Disclaimer: I don't own Suits.
A/N: I saw the prompt over at SuitsMeme where Mike gets Shingles, and my interest was peaked. So voila! Mike may seem a little out of character, but that's because he feels like crap. With this in mind, there will be some swearing. Lastly, I'm not a medical expert, so I apologize for any medical inaccuracies.
Just An Itch
"You have to do something about your associate."
Harvey looks up from the briefs that Mike has prepared for him to see Louis standing in his doorway. He rolls his eyes at Louis. "What seems to be the problem, Louis? Did he make a rude comment about your wife?"
Louis takes a deep breath. "That may have been funny if I was actually married. No, I'm talking about his unprofessional attitude. When I asked him to do some work for me, he rolled his eyes and told me and I quote, 'to have my pet associate Kyle do it.' If I wanted to, Harvey, I could bring this to Jessica's attention."
"You do that, and she'll laugh in your face. It's your job is to oversee the associates and if you can't handle that, then she's going to know that you don't have what it takes to be a senior partner. Do you really want to do that?"
Louis' aggravation is evident as he rubs his hand over his balding head. "Fine, then. I won't say anything. But, get some control over your associate. The next time he makes a comment like that it might be directed at a person who's not as forgiving as I am. " He then quickly exits Harvey's office.
Once Louis is out of sight, Harvey throws down the papers he's been looking at. What the hell's going on with his associate? The kid hasn't been his usual self the last few days. The eye rolls are more frequent. The mutterings under his breath when Harvey tells him to do something are happening more often than Harvey likes. Even the usual banter that they exchange has turned ugly with Mike making blatantly rude and offensive jabs.
He knows that the kid is coming down with something. Mike still hasn't realized how easy it is for him to read him. He sees the kid shivering. He knows that the kid is hurting because whenever he's sitting he's fidgeting to try and find a more comfortable position. Harvey's been ignoring the signs because they're up to their elbows with the Meyer case. Once that's settled, he'll send Mike home. After a good day's rest, Mike will be back to his usual overeager self.
Mike is miserable. He has two undershirts on and is still wearing his suit jacket, but he can't get warm. His whole body is a giant ache, but his back is the worst of all. It hurts when he leans back in his chair. But, it also hurts when he's hunched over for too long. And now he's itchy. He probably got some type of contact eczema because of all the layers he's wearing. Great!
Mike hates being sick. He's used to being able to rely on his mind to get him out of everything. But, his mind doesn't help him at all when he sick. In fact a lot of the times it makes it worse. When he comes down with what most would consider a minor ailment, his mind automatically flashes to something much worse. A case of poison ivy turns into some exotic skin eating disease. Instead of a headache, he thinks it's some kind of rare neurological disease.
To add to his shitty mood, he just snapped at Louis. Louis wanted him to work a case that he's working on, but Mike's already buried up to his neck with the Meyer deal. There's no way that he would be able to meet the deadline that Louis wanted him to, after completing his work for Harvey. Why does he have to do more work than everyone else? Yeah, he knows he's good, but it's still not fair. He thought that he should suggest Kyle. Louis loves Kyle, let him to it. That way he could work on the stuff for Harvey. It sounded fair, granted he probably shouldn't have called Kyle Louis' pet. From the way Louis stalked off, he knows he's in deep shit. Great! Add something else to his shitty day.
As he's pondering his future ass chewing, Rachel comes up to his desk. "Hey, Mike what's going on?"
"I'm thinking about the ass chewing I'm going to get in the very near future." Mike rubs his temples. His head is killing him.
"Okay, Mr. Negativity. Sorry, I asked. My day is going great. Thank you for asking. Jessica personally asked me to help out on the Jenkins case."
Mike really doesn't care about Jessica asking Rachel to help out on a case. She's a paralegal. Her job is to help out when lawyers ask her to. He's more concerned with getting warm. He thinks that his teeth are actually chattering. Did someone turn down the heat in here? The lower right side of his back is killing him between the ache and now the itch that has taken residence there, he doesn't know which one's worse. He tries to rub it, hoping that it would alleviate some of the pain. It doesn't. But, Rachel continues to chatter on, oblivious to his plight.
"Not only did she buy lunch, but we ate lunch in her office. Just me and her. She said that I'm a wonderful paralegal and wants to know what I'm not in law school."
He wanted to tell her that it was because she bombed the LSAT's, but he knew that would be too harsh. He rubs his aching head again. "Listen, Rachel. I got a lot of work to do. Do you mind letting me get back to work?"
He can tell he hurt her feelings when the smile on her face falls. But he feels like complete crap and doesn't think he can stand listening to her talking anymore.
"Fine. I'll leave you alone."
"Good." He replies. From the look she gives him that was wrong the reply. In a huff she leaves his desk. With Rachel gone, he opens his desk and takes out the bottle of ibuprofen. At first he shakes out three and the he adds another one for good measure, and dry swallows them. Hopefully that would help lessen the severity of the aches that are coursing throughout his body. Mike starts looking over the paperwork that he has on the Meyer deal. He needs to get this done. He feels like shit. He's already in deep crap with Louis, and now Rachel's pissed at him. The last thing he needs is Harvey to be on his case for not getting this stuff done. He bunkers down, ignoring the shivers that are cursing though his body, as well as the persistent ache and gets to work.
A harsh knock interrupts Harvey from looking at the papers that are on his desk. He looks to see Donna at his doorway. She looks pissed. What the hell did he do? Her birthday isn't until February, right? He cautiously asks, "What's wrong, Donna?"
She walks further into Harvey's office. "You have to do something about Mike."
"Why, what did he do? Is he in some kind of trouble?"
"He will be if he doesn't stop acting like a dick."
Harvey sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. "What happened?"
"I just saw Rachel and she said that Mike got nasty with her."
"He was rude to Rachel? That doesn't sound right. He usually chases her around. I could understand him snapping at Louis, but at Rachel. I don't get that one."
"Yeah. I heard. Did he really tell Louis to have his pet Kyle do his bitch errands?"
"Not exactly, but close enough."
"That doesn't sound like him. Is everything okay? Is his grandmother alright?"
Harvey thinks for a moment. They've been working mad hours with the Meyer deal, but he doesn't remember Mike saying anything about his grandmother. The only thing Harvey recalls is that he's been unbearable to be around lately. "Nah, he hasn't said anything about his grandmother being sick. But, I think he's coming down with something."
Donna huffs at this.
"What?" He asks.
"Sounds like someone else I know when they're sick."
Harvey glares at her. "I don't know what you mean."
"Oh please, Harvey. You're an absolute grouch when you're sick. I have had to cough up more apologizes for your behavior when you're sick than I care to."
Knowing that he's not going to win this argument he needs to change the subject back to Mike. "I'll talk to the kid. See what's going on."
"Good because if you can't get him on some sort of leash soon, he's gonna bite the wrong person."
"I got it, Donna."
"Good, I'll be at my desk if you need me." She then walks out of his office and back to her desk.
He needs to reel the kid in before he does something stupid. He picks up his phone and dials Mike's desk. The phone rings a couple of times. Maybe the kid is in the bathroom or making copies. Just as he's about to hang up, Mike picks up. "H-" Before Harvey can say anything else, all he hears is a dial tone. What the fuck? Did the kid just hang up on him? He sees red for a second and quickly dials Mike's phone again. This time it's busy. Now he's really pissed.
Harvey thought it was kind of funny when Mike was flippant with Louis. He was peeved when he heard that his associate was rude to Rachel. He was frustrated with the kid's shitty attitude as of late. But hanging up on him, that went way over the line. He's ending this now.
Harvey angrily pushes his chair back and stands up. He walks out of his office and as he passes by Donna's desk, he tells her, "Hold all my calls. I have to put the puppy on a leash before I put him in the pound myself."
As Harvey's form is disappearing from her view, she utters, "Shit, kid."
The four Tylenol that he took isn't doing shit. The lower right side of his back and head are killing him. He still can't get freaken warm. He'd downed a cup of coffee in less than five minutes, hoping the heat from the beverage would warm him up. It didn't. He knew that getting warm was a losing battle so he decided to shed his suit coat and one of his undershirts so that he had easier access to scratch the itch that's plaguing his back.
Mike is trying in vain to get this work done. Maybe if he can get home at a decent hour and get some halfway decent sleep, he'll feel better. The only problem is he can't concentrate. Between his aching body, chills, and the itching he's gotten very little work done. At this rate he's going to be here all night. The ringing of his phone hasn't helped matters. For entertainment his fellow associates have taken up a game of prank calling each other, and Mike has been the unwilling recipient of most of these calls. Finally, after the fifteenth call he couldn't take it anymore. The constant ringing of the phone did nothing to help the pounding headache behind his eyes, or his concentration. So he decided to take the phone off the hook.
Mike attempts to look over the file that's in front of him for the tenth time in just as many minutes. His hand is once again scratching that persistent itch that's on his back. He's so busy itching that he doesn't see Harvey until he slams his hand on the associate's desk.
Mike jumps and automatically puts a hand on his aching head, "Jesus, Harvey!"
Harvey ignores Mike's outburst. "Don't you ever hang up on me again, got it?"
Mike shakily nods his head.
Harvey looks to see that Mike's phone is off the hook. He can feel his level of anger rising even more at the sight. "Your phone should never be off the hook. I was trying to get a hold of you. What if a client was trying to get a hold of you and couldn't because your phone is off the hook. Do you know how unprofessional that is?"
"Yeah, well. I was trying to do your bitch work and the constant ringing of the phone wasn't making it any easier." Mike bites back.
The associate area is dead quiet after hearing Mike's biting remark. Harvey swiftly bends down, grabs Mike by his tie, and pulls the associate up onto his feet. "Come with me." Harvey snaps. The associate area remains dead silent as they watch Harvey Specter literally drag his associate by his tie down the hallway.
Donna isn't easily shocked. But, it does happen time to time. The silence is what tips her off that something's amiss. She looks up from her computer when she hears shuffling coming down the hallway. As the shuffling comes closer, she can't help herself, she needs to see what's going on. She stands up and sees Harvey dragging Mike towards his office by his tie. The kid isn't even putting up a fight. As they get closer to Harvey's office, she whispers loudly, "Harvey, what the hell are you doing? I meant the leash thing figuratively, not literally."
Harvey gives her a harsh glare. "Not now, Donna. Let me deal with this. Hold my calls." With that he opens the door to his office with his free hand and pulls Mike into his office by his tie.
Donna goes back to her desk and turns on the intercom. There's no way in hell she's missing this.
Once inside his office, Harvey dumps Mike onto the couch. Without any hesitation he begins to lay into his associate. "What the fuck is going on with you? I know that sometimes you can be a little unprofessional. But, I've never known you to be insubordinate and plain out nasty. First, Louis. Then, Rachel. And now, me. That's enough."
Harvey stops for a second to get himself under control. He doesn't want to completely lose it on the kid. He is after all one of the best associates at Pearson Hardman. And most importantly, he's his associate.
Now that he's not being dragged by his tie throughout the floor, Mike can catch his breath. More importantly he can scratch the ever present itch that's on his back.
Harvey gives his associate a good look over. The kid look likes complete sick. He's shivering and every so often a low groan leaves his lips. Harvey can't help noticing the fervent scratching the kid is doing to his lower back. The shivering and the achiness is nothing new, but the itching is. "What the hell is going on with you? You have fleas?"
Mike snorts out, "I wish. Than all I would need is a bath. This damn itch won't go away." The kid is clearly frustrated because he untucks his dress shirt so he can gain easier access to the itch.
Harvey's able to catch a quick glimpse of skin before Mike once again resumes his scratching. The anger he felt just seconds before is replaced with concern when he gets a quick look at the angry rash that's on his associate. He moves closer to Mike. "Wait, a second Mike. Let me see something."
Mike looks at him cautiously. After all it wasn't even five minutes ago that his boss was dragging him around by his tie.
Harvey notices the hesitant look in his associate's eyes and raises his hands in a gesture of peace. "I just want to see something. You've been achy for awhile, right?"
Mike nods his head. "Yeah for a couple of days. It's everywhere, but my back has been really killing me."
"And now you're itchy? Is it the same place where the pain is mostly?"
Mike nervously nods his head. "Yeah, my lower back. Right side."
Harvey sits down on the couch, next to Mike. "Move up, let me see your back."
Either the kid is really sick, too trusting of Harvey, or a combination of both, because the kid moves up and lifts his shirt for Harvey to look without even questioning. Harvey's shocked when he sees his associate's back. There on his right side about three quarters of the way down is a red rash about the size of the bowling bowl. The area of where his rash is seems to be pretty swollen. The rash itself is a vibrant red color. Harvey cautiously touches the rash with his fingertips. Mike's discomfort is clearly evident when he moves away from Harvey's touch.
Harvey remembers seeing this rash before. His mother's sister came down with shingles a couple of years ago. The kid's symptoms all fit with the virus, the achiness, headache, chills, and lastly the rash. He was right. Mike is sick. That would explain his crappy attitude lately. He just didn't realize how sick his associate was.
"What do you think it is, Harvey?" Mike asks quietly, all the earlier bite in his voice long gone.
"I'm not a doctor. But, I think you may have shingles."
Mike looks at Harvey with a look of disbelief. "Shingles? Isn't that rare for someone my age?"
"Well, it looks like you beat the odds again. I'm not a doctor though. You should get checked out. I'll have Donna make an appointment with my primary care physician."
"Har-" Mike starts to say when Donna cuts in via the intercom.
"Mike, Dr. Thompson can squeeze you in an hour. I already called Ray. He's on his way over here to pick you up."
Harvey stops him this time. "Don't waste your breath kid. You're not gonna win with her. Trust me, I know."
"Smart man, Harvey." Donna says through the intercom.
Harvey turns back to Mike. The kid looks like he's about to fall asleep right there in his couch. "Seriously, go to the doctor and go home. You're not doing anyone any good here. You're not getting any work done and you're snapping at everyone."
A sheepish look comes across Mike's face. "Yeah, I'm sorry. I can be an ass when I'm sick.'
"Ass is putting it mildly." Donna's voice cuts in.
Mike looks down in shame.
"It's okay, Mike. It happens to the best of us." Harvey says reassuringly.
"Yeah, says the man who turns into Oscar when he catches a cold." Donna chimes in once again.
"Enough, Donna! We get it!" Harvey says loudly.
The loudness of Harvey's voice causes the pain in Mike's head to spike. He closes his eyes in a failed attempt to shut out the pain. Harvey can see that Mike's hurting. "Here, why don't you lay down for a bit until Ray gets here?"
Mike takes Harvey's suggestion and tries to lay down. He hisses in pain when his aching back comes in contact with the back of the couch.
"Easy, kid. Try laying on your stomach. That way your back won't be touching anything."
Mike takes Harvey's suggestion and settles onto his stomach. After he finally gets himself into a comfortable position, he says "Thanks, Harvey."
Harvey doesn't respond, and instead gets back to work. If Mike does have shingles like Harvey believes he does then the associate will be out of commission for awhile. He might as well get a head start on the work pile that would be increasing substantially over the next couple of days.
Harvey looks up from his work when he hears soft snores fill his office. He has to hold back a grimace at the sight of his associate sprawled across his very expensive leather couch. The kid is practically drooling all over the upholstery. He's definitely going to have to get the diseased piece of furniture decontaminated after the kid leaves. Then again at least the kid is finally resting. Harvey knows that's what he really needs to fight the illness that's invading his body. Before he turns back to the papers that he's presently working on, he quietly says. "Rest, rookie. Rest."
Harvey tiredly rubs his eyes as he stands outside of the door to Mike's apartment. He knows it's late; he just finished working on the Meyer case. He also knows that Donna fully informed him of Mike's condition since she went with him to Dr. Thompson's office. He was right, Mike does have shingles. Donna went with Ray to bring the kid home to make sure that he was all settled. So, why is he here at almost nine o'clock at night?
As much as Harvey tries to deny it, he knows exactly why he's standing outside of Mike's apartment late at night. He knows that Donna kept him fully updated, but he still needs to see that the kid is okay with his own eyes. He knocks on Mike's door and waits for the kid to answer. He doesn't, so Harvey knocks again. Still no answer. Mike's probably zonked out on meds. Donna told him that his associate was prescribed an impressive drug cocktail of anti-virals, steroids, and prescription strength Tylenol. Harvey's tempted to just leave, but then again he did come here for a reason. So, he takes out the spare key that Donna made for situations like this.
Harvey unlocks the door to Mike's apartment and quietly walks in. He makes his way to Mike's living room, and sure enough the kid is passed out on his couch. Once again he's laying on his stomach, probably the only position that he could rest comfortably in. The only difference between his associate's position now and when he was sleeping on Harvey's couch earlier, is that this time Mike's not wearing a shirt. With the shirt gone, Mike's rash is on full display. Harvey thought that the rash looked bad before, he was wrong. Now it looks so much worse. It seemed to have spread towards the small of Mike's back and is an even more vibrant red than it was earlier. No wonder why the kid took his shirt off. He must be in agony. As if he read Harvey's mind, Mike moans softly in his sleep.
Harvey moves closer to Mike and sits on the coffee table, facing him. He looks at the bottles that are lined up on the edge of the table. "Jesus, kid. You always have to go for the gold, don't ya? Nothing's ever half way with you is, it?" Harvey asks rhetorically.
Mike begins to shift in his sleep. He lets out a pained moan. Harvey gently puts his hand on Mike's forehead. He wants to stay clear of Mike's back because he read that people who have shingles may experience hypersensitivity to touch. He figures touching Mike's head would probably be his safest bet. "Easy, kid. Don't move around too much. That'll only make it worse."
Mike slowly opens his eyes and whispers, "Harvey? That you/"
"Yeah, kid. It's me."
"How did you get in here?" Mike attempts to move to sit up, but stops when a particularly sharp pain shoots down his right side.
"Easy, Mike. Stay where you are. And to answer your question, I used the spare key that Donna made for circumstances like this."
"Not fair." Mike quips.
"What's not fair? That I'm better looking than you are?"
"No. That you have a spare key to my place and I don't have one for yours."
"Yeah, well. I have nicer things than you do. I don't need you letting yourself in and breaking something that cost more than what you make in a week."
Mike's about to laugh but then a shiver rolls through his body. "God, I hate this. I'm so freaking cold, but wearing a shirt is nearly impossible with this damn itch." Mike goes to scratch his back with his right hand when Harvey stops him.
"Hold on second." Harvey says and grabs Mike's hand before it touches his back. He gets up from the coffee table and goes into the bathroom and wets a hand towel. When he returns to the living room he initially thinks that Mike fell back asleep because he's so still and his eyes are closed. But, when Harvey sits back down on the coffee table, Mike's eyes opens. He places the wet towel on Mike's back.
The kid sighs in relief. "God, that feels so good. Thanks, Harvey."
Harvey pats the back of Mike's knee and says, "No problem, Mike.' He's waiting for his associate to make some kind of remark about him not caring, but his eyes are already closed. Mike's head jerks as he tries to stay awake. "Easy, kid. Rest. I'm going to get going. I have to be in early tomorrow with you out for the week. Do you need anything before I leave?"
With his eyes still closed, Mike shakes his head no. "I'm good. Thanks, again Harvey."
Harvey rolls his eyes. The kid is barely conscious and he's thanking Harvey for putting a fucking wet towel on his back. "What kind of a dog owner would I be if I didn't check in on his puppy? I'll call you tomorrow to see how you're doing, alright?"
Mike nods his head and Harvey once again pats Mike's knee as he gets up to leave. As Harvey tiredly closes his associate's door he quietly hears, "you don't care, my ass." Harvey doesn't say anything and just smiles as he walks down the hallway.
I hoped you guys like this little one shot. I know I kinda wrote Mike being a dick, but I know that when I'm sick I can be a royal bitch.