A/N: Alright! SEASON TWOOOOOO! You have NO IDEA how freaking ECSTATICALLY EXCITED I AM! AAAHHH! Okay, you're obviously a fan of the show, so maybe you do…but seriously. I could go on a several page rant about the premiere, but I'll spare you. :)If you want my rant, check out my profile. It should be up soon, if it's not right now. :)
This story came about: a) because kid-fics are adorable, and I wanted to write one where Mike has to deal with a kid b) I read the Lorax, and a line in it got the inspiration for this story c) I had a bit of writer's block, but then I watched the premiere ( Have I mentioned "AAH!") and it got me through it d) my only complaint about season 2 premiere is that there wasn't really any of the soft-side of Mike. Though I firmly beleive that Mike is fierce (he knows how to blackmail, that's for sure), I really wanted to write/see a softer side of Mike. :)
So, it's kinda pointless but I hope you think its cute. Let me know what you think!
Note: I skip many, many pages during Mike's reading of The Lorax. Fair warning, in case you haven't read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Lorax. I also do not own Suits. And this is good, because if I did, the premiere probably wouldn't have been as spectacular as it was. Cue roaring applause for Aaron Korsh. :D Also, CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2 PREMIRE.
The last thing that Mike Ross expected to see on a Monday morning was a six year old boy with a book clutched to his chest, following a client who was being led by Jessica Pearson.
Mike couldn't remember if there had ever been a time when there had been a child present at the firm, and though Mike's mind was wired to remember things in print, he was pretty sure he would have remembered a kid. The boy looked to be about six years old. He had dark hair, much like the woman he was following, and a dark tan that implied he was ethnically part-Puerto Rican. The woman looked similar, her skin slightly lighter than the boy.
Mike looked around the associates den, surprised that none of the others seemed to realize the unusual presence of a child. He slid out of his chair and down the hallway, curiosity causing him to follow the trio at a distance.
Jessica led them to a conference room, where Harvey Specter waited with a smile, which was friendly and welcoming, allowing Mike to make the correct assumption that she was a pleasantly familiar client. Mike lingered unnoticed in the background, just close enough to be able to hear.
"I am exceedingly sorry about this, Jessica," the woman said fervently. "I know kids really shouldn't be in a law firm. It's just that the meeting was on such short notice and with everything that's happened, I really couldn't leave Andy alone."
Jessica nodded in understanding, a genuine smile on her face, but it was Harvey who replied. "We completely understand, Samantha. The last thing we would want would be to put you in a difficult situation."
Harvey's brown eyes caught Mike's blue ones, and Mike was about to bolt for the associates' break room in favor of Harvey's glare, but the senior partner just beckoned him forward. "My associate, Mike Ross, can keep Andy company. If that is alright with you?"
Samantha smiled down at the boy—Andy—who was obviously shy, standing behind the client's legs. "Doesn't that sound like fun?" Samantha glanced at Mike. "Of course, only if you are okay with it?"
Mike, who was standing next to Harvey, leaned over and whispered in the senior partner's ear. "I'm terrible with kids."
It was more or less true. Mike hadn't had a lot of experience with young kids, but if his social ability with kids his own age when he was in school was anything to go by…
"Do it or you're fired," Harvey whispered back.
Mike quickly turned to Samantha, who was trying to coax out the young boy. "I'd be happy to." he said. Mike smiled gently at the painfully shy boy, holding out a hand and waiting patiently. "Come on, Andy. I know the perfect place to hang out."
"Where?" Andy asked, so quietly that Harvey barely heard him. Mike crouched down so that he was eye level with Andy, sitting on the heels of his feet.
"It's a secret," Mike replied equally quietly, winking. "Come on. I'll show you."
Andy looked up at Samantha who smiled and nodded encouragingly. The young boy took Mike's hand with his right, the book clutched securely to Andy's chest with the left, and the pair walked off in the general direction of Harvey's office.
Samantha was—for some reason—beaming at the retreating backs and Jessica was opening the door to the conference room.
Harvey just shook his head and smiled. Bad with kids. Yeah right.
Mike was surprised that Donna looked unsurprised when Mike walked up to her desk, hand in hand with a six year old kid. In fact, she just smiled warmly at Andy and waved them through. She smirked at Mike's incredulous glance.
Mike smiled softly after he had opened the door and both had walked in. Andy was gazing around the office in the kind of wonder and awe that only little kids could still possess. The associate breathed a quiet laugh when Andy gasped and ran to Harvey's window, pressing his hands against it and looking out at the incredible skyline. The kid looked like he could stay there forever and not get bored. Mike often felt the same way.
Mike walked over to stand behind him once he had closed the door to Harvey's office with a nod from Donna, silently promise that she wouldn't let anyone but Jessica, Samantha, or Harvey interrupt them.
Eventually, Andy wandered away from the window and stood in the middle of the office. Mike walked over and sat on the leather couch, patting beside him. "Was that your mom you were with?" Mike asked as Andy walked over to him.
Andy started to shake his head no, but then stopped. "Kind of. Aunt Sammy said that Mommy and Daddy went to heaven together…so I have to live with her now."
Mike felt his heart do a familiar pull at the memories of his own parents, but he smiled reassuringly at Andy. "My mom and dad are in heaven too."
Andy's eyes grew slightly big as he squirmed his way onto the couch, sitting directly beside Mike. "Do you think…do you think that they're happy?"
Mike nodded once. "I do, Andy."
Andy nodded in reply and sighed. "Everybody keeps telling me that they are in a better place now… But if it's true then why…why did they leave me here?"
It was Mike's turn to sigh, remembering the similar thoughts he had had for years following the death of his own parents. Mike had asked a lot of people that question, and they all had different answers. It wasn't an easy question, and Mike still didn't have the answer. "I don't know, Andy. But you're smart. You'll figure it out as you go." Andy frowned, and Mike nudged him gently with his shoulder. "Just do what you can to make them proud."
Mike was suddenly thankful that Andy was only six, his childish mind probably not detecting the conflicting emotions that Mike knew his voice betrayed. If Mike were being honest, he was kind of ashamed of how his life had turned out, and he figured that he probably wasn't the best example of the advice he had just given. His parents probably wouldn't be too proud of him right now. College dropout, former drug addict, and now living a complete lie and dragging multiple people (Harvey, Donna, Jessica) down with him...
But he was trying to get better. To fix his mistakes.
Andy's brow furrowed in confusion at Mike's sentence. "But how do I know if...if what..." he fumbled over his words, his six year old mind not quite ready to word the complex questions whirling around his brain. Mike smiled, understanding.
"You'll know, Andy. Trust me on this. You'll know."
Andy thought it over for a moment. "Okay."
The two fell into a comfortable silence before Mike broke it. "What book ya got there?"
Andy wordlessly showed him the title. It was Dr. Seuss's The Lorax.
Mike grinned. "I love that book!"
Andy gave a kind-of smile, opening the book and sliding it so that it was half in Mike's lap, and half in his own. Mike, still slightly unsure of what to expect from the young six year old boy (who was reminding Mike more and more of himself when he was young), decided that reading out loud was a good place to start.
"At the far end of town,
Where the Grickle-grass grows
And the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
And no birds ever sing excepting old crows…
Is the Street of the Lifted Lorax."
What Mike had forgotten about, and Andy never knew, was that Donna listened in on conversations in Harvey's office more often than not.
The redhead wasn't someone who was easily surprised. A few people had tried, most had failed. Donna was good at reading people. Not quite as good as Harvey, but she knew when people were trying to pull one over on her and what to expect from whom. Even people that she had never met before, like Andy.
She knew that Andy would probably be awed by the office and entranced by the skyline like most little kids are about such things. She had expected the shyness, assumed that Mike would be able to get a conversation out of him.
Though she wouldn't say that she had been surprised by the conversation topic that came up, she was...suddenly interested, so she listened a little closer.
Donna had wanted to wrap Andy up in a hug when she heard the longing in his voice when he was talking about his parents. It wasn't that the assistant was surprised, it was that any kid who's lost his parents that young and talks about them in the way that Andy was...well, it was enough to pull almost anyone's heart strings.
Donna was taken aback, however, by Mike. Almost everything, really. How well he handled the difficult topic. How good he was at consoling the little boy. The tone in his voice when he told Andy to make his parents proud—and she wasn't exactly sure what that tone implied, but she had ideas—and how well Mike could read a Dr. Seuss book to a six year old.
"He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
That was sharpish and bossy."
Andy smiled—Mike was beginning to realize that the kid probably didn't really laugh, just offered that small little half-smile—as Mike changed his voice to fit the given adjective. Mike glanced out of the corner of his eye to the small boy at his side, and the associate's blue eyes softened even further as Andy traced the lines of the picture with his hands before turning the page.
Mike used to do the same thing, before he learned how to read.
As Andy began to flip the page, Mike chimed, "I have a co-worker that fits that same description. His name is Louis."
Andy just tilted his head to the side, before flipping the page the rest of the way.
Suddenly, the sound of laughter rang from the hallway.
Mike flushed when he heard Donna laughing. He suddenly realized that she had probably been there the whole time, and his mind started back tracking to figuring out what she had heard and what she now thought of him and what she would and wouldn't tell Harvey...
Andy's expectant look brought him out of his thoughts and Mike continued on.
"Again, I am very sorry for the short notice. We will be sure to schedule in advance next time," Jessica was saying at the conclusion of the meeting.
Samantha shook her head. "It really was alright, Jessica. I'm impressed that you could accommodate for Andy so quickly."
Harvey gave her an easy smile. "It was no problem. Here, I'll walk you down."
At Jessica's nod of approval, Harvey led the client in the direction of his office. Harvey was positive that was where Mike would take Andy.
The two walked in silence for a short moment before Samantha broke it. "Do you have kids of your own, Harvey?" she asked conversationally.
"Me?" Harvey asked, not breaking stride though the question had surprised him. "Not yet. Perhaps someday." Maybe, his mind added. Harvey was pretty sure that he didn't want to be a parent, but the woman was obviously fond of kids. "I'm not sure I'm quite ready to be a parent," He added. "Is Andy yours?"
She shook her head. "My sister's son. Claire and her husband both died in a car crash about two weeks ago. I have custody of Andy now."
"I'm very sorry for your loss," Harvey said quietly but sincerely.
Samantha smiled sadly at him. "Thank you. Poor Andy's taking it extremely hard. He never lets go of that book. He doesn't even let anyone else touch it. Don—my sister's husband—bought him that book the day before they died."
They had reached Donna's desk by now, and Harvey raised his eyebrows when he could hear the faint voice coming from her desk. Had she really just listened in on a play date? And yes, that is what he would call it if only because he knew it would annoy Mike. Donna saw his look and shrugged. Harvey turned to go in, but Samantha stopped him.
"Wait," she said. "They're almost done."
"UNLESS someone like you
Cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
That was Mike. Slightly confused, Harvey turned to look inside his office. He saw Mike and Andy, sitting side by side on his couch with the book opened between them. Mike's voice had been uncharacteristically gentle, soft. Like the words meant something to him in a way that only he would understand.
Maybe they did.
Harvey watched as Andy turned the page, and Mike finished the book. They closed the book together, and Andy climbed off the couch, facing away from the door. Mike turned towards them, and made a pointed look at the speaker on Harvey's desk. Harvey understood.
"Shut it off for a moment, Donna," he said and Donna did so.
He watched as Mike placed a hand on Andy's shoulder, causing the child to turn around. Mike bent down and whispered something in Andy's ear, handing him a slip of paper. Andy accepted it and nodded in reply to whatever Mike had said, and the associate ruffled the boy's hair. Andy hesitated for a moment before launching himself at Mike, wrapping the associate in a tight hug. Mike, who was nearly knocked over from the force, blinked in surprise before returning the gesture.
Harvey glanced at Samantha, who had a hand over her mouth in shock and tears in her eyes. She noticed Harvey looking at her and sniffed, trying to collect herself enough to explain.
"He's...he's never opened up to anyone since his parents died," she said. "I've tried to talk to him but he doesn't say anything. I don't think he's let anyone else even touch that book but him until now." She had told Harvey that earlier, but repeating it allowed Harvey to understand her reaction.
She turned to face Harvey fully. "Whoever your associate is, he's special. And not just because he has a crazy memory."
Harvey tilted his head slightly, looking at her as if to say, you knew that?
She smiled. "I've been a client of your firm for a while, Harvey. I'm kept in the loop."
Harvey took a breath to say something, but exhaled instead and just nodded, smiling.
"I'm serious, Harvey. Whoever that kid is, keep him."
"I'll do that," Harvey agreed, his memories regarding his fight for Mike's job being interrupted just as the man in question and his young companion walked out of the office. Mike offered Harvey a smile in greeting, and held out a hand to the client.
Samantha just laughed and pulled him into a hug. "Thank you," she whispered in his ear.
Mike smiled at her. "Anytime." Samantha nodded, but Mike stopped her. "I mean it, Ms. Richard. I gave him my personal number, in case he just wants to talk. Don't hesitate to call me, any time of any day."
"Thank you," she said again. "I really, really mean it."
"You're welcome," Mike replied. "And thank you, Andy. For…" Mike trailed off. He was thankful to Andy because after the Trevor-Jessica fiasco, he needed to be reminded why he cared. Why he was doing all of this. But Andy wouldn't understand it, and Mike wasn't going to tell anyone that, anyway. "For sharing your book with me," Mike said instead. "I love that book."
Andy smiled, grabbed Samantha's hand, and the two of them left.
Harvey turned to smirk at Mike once the two were out of earshot. "I thought you said you were bad with kids."
Mike shrugged. "I am."
Harvey raised his eyebrows, looking pointedly at the direction that Andy and Samantha had left. "Andy certainly liked you."
"Yeah, well. Andy's just…He reminded me of myself when I was younger."
"You read Dr. Seuss when you were younger?"
"Yeah. I mean, when I met you, I told you that I like to read. And it's true now, but it wasn't always. When I was younger, reading usually meant that I became a show dog. People would have me read books just so I could show off and recite the entire thing back to them. But after my parents died, I started to read to, you know, escape reality." Mike shrugged, expecting Harvey to cut him off with some line about how he didn't need to hear Mike's life story. But he didn't, so Mike kept going. "I was 11, so I was kind of too old for Dr. Seuss, I guess. But my mind was thinking a little too hard about too many things, especially my parents and how it wasn't fair that we couldn't fix what had happened and they were making money while Gram and I were living almost hand-to-mouth at the time before we got our feet under us…I needed to give my brain something mindless to do. So I grabbed the nearest book and starting to read it."
"The Lorax," Harvey said knowingly.
"Yeah. The second to last page...I guess it kinda struck a chord with me."
Harvey remembered hearing Mike read it. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. It explained a lot about him, Harvey thought.
Mike shook his head quickly, as if to clear thoughts. "Anyway, I'll have those Simtack files on your desk by four. I'm almost done."
Harvey smiled slightly. "You mean, you were working on them before you decided that it was a good idea to follow a client and a kid? Let me give you some advice, Mike. Following people is considered to be creepy."
"Hey," Mike argued. "I have a natural curiosity. And you should be thanking me. If I hadn't shown up, you would probably be babysitting Andy."
"I'd pawn him off on Louis," Harvey replied.
Mike groaned. "The kid's been through enough. So unless you have a Neuralyzer, let's not scar the kid any further."
Harvey shook his head, smiling at the Men in Black reference. "Just get back to work, Slick."
Mike offered a mock-salute. "Whatever you say, Agent K." The look on his associate's face told Harvey that Mike intended the rhyme.
Harvey sighed. "First you read Dr. Seuss, now you're talking like him."
"Dr. Seuss is the best there is. There aren't any books that are better than his," Mike continued with a small grin.
"Stop rhyming and get back to work, you're beginning to drive me a little berserk," Harvey returned.
Mike laughed. "Berserk was not the word I was expecting. Did you get that contract I finished correcting?"
Harvey fought back a smile and pointed to the door. "Out."
Mike laughed again, but ducked out of the office.
A/N: Well. Hope you enjoyed it! It was fun to write. :D
In case this bothered anyone: I know that some kids can read basic books by 6. In my mind, Andy can read. He just didn't really want to. He's extremely shy and exceedingly upset over the death of his parents, so he just didn't really…want to.
Please review! PLEASE.