A/N: Dah dah dah dah daaaaah! Here it is! Chapter 2! WOO! And sorry it took so long, but this past weekend wasOH MY GOSH OPENING WEEKEND! Which means that this past week was HECK WEEK (aka: Production Week. If you are in/have ever been in a stage production, you know EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT! And how insanely busy it is) So it's been crazy. And THEN fanfiction wouldn't let me update, which seriously ticked me off. :P But finally. Chapter 2.
Here goes...don't forget to review!
Mike's thoughts weren't running in full sentences, just names of people that Mike realized with gut-clenching heartache that he was going to miss if Jack pulled the trigger. The names and pictures of the people that meant everything to Mike. They flashed in his mind like a mantra. Over and over and over again. Not stopping, not slowing. It seemed kind of funny to Mike that his mind seemed to need to remind him of why Mike wanted so desperately to live, even though his fate wasn't up to him anymore.
Mike knew that the gun was shaking so hard it was possible that Jack might just miss him altogether, if he even shot. But Mike also knew that it was false hope: like Mike was trying to grasp at string when he was about to drown in an ocean.
The gun was trembling hard and Mike had the fleeting thought that he wished Jack would just decide. Mike didn't know how much more waiting he could take. He either wanted to die or live, not stand there waiting for his fate. And his mind seemed to reject that thought forcefully as it screamed the names again to the point that Mike wondered if Harvey and Jack could hear his thoughts.
Mike jumped when he heard a loud bang, and thought for a moment that he was dead, that Jack had pulled the trigger. Mike Ross: gone out in a not-quite-flame-of-glory kind of death. It wasn't until Mike saw the gun on the floor by his feet that he realized that the bang had been a clatter, and that it meant that Jack had dropped the gun.
He was alive. Alive.
Mike wasn't sure if it was the pain from his hand or the crushingly overwhelming emotions that he felt—the surprisingly intense relief—that caused it, but Mike found himself sinking to his knees as the door to Harvey's office opened, security stormed in, and it was a flurry of movement and shouting. But Mike didn't really feel like it was real. The movements seemed distant; the voices were muffled and seemed to echo in Mike's head.
Mike's eyes stayed locked on Harvey's floor, not moving. He was vaguely aware that he was still clutching his hand against his stomach and that the pain had intensified. Vaguely aware that the gun by his feet had been picked up by security and secured. Mike found it idly funny that not two minutes ago he had been hyper-aware of everything going on the office, and now he wasn't even sure if he was actually there.
He felt a hand gently placed on his shoulder, but he didn't look up. Someone grabbed his chin and tilted his head up, forcing him to make eye contact. It was Harvey Specter.
It was then that reality seemed finally sink in with the associate. Mike felt his hands beginning to shake, and not at all from the pain. Soon he felt his entire body trembling slightly. He broke eye contact with his boss long enough to pull his head out of Harvey's hand, looked back at his boss, and opened his mouth to say something.
Mike blinked hard, and then a few times rapidly, surprised that he didn't feel tears rising to the surface. He was pretty sure that it was warranted, but none came. He tried to say something to Harvey—what, he didn't know. But he felt like he should say something to rid of that far too vulnerable expression in Harvey's eyes—but all that came out was a choked laugh. And it wasn't humor or even relief—it was the very edge of near hysteria.
He was distantly surprised when Harvey didn't hesitate to pull him into a hug.
"You did good, kid," Harvey whispered in his ear. Mike smiled briefly, using all of his self control to keep himself together. He pulled back and nodded once at Harvey, who nodded once back.
Harvey swallowed, took a deep breath and all traces of the vulnerability and caring expression that Harvey had been openly wearing vanished, replaced instead by a blank, expressionless lawyer. "Can you stand, Mike?"
Mike sucked in a deep breath. "Yeah."
Harvey nodded once, smiled briefly with pride, before standing up and helping Mike do the same. He grabbed Mike by the upper arm and hauled him to his feet. Before either man could say anything more, two paramedics approached them.
"Mr. Specter? Mr. Ross?" the taller one asked. "We need to examine you."
Mike and Harvey both nodded. The one who had spoken guided Harvey out of his office to where medical supplies were waiting, but not before the senior partner patted Mike on the shoulder.
The shorter, bleach blonde paramedic walked up to Mike and smiled reassuringly at him. "May I look at your hand?" he asked.
Mike was surprised that he had almost forgotten about his shot hand. He wordlessly nodded, and the paramedic gently took it. Mike sucked in a breath at the jolt of pain the movement caused.
"Sorry," the paramedic apologized, but began examining it. "Through and through..." he muttered to himself before shouting to his partner. "John!"
"What, Alex?" the man called back before saying something to Harvey.
"It's a through-and-through," Alex called back.
John jerked his chin down the hall. "The kid needs to get to the hospital. We don't have the tools to care for it here. And take him in the ambulance just in case."
The paramedic—Alex—nodded and guided Mike down the hall. "So," he began, and Mike took the distraction for what it was, trying his best to focus on what the man—who looked to be maybe a year younger than Mike—was saying. "That was pretty brave of you." It sounded like the paramedic was trying not to sound impressed, but maybe that was just Mike. After all, he really didn't see anything impressive about what had just happened.
Mike tried to shrug, but it came off as more of a wince.
The paramedic glanced up at him through his long bangs. His mouth quirked. "You're denying that?"
"Still-ah," Mike hissed at the pain. "Trying to take it all in."
The paramedic smiled slightly and shook his head. Mike would have described the look as disbelief. And Mike couldn't really blame him, since he couldn't believe it either. The paramedic pushed the button for the elevator. "I bet."
"I'm fine," Harvey insisted, his genuine annoyance echoing clearly in his tone. It's not like he was the one who had the gun trained on him, which upset him for a reason that he wasn't really sure of. Also, Harvey was rapidly running out of patience.
"I'm just doing my job, sir," the paramedic—John—replied. "But you're all cleared. They took your associ—friend—ah," John scratched the back of his neck, unsure of the relationship between the two men. "Mr. Ross to St. Luke's-Roosevelt."
Harvey rolled his eyes at John and pushed past him as he muttered under his breath, too low for anyone to hear, "He's all three."
"Harvey?" Harvey turned at the sound of Donna's voice, and was nearly blindsided by an uncharacteristically tight hug. Harvey returned it and smiled slightly as Donna growled in his ear, "You guys do that to me again and I will personally kill both of you."
Donna pulled back and smiled at him, though her eyes were suspiciously glossy. Harvey offered her a small smile and a meager half-shrug. Donna rolled her eyes and let out a slightly choked laugh before wrapping him in a brief hug again.
"We're fine, Donna," he said when they broke apart again. "No worries."
Jessica approached them, snapping her phone shut. She scanned Harvey before shaking her head. "Only you and your associate would get yourselves caught up in this."
Harvey shrugged nonchalantly. "So I take it that Jack's in custody?"
Jessica nodded. "He is."
"Did he get past security? We're working on that." Jessica sighed. "The current rumor is that he had an inside man."
Harvey nodded distractedly, looking at his watch and reading the time. 's-Roosevelt was about a ten to twenty minute drive, depending on traffic. "Jessica—"
"Sir?" It was their head of security—Patrick Mikkal. "Can I ask you a few questions?"
Harvey paused very briefly before nodding.
"Firstly..." Patrick hesitated, unsure of where to start. "What happened? Donna called us saying that a client had come in with a gun?"
"And was holding it against Mr. Ross's head threatening to shoot?"
Patrick shook his head in disbelief. "What was he demanding?"
Harvey smoothed his tie, which had gotten slightly wrinkled sometime between Winchester coming in and the paramedic checking Harvey over. "Winchester wanted us to drop the case."
"And...you refused?" Jessica asked, her surprise making sound like a question.
Harvey looked at her. "If I had just agreed, he would have shot Mike anyway. It was my bartering chip." He paused. "Mike was his."
"So you didn't agree, and that's when he shot Mike?"
"Not exactly," Harvey replied. "I told him that he wouldn't shoot Mike, and he did just to make a point."
Patrick looked confused. "Why did you tell him that?"
"Option 1," Harvey said with a small smile as he remembered his advice to Mike several months prior. Patrick looked further confused, and Jessica tilted her head slightly, but Donna knew what he was referring to and smiled. "Calling his bluff," Harvey explained as the smile faded. But it didn't work.
Patrick just nodded, writing a few notes down in his notebook. "So he shot Mike. I think we've got the rest. I showed up as Winchester fired the gun. Thank you for your time."
"Of course, Patrick," Harvey replied. A hand was placed on his shoulder and Harvey looked up to see that it was Jessica. She jerked her head.
"Go check on your associate. Don't worry about here. Louis and I can take care of it."
Harvey's eyebrows quirked in slight surprise at hearing Louis's name mentioned, but didn't have time to make the wife-joke he was planning before Donna whispered in his ear, "I've already called Ray. He's waiting outside."
The senior partner nodded and both of them left.
Harvey was surprised to hear laughter when he walked down the hall of St. Luke's-Roosevelt to where Mike was being taken care of. Donna had received a call from her sister who was visiting, demanding an update. Apparently, Donna had called her to tell her that she would be late getting home but hadn't said much more than "I'll be late, there's a gunman in the office. No, I'm not in the office, but Harvey and Mike are. I'll explain later, goodbye". So her sister had called, insisting on an explanation and an update.
"Hey," Mike was laughingly arguing. "I resent that."
"What?" a young female voice floated down the hall, coated in flirty fake-innocence. "It was supposed to be a compliment."
"But doesn't he always play the villain?" Mike said, and Harvey could hear the grin on his face. "I'd like to think that I'm not a villain."
The senior partner rolled his eyes, because of course Mike would be the one to strike up conversation with a pretty nurse about a movie actor.
"He doesn't always play the villain," the girl replied insistently. "Wasn't there that one movie? With the...no. That was someone else." Mike laughed. The girl sounded slightly exasperated, but she had the beginning of a laugh in her voice as she said, "But he's attractive! That has to count for something!"
Harvey rolled his eyes, already knowing what Mike was going to say before he said it.
"Are you calling me attractive?" Mike asked the nurse, just as Harvey arrived at the open door. The girl—who looked to be about Mike's age—blushed and bit her lip. To save her from further embarrassment—but mostly just to annoy Mike—Harvey cleared his throat.
"Oh," the nurse—who's name tag read Jess—said in surprise. "You must be Mr. Specter?"
Harvey nodded, smirking slightly when Mike threw him an annoyed glance. The girl looked down at her clipboard, tucking her straight, blonde hair behind her ear, oblivious to the exchange. "Well, Mr. Ross is free to go. His hand should be in pain for the rest of the day, and sore for a few days after that, but he should make a full recovery—" Harvey saw Mike slump in relief— "and he can go back to work as early as tomorrow. I recommend rest and over the counter pain medication." Jess put down her clipboard. "That about covers it. Oh, and leave the bandages on for a few days. Change them about twice a day. The bleeding's stopped, but we just want to take precautions."
Mike stood and stretched, thanking her as he and Harvey both exited.
"So," Harvey began. "Which actor do you look like?"
Mike smiled slightly. "An attractive one."
Harvey rolled his eyes. "I really need to teach you how to gloat," he replied lightly.
Mike half-heartedly quirked an eyebrow. "Seriously? Mr. I-Am-Two-Awesome-People-That-Don't-Really-Exist?" Mike laughed. "I mean, if you get to be somebody cool, pick one person. You can't be both Kirk and Sherlock Holmes."
"Okay, first of all, at least I can actually gloat. And second of all, you're forgetting one. If you're going to insult me, at least make sure that you cover it all," Harvey responded as they pushed through the double doors and into the hospital lobby.
"Oh?" Mike said sarcastically. "And who am I forgetting?"
Mike groaned. "Doesn't count."
"It definitely counts," Harvey argued just as Donna walked up and joined them. She squeezed Mike's shoulder as she walked up. Mike looked at her and smiled sincerely.
"You can't count yourself, Harvey," Mike said before he pushed the door to the outside open and walked out. Donna grabbed Harvey's elbow, stopping him from following for a moment.
Harvey sighed and looked out through the clear glass doors at Mike, who was talking with Ray. "For now."
"You don't think it's really hit him yet," Donna said, and it wasn't exactly a question, but Harvey felt the need to answer it like it was one anyway.
"It hit him almost right after it happened. I'm just...I'm concerned that it'll hit him a little harder once he's alone and thinking about it."
Donna looked at him, almost disapprovingly. "You haven't talked to him." Again, it wasn't a question, but Harvey knew Donna wanted him to reply.
"Didn't really have time," Harvey tried, but knew by Donna's look that she wasn't really buying it. He tried a different tactic. "Look, I'm not even really sure what I think about what happened. And like I said, I don't think it's really hit the kid yet. Give it time. Then I'll talk to him."
Donna accepted the answer, and Harvey walked out and slid into the awaiting town car after Mike and Donna.
"But I have stuff, Harvey!"
This was the argument that Mike Ross kept trying—and failing—to make the senior partner and his assistant buy into so that all three of them could return to the office instead of leaving the associate at his apartment.
Harvey rolled his eyes. "And I will bring you your stuff later. Didn't that pretty nurse you were so casually flirting with tell you to rest and work tomorrow? As in, not today."
"Okay, one: I wasn't flirting with her," Mike said with a frown. "I have a girlfriend. And two: I wouldn't be working, I would just be grabbing my stuff."
"One," Harvey returned, "having a girlfriend hasn't stopped you before—"
Mike groaned. "Okay, if you're referring to Rachel: that was one time, and trust me. Never. Again. And I thought you didn't care about my social life?"
"I don't. And two," Harvey said pointedly, continuing from where Mike had cut him off. "The nurse told you to rest. And do I tell you how to do your job?"
"Yes," Mike stated exasperatedly.
"The point is," Harvey said with a half-hearted eye roll, "that you need your rest. So you are going to your apartment and I'll be around to give you your stuff later."
"End of story," Harvey cut him off.
Mike huffed and Donna—who had been sitting in between the two—bit back a smile. They dropped Mike off outside his apartment building. Mike walked to the door and squinted against the light from the setting sun as the town car began its route back to Pearson Hardman.
This was the part that Mike had been dreading. Being alone. He hadn't really cared about the "stuff" he had complained to Harvey about, knowing that he could always just get it the next day. The stuff didn't matter, the "no people" did. For Mike, being alone meant memories and thoughts and coping.
With a heaving sigh that seemed to heave up his emotions with it, Mike turned around and pushed himself through the doors towards his apartment.
Harvey and Donna both thanked Ray as he pulled up in front of the firm's looming building. Harvey sighed imperceptibly, and if Donna hadn't already been keeping a watchful—if not concerned—eye over her boss, she would have missed it. Perhaps she would have also missed the slight slump of his posture once they were out of sight of the kid. And the brief, whisper fast moment where Harvey hung his head and the events of the day seemed to hang over him like a pendulum ready to drop on top of him before he leaned back into the leather seat and silently stared out the window.
But Donna was Donna, and she was nothing if not observant.
Night had fallen impressively fast, considering that the sun had just been setting when they had dropped Mike off. It was as if the world wanted to give everybody the quiet moments they needed in order to cope with the events of the day. Harvey had been equally quiet, nearly silent after Mike wasn't there. Donna allowed him, knowing that the only reason Harvey really kept any demeanor at all was to give both himself and the kid a brief moment of nonchalant normalcy before they both had to stop and face what had happened.
Despite knowing all of this, Donna was still worried for both the senior partner and his associate.
Harvey was silent the entire way up to his office, and Donna had the fleeting thought—too late—that perhaps she really shouldn't let Harvey go into his office, considering what and where everything had happened. Harvey walked in, pulling out a record and Donna followed the music into his office, standing in front of him as he all but collapsed onto the leather couch.
"Alright," Donna said, causing Harvey to look up at her like he hadn't noticed she had followed him. "Out with it."
"Out with what?" Harvey asked wearily, shrugging out of his suit jacket and performing the uncharacteristic move of running a hand down his face.
Donna motioned to him. "Something's bothering you." She knew it was stating the obvious, but right now she was just trying to prompt Harvey, to give him the chance to say something. Donna was smart, and she knew that sometimes people needed to be prompted, to be aware that people did care and did want to listen if they wanted to talk.
Harvey forced a laugh. "Well, Donna, considering that Jack Winchester tried to kill my associate today, I'd say there's quite a bit "bothering me"."
Donna's gaze softened. "He's more than that," the assistant gently said knowingly. Both of them knew that they were talking about Mike. That he was more than just Harvey's associate.
Harvey looked up at her, and didn't deny it. After what had happened, he wasn't sure how he could. "The kid was terrified, Donna."
Donna looked slightly confused; because of course the kid was terrified. "You would be too, if someone held a gun against the side of your head," she said carefully, not sure where Harvey was planning to take the conversation.
The senior partner stood up and silently walked across the room to where Donna knew he kept his scotch. Harvey silently poured two glasses and handed one to the redhead, who took it as she watched Harvey walk to the window and look out at the city's nighttime skyline. It was a habit he had picked up over the years, looking out at the skyline whenever something was weighing heavily on his mind.
Donna didn't break the stretch of quiet, filled only with one of Harvey's jazzier records. The secretary knew that Harvey would break the silence when he was ready, and that she would be there when he was.
It didn't take as long as she had thought.
"I read people for a living, Donna."
That wasn't really what she had been expecting. Before she could formulate her response, Harvey continued.
"And I'm good at it." Harvey took a sip of his scotch. "I don't read people wrong." Donna knew better than anyone that Harvey wasn't being arrogant, he was speaking facts. Harvey was good at reading people, and he didn't read people wrong. Harvey still kept his eyes on the buildings outside as he continued. "So why did I read Jack wrong?"
Donna took a sip of her scotch as she realized that this was what had been bothering the senior partner so much. That Harvey thought he had read Jack wrong, and now he was wondering if he was really as good as he thought. He was second-guessing himself, wondering if he was still cut out for his job.
But Donna was perceptive—very perceptive. And when she thought about, she knew exactly why Harvey hadn't been able to talk Jack down while Mike could. Donna looked up from her glass of scotch to see that Harvey had turned to look at her, searching for a needed answer to the question he had posed.
Donna sighed. "Did you ever stop to think about why you and Mike work so well together?"
Harvey opened his mouth to reply, but Donna held a hand up as if to say let me finish. "You're used to people hiding things from you, having to read them to see what they aren't telling you. But that isn't what Jack needed. You had already found what he was trying to hide, Harvey. What the man needed was to be understood, and like it or not, Mike could." Donna paused as she let her words sink in. "You read people, Harvey, but Mike understands people."
Harvey didn't say anything, just stared at Donna for a few moments before finally nodding. His cell phone buzzing ceased any reply Harvey may or may not have had, and with a quick apologetic glance, he pulled it out of his pocket as he set his forgotten glass of scotch down on his desk.
"Harvey Specter," he answered. He closed his eyes very briefly before saying, "Mike. Mike, calm down...deep breaths. You're okay. I'm heading over right now—"Harvey looked at Donna who nodded, and Harvey turned his attention back to the phone. "Yeah. I know, kid. But you're okay now. Just deep breaths."
Harvey grabbed his suit jacket and walked out of his office.
It was one of the longest nights of both Mike's and Harvey's lives.
Harvey had ended up crashing on the couch with the half hearted excuse that it was late, he wasn't going to wake Ray at that hour, he wouldn't walk in the dark in New York City, and he didn't trust cab drivers. Mike had rolled his eyes and grabbed a pillow and blanket, handing them to Harvey wordlessly before going to bed himself.
Mike woke up multiple times from a nightmare, which usually contained someone dying. Sometimes he died, sometimes Harvey died. Mike found himself checking in on Harvey on more than one occasion just to make sure that the ones where Harvey died were a dream. That, combined with the fact that Mike really didn't feel much like sleeping in the first place—even after the exhausting conversation he had had with Harvey—Mike figured he had maybe gotten about two hours of sleep total.
If appearances were anything to go by, Harvey hadn't gotten much sleep either. Still, both men decided to go in and work. After all, that Wisowski merger wasn't going to fix itself.
On the walk into the building, Mike had surprised Harvey by asking, "Do you actually know 146 options, or did you just come up with a random number?"
Harvey smiled. "Option 47. Tie person's shoelaces together and hope they trip before shooting you." The answer stopped the associate in his tracks.
"Wait, seriously?" Mike asked before jogging to catch up.
A/N: Yeah. Thus concludes "146 Options". I think it'd be cool if Harvey actually had a list of 146 options, though I doubt he does.
Anyway, I know that most people don't but PLEASE REVIEW! I CAN'T IMPROVE/DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE IF YOU DON'T REVIEW!