner. "Look."
Harvey studied the file for a second before looking at Mike. "So you think that someone from another company is coming in and taking their money before it even reaches Rowland."
Mike nodded. "I do."
Harvey tilted his head as he studied Mike. "You think Jack Winchester is involved?" Jack was the client of the opposing council.
Mike nodded again. "It makes sense. Winchester isn't doing this for the money. He doesn't want that, he wants the company."
"And by taking the money, he's causing the company to go bankrupt," Harvey continued, following Mike's train of thought.
Mike smiled slightly, the way he always did when they made a breakthrough. "Exactly. The company goes broke, Winchester files for acquisition, he gets the company, and makes a bit of cash in the meantime."
Harvey narrowed his eyes at the file before them before nodding. "It sounds good, but it's too circumstantial..." Harvey looked at the intercom. "Donna?"
"Scheduling a meeting with Winchester and his lawyers now," Donna replied. "I was half-expecting Mike to tell you that it was "elementary, my dear Watson." "
Mike laughed, but Harvey was shaking his head. "If we're doing the Holmes analogy, then I am Sherlock and the pup is Watson."
"Hey—" Mike began to protest, but Donna cut him off.
"And Mike? Louis needs you to get some briefs done for him before he goes to court at four."
Mike sighed and stood, gathering his things as he asked Harvey, "first you say you're Kirk, now you say you're Sherlock. What's next? Oh Captain, My Captain?"
Harvey shrugged and hid a smile at the kid's The Dead Poets' Society reference. "You said it, not me. Now be a good little puppy and go get your paperwork done so you can be here for the meeting," he told Mike, who tried to hide a sigh of disappointment at having to go do more briefs as he gathered his things and went to his cubicle.
"Mike—" Louis said as he walked up to the associate's desk, only to cut himself off when Mike handed him a stack of files.
"They're done. And proofed," Mike added when Louis opened his mouth. Louis's mouth snapped shut almost comically. The junior partner hovered for a minute before nodding stiffly and walking away. Mike glanced at his watch and felt his eyes widen at the time. He hastily gathered the files and rushed off to Harvey's office.
The young associate was in such a rush that he nearly ran over Harold, only missing him because Mike literally spun out of his way. "Sorry," Mike called over his shoulder.
He reached Donna, who for her part was very good at pretending to not see that less-than-gracefully avoided collision. Mike looked nervously at Harvey's office, sighing with relief when the room beyond the plexi-glass revealed no one besides Harvey. The meeting Winchester had been scheduled for 3:30, and it was now 3:45. Mike was late, but he took a strange sense of solace in that Winchester was running late as well.
"Should I—" Mike began to ask, but cut himself off when Donna quirked an eyebrow at him before simply returning her attention back to the computer screen before her. "Okay," Mike said slowly, taking that as permission to enter with a silent promise to buy Donna flowers to get back into her good graces. Mike walked to the office and, at Harvey's silently annoyed demeanor, began organizing the files for lack of things to do.
Mike and Harvey both looked up at the sound of quick footsteps. Mike stood up, cast a quizzical look to Harvey, and walked towards the door. Both the senior partner and the associate noticed Donna's confused and slightly alarmed look that she threw at Harvey as Jack Winchester barged through the door, looking panicked, borderline hysterical, and almost crazed.
Nobody said anything, Mike and Harvey too confused and Winchester too frantic, before the latter pulled something out of his pocket. The associate turned towards Harvey, and he had just enough time to see Harvey's fleeting horror-stricken expression before he felt something placed against his temple.
A quick glance to the side told Mike that it was a gun.
There was a long, fragile moment of shocked silence. Mike suddenly remembered a conversation he had once had with Harvey months ago. "...when they put the gun to your head, it's not just give in or get killed. There are 146 other options..." Mike had told Harvey that during the case with the impressively good opposing council. And Mike had learned that from Harvey.
Time to start figuring out those 146 options, Mike thought dumbly before his attention was caught by movement.
Harvey took a step forward, almost casual were it not for the overall tenseness that he seemed to carry at the moment. Mike was thoroughly and openly impressed at how quickly Harvey seemed to collect himself. Harvey almost looked normal, but Mike could tell the subtle differences.
"Take one more step and I shoot," Winchester threatened.
Harvey looked at him with something that Mike could only describe as hesitant certainty. "You won't shoot him, Jack."
"Wanna bet?" Winchester shouted. Harvey didn't respond, instead opting to simply watch Jack carefully, taking in all the body language and frantic glances around the room and nervous swallows.
"You don't want to go through with this, Jack."
"I think I do," Jack shot back, pushing the gun harder into Mike temple for emphasis.
"See, that's the thing," Harvey replied. "You think you do. But do you really? You shoot my associate, and the best case scenario for you? A lifetime sentence in prison on a murder charge."
Winchester laughed bitterly, and Mike took a deep breath in a futile attempt to calm himself.
"I'm already going to prison, Specter."
Harvey smiled, but it was too tight and his eyes were too hard for the gesture to mean any show of friendliness. "I said that was your 'best case scenario'. You wanna know what will most likely happen? The security guards that are on their way right now will shoot you where you stand."
Mike breath hitched slightly as Jack cocked the gun. Mike swore he could hear the bullet sliding into place, taunting him with a condemnation to a fate that Mike wasn't ready for.
"Then I might as well take someone down with me," Jack growled.
"Oh, shut up, Specter. Save it, or Mike's brains get blown all over your clean carpet."
There was a brief moment of silence, a beat of tension, before Harvey broke it in a quiet, placating voice. "Can I ask a question?"
Though Mike couldn't see him, he was pretty sure that Winchester rolled his eyes. "What?" he snapped angrily.
Harvey nodded once towards Mike, calmly meeting the younger man's terrified gaze for the first time since the gunman had barged into Harvey Specter's office. "Why him?"
Jack laughed, but it sounded almost manic to Mike's ears. "Because he's important to you."
Harvey arched an eyebrow. "If you were hoping for that, Jack, just point the gun at me. I'm—"
Jack was shaking his head. "Don't deny it!"
Harvey shifted and took a step back, leaning against the front of his desk as he silently studied the gunman for a few quiet moments. "Why would I deny it?" Harvey finally said. "You've done your research. You've made your choice. And nothing I say will change your mind."
Harvey pushed himself off of the front of his desk and walked over to his window, picking up a basketball. "My real question," Harvey said as he examined the ball. "Is why haven't you shot him yet?"
WHAT? Mike's mind shouted in shocked indignation, but fear kept it from leaving his mouth.
"Are you trying to get him killed, Specter?"
"I'm asking a question," Harvey threw back as he placed the ball back on the window sill. "You seem so adamant that you are going to kill my associate. Why haven't you yet?"
"Because you haven't given me what I want!" Jack burst out furiously. Mike remained standing as still as he could, but he felt his eyes widen imperceptibly at the desperation that Jack's voice had taken.
"Let me get this straight," Harvey said, sounding suddenly very lawyer-like to Mike. "We refuse to give you what you want, and you pull the trigger. But if we give you what you want, then you will still kill my associate."
"Giving me what I want is the only way I'm letting your associate walk out of here," Winchester snapped back.
"And what is it you want?" Harvey asked calmly.
"You to drop this case."
Mike and Harvey both blinked, and the younger man was pretty sure that his expression of incredulity mirrored that of Harvey's.
Harvey looked at Jack. "You went through all this just to get us to drop the case?"
The gunman refused to answer, staring resolutely at Harvey as he let the barrel of the gun dig harder into Mike's skull.
"Well that's not going to happen."
"Wow, kid," Jack said, and Mike almost jumped at suddenly being addressed .Though Mike was the object of focus in the room, neither Jack nor Harvey had talked to him directly since the former had pulled out a gun and held it against the side of his head. Jack continued. "I can't believe you work for a guy this heartless."
"Hazard of the profession," Mike replied a bit tightly, glancing at Harvey. Harvey's mouth quirked in amusement despite the gravity of the situation.
Jack shook his head quickly and turned his attention back to Harvey. "Drop the case."
"You won't shoot him, Jack."
"Oh, really?" Mike couldn't stop his eyes from growing round as he recognized the threatening challenge in his voice. "You've always been a bit of a gambler, Harvey."
Harvey's eyes grew wide. "Wait—"
And then suddenly: there was a crack of a gunshot, Mike's eyes pinched shut, and Harvey couldn't quite contain the sharp intake of breath.
At first, Mike thought that he was dead. Completely and utterly dead. Shot to the head in the middle of Pearson Hardman. No chances to make amends, no dramatic final breath, no poetic last words. Just...gone.
But then Mike's overly analytic brain kicked into gear and he remembered something: you never hear the shot that kills you. Mike had read that somewhere. Because bullets travel faster than the speed of sound. But Mike had heard the gunshot. So did that mean that he wasn't dead? Mike tried to take a deep breath and nearly laughed when he realized he could.
And then Mike's eyes flew open. Because if he wasn't dead, did that mean that Jack had just shot Harvey? Mike's gaze locked onto his boss, who was looking at him with something akin to horror. But Harvey looked to be physically fine.
It puzzled Mike for a brief moment before the pain caught up with him.
It started off as a dull throb, a pulse of pressure in his right hand and Mike looked down at it. It's bleeding, Mike thought dumbly. It was a bit of an understatement, considering that his hand was practically gushing blood. It took Mike a long moment for reality to catch up with him.
He just shot my hand. The realization hit Mike at the same time the pain did.
Mike clutched his hand to his stomach and doubled over slightly, his face twisted up in a grimace.
"You want to make another gamble, Harvey?" Jack said from somewhere behind Mike. Mike squeezed his eyes shut in a vain attempt to block out the pain. The young man flinched as the warm metal end of the gun was returned to his temple.
Harvey didn't answer, which caused Mike to look up at his boss in surprise. In all the time he had been working for Harvey, he had never seen his boss speechless.
"Mike?" Harvey managed after a beat. If the speechlessness surprised Mike, Harvey's tone left Mike shocked. If it had been anyone but Harvey, Mike would have dared to call it angry, concerned, and...hesitant.
"I'm okay, Harvey," Mike managed to grit out as he tried—perhaps fruitlessly—to stop the bleeding.
Harvey's anger became terrifyingly palpable as the senior partner turned his attention back to the gunman. "Let. Mike. Out."
Jack hesitated for a brief moment before he became defiant again. "Drop the case. Then we'll talk."
"Why do you care...so much about the case?" Mike gasped.
Mike hadn't been expecting the heavy silence that filled the office, the tension threatening to strangle all three of them.
"B-b-because if you win this, I lose everything," Jack said, sounding strangely close to tears. "My job. My home. My wife. My daughters. I lose everything. I can't...I can't let that happen."
And in those two minutes of silence, filling only with heavy breathing and the distant sound of car horns and New York City, something in Mike's brilliant eidetic mind suddenly clicked.
"I've been there, Jack," Mike admitted into the silence as he stared at the carpet by the corner of Harvey's desk, trying to ignore his agonizing hand. "I know what that's like. But this isn't the way to go, man."
Mike could feel the barrel of the gun shaking. "You have no idea what that's like!"
"When everything—your entire life—hangs by a thread and you don't know what to do or who to turn to?" Mike said, his voice still quietly honest. "When you can't lose what you have because you've lost too much already? When you reach that point that you have to do something to hang on to that thread, so you charge blindly because you are just. That. Desperate?"
The gun was shaking even harder.
Mike continued, his voice so low it was practically a whisper. "I've been there, Jack. And I am still here, living proof there's more out there for you if you are willing to go find it. Don't let this be the end, Jack."
The gun was trembling harder than ever. The associate closed his eyes briefly, recognizing the unsaid air of finality, that whatever Jack did now would be his final decision.
This is it.
A/N: Review? There will be another chapter. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter, actually.
P.S: I don't know if anybody thinks that what Mike said was melodramatic, but IF you do: think of it this way: wouldn't YOU up it a bit if you were in Mike's situation?